Thursday, November 25, 2010

Introduction: In Search of a Siddhar, an ancient Shiva Temple and some Divine experiences at Sri Bala Peetam.

Sri Bala Charanam November 6th, 2010
Sri Guruve Charanam.


IN SEARCH OF A SIDDHAR, AN ANCIENT SHIVA TEMPLE AND SOME DIVINE EXPERIENCES AT SRI BALA PEETAM.

INTRODUCTION.


I was in Chennai during the auspicious period of Navarathri in October 2010. Right from the start it seemed as if a tightly packed schedule of events had been put in place by a divine master plan.

I shall narrate some of the highlights of this trip that started off with my research into understanding some of the inscrutable poetry of Karuvur Siddhar!

In the final week of August, I came across an audio rendering of Karuvur Siddhar’s “Puja vidhi” ( method of worship), a set of thirty verses written by this savant over a thousand years ago. This was read out by Sri Baba.G in a CD entitled “Guruve Charanam”.

It is widely believed that Siddhars are enlightened souls. They had complete mastery over their senses and were endowed with many supernatural powers. They were experts in the field of alchemy, medicine, philosophy and literature. In fact, there is a saying that while a devotee seeks to have a glimpse of God, Siddhars have actually experienced God and attempted to spread this knowledge to everyone. However, the method they chose to reveal this wisdom was through poetry. The language they employed , albeit Tamil, is very mysterious and difficult to understand since a surface reading or literal translation of a Siddhar’s poem provides a completely different meaning and misses the true intent.

Sri Bala Peetam is considered to be a “Siddhar Peetam”. In fact, Sri Baba.G maintains that his father, Sri Ezhilmani is a reincarnation of “Karuvur Siddhar”. This information was passed on by Sri Bala to him many years ago.

So, on Friday, August 29th, 2010, I was listening to Baba.G recite the 30 verses on “Puja Vidhi” ( method of doing Puja) written many centuries ago by Karuvur Siddhar. There are many references in these verses to a young girl of ten years who has come to reside in the central hall of a house located in the middle of a village. It is revealed this child is veritably the Supreme Goddess whom all other deities worship. Furthermore, there is a prediction this house will become famous worldwide. A house, where miracles would take place. A house, where a poet lives pouring forth divine songs!

The first few lines of Verse 1 goes as follows:

Aadhiyandam Vaalai avaL irunda VeedE
Aacharyam metha metha adhudhaan Paaru
SOdiyanda Nadu Veedu Peeda Maagi
Sogusu pera veeRirundaaL thurai peN AathaaL

Translated literally, this means:

“A house where a young damsel (having no birth or death) lives
Observe astonishing events taking place here!
That radiant house located in the middle (of the village), became a Peetam
And here, She sits majestically, this little girl!”

Also, In Verse 25, every line ends in the word “Veedu” meaning “House”, as if to reinforce to the reader that Sri Bala is indeed the main resident of this house!


Sookshmam IvaL Vaasamadhu Nilaitha Veedu
SolluthaRkE Engumaai niRaindha Veedu
DEsamadhil pOi viLangum Indha Veedu
Siddhaanda Sidhar avar ThEdum Veedu
Osai MaNi Pooramathil Uthikkum Veedu
OhO HO AdhisayangaL uLLA Veedu
Aasu Kavi Madhuramadhu pozhiyum Veedu
Avan aRuLum koodi viLaiyaadum veedE!

A rough translation:

A house where this enigmatic girl is firmly established
A house that is fully and widely discussed
A house that will become famous in the country
A house greatly sought after by renowned Siddhars
A house that came into existence ringing in the bell of the constellation “Pooram”.
A house that is full of so (Oho!!) many surprises!
A house where a poet showers sweet songs
A house where His grace merges playfully too!

Pooram is the birth star of Sri Bala and the reference to “His Grace” in the last line probably indicates Lord Shiva.


I sat spellbound listening to Sri Baba.G recite these 30 verses. I listened to them over and over again, hoping to understand their inner significance. However, it seemed impossible to crack the meaning of the cryptic words in the remaining verses. In desperation, I called Sri Ezhilmani and asked him to make sense of this piece of work. He replied I should just place my full belief in Bala and she would soon reveal the truth. However, he did inform that the reference to “Veedu” or “house” should not be taken literally, but instead refers to the main chakras within the human body.

This is true! A literal translation of Siddhar’s poetry cannot provide a full explanation of the underlying significance or philosophy. These mystics believed that the Divine being was “housed” in all mortals and most of their writings revealed this truth and provided ways and methods to tap this divine energy within!

For the next few days, I trawled the internet searching for material that would throw more light on Karuvur Siddhar. However, information was sparse and most sites seemed to have copied off each other. I looked up the details regarding to Karur Temple, in TamilNadu, where this Siddhar is supposed to have merged with Lord Shiva. In fact, the Shivalingam in the main sanctum is supposed to have tilted to one side so as to accommodate the “entry” of the Siddhar!

I made a mental note to visit this temple during my forthcoming visit to India.

For the next few days, I read the Siddhar’s verses every morning and prayed fervently to Bala. By this time my plans were in place to visit Chennai in the third week of September and stay on until mid-October. I was looking forward to being with Sri Bala during Navarathri.

A few days prior to my departure, while searching for information relating to temples in the vicinity of Chennai, I came across a blog relating to an ancient Shiva temple that has been recently discovered in a small village called Neyveli near Chennai.

However, it was the entry date of this blog that caught my attention.

http://shanthiraju.wordpress.com/2010/04/22/agneeswarar-neyveli/

It was written on the 22nd day of the Fourth month in the year!

Since the Number 4 is auspicious as far as Sri Bala is concerned, I immediately started to read Mr. Raju’s interesting story about Lord Agneeshwarar’s temple.

This is a gripping tale relating to the discovery of an ancient Shiva temple set amidst paddy fields near the town of Tiruvallur ( two hours from Chennai) and how certain miraculous events have revealed beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is in fact a place where Siddhars and holy sages have worshipped the Lord. The story goes on to explain that this temple is now in the capable hands of a dedicated team of people who are intent on renovating the premises.

I read the anecdote with great interest and it was no great surprise to learn that KARUVUR Siddhar is associated with this temple as is another famous Avadootha saint, Sri Sadashiva Brahmendrar.
It was as though I was meant to stumble on this story on that day!

While the 30 verses written by Karuvurar provided the starting point of my investigation, I came to know that Sadashiva Brahmendrar was in fact the Aadhi (principle) guru of my own very revered Guru, Sri Shanthananda Swamigal of Pudukkottai.

Sri Shanthananda Swamigal also belonged to the Avadootha sect. His guru was Sri Svayamprakasha Swamigal who attained Samadhi at Sendamangalam. In turn, Sri Judge Swamigal of Pudukottai was the mentor for Svayamprakasha Swamigal and none other than the most venerable Sri Sadashiva Brahmendrar of Nerur was the Guru of Sri Judge Swamigal!

I felt the invisible hand of my Guru guiding me and blessing me in my investigations.
I decided to add the Neyveli temple to my wish list as well on my fortcoming trip to Chennai. Little did I know how events would actually turn out!!

Chapter One: A wooden swing for Sri Bala Peetam.


CHAPTER ONE.

A WOODEN SWING FOR SRI BALA PEETAM.




I reached Chennai on September 19th, and proceeded directly to Sri Bala Peetam. I felt incredibly happy to get this divine child’s blessings after nearly 7 months. At the Peetam, I purchased the latest CD of “Guruve Charanam”, released for the month of September, 2010.

The following night something strange happened. I couldn’t go to sleep and decided to listen to Baba.G’s CD. Although it was a Monday and Bala devotees are expected to listen to audio lecture by Baba.G only every Friday , I decided to break the rule just once! In this week’s talk, Baba.G was discussing the background episodes associated with every song he composed. This struck a chord in my mind since each one of my paintings too has been inspired by various events!

That day’s topic focused on the “Oonjal” (Swing) song rendered by Sri Madhu and one of my firm favorites! Baba.G spoke about a swing in his ancestral home and the fond memories he had of playing on it as a child. He went on to discuss how he had mentally pictured Sri Bala rocking gently to and fro on a swing while composing the “Oonjal” song. Indeed, the tempo of the song is designed to resemble the slow motion of a swing! I listened to this song, eyes closed imagining little Bala , smiling happily, seated on a decorated swing. Baba.G ended his speech remarking that there is no swing in Nemili but perhaps soon, they would acquire one!

All of a sudden and without warning, a strong wave of emotion hit me and I was totally taken aback. I felt like a spectator witnessing an abnormal event!

All I remember was the certain feeling: that Sri Bala requires a grand swing for her house in Nemili and is asking me for it! I cried for a long time that night, out of sheer happiness.
Early the following morning I called Baba.G. Yet, when he answered the phone, I found myself choking with tears. In fact Baba.G asked me “ Amma, what is wrong? Has something upset you?”

It took a few minutes for me to compose myself and inform him that on the contrary, I was crying in happiness because Sri Bala had given her consent for me to bring in a swing for her Peetam.

Baba.g’s reply was even more amazing. He said “ When I recorded that CD, a few weeks ago, Bala told me straightaway that you were the designated person who would get it for the Peetam”.

Thus started my astonishing sojourn in Chennai in September, 2010.

I searched various shops in Chennai to get the “right” swing for Sri Bala. I was looking for a long wooden plank that could be hung from the ceiling supported by ornamental, brass chains. However, I couldn’t spot something satisfactory and placing an order meant having to wait at least for 4 to 5 weeks.


At the end of two days of futile search, I stepped inside what I thought to myself was the final shop. “If nothing is available here, then I shall just place an order and wait for it”, I thought to myself.
I asked the shop assistant to show me some models of swings that could be suspended from the ceiling. However, the rather bored and unhelpful sales girl replied that there were none in stock and instead brought out a fat order-catalogue. I sighed wearily and flipped the pages of the book.
After a few minutes, finding none that I liked, I mentally beseeched Bala , asking her why she was playing games with me. Then, I turned around to exit the shop.

And there it was !!!!

Right in front of me stood a magnificent, ornate wooden swing with its own integral stand. There were two dancing peacocks on the back rest of the seat and joyous elephants raising their trunks in blessing in all four corners of the supporting poles!

I could not conceal my excitement. I asked the sales girl why she hadn’t shown me this model before. Her reply “ I thought you were only interested in simple, wooden planks and not in such an ornate swing that comes with a stand.”

Just as I stood hesitating, the faint strains of a familiar song came wafting through the stereo system in the shop. It was “ Chinnan chiru Kiliye”, one of Sri Bala’s favourite songs !!
My mind was made up and the swing was quickly purchased. The day was September 22nd!

I requested the shop to deliver the swing to Nemili on Friday, September, 24th, 2010. There was a special reason for choosing Friday. On the day Baba.G’s speech might be heard by Bala devotees, the swing he had reminisced about would have already reached Bala Peetam!

Thus, without any fanfare, on a very quiet Friday evening, I walked into Sri Bala Peetam carrying a very precious gift. Sri Ezhilmani Mama placed Kumkumam on the wooden back rest of the swing and a small photo of Sri Bala was placed on the seat. Listening to the melodious “Oonjal” song, I sat for a long time in front of little Bala as she rocked to and fro, on this magnificent wooden swing decorated with peacocks and elephants that seemed even more happy now that Bala was seated in their midst!!

Chapter Two: A Visit to Lord Agneeshwarar's Temple.

CHAPTER TWO.

A VISIT TO LORD AGNEESHWARAR’S TEMPLE.

