Monday, August 30, 2010

Bhagawan's Majesty on Display

Poorna Pushkala Samedha Hariharaputra Swami, Thirunellai, Palakkad

The Master of the Universe - reveals himself in his Majestic and Munificent form in his favorite Kirata Vesham along with his Shakthis - Poorna and Pushkala

(Photo Shared by Shri. Hari ShankaraNarayanan, Banglore)

Lalita Trishati Parayanam - Query continues....

After answering the query on Lalita Trishati, some of our devotees wanted to list out similar stotras which r not to be chanted without upadesham...

Vishnu Sahasranamam and Genaral Stotras like Loka Veeram, Shyamala Dhaandakam etc can be chanted irrespective of any criteria...

But how is it possible to list out the Stotras ? Stotra Collection s is like a huge ocean. It is impossible to list all the Stotras which need initiation.

A simple way to find it out is that all the Stotras which needs upadesham Starts with
"Asya Shree................mantrasya...... rishi etc.
(Remember ? there is one mantram called Gayatri which you got as upadesham from your father. Before chanting this mantram you used to do nyasas)
and having beeja mantrams (ie like Hreem Aim etc)

All other slokas donot have any bar and anyone can chant it.

And  the following popular Stotras which are now chanted just like that 100% needs upadesham
Varahi Nigraha + Anugrahashtaka
Durga Saptashati ie Devi Mahatmyam
Lalita Sahasranama
Lalita Trishati
Indrakshi Stotram
Saubhagya Ashtottara
Kartaviryarjuna mantram
Sudharshana Mantram
Shri Maha Sasthur Anugraha Kavacham
Kirathashtakam of Sastha
Subramanya Shatru Samhara Trishati

And there is a propaganda that a person who has got Gayatri Mantra Upadesham can directly chant Lalita Trishati or Sahasranama... I dont know who gave the permission...

Unless there is an explicit reference in the Shastras you cannot take things for granted. A person with Gayaptri mantra Upadesham can very well chant Gayatri Sahasranamam (which is least bothered) and how can he claim mastery over some other area in which he has not given any right?

Donot try to compromise with Mantra Sasthra and try to act smart...
You can very well read all these texts and no one can stop you...

But that may be like reading a story book the net result will be nothing....

A Divine Hunter called Sastha

As requested by many of our devotees, Iam posting this wonderful Dhyana Sloka written by Shankaracharya on our beloved Lord. Sastha is depicted as hunter here...

And this Dhyana is a very powerful one which gives Chidda Shuddi to the aspirants....

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c®laÆ n¢laÆ vas¡naÅ karatala vilasat k¡¸·ak°da¸·a da¸·aÅ.
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Mounted on a tall-majestic horse which runs faster than the air, Clad with a blue attire, lustrous hands holding the bow and arrow, He who creates fear to the dreadful animals like desire, hatred and other bad qualities; May that Lord Bhoothanatha cheerfully carryout His hunting in the forest of my mind.

Shankaracharya and Sastha

Dear Arvindji,

I would like to ask on few questions:

1)Adi Sankaracharya is one of the finest vedic scholar whe had ever had. He had composed beatiful hymns on  Hindu Gods and Goddess. To my utter suprise, I've never seen any composition on Lord Shasta by Shankara Bhagavatpada. Also, according to Shri XXXXX in his website, Adi Sankaracharya had not composed any hymn on Lord Shasta.

I've once asked a gentleman on this and he told me that Lord Shasta's incarnation was after Shankara Bhagavatpada and our beloved lord's duty was more as guardian deity which I did not agree totally to his comments. 

What i'm curious to know here, why there is no any hymns on Dharma Shasta by Adi Sankara? May be there could be a composition by Adi Sankara on Lord Shasta which i do not know till today.

2) What is the mount/vehiche of Lord Shasta?  Based on my findings, I've seen Lord Shasta rides on Horse, Elephant and tiger. And in Sabarimala Sanctom Sanctorum, horse is mounted on the Dwaja. Swami, could you please explain this doubt as well?

Thank You.
Swamiye Sharanam Ayyappa!

