Astrology and the allied Occult Sciences have been fast making a comeback and the masses are making a beeline towards Astrologers like never before. It is also a feast day for quacks and the like, who, though they do not know a wee-bit of Astrology fleece the innocent public who flock to them. Just as a good physician is needed to treat and cure the disease, a good astrologer is needed to unravel the past Karmas done by an individual, which will generally be indicated in his / her true horoscope. Some portion of these past karmas is experienced in the present incarnation as “set-backs” by the individual. Even though its total annihilation and obliteration is too difficult, its adverse effects could be greatly mitigated by suitable expiatory rites.
It is said that all ills arise from some transgression of universal law. The scriptures say that man must satisfy the law of nature, while not discrediting the omnipotence. He should plead with the lord with faith and say O lord, I trust you. On my part, besides seeking favours from you, I too will do my best to undo any wrong I have done. He can wash his sins by a number of ways – by prayer, by will power, by yoga and meditation, charity, sharing pain and gains with others, by consultation with saints, true guides, by seeking proper astrological remedies and wearing of gems are some ways through which the adverse effects of past wrongs can be minimized or nullified.
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In the year 562 B.C on the Tamil month of Karthigai, when Moon was transiting Karkataka rashi at 140-48’ Babaji was born in Parangi Pettai “Porto Nova” now a small village near Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu, South India. Babaji was named Nagaraj by his devout parents, which means king of serpents. Nagaraj’s father was a temple priest at the local Shivan Koil (Shiva temple). In the background of dedicated and devout priestly duties of his father the early formative years of child Nagaraj was greatly influenced by the spiritual practices, public ceremonies and festivities associated with temple.
Parangi Pettai is situated 7 kilometers from Chidambaram, one of the greatest pilgrimage centres of Southern India, which has Akash as the Tatwa / primordial element. Chidambaram derives the name Chit Ambaram, which literally means the sky permeated with an atmosphere of intelligence and wisdom. Lord Nataraja is supposed have emerged from the sacred space, ether and performed his cosmic dance before his two devotees, Vyaghrapada and Pathanjali. This is the place where great Siddha Thirvmooolar attained Soruba Samadhi thousands of years ago. Chidambaram has thus become surcharged with the spiritual vibrations of this experience to millions of devout pilgrims from those times. Needless to say that Nagaraj’s pilgrimages to Chidambaram along with his parents added a new impetus to his spiritual growth.
Once when Nagaraj was a young lad of 4 or 5 years, his mother procured a jackfruit and left it in the care of Nagaraj. It was Nagaraj’s favourite fruit. When she left the house on some errand, Nagaraj relished and ate the entire fruit. On her return, his mother noticed that the entire jackfruit had been eaten. She flew into a blind rage and stuffed a cloth down Nagaraj’s mouth, almost suffocating him and killing him. Nagaraj though a young lad forgave his mother and thanked God for showing him that she was to be loved unconditionally without attachment or illusion.
One day when Nagaraj was over five years old, he was standing near the Shiva temple watching the crowd gathered for a religious ceremony. A foreigner rogue from Baluchistan suddenly seized the child and carried with him. Seeing the potential of the child, for sale as a slave, due the handsome features of the young boy, he took Nagaraj in a sailboat northwards by sea for more than a thousand miles. They reached a port, which could be the modern Kolkata. There he was sold to a wealthy man. The man who purchased Babaji being kind hearted freed him soon thereafter. Thus Babaji Nagaraj was set free from the duties and limitations of a householder. Then he never returned home.
Like many sanyasins and renunciaters, Nagaraj becomes wandering Saadhu, by joining a small group of wandering sanyasins. He studied the sacred scriptures of India, such as the Vedas, the Upanishads, the epics Mahabharatha, the Ramayana, and the Bhagawad Gita. Soon grew as a scholar and his reputation reached far and wide. He was often invited to debate with other pundits and leaders belonging to various metaphysical schools of thought. The young Nagaraj could clarify points and resolve disputes with such erudition that astonished everyone.
Nagaraj was conscious that his erudition did not take him anywhere closer to self-realization. His dissatisfaction grew by the day and as the days passed, he understood that a permanent change in consciousness was required to bring in fulfillment. He was thirst to get enlightened. But alas, he had no Guru or any method to help him reach his goal.
A little was known about Siddhas and their Kriya yoga tradition. The Siddhas number about 18 and were concentrated in many part of India, more particularly in present Tamil Nadu, still influencing the entire universe. They attained a state of perfection called as “Soruba Samadhi”. The state of perfection, which the Siddha Yogis or the Yoga Siddhas have attained, is due to their penance, magnanimous in selfless contributions and their unique life style. For the Siddhas addressing Shiva, Krishna, Vishnu, Shanmuga, Shakthi or Christ, or Allah so on and so forth are one and the same.
Shiva Purana describes the way Lord Shiva meditates on Mount Kailash since time immemorial. Shiva is worshipped by the Yogis as Lord, and by all the Gods as the supreme Lord. It is said that the history of the Siddha tradition has begun millions of years ago. Lord Shiva initiated Parvathi Devi into Kriya Kundalini pranayama, the scientific art of mastering the breath, in a huge cave at Amarnath in the Kashmir Himalayas (Ramaiah, 1968, p. 108). Siddhas are those who concentrate and hold their breath in the mooladhara, navel, heart, middle of stomach, neck, hairs and raise the Kundalini power.Later Yogi Shiva initiated others, including the Siddhas Agastya, Nandi Devar and Thirumoolar on Mount Kailash. Subsequently Agastya initiated Babaji into Kriya Kundalini pranayama.
The ancient Siddhas had realized that the divine would also descend further into lower planes of consciousness viz., the intellectual, mental, vital, and physical bodies. They become the virtual embodiment of the ultimate Divinity. Such a state is very difficult to be conceptualized by our limited intellect. The Siddhas discovered that through a complete surrender of their being, their ego, and their very lives, the Divinity would in some exceptional cases descend and completely transform them down to their very cells. This transformation was speed up by the intensive practice of various Kriyas, including hatha yoga asanas, meditation, mantras and bhakti yogas, but above all the Kriya Kundalini Pranayama.
According to the traditions and in particular, there are eighteen Siddhas who attained perfection, which included their spiritual, intellectual, mental, vital and physical bodies. The names of these eighteen Siddhas vary according to different sources. This could be due to the fact that each is given the name of the place where they have attained the state of perfection and also it was customary to call them in several names as was in practice since several centuries. Apart from these eighteen Siddhas, popularly known as “Pathinettu Siddhargal”, there are many others like Konkeyar, Punnakeesar, Pulastiyar, Poonaikannar, Pulipanni, Kalangi, Aluganni, Agapaiyer, Theraiyar, Roma Rishi, and Avvai.
A state of being one with the universe and bringing back the universe within themselves is an act only possible for elevated souls. Siddha means an adept or one who attained perfection or “Siddhi”. The 18 Siddhas attained perfection, which included their spiritual, intellectual, mental, vital and physical bodies. Just as a salt doll dissolves and merges into the oceans, the Siddhas have thrown their personality into the ocean of God or the ultimate reality within, and experienced a progressive transformation of their intellectual, mental, vital and physical sheaths. Thus a divine transformation of their entire human nature takes place after attaining such a unique realization. This unique realization is possible only through the Grace of God and the techniques used by the Siddhas to prepare their flesh and lower bodies for the descent of the divinity. These techniques are collectively known as Kriya Yoga Siddhantha.