On the morning of Thursday, September, 23rd a very strong mental suggestion urged me to visit the ancient Shiva temple I had read about in Mr. Raju’s blog , near the village of Neyveli.

The history of Lord Agneeshwarar’s temple , written up by Mr. Raju and (later) told to me by Mr. Ramamurthy, is as follows.

Several years ago two youths from Chennai were visiting Lord Oondreswarar’s temple in the vicinity of the Poondy reservoir. Following the darshan of the Lord, they were poised to leave the temple, when all of a sudden a young boy appeared and urged them “don’t forget to pay respect to Lord Shiva in the village of Neyveli ”. The young lad “disappeared” before the astonished eyes of the boys. Later, these two young men , with the help of local villagers discovered a rare and beautiful Shiva Lingam in the middle of the paddy fields surrounding Neyveli, under a heap of thorny bushes favoured by snakes.

Back in Chennai, the two boys contacted Mr. Ramamurthi, a veteran in the field of temple restoration for several decades. Mr Ramamurthy is well known and respected in spiritual circles for being actively involved in identifying, rebuilding and renovating ancient places of worship throughout Tamil Nadu.

Intrigued by the story, Mr Ramamurthy visited this site and after experiencing several miraculous events and following consultations with astrologers, he obtained divine order to go ahead with the rebuilding of this temple.
The whole story is available at Mr Raju’s blog site, including contact details and phone numbers for those who are interested to get involved in this project!

In any case, I have given below an account of my experiences after visiting this temple.

On September 23rd, 2010 , I set off in the car from Chennai around 8 a.m. It was just before 11 a.m when we finally found the single track road leading up to the temple. A small shrine to the village deity, Ettai Amman marked the beginning of this bumpy road that cut right through the green paddy fields. In the distance I could see the white and red stripes on the compound wall that encircled the area where the temple was located.

Here is a video of the approach to the temple: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDBocLEyTAQ

I noticed a group of dogs sleeping in front of the small shrine to the village deity. Awakened by the sound of the approaching car, they quickly got up and started to pursue the car up to the main gate of the temple.

I could see that work had already commenced on the restoration of the temple. However, no one seemed to be around when I arrived.

The place exuded peace and calm. My driver and I opened the entrance gate and stepped inside . The dogs ( about three or four of them) ran past me as if leading the way, urging me to follow them.

They ran in towards a tree that stood right in the middle of the fenced lot. This was a huge, imposing Banyan tree, its knobbly branches spreading in all directions forming a canopy almost like the gigantic hood of a snake!
The dogs circled the foot of the tree and finally reached the place where a large and beautiful Shiva Lingam was situated, under a makeshift thatched shed, right at the base of this venerable tree!

Although I was a bit apprehensive of being attacked by these stray dogs, they didn’t bark or approach me in a menacing manner. Instead, they seemed content to have brought me to their Lord and then disappeared into the distance.

In the brilliance of the midday sun, the Shiva Lingam glistened like polished emerald. I sat down in front of the Lord and closed my eyes. I had read in Mr. Raju’s website that this was a place where Karuvur Siddhar worshipped ( in fact, he still is worshipping) the Lord. I prayed for the Siddhar’s guidance in my spiritual path and started to chant “Om Nama Shivaaya” mentally. Very quickly I found myself slipping into a deeper state of concentration. I could see a bright red glow in between my eyebrows and the glittering tendrils of a gigantic red flower that seemed to open and wave its many petals. Then, a fierce white glow came circling down seeming to disappear deep inside me.

I slowly came out of my meditation and heard bees buzzing around my head. Yet, I could not see them and none came near me. The dogs circled me and the tree a few times and then left me alone in silence. I looked up at the tree. There were many cracks and holes in this ancient tree, orifices in which snakes lived ( I had read about their presence in Mr. Raju’s anecdote). However, that morning everything seemed deceptively peaceful, and I felt a sense of complete harmony with nature and the animals here. There was no sense of fear!

After a while the caretaker of the temple who lived in the nearby village stopped by and upon my request gave me the telephone number and contact details of Mr. Ramamurthy, the man in charge of the temple restoration project.

I called him on his cell phone straight away . After a brief introduction regarding the purpose of my visit and quest in search of Karuvur Siddhar, Mr Ramamurthy asked me about my impression of the spot. I replied “ I feel a lot of vibrations and energy exuding from the tree”. His response was swift “ Of course, this tree is unique. It dates back several thousand years. There have been many occasions when bolts of lightning have struck and rendered it lifeless. Nevertheless, this tree has miraculously survived the ravages of time and is a standing testimony to the authenticity of this temple!” In fact, the Banyan tree has grafted itself on to a Neem tree and both are growing together favourably”

I glanced at the tree once more. Certainly, looking at the thick cover provided by the swirling branches, it was hard to believe this tree had once been a mere, withered stump!

I made an appointment to meet Mr Ramamurthi in his home in Chennai for later that evening to get more information regarding this temple.

I wandered around some of the half constructed shrines for Lord Ganapathi, Murugan and Goddess Lalithambika. However, every few seconds my attention was directed back to the tree. I felt the most overwhelming feature of this location was definitely this mesmerising tree. I felt a thousand eyes were looking at me from inside. I felt a whole universe of deities had made this tree their home. Yet, on the surface, to the naked eye, there was no sign of life.
The atmosphere was soothing and peaceful.

Back in Chennai, later that day, I visited Sri Ramamurthi in his house.
Four fascinating hours sped by very quickly listening to this man narrate his incredible experiences associated with many of his temple renovation projects. A staunch Shaivaite, Mr Ramamurthi is actively involved in restoring many damaged, ancient Shiva temples in various parts of Tamil Nadu back to their original glory. He works closely with the local people living in the villages and imparts to them the importance of temple worship, the significance of rituals and the basic facts of Hindu religion. He is also involved in caring for animals and has set up Go Shaalas (Sanctuaries for cows) to shelter and protect cows that would otherwise have been cruelly slaughtered. Vehemently opposed to the current disturbing trend in India of converting Hindus to Christianity, Mr Ramamurthy canvases far and wide, spreading the values of Hindu Culture, Dharma and the rudimentary principles of our religion to the illiterate villagers who are often held back by superstitious beliefs.

Just as I prepared to take leave of Mr. Ramamurthi that evening, he asked me to step inside his puja room since he wanted me to see a picture of Karuvurar Siddhar given to him by a mystic called Balu Swami living near the temple in Karur. Balu Swamy is believed to be a reincarnation of Karuvurar, by some of the locals in the area. Also, since this Siddhar’s presence is undeniable at Lord Agneeshwarar’s temple, I was intrigued!

This led to yet another interesting story about why Mr Ramamurthi made a visit to Karur Temple and how he met Balu Swamy.

In Mr. Raju’s blog there is an incredible tale regarding the manner in which Sri Ramamurthi obtained Karuvurar Siddhar’s “uthiravu” or “CONSENT” to renovate the Shiva Temple in Neyveli. It had been ordained by Deiva Prasnam ( Divine will) that a Brahmin had to voluntarily approach Ramamurthy on a Monday and ask him to donate a “vastram”, or “veshti” ( Dhothi). If this incident came to pass, it indicated a “go ahead” signal ( from Karuvurar) for the temple project. The Siddhar’s wishes had to be fulfilled to ensure unhindered progress with regard to the restoration of this ancient place of worship.

Realistically, the probability of this event happening is pretty low!

That evening, Mr Ramamurthi narrated to me (once more), his visit to the Jeeva Samadhi of Karurar in the village of Karur. He reached the temple on a Saturday and sat in meditation for nearly 6 hours in front of Karuvur Siddhar’s Samadhi with the hope he would receive a positive signal from the mystic.
However, at the end of a tiring day, he got no response. As he rose to leave, the priest inside the shrine came out holding a sacred “veshti” (garment) that had been placed on the Siddhar’s statue. He offered it to Ramamurthi saying it was “Divine Command”. Although this wasn’t the “prescribed” day of the week ( i.e. Monday),and contrary to his expectations, a Brahmin priest was giving him the Veshti, Mr. Ramamurthy nevertheless, received the offering and returned home to Chennai.

While at this powerful shrine, Mr Ramamurthi observed a beautiful photograph of Karuvur Siddhar and asked the priest where he might obtain a copy. However, the priest replied no copies were available!

Now, the tale becomes more interesting!! On the following Monday, at 9 a.m. in the morning, an old beggar with a cloth bag suspended on his shoulders, rings the doorbell of Mr Ramamurthi’s house in Chennai. To Mr. Ramamurthi’s amazement, the old man says he has travelled from a place far away and is in search of alms to conclude his grand daughter’s wedding. He says “ The advocate’s wife in the house nearby donated a saree. Do you have a “Veshti” ( dhothi) to give away”?

Mr. Ramamurthi must have recounted this incident several times in the past five years. However, I could detect every detail was etched very clearly in his mind. There is absolutely no doubt about the veracity of this story!!

Here was a beggar who voluntarily approached him on a Monday asking for a garment!! Could this be Karuvur Siddhar himself, giving his blessings for the temple reconstruction?

Mr. Ramamurthi told me “ These days people ask for money. No one requests for a Dhothi , especially to help out with wedding expenses”!

Eventually, after many more miraculous experiences, this Neyveli Temple project has gathered momentum. Two more spiritual members, Mr. Lakshmi Narayanan and Mr. Shankar Trivedi are providing immense support to Mr. Ramamurthi with regard to bringing this renovation attempt to a quick conclusion.

After getting distracted by the above tale, I finally stepped inside Mr. Ramamurthi’s puja room to have a glimpse of Sri Karuvur Siddhar’s photograph!!

How did this come to pass? There is one more story!

While Mr. Ramamurthi visited the Karur Temple, he came to know that a man called Balu Swamy living near the temple is considered to be the modern day Karuvur Siddhar. The priests in the temple regard him as a mystic . However, he was warned that this old man was an eccentric and may not wish to meet him.

Mr. Ramamurthy, decided to try anyway as he was curious . He located the home of Balu Swami and after a long wait, finally entered his abode. Contrary to his expectations ( based largely on the warning given by the locals), Balu Swami treated him as a long lost friend and received him warmly. After spending many hours in the Siddhar’s company, Mr Ramamurthi, reluctantly departed since he had to catch the train back to Chennai. Just before he left, Balu Swami called him back and gave him a “present”. This was the photo of Karuvur Siddhar that Ramamurthi coveted, longed to own but was told it was out of print by the temple priest!!
This might have been a mere coincidence. However, Ramamurthi felt that Balu Swami definitely had psychic powers.

I stepped inside Ramamurthi’s puja room dominated by Devi and just Shakthi in all forms. I could feel very strong vibrations from the simple altar. I sat down for a few moments, looked at the photo of Karuvur Siddhar. Then my attention was riveted to a small photo stuck on the far right hand corner of the wall.

Why!! This was a small photo of Sri Bala!!

I was overjoyed. I felt Bala was somehow approving all my actions!

It was only after I revealed to Mr. Ramamurthi that I was a Bala devotee, did he mention that he too worshipped her, but had never visited Nemili!! However, during the past few days a friend who had been to Nemili had spoken about Sri Bala Peetam and given him the photograph. And I was bringing up the subject again!

He didn’t think this was a mere coincidence. It seemed that Goddess Bala herself was asking him to come to her abode!

He asked me “ Do you think you can take me to Nemili with you on your next visit?”

I replied “ I’m planning on going there tomorrow . You are most welcome to accompany me. And so it came to pass that Mr Ramamurthi and his friend Shankar Trivedi, another spiritual, social worker, received the blessings of Sri Bala in her house at Nemili!


