1 December 2007


Sri Ramana Maharshi said in the course of a conversation that Thiru Jnanasambandar had sung in praise of Sri Arunachala. He mentioned the story thus:

“Jnanasambandar was born in an orthodox family about 1,500 years ago . . . he became one of the most famous bhaktas and was much sought after. He led a vigorous and active life; went on pilgrimage to several places in South India. He got married in his sixteenth year . . . In one of his tours he had come to Ariyanainallur or Tirukkoilur, eighteen miles from Tiruvannamalai. The place is famous for its Siva Temple.”

(It was here that Ramana Maharshi had a vision of Light on his way to Tiruvannamalai in his seventeenth year).

Sri Ramana continues with his story:

“When Jnanasambandar was staying in Ariyanainallur an old man who carried a flower-basket came to him. The young sage asked the old man who he was. The latter replied that he was a servitor of Sri Arunachala the God residing as the Hill here.

How far is it from here?
Old Man: I walk everyday from there to here collecting flowers for daily worship. So it is only near.
Sage: Then I shall go with you to that place.
Old Man: A rare pleasure, indeed, for me!

They went together, with a large crowd following the Sage. After walking some distance the Sage wanted to ask how much further the place was. But the old man had disappeared in the meantime. Soon after a gang of robbers waylaid the pilgrims who surrendered all they had with them. They plodded their way and reached their destination. The young Sage fell into contemplation. God appeared and said that the robbers were only his Followers and that his needs would be met. Accordingly, the group of pilgrims found all their wants. The Sage had sung hymns in praise of Sri Arunachala. In one of the stanzas, he says:

‘You are a dense mass of jnana, capable of removing the ‘I-am-the-body’ idea from Your devotees! Herds of gazelles, of boars and bears come down Your slopes in the night to search for food on the plains. Herds of elephants go from the plains to Your slopes where they may rest. So different herds of animals meet on Your slopes.’”

Sri Bhagavan continued: “So this Hill must have been a dense forest 1,500 years ago. It has since been denuded of the forest by the woodcutters and agriculturalists, through these centuries.”

Abridged from
‘Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi’ # 529

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