The guidance from Lord Muruga and the Divine Mother led Amma Adi Sakthi and Swami Shanmuga through many beautiful temples and experiences today as we headed towards Thanjavur from Madurai. Throughout this sacred yatra, including today, there has been a beautiful play of synchronicity as the Divine presented temples, people, experiences and tools needed for the Yogini and Yogi couple to ascend further in their Tapasya. Everything is happening spontaneously in the moment, only because they are keeping themselves empty to receive the energies and guidance from the Divine. It is a teaching for those of us who are accompanying Amma and Swamiji to not be in our headspace but rather in our heartspace, and to trust and surrender completely to allow the Divine to flow and to go with the flow without questioning or doubting.
We started off from Madurai after having spent 4 days in this magnificent temple town, taking in and along with us many beautiful experiences and energies. Someone at the hotel mentioned about Pillaiyarpatti Pillaiyar Temple on the way, so naturally we took that as guidance and that was our first stop. This is an ancient rock-cut cave shrine dedicated to Lord Ganesha. Constructed by the Pandya kings one thousand years back, it is on par in scale and architecture with the other more well-known temples. Unlike most other depictions of Ganesha where the trunk curls to his left side, the trunk here curls to his right side. It is believed that visiting the Ganesha in this temple undoubtedly eliminates all obstacles in one’s path. Before even entering the temple Amma felt that we would be called into the sanctum area without having to take any special darshan tickets and the priests kindly allowed us to come and sit very close to the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Ganesha. We felt happy to be blessed by Him.
We visited the nearby Kubera (god of wealth) and Chitragupta temples. Chitragupta is the account keeper of Lord Yama, the God of death and a yogi. He settles a soul’s karmic accounts for their soul evolution.
A few days back when we were in Palani, Amma was getting clear precise messages from Lord Muruga to visit Him in Kundrakudi. He told her that He has something for them there. Fortunately the Kundrakudi Murugan temple was in close proximity, so we all proceeded there.
Sadhus and Yogis of the highest realization sometimes use an auspicious begging bowl for alms. They may appear indistinguishable from other people seeking alms; only refined souls can recognize them. The tradition of sadhus seeking alms is an age old one; it signifies that even though a soul is evolved to the highest stage, they remain humble and sustain themselves on the generosity of others. This begging bowl used by sadhus is called a Thiruvodu or an auspicious bowl. Often, it is a dried half-shell of a large fruit. Sometimes it can be a large sea shell. Sadhus sometimes carry vibhooti in their Thiruvodu which they offer to those donating to them. It is a form of bestowing huge blessings on people, whether they realize it or not.
Amma and Swamiji were given instructions to use Thiruvodus to seek alms. While in Madurai, they were guided to acquire four sea-shell Thiruvodus from a puja shop. They thought that these were meant for them, but the guidance from within was that these were not for themselves personally; that they are for four of their closest disciples who will be revealed to them when the time comes. Lord Muruga was guiding them that He would lead them to the Thiruvodus meant for them.
And so we reached Kundrakudi Murugan temple. Lord Muruga is on the top of a small hill. As is typical in temples in India, there were many shops lining both sides of the street approaching the temple. Near the base of the steps leading up to the temple of Lord Muruga, we saw a line of beggars seeking alms from people who visit the temple. Amma suddenly stopped in her tracks with her hair rising and was stalled energetically particularly at two beggars who were begging with actual Thiruvodus. One Thiruvodu was large and the other small. Both Amma and Swamiji were quiet. Amma told Swamiji that this was why Lord Muruga told them to come here and that He is going to bless them with these Shiva-Sakthi Thiruvodus and that He is telling her that they are meant for them .
Lord Muruga was clearly prompting from within that these are meant for them as they were Shiva-Shakti Thiruvodus. They had seen many beggars with Thiruvodus, some of which were possibly hacked contraptions. But nowhere did such an energetic connection happen spontaneously. The message from Lord Muruga was unmistakable. Get them, they are meant for you, He was telling them from within.
