Watch the music video Karunai Vizhiyaal, the title track from Raagawave Production's Audio Cd Album "Agathiyar Geetham", produced in collaboration with AVM and AUM. For orders of physical copies and online purchases of the Audio Cd see the sidebars on this blog.
Monday, 30 April 2018
"And now the true journey starts," with that statement Tavayogi looked back at me with a smile on his lips and a sparkle in his eyes as he led me on a life changing journey to various Siddha spots and samadhis. He sort of implied that the travel and pilgrimage I did before was not "The Journey". "The Journey" with him, a seasoned turavi or mendicant, opened my eyes, heart and very being. The journey taught me many subtle things besides what was already pretty apparent. The journey brought me into an entirely new sphere of magic, mystery and initial bewilderment that soon came into focus and clarity with amazing results.
Balamurugan, the only one in AVM to have made a religious pilgrimage and a journey of inner seeking and finding to life and its mystery, told me that as he stood before the majestic Mount Kailash, viewing the mountain up close, he felt so tiny, small and insignificant. This was only in comparison with the majestic mountain. We have not compared ourselves to the entire world, universe, cosmos and beyond! Even before he finally reached out his hands and physically touched and felt the divine mountain, he was knocked off his pride and senses while making the journey, figuring out what he was doing in a vast landscape caught between the never ending sky, skyline and horizon and the snow clad rocks and mountains. Balamurugan tells me there is total silence out there except for the sound of the wind that brushed him along its way. He adds that here he came face to face with the other side of nature, the rough, treacherous terrain and climate. You are grateful to be alive each second out there. You come face to face with your own fears, the fear of death, and the thought of a lonely death, if it does happen, away from the family except for the company of a handful of fellow travelers.
In the midst of 7.6 billion people we feel significant and powerful, destroying Nature and its beauty for our monetary gains and comfort. But being out there in the remote mountainous terrains untouched by man or on a road less traveled, the fear of Nature grips you for there stands Nature in all its might leasing out terror on her open and vast playground.
Pico Iyer, writes a beautiful piece on the need or otherwise of a pilgrimage and journey at https://tricycle.org/magazine/long-road-sitting-still/ He quotes Henry David Thoreau,
... the very act of taking off on a journey speaks for a kind of openness and ripeness that is in fact the first step on the road to transformation. It’s a public recognition that you don’t know everything and that some of those things can come to you as readily on the road as on the mat; it’s a way of setting your senses at the level marked “ON,” slapping yourself awake and trying to join that much larger sense of self—or non-self—we sometimes lose when we’re sleepwalking through our lives.
Pico Iyer writes on D. H. Lawrence,
.. to take him as an inspiration and as a fellow traveler who was responding to some intuition that said that what he saw in his enclosure wasn’t everything.
Just as there is a world beyond the four walls, Tavayogi too showed me a world that stood fast and close to nature - the world of the Siddhas. Agathiyar tells travelers on the Siddha path, that on reaching the destination "Puranamum Kude Pesum", that would translate loosely to mean Nature then speaks to you. Rather then imply that we have control of Nature, which would show our arrogance to control and rule, and imply our superiority over Nature, I would say that Nature abides to our wishes. Nature cooperates with us. Nature works with us in unison. That is the nature of a Siddha. This was the lesson shown to me at the end of my travels with Tavayogi.
Coming back into the city and present times, whenever Tavayogi is approached by people for a solution to their problems, illness, sufferings, he reveals to them the cause of all these miseries. What is the cause? Karma. What is the solution then? Prayers. Who should we then pray to? The Siddhas. This is how many came to worship the Siddhas.
Then there are those while seeking ways out of their misery are told about the Siddhas and the existence of the Nadi that could provide solutions to their problems, illness, sufferings. The Siddhas reveal to them the cause of all these miseries. What is the cause? Karma. What is the solution then? Prayers. Who should they then pray to? The Gods and Goddesses in the trilogy and the myriad numbers of Devas, Rshis, Siddhas, Munis and numerous other energies. This is how many came to worship the Siddhas too.
Coming to read the Nadi they are introduced to Agathiyar and the Siddhas. They begin worship of the Agathiyar and the Siddhas. What do you get by worshiping the Siddhas asked someone some time back while we were in the midst of prayers. It brought us great joy we replied then.
Today the worship of Siddhas has brought immense joy coupled with bliss in multifold.
Prayers to Agathiyar brings him from his abode in the Pothigai hills to our abode, a small dwelling in Malaysia, from his mystical plane to our miracle planet.
Prayers to Agathiyar brings him into our hearts. One of the very early songs of praise to Siddhas given to us mentioned that the mere mention of his name makes the other Siddhas turn around and look out inquiring as to who was calling out for Agathiyar. Similarly when Ramalinga Adigal made his journey to the abode of Lord Nadaraja the entire beings of that plane, stopped for a moment to ask each other who was this saint who had made the rare journey thus far, referring to Adigal.
Soon the Siddhas too arrived in our homes, standing in benevolence and deep respect as we sang the praises of Agathiyar. Mataji was testimony to this event when she shared with us how she felt the ground shake and move below her as she ran through the names of the Siddhas at a prayer in AVM. Agathiyar pointed out this miracle to her in a later Nadi reading for a devotee, revealing that the whole force of Siddhas were present to witness the puja for Agathiyar led by Tavayogi. Agathiyar returned the favor by bringing all the might of the Siddhas to conduct a Yagam to extend Tavayogi's life span recently.
Lord Muruga too dropped in wherever his disciple Agathiyar was worshiped and praised. He brings along with him the whole entourage from the Divine Kingdom including Lord Shiva and Mother Parvathi; Lord Narayana and Mother Laksmi; Lord Brahma and Mother Saraswathi. Just as the security services spring into action days before the arrival of dignitaries, screening and clearing the way, numerous energies are summoned and arrive before the Lords and Goddesses do. Never in my dreams did I anticipate happenings of these nature to take place in real time.
With continuous chanting of the names of the Siddhas over the years the divine chooses to dwell in our homes and hearts. Our homes and hearts become energized with the divine substance. Everyone and thing in the home takes on a new aura. The sacred ash or vibhuthi for instance then gains the merit to cure, becoming prasad. The food that is served becomes medicine, again turning into prasad. The body heals itself. We heal others. They are healed by merely being present in these energy filled homes and circle. The divine begins to heal the wounds in their hearts and illness in their body and mind.
With the coming of the Siddhas, great transformations take place within and without. Sounds are amplified. Even the minutest sounds are heard. One hears his own heartbeat. The thoughts of others are heard. Solutions are given from the divine.
Those who are in tune with the divine can easily tap into these energies and make them work towards their cause. All their wishes see the light of the day and come true.
During our entire lives we are practically moving things physically, emotionally or mentally. A desire arises in us and we work towards it. All things should move with faith, intent, some effort or joint effort if necessary. But in reality it is otherwise. We realize then all these is only possible with the cooperation of the individuals concerned. When what we want involves a person both these hearts have to merge in unison for a deal to work out in favor of both parties. We realize then that although even the mountains can be moved but it is tough to move the hearts of some. This is where we learn to avoid direct confrontation and conflict but rather seek out the divine to open the hearts of these difficult people. It takes a lot of work mending the broken heart and the hardened rigid heart. With us doing our part not messing up and making the situation more chaotic, the divine works subtly behind the screen doing its part. Even the toughest hearts melt eventually over time. Hence the continuous reminder to be patient.
This goes for all our other dealings too in this material world. Just as when someone's heart is rigid, an obstacle is then placed in our path, all our obstacles are man made in nature. When we seek the Siddhas for a solution they sent us around doing various remedies like pleasing the Gods and Goddesses at temples, feeding the poor and hungry, feeding the animals, etc. These acts if followed will open up the individuals heart and also the hearts of the receiver be it the divine, man or animal. Although these acts are acts of reprieve and atonement in direct response to one's past karma, it goes beyond that. If we give a moment of thought to it, we realize it helps inculcate the act of doing charity to others. Hence begins a chain of engaging in doing noble deeds. The equivalent results of these positive actions, if continued, begins to transform the person from within.
We have to have faith in the Siddhas first. With the coming of the Siddhas, all obstacles and sufferings start to clear. Finances improve with many new ways shown to improve our standard of living. Doors that previously were closed begin to open.
The divine that once we were a part of, becomes the master or guru as we serve him, stays at our side guiding and protecting. The divine speaks in us and through us as we become an apostle of his. Our reason to take birth is finally attained and accomplished when he comes to bring us back to his abode to be at his feet forever.