A few days later, on an auspicious Shankatahara Chaturthi day, I revisited Neyveli in the company of Sri Ramamurthi and Shankar. A few more people had arrived to pay their respects to Lord Agneeshwara that day and I was thrilled to witness and participate in performing Milk Abhishekam to the Lord while Mr Ramamurthy sat near the tree chanting Lord Shiva’s powerful hymn, Rudram.
Later that day, the idols of Durga and Lalithambikka were immersed into a trough of water ( for 40 days), as required by temple regulations, before they can be installed inside their respective shrines. Also Mr Ramamurthi performed a simple puja to the entrance threshold of Lord Shiva’s shrine that is just being constructed.

We sat in the shade of the tree and ate a simple lunch while Mr Ramamurthy regaled us with more astonishing stories relating to other temples he had helped renovate.
I sat on a nearby mound for a while as the rest were clearing up the utensils and pooja articles. I squinted up at the tree hoping to catch a glimpse of a deity. A Siddhar’s face? A serpent? The interesting shapes created by the gnarled branches did at times appear to resemble hooded snakes, and I thought I could see the figure of a woman lying amidst the branches with her tresses streaming behind in the breeze, arms outstretched. Could it be “Vana Durga”? (Forest-deity).

Here is a video so that you can see the tree for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYInQ3hNaIM

I blinked as the sun was getting too strong and rubbed my eyes. I must have drifted off into another world where I was imagining things!! Yet, there was an unmistakable aura of a female deity
( Shakthi) in that amazing tree.

On the way home, Mr Ramamurthi showed me an enlarged photo taken of the tree some time ago and directed my attention to a spot where I could make out the faces of a man and woman. The man appeared to be wearing a turban. Was this a Siddhar? Could this be Karuvur Siddhar?

As I dropped off Mr Ramamurthi at his residence that evening, I asked him if we could make a trip to Karur to try and see Balu Swami.
He replied that he too had been thinking along the same lines. It appeared he had come across a few roadblocks with respect to this temple’s renovation. Two questions puzzled him. If there was a Kali or Vana Durga present in the tree, appropriate worship should be done to appease these deities. Also, he had been informed by astrologers that a Siddhar’s Samadhi lay beneath the SHIVA Lingam. Could this be Karuvur Siddhar? Another saint, Sri Sadashiva Brahmendrar has also been associated with this shrine. Could this be one of the many places where the latter attained Samadhi?

It was apparent that many pieces of the puzzle were missing and Mr. Ramamurthi was searching for answers to many questions. Also, he was concerned that the temple construction should not stop abruptly. He wished to obtain Balu Swami’s blessings for fulfilling this project.

Bearing all this in mind, we decided to try and re visit Karur . Ramamurthy told me he’d get back to me as soon as he could ascertain if Balu Swamy was indeed available for us to meet him.

Those who are interested in getting involved with the refurbishment of Sree Agneeshwarar Temple can contact:

Mr Shankar Trivedi: sankar.trivedi@gmail.com
cell no: 9445004908.

Chapter Three: In search of a Siddhar.



To accompany this chapter, please see this video chronicling my visit to Balu Swamy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XJQRD24Pbo
CHAPTER THREE.

IN SEARCH OF A SIDDHAR.



Two days went by and I hadn’t heard any news from Mr Ramamurthi with regard to Balu Swami and our trip to Karur. So, I called him only to be informed that due to lack of contact details, the Siddhar could not be tracked down.

I was a bit disappointed but refused to give up hope. I searched on the Internet for the phone number for Karur temple. Within a few minutes, I came across a site that gave me the contact number for the Temple Administrative office. I glanced at the clock. It was 2.30 p.m. Most temples close from 12 noon until 4 p.m. and there was only a remote possibility that someone may pick up the phone in the temple’s office!

Nevertheless, I rang the number and after a few minutes it was answered!! Quickly, I introduced myself and enquired if I could obtain Balu Swami’s contact details. The person at the other end hesitated and then said “ I’m not sure if I can get this information for you. Please call back after half an hour”.

I sighed, this seemed like a polite refusal! After waiting patiently for half an hour during which I read the Siddhar’s 30 verses, I called again. The same person answered! However, the man said “ I don’t know where the Siddhar is at the moment. But I can give you the phone number of a man who owns a shop near the temple. This person might be able to help”.

I took down the name and cell number of this contact and dialled the number. The man’s wife answered and said her husband was very busy working and asked me to call back later. However, I provided this lady with a brief background on why I was interested in meeting the Siddhar since I had come across Karuvur Siddhar’s verses on “Puja Vidhi”. I asked her if either she or her husband were acquainted with the Siddhar . The lady replied that they did indeed know him well; in fact they were his devotees. Yet, she too didn’t know where the Siddhar was that day . I told her I’d talk to her husband that night.

It was 9.30 p.m. when I called the shop owner in Karur. He informed me that Balu Swami wasn’t in Karur and had gone off to spend a fortnight in isolation at an undisclosed spot. Although he could give me the phone number of the host family where the Siddhar was staying, he seemed pretty certain no one could get access to him.

I thanked the shop owner and took down the phone number. It was 10 p.m. by now and quite late to disturb anyone. However, I decided to take a chance. After a few rings, the phone was answered and I introduced myself once more, and requested if it was possible to come and meet Balu Swami.

The host’s reply was quite firm. He said “ Balu Swami has come to stay with me because he doesn’t wish to be disturbed. Also, at the moment, he is undergoing certain stresses arising from the yogic austerities he does. I don’t know how long it will take for him to come out of this condition. It could be a few hours or a few days. After he comes out of this situation, I shall mention your phone call and if he wants to see you, I’ll contact you”.

That was that!! I gave the man my cell number and retired to bed. I didn’t hold out much hope of visiting this Siddhar.

The shrill ringing of my cell phone woke me up. I glanced at the clock. It was 11.30 p.m. It was the man who was putting up Balu Swami in his house. He said “ Amma, Balu Swamy would like to talk to you”.
I was astonished “ But, but”, I stammered “ I woudn’t know what to say to a Siddhar”. The man reassured me “ Balu Swami is a very genial and casual person. Don’t worry” So saying he passed the phone and very soon I was talking to the Siddhar.

After the first few minutes, I felt completely at ease, as if I was talking to a person I’d known for a long time. Balu Swamy seemed really delighted to know that I’d come a long way from New York in search for him!! ( i.e. Karuvur Siddhar) “Of course”, he said “ you must come and meet me. But first, I’m going to give you a mantra you must chant for the next 24 hours. I’ll see you after that”. He proceeded to give me a mantra and made me repeat it several times making sure I got it right.

I could hardly believe this was happening. I spent over an hour chatting to this cheerful man who seemed quite happy to meet me a day later. I mentioned Ramamurthi would accompany me as well. Balu Swami laughed and said “There’s another man called Lakshmi Narayanan, do bring him along too. Oh, by the way do you have any dietary restrictions? You must have lunch here!”

I thanked him for his hospitality, promised to recite the mantra for the next 24 hours and then come to see him.

I called Ramamurthi the following day. Before I could share my news, he said “ Amma, it looks like Balu Swami’s whereabouts are not known. Better luck next time”.
I replied “ I have done my homework and traced him to a little village near Dindigal. I plan on leaving tomorrow morning. Can you come and bring Mr Lakshmi Narayanan as well”?

The next day, we started at 6 a.m. I couldn’t believe I was travelling with two complete strangers in the search for a man who might be a Siddhar? Perhaps an incarnation of Karuvur Siddhar?

During the car journey, Ramamurthi entertained me with a lot of interesting stories. His friend, Lakshmi Narayanan, a younger man remained quiet yet attentive and I could detect an intense spiritual aura around him.

I mentally recited the Siddhar’s mantra continuously until we reached the outskirts of the village near Dindigal.
By 11.30 a.m. we entered the modest little house belonging to Muniandi, where Balu Swami was staying.

The house was small, just two small rooms with a very low ceiling. Hardly any light filtered inside through the narrow windows overlooking the street. Outside, was a small verandah covered with a thatched roof. A mat was laid out on the floor and there, leaning against the wall, his mouth full of betel leaves, red juice dripping down his chin, sat a wizened old man with a huge pot belly and a fluffy, white beard. This was Balu Swami!

“Welcome, welcome, all of you” he said, his eyes twinkling with delight and a huge beaming smile on his face. “ Do come and sit near me”. He beckoned us to come closer. After paying our respects and placing a few bags of fruits near his feet, I sat directly in front of him.
Ramamurthi and Lakshmi Narayanan had brought in a few tall bottles of a drink called Bovonto. They placed this offering near the Swami. The host, Muniandi, his wife , the shop owner from Karur and his young wife joined our party and we were all seated in front of Swami.

The Swami took a swig from a bottle of 7 UP that was next to him and passed it around for us to drink. He looked at me and said “ There are two things I don’t like people telling me to do. I don’t like being asked to eat and I don’t like being told to have a bath”.
I stared in amazement!! He carried on “I haven’t eaten solid food for the past twelve years at least. I chew these betel leaves, but don’t swallow it. I just spit it out!! I haven’t had a bath in just as many years. Now, tell me do you think I smell”?

I shook my head both in disbelief as well as an answer to his question. All of a sudden something stirred in my memory. I had read that the Avadootha sect were also not bound by either rituals or general requirements like physical hygiene. Very often they wandered like mad men through the countryside, bodies caked with dirt and matted hair. In other words, these enlightened souls were impervious to bodily requirements.

Although my Guru, Sri Shanthananda wore a ochre robe , it is said that his Guru and Parameshti GURU, including Sri Sadashiva Brahmendrar wandered about completely naked.

As if he was reading my thoughts, Balu Swami asked me “ Now, why did you travel so far to come and meet a “paradesi” (outcast) like me?”

However, before I could reply, Balu Swami started to make some strange noises, and at the same time began tapping different parts of his chest, neck, shoulders and stomach. I wasn’t sure if he was in pain. His devotees sat silently and gestured us not to talk.
After emitting a series of hollow sounding gasps, Balu Swami eventually stood with his back against the wall and started to bang his arm and shoulders rather violently against it. Even at this point his devotees did not seemed concerned.

Finally, after a long shuddering sigh and a swift jerk of his body, Swami returned to normal and resumed conversation. He told us he had “no collar bone” and his “bones” were literally “melting” within his frame. He explained that the Kundalini power rising through his spine often subjected him to various stresses. He demonstrated this by asking each one of us to feel the vibrations at the base of his spine and I could feel the upward movement of this power, to the base of his skull!

Next, he announced that the fragrance of many flowers and sandalwood could emanate from his body. He stretched out his hand and asked the three of us to smell and experience the different perfumes. I couldn’t really make out the scent of Jasmine or sandalwood like he claimed but maintained a prudent silence. However, both Mr Ramamurthi and his friend nodded their heads indicating they could detect many fragrances.


For several hours Balu Swami spoke to us that day on a wide variety of topics relating to Saiva Siddhanta philosophy, the message of the Lord in Bhagavad Gita, spirituality, and the main goals of human life.
Quoting extensively from various holy texts and scriptures, he explained the great Vedantic truth of the non duality between the individual and the Supreme creator.

Balu Swami’s viewpoint is extremely simple. He says “ Just contemplate on the unity between you and the Supreme being. Recite the mantra I give and throw away all rituals, all other mantras in praise of different deities, and traditional practices that have clogged up your mind. What is the use of going to a temple? The priest there is going to take your money, chant a few praises for the Lord. IS that going to make you happy? NO!!

