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Thiruvannamalai Maha Karthikai Deepam

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அதுவேதலம் அருணாசலம் தலம்யாவிலும் அதிகம்
அதுபூமியின் இதயம்அறி அதுவேசிவன் இதயப்
பதியாமொரு மருமத்தலம் பதியாம் அவனதிலே
வதிவானொளி மலையாநிதம் அருணாசலம் எனவே
- பகவான் ஸ்ரீ ரமண மஹர்ஷி


Arunachala is the place (that deserves to be called a holy place)!
Of all places it is the greatest! Know that it is the heart (centre)
of the earth. It is Siva Himself. It is a secret place representing
the Heart. Lord Siva always abides there as a glorious hill called

Karthikai Deepam, the festival of lights basically a Tamil festival is celebrated throughout Tamil Nadu during the month of Karthikai (November-December). Not many of us are aware that it is one of the oldest festivals celebrated in the State, perhaps even before people began celebrating Deepavali and Navarathri.
The Karthikai Deepam day commemorates the appearance of the Lord as a jothi sthambam, an infinite pillar of light at Arunachala, so it is called as Maha Deepam. This festival falls in the Tamil month of Kartigai when the star Krithika is on the ascendant and usually on a full moon day.

Old Tamil saying: “To see Chidambaram, to be born at Tiruvarur, to die at Banaras or even to think of Arunachala is to be assured of Liberation.” “Even to think of” because in the case of the direct path physical contact is not necessary
Bhagawan Ramana called Arunachala the spiritual Heart of the world. Aruna, which means ‘red, bright like fire’, does not signify the mere fire that gives off heat. Rather, it is Jnanagni, the Fire of Wisdom, which is neither hot nor cold. Achala signifies hill. Thus, Arunachala means the ‘Hill of Wisdom’

There is a Puranic story about the origin of the hill. Once Vishnu and Brahma fell to disputing which of them was the greater. Their quarrel brought chaos on earth, so the Devas approached Siva and besought him to settle the dispute. Siva thereupon manifested himself as a column of light from which a voice issued declaring that whoever could find its upper or lower end was the greater. Vishnu took the form of a boar and burrowed down into the earth to find the base, while Brahma took the form of a swan and soared upwards to seek its summit. Vishnu failed to reach the base of the column but “beginning to see within himself the Supreme Light which dwells in the hearts of all, he became lost in meditation, oblivious to the physical body and even unaware of himself, the one who sought”. Brahma saw the flower of an alse plant falling through the air and, thinking to win by deception, returned with it and declared he had plucked it from the summit.
Vishnu admitted his failure and turned to the Lord in praise and prayer: “You are Self-knowledge. You are OM. You are the beginning and the middle and the end of everything. You are everything and illuminate everything.” He was pronounced great while Brahma was exposed and confessed his fault.
In this legend, Vishnu represents the mind and Brahma the intellect, while Siva is Atma, the spirit. The story continues that, because the lingam or column of light was too dazzling to behold, Siva manifested himself instead as the Arunachala hill, declaring: “As the moon derives its light from the sun, so other holy places shall derive their sanctity from Arunachala. This is the only place where I have taken this form for the benefit of those who wish to worship me and obtain illumination. Arunachala is OM itself. I will appear on the summit of this hill every year at Kartigai in the form of a peace-giving beacon.” This refers not only to the sanctity of Arunachala itself but also to the pre-eminence of the doctrine of Advaita and the path of Self-enquiry of which Arunachala is the center. One can understand this meaning in Sri Bhagavan’s saying, “In the end everyone must come to Arunachala.”
தீபதர்சன தத்துவம்இத்தனுவே நானா மெனுமதியை நீத்தப்
புத்தியித யத்தே பொருந்தியக நோக்கால்
அத்துவித மாமெய் யாக்ச்சுடர்காண் கைபூ
மத்தியெனும் அண்ணா மாலைச்சுடர்காண் மெய்யே.
- ஸ்ரீபகவான்

Significance of the Beacon
Getting rid of the ‘I am the body’ idea, turning the mind inwards,
and merging it in the Heart to realize the real, non-dual and
Effulgent Self, is the real significance of seeing the beacon on
Annamalai, the centre of the universe.
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