18 July 2023

Aani Pramotsavam Theerthavari: Ayyankulam Tank July 17, 2023


Aani Pramotsavam Theerthavari: Ayyankulam Tank July 17, 2023


Below is a very nice selection of photos of the Aani Pramotsavam Theerthavari function conducted at the Ayyankulam Tank on Monday, July 17, 2023.

15 July 2023

Self Enquiry Information — Links and PDF downloads


Sri Nannagaru, a living Master who used to visit Arunachala during his lifetime, attributed his realisation to the Grace of Arunachala-Sri Ramana and stated that the core of Ramana Maharshi’s teachings are set out in the slim booklet ‘Who am I?” And that an earnest seeker will receive incalculable benefit by daily reading a small part of that booklet.


Sri Nannagaru

Around 1902 a visitor to Arunachala, Sivaprakasam Pillai, visited Ramana Maharshi who was then living in silence at Virupaksha Cave on the slopes of Arunachala. On his visit the seeker posed a series of spiritual questions starting with ‘Who Am I?’ The questions posed were answered by the silent Saint in writing and constitute, what is believed to be, one of his first sets of spiritual instructions.


Answers specifically addressing Self-enquiry can be found in another booklet entitled “Self-Enquiry”. The book was compiled from answers to questions asked by Gambhiram Seshayya, a devotee of Lord Rama and yoga practitioner. In the same way as “Who am I?”, the questions raised by Gambhiram Seshayya were answered by the then silent Ramana living in the Virupaksha Cave in the 1900s.


To read more about Self Enquiry and to download a number of free PDF booklets including the above-mentioned, go to this link here.




Who Am I?

Question 14:    Is it possible for the residual impressions of objects that come from beginningless time, as it were, to be resolved, and for one to remain as the pure Self?


Ramana Maharshi:  Without yielding to the doubt “Is it possible, or not?”, one should persistently hold on to the meditation on the Self. Even if one be a great sinner, one should not worry and weep “O! I am a sinner, how can I be saved?”; one should completely renounce the thought “I am a sinner”; and concentrate keenly on meditation on the Self; then, one would surely succeed. There are not two minds — one good and the other evil; the mind is only one. It is the residual impressions that are of two kinds — auspicious and inauspicious. When the mind is under the influence of auspicious impressions it is called good; and when it is under the influence of inauspicious impressions it is regarded as evil.


Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi


The mind should not be allowed to wander towards worldly objects and what concerns other people. However bad other people may be, one should bear no hatred for them. Both desire and hatred should be eschewed. All that one gives to others one gives to one’s self. If this truth is understood who will not give to others? When one’s self arises all arises; when one’s self becomes quiescent all becomes quiescent. To the extent we behave with humility, to that extent there will result good. If the mind is rendered quiescent, one may live anywhere.

13 July 2023

Arunachala Girivalam Map — July 2023


Arunachala Girivalam Map July 2023

Arunachala Girivalam Updated Map July 2023

Posted above is an updated Arunachala Girivalam map. This map does not show redundant monsoon streams, non-functional theerthams or Shrines located in what are now "restricted areas". In addition the numbering of the below map  has been re-ordered to start from Arunachaleswarar Temple.

Right click this high resolution map to view in separate window — then zoom in and save.

To download in PDF format, go to this link here.

9 July 2023

Tripura Sundari Stotram: Transliteration and English Meaning


Tripura Sundari stotram often considered as Tripura Sundari Ashtakam is one of the great hymns composed by Sri Adi Shankaracharya to praise the Goddess Tripura Sundari — the one among the Dasa Maha Vidyas, known for bestowing boons and fulfilling the wishes of her devotees.


I am posting this particular strotram because it celebrates the Goddess "who wanders in the forests of Kadamba trees" which is appropriate to the previous posting of "The Story of How Indra got rid of his sin," as the boon Indra requested of Lord Siva was to forever worship Him in the Kadamba Forest. This is truly a joyous, beautiful strotram.


