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.