Our Experiences In Tiruvannamalai

Our Experiences In Tiruvannamalai
A GUIDE TO THIS BLOG


On the side panel is a list of authors. We recommend reading by author as we don't want you to miss out on anyone's experience.

If, however, you would like to read from the very beginning, please scroll down to the bottom of each web page and hit 'older posts', till you find the first post.


There are over 130 pages of information on Girivalam on this website.
Enjoy

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Chitra Poornima


 
















This year Chitra Poornima will be celebrated on:
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 from 2:14 p.m. till
Thursday, May 15, 2014 at 12: 45 p.m.

Chitra Poornima is a ceremony that is observed in the Tamil month of Chithirai (April–May).  It is dedicated to Chitra Gupta, the assistant and younger brother of Lord Yama. It is Chitra Gupta who is a keeper of records of good and bad of every birth and it is believed that when a person dies, his soul will first go to Lord Yama where Chitra Gupta will tally the positive karma against negative karma and report it to Lord Yama.

Those in the west who are having trouble accepting cameras at traffic intersections (meant to catch people who run red lights), get this. It is said that Chitra Gupta has cameras positioned strategically in YOUR SHOULDERS and his evidence is indisputable. If you missed it, Chitra Gupta means a collection of hidden pictures.

If special worship is done in his honour on this day, Chitra Gupta will appeal for forgiveness on your behalf.  

As repentance, it is a customary to fast on this day or eat curd rice without any salt ... no salt at all.

Legend of Chitra Poornima

Lord Shiva is worshipped on Chitra Poornima with much fervor. The story goes Lord Indra once disobeyed his guru, Sage Brihaspati. In exasperation, Sage Brihaspati relinquished his role as Lord Indra’s guide and consequently, in his guru’s absence, Lord Indra committed many evil acts.

When the ever compassionate Sage Brihaspati resumed his role as guru, Indra wanted to know how he could expiate the wrongs he had done in his Master’s absence. Sage Brihaspati told Lord Indra to go on pilgrimage.

One day on pilgrimage, Lord Indra had a sudden realization he has been redeemed of his sins. When he looked around for the cause, he noticed a Shiva Lingam under a Kadamba tree. Absolutely certain that it was Lord Shiva who had helped him in absolving him of his sins, he worshipped the Lingam. Suddenly golden lotuses appeared in a nearby pond as a manifestation of God’s pleasure and blessing. This legend is said to have occurred on Chitra Poornima in Tamil Nadu.

It is for this reason that Lord Shiva is worshipped on this day. In Tiruvannamalai, devotees will go on Girivalam with a prayer never to commit such sins ever again and intense faith that they will be absolved of their sins.

On this day, special pujai will be conducted in Shiva temples and people will take bath in holy rivers and temple ponds to wash away their sins. They will give in charity, money, food, water and new clothes to the poor and needy.



For those who can't go to Tiruvannamalai, arrangements have been made at the ancient and very powerful Sree Vellat Puthur Shiva Temple in Perintalmanna, Kerala to participate in offering annadanam / 1001 kodum dhara/ Mrityunjaya homam and other special vazivadus and receive the blessings of Lord Shiva.  

According to Kerala Dewasom rules, the temple must receive the donation in cash in the temple office before the priests can conduct a vazivadu.

In these days of security concerns, it is not advisable to send cash / money order / bank draft / bank cheques to any organization any where in the world.


If you would like to take part in annadanam or any of the pujas on this important day, please send your donation only via wire transfer directly to the official bank account given below:


OFFICIAL BANK ACCOUNT
Sree Vellat Puthur Shiva Temple

Syndicate Bank A/c No. 4601 2200 0080 23
IFC Code: SYNB 000 4601 Branch: Perintalmanna, Malappuram
District, Kerala, India 679 322


Please also send a letter to the temple with the following details:

1. Name of Devotee
2. Address of Devotee
3. If donation is for Annadanam or Vazhivadu,
4. Gothram
(if known)

5. Nakshatram (if known)

Temple Mailing address:

Sree Vellat Puthur Shiva Temple
Pattambi Road
Perintalmanna, Malappuram District,
Kerala, India 679 322


Please insist on an official receipt, even if you don't need one. It will help keep Sree Vellat Puthur Shiva Temple free of corruption.

Please email us at puthurshiva@gmail.com when you contribute for Annadanam so we can budget how many people we can feed on a daily basis. Thank you.

Come let us pray to Lord Shiva
 

Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra





Thank you for celebrating the most glorious night of Lord Shiva with us at Sree Vellat Puthur Shiva Temple in Perintalmanna, Kerala. See  Maha Shivaratri 2014

For those of you who have sent in heart-wrenching letters about issues of health and safety or asked how you can protect yourself from accidents, illness and over come fear, the answer may be in the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra.

