Dienstag, November 11, 2008
Samstag, November 08, 2008
Dear Friends and worshippers of Lord Narasimha,
please help to protect the environment of Ahobilam, keep the mystic and beautiful serenity of that holy ksetra on top all our endavour. It would be nice if some devotees could do some support for rebuilding this lost Mandapas inside the jungle,by keeping eye on the nature and dont harm the natural beauty with that work. Because vastu and silpa sastra are in accordance with Gods Nature, it would be only a juwel on the chest of the Lord! But if we dont do anything, thieves and thugs will steal our tradition for money sake only! So please let us do something for the cause of the futures generations!
And we find on the old pathway pillars from some unknown temple/mandapa. All that you can find on the way to Upper Ahobilam, and it would be nice if that Mandapas come back to their beauty, and not land in some antique store in USA or Bombay.
This is the Kunda/watertank like Mandapa, a very beautiful and fantastic building is falling apart. Please dear devotees help that this wonderful mandapas are rebuilt! It is not far away from the main temple in Lower ahobilam, but it is inside the jungle.
In one of the mandapa they have dismantled some of the pillars from the structure, digged a very deep hole inside and dragged out something from the ground (a hidden wealth?). Then they have taken those pillars to some antique stores or foreign land!
In ancient times Ahobilam was trekked only by foot, and no road was there. Now daily trucks and Busses rush the way up to Upper Ahobilam.
But 15 years ago i have walked all trough Ahobilam by foot and i discovered a ancient walkpath from lower ahobilam up to Upper Ahobilam (around 5 - 6km). One can find even the walking steps from time to time. On the path you come across two ancient mandapas and one overgrown Kunda in Mandapa Style. In olden days when the Utsava deities where coming or going from up to down Ahobilam, the Lord with his servants (archakas and helpers) rested under those places. This time i wanted to find the railtrack again and we had success! But the condition of those 3 Mandapas were horrorfying! It needs only few more years and they totally fall apart.
Ahobilam has more then 15 ponds in and around the holy ksetra, and most of them are natural spring or waterpools from rainy season. The environment and nature of Ahobilam is unique, but it is endangered by human misbehaviour. With the popularity of Ahobilam also the beauty of nature gets walked over by tousands of pilgrims, the natural water resources and rare species of life to be threatened with extinction. Communities and Devotees should work together to preserve those natural beauty, and in the same time direct and teach those masses of pilgrims about the importance of coexistence with nature and Holy caves in Ahobilam!
Between Lower and Upper Ahobilam around 3 km from Lower Ahobilam, you can find close to each other two Narasimha temples. One is Chatravata Narasimha and Yogananda Narasimha Swamy.
Chatravata Narasimha is a very unique Deity, and only seen in Ahobilam. He had blessed two Gandarvas for celestial voice, after they have lost the ability of singing. His beautiful smile is the very uniqueness of this Deity, and He is nicely taken care by some archaka daily. The temple is renovated and has even a wall around. The Tree who had given shadow once upon a time, is no more. But it is clean and nicely maintained.
Yogananda Narasimha Swamy is worshipped in a small Shrine, next to a newly built 64 Gods temple, were all 9 forms of Lord Narasimha are connected to the 9 Planets (Navagrahas), and many more deities you will see there.
But the Yogananda Narasimha Swamy is the oldest Temple in this area, and he has a special aura around him.
The picture you see are the landscape of lower Ahobilam, hot and dry as usual in Andhra Pradesh (chilipakora!).
Pavana Narasimha Swamy is the farthest temple from Upper Ahobilam, around 8 km trough jungle. I would suggest to get a guide if you have not been there before. We could travel alone, because we knew the way, and also from time to time some sign is coming and guiding you. After a very steep staircase of around 660 steps, you reach the plateau and from then on it is more easy. But before is quite tuff to walk. Best is also leave early morning.
Sri Pavana Narasimha Swamy has a lot of stories in connection with this ancient shrine, and it is said that it was here where Sri Adi Shankara was reciting (or creating) the Narasimha Karavalamba Stotra for his protection against the Kapalika tantric, who wanted to offer him for his Kali. It is said that it was here where one of the Shankaracarya tradition (most probably not the first one, Adi Shankara) later on did his commentary to the Narasimha Tapani Upanishad. We had the blessing to make some mystic picture of the Pavana Narasimha Deity.
