When Kashi Bhaiya Prescribed Me a Painkiller…

4 years back, I had gone through a series of accidents. Yes. A series. Each in a gap of few months, just when I thought I had recovered from the previous one. The grand finale to these was when I was hit head-on by a Sumo jeep coming on the wrong side of the road, post which I was bed ridden for more than a month.

When I could gradually start walking, I went through a condition which no doctor, senior orthopedic, neurologist could diagnose, even after I took a dozen of tests, scans and x-rays. I used to go through an excruciating radiating pain on the right side of my body, from top of my head to my toe. It was like the sciatic pain, but from head to toe. If you’ve ever seen someone who has gone through it, you’ll know what I mean. The pain used to surface at random times during the day. Even to cook a meal, drive my bike, have a discussion at office, or just to stand for a few minutes turned out so difficult, as even a little stress on the body would kick-start the pain. It used to seem as if some of the cells in my brain just kept bursting out. Some doctors said it could be a case of ‘fibromyalgia’ and I just need to deal with it. I felt horribly helpless when I googled what it means. Tried ayurveda, homeopathy and naturopathy too. All this gave a temporary relief that lasted till I took the medicines or followed the diet or exercises, but would relapse when I stopped even for a few days.

kashi-bhaiya-post-pic-1

Some doctors recommended that I just rest and don’t do yoga, others told the contrary. So, I was pretty confused as to what I should do, all that I wanted was to get rid of the pain.

Most of the days, I spent lying flat on the mat, at home and even took breaks to do the same at office. I felt horrible, depressed, stressed that I could not do what all others did – my colleagues, my schoolmates, my fellow Art of Living teachers, and everyone else in the world of my age did… The pain just intruded in all my daily chores. I went through this pain syndrome for more than 2 years.

When one day… I happened to meet Kashi bhaiya, the IIT-an turned yogi…

**Halt**
*Flash back: September 2005*… 

My first acquaintance of Kashi bhaiya was 10 years back, when I was emotionally pushed into an advanced meditation program by my then friend, now husband. I was one amongst the 1000 other participants who had assembled early in the morning to learn yoga, 20km away from the Bengaluru city, on a weekday. 

The first impression of Kashi bhaiya was a smiling assassin… He looked so much at ease while he was doing the yoga asanas along with us.  

He moved from one posture to another with grace, poise and elegance and an enchanting smile. The best part was when I realized that I had started mirroring his smile and managed to stretch out more than what I possibly thought I could with my usually stiff body!

During the 5 days that he had taken the morning yoga sessions, it felt like I was almost taken to a different world where I experienced deepest rest and stillness from within. When I opened my eyes, I felt so fully refreshed and energized. The experience that I had was inexplicable. This made me get inquisitive – about yoga and about him. I was looking out what was different in Kashi bhaiya that his sessions were so deep, though I already knew some of the asanas that he tau
ght!

So when I got a chance, I asked him, “How much time in a day do you practice yoga?”  Instantly, he replied ’24 hours!’, again with that big smile! I didn’t quite understand his answer, then. But now, being a yoga teacher myself, I realized that yoga is definitely not just doing asanas. Though it might seem to start there, yoga is something that makes us live our life to its fullest.
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I love the way he explained the meaning of verses from ancient Sanskrit texts. Later, when I got to knw that he is one of those lucky ones who gets to do the private early morning yoga sessions with Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, gets some intimate high level dosage of gyan from the ancient scriptures directly, in person from him, it was no wonder that he is so good at it. Also, he is one person who I have heard, Gurudev himself calls a  ‘yogi’! 🙂 Isn’t that amazing?!

Kashi bhaiya’s looks can be so deceiving. I get amazed at how his not-so-slim-almost-fat-body with a little paunch could stretch so easily!

During one of the QnA sessions about what diet he follows, he replied – “what is the point of doing yoga if you can’t eat chocolates?”. He loves pizzas, pastries and all kinds of sweets as much as he loves doing yoga.

This has till date been one of the main reasons why I continued with The Art of Living… that I can eat what I like!!!

I would call him a techie-yogi. On one hand, he is a deeply centered yogi who literally ‘lives out of a suitcase’, be it at home or while he travels. On the other, he has his techie-self on taking yoga to mobile apps, YouTube videos, websites, social media with his latest in the market, cutting edge technology mobile phone.