There is a belief that there is not a disease in the world that cannot be cured by repeating the Maha Mrityunjaya mantra. 

 
Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh has said: "Maha-Mrityunjaya Mantra is a life-giving Mantra. In these days, when life is very complex, accidents are an everyday affair; this Mantra wards off deaths by snake-bites, lightning, motor-accidents, fire-accidents, cycle-accidents, water-accidents, air-accidents and accidents of all descriptions. Besides, it has a great curative effect.

Diseases pronounced incurable by doctors can be cured by the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra, when chanted with sincerity, faith and devotion."  


See if it holds true for you.

All of the mantras in the Hindu tradition were revealed to saints in deep meditation after intense periods of sadhana over many life times.

The Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra was revealed to the great Hindu Seer, Sage Vashishta. Before chanting or listening to the Maha Mrityunjaya mantra, mentally prostrate to Sage Vashishta and seek his blessings.


For more Information, please click on:Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra

For links to audio recordings on the side panel.   Enjoy.

Come let us pray to Lord Shiva
 

Shiva Prasath: All those who do Girivalam are blessed for no one can come to Arunachala unless He Himself calls us


 
Oh God, let me cross this ocean of doubts on a boat of knowledge.

Our pilgrimage began in Cochin on September 17, 2013 about 2:00 p.m.  My wife, young son and I headed towards Coimbatore to get the blessings of my aunt and uncle before traveling to Tiruvannamalai [Coordinates: 12.2200° N, 79.0700° E] next morning.  

September 18, 2013 (Wednesday) was Pournami (full moon day) and it would extend upto September 19th (Thursday) evening.

There was joy and excitement in the air. This was going to be our first trip to Tiruvannamalai and our very first Girivalam.  I wanted to arrive in Tiruvannamalai by 1:00 pm so that my wife and child could get some rest before we went for darshan at 5:00 pm and then on Girivalam.

During the drive, my wife and son asked me many questions and I replied “Wait, it’s going to be a unique experience.”

















We drove in silence till in the distance I saw the Mountain, my dear Father Arunachala, rising high above the ground and looking so majestic; energy surged through me like I had never experienced before. The land welcomed me as a long lost son. Everything seemed so familiar. It was unbelievable.We drove directly to Sri Ramanasramam.
 
At Sri Ramanasramam, I went to the reception and was given a room. The room was airy and comfortable. The excitement was building up. We freshened up and paid obeisance to Lord Ganesha at Sri Ramanasramam and prayed to him to remove all obstacles on this pilgrimage.

















We decided to drive to the temple and park the car near the temple (it is recommend that on special days it’s better not to, as the roads are barricaded and you have no choice but to rest in the car until dawn.)

The parking ticket vendor issued us a ticket while we searched for space. Surprisingly there was none available and we circumambulated the temple in the car and met this vendor to express the unavailability of space when all of a sudden a stranger came from behind and pointed to us a space. I was amazed.
Even though the start time for Girivalam was mentioned as 7:30 pm there was a steady rise in the flow of devotees. The fervor rose as dusk set. Devotees had formed large queues; police officers were guiding and monitoring the entrances.

 It was then I said a little prayer. “Oh Arunachaleshwarar, how can I get darshan of you? Please guide me.”
 
 















Just then I saw some police officers and they said there was a special darshan entrance. So we had to go around the temple once more to get to the special ticket counter. Down the lane I prompted my wife (who is fluent in Tamil) to enquire about the exact location of the special ticket counter.

She did and this person remarked "I can accommodate two people, if you wish, you can join me".

We agreed to follow him.  On the way, I noticed devotees were thronging to get darshan of Lord Arunachaleshwarar. The monkeys were playing on the trees and the birds were resting on the massive white washed gopurams.

I wanted to speak to the devotee who got us inside but he was no where to be seen. My God !!! I did not even get a chance to thank him. Who was he? It felt like Arunachala had embraced me. The Annamalaiyar chants were playing loudly in the temple and I prayed 'Oh God, give us the strength to complete the Girivalam. I don’t know what to expect on the way.”

Just then I noticed that behind my wife were a group of women devotees. We introduced ourselves and asked a few questions about Girivalam. One lady called "Devi" told us not to worry, to just follow her. I knew it was Annamalaiyar’s answer to my prayer. We were his guests. He was going to take care of us.
 
 















We had an amazing darshan of Annamalaiyar and Unnamalaiyar but it was so hot inside when I remembered that we were in Agni Kshethram. It got cooler as we neared the navagrahas and there was a crackling sound, followed by a thunder... thoughts rushed through my mind even though we had umbrellas in the car. I felt the clouds would blanket the moon and we will not be able to walk under its radiance but the moment we stepped out of the temple...the moon was shining with its full glory. I felt so much gratitude for Annamalaiyar.
 