So, delve deep within yourself, realise the true nature of the Atma. Understand that “you”(Atma) are not associated with either your body, or the actions and feelings associated with that. Understand that you will only get total peace of mind only when you master the art of not reacting to the problems of this material world.”

A lot of what he discussed with us that day is no different from the wisdom revealed in the Upanishads and I thought of Bhagavan Ramana’s advice to every individual, “ Find out who you really are, discover the immortal nature of yourself!” Certainly, Balu Swami’s doctrine is similar to that of many learned saints and sages. However, his remarks about the unimportance of rituals prescribed in the Vedas, or questioning the necessity of pilgrimage to temples, may not be accepted by many Hindus since not everyone has evolved to such a high state of spiritual development.

There was a short break for lunch. Balu Swami watched us eat, but did not partake of any food. However, he requested for just a handful of rice and rasam from me and then took a little morsel of food from the two men too, most of which he returned to them as “prasadam”.

Following lunch, we came out on the Verandah again and Balu Swami resumed his talks. He told us that every month on Full moon days, he does a special puja at Karuvur Siddhar’s shrine. Following this he gives speeches on various spiritual topics and then, over a thousand poor people and visitors to the temple are given a hearty meal. He showed us samples of his written work and the speech he was currently working on.
Most of these referred to the wise teachings given in the Bhagavad Gita. Yet, Swami’s interpretation and explanations were clear and concise.

The hours slipped by quickly. Actually, Mr. Lakshmi Narayanan and Ramamurthi had fore-warned me that Balu Swami had the habit of talking for a long time and would not allow visitors to depart quickly. Mr L. wanted to depart by 4 p.m. so we could visit the famous temple of Pazhani ( abode of Lord Murugan) located close to Dindigal.

Mr. Ramamurthi had come on this trip only to get the Siddhar’s approval and blessings so he could proceed unhindered with his temple renovation. However, every time he started the topic, the Siddhar distracted us by discussing something else.

After lunch, Mr Ramamurthi brought up the story of his temple project one more time and sought the Siddhar’s blessings. Balu Swami laughed and said “There is no doubt that the good deeds (punyam) you have done in your past life have made it possible for you to be in this spiritual field, renovating so many temples. However, if you had been listening to what I said earlier, you would have realised that your main priority is NOT to worry about this temple project that has stalled. Instead your main focus should be to attain liberation. Understanding that you, the Atma, and God or Param Atma are one and the same gives you instant liberation. Throw out all the cobwebs in your mind. Cast away all previously given mantras. Just chant, with full faith, the mantra I’ve given you. That is enough”.

Then suddenly, he looked at Lakshmi Narayanan and asked “ You are getting worried that I’m not letting you go. What other agenda did you have in mind before coming to see me?”

The latter mentioned about the visit to Pazhani temple and requested permission (uthiravu) to depart since if we left immediately we might be able to get there in time for the evening darshan.
Balu Swami looked at me and asked “ Why have you come here?”. I replied “To see you”. He laughed , got up and asked me to come with him to the Puja room.

This was the inner, second room of the tiny house. On a desk in one corner were photographs of a few Hindu deities as well as those of Jesus, Aurobindo and the Mother. The Siddhar gave me some sacred ash ((vibhuti) and asked me to swallow it. Then, placing his hand on my head he asked me to repeat a mantra. This was different from the earlier one he’d given me over the phone. However, Balu Swami told me that I should start chanting this new mantra immediately.

I prostrated him and came out to join the others on the verandah.
Balu Swami lay down on the mat . He told me to grasp the big toe of his right foot. He requested Mr R to hold on to his hand and Mr LN to touch his leg. The two devotees from Karur were similarly asked to sit beside him and hold on to him. Then he remarked “We’re all going to do some meditation now. You will feel the energy coming from my body and entering yours. When you see a bright, white glow in the center of your eyes, you will realise that the mantra I’ve given you is working. So, start reciting the mantra mentally, all of you! I’m going to take rest for a while”.

I closed my eyes and sat by the Siddhar’s right foot, holding on to his toe. I didn’t feel any “current” entering my body. I was mentally chanting the mantra the Siddhar had just given me. About half an hour passed and although I was focused, I did not see any bright glow. In fact, when I normally sit down to meditate, I’m able to slip into a quieter state quite easily. That day, it seemed difficult.

The Siddhar’s voice rang out “ Are you seeing a bright glow?”. Two of his devotees replied they could. So did MR. LN and Mr. R. I said “No, I cannot see anything.” Also, by this time my knee started to hurt. I have a torn ligament and have been warned by doctors not to sit cross legged.

The Siddhar announced we could have a small break. I told him I had difficulty sitting on the floor. He made me stretch out my legs and held both feet tightly in his hands for a moment. Then he said “Now, you won’t have knee pain anymore”. He asked me to follow him to the puja room once more, applied vibhuti to my forehead and told me to sit in a chair while he placed his hand on my head. I closed my eyes and sat on the chair. For a long time, I felt the gentle weight of the Siddhar’s hand on my head. After another half hour or so, he told me to open my eyes. He gave me instructions to repeat the mantra every morning before dawn for two hours.

It was quite late in the evening by now. Certainly we couldn’t go to Pazhani . In fact, all three of us had spent about 8 hours in this little house and were tired. Sensing this, the Siddhar finally gave us permission to depart. He suggested we stay at a lodge in Karur overnight, visit the famous temples of Karuvur Siddhar and Sadasiva Brahmendrar’s Samadhi at Nerur the following day.

Just before we departed, he told me to pay a visit to his house near the Karur temple and sit inside his puja room. He asked me to meditate there for a while. I promised to do this.

Balu Swami’s devotees from Karur travelled back with us that night in the car. Mr. Kalyanaraman ( the shop owner) said he would accompany us to the temples the following day.

The room at the lodge in Karur was stuffy and small. However, I was so tired that I quickly drifted off to sleep. Early next morning, I woke up and tried to chant the Siddhar’s mantra for an hour before dawn. Again, I really did not see a bright glow even though my mind was focused.

Later, in the morning we visited the famous temple in Nerur where the great Avadhutha saint, Sri Sadashiva Brahmendrar attained Samadhi. A poet and musician, Brahmendrar composed many songs that reflect the Vedantic concept of “oneness” with Brahman (Param Atma). Although he was often subject to ridicule because he wandered about wearing no clothes, this saint was totally absorbed in samadhi all the time and slowly people around him came to witness many miracles and realised his greatness.

It is said there are at least five places where Sadashiva Brahmendrar has shed his mortal body. However in Nerur, the story goes that a Bilva tree sprouted forth from the area where the saint had been buried. A shiva lingam from Kasi was established at the base of the tree and devotees come to this sacred spot to meditate.
The atmosphere inside the temple was calm and tranquil. I sat in meditation for a while seeking this great saint’s blessings.

Here is a video of Nerur Temple: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSfYGD7MiqU

I remembered my Guru, Sri Shanthananda Swamigal as well and paid my respects to all the respected saints in the Avadootha sect.

Mr. Ramamurthy mentioned that Brahmendrar was supposed to have worshipped Lord Shiva as Agneeshwarar in the Neyveli village as well. We prayed to the Lord for the successful completion of the temple.

On the way back to Karur we stopped off at a famous and ancient temple for Lord Muruga located in VennaiMalai. However, there is a separate shrine for Karuvur Siddhar inside the premises. The temple was fairly quiet without too many people about. I sat before the sanctum of Karuvur Siddhar and prayed for his guidance. Then we stood before the enchanting form of Lord Muruga in the main shrine and I beseeched this Lord, to help me on my spiritual path. I closed my eyes and repeated the mantra given to me by the Siddhar. Without warning, I felt myself slipping into a state of total silence. I couldn’t feel my body any longer. There was a strong vibration, rather like a bolt of lightning going through my body and bright, luminous circles of white light came pouring into me seeming to go deep into my body.
I opened my eyes and witnessed the alankaara Deepam being offered to the Lord!

Later, we went to Karur and I spent some time in quiet meditation before the Samadhi of the great Karuvur Siddhar. After that, we visited Balu Swamy’s house and I stepped inside the small puja room in his house and sat in silent contemplation.



We left Karur after lunch and returned to Chennai in the late evening. On the way back, I questioned my companions about their experiences, in particular, the bright glow they had claimed to have witnessed and the different fragrances they could smell from the siddhar’s body. This was important because I didn’t really experience the same and needed to know how I could be directed on to the right path!!

Both Mr R AND Mr LN smiled at me and said “ We said we could smell different fragrances and see that bright light because we were tired of sitting in that hut and just wanted to get away!”

This was such a refreshingly honest answer that we all broke out in laughter!!

There’s no doubt that Balu Swamy is an extraordinary person. Is he a Siddhar? Could he be a reincarnation of Karuvur Siddhar?
Definitely, Balu Swamy does not proclaim himself to be a mystic . On the other hand, he revealed himself to be an extremely humble and lovable man. However, the small band of his devotees are totally convinced about his supernatural powers and have placed full trust in him.

For a few days after my return I kept chanting the Siddhar’s mantra. However, I could not get up at 4 a.m. every day to do this and slipped into a pattern of reciting it at different times during the day.
Balu Swami called me two days after I met him and told me to keep chanting the mantra to the exclusion of all others. However, I could not bring myself to give up the mantra given by my Guru Sri Shanthananda Swamigal nor Sri Bala’s moola Mantram.

Meanwhile the auspicious festival of Navarathri was about to commence and my thoughts hovered around Sri Bala. Perhaps She was “testing” me again by making me chant mantras at the crack of dawn, while singing her sweet songs involves no physical stress and is more potent?

I’m not sure. However, all I do know for certain is that full faith and devotion (Bhakthi) to the Lord in any form, combined with dedication in carrying out rituals, whether these involve singing songs or reciting mantrams, are all different ways of elevating an individual spiritually and leading him to the final goal of liberation.

Once again, those wishing to help with the Lord Agneeshwarar Temple project, kindly contact:

Mr. Shankar Trivedi: sankar.trivedi@gmail.com
cell no: 9445004908.

Mr. Ramamurthi: cell no: 9940398648.

Chapter Four: A new curtain for Bala Peetam at Navarathri.




CHAPTER FOUR..

A NEW CURTAIN FOR BALA PEETAM AT NAVARATHRI.


Navarathri is usually celebrated with great pomp and style at Sri Bala Peetam. This year was no exception. The small, yet divine house in Nemili reverberated with music and special events were planned each day to honour famous artistes. Every morning, puja and abhishekam for the deities took place followed by music concerts. The daily festivities concluded with Mahaa Deeparadhanai just before lunch. This was a grand spectacle, during which Sri Bala was honoured by an array of glittering lamps.

I felt blessed to visit Sri Bala’s house on most of the days during this auspicious period, including the final day of the Chandi Homam. On this day, the great Goddess finally triumphs in her attempt to slay the wicked demon Mahishasura( negative qualities). Bala’s little house was packed with devotees that night and at the appointed time when the furious Goddess kills the demon, the entire crowd was chanting Sri Bala’s songs!
This was an awesome moment and one that I shall cherish forever.

Some interesting events took place in the week preceding Navarathri and to narrate this more clearly, I have to provide some background information going further back in time.

On one of my visits to Nemili in the week before Navarathri, I sat before this lovable child just enjoying the moment. As I took leave that day, my attention was drawn to the curtain (Thirai) in front of the main dais where Sri Bala’s Mandapam is located. It had been a long time desire on my part to gift a brand new screen for the Peetam with a huge picture of her printed in the centre of it.

