Here is a Narrative from the ShivaBhaktivilasam.
I found it interesting in that it explains Arunachala scriptorially,
deals with Parvati Devi’s Penance after slaying the Demon Mahishashuri
– something rarely heard about--,
and other rare etc’s.
(Lord Ram does penance for slaying Ravana – remember Ravana was a Brahman and a Shiva Bhakta-Devotee…not to digress but in one of Her discourses this year 2010, Shri Karuna Mayi Devi said that Ravana’s Wife
did Shri Chakra Puja (and anyone who does Shri Chakra Puja it automatically protects the family) and this in turn helped protect Ravana ( Her Husband-Family); She also said Ravana did not have 10 heads but had the power of 10 Heads-Men and that He was Truly Handsome).
I have found Inherently, there are profound gems in this "True Accounting" meaning, There are prescribed remedies for All Actions, no matter how heinous and that God can forgive and redeem anyone.
The Guarantee of Just reading this Narrative is listed below in the Phala Stuti as stated by Sage Upamanyu, either He is Narrating The truth or a lie.
It cannot be half-way if He is a Sage.
Being the Sage that He is, then it All Must Be Authentic and True. Meaning, “If You read this account, You will attain the state of Shivam."
This is the Phala Stuti (benefits) of the following Narrative-Account from the ShivaBhaktivilisam:
Those Who devotedly worship
the Beloved Better Half of the Goddess Apitakuchanayaki,
Shall be rid of all sins and shortcomings.
Those Who read, hear or remember
These Wondrous Accounts of
The Great Lord Arunachaleshwara
Shall attain the Immortal State of Shivam.
as Narrated By Sage Upamamyu in Skanda Upapuranam
translated by Lingeswara Rao
Jnana Sambanda’s Pilgrimage to Arunachalam
NOTE: The following Narration of Jnana Sambanda’s visit to Arunachalam is found in a version of Upamanyu’s Bhaktavilasam
That forms the 9th Amsha of Shiva Rahasyam. (The 6th Amsha is the Famed Rbhu Gita.)
who was renowned as “Bodha Guru” (knowledge-imparting Guru),
stayed with His entourage at Kantapuram, which was dedicated to Shri Atulyanateshwara.
He spent His time there in the Sweet Service of The
3-Striped Lord by singing enchanting Hymns.
While He was there with His Followers,
He was shown the Hallowed Hill of Arunachala in the distance, which rose into the skies and beyond.
The Young Sage broke into a Heart-Melting Song on the Divine Lord
standing naked as a Hill, whose Consort was Apitastanika.
He yearned to visit the Sacred Peak, The Mass of Solid Knowledge.
As He was looking for a Guide to lead Him there,
An Old Bramana of uncommon features, who was collecting flowers caught His attention.
Sambanda’s Face blossomed like the lotus at the sight of the Sun.
He humbly asked the stranger,
Whence do you come? Where is Your Abode?
What brings your Noble Self here?”
The Old Man replied with faltering speech,
“Arundadri do I come from,
which is my residence also.
I have come here to collect flowers for worshipping the Lord there.”
“How far away is Shonadri?
Look at this dense jungle. Could you possibly lead me to that place?”
The Old Man replied quickly,
“It is not far away.
I come here daily in spite of My Old Age to gather flowers for the Lord’s worship.
Come let us go by a nice path.”
As the Stranger set out to return,
Sambanda earnestly enquired about His experiences with Arunachala.
The Old Man then embarked upon a description of the Matchless
and Wondrous Glories of The Great God Arunachala.
OLD MAN SAID:
“The Lord presiding over the sacred Land Arunachala,
The Wearer of the Sickle Moon and The Support of The Earth covered by garments of the Seas,
is verily the Supreme Lord - Parameshwara.
The Lord of Gods
Who appeared to The disputing Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu as a Column of Fire,
The Mahalinga Murti.”
“THE Manifestation of Arunachala Lingam”
“The Lord Who was One in the Beginning, willed that He become Many
( So Akamayata Bahusyam Prajayeyetie: Taittiriya Upanishad ),
Resulting in The Manifestation of the Primal Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu.
The Two Gods became haughty and vied with Each Other claiming superiority,
Despite the fact
that Both of Them had only limited powers.
Soon the Dispute turned into a Fierce Duel,
threatening the Peace of the Universe.
