24 May 2017

Tuesday 23 May, 2017: Bhauma Pradosham Arunachaleswarar Temple


Pradosh Vrat is a sacred fasting day to please Lord Shiva. It falls on the ‘Trayodashi’ (13th day) of each lunar fortnight of the Hindu calendar. When Pradosh Vrat falls on a Tuesday it is called ‘Bhauma Pradosh Vrat’. The word ‘bhauma’ is another name for ‘Mangal' or the planet Mars, which is also the presiding deity of Tuesday (Mangalwar). The period of twilight is considered most beneficial for performing the Bhauma Pradosh Vrat rituals. It is stated in the Puranas that during this time Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati are in a most favourable and propitious mood. Devotees worship Lord Shiva and observe a fast on this day to achieve fruitful results. 

When Pradosh Vrat falls on Tuesday, it is known as Bhaum Pradosh. The benefit of Bhaum Pradosh Vrat is that it gives relief from health problems and enhances physical health. It also brings prosperity. 

Abhishekam is performed on the five major Nandi statues at Arunachaleswarar Temple on the occasion of each Pradosham. 

From east to west the five Temple Nandis are: 

Periya Nandi in front of Vallala Gopuram Fifth Prakaram. 
Chinna Nandi, Fourth prakaram 
Kodi Kampathu Nandi, Third Prakaram 
Ratha Vilaku Nandi, Second Prakaram 
Pradosha Nandi, Moolastanam 


Milk Abhishekam of Periyar Nandi

Aarti of Periyar Nandi Alangaram

Devotees 5th Prakam watching Periyar Nandi worship

Ratha Vilaku Nandi at 2nd Prakaram

The Gods on Procession

Performing circumambulation of Siva Sannidhi, Big Temple

Procession with Arunachala background


The next Pradosham will be observed on Tuesday 6 June 2017. Bhauma Pradosh Vrat [19.12 to 21.15]

20 May 2017

Desecration of Arunachala in Kali Age




On 13 April, 2011 I made a posting entitled the ”Kali Age”. Sadly the pollution and desecration of this most glorious Siva Sthalam has only become worse in the last six years. For this reason I am reposting the narrative now under this posting “Desecration of Arunachala in Kali Age”.
 
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In Hinduism it is believed that the Yuga we are currently living in, i.e. the Kali Yuga is the last of four Yugas and at the end of each Kali Yuga there is pralaya, a period of dissolution and destruction.

The Vishnu Purana details the attributes of man and society during the Kali Yuga:

“The Kali Yuga is supposed to be a time in which he, who will distribute immense wealth, will be considered as master of men. Accumulated wealth will be spent on ostentatious dwellings.

The minds of men will be wholly occupied with earning money and that will be spent on the gratification of selfish desires. Women will follow their own inclinations and will be given up to pleasure seeking. Men will endeavour to acquire riches even dishonestly. No man will part with the smallest fraction of his wealth at the sacrifice of his own interest even when requested by his friends. In the Kali Yuga everyone, possessing vehicles and elephants and horses, will be a Raja; anyone who is feeble will be a slave.

In the Kali Yuga, cows will be held in reverence only because they supply milk. People will be subject to all sorts of infirmities of mind, speech and body which will result in all manner of sins being committed and great viciousness taking place in society.” 
[Vishnu Purana] "

"In the Kali Yuga, less than one-fourth of the normal amount of righteousness remains in the world. Everything is in flux and always changing. But, the texts say that Kali Yuga is the best of all ages because it is the age in which everyone, regardless of caste or karma, can realise God. The problem is, most people are so overcome by Maya that they have no desire to know God.

Kali Yuga eventually develops into GHORA ('terrible') Kali Yuga, when things get really bad in the world, at which point the gutters are overflowing with filth. Nature then cleans out the gutters, by whatever means She sees fit to use, and Satya Yuga begins again."
[Robert Svoboda]

My experience of the world combined with my intuition makes me accept unequivocally the predictions of the Kali Yuga as set out in the Vishnu Purana. I totally believe that the world is caught in a stranglehold of greed and adharma.

