Archive for the ‘Tiruvannamalai’ Category

Aksharamanamalai – Tamil and English

January 7, 2018

Aksharamanamalai is a divine outpouring of Bhakti and Jnana, ‘seen’ and composed by Ramana Maharshi, little more than a hundred years ago… A powerful hymn, the composition has been a ‘taraka mantra’ for devotees, and is sung every day by ever so many people… The composition has been translated and sung in some other Indian languages as well.

This blog writer had the privilege and blessing of translating the holy song into Hindi, some years ago. And the later, in 2014, the centenary year of Akshramanalai, he had the great honor of translating the song into English. He presented this during a seminar of Ramana Centre, Bengaluru in early April 2014. He presented this once more during the Golden Jubilee Celebration of Ramana Kendra, New Delhi, which was held in end April, 2014. And then later he presented this in Ramana Kendra, Chennai as well.

And then as a fulfillment of a heartfelt prayer, he could present this in Sri Ramanasramam as well. On December 16th, 2017, this was sung in the New Hall adjoining the Mathrubhutheshwara and Ramaneshwara Mahalinga shrine at Sri Ramanasramam. The original Tamil verses and the translated English verses, were sung alternatively, individually. My better half Ambika, sang the Tamil verses, and yours truly sang the English..

Sharing a youtube of the audio recorded that day.

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Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya! Arunachala smaranam!

 

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A book is born

January 3, 2018

It’s been a while once more… So, at first, wish one and all a very happy new year.. A wonderful year, that started with the Supermoon… The 2nd was Arudra Darshan, the day sacred to Nataraja, the Dancing Lord, Shiva… And today, 3rd Jan, 2018, is the Jayanti of Sri Ramana Maharshi. The star of Punarvasu, month of Margazhi, one day after the Arudra Darshana….

And on this sacred day, I am happy to share the news that a new book of mine has been offered at His shrine –  a translation of one of His works – Upadesha Saram …

Upadesha Saram is one of the finest treatises in Vedanta. Ramana Maharshi had first composed it in Tamil (title ‘Upadesha Undiyar’) sometime in 1920-s, and also composed the same treatise in Sanskrit, Telugu and Malayalam as well. In just thirty beautiful verses, the whole ocean of Vedanta philosophy is conveyed in all simplicity, directness and beauty. In 1928 CE, Kavaykantha Ganapathi Muni wrote a Sanskrit commentary on ‘Upadesha Saram’. This was published by Sri Ramanasramam in 1941. And in 1950-s a young Dandi Swami (monk), from North India, wrote a Hindi commentary, based on Muni’s Sanskrit Commentary. That young Sanyasi, Swami Swaroopananda Saraswati, now adorns the Holy Peetham of Dwarka as the Jagadguru Shankaracharya.

By great good fortune, I was blessed to translate the treatise and the two commentaries into English. This was serialized in the ‘Ramana Way’ magazine, of Ramana Maharshi Centre for Learning, Bengaluru. And now, the revised version has been compiled as a book, ‘Upadesha Saaram of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, with Bhashya and Translation.’ This book was offered today, on Ramana Jayanti day, at the altar of Ramana, at Sri Ramanasramam.

The cover pages:

US Book Cover Jpg.jpg

Hope to publish this as an ebook as well, very soon….

Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya!

 

 

 

Thai Poosham

February 4, 2015

Feb 3 2015… Thai Poosham… A festival of Lord Murugan, celebrated with much joy by Tamil people all over… India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius, South Africa… the world over..

