Jwalamukhi Temple – where flames burn continuously without any fuel or assistance

Journal Edge

Jwalamukhi Temple is situated 30 km south of Kangra valley. It is dedicated to Goddess Jwalamukhi. There are natural flames in the temple which are worshipped as a manifestation of the nine Goddesses – Mahakali, Unpurna, Chandi, Hinglaj, Bindhya Basni, Maha Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ambika and Anji Devi. These flames burn continuously without any fuel or assistance and may be seen erupting from a rock-side.Ancient legends speak of a time when demons lorded over the Himalaya mountains and harassed the gods. Led by Lord Vishnu, the gods decided to destroy them. They focused their strengths and huge flames rose from the ground. From that fire, a young girl took birth. She is regarded as Adishakti-the first ‘shakti’. In this temple there is a copper pipe through which natural gas comes out. After Daksha Yoga Bhagna, Lord Shiva placed the burnt dead body of Sati on his shoulders and started wandering about…

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Jai Sri Krishna

Shri Krishna as Kali

O daughter of the snow-capped mountain! That Ananga whose bow is of flowers, whose bow string is of a row of bees, who has five arrows, who has as his feudatory Vasanta, and the Malaya breeze as his chariot, he, even though thus equipped, having obtained some grace from thy side glance, conquers all this world single-handed – Saundaryalahari, 6

In places in the tantrik tradition, the Krishna avatar of Vishnu is often identified with Kali. This reaches a peak in the Tantrarajatantra, where it is said that having already charmed the world of men as herself, Lalitatook a male form as Krishna and then proceeded to enchant women. In this work, Krishna has six forms, identified with the six senses (including Mind). They are Kamaraja Gopala, Manmatha Gopala, Kandarpa Gopala, Makaraketana Gopala and Manobhava Gopala. Their meditation images (dhyana according to the same work, describes them as being like dawn,

with six arms, holding flute, noose, goad, sugar cane bow and a bowl of curds. These are the five arrows of Lalita and the bow and here Krishna is identified with Kameshvara, the Indian god of love, who is otherwise called Ananga, and, like Cupid, is armed with a bow.
The Kalivilasa Tantra, a Bengali work, states Krishna was born as the son of Devi who was golden (Gauri) and turned black when he was excited by passion. In the Todala Tantra, each of the ten Mahavidyas, forms of the supreme Goddess, has her own male counterpart and here Krishna is said to be the spouse of Kali. There are many images of Krishna in India which show him as black. An Indian commentator to the hymn to Kali called Karpuradistotra, goes further and says that there is a connection between the bija mantra of Kali which is Krim, Krishna and Christ. Whatever the truth of that identification, it is certain that to many ordinary folk in India, Krishna and Christ do have a resonance. Often you will see contemporary images of Krishna and Christ together in the inside of houses. Krishna (and his tantrika counterpart Kameshvara) are moved by love (prem).
The Victorian print at the top left of this page shows Radha, Krishna’s shakti, worshipping Krishna as Kali, while the image on the left is a contemporary print (copyright acknowledged but of unknown provenance).

In the Brihat Tantra Sara, a large compilation of tantrik rites, Krishna appears as a fully-flowered tantrika devata, with his own yantragayatri, mantra and puja Krishna Yantra: click for full size imageor ritual which uses this yantra (click on this image for full size yantra). In the hexagon in the centre of the yantra, the following words appear: Krishnaya Govindaya Klim sadhya Gopijanavallabhaya Svaha. In the corners of the hexagon are the bija mantras Hrim and Shrim. Outside the hexagon is the Krisna mantra which runs: Klim Krishnaya Namah. In the petals of the yantra is a longer mantra Namah Kamadevaya Sarvajanapriyaya Sarvajansammohanaya Jvala Prajvala Sarvajanasya Hridayamavamsham Kurukura Svaha. Around the eight petals are the Matrikas or letters of the Sanskrit alphabet while in the angles of the protecting wall are bija mantras Hrim and Shrim, once more.