There was a time at Arunachala, the premier Shiva site of all India, that devotees would come to laud and worship the great Lord Shiva by digging tanks and wells and creating flower gardens for the Lord’s enjoyment. And now for the sake of a few paisa, tanks and wells are being filled so that land sellers can extend their land by a few square feet to sell off as plots. Trees are being cut down in order that new roads be created through reserve forests populated by Arunachala wildlife. And the earth of natural reservoir lakes such as Samudra Eri (and many others around the Hill) are being disembowelled and degraded so that a very few can make a fortune selling off the sand for house building.

How have we come to this? How is that Tirupathi is able to create a spiritual centre which is clean, organised and safe and yet (if that’s what you are interested in) be the most financially lucrative spiritual centre in all India – and we at Arunachala are daily witnessing the accelerated degradation of land surrounding the Hill? Those that come for girivalam, climb the Hill, or even just move about the town, know only too well of the increasingly denuded area and of the dirt and plastic refuse filth throughout Tiruvannamalai.

I can only write what I know about, and in this respect a very few years back, the Samudra Eri was pristine clean and unmarked by the ravages of sand diggers and tractors. Locals would come and cut down acacia bushes to use as fuel, but would also take care to plant trees to replace that which they took. Nights on the Samudram would be silent and blessed – just as things should be during night in the countryside.

And now, increasingly as new buildings are being built throughout Tiruvannamalai, both locals and land developers are using the reservoir as a dump. Giant holes, some already 30-40 feet deep are appearing randomnly throughout the lake bed as a result of sand quarrying. And noise and fuel smoke is constant day and night as trucks and land diggers take their loads of Samudram earth to sell to local builders. During the rainy season when these huge artificial holes fill with rainwater, in the stealth of night and early morning huge vehicles come and pump into them untreated human waste taken from the septic tanks of nearby homes.

I believe that we are better than this, that the majority of people living at Tiruvannamalai are devotees of the great Lord Shiva and that with cooperation of NGOs, officials and government would participate helping to create a Tiruvannamalai that would be the crown jewel of South India.

Conservation, intelligence, planning, ecology are words that help create a beautiful environment, and it is this that would add true wealth to each of us.

Emphasis is nowadays being placed on the reforestation of Arunachala, however attention also needs to be focussed on the great swathes of agricultural land surrounding the sacred Hill. Over the last few hundred years as Arunachala was denuded of its natural vegetation, so too surrounding land was stripped of natural plant life in order to support intensive farming with crop cultivation up to four times a year. Some of these farms have already been sold to property developers for densely packed housing estates, and undoubtedly this trend will escalate over the coming years.

In this respect there is a need to create and maintain sanctuaries around Arunachala providing safe haven for birds and other wildlife, thereby adding to the rich diversity of life around the sacred Hill. The jewel of these sanctuaries should be the 600 acre Samudra Eri as its so perfectly placed at the very foot of the Hill.

Even a huge city like New York understands the importance of beauty and nature in the midst of urban sprawl -- and their 770 acres Central Park is maintained by the Central Park Conservancy, a private, not for profit organization under a contract with New York City. Incidentally the real estate value of Central Park was estimated by the property appraisal firm, Miller Samuel, to be $528,783,552,000 in December 2005. So if New York, can forgo dipping their hands into the kitty for the sake of the community, I think we at the sthala of Lord Shiva can do MUCH better.


The below photographs of Samudra Eri were taken in 2011. Most of the huge acreage of the Eri has now been turned into a huge, gravel pit. Maybe I will post more recent photographs, but they are very depressing . . . so am holding back! Its essential to remember this Eri is a water catchment area receiving and storing water during the rainy season and quarrying Eri sand is negatively impacting water levels not just in this area but also in Tiruvannamalai .


2011. Our Crown Jewel at the start of a ferocious degradation

2011 photograph. These craters are now massive and up to 40 feet deep

2011 photo: Now few acacia bushes. Local contractors stealthily pump untreated human waste into the crater ponds

New York Central Park. Urbanisation doesn't always mean 100% degradation


2 May 2017

News Update May 2017




If you are interested to learn more about the Vasantha Urchavam Festival, please check the archives of Arunachala Grace for the many postings I made covering the 2016 Vasantha Urchavam Festival. 

This year I propose giving a full report on the meaning and significance of this Festival on the Arunachala Samudra website—the upload will also include a full pictorial report of the various functions celebrated during this 2017 Festival. 