Morning started, as most mornings do, with whatsapp greetings… This day it was pictures of Lord Muruga… And a verse from Tiruppugazh… The timeless treatise of the great sage of Arunachala – Tiru Arunagirinathar…. This verse is a well known one, where Arunagirinathar prays to Lord Muruga to come in the form a Guru and bless him…

உருவாய் அருவாய் உளதாய் இலதாய்
மருவாய் மலராய் மணியாய் ஒளியாய்
கருவாய் உயிராய் கதியாய் குருவாய்
வருவாய் அருவாய் குகனே

uruvAi aruvAi uLathAi ilathAi
maruvAi malarAi maNiyAi oLiyAi
karuvAi uyirAi gadhiyAi vidhiyAi
guruvAi varuvAi aruLvAi guhanE

As formless, as with form,
As That which is, As That which is not,
As Fragrance, as Flowers,
As Chime of bells, as Light,
As Embryo, as Life,
As Divine Destiny, as Fruits of Karma
As Guru,
Please come and bless me,
O one in the cave (of the heart)!

Lovely verse, with beautiful sounds…. These then formed as a picture in one’s mind… A picture of Lord Muruga of Pazhani, clad in a loin cloth… And his manifestation as a Guru, in the form of the sage of Arunachala, Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi…

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Evening saw one having darshan of Bhagavan at Ramana Kendra in Chennai, and listening to a soulful music concert of Ramana songs…

Night of Thai Poosham…

One went to the eastern balcony to gaze at the sky and the beautiful full-moon of Thai poosham… A lovely sight greeted the eyes, with a small cluster of black and white clouds flying across the face of the sky, right in front of the moon, making the moon appear to be floating in the other direction… What also caught one’s eye was a bright star at around 8 AM position with respect to the moon… It left an impression…

This morning one saw a picture on the Net… From Jamaica.. of the full moon and ‘that star’

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moon-thai-pusham-jamaica

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It was a retweet by ‘Epic Cosmos’ which read – the Moon and Jupiter from Jamaica, this evening.

Aha, the star was a planet! Jupiter!

This is a special cosmic sight. Apparently, Jupiter enjoys its month of glory in February 2015, being the time of what is called the ‘Jupiter Opposition’. What is opposition? It simply means that Earth passes between Jupiter and the sun. Jupiter is opposite the sun in our sky – at its best! (To read about this click here )

And then a friend shared this other picture, from Arunachala.

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Thai-pusham-moon*

Perfect setting for the verse of Arunagirinathar… The mountain Arunagiri… Thai Poosham, the festival of Muruga… Full moon.,.. And Jupiter, which in Indian astronomy is known as Guru…

The prayer of Arunagiri was – ‘As Guru, please come and bless me…”…

Guru has come in the Arunachala sky!

Haro Hara!

Ramanasramam – A video clip

June 1, 2014

Sharing a video clip that I took on my cell phone a few days ago – on the centenary puja of Swami Ramanananda, the previous President of Sri Ramanasramam. He was Sri Ramana’s nephew and dedicated his life to the cause of Ramanasramam and devotees. His name in his poorvashrama was TN Venkatraman. A picture of confidence and joy, he had great affection for me, as I for him. He passed away a few years ago and was interred in a samadhi by the side of his father’s (Swami Niranjananda) in Ramanasramam. This blog featured a four part series on his samadhi interment ( Click here for links )

The video clip here shows students of the Asrama Veda Pathashala chanting by the side of the samadhi of Swami Ramanananda. And then pans to show some peacocks… dance…

Listen to the chant of Veda…  Preserved in its purity in South India… Proper intonations, handed down thousands of years…

Experience the peace of the Ashrama.. Listen to the peacocks… See them dance… Enjoy the harmony of nature…

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Arunachala – a moment of magic

May 25, 2014

This was yesterday, 24th May 2014. Two days after Mahapuja at Ramanasramam.

I was doing Girivalam (Giripradakshinam, Parikrama, Kora… the walk around Arunachala mountain)…

It has been raining last few evenings. Pretty sharp squalls. Trees had been flattened here and there. More of the same was expected on 24th as well.. But here we were…Proceeding on the walk around the Arunachala hill.

We were a group of nine people. It was Ekadashi thithi (eleventh day of lunar fortnight.. Sacred day) . One of the members of our group was Vandana, a young lady who I had met during my Maanasa-Kailasa Yatra. She had come with a family group, and all of them had completed the whole kora.