From Salokyam or living in his world, attending to mundane things besides serving him in small ways, we are brought to realize his presence amidst us or Saameepyam in all our doings. When due to his grace we change into the image of him we take on his tanmai or nature, becoming Saaruppiyam. Finally we attain Saayuchyam when we are one with him. This is the inner journey or pilgrimage as laid out by Agathiyar.
Wednesday, 25 April 2018
Tuesday, 24 April 2018
Just as the individual had four asramas namely Brahmacharya (student), Grihastha (householder), Vanaprastha (retired) and Sannyasa (renunciate) in ancient times, the society too was divided along the nature of work. The man who plough the fields whole day long cannot be expected to sit in meditation. But he fed the visiting sanyasi, food. Society these days would slander the sannasi for living off the income from hard labour of the farmer. They might question that it wasn't fair that the farmer had to slog and toil in the fields while the sanyasi had it easy.
The food that is given to a true sanyasin is returned in favour to the farmer as a blessing from the sanyasin. The sanyasin's merits gained from his life long tapas is transferred to the farmer who hardly knows the ways of the spirit and the means to attaining moksha. But he is instantaneous elevated to the stage of moksha without him engaging in austerities and rituals.
The farmer too derives merits in feeding the population through his noble contribution. Agathiyar says briefly he was from the farming community in the past. He has advice a devotee to take up an offer in the Middle East; make all the money he could within a five year span; return home; buy a piece of land and toil and work on it. What a transition? From information technology to farming. Who could understand the ways of the divine?
I did not realize until a moment ago that we have come one whole cycle and fulfilled Tavayogi's initial initiation on the merits of feeding that began with us serving him food at our home many years back. When Tavayogi came to my home for the very first time taking up my invitation to lunch, I asked him to conduct a small prayer before food was served. Then Tavayogi went on to address the small number of invitees, mostly family and friends, to the event. He read from a small booklet that he had published for his Agathiyar Gnana Peedham extolling the greatness of serving food and looking after a true Gnani and his needs, and the collectively large merits gained through these humble and simple acts.
திட ஞானி தெரிசனமே தீர்த்தமாடல்
திட ஞானி தெரிசனமே தேவ பூஜை
திட ஞானி தெரிசனமே செப தபங்கள்
திட ஞானி தெரிசனமே செய்யுமறங்கள்
திட ஞானி தெரிசனமே சிவத்தைக் காணல்
திட ஞானி தெரிசனமே சிவத்தின் சேவை
திட ஞானி தெரிசனமே மேவுவதற்குக்
திரிவிதமா முலகத்து மரிதாம் யார்க்கும்
வரமான ஞானிக்கு மகிழ்வி னோடே
வளமான போசனமே அளிப்ப தாலும்
திரமான ஞானிக்குத் தேவை யான
திரவியமே சிரத்தையோடு கொடுப்பதாலும்
பரமான ஞானிக்குப் பக்தி யோடே
பலவிதமாம் பணிவிடையே செய்தவாறு
அரிதான மோட்ச சுகம் எளிதே யாக
அடைந்திடலாம் அணுவும் இதில் ஐயமில்லை
ஞானியுடைய அருட்சனையே செய்வதாலே
ஞானபல அடைந்ததனார் சீவன் முக்தி
ஆன பரமானந்த அடையலாகும்
அதன் பின்பு பரமான விதேக முக்தி
தானும் அதால் அடைந்திடலாம் ஆதலாலே
தளர்வு தரும் பவ மீதி அனைத்தும் தள்ளி
ஆனியிலா முத்திநிலை அடைய வேண்டி
அறிஞனுடை அருச்சனையே செய்ய வேண்டும்
போகாமர் படைத்தவன்றான் ஞானிபாதம்
பூசிப்பான் சிரசில்வைத்துப் புவனங் கார்த்தோன்
தாகமாய் ஞானியவன் நினைத்த தெல்லாம்
தலையினால் சுமந்து வந்து தருவான் பாரு
ஏக்கமாய்ப் புவனமெல்லா மெரித்தோன் தானும்
இவன் பின்னே திரிந்திடுவான் இவனைக் காக்க
சாகாத வானவர்க்கும் மனிதருக்கும்
சரண் பணியக் கிடைத்திடுமோ ஜெகத்தில்தானே
தானென்ற ஞானிக்கோர் பிடிதான் பிச்சை
தானளித்தோர் தங்களுக்குப் பலத்தைக் கேளு
கோ னென்ற அகரமொரு நூறு கோடி
கோபுரந்தான் கோடி செய்த பலத்துக் கொடுக்கும்
ஊனென்ற நால் வேதம் சங்கமாக
ஓதியதோர் வேதியர்கள் கோடி பேர்க்கும்
தேனென்ற அன்னமிட்ட பலத்துக்கும் அதிகம்
சித்தாந்தம் வேதாந்தம் செப்பும் பாரே
செப்புமப்பா ஞானி அவனிருந்த இடமெல்லாம்
செம்பொன் மணிக் கைலாச வைகுந்த மென்பார்
ஒப்பிலவன் செய்வதெல்லாம் உலகத்து ரட்சை
ஓங்கியே அவன் பாதம் பட்டவிடமெல்லாம்
தப்பில்லா யாகாதி செய்த இடமாகும்
தானவனைக் கண்டாக்கால் சிவ தெரிசனமாம்
அப்பா கேளவன் வார்த்தை மந்திரமுமாகும்
அதைக் கேட்டால் வேத மென்பார் அறிவுள்ளோரே
இறை ஞானி தனைப் பூசித்தெழுந்து பணிந் தேற்றி
இவன் சரணந் தன் சிரசில் அணிந்து கொண்டு
அறையவன்தன் பாதத்தை நேத்திரத்தில் வைத்து
அவன் பாத தூளியினைச் சரீரமெல்லா அணிந்து
உறை கேந்த புட்பமொடு தீப தூபம்
உபசாரஞ் செய்துமவன் சேட முண்ண
மறையிருளுங் கடுவிருளில் பருதி வருவது போல்
மல நீங்கி அவன் நெஞ்சில் சிவனுதையமாகும்
But be aware to whom you choose to give these days as there are many frauds in the name of sadhus. It brings us great despair and sadness when we are told about incidences in ashrams and temples where sadhus fight over clothing and cash handouts and demand their share when the allocation is exhausted. There are sadhus who pitch up at these places feeding off the limited resources of these establishment without contributing in cash, kind or in the form of physical work. Least they could do is take up the task of cleaning up the toilets or the surroundings or water the plants; help in the kitchen, cut vegetables, cook or help serve the others. They could take the cue from Ramana who spent time helping out in the kitchen and he was a Mahaan.
We are all placed on the face of the earth to do Erai's work. But sadly we are so engrossed with taking care of the individual self and its needs, fulfilling and satisfying our desires and wants that we do not come to realize the reason for taking birth.
I too did not realize my role in this beautiful play of Erai or Lila until Agathiyar started revealing it to me. He tells me we have taken birth in a wonderful country that he terms as paradise. Because we had served him in our prior births, he chose to reward us now. While partaking the pleasures of the world around us and satisfying our senses, he comes to remind me of my purpose in taking rebirth. It all fell into place. I understood that I had all this while mistakenly lived for myself and my family. He made me realize that it was only when you deliver and fulfill your dharma towards yourself, your family, your society and mankind, only then can you safely say that you had lived a fulfilling life, satisfying and complete life. It is only when you extend your limited sight to include the others around you and take steps in helping them too, you realize true satisfaction and joy. He brings us to this state where he gets us involved with the less unfortunate and needy, opening our eyes to their sorrow and misery, and directly reminding us of the blessed life we live compared to them. The desire to help another then arises as compassion and love builds in us. By extending help joy arises in our hearts. We then feel grateful for all the blessings showered on us.
When Tavayogi's daughter was saddened that her father was to become a monk, Agathiyar consoles her saying that he wanted Tavayogi for a bigger and higher purpose, that of serving humanity. If he was in the way of the householder he would only remain her father. True to Agathiyar's words today Tavayogi is father to all of us.
When Tavayogi's daughter was saddened that her father was to become a monk, Agathiyar consoles her saying that he wanted Tavayogi for a bigger and higher purpose, that of serving humanity. If he was in the way of the householder he would only remain her father. True to Agathiyar's words today Tavayogi is father to all of us.
The results in feeding others is akin and comparable to the many chakras we are told that exists alongside this physical body of ours and their state. The veil prevents us from seeing these realities, we are oblivious to the sights and sounds of the poor and ill. I walked by them without lifting even an eyelid. They did not matter to me. Neither did their condition. The thought to donate or help another never was there. It was as though they did not exist. I was contended with what I had. I was at the baser and lower chakras then. Arriving at Muladhara the veil was lifted. I saw the suffering that people went through all around me. At Svadishthana I began to take notice of their co-existence. I saw that they were my kind too, Erai's creation. At Manipura I began to share my food and buy them, feeding them. At Anahata my heart opened up and tears of joy streamed down the cheeks having appeased their hunger pangs and seeing the glimmer of hope in the eyes of those I fed. Their life had been extended by another day. At Vishuddhi we began to talk about the need to feed the hungry to others. At Ajna we devised constructive ways to bring help to the unfortunate. At Sahasrara the divine came to us easily.