Have just made a posting on my blog Arunachala Mystic, with details of the marriage ceremony between Lord Siva and the Goddess Meenakshi that will be celebrated on May 8, 9, and 10 during this Chithirai Festival. The function will take place at the famed Sri Siva Jothi Mona Siddhar Ashram located about 25 kms from Tiruvannamalai at Sethavari Village, Nallanpillaipetral. All are welcome to what will be a joyous and celebratory occasion. 

To all the many animal lovers interested in the plight of Rukku, the Arunachaleswarar Temple elephant, a High Court ruling on captive elephants has been made as follows:- 


Prayers that the Temple explicitly follows the ruling of the Madras High Court


“The Madras High Court has made it clear that forcing a temple elephant to bless people for a fee is nothing but begging, and observed that such exploitation of captive animals cannot be permitted. 

Justice D. Krishnakumar also directed forest officials to ensure the best possible
conditions for the captive animals and strict compliance with rules. 

The issue pertains to a plea moved by N. Sekar, seeking a direction to the Forest department to issue transit licence for taking his elephant to Sree Varadharaja Perumal temple in Kancheepuram. 

The petitioner said the licence was suspended after a Tamil daily carried a report that the elephant was being used for begging. 

When the plea came up for hearing, the judge said, “The court had been informed that elephants were used to bless devotees and receive money in return, which was nothing but begging, which violates the Tamil Nadu Captive Elephants (Management and Maintenance) Rules, 2011, which state that an elephant should not be taken to the streets and other places for begging or any other purpose.” 

The judge then ordered the district forest officers to ensure that the rules were strictly implemented, and asked the authorities concerned to circulate all the rules in Tamil to all owners of captive elephants in the State.” 


23 April 2017

Animals of Arunachala need your Support






I have often written in Arunachala Grace about the Arunachala Animal Sanctuary and Rescue Shelter here at Tiruvannamalai, and about the excellent, life saving and transforming changes they are making to many animals in these parts.

When asked what organisation is most worth supporting at Arunachala . . . I always put the Arunachala Animal Sanctuary at the top of the list.

I remember the days that "animal control" in these parts meant culling dogs by strangling them with garrote wire on the streets and then tossing the carcasses in the backs of bullock carts to be taken off to be incinerated. I remember the days when mange encrusted dogs lived a life of suffering in the sewers of this town. I can recall that when the wheels of a car or autorickshaw ran over a dog's legs that it always meant a certain death sentence for the poor creature.

The Arunachala Animal Sanctuary are controlling the numbers of street dogs in the area by offering free sterlisation operations. They participate in taking food out to feed starving homeless dogs living on the streets, bring in infested animals and board them while giving the suffering creatures mange and skin treatments. The Sanctuary is also responsible for finding forever homes for numerous puppies and previously unwanted dogs. In addition to sterlisations on Dogs; the Shelter also performs many different types of operations on cats, monkeys, cows, horses, goats and a host of other creatures.

The very best thing Arunachala Animal Sanctuary has done is to provide ongoing education to those at Tiruvannamalai about compassion and service to our animal brethren and it was through their intervention and education that horrific dog culling were stopped many years ago.

The Arunachala Animal Sanctuary desperately needs our financial support and in this respect please visit their page at this link here on the GlobalGiving website to learn more about how to help this organisation in their efforts to maintain and improve their care and service for our animals friends at Blessed Arunachala.

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“Beautiful April...Unadorned pulses from the Heart”

Project Report by Leslie Robinson—Founder/Director of the Arunachala Animal Sanctuary and Rescue Shelter


Dear, dear People:

Before beginning…Thank you for the caring. Thank you for the support. Thank you for giving us the energy to go on.

A lot of our Work has to do with lifting the karma of the animals. They are faced with such a heavy load. Indifference—Political. Bureaucratic. General…Outright cruelty...And on and on. A lot of the battles that we fight have to do with lifting that karma. Of changing things for them. You can see it happening as things get lighter and lighter for them. In those passages that are so heavy, and things get really tough, I try to remember that it's not situational, and it's not meaningless. It's really burning thru the obstacles for the Precious Ones. You can see it working as a lot of the heaviness lifts and things get better and better for them in Tiruvannamalai. Om Namah Shivaya.