Though Kashi bhaiya is one absolutely down to earth, always approachable, can catch him anywhere to get the answer to your question, anytime you meet him, he is also the International Director of The Art of Living Yoga, his name is Dinesh Kashikar on records. He is invited year-on-year by countries in the Far-East to Far-West to train yoga teachers who teach at various Yoga Studios & Yoga Centers – he makes yogis out of yoga teachers! He also teaches the Art of Living Yoga Teachers’ Traning Program, Vedic Wisdom Program, Happiness Program and the list goes on. 

**Coming back… **
*Fast forward: August 2014*

When I met him again after 2 years of pain, I asked him with doubt, if I can do yoga and will it really help me with my condition.

He immediately replied a with a firm ‘Yes! Of course!’. He prescribed and encouraged me to do the advance level Art of Living Yoga programs, including the Art of Living Yoga teacher’s training program – Haha, yes. The beauty of Art of Living Yoga is that I could even do it with an injured hip!

Through the programs that I did, I went through so many doubts and pain. The affirmation he gave, the amount of belief he had in the techniques and of course on Gurudev’s grace, boosted my faith that I continued the yoga regime taught.

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Just in a month of practice, I recovered completely from the still undiscovered medical condition that I went through!!! The prescribed ‘pain-killer’ actually worked! 🙂

When I think of it now, I feel so awesomely grateful. Else, I would have never imagined that today, just one and a half years down the line of having that fragile hip and health, I would be looking at my 9 month old baby’s smiling face!

It was as if the whole set of incidents happened with a divine plan of getting me more centered, taking me towards a journey of being a ‘yogi’, with some amazing guidance.
I just wish, everyone – my friends, relatives or even if I have just not met you, irrespective of your age, health and busy schedule, get a chance to experience Yoga with Kashi Bhaiya. In fact, I would go on to say experience the ‘Kashi phenomenon’.

He is coming to Chennai next week, taking a 5 day-2 hour Art of Living Yoga program that you can do as a beginner, as well as attend if have already been practicing yoga. I am really waiting to repeat the program with him, though I have done the program several times before and now even teach it. But, I know it’s going to be special… 🙂

Dates that he would be here for the program: 3 – 7 August 2016.
Program Fee: Rs. 500 (includes 5 days, 2 hours of yoga sessions and getting to meet Kashi bhaiya 🙂. uff. That’s like dirt cheap man!)

Am waiting… As I wait, I invite you.

To know more about the yoga program and to register for it, you can visit the program page, by clicking on: tiny.cc/yogachennai

If you are in Chennai, please do yourself a big time favour by experiencing real restful bliss. 🙂 If you are not, and you really empathise with what I shared, please share it with your friends, as you may not know who might secretly benefit! Well, I never wanted to share with anyone what I went through, when I was actually going through it.

Let’s move together in experiencing the ‘infinity’’… (You might get this last sentence only if you read my post twice) 🙂 B-) Let me know if you got it! 🙂

Have you had a similar experience with yoga? Please do share it by dropping your comment below…

P.s.: Illustrations by – yours truly, me. 🙂

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Being in the Ishavasya Upanishad with Sri Sri

I feel thoroughly blessed and happy as I type this post.

Remember? I had mentioned to you about the 1st book I had ever read when I was in 10th? – Sai Baba’s Satcharitra. In that, there is a story in which Baba would have made His devotee, Das Ganu maharaj, understand & experience the essence of the Ishavasya Upanishad, in a very simple way when the latter was in deep quest & difficulty to decipher the wisdom in it. (Das Ganu maharaj ji is a well known poet, personality in Maharashtra and he later translated the Upanishad into the Marati language)

I used to wonder, what if… I had also got this knowledge directly?! Why I am born so many years after all these have happened?

Well, it’s been 16 years since this thought passed my mind…

I now feel so totally grateful that my prayers came true!!!

It’s been 2 days. 1.5 hours just pass like a few minutes, leaving me to wonder and long for more time in this wisdom!

Some snippets from what Gurudev shared yesterday and today, that really triggered something in me (not His verbatim) –
1. The shanti mantra of this upanishad gifted the knowledge of 0 to the world.

