There is so much hype about becoming spiritual nowadays. We take a portion from the exhaustive ocean and begin marketing it to others often commercializing it. Sadly it is at the expense of other forms of spiritualism. Then there are others who are eager to bring us to the promised land. I would accept his hand provided he has returned from there himself. For one who would truly want to share what he has gained he would not ask anything in return, be it monetary or in kind, but instead genuinely pass it on to another. Supramania Swami of Tiruvannamalai was one such soul.
Besides spending hours rolling his rudraksha bead and chanting his Guru's name and that of Lord Shiva, he loves to go to his Guru Yogi Ramsuratkumar's samadhi temple and the Annamalaiyar temple. He would sit and watch the pradosham performed on Nandhi and Lord Shiva (Yogi too) for the whole duration without removing his eyes from the ritual nor moving his body. He would be froze in devotion. He would leave soon after that with no interaction with the public. He would continue his chants in the confines of his home and altar once back.
We either read about it or are told to drop all the vices, ego, likes and dislikes, and numerous other things while stepping onto the spiritual path. Are we prepared to let go of all these and yet stay in this material world? The body that was made to be fully dependent on the senses, that collapses the moment it falls ill, the body that ages and eventually is considered and regarded as a burden, needs to be prepared for a bigger challenge and to house the divine. Are we prepared for an enormous task and transformation? Ramalinga Adigal mentions a twelve year period where he underwent much turmoil. Later he mentions in detail the transformation in his body that took place before he became the light body. Jnana Jhotiamma too went through a transformation internally.
Then we fail to realize the amount of responsibility one has being spiritual. I can make mistakes and move on for no one will take notice but not one who is an icon, especially a spiritual icon.
In their eagerness to promote their ways there are others who degrade the very practices that our forefathers took up. There are movements who make themselves present at rituals, and temple ceremonies not to take part but to distribute pamphlets that preach their way as superior. I consider this practice as rude. Sanadhana Dharma never converted anyone but on the contrary took them along a journey of self discovery, without force or fear, neither pushing them to the limits nor promising a total change or transformation in a single lifetime. That is the reason it has survived till now, amidst all the attacks and blunder upon it.
The idol and temple worship is a required element on the spiritual path. Energies prevailing in the temples help a devotee gain access to the world of the gods. The temple becomes a portal to the other world. Similarly we could also create our own temple in our homes. With daily prayers and offerings our altar turns into the inner sanctum of a temple. We could also keep chanting the Lords name continuously in the altar that is within our heart. There are numerous ways to it. No single way is superior. Each is catered for a particular devotee. We could not possibly explain all the abstract and formless concepts in devotion to a child as even we as adults do not know much about it. It is only those who have been there over the other side, whom can explain and describe it. All else is a just a transfer of book knowledge and not an individual's experience. This is the reason one goes to a Guru, one who has walked the path and attained a particular state, to sit and listen to his experiences. If he decides the Guru either takes us on the same walk or brings that experience within us at the very spot.
The Nayanmars visited every single temple on their spiritual round of pilgrimage and sang padhikams or songs of praise to the Lord, praising his traits and the leelas he performed in that town. Arunagiri was asked to go to all the abodes of Lord Muruga and sing his praise there. Ramalinga Adigal visited the temples daily and sang songs of devotion, describing the deities at these temples. They could have continued sitting at one spot and churning out these wonderful songs from the soul, but it had to be their experiences or anubhuthis that had to be delivered to the masses. Agathiyar brought me immediately to India so that I could be present at the very places the Siddhas had walked the earth. Similarly a child has to be led into spiritual realm by taking his hand and bringing him on a journey. This journey is usually to the local temple in the neighborhood, explaining to him that that was God's abode. Simultaneously he is led into prayers at the altar in the family home too. From being shown God externally he can move on to see god internally in due time when he has had an understanding of the finer concepts in worship and devotion. An avatar too, is still raised by a family where worship is a daily ritual. His life too starts with external worship.
I had my fare share of experiences with these energies at numerous temples, things that I could not comprehend neither was the happenings under my control. But it was blissful. I became immersed in the powerful surges of energies that consumed me. Soon after I wanted very much to share these moments of bliss with others but did not know how. Later I figured that I should hold hands with others and let this energies flow through them too, hopefully bringing them too to feel and partake the bliss. These energy transmissions took place in temples, in caves, and in homes too. It took place in the midst of the crowded temples, in the midst of a vizha or fest, and also in solitude. Space and time were not a criteria for the energy to flow throw. Neither was personal hygiene nor cleanliness a criteria for the energy to come in. It could happen in a latrine or a rubbish dump too. And it all started with temple worship.
By bringing me to perform rituals in my home, Agathiyar slowly took me by the hand to do charity. Agathiyar brought together a cohesion of individuals each asked to perform a particular task. When one is frustrated and feeling down, they turn up at AVM and leave with hope. Sri Krishna through his Pothigai Meals on Wheels brings hope and food to those on the streets. Bala Chandran Gunasekaran and Shanga Manikam bring hope to those in the orphanages and homes. Rakesh through his teammates at Thedal Ulla Thenikalaai (TUT) bring hope to many on the streets in Chennai. Agathiyar has gathered a good team behind these good souls to do his work.
Agathiyar through Sanadhana Dharma introduced us to idol worship and temple worship, then brought us to the Siddha worship and through his guidance brought us to see the divine in all the souls equally. He did not put us through a tough regime of practices, austerities or tapas or tavam but instead allowed us continue to enjoy the many offerings of both mother nature and the pleasurable offerings of the modern world; only asking us to allocate a small portion of our time in devotion and charity. The most compassionate father has catered a wonderful path for us to realize our oneness with the divine.