In this age of numerous challenges and addictions the Siddhas have devised this simple way to receive Erai's blessing and love. Yogi Ramsuratkumar tells us that it is difficult to achieve a meditative state in this era due to the numerous waves around us these days that interfere with the process. Just as when someone asked Neem Karoli Baba, “How can I get enlightened?” and he replied, “Feed people.”, Agathiyar has shown us the same approach too. Agathiyar tells us that we had done enough tapas in the past (lives), it is sufficient to just feed others now.
Whenever someone drops by at AVM or calls to share their problems, I could relate to their sadness and sufferings. If its a financial situation I help out to my ability. If its a direction I show them to Siddha prayers, in the footsteps of Tavayogi. In the beginning I would share my thoughts too and start advising them. Then this complicated matters and I was faulted for the undesired turnout or result. When I referred to Tavayogi he asked me why I involved directly. Rather he told me to point them to Agathiyar. Let them pray and ask him for their needs. Henceforth I stopped advising and directed them to Agathiyar.
But many thought that my prayers were answered hence asked me to put in a prayer on behalf of them. There were times these prayers were for their family members or close ones. Some might not even know who was Agathiyar. But I still prayed for them. I used to convey exactly what they wanted to Agathiyar. Then my mode of prayer change when I was told of an episode where the soul gave up the fight and wanted to leave the body but the family did parikaram and remedies and offerings so that he would survive the ordeal. Just as one might want rain and the other might pray that it doesn't rain then, Agathiyar had a dilemma at hand. He had to give in to the request of the soul. He died.
Agathiyar said he extended Tavayogi's life going to the extend of gathering the Siddhas and performing a Yagam so that he should live longer. It is reasonable to extend his lifespan in liew of the divine work he does. Many devotees wanted him around to guide him further. His demise would be a loss to many who see him as their Guru and mentor. Although Bhagawan Nithyananda and Yogi Ramsuratkumar at their deathbed have mentioned to their followers not to mourn their death as they would continue their work in the subtle form and plane, and in fact attests that they can do more in that plane, the followers still could not bring themselves to accept the departure of their beloved Guru.
Then there are those who survived their ordeal with death due to the collective prayers held. To those who have had an extension or given a new lease, surviving death's hold, it is only proper that they devout the rest of their lives to do Erai's work. Otherwise why would Erai want to extend his/her lifespan if only to continue and carry on the mundane tasks they were doing prior to falling ill or before the near death experience.
It is said that we are sent to this world with a specific number of breaths and we spend them as we engage in carry out our daily activities. The man who preserves the breath lives longer. Hence the reason the Siddhas engage in activities that do not deplete the given store rather increasing and storing up prana energy and more breaths for their divine work by doing Pranayama and control of the breath. Agathiyar has on several occasions mentioned to devotees who came back alive after drifting off into coma, that he had given them his breath so that they should survive. Make good use of this second chance. Engage in doing divine work and his work. That is the least form of repayment we could possibly do in return for his kindness and compassion.
Sunday, 22 April 2018
The Siddhar Magavelvi Poojai was held at the Agathiyar Arul Siddhar Peedam yesterday under the guidance of Siddha practitioner Thiru Arivan.
When a devotee from Thiruvannamalai who came down for the Pornami Puja at Kallar Ashram, showed Tavayogi a rudraksha and asked if he could wear it around his neck, Tavayogi gave him the green light but cautioned him about the do's and don'ts about wearing one. When the devotee left the spot, Tavayogi turned round to me and told me, "We do not need it son." I wasn't wearing any but he made me drop the idea even before it surfaced.
When he saw me wear a navaratnam ring or ring embedded with nine precious stones he enquired about it and again he said, "We do not need it son." I stopped wearing it after a stone fell, even before I hit the shores of Malaysia.
When a musician played his music to Bhagavan and the rests of the devotees at Ramana Ashram, Bhagavan praised him and spoke highly about music. When another seeker came along and asked if he should make music his career Bhagavan rejected the suggestion asking him to go do something worthy.
Similarly when devotees stood before him and asked for ways to reach Erai, he would enquire what they were doing currently and ask them to continue. But when Harilal was basking in joy having seen Krishna and reporting back to Bhagavan, Bhagavan checks him asking why he was so concerned about gods appearing and that all rituals and practices were good up to a certain extent. He was told to learn to let go even these most pursued desires to see the divine externally and instead learn to look within for the light that was shining in his own deepest self.
Similarly when Agathiyar speaks in the Nadi what is said is for the individual only unless stated otherwise.
The masters advise is for the individual only. It might seem like the master contradicts his own words but in reality it applies from case to case and each individual differently.
The student too shall understand the masters words in a different light. The spoken words of the master and in the Nadi could have another meaning some years later, as the understanding of the student deepens.
Saturday, 21 April 2018
I remember bringing my hands together in prayer at my childhood home asking for my needs from the entire pantheon of gods pictures we had at our altar. I bicycled some distance to the temples in town regularly. Moving on to college there was a break from this temple routine for some two years although there was still the daily prayer at the altar at my sisters home. After settling in a job I had much time on my hands and began frequenting the temples in town besides registering my attendance at the home altar. Soon I sat to perform very simple prayers which included lighting a lamp, offering flowers and singing songs of praise to the deities at dawn and at dusk without fail. Then there was a long gap of 14 years where there was neither worship nor rituals entirely.
Then I was initiated into a Vishnu mantra by my nephew who walked in one day telling me not to question anything. I am given a painting of Lord Dhakshanamurthy to worship. A year later I read the Nadi. I turned to the worship of Siddhas as instructed by Agathiyar. I am given a painting of Agathiyar to worship. The following year I make my maiden pilgrimage to India and am gifted a living guru, Supramania Swami of Tiruvannamalai. He was an ardent Shiva devotee. He received a vision to build a temple for Lord Muruga but strangely later he was questioned the reason to build it by a "mysterious stranger". He dropped the task.
Then I am gifted another guru, Tavayogi Thangarasan Adigal of Kallar Ashram. He is an ardent Agathiyar devotee. He too took up a vision to build a temple, this time it was for Agathiyar and successfully completed it.
Supramania Swami kept reminding me about not missing out on my tavam that included lighting a lamp and chanting the Lord's name. Tavayogi kept reminding me to chant, in his case it was the names of the Siddhas.
With the blessings of both gurus, and their surveillance and continuous reminders I kept at my given task. Tavayogi threw in Asana and Pranayama practices to follow. He passed on a couple of mantras too. He directed me to start lighting a homam or a fire pit during these prayers. He instructed me to conduct an annual fest or Vizha coinciding with the Vizha at Kallar Ashram. Agathiyar made sure that seekers and devotees arrived to participate in the Vizha held at my home. We then began group puja and prayers. Agathiyar then arrived in the form of a bronze statue. We included doing libation or abhisegam.
Today Agathiyar and Lord Muruga and the pantheon of Hindu gods have come to stay in our homes and in all our hearts.
Then the divine indicates and shows us to conduct and perform the rituals - brief and short. What took two hours earlier was reduced to an hour - this included the homam, abhisegam and putting forth our collective prayers for the good of all. Agathiyar has simplified the ways and means of devotion making it accessible to all and making it convenient to all too.
I believe this was how devotion was in the past. Common folk visiting the temples, poured their hearts out to the stone idol in these temples and returned home in peace believing the divine would take care of their problems and misery. If they saw results and their prayers were answered they came back and delivered their promises and made good their vows. As simple as that.
Those who had a yearning to reach Erai, made their rounds visiting temples and churning up songs from their heart that soon came to be sang be others. They were soon recognized as saints among the locals for their depth and unperturbed devotion. As simple as that.
I presume their devotion was akin to that of this devotee recorded on the video that is making its round on social medias currently at https://www.facebook.com/100008313063822/videos/2116815161938899/
No saint was a product of a gurukulam, ashram, organization or establishment then. They were self made, self realized souls who never had the slightest inkling or desire to start a following. Their relationship was solely with Erai.
These days we see peedhams, ashrams, organisations, religious and spiritual establishments and new temples mushrooming, as they do immediately after a storm.