On my previous visit to India last year, I thought I would ask Sri Baba.G’s permission to print an image of Bala on a huge curtain . Since the official photograph published by Bala Peetam on all CD covers, pamphlets and books is a reproduction of a Tanjore painting gifted by a devotee, I thought I would use this image instead of putting in my own art work.

However, during that visit, my objective was not fulfilled. It seemed to me that Bala had not approved my request. Yet, this year certain events took place that seemed to trigger a series of happenings.

Earlier this year, on May 22nd, 2010, I published a drawing of Bala on my blog site. Sri Bala directed me to finish this painting in exactly two days and asked me to represent her in the manner of a small child reaching out to devotees both arms outstretched.
I had already completed a similar portrait a year earlier. However, without really understanding the reason, I completed this task. Soon, the picture as well as the accompanying story was put up on my website.

On the day I was to depart from New York bound for India, while I was just about to pack my suitcase, Sri Bala gave me a sudden command. This was “ Place that painting of me in the suitcase and bring it to India”. I was puzzled since I knew the dimension of the painting was larger than that of the suitcase and there wasn’t a chance it would fit inside the box. I thought perhaps I could make a separate package and carry it in hand. However, time was running out and I didn’t have suitable packing materials. My husband suggested I take the painting on the next trip. I was also inclined to agree. However, the mental suggestions from Bala continued to urge me to put the painting in first before I packed anything else.

So, I prayed to Bala “ If you really want me to bring this home, you have to help me with a miracle.”

And, she did!!

I found to my great amazement that the painting fitted “exactly” into the box!!

I was totally astonished by this almost magical event.

Anyway, in this painting, Bala is wearing a bright pink skirt and a green blouse, and stands arms outstretched on a pale white lotus tinged with light rose color. A glowing golden halo surrounds her head, while the orange and red tinged rays of early dawn begin at her feet and light up the bright blue sky. Her feet rest on a colourful pedestal decorated in hues of orange, purple and maroon.
Nine different colors have been used in this painting. However, while hastening to finish this work in May, I was being continuously directed by Bala and did not really pay much attention to the choice of colors.



So, a week before Navarathri, armed with this painting, I came to Nemili. My intention was to get Bala’s blessings for the portrait. However, she had other plans!

Sri Baba.G selected this painting as the central image for the screen I volunteered to offer to the Peetam. He went on to provide the reason for his choice. “ It has been ordained by Sri Bala that on the very first day of Navarathri, Mohan should commence puja and wear a green dhothi. Now, this green color on Bala’s blouse in the painting seems to echo her wishes. Also, on each of the nine days, we intend to decorate the peetam in different colours. All these particular colors are in your painting”.

He proceeded to count the various hues!!

I was stunned!! First of all, I wasn’t aware of the real reason for doing this painting 4 months ago. Secondly, I didn’t understand the necessity of bringing the actual painting into Bala Peetam when a photograph of it would have been good enough!

As it turned out, the screen printing process required the original art work. With Bala’s grace, the screen was finished and delivered to the Peetam on the day before commencement of Navarathri.

So, it turned out that Bala had certain specific “reasons” for my painting.

On the very first day of Navarathri, after the completion of abhishekam, this brand new curtain for Bala was swiftly inaugurated.
During the short interval when Sri Bala was being decorated in her Mandapam inside, her devotees could feast their eyes on an almost life like image of this child on the colourful screen!

My eyes brimming with tears, I witnessed the “Viswaroopa” Sri Bala seeming to “step” right out of the curtain ready to grant all the wishes of her loving devotees!!

Chapter Five: The Advent of an Utsavar on Bala's Birthday!


[The Utsavar idol is in the middle, flanked by the two mandaps. The tiny idol of Rajarajeshwari is seated in the orange mandapam on the left, while her daugher Bala is seated in the green mandapam on the right.]

CHAPTER FIVE.

THE ADVENT OF AN UTSAVAR ON BALA’S BIRTHDAY!



Directly following Navarathri, I returned to London. It had been my intention to be with Sri Bala on her birthday this year ( November 2nd,2010). However, unexpected circumstances caused a change in plans.

On the day preceding her birthday, I prayed to Sri Bala , chanting the thousand spectacular verses composed by Baba.G in his new work “Annai Bala Arputham Aayiram”. I sat in silent contemplation for a while, seeing Bala in all her glory in my mind. I remembered each and every one of the paintings I’d done of her over the years and the love that had gone into every single stroke of my pencil or paint brush. I thought about the hours I spent working on each work of art, decorating Bala with more and more glittering diamonds until she made me stop!
I laughed, recalling her mischievous acts like deliberately ruining a painting and then “allowing” me to set it right!
I thought about the very first painting of Bala seated on a blue lotus and remembered how she had asked me to sketch her nose (by asking me to look into a mirror).

I did also recollect the day I delivered this huge (first) painting to the peetam. Sri Ezhilmani didn’t show any reaction and I wasn’t really sure whether he liked it or not. The second painting I delivered also didn’t receive any reaction. While the family at Nemili received my paintings graciously, I felt intuitively that perhaps my depiction of Bala wasn’t perfect.
Yet, it seemed Sri BALA was accepting my work with all its flaws. However, after I gave away the portrait of Arpudha Bala, in May, 2009, I stopped gifting “original” artwork to the family. Thereafter, only photographs of the paintings Sri Bala commanded me to draw were put up on the website after I’d sent the first photo to be placed at her feet in Nemili!

At one point, earlier this year, I considered putting a complete stop to my paintings. So, for the first five months of 2010, I didn’t execute any art work, until that day in May when Bala informed me that my drawings were meant to provide comfort for others and should not be regarded as “my” efforts!

Every single event that Bala has caused to take place in my life has been part of a master plan and She is in total command!

On November 1st, 2010, I remembered another episode that happened years ago, in December, 2007, to be more precise.
It was in that month I was presented with a small bronze figure of Bala.

During this time, I was busy with preparations for my daughter’s wedding. Sri Bala’s luminous, golden image graced the cover of the wedding invitations and had been mailed to all friends and relatives.
A few weeks before the wedding, I received a gift in advance from one of my mother’s cousins, since she would not be able to attend the function. Since this lady is a Sri Vidya Upasaka and worships Bala Tripurasundari, she had sent me a small bronze image of her since it matched the picture on the cover of the wedding invitation.

As the story turns out, this relative had placed an order in a jewellery shop for just one perfect depiction of Sri Bala, seated on a lotus with four hands and a braid over the left shoulder. However, since the image came out beautifully, the shopkeeper made an extra statue which was also bought by this devotee. It was this second statue that was sent as a wedding present for my daughter in December, 2007.

I was overjoyed to receive this lovely idol and took it to my puja room. However, I was given a very sharp reprimand and it seemed Bala was giving me precise instructions NOT to place it in my puja room but instead, to bring it to Sri Bala Peetam.

So, this is exactly what I did. Although I made several trips to Nemili during December, 2007, it was not until the end of January, 2008 that this precious idol was taken to Nemili. On the auspicious third Friday in the Tamil month “Thai”, I finally remembered to return this bronze image of Bala to the family in Nemili.

In fact, the moment I gave it to Sri Ezhilmani, he remarked I had brought it in on an auspicious day . Baby Amma mentioned that on that same day she had been thinking Bala Peetam required an “Utsavar” ( i.e. a small image of the main deity that can be transported or is portable).
I was told that this idol was the exact height as specified by Sri Bala since statues that are over a few inches in height are not allowed to be placed in the house in Nemili!

What a lot of restrictions, I thought to myself and here I was carrying in this most precious image, hastily stuffed into my handbag at the last minute!!

After this episode, I’d completely forgotten about this “Utsavar” idol of Bala until Navarathri 2010. In fact, one of my close friends who had read about this particular story in blog asked me a question as we sat in front of Bala during Navarathri. “ Where is that idol you gave the Peetam years ago? I thought you’d written that Sri Ezhilmami placed it right next to Bala ?”

I looked at the Mandapam and searched for the idol. However, it didn’t seem to be there!

Perhaps, it wasn’t meant to be used after all! Maybe this whole incident was all a figment of my imagination?
I meant to ask Sri Ezhilmani about the whereabouts of this image but completely forgot to do so.

So, on the day before Bala’s birthday, I asked her mentally “ Bala, did you not want to accept that gift of mine? Why do I feel that just as in the case of all my paintings, perhaps this present too was deemed unnecessary ?

On November 2nd, I read Sri Bala Virutham, Kavacham and Nivasathu Hridhi Bala with the sincere intention of seeking Bala’s blessings for a few friends going through difficulties. Then, I called Sri Ezhilmani to wish dear Bala on her birthday.

Even before I could start my conversation, he said joyfully “Amma, today, at the express command and wish of Sri Bala, we brought out the Utsavar idol you gifted us, for public display” .

I was completely speechless!

He carried on “Also, you’ll be very happy to hear that we placed the wooden swing you gave us right in front of the Mandapam. On this decorated swing, for the very first time, and all in one row, we have placed Sri RajaRajeshwari at one end, Bala at the other extremity and this new Utsavar idol in the centre”!

“But, but” I stammered in confusion “I was just going to ask you what happened to that idol today because I was thinking about it yesterday”. I could not say anything more.
Sri Ezhilmani replied “See, I was able to read your mind before you voiced your thoughts!”

I was truly overwhelmed by this turn of events and spent the rest of that day in a haze of joy!

Mohan sent me a few photos the very next day and my heart overflowed with happiness at this love showered on me by Bala.
She heard my prayers, understood my feelings and gave me the “gift” of her love on the auspicious day of her birthday!

Sri Bala Charanam.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

English Translation of Sri Bala Kavacham composed by Nemili Peetathipadhi Sri. Ezhilmani





ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF “NEMILI SRI BALA KAVACHAM”
COMPOSED BY KAVIGNAR NEMILI SRI. EZHILMANI.

INTRODUCTION:

On November 8th, 2010, I was given instructions by Sri Bala to translate into English the very powerful “Kavacham” (Hymn for Complete Protection), composed many years ago by the Head of Sri Bala Peetam, Kavignar Sri Nemili Ezhilmani.

The manner in which this episode took place was incredible! The day had begun quite normally. I went about my routine of prayers and meditation and embarked on the task of updating my web site. I wanted to share with my readers some extraordinary experiences during my recent (Navarathri) visit to Chennai.

However, I was interrupted in the middle of my work by a very strong “mental” message from Sri Bala. She seemed to say “ Put aside the work you are doing right now. I want you to immediately translate into English, Sri Bala Kavacham written by my son”

I closed my eyes ,contemplated on this Supreme Goddess and asked her “ Why should I do it today? Also, an English translation of this Hymn already exists. What more can I add to this work?”

Sri Bala’s answer “ You’ll see the difference once you begin this task. With my grace, you shall discover a new meaning to those very same words. However do this in one stretch and finish the work today. Do not be tempted to look at other English Translations that are already available.”

So, this is exactly what I’ve done. Incredibly, the very same words of the Hymn that I have been chanting for several years started to take on a slightly different inner meaning. I completed the work within a few hours and didn’t edit it ( again, following Sri Bala’s orders).

The following morning, I called Sri Mohan ( who does Bala’s Puja) at Sri Bala Peetam and told him my experience. I requested him to get approval for my work from his father, Sri Ezhilmani and Sri Bala too!
He asked me to e-mail the word document and to call back a few days later. I spent a nervous two days, thinking I might have “imagined” this whole episode and Sri Bala was just playing another game?

On Friday, November 12th, I spoke to Mohan as he stood directly in front of Bala ( in the Peetam) and got the family’s approval to publish this work on my web site.

It will also be published on a day that Bala herself will decide.

