This Addendum was submitted with an appeal by Sri
Ramanasramam relating to a (now resolved) concern regarding the
possibility of the construction of a State Government Complex on the
foot hills of Arunachala close to their Ashram. The Addendum sets out
the principles underlying this sthalam, in order to persuade the
relevant authorities to change their minds about the location of the
proposed Government Complex.
"The reason for this addendum is to set out in significant, but rather
terse form, some of the fundamental metaphysical and cosmological
principles upon which this Puratana Sthalam has been established.
Our strict intention is not to present any individual opinion, but to
express some of the principles of the Hindu Sanatana Dharma as stated in various sacred textual sources and particularly related to the Saiva Sampradaya.
As the country of Israel is the Holy Land of the Jews likewise Bharata Desam is the Holy Land (Punita Bhumi) of the Hindus. The extent of this Holy Land is tersely described in several texts:-
"The land to the north of the oceans and south of the Himalayas is called Bharatavarsha – and Bharatis are her progeny."
"Commencing from the Himalayas and ending with the India
sarovar (Indian ocean) this country established by the Devas is referred
to as Hindusthana."
This Holy land is situated between two Poles both of them outside
Bharata Desam proper and both situated in Buddhist countries. The
Northern Pole is Kailasa Giri situated in Tibet and the Southern Pole,
is Kadira Malai at Kadirkaman in Sri Lanka. These two sthalams are of
timeless antiquity and sanctity and held in the greatest reverence by
Hindus and Buddhists alike.
The whole of the Punita Bhumi of the Hindus is thus situated between the
Poles to the North, the Father Siva Prabhu, and to the South, the Son
Skanda the Tamil Devata, familiarly and lovingly known as Murukan. Who
is Skanda? Skanda is but an amsa (portion) of Siva born directly from
Siva's Jnana chakshus and thus is Siva himself immanent and functioning
within the Prapancha.
As an extraordinary example of sacred geography clearly exhibiting the
knowledge of our ancient Rishis it should be noted that both these
Sthalams are located on the same degree of Longitude, same minute, and
with a mere few seconds difference Longitude: 81 degrees.
The Hindu Santana Dharma, comprises various Sampradayas which Adi
Sankara simplified and codified into Shanmatam. Of these six sampradayas
established for persons of differing temperaments (gunam or svabhavam),
the major two are the Saiva and Vaishnava Sampradayas. The South of
India is predominantly Saiva.
We are herein concerned with the Saiva Sampradaya and with the
pre-eminent Saiva Kshetra known as Arunachalam or Tiruvannamalai. There
are also various other names designating this sthala. Interestingly, the
Vaishnavas call the Arunachala Hill as Sudarsana giri and the Saktas
regard the Hill as a form of the Sri Chakra.
Principle of general importance: In the whole of Bharata Desam wherever
one may go and whichever Siva sthalam one may visit the Mula Vigraha in
the garbha grha is the Siva-lingam. There are twelve Jyoti-linga
sthalams, where the Lingam is svayambhu. (Besides these, there are also
other svayambhu lingams).
The origin of the Lingam as the Supreme Symbol of Siva: In Tamil, the
Siva-lingam is described as aru-uruvam i.e. situated between and
participating in the formless and form. (The analogous symbol in the
Vaishnava tradition is the Saligramam).
The Primordial or Adi Lingam: Pauranika Basis: The word 'lingam' means
'sign' or 'symbol'. Several Puranas describe the Lingotbhava of Siva.
The Pauranika Katha in terse form is as follows: Brahma and Vishnu were
engaged in a very heated argument as to which of the two was the
greater. Suddenly before them appeared a fiery column of light
(agni-jyoti-lingam) of which they could perceive neither the beginning
nor the end. A contest was set up between the two, that the one who
first determined either the beginning or the end of this jyoti-stanu
would be the greater. Vishnu mounted his boar (varaha) and penetrated
through all the nether worlds; while Brahma mounted his swan (hamsa) and
flew through the upper worlds.
Failing to find the bottom, and totally exhausted Vishnu returned to
Bhuloka. Brahma also failed to find the end but resorted to a dishonest
ruse when he found a Ketaki flower in space and requested it to act as
witness to the fact that he had reached the upper limit. He also
returned to Bhuloka and was proudly speaking of his 'achievement' when
suddenly Lord Siva himself appeared in the middle of the Jyoti-lingam
and declared unequivocally that He was the greatest. Brahma was
castigated by Siva for lying. Thus Brahma is not worshipped in any
temple (except in Pushkar, just a few miles from Ajmer, in Rajasthan).
Where did this Lingotbhava of Siva take place?: All Saiva Puranas agree
that the place is Arunachalam (Arunagiri, Sonachala, and significantly
in Tamil as Tiruvannamalai. 'Anna' meaning unapproachable because of the
Lingam's fiery nature.
In the South of India, commencing from Sri Kalahasti, there are five
Siva sthalams dedicated to the five elements the Panchamahabhuta
sthalams. Of these, Arunachalam is the Tejo-lingam or Agni-lingam.
The great significance or Tattvam of the Arunachala Kshetra: This
Kshetra is unique because it is actually the Arunachala Maha Mandalam.
This Mandalam is a circle with the Arunagiri as its centre. The radius
of this circular Mandalam is said to be three yojanas. A yojana is an
ancient measure of distance and is estimated to be between 7 and 10
miles. The Giriparadakshina-vidhi is 8 miles which approximately equals
Linga Tattvam: What is herein stated is but a hint to the profound significance of this symbol of Siva. It is not an exegesis.
The Siva-lingam is essentially a vertical axis originally (and
externally) of light and as the Maharshi Ramana points out this light is
formless and transcends the concepts of light and darkness. It is
Siva-jnana devoid of avidya. It is beginningless anadi and endless
ananta therefore infinite.
In Western esoterism, the primordial axis is referred to as the Axis
Mundi. However the Siva-lingam is not only the vertical axis,
macrocosmically passing through the centre of every loka, or degree of
existence, and microcosmically through the centre of every being; but
this lingam centrally intersects a horizontal plane called the Yoni.
Polar symbolism is also axial, as well as the symbolism of the Tree. It
is under this very vertical axis the Asvattha Vriksha that the Sakyamuni
sat and realised Samyak Sambodhi and thus became known as Gautama
Arunachalam of Tiruvannamalai as the Primordial Svayambhu Lingam: Of
all svayambhu lingams the Arunagiri is the first, or adi-lingam. All
other Siva-sthalams derive their greatness and power from Arunagiri.
Every other Siva-sthalam represents an amsa of Siva.
The Aruna-giri is a natural hill (Kailasa-giri is the same). Other
svayambhu lingams, as for instance, in the 12 Jyoti-lingam sthalams are
natural uncut stones. Lingams in other Siva temples are cut and
constructed according to Agama and Silpa Sastra. It is this fact of
being a natural hill which makes the Arunachala sthalam pre-eminent
amongst all Saiva sthalams.
A comparison of two great Siva Sthalams: Kasi (Varanasi) is not only a
very ancient Siva Kshetra, but also one of the most ancient cities of
India. It was a city before the time of the Buddha. Kasi has been, and
even is today, the most sacred of all cities of the Hindus. Hindus of
all Sampradayas and from all parts of India flock continuously to Kasi,
regarded by all as the most sacred city in India. Innumerable numbers go
to perform various kriyas, particularly sraddha rituals. Many also go
and reside there, with the idea of dying there and thus obtaining
moksha. People from all parts of India reside there. Indians of the four
Southern States reside mainly around Hanuman Ghat.
From time immemorial Kasi is known as a city of learning particularly in
Sanskrta Bhasha, Vedas, and all other Sastras. On the other hand, the
Arunachala Kshetra is not anywhere nearly as well known as Kasi.
Tiruvannamalai is renowned in Dakshina Bharat for its Karthigai Dipam
festival culminating in the lighting of the Deepam on top of the Hill on
Krittika Nakshatram in the sauramana masam of Karttika.
