Pondicherry and Tiruvannamalai, are two well known spiritual cities across the world, which has been a centre for Vedic learning from ancient times .They are also “International tourist destination”, for one who want to experience the Indian Spiritual Culture . Both of the cities, where somehow interconnected like two brothers – Karitika and Ganesha .At times , I had to frequently travel between these two cities , and there met many people, who would like to be a part of the rituals and festivities of both the cities .However , with time , while Arunachala still remains more or less a village town , with people making their living from tertiary industries, and agriculture in farm lands , Pondicherry turned into Urban Conglomerate. With my deep interest , in Vedic civilisation , I would frequently meet people who are Vedic scholars in these two cities, and often engage in debate with them , with my childish immaturity. Those are earlier days of Intellectual arrogance, and efforts on trying to prove my knowledge, and understanding better than the other end. Some of the Vedic scholars would run away, some would fight back, and get into violent argument, and some would keep quiet, and go on listening me. However, it is in these process, I made some of my best friends . Some of them turned from friends, and became my students to enhance their spiritual knowledge, and some became wise advisors and teachers helping me on taking some important key decisions. Slowly my arguments and fighting spirit cooled down , and we started making friendly and insight driven conversation . I use to call then “Advaita satsangs”. Though initially, it started with vedic scholars, and there viewpoint and perspectives on “Advaita” school of philosophy. But later it extended from exclusivity to vedic scholars , to inclusiveness of all kinds of spiritual seekers across the world from Germany , Australia , USA , Vietnam and many more countries, most of them who had started their spiritual journey with first or second visit to India
There was nothing which was left out, from these conversation. Though it started from an informal basic introduction, and sharing each of our spiritual experience and perspectives on “Advaita” school of philosophy, but it extended to history, geography all kinds of popular cultural discussion, related to movies , books and then it even went into some of the areas of parapsychology , mysterious spiritual groups and how they are working in changing the world , voluntary projects and finally to politics and music. Though these topics never came in an order, and popped up spontaneously, according to the mood of discussion.
Gripped with my heritage, with Bengali form of “adda” , it became quite easy for me to make friends , hold discussions and build bridges of understanding. Even though the discussion started with mundane topics , but with time , the aura of Arunachala, would come in effect and discussion, would finally lead to each one of us spiritual experiences and perspectives, and sharing them in the most creative way. At the end , it would look like as if I had found another way to approach reality . From my humble start with “circumbation around Arunachala and worshiping Arunachala” , with attitude of exclusivity “Only ,and best way” turned into inclusivity and streams of acceptance of “ Every way were best dependent, on that particular person spiritual development “ .
There is a similar kind of effect, which I find in Arunachala Mahaymaya, where the entire sadhana around Arunachala came in between the conversation between Maharishi and Gauri – The Universal Mother Goddess. While holding the discussion, Gautama Maharishi would often swap into a more deeper and multilayered conversation , and that could even lead to the boons and the wisdom he received from Arunachala himself. Such kind of multilayered conversation, and stories in between could be only found in another classical work by “Maharishi Balmaki” which is known by “Yoga Vasistha” and some like to call it, also as “Maharamayana”. It is said , as Bhagvad Gita holds the central philosophy of Mahabharata , “Maharamayana” on the other end holds the central philosophy of Ramayana. Interestingly , “Maharamayana” also known as “Yoga Vasisth” was the theme of Guru Poornima Retreat 2012, organised by Sri Joydip Ashram , where participants went through detail discussion and contemplation on “Maharamayana”, while circumbating the Arunachala , and also at the time of Workshop.
While Maharishi Gautama carried on his conversation with Mother Gauri, on the instruction given by “Arunachala” to him , the proper order of chanting Arunachala’s different names, while offering flowers and the rules prescribed for it , those streams of love, acceptance and peace could come in natural effect .
I shall describe how mortals should worship me. Listen. Know also who are the persons to be appointed for my worship. You must worship Arunachala which appears as a lustrous and immeasurable Linga on earth, for the welfare of the entire world. Let my power (sakti) which is inseparable from me and sustains the glory of this temple be installed on my northern side and worshipped as Apitakuchambika. The Lord of Arunachala is fond of Her and never parts from Her. Let offerings be duly made to Him. Let Sundareswari be worshipped during auspicious festivals. Since Bala Ganapati is the bestower of all prosperity, let him be well adorned and worshipped in front of Me. Nataraja who is fond of dancing, Amritesvara and Parasakti should also be worshipped. Let the goddesses who remove obstacles be installed on the southern side, and Skanda who carries the weapon known as Sakti, on the north-east. I should be worshipped in the innermost shrine (mulasthana), Dakshinamurti in the south, Maha Vishnu in the form of Agni in the West”
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