Om Sri Shakthi Bagavathi Narayanee Namoh Namaha
I felt very happy that I was retiring from 1st March from my college work so that I could attend the entire function. We left Bombay on 1st March for the peetam. Many other devotees were to arrive on the 3rd. We paid our obeisance to Swami who told a few of us who had already arrived there to be ready by 5.30 am after our bath. On 3rd morning, we accompanied Swami to the Kalyana Bagavathi mandapam. Swami showed jyothi darshan from his heart to all of us. We were all elated and exuberant to see the divinity in jyothi form and started chanting Om Sri Shakthi Bagavathi Narayanee Namoh Namaha. The atmosphere was electrifying and fully charged. Swami went inside the Murugan sannadhi and raised his hand to materialize a silver cup. He then proceeded to the Hanuman sannadhi. There was another miracle, a silver bell fell into Swami's hand as if it dropped from the sky. When Swami kept that cup in the kutil, within a few moments it was automatically filled with ghee. The happenings were enchanting and overwhelming. The Vadakkunathar in the peetam was the thirteenth jyothir lingam which had appeared one day earlier. By 3rd evening, the peetam was full with devotees. Ramani and Govindarajan with their troupe arrived and enchanted us with their music and devotional songs, with orchestra and accompaniments, throughout Sivarathri day. Swami told all of us to be alert and watchful on the next day to witness the twelve jyothir lingams in the form of ghee in the silver cups at intervals and also see the nine golden bilva leaves that would be materialized. He said he would be ringing the silver bell to announce the onset of ghee abhishekam to Vadakkunathar by him. Most of us could not get sleep because of the expectation of these miraculous acts. At 5 am, the music troupe started their bhajans and the entire peetam was filled with divine music and drum beats. There atmosphere was electric. At 5.30 am, when Swami sat in front of Vadakkunathar, the first jyothir lingam appeared in ghee form and nine golden bilva leaves also appeared. The silver bell was rung. A closed circuit television network set up enabled everyone to witness Swami performing the ghee abhishekam to Lord Vadakkunathar. At that time, we all sang a new song Lingashtakam, verses in glory of Vadakkunathar. Swami then placed the nine golden bilva leaves on top of the ghee which immediately froze. It was an exhilarating scene. In a similar way, all the remaining jyothir lingams with bilva leaves were materialized at frequent intervals by Swami with his mystic powers. Throughout the day, the devotees remained in the hall and were fully immersed in the pooja and singing devotional songs. Swami explained about each jyothir lingam, its origin and its powers and significance. Many of us took to fasting on that day except for the old and sick who were on medication and were provided with some kanji and sweet potato. After the arrival of the last jyothir lingam, Swami's entire body got covered with vibuthi. Siva ashtothram was chanted while archanai was done to Swami himself with bilva leaves. While the archana was being performed, he showed mudras and his movements and actions were very unusual. Later Swami told us that Sivavakkiyar, a staunch devotee of Siva had entered his body that time and hence the unusual actions. The programme came to an end by 9 pm. What a memorable day it was! All those fortunate to be present there would cherish the pleasant memories throughout their lifetime. The experiences were remarkable. The bliss and the feeling of closeness to divinity were extraordinary and most unforgettable. On the next day, Swami distributed the 108 golden bilva leaves to some devotees as per Devi's command and asked us to keep it in safe custody at home and said that the bilvam would act as rakshai, a talisman protecting us from evils.
A day after, he asked my husband and me to go along with him to Kumbakonam. There, after visiting the famous temple of Kumbeshwarar, he took us to Swamimalai to worship Lord Murugan where Lord Murugan is said to have given the pranava upadesam to His father Lord Siva. Whenever we go with Swami to visit the temples, it is a spiritually uplifting and delightful experience since he narrates many anecdotes and events pertaining to the shrine and the Gods and Goddesses installed in the temple. He also took us to a vaishnavite temple by name Thirumazhisai Alwar temple in Kumbakonam. The priest there explained to us about the deity and the Alwar who was a great devotee of Siva. Alwar wrote about one thousand verses in the praise of Lord Siva and Goddess Parvathi, considered to be one of the greatest devotional and literary works in Tamil. When Alwar was sitting near the river bank with his writings, suddenly a huge tidal wave came and washed away his writings. He was greatly upset and disappointed that his lifelong work was ruined. He prayed frantically to Parvathi Parameshwaran, Who appeared before him and blessed him. They told him that they were pleased with his ardent devotion and that he would get back 220 of the verses. The priest further added that the Saivite community feels, that Sivavakkiyar of their sect had also written similar 220 divine verses on Siva Parvathi. Many say that Thirumazhisai Alwar was none other than Sivavakkiyar. When he concluded, Swami materialised a Lakshmi Narayana silver coin and asked the priest's name. He said that his name was Lakshmi Narayanan and Swami gave him the coin. The priest was moved and wonderstruck. On our way back, Swami said that he had gone there to leave the soul of Sivavakkiyar that had entered in Swami during Sivarathri. Later, we returned to Madras.
In the next Sivarathri festival of 2001, Swami installed all the thirteen jyothir lingams materialized earlier along with the prathishta of Chandramoulishwar and Narmadeswar. Goddess Kamakshi was kept in trishul form in front of Chandramoulishwar. Later, a marble Nandi was installed in between the trishul and Lord Siva. Swami had prophesized that if one worshipped and did abhishekam to Lord Siva on at least four consecutive pradosham days, one of them should be at the peetam in Lord Chandramoulishwarar's sannadhi and prayed to the fifth jyothir lingam installed on the right side of Chandramoulishwar, that devotee would certainly be blessed with a child.
The events during Sivarathri poojas reaffirms our faith that Swami is Siva and Shakti. We need not search for divinity elsewhere.The 12 lingams arrived at the peetam in the form of nei in the silver cups on 4th March, 2000 at the time mentioned. The Vadakkunathar lingam appeared a day earlier, 3rd March, 2000 at 6.55 am.