Warm Regards,


Swamiye Sharanam Ayyappa

In the world of spirituality many people today assume things and the worst part of it is they propagate what they believe (or what they want to believe)

So no one can Just like that pass judgments on the Master of the Universe. Now its a fashion and Ego of people that they even tend to comment on God. 
Let people call him Guardian Deity, Village Deity or Tribal Deity or anything they want.. afterall He is everything to us.

If Sastha is guardian deity then who is Vishnu ? - even his duty is the same Protection- Paalana - Stiti or whatever you call it.
If Sastha is tribal deity then who is Shiva ? - clad with tiger skin, snakes and who lives in the Graveyard.

Shankara and Sastha

Who said Adhi Sankaracharya has not composed any stotra on Sastha.?

The Gentleman you have mentioned has done a great job by compiling many stotras and putting in his website... But that doesnt mean he is an authority and can pass judgement on our Lord. 
Let me point out a small thing... He has published a dhyanam 

Thamalasyamalam bhadram.... and he has explained it as Sastha's dhyanam.. Whereas its the dhyana sloka of Satyaka - Sastha's son...

A simple thing which many of us fail to understand Sastha is different from Ayyapan. Sastha is a God and Ayyappan and Shankaracharya both are incarnations. Then how can a God's manifestation take place after a human being?

Ayyappan might have incarnated after Shankara but Sastha is the Supreme Lord who was always there (in other words - before Shankara ; After Shankara and forever)

Sastha at Kaanchipuram
There are nearly 6000 Sastha Shrines out of which Iam sure more than 2000 temples will be before Shankara. Sorimuthaiyan Kovil at Karayar is worshipped by Agastya, Achankovil by Parasurama and Kanchipuram - the wonderful Kshipra Prasaada Moorthi - Purna Pushkala Samedha Maha Sastha was worshipped by Durvasa. This is only a tip of the iceberg....

There is a Deva Rahasya that every divine incarnation must get the anugraha of Sastha to complete His divine mission. (This rule is proved from Mahavishnu's Incarnations, Devi's Incarnations, Subramanya's incarnations and continues till Sudarshana, Bhairava and all other Devatamshabootas. For each devata I can point out in detail but Iam not going to that subject now)

Then how can Shankara who is Shivamsha miss this Supreme Personality ? 

Shankara is also attached to Sastha personally

Another thing which many people donot know is - Sastha is enshrined in Adhishankara's mother's house ie Melpazhur Mana, where Shankara was born. (Kiratha Sastha is the family deity of this Mana)

If you have visited Chottanikkara - you may find two shrines of Sastha there. One shrine was already there as per the temple pratishta. And the second Sastha shrine has its own story - Once when Devi was out on a procession, the procession was attacked by rogues. To safeguard the Goddess, the Namboothri sent his family deity Sastha along with them. Sastha who came along with Devi, stayed back at Chottanikkara.

And now coming back to your query - If you see Shiva Keshaadi Paada Stuti in which Shankara Salutes Ganapathy, Subramanya and Sastha respectively on the 7th 8th and 9th slokas 
(Aarooda Prauda Vega....)

There are many Stutis attributed to Shankara which he has not composed and many more Stutis composed by him but not properly recorded.

There is a wonderful Stuti by Shankara is there which many of the books have not recorded...
Its Sastha's Keshadi Paada Dashakam - starts with AshAnu rupa phaladam

Vaahana Of Lord Sastha

Undoubtedly the Vahana of Sastha is Elephant...
"Davala Vaaranam DIvya Vaahanam" - says Harivarasanam.

Even Mantra Shastras and Puja Kalpams and Avarana Pujas gives separate puja for this Elephant. You have both white and black elephant as vahana for Sastha. One is Prabhuta and the other one is Taraka.

All the ageold temples of Sastha like Aryankavu, Karanthapuri etc has only this Elephant vahana

And the next Vahana of Sastha is Horse. Sastha's horse is of green color. This is what you see in Sabarimala, Kuthiran and many other temples.

And coming to Tiger... its only in Ayyappan incarnation he rode on a Tiger and in mantra Sasthra we dont find any form of Sastha acknowledging Tiger as his Vahana.

We call him Vanpuli Vahanan just because of the Ayyappan Incaration and the Pulipaal episode. But the Official Vahana Status is given primarily to Elephant and Horse.