I saw many devotees approach Tavayogi to request him to officiate their newly formed organizations affiliated to his Agathiyar Gnana Peedham based in Kallar, in Malaysia. He fulfilled their asking. Turning to me Tavayogi once told me to talk about the Siddhas to people. I told him I was not eligible and did not have sufficient knowledge about the Siddhas to begin preaching to others.
I did not have the urge or wish to start a peedham or movement either. But I took up what came to me easily, using it as a tool to spread the word of Tavayogi. I began to write. It began as a website - several websites in fact. Soon I was captivated by bloggers and their blogs. As I found it was more simple to post on blogs compared with web pages, I opted for this new medium. A new blog Siddha Heartbeat was born, replacing the website Indian Heartbeat. I found that this medium could reach more people and began posting talks of Tavayogi and videos and photos of Kallar Ashram and its activities. I preferred to stay behind the screen and scene and contribute towards spreading the Siddha teachings through this channel. I found it very convenient and conducive working from home and doing my share, pleasing Tavayogi and fulfilling his directive to talk about the Siddhas.
Soon Agathiyar too gave the thumbs up for this venture and small contribution of mine in giving back to society. Today I get many reviews, thumbs up, likes and congratulatory notes and mails from readers of this blog encouraging me to carry on. Tavayogi and Mataji are all smiles for promoting and spreading the Siddha Margam.
Just as I was getting comfortable with the way things were moving in my favor, having settled in comfortably with prayers at AVM, an occasional charity do, and attending to my family and their needs, Lord Muruga recently motioned to me that I build a temple for him, reminding me of a desire put forth by Agathiyar in my very first Nadi reading in 2002. Seeing my reluctance to engage in a venture of this size, nature and complexity, he sends Agathiyar to coax me into it.
I had from the very beginning turned down many requests of Agathiyar, not wanting to get caught with the process nor settling for the rewards that came my way. Seeing my stand on these matters he dropped them too accordingly. I refused to accept or acknowledge receipt of these handouts and positions for the only reason that I wanted him and not the rewards. He keeps throwing in gifts and surprises and I keep refusing them. Let us see how far and how long this duel will go on.
Sanjiv Malhotra from New Delhi shares his experiences after coming to Agathiyar. Sanjiv and his family are regular visitors to Kallar Ashram and have read the Nadi several times. Agathiyar has guided them. I saw the intense devotion and bakthi they have on Agathiyar when I met them at Kallar Ashram. I saw the bliss in them at Othiappar temple in Othimalai. It is an honor to come across such noble souls in our journey.
He writes: "Believe me when HE is the host the journey becomes remarkable, full of experiences and such experiences which have to remain embedded in the depth of one’s heart."
What a wonderful understanding, stand and faith on the Divine. I give way to Sanjiv now to narrate the rest of his experiences.
What a wonderful understanding, stand and faith on the Divine. I give way to Sanjiv now to narrate the rest of his experiences.
My very first Jeeva Nadi reading around four years back mentioned that I would travel for Darshan to Sathuragiri hills in the South close to Madurai where I would get the blessings of a Devi and also that my Guru will be revealed to me after that the Divine Darshan. Being from North of India little did I know about the divine hill. Many other things were also told to me in my first Jeeva Nadi reading.
A couple of years later vide another Jeeva Nadi reading I was told that Agathiar would call me to his abode and after that I would get another Jeeva Nadi reading.
The annual Guru Puja at ‘Kallar Ashram’ was to be held 4th January 2018 onwards. I and my wife have been fortunate to be at Kallar during the preceding two Guru Puja as well.
My mind was focused on the expected Jeeva Nadi reading. Well I thought that’s great on 4th January I will be at ‘Kallar’ which is the Abode of Agathiar’ and after the Guru puja maybe I would get a Jeeva Nadi reading at Kallar itself. I was eager to know what Agastya had to tell me.
Our flight for Coimbatore was booked well in advance for the 1st of January 2018 with the thought of spending time in Kallar and starting the New Year afresh at His abode. This was done somewhere in August 2017.
Much to our dismay Tavayogi Ji suddenly underwent a cardiac bypass and his health became a matter of concern for us. We are thankful that Agathiar took care of him and he was back for the Guru Puja celebrations. Since Swamy ji was not keeping very well and needed rest and we had enough time before Guru Puja, the thought of our going to Sathuragiri and making it back to Kallar seemed to be a good option.
Little did we know that our trip had been planned by Agathiar Himself down to the minutest detail.
During the months of December and January winter sets in and is usually at its peak. Fog does sometimes worsen the visibility conditions. Luckily No fog had set in and we had a clear sky. A day before our flight Mr. Fog came knocking in the morning hours resulting in a few delays with the flights and some cancellations. The rest of the day was sunny. The day of our departure eventually came; we had an early morning flight. We woke up to a clear sky and heaved a sigh of relief. The one hour drive to the airport took us fifty minutes and we thanked Agathiar for keeping Mr. Fog at bay.
After our arrival at the airport and on completing the check in formalities we found a blanket of fog slowly descending down and within no time we were in a situation of zero visibility. Many flights was delayed and quite a few cancelled. Take offs and landings came to a standstill. We waited with abated breath for the announcement of our boarding. Well an hour or so later we were ushered into the aircraft and somehow knew that we would be taking off soon. Visibility started improving but still no sign of take off. Four hours we just sat in the aircraft before it moved even an inch. We were informed later on that there was a dense patch of fog in the runway which just refused to clear. The delay in our flight taking off turned out to be a blessing in disguise for us which is a secret between the three of us me, my wife and Agathiar ji.
Anyway we would reach Coimbatore now and then take a cab to Sathuragiri. That motivation was enough for me. Now it’s important to point out here that I had absolutely no idea at the time of booking my tickets for Coimbatore (which was somewhere in August) that Sathuragiri darshan was allowed only on a few days in the month. Moreover at that point of time (of booking my tickets) I had not even thought of visiting this Divine place, Sathuragiri.
1st and 2nd of January 2018 were among the few days when darshan was allowed it being Full Moon on 1st January 2018. I cannot under any circumstances fool myself into believing that this was a coincidence.
We finally landed in Coimbatore in the afternoon at around 2.30pm, had a quick lunch and were in the cab on our way to Sathuragiri Hills. It would not be out of context to mention here that we had an English speaking driver who was of immense help in the entire trip.
A room was booked for us in Thaaniparai which is at the base of the hill. We slept in comfort and got up fresh and energetic looking forward to the journey ahead. R R Swamy who runs an annadan atop the hill near to the temple and whom I happened to contact through our very dear Manoj Bhai had taken care of us to an extent that he not only saw to it that we were comfortable on the night of arrival but also sent a person along with us from the base of the hill to guide and help us in the trek. We were surprised to see our driver who was reluctant to climb atop for darshan on the night of arrival in Thaaniparai ready and eager to accompany us in the morning. We paid obeisance and seeked the blessings of Vinaygar, Raja Kali Amma, Paechi Amma and Karuppasamy whose temples are at the foothills. We prayed for a hindrance free successful journey. The temples of Paechi Amma and Karuppasamy have been installed by the Siddhars for guarding the Southern side of the Hill.
There are a number of articles and blogs that one can read to know about the trek to Sathuragiri Hills. We were well prepared with stick in hand to assist us in the climb, glucose, a few chocolates, drinking water and some biscuits. A torch in case we need in the early morning hours. A quick light breakfast and we started walking, looking forward towards the climb on this mystic hill. Different thoughts crossed our mind while we took in the purity, natural ambience and holiness of the place. After all this was Agathiar Jis and the other Siddhas abode. Many Siddhas it is said are still in penance in these hills. This is the hill where Shiv and Parvati have given word to Siddhas that they will always be there.
This is the Hill where the Siddhas assume any form a butterfly, a rock, a tree, a plant. It is this Sathuragiri trek which is also known as the “Kailash” of South. This is the Hill where Agathiar will hold your hand and take you for darshan and believe me when HE is the host the journey becomes remarkable, full of experiences and such experiences which have to remain embedded in the depth of one’s heart. How much ever I would like to I cannot at the moment share all my experiences on this platform as I do not as yet have permission to do so. I have though shared some of these experiences with some fellow devotees.
While trekking uphill we learnt that Gorakkar cave had now been closed to the public and all routes to the same had been fenced. In fact later on I came to know that Tavayogi ji who has spent quite a few years in the Hills of Sathuragiri had made a small hut for himself above the cave where he would go into dhyan for long durations without the need of food or water. I had read about this cave and was eager to pay my respects here and also meditate for some time but since some people had started partying close there, so the restrictions. It’s really sad. May better sense prevail upon people who use the place for partying, throw plastic bags and empty packets of chewing tobacco around. Undoubtedly they do not know what they are doing. We also came to know that special permission was required to trek up to Thavasi Parai where the Siddhas meditate and Periya Mahalingam since they were deep in the jungle and danger of wild animals around was always lurking. We left it at that and were absorbed in the bliss of having had the opportunity to be at Such a Divine place. We continued our climb with the Chants of Om Agatheesaya Namah and Har Har Mahadev.
