Monday, November 5, 2012

OMG-4: Musing on Mystical Mountain



""You should feel that God belongs to you. You visit temples like you visit a bus terminal. It is all so impersonal. You never feel that God is yours. You think he resides somewhere in the temple. You should feel that 'God is mine and he resides in my mind'. The moment this feeling arises in you, you get all the bravery needed in your life. All the meekness will vanish. Whatever we desire and whatever we need will begin to happen. Whatever is right, necessary and good will happen."" ~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

"No one visits Arunchala till Arunachala wishes so" --Legend 


Well this is my penultimate blog under OMG series. As i told you i have signed up 4 day silence yoga retreat Tiruvanamalai the town famed for Holy hill of Arunchala which is revered as Shiva himself and Ramana Maharshi the world famous saint.In Tiruvanamali , pilgrims do pradikshana around Arunachala mountain itself. This circumbulation is called Giripradhiskhana.
On third day, around 5.30 am i just felt like taking walk around Ramana ashram which is connected to Arunchala mountain .Ramana maharishi in his teens used to meditate in Skanda ashram which is around half a kilometer from ashram . As the path to Skanda was well laid with soft rocks i took the walk barefooted with hope that i would be back to my yoga class within an hour.I never thought for a moment that this day would be one of most memorable day in life. Reaching Skanda i came to know that Ashram wont be open for another half an hour.So i climbed little higher hoping to catch view from top.On one of tree i saw a small sign board with direction arrow and with Shiva temple written on it. I thought the temple must be little higher some where nearby and as i still have some time before ashram opens i thought i could well go and see how a temple in built in mountains,. i wish i had wondered for few moments how come no trekkers were going or how far the temple is as sign board indicated nothing about distance . But there was no path in that direction except few yellow arrows painted on rocks many of which were hidden in shrubs.It was still early in morning and climate was gentle and cool. With just one litre bottle of water and few crumbs of biscuits where were left in my bag from last night 15 kms Giripradiskhana.

I started following arrows and climbed higher and higher. Even after half an hour of ascent i couldn't see any temple. Something in me pushed me not to give up .I navigated myself carefully through rocks and thorns and occasionally sipping little of water.. I always loved nature and greenery and without paying attention to time , i absentmindedly climbed higher and higher. At one point i looked behind only to get startled. Vertigo hit me and looking down gave frightening feel of falling down.I was able to see entire Tiruvanamalai from that point.I wondered where the hell did i get struck up and how the hell should i descend ?.and Where is temple?.Still no sight of temple.I wanted to turn back but my raw ego wanted me get bottom of this and kept climbing up and up hoping temple is just round the corner.


Now the mount was getting steeper and steeper ..My entire body was drenched to last garment with sweat. I rested under shade of huge boulder to catch some breath and jot down my thoughts in my pocket book.As i was sipping my last few precious drops , suddenly bottle slipped and some of water spilled down on ground. I didnt realise how angry and anguish i wud get over this incident. I was middle of no where and here water spills .I didnt knew one would become so possessive and stingy for few drops of water.Imagine how much water we waste in our homes.,




Sun broke through clouds.and Sweat was incessant.Mountain was becoming more steeper that i had to climb with hands as well..Far from there was a very big boulder jutting out and nothing behind could be seen. I thought i had come to end of the road and probably there is no temple and it was all for nothing i climbed till this point.Arduously i crawled upto the boulder .Blood in me was drained when i saw arrows pointing a detour round the rock. I walked around only to find hill is still higher. I was wondering if mountain was growing .If mountain was brimming with life? Now my ego levels shot up ,Pride badly bruised. I violently decided not to give up till i find end of arrow marks . I wanted to finish this at any damn cost.What i comfortably forgot was last time i had proper meal was 18 hrs ago and my energy levels were slowly dropping down as i climber higher and higher against the gravity.