The Omniscient Lord Reasoned thus,
“If I Do Not Promptly Intervene And Stop The Quarrel,
The Well-Being Of The World Will Be Jeopardized.”
The All-Powerful Lord Manifested as an Effulgent Pillar of Light
with Unlimited Dimensions, spewing Fire.
Bewildered at the intimidating Manifestation,
Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu decided to find the Top and the Bottom of the Effulgent Column.
Lord Vishnu took The Form of a Boar and proceeded to reach the bottom
by digging into The Nether Regions with His Tusked Snout.
Lord Brahma, taking The Form of a Swam,
Flew into The Heavens to reach Its Summit.
Both failed miserably in Their attempts,
Driven as They were by Passion.
Brahma’s Wings and Vishnu’s Snout fully drained of power,
They returned to where They had started.
They stood transfixed in mute adoration of the Unfathomable Manifestation.
An Ethereal Voice spoke to Them,
“This Emanation Is A Form Of Shambu,
Appearing For Your Welfare.
Who Generates The Universe
Of The Moving And Unmoving
Has Created You Two.”
Both The Gods
Felt ashamed to have arrogated supremacy to Themselves,
While The Great Lord,
The Sole Cause of Creation,
The Dispenser of Auspiciousness.
Renouncing Their Vanity,
They praised Maheshwara thus,
“O Lord Of The Resplendent Form,
The Self Of The Moving And The Unmoving,
And The Solitary Prop Of The Universe!
Be gracious to Us.
Remove Our veil of Ignorance and reveal Your True Form.”
Taking pity on His Children who now turned humble and pious,
The Lord Appeared
In His more Familiar Form,
Having 3 Eyes and Matted Locks,
And Offered Them Boons.
The Gods in all Humility sought unflinching Devotion to His feet and Freedom from Vain Pride.
“This Linga Form
Taken by You to Bless Us with Boons
Is a Rare Grandeur and Peerless Features.
Pray continue to abide in That Form for The Sake of The Universe,
Withdrawing the raging Effulgence,
Lest it should scorched The Worlds.
Kindly remain Here as
With an Accessible Form,
Fulfilling Desires and Granting Liberation.”
The Easily-Pleased Lord replied,
“Be It So!”
And Remained There as They desired.”
“THE OLD MAN CONTINUED,
“O Auspicious One!
Hearken to more stories about This Hallowed abode.
It was Here that The Consort of The Lord,
Did Penance and Became Half of the Lord’s Body.”
This prompted Sambandu to seek the details of the Episode.
The Old Man resumed The Narration,
“Parvati Attains Half Of Shiva’s Body
The Lord Shankara was seated with Parvati
in a Mantapam with tall pillars embellished with luminous gems,
surrounded by groves rich in rare wish fulfilling floras.
This Place was acclaimed by all the Celestials.
Then Our Mother, The Lord’s Ever-Youthful Beloved,
Slipped behind Him.
Thinking that She was very dear to Her Lord,
“Let Me see what will happen if I close His eyes.”
With Her Lotus-Like Palms,
Parvati playfully covered The 3 Eyes of Shambu,
The Sun, The Moon, And The Cosmic Fire.
Deprived of Their Light,
The Worlds were soon enveloped by a Horrific Darkness.
In a trice countless Worlds were destroyed,
As a moment of Time in Kailasa meant Eons for the Universe.
The Guardians of the Quarters rushed to Parameshwara and reported
The Holocaust caused by the Inexplicable Darkness.
Then The Compassionate Lord bade Parvati
to remove Her Hands from His Eyes.
As soon as She withdrew Her Hands
The Worlds shone as before.
The Lord observed,
This childish and indiscriminate Act of Yours,
though done innocently has resulted in an untold Ruination.
Even I, The Destroyer, cannot think of such an Act except at The Ordained Time of Dissolution.
It does not befit You Who are The Universal Mother to have done so.”
Even this mild reprimand pained the Mother Shri Mata intensely.
Repenting over Her thoughtless act, which might tarnish The Dharma, The Eternal Order,
She pleaded with The Lord to suggest to Her the means for an effective Expiation.
The Lord replied,
You shall worship My Image for The Expiation for Your Misdeed.
In the bounteous Kanchipuram,
situated on the Banks of the Sin-Effacing Kampa River,
There is a Hallowed Mango Tree of lush foliage.
Perform Austerities there and become cleansed of Your Sin.”
Taking The Lord’s advice,
Mother Parvati promptly repaired to the Ordained Spot.
