Goddess Apeethakuchambal merges with the Lord Arunachala!

    Om SathGuru Sri Seshadri Swamigal Thiruvadikkae

Goddess Apeethakuchambal merges with the Lord Arunachala!

On the day of Krithika, in the month of Karthika (Nov-Dec), in the evening Gowri meditated upon the form of Shiva:

“Lord of Devas! If I am fit enough to see YOUR true form, pray, kindly reveal Thy form.”

At once the effulgence of Shiva in the form of the Arunachala Hill filled the entire world with its brilliance.

And there arose in the from the Column of Effulgence a tawny complexioned and blue-throated Shiva who said:

“Parvathi! I am pleased with YOUR penance and devotion. The sin (if at all it can be termed so), which YOU incurred by closing My Eyes and plunging the Universe in darkness, has now been expiated by having darshan of Arunachala. Uma! For YOUR youthfulness YOU shall be known as Apithakuchamba. O Devi! Come to ME and merge in ME on completion of YOUR circumambulation of Arunachala. “

The Goddess then circumambulated the Hill (Giri-Pradakshina) as advised. Like a bride circumambulating the sacred fire at the time of her marriage, the daughter of the mountain (Himawan) circumambulated Arunachala in the company of Saraswathi, Lakshmi, Indrani, Arundhathi and the wives of sages. SHE prayed for UNION with SHIVA.

The Supreme Lord was there upon pleased to appear before HER. SHE prostrated before HIM and with folded hands prayed, “We two should never be separated. THOU must always abide here and others who adore THEE may have THY Darshan at all times.”

The Lord of Arunagiri acceded to HER prayer for the welfare of the world. He also gave Her ONE-HALF of HIS body(Ardhanaareeswara).

Lord Arunachala instructs Parvathi Devi!

    Om SathGuru Sri Seshadri Swamigal Thiruvadikkae

Lord Arunachala instructs Parvathi Devi!

A sweet voice was then heard coming from the sky.

IT said:

Gowri! YOU need not go anywhere else to expiate YOUR sin. Split open a rock with YOUR sword. All the nine Tirthas will appear in that cleft. Bathe in them uttering the sin – destroying mantra (Agamarshana Mantra) in the month of Asvija (Oct-Nov) in the asterism of Jyeshta.”

(This spot, is now, the khadga Tirtham, at the Durgai Amman Temple, Thiruvannamalai. Avathar Sri Seshadri Swamigal used to play with snakes in the middle of the night.)

YOU must bathe in this Holy Water and at the end of the month, install on the bank of that Holy Tirtha, the Linga in YOUR hand consecrating it for the welfare of the world. I shall then reveal to YOU MY OWN EFFULGENT FORM. YOU must do this solely for the welfare of the world.”

Goddess Gowri thereupon proceeded to do what the Maharshi and the voice from the sky had asked HER to do. At the end of a month, the Goddess celebrated a festival. On the evening when the Star of Kritika was in conjunction with the moon in the month of Karthika (Nov-Dec), SHE propitiated the Lord of Arunadri with all the prescribed offerings and offerings of water (arghya).

Gowri seeks the advice of Sage Gautama

    Om SathGuru Sri Seshadri Swamigal Thiruvadikkae

Gowri repents Her act!

Parvathi went to the Maharshi Gautama and said:

“This devotee of Shiva was killed by ME. I am therefore overcome by sorrow. O! Sage! You do know Dharma! I wanted to protect the Devas. While fulfilling my promise, although for the protection of the Devas, I have committed an act of Adharma. This Linga which was around his neck clings to MY hand. How shall I expiate the sin of killing a devotee of Shiva?”

Gautama who was well versed in the Dharma of Shiva replied:

“Gowri! Do not fear that You erred by having killed a devotee of Shiva. Mahisha could not be conquered by the Devas not because he had the good fortune to possess the Linga, but because he had to be killed only by you, the beloved of Shiva.

It is said that a Linga worn without proper initiation, will bring ruin upon the wearer. He swerved away from the virtuous path by his evil counsels. In any case, the sight of this Noble Hill, is a sure means to expiate all sins.”

The Beginnings of the Shrine of Arunachaleshwara

Om SathGuru Sri Seshadri Swamigal Thiruvadikkae

The Beginnings of the Shrine of Arunachaleshwara

Gautama again begged Shiva thus: How can name and form be attributed to THEE who can’t be described even by the Agama? Where is the Temple for THEE? Or how is one to be built? In what manner ART THOU to be worshipped? How is one to make people believe that ever so many celestial beings (Devas) always abide in Thy presence? THOU must kindly explain all this to me.