It is such a blessing to be able to do this Work. There are so few times in life when one has the chance to participate in something that lifts so much suffering.

And the energy that comes back from these beautiful, innocent creatures…The love…Surrounds one with a gentle, protective, good-feeling bubble.

It’s such a blessing to feel these things. When I’m feeling “down”, traversing a difficult inner passage, feeling love/caring for these creatures as I’m walking along the street, is an affirmation of my humanity.

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We’re going thru difficult times right now…a passage that had a beginning and has an end.

We’re overcrowded.

Getting to that state is very auspicious. It's a clear reflection of peoples' Hearts opening more and more to the Voiceless Ones.

The number of monthly emergency rescues have increased exponentially in the last two years…From 40 to between 80 and 110. Almost all are homeless dogs and puppies. It’s a strong sign that people have become much more aware and caring for these Precious Creatures. Can you imagine the significance of someone calling in and saying this homeless dog hasn’t been eating the last two days? I mean it's coming from a space ten years ago of almost complete indifference…Om Namah Shivaya.

And similarly, the number of monthly visits for treatment to our clinic has increased from an average of 300 two years ago, to between 550 and 750 now. These are mostly “owner dogs”. The owners' Hearts are opening more and more, too. Om Namah Shivaya.

So with this great blessing, the Transformation of a Community, comes an increase in the number of Precious Ones in-house--from between 75 and 100 two years ago to between 200 and 225, now.

The Voiceless Ones still feel safe, cared for, and loved…but they can’t run around like they used to….AND the skin conditions have gotten to an alarming level. (More later).

Our Number One priority is to get into a much bigger facility. That means purchasing land and building.

Amazingly enough, the Municipality Bureaucracy or the local Politicos couldn’t care less. For them there is "no problem" because the streets are so remarkably good. There’s probably no municipality in the Nation that has anything like this.

The reason things are so good is because we have a staff of 21, two full-time veterinary doctors…are doing 100 emergency rescues a month, seeing up to 750 cases for treatment each month in our clinic, going out up to 100 kms to find homes for our puppies, doing emergency rescue 24/7, treating and caring for over 200 creatures in-house, doing 60 to 100 sterilizations each month, and perhaps performing 5 to 10 complicated operations.

It’s an amazing arrogance.

When we opened ten years ago, the scene was the worst I’ve seen. 5000 (more, likely 7000) homeless dogs, and the population out of control. 350 suffering and dying creatures on the streets. Rabies. Starvation. No facility for treatment and care within 70 kms. A terrible relationship between the people and the animals. Widespread abuse. Many dog bites.

That is now all in the past. There are no more suffering and dying animals on the streets. The homeless dog population is decreasing for the first time in forty years, AND it is rabies-free. Widespread abuse is gone…and the relationship between the animals and the people amongst whom they live day in, day out is totally transformed. And there are 10,000 fewer puppies born each year, almost all of whom would have just suffered and died.

Each year it gets better and better. You can experience it just walking on the streets...frequent scenes of people stroking homeless dogs, speaking sweetly to them, giving them food are common. Almost unheard of ten years ago. Om Namah Shivaya.

And if the Shelter went down, it wouldn’t revert back to the awful scene that existed in 2007, but to a scene almost unimaginably worse. Just from the 100 emergency rescues not being done, the afflicted creatures, alone, would flood the streets. At the end of a year there would be 1200 to 1500 suffering and dying creatures, not the awful 350 from 2007.

It’s difficult to comprehend the monumental ignorance of the Municipal bureaucracy. It's true of many local bureaucracies and politicos in India…It’s slowly improving, but has a long, long way to go.

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In the meantime, we have taken exceptional steps to protect, support, and care for our Precious Ones as we traverse this difficult terrain.

Because they run free, the skin diseases are passed back and forth. The overall situation facing us was that the skin conditions, primarily Mange, because of the overcrowding, has all of a sudden, in a matter of weeks jumped and gotten alarmingly out of hand. We saw that the incidence was so high that cases could not be handled individually because of the cross transfer of the disease. That all the Precious Ones, without exception, had to be treated at the same time (even if they did not have Mange) in a way that would eliminate cross transfer…in other words, that they all, without exception, had to be healed together.