She made a Lingam out of Sand on the riverbed
and worshipped it for a long time in the prescribed 32 methods,
accompanied by the practice of Intense Austerities.
Lord Shiva, in a bid to test Her steadfastedness,
caused the river to swell in flood.
Fearing that the Sand Lingam might be washed away in the floodwater,
Devi ardently hugged it to Her Breast.
The Lingam with Its Imprints of The Mother’s Breast and Bangles
remains to This Day as a Pillar of Victory of Manmata, The Love God.
Devi then heard and Aerial voice speak thus,
installed and worshipped by You
shall remain as a Blessing to The World.
I abide on The Earth as Arunachala granting all kinds of Boons.
You can proceed to That Centre and propitiate Me in Your Ashram,
in accordance with the Methods of Worship prescribed by Sage Gautama,
I shall reveal My resplendent Form of Consciousness There.”
Gauri Devi, thenceforth, reached the Hermitage of Sage Gautama,
Who rushed ahead and received Her with Great Devotion and Trepidation.
The Sage worshipped Her in the Ceremonial Manner and divining Her Mission with His Yogic Vision, remarked as follows.
SAGE GAUTAMA SAID,
“It is clear That You have come Here at The Lord’s Wish
which will bring Auspiciousness and Protection to the Devotees.
To those Single-Minded Devotees of Shambu,
This Place has paramount significance.
as a Fiery Column -- to resolve a Dispute between Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu,
It later mellowed into a Stationary Lingam.
Now sporting a Cool Brilliance,
It has become renowned as Arunachaleshwara,
The Primal Manifestation of The Divine.
Upon the Successive Dissolution of 96 Brahmas,
a New Lord Brahma arose
from Lord Vishnu’s Navel
and created The Universe afresh.
Once, as requested by Indra,
He ( the New Brahma) created a Youthful Damsel of enticing looks.
Though She was to be employed to test the chastity of Munis,
Her dazzling countenance captivated Lord Brahma Himself,
who then now tried to pursue Her.
She took the form of a Doe and sped away and following suit, Lord Brahma became a Stag and pursued her.
She turned into a Dove and flew off in fear,
while the Latter chased Her in the form of an Eagle.
As The Two flew near The Arunachala Mount,
the Female cried out to The Lord for Protection.
Soon a Bowman emerged from the Hill and aimed an arrow
at the pursuing Lord Brahma who had donned a despicable guise.
Lord Brahma quickly got over His delusion and prostrated at The Lord’s Feet.
As He pleaded for Mercy--
The Lord Arunachalendra remarked,
“O Brahma, The Very Sight of Mine absolves One of All Sins, No Doubt.
The Kailasa, The Meru and such Holy Mounts reveal only a portion of My Glory,
This Hill Arunachala Is Verily Me.
Do a 100 pradakshinas in Silence around the Hill
Take a dip in the Brahma Tirtha.
and do 1 more pradakshina,
Which will absolve You of Your Sins completely
and let You resume Your Duties of Creation.”
Lord Brahma followed the Lord’s advice
and reclaimed His Lordship over the Celestial World.”
THE GLORY OF ARUNACHALA
SAGE GAUTAMA CONTINUED,
Lord Vishnu, under the influence of Yoginidra,
continued to sleep even after The Lapse of a Kalpa.
This caused The Universe to be enveloped by Nescience.
Then The Eternal Beings such as Nandi and Vishwaksena
prayed to The Consort Uma for the creation of a Fresh World.
The Lord issued forth 33 Crores of Celestials who succeeded in bringing Lord Narayana back to wakefulness.
Shri Lord Vishnu, with a Lotus arisen from His Navel,
“It is quite strange that I should sleep at an inappropriate time.
Surely It is Lord Shiva’s Maya.
In what way shall I make restitution?
I have no refuge but the All-Knowing and Compassionate Parama Shiva.”
At that instance,
Parameshwara appeared with a Dazzling Radiance.
Lord Vishnu saluted and praised Him with Devotion.
Lord Shiva said kindly,
“I revel as Arunachala on The Earth.
Its very sight shall remove Your Nescience.
In earlier times,
at Arunachala I have given boons to a Vishnu,
One of Your Predecessors.
Denizens of That Region are loathe to leave That Place, in spite of floods,
caused by heavy rains or the massive fires kept dormant in the Hill,
as the very Darshan of The Mount scorches and washes away One’s sins.
One realizes all His desires by propitiating the Lord at That Place.
Worship Me There and continue to protect The World.”
Ordaining Lord Vishnu thus, The 3-Eyed Lord disappeared.
Thereupon, Lord Vishnu reached Arunachala,
He undertook a Ceremonial Bath in the Holy Brahma Tirtham,
and with an Unsullied Mind and Steadfast Resolve, devoutly went round The Hill
and became absolved of All His Shortcomings.
Similarly, many others were blessed:
The Sun became The Controller of Planets.
The Moon got rid of Its disease obtained from curse by Daksa.
Indra was purified from the sin of slaying Vrtra, etc., and became the Chief of the Celestials.
Siddhas, Charanas, Gandarvas, Vidyadaras had Their wishes fulfilled.
On The Northern Facet of The Majestic Mount is a gigantic Banyan Tree,
Its circular shade covering a vast area.
At the base of this Tree,
The Great Lord Maha Deva dwells ever in The Form of a Siddha,
by the name of Arunagiri Yogi.
In the 4 Cardinal Directions of The Hill, at a distance of 2 Yojanas, are 4 hillocks.
The Devatas - Pusha (the Sun), Vishwamitra, Varuna, and Trishula - dwelling on These 4 Hillocks, are ever engaged in the Sweet Service of The Lord.
In the 8 Cardinal Points of The Hill are seen 8 Lingas, each bearing the name of the Deity presiding over that Direction.
There is a Temple of the Lord built by The Celestials for the Sake of Shiva Bhaktas. Sage Vamadeva worshipped the Lingam situated under the Vakula Tree, the Sthala Vriksha.
Sages Vasishta and Agastya established Shivalingas, which took Their names, and performed austerities.
The River Shona, of Holy Waters, flows by the Hill.
The Hallowed Penna River courses around the Hill in diligent service of The Lord.
I (Gautama) too worship the subtle Lingam of Arunachala,
Which brings auspiciousness to the World.
Many Kings of Yore conquered foes and regained Their Kingdoms
by devout Services to The Lord at various spots on The Hill.
You too, O Devi Parvati ,
Should worship the Hill-Shaped Shiva Lingam here for the fulfillment of Your Desires.”
Mother Gauri enquired of the Sage Gautama
as to how the Blazing Lingam cooled off and became accessible to Worshippers.
GAUTAMA CONTINUED AND SAID,
“This Hill is of The Form of:
A Fire in The Krita Yuga,
A Gem Hill in the Treta Yuga,
A Hill of Gold in The Dwapara and
An Emerald Mount in the Age of Kali.
As It spewed Fire,
The Hill was worshipped by The Devas from afar.
( “Asau Yastmro Aruna Uta Babhrus Sumangalah” : from Shri Rudram
The timeless Vedas thus extolled The Lord, As appearing in The Solar Orb.
As He rises behind the Horizon, He appears red or copper colored (Tamra) light red or rosy (Aruna) and golden hued (Babhrus). He is highly auspicious and dispels darkness.)
The Devas beseeched Him Thus,
“O Shankara manifesting as The Unapproachable Fiery Effulgence!
Obeisance to You! Pray cool down so We can come near You and Worship.”
Thereupon The Hill cooled down on the surface,
Its core still fiery, and remained dormant for the moment.
Soon, tirthas ( sacred pools) appeared around it.
Shri Maha Vishnu became purified by bathing in the Indra Tirtha in the East.
Agni was cleaned of the sin of adultery by dipping in the Agni Tirtha in the Southeast.
Yama was rid of the sin accrued from the Brahmastra Weapon, by taking plunges in the Yama Tirta in the South.
Munis bathed in the Southwestern Nairuti Tirtham and were released from the clutches of Evil Spirits.
Bathing in the Western Varuna Tirtham, Varuna became the God of The Seas.
Vayu became the Vital Force, “prana”, of The Universe by bathing in the Northwestern Vayuvya Tirtham.
Lord Narayana took a Ceremonious Bath in the Saumya Tirtham crowded by fragrant lotuses, in the North and obtained “Shri” (Maha Lakshmi) as His consort.
By taking Ceremonious dips in the Northeastern Ishanya Tirtham, The 9 Grahas (Planets) attained Their present status.
The Altogether Outstandingly Glorious Tank is in the Temple Precincts
called Brahma Tirtham, under the vigilant protection of Saraswati, Bhairava, Ganesha, Durga and Skanda.
