If Varanasi(Kashi) is reputed to confer immortality on those dying there, Arunachala (Thiruvannamalai) holds out the same benefit to all those who remember its glorious name! Remember, it is just the remembrance of Arunachala:
“Nama smaranamatrena yatpaatakavinaashanam” declares the celebrated Skandapurana. By remembering the great name, all sins of a person will disappear and he will attain salvation.
Whoever offers prostrations with bhakti to the Jyotirlinga in Arunachala will be looked upon as being higher than the devatas—the immortals.
Besides its capacity for obliteration of sins, the mountainous region is respite with divine herbs and wild animals.
Those who undertake giri-pradakshina, according to Skandapurana, will become very wealthy besides getting other benefits. According to the same authority, even at the time of the great deluge (Maha pralayam) when the seven seas engulf the entire earth, Arunachala will remain unaffected. In the caves of the mountain, there are a number of great Thapasvis and Thejasvis, Sages and Seers. The presiding deity of the whole place is none other than Sree Sadashiva, worshipped by one and all.
The very name of Arunachaleswara for the lingam is significant in so far as it is capable of destroying the accumulation of sins in all the three worlds by mere darshan and of putting an end to the trials and tribulations of all. The Lord blesses those offering prayers to Him even from distant places.
The thejo-lingam was a sequel to Sree Sadashiva’s plan to dispel the maya of Brahma and Vishnu in the past.
Once enjoined by Shiva, Parvathi went to Gautama Maharshi to seek enlightenment about the sanctity of Arunachala.
“The yogis, said Gautama, ” who carry the dhyana of Arunachaleswara mentally, will be liberated from all bondage in this life. Whoever indulges in daana (gifting) and japa, havans and homas, thapas and austerities will have infinite benefits from them. The secret thejo-lingam is ever worshipped by a constant rain of flowers, music of divine instruments and the dance of celestial nymphs. The mountain has the capacity to purify all defects of those who offer prayers by pradakshinam, nama-smaranam, puja, namaskaram and stotram. In Arunachala, Shiva stays in his full inimitable form. Human beings endowed with the power of sight will get fulfilment by darshan of the mountain peak”.
The rivers and water currents originating in the mountain and the rain water disappear into the very thejas of the jyotirlingam.
The Lord has permanently assumed the role of a giver of boons (Varadeswara) by giving sight to the blind, limbs to the handicapped, children to the childless, speech to the dumb, fulfilment of prayers to the devoted, besides the role of a dispeller of diseases and destroyer of sins.
Following Bhrigu Maharshi’s advice, Maha Vishnu suffering from the pangs of separation from Maha Lakshmi, is reputed to have worshipped Arunachaleswara and got the assurance that Lakshmi would remain his consort in all Avatars.
Sadashiva disguised as a Siddha Purusha has decided to stay there in a secret place.
Glorious is the Shivalinga in the form of the mountain itself. Strange is its phenomenon as a remover of sins. And, unfathomable is the nomenclature of its purity.
Arunachala is fiery in Kritha yuga, crystalline in Threta yuga, golden in Dwapara and emeraldish in Kali yuga.
In the days of great antiquity, when the Devatas were unable to approach the fiery Lord, they pleased Him with yagnas and stotras. “Lord Arunachala!” said the Devatas, ”Prostrations to Your effulgent form. Your real golden form can be known only through the Vedas. Resplendent with Girija, You are a personification of Ananda”.
Although Shiva stays in Arunachala in a fiery frame, externally He radiates peace and tranquility.