Goddess Tripura Sundari


Tripura Sundari Stotram Lyrics and Meaning



Kadamba vana charineem Muni kadamba kaadambineem

Nitamba jitha bhudaraam suranitambini seevitaam

Navamburuha lochana Abhinavaambudha Shyamalam

Trilochana Kutumbineem Tripura Sundari maasraye (1)


O Goddess Tripura Sundari, who wanders in the forests of Kadamba trees, who acts like a blissful cluster of clouds to the Muni’s filled with spiritual thirst.

Who conquered the mountains by her hips, O the one served by the celestial maidens of great attributes.

The one whose eyes resembles a lotus, who is looking like a newly formed cloud, the one in dark blue complexion

The consort of the three eyed God, O Goddess Tripura Sundari, I seek your refuge.



Kadamba vana vaasineem kanaka vallakii dharineem

Mahaarhamani haarineem mukha sammulla sadwaaruneem

Dayaavibhava kaarineem visada-rochanaa chaarineem

Trilochana Kutumbineem Tripura Sundari maasraye (2)



O Goddess Tripura Sundari, who lives in the Kadamba tree forests, who holds a golden veena

Who is adorned with the jewelry (haram’s) studded with gems of great value, whose face is shining with the ambrosia.

The compassionate one, who bestows the prosperity and the one with large eyes that indicates an enlarged look which pervades everywhere

The consort of the three eyed God, O Goddess Tripura Sundari, I seek your refuge.



Kadamba vana shaalaya kucha bharolla sanmaalaya

Kuchopamitha shailaya gurukrupala sadwelaya

Madaaruna kapolaya madhurageeta vaachaalaya

Kayaapi ghana neelaya kavachitha vayam leelaya (3)



O Goddess Tripura Sundari, who had made the Kadamba forests as her adobe, who is adored with garlands that are present around the bosom

Whose bosom resembles the mountains (indicating motherly nourishment), who at all the times bestows the grace

Whose cheeks are red and the one whose words are like sweet and delightful songs

The one whose body is like dark blue like clouds (indicating the bestowing nature), we are armoured by the grace of her play.



Kadamba vana madyagaam kanaka mandalopasthitham

Shadam bhuruha vaasineem satatasiddha saudamineem

Vidambita japa-ruchim vikacha-chandra chudaamanim

Trilochana Kutumbineem Tripura Sundari maasraye (4)



O Goddess Tripura Sundari, who lives in the middle of Kadamba forests, seated on the golden place

who lives in the six lotuses, Who is the constant lightening source for the wise to achieve the divine knowledge

Resembling the radiance of the fully blossomed Japa flowers (Hibiscus), who is adorned by the moon as her ornament on the forehead

The consort of the three eyed God, O Goddess Tripura Sundari, I seek your refuge.



Kuchanchitha vipanchikaam Kutila kuntalaa lamkrutaam

Kusaesaya nivaasineem Kutila chitta vidweshineem

Madaaruna vilochanaam manasijaari sammohineem

Matanga muni kanyakaam madhura bhashinee maasraye (5)



O the Goddess Tripura Sundari, the one who is with the vina that is present over the bosom, the one who is resplendent with the locks of hair

Who resides in the lotus (the lotus of Sahasrara chakra), who is against the wicked actions

Who eyes had turned red due to the Madhu, who delights the destroyer of the Manmadha (God Shiva) (Manasija is another name of Manmadha, which means one born from the mind of Brahma)

The daughter of Sage Matanga, The one who always has sweet conversations, I seek your refuge.



Smareth pradhama pushpineem rudhira-bindhu neelambaraam

Gruheetha madhu paatrikaam mada vighuurna netraamchalam

Ghana sthana bharoonnataam galitha chulikaam Shyamalaam

Trilochana Kutumbineem Tripura Sundari maasraye (6)



O Goddess Tripura Sundari, the one who holds the first flower arrow of the manmada, who has a red bindhu (kumkuma), who is adorned with blue garments

Holding the pot of ambrosia and the eyes filled with energy

Whose bosom is with great weight (indicating the nourishing nature of the mother of creation), who is with disheveled hair and in the completion of blue (indicating incarnation of Goddess Tara)

The consort of the three eyed God, O Goddess Tripura Sundari, I seek your refuge.



Sakumkuma vilepanaam alika chumbhi kasturikaam

Samanda hasithe kshanaam sashara chapa paasaamkusam

Ashesha jana mohinee aruna maalya bhushaambaraam

Japa Kusuma bhasuraam japavidhou smaram Ambikaam (7)



O Goddess Tripura Sundari, the one whose body is smeared with the pastes of Vermilion, whose forehead is applied with scents like Kasturi

Who looks after all the creatures displaying gentle smile and pleasant eyes, who is adorned with arrows, bow, noose and a goad in her hands.

The one who can enchant all the creatures, bedecked with the red garlands, jewels, and garments

The one looks enchanted with the hibiscus flowers, I sit to do japa and meditate on you, O Goddess Ambika.



Purandhara purandrikaam chikura-bhandha sairandrikaam

Pitaamaha pativrataam patu pateera charcharataam

Mukunda ramanii mani lasa dalamkriyaa kaarineem

Bhajami bhuvanaambikaam sura vadhutikaa chetikaam (8)



O Goddess Tripura Sundari, who has Indrani, the spouse of Indra (Purandhara purandhrika – Wife of Lord of Puras – Indra) to set her braids of hair

Who has the wife of Brahma – Saraswati to applying the pastes of sandalwood

O the one who has the women of Vishnu (Mukunda) engaged adorning the ornaments and gems

I worship you the Bhuvana-Ambika (the great Goddess of the worlds), the one served by the celestials as her attendants.


8 July 2023

The Story Of How Indra Got Rid Of His Sin


In an earlier posting I recounted episode 24 from the Thiruvilaiyadal Puranam; i.e. — 'Why Lord Nataraja changed his dancing posture'. Below is episode 1 of the Thiruvilaiyadal Puranam; i.e. — ' The story of how Indra got rid of his sin'. The moral of this episode is to always respect the Guru and Holy Ones.


The Story of How Indra Got Rid of His Sin 

Lord Indra the head of the Devas was in his Royal court at Indra Loka where many Devas and Sages had assembled. Indra the king of celestials was so absorbed watching the dancers in his paradise that when his guru Brahaspati arrived, he neglected to greet him and give him the proper attention. Brahaspati departed in a rage and Indra was condemned to lose both the support of his guru and his own prosperity because of such improper behaviour.


Realizing that this was a result of disrespect shown to the guru, Indra approached Brahma the Creator for guidance. Brahma advised Indra to go to Vichuvauruvan to perform a yagam in order to restore the glory of the Loka. Indra readily agreed and made all arrangements. During the course of the Yagam, Vichuvauruvan covertly sought the welfare of his own while pretending  to pray for the success of Indra Loka. Understanding what was occurring, in a fit of rage, Indra killed Vichuvauruvan. From that  moment, Indra was guilty of the sin of killing a Brahmin. Meanwhile Dhuvatta received the news about the death of his son at the hands of Indra and vowed revenge. He conducted a yagam to create a gigantic demon to kill Indra.


Indra could not withstand the onslaught of the demon. He ran to Brahma for assistance and was told to visit Sage Dadhichi, who was guardian of the weapons of the Devas and Asuras from the time of the churning of the ocean of milk. It was at that time that fearing the possibility of the weapons falling into the wrong hands, Sage Dadhichi swallowed them and the weapons had merged with his spinal column.


Lord Indra visiting Sage Dadhichi at his Ashram

On hearing Indra's request, Sage Dadhichi agreed to sacrifice his life for the sake of the Devas and through yogic power separated his soul from his body leaving the indestructible 'Vajrayutham' weapon – which had been made from his spine. Indra then challenged the gigantic demon and fought a bitter battle. On seeing the 'Vajrayutham' weapon, the demon dived into the ocean and plunged into its depths.