On reaching atop the hill we met R R Swamy ji at his matt who welcomed us with great warmth and then we were off for Darshan of Sundara Mahalingam and Santhana Mahalingam. At R R Swamy ji matt food is offered to all no matter what time of the day or night. I can only revel with admiration at the level of commitment of service and charity towards mankind by R R Swamy and the people associated with him. Arranging all material that it takes to cook on top of the hill involves a tremendous cost because everything has to be carried on top by people. Preperations for the Annadan start months before. The clear instruction by R R Swamy is no one should go without food.
The Mahalingam ensures that there is no shortage of food. For those who want to contribute towards the noble cause of Annadan at the Holy place can contact R R Swamy Ji .His phone number is +919047079909, +919842179909.
Another surprise awaited us when we joined for 18 Siddha Puja which happens once in a year. 2nd Jan 2018 was the day of 18 Siddhas Puja also. This was a sight to behold and cherish. Thank you Agastya Muni if you had not planned for us we would never have been fortunate to have the darshan.18 Siddhas Puja carried on for some time and each of the 18 Siddhas were bestowing love and blessings on all who were present. After the puja we met a gentleman who had come from Salem sitting outside Satta Muni cave. We spent quite some time with him talking before we decided to move towards the matt for lunch. The climb to the top from the base took us a little more than five hours which was pretty good considering that we stopped at quite a few places for Darshan. A hearty lunch was served with so much warmth and love followed by a wonderful Darshan.
Pain in the feet and back spasm had just about to set in for me and I was about to take a pill to kill the pain when the gentleman from Salem suggested I see a Siddha doctor who was also around. The Siddha doctor who had also come for Darshan turned up in not more than five minutes and gave me an acupressure and acupuncture treatment by pressing some points all around my back and my feet.
The pain had gone. Bye to the pill. He takes care to the minutest details. The acupressure had made me feel fresh and good. We decided to go again for darshan of the Holiest of the Holy, The Supreme Guru, The One and Only Lord Shiva at the Sundra Mahalingam Shrine. Breathtaking, Majestic beyond words.
While we were absorbing all this in came a Nandi eager to do the Darshan too. Squeezing us against the railings of the temple, unmindful of the devotees around Nandi completed the parikrama and left. Hardly had we absorbed this that the Priest placed in my spread out hands a Dhoti, flowers along with the sacred ash all blessed and touched at the sacred shrine. We decided to sit at the back of the temple and meditate. Some time had elapsed when my wife felt as if something was placed in her lap; it took a little while for her to register only to find a beautiful face of Lord Shiva made of chandan placed in her lap along with flowers. The gentleman from Salem had left this for us as a memory to cherish for the rest of our lives and informed us that it is strange that one was somehow left with the priest, which he gave us, deciding not to disturb us during meditation.
The grace of Agathiyar was being clearly felt. Somehow a small room with a roof top made of an aluminum sheet was arranged for us to spend the night since that probably was the only place which had a washroom. The small room had a door without a latch, a bed and a Chitai (A hand-woven mattress). An earthen lamp was lit in the room, our source of light we were given blankets and also had carried two warm sheets for the night. We lay awake for quite some time in anticipation of our journey the next day. Since the door did not have a proper latch and a little strong push could have led to the door falling down I placed a big drum filled with some material right in front of the door. This I feel helped soothe my wife’s nerves since the thought of spending the night in the forest that too in a room whose door could fall off was keeping her awake. After some time a cow came and sat next to the room and we could hear the sound of the bell in her neck every time she moved. I wanted to use the washroom and so went out of the room. What I saw was the cow sitting next to the wall of the room and a well built robust dog black in color with erect ears and a large chest standing just outside the room with his face towards the temple. I had never seen such a mighty and handsome dog before. I came inside knowing that we were being looked after 24x7.
An amazing experience of being weightless and effortlessly climbing the Hill that too at a pace unknown to me never eludes my mind. The same was experienced by my wife too. I have no words to express the joy every breath and every step taken on the Hill gives. It is a divine place, the Hill of the Siddhas, The Hill of Shiv and Parvati. At certain places we went to we found that packets of chandan, Sindoor and the holy Ash just coming straight into my wife’s hands.
The trip to Sathuragiri is a treasure which Agastya Muni has given us. Something which we will keep embedded in our hearts for a lifetime. There is so much love and affection that HE showers, reminding his devotees that HE is always there for them.
After our trip we did get a Jeeva Nadi reading as Agastya Muni had promised. A few excerpts:
Agathiar ji speaks,
“During your pooja in Sathuragiri, I was present and gave blessings in the form of Roobam (In the form of human being) and Arubam (in the form of light). In this time period you have got blessings of Guru’s. I accepted you as my disciple.”
“Sathuragiri is a great and holy divine place. There is no limit for this mountain and it is such a wonderful place. Whoever comes to this holy place will get a great amount of Siddhas blessings.”
“In Sathuragiri, Lord Karuppasamy was taking care of both of you.”
“You are walking towards this Siddha path. This path will give high wisdom. This is a very great and true path. You people got the blessings of Thava Murugan and Pasna Moorti and Bhogar”
“Currently both Gayatri related Siddha/Monks and Gayatri Devi gave their blessings to you both”
I remain indebted to Shanmugam ji as I learnt about the Siddha path through his wonderful blog “Siddha Heartbeat”.
OM Agatheesaya Namah.
Friday, 20 April 2018
Each time Tavayogi is taken ill, which was rare, he is saddened not because he has to endure the illness but that he cannot bring visiting devotees (to his ashram) to the places of worship of the Siddhas. He loved to bring us places, giving us live experiences rather then bookish, to bring back and cherish upon. Rather then talk about all things possible in the Siddha realm he chose to take us along and divulge and have us indulge in life lasting memories of true experiences and accounts including encounters with the Siddhas and their magic, mysteries and mysticism.
Recently when Gowri, Vinez and Kathir were in India and Kallar Ashram to shoot video footage for their upcoming music video (for the recently released Agathiyar Geetham Audio CD), they were fortunate that Tavayogi was able to travel and he brought them places.
When my family and I visited Kallar Ashram in 2013, he had planned for us where we should go. He immediately called me aside and asked that I bring them to Ooty stating that I might not need it but they would enjoy the outing. He sent Mataji and several other locals with us. After covering Ooty, the other visits were decided by Tavayogi. We were pretty occupied during our five day stay at Kallar.
I can never forget my first visit to Kallar Ashram in 2005 and the places Tavayogi took me to besides the many temples Agathiyar had instructed me to visit through the Nadi.
Here is a recap of my travels with Tavayogi Thangarasan Adigal, a piece I wrote for a travel blog after returning from my pilgrimage.
The Actual Journey Begins
23rd Sept 2005 - “Only now our actual journey begins”, said Tavayogi with a big grin on his face and a twinkle in his eyes, as we left on the second leg of our tour. We were headed for Agasthiyampalli in Vedharanyam, Pothigai, Courtallam and Palani as instructed in my nadi. He was just as excited as I was too. We reached Trichy at 2.00 pm where we had lunch. Then we went over to the hotel where my brother was staying. Tavayogi excused himself to visit his friend in Trichy while my brother and I went to a book fair. Tavayogi returned shortly to the hotel. Subarao, Mano and others who accompanied my brother for a seminar in India met Tavayogi and exchanged views. Tavayogi and I wanted to find accommodation in the same hotel but we were told all rooms were taken up. On the way to the adjacent hotel, the local organizer of the seminar insisted that he would make arrangements for all of us to stay in the same hotel.
Sage Agathiyar Welcomes Us At Agastiyampalli
24th Sept 2005 - At 6.00 am Tavayogi and I left Trichy for Vedharanyam. We stopped over at Tanjore at 7.30 am for breakfast. We saw the salt lakes where Mohandas K Gandhi had carried out his famous salt walk. We also saw the places where the tsunami wave had hit on 26th December 2004.
We reached Agastiyampalli, Vedharanyam at 10.30 am. A temple priest who was sitting with two people at the entrance of the temple, on seeing us alight from the car, came forward to usher us into the temple grounds. He took us straight to Sage Agathiyar’s shrine. This shrine was on the left of the entrance and was facing the main temple of Lord Siva. He lighted a camphor and showed the flame. Tavayogi and I sat on the floor. Tavayogi started singing a hymn. The priests interrupted him, asking us to go around the temple ground and then to the main temple first. He insisted we prayed at Lord Siva’s shrine first as he was going away to another temple to conduct prayers. He gave instructions on how to go around the temple grounds. Tavayogi told me, "Lets oblige him".