Ishavasya Upanishad Shloka

Literal translation : That is whole; this is whole; From that whole came this whole; From that whole, this whole removed, What remains is whole.

0 – 0 = 0, 0 + 0 = 0 !
When you remove 0 from 0, 0 remains! – and it is whole!
Can you Imagine!?

Gurudev shared a beautiful example for this –
“When you share peace with others, you won’t lose your peace. When you share knowledge with others, you won’t lose the knowledge! it remains full inside you”

2. Everything in the world is permeated by God. Then what about the bad people?!
They also are made of atoms, molecules and the same life force energy – that’s God!
He said – “If you are caught up in knowing about the hero and the villain – forget about it, you can never know the director!”

3. What is the access code to God? – to let go & relax! Then you realise you are in that ‘Ishavasya’ (in God)!
Tena Tyaktena Bhunjitaha
“When you try to hold on to something, whatever appears to give pleasure starts giving you pain”

The world is there to enjoy! By letting go – when you relax, you are able to enjoy it to the fullest!

4. If your focus is on gaining something, then it becomes painful.
If your focus is on giving something, then it brings you freedom!
The action of giving not just makes you joyful, but makes you realise YOU ARE JOY!

5. In your dreams, you see without your eyes open!
So, the power to see, know and hear – is present within – that is “Isha” – God!

6. “Have you wondered how breath goes in and out on its own? What is the basis of it? What is the basis of emotions? What is the basis of the whole creation? That is Brahman.” 

7. “Brahman and Brahma are different – Brahman is the cosmic existence, the paramatma, the self, who has no form, yet is there in all forms, blemishless, like how Space cannot be polluted!!
Brahma is a personified identity with a limited purpose of creation.”

8. “The Occidental always have this query – if God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, then why is there Satan?
The Oriental had a solution to this. They had 1st level Brahman/ God and just one level below, they made angels and demons, where there are all possibilities. There are said to be 33 crores devas!”

Tomorrow Gurudev will speak on the “devas” and their different dimensions!

Ishavasya6

If you have watched this recent movie Intestellar and have not been able to understand, am sure, this talk can make you decipher much more possibilities, the full storyline of this movie just being from one line of this upanishad!

The wisdom is so scientific, so profound – I was in totally different space when I was listening – and this is a once in a lifetime chance! Presently, I do not know if they will even put it in a DVD later. If they do, I would still buy it. If they don’t, you better don’t miss it now! 🙂

This blog post is an attempt to tell you from the core of my heart that please please don’t miss that chance to listen to Ishavasya Upanishad by Sri Sri – tomorrow being the 3rd & the last day. Yesterday’s and today’s will be available recorded.

Please just go ahead, register and listen. If you have the questions of “why registration” “why so much money” – please!!!

This knowledge is worth the money you’ll earn for many many lifetimes – and they are charging you peanuts, not even your internet/ mobile bill every month and that too so that they can bring the webcast to you and make this infrastructure possible for further wisdom sharing. Please don’t miss the chance!

Go ahead and book your webcast here – artofliving.org/upanishad .

It seems the registrations close tomorrow, 19th Jan 2015. So be fast.

Love,
Karpagavalli

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Filed under Ancient Wisdom, The Art of Living

A(n) (…………!) decade with The Art of Living

… Fantastic. Incredible. Irrational. Inconceivable. Implausible. Astounding. Fabulous. Awesome. Amazing. Beautiful. Happiness++ !!!  I still cant fit my journey with the Art of Living in the last 10 years with one word, or to say even one sentence. If I start, I always have more to say. This week I step into the 11th year with The Art of Living…

I have no idea how I joined the Art of Living Happiness Program when all I wanted to do in my 3rd year Engineering holidays was join a “yoga” class & there were 5 – 6 different yoga classes happening very close to my house in Chennai. It was a total ‘by chance’.