Vowing to help Indra, Sage Agasthiar shrunk the ocean into a droplet of water and drank it. This exposed the demon sitting on a hill doing penance. Without hesitation Indra killed the demon with his 'Vajrayutham'. 


Lord Indra killing demon with Vajrayutham

Though he vanquished his enemy, Indra was again guilty of the crime of killing a Brahmin. The repercussions of the crime haunted him and as relief from guilt and remorse, Indra hid himself in the stem of a lotus flower in a pond.


Indra's sudden disappearance caused chaos among the Devas and it stopped raining, the wind no longer blew and the lands became infertile. As a functionary of Indra, the Devas thought of placing someone in his seat to carry on with the celestial order until the time Indra would be located. In this regard the Devas decided to place the sage Nahush on the throne. Although Nahush was formerly a saintly person – as soon as he ascended to the office of Indra, his outlook towards life transformed and he started partaking in pleasure. He even demanded that Indra's wife Indrani should be called to please him. Indrani turned for help to Brihaspati the guru of all Devas. Brihaspati advised her to gain time by telling Nahush that she was willing to serve him but only after knowing whether her husband was alive or not. Brihaspati also advised Indrani to pray to Vishnu. Lord Vishnu, on being pleased, suggested to Indrani to worship the Goddess and perform an Ashwamedha Yaga to seek forgiveness from the Goddess for her husband's sin of killing a Brahmin.


Indrani started praying to the goddess with devotion. The goddess was happy and appeared before her as Indrani requested for reunion with her husband, the restoration of his powers and her salvation from Nahush — the goddess granted the boons. As a strategy to tackle the unacceptable demands of Nahush, Indrani went to him and told him that she was ready to please him provided he was able to locate Indra and also if he came to her in a unique palaquin carried by great sages. By this time the Maya of the Goddess over-powered Nahush. 



Nahush falling from palaquin

The palanquin carried by the sages left for Brihaspati's Ashram. The thought of possessing Indrani excited Nahush so much that he began to urge the sages to move faster by repeatedly saying 'Sarp' 'Sarp' — move faster but it also means 'snake'. Finally, when the anger of the saints could no longer be contained, they cursed Nahush to become a snake for a thousand years till he would meet Yudhishthira, the Pandava, who would release him of the curse. Brihaspati and the other Devas then went to the Lake and requested Indra to come out of hiding and retake his position as the king of Devloka.


Indra fell at the feet of his guru and apologised for his mistake. The guru forgave him and instructed Indra to worship Lord Siva at various shrines to get rid of his sin. Indra started on pilgrimage. After worshipping at various places, he reached Kadambavanam. As soon as he entered the forest, his sins left him. Kadambavanam was a lovely place and thrilled by its beauty, Indra asked his men to explore the area. They reported that they had sighted a naturally grown Siva Lingam under a Kadamba tree adjoining a beautiful pond. Indra rushed there and was overwhelmed. He prostrated in front of the lingam and after making arrangements, performed a grand pooja as per the scriptures to the lingam.


Pleased with his worship, Lord Siva appeared and asked Indra what he desired. Indra requested that he be granted the boon of worshipping the Lord at Kadambavanam forever. The Lord declared, "Worshipping me here on the full moon day of Chitrai month every year (Chitra Pournami day) is equivalent to worshipping me throughout the year. So come on that day every year to worship and now return to your Indra Lokam."


Indra again worshipped at the golden Lotus pond and then returned to his celestial Loka.

5 July 2023

Real Concept of a Guru


'Guru is understood to be the awakener of the dormant spirit of the aspirant to the consciousness of the immortal Self or God. Guru is the guide and the leader. What does the Guru say to the soul in tribulation?