We inquired about the Thiruvodus from the two mendicants. They said that they had acquired them from sadhus from Kerala. One of the beggars asked Amma if she was interested in them and Amma replied that she was not seeking it but it feels like it belongs to her or she belong to it energetically and that Lord Muruga is guiding her to know the knowledge about them. Amma urged the beggar to shed some knowledge about it and the beggar said it feeds him. Then one of the beggars offered Amma if she is interested he could sell them to her. She asked him whether he would part with it since it feeds him and he replied to her that he was thinking of acquiring a new one anyway and that he wouldn't mind selling it to her for a price. Further inquiring they said that the larger Thiruvodu is from a sea coconut. When asked what the smaller one was, they said it was from a Bilva fruit, the favorite tree of Lord Shiva.
The three of us, Swamiji, Amalananda and Nittu were not sure whether to believe the beggars. We told Amma that we can go to Chennai and try to buy the Thiruvodus since we already knew a place there that specially makes Thiruvodus. Amma insisted that she knew that these are the ones they were meant to acquire as per Muruga’s instructions and that it was told to her that Lord Muruga will come in some shape or form to bless it Himself.
Suspending further discussion with the beggars, we climbed up the stairs to have a darshan of Lord Muruga. It was a beautiful darshan and blessing. As we were coming down, the highest energy consciousness feelings came through Amma. This is a direct and pristine unmistakable instructions of the Divine Mother Pratyangira, and she felt that this was it and that we had to acquire them no matter what. She guided us that these Thiruvodus were indeed meant for Amma and Swami, and that seeking alms by them is a necessary part of their Yogic journey to complete the highest ascension in the future.
We reached the base of the steps and exchanged a few words with the beggars, and then stepped aside talking amongst ourselves animatedly. Just then, a sadhu approached Amma directly and asking her what the confusion about the Thiruvodus was and what the commotion was about. Amma and Swami immediately recognized him as a Siddhar, an accomplished saint. He was wearing simple orange clothes and a turban. There was an instant energetic connection between him and Amma and Swamiji. Amma told him that she felt that the Thiruvodus were meant for her and Swamiji but that the rest of us were feeling these may not be genuine. Amma told him that she felt energetically they belonged to her and swamiji .
The sadhu began to spontaneously impart secret sacred teachings to Amma and Swamiji personally and clearly explained to them that these Thiruvodus are genuine and they are indeed meant for them. Most people would not part with their Thiruvodus, and he said that if the people are willing to give them, to go ahead and acquire them. He explained about the significance of Thiruvodus in a Yogi’s spiritual journey, and the different types of them. He gave instructions to both Amma and Swamiji on how to use the Thiruvodus effectively and pray with them for the benefit of mankind. He gave them specific special mantras and instructions on poojas to it along with the langoti (loin cloth), ekavastram (single piece of cloth covering the whole body), dandam and kamandalam. Amma and Swamiji began to realise that it was Lord Muruga himself embodying this sadhu's being and giving direct instructions, blessings and boons in flesh and guiding them with their next steps in thier tapas.
The ekavastram and langoti that Swamiji will be using are not in the present time, but in the future, when the instructions come from the Divine. Lord Muruga instructed and blessed Amma and Swamiji to start the preparatory stage now and when it is time, He will instruct the both of them to go with their Thiruvodus and Swamiji's ekavastram and langoti as well, all at the same time. All these are Guru's blessings for them in the future to do when it is time for them.
The larger Thiruvodu is from a large dried premature coconut shell, from Sri Lanka. These coconut trees grow in the waters of the seas and backwaters. When the fruit drops and hits the shores, they remove the husk to give elongated bowls. The sadhu explained that this larger Thiruvodu is meant to be used by Swami Shanmuga to seek alms. And while it appears to be a begging bowl on the surface, it really is the equivalent of an Akshaya Patra, or the bowl that keeps giving endlessly. It carries Shiva energies and bestows blessings to people.
The smaller Thiruvodu is from Bilva fruit, and is meant for Amma. It carries the Shakti energy. It is not meant for seeking alms per se, but to give blessings to people. When Amma gives vibhoothi to people from the small Thiruvodu, they will be uplifted and truly touched by the Divine to resolve their individual and ancestral karmic imbalances. It will be a powerful and uplifting healing experience to people. It is an Atma Patra, one which uplifts the souls of people. He specifically instructed Amma to use her Atma Patra when in her Mouna and only bless those she feels guided to and that he would guide her there and then when she is allowed to do that directly by him.