And there are puranic episodes and at some temple we find Bull and also Dog as a vahanam to Sastha like Sori Muthaiyan Kovil or Kadanthethi but surprisingly not even a single dhyana or form or temple with Puli(Tiger) Vahana

Friday, August 27, 2010

Lalita Trishati Parayanam and Srichakra Meru in house

Dear Swami,
Iam doing the parayanam of lalitha trishati and sahasranama.. But Iam not initiated with any mantra... But my friend says that 'devotion that matters' and leave rest to devi and she will take care of rest. So Iam continuing my parayanam... But still when I read some books which says initiation is a must, I get confused

Is this right to do the chanting? Also can we keep Srichakra / Meru in our house?

First let me clarify - that "MY ANSWER TO THIS QUERY IS NOT GOING TO PLEASE MANY OF YOU ". But my Gurunathar has told me... "when you find something wrong - against Sasthras - record your objection and point out the mistake once. Even then if they continue, then its their fate"

So with my Gurus words Iam answering this query.

There is a difference between stotras and maala mantras... Stotras are praises of a particular deity and can be chanted by all... But certain stotras are called Maala Mantras which definitely needs initiation / upadesham for chanting. Any stotras which has Rishi and Nysam had to be taught by a Guru.

You have lots and lots of Stotras on every devata but people always want "the forbidden fruit"

People today are of "Know All" attitude and their Ego does not permit to get upadesham from a particular person as his/her Guru. (A small test if you get annoyed or irritated by reading this line, then please excuse me - you are also in the same zone)

Lalita Trishati is one such powerful Maala Mantra and only people having Srividya Upadesham can chant it. This is not for common folks...

Lalitha Trishati has 300 Names which is divided into 15 groups of 20 naamas each. The Srividya Moola mantram of Lalitha Maha Tripurasundari has 15 letters and for each letter 20 names are attributed and so 15 x 20 =300. So it is very obvious that initiation into Srividya is the basic qualification to Chant Trishati.

And you say your friend says "Devotion That Matters" - when devotion is the factor where does the question of breaking the rules come? A true devotee will never go against the will of his Lord. The same Lord say Lalita in your case have clearly instructed that this has to be secretly maintained and must be given only as upadesham.. So how can you act against Her instruction and gain pray to Her ?

Please read the Poorva Bagam and Uthra Bagam of Lalita Trishati. 

When Agasthya approaches Hayagreeva to teach him the important stotra (Lalitha Trishati), Hayagreeva hesitates because that one stotra is extremely secret.

Then Lalitha herself appears before Hayagreeva and asks him to teach Agasthya, the most secret of the stotras called Laltha Trishati. Then Hayagreeva teaches him the Lalitha Trishathi stotra.

When Agasthya himself is not exempted from Guru Upadesha, how can people like us take this as granted? 

And today we have Cassettes, CDs, MP3s and even Youtube having Trishati..... 

Doing things which are prohibited in the Sasthras will not only stop the results expected but also will yield Nishpalam ie Negative Effects.

Please understand.. IAM NOT THREATENING but iam talking out of consideration towards you... 

There are many "So called " Gurus who give permission to their disciples (?? !!) to chant whatever they want. They may say "No upadesham required"... Infact by saying so they become partners in sharing the sin. Who can give permission for acting against Shasthras ? 

Today many astrologers or the oracles simply suggest "Chant Trishati for 41 days" ; "Do Srichakra Puja" (They neither have any knowledge on what is Srichakra Puja nor who is Lalitha) 

My question is, for an ordinary headache a simple crocin or anacin will do.. you need not go for a brain surgery

Do not attempt to make any mistakes and then blame God.

Please understand Bhakti Maarga is Different from Mantra Marga or Upasana Maarga.... For being an Upasaka one needs bhakti but Being a Bhakta itself will not qualify you to act yourself as an upasaka. 

There are numerous other stotras on each and every deities which can be chanted by everyone- you can chant it heart-fully.. Instead of chanting the Stotras without upadesham, you chant all these stotras and pray to her that I only only this, Iam 200% sure that Devi will immediately bless you and grant all your wishes - BECAUSE OF YOUR SINCERITY

After reading all this.. do you want me to answer the the next question of keeping a Meru in the house ?

