Monday, April 12, 2010

Video - Jothi Jothi Jothi

The Temple of Wisdom

In 1870, Ramalinga Swami moved into a small hut in the hamlet of Mettukuppam, about three miles south of Vadalur. This hut has been preserved to this day and is known as "Siddhi Valaga Thirumaligai", "the sacred mansion of the miracle". In 1871, he requested his disciples to construct "a temple of wisdom" designed by him. They did it within six months. It was inaugurated on January 25, 1872, and is still standing to this day. It has a unique design which in its form explains symbolically the process of Self realization as experi¬enced by Ramalinga. Seven curtains representing human passion and ignorance conceal an eternal light and various inner spaces within. These curtains conceal successively: "the individual", "life itself', the "space of reality", the "space of the Lord Supreme", and various spiritual experiences. Beyond all these curtains stand a glass box, five feet high, representing the purity of the soul, and within it there burns an eternal flame, which represents the soul in its true splendor, merged with Supreme Grace light (Arul perunjyoti).

Ramalinga issued instructions to his disciples that except for the burning of camphor, no ritual be performed. Devotees should pray silently, filled with love for God, and enter into ecstasy.

"Into all the bodies of His creation..."

From the time of the laying of the foundation of the temple, Ramalinga Swami would alternate between periods of several days of seclusion in his hermitage and periods when he would give thrilling lectures on universal spiritual communion. Towards the end of 1873 he hoisted his Sanmarga flag as a token of achievement of the Supreme Grace Light. He entreated his listeners to meditate upon the Lord of Light seated in one's heart and to pray to the Supreme Grace Light. Towards the end of 1873, he placed outside the door of his room the oil lamp which he had been using inside. He asked his disciples to worship it and to keep it burning forever. He asked them to imagine the Supreme Grace Light manifested in it and to pray to Him for Grace.
But when his spiritual mission did not take as deep a root as it perhaps should have, Ramalinga expressed sorrow, saying:

"We disclosed the treasure. but no one was willing to have it. We close down. "
Earlier he remarked:

" You. my dear ones. you seem to have decided not to hear me. You may not hear me now. There are some enlightened persons in the far north. They will be coming over here. They will learn this philosophy and preach unto you. Then perhaps you may listen." Madame H.P. Blavatsky, co founder of the Theosophical Society, which led the western world's revival in interest in spirituality and esoteric studies in modern times, with international headquarters in Madras, declared that Ramalinga Swamigal was the forerunner of their movement. (July, 1882 edition of the Theosophist).

Forty years later Sri Aurobindo settled in nearby Pondicherry. Parallels between his experiences and those of Ramalinga are discussed in the next chapter.
After seeing that the masses did not hood his message, Ramalinga appealed to God:
"Oh Lord of Life. What is the use of repeating my humble desires when you know my mind? When will all the world, realizing the universal spiritual communion, enjoy eternal happiness devoid of miseries and death? When shall I. on seeing their joy, be happy?" (Canto 2, chapter 23, verse 10)

On the auspicious day of January 30, 1874, at the age of 50, Ramalinga wrote and released to his devotees the following statement:

"My beloved ones!" I have to be out of your sight for a time. Do not worry. Keep the Light of the lamp (Gnana Deepam) burning forever. Imagine that god is there and worship the light. You will be amply rewarded. I am in this body now and after awhile I shall enter into all the bodies of his creation. Close the door and lock it outside. The room, if ordered to be opened, will only be void. "

Ramalinga then shut himself up in his room in the Mettukuppam hut. Later that night, as the devotees outside the room were chanting "Arulperunjyoti. Arulperunjyoti. Tanniperunkarunai. Arulperun jyoti" (Supreme Grace Light, Supreme Grace Light, pour down upon us, Supreme Grace Light) suddenly a flash of violet light emanated from Ramalinga's room, signaling the merger of Ramalinga "into all the bodies of His creation". For, when the room was eventually opened it was found to be empty. Ramalinga had disappeared without a trace.