Though my then ‘best’ friend had told me to join another yoga class (that was Prasanna, my husband now – I used to take his words so seriously then – as though he was God to me; and ya, I still continue to do 😉 ) & was very sure to join it, some how this Guru of mine pulled me to Him. It was my eldest sis who convinced me & my parents; made me do this program along with her. Thank you Gurudev and my dear Baba for making this happen, I feel so safe, protected with You!10 years of learning the art to handle the mind!When I look back & see what I have learnt in these 10 years…  I have learnt the Sudarshan Kriya – that has done so much good to me & definitely to people around me, that ‘yoga’ is not just yoga asanas, many yoga asanas, the importance of breath, difference between spirituality & religion (one of my friends had asked me this question during my engineering), meditation, many types of pranayams, what’s the basis of advaita & dvaita (which was a total ‘?’ to me as to why there was a difference in first place between what 2 major Gurus in Hinduism said), ways to handle tantrums, emotions, relationships… husband, mother in law 😉 … one most important fact that I had not realised a decade back is that I am just so fortunate to have got a living Guru in my life — if this sounds hyperbolic to you, can’t really help – stop feeling so.

Life has passed by wonderfully fast in the last 10 years – taking up a job ‘far away’ from my parents just because it was a closer to my field of study than the one I got in Chennai (well, I have the record of dropping out from a very reputed college within a week of joining ‘cuz I felt home sick), meeting absolutely wonderful people who have taught me so many things just by their way of living (read Bawa, Dinesh bhaiya, Rashmin bhaiya, Rajesh anna, Kavi akka, Hema akka, to quote a few), teaching this program myself to many youth, getting the courage to do things that I wouldn’t have dared to do otherwise, feeling really proud about being an Indian, my Tambrahm Mylapore culture & traditions, moving beyond the barriers that I had for myself, talking to strangers & having a feeling they are a part of my own family, becoming a content creator(!), having the confidence that some higher power always protects me & loves me so dearly  – oh my God, the list can go on…

The Art of Living has just not taught me breathing & yoga – it has taught me a way to really live life – really. It does not mean that I don’t fight with my husband, it also does not mean I do not get angry/ upset.. I still do! But, definitely there has been a leap change – I can get back my smile much much faster without having the constipated emotional impressions. Meditation, Pranayam, Sudarshan Kriya – works!

When I did the program, I had no idea about who ‘Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’ was. The teachers had kept His picture in front of us & I hardly remember them mentioning about Him. It took me 6 months to see Him personally, 1.5 years to take Him as ‘my Guru’ – He usually tells, ‘my job is not to remove your doubts, my job is to put more doubts in you. Legendary is the faith that withstands a thousand chances of doubts.’ And that is what He put me through for 1.5 years. I am super glad & sad at the same time about taking that 1.5 years. Later, I came to know that its said … “When it is Time, Your Guru will find you…” & Wow! It feels great to be found! 🙂

Photo taken during a meeting with Gurudev in 2007

One of the first ‘close’ meetings with Gurudev in August 2007 with my Bosch friends

When I did the Sudarshan Kriya for the 1st time, I wanted everyone who I knew to experience it. Fortunately many of them have done it, some have also become teachers, volunteers; but still some have been adamant & not listened.

Whatever be it, I feel absolutely super fortunate and grateful. I only wish those ‘some’ & many many more get to experience Sudarshan Kriya at least some time in their life! 🙂

Jai Guru Deva,
Karpagavalli

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Filed under From my life..., Guru Grace Gratitude!, Sudarshan Kriya, The Art of Living

The NICEr side

And then…

There was one other side in my mind that kept assuring that nothing bad could happen, which did become true. The Sumo stopped (I believe the truck and the other car would have also halted), people came, carried me to the Sumo. I shouted out through my helmet (that I could not remove), NOT to put me in the car; was just trying to be safe, with close to 20 men around me. They were telling me to come to the hospital, but I was persistent to call someone from my side. I also could not see where my bike was and I did not want it to be left there. So, they made me sit near the railing. I looked out for my phone, which survived injuries too. Note : it survived. I called Prasanna. His number was ‘not reachable’. After 2 other tries, Rajeev (at ashram) picked up. He asked me to wait right there. I told these men, but realized soon that there were too many bruises that were starting to show off the pain. One of the men got my bike and told me that the bike is safe, that it will be dropped at the hospital and to call my people there. I was surprised that the bike was fine and just had few scratches, considering the impact of the hit it took! I was still skeptical to go to ‘some’ hospital on Kanakapura road. Thanks to Rajeev for the timely suggestion, I was taken to the Emergency clinic in the ashram. It pained. Though I did not want to in front of stangers, I cried. Soon I was at the clinic under the care of the most caring doctor, Dr. Priyadarshan and nurse, Renu.
The tears did continue for more than a week, but then, for a different reason.

