21 March 2007

Arunachala Unity

[Extract from Eight Stanzas on Sri Arunachala by Sri Ramana Maharshi and believed to be composed around 1914-15].

"Thou dwellest in different religions under different names and forms. If they do not come to know Thee, they are indeed the blind who do not know the sun. O Arunachala the great! Thou peerless Gem, abide and shine Thou as my Self, One without a second

As the string in a necklet of gems, it is Thou in Thy Unity who penetratest all the diversity of beings and religions. If, like a gem when it is cut and polished, the impure mind is worked against the wheel of the pure mind to free it of its flaws, it will take on the light of Thy Grace and shine like a ruby, whose fire is unaffected by any outward object. When a sensitive plate has been exposed to the sun, can it receive impressions afterwards? O benign and dazzling Aruna Hill! Is there anything apart from thee?"

Describing how he composed this poem, Ramana Maharshi said:

"The only poems that came to me spontaneously and compelled me, as it were, to write them without any one urging me are the 'Eleven Stanzas to Sri Arunachala' and the 'Eight Stanzas to Sri Arunachala'. In respect of the 'Eight Stanzas' . . . I started to go round the Hill and that day, before I got back to Virupaksha (cave), I wrote six of the eight stanzas."

In this poem Ramana stresses the inclusive comprehensive nature of Arunachala: "Thou in Thy Unity who penetratest all the diversity of beings and religions". Perhaps this is one of the reasons that Tiruvannamalai has little experience of communal or religious unrest and also why its population is currently 30% non-Hindu (i.e. Christian and Muslim)?

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