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Paint your body and mind with colours of Love

21-22 March, Pune – BharataYatra 2016

After a very long ride from Hyderabad, Amma was welcomed by devotees when she reached Pune at 5:30am in the early morning.

Over the next two days, Amma held two days program at the Pune ashram where she was welcomed by Padmashree Vijay Bhatkar, who said, “To see how God walks, how he talks, how he looks, how he blesses, God’s attributes, all of it we are able to experience on a physical level when we come to Amma. And so we call Amma “Jagadamba.” We are very fortunate to have Amma’s darshan and embrace. I consider myself to very fortunate to get an embrace from God Herself.”

Amma’s satsang was translated into Marathi and Amma lead the Manasa Puja and meditation in Hindi. Amma also sang bhajans each day and sat all day until late night giving darshan to everyone.

During darshan, Amrita Vidyalayam students presented different cultural programs. Several well known local performers came to share their talents including, Nanda Kishore who did a Kathak dance, Rajkumar Barsjikar sang bhajans, and Sambaji Shinde presented a Gondel (traditional Maharashrta folk bhajans usually sung only in Devi temples)

At the end of darshan on the second day, Amma was dressed up as Saint Jnaneswar by a family of devotees. Another family, dressed as Gopis, proceeded to dress up Amma as Sri Krishna and brought curd in mud pot and invited Amma to break the pot and distribute the curd. The festive mood on in the hall reached a climax when the last family came for darshan brought color powders for Holi. Someone smeared some colors on Amma’s face, and then she was given water balloons. Amma delighted everyone when she started throwing the balloons at all the devotees crowded around her and everyone burst into laughter as the balloons broke and doused them with colored water. Next Amma started spraying water with a water pistol on all around her.

Then finally a tray of powdered colors: pink, yellow, green, red, blue etc was passed to Amma and no sooner did the colors begin to fly all over. All were cheering, laughing and shouting with Amma… all were covered in colors. Amma decided to add more colors to everyone’s mind as she ended the night by leading a new rocking Holi bhajan. As the tempo reached its high point, the chant ‘Radhe Radhe Radhe’ reverberated through the hall… until finally at the crescendo, Amma raised her hand and yelled out, ‘Hari Boooool’… the celebration of Holi started and the programs in Pune came to an end.

The next morning Amma and the group proceeded to Mumbai where another set of devotees was waiting to play Holi with her… to be continued…

– Kannadi

 

 

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Let our lives become an offering: Amma in Hyderabad

18-19 March, Hyderabad – BharataYatra 2016

After her programs in Bengaluru, Amma traveled east and held a two day Brahmasthanam festival in the scorching heat (topping 40-46 degrees daily) of Hyderabad, where she gave satsang, sang bhajans, led manasa puja and meditation instructing everyone in the local Telugu language.

 

Addressing the gathering, Amma said, “Let our lives become an offering that alleviates the pain of the suffering people. To be compassionate towards the poor, one does not need a lot of wealth or a very high position in society. A kind word, a compassionate glance, a small favor all these can bring light into their lives and into ours as well. It is not what we received, but what we were able to give, that determines the value of our life. If we have been able to bring happiness to a soul even for a minute, it is a great achievement in itself.”

 

 

During the function, Amma distributed more than 200 saplings to the devotees encouraging them to plant more trees, restoring the harmony of nature. She kissed each sapling before she handed it over to each devotee causing them to beam with joy as they received it.

A senior women police officer who came to meet Amma asked a question, “All day I am meeting people who are creating troubles in the society. So after some time its difficult to be centered. Since the field is mostly dominated by masculine energy I find it difficult to maintain my feminine qualities.” Amma responded, “Daughter, you have been entrusted with the duty of maintaining the garden. It’s true a gardner will not be enjoying the beauty of garden but more focused on worms and insects that may destroy the beauty of garden. She has to remove them then, and only then will the plants be healthy, bloom and bear fruits. Amma understands in most of the cases the officials are put in a frame, and not able to work freely, and sometimes are not able to act according to dharma because of the pressure from the top… Daughter, understand your roles – when you are in the office, be an officer, in the home be a mother, a wife etc. Learn to shift your roles according to the situation.”