There was a complete list of things I could feel grateful about!

1. I just had 3 limbs injured, one was still safe. I could still rest one leg comfortably when I lied down or sat – you have no idea what a comforting feeling it was.

2. People who never used to smile back in my apartment, asked me if I needed help and HELPED! Who said neighbors have become hostile these days?

3. Someone or the other was sent to take care of my food for more than a week. Who sent? – well, I do not know.

4. It was just some bruises and a small fracture, nothing multiple broke. When I narrate the incident to people, they are still surprised.

5. I was sent to the right doctors who took good care of me. I felt like a kid around them.

6. There were 20+ people who came to help in the middle of a highway! We live in India, felt proud.

7. Have got so many friends, well wishers who prayed for me to get well soon, feel so good.

8. Realized that I have the most caring bestest husband

9. The day when I could understand what it means to just feel grateful for this Life… How precious it is.

10. That I could feel grateful and implement a point that I tell out in YES!+. I have got one more Guru story to share 😉

Then on, each time whenever I changed the dressing or tended to the wounds and even now when I oil the scars, I remember something Gurudev says in His guided meditations : “Your body is a precious gift from the mother nature, Honor and Respect your own body”. Ever since, I have really lived through it each and every day. 🙂

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Filed under Guru Grace Gratitude!

The day when the NICE Road was not so NICE

It’s been a month now, since when I had wanted to tell you the story. When life felt like a blessing and grace.

9th Aug 2012. I was riding my Wego on NICE road, on the way to Sumeru office near ashram. I saw the Sumo on the slow-moving vehicles lane. I wouldn’t be typing this if I had not seen it moving towards me. I saw it, and my reflex was right, I had to move my bike to the right and away from it. But, I couldn’t. It’s a highway & something else was moving on my right. So, all that I could do was to get my Wego just hit (I can still feel the jerk) by the sumo, feel my bike sliding and rubbing on the doors of the Sumo and fall down with my moving bike.

NICE road

Well, that was a SUV and me with my Wego. Within few seconds, I was dragged with my bike, on to the middle of the road where my body halted. My bike drove itself to the other side of the road a few meters away into the mud and grass. While I was being dragged, I just had this thought – ‘oh so now this is what one experiences when one gets hit by a Sumo’. I was also reminded of the last time I had fallen from a bike. It was not too bad. But, I had no clue what’s coming up next…

When I looked up, I had had a 180 degree turn. I saw a big lorry getting straight towards me and a blue car  approaching  to my left, on the other lane. And yes, even now my reflexes were right – I had to get up and move away to the side. But, that moment I understood the difference. The state where the mind had to give away to the body. I could not turn and look where my bike was. My hands and my legs did not move, any slight movement caused excruciating pain. I felt a state of helplessness. As I kept seeing the lorry and the blue car, within the next fraction of a second, my parents, Prasanna, Guruji, my nephew, sis, my wedding, friends, my childhood, Baba temple, my colleagues, my x colleagues, all the pleasurable moments of the past and the to be ‘happy’ future, flashed in just one shot. Tears started rolling. Thoughts of have I done good or bad karma throughout my life came up, especially, whether I had done anything wrong that morning! When all this was happening, I just had a thought of Guruji, that He should be knowing that I was stuck there. I really don’t remember if I prayed for help.

And then…. (to be continued in my next post).

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Filed under From my life..., Happenings ...

Secret of Om Namah Shivaya revealed!

contd. from my last post

Next day, we woke up to a beautiful rainy morning making the place even more charged up and livelier. The weather was just perfect for us to start our day, though it continued raining. The driver took us to a ‘special’ mess, I don’t recollect the name though. It was a medium-sized room painted blue, with half its ceiling thatched, water dripping inside at intermittent places, with different sized tables and chairs, and there was no place to sit, so full of customers! The ‘wait’ers in the ‘special’ mess hardly knew anything about ‘customer’ service. 🙂 So, we had to ‘wait’ till someone listened to us. But, when the breakfast was served, it was too tasty and was worth its ‘wait’. The kumbakonam ‘degree kaapee'(that’s how coffee @Kumbakonam is specially known) smelt and tasted so good, with the weather adding to it! I can smell kaapee as I type this…

After our पेट pooja, we set off to the Suryanarayanar : Sun God temple. Unlike other temples where the main deity is Lord Shiva, in this temple the main deity is the Sun god. But still, there was a place in the main shrine where there was Lord Shiva and Parvati. We got a little wet in the rain and felt cold as we waited in the queue.

