It is not perhaps know to many that the thejo linga of Paramatman does not get destroyed even in a deluge and that it enjoys the reputation of constantly being worshipped by rains of flowers, by the melody of divine music and by the dance and prayers of the celestial nymphs.
The kind Lord Paramashiva, who manifested as an endless pillar of fire before Brahma and Vishnu long ago, transformed himself from his fiery frame into a linga in Thiruvannamalai, with the assumed name of Arunachaleswara.
About 96 Brahmakalpas ago from now but after the manifestation of Arunachaleswara, Brahma who ruled then created the various lokas (worlds) and the Devatas.
Arunachaleswara rescues the weak
Impelled by Indra, Brahma also created a beautiful damsel ostensibly to place impediments to the thapas of Sages as desired by Indra whose policy obviously was that the Sages should emerge unscathed from temptations as great thapasvis like molten gold from the crucible of test and examination.
Although Brahma created the lotus-eyed, he himself was carried away by the radiance of her incomparable beauty. He accosted her to come nearer. But she started to leave the place immediately on the pretext of undertaking a pradakshina of Arunachaleswara. Soon she was on her trip round the hill.
Brahma however could not take his gaze away from her. As if to fix his gaze on her without a break, he developed four heads to face the four diks or directions.
The nymph assumed the form of a bird and flew upwards. Brahma also assumed the form of another bird and followed her. The chase forced her to seek refuge in Arunachaleswara.
“Lord Arunachaleswara!” said she, “even Brahma and Vishnu in the past could not decipher the beginning and end of your fiery form. Hence you are the only refuge to one and all. Kindly save me as I have sought your protection”.
She was screaming with fear but soon there emerged from the Arunachala mountain a hunter who was armed with the bow and arrow. The hunter with the bow and arrow was looking great and invincible like the sky covered by a huge but invincible cloud. The very sight of such a great one was the vanishing point of Brahma’s illusion. The hunter was none other than Arunachaleswara.
Recovering his purity and composure, Brahma offered prostration to Arunachaleswara and said with a sense of total surrender and self-effacement, “My Lord! I offer prostration to your Arunachala form armed with all attributes besides the trident, you are the destroyer of sin and the champion of devotees. There is none else in the whole creation who can absolve the misdeeds of devotees out of ignorance. Only you are capable of empowering those who try to reach the unattainable. Accordingly, destroy my body at once as it had embarked on a sinful expedition. Or, as one who pervades the whole creation, please bring in someone else in my place to fulfil the duties and role of a creator”.
Arunachaleswara melts for humility:
The humility of Brahma’s prayers melted Arunachaleswara in the form of the hunter. Assuming his own form with the crescent of moon, he said “Brahma! I will not take back the longevity I have myself conferred on you. Who in fact endowed with administrative powers is free from the weaknesses of attachment? Hence, I would ask you stay in power but in expiation of your shortcomings, constantly remember and extol my thejo linga named after Arunachala. All of men’s sins that originate in men’s body, mind and speech vanish from a darshan of Arunachala”.
“This mountain”, continued Arunachaleswara, “has been cleansing people of all their impurities through its pradakshina, namaskara, remembrance of name, pujas and worship. In Kailas and Meru mountains, I infrequently appear with a few attributes (Kalas) but Arunachala represents my complete form. Man justifies the vision in his pair of eyes by the all-fulfilling darshan of the peak of Arunachala. That will not only ensure destruction of all sins but development of the third eye”.
“Bhavet sarva agha-naashahscha laabhashcha jnaanachakshushaha” says Skandpurana on this process of enlightenment.
“In the previous kalpa, Brahma who ruled then got over his illusion by a dip in the Brahma theertha. You will also free yourself from the stigma by a dip and ablutions in Brahma theertha followed by worship and pradakshina (in silence) of Arunachala”.
Brahma took a dip in the sacred tank and also performed prayers and puja to Arunachaleswara. His exercises of Yama, Niyama and other attributes of Ashtanga Yoga ensured recovery and restoration of mental purity.