Author Topic: Ramana Maharshi Answers How The Arunachala Mountain Got The Name Annamalai  (Read 2023 times)


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Letter 145

Four or five days ago, some devotees who were going for Giripradakshina, asked me to accompany them and so I went with them after obtaining Bhagavan’s permission. By the time we reached Adi Annamalai, it began to rain and so we took shelter in a small mutt by the side of the road. I asked a sadhu who was there, “Whose is this mutt?” “It is Manivachakar’s” he said. When I enquired about the circumstances under which the mutt happened to be built, he narrated all sorts of stories. I could not understand what exactly he said; even then I listened to him patiently, without further questioning, in the hope of getting the required information from Bhagavan himself later.

Yesterday I waited for an opportunity to enquire about this but Bhagavan was busy reading the story about Sundaramurti in the Kaleswara Mahatmyam. This Kaleswara Mahatmyam is a part of Brahmavaivartha Puranam. He read out to us the portion relating to Sundaramurti going to the Kaleswara Temple but before entering it, Sundaramurti went for a bath to the Gaja Pushkarini Tank which was opposite.

When he came out of the tank after his bath, he found that the temple had vanished. So Sundaramurti sang a few songs, expressing his regret at going to the tank for a bath and not to the temple first for the Lord’s darshan. Thereafter the temple reappeared. After reading some more portions of the story Bhagavan remarked, “Everything appeared to him first as a large expanse of water and nothing else and later as Jyothi (divine light).”

A devotee enquired, “It is said that Arunachalam is also a form of Jyoti.”

“Yes. It is so. For the human eye it is only a form of earth and stone but its real form is Jyoti,” said Bhagavan.
Taking advantage of this opportunity I asked, “There is a mutt in Adi Annamalai in the name of Manikkavachakar. What could be the reason for its being named like that?” “Oh! That one. It seems he came to Tiruvannamalai also in his pilgrimage. He then stood at that particular place and addressing Arunagiri, sang the songs ‘Tiruvempavai’ and ‘Ammanai’. Hence the mutt got established there, in commemoration. You must have heard of the ‘Tiruvempavai’ songs; they are twenty in number.

Andal sang thirty songs in praise of Lord Krishna and in the same strain Muruganar also has sung songs in praise of me,” said Bhagavan.

DEVOTEE: “How did this Mountain get the name Annamalai?”

BHAGAVAN: “That which is not reachable by Brahma or Vishnu is Annamalai. That means it is the embodiment of the Jyoti which is beyond word or mind. Anna means unreachable. That is the cause of the name.”

DEVOTEE: “But the mountain has a form and a shape.”

BHAGAVAN: “When Brahma and Vishnu saw it, it appeared as a pillar of Light enveloping the whole universe.

It was only later that it appeared like a mountain. This is Ishwara’s sthula sariram (gross body). Jyothi itself is the sukshma sariram (subtle body). That which is beyond all these bodies is the Reality. Subtle means the Tejas (illumination which fills the whole universe).”

DEVOTEE: “Was it the same thing even to Sundaramurti?”

BHAGAVAN: “Yes. At first it appeared as Jalamayam (expanse of water), subsequently as Tejas (Lustre all round) and finally to the human eye it appeared as a temple.

Mahatmas always look with divine eyes. Hence everything appears to them as Pure Light or Brahman.”

NAGAMMA: “Bhagavan has, I believe, written a padyam (verse) about the birth or appearance of the Arunachala Linga, is it true?”

BHAGAVAN: “Yes. I wrote it on a Sivarathri day in the year Vikrama, when somebody asked for it. Perhaps I have written it in Telugu also.”

NAGAMMA: “Yes. It is stated in that Telugu padyam that the linga appeared in dhanurmasam on the day of the Arudra star; that Vishnu and the devas worshipped Siva who gave divine vision to them; that was in the month of Kumbha.

What is the original story? And what was the occasion for the festivities connected with the Krithika star?”

BHAGAVAN: “Oh! That! Brahma and Vishnu were quarrelling as to who was greater. In the month of Kartika, on the day of the Krithika star, a luminous pillar appeared between them. To mark that event, a festival of lights is celebrated on that day every year. You see, both Brahma and Vishnu got tired of their fruitless search for the beginning and the end of the pillar. Depressed by defeat they met at a common place and prayed to God Almighty when Lord Siva appeared before them in the pillar and graciously blessed them. At their request, He agreed to be within their reach for worship in the shape of the mountain and the Linga (in the temple). He also told them that if they worshipped Him thus, He would after a time, come out in the shape of Rudra and would help them in all possible ways. Then He disappeared. From then onwards, in the month of Dhanus, on the day of the Arudra star, Brahma and Vishnu began to worship the Linga that had manifested itself according to the promise of Ishwara. As they continued the worship from year to year in the second half of the month of Kumbha on the thirteenth/fourteenth day at midnight, Siva manifested Himself from that Linga and was then worshipped by Hari and the devas. Hence that day is called Sivarathri as stated in the Linga Puranam, and Siva Puranam. It seems it is only from then onwards the worship of the Linga commenced. It is emphatically stated in Skanda Purana that it is only in Arunachala that the first Linga manifested itself.”


1)Letters from Sri Ramanasramam by Suri Nagamma


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Anna means in Tamil 'that which cannot be comprehended or seen.'  Initially
when Siva showed Himself as a huge column of light, Brahma and Vishnu
could never see the effulgence that was so bright nor could they see Its
top and bottom.  Then in Masi Sivaratri Day, It appeared as a mountain.
Thus got the name Annamalai.  Aruna also means Sun or Effulgence in Sanskrit.

Arunachala Siva.