Although commonly associated with Shaivite and Shakta concerns, in reality there is no sectarianism in the tradition. In many of the texts of the tradition, it is stated that it is only a fool who makes any distinction between the two. The forms of Vishnu, however, often have a more emotional tinge to them than those of Shiva, who can be portrayed as a highly terrifying figure. Trailokyamohana Vishnu, for example, in thePrapanchasara Tantra, is meditated upon as in the middle of a garden of Aeon Trees, scented with flowers and musical from the sound of bees, with his shakti Shri Lakshmi. She is bathed in sweat from her passion for him while around them both are the women of the household, all pierced by the arrows of Kama, god of sexuality, all shameless with their passion.

Artwork is © Jan Bailey, 1996-2006. Translations are © Mike Magee 1996-2006. Questions or comments to mike.magee@btinternet.com


பகவான் யோகி ராம்சுரத் குமார்

உண்மையைத் தேடி...

பகவான் யோகிராம் சுரத் குமார்

கலியுகத்தில் இறைவனை அடைய எளிய வழி நாம ஜபமே என்று கூறி, ராம நாம ஜபத்தின் மூலமே ஆன்மிகத்தின் மிக உயரிய நிலையை எட்டியவர் பகவான் யோகி ராம்சுரத் குமார். கங்கைக் கரையை ஒட்டியுள்ள நர்தரா எனும் கிராமத்தில், ராம்தத் குன்வர் – குசுமா தேவி தம்பதியினருக்கு 1918ஆம் ஆண்டு, டிசம்பர் மாதம் 1 மகவாகத் தோன்றினார் யோகி ராம் சுரத் குமார். கங்கைக்கரைக்கு அடிக்கடி சாதுக்கள் பலர் வருவார்கள். அவர்களுடன் பேசிக் கொண்டிருப்பதும், அவர்களது ஆன்மிக அனுபவங்களைக் கேட்பதும் ராம் சுரத் குமாருக்கு மிக விருப்பமானதாக இருந்தது. அது, அந்தச் சிறுவயதிலேயே ஞான வேட்கையை அவர் உள்ளத்தில் தோற்றுவித்தது


ஒரு சிறு பறவையின் மரணம் ராம்சுரத்தின் வாழ்க்கையில் பெரும் மாறுதலை உண்டாக்கியது. வாழ்க்கையின் நிலையாமையை அவருக்கு உணர்த்தியது. ஆன்மீக நாட்டம் அதிகரித்தது. இமயம் முதல் குமரி வரை சுற்றினார். கபாடியா பாபா உள்பட பல சாதுக்களின் தரிசனம் அவருக்குக் கிட்டியது. ராம் ரஞ்சனி தேவி என்பவருடன் அவருக்குத் திருமணம் நிகழ்ந்தது. ஆனாலும் மனம் துறவறத்தையே நாடியது. 1947ம் ஆண்டு திருவண்ணாமலைக்கு வந்தார். ரமணரின் அருள் தரிசனம் பெற்றார். பின்னர் சில நாட்கள் அங்கே கழித்தவர் மீண்டும் ஊர் திரும்பினார்.

யோகி, தன் குருநாதர்களுடன்

       சில வருடங்கள் கழித்து மீண்டும் ஆன்மிக தாகம் பெருக பாண்டிச்சேரிக்கு வந்தார். மகா யோகி அரவிந்தரின் தரிசனம் பெற்றார். ஸ்ரீஅன்னையின்…

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Ramakrishna Devotion to Kali-Ma (Part 2 of 3) by Nancy Vedder-Shults

nancymug_3Ramakrishna was one of the major poets who popularized Kali’s worship in Bengal, the northeasternmost province of India. Born in the early part of the 19th century, he was a Hindu saint in a tradition known as bhakti, where devotees lovingly surrender their hearts, minds and spirits to their chosen deity in a practice which leads to ecstatic union with the divine. Such devotion is easier for us in the West to imagine when the beloved is the playful Krishna with his sublime flute-playing and sacred lovemaking. But in Ramakrishna’s case, the object of his devotion was the fierce Kali, the wild and uncontrollable aspects of the sacred, to whom he devoted himself as a child would to its mother.