The sadhu explained that there is a third type of Thiruvodu meant for seeking alms and food. It is from the rare variety of tree called the Mexican Calabash originating from Seychelles and Mexico. It is a fruit shell and looks like a wooden bowl. The guidance was to acquire this Thiruvodu further in the yatra for Amma to use.
The sadhu shared that he was travelling down after visiting Kailash mountains after which he sat for extended periods in Varanasi with an aghori. He had acquired the smashan vibhuthi or bhasma from his fellow brother yogis there and he had made his way to Kundrakudi to meet them. He offered Amma and Swamiji the smashan vibhuthi very generously and blessed them with Tamil recitations. It was almost a 45 minute engagement with him guiding them. He blessed us all with energies from Aghori sthala (places) in Varanasi. He applied the bhasma on our foreheads and blessed us with ancient Siddhar mantras as per our soul needs. He soulfully sang a beautiful Tamil song which meant that this body of ours is temporary and has to go back to the elements, why do we identify ourselves with the body, mind, ego, possessions and social standing. We all felt that the sadhu was none other than Lord Muruga Himself dressed like a Adiyar to take Amma and Swamiji's hands and guide them into their path more concretely. He was appearing before Amma and Swami in this form to bless and guide them. What a beautiful experience to have met this Siddhar saint.
We acquired the two Thiruvodus from the mendicants and resumed our journey to Tanjavur. Amma and Swami were feeling an electrifying energy flowing, because of their inner guidance that these Thiruvodus are filling an important part of their journey.
Both the Thiruvodus are painted in black to prevent natural wear and tear. While the larger Thiruvodu is plain black, the smaller one has the symbols Om and beautiful white lines painted in white. Both the Thiruvodus came to Amma and Swami with some coins symbolically indicating the blessings to come to them and to people through them.
The things and experiences Yogis long for often run contrary to what one normally desires. It takes courage and conviction to follow the guidance from the Divine. By keeping themselves empty from the illusionary pulls of the mind and allowing themselves to be vehicles of the Divine Mother and their Guru's energies, Amma and Swami precisely execute what the Divine wants of them. Today they have been given the Thiruvodus by the Divine Mother, and they are treasuring it as their most valued possession. It is a mark of their tapas that has been earned naturally by the turn of events in this unexpected yatra where they were selflessly praying for everyone as Adiyargal. In return this was gifted to them by Lord Muruga Himself staging these miraculous events in their life in this tapas yatra they were undertaking. Indeed it is a blessings for us too to be part of all this to share this wonderful experiences with all .
Divine guidance and blessings come only when one empties themselves completely to allow the energies to flow through them. An instance of this was in Palani, after having the Darshan of Lord Muruga in His ekavastram, or single cloth covering Him including the head. It signifies the highest ascension where one drops their physical body to merge with Divine light. Lord Muruga guided Amma and Swamji from within that Swamiji would be wearing the ekavastram and langoti, or loin cloth as part of his spiritual journey. But they had no idea where and how they would be presented these, so they kept themselves empty. While in Madurai, when visiting Sri Ramana Maharshi’s birthplace in Tiruchuli, Amma and Swamji received specific instructions about the ekavastram and loin cloth through Halasyam, the devotee and caretaker of the ashram there. We were instructed to go to New Mandapam near the Meenakshi Amman temple where effortlessly we were able to find the ekavastram and a tailor to make the loin cloths for Swamiji.
When there is resistance, there is difficulty. When there is complete trust and surrender, when the mind is undivided, it becomes effortless effort. It may appear to be a paradox but is indeed a natural state when one practices dispassion and detachment while making the necessary effort and by being in a state of void while doing what we are meant to do. Sri Maha Pratyangira Devi is known as the mother of the void, and being Her Adiyargal, or servants, and embodiments of Her energies, Amma and Swamiji personify this state of being.
With joy in our hearts, we all proceeded towards Thanjavur, our next stop in this beautiful yatra of the Yogis.
Jai Ma Pratyangira!