If there is atleast one  "YES" then I shall answer it

Saturday, August 21, 2010

An interesting query on Astrology

Dear Aravindji,

Yesterday I was lucky enough to hear you speak at the Rotary Club yestersay... Your speech was extremely engaging, inspiring and we were amazed to know about the backgruond of our culture.

I have a small doubt.. please answer this

From your talk i could understand that you had a profound knowledge in Astrology and you made a logical approach to the subject as a science.

Could you please tell me some details about the following. Sorry for disturbing you...

It is said one person can get manthira upadeesham, deeksai or gnana only if his horscope (jaadhagam) has a provision for that.. Is this correct?

Ganesh Kumar

Swamy Sharanam

Thanks for your words..

Let me first give you the simple answer -

When a person will enter into Gnana Marga ie the path to wisdom ? Is it because of horoscope ?

Not exactly.... the horoscope infact reflects the purva punyas you have accumulated.. so if you have a provision for Gnana its because of the Purva punya.

But please understand - for upadesham or deeksha the primary qualification is Guru's grace.. And again Guru is not a supernatural person with Orange robe or one who gives you viboothi from air.. He may appear like a very ordinary man; Even the age, position or status is not a criteria. But once you have given a position as your Guru, please understand - He is your GOD.

You need not doubt; or rather should not doubt.

And this will happen again only if your Horoscope is in such a way that you are inclined towards this idea.

Based on the Lagnadhipati and the Lord of the Fifth house you may get Mantra upadesham and which will in turn lead you to the ultimate Goal.

Only One among lakh people get the ripe time, mentality and situation for getting the Gnana from the Guru.
According to the science of astrology, this is a very rare case and may happen to a person during his Kethu Dasa.  When there are malefic planets in the Eighth and the Twelfth houses, this may further lead him to the next level. ie getting fedup with the samsara - family life

Generally it is evident that most of the Maha Purushas or Matra Siddhas have got upadesham and turning points only during the influence of Kethu.

Kethu is the Gnana Kaaraka and he is the only graha who will teach you what is what. Only his influence will exactly lead you to the Gnana Marga.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sastha Mantram and Dhyanam

Dear Arvindji,

You are doing a great job on creating the awareness of Lord Shastha to the eyes of the world. I find no word to thank you on the findings and marvelous job you had taken. I'm also a regular visitor to your shanmatha blog. Please do post and share more infor of our beloved Lord as there are many followers out there as me who wants to gain more knowledge on Lord Dharma Shastha.

This year i would also be going to Sabarimala as always and i wish i could meet you in person.

I've a also have a couple of question here and i hope you could help me,

1) I've heard and read in some books saying the moola manthra used in Sabarimala priest is "XXXXXX XXXXX XXXXX". Could you please explain the meaning of the manthra.

2) What is the meaning of bavaputra which falls in shastru gayathri? 

3) All our Hindu lord has a "Dhyanam" manthra which we use to invoke them in mind before recite any other manthra. I've seen in many occasion, people use to recite "Lokaveeram" as dhyanam manthra for Shastavu.Could you please share with us on shastha "Dhyanam" manthra.


I hope you could reply my email despite your busy schedule. I will always pray for your good health to the Supreme Lord Almighty.

Thanks and Best regards,

Swamiye Sharanam Ayyappa!

Sudharan S. Nambiar


Swamiye Sharanam Ayyappa 

Thanks for your words.... Iam just "a writing instrument" in HIS hands...  
Everything I speak or write - comes from Him. 
(believe me... in most cases even Iam sitting at the opposite side like you  - as a listener or reader)

Will you thank your pen for writing your words? I can be happy that He has chosen me to be "His Pen"
so all the credit goes to Bhakta Paripala who is making use of me. 

And I pray He must give me more and more opportunities to serve Him

Now coming to this queries... 

1) I've heard and read in some books saying the moola manthra used in Sabarimala priest is "XXXXXX XXXXX XXXXX". Could you please explain the meaning of the manthra.

Sastha has many many moola mantras more than 18

There are nearly eight cheif mantras of Sastha of which the 32 lettered mantra and 8 lettered mantra or 10 lettered mantra each having different Rishi and Chandas. In our sampradaya we follow many Sasthru mantras but the chief being the eight lettered mantra.