So we embarked on the below protocol that has now been going for over three weeks.

For Mange…

We gave all 200 dogs/puppies medicated shampoos, and the next day all were coated with neem/sulfur oil. That is being done weekly for four weeks.

Adult dogs(with minor exceptions, e.g. old, etc. who will get tablets, weekly) will get Ivermectine pills for the first 15 days. Puppies will be treated differently.

Any adult dogs with active Mange after four weeks will be treated with Advocate (the main treatment in the West) which is very effective and very costly. (It requires a weekly application for four weeks. Whereas the Ivermectine costs 10 rupees a pill, or 150 rupees a dog, Advocate costs 800 rupees an application, or 3,200 rupees a dog.)

For Fungal...

We have 20 to 25 cases of Fungal. I am not going into the treatment of the Fungal because it's more complicated. There are commonly five types, each requiring a different medication. If we treat them in a “traditional manner”, then scrapings and cultures must be done to classify. Elaine, our veterinary nurse, would do the work. However, it’s possible that they might be treated in a different way. (See discussion of Colloidal Silver, below).

For treatment of our most difficult cases we are calling in one of the foremost veterinary dermatologists in the Nation who is at the Madras Veterinary College and has a longterm relationship with Dr. Raja.

They’ve all had three baths at the writing of this Report…And, blessing of blessings, the itching has stopped, they’re all comfortable, their coats are looking much, much better, and it seems almost all are cured.

Colloidal Silver...

I’m including this blurb about Colloidal Silver, because I know a lot of you have interest in it thru the stories you've heard of a “miracle solution”.

A longtime, strong supporter (a head nurse at a large hospital in the States) told me a story of her cat that had a nagging respiratory infection…and she had her inhale some colloidal silver mist just two three times…and, bam, it went away.

She gave us a tube of high-quality colloidal silver gel. Dr. Raja applied it to a two month old puppy with mange that had very little hair. Almost miraculously, with just the one application, after three weeks, his coat had regenerated and the skin mange was cured. (I mentioned “skin mange” because there are two levels of the disease—skin and systemic).

There are a lot of anecdotal stories (none of them scientific) about colloidal silver curing a number of different ailments. However, on the basis of our one experience, we decided to order a hi-quality generator from one of the best companies that will produce ionic and colloidal silver at incredibly low cost. We hope to receive it soon.

My hopes for it are high. And it is simply not toxic. (The only negative side effect is in cases where people have totally overdosed…their skin turned blue. And this only happens in very few cases.) Humans ingest it one or two times a day, apply it to their skin, daily, inhale it for respiratory problems…and on and on.

If it fulfills its promise: (1) We’ll put it in the drinking water regularly to deal with systemic mange...(2) We’ll spray it on the dogs periodically to cover skin mange. (If a gel is required, it would be too expensive to buy hi-quality tubes. Fortunately, we could make our own gel with Aloe vera.)...(3) We might also include it periodically in decontaminating the Shelter.

It’s also been indicated that the Colloidal (or ionic) Silver will kill the microbes involved in Fugal. We have to test it. If it works, then we probably don’t have to classify the type of fungal, but can treat it generally. If not, then we have to treat it traditionally, and do scrapings, cultures, and classification.

Decontamination of the Shelter...

It has been done beyond anything required. It took three days. Solutions to decontaminate: floor, beddings, mattresses, etc…Also for three days (in the evenings from 7pm to 2:30am..ending this last Sunday 2:30am, the 12th) the entire Shelter, cages, grounds were gone over thoroughly by a professional with a strong flame gun. Vishwa oversaw the entire process. This process also handled the tic problem that was significant and is difficult to deal with.

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Also, we feel that during this period the Voiceless Ones need more attention and caring. So Vishwa is going to hire 8 ladies, each to work half-days whose only job will be to give them that additional love and caring--massages, strokes, loving words…At this writing he’s found five and Elaine tells me they’re working out beautifully.

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It is so Heartening that the Precious Ones still feel safe, cared for, and loved AND are happy…I place my head at the feet of our beloved Staff. I am so, so grateful.

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Before closing…Some moving Heart stories.