Please note that this “English Translation of Sri Bala’s Kavacham” is not a literal or word for word rendition. The words have arranged themselves in the manner that Sri Bala has approved.

I have been asked to write up this introduction as well as do some editing today following which a few photos sent from Bala Peetam will also be published on my blog.

Experience, enjoy and discover the living presence of Sri Bala in this very powerful prayer. Reciting this every day will surely ensure complete and total protection for everyone!

Please visit Sri Bala’s website at: http://www.sribalapeetam.com/
to obtain details regarding the address of the Peetam and contact information.

Sri Bala Charanam.


Saturday, November 13th, 2010.



GANAPATHI THUTHI

OM Kaara Ganapathi Reenkaara Ganapathi
Un padam naadukinREn
Un aruL thuNaiyaalE ennavaL kavachathai
uLamurugi paadugindrEn
TheengEthum vaaraadhu neengaadha thuNaiyaaga
Thumbikkai vENduginREn
thEnaana chuvaiyOdu deiveega oLiyOdu
deivamE ANdaruL vaai.

MEANING:

Hymn to Lord Ganapathi.

Oh Lord Ganapathi worshipped by the Pranava mantra “AUM” (OM)
Who is also (inseparable from his mother), worshipped by “Hreem”.
I respectfully seek your feet ( grace)
I sing, with your divine blessings, heart melting with love,
The Hymn of Protection( Kavacham) given by this girl within me.
To prevent the approach of evil and to remain constantly by my side
I worship your trunk ( Oh elephant-Lord)
With the sweetness of honey and the lustre of divine radiance
Oh God, please rule over me and bless me!


2.

Paangana dEviyaam Bala Thiripura
Sundari Thiru KavachamE
PaalOdu thEnaaga paagOdu thaanaaga
Seivathum ninadhu vasamE
Engaatha nilai aRuL ERRidum varamaruL
ennaaLum kaathiruppai
Ezhai yEn ennudaiya anbinai
vaikkirEn idhayathil poothiruppaai.

Meaning:

Accessible to all is beautiful Bala, Supreme ruler of all three worlds
Please enable her hallowed hymn ( protective armour)
reveal the true bliss of love*, making it flow
with the sweetness of milk and honey ( within the body),
Oh Lord, only with your grace can this happen!
Bless me so I crave no longer (senseless pleasures)
Bless me so Divine energy can begin to rise within me
Oh Lord, please protect me at all times.
A poor (ignorant) person am I,
Please blossom in my heart where I place all my love!

NOTE:

One line is extremely significant in this verse. “ PaalOdu thEnaaga paagOdu thaan aaga
Seivadum Ninadhu vasamE!

Taken literally, this refers to the grace of the Lord making the sacred Hymn taste as sweet as milk mixed with honey, and jaggery ( Paagu).

However, the meaning given by Bala refers to the sweet syrup jaggery , as a divine nectar in the form of Love, flowing through every human being. A divine nectar that can only be activated by the Grace of the Supreme Lord or Guru! ( Sri Bala).

The first word of this verse “Paangana” can be figuratively translated as (suitable or perfect), an attribute for Sri Bala. However, it was Bala’s explicit command that the word “accessible” should be used in translation.




KAVACHAM.

(ARMOUR)

VERSE ONE.

Annaiyaam Baala thiripura sundari
aruL thanai nee paaduvaai
annaiyai thEduvaai annaiyai thEduvaai
anbOdu nee thEduvaai
Annaiyai naaduvaai annaiyai naaduvaai
avaL padam nee naaduvaai
annaiyin aruginil aaduvaai aaduvaai
aanandamaai aaduvaai.

Meaning:

Compassionate as a Mother is Sri Bala,
Beautiful ruler of three worlds
Sing her hallowed songs (that have been born) with her blessings
(Because) Only through pure love can you start
Searching for her, searching for her.
Only through compassion can you approach her
Only with humility can you get closer to her feet
Only by helping others can you reach her feet.
And (attaining her) you’ll dance with joy
You will dance with the bliss of self realisation!




VERSE TWO.

Baala ena chollu Bala ena chollu
Pava vinai yaavum thaLLu.
Baala ena kooRu Baala ena kooRu
Paadhara vindhamE SEru
Baala ena paadu Baala ena paadu
Baalavin kaRuNaiyai thEdu
BaalavenRE Odhu Baala enrE Odhu
Baalavinaal maraiyum theethu.


Meaning:

Recite the name “Baala” , call out her name “Baala”
All Sins from previous births you can remove.
(Merely) chanting her name “Baala” , crying out her name “Baala”
Brings you quickly to her feet ( within her sight; to her abode)
By Singing the glory of Baala, singing songs given by Baala
Seek the compassion of Baala!
Make Baala your very breath, constantly spread her name ( to all around),
All wickedness ( bad qualities) disappear through Baala’s (curative) powers!




VERSE THREE

Thiripura Sundari Thiruvadi thaamarai
Dinam vandu namai kaakumE
Thiripura sundari thiru vizhi paarvaiyil
Deiveega nilai pookumE
Thiripura Sundari thirukaram paduvathaal
Theemaigal than vilagumE
Thiripura Sundari thirumudi kaaNgaiyil
ThEn vaazhvu than malarumE.

Meaning:

The lotus -like holy feet of this beautiful Goddess
protects us each day (she resides in our hearts)
The (mere) glance of her sacred eyes
Illumines us from within causing a holy aura to blossom
The slightest touch of her sanctified hands
Makes all evil thoughts vanish
Catching a glimpse of her holy tresses
Makes life’s journey sweeter and more rewarding.

Inner significance of this verse:

Goddess Bala resides in the form of pure love in our hearts. Like the Kundalini power rising through various chakras in the body starting with the Mooladhara ( seat of Lord Ganapathi) once our senses are withdrawn (controlled), thoughts become pure, all hatred and wickedness is removed, and the mind is stilled, it is possible to experience the Glory of the Goddess shining with rare brilliance guiding the seeker from the Agna chakra ( in between the eyes) up to the crown, or Sahasrara Chakra.

The various references to “Thiruvadi Thaamarai” or lotus-like feet, refers to the Anahata Chakra; “Thiruvizhi Paarvaiyil” or sacred glance, to the Agna Chakra; and “Thirumudi” or crown, to Sahasrara Chakra.



VERSE FOUR

Baalavai nee paadu Bangaaru Kamatchi
Paangaana uru theriumE
Baalavai nee nOkku maduraiyaaL Meenakshi
Punnagai thaan puriyumE
Baalavai nee kaaNum POdhandha KaasiyaaL
Visalakshi yai arigu vaai
Baalavin ThORRathil mayilaiyin kaRpagam
Pala varam thaan aruLuvaaL.

Meaning:

When you sing Bala’s songs, the Divine Goddess Kamakshi
Blesses you with her presence (darshan)
Casting your glance ( coming closer) in Baala’s direction
You’ll be rewarded with the smile (grace) of Goddess Meekashi of Madurai
When you find ( fully realise) Bala, The great Goddess Visalakshi
Of Kasi reveals herself, and
(Adopting) the form of Sri Bala, Goddess Karpagambal of Mylapore
Grants several boons.

Inner significance of the above verse:

By Coming closer to Sri Bala, or supreme truth, it is possible for the spiritual aspirant to attain several siddhis (powers). In other words, it appears that even the great Goddesses like Kamakshi and Meenakshi, love this divine child so much that they “run” to do her bidding and draw the spiritual seeker closer (to Bala) by granting several boons.





VERSE FIVE

Illai endru Baala Thiripura Sundari
Yaarukkum sonnadhillai
Inbathinai naadum anbarku kaRuNaiyai
Eeyaadhu vittathillai
Thollai endRu avaL ellaiyil vandOrkku
Thuyar Edhum vandadhillai
thooyavaL avaLukku aRuL adhai pozhivadhil
jaathigaL madhamum illai.


Meaning:

Goddess Bala, the beauteous ruler of Three worlds has never uttered
The word “No” to anyone.
And to devotees who seek happiness, she has never ceased
To mete out kindness.
Those who reach the outskirts of her abode in despair
Are never approached by worries
Pure- hearted is she, showering her blessings on everyone
Regardless of caste or creed.


VERSE SIX

Annaiyaam Baala Thiripura Sundari
Anbukku ellai illai
Ammaikku selvar Ezhaiyar enginRa
bEdhangaL Edhum illai
thannaiyE vENdidum anbarkku aruLadhai
thaaraamal pOnadhillai
thaayavaL paasamE pozhivadhil akaaya
MaaRiyum iNnaiyum illai.

As Mother of the Universe, Beautiful Bala’s
Love is limitless
For those who seek her, even if poor,
No differences can be there!
For those who steadfastly seek her (truth)
She has never denied granting her blessings
In showering love, there’s none to equal her,
Neither Mari ( Goddess of rain) nor Divine beings in Heaven.

Inner Significance:

Our Vedas proclaim that knowing Brahman or Truth is both the simplest as well as the hardest task for human beings. Realising the supreme truth that the Divine creator is indeed within you, in your heart and resides there as pure love, might seem like a simple concept. Yet, attached to worldly matters and trapped by human bondage, people “seek” solutions for “apparent” problems and miseries . The understanding that the individual (Jiva) is nothing more than a reflection of the Macrocosm or Paramatma/ Creator/ God , liberates human beings from the false notion of “sufferings” endured in life.

This verse extols Sri Bala as the supreme creator of the Universe . Within her reside all divine beings, Gods, Goddesses, the world, every aspect of nature, Fire, Water Earth, Air and all human beings.
She showers her love and compassion on all without differences in caste, creed, status, etc because quite simply, she is immanent in every aspect of creation and resides permanently in all loving hearts.
Understanding this truth liberates the seeker from all the problems of this material world.





VERSE SEVEN.

GaayathriyaagavE kaNngaLai kaappaaL
Sivasakthi SiramE kappaaL
KaaLiyaaL vandu KarangaLai Kaappaal
Kaumaari kaalgaLai kaappaaL
Maaya yai neeki Maheshwari Kaappaal
Maathaavaai manadhai kaappaaL
Moogambikai enRum mugathaiyE kaapaaL
MOhini mooLai kaappaL

Meaning:

May ( Bala , in the form of the Mother of all Vedas as) Gaayathri protect the eyes
May Goddess Parvathi look after the hair
May Goddess Kali come to care for the hands
And Kaumari look after the legs.
May Maheshwari shield us from delusion
May the eternal Mother protect the mind
May Goddess Moogambika shelter the face
And Mohini protect the intellect.


VERSE 8.

Thaai Thillai KaaLiyaaL thalaiyinai kaappaaL
Tharmaamba thOLai kaappaaL
Thillai SivagaamiyaaL thodaiyinai kaappaaL
DurgaiyaaL thoNdai kaappaaL
Kaai nilavu Abhiraami kazhuthinai kaapaaL
Vaishnavi vayiRu KaappaaL
KaRumaariyaai vandhu kural vaLam KaappaaL
Kanthimathi Kaadhu KaappaaL

Meaning:

May Mother Kali of Thillai guard the head
May Goddess Tharmaamba shield the shoulders
May Goddess Sivagami (Parvathi) of Chidambaram protect the thighs
May Goddess Durga look after the throat
May the Goddess Abhirami lustrous like the moon save the neck
May Vaishnavi protect the stomach
May Goddess Karumaari come to look after the voice
And Kanthimathi guard the ears.