When I prayed thus, Lord ordered Vishwakarma as follows:

“You must create a Divine and Noble town named Arunachala. You must also build in it a Divine Temple adorned with jewels. Lord Shiva said: Gautama! You must worship Arunachala Hill, which appears as a lustrous and immeasurable Linga on earth, for the welfare of the entire world. Let MY power (Shakthi) which is inseparable from ME and sustains the glory of this temple be installed on MY northern side and worshipped as Apithakuchambal (Unnamulai Amman). Since Bala Ganapathi is the bestower of all prosperity, let HIM be well adorned and worshipped in front of ME.

Nataraja who is fond of dancing, Amriteswara and Parashakthi should also be worshipped. Let the Goddess, who allays suffering and obstacles, be installed on the southern side, and Skanda who carries the weapon known as Sakthi, on the north east. I should be worshipped in the innermost shrine (Moolusthana), Dakshinamurthi in the south. Maha Vishnu in the form of Agni in the west, Brahma in the east, and in a separate shrine. On the northern side, Goddess Unnamulai Amman (Apeethakuchambal) should be well adorned, accompanied by all Devas and surrounded by the Dikpalakas.The Kings should protect this place without violating MY commands.”

How Lord Arunachala is to be worshipped….

    Om SathGuru Sri Seshadri Swamigal Thiruvadikkae

    How Lord Arunachala is to be worshipped….

Gautama said: I worshipped the Lingas installed by sages and bathed in all Tirthas. Finally I had darshan of Arunagiri, the Linga in the form of the famous Hill Arunachala. I prayed: Lord Arunachala the Supreme Self! By merely looking at Thee one obtains the merit that accrues by following all the dharma. One need not practice austerities thereafter. Even Devas wish to dwell in this abode of Thine. This is the only place in the world where one can see a Linga in the form of a Hill. This form constitutes three kinds of powers (Sakthi).

Sonachala (Shiva) said:

Make it clear to all that Arunachala (Annamalai) in this physical form, composed of earth, is truly Shiva. I shall describe to you the Lingas on the earth, which are in the subtle form. You may worship ME in accordance with the Agamas and with the power of your austerities.”

Saying this, Sambhu revealed HIMSELF to me as Shiva. On seeing this Linga adorned with all kinds of ornaments, I felt that the goal of my life has been attained.

Lord Shiva said:

I listen to the prayers of devotees at that spot and grant the boons desired by them. I pardon all the faults of those who adore ME. Gautama! You must examine the Agamas and prescribe the methods of worshipping ME. Let special poojas be conducted on full-moon days. Let thousands of Chathrams (Choultry) supply free food on that day. Let everyone make gifts according to his ability.”

The different Tirthas in Arunachala

Om SathGuru Sri Seshadri Swamigal Thiruvadikkae

The different Tirthas in Arunachala

Gowri enquired about the true origin of the Tirthas.

She asked: “Which of the Tirthas here are invisible and which are visible?”

Gautama continued: The Indra Tirtha is situated in the east. Indra got rid of the sin of killing a Brahmin by bathing in it. The Brahma Tirtha is situated in the quarter of Agni (South east). Agni’s sin of seducing the wives of others was removed by bathing in it. On the south is the Yama Tirtha; Yama was saved from the fear of Brahmastra by bathing in it. On the southwest is the Nairta (Niruthi) Tirtha; the rishis conquered the bhutas and vetals by bathing in it. On the west is Varuna Tirtha; Varuna obtained an ever full quiver by bathing in it. On the Northwest is the Vayu Tirtha; Vayu attained the power of becoming the life-breathe of the world by bathing in it. On the North is the Sona Tirtha; Chandra was cured of consumption by bathing in it. On the Northeast is the Isanya Tirtha; Vishnu attained Goddess Mahalakshmi for wife by bathing in it.

In the days of yore, Markandeya bowed down to Isvara and prayed: O Sambho! Mahadeva! Lord of the universe! You must tell me the means of bringing together at this place all the various Tirthas.

Lord Shiva said: All the Tirthas abide unseen in MY presence at the time of MY worship and adore ME. You need not go anywhere seeking Tirthas. At that time of MY worship all the Tirthas come together to this place. Therefore devotees, all sages and Devas may see the congregation of all Tirthas here immediately after naivedya is offered to ME.

Gautama continued: Parvathi! In olden days Shiva described to Markandeya the means of seeing all the Tirthas. All the sacred Tirthas are visible in front of Shiva at the time of worship. On hearing the words of Sage Gautama, Gowri was pleased and said: the goal of MY life has been attained by ME. By duly learning from you the means of worshiping the wonderful Tirthas on earth. Shiva HIMSELF has commanded ME to do penance at Arunachala (Annamalai).