Moola mantras are not mere words but are very very powerful energy capsules. And so Iam restrained from spelling it out in this public forum..  

And generally moola mantras are the very form of the Lord... The Dhyana explains the (Sthula Swaroopam) Gross form of the Lord and the Moola Mantra explains the (Sukshma Swaroopa) Subtle form of the Lord. And moola mantras generally need not carry any meaning... the real meaning of the moola mantra is the very purpose of the upasana ie you experience it !!!

Anyway, when the Avatara of Lord Hariharaputra took place - Lord Brahma gave him four prominent names

1.Sastha - One who commands; One who rules.
2. Boothanatha  - The master of all living beings
3. Aryadada -  The one who is (like) the father of the respectable people
4. Paraaya Gupthan - One who protects the eternal secrets; 

Out of these Four the Last name "Paraaya Gupthan " is my favorite - and the name also means "One who cannot be understood"

2) What is the meaning of bavaputra which falls in shastru gayathri? 

Bava is none other than Shiva... 
Bava means existence; the source of all things...

So Bava putra means Shiva Putra.... Son of Shiva

3) All our Hindu lord has a "Dhyanam" manthra which we use to invoke them in mind before recite any other manthra. I've seen in many occasion, people use to recite "Lokaveeram" as dhyanam manthra for Shastavu.Could you please share with us on shastha "Dhyanam" manthra.

Dhyana slokas on Sastha !!! a wonderful question

If you have seen Shri Maha Sastha Vijayam, I have published nearly 30 dhyana slokams and also sketched 18 prominent forms among them...

There are around 200 dhyana slokas of Sastha available... and unfortunately people are not even aware about 3 or 4

"Loka veeram" is a stotra to praise the Lord and not a dhyana sloka to invoke him

And one single dhyanam which is a little popular is  Ashyama Komala (And its is NOT the famous Sabarimala (Chinmudra) Ayyappa's form as many people think)

Ashyama komala vishala thanum vichithra
Vasoavasana arunothphala dama hastham,
Uthunga rathna magudam, kutilagra kesam,
Sastharam ishta varadam sharanam prapadhye
One who has the pretty black coloured body, One who has a peculiar attire, who holds a beautiful lotus in his hand, who has a wonderful crown made of gems, and who has curly and pretty hair, may that Lord Sastha protect me, who grants all the wishes of his devotees.

If possible let me try to present some of the important dhyanas of sastha one by one in the forth coming postings

Thursday, August 19, 2010

800-year-old Sastha statue discovered

Glorious past

800-year-old Sastha statue discovered recently at Periyapuliyur, near Kavindapady. – An 800-year-old statue has been discovered at Periyapuliyur, near Kavindapady. The idol is Lord Sastha with his consorts Puranai and Pushkalai.

According to the Curator, Government Museum, Erode, C. Maheswaran, the idol is easily 800 years old and belongs to the early Chola period. While the left hand rests on the left leg, raised to the knee, the right hand holds a whip. The consorts are seen with fans. The Local people call it Iyyanar.

The Vigraham, in half-buried condition, sports a halo-like hair dressing, which is curled at the end. It appears like a halo. Ancestors worshipped the idol as a deity guarding the village, says Dr. Maheswaran. He says it was found in a rivulet near Periyapuliyur, when the water receded. The villagers on discovering brought it to the local temple, where it is worshipped to date. At present it is at the Chamundi Muniappan village, where people from all communities worship the deity. An interesting aspect of the temple, the curator says, is that deities worshipped by different communities find a place there. They are clan deities and members from all the communities go there to offer prayers.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Six Sastha Temples and the Shat Chakras

The Six Sastha Temples and the Shat Chakras
Dear Devotees,

For a very long time I was conceiving the idea of writing this article on the Six important Sastha Kshetrams. The Six temples which are dear to him signify the six chakras in the human body through which the Kundalini rises to travel to the Supreme State.

(I think some people may feel the article is very heavy... but even then please try to understand the juice and you may definitely enjoy your Sabari yatra next time)

Swami Sharanam
V.Aravind Subramanyam

The devotee who seeks the darshan of Lord Sastha, our most beloved God, no doubt finds Him at all of His temples. But those who really want to "realise" him, as an Yogic power, the upward climb of kundalini, there are six Kshetrams within oneself and also outside as separate temples.