 

During darshan the crowd was delighted by several impressive cultural performances including one from the Yadava community who presented an Oggu Dolu dance, which they usually present only in temples. Additionally the local children of the Amrita Vidyalayam presented several different programs.

On the second and final day, Amma finished darshan at 3.20 am and sang two joyous bhajans before finally leaving the stage. A few hours later, Amma and the group were on the road again…this time to Pune for the next stop on tour and to celebrate Holi.

– Kannadi

 

 

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This world is a priceless garden: Amma in Bengaluru

14-15 March, Bengaluru – BharataYatra 2016

After a long drive from Amritapuri, Amma arrived in the early morning to the Bengaluru ashram. Even though it was nearly 3am there was still a large group of enthusiastic devotees, cheering and welcoming Amma upon her arrival with chants of ‘Mata Rani Ki.’

Over the next two days Amma conducted a Brahmasthanam festival, giving satsang, singing bhajans and leading all in guided meditation and manasa puja in Kannada, the local language. Amma also gave darshan all day till early the next morning on both days of programs.

There were several noted dignitaries who shared the dias with Amma on the occasion, including: SK Mukherjee, Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court; HK Patil, Minsiter for Rural Development; and Santosh Hegde, Retd Supreme Court Judge and ex- Lokayuktha. Santosh Hegde expressed his appreciation of Amma’s commendable work in the education and the health sector. Addressing the gathering he said that Amma is not only a spiritual Guru but also a role model in serving the poor and needy. He told the audience that he felt blessed by meeting her. CN Balakrishna, MLA from Shravanbelagola who spoke was telling how Amma is like a light that has come to illuminate people’s lives.

During her own talk to the gathering, Amma said “This world is a priceless garden with which God has blessed humankind and other beings. He has provided all the required resources and wealth for all of us to live healthy, happy and peaceful lives. We, whom God blessed with discernment and knowledge, have to admit that we have betrayed God’s trust. Other species, despite lacking the discriminative power of humans, have remained rooted in dharma and have not ignored God’s instructions. Nevertheless, they are finding themselves the victims of human cruelty. “What possible change can my efforts make in this situation?” If we can light the lamp of faith and love in our hearts and walk forward together, then we definitely can bring about a change in society”

During darshan one girl asked Amma, “Sometimes people around me try to poison my mind. At such times, I doubt my devotion towards you, Amma. How to stay connected to you?”

Amma replied “Amma is not a person, but the principle. She is within you. Invoke that principle. Kaikeyi loved Rama so much, but a few minutes with Manthara spoiled her mind. Try to avoid bad company and be in good company always,” reminding her of the story from the Ramayana.

Amma added that, “If you draw a line and someone criticizes that it is small, then they should draw something bigger next to it to demonstrate their point. Loving Amma is showing compassion to all,” as the girl listened with awe and tear-filled eyes, feeling blessed.

Amritavidyalayam and Amrita University students presented different cultural programs on both days of the programs. Each day Amritavidyalayam students welcomed Amma to the stage with the chants of Vedic hymns and during the day one could see the students actively involved in the seva activities of the program.

At the end of darshan on the second night Amma sang a joyous bhajan ending the festival at 3.15 am.

– Kannadi

 

 

 

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Amma at the Bhavani river 2016

12 March, Bhavani, Tamil Nadu – Bharata Yatra 2016

On the way to Bangaluru, Amma and the group stopped at the Bhavani river. Meditation, Satsang, Bhajans and the dinner were also served by Amma. Answering a question Amma reminded the need to preserve nature and environments and the necessary efforts to bring awareness among people.

 

 

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Mantra given by a Satguru is always safe for us: Amma on Mantra japa

Amritapuri – 4 December 2015

During a question-and-answer session in Amritapuri, Amma was asked about the best way to chant one’s mantra.

QUESTION: Amma, I like to chant my mantra aloud. I feel a lot of love and devotion and enthusiasm when I do that. But when I do the same by just moving my lips (without any external sound), I don’t get the same amount of concentration and I don’t feel the same amount of love and enthusiasm. Since you are my Guru, I would like to guide me as to which is the best way to chant my mantra.