On certain days it is here that the tribes of the forest come together and offer animals to the Lord outside of the temple compound. A very ancient and not very sattvic procedure indeed!
Above in the forest (maybe 5 minutes walk) you can find another cave, where Chenchu (bhu devi) is worshipped by the tribes.
Also here i have placed my Lord lakshmi Narasimha and we did a small puja, just on the spot of Lord Narasimha's appearance. We did a very nice prayer/bhajan and completing with some offering of dates and nuts to the Lord. Just when i finnished a big group of monkeys came and tried a steal the offering. I was scared a bit and packed my Lord fast in my bag.
From Jwala Narasimha one is walking around 30 minutes, or better to say one has to climb... It is said that this is the spot where Lord Narasimha appeared from the palace Pillar of Hiranyakashipu. It is now a huge rock, cut into two and the spot is marked from where the Lord appeared. It took a lot of energy to climb on the top of the mountain, but it was a very exciting and trilling expierence.
As i new from my visits last 15 years ago, if you come very early before sunrise, you will have a very extraordinary Darshan of Lord Jwala Narasimha, as the Sun comes straight into the cave on sunrise. So we came early this time, but i was shocked first to see that the gate was locked. But it was just a broken lock, to be hang in, so we could enter inside the cave. But then i saw they have built the roof along the whole Mandapa, and when the early morning sun came, and suppose to touch the Lord Vigraha Body, it was prevented by the plastic roof... How disappointing that was. But still Lord Narasimha is standing on his spot as it where for many of hundred of years. There are 2 forms here inside the cave. Jwala Ugra Narasimha in his Samhara form with 16 hands in the middle. Right from his side is Stambha Narasimha (coming out from the pillar) and from his left side you see Vira Narasimha (fighting with the Demon). There were also two other deities, but there are not there anymore (one Varadaraja and one Rishi i guess...). May that was the cause why they have built everywhere fenses to protect this shrines. From the back of the cave and source of the Bhavanasini River. So all Deities get sprinkled by Mother Bavanasini and becomes only after touching Jwala Narasimha a river below the mountain.
I had my small Lakshmi Narasimha deity with me, and one Narasimha Saligrama, and we did some puja here, while nobody was there. We offered camphor, some fruits and incense, did some chanting of Narasimha Dvadasanama stotra and Mantrarajpadastotram along with Purusa Sukta and Manyu sukta (Narasimha sukta from from the Rg Veda!).
The best is for going Darshan to Jwala Narasimha and Ugra Stambha early morning while leaving around 5.30 am. If you stay in Upper Ahobilam you have to pass Ahobileshwara Narasimha Swamy Temple and Varaha Narasimha Cave. From Varaha Narasimha Cave they have built recently on big bridge over the ancient river bed, but the old pathway is going trough the half dry River bed from where you will reach and path up to Jwala Narasimha Cave. It takes around 1 hour from Upper Ahobilam to reach this cave, and another 30 min. for climbing the Ugra Stambha. Before you reach the Jwala narasimha Cave, you have to pass trough a light waterfall (after rainy season more water!), then you reach a spot called "Rakta Kunda" were Lord Narasimha washed his hands, after killing the demon Hiranyakashipu. Normally the Mud appears reddish, as also the stones in and around Jwala narasimha have that natural colour of red. Nowadays a small mandapa is built in front of Jwala Narasimha cave, with metal fences to protect the deities from thieves and merauders, as there is nobody staying out here in the jungle. The atmosphere is very impressive, thick forest and lot of animals. 15 years ago, my first trip to Ahobilam has almost met with one of the rare jungle tigers not far from this cave. But Lord Narasimha was kind, and we had luck and beautiful darshan of Him only.
Just next to the Varaha Narasimha Cave in Upper Ahobilam, you can find another small cave. There you can have darshan of one very ancient Ramanujacarya Deity. (click on the pictures to see them bigger!)