Tavayogi and I came round the temple grounds as the priests had instructed. We stepped into Lord Siva’s shrine where the priests was waiting for us. He showed the flame. He explained that this was the very temple where Sage Agathiyar pressed his thumb into the ground to balance the earth that had tilted due to the Devas, Gods, and Goddesses converging in the Himalayas for Lord Siva-Goddess Parvathy’s wedding.
After praying at Lord Siva’s shrine we came back to Sage Agathiyar’s shrine. Tavayogi picked up singing the hymns from where he had left. I continued with the Potri songs as usual. As I started reciting the ‘pranavam’-‘Aum’ at Sage Agathiyar’s shrine I could hear and feel the ‘pranavam’ reverberate, and bounce off the granite walls. I felt a cool breeze sweep over me even as I was sweating away at the shrine. As I uttered the last line of the 'Potri' song, ‘Om Maa Siddhargale Potri’ I broke down in tears. I cried and cried. I asked Sage Agathiyar to open his eyes and see me. He did not respond. I shut my eyes as I wept. I opened my eyes after some time, Tavayogi who was earlier seated opposite me was not there anymore. I turned towards the entrance. He had moved to the open and was standing there.
Sage Agathiyar Opens His Eyes
As I got up he ushered me to his side and told me, Sage Agathiyar had opened his eyes twice. “There is the aroma of sandalwood in the air too”, he added. He asked that I stand at the same spot he had stood. “Concentrate looking at the sage's eyes”, he said. I peered at the granite statue of Sage Agathiyar but I could hardly make out his face much less see him open and close his eyes. The shrine was dark. I could sense Tavayogi’s disappointment that I could not see the Sage open his eyes. This I knew from the tone of his voice when he consoled me, “Never mind, son. Lets snap some photographs, shall we?”
I entered Sage Agathiyar’s shrine again and was about to sit when Tavayogi motioned me to sit with Sage Agathiyar in the inner sanctum sanctorium saying, “Go in and sit at Sage Agathiyar’s feet at the inner sanctum. He is our father. Who dares object?” That’s when Tavayogi throws his shawl over to me asking me to lay it on the floor to sit on as the floor had oil spills. As I laid his shawl and sat, I glanced at Sage Agathiyar’s face and what do I see? The sage is observing me with an eye open. I looked hard not believing. Only a moment ago I had seen him with both eyes shut. The eyes were engraved into the granite and I was sure they were engraved shut as I entered his shrine this morning. I was overcome with joy seeing Sage Agathiyar look at me and I called out to Tavayogi, “Swami…”. Even before I could complete my sentence Tavayogi understood and told me, “Right!, he has seen you, has he, come!, They will show (themselves) you only for a moment.” Even as I came out from his shrine the sage was looking at me with one eye shut, grinning away.
We left Agastiyampalli at 11.15 am. Tavayogi tells me it has been ten years since he came to Agastiyampalli. In the nadi prediction, Sage Agathiyar had promised that he would look at me when I came here. I was convinced the vision I had was possible only with the help that I got from my guru Tavayogi Thangarasan Adigal. Only after he had thrown his shawl over to me to sit on did this miracle take place.
Back at Breehadeshwarar’s Temple And Sage Karuvurar’s Shrine
We had lunch at Tanjore and proceeded to Breehadeshwarar temple at 3.00 pm. As the temples in India are closed from 1.00 pm to 4.00 pm, Tavayogi took the opportunity to take a nap in front of the huge Nandi at the temple grounds while I went around to snap some photos of the temple. I walked up the flight of steps to Lord Dhashina Murthi’s shrine. Then I walked to the back of the temple grounds where Sage Karuvurar’s shrine was located. The caretaker who was cleaning the oil lamps got up, called me in, lighted the camphor, showed the flame and gave me the sacred ash.
I came back to the spot Tavayogi was napping. He invited me to share his shawl that he had spread on the ground to lie down. At 4.00 pm when the temple doors were opened to the public, Tavayogi went straight to Sage Karuvurar’s shrine and the same man who attended to me earlier attended to Tavayogi too. Tavayogi sat at the shrine in meditation. I followed suit. Some pilgrims who had taken shelter away from the scorching sun at Sage Karuvurar’s shrine were conversing loudly. The caretaker drove them away saying there were people meditating, referring to us, creating a peaceful environment for us to meditate.
As we came around the temple complex, Tavayogi must have sensed my yearning to see Lord Siva for he told me to go ahead while he stood in the shade of the temple structure. I rushed up the flight of stairs to the inner sanctum of the temple where was house the largest Sivalingam. I joined Tavayogi shortly and we left the temple complex.
Tavayogi suggested we visit the Saraswathy Mahal hoping to show me some old scripts and collections of King Sarobhoji. It was 5.00 pm as we got into the car and rushed to the museum before they closed for the day. Tavayogi purchased a couple of tickets and we entered the museum. The palace of King Sarobhoji was now converted into a museum that houses his vast collection of English books, portraits and old writings. Tavayogi was saddened that most of the writings that were kept here earlier were no more to be seen now.
We returned to Trichy. Tavayogi still insisted on sleeping on the floor although he relented to accept a blanket to be spread on the cold floor and a pillow under his head.
Pothigai And Courtallam
25th Sept 2005 - My brother checked out of the hotel. His visit to India to participate and cover a seminar had ended and he had extended his visit to follow us. Tavayogi, my brother and I left for Pothigai Hills at 6 am.We had breakfast in Tanjore and lunch on arrival at Papanasam, Pothigai. Here was the famous Agathiyar Falls. This place was packed with holidaymakers, as it was a Sunday. Tavayogi and I washed our cloths in the stream and laid them out to dry on the rocks. We took a bath under the falls, dried ourselves and started our climb up a long flight of stairs to a lake known as the Kalyana Theertam. On the way we passed a house built into the cliffs where a lady saint, Krishnaveni Ammal was staying. I was told she has been staying in solitude since coming up to this spot following a sidha when she was barely thirteen years of age. She never went back. Tavayogi stopped to enquire if she was around only to be told that she was having her afternoon nap. Tavayogi told us we could try our luck on our way down.
Further up perched on a cliff was a Siva temple. There was a shrine for Sage Agathiyar too. Tavayogi meditated at this spot. Tavayogi tells us this was the spot were Sage Agathiyar himself had meditated and attained Mukti. I was told this was also the spot where the sidhas come down in the form of light after 11.00 pm daily. Impressed by the talk that one could see sidhas in light form in this spot, I requested Tavayogi that we stay overnight to watch them but Tavayogi preferred to stay in the caves of Courtallam.
As we started on our way down and approached Krishnaveni Amma’s ashram, the ashram door was still closed. Tavayogi did not want to disturb her and led us away from there.
Then we stopped at a large temple dedicated to Sage Agathiyar further down. Here Sage Agathiyar was enshrined in the form of a granite statue sitting in a similar pose to that of Ayappa Swami in Kerala.
Then we returned to Agathiyar Falls where there is a large and old Sivan temple. It was closed. We waited for the temple to open at 4.00 pm. We then left for Courtallam. We had tea at Courtallam and later purchased a candle and torchlight as we were going to stay in the caves overnight.
Overnight In Sage Agathiyar’s Cave
Tavayogi stops at one of numerous houses lined up in this small town and enquires about the caretaker of the caves. We are told she was at the temple in the hills. Prem drops us at the famed Courtallam picnic spot. I picked up my bundle of laundry that was still wet. I take along my bag of fresh clothings and blanket and we rushed to the caves on foot, as it was almost nightfall. Strong winds blew again as we hiked up the hill behind the Courtallam Falls. It was a three km walk uphill to Sage Agathiyar’s cave. Eventually the night set in. We trod in the dark with Tavayogi leading the way with the aid of a torchlight.
It was pitch dark as we reached the Shenbaga Devi Amman temple, which was in total darkness except for a light inside the Devi's shrine. Tavayogi calls out in the dark through the metal grills. I see some movement on the floor of the temple. Apparently some folks were sleeping in the temple. He introduces himself and they seem to know him. He asked them to open up Sage Agathiyar’s cave, which they obliged readily. A gentleman led the way while we followed. It was pitch dark and I could not make out the surroundings although I knew we were walking on the banks of a lake and could hear the roar of a waterfall nearby.
The caretakers were three elderly women. Their brother Supramaniam who was from out of town was the one who showed us to the cave. He unlocked the iron grills to the cave. He lit the hurricane lamp and tidied the place so that it was conducive to spend the night and even prepared hot tea for us in the cave. The drink was a blessing in that cold weather.
