From here until the end of our trip, we began a spiritual journey through the complexities of the Hinduism. From a mother performing puja (prayers) for her child’s forthcoming exams to an engineer who has renounced his material life and set off on the path to self-realization, religion suffuses almost every aspect of life in India. Essentially, Hindus believe in Brahman, who is eternal, uncreated and infinitive; everything that exists emanates from Brahman and will ultimately return to it
The multitude of gods and goddesses are merely manifestations – knowable aspects of this formless phenomenon. All Hindu deities are regarded as a manifestation of Brahman, who is often described as having three main representations (the Trimurti): Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
Hindu believe that earthly life is cyclical; you are born again and again, the quality of these rebirths being dependent upon your karma (conduct or action) in previous lives. Trying to understand the meaning of life described by the Hinduism is fascinating but it will require years of studies to fully understand it.
Anyway, it was time to drive two hours to Tiruchirappalli, more commonly known as Trichy, situated on the banks of the river Cauvery and the fourth largest city in Tamil Nadu. In the way we spotted an interesting fortification built on top of a huge rock that was not included in our itinerary. It was an interesting construction so we decided to have a “quick” look. The place is called Tirumayan in Pudukkottai. This place became a strategic outpost during the latter part of the seventeenth century when it was under the control of the Setupadis of Ramnad.
The fort has a main gateway on the east in the lowermost wall with shrines for guardian deities like Ganesa, Hanuman and Bhairava. Only portions of the fortification survive today. There is a moat around the lowerwall.
On top of the rock there is a bastion and a cannon of British origin. The construction of the fort is of inferior quality as small blocks of stones were used along with bricks for the upper levels. The rock is also popularly known for its two rock cut temples, the Satyagirisvara and Satyamurthi Perumal.
Just when we were about to return to our bus (in a rush) we realized there was a path hidden under a huge rock, it was kind of intriguing so we agreed to have a look and this is what we discover…
We found this cave-temple that had a sanctum with a lingam in it. Lingam is the term for the Hindu god Shiva as represented by a phallus (erect male organ). Usually found in conjunction with the Yoni (‘vulva”) which represents the goddess Shakti – the source of Creative Energy. They co-join to form Brahma – the Universe. This is the Hindu Trilogy; the representation of the twins of Creation and Destruction as the highest manifestations or aspects of the One. In this case Shiva is the destroyer, but without whom creation couldn’t occur.
The most common use of the Shiva Lingam is for sacred bathing (abhisheka) and so the worship of a Shiva Lingam always includes an abhisheka usually of milk and water, but commonly with other liquids, including yogurt, honey and clarified butter as well. After a puja (prayer), the lingam is so beautifully dressed with several collars made of real flowers. You will often see them in the temples with offerings such a bananas, spices, coins, etc. It is very funny because our tour guides were quite conservative when explaining about the Lingam. They probably thought I would make a joke or was I too straightforward with my questions?… I don’t know…
Below are pictures from the web and the words are from this website: http://www.shreemaa.org/worship-of-lord-shiva/
“Sometimes we experience great joy in this change, as we watch a bud blossom into a beautiful flower. Yet other times we feel deep sorrow; our flower withers away to nothing. This life is a pendulum which moves us from joy to sorrow again and again.
We might wonder: is there no way to stop this pendulum? Lord Shiva is the One Consciousness who perceives all transformation.
He is called The Great Destroyer, because by transforming our reality each moment, He destroys what was—to create what is. When we are attached to our current circumstances in life, and when Lord Shiva dutifully changes them, we feel sorrow.
Lord Shiva is the great Transformer who transitions us from the darkness of ignorance to the light of divinity. He helps us to move beyond our attachments so that we may discover the eternal Consciousness that shines behind our perceptions.”