Significance of Rudraksha in SPH’s life

In around 1991, SPH also visited one of the great gurus of Tiruvannamalai- Kripananda Variyar Swamigal.

I can say, he is my Tamil guru. I learnt Tamil by listening to his speeches. Kripananda Variyar Swamigal’s devotion was such that even in his underarms, he was wearing a rudraksha by piercing! He was wearing a rudraksha.

There is a story where Subramanya directly comes down and corrects a great lady saint, Avvai, her understanding, and he Himself teaches her and liberates her, gives her enlightenment by giving her an important understanding. She has become a little egoistic about her knowledge and Subramanya directly comes down and removes her ego and makes her understand and gives her enlightenment.

So, he (Kripananda Variyar) exclaimed, ‘Just like you did for Avvai, did you come again to give the truth to me?’ addressing SPH, who to him was Muruga himself.

SPH was just a twelve year old boy. Simply, he smiled and walked out of the room. Till SPH left the hall, Kripananda Variyar Swamigal was sitting like that only with folded hands, looking after the retreating figure of SPH with so much devotion. Only after SPH left the room, he continued giving vibhuti.

This wooden box was the young Avatar’s father’s cash box. He took it and used it. The Rudraksha bead string inside it was given to Him by Kripananda Variyar, a great spiritual teacher from Tamilnadu, South India.

My gurus put glittering jewels along with the rudraksha and I straight away picked the rudraksha! I will tell you this one incident, only then you will understand the concept of God as deity:

My guru Kuppammal (Mata Vibhudananda Puri) was having the whole guru parampara deity – given from Arunagiri Yogishwara’s time.

When Isakki Swami was about to leave the body, he was not able to do puja everyday, so he handed it over to Kuppammal and she was doing puja for it everyday. One day she asked me to clean the deity. I cleaned all the rudraksha and kept everything separate. She came and asked where everything was – the Rudraksha and other jewels on the deity.

I said, “I cleaned everything and kept it aside.”

She said, “Our ancestors gave this to us. So we don’t know whether the deity is god decorated with rudraksha or the rudraksha is god put on a stand called deity so we should never do this game of separation! as they gave it, put it together, tie it and keep it and do puja!”

God! the kind of sincerity she has inculcated in me!

After His first enlightenment experience, SPH began going on paada yatras, sometimes just by Himself and other times with bands of people who would come along. In the years 1991 until 1993, SPH went on several trips to Sabarimala – the temple dedicated to Lord Ayyappa.

Many people including SPH’s brothers, uncles, and his paternal grandmother have shared such sweet memories of traveling with SPH on the trips to Sabarimala. They remember how SPH was so alive and overjoyous, taking every opportunity to educate the people who were with him, even leading blissful songs, or bhajans, while they were walking or on the bus. This is much like how SPH led hundreds of people on yatras to Himalayas and Kailash.

Sabarimala is a prominent Hindu temple located on a hilltop in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district. It is surrounded by 18 hills in the Periyar Tiger Reserve. The temple is dedicated to Ayyappa, the God of growth. The temple attracts pilgrims from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh and from various parts of the country and the world. It was mostly unreachable for about three centuries after its installation.

Maheshwara Puja is specially Designed to:

In the 12th century, a prince of Pandalam Dynasty, Manikandan, rediscovered the original path to reach Sabarimala. He had many followers with him, including the descendants of the Vavar (a Muslim warrior whom Manikandan defeated) family. This Prince is considered an Avatar of Ayyappa. It is believed that he meditated at Sabarimala temple and became one with the divine.

The pilgrims of Sabarimala have to reach the temple through difficult treks in the forest as the vehicles cannot reach there. Devotees have to observe celibacy for 48 days before going to Sabarimala. They are also required to strictly follow a vegetarian diet, refrain from alcohol, not use any profanity and allow the hair and nails to grow without cutting. They are expected to bathe twice in a day and visit the local temples regularly. They wear black or blue clothes, do not shave until the completion of the pilgrimage, and smear vibhuti or sandal paste on their forehead.

Sabarimala beads

This is one of the strings of beads that the young Avatar wore during His pilgrimage trips to Sabarimala, a hill-top temple in Kerala visited by lakhs of devotees by foot after a 48-day austere lifestyle before the pilgrimage. He went twice with His elder brother and father’s elder brother Kumarasamy periappa as a larger group of people in 1989 and 1990. The third time was when He went with His paternal grandmother Anusuya Ammal in 1991, when they visited several other important temples as well. The dollar in this string is Lord Ayyappan, the presiding deity of Sabarimala. It was customary to wear two strings every year.