There were a few statues including a statue of Sage Agathiyar, pictures and the stick that Sage Agathiyar used. This stick is placed under ones arms to retain the flow of the breath through a particular nostril. Tavayogi told us there was even Sage Agathiyar’s sandals earlier but now was missing. The caretaker lady drops in to check if all was conducive for our night out in this cave. They then leave.
We could hardly stand up in this cave. It was small, cozy and warm in here. The adjacent compartment of the cave which was empty except for an oil lamp burning, was where Sage Agathiyar had meditated I was told. We entered this chamber and seated ourselves. Tavayogi was sad to notice that a portion of this cave had now become a store filled with pots and pans. Tavayogi was also saddened that the cave had now been named Avaiyaar’s cave when in actuality it was Sage Agathiyar’s cave. As usual Tavayogi sang the hymns which I have now become familiar with, followed by me singing the Potri. Tavayogi then left us to continue with the prayers and retired for the day.
I dried my cloths outside the cave and locked up the grilled door to the cave entrance before retiring for the day. We laid blankets on the ground and used our bags and clothing as a pillow. We were so exhausted that the moment we laid our heads on the ground we had dozed off. I did wake in the middle of the night though and saw rats scurrying away in the crevices and sides of the cave. I had a good night’s sleep and was refreshed the next day.
Roaming The Jungles Of Pothigai And Courtallam
26th Sept 2005 - I woke up early as usual and came out of the cave to realize that we were next to a huge waterfall and a lake. In the early morning sunlight I could make out some movements in the surrounding jungles. I sat and watched the day begin. As the day dawned and there was more light, I noticed it was monkeys that had been perching on the cliffs and trees. Tavayogi woke up shortly. Supramaniam and the caretaker lady turned up early to prepare tea for us. We took our bath at the falls under the watchful eyes of Tavayogi. He cautioned us to be careful as the rocks were slippery and asked that we hold on to the railings that had been put up. I washed and dried my cloths again!
After drying my cloths I came up the steps to the cave. I was taken aback to see a sadhu squatting at the entrance to the cave and having tea. He resembled the photograph of Sri La Sri Pundi Mahaan Aatru Swami who was one of Supramania Swami's guru. He had long matted hair and was beaming a smile. He invited me in. I gestured Vanakam to him and sat down beside him. I had my tea. He remain quiet as Tavayogi talked with the caretakers. This sadhu then tells me he would be at the temple below and left the cave.
Lord Dhaksanamurthy’s Cave
Tavayogi suggested we go over to Dhashina Murthi’s and Saint Ramalingam’s (Vallalar) cave. He asked me to get the blessings of the elderly women and give a small contribution to her which I did.
We came down the hill to Shenbaga Devi Amman temple. I saw the sadhu again. He was at the temple just as he had promised. I told him I was going to the caves and asked if he would like to follow. He jumped down from his seat immediately and led the way to Lord Dhashina Murthi’s cave. He opened up the grilled gates to the cave entrance for us. He lighted the oil lamp inside the cave. The sadhu having lighted the place for us went out and sat on a rock outside the cave. We entered the cave which was large enough to allow us to stand. What a surprise I had. There were statues of Sage Agathiyar, his wife Lobamuthirai and Sage Visvamitra in this cave. In the inner chamber was a statue of Lord Dhashina Murthi. We sat in meditation for a while.
Saint Ramalingam’s (Arutprakasa Vallalar) Cave
The sadhu closed the grilled gates to Lord Dhashina Murthi’s cave as we came out. Tavayogi then led us to Saint Ramalingam’s (Vallalar) cave. The sadhu followed us a distance but eventually turned onto another path. I caught up with him to thank him. He gave me a wink.
I turned to join Tavayogi and my brother who were already some distance ahead. Tavayogi left us at a spot to check out the route to Vallalar’s cave. He reappeared from a different direction and led us away from the spot. The entrance to Vallalar’s cave was secured with metal grills too. Tavayogi told me it was locked. I inspected the door and tried to unlatch it. Surprisingly the latch gave way and I could slide the grilled door aside quite easily. It was pitch dark inside. We had to light up the candle. The outer chamber was large enough to stand around. Tavayogi and I crawled into the inner chamber which was rather small. I grasped Tavayogi’s hand. Tears ran down my cheeks. I was grateful and appreciated Tavayogi for having guided me to these auspicious spots and places. I would not have seen and experienced this much if I had undertaken this journey alone. We closed the grill to the caves and headed back for Sage Agathiyar’s cave.
We prayed at the Shenbaga Devi Amman Temple on our way back. This temple was where Maha Avatar Babaji had sat for days in meditation. His guru Sage Bhogar had instructed him to go to the Pothigai hills to meet Sage Agathiyar. Babaji left Kadhirgamam in Ceylon for the Pothigai Hills. Babaji adamantly went into penance until Sage Agathiyar appeared in front of him.
We bid farewell to all the caretakers who had gathered at the temple. Tavayogi again insisted on carrying my bundle of damp cloths. We started down the mountain to the spot where Prem left us yesterday. Prem had been worried sick having no idea about our whereabouts in the jungles of Courtallam. He had been calling Tavayogi on the cellphone but there was no signal in the mountains. He was relieved to see me as he was answerable to his agency on my safety and well being. We then continued on our journey to Palani.
Sage Agathiyar Opens His Eyes Again
Before we left Courtallam Tavayogi took us to a Sivan temple, Lord Kutralanathar in town. At the Siva temple was a shrine for Sage Agathiyar. Tavayogi narated an incident that took place here during his travels through India. He was at Sage Agathiyar’s shrine at the spot we stood today. He could hear a melodious hymn. On tracing the source of that hymn, he chanced upon Somasundareswarar Swami who was standing at a shrine of Lord Siva. Later Tavayogi met Somasundareswara Swami often at Shenbaga Devi Amman temple. Sage Agathiyar’s cave and the surrounding caves were maintained by Somasundareswara Swami until his demise.
We sat at Sage Agathiyar’s shrine and Tavayogi started singing hymns. Tavayogi broke down as he sang Saint Ramalingam’s ‘Indru Varumoh Naalaiku Varumoh Allathu Mathendru Varumoh’. That’s when I thought I saw Sage Agathiyar open and shut both his eyes. I got up to move closer, to get a better view and to confirm what I had seen. True enough there was Sage Agathiyar opening and closing, both his eyes, which were human. Back at Agastiyampalli the sculptured granite figure of the sage had both eyes sculptured closed. But as I left his shrine his left eye was wide open watching me. At Courtallam the Sage's eyes were sculptured wide open. It was human eyes that were watching me. I stood still, amazed, my sight fixed on the sage's eyes. That’s when Tavayogi called out to us saying, “You have seen, have you? Come on lets leave.”
It was nightfall when we checked in at a hotel in Palani. Tavayogi told us we shall climb Palani Hill first thing in the morning. He again insisted on sleeping on the floor.
Palani Amazes Me Again
This was the second time I was invited to Palani by Sage Agathiyar through the nadi reading. At 5.00 in the morning we started for the Palani temple. The streets were quiet. Shops were still closed. We walked from the hotel in town to the temple on the hillock. We had to wait in queue, as the temple was still closed.
At 6.00 am we were allowed to enter. We stood in front of Palani Andavar and offered our prayers. I still can’t recall what I saw here just as I can’t recall the first time I was in this temple in 2003. We went down some steps to the open and crossed over to another temple structure which housed Sage Bhogar’s shrine. Palani had puzzled me earlier in 2003. I wanted some answers then. Now it was clear to me. This was definitely not the route I took to Sage Bhogar’s shrine in 2003. In my earlier visit I walked along a passage from Palani Andavar’s shrine to Sage Bhogar’s shrine. There was no necessity to go into the open air. The shrine walls now were beautifully painted with murals depicting episodes from Bhogar’s life in color. In 2003 there was no paintings on the wall.
Tavayogi sat along the corridor outside Sage Bhogar's shrine in meditation. I wept in silent. When he came out of meditation we entered Sage Bhogar’s shrine. There were four temple priests when we stepped into the chamber. One of them showed the flame in front of the Maragatha Lingam and another figurine of Goddess Bhuvaneswari that Sage Bhogar had worshipped, both placed on a raised dais. The priests then pointed out the opening where Sage Bhogar had entered and is still believed to be. They narrated the history of the temple to Tavayogi and my brother. I cried again here. After gaining control of myself , I moved to a spot in the room to sit for a while as the three priests continued filling in Tavayogi on the temples history. The fourth priests who was very much younger than the rests was standing in attendance observing me and the others, not uttering a word.