Significance of Verses 7 and 8:

These are perhaps the most “powerful” and “potent” two verses in this hymn since it is a prayer to a variety of Goddesses(all of whom are none other than embodiments of Bala) to protect the different organs in the body pertaining to the development of the powers of Iccha (thought) , Kriya(action) and Gnana(intellect). In other words, by reciting this protective hymn, the thoughts, deeds and actions of the devotee get purified leading to the dawning of wisdom.



VERSE 9.

AruL migum Devi Annai Baala Thiripura
Sundari peyar Mandiram
Amaithiyai Thandida Nemiliyil VandanaL
AvaL Thiruvadi yantiram
IruL thanai neekidum thaayavaL vizhigaLE
InthuNai ena vanthidum
Inmuga dEviyai unnidam vaithidu
ellaamE thaan thanthidum.

Meaning:

Goddess filled with Grace, Beautiful Mother, Baala’s
Very name protects like a Mantra.
To bestow peace of mind, She came to Nemili
At* her holy feet lies the Sri Yantra.
Our Mother’s beautiful eyes dispels darkness (ignorance)
And comes to protect us always
Hold this dear Goddess close to your heart
Everything ( you desire) She does grant!

NOTE:

In the line “ AvaL thiruvadi Yantiram”, the literal meaning is that Sri Bala’s holy feet “is” the holy Sri Chakra ( Yantra).

However, while typing the translation, the word substituted by Bala was “At”. This small change adds greater depth to the meaning of this line . It implies that Sri Bala’s powers as the supreme creator and ruler of the universe are so immense that even the most sacred Sri Chakra lies only “at” her feet.



VERSE TEN.

MaruL thannai neekkidum maathaavin kavachamE
Manam onRi nee kooruvaai
Maghizhchiyai thanthidum maathaavin kavachamE
Malaradi nee cheruvaai
poruL thanai koduthidum Baalavin kavachamE
puvi yinai kaakkum nijamE
pugazh niRai Nemiliyil poligiRaaL SATHIYAM
Pugalidam avaL Nithiyam.


Meaning:

Dispelling all fear is Mother’s Kavacham ( protective armour)
Reciting it with single minded concentration
This protective shield which bestows all happiness
Will lead you to reach her lotus feet
Granting all material desires Bala’s Kavacham (hymn)
Will safeguard this whole universe, this is true!
In the famous village of Nemili, her presence glows, this is CERTAIN
She’s the eternal place of refuge always!


VERSE ELEVEN:

Amaidhiyai peRrida anbargaL anaivarum
avaLaiyE naada veNdum
SumaigaLai kuraithidum Sundari illatthil
Sandhadam paada vENdum
Imaiyadhu kaNngaLai kaappadhu pOl kavacham
ennaaLlum kaakka vENdum
Nemiliyil EzhilmaNi paNivudan ezhithiya
kavachamE pookka vENdum

Meaning:
To get peace of mind all devotees
Should strive to reach her side
And, inside this beautiful child’s house, where all worries get reduced
Sing her glories with great joy.
In the same manner that eyelids shield the eyes,
May this Kavacham provide protection at all times.
And may this hymn of protection written in Nemili
By Ezhilmani with great humility and devotion,
Blossom and flower eternally.



Baalavin Kavachathai paarayaNam seidaal
Pava vinai than pOgumE
Baalavin kavachathai paarayaNam seidaal
Thava vinai namai chErumE.
Om! OM! OM!!

By reciting Bala’s Kavacham
All sins and past karma will go away
Reciting Baala’s Kavacham will
Confer all the benefits of sacred penances!
OM! OM! OM!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Nemili Sri Bala Suprabatham



SRI BALA CHARANAM.

NEMILI SRI BALA SUPRABATHAM
AUSPICIOUS EARLY MORNING HYMN FOR NEMILI SRI BALA.

Composed by Nemili Peetam Peetathipadhi, Sri. Ezhilmani.

ARuL migu devi
Annai baala
Thiripura sundari ezhundaRuLga!

Goddess filled with grace
Mother Bala
Beauteous ruler of three worlds,
Arise and give us your blessings!

iRuL thanai neekkum
en thaayE nemiliyin
Eeswari ezhundaruLga!

Remover of darkness
My Mother, Supreme Goddess
Of Nemili,
Arise and bestow your grace!

ARrilE thavazhndhu vandhu
veetilE kOvil kONda
annaiyE ezhundaruLga!

You came crawling in the river
And made this house your temple,
Oh Mother,
Arise and shower your mercy!

KooRrinai maaRRavalla
kuzhandaiyE baala thiripura
Sundari ezhundaRuLga!

Capable of altering our destinies
Oh wonderful child, Bala
Beautiful ruler of three worlds
Arise and grant us your kindness!

VeLLikizhamai gaLil
vEdham muzhanga cheyyum
vitthagi ezhundaruLga!

Oh Goddess of wisdom
Who makes auspicious Vedic chants
Reverberate ( in your house) every Friday
Please arise and confer your blessings!

ALLI kodupathilE
Aasai niRainthavaLE
AnnaiyE ezhundaruLga!

Oh Mother, who is brimming with desire
To bestow wishes so abundantly
Please arise and give us your grace!

Kavi mazhai pozhiya cheyyum
kalaimagaL vadivam kONdaai
kaNN MaNi ezhundaruLga!

Assuming the form of the Goddess of Wisdom
You cause poetry to shower on us
Oh precious one,
Arise and present us with your grace!

Puvi ellaam kaaka valla
puNNiyam kodukka valla
poovaiyE ezhundaruLga!

Oh lovely damsel
Who is skilled in ruling and protecting this universe
Please arise and shower on us your blessings!

Isaiyinai uruvaaki
Ivvulagai EerkinRa
IRaiviyE ezhundaruLga!

Oh Supreme Goddess
Who creates all music and harmony
Attracting the whole world
Please arise and bestow your grace!

Disai yellaam nin paatu
dEviyE kaRuNai kaattu
DeivamE ezhundaruLga!

Your songs sound in all directions
Oh divine Godess show us mercy
Supreme ruler
Arise and give us your favour!

Kaalai malargindradhu
Kadhiravan vandu vittaan
Gayathri ezhundaruLga!

The morning is about to blossom
The Sun God has already arrived
Oh Gayathri* ( * most sacred verse of the Vedas; Goddess of Knowledge)
Please wake up and bestow your blessings!

ShOlai malar yaavum
Sannidhi vanduLLadhu
Savithri ezhundaruLga!

All the flowers in the garden
Have come inside your sanctum
Oh Savithri * ( * Wife of Lord Brahma)
Please wake up and give us your grace!

AnbargaL onru koodi
Annai nin sannidhiyil
azhaikkindRaar ezhundaruLga!

Devotees have gathered together
Oh Mother, inside your chamber
Calling out for you,
Please wake up and bless us!

Aavalai dhoopa deepam
avaRgaLum kaatukindraar
AmbikE ezhundaruLga!

Eagerly they show
Both incense and lighted lamps for you
Oh Ambika,
Please awaken and show your mercy!

MukkONa kadavin thaaLai
MunivargaL thiRakka vandaar
mOhini ezhundaruLga!

Ascetics (holy sages) come
To unlock the sacred, triangular door
Oh Mohini ( enchantress)
Please arise and give us your grace!

MaakOlam pOdugindraar
maathargaL paadugindRaar
Madhavi ezhundaruLga!

Auspicious patterns ( kOlams) are drawn with flour
Women are singing praises
Oh Madhavi ( sister of Lord Vishnu)
Please wake up and bless us!

NaaL Edhu Kol Thaan Edhu
NaaRaNi nee ninaithaal
NaaRaNi ezhundaruLga!

Can any day be considered inauspicious,
Can planets cause us disasters?
Oh, supreme ruler, if you just think of us?
Oh Goddess Narayani,
Please awaken and bestow your grace!

PaalOdu pazham yaavum
paNivudan padaikinRaar
BaalavE ezhundaruLga!

Along with milk, many fruits
Do they offer with humility
Oh Bala!
Please awaken and extend to us your grace!

MaRai naangilumE
PoruL AanavaLE Manam engiRa
Kovil uRaibavaLE

You are the essence of the Four Vedas
Residing in
The Temple known as heart!

NiRai vaazhvudanE
Nalam tharubavaLE nidham
NemiliyilE thaan aruLbavalE!

Granting us a prosperous life
Filled with all goodness
Showering blessings every day,
Residing only in Nemili!

Karunaa kariyE
Kalai maamaNiyE
Kamatchi enum vadivaanavaLE!

Oh Mother filled with compassion
The crowning jewel of all Arts
Appearing In the form of Goddess Kamakshi!

ARuNO dhayamE
Abayam tharuvaai azhagagavE
Nemiliyil vaLarbavaLE!

Red-hued like the rays of the sun
You grow and flourish in Nemili
Beautifully,
Granting refuge to everyone!


Kavalai thanaiyE
KaNa pOthinilE
kaLaivaai nee Chandra kalaathariyE!

Dispersing all worries
Within a split second
Oh Goddess who rules all the digits of the moon!

ThavamaanavaLE
Thayai puribavaLE aRuL
Tharugira nemiliyil niRai bavaLE!

The abode of all penances
Source of all mercy
You completely permeate
The holy abode of Nemili that dispenses grace!

AyanOdum shivan
MaalavanudanE nin
aruginilE vandu niRkinRaar!

Lord Brahma along with Lord Shiva
And Vishnu
Come and stand close to you!

DhayavudanE nee
Dharisanam tharuvaai varam
Tharugira nemiliyil vaazhbavaLE!

With compassion
Do you grant your vision
Oh goddess who lives in the village of
Nemili that grants all boons!

Navaraathiriyil
Pradamai thithiyil nalam
Thanthida kalasamaai varubavaLE!

During the first holy day
Of Navarathri, you come in the form of
A Kalasam (pot)
To give prosperity to everyone!

Navami thithiyil
Mahishaasuranai vadam seidu
Nal vazhvinai tharubavaLE!

On the ninth day
You vanquish the demon Mahisauran
And grant a good life to all!

PutthaaNdu gaLIL
Pudhu maNam tharavE ezhil
Poothida kaatchiyum aLipavaLE!

At the commencement of every New Year
As if to infuse a fresh fragrance
You grant us your vision
Like a flower bursting forth in beauty!

VithaanavaLE
ViLai vaanavaLE nal
vELviyil thOnRidum vithagiyE!

Abode of wisdom
Source of creation
Oh Goddess of intelligence
You appear in response to sincere adoration!

Aadi veLLiyulum
Thai veLLiyulum
azhagagavE tharisanam aLippavaLE!

So beautifully do you present yourself
During the auspicious Fridays
In the month of Aadi *and Thai*!

( Aadi refers to the period mid July through mid August; Thai refers to the period mid January through mid February).

Kalai nigazhchigaLai
Tharum kalaignar gaLai
Paaratidum Bala ThiripuraiyE!

Oh Bala, ruler of Three worlds,
You shower praise on distinguished artistes
Who perform music concerts in front of you!

Latcha archanaiyum
ChaNdi hOmamumE
Sirappaaga nadathidum thirumagaLE!

Oh auspicious lady,
Who causes the functions of
Laksha Archanai ( one lakh chanting of auspicious names)
And Chandi Homam* ( auspicious ritual during Navarathri)
To be carried out successfully!

Dinam thOrum unnai
Isai paadum emmai
aruL thanthu kaappaai AmbikaiyE!

Oh Ambika ( great Mother- Goddess)
Please protect me
Who sings your praises daily
And bestow your grace!

AruL tharum Nemili
AnnaiyE Bala
Thiripura Sundari MangaLam

Oh Sri Bala of Nemili,
Oh Mother
Who gives us blessings,
Oh Beautiful ruler of Three worlds,
We praise you!

