Kethu means the one who does bad thereby providing wisdom. The Tamil word Dhooma Kethu for comet means that it will give a difficult time to the country and then will make a happier turnaround. This divine saying on astronomy said by the rishi-munis of the yore, as seen in old palm leaves holds true to this date. This is mentioned in our Puranas as well, which takes even the non-believers to think.
What sort of a danger will befall the country, I thought. Either Pakistan wage war or China will create some nuisance or it might be an effect of the elements, resulting in drought. It could be earth-quake, heavy rain resulting in damaged crops, reduction in devotion, corruption and immorality in the nation, rape, murder, theft happening frequently. Apart from these, what else can harm? I thought.
The Maha Muni asked to look at the sky in the north-eastern direction steadfast and the comet will be seen. I looked. Just as how it appeared a while ago, it appeared again. Now it was bigger but disappeared as soon as it was seen, never reappeared.
The following morning had a number of beautiful sight but my mind kept thinking about the comet. I got an English daily in the nearby station which contained a small piece of news about the comet, which was in detail in the evening paper.
I felt somewhat satisfied. It wasn’t a dream and can be shared. When asked to the Maha Muni, He just said, “We shall explain in the shrine of Lion“, that is Ahobila Narasimha Swamy shrine. I reached Ahobilam.
This place has witnessed many a miracles, situated around 2800 feet above the sea level, a place where Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy takes a stroll in the night, sometimes even in the day time. Its plush greenery, mountain covered with a green blanket of trees, remains as a visual treat for the eyes, as a display of nature’s magnanimity.
In the place of Ahobilam one can have the darshan of Nava Narasimha’s. The basement has 5 of them:
Prahladha Varadha Lakhmi Narasimha
Shri Chatravada Narasimha
Yogananda Narasimha and
From the basement to the top, it is around 10 kilo meters. The reason why this place is so famous is because of the shrine of Ugra Narasimha who appeared as a Swayambhu (who or that which appeared all by itself) inside a cave, where Bhatha Prahalada, Shri Garuda, Mahalakshmi did penance for years and had His darshan, such a cave.
Here in the top, the other four Narasimha can be seen:
Ugra Narasimha (ugra – ferocious)
Shri Bhavana Narasimha
Shri Varaha Narasimha and
Shri Jwala Narasimha
The other important places are: the birth place of Bhava Nashini, Ugra Sthambam, Shri Malola Narasimha and the cave of Bhaktha Prahalada.
The Maha Muni though mentioned to visit Ahobila, He never said that there will be a lot of merits if one prays in this divine destination. It appeared as if He will appear in the Nadi only after having darshan in all the thirteen holy places. I went to each of the shrine with utmost devotion and had darshan as per the methods prescribed.
As I climbed up, a sort of fear occupied me.
There wasn’t much of a crowd, there is no defense mechanism to protect myself. No one accompanied me. I felt that it is not advisable to visit such mountains without somebody’s help. One has to step very carefully and should press their foot stern on the ground. If slipped off, that’s it. Only the Almighty can save.
As it was dense with trees and plants, the wild animals were roaming around freely, so I had to carefully proceed further.
There is a similarity between Ahobilam and Thirupathi. The head of Adi Shesha (the serpent which Lord Vishnu reclines) being Thirupathi, the tail being Shri Shaila and the torso being Ahobila, why I was ordained to visit Ahobila when I was in Thirupathi, I thought.
The place where Hiyanyakasipu’s stomach was torn apart, looks like Adi Shesha. The Jwala Narasimha’s shrine, being the stomach part of the mountain, I sat there with utmost devotion and respect and opened the Jeeva Nadi.
There were numerous incidents that the Maha Muni displayed, as if it was shown as a screenplay and said, “This is the place where the battle happened. I will not say anything for you here. There is Ugra Sthamba a few feets from here where the holy feet of Lord Narasimha can be seen nearby. Touch those feet. You will feel an unknown pulling in your hand. Sit there and pray to Agastya. Whatever you ask, We shall answer you right there under the feet of Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy“ – said the Maha Muni.
I found the place exactly as He mentioned. I touched and prayed to that feet and opened the Nadi. I heard an unknown animal’s sound.
I began to sweat. There is nobody around and since they said that wild animals roam around here freely, I could barely breathe. How can I escape? I looked around and found nowhere to go. I even blamed Agastya if some mishap happens here, if my fate ends here in this place, in this way.
For about half an hour, the sound from the unknown animal was heard on and off. It was dark and that’s when the wild animals set out in search for their prey. There were no one around, they must have gone to safer places after knowing all this.
Come what may, I thought and began to read the Nadi.
For ten minutes, nothing came out. Alright then, even Agastya Muni abandoned me, I thought. I held the iron sthamba tightly saying “O Lakshmi Narasimha, save me!”
The Jeeva Nadi which I was about to read was scattered in the feet of Lakshmi Narasimha. I do not know how long I was holding to the Sthamba. I gained my consciousness when somebody woke me up, asking who I was in Telugu.
I mentioned everything in Tamil, after which he began to speak in Tamil too, which gave a huge strength to me. I asked what that animal was, whose sound was terrifying. He said that it was that of a wild wolf and that it was roaming around for sometime.
“Yes. It is a dangerous animal that even does not fear the Lion and Tiger. It ventures before them without fear. They go only in groups mostly and looks like this one got separated from the group. It hasn’t eaten for four days and so it bites anyone who comes here. The steps to release it there inside the wild wasn’t that fruitful.” – he said.
I thanked the person and asked him if he can accompany me till the basement. He said that the temple authorities must have chased that wolf away with fire-torch and that I can descend without fear.
I interrupted him right there and pleaded him to stay with me till I get a company to go down. He accepted with a half heart and showed the Nadi which was scattered near the Ugra Sthamba mentioning, “You’re leaving these and going, you have to read this here first and then only go. First take these, arrange them nicely and read. I shall come after.”
I was shocked. I had forgotten the Nadi completely out of fear. Who is this person who points me to the Nadi and read it?!
~ to be continued…!
Image Courtesy: Molee, Deviantart.com