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Amma: “When we chant slokas (hymns or prayers), we can surely chant them aloud there is no harm in it. But when we are chanting mantras that have bijaksharas (seed sound syllables), then it is advised not to chant such mantras aloud. It is better to chant such mantras by merely moving the lips (with no external sound).

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“Suppose you are alone at home, then you can surely chant your mantra aloud. There is no harm in it. Or you can close your prayer room and chant it aloud. Suppose you are living alone, and there is nobody else listening to you, then also, you can chant the mantra aloud. For some people, that may give more concentration. Some students love to read their lessons aloud, whereas some like to read it silently without making any sound. Some get better concentration when they read it silently. It varies from person to person. In general, if there are people around you, then it is better to chant the mantra by just moving your lips in the initial stages [later, one will not find it necessary to move the lips but can just chant the mantra inwardly].

Adhikari-bheda for Mantra japa

“In olden days, the Guru wouldn’t give mantra initiation so easily. They would go by Adhikari-bheda before initiating them into a mantra. That is, they would see if the disciple was prepared to take up the practice of mantra japa. Some children have a talent for singing from a very young age. Once they are trained by a music teacher, they can easily become an accomplished singer. But with Amma, when it comes to mantra initiation, she has never looked into the adhikari bheda – otherwise none of us would be here in the ashram [everyone laughs]. Amma gives mantra initiation to whoever asks for it, with the hope that at least that person will chant this mantra for some time, if not forever. In that way, there will be at least some benefit. That is all Amma cares for.

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Power of Bijakshara

“When Amma gives a mantra which has a bijakshara, then there are certain instructions that need to be followed along with it. A mantra with a bijakshara has to be heard from the Guru’s mouth directly. One has to be initiated by the Guru. That is what in fact brings about a change, a transformation in the disciple.

“Here (in India), a little of yogurt is added into milk at night, and by morning the milk becomes fermented and is transformed into yogurt. Similarly, when you get a mantra from a Guru, it is like adding yogurt into normal milk. When you don’t get it from the Guru and you try to do it on your own, then it is like milk converting into yogurt by adding some other materials for fermentation; in such cases, the quality of the yogurt may be less.

“We all have the Truth in us, but we are not able to see it because our minds are contaminated. When we say, “water is hot,” the heat can be of various degrees. It can be 10 degrees, 20 degrees, 30 degrees, or even 100 degrees boiling water. In 10 degrees, the micro-organisms may still be active, but as the temperature increases, the amount of micro-organisms decreases. A real Guru is completely pure, 100% pure, and thus whatever comes from Him has the power to create a transformation in the disciple as well. When a Satguru gives a mantra, he or she is infusing his/her energy into us, and that can create a change from within us.

Enthusiasm & practice

“In the initial stages of our sadhana (spiritual practices), we feel a lot of enthusiasm. At the same time there are certain do’s and don’t’s which we need to follow, so that we are able to stay focused on the spiritual path. Let us say you are the owner of a new vehicle and you start driving it. Initially you may not be able to drive it in high speed because there is a speed lock. Only after driving it for a given amount of kilometres can you really take it to a higher speed. If you have a mixi (grinding machine used in kitchen), and you continuously keep the mixi on, the motor is going to burn out. You have to switch off the mixi once in a while, so that the coil of the mixi is not burnt. Those who have the understanding of spirituality, who have read spiritual books and have proper guidance – such people know about all the precautions to be taken, but others surely should not go too overboard without taking the right precautions. A health tonic has a certain prescribed dosage beyond which it can be quite harmful, and the dosage is different for children and different for adults. If you gulp down the whole bottle of tonic thinking it is tasty, then instead of doing good it will only cause you harm. Similarly, when doing spiritual practices like meditation, you may be very enthusiastic about it, and you may think, “Let me meditate for hours together.” Now, if you are not really ready to meditate for hours together, then doing so can lead to many problems. Your head can get heated, you may not get proper sleep, your digestion can be affected, etc. For some people, such uncontrolled spiritual practices can even lead to depression and similar unhealthy conditions. So one must approach meditation in a very progressive way – slowly and steadily.