Upon receipt of a police report a few days later, the chief British administrative officer of South Arcot District, the Collector, a Mr. J.H. Garstin, of the Indian Colonial Service, ICS and Mr. George Banbury, ICS, the District Medical Officer, with the Tashildar, the chief of the local "Taluk" or sub district, Mr. Venkataraman lyer, rode quickly on horseback to Metukuppam to investigate the disappearance. They conducted an elaborate inquiry. All of the villagers were overcome with emotion, so great was their sorrow. The officers went around the hut carefully examining the entire area. Finding no evidence which would support any suspicion to the contrary, they concluded that Ramalinga was indeed a great soul who had vanished into thin air. The Collector enquired from the disciples what the Swan ii had asked them to do. They told him that he had instructed them to food the poor. Both British Officers gave twenty rupees for this purpose to the disciples and rode back to Cuddalore.

In 1878, the Manual of South Arcot District was published. In it, the Collector, Mr. J.H. Garstin, described the disappearance of Ramalinga Swami. He stated that "in 1874, Ramalinga Swami entered into a room at Mettukuppam and asked his devotees to lock it outside. He did not come out at all. His disciples believe that he has merged with God."

His passing reminds one of the way in which the four great Saivite saints of Tamil Nadu, the "Nayanars", left the physical plane. None of them dropped their bodies on earth nor was buried or burnt. They vanished into the other or into the Lord Divine. Tirugnanasambandar vanished into the divine light which appeared at the time of his marriage. Appar merged physically with the Absolute form of the Lord at Pugalur. Sundardr merged with Lord Shiva at Mount Kailas and Manickavasagar merged with the idol of Nataraja, the Cosmic Dancer, in the sanctam sanctorum of the Chidambaram temple (Sokkizhaar, 1985). Unlike them, however, Ramalinga did not keep deathlessness a secret. He proclaimed it openly and invited everyone to share in its Joy and Supreme Grace Light.

source: Babaji and the 18 Siddha Kriya Yoga Tradition

The Divine Song of Grace

Ramalinga composed many hymns and poems expressing his devotion for God and his spiritual aspirations. His favorite time for such composition was at night. Velayutha Mudaher, in 1867, after great effort, persuaded Ramalinga to allow him to collect and publish the poems with the title Thiruvarulpa or The Divine Song of Grace. A history of their composition was written by Velayutha in 63 verses and appended to this collection.

Soon after its publication, a group of people in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, headed by a famous scholar, Arumuga Navalar, wrote a pamphlet which described as presumptuous the title of 7he Divine Song of Grace. They asserted that such a title should be applicable only to the verses of the four earlier Tamil Saivite saints. After several more pamphlets appeared on either side, Arumugam Navalar filed a lawsuit seeking to force the title of the book to be changed. Summons were issued by the High Court in Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu. At the appointed time, Ramalinga walked into the courtroom, only after everyone from both sides of the dispute had taken their seats. When Ramalinga entered, everyone except the English judge, stood up immediately out of reverence for him. Ramalinga went to his seat, gestured in respect to the court and then walked out. Again everyone, including the plaintiff, Arumuga Navalar, stood up as he left. The English judge who had been carefully observing the expressions of reverence of everyone for Ramalinga, then asked Arumugam Navalar why he had shown such respect to the respondent. Navalar explained that it was a custom of the country to show respect to a saint. The judge immediately set aside the suit, ruling that the greatness and sanctity of the hymns was merited when even their critic was obliged to revere the saintliness of their author.