The destinations of this journey are first Sori Muthaiyan Kovil, then Achankovil, followed by Aryankavu, Kulathupuzai, Erumeli and finally Sabarimalai. The fact that this sequence is far from geographically convenient is part of the austerity that comes with any true pilgrimage.

Adhara Chakra
Sori Muthaiyan Kovil

The significance goes beyond the list of the temples in specified order. There is metaphysical meaning, too. Yogis of yore determined that each temple stimulates a specific chakra in the subtle body of man: Sori Muthaiyan Kovil lights a fire in the Muladhara chakra governing memory at the base of the spine. Achankovil moves the next chakra, Svadhishthana, below the navel, governing reason. Aryankavu animates the Manipura chakra of willpower at the solar plexus. Kulathupuzhai spins the heart chakra, Anahata, the center of direct cognition. Erumeli opens the Vishuddha chakra of divine love at the throat, and Sabarimala electrifies the third eye of divine sight, Ajna chakra.

Nowadays, only sabarimalai is thronged by thousands, or tens of thousands, of devotees every day, and the other temples are almost aloof and remain in solitude except during annual festivals. Only a very few age-old sincere seekers, follow this style of yatra and undertake the life-transforming experience of the Six Sastha Kshetra pilgrimage.

Once the process of the six chakras are properly activated, the Ultimate state of Sahasrara is attained ie Dhashan of Kanthamalai - which is nothing but dharshan of Self - Athma Dharshanam - which is Noting but Moksha.

1.Sori Muthaiyan Kovil
Abode of Nature

Many of us have not heard about this temple and many doesnt realise the importance of this temple. This is the only temple in Tamilnadu among the Six kshetrams of Sastha. This temple is located in the area of Karayar Dam above Papanasam. It is completely surrounded by the Karayar forest. Inside the Tiger reserve forest is a massive rock at which Lord Sastha's first abode is situated.

It is the place where Swami gave dharshan to Agastya Maharishi; As Swami revealed his divya swaroopam to Agastya, all the devas showered Golden flowers like rain in the whole place. So Sastha is Known as "Pon Soriyum Muthaiyan" now Sori Muthaiyan. Swami is here in the Adhi Bhuthanatha Swaroopam;

The temple is neither with pillared halls nor with sculpture and art.. But a simple building structure. This ageold temple was lost in the shadows of time and was rebuilt by the Singmpatti Zamindar Kings between the mid-seventeen and mid-eighteenth centuries, thrives with the constant bustle of worshipers every day.

The entire right side of the temple has many many parivara devatas right from Madan to Pechi who has entirely a different method of Puja and On the left side is the three shrines, at the inner sanctum ie Mahalinga Swami, Maha Sastha with Poorna Pushkala and Lord Boothanatha.

Sastha is known as Muthaiyan at Sori Muthaiyan Temple. This Darshan to Agastya in this holy spot signifies the divine experiences a devotee gets after transcending his own lower nature. ie Mooladhara - when the Kundalini is activated it gives security, inner purity, softness of the voice, the burning of all negative karma. The mind is conquered and success is easily obtained.

Home of Completeness

Though situated in the deep Kerala Forest, one has to reach Achankovil only through Tamilnadu, winding through the traditional rural landscape, unchanged for centuries. Driving by rich and dense forest route we feel we are journeying back in time.

Swami is Manikanta Muthaiyan here.. He is with Poorna and Pushkala on either side.. The very great speciality of this temple is,the Original Vigraham which Parasurama installed is still in puja (only) here.

The granite statue Manikanta Muthaiyan a young King served by his wives Poorna and Pushkala.

Not far from the main sanctum, just opposite to the temple we find a separate complex which houses a lot of Parivaras of Sastha. Karuppan is the one who leads them all.

The bliss permeating this town is amazing. Every time we stop and stand quietly, all we can feel is this sublimity.