Jansy was six months old when she was hit by a two wheeler. Poor baby really took a hit. In the head. She was unconscious when they brought her in. Dr. Raja didn’t think she was going to make it. She was in a coma for ten days. Clinging to life. Concussion. Potential nerve damage. Eyeball hanging out. Skull fracture…In intensive care we stroked her. Whispered to her, ”Come sweet Jansy. Hang on. You’re with very good people. Waiting for you to come back." Played chants. Gave i.v.’s for nutrition. Spinal injections for controlling brain inflammation. Neurobion-vitamins to boost nervous system. Pain killers. Reiki.

First signs that she might make it. Started moving her head a little. And then moving the body. Slowly. Slowly. She started coming back to us. Several more days and she turned on her stomach. A few more and she sat up. Then she started eating a little. She was comfortable with us and clearly felt safe. After 3 ½ weeks she started trying to stand. Then started taking her first steps after several more days. She was indrawn, but content. We let her walk around in isolation a week. Encouraging her. Stroking and kissing. Then she was ready for the veranda. Resting on one of the straw mattresses. A lot of puppies out there. A lot of snuggling. Warming up. She started responding. Forming some relationships. Walking around. Resting. Playing gently. Going off alone occasionally to just rest in repose…And then, she was bounding around with the rest. Welcome back dear Jansy.

Two months of slow, steady recovery…and sweet Jansy went home. Sweet, sweet Jansy. Be a good girl, Jansy. And be happy.

Dadda was eleven or twelve when he came to us. Someone saw him lying in a ditch by the roadside and called. Vishwa brought him in. His back was broken and he was barely alive. After several days in intensive care-i.v.’s, painkillers, nutrition…the works, we brought him into a “trafficked” area, where for one or two months he laid motionless on his side. For some strange reason the puppies used to come and pee right next to him.

Frequently we’d kneel down, and whisper in his ear, “I love you. You’re such a fine boy. You’re in a safe place now. We’re good people, and we’ll protect you the rest of your life”. After a long time, it could have been as much as two months, but no shorter than one, he could be turned over on his stomach and rest that way. And, perhaps it was a sign, the puppies stopped peeing next to him! In the meantime Dr. Raja was treating him allopathically and ayurvedically. And he was getting spinal injections, and normal massages.

I remember his first real sign of recovery was that for a short while he became a bit of a tyrant. He got so much love. And he had the oddest walk. Every once in a while his back legs would just fall over sideways. But it’s his Heart and his personality that were so endearing. He was a strange mixture of sweetness incarnate, and a real grouch…but mostly sweetness. He truly was colorful…and so, so loveable.

Thank you dear Dadda for gracing us with your presence.

We named her Bella. She came to us last week. A driver from Rangammal Hospital told us that there was a serious problem with a monkey and her newborn baby. Ramesh (one of our best) and Velu went out. A young female had given birth in a bamboo tree. On the way down she was grievously pierced in the stomach, and died. Bella was taking milk from her on the ground. People were standing around crying.

She was only two hours old when we got her back to the Shelter. Sweet, loving Sugana will be her surrogate mom. She’ll carry her around much of the time. She’ll sleep with her. And the babe has to be fed every half-hour around the clock. (Sugana is looking tired, but never, never, never complains. Bless you Sugana.) Sugana is our surrogate mom for infants, mostly puppies and monkeys. I first heard the story from her. She had the innocent sweetie with her. She was tiny, tiny, tiny. I snuggled and gave her “machine gun kisses…and gently said protective mantras.

She’ll be with Sugana for three or four months.

We had a discussion about Bella at the Monday morning staff meeting, today. There was concern because she has had virtually no experience with monkeys, only humans. So we’re going to start introducing her to monkeys within two or three weeks.

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Well dear People, we've come to the end...

So...

We're under big pressure to get into a much larger facility, and that means land ($75,000), and building ($250,000). I'm thinking that the fastest we could do it is in four to six months.

If you know Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, call them...If you know Ratan Tata, Rockefeller, or a gadzillionaire that loves animals, call them.

If you have contact with my Mother, tell her to send my Piggy Bank.

Anything you can do would be great...If it's not money...Prayers...But this is real and it's big.

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As in prior Reports...we've pulled together some good photos...The theme, as in the past, is Love...Enjoy

Blessings, love, and wishes for all things, good,

Leslie, The Ageing Expatriate Warrior



Friendship at Shelter

Just let me hold on

Shelter Supervisor Raja

Shelter Manager Vishwa

A picture is worth a 1000 words

Puppy Time!