“One should increase practices little by little, and not do too much straight away. In the initial phases, it is good to meditate for 20 minutes or for half an hour. Once you are comfortable with it, then you can consider increasing it slowly. One should not force the mind into meditation for hours together . It has to be done gradually. When we start doing our practices, it is important to have the right guidance. Those who don’t have samskara (spiritual culture) absolutely need this guidance from a Guru. It is like a student doing practicum in the laboratory. The student needs to have the professor nearby, instructing the student on how to use the chemicals, how to conduct the experiment in the right way, and what the precautions are that need to be taken. The Guru guides us as to what should not be done initially, and what can be done in the initial stages. The Satguru knows what is the best for the disciple and advises each one accordingly.

Gurumantra from a Satguru

“When a Satguru gives a mantra, it is always safe for us. It is like a fragile item such as glass that is shipped with proper packaging around it. Even if such a package falls down, the item inside won’t break, because of the proper packaging. A mantra from a Guru is like that – it is always safe. Taking mantra from the Guru-mukha (uttered from Guru’s mouth) with bijaakshara, is like getting a package that is properly wrapped, and even if it falls down, it will not break. Getting such a mantra from some other source is like having a very fragile object which, when it falls down, will crack into pieces because it doesn’t have any protection around it. That is why a bijaakshara mantra should always be taken from a Satguru, if one wants it to have the proper effect.””

 

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Shivaratri is a celebration of sacrifice

7 March 2016, Amritapuri

Shivaratri was celebrated in the Ashram with lot of devotion and faith. Amma held an additional midnight bhajan session and sang many Shiva bhajans. She asked every one to stand up and dance to the tune of “Shiva Shiva Shambo, Hara Hara Hara Shambo…”. Amma also danced to the tune of Baduga music and danced with the little ones on the stage.

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In her Shivaratri message Amma said” Shivaratri is a celebration of sacrifice, dispassion and renunciation. Shivaratri teaches us to abandon all other thoughts in contemplation of God, and to realize the ultimate purpose of human life.

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“Human beings are very attached to food and sleep. We will never give them up that easily. Only when we are attached to a higher love will we be ready to give up food and sleep. On Sivaratri day, we try to awaken this higher love for the Supreme within, thus observing a fast, and keeping vigil at night. Let Divine grace take us beyond all sense of duality and make us one with the Supreme.

“The real consecration of God should take place in our heart. It is not enough if it is done outside. Our mind should become pure. It should become filled with love and devotion. It should become one-pointed and filled with awareness. Our mind should become a fertile soil in which all virtues can grow. If this happens, God will automatically shine within.

 

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“May the light of  knowledge dispel the darkness of ignorance in everyone. May all my children gain the awareness of unity and become beneficial to the world. Instead of thinking what we have gained, let us think what we can give. Only when we give to the society, do we really gain. The one who removes thorns from others path, spreads flowers in his own path. Let the flowers of selflessness bloom in my children. May Grace protect us all. ” Amma concluded.

The ecstatic bhajans of Amma set the mood of the bhajans for the rest of the night, keeping awake and waiting for the Lord to shine within.

-Kannadi

 

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Develop Gratitude: Amma in Tiruvananthapuram

28-29 Feb, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala – Bharata Yatra 2016

For the final stop on the 2nd leg of Bharata Yatra, Amma held a two day Brahmasthanam festival in Thiruvananthapuram. Upon her arrival from Kanyakumari, Amma led everyone in meditation, sang bhajans and served dinner prasad.

On both days Amma gave satsang, sang bhajan and gave darshan to everyone that descended on the ashram. Addressing the gathering Amma said, “Gratitude is the ability to reminisce about all the support and help we have received, with an attitude of humility. It is a state of mind. When we lovingly recognize the goodness in another person, this helps to awaken the goodness in ourselves. When we look back at our life with this attitude, we will realize that we owe so much to thousands of people. It would take lifetimes to pay back these debts, especially towards nature and above all, to God. In fact, gratitude benefits us more than anyone else. The positivity and goodness that awakens within as a result of being grateful in turn benefits society and the entire world.”

