Kattu Siva Tank is perhaps the most well-known tank on Arunachala’s Inner Path. It is the only Arunachala tank that has water year round. I think it is fed by a spring. It is one of the most scenic spots on the Inner Path. Usually in the morning you will see sadhus bathing with their orange cloths spread out to dry. Those who visit Tiruvannamalai and walk on Pradakshina Road never see this tank, nor the ruins of the ashram at the tank.
To get to Kattu Siva Tank, you can walk the Inner Path, or take the dirt access road from Pradakshina Road. I usually take small foot paths through the surrounding forest. I walk these paths most mornings, since they are close to our present house.
Here is a map from Google Earth that I have annotated with the Inner and Outer Paths, and the footpaths I walk to get to and from the tank.
Here is the sign on the Outer Path that marks the start of the path that goes directly to Kattu Siva ashram. It is quite faded with age now.
Arunachala from the start of the main path to Kattu Siva.
Here is the tank from the opposite side than that seen by walkers on the Inner Path. This is from the side where Kattu Siva’s old ashram is located. The water was particularly still this morning.
Looking toward the Arunachala peak. It is hard to see it since the photo is shooting right into the sun, which was rising behind Arunachala.
Here is the arch that is the entryway to the Kattu Siva ashram buildings. The ashram has recently been painted. By whom, I have no idea. Certainly there is someone that is taking care of this old holy site.
In front of the ashram buildings there is a low doorway leading down beneath the structure.
It goes into a small cellar. This is where Kattu Siva is said to have spent most of his time, in quiet meditation. I have never been in this cellar; the doorway is too small for me to fit through. I do see others go down there, mainly Indian people. Kattu Siva is still revered by some.
Kattu Siva was a siddhi, who lived here about the same time as Ramana Maharshi lived in his ashram. “Kattu” means “jungle” in Tamil, so he is “Jungle Siva.” He did not believe in the formal marks of spirituality, would not wear the orange of a renunciate, and would not wear vibhuti and kumkum.
On the side of one of the buildings are the few remaining words of Kattu Siva. Can somebody translate this for us? There are three sayings in green paint. There are also four in red paint that are so faint now that I do not know if anyone can read them. I would sure be interested if someone were able to read it.
Here is a translation provided by a reader:
Sree Shivanandha (OM) Protect us!
2. If you want peace of mind, do service to others.
4. He who stands before God, totally devoid of the egoistic Ï” feeling in him, will have the power to conquer the whole world.
Note: The tamil used in item no.6 is of a high standard, unlike the ones in 2 & 4 which is in simple colloquial Tamil. It explains something deep in spiritual practice, in an indirect way. I am giving below a translation with the help of my wife.
6. He who has realised the “self”(divine) in him, prays to himself.
If you are able to focus 12 inches down from your nose and meditate, you will get great yogic powers, and there will be no destruction to the physical body.
Note: The distance mentioned from the nose indicates the solar plexus. Those who are able to give a better explanation please put your comments.
On the footpath to Kattu Siva tank there are a number of flowers blooming now. It has been a good summer for the rain, so the trees and plants are green and doing well. Some have flowers.
There are many bushes covered with white balls, about 1/4 inch wide. I waited for them to flower, thinking that these were just buds, but no, these are the flowers. I wonder how the bees fertilize these white globes?
This common bush blooms whenever it rains, year round. The flowers open out pink and yellow, then change to white and yellow.
This bush has red ‘fruit’ that looks almost like candy. They are about 1/2 inch long.
Here are the flowers from the same bush. Small white blooms.
Here is the fruit from another common bush. Green ‘berries’ a little less than 1/4 inch diameter that change to blue-black.
This small tree has 1/2 inch black balls for fruit. I have seen no birds or monkeys eating any of these fruits I have shown so far, so I think they probably are not edible.
These are small flowers on this common green bush. This is the most deadly of the various thorn bushes, I think, though they look innocuous. I have gotten so many scratches and thorns from this kind of bush that I think of them as ‘the enemy’ and spend quite a bit of time cutting them out from the paths on which I walk, trying to prevent future injuries from them.
A nice pink flower on this ground-hugging plant, a bit more than one inch wide.
A white flower on this ground plant, of similar size as the pinkie above.
This small tree also has translucent white globe flowers, about one inch wide.
These trees also flower after rains throughout the year. These are pretty common.
Big green fruit on this shrub, maybe 1.5 inches wide. These are pretty common.
This uncommon small tree has tiny white flowers with yellow centers.
These flowers turn brown with age.
I photograph these flowers to show some of the many things that can be seen if one looks carefully. There is much beauty around Arunachala, if one only will notice.