8 December 2006

Virupaksha Cave

Of all the caves on Arunachala undoubtedly Virupaksha Cave and Skandashram Cave are the most famous. Of the spacious Virupaksha cave it is of extraordinary importance in the history of Arunachala. From time immemorial this cave has been occupied by Saints and Siddhas but the actual name of the cave comes from Sri Virupaksha who hailed from Mallikarjuna, in the neighbouring State of Andhra Pradesh.

It is believed Sri Virupaksha occupied the cave during the same time period in the 6th or 7th Century that the great Namasivaya and Guru Namasivaya lived in adjacent caves lower down the Hill.

Virupaksha performed great penance in his cave and when he attained liberation he left his body reduced to a heap of aches on the cave floor (the ashes are reportedly now placed under a brick dome on top of a rectangular pedestal facing the entrance).

There is a space with a bench-bed (built by Sri Ramana himself) in the front of the cave. Ramana Maharshi lived I this cave from 1899 to 1916 during hot summers he would move to the cooler Mango Tree Cave and in 1916 Bhagavan and his devotees moved up to the larger Skandashram.

Nowadays the Virupaksha Cave is managed by Ramanashram and thus kept in good order. It is open throughout day hours and many pilgrims take the opportunity to meditate inside the cave. It is reported by many that the energy and power in Virupaksha Cave is so intense that it is difficult to meditate there for long periods of time.

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