Sunday, 17 June 2018

ASPIRING TO ATTAIN THE HIGHEST GOAL

In the movie Dr Strange, the Ancient One tells the medical doctor, to his disbelief, that when the mind is elevated, the spirit deepens, the body heals. The Siddhas have told us to bring about noble thoughts in us and together with good practices enhance the physical body that leads to Atma Balam, where the spirit gains strength. The healing then takes place, the body goes through a dramatic change bringing it closer and closer to a divine state and eventually becomes divine in nature.

The Ancient One adds, "You cannot beat a river into submission. You have to surrender to its current, and use its power as your own." When the Dr ask how can by surrendering, one take control of it?, "I control it by surrendering control? That doesn't make any sense", she replies, "Not everything does. Not everything has to. Your intellect has taken you far in life. But it will take you no further. Surrender, Stephen. Silence your ego and your power will rise."

Everyone can attain a divine nature. That is what we have come for. It is not the sole proprietorship of a selected few. All our ancient texts have been asserting and driving the need to be noble in thought and deed. From this point we proceed to several other stages and eventually attain divinity in this very physical body of ours.

Ramalinga Adigal has spoken of the various stages of spiritual experiences. 

The 16 stages and above of spiritual experiences are:

1. Jeeva Sakiram or Normal wakefulness.

2. Jeeva Sorpanam or Normal dreaming and

3. Jeeva Suluthi or Normal ignorance, three stages where human beings lead a mundane life without even a thought of its transient nature.

The next stage is 4. Sutha Sakiram or Perfect wakefulness, the 1st state of the soul where the spiritualist are aware of the momentary nature of life; are conscious of the world and external objects; and enjoy gross things.

The fifth stage is 5. Sutha Sorpanam or Perfect dream, the 2nd state of the soul where the spiritualist seeks to see the Lord and feels himself inseparable; untiring searches for God; and enjoys subtle things.

6. Sudha Suluthi or Perfect ignorance or sound sleep or dreamless state, is the 3rd state of the soul where the spiritualist only desires God; has neither dreams nor desires; and his soul is temporarily one with Brahman enjoying its bliss.

7. Sudha Turiyam or Perfect experience or Supra-mental awareness, the 4th stage of the soul, where lust and the veils covering the soul for generations are shed one after the other; the soul is cleanse by Arutperunjhoti; and spontaneous impulses of love for God arise; and absolute union with Brahman comes about.

8. Para Sakiram or Higher wakefulness.

9. Para Sorpanam or Higher dream or Supra mental dream where the spiritualist enjoys the grace of the Lord and is in ecstasy.

10. Para Suluthi or Higher ignorance or Supra mental unknowing, where the shackles are removed by Arutperunjhoti; and the spiritualist has heavenly experiences. Above this stage, God is un-manifested.

11. Para Turiyam or Atma Tarisanam or Supra-mental perfection, where tasting God; and the glory of Arutperunjhoti; the soul is charged with divine grace; the spiritualist realizes the greatness of God's grace and his smallness; self-realization or Atma Tarisanam on the soul as an atom as brilliant as the sun takes place.

12. Guru Sakiram or Shiva Sakiram, where perceiving God in the form of light, the soul is saturated with compassion and love; it experiences divine life (Uyir Anubhavam); attains purity of the body or golden body (Sutha Degam), (the extent of achievement is dependent on the grace of Arutperunjhoti). Uyir Anubavam in Sudha Degam, where transformation to pure body; love incarnates; universality of love in all fellow beings arises; oneness in life is achieved; he/she sees the divine in all life forms; sees the smallness of oneself and greatness of God; and experiences the spontaneous flow of God in him/her. The spiritualist sees divinity in all creatures; he/she sees God in the form he/she is ready to receive; he/she enjoys supreme grace (Arul Anubhavam).

The higher stages are heavenly stages and beyond human perception where the mind fails to conceive and all senses cease to function. 

13. Guru Sorpanam or Shiva Sorpanam or Supreme dream where the descent of divinity in the individual takes place.

14. Guru Suluthi or Shiva Suzhuthi or Supreme tranquility where supreme grace flows and prepares the spiritualist for the next stage.

15. Guru Turiyam or ShivaTuriyam, where the body transforms into Pranava Deham or body of grace; and merges with Arutperunjhoti; resulting in deathlessness or the conquest of death. Ramalinga Adigal mentions one Muthuthandavar and Tathuvarayar as having attained this state.

16. Sudha Shiva Sakiram or Absolute supreme consciousness. 

There are still higher stages that Ramalinga Adigal hesitates to express, Sudha Shiva Sorpanam, Sudha Shiva Suluthi, Sudha Shiva Turiyam and Sudha Shiva Turiyateetam.

(Source: "An Introduction to the Philosophy of Ramalinga Swami" by Dr C Srinivasan, published by Ilakkia Nilayam, Tiruchi, 1968 (Srinivasan).

