This is the English translation of my previous post “Maha Periyavalin 3 Kattalaigal” with more additional information.
I. Perform Sandyavandanam 3 times daily.
II. Do Sahasra Gayathri.
III. Observe Ekadasi Upavasam.
It is a MUST that you do Sandyavandanam daily 3 times without fail. If for any reason you could not perform any one time or so, keep an account of it and do it whenever possible in future – either the same day or next day or the day after or any day in future in day or night. The idea is it should NOT be omitted. ( As told by Sri Musiri Periyava ) He is one of the 4 who Maha Periyava mentioned in His own voice as Mahan.
I I. Sahasra Gayathri Japam:
Maha Periyava has elaborated the sanctity and importance of Gayathri japam many times. That too Sahasra Gayathri. He has given Upadesam to a retired devotee like this. “Keep doing Sahasra Gayathri daily. This is for your divinity or Aanmigam. Help illiterate people coming to post office to read and write and accept whatever they give you. That is enough for your livelihood”
This Upadesam is not only to him but also to every one of us. We should not be running after money all the time. Money is essential but only just. I used to tell my students that money is like a dog. If you chase it, it will go away and if you go away from it, it will chase you. A decent income is enough during our retired life. He has asked us to do Sahasra Gayathri at least on Sundays before retirement and daily after.
If we get 1 hour daily, avoid watching TV and perform Sahasra Gayathri, we get the punyam of following His order. You are wondering that it is easily said than done right? Let me give you a method.
Daily in the morning or evening make yourself free for 1 hour. Take bath, perform Sandyavandanam wearing Panchakachcham and settle in a secluded place on an aasanam, sit erect facing east, north or west and start.
It is said that our palm is comparable to Maha Meru. Each finger has 3 parts. Take the middle of right ring finger as 1, base as 2. Little finger 3,4 and 5 (base, middle and top), tip of ring finger is 6, tip of mid finger is 7, index finger 8,9 and 10 ( top, middle and base). Then the reverse ie 11, base of index finger to 20, middle of ring finger. Chant 1 Gayathri for 1 number. Total is 20 Gayathri. If you do like this, it is equivalent to doing Pradakshina of Maha Meru. (Aadi Parasakthi’s abode). Chant silently and properly without movement of lips or any sound. This is 1000 times more powerful than open chanting.
We have not seen Maha Meru. So let me give you a way out for this. Imagine Tiruvannamalai as Maha Meru.
1. Do namaskaaram in front of east Gopura vaasal.
2. Dharshan of Pillayar in south Gopura vasal.
3. Seshadri Swamigal dharshan.
4. Ramana Maharishi’s dharshan.
5. Yama linga dharshan.
6. Nandiemperuman dharshan.
7. Maha Vishnu dharshan.
8. Anjaneya Swami dharshan.
9. Girivala pathai.
10. Aadhi Annamalaiyar sannathi. ( Brahmma poojai seitha Lingam).
11. Namaskaaram to Aadhi Annamalaiyar.
12. North Girivala path. An old gopuram is seen.
13. Kubera Linga dharshan.
14. Idukku Pillayar.
15. Panchamuga dharshan.
16. Eesanya moolai. North east.
17. East Girivala path.
18. East Girivala path.
19. We are nearing the Gopura vasal.
20. Reaching East Gopura vasal.
Those who have done Girivalam can understand the above.
Now let us see what is breathing practice.
Our normal breathing should be abdominal breathing. Abdomen should move back and forth and not thorax. Keep one hand in abdomen and one on the chest. As you breath out, your abdomen hand should go in or backwards completely. During inhalation, that hand should move forward first and in deep inhalation, your hand on the chest should move forward. When you exhale, chest should go in first and then abdomen fully inwards. In normal breathing only abdomen should move and not the chest. In deep breathing both should move sequentially as explained. Understand? The placement of hand is only for practice. In due course you will get it automatically and without your knowledge you will breath abdominally. They have established that anything you practice for 21 days becomes a habit.
This is a bit different from Pranayama. As a doctor I advocate abdominal breathing to everyone. Diaphragm is the major muscle of respiration and by abdominal breathing, maximum air goes in and is good in many ways.
Now let’s come back to Girivalam.
1-20 Gayathri: Take a deep breath as mentioned above and start, simultaneously moving the thumb along the other fingers as mentioned, keeping your thought on the relevant places along the Girivala path and do Gayathri. Do as long as you can hold your breath. Usually upto 8 and then slowly exhale while chanting the next 2. Repeat from 11 to 20. (2 deep breaths). Initially you may take 3 or 4 and will improve with practice.
