25 July 2013

Mahashivaratri Retreat February 22 to March 8, 2014

Torsten Brugge and Padma Woolf have been bringing pilgrim groups from Europe to Tiruvannamalai over the course of the last 10 years. For each of their visits, the venue for their Retreat is Sri Nannagaru Ashram where they stay from between 9-14 days. The Brugge—Woolf Retreat is the only Retreat that I know of held at Sri Nannagaru Ashram, that Swamiji has personally blessed. 

In 2014 the dates of their Retreat Programme are scheduled for February 22nd – March 8th, 2014. And for the first time during their regular Arunachala Pilgrimage, their group will be at Arunachala during the sacred time of Mahashivaratri (February 28, 2014). As always the venue for their Retreat will be the peace-filled Sri Nannagaru Ashram. 

As well as their usual programme of satsang, guided meditations, talks and meetings, there will also be a special programme during the 24 hour Mahashivaratri Festival which will include an escorted group giripradakshina of Arunachala late in the evening of February 28, arriving at Arunachaleswarar Temple before midnight, in time to attend the myriad functions of Mahashivaratri. 

Early in the day of Mahashivaratri devotees will be creating colourful kolams
Beautiful Kolams depicting aspects of Lord Shiva

Devotees light lamps around Temple Tank on night of Mahashivaratri

To find out more about the splendid Mahashivaratri Festival, both its history and celebration at Arunachaleswarar Temple, please go to this link here. Arunachaleswarar Temple is open throughout the night of Mahashivaratri, during which several pujas are performed; the Kala Puja is celebrated inside the Siva Sannidhi and the Lingodbhavamurti puja is performed at the back of the Siva Sannidhi. 

Lingodbhavamurti Puja, behind Shiva Sannidhi

Throughout the evening of February 28 and into the morning of March 1, a cultural programme highlighting the best of Tamil dance and song, will be held in the open auditorium on the Temple grounds.

Music programme at an earlier Mahashivaratri Function

Large crowds gather at Arunachaleswarar Temple for the cultural programme

Traditional Tamil dancing and singing represented at the Cultural Programme

Over the coming months I will be posting photographs, narratives and reports from participants of the Brugge—Woolf 2012 Arunachala Retreat. However for more information about the upcoming Retreat please go to their website at this link here.

“Torsten and Padma offer self-enquiry in the tradition of Sri Ramana Maharshi and in the lineage of Sri Poonjaji, Gangaji and Eli Jaxon-Bear. The focus of the retreat will be to make Sri Ramana Maharshi’s profound self-enquiry and the silent power of Arunachala accessible to participants. Torsten and Padma offer daily Satsang-meetings on the roof-terrace of Sri Nannagaru Ashram. The group will also visit different abodes of Sri Ramana Maharshi on the mountain for silent meditation.

Padma Woolf and Torsten Brugge

In their dialogues with participants Torsten and Padma support spiritual seekers through traditional as well as modern approaches of self-enquiry to awaken to the inner freedom of our true nature and ground ourselves in that. To that end they also make their experience in Enneagram-work, Buddhist meditation, transpersonal psychology and other approaches available. 

The main transmission, however, consists in the message of Sri Ramana Maharshi: ‘We already are the formless, silent Awareness before, during and after all transient appearances. When we rediscover that, our limited sense of I dissolves and the natural bliss of our true nature shines forth.’” 

To watch a video of Torsten and Padma’s response to the question, “Many western seekers come to India looking for enlightenment as if it is an experience. What is enlightenment? Go to this video link here.

Shiva - The Mystic Night 

We conceive God as glory, as creativity and as austerity. Vishnu is glory and magnificence, Brahma is creativity force, and Shiva is austerity and renunciation. You might have heard it said that God is the embodiment of six attributes of which renunciation is one. You will be wondering how God can renounce things. He is not a Sannyasin. He is not an ascetic like a Vairagin or a Sadhu. What is He going to renounce? How do you conceive Shiva as an austere Yogin or a renunciate? What does He renounce? The all-pervading Almighty, what has He to give or abandon? Here is the secret of what renunciation is! It is not renunciation of anything, because there is nothing outside Him; renunciation does not mean abandonment of object. If that had been the definition of renunciation, that cannot apply to God. God does not renounce or abandon any object, because all objects are a part of His Cosmic Body. Then how do you represent God as an embodiment of Vairagya (dispassion)? 

Lord Shiva and his Goddess

Bhagavan, who is endowed with 'Bhaga' or glories of a sixfold nature, is also embodiment of Vairagya. Do you identify Him with a Sannyasin, possessing nothing? No, never. God is the possessor of all things. Then, how can you call Him a renunciate, a Sannyasin or a Vairagin? The secret behind the concept or the consciousness of Vairagya, renunciation is here, in the identification of this attribute with God. It is only when we interpret things in terms of God that things become clear. Otherwise, we get confused. We cannot know what goodness is, we cannot know what evil is, we cannot know what virtue is, unless we refer all these values of life to the concept of God in His Perfection. The only standard of reference for us in all matters of life's values, is the existence of God. So, the concept of renunciation, which has been very much misused, also gets rectified, clarified and purified when it is understood with reference to the existence of God whose special manifestation, in this context, is known as Lord Shiva. 

To continue reading this narrative go to this link here:

1 comment:

Journeymart said...

Maha Shivaratri calls for a night devoted to worship of Lord Shiva. This event happens to be on the 14th night of the new moon in the month of Phagun.