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In continuation to my previous blog on "The Call of Arunachala" , I would like to share with you all the extract from discourse by His Holiness during the divine Yatra (Pilgrimage) and satsang in Tiruvannamalai at Navashakthi Navalinga Temple on 1st Dec 2009 in the morning. I will post the entire discourse in 2 parts. Here is Part 1:

“All of us know a lot of things about the external world. We know how to live, how to earn a living, how to carry on our profession or business and how to support our family. We know all our relatives, colleagues, friends, neighbours and acquaintances, but we do not know who we are. This is the paradox in which we live. If we contemplate deeply upon this we will wonder – “Outside I have an identity through my name, family and profession. But without all this who am I?” That is why all of us have come here. We have come here to find out who we are.”

“Anything can be taught to us, but the knowledge of the Self is most difficult to teach. We have to understand it only through direct experience. As we discussed yesterday, many Siddhas or Enlightened Beings have made Tiruvannamalai their abode in order to channelise the Grace and Knowledge of Arunachala towards us to help us in our inner quest. Normally most of us go to temples or on pilgrimages seeking solutions to our troubles and problems. Such prayers are granted by all forms of Divinity, but the uniqueness of Arunachala is that He shows us how to organize and manage our thoughts. Though we can gather a lot of knowledge from books, magazines, newspapers and TV, the knowledge of how to manage our minds through right thinking can be given only by Arunachala.”

“However being ignorant of this, we pray for health, wealth, name and fame as we circumambulate Arunachala. We must first realise the value of this human body which we have obtained only after being born thousands of times as worms, insects and animals. Though this world contains 840,000 species, none of them can think or speak like us. Our power of thinking and speech are truly unique, but we do not know how to use them correctly. Most of the time we use the mind to think what we should not think and tongue to speak what we should not speak. Anger makes the tongue run away with it. That is why we say many things in anger and regret them later. When we use the tongue to gossip, we talk nonsense about others. How often do we use the tongue to chant the name of God? That is why the Sages and Saints often remind us – “O man, why are you wading in the quicksand of karma? Always be aware that you are a pure, divine being. You have not come here to generate and experience karma. You have come here to attain liberation from the loop of karma.”

“The Rig Veda tells us that when we have an overall karmic balance of 49% bad karma and 51% good karma, we obtain a human body. Our bad karma brings us ill health, financial problems, ill fame, unpleasant environment and poor relationships. Our good karma brings us robust health, wealth, fame, congenial environment and cordial relationships. So our external circumstances keep fluctuating according to the karma we are experiencing at that moment, but if we allow our minds to be affected by this we will be unhappy most of the time. Today we are so dependent on the external world for peace and happiness. Even when we go to bed we want to watch TV till we fall asleep. Otherwise, when we lie down all our worries and problems crowd into the mind and we begin to think – “I wanted to begin building my house, but I am unable to organize the finances…My daughter has to be married, but we have been unable to find the right groom for her…My boss has been very harsh with me lately. He may remove me from my job any time…My health is going downhill everyday. Who will take care of me if my body gives way?...” Our worries are endless and they completely shatter our peace of mind. This is happening only because we are unable to organize and manage our thoughts. Instead of allowing our minds to zoom on this spiral of worry each night or suppressing worry by watching TV, we should think of Arunachala before sleeping and pray – “O Arunachala, you have been with me all day, nurturing and protecting me. I offer my gratitude at Your Lotus Feet. I ask for nothing other than Your Grace. Enfold me in Your Grace all the time.” When we pray to Lord Arunachala with this attitude of gratitude everyday, we shed all our worries without our knowledge. Our minds become very light and we sleep soundly every night.”

“If we look around us we see that so many Westerners also come to Arunachala. Their culture and upbringing is so different from ours. They do not know how to perform rituals or chant mantras like us. Yet they leave their country and fly across the ocean to live in this alien culture. Why do they come so far? What do they get here? They come because Arunachala calls them. He calls all the Souls who are ready to receive His Grace. He has no barriers of caste, creed, gender, religion or country. He is waiting to unveil the light of the Soul in all of us. The Westerners who come here know how to pray to Arunachala. They say – “Arunachala, please show me how to think. Show me when to use my mind and intellect and when to keep them at rest. Show me how to still my mind.” Millions of other devotees who come here also experience this inner serenity and tranquility. Though they have visited many other places of pilgrimage, they say – “Nowhere else do we get the kind of peace we get here. Arunachala removes all our thoughts and stills the mind. We come here again and again to experience this inner peace and silence.”