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1-The holy hill at Thiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu. It is one of the five main shaivite holy places in South India. The Annamalaiyar Temple, a temple of Lord Shiva is also located at the base of the hill as well. Every year in the Tamil month of Karthigai the Karthigai Deepam (Light) is lit atop the hill.

This is expressed in the old Tamil saying: “To see Chidambaram, to be born at Tiruvarur, to die at Banaras or even to think of Arunachala is to be assured of Liberation.” “Even to think of” because in the case of the direct path physical contact is not necessary. Hence, it was no accident that the Ramana Maharshi made Tiruvannamalai and its sacred Arunachala Mountain his home.

2- Maharshi called Arunachala the spiritual Heart of the world. Aruna, which means ‘red, bright like fire’, does not signify the mere fire that gives off heat. Rather, it means Jnanagni, the Fire of Wisdom, which is neither hot nor cold. Achala signifies hill. Thus, Arunachala means ‘Hill of Wisdom’.Tiruvannamalai, situated at the foot of Arunachala, is a town of medium size, 120 miles southwest of Chennai, an ancient village with a large and splendid temple. The sacred hill, located in the temple town of Tiruvanamalai, is in the shape of a lingam thatmakes it the largest naturally-occurring lingam on the planet. you can't comprehend the spiritual vibrations emitted from a mountain-Shivling. The holy hill’s magnetic call to those on the path of awakening spread outwards in all directions to the multiverses in waves of glorious light. Such are the powerful vibrations emitted by the Hill.

3- At age 15, Maharshi was attracted to the holy hill Arunachala and a year later he had a death-experience in which he became aware of a ‘current’ or ‘force’ (avesam) which he recognised as his true ‘I’ or ‘self’.Six weeks

later he left his uncle’s home in Madurai, and journeyed to the holy mountain Arunachala, Tiruvannamalai, where he took on the role of a sannyasin and remained for the rest of his life. He soon attracted devotees who regarded him as an avatar and came to him for darshan, and in later years an ashram

grew up around him.Ramana Maharshi gave his approval to a variety of paths and practices, but recommended self-enquiry as the principal means to remove ignorance and abide in Self-awareness, together with devotion (bhakti) or surrender to the Self.

4-There is a Puranic story about the origin of the hill. Once Vishnu and Brahma fell to disputing which of them was the greater. Their quarrel brought chaos on earth, so the Devas approached Shiva and besought him to settle the dispute. Shiva thereupon manifested himself as a column of light from which a voice issued declaring that whoever could find its upper or lower end was the greater. Vishnu took the form of a boar and burrowed down into the earth to find the base, while Brahma took the form of a swan and soared upwards to seek its summit.

5-Vishnu failed to reach the base of the column but “beginning to see within himself the Supreme Light which dwells in the hearts of all, he became lost in meditation, oblivious to the physical body and even unaware of himself, the one who sought”. Brahma saw the flower of an alse plant falling through the air and, thinking to win by deception, returned with it and declared he had plucked it from the summit.

6-Vishnu admitted his failure and turned to the Lord in praise and prayer: “You are Self-knowledge. You are OM. You are the beginning and the middle and the end of everything. You are everything and illuminate everything.” He was pronounced great while Brahma was exposed and confessed his fault.

In this legend, Vishnu represents the intellect and Brahma the ego, while Shiva is Atma, the spirit.

7-The story continues that, because the lingam or column of light was too dazzling to behold, Shiva manifested himself instead as the Arunachala hill, declaring: “As the moon derives its light from the sun, so other holy places shall derive their sanctity from Arunachala. This is the only place where I have taken this form for the benefit of those who wish to worship me and obtain illumination. Arunachala is OM itself. I will appear on the summit of this hill every year at Kartigai in the form of a peace-giving beacon(प्रकाशस्तम्भ).”

8-This refers not only to the sanctity of Arunachala itself but also to the pre-eminence of the doctrine of Advaita and the path of Self-enquiry of which Arunachala is the center. One can understand this meaning in Sri Bhagavan’s saying, “In the end everyone must come to Arunachala.”Ramana

experienced clearly that Arunachala is nothing but a gross representation of the effulgent Self, the Atman. As long as one is immersed in the delusion of considering oneself as the gross body, Arunachala too appears to be a gross hill. But, once a person turns inwards and searches for his true “I”, he realizes that verily the Arunachala glows inside as the Self (Atman), inexplicable by words.

9-Ramana says “ When I searched inside my self to know who is that seer that saw the hill, the seer was lost and I saw what was really standing there; There was no trace of thought to express “I saw”. who can ever say “I haven’t seen”? Who can ever express and explain this? Even lord Dakshinamoorthi could not express this through words (but only through silence) in the past! So, in order to explain your stature without words, you are standing here from sky to earth, unmoving, in this hill form”.

10-The holy hill held Ramana like a magnet holding a piece of iron. Ramana explains this magnetic attraction '' I saw this magnetic hill that draws life powerfully towards it! The pranks of the soul of one who thinks of Arunachala even once will get subdued; the soul will be drawn inwards and made unmoving, just like the hill. Know that it will simply consume the sweet soul and learn that it’s the way of salvation. This “killer of the soul”, that glows bright in the heart is nothing other than this Arunachala hill”.

11-What Ramana tries to convey is that we have to take hold of the “sthoola” (gross) hill in order to attain the “sukshma” (subtle) state and that’s the whole purpose of the hill’s existence there. Undoubtedly, earnest seekers of Truth have always been drawn towards the Arunachala hill from time immemorial. Thiruvannamalai is the place of Gyanis and the place for Gyanis.

12-Ramana who was always absorbed in the subtle state of the hill, was no doubt hooked to the gross form of the hill too. His fondness for the hill was immeasurable. Ramana never moved out of Thiruvannamalai from the day he set foot on the temple town (1st September 1896) till his passing away (14th April 1950) –for fifty four long years!

Up to his age of 43, he was residing up in the hills. He took permanent residence at the hills at Virupaksha cave for 17 years and then at Skandasramam for another 7 years . From 1922 onwards he shifted his residence to the foot hills, to the present Ramanasramam.

A quote by Ramana Maharshi..... Whatever is destined not to happen will not happen, try as you may. Whatever is destined to happen will happen, do what you may to prevent it. This is certain. The best course, therefore, is to remain silent.