The Achankovil Sastha Temple is famous for curing poisonous snake bites. Swami was worshipped with Sarpa Suktham by Siddhas in ageold period. Thus he has a special treatment for snake bites. No matter whether it is dawn, dusk or midnight, the devotees can ring the temple bell to alert the priest who will rush to the aid of the victims in no time. Records say that nobody has ever died of snake bites in these holy precincts.

(snake indicates Kundalini... This temple is the second stage of Swadhishtanam and once the Kundalini is awakened from Mooladharam, the person may attain siddhis and may tend to become uncontrolable.. That poison called EGO out of Siddhis is controlled here)

Swadhishtana is indicated here - it means one's own abode...

This indicates pure concentration and pure knowledge. It is the one which connects us to the inner source of inspiration and enables us to experience the beauty around us.

It gives all the desires and people fall with material temptations. And generally it is difficult to raise the Kundalini (ie energy of consciousness) beyond this point for this reason.

Grove of Grace

The next temple on the journey is the Lord's Third abode. Known in ancient days as Arya Vanam, the wooded temple of Aryankavu is 22 km from Shenkottah bordering Tamilnadu.

The Aryankavu Sastha Temple is a small, well-maintained temple located built about 35 ft below the road level.

Though located in the highway , the strategic location of the temple protects the mental peace of the devotees from the sounds and vibrations of the outside world.

The temple is a quiet, austere place. There is a small mandapam in the front of the Lord Thiruvariyan.

With hair in the form of Fire - Agni Kesham and a flower bunch in hand, the panchaloka murti is an embodiment of Majesty, Fierce and Radiance. There is a small idol of a devi to the Left side of Lord Sastha.

Manipuraka is the Third Chakra which Gives Constant Happiness. It transforms the universal, human plane and earthly forces into life-force energy

A sourashtrial Girl from Madurai fell in love with Thiruvariyan and the Lord had accepted her.. This is a pure merger - "Aikyam" of the devotee with the Lord. This is an ultimate state of supremeness. So in remembrance to this event the Sourashtra people come here as the sambanthi to the lord, to conduct the Lord's Thirukalyanam -which is celebrated as 11 days festival.

In this place, Lord Aryan gives eternal happiness and raise the spiritual plane of his devotees, which is the nature of Manipuraka Chakra and that is what is understood in the Thirukalyanam (and also from my personal experience)

River of Peace

Situated amidst a forest range on the Thiruvananthapuram - Shenkottai road with a dramatic panoramic view is the Kulathupuzhai Sri Veeramanikantan Temple, Sastha's fifth abode. This Shasta shrine is located on the banks of Kulathu Puzha, a tributary of Kallada River, and is in the reserve forest.

The interesting legend about the origin of the Temple at Kulathupuzha is when an elderly Brahmin returning from his Rameshwaram pilgrimage camped on the Kallada Riverbank, one of the servants fixed some stone for cooking. Because the level of the stone was not proper, he got frustrated amd hit the fixed stone with another stone. Suddenly blood gushed out of the fixed stone and the Brahmin understood the divine presence of Lord Sastha there. The King of Kottarakkara heared about this and the constructed the present temple.

The name is Kulathupuzhai, meaning "River". The name refers to the grace of the Lord which flows always. The Lord chose this place for peace of mind and quiet relaxation. But there is much more significance to His presence here.

At the very entrance of the temple, we encounter the enchanting river. This river is renowned for its sacred water and all the fishes here are considered to be the whicparivaras of Bagawan. Thus feeding the fishes in the nearby river is an important vazhipadu in the Temple.

Sastha is actually worshipped in the form of the original stone which was broken by the servant. Now a Panchaloka vigraha has been installed for the purpose of alankara. The temple area is wide and big but the Sanctum complex is very small but cool and quiet.

Kulathupuzhai is linked to the anahata chakra, the heart center, which powers the faculties of direct cognition and comprehension. Here, the aspirant attains a consciousness: an objective apprehension of the whole of existence.

Kulathupuzhai is a wonderful place for undisturbed meditation. Now one can understand why Sastha chose this place.. 

Fort of Harmony

Situated about 60 kms. away from Kottayam town, this place was anciently called Mahishi Marika Vanam ie Erumeli today.

