Theme: Spirituality

Going Round Arunachala

(Arunachala is the mount on which Bhagwan Ramana Maharshi meditated and lived. Going round the mount along a prescribed path, about 15 km long, is considered to aid spiritual advancement.)


The mountain stood
right in the middle
its head immersed
in the silence of the sky.
A road went around it,
a pilgrim route,
parts verdurous,
cacophonous elsewhere,
commercial, noisy
through most of its circuitous course,
dotted with several shrines
and sacred power points
named after several lingas*.
Spiritual seekers
of both eternal wisdom and divine powers,
some perhaps high on cannabis,
bearded, with matted long hair,
often clad in saffron,
squatted on the way,
and walkers on the circular path
reverently placed coins and bills
on colourful towels
spread out before the saints.
Stray dogs followed the walkers on the path
for long distances
wagging tails;
some of them adorably timid,
hoping a piece of biscuit
or some other savoury
will come their way.
They often barked and fought
on territorial instincts;
the devout walkers thought
they were divine aides
sent down to guide and bless
walkers on the arduous path.
Almost one third of the trek
passed through noisy town
through roads filled with unruly traffic,
honks, hoots and din,
where men least interested in the divine
traded with their egos
on dusty roads
like ferocious animals that cared
two hoots for the sanctity
of the pilgrims’ prescribed path,
with least regard for those
who walked bare-foot
singing the glory of the Lord
unmindful of the risks involved.
Vendors sold idols,
fruits, juices, bangles,
cheap ornaments and cosmetics
that captured the attention of the women.
Each one had a purpose,
divine or material,
where the call of the belly
was all that seemed to matter.
That was the place where a man
always less than half-clad
shed his mortal coil
in the middle of the last century
living his full life with smiling eyes
that beckoned the whole world
to the mountain’s grand glory.
A man who knew he was all,
the eternal witness
that lived in everything,
even in the shoulder sarcoma
that consumed his physical being,
witnessing the drama of mortal life
like the solitary mount
that still stands guard uninvolved
in all the noisy cacophony
of frenetic life along the track
that circumambulates it!
The mount stands guard,
the eternal witness
on which Ramana meditated
in a cave, the Lotus Of The Heart,
where the Self of all and everything
resides in total peace and quietude!
Oh ye, weary trekkers
on the circuitous path of life,
turn your eyes inward,
look at the mount
leaving the barks to dogs! 


*symbols or idols of divine energy in Hindu belief


More By  :  Madathil Rajendran Nair

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