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The Glory of Arunachala

Sri Arunachala Mahatmya

Nandi said:

1. “Arunachala is the place (that which deserves to be called the holy place)! Of all places it is the greatest! Know that it is the heart (centre) of the earth. It is Shiva Himself. It is a secret place representing the Heart. Lord Shiva always abides there as a glorious hill called Arunachala!”

2. “Know that the day on which (Shiva); assumed for the first time the form of a great and wonderful linga under the name of Arunachala is athirai in the (Tamil month of) margazhi. And the day on which the Devas (celestial beings) led by Vishnu praised and worshipped Shiva, who appeared in the midst of that splendour (or appeared as that splendour) is Shivaratri (the night dedicated to Shiva) in the month of masi.”

Shiva said:

3. “Though in fact fiery, my lack-lustre appearance as a hill on this spot 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.

4. “Action naturally binds the entire world. One’s refuge (from such bondage) is this glorious Arunachala by seeing which one becomes itself.”

5. “What cannot be acquired without great pains - the true import of Vedanta (viz. Self-realization) - can be attained by anyone who looks at (this hill) from where it is visible or even mentally thinks of it from afar.”

6. “I, the Lord, ordain that those who reside within a radius of three yojanas*  of this place (Arunachala) shall attain union (with the Supreme) which removes bondage even in the absence of initiation, etc.”

Devi said:

7. “This is always the abode of pious devotees. Those who do evil to others here will, after suffering ills, be destroyed. Wicked persons will be completely bereft of their powers to do evil here in the twinkling of an eye. Do not fall into the burning fire of the anger of Lord Arunachala who has assumed the form of a hill of fire.”


It is said that 'Only those whom Siva calls can come here'.

The greatness of Arunachala cannot be exaggerated. As soon as you approach, Its presence can be felt; outside worldly interest becomes dimmed and those things that were worrying you before seem to lose their power to concern you.

As you leave there is a distinct change of thought process in the opposite direction, but somehow the power of the world to overwhelm is reduced.

This is the magic of Arunachala, it captures those who are called and never leaves them.

To walk slowly around the mountain with mind fixed on it in an attitude of surrender, is said to be the most beneficial of all things to do. Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi confirmed that!


* Yojana - according to tradition, this measurement of distance is somewhere between 4.5 - 9 miles. Most people today calculate it at eight miles, but others also say ten miles. the standard adopted by the British in India is five miles.

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