andreav's Travel Journals

andreav

  • Currently in Auroville, India

India, Spring 2011

A journal about my seventh return to this land called "India"; in an attempt to describe this "inter-vidual" experience with two other faculty, many students, and the time we share in an integrated living, being and learning semester.

FIrst five weeks...

India Auroville, India  |  Feb 27, 2011
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 Tiruvanamalai! 

From the lazy Sunday venue, looking over fields with Tibetan singing accross the way, and songs from the Hindu temples in the towns in the distance, I pen this account of just last week when we ventured on our first trip outside Auoville, to one of the holiest cities in India.

Eighteen students, three faculty, and three staff..four weeks into our journey together in Auroville, we leave the quite and ease of Auroville to journey to nearby Tiruvananamalai.

Tiru (affectionately called) is a small city, about two hours from Auroville, home to one of the largest Siva temples, and the mountain Aruanchala which is also the embodiment of the Hindu god, Shiva. It is the day after full moon, and we will get the benefit of walking around the mountian during this auspicious occasion.

Tiru is also the home for the great saint, Ramana Maharishi, said to be one of the great teachers of Advaita Vedanta, (according to some).

The first day we assembled at the Ramana ashram, and checked into our rooms. We went for a walk partly up the mountian to the caves where Ramana meditated in for much of his life. The caves are a powerful medium to connect with the magic of the mountian and the feeling there.

That night many of us walked around the mountain, the traditional paramkrama around the mountian has been done for hundreds of years. In doing so, the pilgrim has much of their bad karma washed away. Especially if one does so barefoot.

The next day we visited the temple. The stunning Chola architecture is stunning and the temple is full with devotees looking for the darshan of Shiva and Parvati. As a group we go to visit each of the shrines, and give our offerings.

That afternoon are talks, and even a tree planting/reforestation visit. There is so much to do in this little city!

The next day, the  group heads up the mountian, to the top of the Siva Lingam, Aurunachala!

WIth the weekend behind them, so much experience, we board the busses and head back to Auroville, energized, the blessings of all.

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