There is another highly Hallowed Tank called Shiva Tirtham closer to an Inner Quarter.
Bhairava was relieved of the Skull of Brahma that stuck to His Hand, by bathing in It.
There are other Tirthas, like Ganga, Vasishta, Agastya, Vaishnava, Shani, Lakshmi, Skanda, Vaishwadeva and Ashwina.
Other than these,
Their proximity to Arunachala has endowed them with fabulous grandeur.
The Ganga serves The Shona Hill at the base;
The Yamuna from the Sky, and the Stream arising from The Moon serves The Hill near the Crest.
All These Waters of astounding glory and purity will appear to the Devotees at the time of Food Offering to the Lord.
Earlier, I prayed to Arunachala --
He of an imposing and magnificent stature --
As to how I could possibly worship Him in the procedure prescribed in the texts.
The All-Merciful One revealed Himself to Me
in a Form suitable to My Perception and declared,
“I shall manifest as a Subtle Lingam of Ethereal Charm displaying 50 diverse Shades.
It will be renowned as Arunadrishwara.
You must worship It with the Strength of Your Austerities as prescribed
in The Agama Texts.”
The Lord Manifested as a Swayambhu Lingam ( self-manifesting) in the Sanctum
surrounded by a number of Prakarams.
My Life’s sole purpose was fulfilled.
At The Lord’s Behest,
Vishwakarma built an enchanting City around The Temple to accommodate Devotees
and arranged for Ceremonial Worship of The Deity.
Those who offered materials for His Service enjoy mundane pleasures
and in the End will Merge with The Lord.
The Lingam consists of The Octonary (8) Form of The Lord and represents The Element Fire.
Those who reverently salute and devoutly circumambulate The Lingam, i.e., perform
Giri pradakshina, have Their accumulated Sins rendered naught
-- and escaping the vicious samsara, They attain The Eternal.
Before going on a pradakshina,
One should have a bath and put on simple, clean clothes.
One must go around The Hill slowly and steadily,
Wearing ashes and Rudraksha Garlands-malas, and enjoying The Bliss of repeating Lord Shiva’s Name.
The Devotee should visualize:
The Hill as of Fire in The Krita Yuga, as a Gem in The Treta Yuga, of Gold in The Dwapara, and of Turquoise in Kali.
Or One may imagine The Hill as a Clear Quartz Crystal,
Or as a Self-resplendent Ruddy Form,
and getting over One’s short comings thereby, attain the state of Shiva.
He who goes round barefoot sanctifies The Path by the dust of His feet,
the very sight of which bestows the state of Kailasa.
The rare feat of rolling all around the Hill would make One’s Body tough as a diamond and shine like gold. However, such a Bhakta does not hanker after worldly pleasures.
Why, Shiva Himself, accompanied by Devatas and Rishis,
circumambulates the Hill during the Holy Period of the Sun’s Northern Course called Uttarayana. One should therefore circumambulate only on foot, and never use a conveyance. It would mean falling from austerities and Shiva Dharma.
Once upon a time a King called Dharma Ketana came from Brahmaloka
And went around The Hill on Horseback.
By this virtuous act, the Horse forsook Its Animal Form and Left the King’s service.
He was transformed into a Gananata
and worshipped by The Celestials in The Realm of Shiva.
Astonished at this,
King Dharma Ketana too went on foot and became a Gananata Himself.
Another King, Vajragada,
followed prohibitive methods of Shaiva Dharma and thereby lost His Glory.
However, he became purified by surrendering to Shiva and attained Union with Him.
Two Vidyadaras, Kantishali and Kaladara,
incurred the curse of Durvasa
and were transformed into the lowly forms of a horse and a civet cat.
They regained Their former status by going round the Shona Hill.
The story goes as follows:
Vajrangada was a King of the Pandya Dynasty who wielded authority over a vast domain by virtue of His valor.
Once, He set out hunting on a horse in the forest around Arunachala.
Seeing a civet cat exuding enticing fragrance, He galloped in its direction to capture it.
In a fateful turn of events,
He fell head first of the horse, like a jiva falling from swarga upon the exhaustion of its merit.
He was lying on the ground, unable to get up. Then He saw 2 radiant forms of lightning luster emerging from the fallen bodies of the horse and cat.
They began to narrate Their Story:
“O King! Earlier We were Chiefs of Vidyadaras.