Sri Suryanarayanar – Sun God

But, as we entered the shrine, we could feel the radiance of the Sun, the luster, the ‘soothing’ heat, seeing the Sun God was just magnificent! One more thing is that, the Guru (Planet Jupiter) stands just in front of Sun inside the shrine. It seems, this arrangement is so as to cool down the heat intensity of Sun’s rays. Even science says that the Jupiter absorbs all the harmful rays, the meteors, etc. from the space and protects the earth! 🙂

Rahu, Serpent God at Thirunageshwaram

After this, we visited Sukran (Venus – the lord of prosperity), Chandiran (Moon – For Healthy Mind and body), Rahu (the North lunar node) and Guru (Jupiter) stalams. The Devi in Sukran temple shares my name ;-)! In each temple, we felt special and different – The Chandiran temple was so cooling and relaxing as expected; in the Thirunageshwaram temple for Rahu (Serpent God) – How the milk color changes to blue when poured on the deity is something to watch!

You can google and read a lot of interesting stories about these temples, instead of me CTRL C – CTRL Ving it here. 😉 One of the main realization that I had was, Guruji always tells us to chant “Om Namah Shivaya” to waive away any negative effects that can happen due to the planetary positions and transitions. In all these temples, one thing that was common was that all the Planet Gods are said to have prayed to Lord Shiva for saving them from their curse. All these temples have been systematically built, with a shrine for Lord Shiva such that people will have to anyways chant the mantra when they get there! Nice!!? 🙂

Also, in each temple, people light a lot of lamps, and it is said the planet Gods will do good to us if we do so. So, we too casually bought the lamps and lit in all the temples. For the first time, I felt so different after lighting the lamps in each temple; as if something in me got purified and nullified. Though lighting a lamp everyday at home is a trained habit from childhood, some realization happened in this trip. It not only purifies the surroundings, but also one’s self! You need to experience it to know it.

It said that the best days to go to each Navagraha-temple is on their day during the week. For Rahu and Ketu (North and South Lunar nodes), its Sunday and Tuesday respectively. But, even a weekend visit to these temples can get you an awesome experience! Just remember to sit, sing and meditate at least for few minutes in each temple instead of just rushing from one temple to another to complete the visit. 🙂

Or…
Just sit back at your place and chant (Om Namah Shivaya)*108 times everyday and all Navagrahams will do us all Good!

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Filed under Did you know?!, Temples

Birthday wished by the planets!

This post had been in “draft” status for almost 5 months now, here it goes “publish”ed! 🙂

Last year, I got to celebrate my birthday at the Navagraha temples around Kumbakonam, a major temple-hub in Tamilnadu.

Our neighbours-friends-family, Shwetha and Vivek had planned to go these temples on the 29th and 30th Oct’11, and had asked us a week back if we would like to join in. But, Prasanna and I had booked “tatkal” tickets to go to Chennai. Prasanna, all of a sudden on 28th morning, wanted to pay a visit to these temples. By this time, I too had the same desire. 🙂 So, within an hour, the route changed from Chennai to Kumbakonam and bus seats booked. Yes, we do donate money to Indian Railways every year like this. Happy Railways!

On my birthday, we reached Kumbakonam at around 6 am, booked a cab, got ready, had breakfast, Kumbakonam degree coffee ( 😉 ) and we set off! We decided to start with the goddess Divine, visited the Lalithaamba temple at Thirumeyachur, she is said to be the embodiment of all Gods and Goddesses. The statue of the Goddess was so beautiful, she was decked up so well and it was as if She was sitting there!

Lalithambikai at Thirumeeyachur

This temple has its story of a devotee seeing the Goddess in dreams and She asking her to adorn Her(statue) with anklets. The devotee had taken the anklets, the priest told her there was no provision in the devi’s statue for the same. But, when he went to the shrine, to his surprise, there was a small gap exactly to fit in the anklets! 🙂 We sat there, sang a few devi bhajans, meditated, felt blessed and grateful :-). Really beautiful temple.

