Saturday, April 1, 2017

From ‘Worshipping the Divine Oneness of Arunachala-Ramana’ by Muktha Manu & Peter Berking

…geological finding of the core age of Arunachala as 3.8 billion years old….one of the oldest rock formations on earth….Hence the Holy Hill of Arunachala is the oldest natural shrine in the world.

For 54 years after His Enlightenment, Bhagavan Ramana was accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, to both rich and poor, mighty and humble, scholar and ignorant, even to animals and birds.

Of all the saints who adored Arunachala in many hymns, the child-like Jnanasambandar’s songs are remarkable.

….Major ardent Western devotee…writes….
Bhagavan would wander out on to the Hill a few times a day, and if any attachment to anything on earth could be said of him, it was surely an attachment to the Hill. He loved it and said it was God Himself. He used to say that it was the top of the spiritual axis of the earth; there must be, he said, another mountain corresponding to Arunachala at exactly the opposite side of the globe, the corresponding pole of the spiritual axis…..

….Kanakammal continued:
……Bhagavan’s face took on a special glow! Bhagavan told his devotees of the numerous miracles which took place on the Hill. He told them about his own life on the Hill, the various caves dotting the Hill, the greatness of the banyan tree on the northern slope of the highest peak, about the siddhas [Self-Realized astral beings] who dwell on the Hill and about the priceless herbs that grow on it that cure even incurable diseases

Another meaning of Arunachala is …. ‘A-runa-achala’ means the achala [hill] which makes runa [bondage] non-existent.

Sage Nandikeshvara tells Markandeya Rishi the assurance given by Lord Shiva:
By seeing Chidambaram, by being born in Tiruvarur, by dying in Kasi, or by merely thinking of Arunachala, one will surely attain Liberation…..

The whole Hill is sacred. It is Shiva Himself. Just as we identify ourselves with a body, so Shiva has chosen to identify Himself with this Hill. Arunachala is pure Wisdom (jnana) in the form of a Hill. It is out of compassion to those who seek Him that He has chosen to reveal Himself in the form of a Hill visible to the eye. The seeker will obtain guidance and solace by staying near this Hill.
-          Bhagavan Sri Ramana

Bhagavan quoted from the Arunachala Puranam, pointing to an important verse which says: ….If all the holy places are comparable to a body, holy Arunachala is like the face and the Lord of Sonagiri is like the eyes of the face.

…Even though the Hill is only 2682 feet high, it dominates the landscape….

Devotee Masthan Sahib …..When Masthan Swami died, Bhagavan gave instructions that he should be buried as a saint, using the rituals laid down in Tirumular’s Tirumandiram. These same rules were followed when Bhagavan and his mother were interred. Masthan’s samadhi shrine subsequently became something of a pilgrimage centre since many people reported that requests addressed to the samadhi were usually granted.

Bhagavan used to say ‘Kailasa is the abode of Shiva; Arunachala is Shiva Himself.’

To give verbal instructions it is necessary for the Guru to be in human form, but to have Satsang and subtle inner guidance He may be in any form. That is Guru Kripa. There is no difference between God, Guru, and the Self.
-          ‘Guru and His Grace’ in Maharshi’s Gospel

The Arunachala Hill….is an isolated hill, about fifty miles (80 km) inland from the Bay of Bengal. ….a conspicuous object for many kilometres around. The Arunachala Hill is referred to as the oldest hill on Earth, thus older than the Himalayas, and is regarded as the heart of the earth owing to its sanctity. The Deccan plateau, particularly the Eastern Ghats, is known to be one of the oldest lands on earth. ……In Arunachala, the rock is found to be 2.55 billion years old.

It would appear that among other mountainous belts, the Deccan Plateau in Southern India including Tiruvannamalai is one of the areas of little or no tectonic activity, i.e. seismological; these belts have not changed their characteristics drastically over a long period of time. ……This Hill is of igneous rock….

The Western seeker Paul Brunton….writes ……
A geologist friend of mine from America who visited me lately proclaimed Arunachala to have been thrown up by the earth under the stress of some violent volcanic eruption in the dim ages before even the coal-bearing strata were formed. In fact, he dated this rocky mass of granite back to the earliest epoch of the history of our planet’s crust, that epoch which long preceded the vast sedimentary formations in which fossil records of plants and animals have been preserved. It existed long before gigantic saurian of the prehistoric world moved their ungainly forms through the primeval forests that covered our early earth. He went even further and made it contemporaneous with the formation of the very crust of the earth itself. Arunachala, he asserted, was almost as hoary and as ancient as our planetary home itself…..

It would appear that Bhagavan was quite certain about a corresponding Holy hill exactly on the side opposite Arunachala, on the other side of the globe. The following extract from a book by Sadhu Arunachala (Major A. W. Chadwick) .....Chadwick writes …
Bhagavan used to say that Arunachala was the top of the spiritual axis of the earth. He said ‘There must be another mountain corresponding to Arunachala at exactly the opposite side of the globe, the corresponding pole of the spiritual axis.’ So certain was He of this, that one evening He made me fetch an atlas and see if this was not correct. I found, according to the atlas, the exact opposite point came in the sea about a hundred miles off the coast of Peru. He seemed doubtful about this. I pointed out that there might be some island at this spot or a mountain under the sea…..

