It is Lord Arunachaleswara’s wish that Parasakti who through her inimitable powers and prayers is protecting the universe which is a projection of herself should receive sevas In Arunachala in the attractive name of Apeetha-kuchamba -a name suggestive of eternal youthful energy, inexhaustible source of knowledge, illimitable kindness and insatiable thirst for fulfilling the wishes of devotees.
Meriting the descriptions of “Sarvalokaika-janani”, (Mother of Universes) and “Nitya-yauvana samanvita” (possessed of everlasting youth), Parasakti is ever ready to bless people.
“All living beings”, Gautama Rishi told Parvathi’ “residing in the sannidhi of sri Arunachaleswara or spending even a moment there will find that there is nothing in this world that they cannot get.”
The sanctity of Arunachala for thapas is such that the thapasvis get results exceeding their expectations. Those who associate themselves with such thapasvis or observe their austerities (vratam, niyamam etc) will nave unexpected benefits or will find even their casual efforts bearing fruit. That is so because of the radiation of the thapasvis in a place already irradiated by the sanctum sanctorum of Sri Arunachaleswara.
“This Bhu-loka” exclaimed Parvathi Devi before Sage Gautama, “is exceedingly more wonderful than heaven. No wonder that the thejo-lingam sought after by all the Devathas has adorned the earth.”
Parvathi once assumed the radiant form of Mohini with lotus eyes and embarked upon severe penance (thapas) in the immediate vicinity of Gautama’s ashram.
When she came down to Arunachala from Mount Kailas, Girija, as she was also called, was followed by four celestials, namely, Dundubhi, Satyavati, Anavami and Sundari to serve her. Before she started her thapas, she had installed four brahmacharis on the four boundaries of Arunachala. She had told all the eight of them not to let in anyone except pilgrims in need of rest and refreshment and those keen on a darshan of Arunachaleswara.
In tune with Nature:
Strange things were witnessed when Parvathi was performing protracted penance. She was herself a picture of peace and effulgence. She did not generate the kind of destructive flame of conflagration common to the thapasya of raakshas as in the past. Hers was in harmony with nature. Clouds would only bring timely rains. All the trees and plants were full of fruits and flowers. Strangely enough, the various wild animals notorious for their born enmity and inside rivalries lived together in harmony. It looked as though the ashram at Arunachala became a bastion of defense and protection proclaiming the immemorial message of “abhayam” (freedom from fear).
The element of fear had fled. The torture of wild animals had vanished. The six internal enemies of man could not raise their ugly head. The Sages were pleased. Some praised Girija. Some others praised Mt. Kailas. Others extolled the virtues of the ashram as a place of sanctity, while the rest described the glory of Arunachala in glowing terms.
It was at this tranquil time that the accursed Mahishasura tried to enter the Arunachala ashram on his killing spree only to be obstructed by the bold and daring brahmacharis.
“No one however strong he may be” they told the rakshasa’s men, “can enter this place and commit sacrilege. This is the residing place of Rishis and being Devi’s thapovanam, it has the dharmic reputation of affording protection to all living beings here.”
This advice only brought Mahishasuara to the fore. Parvathi broke her silence and assumed the fierce form of Kali filling every nook and corner with her tremendous thejas. Bitten by the sharpness of its flames, Mahishasura started running away from Arunachala.
Axiomatic anger !
“Those who are immersed in thapas”, Parvathi said to herself, “must be bereft of anger. However, any sacrilege to dharma is beyond toleration. In this instance of righteous indignation, therefore, anger is the axiomatic expedient of thapasya.”
Arunachala is inviolable!
Impelled by Devi, Brihaspati approached Mahishasura and advised him, “Evil-intentioned asura ! Do not try to show your might in the sannidhi of Arunachaleswara. All the strength of evil doers will meet with disaster in this place and disappear in a moment.”
“Arunachala”, continued Brihaspati, “is a place in which life cannot be corrupted by Kali Purusha. Rakshasas will find that they cannot wield their weapon of harassment here. Even if devotees of Shiva transcend bounds of reason and try to show their valour, it will hardly bring them good luck.”
“As a result of your good luck of previous lives”, Brihaspati advised Mahishasura, “you are possessed of enormous strength and wealth. Do not therefore invite self- destruction by falling like an insect into the veritable fire called Arunachaleswara. Sadashiva has given you lots of power as rewards to your thapas in the past, but they will face annihilation in Arunachala like trees caught in a forest conflagration and reduced to ashes. This is a place singularly earmarked for the righteous among the Shiva bhaktas. Those who enter this place with wicked ideas of torturing others will be plagued by many diseases. The damsel you consider to be weak has the indomitable figure of Arunachaleswara permanently fixed in her mind. If you cannot comprehend these subtleties and the disciplines ordained by Shiva and cannot control your mind, you will have the mortification of witnessing the destruction of your forces and meeting your end here. Who can fathom Easwara’s will? Despite dissuasion man chases certain deeds by the force of his previous karma and goes through a chain of sorrows!”
The words of wisdom fell on deaf ears. Just as the oceanic waters in all the four directions engulf earth in a deluge, Mahishasura’s huge army invaded Arunachala. But the army was no match for the invincible Uma Devi or for her creation, Chamunda. Mahishasura’s end was a foregone conclusion.