After this, we went to the Shaneeshwarar(Saturn) temple. It was a Saturday and we wanted to attend the special pooja with Abishekam for Shani bhagawan that happens every Saturday. One of my well wishers-astrologer-friend-guide had mentioned that Shaneeshwarar plays an important role in Prasanna’s and my jaatakam(horoscope). That made Him all the more important. When people talk about Shaneeshwarar, they usually create fear – as if He is sitting just to watch us and punish us. But, in this temple, the planet God is in the peace blissful blessing form, they call Him “anugraha murthy” here. The temple was super crowded as expected, with nearly 1000+ devotees in long queues. The best part is the darshan there! Among these 1000+, how we got the best darshan, is something I(we) wonder! Somehow we were sent close to have the best darshan of the abhishekam, archanai and aarathi. The best part did not end there… The place is close to the sea, so it was hot and sultry the whole morning till… Just as we came out of the temple after the amazing abhishekam, archanai, lighting sesame oil lamp, having prasadam – there was a soothing cooling drizzle! – as if all the Gods, Goddesses, including Shani bhagavan blessed us from the heaven! waaaaaahhhhh! I felt sooo blessed, grateful, contented! After this, the climate of all the places that we visited changed from being hot, sultry and tiring to cool, breezy, and refreshing!!!

After the happy drizzle! 🙂

By this time, it was afternoon and we had stopped at Karaikal to have lunch. The driver had mentioned to us that we will have nothing to do for the next 2 hours as usually, in Tamil Nadu, the temples are closed during this time – 1pm – 4 pm approx. and This being the case we might not be able to make it to all the 9 temples of the planets by the next night. But, after lunch, he suddenly remembered that the “Ketu shtalam” (temple of South Lunar Node), is open on that particular day during that time, because of the “yamagandam” time between 1:30-3:00pm! We reached the place, Keezhaperumpallam, in an hour and the time was 5 minutes to 3 pm :)! We were just at the right auspicious time, for which people usually plan and visit that temple! What a ‘divine’ planning!!? 🙂

After Ketu, we went to the Budan(Mercury) temple, Thiruvenkadu (or Swethaanranya in Sanskrit means Sacred White forest). This is one temple that all of us loved for the way it was built! It is built over a HUGE area and there are 3 temple tanks inside the temple compound.

Chandra Teertham - Temple tank at Budhan temple, Thiruvengadu

Just as we went close to the temple, we felt very good. The soothing cloudy climate with a light drizzle added more flavor to it. This temple has several shrines that have their own amazing stories. Budhan is responsible for knowledge, music, intelligence, healthy brain and the nervous system, charm, and many other things. Among the 9 temples, where the main deity is Lord Shiva, this one specially has a shrine for Lord Narayana or Vishnu. It is said that Budhan is the son of Chandran, the Moon god, and Lord Vishnu rules over Him. Budhan is the planet Mercury and in Seven days, Wednesday is His :-). Budhan is said to have meditated in front of the temple tank “Chandra teertham”. It is an awesome place to meditate. We spent quite a good amount of time in the shrines, especially one of the devis here, “Bhrahma Vidya Nayaki” – one would feel that She is just sitting there for giving the highest knowledge!

After spending 2 or 3 hours in Budhan temple, we went to Vaideeshwaran temple. Here, Lord Shiva is said to cure all types of illness in the health. Planet Mars, or Chevvai(God of Tuesday) is regarded as the God of physical strength and valour and he is also believed to cure any type of prolonged diseases. He is said to be the Son of Earth and is ruled by Lord Subramanya. Lord Rama had also been to this place and had performed the last rites of Jatayu, the vulture, who had tried to protect Goddess Sita from Ravana. We had a beautiful darshan at all the shrines here.

A lot about these temples is available online, each temple has many stories. Best to experience them!!! 🙂 I had been to these temples once before when I was in college. One remarkable difference of then and now is that I had a BIG list to ask for then, but this time, I just felt so happy, grateful and contented(tears), I had to think hard if I really needed something… Sadhana-Seva-Satsang has made a difference! 🙂

Next posts on rest of the planet Gods and some realization that I had :-)…

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