Locating a particular herb in the wilderness is a challenge, even to an expert. Many herbs of Siddhar practitioners grow on steep rocky hillsides in Southern India. This adds to the challenge. Siddhar Agasthiyar asserts in his works that locating herbs is an easy task. However, he recommends a state of heightened awareness for locating herbs. Further, he refers to a Rishi who lived atop a Great hill of herbs. This Rishi trained Agasthiyar on the way to locate herbs in a state of altered awareness.
Most hills which Agasthiyar mentions in his texts exists even today in Tamil Nadu, in India. Is there also a “Great hill of herbs”. Was there once a Rishi on this hill? A possibility is the Marundhu-Vaaz-Malai (மருந்துவாழ் மலை) hill. This hill overlooks the Indian ocean from the Southern tip of India. Its name means “The Hill where Herbs reside”. In addition a small cave with an altar for Agasthiyar on the way to the hilltop adds to the mystery. Reputed spiritual masters have meditated here in the recent past. They say that Agasthiyar wrote some of his texts from this cave.
Hanuman, the Gandharva Rishi?
Agasthiyar notes that the Rishi who initiated him into the art of locating herbs was a Rishi of the Gandharva order. One can notice references to Gandharvas in texts such as the Ramayana. Hanuman, is the son of Vayu in the Ramayana,. Secondly, a Gandharva women, an Apsara gave birth to him. Thirdly, a small Hanuman temple invites us atop the great hill of herbs. Finally, we remember the story of the legendary Hanuman where he brings a hill load of herbs from the Himalayas. Was Hanuman the Gandharva Rishi who taught Agasthiyar?
A Vlog on the great hill of herbs
A young trekker makes YouTube vlogs. He here link captures the beauty of the great hill of herbs. You can almost understand this enthusiastic trekker even without following his narration in Tamil.