During darshan, Amma gave away 1500 sarees to AmritaSree self help group members in and around the local area. Local Amrita Vidyalayam students presented different cultural programs.

Amma concluded the two days of programs by singing “Aya He Sara Jaha Yaham” at the end of darshan. Everyone then travelled back to Amritapuri to conclude this portion of the 2016 Bharata Yatra.

-Kannadi

 

 

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Focus on the goal: Amma in Kanyakumari

26 Feb, Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu – Bharata Yatra 2016

Immediately after her program ended in Madurai, Amma and the tour group travelled to the very southern tip of India and held an evening program at the Amrita Vidyalayam school grounds, in Kanyakumari.

Amma was officially welcomed by Swami Chaitanyananda Maharaj of Vellimalai ashram Balakrishnan and Sister Nivedita, vice presidents of Vivekanda Kendra, and Swami Jagadeeswarananda, of Sivananda Ashram in Pathamadai.

 

 

Swami Jagadeeswarananda gave a rousing speech, saying “Amma’s glance falls on all of us. This is possible only for all compassionate Mother. Amma watches every movement that we make…and we need to have this awareness! Nothing in this world is equivalent to Mother’s love. The status of Mother is so unique. The entire society may be inclined to bow down before a monk. For a monk, there is no need to bow down in front of his dad, but, even the monk needs to bow down before his mother. Such is the glory of Motherhood! Amma doesn’t enquire about religion, caste or language. She treats everybody alike. All of us are her children. We have done gained some punya from previous births and that is why we have the fortune of seeing Mother.“

During the program, Amma distributed keys of 10 newly built houses in this area as part of the Amritakuteeram project. The AmritaNidhi free pension scheme was extended to an additional 10 more local people. Shipping and Transport Minister Pon Radhakrishnan helped to distribute these pensions to the recipients. Speaking on the occasion he said, “Amma says that there should be perfection in every action. Amma said that before launching every charitable activity, she ensures that the help reaches the deserving people. If we become receptive for Amma’s grace, we too can become perfect beings.”

 

 

Amma told the devotees gathered ”If we have focus on the goal, patience will come naturally. For example, it is said that labour is one of the most intense forms of pain. Regardless, mothers are able to bear this pain for the sake of their child. Some even feel it to be a blissful experience. Many of us are similarly ready to patiently persevere for the sake of material rewards. It can be the same with our spiritual practices—focus on the goal gives rise to enthusiasm.”

All through the night, Amrita Vidyalayam school children presented different cultural programs as Amma gave Darshan. The huge crowd silently and patiently waited through the beautiful windy night for Amma’s Darshan which ended right at 10am the following morning. Amma and the tour group next travelled to Trivandrum for the final stop on the second leg of Bharata Yatra.

-Kannadi

 

 

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It’s natural to make mistakes: Amma in Madurai

25 Feb, Madurai, Tamil Nadu – Bharata Ystra 2016

After the Devakottai public program, Amma held a one day program, celebrating her 21st Brahmasthanam festival in Madurai.

Soon upon her arrival to the city, Amma served a prasad dinner and sang several bhajans with the devotees and the tour group. The next morning Amma came back to the stage and gave satsang sang bhajans and guided everyone in mediation and Manasa puja.

 


Addressing the devotees, Amma said “It is only natural to make mistakes, but the actions we perform out of anger and impatience can haunt us for the rest of our lives. So, when we get angry, before we impulsively say or do anything, we should take a moment to ask our conscience, “Is what I’m about to say or do right or wrong?” If it is wrong, we should immediately drop the idea.

There may be many things we can fix in the world, but we can never rectify the things we do and say in anger. Those wounds will remain with the people we’ve hurt, as well as in our own hearts.”

