Sivaratri 2013 – Picture Post


Om Nama Sivaya!

The road to Siva! Arunachala!


This post is a continuation of the earlier Sivarati Live post (click here to read)

Some pictures from Sivaratri and the day after…

The Morvi Guest House at Sri Ramanasramam has been renovated…. Nice new rooms…



As I walk around Ramanasramam after the first puja of the night, I am greeted by a new sight….

Young Brahmachari-s of the Ashram Veda Patashala are standing next to a large mound of sand, and chanting the Veda…


I do not know what the ritual is…. I ask some people who have gathered there….

And then I come to know that the Ashram Vibhooti is being prepared. Every Sivaratri, they prepare Vibhooti (sacred ash) for the whole year…. Cow dung from the Ashram Goshala is used… The mound of sand contains the ingredients that need to be burned the whole night of Sivaratri….

The fire is kindled…


Night sees us join the pilgrims on Girivalam (walking around Arunachala)



Sometime around 11 pm or so, we reach Adi Annamalai temple…

Have darshan of Arunachaleshwara in the sanctum… And then we walk around the prakara, and go to the Northern wall, close to the Southern Face of Arunachala mountain… Being Sivaratri night, it is moonless… It is dark in the outer prakaram… The outer corridor is lined with many a Siva Linga…. We chose a spot somewhere near the centre and sit down, facing a Sahasra-Linga – A siva linga that has a thousand Linga-s carved on it… There is another elderly pilgrim, wearing ochre robes of a sanyasi, who is also sitting nearby… He is in meditation…. Just he and the two of us… And the Holy Presence of Siva….We chant Sri Rudram…. It feels absolutely divine… As we get up, I peer at the Siva Linga right near us… And my companion, Raja, exclaims that it is a Siva Linga with a mukha (face)… I take a picture…


One has been blessed to chant Rudram here on the night of Siva…


We have a wonderful time during Girivalam… As we re-enter the town somewhere around 1 am, my friend Raja has urgent summons… And he takes a Rickshaw back to the room… So, I am by myself…. The main Arunachaleshwara temple in the city is buzzing with pilgrims… I walk around the temple, and reach the road to Ramanasramam…

Enter Seshadri Swamigal Ashrama and have darshan of Siva in Samadhi there…

Then reach Ramanasramam around 2 am… The third kaala puja is completing just as I enter…. Final anuvaka of chamakam is chanted… And then the Rudram is chanted… Must be ekadasha rudram… Aarti is offered… Blessed Darshan…. Fulfillment of Sivaratri..

Around 2:30 am, reach the room and retire…

Morning, one does Tarpana….

Then walk to the Ashrama….

The mound of sand is now smoldering… Vibhooti for the year is nearly done…


Go shala… Vibhooti preparation…. A bullock cart…

Lovely to see India life, in pristine form…

Signing off this post with a picture of that mornings Veda Parayana at Bhagavan Ramana’s sannidhi….


Om Nama Sivaya!

……..Next part of Sivaratri  2013…. Fellow Beings at the Ashrama…


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9 Responses to “Sivaratri 2013 – Picture Post”

  1. Sundhar Says:

    Fantastic and thanks for sharing this Kameshwar.

  2. M A Prasad Says:

    Viraja Homa:
    Viraja Homa is performed primarily to prepare vibhuti from pure cow dung. It is conducted every month on the Sivaratri Day generally. Other days are also not prohibited.

    During this Homa some portions from the Maha Narayanopanishad are chanted with related prayogas as prescribed.

    The mantras chanted are very powerful and comprise prayers for our atma-vicharana, atma-vidya and Brahma jnana. This homa is also part of the Sanyasa Deeksha Sweekarana (monastic initiation) rituals. Some parts of the mantras are recited by upasakas of Sri Vidya during their atma-puja and so on.

    Vibhuti only out of cow dung:
    It is a fact that the performance of Viraja Homa has become very rare these days, but we should strive to get the Vibhuti from pure cow dung only, even without the homa, instead of buying the counterfeit Vibhuti packets available in stores everywhere. Vibhuti has to be made only out of cow dung cakes completely burnt and converted to ash.

    What passes for Vibhuti these days – with fragrances and chemicals added to boot – is not to be used as vibhuti. It is made out of flour and not burnt cow dung. This is unacceptable and should be rejected.

    Agnihotra Bhasma:
    While on the subject it is important to note that the Bhasma we get from Agnihotra Homa also is considered great and eminently suitable for our daily use as vibhuti.

    Vibhuti is considered as a wealth – aishwarya. It plays an important role in our lives. To quote Sage Thirumoolar: “Mandiramavadhu Thiruneeru” (“holy ash is a mantra in itself”).

    Vibhuti – damp and dryly:
    Generally vibhuti is to be worn damp, after making it into a paste. But when we get Swami Prasada in temples we should apply it as it is, dryly. Vibhuti that we bring from temples should not be mixed with the stock at home.

    After applying vibhuti paste, you should not wash the hands but cleanse it by applying the remnant on other parts including legs and hands.

    Vibhuti, sandalwood & saffron
    A doubt many people have is, after applying vibhuti paste on the forehead, can sandalwood paste and saffron also be applied? The answer is yes, but not over the vibhuti – the three lines of vibhuti should not be touched. Sandalwood and saffron can be applied as dots just below the vibhuti.
    NB: This Excerpts is taken from the English book titled THE GREAT HINDU TRADITION authored by Sarma Sastrigal. The book has an insight into our Sastras, Vedic Principles and Heritage.

  3. Suresh Subramanian Says:

    Thank you, Kamesh. Wonderful.


    Nice…Thank you. Didn’t Know about the Viraja Homam until now…:-)

  5. poorna Says:

    Excellent pictures

  6. chitra Says:

    great experience .. and very simply, nicely expressed.

  7. KDR Says:

    Well narrated… its simple and with the photo`s.. I felt as if i was there

  8. Srinivasa Says:

    A non religious interlude.

    Interestingly, there are real hillocks of (vitrified) ash left behind by prehistoric cattle herders of south India. These are called ash mounds of Deccan and are to be found in Bellary Dt of Karnataka and Kurnool Dt of Andhra. Probably in other places too.

    There has been much debate what these ash mounds consist of. Research has shown that these hills are created by burning nothing other than cow dung. It is not clear if this burning of cow dung, that too on such large scale, had any ritual or religious significance. And what was done with the resulting ash.

    These have been around for several thousand years. However they are now in danger of disappearing altogether due to indiscriminate quarrying.

    You can see some pictures here:

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