Mananthavady – Stupika Installation

26th February 2001

The Stuptika Pratishtapana ceremony was performed at the Brahmasthanam temple, Mananthavady by Amma on 26 Feb. 2001, a day before She was to consecrate the idol. The highest point of the temple structure, received a sacred Stupika (a pointed metallic apex vessel). The architecture of religious buildings is symbolic. At the lower level there is diversity. But at the pinnacle, there is only Oneness. The Stupika symbolizes this truth.

The Brahmasthanam temple consists of an outer structure which is square in shape with a conical pinnacle. The inner sanctum sanctorum has a deity inside. The cone spikes skywards acting as an antenna to send and receive the spiritual energy. The outer structure is consecrated on the first day by Amma by installing the stupika on the sloping roof. The cone made of copper is filled with nine essential types of grains to facilitate good harvest. Amma then bathed the cone with holy water. Thus the structure is uniformly enveloped with Amma’s Divine Energy.

Everybody (and that adds up to uncounted thousands) who witnessed the events at Amma’s Mananthavadi ashram during the last few days of February thought Mother’s primary purpose was to dedicate the new Brahmasthanam temple there. Certainly it was Her most visible function-and visually it was stunning.

On the 26th, shortly after dawn, accompanied by swaminis and swamijis, She walked up a ramp from the school to a small temporary platform at the peak of the roof of the new temple. Met there by pujaris who would assist Her, She first turned a full circle, greeting the crowds of people down below, and engaging them, their prayers and their hearts, in the ritual She was about to perform. She sat, then, still and silent, in meditation, while the air round about reverberated with the sounds of drums and temple horns and bells.

Standing, Amma held the first and largest of the three pure brass containers from which She would assemble the stupika that from this day forward would grace the roof of the temple. This piece She raised to Her forehead, blessing it, and then again She turned a full circle, as if offering it to all the people. She leaned forward, set it in place on the central “spike”, and settled it firmly as the base of the stoopika. With both hands She dug deep into a container of grains, and these She lifted, time and again, and poured into the brass container.

She would stop, shake the container so that the grains would settle and make space, and then She would pour in more, golden grains streaming down from Her cupped Hands, until the container was full-full and overflowing. When She was satisfied that not a space remained, and while grains rained down onto the roof platform itself, Mother placed a slim divider, and then the next container-smaller in circumference, but a brass “bowl” similar to the first. This too, She filled with grains-and over filled. One more stage, smaller but just as over-full, and the edifice was complete-almost. There was a pointed tip yet to be put in place. This, too, She touched to Her forehead, and after turning in all directions, She carefully crowned Her work.

Down below, the crowd was still chanting, “Om Shiva Shaktiyaika Rupinyai Namaha” (Salutations to Thee who is the combined form of Siva, the masculine form of the divine and Shakti, the feminine form), the bells were still ringing,and, rhythmic and exciting, the strains from the temple musicians instruments were increasing. On the roof platform now, Mother began to perform abhishekham (bathing the stupika with puja water).

Taking into Her two Hands a clay pot filled with water (and other special ingredients) and already blessed during pre-ceremony pujas, She would lift it high above Her head, then bend forward to pour it over the brass ornament which She had just constructed. The water would cascade down, the sun glinting on it as it splashed over the three levels of the ornament and soaked into the floor of the platform. For over two minutes Mother raised one pot after another until finally She was handed the final and larger one. Despite its size, this specially decorated one She also raised, and poured, and a final torrent of water cascaded down. After gently placing a white and yellow mala on the ornament, Mother took a brass lamp of burning camphor in Her right Hand, and a brass bell in Her left; with these She performed arati to the new stoopika, and finished the ceremonies by anointing the structure

She sat, then, in a silence and stillness profound, and meditated. Seen from on high (as this was by many gathered on the roof of the nearby school) Mother and Her stoopika appeared to be the center of a grand mandala:

the next ring was the roof railing, then there came the orange temple roof, then an open space, and next the thatch roofs erected to shade the devotees from the sun. Beyond these came Mother Nature’s own contribution to the mandala: deep green trees, the more blue-green mountain tops in the distance, and at last the softly blue morning sky. In Her position of prominence in the heart of this mandala, Mother, still seated, bowed low, and placed Her Hands and Forehead on the base of the stoopika. Ever humility emobodied, She stayed bent like that for some time, and we who watched could only ask, “Where is She now?”