24. Sri Agathiyar Gnana Peedham, Kallar
16 December 2016
As dawn broke over the Nilgiri mountain range and Kallar Hills, preparations were made to carry out the second stage Yagna, worship for Lord Muruga, Agathiyar and the 18 Siddhas at the Yaga Salai. Devotees began to arrive by then. Vinthamaray and her family and Balachander Aiya from Malaysia had arrived at the Ashram that morning.
There was heavy presence of police personnel which was welcoming. The Thirukkuda Nanneeraathu Vizha followed at the Meditation Hall. After this program, we excused ourselves to leave for the neighboring town of Methupalaiyam to do some purchases to be given to Tavayogi and Mataji and the poor at Kallar. Bala Aiya too left to visit the Sri Agathiyar Ashram at the foothill to Anuvavi Murugan Temple at Periya Thadagam, Kovai.
When I came to the old Kallar Ashram in 2013 with my family, Tavayogi Thangarasan Adigal called me aside immediately upon arrival and told me that it might not be important to me, but since I have my children with me, to take them to Ooty to have some fun. He arranged for Mataji Sarojini Ammaiyar to accompany us to Ooty the next day.
I had followed a wonderful group of youths this time to India. Although they had their fun and made an equal amount of mischief, as youths, I was amazed how they could change 360 degrees and become focused in their prayers when we arrive at each place of worship! Later I realized after seeing the photographs taken that these were the very youths who worked hard to prepare the stage for the Sarva Dosa Nivarana Maha Yagam. I was at Anuvavi at that time.
Having seen 24 places of worship with these children from AVM, I thought it would only be fair to take a break from the routine and head for the hills of Ooty where Shanga, Dyalen, Bala, Sugu, Yuva, Saha, Malar and Tamil could relax for a while. We enjoyed ourselves, going boating and horse riding and partaking the hot Nilgiri tea in the freezing cold at Ooty. It was late at night when we arrived back at the Ashram.
We had wanted to go to Othimalai as it was a short drive away from Kallar, but we were given several different information on the opening times of the hill temple. Finally we decided to leave next day morning. We put a word to Tavayogi of our intention to visit Othimalai and Tavayogi gave us permission but asked that we leave after the book release scheduled for the next day. Tavayogi was releasing a couple of books authored by him.
17 December 2016
We gathered at the Prayer Hall to follow a regime of basic Yoga Asanas arranged by the Ashram. The book release was to follow. Shortly after breakfast, Mataji came along and informed us that we could leave and that the book launch could wait till we returned. That surprised us. Soon Tavayogi came and told us to leave immediately! That was it, the sign we had waited for! Othiappar was willing to see us!
Earlier I had invited the Sanjiv family and Vinthamaray family to join us. Vinod from Chennai too showed interest. Sadly as we could not accommodate anyone since our Tempo was a ten sitter and we were ten of us with Suren joining us, we told Sanjiv and Vinod to make their own arrangement. Vinthamaray had rented a car while in India. But when Tavayogi expressed an urgency in us leaving immediately, we took to the wheel and informed them to met us at Othimalai. They joined us eventually to receive a wonderful darshan of Othiappar, Agathiyar and Arunagiri!
Read my earlier post on our journey to Othimalai at http://agathiyarvanam.blogspot.my/2016/12/othimalai.html
Sanjiv sent in a wonderful mail of the circumstances leading to our visit to Othimalai once I was back in Malaysia.
While reading the post I have relived the moments and happenings of the journey.
1. An invite to accompany you to a temple trip (something I had been secretly wishing for).
2. I requested Dr.Ramasubramanian to arrange a cab for us to Othimalai and left for the hotel planning to come back at the scheduled departure time. We however came back a little earlier to find Vinod looking for us to tell us the cab could not be arranged.
