It has been authoritatively stated in Skandapurana that Arunachaleswara would like certain specified major offerings (naivedyams) depending upon the phases of the moon (thithis) in the same way as different offerings are earmarked for the ruling constellations (nakshatras). The impact of lunar rays on earth especially on vegetation, herbs, oceanic waves and tides and certain mental disorders is now too well-known. Fasting enjoined on the able-bodied on the eleventh day of the lunar phase called “Ekadasi” significant for cessation from food particularly unbeaten rice has scientific foundations in capacity of the digestive system for assimilation and absorption.
Greatness in offerings
The greatness of Arunachala lies in the special benefits conferred by Arunachaleswara by offerings of special items of food (as naivedyam) to the Lord on each day of the lunar phase (or thithi)
The lunar phase, offering and the blessings in store are summed up for the benefit of devotees:-
1st day of lunar phase (Prathama)
On a Padyami day, the specified offering is paayasa annam (sweet rice) and blessing in store is promotion of wealth.
2nd day (Dvitiya)
On a Dvitiya or Bidige day, we should offer dadhya annam (curds rice) to Arunachaleswara and that will promote prosperity and scholarship.
3rd day (Trittiya)
On the third day of lunar phase (Thadige or trittiya), offering of apoopams (fried flour) are recommended as what would specifically have the effect of promotion of health.
4th day (Chaturthi)
A vessel of rice is all that is specified on the fourth day of the waning or waxing moon called Chaturthi (or Chouthi), The offering to the Lord will bring fulfilment of wishes.
5th day (Panchami)
Mudga annam (rice cooked with green gram) is dear to Arunachaleswara on the fifth day of the lunar phase i.e., Panchami thithi. This is suggested for everlasting glory of wealth.
6th day (Shasti)
Guda annam (Rice cooked with jaggery) is set against the sixth day of the lunar phase called Shashti. This offering to Arunachaleswara will promote prosperity of the family tree.
7th day (Saptami)
If one wants to get absolved from the haunting shadow of sins, one is recommended to offer Tila annam (rice cooked with tilam) to the Lord on a day ruled by Saptami.
8th day (Ashtami)
On the eighth day of the lunar phase – Ashtami thithi – shaalya annam or a heap of cooked rice is ideal for acquisition of ruler ship.
9th day (Navami)
The offering of wheat rice should herald the onset of the ninth day of the lunar phase called Navami to unfetter oneself from the shackles of diseases and ill – health.
10th day (Dasami)
Flour apoopams should be offered on the tenth day of the lunar phase – Dasami thithi. The authority says it makes one “loved in all the lokas”.
11th day (Ekadasi)
On the sacred day of Ekadsai with moon on its eleventh phase, beaten rice is prescribed as offering to the Lord for deriving freedom from fear.
12th day (Dwadasi)
The day ruled by Dwadasi the twelfth day of the lunar phase, supaannam (supaudanam) for fulfilment of desires is suggested as offering to Arunachaleswara.
13th day (Trayodasi)
For attainment of mental peace, one is expected to offer popped rice (or popped ragi) flour to the presiding deity of Arunachala. If one gets a tranquil mind by virtue of the simple offering, it would mean that one cannot get tranquillity without fulfilment of all expectations. No wonder the thithi is called “Sarva-siddhi trayodasi” – a lunar phase which helps one to get everything to promote mental equanimity.
14th day (Chaturdasi)
The offering of fruits in general is recommended for the Lord on the fourteenth day of the lunar phase – Chaturdasi thithi. The benefit in store is acquisition of knowledge.
15th day (Pournami)
On the full moon day, Arunachaleswara is reputed to prefer jack-fruits! The nexus between this rare offering and freedom from eye diseases is stressed in Skandapurana.
30th day (Amavasya)
On the new moon day, the offering of only eatable roots to Arunachaleswara is suggestive of vigorous austerities. This is particularly calculated to bring blessings from departed souls. The same offering is prescribed even on special transition days like lunar eclipse on a Pournami day or a solar eclipse on an Amavasya day.
It is to be noted that the special offerings are prescribed for one and all wherever Arunachaleswara is worshipped and the greatness lies in the benefits accruing to the worshippers. What is greater still is that the Lord never receives anything without giving something big in return