An article in the website http://www.ramalinga.com (now defunct) "A Vision of Dematerialization of Ramalinga's Living Body" by Gangadharan, a disciple of Mother Mira Alfassa, it was stated that Mother Mira Alfassa (aid of Sri Aurobindo of Pondicherry) had seen, during her meditation, the happenings that took place on that Friday night when Ramalinga Adigal attained the Jothi in Sidhivalagam. 
He was verily a supreme form of the divine. Flood of light was radiating from his pure and luminous body into all the directions. The intensity of the flood of light that radiated from his whole body was very powerful and one shall have the strength and capacity to bear and receive it. My (Mother Mira Alfassa) whole body vibrated with a joy and pleasantness because of the vision of light of his body.
Supreme grace, supreme compassion, and the light of grace are expressive of the secret truth that they hold the key for transformation of physical body into the deathless physical body of grace in its eternal youthfulness. One has to live in the depth of the ocean of blissful grace-light for being transformed into the divine nature and as the divine body.
After sometime of concentration, he rose up and saw the physical sky. Full moon was shedding its blissful cool rays over the earth. A little distance away from the moon was seen a very bright dazzling star of light. Vallalar poured his concentrated gaze at it for some time. He became enraptured with blissful joy in the heart, which radiated on his face. A little time thereafter, he again sat on the white seat of the plank and entered into deep concentration. 
Though Vallalar was inside the closed and bolted room, he could see clearly the whole universe with its tiers of many worlds of mind, life and the physical including the physical earth and sky with its moon, stars and clouds.
When he was thus absorbed in deep concentration, an effulgent truth-light of grace broke out from his heart and with its unique heat began to burn his radiant physical body very slowly, as at a snail's speed, and that in an upward direction, from the heart towards the head. The burning of the body may be somewhat likened to that of an incense-stick which however burns downwards by its inner heat of fire, forming ash covering but without the falling down of the ash-form. When the upper part of his radiant body was burnt completely from heart to head, there was left in its place a form of pure white substance, which also radiated its light of consciousness. The burnt part, however, showed all its features intact and clearly and even the burnt hair of his head was seen distinctly as luminous white hair. Then the heat of the pure light of grace descended to burn the lower part. 
After the whole body was thus burnt, Vallalar was seen as a bodily form of pure white substance from head to foot, radiating its light. The white form kept intact all the different kinds of cells of his body and all the distinctive features and formations of his interior and exterior body. His bodily form did not shrink in size after the burning. I saw no visible flame nor sensed its heat during the burning of his living body, nor smoke, nor any bad smell as of burnt tissues, nor heard any cracking noise as of burnt bones. Instead, there was a sweet fragrance since the time his body began to burn and it spread everywhere. I sensed in my heart an ineffable calmness and silence, which gave me in turn a state of bliss. 
Now a second stage of burning began. The unique heat of grace-light began to burn slowly Valalalar's luminous form of white substance from head to foot downwards. When his white substance-form full of its radiating light, was thus burnt completely, the white substance became very fine sub-atomic conscious particles, which permeated and pervaded the entire universe and the farther pure worlds of consciousness beyond. The fine, white and conscious particles with its radiating light also entered into and got distributed everywhere in the earth and even in matter. After the universal pervasive distribution of the particles, they could be seen no more and disappeared from my sight. Now there pervaded everywhere the sweet, soft and fine fragrance of camphor which gave my body a blissful sensation and enraptured my heart as well. 
Then I had the rare vision of Vallalar's universal luminous golden form. In fact, the immensity of his golden form contained in it the whole universe. This form too disappeared from my view and was replaced by another vision in which I saw the golden light of truth-knowledge and grace entering into all the directions more speedily than the lightning. It permeated and pervaded the whole universe and the farther pure worlds of consciousness. It entered into our earth and all its crores of the physical forms of beings and objects and in the apparently insensible matter and even in the very dark realm of the vast in conscience. All the forms that were permeated by the golden light of truth changed into golden forms of beings and objects. The golden light entered into my whole Adhara including the physical body. My body felt in all the cells vibrations of ease and pleasantness. 
Then I heard some words of grace. However, they were indistinctly heard and could not be deciphered, as I was absorbed in a rapture of bliss due to the sublime vision and experiences. Thus, the vision lasted an hour of time and ended. 
The visible physical light is the concrete symbol of the vast truth-light of grace, which is the source of all lights. Camphor is verily a solid form or symbol of that light. Vallalar's soul is inseparable from the conscious white particles of substance, which he has become, and pervading distributed everywhere. When the supreme truth-consciousness manifests in the physical world, it becomes the golden light of grace. The golden light of grace will purify and transform man and the physical body too will become deathless physical truth-body, and the Sanmaarga of truth, purity, and goodness shall prevail on the earth. As Atma realizes the pure spirits, the body too shall realize its truth as the true body of the spirit.
https://agathiyarvanam.blogspot.com/2013/07/ramalinga-adigal-arutprakasa-vallalar.html

Shantideva says, “The human body is the vehicle for longevity, while the spirit is the vehicle for immortality.” 

He wrote on the results of yearning for liberation.
“The soul yearns to be free, and through our becoming aware of this we undergo what the mystics call awakening where we then begin to center our life on a high spiritual ideal. A new aspiration is born in the soul, which frees the need of a larger draught of air, a more expansive horizon, and which desires direct contact with the indefinite existence. In order to attain the highest illumination we all have to pass through a spiritual birth. Man as a creature, brought into being out of nothing, certainly is at the mercy of his creator. Man as a spirit, by becoming spiritually conscious he can control his destiny.” 
God’s grace is of utmost importance on this path to realization. With his, grace (Arul) comes his blessing (Aasi) and his guidance. His grace falls on us only when the ego dies as Shantideva says, “God appears when the ego dies”, much like the Ancient One says, "Silence your ego and your power will rise."

Lets take the first step to make this physical body the abode of the divine, bringing him in to do his work. Lets prepare, uplift and elevate ourselves to the stage where the divine then comes within to do its job both for the self and others.

Towards this purpose, the Siddhas have written extensively. The Siddhas have given us guidelines on how we are supposed to live this life in their works. The Tiruvalluvar gave us the "Tirukkural". Avvai gave us the "Avvai Paadal", "Aatthi Chudi" and "Kondrai Venthan". Svatmarama gave us the "Hatha Yoga Pradipika". Pathanjali gave us the "Yoga Sutras".

Tiruvalluvar, reminds us of the following: be righteous; be kind in speech; be grateful; maintain self-control; do not desire another man’s wife; be forgiving; do not envy; do not covet; do not slander; perform charity; be truthful; abstain from anger; and be courteous.

Avvai in "Aatthi Chudi" has 109 advises for us, amongst them: do good; control anger; do not hinder aid to others; feed the hungry; help the needy; keep reading; do not be jealous of other’s achievement; help your relatives and friends grow with you; look after your parents; do not forget those who have come to your aid; do not secure what does not belong to you; do not venture into things that are degrading by nature; abstain from using harsh language; refrain from thinking degrading thoughts; do not harm others; give your best in every venture that you undertake; lead an honest life; respect others. Similarly Avvai in "Konrai Venthan", has 91 advises for us. Through her "Avvai Paadal", "Muthural", she has 30 advices and another 40 in "Nalvazhi."

Pathanjali lays out eight stages: Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. They start with the very basic – characteristics of a good person. They speak about good morals and attributes.

Agathiyar through his Agasthiyar Gnanam spells out the attributes that one should seek and become.

The very first lesson that the Siddhas teach us is to bring change in our behavior, speech and beliefs. They emphasize on character building, good behavior, right conduct, right knowledge, and yogic practices. They ask us to restrain our anger, lust and ego. Once we take care of these, then perception and understanding will changed accordingly. The world will still be the same. Nevertheless, we shall see it in a different perspective then. We shall see the world differently. We shall accept everything as Erai’s doing. We shall go with the flow. Moving further on there comes a stage where nothing is understood, instead everything is known.

Agathiyar in my Nadi readings has mentioned the importance of overcoming the adverse feelings in order to rise to the level of a Siddha. These are the very basic requirements that one has to have in order to transcend further to the state of compassion that is required for a Siddha. Ramalinga Adigal and Siddhartha were very compassionate towards other beings. These features in them lead them on towards attaining the effulgence and nirvana respectively.

In the preface to his "Manumurai Kanda Vaasakam", the original in Tamil by Rengaraja Desiga Swamigal and translated into English by R.G.Rajaram (Swamigal R. D.), Rengaraja Desiga Swamigal list Ramalinga Adigal’s teachings and his path that of Samarasam which contains four disciplines :

1. Indriya Ozhukkam (Ozhukkam means self - control) that is of two kinds,

a. Gnana Indriya Ozhukkam: listening to the praise of god, preventing bad words entering our ears, avoiding looks of harshness and wickedness, abstaining from touching evil things, abstaining from gluttony etc.

b. Karma Indriya Ozhukkam: speaking sweet words, telling no lies, resisting by all means from harmful deeds to other living beings, leading a religious life, associating ourselves with people of saintly character, and maintaining a healthy body.

2. Karma Ozhukkam: the mind has to be directed to the cit sabhai (cit sabhai is the heart in which the divine abodes) by taking it away from other objects, not to enquire into the faults of others, not to be wicked.