Anbarai vazha vaikkum
AnnaiyE Bala
Thiripura Sundari MangaLam!

Oh Mother, Goddess Bala
Who gives good life to devotees
Oh lovely damsel, ruler of three worlds,
We worship and praise You!

Sri Bala Charanam.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

English Translation of Sri Baba.G's "Kann Dhrishti Kavacham" and "Noi Neekum Pathigam"





Sri Bala Charanam.

Sri Bala Kann Dhrishti Kavacham.

English Translation of Sri Baba.G’s “ KANN DHRISHTI KAVACHAM”
Sri Bala’s “ Protective armour to ward off malefic effects of evil eyes”.

GANAPATHI STUTHI
KaRpaga kaLirE aRpudha chudarE
Anbudan nee ingu vara vENdum
kaNN dhrishti neekum bala kavachathai
kanivudan neeyum thara vENdum!

Hymn to Lord Ganesh.
Oh elephant Lord who grants all wishes
Oh glowing spark of Divinity
filled with love, please come here
To grant and bless us tenderly
With this song, Sri Bala’s armour
Protecting all from calamity.

KAVACHAM
Jagam adhu pughazhum agamadhu magizhum
Bala undan thiru vadivam!
JanmangaL thORum thuNai vandhu sErum
Bala undan chiru vadivam!
Jeyippathu enRaal unthuNai vENdum
Bala nee than aRuL vadivam!
Jaya Jaya Bala Thiri pura Sundari
Un pEr solla iRuL vidiyum!

Protective Armour.

Praised by this whole world
Creating happiness in all hearts
Bala,
Is your divine , lovely form!
In many births
It arrives to give support,
Oh Bala, your tiny, little form!
To achieve victory we need your help
Oh Bala, you are the blessed form!
Victorious, Victorious, Sri Bala
Beautiful ruler of three worlds
Uttering your holy name
Dispels darkness and brings forth new dawn!

ThirumaNam mudikkum thiri pura Sundari
Enbathu undan oRu vadivam!
Thirumaga vaLikkum thiti pura sundari
Enbathu undan oRu vadivam!
Thiru manai aLikkum thiripurasundari
Enbathu undan oRu vadivam!
Jaya Jaya Bala Thiri pura Sundari
Dhrishtiyai neekidum thiru vadivam!


As divine ruler of all three worlds
Finalizing marriages is but one of your blessed forms
As the beauteous ruler of all three worlds
Granting progeny is yet another form
Bestowing happy conjugal life
Is again , another form,
Oh divine damsel, ruler of three worlds,
Victorious, Victorious, Sri Bala
Your sanctified image
Destroys all evil forces!

PadippO PaNamO thozhilO edhvO
Konjam vandaalum pOthum amma
Paazhai pOna theeyOr paarvai
vandE emai dinam mOdhudamma!
Paavangal theera kaayangal maaRa
Aasaiyil manam ingu Enguthamma!
Jaya Jaya Bala thiri pura Sundari
Dhrishtiyai neeyum neekidamma!


Just a little success is enough
If it comes our way in education, wealth or employment!
Oh dear mother,
wicked glances cast by evil people
dash against us relentlessly, every day!
For all our sins to be destroyed
And old wounds to get healed
Our hearts yearn with such longing
Victorious, Victorious, Sri Bala
Beautiful Goddess, ruler of three worlds
Please remove all harmful forces
From our lives!

NaaLLum un pugazh kooRum nallOr
Paarvai emmeedhu vizha vEndum
Nalinthavar yaavarum un peyar chollida
Nalamudan udanE ezha vENdum!
Nanjinai pOnRa nenjinai koNda
theeyOr dinam dinam vizha vENdum!
Jaya Jaya Bala Thiri pura sundari
Unnai naaLum thozha vENdum!

May good glances cast by worthy people
Constantly uttering your name
Fall on me!
May those who are feeble,
Stand up with good health,
Instantly they cry out your name!
Let those who are vengeful
Harboring venom in their hearts
Fall and perish with each passing day
Victorious, Victorious, Sri Bala,
Lovely ruler of three worlds
May we worship you every single day!

Theeyavar paarvai ellaa disaiyilum
Dinam dinam vandu eccharikkum!
theemaigaL maaRa engaL manam adhu
undan peyarai uccharikkum!
Theeyena maaRum Bala undan
Paarvai pagaivarai chutterikkum!
Jaya jaya bala thiripura sundari
Thithikkum un pugazh ethikkum!

Vicious looks cast by the wicked
From all directions
Come to forewarn us each day!
For evil forces to get transformed
Our hearts pronounce your name
Every single day!
Oh Bala, your very glance, like fire,
Can burn all wicked foes completely
Victorious, Victorious, Sri Bala,
Holy ruler of all three worlds
Your praises , like sweet nectar
Spread in all directions.


Baala bhaktharai paadai paduthum
Edhuvum ingE nilaikkaadhu!
Bala undan peyar chollaavidil
Edhuvum ingE chezhikkaadhu!
Bala peyarai moochaai suvaasikka
Edhuvum nammai nerungaathu
Jaya Jaya Bala Thiri pura sundari
Unai pOl deivam vErEdhu!

Bala, you test your devotees so,
Nothing can be real or lasting here.
Oh Bala, without mentioning your holy name
Nothing can flourish or prosper here!
When Bala’s name is inhaled
Like very breath itself
No harm can ever approach us!
Victorious, Victorious, Sri Bala,
Divine and lovely ruler of three worlds
Can any other God be like You!

Neruppaai eriyum veRuppavar paarvai
Nammai edhuvum cheyyaadhu
Nenjam muzhuthum Bala irundhaal
bayamE enRum kidaiyaadhu!
Nemilikku oru muRai vandal pOdhum
Vaazhvil thuyarE vaaraadhu!
Jaya Jaya Bala Thiri pura Sundari
Undan aruL thaan maaRaadhu!

Glances of those filled with hatred, burn like fiery flames
Yet, they can never harm us!
When our hearts are filled with Bala’s presence
No space can there be for Fear anytime!
Visiting Nemili just once
Ensures no sorrow can ever arrive
In your life!
Victorious, Victorious, Sri Bala,
Beautiful and Divine ruler of three worlds
Your grace can never vary , never change!

Kavalaiyai thaLLida thuyar thanai
Chollida unnai vittaal yaaramma!
karuvaRai thodangi kallaRai varaiyil
anaithukkum neeyE vEramma!
KaNN dhrishti neekkum kavalaiyai pOkkum
Azhagiya un thiru peyar amma!
Jaya Jaya Bala Thiripura Sundari
KaLipudan vaazha vazhthidamma!

Who else is there to push away sorrow
And unburden all grief?
Who else is there but You, dear Mother!
From womb until graveyard
You are the very root of our existence
Your sweet and divine name
Dispels all worries and evil forces!
Victorious, Victorious, Sri Bala
Beautiful lady, ruler of three worlds
With joy and happiness
Bless us to lead good lives!

Ninaikkum pozhuthE aNaikkum
Deivam nee inri vERu Edhamma!
Nidhamum un peyar chonnaal pOthum
maRaindhE pOgum Theethamma!
Nilamum neerum kaatrum neruppum
veLiyum unnaal vazhuthamma!
Jaya Jaya Bala Thiripurasundari
Vaiyagam muzhuthum vaNaNguthamma!

Oh Mother, no other Divine being
Except you
Can Embrace us the instant we think of you!
Reciting your name each day is enough
All sins and wrongdoings
vanish completely.
Earth, water, air, Fire and Space itself
Derive life-essence from You
Victorious, Victorious, Sri Bala
Beautiful Goddess of all worlds
This entire universe Bows in Worship
To You!

BENEFIT:

Recite this “Armour” daily, in the morning as well as at night.
All evil and malefic forces will vanish, worries will cease and this shield or “Armour” itself will grant all your wishes.



Sri Bala Charanam.

English translation of “ Noi Neekum Sri Bala Pathigam*”
( Sri Bala’s Hymn to remove ailments).
“Pathigam” refers to a poem composed in ten verses.

Azhagiya uruvaai Aanandha thiruvaai
Nemiliyil amarnthavaLE!
Pazhagiya udanE palan tharum baala
Nenjinil niRainthavalE!

As a beauteous form, radiating divine bliss
Seated are you in Nemili
Granting positive results
The instant we know you
Bala,
You Pervade our hearts completely
Oh Bala, you fill our hearts, totally.

Idarathu irukkum idamathu therinthu
Chaduthiyil vanthiduvaai!
Udanadiyaaga en uLLathil amarnthu
Oozhvinai kaLainthiduvaai!

Discerning the location where suffering exists
Swiftly you do arrive
And seated in my heart immediately
All sins of past births you disperse fully!

Nodikkoru nOi dinam enai vandhu soozhgayil
Nodiyinil vandiduvaai!
Adikkadi un thiru peyar thanai kooRida
Anaithaiyum agaRRividuvaai!

When I’m Assailed by many ailments
Every minute, each day,
Within a second you come to my side.
Crying out your holy name repeatedly
You make all pain and suffering
disappear!


Narambugal yaavum thaLarndhidhidum vElaiyil
naRumugai nee varuvaai!
varambugaL indri varam tharum kuzhanthaai
vaattathai pOkkiduvaai!

When blood vessels in my body
Are weakened with infirmity
With goodness , You do appear
Granting boons without any boundaries
Oh precious child,
all my fatigue you disperse!

Enai pidithu aatkoLlum ellaa nOigaLum
maRainthida VeNdum amma!
Unai dinam ninaikkaiyil ellaa paavamum
Karaindhida vENdum Amma!

All diseases that have conquered
and are controlling my body
You must make them vanish
Oh dear Mother!
Contemplating you each day
All sins should melt away,
Oh Mother, I do pray!

PeRRavar dinamum varundhidum padi en
Udal nilai pOnathamma!
maRRavar naaLum eLLI nagaithidum
vaazhkai aanatham amma!

Oh Mother, my parents
are distressed
Witnessing the poor state of my health,
Others mock and laugh at me from afar
Such has become my plight in Life
Oh Mother,
Such is my condition in this life!

Maruthuvam palavum paarthitta piRagum
maaRRam illai amma!
Oru thavam inRi unaiyE ninaithida
En kuRai theerthidamma!
Despite undergoing many a medical treatment
No change in my condition
Have I seen!
I think of You constantly,
Without respite,
Please come to relieve my suffering.
Oh Mother, please remove my pain!

NeeyinRi enakku ulaginil vERu
DeivangaL Edhamma!
Thaayinri thavikkum en kuRai pOkkida
Thaavi nee vandhidamma!

Have I placed trust in any another God
In this world,
Except You?
I suffer like a child
Who has been orphaned
Leap to my rescue, Oh Mother,
And remove all my sorrow!

Uruvinil nee oRu chiru kuzhandai ena
Ulagathaar kooridalaam!
Karuvinai aLikkum un thiru munnE
AnaithumE thoosi amma!

The whole world might proclaim
You are tiny, in form and size!
Yet, in front of your Holy form
Breathing life into each embryo
Everything else loses significance
And becomes mere Specks of dust!

Ulagathil uLLa palakOdi deivamum
unnuL adakam amma!
Kalagamum kabadamum niRaintha ivvulagai
KaLippudan MaaRRidamma!

Countless and millions of Holy beings
Are dissolved within your holy form
Oh dear Mother.
Please transform with Joy and delight
This world, filled with confusion and vice
Oh, Bala, our very dear Mother!

This prayer removes existing ailments and provides protection from those diseases that might affect us in the future!