2 December 2008

Arunachala by L.Osborne

“Arunachala! Thou art the inner Self who dances in the Heart as ‘I’. Heart is Thy name, O Lord!”
(Five Stanzas to Sri Arunachala, verse 2.)

In the Puranas Arunachala is referred to as the oldest Hill on earth and is regarded as the heart of the Universe.

Scientists have also pointed out the Eastern Ghats of the Deccan plateau as the oldest land. Arunachala has many names: Arunagiri, Sonagiri, Sudarsanagiri, Annamalai, to mention but a few and is also referred to as the Tejolingam — the lingam of effulgence — which is the formless emblem of Siva.

The form of the Hill is said to resemble Sri Chakra, the emblem of the Cosmos with its substratum, and shaktas regard this Hill as Sri Chakra itself. Bhagavan took an active part in the installation of Sri Chakra in the temple dedicated to the mother.

Devotees of Siva consider this divine Hill as the form of Siva, who appeared in the midst of Brahma and Vishnu as a column of fire without beginning or end in order to dispel their ignorance. Both failed to realise his presence by their physical efforts. This signifies the inability of mind or intellect to go beyond itself. Arunachala is traditionally identified with Sudarsana (a form of the chakra or discus of Vishnu). In the form of a deity, Sudarsana appears in a fierce aspect, armed with weapons of destruction. When a seeker penetrates beyond the semblance of the terrible, while struggling to overcome what seems terrible in himself — namely, the dark downward propensities of his own psyche — grace reveals itself as love and compassion. This, according to Dr. Mees, an authority on symbolism, is the etymology of Sudarsana which aims at the destruction of these propensities, so as to reveal love and beauty.

Many saints and sages have sung and composed songs in praise of Arunachala and its import, and some have attained enlightenment here. Shankara also seems to have visited Arunachala. In one of his compositions he calls this Hill ‘Meru’ and says, like Bhagavan, that Siddha Purushas are found here.

Saint Namasivaya lived in one of the caves, which is still called by his name. His disciple has written the well-known Annamalai Venba, a hymn in praise of Arunachala. Another well-known Saiva saint, Virupaksha, also lived in a cave higher up on the slope. It is said to be in the shape of OM — and some devotees have heard there, the sound of OM in silent meditation. The saint’s tomb is also there and this cave bears his name. Bhagavan spent seventeen years in it and later moved up to Skandashram where a trickle of water changed overnight to a perennial stream whose water, like that of the Ganges, does not deteriorate with time. Arunagirinatha, another notable saint, is also celebrated for his songs of praise after he received illumination through the grace of Muruga in the Arunachala temple. When mention was made one day of the tank adjoining the Ashram being called Agastya Thirtam, the Maharshi was asked if that sage ever visited the Hill. Bhagavan remarked “Yes, of course, everyone must come here eventually”, meaning that everyone must eventually return to the source — Arunachala.

Sages have said that one can attain salvation by being born in Tiruvarur, by dying in Benares, by worshipping in Chidambaram and by merely thinking of Arunachala. “So worship Arunachala of shining golden lustre for mere remembrance of Him ensures deliverance,” Bhagavan also affirms.

[By Lucia Osborne]

1 comment:

Psychic said...

Wonderful story to add up to my bookmarks. Thanks for sharing this one.