3. Jiva Ozhukkam: the discipline that teaches one to treat all human beings as equal, and feel the presence of oneself in all human beings, one must not be affected by the various distinctions as social, national, linguistic, caste, religion, etc. because the soul belongs to a different sphere where no differences exist.

4. Anma Ozhukkam: the further development of jiva ozhukkam wherein the soul looks upon all living beings alike (not only human beings but also other beings). The soul feels great compassion for all the beings, considers ‘anma’ as the ‘sabhai’ and the ‘inner light’ as god.

Through the teachings and guidance of the Siddhas, we build up the body and soul to make it a suitable dwelling for the Lord. The Siddhas tell us to care for the body for it is only with this body that we can achieve realization of Erai. Tirumoolar mentions in his "Tirumanthiram" that he had regarded his body as dirt only to realize later that it is the abode and temple of the Lord. Since then he had taken extra care of it.

In Hans-Ulrich Rieker’s translation and commentary of the "Hatha Yoga Pradipika" of Svatmarama, The Aquarian Press 1992, (Rieker, Hatha Yoga Pradipika of Svatmarama, 1992)
Not to cause suffering to any living being; to speak the truth; not to take what belongs to others; to practice continence; to develop compassion and fortitude; to be merciful to all and honest; to be moderate in eating and pure in heart. These are the first prerequisites of Yoga (the yama).

Self-limitation, austerities (Tapas), cheerfulness, religious faith, charity, contemplation, listening to sacred scriptures, modesty, a clean mind, recitation of Mantra (japa), and observance of rules, these are the second requirements of Yoga (the niyama). Thus equipped one can venture to take the first step into the wonderland of one’s own self.

Good deeds, kind words, noble thoughts, a pleasing personality, interest in lofty pursuits are the distinguishing marks of sattva.
B K S Iyengar in the foreword to the same work writes, (Rieker, Hatha Yoga Pradipika Of Svatmarama, 1992)
The "Hatha Yoga Pradipika" is divided into four parts. The first explains yama (restraints on behavior), niyama (observances), asana (posture) and food. The second describes pranayama (control or restraint of energy), and the shatkarmas (internal cleansing practices). The third deals with mudras (seals), bandhas (locks), the nadis (channels of energy through which prana flows) and the kundalini power. The fourth expounds pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (absorption).”

He does speak of non-violence, truthfulness, non-covetousness, continence, forbearance, fortitude, compassion, straightforwardness, moderation in food and cleanliness as yama, and zeal in yoga, contentment, faith, charity, worship of God, study of spiritual scriptures, modesty, discriminative power of mind, prayers and rituals as niyama.

When the nervous, circulatory, respiratory, digestive, endocrine and genito-excretory systems are cleansed through asana, prana moves unobstructed to the remotest cells and feeds them with a copious supply of energy. Thus rejuvenated and revitalized, the body - the instrument of the self - moves towards the goal of self-realization.
Iyengar in his book "Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali", HarperCollins Publishers, 2005 (Iyengar, Light On The Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali, 2005) writes as follows:
Patanjali’s 196 aphorisms or sutras cover all aspects of life, beginning with a prescribed code of conduct and ending with man’s vision of his true self. Pathanjali teaches the sadhaka to cultivate friendliness, compassion, to delight in the happiness of others and to remain indifferent to vice, and virtue so that he may maintain poise and tranquility. He advises the sadhaka to follow the ethical disciplines of yama and niyama, the ten precepts which govern behavior and practice and form the foundation of spiritual evolution.
The yama are:
Intending no harm in word, thought or deed; being sincere, honest and faithful; being careful not to misappropriate another’s wealth; being chaste and not coveting the possessions of others or accepting gifts.
The niyama are:
“Purity of thought and deed, contentment, Tapas, study of the self, surrender to God.”
Iyengar also adds that for one who lacks ethical discipline and perfect physical health, there can be no spiritual illumination.
By practice and renunciation in the eight yogic disciplines which cover purification of the body, senses and mind, an intense discipline whereby the seeds are incinerated, impurities vanish, and the seeker reaches a state of serenity in which he merges with the seer.
Leonard Orr observes in his book "The Yoga of Everlasting Life (Orr) the common denominators of the practices of all the immortals he had met (eight of them),
Notice the main points are not intellectually stimulating. They are practices. They are not something you can learn. They are something, which you do. They are like the water, which runs forever, the fire, which is always consuming. The wind, which always moves. The earth, always changing and nourishing. The immortal yogis who do these simple practices are always awake and alive. The basic practices described here naturally evolve the soul to this high state of body mastery.
Just as a seed carries a tree in it and a child evolves into a man tomorrow, he is already divine in nature. He only needs to drop the veils that prevent him from realizing who he actually is. Ramalinga Adigal expounds this concept about there being seven veils and demonstrates them in the Sathya Gnana Sabai that he had envisioned and built in Vadalur for all to see. Adigal placed seven veils depicting Maya and which when pulled aside reveals the truth, Arutperunjhoti, the true self devoid of malas. He defines these seven veils of spiritual ignorance as lust (kamam), anger (krodham), greed (lobham), infatuation (moham), pride (ynadha), malice (matsaryam) and killings (kolai), seven veils that cover us preventing us from seeing the truth and reaching it, that we need to drop.

Tavayogi Thangarasan Adigal demonstrates this concept too through the seven-tier granite structure that he was instructed to install at his old Kallar ashram by Agathiyar. After dropping or overcoming these seven veils of ignorance or Maya one reaches the summit or peak symbolically represented by light as in Vadalur and Kallar respectively.

For one to attain spiritual illumination or Jnanam on the onset is a difficult task since we are dealing with mind-stuff that is not easily comprehended, the Siddhas take us through these four stages, from the elementary level to the attainment of gnosis (knowledge). They devised these paths so that every individual could get on the bandwagon to Godhead and made sure no one was left out. The Siddhas have treaded the path to Erai. By holding on to them, we too can see and experience all that was seen and experienced by them. We need to get their attention, sincerely adhere to their instructions and guidance, and pray that they show solace and shower their grace onto us. 

The true path is extremely simple where we need to care for this body to receive Erai in us and eventually merged with him. One needs to prepare this body, which then evolves into a temple so that Erai is received into this body. One needs to take steps to prepare it to unite with him while still alive in this very body. Erai then resides in this body, in every cell and atom and brings changes to this body. The changes take place internally, which slowly influences one’s outer appearances, thoughts, and the way one sees things.

The Siddha Margam is a simple path to Erai. When we call out the names of these Siddhas, their attention falls on us. Through their teachings and guidance, we build up the body and soul to make it a suitable dwelling for the Lord. Once Erai and the Siddhas shower their grace we are assured of their blessing and we then shall have the strength to undertake our mission with an assurance of success. The results are seen immediately. Devotees of the Siddhas can attest to this truth.

Friday, 15 June 2018

LESSONS IN LIFE

When Dr Strange met the Ancient One, she is able to tell him what he went through.
"You've undergone many procedures. Seven, right?"
Dr Strange is curious to know how she healed a paralyzed man named Pangborn and is hoping she could do the same for him. She puts a question back to him, "How do you correct a complete C7-C8 spinal cord injury?" and goes on to explain how she did it.
"I didn't correct it. He couldn't walk; I convinced him that he could...When you reattach a severed nerve, is it you who heals it back together or the body?...It's the cells....And the cells are only programmed to put themselves together in very specific ways. What if I told you that your own body could be convinced to put itself back together in all sorts of ways?...I know how to reorient the spirit to better heal the body."
Angered with her talk Dr Strange confronts her.
"I spent my last dollar getting here on a one-way ticket, and you're talking to me about healing through belief?"
She patiently explains further, 
"You're a man who's looking at the world through a keyhole, and you spent your whole life trying to widen that keyhole. To see more, know more. And now, on hearing that it can be widened in ways you can't imagine, you reject the possibility?"
The Dr rejects her explanation, 
"No, I reject it because I do not believe in fairy tales about chakras, or energy, or the power of belief. There is no such thing as spirit! We are made of matter, and nothing more."
The Ancient One: "We're just another tiny, momentary speck within an indifferent universe. You think too little of yourself."

Dr Strange: "Oh, you think you see through me, do you? Well, you don't. But I see through you!!!"

That is when she gives him an out of body experience and sets his astral body on a journey. 

The Dr returns shaken up and astonished at what he saw and went through.
"What did you just do to me?!?"
She explains,

"I pushed your astral form out of your physical form. For a moment, you entered the astral dimension. A place where the soul exists apart from the body. Open your eye. You think you know how the world works? You think that this material universe is all there is? What is real? What mysteries lie beyond the reach of your senses? At the root of existence, mind and matter meet. Thoughts shape reality. This universe is only one of an infinite number. Worlds without end. Some benevolent and life-giving; Others filled with malice and hunger. Dark places, where powers older than time lie... ravenous... and waiting. Who are you in this vast multiverse, Mr. Strange? 

Dr Strange then comes around asking her to teach the sciences.

(Source: https://www.springfieldspringfield.co.uk/movie_script.php?movie=doctor-strange-2016)

If that was astral travel, coming down to earth, Jiminy Cricket takes us on a journey too, telling us to keep our cool and giving us a lesson or two.

Fun, fun, fun and fancy-free
Full of fun and fancy-free
That's the way I wanna be
I don't let my troubles trouble me
Fancy free
Full of, full of fun
Got no time to worry none
Too busy singin' in the sun, sweet sun

If you should have a chronic ache
Pills won't make you strong
The only tonic you should take
Is a teaspoonful of song

So if you'd really like to be
Happy-go-lucky, just like me
Drown your frowns, my friend, and you will see
You'll see
That you'll be full of fun and-fancy free

Come along, lend an ear; see it for yourself
Meet a guy who's got a song
Troubles are on the shelf
He's so happy all the livelong day
Livin' life the simple way
Knowin' it's the only way to be
Just full of fun, full of fun and fancy-free

Everyone keeps asking me
My recipe for livin'
It's simple as the ABC's
And hardly seems worth givin'
I've tried it out in every way
It always sees me through
It's made me what I am today
That's why I'm tellin' you

I'm a happy-go-lucky fellow
Full of fun and fancy-free
You can make the whole world seem mellow
If you take it in your stride like me

Don't cross a bridge or peek 'round the corner
Until you're there
Just learn to smile and in a while
You'll find trouble's a bubble of air
Get a happy-go-lucky feelin'
Keep it and I guarantee
That you'll find you'll wind up livin' in the sun
Full of fun and fancy-free

Full of fun and fancy-free
That's the way I wanna be
I don't let my troubles trouble me

Now some folks like the heavy stuff
With titles five feet wide
Not me; I'm always out for fun
I like the lighter side, yes sir

Don't let my troubles trouble me

Don't cross a bridge or peek 'round the corner
Until you're there
Just learn to smile and in a while
You'll find trouble's a bubble of air

Join the party
Come along
- can't go wrong
Now's the time to see what you can see
A house is just across the way
Better hurry, don't delay

If that was the movies, when Balamurugan was almost reaching Mount Kailash but was out of breath and aching, he changed his strategy and approach, taking things one step at a time. When the journey started his destination was Mount Kailash. But as he was facing difficulty in taking another step, he changed his focal point to a rock or precipice that was just a few steps ahead. Each time he reached his target, he set another target that was just metres away from him. Eventually he came to behold the Mount and hug its face. 

Agathiyar too has brought us on a journey, step by step. Just as a flower blooms without us realizing it, he come into our lives, shaped us and delivered us. Initially he invited us to his path; then pointed us to his abodes; he then led us there; bringing us back home he charted the path for us to follow and stood by us. We await the day when would begin an inner journey of discovery and attainment where he comes within us, merging in us, and we in him.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

REMINISCENCES OF AN ARTISTE

Sri Subramaniam Purushothman Aiya learned carnatic music from his father Sri Purushothama Raja first, and later from Isai Thendral TN Mariappan who was a friend of his. As he had immense love for music he got himself a chance to sing in talent shows or Kalapadam. He changed his name to Gopinath and continued to sing at this event and many stage shows. Many knew him for singing T.A. Mothi's songs. He also won a gold medal in a singing competition held in Klang where Re. Shanmugam was the chief judge. Besides singing, he plays the harmonium and sittar.

After a long absence he took to his harmonium and delivered a couple of songs of Ramalinga Adigal, one on Lord Muruga and another on Lord Krishna when AVM requested him to play recently.


His prodigy and daughter Vinthamaray who regularly sings at AVM has also contributed her voice for the album "Agathiyar Geetham".

https://www.facebook.com/raagawave/videos/1804691186271853/
https://www.facebook.com/gowrimusic/videos/1056288087842369/
https://www.facebook.com/gowrimusic/videos/1053830864754758/

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

EXPOSING THE TALENTED 1

Agathiyar Vanam Malaysia (AVM) is not the traditional peedham nor is it a temple. It is simply a home to a family that came to worship Agathiyar and the Siddhas. Soon it opened its doors to strangers who came mysteriously, knocking on its door. These strangers have today come together as the AVM family.

If I was asked to engage in performing rituals and worship till this day, many were assigned the task to serve the community and society. Hence we began many programs that included feeding the hungry on the streets, in orphanages, in old folks homes, and delivering groceries to the doorstep of the poor. 

It was during these prayers at AVM that we realized many among us were indeed talented musically. AVM provided an avenue for these talented and budding artistes to showcase their talent. Many came forward willingly while some needed to be coaxed. Never did we imagine that in time to come AVM would collaborate in producing an audio CD containing tracks on Agathiyar. After this idea that was mooted at Agathiyar's abode in Kallar Ashram, India, its producer Gowri Arumugam on returning to Malaysia turned to AVM to collaborate. It was an honor for us. She insisted that we give these budding artistes from the AVM family an opportunity to sing the praise of Agathiyar in her album. And so these children took a giant step from singing within the four walls of AVM to cut an album. Agathiyar Geetham is now making its rounds in homes of devotees.

If in the past AVM had been blessed with youngsters who sang and played instruments, yesterday we had the rare opportunity to listen to a veteran musician play the harmonium at his residence. He is Vinthamaray's father. He played us several pieces of classic melodies that melted our hearts and soul. Although he apologized several times that it had been ages since he played the instrument, but one could see that he never lost his touch.

We at AVM are blessed to have in our circle multi talented souls who have brought fame and worth to AVM. Thank you family.















Saturday, 9 June 2018

YOGI RAMSURATKUMAR



RAMANA'S COMPOSITIONS



STREET FEEDING IN JB

"Yenggugiren" fame Gowri Arumugam has recently released her first album "Agathiyar Geetham" under Raagawave Production, an album mooted by Agathiyar while she was spending quality time at the Kallar Ashram, India.

Back in Malaysia, AVM and AUM collaborated in bringing out this album that was a tribute to Agathiyar. Raagawave has regularly being contributing a portion from the cd sales of Agathiyar Geetham to Persatuan Teman Setia (a conglomerate of Amudha Surabhi/Thondu Seivom/AVM) to pursue its charity work.

She and her friends decided to take up the call to help feed the homeless in Johore Bahru (JB) last Thursday. They cooked, packed and joined up with the organizers of Program Sayangi Gelandangan to distribute food parcels to the hungry on the streets.


























Wednesday, 6 June 2018

IN THOSE SILENT HOURS

மோனா ஞான முழுதும் அளித்து
சிற்பரிப் பூரண சிவத்தைக் காண
நற்சிவ நிட்கள நாட்டமுந் தந்து
குருவுஞ் சீடனுங் கூடிக் கலந்து
இருவரும் ஒரு தனியிடந் தனிற் சேர்ந்து
தானந்தமாகித் தற்பர வெளியில்
ஆனந்த போத அறிவைக் கலந்து
ஈசனிைணயடியிருத்தி
மனத்தே நீயே நானாய்
நானே நீயாய்க்
காயா புரியைக் கனவெனவுணா்ந்து
எல்லாமுன் செயலென்ேற உணர
நல்லா உன்னருள் நாட்டந் தருவாய்
காரண குருவே கற்பகத் களிேற
வாரணமுகத்து வள்ளலே போற்றி

Its transliteration,

mona gnana muluthum alitthu
sirparipoorana shivattai kaana
narshiva nitkala naattamum thanthu
guruvum seedanum koodi kalanthu
eruvarum oru tani edam thanil sernthu
thaananthamaagi tarpara veliyil
aanandha bhotha arivai kalanthu
esan enaiyadi erutthi manathay
neeye naanaai naane neeyaai
gaayaa puriyai kanavena unarnthu
yellaam un seyalendray unara
nallaa un arul naatham tharuvaai
kaarana guruve karpaga kalire
vaarana mugatthu vallale potri

The above verses from Saint Nakkirar's Thiruagaval is a yearning, for a quiet moment and a space with the Guru. Seeking Lord Ganapathy's grace and blessing to create the avenue for this special moment, sitting in silence with the Guru, merging in thought with him, even the thought of the guru as separate - drops, and he becomes identified with the Guru, one with the Guru. If just bringing this vision itself brings so much joy in us, imagine how it would be, in the actual presence of the Guru? Saint Nakkirar's prayer has become my prayer too.

Frank Alexander in his book "In the Hours of Meditation", Advaita Ashrama, Calcutta, 1993, describes this sacred moment beautifully.
There are hours when one forgets the world. There are hours when one approaches that region of blessedness in which the soul is self contained and in the presence of the Highest. Then is silenced all clamoring of desire; all sound of sense is stilled. Only God is.
For this to take place, we need a purified mind.
Frank says, "There is no holier sanctuary than a purified mind, a mind concentrated upon God. There is no more sacred place than the region of peace into which the mind enters when it becomes fixed in the Lord. Purity, bliss, blessedness, peace. The spiritual consciousness dawns in these silent, sacred hours. The soul is close to its source.
For this to take place, prayers are needed. Prayers lead one to this exalted state of silence. Prayers are the means Frank says.
The helpers, the messengers of the most High shall come and thou shalt be free. From out of the depths of prayer all things come - love for God, spiritual vision, and spiritual realization. However dark thy heart, prayer shall bring light therein, for prayer is meditation. Prayer is communion with the Almighty.
Coming out of this sacred space and moving back into the sphere of daily life the Guru then tags along doing noble deeds through us.

Just as Frank felt a living presence within and about him in those hours, we too have come to realize it. The Guru brings us to drop all the noise and activity in us; stop all thoughts and pondering. This happens the moment we let the Guru in; when we begin to listen to him; and when we welcome him into the home, his abode, our body.

He then brings us to treasure the gift of life; appreciate the life given; the moments of joy that accompanies life; the many moments where we are given an opportunity to serve another and to be grateful for these moments. 

We are grateful to him too for bringing us out of darkness into the light; we being mere bystanders to where we stand today, and for showing us his infinite strength that resides within us. 

He followed us through the ages; through numerous births but we did not heed him. He spoke to us but our inner rattlings overshadowed his soft and gentle voice.

We make no plans nowadays, rather we follow his plans since we are assured, his works. We submit to him. I may object to a thing or two for certain reasons, but he does listen and drops that too.

Frank Alexander's book "In the Hours of Meditation", is a great book that brings many insights from the Voice for the Soul; that brings insights from the Guru. During these intimate and private hours of meditation, "when all was silence in the depths of meditation" the Guru appears with many messages, including this lovely phrase, "The love and insight of the Guru, having been once bestowed, have been bestowed for ever." Another is "It is the monastic spirit not the monastic garb that is of importance" and "The form is nothing; the life is everything."

Frank writes about the glory of the Guru, and the moments of merger.
Through his mercy, through his illumination thy most inmost soul has been resurrected. He has sought thee out and through him thou hast been made whole. The realization of the Guru descends in torrents upon the disciple. It is ceaseless; and nothing can resist it. His love for thee knows no bounds. To all lengths he shall go for thee. Never shall he desert thee. Even his curse is blessing in disguise. 
All he wants of us is to realize our divinity and he is on hand to help us realize it. He explains the Guru discipline principle lovely.
More and more does the personality of the disciple merge in the Guru nature while all the time the Guru's personality is seen to merge more and more into that of which even his body had been a manifestation. Then the sublimest oneness is attained. The waters of the dual personalities of Guru and disciple become the ocean of the infinite Brahman.
Surprisingly Supramania Swami too told me to do Tapas/Tavam, for only then shall his Tavam be complete, he reiterated.

As Ramalinga Adigal brought the divine into each and every cell in his body making it divine, Frank writes, "The nervous system must assimilate ideas. Then the very body itself becomes full of chaitanya. The very body is made spirit."

More inspiring words from Frank follows.

Frank asks us to bring Him into each moment of our lives, spiritualizing maya, spiritualizing the moment, making even the menial acts divine. Karma then never lifts its hood; never associating with the act. Lets learn to spiritualize all that comes into contact with us. As Frank asks, "Bring divinity into commonplace daily life" and see the difference.