The Divine Song of Grace is one of the greatest master works of the Tamil language. Written in melodious verse, it expresses the nature and attributes of God, the soul and the symphony of life. It describes the various stages of Self realization and the transformation of Ramalinga's mortal human frame into a divine immortal body. Ramalinga wrote that his mortal body became resplendent with a golden hue and transformed into a "body of love" (Anburoo or Suddha deham). He sang more and more in ecstatic delight for the flow of Divine Grace. His "body of love" was transformed into an effulgent body, known as the "body of Grace", Pranava deham or "body of light". Unlike the previous one, this body was imperceptible to the sense of touch. It is imperishable and non susceptible to the ravages of Nature. His aspiration to merge with God Supreme was fulfilled at this stage. At one point, he states:

"I prayed for an effulgent body that would endure forever against wind, earth, sky, fire, water, sun, moon, death, disease, weapons of killing, planets, injuries of evil deeds or anything else. He later fulfilled my prayers and I have such a body. Think it not a mean gift. O people. seek refuge in my Father who is the lord of the Beatific Splendor that immortalizes even the material body." (Canto 6, chapter 13, verse 59)

It was about this time that the disciples of Ramalinga tried to photograph him. A famous photographer, Masilamany Mudalier of Madras was brought down. He attempted to photograph Ramalinga eight times, but the photographic plates revealed only his clothing and no part of his body. One of his disciples, Kandaswamy Pillai offered an explanation. According to him the body of Ramalinga had already been converted into a body of sublime light and hence it would not reflect on the photographic plate.

His body cast no shadow. To avoid undue publicity to this fact, Ramalinga covered his head and effulgent body with a white cloth. He was a straight, slender figure of moderate height. He had a long sharp nose and broad soothing eyes sparkling with spiritual fire. His frame appeared thin. He took a small quantity of food only once in two or three days. He could very easily read the minds of others and frequently performed miracles, such as healings. He often disappeared for many days at a time. He was simple, humble, gentle and loving.

source: Babaji and the 18 Siddha Kriya Yoga Tradition


THIRUVARUTPA - Paal Marantha Kuzhaviyai Pol Paaren...

Lord Murugan Song - Vallalar


Grace Light and Ramalinga

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Ramalinga Swamigal

Soruba samadhi has been attained by a few great souls in modern times. Ramalinga Swamigal, the Saint of Vadalur, Tamil Nadu, southern India is one amongst them. He experienced various stages of Divine transformation, and left forty thousand verses describing his experiences. Ramalinga Swamigal has become one of South India's most celebrated saints, revered universally for his great sanctity, conquest of death and inspiring songs in praise of Shiva. Such verses are sung today by millions of school children in praise of the "Arul Perun Jyoti", the "Supreme Grace Light", Ramalinga's favorite name for God. Not only children, but even such spiritual giants as Sri Aurobindo and Madame Blavatsky, recognized Ramalinga as their forerunner.

A Sketch of Ramalinga’s life story

Ramalinga was born on October 5, 1823 in the village of Marudur, about ton miles north of Chidambaram, the site of the great temple of Dancing Shiva, "Nataraja" . When he was five months old, his father, Hamiah Pillai, and his mother Chinnammai, brought him to this temple to be sanctified. As recorded later in his Divine Song of Grace or Thiruvarulpa as it is known in Tamil, when the curtain in front of the idol of Nataraja was lifted and the camphor flame waved in front of it, Ramalinga laughed aloud and an unusually great atmosphere of sanctity prevailed. Seeing the communion of the child and the idol of the Supreme Lord, the chief priest ran forward, embraced the child, and declared that it was the child of God. In another verse, of the same work (Canto 6, chapter 38, verse 44) Ramalinga declared that God was so benevolent as to reveal to him everything without reservation even in his childhood.

His father passed away about a month later. The family moved to Madras, where it was supported by Ramalinga's elder brother. When Ramalinga was five years old, his brother arranged for his schooling with a famous tutor. Ramalinga, after a few lessons, began composing ecstatic verses of poetry in praise of God and in one of these he sang as follows:
"What wonder it is, O God, you have educated me in all knowledge; you have inculcated in me an ardent love for you; you have persuasively taught me that the whole world is nothing but a mirage,. O My benevolent Being! You are in me and are showering your Grace; you have condescended to be my spiritual Master and blessed me, the insignificant creature with a status above wants without being driven to the necessity of begging others" (Canto V, chapter 40, verse 4).