Once, We chanced to pass by a grove in the Sage Durvasa’s Ashram, near the Mount Meru. We took the liberty to pluck flowers from that Grove, and
Came into the fierce view of The Sage.
He let loose His Wrath on Us,
“You had arrogantly taken for granted
that You could behave in My Grove as You please and get away with it.
As You have desecrated this Hallowed abode of Mine,
One of You shall be born as a Horse on Earth and will be ill-treated by its Master.
The Other, for beings enamored by the scent of flowers,
shall become a civet cat and wander in the caves of a hill”
When We pleaded earnestly for His Mercy
He recommended to us Arunagiri Pradakshina,
saying that It amounted to circumambulating The World. He cited an example, too!
Once, Lord Subramanya was asked by Lord Siva to go around The World.
So Then He, The 6-Faced God of Mature Intelligence, went around Arunachala
and claimed the Lord Shiva’s Grace.”
The Vidyadaras continued,
“Later We got Our cursed Forms of Animals,
which We could overcome by going around The Arunachala Hill.
Your present pitiable state is the Result of Your circumambulating on Horseback.
It is not too late.
Continue the Pradakashina on foot.
Worship the Lord Arunacaleshwara with Water Lilies scented with civet.
Use Your Wealth for constructing Halls and Walls in The Temple and for The Renovation of Existing Ones.
Soon Your Desires will be fulfilled.”
Saying this the Two Vidyadaras returned to Their Realm.
Vajrangada entrusted His Kingdom to His Son Ratnaganda, went around the Hill Barefoot and attained Fulfillment.
IN Ancient Times, when the Celestial Nymph Tilottama was chased by Lord Brahma, She sought protection from The Lord.
Appearing as a Hunter, The Lord saved Her.
He still continues to abide in That Form at That Spot hallowed by several Sacred Tirthas.
Those Who dwell in Arunachala and Those visiting The Place,
and Those Who undertake charitable services to The Temple
and Worship to The Lord,
There is No Place more Sacred than Arunachala,
No mantra more efficacious then Panchakshari,
No Shaivite comparable to Lord Vishnu,
And No Talisman superior to Sacred Ashe (Vibhuti).
Even Kailasa or the Mandara Hills are No match to The Immaculate Hill.
In a word It Is “Unique”!
He Who dwells by this Giri (Hill) shall be transformed into Girisha (Shiva).
Those Extending Services there, according to Their Capacity, shall
Reap fruits in abundance. I.e.,
-A Spider weaved a web on The Hill, which shone like and umbrella.
For this Act, though insignificant, It was born as a king and, in That Life, offered valuable Garments to The Lord.
-An Elephant, after drinking water, shook Its trunk sprinkling a few drops over The Hill.
Again, when It romped in The Woods,
It chanced to scatter a few leaves on The Hill.
These simple Acts of Piety, though unintentional,
acquired for It the status of Gananata after Its Life.
-Even worms wallowing in The Mud Puddles on The Hill attain Pure Bodies
and reach The World Of Shiva in the end.
-Once, a Firefly helped out a Wayfarer with Its tiny light and became Liberated.
-A Bird while trying to snatch some food in a Temple
caused some cleaning of The premises by fluttering Its Wings
Such Innumerable Glories of The Lord defy description.
Who can cognize and comprehend The ways of the Lord Who Is beyond the reach of speech and the Limits of the mind.
O Devi Parvati,
resort without delay to the Loving Service of The Lord Arunachaleshwara
and achieve Your Goal without fail.
It is My firm conviction that Your Austerities are for the Upliftment of The World,
And You shall be Reunited with The Lord soon.”
PARVATI’S PENANCE AT ARUNACHALAM
Maha Devi, The Consort of The Great God,
Listened to the sagacious words of Sage Gautama in all earnestness, faith, and devotion and resolved thus,
“As You advise
I shall propitiate The Lord right Here and win His Heart.
And cultivating a Unitary Relationship with Him, I shall become Part of His Body.”
Later, She had a thatch hut built for Her in a spot designated by Sage Gautama and embarked upon a course of Tapas that was hitherto unheard of.
Soon, Her Brilliant Body started to radiate Purity and Devotion.
Parvati Devi installed a Shiva Lingam on Pravalagiri (Coral Peak),
and eastern Spur of Arunagiri,
And engaged Herself confidentially in Stringent Austerities.
She matted Her Hair,
smeared the Sacred Vibhuti over Her Body,
frugally covered Herself with Bark of Trees
and embarked upon an Unparalleled Tapas.
She appointed Satyavati, Vanavairi, Shubaga and Bandhumari for safeguarding the various entrances to Her Ashram.
She also installed the Valorous and Invincible Durga,
Who is but Her own Form, to protect the area.
THE SLAYING OF MAHISHASHURA
The Devas approached Her and sought protection from the Mighty Demon Mahishashura.
She assured Them that Mahisha would be killed at the appropriate time
and resumed Her tapas.
Then it chanced that Mahisha, during His hunting pursuits,
entered The Forest where Parvati’s hermitage was located.
His attempt to approach the Mother failed.
He thought awhile,
retreated into the thick of the jungle on a river bank,
and convened a meeting to contrive suitable strategies.
His companions, who were Adepts in Magic, managed to enter Parvati’s Tapovanam (Hermitage).
They saw Parvati and reported Her World-bewitching Form to Their Master.
Mahisha, unable to control His passion,
sent His army to vanquish Devi’s Guards and bring Her in captivity to Him.
But, as The warriors were soon routed by the 4 Shaktis at the entrance of Her Ashramas,
Mahisha dispatched more forces.
In no time, The Fight escalated into a Full-Scale war,
Prompting Durga Devi Herself to jump to action.
Durga Devi, Being an Aspect of Parvati,
manifested there in a Ferocious Form with 16 Arma, Sporting Weapons that blazed like Fire.
While Mahisha put up a fierce attack, being armed with a sword and shield,
- Durga Devi counterattacked with Sword, Shield and Discus.
As The War raged into Catastrophic Proportions,
The Devas prayed to Durga Devi earnestly,
“O Mother Of The Universe!
This War is but a Sport to You.
But The Worlds are reeling under agony by Its Effect.
Pray end the Game quickly.”
Durga Devi cast Mahisha to the ground
and pressing Him with Her Foot,
pierced His Chest with The Trident.
As He let out feeble moans,
but yet still living,
Devi danced on His Chest and severed His Head from the Trunk with Her Sword.
The Fierce, Happy and Dancing Devi was acclaimed as Mahishashura Mardini.
The Devas rained torrents of fragrant flowers on Her
and extolled Her praises to the accompaniment of celestial instruments,
heralding Her Victory.
They further appealed to Her,
“Though Beheaded, The Demon still haunts Our Imagination.
Let This Form of Yours, “Treading On The Buffalo-Headed Demon”,
Be permitted to be worshipped
grant Emancipation to the Devotees.”
Devi graciously replied,
“Be It so.”
She installed Her Fierce Form There
and regained Her earlier serene Aspect of Parvati.
She saw a Linga stuck to the throat of Mahisha. As She held it in Her Hand, It stuck to her Palm.
Unable to get it freed, however much She tried, She pondered,
“Surely this must be due to the killing of a Shiva Bhakta- Devotee.
How can I possibly be relieved of it?”
Then Sage Gautama consoled Her saying,
“No need to grieve.
He was a Siddha in His past Life, and as a result of incurring a curse,
He was born as a demon with a Buffalo Head and started to feed on Human Beings.
Once, an unfortunate Devotees wearing a Shivalingam chanced to be His Prey,
That is when The Linga got stuck in His throat.
Thus, His past merits brought Him into the contact of The Shivalinga
also Your Lotus feet,
which freed Him of the sinful Curse
It is said that One who could somehow wear a Shiva Linga,
be it without faith or even with hatred,
would be fit for Liberation.
Even treacherous and heinous crimes,
for which no means of expiation are prescribed,
Will be nullified at the very sight of the Red Mount Arunachala.”
Nonetheless, Maha Devi’s Contrition could not be assuaged.
At this juncture,
She was addressed by an Aerial Voice thus,
“Let the 9 Tirthas arise in Unison from the Rocky Ground!
Cleave the Earth with Your trident to let the 9 Sacred Streams
--The Ganga, The Yamuna, The Sindhu, The Godaveri, The Saraswati, The Shona Tirtham, The Shona River, The Kaveri and The Narmada --
All spring forth as a Single Stream.
Commencing on the day with the Moon in the Constellation Jyesta,
in the month of Ashwayuja (September-October),
You must undertake Ceremonial Baths daily repeating The Aghamarshana Mantra
Aghamarshana Mantra (Prayer for destruction of sin)
Om ritam cha satyam cha abidat tapaso dhyajayata. Tato ratryajayata, tata samudro arnavaha.
