Sonntag, 14. September 2008

7.1. Sri Ramana and Arunachala

That is the holy place.
Of all, Arunachala is the most sacred.
It is the heart of the world.
Know it to be the secret and sacred Heart-centre of Shiva.

(from the Arunachala Puranam)

Arunachala, situated in the wide plain of Southern India, is considered to be a holy hill and one of the most sacred places in India. It has been venerated for many thousands of years. From time immemorial ascetics and saints have lived in the many caves on the eastern slope of the mountain.

The Sanskrit name Arunachala means red mountain (aruna = dawn, also the colour crimson; achala = hill, also the immovable). Figuratively ‘aruna’ also stands for the liberated state which is beyond the opposites, ‘achala’ stands for the immovable, for stability and silence. Arunachala is the centre where all forces are in balance, a place of harmony. It is reported that Shankara said that Arunachala is mount Meru, which, according to Indian mythology, is the axis of the world, the centre of the universe and the dwelling place of the Gods. Ramana also interpreted Arunachala as sat-chit-ananda (being-consciousness-bliss).

Geologically Arunachala is an isolated massif of volcanic rock in the Eastern Ghats. It is older than the Himalayas and therefore the oldest natural shrine on earth. Although only 2,682 feet high it dominates the landscape for miles around. Various medicinal plants grow on its slopes. During the monsoon, from July to November, violent rivers of rainwater flow down the hill, whereas from April to June everything is dry.

In the past, particularly on its northern and southern slopes, Arunachala was covered in woods and inhabited by wild animals such as tigers, panthers and snakes of all kinds. But even during the time the Maharshi was living there, little remained of this original flora and fauna. The foot of the hill retained a small jungle inhabited by various rodents, lynx, jackals, snakes and of course large numbers of monkeys.

Today Arunachala is suffering an environmental crisis, with in-creasing water pollution in the many water tanks, the unauthorized building of huts and houses, the noise of loudspeakers and increasing amounts of traffic. The wood has almost completely disappeared, with only a few bushes and shrubs remaining. Climate change has meant that the rainfall has decreased. As a result, a few years ago, a reforestation and environmental protection project was set in motion.

Keine Kommentare: