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Tiruvannamalai is a small town situated in the state of Tamil Nadu,India.Here exists the worlds’s greatest spiritual treasure and the answer to the question of who am I ? YES ! It is the holy Arunachala Mountain (Arunachala Hill) – The Mountain of knowledge and fire / light.
Throughout the ages,many saints and Jnani’s visited Arunachala and have written about the power of Arunachala to destroy the ego and to realize the true nature of the self, thus liberating us from maya ( illusions) of the world. Arunachala can be known to everyone who gives up the attachment and senses of the body.
Many saints and Jnani’s acknowledge Arunachala as the supreme jnana-Guru who can bless you to merge your mind (thoughts) into your hrudayam (heart) But this fact has received its most striking confirmation from Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi.
Arunachala is one of the five naturally occurring elements or manifestation of the five prime elements of nature.The five elements of nature are –
Arunachala represents fire. Arunachala Shiva is pure consciousness and represented by the element of fire.To signify the fire element,a huge fire ( also known as Deepam ) is lit annually on top of Arunachala mountain on the Tamil month of Karthigai which usually falls in November or December. On this occasion a beacon light of clarified butter (ghee) is lighted at 6.00 pm (18.00 pm) and it burns till the ghee is over and it burns even through out the night.Every year the Deepam event is attended by over 1 million pilgrims and devotees from all over the world on a single day.
In the song Aksharamanamalai written by Ramana ,the Bhagavan clearly says that Arunachala shines as the form of the Guru to enlighten us and in the same verse the Bhagavan also states that the duty of the real Guru is to destroy all our defects – mainly the ego and grant all good qualities to us and to rule over the “self”.
Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi explained many Hindu scriptures on the power and truth of Arunachala. In one of the verses Lord Shiva says:
My appearance here as a hill is an act of grace for the maintenance of the world. I also abide here as the Siddha. Within me there are many glorious caves filled with all kinds of enjoyments. Know this. Action naturally binds the entire world. One’s escape from attachments to the world and its maya can be achieved by surrendering to Arunachala.
What cannot be acquired with great pains can be attained by anyone who looks at this hill from where it is visible or even mentally thinks of it from far.” I, the Lord, ordain that those who reside within a radius of three yojanas ( 24 miles ) of Arunachala shall attain union with the Supreme which removes bondage even in the absence of any initiation”
Dr T. N. Krishnaswamy a devotee of Ramana Maharishi states that Bhagavan once said him that the whole hill is sacred. It is Shiva himself. Just as we identify ourselves with a body, so Shiva has chosen to identify himself with his hill. Arunachala is pure wisdom (jnana) in the form of a hill. It is out of compassion to those who seek him that he has chosen to reveal himself in the form of a hill visible to the human eye. The seeker will obtain guidance and solace by staying near this hill and meditating upon him.
The history and origin of Mount Arunachala demonstrates the immense power of Arunachala and how the blessings of Arunachala can end our pain and sorrows in human life which is covered in ego and maya (illusion)
By vanquishing the ego of Brahma and Vishnu, Shiva proved the true knowledge that Arunachala Shiva is the limitless and infinite god that exists in every living soul. Arunachala is the creator and destroyer of everything in this world.
Ramana Maharshi also reveals that Arunachala instructs in silence (verse 36) and it teaches the path of self-enquiry (verse 44); and he shows us the way of praying to Arunachala to bestow jnana (verse 40) to reveal Self as the reality (verse 43) and to make us give up the attachment to the body (verse 75).
When Goddess Parvati prayed to Lord Shiva to attain a state where she could do no wrong, Shiva directed her to Arunachala, where Goddess Parvati merged with Arunachala and for Goddess Parvati, Arunachala was the place where she lost her individuality and become one with Arunachala Shiva. So Lord Shiva is the supreme Guru to Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu in the form of Arunachala.Arunachala is non dualistic – Shiva and Shakti is one and united in Arunachala.
Lord Shiva in Skanda Maha Purana Says –
“I truly abide here on earth in the form of the named Aruncahala for bestowing the attainment of liberation.”
Arunachala draws millions of people who are earnest seekers of spiritual knowledge because the fire manifestation is a symbolic knowledge that dispels the darkness of ignorance and arrogance caused by the human’s ego.There is a spiritual energy and vibration in Arunachala and it is considered as the only place to learn and follow the path of Advaita ( non duality ) for those wishing to see the almighty in the self and escape the web of bondages and attachments to the world caused by Maya ( Illusion of the mind )
Arunachala is no ordinary hill. It is spirituality by itself. It has a powerful, magnetic pull to the Self. Seekers who come to Arunachala with the intention of realizing the Self will definitely be liberated.
In this legend, Vishnu represents the intellect and Brahma the ego, while Siva is Atma, the spirit. Ego and intellect realize the futility of knowing Atman because the latter is beyond the senses and transcends both ego and intellect. The ego and intellect, therefore, surrender themselves completely to the Atman and obtain illumination (Self-knowledge).
This refers not only to the sanctity of Arunachala itself but also to the pre-eminence of the doctrine of Advaita and the path of Self-enquiry of which Arunachala is the center. One can understand this meaning in Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi saying, “In the end everyone must come to Arunachala.”
There is water everywhere under the ground, but there are some places where it is easier to get the water. In the same way, the Self is everywhere and there is no place that is without it. However it is also true that there are certain places like Arunachala, where the presence of the Self can be felt more easily.
Being near the holy hill of Arunachala,the Self within us is more powerful and more self-evident than anywhere else.
Arunachala is more a spiritual place rather than a religious place. There is a huge amount of spiritual energy at Arunachala and we can take as much wisdom and energy as we want, but no matter how much we take, the original amount is never diminished. Even before Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi came here, there were innumerable sages who discovered the power of Arunachala in liberating themselves. Many saints came to Arunachala, realized the Self and attributed their realization to the power and grace of the mountain.
Ramana Maharshi always said that the power of Arunachala was not just a matter of belief.It is a fact and truth. He said that if you sit in the shade of a tree, whether or not you believe in the shade, it is a physical fact. He said, “If you walk around this hill enough times, it will give you grace, even if you do not want it.”
Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi was certain that Arunachala was the spiritual axis of the Earth.