Learn to be a witness, a watcher. Let us open our eyes to the beauty of nature all around us. Let us communicate with nature. Frank ask us "to see the invisible divinity in the visible universe about us." As Agathiyar says nature shall reveal its secrets, Frank too states, "Nature herself shall reveal her true beauty to thee. Thus to thee everything shall become spiritual. Even a blade of grass shall speak to thee of the spirit."

Tavayogi says the soul (Atma) is suppose to be free not caged, free to explore, free to discover, free to make mistakes. It learns, appreciates, regrets and comes back to the fold eventually. No dogmas, doctrines, rules and codes to adopt and follow. 

J. Krishnamurthi too implies this. 
I want therefore to set man free, rejoicing as the bird in the clear sky, unburdened, independent, ecstatic in that freedom. And I, for whom you have been preparing for eighteen years, now say that you must be free of all these things, free from your complications, your entanglements. For this you need not have an organization based on spiritual belief. Why have an organization for five or ten people in the world who understand, who are struggling, who have put aside all trivial things? And for the weak people, there can be no organization to help them to find the Truth, because Truth is in everyone; it is not far, it is not near; it is eternally there. 
This is akin to Ramalinga Adigal's last sermon too.


Frank tells us to appreciate organizations but never identify with it. "Let there be an organization of ideas nothing more. Never labor for the extension of a purely organized form", he says. "Generally speaking, organizations however spiritual and nonsectarian, degenerate into worldliness".

J Krishnamurthi too says the moment spiritualism is organized it becomes religion. Spiritualism is beyond any dogmas and doctrines. 
You are all depending for your spirituality on someone else, for your happiness on someone else, for your enlightenment on someone else; and although you have been preparing for me for eighteen years, when I say all these things are unnecessary, when I say that you must put them all away and look within yourselves for the enlightenment, for the glory, for the purification, and for the incorruptibility of the self, not one of you is willing to do it. There may be a few, but very, very few. So why have an organization?
Please take some time to read Krishnamurthi's message at http://www.jkrishnamurti.org/about-dissolution-speech It is an eye-opener.

Let us take charge of our lives, for as Frank says, "Faith in others will only make thee more and more helpless and miserable." Frank says "The religious life is purely personal and subjective." 

He too repeats what Tavayogi said, "The religious life may be born in a church, but it must outlive it."

Frank tells us to be loyal and true to the source from which we received inspirations. Let us all be an instrument of the divine, "Work to thine utmost, and then to thine utmost be resigned." He too asked us to be aware of spiritual egoism, saying, "Of all ego's disguises, none is so treacherous and so evil as the spiritual disguise. Be careful of selfish intentions behind these spiritual acts. 

As Agathiyar put me through some trying times and later assured me that it was his doing too so that I learnt and gained a message from the experience, Frank says, "Even should evil befall thee, it cannot be evil when thou lovest the Lord. Even the most fear inspiring experience thou wilt recognize as a messenger from the beloved." After all the wrong I had done yet he was prepared to forgive and accept me. Frank says, "If thou sin for the thousanth time, lo, for the thousanth time and ever doth he forgive thee."
Make the body a tabernacle for the soul; and let the soul be more and more revealed day by day. Then shalt that darkness which is ignorance be gradually dispersed; and that light which is the divine wisdom shall gradually be revealed.
He has another gem for us, "In listening to another, see the realization side instead of the logic of his speech; then no argument shall ensue and thine own realization shall receive new impulses. 

Finally he asks us to, "Make thy own self thy Guru. Each is his own savior and his own Lord. Let the human in thee die so that the divine shall be revealed.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

UNDERSTANDING KARMA

Agathiyar in my very first Nadi reading to my bewilderment and surprise, laid out the cards in front of me. He had access to my karmic records and was exposing them! And it was all possible from reading my thumbprint! After analyzing and identifying the category of my thumbprint Sentilkumar brought out three stacks of old palm leaves on which were scribbled "words, lines, dots" that only he could decipher. Reading them aloud to me, he asked me either to confirm or reject what was read out, reminding me not to reveal anything more. After a tedious session of question and answer he told me to come another day, two weeks from then, for we never came close to picking out the right Nadi for me, one that precisely carried my life's journey. 

I was back again, with excitement, sitting with him, and going through a similar session two weeks later. And there it was, a matching Nadi that I could rightfully acknowledge as mine. I told Sentil I was sure it was mine. Even then I did not get the full reading. I was asked to come another day for the complete reading of my Pothu Kaandam or general canto. 

On the designated day I sat with him again, this time in awe, as he ran by my life's journey as recorded (of the past) and written (for the future) by Agathiyar. My life was no mystery then. Agathiyar revealed the events till my death. Not only did I go to him to know about myself, I came to worship him. He continued to call me in for further readings. Over the years I came to a new understanding regarding what was fated and destined on one hand and free will and the extent that we could shape our own lives on the other.

I realized that what was said in the Nadis were only one of several possibilities that could actually become a reality if followed and adhered. If we chose not to pursue in that direction given, a new set of possibilities comes along. Here is where we are given a choice to decide either to listen to the words of the wise or otherwise. 

I realized that exceptions where made in very special cases where Agathiyar breaks the norm. If it is required of everyone wishing to have a Nadi reading to be present for their reading and to provide a print of their thumbprint that would enable the Nadi reader to trace our Nadi, Agathiyar chose to reveal my wife's Nadi without the need for all the customary procedures! This exemption surprised the Nadi reader too. Although I was called in for the Nadi reading that day, Agathiyar, addressed my wife and chose to speak about her life's journey throughout the entire Nadi reading, without even calling for her presence.

I realized that he had access to my thoughts too. He was monitoring me from some place or space! He was revealing my thoughts and actions in real time. It was scary. Now I really needed Magneto's helmet to protect myself from Agathiyar prying into the private moments and corners of my memories and life. Over the years with continuous worship to him, he began to instruct silently, moving my thoughts and limbs, to do his doing and wants. Now I truly needed a complete set of costume to resist the onslaught of telepathic attacks and energy.

Taking him as Guru, I realized Agathiyar working subtly and magically removing obstacles and clearing the path, changing old ways and bringing new insights, bringing vigor and strength to an otherwise old and worn out suit. What was a norm for others did not now apply to us. What was a deity to all became a Guru to us. What was seen with fear and apprehension, now became a working partner. Everything began to fall in its place and worked in our favor. All this was due to the grace of the Guru, Agathiyar. 

Ram Dass in his "Paths to God - Living the Bhagavadgita", Harmony Books, 2004, gives us a clear understanding of this phenomena and karma. He says, free will and destiny exist simultaneously but on different planes. Now we are getting there. Things are beginning to fall into place. The picture is getting clearer and the confusion leaves. 

He says there is a plane of reality were we are the free agent, free to decide and do all things. On another plane from a "different perceptual vantage point" we realize that our thought forms are conditioned. I realize that this two planes intermingle. 