Kali with baby Kali as the mother of Shiva

In his best-known evocation of the Goddess, Ramakrishna observes her as a graceful young woman sinuously emerging from the waters of the Ganges. As…

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Sri KALIKAmbal temple, Chennai.

 Kalikambal Temple, Chennai, India 

A historical temple on which the city was named –

Kalikambal Temple, which is located in the Northern Chennai of South India, might not be known to many.   But, it is surprising to know that this is one of the few temples of ancient  Chennai city, and even the city is supposed to have derived its name from this temple deity.

Kalikambal,  the presiding deity of the temple, was once known  as “Neithal Nila Kamakshi”, “Chennamman” and “Kottai Amman” (Kottai means fort in Tamil)
 The area where the temple is located got the name “Chenna Pattinam” or “Chennai Kuppam” on accout of this.  The British East India Company bought Chennaikuppam, Madras Kuppam and Vadavarukuppam in 1639 AD.  In Madras Kuppam aka Madrasa Pattinam, the company built a fort (the St. George Fort of current Chennai located near beach).

 As the original temple of Kalikambal was located inside the fort area, the company wanted to shift the temple from the Fort area for  security reasons. Thus, the idol was shifted to Thambu Chetty Street of today’s George Town area, and a new temple was constructed there in 1640 AD. 

 It is believed that a fierce ugra form of the goddess was held in worship earlier, and it was replaced with the Shanta Swaroopa (calm) form of Kamakshi aka Kalikambal.   At the foot of the goddess is present the Arthameru, which is believed to have been installed by Aadi Shankaracharya. As Shankaracharya lived around 2500 years ego, you can as well imagine how ancient this goddess would be. It is also believed that saints such as Vyasa, Arasar, Agastya, Angreesa, and Varuna have worshiped the goddess. The god of wealth, Kuberan is believed to have worshiped the deity who is said to have bestowed with wealth and prosperity. 

In 1667, the great Maratha ruler Shivaji visited this temple and worshiped the goddess. The great Tamil poet, Subramanya Bharathiar, when he was working for Swadesha Mithran, used to visit this temple often. He sung the famous “Yadumaki Ninrai Kali” song on this deity. 

Before entering the main shrine of the temple, you will get to visit the utsava idols of Kalikambal along with Saraswathi and Lakshmi,  located in a shrine full of mirrors.  The presiding deity, Kalikambal aka Kamakshi is alone. The idol is strikingly beautiful and at the foot you can find Arthameru. 

Around this main shrine, there is a shrine for Arunachaleswar (Shiva) with Unnamalai, and another shrine for Kamadeswarar with Ambal. Kamadeswarar (a form of Shiva) is another main deity of this temple. This temple itself is called as Kalikambal Kamadeswarar Temple. 

Around the main shrine, there are also shrines for Subramanya with Valli-Devasena, Navagraha, and Veera Brahma Sankarar (a guru). You can also find idols of Chandikeswarar, Chandikeswari, Brahma Vidhya, Bhairav, Surya, Chandra, Vaishnavi, Mahalakshmi, Durga, Brahma, Dakshinamurthy, Ganesha, Durga, Subramanyua, Vishnu, and Vinayaka, around the main shrine of Kalikambal.

 In the prakara (the corridor surrounding the shrine), there is Subramanya along with his consorts Valli and Devasena. There is another shrine for Ganesha along with his consorts Siddhi and Buddhi. You can also find shrines of Gayathri, Durga, Virata Vishwa Brahmam, and Veerabhadra. Virata Vishwa Brahmam, as per some beliefs, is believed to be the supreme God who created even Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. 

The highlight of Veerabhadra shrine is that there is an idol of Kali also. You can find Veerabhadra and Kali idols together only in few temples. There is a big idol of Pratyangira Devi which has been installed recently. There is also a separate idol for Ganesha located in the prakara. 

The temple is located at Thambu Chetty Street, George Town area, in Chennai city of South India. You can reach this place on your own transportation. As the bus stop and railway station are quite far away from this place, you may have to hire an auto rickshaw or cycle rickshaw if you choose public transportation. The distance from the Central Railway Stat ion to this temple is hardly 3.5 kms. Go and visit this historical temple. 
Jai Maa Kali.