(Jan 12, 2001 – Jan 15, 2001):
I had a strong urge to visit Thiruvannamalai this year. I had just recovered from a terrible viral fever and some mental setbacks.
I had the Darshan (Seeing the Deity in temple) in the late hours of 12th. The next day morning I went to Baghavan Ramanashram. Baghavan Ramana was a great soul who neared God through his logical and strenuous constant meditative queries on self. Here we can see lots of foreigners, the true seekers of the Truth from all corners of the world. Then I started to walk around the mountain. It is called Giri Valam. It comes around 14 km. and takes about 5 hours to complete one circle. The next day was Pongal – the festival thanking the sun. In the pongal day, I had some trekking experience. On the way to the top, I had chakkarai pongal (sugar gee rice – the item of the day) from a young saint and a group of people who celebrated pongal in the mountain. The saint advised me to stay for the next day. He said that there is going to be an important festival the next day. The special feature is that those who attend this festival are said to be relieved from the wheel of birth and death cycle.
Most of the pilgrims are brought to this place by intuition or by order. A few of them make this place their permanent abode. To name a few of the recent times- Bagawan Ramana, Seshadri Swamigal and Yogi Ramsurath Kumar. Many miracles happen here to remind us of an Eternal Superior Being.
This particular mountain is said to be mystical. This mountain is proved to be older (over 200 crores years) than the Great Himalayas and is having many undisclosed mysteries. In fact a matter was raised in the Indian Science Council held at Delhi in January, 1949 to the effect that Thiruvannamalai is the oldest mountain in the world. It has been found that this mountain was a burning fire once upon a time.
And the temple here is representing the fire element of the universe. Similarly we have other ecological or environmental temples for the other four major elements of the nature namely Space, Air, Water and Earth. This is the belief of the Hindus – rather the belief of the world, since all people all over the world come here and worship the mountain and the temple. On a special occasion in the month of Karthigai, a huge fire is set ablaze on the mountain top. It is one of the most famous festivals here in which lakhs of people from all over the nation gather.
As per the saint’s advice I extended my stay for one more day, I decided to spend my time inside the temple. This time the crowd was more than it was in the previous days. I slept till 3 am under the sky. The auspicious special prayers started in the early morning around 3 am and continued till 8 am. Only those who are present can feel it. It was beyond words. Though the crowd was heavy, everyone liked everyone’s presence. It is the day in which Swamy with Ambal and His devotee Sundhara walk through the streets of Thiruvannamalai. The Ecstasy in the faces of the dancing idols (indeed they danced as those who carried them danced and it is a majestic dance!), the incomparable costumes, the drums, the trumpet, the Brahma thalam (a kind of cymbal -big metal plates that give – ‘ching.. ching’ sound ) all kept everyone in ecstasy. Then, around 9 am, I came out and started my return travel. I had a real break. I had my breakfast in a very small tea stall – it was a hut actually. There I saw a wonderful picture of waterfalls on one side of its wall with the following words:
“Spread the news that God is in our land”.