Swami Ramdas

He exhorts: “Go within yourself and behold therein the splendour and glory of the eternal Truth. Therein resides your ultimate home of perfect release, happiness and peace. Therein find the life that never fades, that never changes, but ever blesses and sanctifies. 

Be in tune with that Reality, if you sincerely crave for the highest consummation of life.”

It is thus the Guru awakens you, and thereafter you are always awake. This is the real concept of a Guru.'

[Swami Ramdas]

2 July 2023

Guru Poornima 2023


The guru is Brahma, the guru is Vishnu, the guru is the Great God Shiva.
The guru is the Supreme Being right before one's very eyes.
To that guru do I reverently bow.

Guru Purnima Monday, 3 July, 2023

Guru Purnima is traditionally celebrated on full moon day in the month of Ashadh (July-August) of the Hindu calendar. Guru Purnima (which falls this year on Monday, July 3th) is the day on which the Guru is revered by devotees. Sri Dakshinamurti is an aspect of Lord Siva as the primordial master, the personification of ultimate awareness, understanding and knowledge.


Lord Siva as Arunachala

At Arunachala the manifestation of Lord Siva as Dakshinamurti is celebrated as the ‘silent Guru’. This day also celebrates the birth of the great author Veda Vyasa who wrote the epic Mahabharata.

Guru Purnima Timing 2023

Tithi starts at 08:21 pm on July 2, Sunday
Tithi ends at 5.08 pm on July 3, Monday


Lord Siva and His Worship

During the absence of Devi, when Lord Siva was alone, the sons of Brahma, (sages: Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana and Sanatkumara) went to have Darshan of Lord Siva. They prostrated before Him and entreated the Lord to teach them how to remove avidya and attain salvation. They admitted that in spite of their vast study of scriptures they had no internal peace and needed to learn the inner secrets—by knowing which they could attain salvation.


Lord Dakshinamurti frescoe Madurai Temple

"Lord Siva, hearing this appeal made by the sages, assumed the form of Dakshinamurti and remaining as the Guru Supreme, began to teach them the inner secrets by keeping Mouna and showing the “chinmudra” by His hand. The sages began to meditate on the lines shown by the Lord and attained the state of inexpressible and illimitable joy. Thus Lord Siva came to be known as Dakshinamurti".

[By Swami Sivananada]


Sri Ramana Maharshi on Dakshinamurti

Ramana Maharshi: Lectures may entertain individuals for a few hours without improving them. Silence on the other hand is permanent and benefits the whole of humanity.

Devotee: But silence is not understood.

Ramana Maharshi: It does not matter. By silence, eloquence is meant. Oral lectures are not so eloquent as silence. Silence is unceasing eloquence. The Primal Master, Dakshinamurti, is the ideal. He taught his Rishi disciples by silence.

Devotee: But then there were disciples for Him. It was all right. Now it is different. They must be sought after and helped.

Ramana Maharshi: That is a sign of ignorance. The power which created you has created the world. If it can take care of you, it can similarly take care of the world also.

[Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi]


Devotee: What is the significance of Guru's Grace in the attainment of liberation?

Ramana Maharshi:   Liberation is not anywhere outside you. It is only within. If a man is anxious for Deliverance, the Guru within pulls him in and the Guru without pushes him into the Self. This is the Grace of the Guru.

[Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi: Talk 547)

Shiva: The Adiyogi

The sacred day of Guru Poornima marks the first transmission of the yogic sciences from Shiva—the Adiyogi or First Yogi—to the Saptarishis, the seven celebrated sages on the banks of Lake Kantisarovar (near Kedarnath Temple in the Himalayas). Thus, the Adiyogi became the Adi Guru or the First Guru on this day. The Saptarishis carried this knowing offered by Adiyogi throughout the world. Even today, every spiritual process on the planet draws from the "knowing" created by Adiyogi.