3. However before leaving the hotel for ashram I somehow made arrangement for a cab and kept him on hold just in case there was some problem in booking.(something kept telling me... book a cab)
4. I frantically called him after learning from Vinod that there was a change in plan and you had to leave hoping against hope that the cab on standby would come and we would not miss this opportunity. But we did manage to reach the place. Agathiyar ji wanted us to go so we reached well in time.
Thanks to Agathiyar and Shanmugam Sir for taking us along and for the beautiful, mesmerising darshan which will remain embedded in my mind for long.
Om Agatheesaya NamahRgds Sanjiv
18 December 2016
The grand Vizha began for Agathiyar as another wonderful day broke at Kallar Ashram. Devotees began flowing in from near and far. Acharya Gurudasan arrived from Bangalore. Aditya, also from Bangalore arrived. Mrs Kogie Pillai and Mr Naidu with their daughter arrived from South Africa. Saravanan Kandasamy from Chennai was with us the past few days. Mrs Rakhi and her family from New Delhi arrived. Suganthi from Singapore and her family in Kovai arrived. Sagar's friends Manoj and Vivek turned up too. Sivakavin from Chennai joined us too. I became acquainted with all these social media friends that day.
We prepared to hoist the Ashram flag and begin the celebrations for the annual Agathiyar Jayanthi and Guru Puja.
We prepared to hoist the Ashram flag and begin the celebrations for the annual Agathiyar Jayanthi and Guru Puja.
I had become acquainted with Thavathiru Kumarsamy Aiya of the the Sri Agathiyar Ashram through Sri Krishna when they came to AVM some time back. Since then Kumarsamy Aiya has been calling me over to his Ashram. When he knew that we were coming over to India and Kallar for the Vizha he asked us to join Agathiyar's Vizha to be held on the same day at his Ashram. While traveling in India he called Bala Chandran and relayed the message again.
Bala Aiya asked me to go visit Kumarsamy Aiya and join in the Agathiyar Guru Puja that was to start at 9am at the Sri Agathiyar Ashram and that he would take care of matters at Kallar Ashram. As the Sarva Dosa Nivarana Maha Yagam was only scheduled to begin at 2pm he felt that I could participate in the morning Yagam at Anuvavi and return to Kallar for the afternoon Yagam. That was when Mr and Mrs Kanagambikai of Kovai arrived at the doorsteps of Kallar Ashram in a rented car and invited me over to Anuvavi. I thought at that moment that it was Agathiyar's wish that I be at the Yagam at Anuvavi and left Kallar for Coimbatore.
Kumarsamy Aiya greeted us as we alighted at the Sri Agathiyar Ashram. Milk libation or Paal Abhisegam was in progress for the Utchava Murthy of Lord Shiva and Parvathi and Agathiyar and Lobhama. Mr and Mrs Kanagambikai and I were given the honor to participate.
I received blessings from the senior Guru at this Ashram, Thavathiru Kaathusamy Aiya.
The Yagam started shortly. I was given the honor to participate in the Yagam too. Kumarsamy Aiya requested that Kanagambikai and I sing some praises for Agathiyar. Soon the herb libation or Muligai Abhisegam began for Agathiyar in the inner sanctum. We were again given the honor to jointly participate.
Kumarsamy Aiya's mother took good care of us too feeding us the whole time. I saw love prevail at this Ashram. I saw the personal commitment of Kumarsamy Aiya in all his endeavors. It amazed me to see the cooperation and unity of its members it conducting the Vizha headed by Kumarsamy Aiya. I left Anuvavi in bliss! I sincerely thank Mr and Mrs Kanagambikai for all their efforts in bringing me over to Anuvavi and Bala Aiya who persuaded me to attend.
It was 1.30pm when we reached Kallar Ashram just in time for the Yagam at 2pm. This was my very first time at Kallar Ashram for Agathiyar's Jayanthi and Guru Puja Vizha. All these years, beginning in 2005, my family and I had been hosting a similar ceremony at AVM to coincide with the Vizha at Kallar.
