Siddha Agastya! This name lingers in the land of Bharath for time immemorial. He is ever active, ever merciful and pours love to those who take refuge at Him. GnanaBoomi is humbled to present the Sitthan Arul series in English for its readers. See for yourself if any of these incidents relates to you, if it has any message to you or, if it gives a whole new perception about anything for which you may be looking for an answer.
It crossed twelve in the night. All of a sudden, Veda Kosha was heard from within the garbha gruha of the temple! It was as if a group sat there and were chanting it with the appropriate method. It gave a sense of encouragement as well as wonder.
The ringing of the temple bell, abhisheka being performed to the Shiva Linga with various draviya, just as it happens in our temples appeared to be carried out from within, all as per the procedure. The drum was blown. The traditional vaidhya (he probably refers to the Nadaswaram) was heard. From the tiny key hole of the garbha gruha, various divine aroma such as sandalwood, various flowers, frankincense stormed in to my nostrils. It is appropriate for me to say that I experienced and enjoyed this divine orchestration in God’s shrine than saying that I reached the peak of joy.
I pinched myself to see if all these were true. With the Veda Kosha and Pushpanjali (offering made with flowers), all this divine experience came to an end in half an hour. Nothing was heard after that. I could not decipher whether what I heard was indeed the Veda Kosha or so afterwards.
I thanked the Maha Muni earnestly and opened the Jeeva Nadi.”In this temple, every 120 years, the leading 18 Siddhas under my lead gather here to perform Pooja and Abhisheka to Lord Shiva in the midnight. Being my beloved son, I wanted to show you this divine experience and hence I brought you here. Though you cannot see us, I made you experience us subtlely. This, not only today, but will continue for the next two days and you will be blessed with this divine opportunity. But however, there is no use in sharing this to anyone. Be patient.” – said He!
I was speechless, out of my senses. O Paramatma! Are these real? I asked myself often. Such a blessing be given to me that easily? I doubted. But I cannot share this to anyone either!
Artha Jama pooja in Shivalaya happens very rarely, except in Shivrathri where the poojas will be done 6 times. In normal days, nobody performs pooja for Lord Shiva in the midnight. Beyond all these, in this deserted place where even regular pooja is not possible in this temple, the 18 leading Siddhas come together with Agastya Muni Himself as the lead and perform such a pooja, that too every 120 years and above all, I being able to experience them in this midnight, I simply could not digest.
I thought, this must be the play of a Siddha at first. I could not understand the subtle truth in it. Had anyone shared their time and space with me that night, I could have shared this joyous experience all through the night with that person. There is nobody with me, so this divine and mystic experience gave a feeling of yearning and grief.
I just could not sleep after this experience. When will the sun rise, when will we go down to share this experience to someone, anyone, I kept roaming around the temple like a caged tiger.
Around 5 in the morning, a cool breeze with the aroma of flowers just blossomed and some rare herbs touched me, taking away all the tiredness of the body. I slept peacefully in that natural surroundings. The sunlight woke me up in a while.
I prayed to Lord Shiva and began to get down. When I looked down, I could see around twenty or thirty people standing at the base of the hill, talking to each other, pointing at me.
“Alrighty brother. Stuck we are with them for sure!” – I thought. How are we managing them? I cannot tell a lie. Not sure if they know what is “Agastya”. They could punish me as I have disobeyed the rule of the village. Come what may, I thought.
The people were talking the same “How did he come back alive?”Some appeared angry. Some had a resolve in their face that they will be at ease only after getting me the due punishment. Some were eager to know on what happened up there in the night.
“Hey brother! Come here” – an aged person commanded me. I went up to him silently.
“Pay your respect to him. He is the Karnam of this village” –
someone from the crowd said. Karnam is probably the chief of the village.
I kept the bag I was carrying in the ground and I folded my palms in form of paying respect. He began to enquire about me in the same commanding tone. His left hand kept playing with his moustache and he appeared stubborn in not accepting anything I would say.
“For f-i-f-t-y years, no one stays in this temple at night. Those who did stay without knowing, only have returned as corpses. You are the only one who has come back alive” – said the Karnam.
“All this is The Grace of Siddha Agastya” – I said.
He seldom liked it. He looked at me angrily.
“Don’t lie! I am not the one who believes in all these, and neither will my villagers. I am getting some doubt now. You probably came looking for any jewelry in the temple to loot” – he croaked.
“God forbid. You may frisk me right here if you want to” – I did not expect that things would turn this nasty. They may tie me up with a tree and whip me up, I thought. Especially, the frustration from the priest who tried to stop me yesterday was at its peak. He kept murmuring in to the Karnam’s ears every now and then.
“Let us gather the Panchayat and give the judgement to this
stranger” – said some.
“All that is later. Let us first frisk him and check his bag. We can decide everything else later” – said a few.
“This lad doesn’t appear to have come to loot. He came here by mistake. Let’s give him a couple of pats (?!) and advise him appropriately” – said a chosen few.
Half of the crowd said suddenly “O Karnam, do not decide anything hastily. This boy has come back alive after staying the night. This is a divine grace. May you not conclude anything at once and befall the wrath of Almighty. Let us first enquire this lad as to what happened”
A quarter to an hour passed by.
The Karnam thought the opinion from the last few was logical and so he commanded me to explain what happened “O stranger lad, don’t you hear what they say? Go ahead and tell what happened up there”
I explained everything. Before doing so, I prayed to Agastya Muni earnestly and sought apologies since He had instructed me not to share this to anyone. Though they listened to all I said completely, more than half of them did not believe it completely. I did not know how to convince them and so I said that I will read the Jeeva Nadi for the Karnam and others, but I must freshen up myself prior to that, I said.
They accepted to my proposal in about half an hour.
The surprise is that the Thalayari (another important person of the village) who was determined that I should be punished, helped me to stay in his house. An hour passed by. A crowd had gathered in front of the Karnam and Thalayari’s house as though there was a political agenda.
Funny enough, they thought I might escape and run away by the backyard that about four of them stood there as security guards. I cannot escape by telling any lies here. I prayed and opened the Jeeva Nadi.
“Tell me what Agastya Muni tells about me foremost. If it turns out to be true, you need not read further” – said Karnam.
“Sire, sure, let me read” – I began.
“Your name is Avinasilingam. You have a brother. You were a well to do family when young. Your father has two wives and due to this, the family broke up. Your brother joined the military and did not return for about ten years. You had mentioned that he was killed in the war that happened with Pakistan at Srinagar, and had possessed his wealth as well. Worse still, you had made his wife to obey to all your desires due to which, your wife committed suicide by throwing herself in to a well. Aren’t these true?” – I read
slowly and steadily on what Agastya Muni said through the Nadi.
The Karnam did not expect this onslaught and so he was
shattered. As the villagers too knew this story, they couldn’t open their mouth either.
~ to be continued…!