Adi Yogi

The story goes that over 15,000 years ago, a yogi appeared in the upper regions of the Himalayas. Nobody knew what his origins were but his presence was extraordinary. He exhibited no signs of life, but for occasional tears of ecstasy that rolled down his face. After the crowds of onlookers dispersed, seven men remained. When the yogi opened his eyes, they pleaded that he share his experience with them. He ignored them, but as they persevered the yogi gave them a simple preparatory step and closed his eyes again.

Days rolled into weeks, weeks into months, months into years, but the yogi’s attention did not fall upon them again. After 84 years of sadhana, on the summer solstice that marks the advent of Dakshinayana (the earth’s southern run), the yogi looked at them again. They had become shining souls that could be no longer ignored. On the next full moon day, the yogi turned south and sat as guru to these seven men. Shiva thus became Adi Guru and expounded spiritual truths to the seven disciples. The seven were to be known as Saptarishis, who took their knowledge around the world.

Guru Purnima is held sacred in the yogic tradition because the Adiyogi opened up the possibility for a human being to evolve consciously. The seven different aspects of yoga that were put in these seven individuals became the foundation for the seven basic forms of yoga, something that has still endured.

In honour of this divine personage, spiritual aspirants and devotees either perform Vyasa Puja on this day, or worship their own spiritual preceptor. Saints, monks and men of God are honoured and entertained with acts of charity by householders with faith and sincerity. The period Chaturmas (the "four months") begins from this day; Sannyasins stay at one place during the ensuing four rainy months, engaging in the study of the Brahma Sutras and the practice of meditation.

The day of Guru Poornima is supposed to herald the settling in of the rains and is thus a time that aspirants commence or resolve to intensify their spiritual disciplines. The Srutis say: "To that high-souled aspirant, whose devotion to the Lord is great and whose devotion to his Guru is as great as that to the Lord, the secrets explained herein become illuminated".


Spiritual Teachings of the Sadguru

The upa-agama, Devilottara is the essence of all Agama Sastra and explains the supreme wisdom to be attained by mature souls and their mode of life, expounded by the Lord Siva to Devi.


Lord Siva with Parvati

This dialogue conveys the highest spiritual teachings between the Sadguru Lord Siva and His most surrendered devotee the Goddess Parvati.

To read these teachings go to this link here.


1 July 2023

Shani Pradosham Arunachaleswarar Temple: Saturday, 1 July, 2023


The importance of observing Pradosha is described in the Pradosha Mahatmyam from the Shiva Purana. Pradosha indicates the meeting of the Sun and the Moon in a horizontal line during their movement on their Axis.



The first Pradosham of July, 2023 fell today Saturday (July 1) and is thus known as Shani Pradosham or Shani Pradosham Vrata. According to Hindu astrology Saturn is known to affect one adversely on occasions when it placed in a certain position in one's horoscope. A prayer to God, especially on Saturdays, is said to mitigate one’s hardships. Thus, it is believed that by observing a Vrata (vow) and offering prayers to Lord Shiva on Shani Pradosham, one can escape from the ill effects of Lord Shani (one of the Navagrahas or nine celestial Gods).


4th Prakaram Chinna Nandi

Shani Pradosham is classified into Uthama Shani Pradhosham, Mathima Shani Pradhosham, and Athama Shani Pradhosham.


Uthama Shani Pradhosha is the Shani Pradhosham that comes during the Tamil month of Chithirai, Vaigasi, Ayppasi and Karthigai during the waxing period. Mathima Shani Pradhosham occurs during the Tamil month of Chithirai, Vaigasi, Ayppasi and Karthigai during waning period. All other Shani Pradhoshams come under the category Athama Shani Pradhosha.


Kodi Kampathu Nandi, 3rd Prakaram

Abhishekam occurred upon all 5 Temple Nandis i.e.  Pradosha Nandi in the Moolastanam, Ratha Vilaku Nandi in the Second Prakaram, Kodi Kampathu Nandi in the Third Prakaram (near Flagpost), Chinna Nandi in the fourth prakaram and Periyar Nandi that stands in front of the Vallala Gopuram in the Fifth Prakaram.