Dog suffering with Manage

Same Dog after 2 months of treatment

Adopt a Dog from the Shelter



To make a donation to the Arunachala Animal Sanctuary and Rescue Shelter towards the project and programmes listed above please visit their Fund Drive at GlobalGiving at this link here

14 April 2017

2017 Tamil New Year at Arunachala


The Ner Annamalaiyar Lingam Shrine and Mandapam is located on the Arunachala girivalam roadway in an exact axial line opposite to Arunachaleswarar Temple on the other side of the Hill. 

The early morning sun on Tamil New Year i.e. April 14 (Puthandu Vazthukal) first falls directly onto the Lingam in this Shrine – this phenomenon can only be viewed on this day. Traditionally each year on this date, large crowds gather at this Temple to be first to greet the rays of Surya and seek divine blessings for the coming new year.

The Ner Annamalaiyar Lingam Shrine at daybreak Friday 14 April, 2017





First light of 2017 Tamil New Year shining on Lingam



Reading of Panchangam: Tamil New Year 2017 

At the time of each Tamil New Year, the reading of the Panchangam (Tamil New Year's Almanac) occurs. This reading of the Almanac by senior Priests at Arunachaleswarar Temple is primarily in relation to the confirmation of Festival Dates at the Temple throughout the coming year. 



10 April 2017

Sunday 9 April, 2017—Panguni Uthiram Festival: Celestial Wedding



Panguni Uthiram is celebrated during Panguni Month (March-April) during Uthiram Nakshatra day. This year Panguni Uthiram occurred on Sunday 9th April, 2017.

Panguni Uthiram (Falgun Purnima) full moon day is known as the time of celebration of the Celestial Wedding of Lord Siva and Goddess Parvathi; Lord Murugan and His consort Goddess Devayani and Lord Vishnu and His consort Goddess Andal. This day also celebrates the divine wedding day of Lord Rama and the Goddess Sita.

This celebration of Divine marriage is intended to emphasis the glory of married life for householders and to protect their union from separation. It is believed that offering prayers to God at this time gives good mental equilibrium to couples and bestows them with strength, love, affection and understanding.

At Arunachaleswarar Temple a Marriage Festival is celebrated. In the evening the Gods came in procession and an exchange of garlands takes place. Arunachaleswarar and Parashakti after exchanging garlands are both moved to the Kalyana Mandapam. Inside the Kalayana Mandapam (Thirukalyanam Mandapam), the Thirukalyanam Festival occurred.



Exchange of Garlands

Exchange of Garlands

Gods being carried to Kalyana Mandapam for marriage ceremony

Priest tying Mangala Sutra around the neck of the Goddess

After ceremonies completed, darshan is given in front of Alankaram Mandapam and Gods taken in procession around the Temple Mada Veedhis

8 April 2017

Saturday 8 April, 2017: Shani Pradosham Arunachaleswarar Temple



The first Pradosham of April, 2017 fell on a Saturday and is thus known as Shani Pradosham or Shani Pradosham Vrata. According to Hindu astrology Saturn is known to affect one adversely on occasions when it placed in a certain position in one's horoscope. A prayer to God, especially on Saturdays, is said to mitigate one’s hardships. Thus, it is believed that by observing a Vrata (vow) and offering prayers to Lord Shiva on Shani Pradosham, one can escape from the ill effects of Lord Shani (one of the Navagrahas or nine celestial Gods). 


Kumbhabhishekam on Periyar Nandi, 5th Prakaram


Devotees watching worship of Big Nandi

Kumbhabhishekam of Chinna Nandi, 4th Prakaram

Alankaram of Siva and Parvathi

Aarti to the Gods on Golden Rishaba

Nandi at Siva Sannidhi Flagpost


Circumambulation with Gods on golden Risbhaba
Circumambulation, Arunachala background


A story about Shani Pradosham Vrata follows goes as follows:- 


Shani Pradosham Vrata Mahatmyam


. . . At the place known as Kurvapur there lived a learned Brahmin, His wife's name was Ambika. She gave birth to many children but, except the last one, none of the others survived. Unfortunately, that boy who survived, was dull headed. All efforts of his father to teach him were of no avail, as the boy had no grasping power at all. This was a cause of frustration and anxiety to the parents. The father died in dejection. Having no support, the son and mother were thrown into penury and had no means of livelihood. They had to take to begging and had to leave a very hard and miserable life. In despair they both decided to end their lives by throwing themselves into the river. As they approached the river bank with the object of putting end to their lives, the woman saw Sripada Sri Vallabha who came there for his bath. 

