God is the Father of the entire existence and He showers His Grace on all without any difference or discrimination. Why then should man discriminate between humans? How can we end this discrimination to attain oneness with the Supreme? How is this achieved?
Vallal Perumaanaar states that this can be achieved. He declares that The Hall of Wisdom or the Sathya Gnana Sabhai at Vadalore will inspire those who sincerely advocate the equality of men. This inspiration, in Swami’s view, is not only a social reform but also a social atmosphere conducive to healthy spiritual progress of mankind.
Thus, in the significant year 1872, Swami built a symbolic shrine of worship called ‘Sathya Gnana Sabhai’- the Hall of Wisdom to honour and respect God who is The Vast Grace Light-Arutperunjothi.
[Swami’s vision of the Lord as Light, observed in the spot between eyebrows deepened step by step and at a certain stage, he saw his very own self (soul) as light which itself is an effulgent entity. He indicates the effulgent entity as the “Hall of Pure Wisdom”.
In due course he perceived the Effulgence Supreme ‘Arutperunjothi’ with in this Hall of Pure Wisdom. He wished sincerely that all the people in the world should get the experience of ‘Arutperunjothi’ which he got and live forever with immortality. By way of symbolizing His experience he made his disciples to build this specially designed Hall of Wisdom.]
The Sathya Gnana Sabai constructed under the guidance of our Vallal Perumaanaar has no idol as its deity, for Arut Perum Jothi Aadadavar cannot be depicted in the form of any one deity. To symbolize Perumaanaar depicted Him as Jothi ……that magnificent Effulgence!
One would note that the hall is in the shape of a lotus. The Octagonal shape of the Hall denotes that God is seen in all directions or” Yettu thikku” as known in Tamil. It also denotes that the human body is made up of eight spans , hence the phrase in Tamil, “Yen jaan udambu”. It has doors and windows to allow devotees to view the Jothi which sits magnificently on an altar. The Altar has 5 steps on all four sides. 7 colourful curtains are hanging before the Jothi. These 7 curtains represent the 7 barriers which prevent one from realizing Arut Perum Jothi Aandavaar. Unless one removes these 7 barriers , one will never be able to be one with the sheer blissful Effulgence that awaits beyond.
The 7 curtains symbolize the 7 powers ( shakthis) which obstruct Arut Perum Jothi Aandavar from us, thus making it virtually impossible for the human mind to comprehend God’s existence and nature. The shakthis or powers are the barrier which comes between self realization and the ultimate realisation of God.
“How then are these barriers removed?”, one wonders. Undying , sincere love coupled with a compassion to serve one and all sincerely and selflessly invokes the Grace of God, which alone serves as the way to unveil each of the 7 curtains. To signify this, the curtains are unveiled on the Poosam star of each month at the Sathya Gnana Sabhai in Vadalore to reveal the Jothi to ardent devotees.
Hence the construction of the Hall is an exact replica of how Perumaanaar himself experienced the Grace of God. It depicts the very essence of what Swami experienced in seeing God as Arut Perum Jothi Aandavar.
The outer wall of the building is fenced with a pair of chains which are made of iron in duplicate. A careful observation of the chains will reveal that there are 21600 links in this pair of chains. The number of links denote the number of breathes a human takes in a day – how very symbolic. It is pertinent to note that although the chains are made of iron and are exposed to all weather conditions, they remain rust free.
The significance of removing the curtains is that the people who see this should have for themselves the vision of the Supreme Grace Light in the inner apartment of their very soul. The Hall was constructed by our swami as a replica of what he experienced within.
The above symbolization can be explained in another way as below.
Generally people are living a sensuous physical life in this world. In order to transcend to the higher life of Divinity, a person must pass on the gross and subtle bodily stages and take shelter in the soul-abode or causal bodily stage. The above three stages are embodied in the symbolic Temple at vadalur. The practical experience of this Temple is realisable only at the head level.
The first stage of living gross body of eight spans is represented by the octagonal structure of the Temple surrounded by iron-chain fencing. The human body measures eight spans only and the duplicate of the chains in the outer fence contains 21,600 knots, representing the number of times he breathes per day through the holes of the nostrils in the ordinary course.
The second subtle bodily state is denoted by the inner octagonal space covered with the walls containing twenty four openings of doors and windows.This indicates the 24 tatwas.
The third stage of the causal bodily stage is with the Divine Light put upon the central altar with five steps on each of the four sides depicting the penta forces of the Almighty.
In between the second and third stage, there are seven curtains which act as a bar to perceive the inner light by ordinary man. But the appearance of curtains is only an illusion and not real. At the time of worship, one is to stand before the central spot of the main poor from where he can perceive the Divine Light in front of him and from there he can see the golden and silver apartments in either side of him. All these are to enlighten the inner Divinity to be experienced starting from the centre of the eye brows.
The Hall which was built according to Swami’s own plan was dedicated to the public on 25.1.1872 with the star poosam representing the day. All the screens were removed one by one, revealing the grand sight to the devotees. He insisted on one’s ardent desire to have this vision of light within one’s own soul through personal experience. His ulterior motive is that the outer structure is there only to enable them to get at the truth and make them to lead a Blessed life.
On poosam star day of every month the Jothi dharshan is shown between 7:30PM to 8:30PM in Sathya Gnana Sabha at Vadalore by removing six veiling screens. On poosam star day of ‘thai month’ in tamil calender (January or February approximately) a big festival is celebrated every year and Jothi dharshan is shown to the devotees for six times by removing all the seven veiling screens.
Daily pooja and aarthi time – morning 11:30AM to 12:30PM
Evening 6:30PM to 7:30PM