The God who loves to sport in the forests, appears here as a hunter. The worship of Sastha takes the form of a tribal dance in the hilly and forest regions. In olden days tribals celebrated God Sastha as their guardian deity and believed that the welfare of their tribe was His concern. These tribal dance forms are incorporated into today's Petta Thullal.

This is the junction from where one starts his journey to Sabarimala. Ironically the Lord who is bestower of peace is in the form of a fiere hunter here.. But there is a great inner significance.

This hunter kills not only the animals in the forest but also the inner animals in every spiritual aspirant. When this hunting happens, the Point of Awareness arises. Ego ceases - Reality presents itself as it is.

In Erumeli's setting, the vishuddha chakra is amplified, our consciousness resides in this chakra. In this state, there is no consciousness of a physical body, of being a person with emotions or intellect. The supreme hunter kills the so called "Self" and makes the devotee understand the truth of the oneness.

6. Sabari Malai
Mount of Meditation

The most revered of all temples to Lord Sastha is the Dharma Sastha temple at sabarimalai. This sixth abode is is situated in the midst of 18 hills, in a bowl of land.

Every year millions of Indians, irrespective of caste, creed or religion throng the tiny complex to have darshan of Lord Ayyappan. True to the Hindu philosophy of ‘thathvamasi’, at Sabarimala, Lord and his devotee commune directly to the Lord.

The area is in the hilly regions with guarding deities in each of the hills surrounding Sabarimala. While functional (and intact temples) exist at many places in surrounding areas like Nilackal, Kalaketi, Inchiparakotta and Karimala, remnants of old temples are visible in the remaining hill.

The Holy eighteen steps that lead to the sanctum sanctorum for holy darshan is considered an important privilege of every devotee. The Pathinettampadi (18 steps) represents the eighteen stages one has to pass through to attain ''Moksha'' (salvation)

Every devotee is excited to see the Lord at Sabari. While Sastha in any form is dear to his devotees, here He appears as a yogi, in a state of eternal bliss or Samadhi, holding ‘chinmudra’. The temple's magic is potent, its vibration ever powerful. So many are captured by Sabarimala. By what seems only to be grace they appear in front of the Deity. They watch an abhishekam and they go away transfixed.

Sabarimala is nothing but Ajna Chakra... Now read the following paragraph describing the attributes of Ajna Chakra and again read it for the second time replacing Sabarimala instead of the word "Ajna".. !!!

Ajna Chakra gives the benefits of all the chakras while meditation on Ajna. Past life karma is destroyed and there is freedom from all conditioning. There is a freedom from attachments and appeasement of obsessions and desires. A continuous experience of realized non-duality. Whatever is desired comes true. All internal and external changes no longer cause suffering. When the kundalini and Point of Awareness meet here, the state of enlightenment the entire Universe is seen in whatever is viewed.

This is what is attributed as "Swamiyai Kandal Moksham Kittum" (one gets liberation if he gets the dharshan of Swami - at Sabarimala)

7. Kanthamalai
Replete with bliss

The last leg of our pilgrimage is at Kanthamalai which does not exist in the physical plane.

Yes ! the Kanthamalai temple is not seen with the naked eyes.. and the Sahasrara is beyond the six chakras of the body.

It is a state of ultimate bliss - The joy of completion pours over us. Inwardly quiet, blissfully content, we feel we have accomplished. It is an inner fulfillment, arrived at after an outer journey.

Sasthru lokam is known as Tejovathi or Mahakaalam and the hill in which the Lord resides is known as Kanthamalai.

In this Kanthamalai the Supreme Lord Maha Sastha resides with Poorna and Pushkala, His eternal consorts and countless other devotees, from where he performs his divine play, known as leelas. All the clan of devotees in this material world, has to perfect themselves and go on to Sastha's world - Kanthamalai.

In yogic terms this state is called Saharara. It is the last milestone of the evolution of human awareness. Also called Brahmarandhra, it is the final destination of the Kundalini and immortality is achieved within Sahasrara Chakra.

For centuries, seekers who have performed this noble pilgrimage have testified that at its end awaits a release from the worries and concerns of their lives.

All here rings with a happy contentedness, a feeling that everything is all right, right now.

hariharaputraM s'AstAraM sadA bhajEhaM mAyA kAryaM tyajEham
 -  V.Aravind Subramanyam