Arunachala, in the different Yugas!

Om SathGuru Sri Seshadri Swamigal Thiruvadikkae

Arunachala, in the different Yugas!

Gautama said: This Hill was a mass of fire in the Krita Yuga; Gems in the Tretha Yuga; Gold in the Dwapara Yuga; and a Hill of stones in the Kali Yuga!

In the Krita Yuga, when it spread out for several yojana as a mass of fire, Maharshis circumambulated it. Thereafter, at the humble prayer of all Devas, Lord Arunachala gradually became cool.

Gautama continued: All Devas prayed thus: Lord of Arunachala! Although your nature is fiery you must illuminate the world in a cool form. You produce at the end of yugas, cloud bursts, flooded streams and overflowing oceans. For it is said in the Vedas: “From the fire, water came into existence.” O Sonanada! Let all men know you.

When all Devas humbly prayed, the Lord who loves HIS devotees immediately became cool and visible to all. Thereafter rivers and streams began to flow. Rains falling from the clouds were no longer withdrawn into the Hill. An Effulgence much brighter than millions of rising suns can be seen in the eyes of enlightened jivas who worship it.

The 8 Lingas at Arunachala

Om SathGuru Sri Seshadri Swamigal Thiruvadikkae

The 8 Lingas at Arunachala

This Hill shines with eight Lingas placed in the eight quarters, and is worshipped by the protectors of the respective quarters. East- Indra Linga, South-east- Agni-Linga, South-Yama Linga, South-west Niruthi Linga, West-Varuna Linga, North-west- Vayu Linga, North- Kubera Linga, and North-east- Isanya Linga.

In the ancient days Sonanada, the son of Hiranyagarbha, performed severe austerities and made the Ganga appear here. That holy river now flows here as the Sona river.

How Lord Arunachala graced the other Gods!

Om SathGuru Sri Seshadri Swamigal Thiruvadikkae

How Lord Arunachala graced the other Gods!

Gautama continued: Once Lord Narayana, the protector of the universe, having the thousand-tongued serpent Adhisesha (representing intellect and knowledge) as HIS couch, was reclining in the ocean of milk, absorbed in yoga-nidra and oblivious to the dissolution of the universe. The whole cosmic space was enveloped in complete darkness. The sages were worried. They prayed to Lord Shiva. The Lord Shiva manifested HIMSELF before them with the object of protecting the universe. From the effulgent Sambhu, thirty- three core Devas emerged, as sparks and scattered in all directions. This Devas went to Vishnu and informed HIM what had happened.

Then meditating on Sadashiva, Vishnu prostrated before HIM and repeatedly saluted HIM. Thus HE absolved HIMSELF of HIS omissions. Vishnu then stood up and prayed thus: Out of ignorance I fell into yoga-nidra, O Sambhu! Kindly forgive My sin. When Shiva heard lamenting in this manner, He prescribed the following penance for Vishnu:

“I ABIDE ON EARTH IN THE FORM OF ARUNACHALA. The Moment You Set Your Eyes On It Your Ignorance Will Be Destroyed.”

After Declaring Thus Shiva disappeared and Vishnu came to Arunachala. HE bathed in the Brahma Tirtha, circumambulated Arunachala, got rid of HIS sins and attained the Lordship of all the worlds.

The Glory of Arunachala!

Om SathGuru Sri Seshadri Swamigal Thiruvadikkae

Sage Gautama talks about the Glory of Arunachala!

Then sage Gautama narrated the incidents how Lord Shiva revealed HIMSELF to Brahma and Vishnu. At their request Shiva took the form of a Linga, so that they and other devotees could worship HIM as prescribed in the Agamas.

Gautama said, Gowri! Since its Effulgent is latent, streams, rivers, and rainwater are absorbed by it. Moreover its glory gives sight to the blind, ability to walk to the lame, progeny to the childless and speech to the dumb.”

Gautama continued: Arunachala confers all siddhis, cures all diseases, destroys all sins and grants all boons. The land within a radius of 3 Yojanas (48kms approx) of this place is famous as “Shivabhoomi” (the land of Shiva). Those who reside within this limit will certainly attain Liberation. In olden days the ‘Seven Rishis’, who were under a spell, worshipped Arunachala regarding HIM as their Lord. THE Lord Arunachala thereupon redeemed them.

All the evil produced by mind, speech and body shall be destroyed the moment one beholds Arunachala.

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