ARUNACHALA SADHANA CHARITABLE TRUST is located in Tiruvannamalai, South India at the foot of the Holy Hill Arunachala.
The principal purposes of the ARUNACHALA SADHANA CHARITABLE TRUST are:
1) To support chanting of the Vedas by pandits and particularly, Krishna Yajur Veda, in the modes of Kramam, Jettay and Ghanam.
2) To help sadhus living in Tiruvannamalai with provision of food, clothing and essential medical services.
We hope you will join our efforts and please search in the website for recordings and useful information.
Many persons are engaged in various projects dedicated to helping other human beings relieve their suffering, either by assisting them in providing essential food ,shelter and medical assistance, as well as other activities which support the spiritual well-being of all of us. There are other activities related to religious and spiritual events,as well as specific sadhanas (spiritual practices) leading to spiritual growth and maturity, and eventually the final goal of liberation(mukti).
In special holy places, such as Arunachala, many sadhus, as well as saints, yogis,siddhas and even jnanis congregate in order to interact with the rest of humankind and impart instruction and blessings on seekers who gather near them. Sri Ramana Maharshi was a very famous jnani who lived in Tiruvannamalai for 54 years and his Ashram continues to draw thousands of pilgrims and seekers from all around the world. His presence at his samhadi (tomb)can be felt by a great many devotees who are drawn to him and his continued presence at the holy site and continues to be a powerful force for spiritual aspirants. (Smaller picture of Sri Ramana's face and one surrounded by his devotees in the meditatation hall)
Even though modern Hinduism as it is practiced today varies considerably from what was usual many thousands of years ago, it is very obvious to any acute observer that many traditions are still being carried on, more or less in their original form. One of these important aspects is the chanting of the Vedas(VedaParayanam). During Sri Ramana's lifetime when he settled at the foot of Arunachala, where the present Ashram now stands, pundits from the town would come to him daily in the mornings and afternoons to chant the Krishna Yajur Veda, for about 45 minutes in each session. To this day the tradition is being carried out and there is a traditional school (Veda pathasala) in the Ashram (founded in 1935) which trains young boys from a very early age, up to a quite advanced stage. Most of the priests at Ramanasramam have studied at this school. (Small picture of school children from Ramanasramam Veda pathasala chanting on Bhagavan's Samadhi)
Sri Ramana would sit in very deep Samadhi during the chanting and he would always mention that the mere listening to the holy sound of the Vedas was extremely useful in quieting the mind. The late Paramacharya of Kancheepuram Mutt, Sri Chandrashekaran Saraswati, laid great emphasis on Veda Parayanam (stating that it was of utmost importance for spiritual upliftment of all mankind) and due to his long and continous guidance, today in all of South India there are countless schools and a great number of pundits regularly chanting the Vedas, especially at major festivals and events, but also at household ceremonies. It is generally considered, even by secular authorities, that the Vedas are of universal benefit and should not be even considered as a restricted activity of a particular group within Hinduism. Further on in this site there is more specific and useful information on Veda Parayanam and some recordings of various parts of diverse Vedas, as well as different modes of chanting.
One of the duties of any religious person or spiritual aspirant is to support these types of activities. In the case of Veda Parayanam, the schools and pundits must be helped since this is there full way of life and only means of material support. One hundred years ago there were cases of pundits in small villages almost starving to death because of lack of sustenance from the other communities. Today the situation has improved dramatically. Still it is incumbent on some interested seekers to support these activities, which is essentially the main purpose of this trust. Curiously, even up to this day, only Sri Ramanasramam has a Veda Pathasala in Tiruvannamalai ,though Athiti Ashram nearby has recently started a small Pathasala for the study of Sama Veda and one of our trustees will soon start a small school with two students who are training for the advanced level of ghanam. In other main temple towns there are sometimes schools with hundreds of students, such as Kancheepuram, Tirupati, etc. and there are a significant number of small schools even in minor villages throughout Tamil Nadu.
In terms of jnana marga,which is Sri Ramana's particular path, there are very few external requirements for sadhana. Most practices are internal in nature and one of the main requisites is the need for mental silence. By merely intently listening to the holy sounds of the Vedas, the mind is purified and can reach a much more profound level of consciousness. Some of the sadhaks listening to the chanting report entering into a different higher state and both peace and bliss can be experienced.
We would suggest to interested spiritual aspirants to participate in a session of Veda Parayanam, especially in the most complex forms, so that some of the benefits can be directly experienced. In fact all sadhanas are leading the seeker to realize within himself the ultimate truth (sat) through experiential knowledge and not merely a superficial taste and experience.