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.
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.
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!!