This was her first visit to Arunachala.

I recalled to her that the second day of Kailasa kora, the most grueling day of the Kailasa girivalam, had also been on Ekadashi… And so this Arunachala kora felt special too.

Akin to walk up Dolma La pass in Kailasa, was our walk up to Skandasramam and Virupaksha cave earlier in the day. And then, come evening, we started on Girivalam around 5-45 pm. The day had been very hot. It was the period of Agni Nakrshatram – the Tamil word that signified a period of burning-hot days… As we have to walk barefoot during the parikrama, we had to start when the Sun was going down, so that the tar-road would be bearable to the bare soles…

As we walked, at one stage we could sense the fragrance of far-off-rains. Sporadic lightnings gave hints of another squall to come.. As the sky darkened, I halted at a spot on the road, from where one could get a nice view of Arunachala. With my cell phone (a Samsung grand) I took a photograph of Arunachala against the night sky. And after clicking, I just opened the gallery to see how the picture had come..

And what I saw blew me away… One saw a steak of light from the sky, like a comet, going right into the heart of Arunachala… The spiritual heart, which as Ramana Maharshi has explained, is to the right…

All I can say is that I saw no streak of light in the sky. I saw it only in the picture. Perhaps there is some physical explanation for this… It may be a reflection of some light on the camera lens, maybe.. Who knows.. But it is magical…

As soon as I saw it, I shared it on whatsapp with a few close people…

And now, sharing it in this blog …I have cropped and cut off the lower quarter of the original picture.. Else the photo remains completely untouched…

 

aruna-resized

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Arunachala!

Aksharamanamalai – in English verse

May 10, 2014

Namo Ramana!

Among Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi’s compositions, Aksharamanamalai occupies a unique place. A Tamil work of sublime spirituality, the verses have the power of Veda Mantra. They are revealed words that Bhagavan Ramana, as a Maharshi, saw, and shared with the world of devotees of the One!

This year, 2014, happens to mark a hundred years since this work was revealed to the world. Sri Ramana composed this in 1914 AD, during the course of one circumambulation of Arunachala!

To mark this centenary, Ramana centres all over India, and perhaps the world, are having various festive events. Ramana Maharshi Centre of Learning, Bengaluru held an event in Feb 2014 where over 500 people sang Aksharamanamalai. The song itself has been translated by other devotees into several Indian languages, and they were all sung in part during this event, which also marked 500th performance of Ramananjali, a music troupe that focuses on Ramana Maharshi compositions

This blog writer had the privilege and blessing of translating the holy song into Hindi, some years ago. And now, in this centenary year, he had the great honor of translating the song into English. He presented this during a seminar of Ramana Centre, Bengaluru in early April 2014. He presented this once more during the Golden Jubilee Celebration of Ramana Kendra, New Delhi, which was held in end April, 2014.

he Ramana Kendra, New Delhi has recorded and shared videos of all the talks held during the event. One of them was this blog writer’s presentation as well… Sharing the youtube of that presentation… Aksharamanamalai, in English… Set to the same metre as the original Tamil song… In rhyme… So that it can be sung in English, just as the original Tamil treatise…

Needless to say, any merit in the translation is solely due to the power of the original, to the grace of Sri Ramana… And all shortcomings are entirely mine…

With your indulgence, presenting Aksharamanamalai in English, in song format… The RamanaKendra, New Delhi video… Starts with a few minutes of intro and talk… And then the song begins…

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Happy that today happens to be the day the wedding of Madurai Meenakshi Amman and Lord Sundareshwara is celebrated. The divine parents of Ramana Maharshi!

Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya!

Mahakumbhabhishekam @ Ramanasramam – 2013

September 1, 2013

Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya!

Today, September 1, is Advent Day of Sri Ramana Maharshi. It was on this day in 1896 that young Venkatraman, carried by the flood of Arunachala’s grace, arrived at Arunachala / Thiruvannamalai, once and for all…

Let us travel to Arunachala, shall we….

