[stextbox id=”info” image=”null”]The Grace of Siddha series can be read here.[/stextbox]
The Grace of Siddha takes a slight deviation from the main track where these series talk about Chathuragiri and some of the incidents happened around the place.
The Yagna Kunda began to get in to shape. He felt like his heaviness is reducing brick by brick, when he laid each brick to build the Kunda. The mind which was stiff began to losen up. The priest in the meanwhile had finished his pooja came and said some corrections in the kunda which was carried out as well.
Once the bricks were laid, the kunda was applied with cow-dung. Holy marks (kolam) with sandalwood paste and kumkum were applied on the middle and on either side of the bricks. He was observing this, thought that the preparation of the yagna kunda is as similar to that of preparing for the kumbabhisheka of a temple, with care and attention. The yagna kunda was about 2 feet in height. He kept thinking, is this height required really?
The devotee as though read his mind came near and said, “this height is required, looks like this much of trouble is there for you where Odhiyappa Himself has divined the priest to have this height increased.”
He looked at the devotee who said with a smile, “You know, the Odhiyappa and the priest are close friends, like they put hands on each other’s shoulder and inquire about their welfare. Some things, you will only realize as it goes.”
They took each and every item and arranged it in order where the
appearance of a yagna taking place began to shape up. It was sandhya time and so the priest went for the sandhya kaala pooja.
The devotee had invited the chief of the anna-dhana group and so he had come as well. The priest came back after the pooja and asked, “now tell me, what is the problem?”. He was briefed but without losing any important points as to what it is. The priest who was listening to all these got up suddenly and stood before Odhiyappa in meditation for a while. He came out then and said, “It has come to do the japa for 25 thousand Avarthi. The yagna needs four people.”
There were the priest, his brother and him, so they were looking for the fourth person while they remembered the chief and added him to be the fourth. He requested that those who are about to sit in the yagna should wear a protective shield (kaapu, a sacred thread tied on the wrist before undertaking any ritualistic work) and the priest was asked to tie the kaapu.
The priest said suddenly, “For the first time in this hill, there is going to be a chathru-samhara yagna (the sacrifice to eliminate enemies). Not sure what He thinks while conducting this” and turned towards Odhiyappa. There were a few flowers falling down from the head of Lord Muruga towards His right feet. He then said, “Ok, He gave His consent. Those who are sitting in the yagna take bath and come” and he went to take bath as well.
He took bath in the water from a small tank and when the cold water touched him, he felt that “something is going to happen today, let Muruga receive this yagna and fix everything, that is all the more enough”, he went and stood before the kunda.
It was 9 in the night. The priest went in and got Odhiyappa’s order, did the Avahana of His power in to the Kalasa, did Ganapathy Pooja, Kalasa Pooja and initiated the yagna fire in the sacrificial kunda. He sat opposite to Lord Muruga who faced east. They all were tied the kaapu.
The yagna began. In the night, every ring of the bell and the mantra enchanted the surrounding. The friend took pictures of the yagna which gave out different forms every time. The chill breeze made the back of those who were sitting for the yagna cold while the agni from the yagna kunda made their front heated up. He felt both to be the same and there was no difference. His body was as if a stone with nothing affecting him.
The yagna continued with the roaring fire from the yagna kunda when the nava-dhanya being added along with mantra-ucchhadana (recital of sacred mantras). To say the least, everyone were so involved in the yagna that they felt like the time has stopped. The yagna proceeded step by step where at its end, a silk garment, thampoola, fruits were given to Agni Deva as Ahuti and the yagna completed.
It was 1 in the night when the yagna completed. The priest got up from the yagna, did the Avahana of Lord Kumara and took Him inside the Sanctum Sanctorum. The kalasas were taken in with mantra ucchadana and the abhisheka began.
It was a lovely sight with different expressions coming out of Kumara’s face out of which the calm face accepting the abhisheka sinked deep in his mind. When he was witnessing the different types of abhisheka to the five feet, eight handed Lord, he felt some strange change. He felt he has come closer to something where he could not differentiate what. But he felt like someone has lifted off a very heavy load from his head.
The abhisheka got over and the screen was pulled in for alankara. There were about fifteen of them. He was tired, felt like he will just sleep off while he stood leaning in a pillar. When the screen was pulled over, the soundarya (beauty) of Muruga took away everyone. He was taken aback with his sleep gone in a split of second. Odhiyappa was smiling with his right hand kept in Abaya Hasta pose (protective form).
“From now on, We have brushed off all your grief, why fear when I am here?” – he felt as if He said this. When all the pooja was over, the priest kept a bunch of garland in Muruga’s head and asked, “Does anyone seek His command?” He looked at the devotee who signalled him with his eyes whereupon he said, “I need to.”
“Ok. Come and prostrate before Him and sit with your kneels down” – said the priest. He went closer to the shrine and prostrated, preparing the questions in his mind.
“O Muruga! I do not want anything for me. Have you accepted today’s yagna, abhisheka and the pooja? There wasn’t any shortcomings, right? Due to some issues, the anna-dhana has stopped in Chathuragiri. It should resume, even if I am not going to be there. Those who gave false allegations should be removed, let no one be killed or anything. Please eradicate the enmity in
them. There should not be any trouble from the police. I need your grace. Please reply O Odhiyappa!” – he prayed right from the bottom of his heart.
The way Odhiyappa replies will be unique. Once we have said our query, if a flower falls down from His head towards His right, “all good will happen”. If it falls in the left, it means “no approval for the query”. If it falls in the middle, it means “the present condition is good enough and no change is required”. He came to know about this from the devotee.
Everyone waited for what Odhiyappa is going to say.
After a brief silence, when everyone was looking, a big garland which was adorned on Odhiyappa’s neck fell down from His right, on His right. Right from the priest, the devotee, everyone were surprised, nay, wonder-struck. The priest turned around and looked at him who was sitting and looked at Odhiyappa.
The devotee said, “Get up! An answer has been given to you. All will be good. All the problems are gone. That’s all!”
“Swamy, I thought I should begin to ask what’s the matter only now”
“Pardon me. You cannot ask for His command anymore. Please get up. You seem like you will take Muruga along with you. He? He also bestows all the boons you ask for?!”
“What mistake did I do where you are chasing me out like this?”
“O Sire! People here will cry and beg for a single flower to be falling on approval but He won’t move but for you, He has cut and given such a big garland itself. Go and mind what is to be taken care of” – the devotee said this and took him by his hand.
He was quiet and went straight to the yagna kunda where all that was offered as Ahuthi had the appearance of well accepted as all of them were well burnt. This is a good sign, he felt. He has accepted everything and there is nothing in my hand. He went to the shrine again and prostrated (sashtanga namaskara).
The priest had not come out of the wonder yet. He smiled and came near him asking “What have you done sir? How could you mesmerize My Appan (Lord Kumara) this much?”
“What do I know Swamy? It is all His deed” and said, “I have got the complete faith that everything will be alright hereafter.”
He realized only later that the Odhiyappa and the foremost of all Siddhas, The Agastya Muni had taken all his problems in to their control!
~ to be continued…!