Seeing the wonderful spiritual development of the child, the tutor refrained from giving him any more lessons. His elder brother, to make Ramalinga realize the importance of education, turned him out of the household. However. the elder brother's wife continued secretly to feed him, until after one such occasion, he was moved by her pleas to return to the household and take up his studies. At this time he was nine years old. After requesting materials for writing and study, he immediately shut himself up in his room at the family's house at no. 9 Veeraswami Pillai Street, Madras, India. A torrent of psalms and hymns poured through him in inspiration as the "Supreme Grace Light" reflected in him like a mirror and Omniscience descended into him and he sang as follows:
“You have infused all knowledge in me without my undergoing the ordeal of learning to such an extent that the most learned come to me to learn more. O God! my stabilizer! You have endowed that Light with which I could realize all knowledge and all wisdom and everything else without being taught" (Canto 6, chapter 1, verse 23 to 24).

During an illness, when Ramalinga was twelve years old, his elder brother, asked Ramalinga to replace him in his duties as a religious teacher. The congregation was so impressed with his skill in commenting on the verse of one of the medieval Saivite saints, Thirugnanasambandar, that they insisted that he finish the series of scheduled lectures. Taking it as the will of the Supreme Lord to initiate his mission in the world, Ramalinga accepted the invitation of the devotees.
Little has been recorded with regards to the next twelve years of his life. However, it appears that it was a period of intense aspiration and an ordeal of yearning for the descent of the Divine grace. He wrote about this period:
"Why should I narrate the painful yearnings when You are the witness of all my sufferings all along and when You are pervading within and outside my mind both internally and externally?" (Canto 6. chapter 139, verse 78)

In 1849, Velayutha Mudaher of Thuzhuvoor, a reputed Tamil and Sanskrit scholar and poet, became his principle disciple. Over the next twenty five years Velayutha authored many books including treatises on Ramalinga Swamigal.

It was about this time, that Ramalinga was compelled to marry Thanammal, daughter of one of his sisters. But all attempts by the family to persuade him to a worldly life were in vain. His wife remained a virgin throughout her life.

During the next decade, at Thiruvothiyur and Chidambaram, he composed many inspired passionate verses expressing his aspiration for the Lord's light of grace. About 1860 Ramalinga moved to the village of Vadalur which is almost at the center of an equilateral triangle formed by the three great temples of Chidambaram in the south, Vridachalam in the west and Thiruppathirupoliyur in the north east. Here, in 1867, he founded a house of charity to feed the poor and extend hospitality to travelers and indigent old persons. About 10,000 persons were fed at the inauguration ceremony which lasted for three days. The first part of his treatise, Jeevakarunya Ozhukkam, on compassion to all living things a key principle in his teachings was released at that time. He ordained a path of righteousness, "Sanmargam", whose life breath was compassion to all living beings. He taught that kindness is inherent in human beings. As God is manifest in all living beings, kindness and compassion shown to living beings is kindness and love shown to God. He taught that the love of God or God's grace shall now into the very form of the compassionate being. To receive God's grace, one should become kindness incarnate and firmly establish in oneself feelings of unity and fellowship. The best form of compassion is giving food to persons who are unable to work and earn their food, without questioning as to their caste, community, creed, color, conduct or country; and to relieve the hunger of animals, birds, insects and plants, realizing that God is present in every being. He condemned the killing of animals and converted many to vegetarianism.

At Vadalur, Ramalinga discoursed extensively with his disciples and he received many visitors who came especially to witness his miracles. Those who were hungry were fed and the sick were cured. Some scholars of various philosophical schools visited him and had their doubts clarified.

He founded a society under the name of "Sanmarasa Veda Sanmarga Sangam", later renamed by him as "Sanmarasa Suddha Sanmarga Sathya Sangam". He borrowed the name for his philosophy "Sanmarga", "the good path", from Thirumoolar's Thirumandiram.

source: Babaji and the 18 Siddha Kriya Yoga Tradition