Some pictures first from the Kumbhabhishekam function at Sri Ramanasramam, that was concluded on August 25th 2013… Pictures start with some scenes from the ‘Walk Around Siva” Giripradakshanam that one did on the previous day… And then moves on to the Homa and Kumbhabhishekam the next day.

And after the gallery below, check out some videos, three from this function… And one from over seventy years ago.

Jai Ho! Let us move on….

Click on the first picture and browse the gallery…

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The video clips now…

First one, a clip from the Homa done on 25th Morning.

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Next…

After the pouring of sanctified waters on the kalasha on top of the towers (Gopuram), Abhishekam is performed at the Siva Linga in the Ramaneshvara shrine….. The Ramaneshvara Mahalingam..

A video clip of that…

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And now…

The official video coverage of the function, released on youtube by Sri Ramanasramam… By His grace, yours truly too is seen for a brief few seconds, somewhere along the way…

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This great good fortune of appearing in a Ramanasrama footage is a legacy from my grandfather, Dr Vaidyanathan. He is seen in the December 1948 Archival film of Ramanasramam, when the Asram was celebrating 69th Jayanthi (Birthday) of Bhagavan Ramana.

Here is that clip.

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Om Vachadbhuve Namaha!

Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya!

Tiruvannamalai : Arunagiri

June 3, 2013

Yesterday, June 2, 2013, was the Thithi of Mahanirvana of Mother Azhagammal, the sage lady who was mother of Sri Ramana Maharshi.

She was absorbed in the radiance of the Self on May 19, 1922. Her absorption day has been celebrated as Maha  Puja day, every year.

Visitors to Ramanasramam would know that the samadhi shrines of Mother Azhagamma and Bhagavan Ramana are adjacent. The Mathrubhuteshwara Temple wall separates the two enclosures. So, when you go around Bhagavan’s samadhi, as you begin, on your left is the Mother’s shrine…

Yesterday, while Puja was going on, a surprising visitor came calling…

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Yes, a peacock nonchalantly perched itself on the parapet next to Bhagavan’s shrine.

And it was looking directly at the Mother’s temple.

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Here’s the position of the peacock. In its line of vision, if you bore a hole through the wall, you would land up directly into the sanctum sanctorum of Mathrubhutheswara Mahasannidhanam (Mother’s shrine).

Here’s another picture.

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Peacocks are by nature very timid… You can see them in good numbers in Ramanasramam. But they keep away from humans. And certainly, they do not enter into crowds.

Yesterday was Maha Puja day. The hall was crowded with devotees. Worship was in progress. Completely unconcerned with the throng of people, the peacock was just focused on looking on at the mother’s temple. Lots of devotees went and took pictures. The peacock did not bother the least. Some offered some grains, which the peacock royally ignored. Sometimes he cleared his throat in a silent sigh.

Senior devotees of Bhagavan have said that during the early times of Bhagavan’s samadhi (1950-s), animals would freely come to the shrine of Bhagavan. Monkeys, peacocks, squirrels, cats, dogs…. Those times, crowds were rare. Nowadays, every day is crowded, and festival days especially so. For quite some time, one has not seen birds and animals come inside the hall…

But this bird came….  And he just remained there, in silence. As if he had brought Skanda Ramana, Murukan, to see the worship of the Lord (Siva) Who Came as (His) Mother, Mathrubhooteshwara (Taayumaanavar).

Signing off this post with one more picture.

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Let us sing the lines of Arunagirinathar…

‘ ஏறுமயில் ஏறி விளையாடும் முகம் ஒன்று
ஈசனொடு ஞானமொழி பேசும் முகம் ஒன்று
கூறும் அடியார்கள் வினை தீர்க்கும் முகம் ஒன்று
குன்றுருவ வேல் வாங்கி நின்ற முகம் ஒன்று
மாறுபடு அசுரரை வென்ற முகம் ஒன்று
வள்ளியை மணம்புணர வந்த முகம் ஒன்று
ஆறுமுகமான பொருள் நீ அருள வேண்டும்
ஆதி அருணாசலம் அமர்ந்த பெருமானே ! ‘

Sivaratri 2013 – Picture Post

April 2, 2013

road-to-siva

Om Nama Sivaya!

