The following extracts are reproduced with the kind permission of Ramanashram and taken from ‘The Poems of Sri Ramana Maharshi’ translated by Sadhu Arunachala (Major A.W. Chadwick). The first extract concerns the significance of the Arunachala Deepam beacon and the second extract is entitled the ‘Arunachala-Mahatmya’. This work was rendered into English by Sadhu Arunachala from Sri Bhagavan’s own translation into Tamil from the original sanskrit.
          One Deepam Day a disciple wrote the following and laid at the Feet of Sri Bhagavan with the request that he should write another verse showing the significance of the Beacon that is yearly lighted on the top of Arunachala.
SELF is the centre, e’en the Heart it is
That thus reveals itself, while intellect
And ego both bewail.
This the true meaning of Annamalai,
Amidst Brahma and Vishnu blazing bright,
Who languish because they don’t know the way
To realize Him.
The Hill Arunachala is identified with the spiritual heart of creation of God. This appeared to the Gods, Brahma and Vishnu as a blazing column of fire. They wondered what it could be and started in competition with each other to find out its source. Brahma flew up as a swan and Vishnu started to burrow down in the form of a boar. But the search was endless. Vishnu came up again admitting his defeat. On his way Brahma caught a flower that was falling and taking it down to Vishnu pretended that he had reached the top and had there picked this flower. Suddenly Lord Siva, who had taken the form of the column of fire, appeared to them. He condemned Brahma for his deceit and said that as a punishment he should have no temple dedicated to his honour. As a reward for his honesty Vishnu was told that he should receive universal worship.
          Striving to reach the end of the column of fire signifies the search in the Heart for the realization of the Self and all the difficulties thus entailed.
          Bhagavan said in explanation that the ‘I’-sense was Vishnu and the intellect Brahma, they both turned outward and that is where they failed.

The Significance of the Beacon

Sri Bhagavan wrote: -
To make the intellect rid of the sense
‘I am the body’, and to introspect
By fixing it securely in the Heart,
And so perceive the true light of the SELF,
The one ‘I-I’, which is the ABSOLUTE,
This the significance of witnessing
The Beacon Light of Arunachala,
The centre of the earth.

Bhagavan used to declare that Arunachala was the spiritual axis of the earth. So definite was he that he once made someone get an atlas and see if there was not some other mountain, the other end of the axis, corresponding to this Hill on the other side of the world.


Nadi said:-

For Arunachala most holy is,
Of all the spots on earth most sacred it.
The Heart ‘tis of the world. Know also this,
Of Siva ‘tis the world. Know also this,
Of Siva ‘tis the Heart-Core, both secret
And sacred too. For here He dwells for e’er
As the Aruna Hill beyond compare.

The first day on which Lord Siva Himself took
The form of the strange mountain-linga, called
Lord Arunachala, was Arudra
In month of Margali.[1] And that day when
Lord Vishnu and the Devas worshipped Him,
From out of the Effulgence taking birth,
Was Siva Ratri [2] in the Masi [3] month.

Siva said:-
It is of fire though a dull hill it seem;
This the effect of grace and loving care
For upkeep of the world. As the Supreme,
The Siddha [4] , ‘tis that here I dwell for e’er.
Consider that in My Heart’s inmost cell
Is Supreme Glory, the world’s joy as well.

‘Tis Arunachala, the glorious,
Whose sight suffices to eradicate
All our demerits, and alone can make
Finite the worlds and egos can create.
That thing, the Vedas’ import, which cannot
E’er be acquired without the greatest pain,
All those who sight this Hill or from afar
But think of it can easily attain.

So I ordain that residence within
A thirty mile radius of the Hill
Will e’en suffice to burn up every sin;
With the Supreme establish union will.

Uma said:-
For Arunachala is e’er the home
Where devotees and virtuous people live,
While those vile people who with evil strive
Against all such, will swiftly be o’ercome
By every kind of sickness. The most dire
Power of wicked people leaves no trace.
Achieving nothing near this holy place.
Lord Arunachala, The Hill of Fire
Is named in truth. To fall were awful plight
Of His dread wrath into the scorching light.

[1]    Marga Sirsha (Sanskrit) = Margali (Tamil).

[2]    Siva Ratri = the night of Siva. The fourteenth night of the dark fortnight of Masi or Magha.

[3]    Magha (Sanskrit) = Masi (Tamil).

[4]    Siddha could be translated Adept as it has the same two-fold meaning. He who has attained the spiritual summit of his endeavours, or again he who has attained wondrous yogic powers of a miraculous description. Here the meaning is the Supreme Adept, God Himself.