Although I was not present at Kallar, I had the opportunity to view all the videos footages at Kallar that were sent to me each year after the Vizha. I would sit through and watch these videos as I edited and uploaded them to YouTube. I could see the exhaustion and at times Tavayogi and Mataji lost their voice sitting through the three hour event, chanting five major hymns for Agathiyar and the Siddhas. Tavayogi starts with Thirupalli Yezhuchi of Ramalinga Adigal; 10 poems from Kunangkudi Mastaan's Agathiyar Sadagam and finally the Gayathri Mantra of the Siddhas. Mataji follows with Thava Murugan Varugai and the Siddhar Potri. Then Agathiyar's Moola Mantra and a rendition of all the names of the herbs or Muligai by Mataji follows as the various herbs are placed in the sacrificial fire. I asked myself if there was no one else to help them or relieve them of these chores.
When I visited Kallar Ashram in 2013 with my family, seeing the booklet of daily prayers to Agathiyar and the Siddhas that I had compiled for my home prayers, Tavayogi gave us the honor of singing from this compilation, at the Ashram during Puja for two consecutive days while we were there.
When Tavayogi and Mataji were in Malaysia in June of last year, Tavayogi asked to perform the Yagam at several temples beginning with Tavayogi's Paramaguru Sri Jaganatha Swamigal Sivalayam at Tapah. Then Tavayogi's immediate Guru Chitramuthu Adigal voiced out his wish for us to perform the Yagam and Siddha/ Sapta Rishi Puja at the Taneermalai Murugan Temple in Taiping, a place where Chitramuthu Adigal had meditated through a Jeeva Nadi revelation for Dyalen by Agathiyar through Tavayogi. Sri Krishna had arranged for Tavayogi to conduct a similar Yagam at the Bangsar Agathiyar temple. Tavayogi conducted a Yagam at AVM too. We then arranged to perform the homam, which is a Yagam on a smaller scale, at the homes of AVM family members. We managed to conduct it at ten homes during the duration of Tavayogi's stay in Malaysia.
During these Yagam/Homam I had requested that both Tavayogi and Mataji take a back seat and relax and advise us appropriately while we made the preparations. Tavayogi too, at my request, let me sing the Thirupalli Yezhuchi, while Bala and the rests would recite the Siddhar Potri, hence relieving Tavayogi and Mataji of a lengthy recitation. This formula worked pretty well in Malaysia at all the Yagams/Homam sessions. So while in Kallar I suggested the same to both Tavayogi and Mataji and they agreed. Bala and I were honored to alternately sing the praises of Agathiyar and the Siddhas with Tavayogi and Mataji. Tavayogi started with a prayer, I continued with Thirupalli Yezhuchi and Agathiyar Sadagam. Tavayogi continued with the Gayathri Mantra for the Siddhas while Mataji sang the Tava Murugan Varugai. Bala Chandran completed the recitation of hymns with the Siddhar Potri. It was an elevating moment singing the praise of Agathiyar and the Siddhas at Kallar. The whole place is energized 24/7! The neighbouring mountains are majestic and the weather is conducive for meditation!
As the devotees began to depart after receiving the prasad from Tavayogi and Mataji we had a photograph session with Tavayogi and Mataji and all of AVM family from India, Malaysia and all over. We bid farewell to all that night as we left for Trichy at 11pm to board the morning flight back to Malaysia.
AVM thanks Tavayogi, Mataji, Dr Ram Subramanian, Saravanan, Radha, Agatheeswari, Scientist Suresh, Vinod, the Sanjiv family, Rakhi family and all those wonderful souls who came to Kallar after reading this blog. I personally would like to thank the many wonderful souls from AVM, who accompanied me to Kallar including Acharya Gurudasan from AVM now residing in Bangalore, and to those who prayed for our safe journey Siddha Heartbeat and AVM thanks all those who participated and gave interviews to our team while at Kallar, and shared their views and photographs.