24 August 2011

Arunachala as Lingam

“When I approach regarding Thee as having form, Thou standest as a Hill on earth. If the seeker looks for Thy form as formless, he is like one who travels the earth to see the ether. To dwell without thought upon Thy nature is to lose one’s identity like a doll of sugar when it comes in contact with the ocean and when I come to realize who I am, what else is this identity of mine but Thee, O Thou Who standest as the towering Aruna Hill?”
[By Aquarius]

At this Shiva Sthalam Arunachala; the non-anthropomorphic form Shiva Lingam is a representation of the infinite cosmic column of fire.

The Hill itself as Lingam (and Lingam in the Shiva Sannidhi, Arunachaleswarar Temple) is authenticated in various scriptures including the Skanda Mahapurana (both sections) and the Vidyeswara Samhita of the Siva Mahapurana. The mythology of the Hill, its manifestation as a Lingam and the development of Arunachaleswarar Temple and the surrounding city of Tiruvannamalai (then known as Aruna) is traced in the following passages of the Skanda Mahapurana [.iii(U)]

Sri Siva said:

Let this perpetual and immobile Fiery Form of mine, famous as Arunadri, be present here forever.

Brahma and Vishnu said:

If it has to be so, O support of the Universe, let this mountain remain as the support of this Universe. But this brilliance is unbearable.

. . .

Hence it is better, O Rudra, that its refulgence be like that of an ordinary mountain. Let it stand with indivisible greatness. Let it be the great mine of salvation.

It discloses its own inherent brilliance and refulgence for the sake of the prosperity of this Universe once every year in the month of Kartika at the close the day of the constellation Krittika.

Although, at your bidding, O Lord, the Sondadri is the bestower of happiness on men, it cannot be worshipped by any devotee on account of its huge size.

Hence, beginning from today at our request our Lord should be present in the form of a Linga on the ground over the tableland of this mountain.


Then there appeared a certain auspicious Linga there. On seeing it Mukunda and the Lotus-seated Lord (Brahma) experienced a great surprise. Bowing down repeatedly with great pleasure, they worshipped and eulogized it for a long time.

They caused a temple of the Lord of Sonagiri to be built by Visvakarma and a multitude of other craftsmen. . . . For the sake of the ablution of the Lord they caused a sacred lake to be dug there. It was fresh and full of (the water of) all the (other) Tirthas.

Nearby they built a city named Aruna for the sake of spiritual achievement.”


The Lingam identical in every way to the Hill, that was thus created by the Lord is the Lingam that is now at rest inside the Siva Sannidhi of the Arunachaleswarar Temple. Over the centuries the Temple grew around the Lingam and its enveloping Sannidhi, until the present day where there is a large 26 acre Arunachaleswarar Temple compound in which inhabits a multitude of sannidhis, shrines, gardens and tirthams.

In 1938 the authorities of Arunachaleswarar Temple filed a law suit regarding the ownership of Arunachala Hill which was being claimed by the Government as Forestry Department property. The temple authorities cited Sri Ramana Maharshi as a witness. On May 9, 1938, the Court sent a Commission to record Sri Ramana Maharshi’s deposition.

In this deposition Sri Ramana Maharshi gave his own opinion as to the nature of the Hill and its association with the Temple [which housed the Lingam]:

“There is an aitikya that this hill is linga swaroopam, that is to say, that this hill itself is Swamy. This aitikya is not to be found anywhere else. That is the cause of the glory of this place. The aitikya of this place is that this hill is Easwaraswaroopam and that the Swaroopam is full of thejas. Every year Deepothsavam is celebrated in the form of Deepam. Authority for this is found in the Vedas, the puranas and stotras of devotees. Also giripradakshina is done following this aitikya that the above said hill is Siva swaroopam. I also have faith in giripradakshina and have experience of it. THERE IS NO SASTRA TO SEPARATE THE HILL FROM THE TEMPLE.”
[Ramana Maharshi]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We always try to understand things by explaining them. Can't do that with the great Arunachala -- the mirror-acle of the Self.