Spirituality has always been connected to the Arulvakku before the concept of organized religion.
BELIEFS: The message of every religion is that a human being contains the divine spark of God. Some deeply-religious individuals that harness this spark effectively are able to connect with their deity and invoke this sacred state.
The state of trance is a temporary elevated consciousness of a person that comes with a sudden energy surge that reflects in forms of the flickering flame, thrilling dance and involuntary gestures. When a trance happens for the intent of oracling, a person’s consciousness is mimicked to that of a specific deity. To put it in other words, a deity’s enlightened consciousness or energy is reflected onto that person temporarily.
Trance in its modern meaning comes from an earlier meaning of “a dazed, half-conscious or insensible condition or state of fear”, via the Old French transe “fear of evil”, from the Latin transīre “to cross”, “pass over”Wikipedia
Those who can heal and give healing without a state of trance are those who have an already established consciousness, Some of the examples of Jivan Mukta’s – an enlightened being who chooses to stay in his body – are avatars like Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Sri Ramakrishna and not forgetting the Muslim fakir Saint Hazrath Badsha Peer of Durban, South Africa.
Arulvakku or trance is one of the most ancient spiritual practices in all religions and especially in Hinduism and becomes a point of discussion during the month of Thaipoosam. There are many myths surrounding the concept of trance that has led to confusion, anger and disengagement from the ones faith.
The legends of trance are not only found in the sacred texts of Hinduism but that of all religious denominations.
Before the presence of the Ramayana, Mahabharat, the state of trance has been present through the dark ages where the tradition has been passed from Guru to Shisya (student) orally. The Indians of America relied on the word of the Shaman who invoked the Earth spirits. The Greeks had the Oracles of Delphi where they used the ancient smoke that emerged from springs and crevices of the Earth. Trance is not just a single state but also various levels of connection.
Is the state of trance at Thaipusam exactly pure?
There are some who believe that the state of trance at Thaipoosam from some devotees is not as ‘strong’ or elevated as other trances.
The vibrations of the human body are temporarily charged with pure shakti (energy) as the devotee invokes a period of abstinence from worldly attachment and executes a vegetarian diet if they are not pure vegetarians. There are two definitive types of trance Sarmy Aduthal and Arulvakku, let us unpack these two special types of trance.
Sarmy Aduthal is the definition of the state of trance where devotees enter a state where the body loses control and begins to dance. This is an elevation of the human consciousness taking one into a spiral of endorphins and immense joy. This is where the difference comes in, Sarmy Aduthal is brought out of the Heart Chakra – where love and feelings of desire are present.
Then there is the concept that some agree as the pure Arulvakku. The legend that has been spoken of is the type of Arul – where it is passed from Guru to student (shisya) – that one attains from many years of teaching, meditation and other aspects of connecting to the celestial Being that resonates with your image.
The various stages of elevation
There are various stages of the elevation to the pure Arul Vaaku where the student would not necessarily be aware but the Guru has identified the ‘gift’ of the Arul.
The student will never be told of the state but will be left to maintain constant veneration through Japa meditation using the Rudraksha. This ritual of meditation is used for a variety of reasons ranging from harnessing the mind, opening of the third eye, tuning emotions and finding the elected deity that has bestowed the gift of Arul upon one.
The third eye is where true enlightenment and the Arulvakku resides and where this state of trance gives the devotee a position to communicate directly with a deity. The achievement of this gift is once one has set aside one’s desires aside the elevation is complete.
Attempting to connect with an Arul on the day of Thaipoosam is a special and personal journey if all you wish to do is feel a connection to God. Faith and devotion to your religious denomination and deity is sufficient but those that attempt nevertheless will end up with Sarmy Aduthal – if that is what one wants – to feel their own elevated connection.
Without the guidance of a Guru the path to the Arul will be lost. A Guru Shishya relationship is needed for every path in Hinduism. There are cases where some devotees are so distraught that they have not achieved Arulvakku and this results in dispensing with their religion for that reason.
There are cases where some have been blessed with the one of the strongest connections to the Goddess Mother Kali, however that person’s path in life changed through bad judgment and consequences led to a collapse of their state of mind and impacts negatively on their life.
We welcome discussion on the topic of Arul and the various concepts. and look forward to your comments here.
Source inputs: Dr.Pillay Karuppaswamy, U.S.A