He adds, "The choices arose out of a long chain of prior events that absolutely predetermined your decisions. I say, "I have free will" - that's my karma talking!"

Ram Dass goes one to state one particular incident in his life to clearly explain his theory. Going back to India a second time, in 1971, he went looking for Neem Karoli Baba (Maharajji) again but did not find him in the usual spots. Spending some time at a meditation retreat in Bodh Gaya, he resumed his search for Maharajji. Teaming up with a lady and a bus-full of passengers she brought along,  all 35 including the driver headed for Delhi. Nearing Allahabad, one of the people on board insisted they stop over. But it meant further delay in reaching Delhi and they were all hungry and tired. So they all turned to Ram Dass to make a decision. After wrestling with the thought Ram Dass gave the green light.  The Kumbha Mela having taken place a few weeks ago, and the Mela having ended, there were only a handful of people around on the Mela grounds. The person who asked that they stop over, directed the bus to a Hanuman temple. That is when someone in the bus spotted Maharajji with his devotee Dada. Maharajji, after the pranams by pilgrims, asked the entire entourage to follow him to his devotee's house. Dada's wife greeted them saying dinner was almost ready.  She mentioned that they had been cooking all day in anticipation of Ram Dass and his entourage's arrival, surprising them by mentioning that Maharajji had told her 35 people shall arrive. 

Ram Dass at this juncture puts a question to us, "Now who do you suppose it was who thought he was sitting on the bus, deciding whether to visit the Mela grounds? Long before I made my decision it was already decided - Maharajji knew all about it that morning! I played my part. I "decided" to go to the Mela grounds. But my decision was inevitable."

Ram Dass continues beautifully when he says, "This present moment is the sum of all that past karma. All those life waves, flowing and flowing, just to bring me to this place, to this moment.... If you are standing outside of time, it is possible to see the whole course of those life waves - past, present and future. When you are at that stage you see in advance the direction the karmic waves are taking, and you know exactly why its all happening the way it is."

Supramania Swami told me that we shall keep on polishing till it shines relating to coming back again and again till we perfect it; Tavayogi asked me, "Whats the hurry. We can always come back again to complete the journey."  Similarly Ram Dass heaves a sign of relief at knowing what was happening "within a lifetime bounded by birth and death" was only a moment and "part of a much vaster design." This perspective helps in that it "calms us down a great deal. The whole game isn't riding on this one lifetime!...there is a great feeling of release inherent in that; it removes the anxiety and the sense of urgency. We don't have to do it all right now - in fact we see we are not doing it anyway! Its the lawful continuity of karma and reincarnation flowing through us lifetime after lifetime, kalpa after kalpa."

Monday, 4 June 2018

IN THE COVE OF SILENCE

Agathiyar had an advice for us when Suren approached him with several questions some years back. Agathiyar explained how we were to carry ourselves at the samadhis of great ones. He says that the very achievement of one in attaining samadhi is itself an indication of the tremendous powers/ energy or sakthi he has built within him. As a result there was no need on our part to carry out any ritual or prayer of any kind to enhance their worth. Rather it was sufficient of us to just sit in silence and imbibe the energy that was emitting from the samadhi. Bring back this energy with you, he says. That is all that is required of us.

From describing the joys of performing puja and its many benefits that was carried in numerous post on this blog, we move on now to another stage, that of withdrawal from all things external and begin to move within. We have come to understand that if earlier we had placed much effort to reach the exalted state of exultation, going by the many experiences of great men who themselves have excelled spiritually, this feeling is evoked from within without even the slightest participation on our part by just being in the presence of divine saints. It just takes place in the presence of these divine saints. Such is the magnitude of their tapas or austerities that it can bring tremendous change and results in those who would just choose to sit in silence. 

F.H.Humphreys in his letter to the International Psychic Gazette describes the blessed moments sitting in silence before Bhagawan Ramana Maharshi.
On reaching the cave (Virupaksha), we (Munshi, Kavya Kantha Ganapathi Sastri and FH Humphreys) sat before him (Ramana) at his feet and said nothing. We sat thus for a long time and I felt lifted out of myself. For half an hour I looked into the Maharshi's eyes which never changed their expression of deep contemplation. I began to realize somewhat that the body is the temple of the holy ghost; I could only feel that his body was not the man; it was the instrument of god, merely a sitting, motionless corpse from which god was radiating terrifically. My own feelings were indescribable.*
Observing the surroundings later, Humphreys continues, 
The most touching sight was the number of tiny children up to about seven years of age, who climb the hill, all on their own, to come and sit near the Maharshi, even though he may not speak a word nor even look at them for days together. They do not play, but just sit there quietly, in perfect contentment.*
Bhagawan explained his way to Natesa Mudaliar when Natesa asked to know, learn and experience what was Bhagawan's Anugraham or grace like.
"I am always giving my anugraham. If you cannot apprehend it, what am I to do? Natesa Mudaliar  discovered thereby that his silent samadhi was itself anugraham which all aspirants should imitate, contact, and get into.*
As the replies to a question on whether the subject and object are identical?, that Yogi Ramiah put forward to local pandits did not satisfy him, he came to Maharshi. Bhagawan answered, "Subject and object are distinct in the phenomenal world to the ordinary man. But in samadhi they merge and become one." Ramiah was happy to get a corroboration of his experience from the Maharshi. 

Suddhananda Bharathi in the presence of Bhagawan,
.. simply feasted his eyes by constantly gazing on Maharshi and rapidly composed many lines of Tamil verse in praise of Maharshi in the space of an hour on that very first visit. Contact with Maharshi made him feel more introverted; and his egotism sank so low that he began to refer to himself in the third person.*
Paul Brunton after due prostration sat in front of Maharshi.
... wondered for a moment whether Maharshi's peace and serenity were a mere superficial pose ... but soon shaking off that idea he became aware of a silent, resistless, change taking place within his own mind. A steady river of quietness seemed to flow near him, a great peace was penetrating the inner reaches of his being, and his thought tortured brain was beginning to arrive at some rest. Naturally this sudden peace and perception must be due to Maharshi's influence, said he to himself.*
(*Source: "Self Realization - The Life and Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi" by BV Narasimha Swami, Sri Ramanashramam, Tiruvannamalai.)