The road to Siva! Arunachala!

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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…

gjhouse1

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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…

vibhooti1

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…

vibhooti2

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

valam

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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…

ekamukhasiva

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

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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…

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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….

parayana

Om Nama Sivaya!

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

Muruganar Song – 2

February 25, 2013

Sharing another song of Muruganar….

This song too is from Ramana Sannidhi Murai.

The song was recorded in a CD series of Ramana Sannidhi Murai brought out by Ramananjali Group (Click here for website)

In this recording, the song has been sung by Arutkavi Sadhuram Swamigal. He was a great Muruga Bhakta, and a disciple of Vallimalai Swamigal, a sage whose being was dedicated to Muruga Bhakti, especially to the great Thiruppugazh composed by Arunagirinathar. Vallimalai Swamigal himself considered Ramana Maharshi as his Guru (Click here for link to details about Vallimalai Swamigal). Of his first meeting with Ramana Maharshi, Vallimalai Swamigal saidI joined the crowd that was waiting to have the Darshan of the saint. After a while, the sage appeared from inside the Ashram. He was standing there in his characteristic loincloth with a staff (danda) on his hand. I saw him and he looked at me intently. Suddenly, I felt that the very Palani Andavar was standing gracefully before me. I felt this was Palani Andavar’s way of answering my prayer. I felt an inexplicable wave of power passing through my entire physique. In a moment of extreme bliss, tears trickled down my face.

His disciple was Sadhuram Swamigal, a picture of complete piety. He would visit Sri Ramanasramam often. He sang the songs of Tiruppugazh ever so soulfully. Such is the wonder of Indian tradition, that sages arise, revive, propagate, and ensure the perpetual flow of  spiritual traditions that the mainstream system ignores and  keeps away. Thiruppugazh, the great songs of Murugan, are now sung by ever so many devotees…

This post is about a song by Muruganar. The song is about Ramana Maharshi, his master. The song has four verses. I am giving below two of them, which have been sung by Sadhuram Swamigal. An English translation of the two verses is also given below the Tamil verses. The translation is by another namesake of Lord Muruga, Professor Swaminathan, the great teacher,  social worker, and compiler of the Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi. Professor Swaminathan was a great devotee of Ramana Maharshi. I remember that he once told me that he sees Ramana, as seen in Muruganar’s poetry.

Here’s the song…

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திருவுருத்திறம் 
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நிறையலாற் குறையொன் றில்லை
நினைபலான் மரப்பொன்  றில்லை
பிறையலாற் கண்ணீ யில்லை
பெதலாற் கடிவ தில்லை
மறையலாற் பேச லில்லை
மாணடித் தொண்டர் நெஞ்சம்
உறையுளாக் கொண்டு நம்மை
யுடையவேங் கடவ னார்க்கே.
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இசையலால் வசையொன் றில்லை
யெங்குமாய்ப் பரந்த வெட்டுத்
திசையலால் வாகு வில்லை
செயுங்குணச் செம்பொன் மேரு
மிசையலா விருக்கை யில்லை
விளங்குசிற் றம்ப லத்துள்
அசைவிலா தாட வல்ல
வடிகள்வேங் கடவ னார்க்கே.
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(திருச்சிற்றம்பலம்)

Perfection of the Form

Without a single fault, Perfection
Never forgotten because ever remembered,
Never the crown without the crescent,
Destroying nothing  but ignorance,
This is Venkata who dwells
In the hearts of his devoted servants.

Praise of his and never blame,
The quarters Light and nothing else
His shoulders, nothing but the summit
Of golden Meru is his throne,
This Venkata who twin feet dance
In stillness of the shining heart-space.

(Turichitrambalam)