As we came out of this chamber, this young priests intercepted us at the corridor away from the others. He passed a tumbler that he was holding to Tavayogi who was right in front, saying , Abhisega Paal. I told myself, “My God it was happening again. I am being given the abhisega paal again.” I was given a tumbler of milk on my visit here in 2003. Today I was receiving it again. Tavayogi drank a portion and passed the tumbler to my brother who was behind him. My brother drank a portion and in turn passed the tumbler to me. I emptied the tumbler and gratefully handed it over to the priests who look pleased. Surprisingly no one questioned him nor did he say anything further.
As we came down the steps into the open again, Tavayogi stopped and turned back to look at me. He questioned me, “What is it, my son”. I went up to him and placed my head on his chests. Tears quelled in my eyes. He had this twinkle in his eyes and gave me a broad smile. I remained silent as we walked around the temple grounds. We left the temple premises. Later we checked out of the hotel.
Marudamalai And Pampatti Sidhar’s Cave
On the way back to Kallaru, Tavayogi took us to Marudamalai Murugan temple where Pampatti Sidha had meditated at an adjacent cave. We had to leave the car behind at the base of the hill because renovation works were being done in and around the hill temple. We hopped onto a bus that took us to the top of the hill. This was my first ride on a bus in India. We stood all the way to the top as the bus was packed. We had a quick darshan of Lord Murugan. The temple priests brought two garlands of flower and placed them around Tavayogi and my brother. Tavayogi removed his garland and placed it around my neck. We went down a flight of steps to the cave of Pampatti Sidha. Here the temple priests explained to us about Pampatti Sidha and his penance at this spot. We sat for a while. Tavayogi meditated. Some of the devotees and the tourists come over to Tavayogi for the sacred ash. This was the first time I saw the Indian public approach Tavayogi for his blessings in public. We took the bus back down the hill.
Back To Kallaru
As I was coming to the end of my tour I realized I needed something more than the sights and sounds that were shown to me. I pondered a lot on the way back to Kallaru about this fabulous tour of religious spots and places. I was extremely blessed to have Tavayogi escort and show me around. A lot of miracles had taken place since I was here in India on my second trip just as Sage Agathiyar had promised me in the nadi reading. Yes it was fine for me to return to Malaysia and tell my family and friends that Yogi Ramsuratkumar had joined Supramania Swami and me in chanting his name; that Sage Agathiyar had opened his eyes to see me - first one eye at Agastiyampalli, then later both eyes at Courtallam; I cherished all that I had seen and heard on this pilgrimage. I could talk about them for some time but eventually talk would have to end too. What next after I reached the shores of Malaysia? Do I go back to my routine life? This journey should not be a mere tour of pilgrimage spots. I needed something that I could take back with me besides these memories. So I told Tavayogi, as we had tea, on our way back to Kallaru, I did not want this journey of mine to end just like any tour of India. I wanted something more out of this journey. Something that could bring me advancement in my spiritual path.
He looked at me for a moment and then asked if I had been chanting the mantra that was given to me by him at the Sri Agathiyar Gnana Peedham back in Malaysia. I told him that I had received that mantra of Sage Agathiyar way back in November of 2004 and I have been chanting it since then. Tavayogi asks me from whom I received it. I mentioned I got it from Astrologer Dr. Krishnan. Tavayogi tells me briefly there are other practices and mantras that need to be undertaken and mentioned some of them. The next day he gave me my second teecha before sending me back to Malaysia.
My recent visit to India and Kallar in particular has made me reflect on the Sidhas and the workings of the Sidhas again. How amazing the Sidhas work on their disciples. I had no intention to return to India after 2005, because I saw myself complete and satisfied.
I had the opportunity to meet two beautiful masters or gurus namely Sri Supramania Swami in 2003 and Sri Tavayogi Thangarasan Adigal in 2005. Both this gurus made me complete. What more could I ask for.
Supramania Swami was a devout disciple of Lord Murugan and Lord Shiva while Tavayogi was a devout disciple of Sidha Agathiyar. I was blessed to come in close proximity with them.
Supramania Swami kindled the fire of devotion in me while Tavayogi nurtured the said fire in me.
Coming back to Malaysia, I did not need any further convincing or miracle to take place. I was fully rooted in their path. But yet Agathiyar chose to show more miracles in Malaysia.
When Supramania Swami went into samadhi on 7 February 2007 after only a few days into the tapas, Agathiyar in the nadi reading spoke about Supramania Swami and asks that when I make a trip to India the next time, I offer a garland, pray at his (Supramania Swami) samadhi, and feed the people. Although I was in India recently (2013), I could not include Tiruvanamalai in my itinerary because of time constrains. I had only four days beginning 12 October 2013 till 15 October 2013 and I had promised Tavayogi I shall spend all four days with him. I took the opportunity to ask Jnana Jhothiamma if she could carry out this massive task of feeding the people on my behalf which she readily agreed.
When Jnana Jhothiamma joined my family and me upon, our arrival at Trichy later that day, she brought us some of the food they had served that morning. The next morning we had planned to climb up to Uchipillaiyaar Temple on Rock Fort but decided to go to Tiruvanaikaaval Temple instead. We had a beautiful darshan at Dhakshanamurthy's sannadhi again. En route to Kallar we stopped at Sivanmalai Temple at Kangeyam where we were treated with another beautiful darshan.
We had more darshans at Tavayogi's peedham and later in the hills of Kallar too thanks to Tavayogi, Prabhakaran, Silambarasan and Kartik. After coming down from the hills, Tavayogi had initially planned to take us to Uthiyur Hills to have a darshan of Konganar in his caves, but Tavayogi instead took up the offer made by a Seth to bring us to the Nattadresswarar Temple in Kangayampalaiyam. Here we had yet another beautiful darshan thanks to Tavayogi and the Seth.
I remember the day Supramania Swami made his guru Yogi Ramsuratkumar who had gone into samadhi join us in chanting his (the Guru) name. I also remember clearly the day Supramania Swami came to my home in Malaysia after he had gone into samadhi performing the same feat as his guru, the Yogi, did.
I remember the days where I followed closely behind Tavayogi, least I should lose him, on the way through the jungles of Courtallam. I remember the cold nights we had spent together in these caves. I remember the day when Agathiyar opened his left eye in the granite statue of his at the Agneepureeswarar Temple in Agasthiyampalli, Vedaranyam after Tavayogi passes me his shawl to lay on the floor of the temple. I remember the day Konganar blessed us with the sacred ash in his caves at Uthiyur near Kangeyam. I remember the beautiful moments when I tried to keep up with him on the path to the ashrams in Ooty, the temples in the hills of Coimbatore, the caves at Kangeyam and Courtallam, and the long journeys we made to Palani and Vedaranyam. I was shown many darshans. I knew then who Tavayogi was. All these darshans were only possible because of Tavayogi's presence and he accompanying me.
I have returned to Malaysia satisfied and fulfilled too (again). I have Agathiyar with us in the form of a bronze idol made to specific specifications by Agathiyar himself. He is in the form of meditation or tavam, a replica of his form in Agasthiyampalli. He was created and brought in to be installed in the Sri Raghavendra Mritiga Brindavanam in Ipoh, but there was a change in their (Sidhas) plans, which only the Sidhas can explain.
Even before Agathiyar came to my home in the form of the bronze statue Tavayogi had started us off with performing the homam or lighting of the sacrificial fire. I bought the Homa Kundam (copper vessel to hold the fire) in Klang. Then I wanted to get a pair of Pathugai or Patharatchagai or Holy Sandals. I purchased on in Leboh Ampang. Later Tavayogi instructed me to get the Vaasikol (the stick to aid switching the breath by Sidhas) which I purchased in Klang. On my recent visit to Kallar, I was blessed to receive as Tavayogi gifts me with both the Pathugai and Vaasikol made from the Stala Vrusham at the Sri Agathiyar Sri Thava Murugar Gnana Peedham known as Nunaa Maram or tree.
During our stay at Kallar, Tavayogi gave my family and me the privilege to sing the praise of Agathiyar and the Sidhas for two consecutive days. It was an honor indeed to be called upon to lead the bhajan at the ashram. I am indebted to Agathiyar for being with us every moment of our lives, guiding us, guarding us, showering gifts, and grooming us into a better person. I patiently await his next task for me to perform.
Looking back at all these wonderful moments recorded in time and memory, I ask myself in disbelieve if I deserved all these goodness in my life. When Gurukulam has become an enterprise these days and ashrams have become big establishments, I was allowed full access to my gurus, spending precious moments with them and like a sponge absorbed all that I could in those few days I had with them. I suppose Agathiyar loves me and hence had the providence to lay an itinerary that would satisfy both of us and my gurus.