Union Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharam, welcomed Amma to Madurai saying, “Amma doesn’t stop just by giving lectures. Along with teachings, she does seva as well. Amma builds free houses to the poor, gives free medical care to the needy. Also she contributes for free education. All these forms of help, come from Amma…Amma embraces all of us as her children. Each of us have got a duty. We need to spread her message to those around us. Also we need to imbibe the seva attitude from Amma. Along with helping our family, we need to offer some service to those around us as well. Today, so many divisive forces are trying to divide the nation into pieces. It is easier to fight an external enemy. But, we have enemies amongst us. It is not easier to tackle such enemies. In this nation, we have beings like Amma who have built this nation by doing lot of sacrifices.” She concluded her address by pleading to the the devotees to try to inculcate moral values to their children, build up love for nation and share Amma’s teachings with them.

 


As in the previous years, devotees brought ‘Mulapari’ (pots of 9 different sprouted grains) to offer to Amma during darshan. The devotees who prepare these pots, do daily prayers and observe certain practices like sleeping on the floor, and only eating after chanting certain mantras for seven days. When they came to Amma, both the devotee and the pot were given a loving darshan, with each plant getting loving kisses. Two of the pots were filled with ‘Ma Vilakku’ a sweet mixture of rice powder and jaggery with with a lit ghee lamp inside of it which is sign of thanks giving for fulfilling one’s wishes.

Amma finished the darshan around 1:15 in the morning the following day, 14 hours after coming to the stage. Immediately after she finished, Amma and the tour group left for the next program in Kanyakumari.

-Kannadi

 

 

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Change is the nature of life: Amma in Devakottai

23 Feb, Devakottai, Tamil Nadu – Bharata Yatra 2016

The journey from Chennai to Devakottai was extremely long and took all day and night. Despite the arduous drive, Amma still took the time to stop with the group for an evening picnic along the way. It was a beautiful scene to sit under the moonlight and share a meal with Amma. Before everyone ate, she explained the importance of adjusting to the situations and respecting others as the embodiment of god. Amma added that its not enough to love and have devotion, but that one has to be compassionate to all beings around them. After sharing this wonderful teaching and dinner, everyone sang a few bhajans before continuing the journey.

For the very first time, Amma held an evening program in Devakottai. Twenty four years ago she had visited the nearby town of Karaikkudi.

On this night a huge crowd awaited Amma’s arrival at the N.S.M.V.P.S School grounds. Amma was welcomed to city by Rtd Supreme Court Chief Justice AR Lakshmana, Railway Board Chairman & BJP General Secretary H Raja and Swami Atmananda of Sharada Niketan Ashram.

During his welcome speech AR Lakshmana said, “This is a very important day for each of us. Though I have participated in many religious functions, I have never seen such a massive turnout anywhere else.

Swami Atmanada said, “Amma in the incarnate of the divine mother Sarada Devi. Amma in the form of the mother is blessing the entire world. Amma sees every being in herself and herself in all beings. This is supreme spiritual state.”

 

And BJP General Secretary H. Raja added, “Every nation has it’s own character…and spirituality is the character of Bharath. Amma spreads the message of Sanatana Dharma throughout this world. Wherever people undergo suffering, she reaches out and graces them.”

As Amma began her talk, a beautiful full moon rose above the venue. Speaking on the occasion Amma said “Change is the nature of life. Every day we witness how good and bad things happen in people’s lives without any prior warning. Life can be compared to a game. Just as in a game it is often hard to predict what will happen until the very end, so too it is with life. The arrangements are constantly shifting. Until victory is attained, the player must make his moves with care and attentiveness because even the smallest deviation in focus can result in failure.”

The massive crowd were all fed dinner and then patiently waited all through the night with faith and devotion for their chance to meet Amma. Many could be seen sleeping at the venue on the bare ground until it was their turn for a hug.

Amma finally finished the darshan close at 9.41 am the following morning, upon which the tour group packed up and headed for Madurai for the next stop on the tour.

Devakottai is known for a unique Siva temple that is without an idol.  In the inner shrine there is only a peetham, (no Siva lingam and no Nandi) the concept being that the presiding deity is supposed to be one’s own self in the place of the idol.  This truly vedantic temple helps instruct people that one should go beyond all forms and realize their true self.

-Kannadi