Now place an aasanam in front of you and keep 10 nel or beads or anything on top. After doing 20 as mentioned above, fold your left ring finger as 1. After completing 5 times ie all 5 fingers are folded the count is 100. Place 1 nel. Like this place 3 nel on left, 3 on top and 3 on the right. Now you will get the shape of a Lingam. Place the 10 th nel as Aavudai facing any direction other than south. Now 1000 Gathri is over. Chant another 8, do Neivethyam (offering), chant Rudram and complete it by doing Totakashtagam.
While doing Girivalam, instead of you going alone, you may take your family with you.
There are lots of benefits by this method. Let’s see what are they.
- They say that by thinking of Tiruvannamalai, you attain Moksha. Now we have done 50 pradakshinas.
- We have made our family members also benefit from this.
- You have performed deep abdominal breathing 100 times.
- Abdominal muscles will strengthen.
- Your tummy will reduce.
- As you sit erect with or without support, your back muscles will strengthen.
- This type of breathing will stimulate brain and keep your body, mind and brain healthy.
- As pancreas is in the upper abdomen at the back, doing abdominal breathing may stimulate it and control your diabetes as well. (Research needed on this)
- Your concentration power will sharpen.
- Above all you have had dharshan of Mahans, Deiva sannathis 50 times and the Giri itself- non other than Lord Siva.
- As I mentioned in the beginning, various points in the fingers represent various places along the path. It is common that our thoughts go astray many times if you start meditation. It may even go to the extent of cursing somebody whom we consider as enemy! In that event we can always quickly come back to the assigned place and continue our goal. In due course our concentration will be intact and this is a good exercise for that.
- This is 1 hour japam. At least in this 1 hour we will be in Satsang without any bad thoughts.
The benefits are much more.
I mentioned Tiruvannamalai as I am familiar. Used to do Girivalam on Pournami nights since young. Will write about it later. It is an example only. Each one may focus on any temple or kshetram or anything you are familiar with, Siva or Vishnu or any other God. The idea is to do Sahasra Gayathri, deep breathing and be in Satsangam. Mainly 3 in 1. It is important to do that as per Maha Periyava’s order for Logakshemam.
III. Ekadasi Upavasam:
Maha Periyava has mentioned a lot about Upavasam. Especially Ekadasi Upavasam. A recent American study shows that fasting reduces our cholesterol level!
Mahan has said ” Fast on Ekadasi and eat moderately on other days” We will NEVER get into trouble if we meticulously follow his order. Try fasting on Ekadasi. Then you will understand the benefits of it. First out tummy will start reducing. As our stomach Is conditioned to be small, the next day you cannot eat your normal amount of food and if you continue in the coming days to maintain the same amount of food intake, that is the best think to do for a healthy life style. Have to stop at first burp. Eat only when hungry. Eat slowly. Have a balanced food of moderate amount and enjoy it. Don’t eat anything in between meals except drinks. Drink water to thirst. If you practice like this, you won’t have the urge to eat this and that. This will help in spiritual advancement.
Diabetics also can fast. There is no need for anti diabetic medication on the fasting day. Nothing will happen. Use home blood sugar monitoring 2 or 3 times that day initially to assess your blood sugar response. If uncontrolled, limit your fasting. These are exceptions. Use your common sense in these matters. Normally only when food enters mouth, it stimulates L cells in the terminal ileum which in turn produces substances which stimulate insulin and other hormones. So during fasting insulin will not be released but need to monitor blood glucose and act accordingly. But other medications for hypertension may be taken.
On Ekadasi day one should be all the time thinking about divinity and Satsangam. That is essential. Should not sleep during day time. By practicing with passion and determination, one will see the change in the mindset and attitude. I practice all the three with His Blessings. Take only udhrini jalam during Sandyavandanam on that day if possible.
When have to drive long, should not fast. Have to use discretion on these days. The method of Girivalam, Gayathri and Meditation just occurred to me and I am 200% sure it is due to Maha Periyava’s Grace. I pray to Him to give me strength to continue this for ever. I consider all His devotees as my brothers and sisters. If you have any doubt in your health condition and need a second opinion, please feel free to ask me. I will be more than happy to assist you in any possible way. You may email me or call in person. I close with the statement ” Bhakthi is essential but Bhakthi without determination (vairagyam) is useless”
Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara.