Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, Southern India
5 - 14 January 2019
Following two successful courses in 2016 and 2017, a third 9 day Power of Awareness meditation course is being organized in Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, in southern India in January 2019
It's the ideal place for meditation
Tiruvannamalai is in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu roughly midway between Chennai and Bengaluru (Bangalore). It is home to three well-known powerful spiritual institutions:
Arunachala, the Holy Hill of southern India. It is impossible to put into words the power that some places have, or why that should be. It is better to let the mind be still and simply let experience demonstrate.
Arunachala was the presence and power that gave rise to the Annamalaiyar Temple. At the foot of the mountain, it is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the largest temples of its kind in India.
The temple was also the first stopping place after arriving in Tiruvannamalai for Sri Ramana Maharshi, then a 16 year old boy who had come to a state of total realisation, enlightenment, through the experience of a short but very intense and final self inquiry.
The state he arrived at was complete and never altered for the rest of his life. He was, and remains, revered throughout his life for his spiritual perfection. He lived on or at the foot of the Hill and never left, giving spiritual guidance, often in silence, to the thousands who came to see him. It is that silence which is the palpable inspiration and uplift to everyone who visits here today.
Spiritual seekers from all over the world find their way to Tiruvannamalai, sometimes by mysterious means. It is best summed up in this quote lifted from Wikipedia:
Arunachala is a secret place, kshetra. It is this place that bestows self-knowledge, jnana. And because most people have so many other desires and do not truly want that knowledge, Arunachala has always remained comparatively little known. But to those few who seek jnana, Arunachala always makes itself known through some means or other.
Dedicated practitioners of meditation that stay for some time come to realise the secret of the place, that there is an invisible force quietly guiding the sincere seeker back to their true home. In this way it is the ideal place for meditation.
The constant in all meditation practice
The course itself is based on the principle central to meditation practice: the discovery and expansion of Awareness - it’s the constant in all meditation practice - to realise the power invested in awareness, as a medium to discover and know yourself more fully, more deeply, more directly and more accurately.
Previous meditation experience helps but it is not essential. If the inner desire and inspiration are there for real self knowledge beyond appearances, to face up to one’s limitations to get to the truth, that is all you really need. You can read more in the blog about this to see where it’s coming from.
With some guidance and the silent support of the environment this can lead to an enriching, enlightening, even life-changing experience.
Practical details - how it works:
What follows here covers general information. More detailed information and advice will be sent out to anyone who writes in expressing their interest in the course
Dates and Times
The dates of the 9 day course are 5 - 14 January 2019, followed by the celebration of Pongal on 15 January
The hours of the course will be from 9 am - 3 pm daily. This time each day will include three meditation sessions, a short chanting session of simple mantras, a deep relaxation session (yoga nidra), and of course lunch and tea. The schedule is set like this to allow for attendance at the Ramana Ashram morning and evening chanting and puja programs. In this way there is opportunity for a full day of sadhana from early morning until night-time if you so wish.
Fee - to include cost of venue hire, lunch and tea for the full 9 days - will need to be paid to Linda Fancy, the manager of the venue and course coordinator, as follows:
A non-refundable deposit will be required to be paid in Hong Kong dollars, HK$300 (about US$38) by 23 November to confirm commitment and guarantee a place on the course. Contact email@example.com
for further details including all you need to know to make the payment by direct transfer.
The balance of 6,000 rupees (about US$90) to be paid at the start of the course in rupees cash.
There is no fee for the tuition of the course itself. In keeping with the principle of dakshina - an exchange of material support for spiritual values - what you consider an appropriate donation can be made at the end of the course.
About travel and accomodation
Those wishing to attend will need to arrange their own travel arrangements, and choice and booking of residence. This may sound daunting at first but with some guidelines, which will be sent out in due course, it’s something you quickly get used to. It’s really part of the 'travel experience' and integrates well into the rhythm of the life and the course itself.
Some general travel guidelines to Tiruvannamalai from Chennai, and some information on some choices of residence will be sent out to anyone interested at a later date.
Rickshaw travel to and from the course venue each day will be set up for the first day. During previous courses everyone quickly found their own preference, like continuing with the rickshaw or hiring a bicycle or moped for the 7 k ride.
Conditions for a successful course
Continuity is an essential part of the nine day experience. So there should be an understanding that it is essential to start the course from the beginning - please note that late arrivals will unfortunately not be able to join. And attendance needs to be continuous for the duration of the course. So, with allowances for sickness, non-attendance during the course will forfeit further attendance thereafter.
I would highly recommend getting to Tiruvannamalai itself some time before the course is scheduled to begin, to acclimatise and tune in; the more time the better.
Thoughts on the climate
The climate is very agreeable, generally warm, sometimes a bit hot, but have something warm for cooler moments at night. Through the same January season, I have been there many times with two lower covers, two upper covers, a warm top, and a cover on top at night, and that’s about all. But you know, climate change…
So, if you are inspired and interested, please write to this email address firstname.lastname@example.org when you realise you are a little beyond just interest and are ready to make the commitment.
Please note that the course is provisional until the response to it has been assessed. So not to make travel arrangements final until you receive a reply.
Once finalised, as mentioned already, more information - like how to pay the deposit, accomodation suggestions, travel directions, etc - will be sent out at a later date to anyone who writes in.
Numbers will have to be limited and where I have mentioned the Tiruvannamalai course so far there has been a definite show of interest, with some seeming ready to commit straightaway, so let us know if you’re into it. And if you need more info, that email address again: