Krittika is a great star ruled by Agni, the Lord of Fire – in consonance with the hymn of Yajur Veda “Agnirnahpaatu Krittikaaha….” That is also incendiary constellation identifiable with the manifestation of Devi. Hence when Goddess Parvathi herself undertakes a pradakshinam of the fiery lingam in Arunachala on Karthika Krittika day especially at sunset time, it will speak volumes for the wonderful Lord of Arunachala and for the infinite benefits of giri-pradakshinam. It makes the day of the year ruled by Krittika in the lunar month of Karthika unique and auspicious.
What is doubly significant is that during the holiest time of Uttarayana Sangam (transition time in Uttarayana), Goddess Parvathi assumes the name of Apeeta-kuchamba, joins Lord Arunachaleswara and imparts peace and tranquility to all the Devatas by Her promises and assurances of protection.
At that time and at that very place, besides the Devatas, all the Gandharvas, Yakshas, Siddhas and Celestial beings will be present.
That is the most appropriate time for all those who have huge accumulations of sin and misfortunes to expiate by worshipping Lord Arunachaleswara by undertaking thapas. The Uttarayana season is a rare one for men to meditate on the divine form of Arunachaleswara and to worship Him for fulfilment of their desires.
If a king or head of state completes a giri-pradakshina, the presiding God of the mountain Himself comes to the rescue of such a devotee by removing forces inimical to him. If the head of state is undergoing thapas or otherwise unable to do the pradakshina himself, he can employ a saintly person well versed in the Vedas to do so. Those who are possessed of the power of the state will be protecting their positions permanently by undertaking giri-pradakshinam and namaskarams for a mandala (48 days) or half. The Mandala pradakshinam can be done by the appointed person also.
Need for pradakshina on foot :
It is enjoined on pilgrims that they undertake the pradkshina of Arunagiri on foot.
This is necessary in view of the great radiation being generated by Arunagiri. Very long ago, a legendary king called Dharmaketu from the lower regions tried to go round the hill with his horse as his Vaahanam (carrier). Strangely enough, the horse surcharged by the radiation and grace of the Lord, got an elevation, assumed a divine form and left for Kailas, leaving the king behind! Dharmaketu learnt a lesson and taking the clue from the transformation of the horse which actually did the pradakshinam, he also undertook the journey on foot and as expected, he also attained divine form and got upliftment as a gana-lord.
The siddhas who suffer a decline by erosion of their thapas get back to their spiritual levels by giri-pradakshina.
Those who suffer bleeding injuries during pradakshinam are said to get the grace of Devendra. Those who suffer from pain in the feet as a result of piercing stones and thorns on the path will be blessed by none other than Maha Lakshmi herself.
“Whoever is responsible for arranging”, says Arunachaleswara, “a light to burn even for a moment in My sannidhi will become self-effulgent and eventually attain My form”
It is said that the Sages and Devatas fervently pray for being born as trees affording shade and shelter in the vicinity of His temple!
Whoever constructs a gopuram, tower, adjuncts to the temple (like yaga-shala), mantapam or a tank opposite to His sannidhi will have all wishes fulfilled.
Shiva prefers to be worshipped on earth as Achaleswara – in the form symbolic of his name! Parashakti who is protecting the universe which is a projection of Herself is worshipped as Apeetha-kucha as an eternal youngster ready to receive sevas from all who desire youth in particular. Even animals that spend a few moments in His sannidhi can get everything needed by them.
Gautama says that the Lord, possessed of infinite qualities and wealth of the spirit beyond description, is known for his ready fulfillment of devotees desires. He further observes that Devatas perform thapas will be known only from the astounding results. Hence a higher being who undertakes thapas there will be responsible for the progress of others in the place.