……there is a sacred mountain at the other end of the axis in Peru, South America. The Inca Indians worshipped this mountain and established a very sacred spiritual city there called Machu Picchu.

Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi always insisted that the Holy Hill of Arunachala was the spiritual axis of the world, even in a physical sense …..So it was his strong view that another Holy Hill existed diagonally across the globe ……This itself was remarkable since He normally did not take very rigid positions except on matters concerning the Self and the Heart … appears that Bhagavan may not have supported the conclusion of the research done by Major Chadwick (that an underwater mountain may be a candidate), since He seemed convinced that a land-based mountain existed at the other end of this ‘spiritual axis’.

Machu Pichu is about 100 miles away from the exact ‘opposite’ pole of the spiritual axis of the earth. ….The Incas worshipped the Machu Picchu Mountain itself as sacred ….the Divine Mother is worshipped as Goddess of the Universe in both cultures. In Machu Picchu the Godess of the Universe is worshipped as ‘Paachamama’, the manifestation of the Divine Mother, a name that bears a striking similarity to the name ‘Pachaiamman’ used for Parvathi in South Indian shrines. (In the early 1990s, during a plague, Bhagavan Ramana spent many months at the Pachaiamman Temple at the foot of the Hill, outside the town of Tiruvannamalai.           )

From ‘The Indian Colony of Champa’ by Phanindranath Bose

In the first century A.D., in the mainland of India, the mighty Mauryan empire had broken into pieces and the Sungas and Kanvas were ruling over Magadha. At such a juncture…….these colonists went over to Champa and made settlements over there. They might have taken the land route through Burma and Assam, or the direct sea route coming past Java.

The application of the name of Champa to this colony may lead us to conclude that the colonists went from the eastern parts of India. The epigraphical evidence of Vo-can, however, points to the Southern India as the home of the Indian colonists of Champa. As the epigraphical evidence is more strong and trustworthy, we must accept the theory that at least the family of the first Indian royal dynasty of Champa went from the valley of Godaveri and Krishna, because the inscription of Vo-can bears close resemblance to that of Rudradamana at Girnar and of Satakarni Vasisthaputra at Kanheri

…..the Indian kings of Champa…for more than a thousand years (from the third century to the fourteenth century A.D.) they kept up in that country the Indian rule as well as the culture and civilization of India.x

The native Chams had a distinctive clannishness which resisted to some extent the Hindu colonization and the institution of castes. Each Cham clan had its own totem, and there were traditions current for each clan.

Another point to be noted is that Hindu civilization and culture could not influence the law of inheritance of the Chams. So we find that among the native Chams the rule of property going to females survived even the introduction of Hindu civilization. The rule about the devolution of kingship, however, was according to the Hindu Law.

The Hindu custom of sati prevailed in Champa.

…..the prince was known by the Indian name – yuvaraja. ….The yuvaraja was often elected by an assembly of great men. This custom still survives in Cambodia. At the death of the king, the council of ministers meets under the presidency of Aka Moha Sena and elects one as the king or confirms one chosen by the dead king.

Some kings selected their ministers only from among the Brahmans and Ksattriyas.

From Chinese sources, we know that the officers, brothers and even the sons of the king had not immediate access to the king. It is strange that though they were not easily accessible even to their relatives, the kings were sometimes assassinated.

The entire kingdom of Champa was divided into three provinces, with a governor over each of them. It is significant to note that the names of these provinces are Indian. …..The provinces are ….Amaravati. It is in North Champa……Vijaya. It is in central Champa ……Panduranga ….in South Champa

….in the reign of Harivarman …..the whole kingdom at that time consisted of 30,000 families.

These provinces of Champa were governed by high officials or by princes of the royal family. The province of Panduranga was often given to a prince. ….the Champa king was an absolute monarch….He had ….to maintain a large army. In the time of Wen, it consisted of ….40 to 50,000 men. It increased more and more afterwards. In the eighth century only the royal guard consisted of 5,000 men. ….The command of the army was given to the brothers or sons of the king.

While Cambodia provides us with the best specimens of Indian art and sculpture …..the artists of Champa were not inspired by the Indian ideal in the same way. They followed the Indian canons, and got the Indian form, bereft, however, of the inspiration. The result was that they could not approach the best specimens of Indian sculpture of the Gupta period.

The most popular of the Gods of the Hindu trinity in Champa was Siva…….the sculptors of Champa ….seemed to prefer to represent and worship Siva in the form of a lingam (phallus) ….The worship of the lingam was perhaps prevalent in Rigvedic times…..Whether we agree with Hopkins as to the Greek influence behind lingam worship or not, no one will deny that the worship of Siva and his emblem, the lingam, is of non-Aryan origin.

It is surprising that while Hinduism made such headway in Champa, Buddhism, which penetrated so far into China and Japan could not make much progress in Champa. This may be due to the fact that most of the kings of Champa were Hindus and that they were busy making endowments to Hindu Gods and Goddesses.
The remains of Buddhist sculptures in Champa show that Buddhism prevailed side by side with Hinduism, though it could not rival the latter in popularity.

This art of Champa, which is Indian in origin and design but Cham in execution…….

The stories of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata seem to have been familiar with the people of Champa, though perhaps they were not so popular as in Java.

India effected in Champa not only a physical but also a cultural conquest. Her sons ruled over Champa for more than twelve hundred years ……