Om samudradarnavadadi samvatsaro ajayata. Ahoratrani vidadad vishwasya mishato vashi.
Om surya chandramasu data yata purvamakalpayat. Divam cha pritivim chantarikshamato swaha. www.vedicpath.com/Aghamarshana.htm: explanation),
making Your dwelling near The Linga by The Tirtha.
Worldly fears and sorrows will be removed
and as I am cooled by the breeze flowing over the Tirtha,
there will be no drought in the Region.
install The Linga that was separated from Your Palm,
on the Bank, and naming it as Papanasham,
Worship It with a Serene Mind filled with Devotion.
You must meticulously perform My Worship with due austerities and sacrifices,
Ranging from Vaishwadevam to Devayagam.
Commencing thus on the asterism of Uttarasadha,
And perform Avabrita bath in the asterism of Krittika.
Worship Me in the Form of Arunachala as prescribed in the texts
and I shall reveal to You My Resplendent Form.”
Devi Parvati caused a cleft in the rock with Her Trident and the 9 Tirthas emerged.
She bathed in The Sacred Waters along with The Lingam.
While The Sacred Waters pacified Her heart longing for The Lord,
Her Body Luster rendered The Waters of Black Color.
Installing the Linga on the bank,
She spent 1 month, near the Tirtha, at the end of which,
She returned from the spot and performed Devotsavam.
In the month of Kartika and in the asterism of Krittaka,
She contemplated on The Lord and prayed thus,
If You consider that I am freed of sin,
Let Your Effulgent Form which was, of yore,
Vouchsafed to Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu,
Be revealed to Me.”
At this. The Lord’s all-filling brilliance flooded Her Vision.
The Blue-Throated and Golden-Hued Lord Shiva emerged from His manifestation
and spoke to Her these Sweet Words,
“Devi, I am extremely pleased by Your Rigorous Tapas.
By Darshan of My Transcendental Form,
You have been cleansed of the error of closing My Eyes,
Which drowned The Worlds Darkness.
Earlier, Your Son Kumara ( Murugan aka Subramanya) has been nursed by the 6 Celestial Virgins (The Krittikas), thus leaving Your Breasts unsuckled.
You shall become renowned in The Universe as Apitakuchambika or Apitastananayaki
(The Mother or Devi of Unsuckled Breasts).
Come and Unite with Me, My Dear!”
Saying This, The Lord merged into The Hill.
Following Gautam’s instructions,
Devi went around the Hill
accompanied by Munis, Goddesses such as Lakshmi, Saraswati and Sachi, and the chaste Arundhati.
Envisaging the Self-created Hill of Fire as the Sacred Fire in The Wedding, and Herself as the Bride seeking the Hand of the Groom, who was none other than The Lord,
She completed the Giri Pradakshina.
She prostrated, saluted and praised the Wish Fulfilling Lord of 8-Fold Form.
The Generous and Compassionate Lord,
who is worshipped by all the Celestials,
She feasted Her Eyes on His Comely Form.
What a momentous Scene It was!
Devi’s Whole Frame was overwhelmed, as it were, by an Intense Horripilation.
She prostrated and saluted repeatedly and managed to utter these Prayerful Words,
"May We be inseparable Hereafter.
Let the Worlds flourish thereby.
May The Region abound with the presence of Devas, Brahmana and Other Humans.
Let Your Immaculate and Wish-Fulfilling Form be worshipped with Festivities and Celebrations for Eternity.”
The Lord pleased the Benevolent Devi, His Beloved,
by granting All Her prayers,
including for Her Being One Half of His Body,
and bestowed additional Blessings on The World.
At His bidding,
Vishwakarma, The Celestial Builder, constructed a Beautiful City around The Hill that was glorified as Arunachala -- undoubtedly the First and Foremost of All Cities.
Lord Shiva manifested there as a Self-Born Lingam to be worshipped by Kings, Panditas and All others,
And shone as The Bestower of Boons to The Devotees
Those Who devotedly worship
the Beloved Better Half of the Goddess Apitakuchanayaki,
Shall be rid of all sins and shortcomings.
Those Who read, hear or remember
These Wondrous Accounts of
The Great Lord Arunachaleshwara
Shall attain the Immortal State of Shivam."