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India has Her own lovers

May 26, 2018

Just read a story that in spite of the missionaries and vicious media propaganda, none can have hatred for India in the world.

Very true. India (read Hindus) have given the world as much. The numerous boards for Yoga and Meditation and Ayurveda everywhere I saw in Europe and even in America are a silent testimony. When I saw that the Americans had named the peaks in the Grand Canyon after Hindu and Greek Gods (Vishnu temple and Shiva temple being chief among them), I could imagine the world respect for Hindu culture, the longest surviving indigenous way of life in world history. I bow down in front of such a respect and honour.

Recently on an unscheduled trip to the temple town of Tiruvannamalai  with school friends, I happened to encounter a couple of foreign guys – a French and an American. Tiruvannamalai lies 200 km south of Chennai. It has a historic Siddha Shiva temple over 1000 years old spread over 100 acres, a typical Dravidian Hindu architecture. Siddhas in Tamil mythology are immortal – they never die. They perform penance for 1000s of years. Many Hindu temples down south are Siddha Peetams. We Tamils believe, many Siddhas are roaming around in India even today. Siddhas are to the south, the way Aghoris are to northern India. Siddhas attain their kind of eternal salvation after hundreds of years of ‘tapas’ (penance) under trying conditions: like standing for years, going without food or water, sitting in a same spot for hundreds of years with anthills rising over them, in unwavering meditation. Finally they attain the detachment that can separate their souls from bodies without them having to die (something like this can happen with advanced Transcendental meditation). India once at least was home to such sages/hermits. In the present times too, may be there are a few unknown Siddhas lying low without publicity. This is the strong conviction of many Tamil Hindus who have had a real life brush accidentally with such ‘Siddhas’ in Tiruvannamalai. Rarest of rare happenings. This is also one strand of Hindu spirituality. In fact, in the pyramid like structure of Hindu spirituality, the Siddha-Aghori kind may be at the top while we the rest of us may be in the base level. Tiruvannamalai was once a very powerful Siddha Peetam with the positive aura of the Siddhas that permeated and reverberated from every surface. Here Shiva is believed to have appeared ‘swayambu’ as ‘Agni Linga’ – the fire. It is after this this that India went without temples for the creator Brahma.

Even today in Tamil Nadu, Siddha medicine is practised alongside Ayurveda. Siddhas pioneered in many fields and their contribution to medicine and spirituality is immense.

Arunachaleshwara (Shiva ) temple in Tiruvannamalai is supposed to be vested with mystic Siddha powers. In this town lived the great Ramana Maharishi, Seshadri Swamigal, Visiri Swamy etc., renowned hermits some of whom attained ‘Jeev samadhi’ (samadhi when still alive). The Siddha spirituality draws devotees to this small sleepy town from around the world. I would like to invite my prime minister Shri Narendra Modiji once to have a darshan of Shri Arunachala in Tiruvannamalai. Lord Shiva as Agni/Jyothi Linga, one of the 18 Shiva Stals and one of the five ‘bhootha’ (5 natural elements) Lingam.

To walk around the Tiruvannamalai hill on Pournami (poornima or full moon nights) is supposed to bestow you with good life and divine spirituality. This walk is termed ‘Giri valam)

So while having lunch, we girls struck a conversation with the two white men who were in cotton checked shirts and airy (!) white dhotis.  Their foreheads had ‘vibhuti’ and ‘kumkum’ . They sat with us in the same large table in the restaurant and were comfortably savouring the typical traditional south Indian vegetarian feast served on banana leaf, with their bare hands – very nicely really, almost like us Indians. The air-conditioner was groaning as summer was already upon India (May being our hottest month). When we ladies were nonstop moaning, the two foreigners hardly mumbled a word in complaint about the heat wave or Indian summers. They seemed to be at home, more at home than us girls!

I told the Paris guy who said he came from the world museum capital that I visited Paris 2 years back. He was unimpressed. ‘I no more identify myself as French. I cannot connect with France or Europe or west in general. The day I attended Kumbh Mela in India, walked through the streets of Varanasi, I knew my soul belonged in India. Ever since I am in India on and off. 9 months in India until visa permits. Get back to France and again back to India. I don’t know what you guys find in foreign countries that is not here. I came down to Tiruvannamalai finally after visiting many Hindu temples. I am here as much as possible. I know this is my home.’

The American agreed with him. The day he touched down in India, he said he had this inner calling – a sense of ‘deja vu’. The noise, the poverty, the crowds, nothing bothered him any longer. He felt he had come home.

Both the men were middle-aged, under 60. Neither were they Hippies nor were they Hare Krishna followers. They were not drawn to India via Aurobindo or other Gurus like Ravi Shankar or Sadhguru in modern times or from Sai Babas from recent past. They did not know India in their other lives in Europe/America, the lives they have left behind. India took them by spell the moment they set their foot in the country. Until India happened, they had had no clue what it is about. That is the power of Hindu philosophy.

We women were overwhelmed by what they told us. I asked the French man, ‘Do you know Francois Gautier ???!!!’

He went blank for a minute. ‘Who is he?’ he asked then. I was not sure if it was pretence or real.

I said he was a French journalist now settled in India, writing on Indian politics. He is pretty much an insider, I said.

‘Excuse politics please’ said the French man. The American smiled. ‘We are here on our own, we had this spiritual calling. The spiritual energy, the peace we find here is not there anywhere in the world.’

India does not send missionaries to US or Europe to convert anyone to Hindu dharma or Buddhism the way Vatican/Europe/US are doing. India has never terrorized another nation on earth, never plundered other races, did not lay foundation on/build Bharat over the spilled blood of natives. Sanatana Dharma, Hinduism, is freewill. Without preaching, without coercion, without conversion by the point of sword … world citizens embrace Hindu-Buddhist way of life. Hindus are givers, never takers. We make ourselves useful in the best way to the society we may become part of. India will always therefore have the goodwill of the world. Hindus are boringly annoyingly passive, but are good to the world. World can do with us. World needs our kind.

I just know my Hindu India will be loved and respected eternally. For the goodness we have given the world. For the swordless bloodless conquering of the soul of the world with spirituality, meditation, classical music and dance and literature and science and medicine and technology. Wholesome Hinduness.

That day in Tiruvannamalai, we girls had a reawakening for a second time after temple darshan. Unsolicited love and respect for Hindu way of life and India. We could not have asked for more.

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The Hollywood picture Avatar, ofcourse my all time favourite, is a complete lift of this Hindu avatar (incarnation) (avatar is a sanskrit word) spirituality, the ultimate detachment. I never knew someone could make such a beautiful and thought provoking picture with this concept (which we call ‘koodu vittu koodu paidhal’ in Tamil. we have spinned tales around this subject for centuries before Avatar film happened. ask any Tamil/Hindu child. he/she grew up listening to these mythical stories which we believed at heart were once true happenings in Hindu society). Even the body of the Avatar is blue like that of Lord Ram or Krishna. Hindu male Gods mostly are mostly supposedly blue skinned.

 

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