The profound difference in the importance of Kailasam and Arunachalam is
that Kailasam is the Residence of Siva (the Kailasagiri being the
Bhuloka reflection of the Kailasa-loka, analogous to the Vaikunta-loka
of Vishnu). But the Aruna-giri is Siva Himself. The Hill represents
Siva's sthula-sarira; the hidden ati-sukshma sarira is Sadasiva
(Sadakhya tattva); the invisible column of light as vertical axis,
passing through the centre of the Hill is Aruna, of which word, Sri
Ramana gives one meaning as Sacchidananda therefore Siva himself; and
the achala (unmoving) tattvam represents Para-Siva.
So here, in Arunachala we have the totality from the Supreme
unmanifested (avyakta) Para-Siva down to Agni as the gross element
Mahabhuta. Kasi is open to all but Arunachalaam may be truly regarded as
'marma' sthalam, for it is the most apt and congenial place for the
minuscule minority of atmika-sadhakas who follow the jnana-marga. Our
Puranas emphasis that in the Kali Yuga the only marga is bhakti marga.
The reason why so many Westerners are being drawn to this Centre is
because in Judaism and Christianity, the jnana marga is no longer
available. The jnana marga was available in the West, and in Europe up
till about the 12th century A.D., and was virtually snuffed out by the
upsurge of materialistic sciences at the period called the Renaissance.
Whatever guru-paramparas of the jnana marga that may have existed appear
to have totally vanished. Christianity today is completely lacking a
metaphysical dimension and thus Western seekers searching for a jnana
marga must turn to Hinduism or to Mahayana Buddhism. Some also turn to
the Sufi doctrines of Islam.
Arunachalam as Adi-Svayambhu-Linga Kshetra: Significance of Arunachala, translation of a Tamil verse by Sri Ramana Maharsi:
'The sudden rise of the blazing column of Annamalai in front of Brahma
and Vishnu and their utter distress at not being able to know the same,
is symbolic of the sphurana of the Heart Centre as the real Self of the
intellect and the ego.'
Significance of the Beacon: Translation of a Tamil verse by Sri Ramana Maharsi:
'Getting rid of the "I am the body" idea and merging the mind into the
heart to realise the Self as non-dual Being and Light of all, is the
real significance of darsana of the beacon of Light of Annamalai, the
Centre of the universe.'
The Glory of Sri Arunachala: These statements are extracted from the Skanda Purana.
Nandi said: (Nandi is the foremost devotee of Siva)
"Arunachala is truly the holy place. Of all holy places it is the most
sacred. Know that it is the heart of the world. It is truly Siva
himself. It is His heart abode, a secret Kshetra. In that place the Lord
ever abides as the Hill of Light named Arunachala."
"The day on which the ancient and wonderful linga of Arunachala took
shape is the asterism of Ardra in the month of Mrigasira and the day on
which Vishnu and the other Devas worshipped the Lord in the form of
effulgence is the day of Mahasivaratri."
"Though in fact fiery, my lacklustre appearance as a hill on this spot
is an effect of grace and loving solicitude for the maintenance of the
world. Here I always abide as the great one (Siddha). Remember that in
the interior of My Heart is transcendental glory, with all the
enjoyments of the world also. This glorious Arunachala is that of which
the mere sight suffices to remove all demerits which divide up Being
into egos and finite worlds."
"What cannot be acquired without endless pains – the true import of the
Vedanta is easily attained by all who can either directly sight this
Hill or even mentally think of it from afar."
"I ordain that residence within a radius of three Yoganas of this Hill
shall be itself suffice to burn off all defects and effect union with
the Supreme (even in the absence of initiation (DIKSHA)."
"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 in the twinkling of an eye, of their powers to do evil
here. Do not fall into the burning fire of the anger of the Lord
Arunachala who has assumed the form of the hill of fire."
Here follows a well-known Sanksrta sloka:
By having darsana of Chidambaram
By being born in Kamalaya
By dying in Kasi
and in the case of Arunachala by (mere) remembrance,
(one attains) liberation.
We have shown that the punita bhumi of the Hindus lies between two poles
the Northern Pole being Siva, and the Southern Pole a projection of
Siva himself as Skanda (Murukan).
Throughout the punita bhumi there are innumerable Siva sthalams and the
very Centre of all these sthalams is the Secret and sacred heart centre
of Siva known as the Arunachala Kshetra.
Therefore the adi svayambhu lingam is the heart centre of Siva, and this Siva Kshetra is primordial and pre-eminent.