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).

The Discord between Brahma & Vishnu

Om SathGuru Sri Seshadri Swamigal Thiruvadikkae

Sage Vyasa once said:

“The holy men of Naimisaranya asked Suta, “Please tell us about the greatness of Arunachala. Suta described the glory of Arunachala. Sanaka asked the same question to Brahma. I shall repeat what Brahma narrated to Sanaka.”

The sins of those who listen with faith to this narrative will be destroyed.

Sitting on the lotus, Brahma meditated on Sambhu (another name of Lord Shiva) and was immersed in bliss. In this state he had a vision of Shiva as HE had formerly revealed HIMSELF as a Column of Light. Brahma emerged from HIS trance and noticed Kumara Sanaka standing in a worshipful attitude.”

You have made me remember the ancient yoga of Shiva. Now I shall describe how Shiva, the Ocean of Grace, manifested as Arunachala, the Light of Consciousness.

From the supreme Effulgence (which is the Eternal Shiva), Vishnu and I were born in accordance with HIS desire both of us manifested spontaneously. Once out of egoism, we engaged in an argument and started a fight.

Seeing the terrible rage into which we had fallen while quarreling, the Lord reflected:

Why should there be destructive fight between these two, as to who is greater? If I do not reveal MYSELF immediately to both and stop their fight, the world will cease to exist. Each creature consider itself superior to every other creature. The ignorant that can’t realize and concede equality or superiority of another must necessarily suffer defeat an fall. I shall reveal MYSELF in a definite form somewhere in the world so those even a mean human being can attain ME the moment he thinks of ME (Lord Shiva).”

Having so decided, the Eternal Shiva manifested HIMSELF as a column of fire before us. There arouse a voice in the air: Children, why do you fight? The form of Sambhu has now appeared before you as a Column of Effulgence. He who finds out the beginning or his end of it is the greater of that two.

To discover the limits of Sambhu in the shape of beginning less and endless Column of Fire, one of us decided to trace the beginning and other the end. For this purpose Vishnu in the form of a huge boar began to dig the earth vigorously to find the lower end. I took the shape of a swan and soared swiftly to find its summit. Vishnu bored in the earth and went beyond, but found that the Column of fire went still lower.

Even after seeking for millions of years it was not possible to find out the source of that beginning less Column of fire. Vishnu was weary and tired and HE was forced to return. Vishnu praised Shiva and meditated upon HIM, and by the grace of the Lord, He regained the surface of the earth.

The splendid Effulgence of Shiva in the form of a Linga of Light rose higher and higher.

Siddhas who found ME trying to reach the immeasurable top of the Supreme Effulgence and exclaimed: HE is still putting forth HIS efforts even when the body is about to fall, the ego does not fade away. Even though His wings are broken and weary and HIS eyes dim, HE is bound by the vain delusion that HE can discover the limits of the limitless Effulgence.

Vishnu who became similarly despondent, regained good sense by Shiva’s spontaneous Grace, and retraced HIS steps.

If a finite desire to realize the Effulgence that which is the origin of Brahma and the Devas, he should within himself and meditate on Shiva, the Supreme Self, who will give him knowledge so that his ego will vanish.

On hearing these kind words I became humble and began to reflect thus: My salutations to the Siddhas who have fixed their minds upon Shiva. I shall turn MY minds inwards and realize this Effulgence of Shiva which appears in front of ME.

Even the great Vedic Mantras do not throw light on HIS reality. He who worships the Eternal Shiva, who is the Lord worshipped by the Devas as this Column of Light of Consciousness, realize Shiva, and serves as boat to cross the ocean of samsara.

Shiva HIMSELF stands as the ARUNA HILL in order to grant the devotee the fruits of HIS penance, that the HILL destroys all sins and that one obtain Liberation by merely uttering ‘ARUNACHALA’ once. Knowledge of Shiva can be attained only through Shiva’s Grace, not through the Vedas, nor austerities, nor dips in holy waters.”

Annadaanam

Om SathGuru Sri Seshadri Swamigal Thiruvadikkae

Sanaka requested to be enlightened about the benefits derived from conducting an Annadanam (an offering of rice, to the poor) at Arunachala.

Brahma replied: “There is no better deed equal to annadana in the three worlds! Annam (rice), is the basis of Prana (Life-breathe). Hence, one who provides Annam gives away his Prana. It is for this reason, that one who desires his own welfare should offer Annam to the needy and the poor. If Annadaanam is performed at Arunachala, he attains great merit and becomes the ruler of all the worlds.

Even an offering of money or jewellery, in the form of charity cannot equal the merits of Annadanam, at Arunachala.

Sage Narada once met the ruler of Dravidian country, Chitrakethu on earth. Chitrakethu welcomed him. Narada observed that although Chitrakethu’s father Singadvajan, gifted away all riches of the world, he had not performed Annadanam. He was of the opinion that he alone who had fed the poor and the needy, would receive the divine ambrosia. The King then, decided to perform annadanam.

Narada informed him that the merit one obtained by feeding a million people elsewhere on earth could never equal that of feeding a single human, in Kasi. The merit gained by feeding just one poor man at Arunachala, will out-weigh that, of feeding a million, at Kasi!

Particularly, if this was done on a Dwadasi day, it would be equal to the merit obtained by feeding the poor throughout the year. Chitrakethu then performed annadanam everyday at Arunachala. By this act of the son, the father in the celestial region received nectar and in due courses passed on to the various upper regions and finally merged in Shiva.

One should endeavour to perform annadana, particularly at Arunachala, for it not only benefits the person who does it, but also bestows great spiritual merit upon his kith and kin.

August 2017
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