Start of Girivalam

Despite the light drizzle, we followed Devi, starting with darshan of Lord Ganesha. My son was very excited. Our Girivalam had begun. The physical circumambulation was done on the outer route since I had the information that the inner route was banned by forest authorities because of forest fires.

The drizzle ceased, the clouds cleared. With the Majestic Giri on my right and thoughts on Lord Arunachaleshwar we began. Initially, there was so much excitement, I could hardly contain myself. A couple of kilometers down, the sound of chants vibrated, we passed by saffron clad devotees singing praises of Lord Arunachaleswar, songs of S.P. Balasubramaniam, vendors shouting to get our attention, restaurants selling hot food, coffee shops, there was fruits, dates and fresh juice, the crowd swelled, it was a sea of humanity walking gracefully many with thoughts of Lord Arunachaleshwar. It was amazing that devotees from various walks of life were cherishing each moment and every step on this holy land.
 










Devi guided us to each lingam starting from Indra Lingam, Agni Lingam, Yama Lingam, Niruthi Lingam, Varuna Lingam, Vayu Lingam, Kubera Lingam and Esanya Lingam. There were many little shrines on the way. She was explaining the purpose of visiting each lingam and how it helps people get rid of certain medical ailments. Chanting the name of Lord Shiva was sufficient. Large queues formed to get darshan of the lingams. We treaded along the path. We reached the Raja Gopuram at 1:45 a.m. The crowd was intense and ecstatic. All burning camphor and chanting the lords name. High energy filled the air.

We parted with Devi giving much thanks. She said that she was a regular visitor to Tiruvannamalai on Pournami days . We spent some time thanking the Lord for such an experience. We paid our obeisance then sat down for a few minutes watching the grand gopurams. We pondered about the sequence of events that took place in the past few days and how things fell into place. We felt like we had regained our vigour and our enthusiasm.  On the way back to the room, I noticed that devotees were still arriving in hordes to perform Holy Girivalam.

 















In the morning we visited the Ramanashramam. There were saffron clad sadhus under the tree shade. One of the devotees showed us the gate to go to Skandashram and Virupaksha cave. The climb was exciting, very few people were trekking the Holy hill to visit the Caves. The vegetation I understand was part of the reforestation project which helped bringing life back to the Holy hill as it was devoid of vegetation a couple of years ago. Little boys were selling water bottles. Laborers were engaged in paving the path with rocks and soil. A craftsman was found selling artifacts. We reached Skandashramam where Ramana Maharshi spent his early days. The trees and plants that the ashram had planted created a serene atmosphere. I slipped into meditation easily. My family was enjoying the scene and cool atmosphere. My son was happy watching the birds that were in abundance. Locals guided us to Virupaksha cave.
 
Just below the Skandashram there was a pool of natural water and the local guide informed us that water has come back to the hills after 5 long years. Theertam (holy water), as he referred to it, was absolutely sweet and cool. We quenched our thirst. He also warned us of langur species of monkey and to take extra care of dangling purse and bags if any. I visited the Virupaksha cave. The cave was supposed to resonate with the sound of Om. Here Shri Ramana resided in this cave and had written books like ‘Self-enquiry’ and ‘Who am I’.


The sun was high up in the sky, we descended the hill and there were ladies screaming at the langurs as they were trying to destroy the cement board roofing. Other ladies were inspecting the damage and picking up the shattered pieces. They guided us and told us that we would reach the temple and recommended us to catch an autorickshaw to Ramanashramam. We reached the temple precincts and even during the hot afternoon, we observed that the devotees were still engaged in conducting the Girivalam.















At Ramanasramam, we went into the book store and bought a few books. Sadhus were relaxing under the shade of the trees in the ashram. Pairs of Peacocks were cooing away from the trees.
In the room, I was browsing through the book on Giripradaksina , the author had in his last sentence written the following All those who do this Giripradaksina are blessed for no one can come to Arunachala unless He Himself calls us.”  Emotions ran high through me. The experience was truly unique.   


A painting of Goddess Gayatri
 
 


















After some rest, we visited the Panchamuki Gayathri temple and paid our obeisances.

We also visited the Lord Arunachaleshwarar temple again to thank the Lord for taking such good care of us. The holy mountain diminished from the rear view mirrors but the experience and the blessing he showered upon us are still with us.

Shiva Prasath

.

OM NAMAH SHIVAYA



Girivalam is a powerful spiritual practice. Bhagavan Shree Ramana Maharshi said, "Girivalam alone is sufficient."

However, for those of us who cannot go to Tiruvannamalai as often as we would like to, there are three spiritual practices that we can do at home.

 
 1. MANTRA JAPAM












 
Japam is a powerful way to work out one's karma and obtain God's blessings.  Japam done with love, faith and total concentration will bring about harmony and facilitate healing. Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh called it the spiritual soap which will cleanse our mind of impurities.

For more information, please click on:



 2. ANNADANAM:






















Annadanam is an offering of food to all living beings. There is no better puja and ritual in Hindu religion than feeding another living being.  The Hindu scriptures say that this one act alone can burn off all our karma from previous lifetimes and set us free.

For more information on the practice of Annadanam, please click on
Annadanam
 
 
3. DASHAMAMSHA OR TITHING






















Every spiritual path has an avenue for people to give back to the Universe. Hindus call it Dashamamsha or tithing.

While tithing is traditionally one-tenth of one's income, Hindu elders say if you have never tithed before, start with three per cent of your income. Tithing is not something that will deplete your resources, but multiply and increase it. You will see.

For details, please click on: Dashamamsha or Tithing



Come Let Us Pray to Lord Shiva.
.

How It All Began For Us























The Background

In 2008, I was inwardly directed to start a website for my ancestral temple, the Sree Vellat Puthur Shiva Temple in Perintalmanna, Kerala. See www.puthurshivatemple.blogspot.com

The Shiva Lingam at this temple is 1,500 years old but only a few people cared or even knew about it. Within weeks, the website went viral, and people from all over the world started emailing us. They said they were so proud of our heritage and thanked us for bringing it alive for them. 

In 2009, I was  inwardly directed again to start japam of the mantra OM NAMAH SIVAYA. It is the very mantra that a saint had chanted several centuries ago at the site where the Sree Vellat Puthur Shiva Temple stands today and Lord Shiva appeared before him and promised to stay on at the temple. The mantra is still very powerful because when we started chanting it, people from around the world started having amazing experiences. See

4. Experiences from Crore 7

Over 1,000 people have participated in our japam groups from crores 1-9. Many graduated to doing japam on their own at home as a family. A few stayed on with us and we are grateful to them. Most importantly, new people are joining us all the time. 

As though all this wasn't enough, another miracle happened in 2009. Lord Shiva drew me to Arunachala in Tiruvannamalai and there was the birth of another website - Arunachala Girivalam
In a few short years, we have had about 250,000 people from over 150 countries around the world log on to our many websites. The websites, we were told, changed their lives and helped them connect to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.

We were very surprised to hear that some of the people logging in from India had never done japam before or worshipped Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati in the way we were showing them. To everyone, all we can say is a very humble thank you. Puthur Shiva used us as a vehicle to reach you. Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts.


Months went by. In 2013, I was inwardly directed once again to offer Annadanam at the Sree Puthur Shiva Temple in Perintalmanna, Kerala. When I shared this with the participants in the japam group, many were very eager to join me and offer Annadanam Fund to all the loving devotees of Lord Shiva who work tirelessly at the temple: whether it is the priests who conduct vazivadus (pujas) for people from around the world who write-in with heart-felt prayers or it is the old ladies who pick-up flowers, string them into garlands and clean the temple or whether it is the men who manage the temple office and provide security for the temple, they are all so dedicated and it is our honour and privilege to feed them.

We felt Arunachala was blessing us when many cheques meant for the annadanam got delayed in the mail and were delivered to the Sree Puthur Shiva Temple in Perintalmanna, Kerala shortly before Karthigai Deepam 2013 was lit in Tiruvannamalai and in Perintalmanna. How can we thank Arunachala enough for this?

Come let us pray to Lord Shiva

.

We did it!


The Nepali Ganesha who greets visitors at the entrance of the Kauai Aadheenam in Hawai, U.S.A



We normally don't like to toot our own horn but in this case we will! We made it to the international media.

The Kailash-Mansarovar Yatra travelogue written by S. Gopal, a participant in Puthur Shiva Temple's Nama Japam and contributor to Arunachala Girivalam, was picked up by Hindu Press International (HPI).


HPI is an international news agency that was started by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (Gurudeva) of Kauai in Hawaii, U.S.A many decades ago. It is currently published by Hinduism Today, also started by Gurudeva and being run by his successor, Bodinatha and the many sannyasins of his lineage. 

Here are the links to:

HPI:    Hindu Press International

Gopal's Kailash Yatra Travelogue:  Kailash  Mansarovar Yatra

 

Panguni Uthiram - The Celestial Wedding of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati

















































Panguni Uthiram is a Tamil celebration of the Wedding of the Gods - Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati, Lord Muruga with Goddess Devyani, Lord Vishnu with Goddess Andal and Lord Rama and Goddess Sita.

The celebration emphasises the protection of marital life from separation. Offering prayers to God at this time will reignite love, affection and understanding among couples and bring about strength and unity in the family.

This auspicious festival falls in the month of Panguni (March-April) and is celebrated with great fanfare at the Arunachaleswarar Temple and in many Hindu temples around the world. Be sure to attend one and get the blessings of God on this very sacred day.