Seeing a halo around his face and divinity in his looks, the mother’s aching heart was soothed, and her fatalistic desperation was overcome by newborn peace, hope and joy in her heart. The compassion and love in Sripada's looks—love surpassing even that of a thousand mother's instilled and charged new life in her depressed and broken heart. She fell at his feet and vented out her anguish, saying, "How I wish I will have a son like you in my next birth at least." "So be it, mother!" said Sri Vallabha. He added, "But you will have to observe a particular Vrata; you will have to worship Lord Maheswara in the evenings on Trayodasi Thithi days coinciding with the Saturdays called Shani Pradosham. It is a powerful Vrata, and if dutifully performed, it will certainly endow you a son like Lord Krishna Himself." He narrated the following anecdote:- 

“Once upon a time, there lived a king named Chandrasen in Ujjain. He had a friend by name of Manibhadra, an ascetic and who was deeply devoted to Lord Maheshwara. Lord Maheshwara, very pleased with Manibhadra's devotion, gave him the celestial gem in the shape of Marakatha Linga. This gem, by its mere touch, could turn iron into gold, and fulfill any wish of the person who wore it. Manibhadra gifted the gem to Chandrasena, which bought prosperity to his people and kingdom. All the kings and people of other regions came to hear about the gem. Some of the neighboring kings wanted to get possession of the gem, and they plotted and invaded Ujjain. That day happened to be Shani Trayodasi day, and the king, was his wont, was engaged in worship in the Siva Temple. Although he was told about the invasion of his kingdom by the enemy kings, he remained unperturbed and unmoved, and did not leave from his place of worship. 

One of the cowherd boys saw the King's worship, and he also was seized with a desire to worship likewise. He picked up a round stone and started worshiping it as Shiva Linga. It was getting late in the night, but the boy remained totally absorbed in the Puja. As the boy did not return home, while all his companions returned to their homes, his mother felt worried. She came searching for him, and found him performing worship. She asked him to stop the Puja and return home along with her instantly. But the boy refused to move from there. 

The furious mother threw out what she believed to be a stone, which the lad had been worshiping as Shiva Linga. The boy distraught at the sacrilege committed by his mother in her anger, wished to atone for her sin by giving up his own life. 

Lord Shiva moved by the sincere anguish of the boy, appeared before him in the form of the Linga, dazzling with a million Sun's effulgence. From this manifestation of the Jyotirlinga, emerged the Mahakaleshwar Temple. 

The boy prayed to Siva to pardon his mother for the sacrilege she had committed. Lord Shiva said the boy's mother had already earned great merit as she had witnessed the Puja which he (the boy) had been. 

Meanwhile the brilliance of the light, emanating from the Jyotirlinga was spreading far and wide, far up to the horizon in all directions. The Kings attacking the city saw the marvel and realised that divine protection was there on Ujjain and it's King. Thus peace was made and Ujjain remained safe, all due to the power of Shani Pradosham Puja. 

The king made the shepherd ruler of his community and gifted him many villages to rule. The penitent mother of was transformed by witnessing the emergence of the Jyotirlingam and in her next birth she was born as Yashoda. As foretold by Lord Shiva, she became the foster-mother of Lord Sri Krishna. This was the merit she earned by merely witnessing the Shani Pradosham Puja being done by her son. Had she done the Puja herself, Lord Krishna would have been born to herself as her own son.” 

Sripada Sri Vallabha finally said to Ambika, "if you do the Shani Pradosha Puja devotedly and regularly, you will certainly bear God himself as your child in your next life." The sage then blessed Ambika's son. With the mere touch of Sripada, the boy became fully enlightened and al wisdom and knowledge dawned on him. The boy became proficient in all the scriptures and his mother was made happy beyond all measure. 

[From: Sri Guru Charitra]