We had beautiful experiences in Madurai with the energies of Meenakshi Amman and Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi. Most people associate Sri Ramana Maharshi with only Tiruvannamalai where he attained his Maha Samadhi. Equally significant and powerful are two other places; Tiruchuli, where he was born and Madurai where he attained enlightenment before he went to Tiruvannamalai.
Tiruchuli is a small, quaint and remote village about 60 km from Madurai. It is significant for two reasons. It has the ancient Bhuminatha Swamy temple, one of the oldest Saivite temples. Tiruchuli is also where Ramana Maharshi was born in 1879.
Amma and Swami were energetically feeling called to visit Tiruchuli. The guidance was coming from Meenakshi Amman when we visited Her temple on Wednesday in Madurai. We had the Darshan of the Mother in the morning. This temple is dedicated to Meenakshi, a form of Parvati, and her consort, Sundareshwar, a form of Shiva. The temple is an architectural marvel with its intricate carvings on thousands of pillars. Constructed by the mighty Pandya kings, the temple is standing in its glory even after hundreds of years.
After getting the blessings of Meenakshi Amman, in the evening we went to the home in which Bhagvan Ramana Maharshi attained his enlightenment. This home ashram is located right outside the Meenakshi Amman temple, tucked away in a small street on the south side of the temple. As we were trying to locate the ashram, an old man beckoned Swami Shanmuga on the street and gave directions. Swami was surprised at this unsolicited directions and asked the person how he knew that we were searching for the Ramana ashram. He replied that he simply knew. It felt like Ramana Maharshi was gently guiding us towards him. The following is the write-up in the ashram.
“Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi was born in Tiruchuzhi on 30 December 1879. He lived in this house and studied in the high school during 1892-96. In July 1896, while sitting in the upstairs room of this house, he experienced an unmistakable fear of death. In a flash he realized that death was only for the body, and that he, as the true being, had no death. He was now a fully enlightened sage. He left Madurai on 29-August 1896 and reached Tiruvannamalai on 1-September. He lived there until 14-April 1950, shedding grace, lustre and peace through his unique silence. His grace is an eternal presence in the ashram here.”
We meditated in the upstairs room. It was such a humbling experience to be in the same physical place where Ramana Maharshi attained his enlightenment. It felt so peaceful. Amma and Swami were emotional because of their deep connection with Sri Ramana.
Thursday morning we offered our prayers at the Bhuminathar temple in Tiruchuli and got the blessings of Lord Shiva and the Mother. It is a magnificent temple, matching in scale with some of the bigger temples in Tamil Nadu. Swami Vivekananda had stayed in this temple for 3 days during his yatras. Few people visit this temple unlike the other famous temples. But the energies are equally or even more powerful here.
Just outside the temple is Sundara Mandiram, the house where Bhagavan Sri Ramana was born. At that time it was a very small house. Eventually the Ramana Ashram in Tiruvannamalai expanded the house and is maintaining it as a small ashram, while keeping the room in which Sri Ramana was born intact. The caretakers of this ashram, Halasyam and his wife have been here for the last 50 years, taking care of the place. Halasyam is deeply devoted to Sri Ramana and it has been his calling to serve the Divine in this manner.
The room in which Sri Ramana was born is small, and the vibrations high. Sitting in front of a life size image of Sri Ramana and meditating there was an unforgettable experience. But none of us were prepared for the experience to come..
After our meditation, Amma and Swami got into a conversation with Halasyam, giving him an overview of their connection with Sri Ramana Maharshi, their spiritual journey, their current tapasya in the Himalayas and so on. Amma and Swami were silently inviting Ramana Maharshi to give them a sign, an indication that they are on the right path. They were inviting him to come and speak to them. A few minutes into the conversation, Halasyam suddenly transformed and went into a momentary spasm, as though a huge current was passing through him. It was a surreal state. He asked
“Do you know who I am? I am Ramana, and I'm also Muruga”
It was clearly not Halasyam who was talking; the Bhagavan was talking through him.
“Give me your 2-mukhi rudrakshas”
Amma and Swami had in the previously purchased two 2-mukhi rudrakshas (mukhi = face or side) in Tiruvannamalai. They wanted to wear them during their Tapasya, but wanted to get them blessed first. Even without them mentioning anything about the 2-mukhi rudrakshas, Sri Ramana was asking for them through Halasyam.
Amma and Swami were not carrying the rudrakshas with them; they had left them behind in their hotel room. It was then that they decided to come back to Sundara Mandiram the next day to get the rudrakshas and other sacred items blessed.
Looking into the eyes of Amma Adi Sakthi and Swami Shanmuga, the Vak (words) of the Sri Ramana continued through Halasyam.
“You are like Ramakrishna Paramhamsa and Sarada Ma, where Ramakrishna Paramhamsa became the disciple of Sarada Ma who assumed the form and energies Kali Ma. You are the Shiva Shakti energies personified.”
“I was the one who called you here. I am coming along with you to the Himalayas. Go forth without any fear.”
A few minutes later Halasyam became his normal self. All of us were grateful for the experience and humbled by it and felt blessed and in gratitude.
Jai Ramana Maharshi!
Om Namo Bhagavati Sri Ramana Maharshi Namo Namaha!
Sri Guru Kripa!