‘The Hill which draws to Itself those who are rich in jnana tapas [1] is this Arunachala.’
(Annamalai Venba by Guru Namasivya)

Ari-varu giri-yena amar-darum amma

   adi-saiyam idan-cheyal ari-vari darkkum
Ari-varu siru-vaya dadu-mudal Aruna
   chala-migap peri-dena ari-vini langa
Ari-gilan adan-porul adu-tiru vanna
   malai-yena oru-varal ari-vurap pet-trum
Ari-vina maru-luru taru-gini lirkka
   aru-gurum ama-yami dacha-lama kanden   1

1.    Ah! What a wonder! It (Arunachala) stands as an insentient [2] Hill. Its action is mysterious, past human understanding. From the age of innocence it had shone within my mind that Arunachala was something of unsurpassing grandeur, [3] but even when I came to know through another that it was the same as Tiruvannamalai, I did not realize its meaning. When it drew me up to it, stilling my mind, and I came close, I saw it (stand) unmoving.[4]

Kanda-van evan-ena karut-tinul nada
   kanda-van indrida nindradu kanden
Kanda-nan endri-da karur-tezha vilai
   kandi-lan endri-da karut tezhu maren
Vin-didu vilak-kidu vira-luru vonar
   vindi-lai panduni vilak-kinai yen-dral
Vindida dunni-lai vilak-kida vendre
   vin-dalam achalama vilan-gida nindrai   2

2.    “Who is the Seer?” When I sought within, I watched what survived the disappearance of the seer (viz. the Self). No thought arose to say, “I saw”, how then could the thought “I did not see” arise? Who has the power to convey this in words, when even Thou (appearing as Dakshinamurti) couldst do so in ancient days by silence only? Only to convey by silence Thy (Transcendent) State Thou standest as a Hill, shining from heaven to earth.

Ninnai-yan uru-vena enniye nanna
   nila-misai malai-yenum nilai-yina nidan
Unnuru aru-vena vun-nidin vinno
   kura-vula galai-darum oru-vanni yokkum
Unnuru vuna-lara vunnida munnir
   uru-saru karai-yuru ena-vuru voyum
Ennai-yan arivura ennuru vere
   dirun-danai aruna-van giri-yena irun-doi   3

3.    When I approach Thee regarding Thee as having form, Thou standest as a Hill on earth. If with the mind the seeker looks for Thy (essential) form as formless, he is like one who travels the earth to see the (ever-present) ether. To dwell without thought upon Thy (boundless) nature is to lose one’s separate) identity like a doll of sugar when it comes in contact with the ocean’ (of nectar) and when I come to realize who I am, what else is this identity of mine (but Thee), O Thou Who standest as the towering Aruna Hill?

Irun-dolir unai-vidu tadut-tidal deivam
   irut-tinai vilak-kedu tadut-tida lekan
Irun-dolir unai-ari vurut-tidar kendre
   irun-danai madan-dorum vida-vida vuru-vai
Irun-dolir unai-yari gila-reni lannor
   iravi-yin ari-varu kuru-dare yavar
Irun-dolir iran-dara enadula tond-rai
   inai-yarum aruna-ma malai-enu maniye   4

4.    To look for God ignoring Thee who art Being and Consciousness is like going with a lamp to look for darkness. Only to make Thyself known as Being and Consciousness, Thou dwellest in different religions under different (names and) forms. If (yet) they do not come to know Thee, they are indeed the blind who do not know the sun. O Arunachala the great! Thou peerless Gem, abide and shine Thou as my Self, One without a second!