From "Fragrant Petals - A Representative Anthology on Sri Bhagavan", Sri Ramanashramam, Tiruvannamalai, 2005, GLN in his "Ramana Satguru" writes,
The main type of upadesa (instruction) used by Bhagavan was silence, as it was with Dakshinamurthi of old. Divine bliss permeated those who sat around him. In this silence, the doubts of his devotees were cleared and their questions were either answered or faded away, ceasing to exist. 
Dilip Kumar Roy too contributes in "Fragrant Petals" as follows,
Acessible to all, the great saint sat on a divan looking straight ahead at nothing at all. I was told he lived thus all the time, in sahaja samadhi, that is a constant superconcious state. ... What did I see? Just a thin, half naked man sitting silently, gazing with glazed eyes at the window. Yet something in him spoke to me directly - an indefinable beauty of poise and a plenitude that cannot be described. I touched his feet and then without a word sat down near him on the floor and meditated, my heart heaving with a strange exaltation which deepened by and by into an ineffable peace. My gloom and misgivings, doubts and questionings, melted away like mist before the rising sun. I felt I was being cradled on the crest of a flawless peace in a vast ocean of felicity and light. I have to use superlatives here as I am trying to describe my experience of ineffable bliss and peace which lasted for hours and hours. I felt deeply grateful towards the Maharshi on that restful night as I reclined, bathed in peace, in an easy chair under the stars at which I gazed and gazed in an ecstasy of tears.
In "The Creative Silence", the Theosophical Publishing House, Rohit Mehta says, 
".. the important factor of samadhi is becoming the object thought upon." 
He continues, 
" When each part of one's life shines with the glory of the whole, then it is that the individual is in a state of samadhi.
Tavayogi explains that samadhi means being one with the source, having merged into the source. He says it is achievable since we become what we set our mind on. 

Sunday, 3 June 2018

CLIMBING THE SPIRITUAL LADDER

When Tavayogi came to Malaysia the first time he told us not to remain in the temple but to come out of it. Soon he realized we very much needed the temple. He built a temple in Kallar for us. Supramania Swami who wanted to build a temple was stopped midway by a "stranger" who confronted him asking why he was going back to the temple. I am now confronted with a directive to build a temple when that was the last thing on my mind. Agathiyar Vanam Malaysia (AVM), although informal and operating from a home, has been a candle that lit the lives of many just as Tavayogi Thangarasan Adigal lit our lives. Although I had engaged in performing rituals at home, I never wanted to build a temple or form an organization. I was happy the way things were. 

Going back to 2005.....

When Agathiyar told me to come to the worship of Siddhas, "He" sent Tavayogi to Malaysia too. "He" through an organisation placed an advert in the local Tamil dailies regarding the officiating of the said organization by Tavayogi. "He" made my neighbor supply me with the Tamil daily each day throughout the stay of Tavayogi in Malaysia. When I came across the advert repeatedly each day, "He" moved me to give the organizers a call. Soon I was at their premises meeting up with Tavayogi Thangarasan Adigal of the Sri Agathiyar Gnana Peedham in Kallar. Tavayogi replied that I had come to the right place when I pointed out that Agathiyar had asked me to come to the worship of the Siddhas in my Nadi reading some three years earlier. 

Going back three years to 2002....

Taking the advice of Agathiyar in my very first Nadi reading, I began puja to Lord Ganesha and Lord Shiva. I had seeked out the organizations linked to Agathiyar in Malaysia hoping for some information and literature on Agathiyar and the Siddhas and some guidance on their worship. There were several organizations but each was involved in a specific aspect of life, with some solely collecting funds for charity, some holding talks and satsang, some promoting Siddha Vaidyam and sales of herbal medicines, and some just chanting the names of the Siddhas and Agaval. The organizations, once together, were divided then and had gone their separate ways taking some followers with them. I could not bring myself to frequent and follow them. I decided to take the names of the Siddhas as given to me by my Nadi reader Sentilkumar and included them in my daily home puja that I had revived only a year back then in 2001, after having dropped it for 14 long years.

Going back a year to 2001....

It was a Saturday when my nephew out of the blues dropped by at my home with a message asking me not to question its origin. As we both sat at the altar his body shook momentarily and "He" gave me a mantra to recite. On another day he dropped by with a picture of Lord Dhakshanamurthy asking me to worship him too, promising that I would meet my Guru in a years time. Then he called over the phone and guided me on puja to be conducted for Goddess during the Navarathri fests. These series of fortunate events broke the long 14 years of withdrawal from all forms of worship and devotion. I began to conduct myself as told.

The following year I read the Nadi for the very first time and in 2003, I made my maiden pilgrimage to India to pray at several temples as specified by Agathiyar, an act to appease the Gods and grant me release me from my past karma. On my last leg of the trip I met Supramania Swami of Tiruvannamalai who turned out to be the Guru referred by my nephew and in the Nadi earlier.

Supramania Swami gave all the merits of his 40 years tapas to me in a sudden gesture of gratitude as I revealed my selfish intention in wanting to help him build a temple that was abandoned after the aforementioned "divine intervention". He passed on to the samadhi state in 2006, as revealed by Agathiyar.

Tavayogi whom I met in 2005, decided to take me on a true journey of discovery to the places related to the Siddhas rather then confine ourselves to his ashram in discourse during my stay at Kallar the same year.

Tavayogi continued to guide me during his numerous visits to Malaysia subsequently. Agathiyar soon moved things very subtly.....

For want of a reference for those seeking direction to my home, I named my home Agathiyar Vanam Malaysia (AVM). Agathiyar too began to refer it as Vanam in his many Nadi readings. He sent wonderful souls to AVM to join us in our puja and rituals. These youngsters teamed up to form Thondu Seivom reaching out in service to the unfortunate.

Recently Thondu Seivom (TS) initiated and ventured with Agathiyar Vanam Malaysia (AVM) and its charity wing, Amudha Surabhi (AS) to register a formal society known as Persatuan Teman Setia (PTS), with the Registrar of Societies. We continue with our usual public orientated activities. We distribute food and drinks, toiletries and blankets to the homeless in Kuala Lumpur (KL) city and provide the costs of medication during the Medical Camps carried out for these homeless. We contribute financially towards giving the homeless and abandoned a decent funeral, the noble task undertaken by another organization. We distribute food or annadhanam through Thedal Ulla Thenikal (TUT) in Chennai and Tavayogi at his Agathiyar Gnana Peedham at Kallar. We provide monthly groceries for an Old Folks home and a Sri Sai Centre. We occasionally  make small contributions to individuals who need immediate financial help for their unexpected and sudden medical expenses. We contribute in a small way to relieve two university students of their monthly expenses for food and accommodation. Teaming up with Pothigai Tharma Chakram (PTC), we engage in feeding the hungry and conduct rituals at temples.

These activities can be followed on http://agathiyarvanam.blogspot.com/ and on fb at https://www.facebook.com/ThonduSeivom/

Although initially we stepped into this path without even an iota of where we were heading and what to expect, Agathiyar soon gave us a journey map to follow. We have now passed several milestones on this journey that was initiated and sustained by him. I began to realize that soon certain aspects and practices have to be dropped and others initiated, to keep them lively and relevant, rather than become stale and redundant.

When all I had was the Siddhar Potri during the time of my entry into this path, I soon began compiling hymns and songs in praise of Siddhas suitable for my home puja that I began to share online for others to use too. Upon receiving more songs this compilation became a compendium. Today all that has reduced to a few songs during puja and just sitting with him in silence at other times.

Tavayogi on his part, showed us the path and giving us the tools needed, stepped aside to allow us to discover both ourselves and the path anew, rather than walk on the trodden and worn out path. 

With both these Gurus accompanying us on this journey, we look forward to greater times ahead, more moments of discovery and preferably one day we shall arrive at the discovery of the self that is much spoken about, dropping external worship and rituals and looking within and with "His" grace, eventually merging with the source in Samadhi.