My case was like Discovery channels Man vs Wild. But they have entire team to back them up if anything goes wrong,And what do i have ?..Miles from civilization,monkeys, thorns, stones and serpents.All my life i had this desire of getting into wild and green forests and climbing hills and wanted to sign up those trekking courses . Now i realise those treks are controlled tamed and planned adventures and no wonder they look so cool and fantastic. And here iam , started out with no plan and ended with o plan either. But now my desire to climb mountain got completely fulfilled, satiated and i only hoped if i can make back home , i would never even go to a park. By now i finished off last drops of my water . i had to lick my own sweat to satiate my thirst. I was hoping even if poison or alcohol comes across me i would gladly drink it,.When i looked behind and town disappeared and all i could see was clouds floating by . Trust me that was amazing sight.Just like in hill stations.
Other day my yoga teacher who looks like albus dumbledore was saying that He provides food for every living being and sustains life ". I chuckled at senti-devotional thought that occurred me if Creator would provide me water now.Legend says that no one visits Arunchala till He Himself wishes it so.Great calling i guess.Here iam, Without water,food,shoes,plan,path and above all , dwindling confidence and hope.I wondered if this was in first place Shivas call, will He provide me with water?..i guess i was just frustrated after all i am not rough-tough macho man who would love to endure in wild, All i just want is be back to my house and read all those books i recently ordered .Shall i start with Karan bajaj "Keep off grass" or Shall i start Jaggi vasudevs Joy 24x7?or 2 brand new Calvin and Hobbes or Archies comics?...or "Many lives Many masters"The story of 63 reincarnations of a woman in west?.My reverie was broken when i accidentally stepped on small pebble as it dug into my soft feet.


Suddenly i felt i am climbing aimlessly and arrows were visible any longer. I scanned my surroundings , on rocks, physically pushing away grass n shrubs .Then i saw this rusted old metal board with OM NAMA SHIVAYA written in different foreign languages. My excitement rose as i now i felt that if there was a temple it must be around. I saw a small entrance in between thick foliage .Entrance totally covered by green foliage.Inside as i waded through those plants i saw a small hut. clean and neatly maintained as though someone is living . Then next to hut stood very small 2-3 feet hut which housed tiny temple. Ahhhh..finally reached temple i thought. It was not exactly a temple in conventional sense. A grilled gate covered it with a heavy stone totally sealing off the temple. I thought of meditating for a while but my mind was like leaf caught in hurricane for some unknown reason. I smelt sweet camphor. i wondered who has lit camphor at this deserted place. i looked around but found none. Then i found that camphor was comming from inside the temple.I knew its wrong to open gates of a temples inner sanctorium . but when was the last time i followed traditions. I pushed back the stone and pulled out the grilled gate and followed the scent. As the temple is very small , all i could do is just push my head inside and see whats inside. I could still smell camphor but there ws nothing burning inside yet i could swore that source of scent is from inside. Inside , i saw some babas photo and old time symbols of Shiva and what else .....A POT FULL OF WATER UP TO ITS BRIM
i DIDNT THINK ANY MORE. fIRST THINGS fIRST. i QUENCHED MY THIRST and wondered how the hell did pot with water come here?..Iam almost 10-15 kms away from civilsation and its highly difficult to bring a pot with water that too maintain it till brim. Is this a miracle or just my plain luck.Whatever was the source i silently thanked Higher power for providing water in nick of time , when i needed the most..I just wondered how far am i and moved around pushing away the dense trees n foliage. Another surprise held me. I was just 10 yards away from peak. The summit .The summit welcomed me with my feet burning on hot rocky plateau. Plateau had Trishul dug in and all floor was black. Then i realised that this is where people burnt 2500 litres of ghee every Karthika pauranami. The 360 degree panoramic view we get on summit is just mind blowing. We feel so small in such big view .
I came back and slept in hut fer sometime .Then i realised something . It was like revelation or just understanding that crept unto my mind. I know what came into my mind was grafted or placed into it . Something original not something that i thought or i remembered . Now that will be my final blog in this series. Watch the next one .


I wondered if i knew if the temple was this far would i ever have attempted this climb?. No never..I guess its true about the local legend that You never visit Arunchala unless Arunachala wishes so...!!!! Om Nama Shivayaa..!!!

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