Mani-galir sara-dena uyir-doru nana
   madan-dorum oru-vana maru-vinai nidan
Mani-kadain dena-mana mana-menun kallin
   maru-vara kadai-yanin aruloli mevum
Mani-yoli yenap-piri doru-porul pattrum
   maru-vura lilai-nizhal padi-taha tinvin
Mani-yoli pada-nizhal padi-yumo unnin
   maru-porul aruna-nal olimalai yundo   5

5.    As the string in (a necklet of) gems, it is Thou in Thy Unity who penetratest all the diversity of beings and religions. If, like a gem when it is cut and polished, the (impure) mind is worked against the wheel of the (pure) mind to free it of its flaws, it will take on the light of Thy Grace (and shine) like a ruby, whose fire is unaffected by any outward object. When a sensitive plates has been exposed to the sun, can it receive impressions afterwards? O benign and dazzling Aruna Hill! Is there anything apart from thee?

Undoru poru-lari voli-yula meni
   ula-dunil ala-dila adisaya shakti
Nin-dranu nizhal-nirai ninai-vari vode
   nigazh-vinai chuzha-lilan ninai-voli yadi
Kan-dana nizhar-jaga vichit-tira mullun
   kan-mudal pori-vazhi puratr-tumor chilla
Nin-dridu nizhal-pada niga-rarut kundre
   nin-dridra chen-drida ninai-vida vindre   6

6.    Thou art Thyself the One Being, ever aware as the self-luminous Heart! In Thee there is a mysterious Power (Sakti). From it proceeds, the phantom of the mind emitting its latent subtle dark mists, which, illumined by Thy Light (of Consciousness) reflected on them, appear within as though whirling in the vortices of prarabdha, later developing into the psychic worlds and are projected without as the material world and transformed into concrete objects which are magnified by the outgoing senses and move about like pictures in a cinema show. Visible or invisible, O Hill of Grace, without Thee they are nothing!

Indra-ham enu-ninai venir-pira vondrum
   indradu varai-pira ninai-vezhil ark-ker
Kondra-ham udi talam edu vena vullazhn
   dulattavi suri-noru kudai-nizhar kove
Indra-ham pura-miru vinai-yiral janmam
   inbutun biru-loli enun-gana idaya
Mandra-ham acha-lama nada-midum Aruna
   malai-yenum elai-yarum aruloli kadale   7

7.    When there is not the I-thought, then there will be no other thought. Until that time, when other thoughts arise, (asking) “to whom?” (will call forth the reply) “To me.” He who pursues this closely, questioning “What is the origin of the I?” and diving inwards reaches the seat of the mind (within) the Heart, becomes (there) the Sovereign Lord of the Universe. [5] O boundless Ocean of Grace and and Effulgence called Arunachala, dancing motionless within the court of the Heart! There is no (longer any) dream of such dualities as in and out, right and wrong, birth and death, pleasure and pain, or light and darkness.

Kada-lezhum ezhili-yal pozhi-taru nirdan
   kadal-nilai yadai-varai tadai-seyi nilla
Dudal-uyir unil-ezhum unai-yuru varaiyil
   urupala vazhi-galil uzha-linu nilla
Didaveli alai-yinu nilai-yilai pullu
   kida-nila mala-diai varu-vazhi chella
Kada-nuyir varu-vazhi sendrida inba
   Kada-lunai maru-vidum Aruna-bhu darane   8

8.    The waters rise up from the sea as clouds, then fall as rain and run back to the sea in streams; nothing can keep them from returning to their source. Likewise the jiva rising up from Thee cannot be kept from joining Thee again, although it strays into many paths on its way. A bird (which rises form the earth and) soars into the sky can find no place of rest except the earth. So indeed must all retrace their path, and when the jiva finds the way back to its source, it will sink and be merged in Thee, O Arunachala, Thou Ocean of Bliss.

[1]    i.e. those who are ever-intent on gaining wisdom.

[2]    The adjective also bears the meaning eradicating (objective) knowledge.

[3]    To view Chidambaram, to be born in Tiruvarur, to die in Benares, or merely to think of Arunachala is to be assured of Liberation.’ This couplet is commonly known in the Brahmin households of South India.

[4]    Alternatively: I realized that It meant Absolute Stillness.

[5]    Literally: The Sovereign Lord under the shade of a single umbrella.