Tiruvannamalai is temple-mountain towns where God appears as a phallus of fire. Set below boulder-strewn Mt Arunachala, this is one of South India's five ‘elemental’ cities of Shiva.
Sri Ramana Maharshi was also aware of the special energy of Mt Arunachala. According to him, the mountain is a source of silent transmission. It emits a “jamming signal” that stops and silences the mind. This has led to Mt Arunachala being called the most silent place on earth.
Hindus consider Mt Arunachala to be a manifestation of Lord Shiva himself. Both Hindu pilgrims and spiritual devotees are united in their pursuits by Mt Arunachala. Certain sacred sites around the world are believed to buzz with energy and evoke a strong connection to the divine, and this holy mountain is one of them.
What makes this mount so special? The Virupaksha Cave in the Mount Arunachala which has been venerated since more than 700 years ago because it was used by the saint Virupaksha and because Ramana Maharshi lived in it for 16 years from 1899 to 1916? No, it’s not. It is special not because some caves we knew well but unknown healing caves. They are small, simple with no construction around except for a sort of stone wall at the entrance, seem like craggy boulders. These caves weren’t easy to get to and were unremarkable looking.
Here is the experience of Sharell Cook about her meditation process inside one of these caves:
“Inside, Ashok instructed me to sit down in a certain place, put my hands in certain positions on the roof of the cave, and meditate. It wasn’t easy. I was hot and sweaty from climbing up the mountain. I was also both tired from my travels and energized by the strong coffee I’d had earlier. And, my mind was chattering, asking me what the heck I was doing. None of it was a good combination for meditation. At times, I just sat there, gazing out into nature with my eyes half open. I could easily see the hazy energy fields of the trees and plants.
Gradually, I started noticing a strange thing happening to me. I began feeling very light and relaxed. And then, even lighter. The longer I sat in the cave, the stronger I felt the energy becoming. Time passed quickly, but I must’ve been in there for around an hour when all of a sudden, my mind became completely quiet. I no longer had to try and focus it to be quiet. It just was. There was no way I could even think about anything. There was nothingness. Just a feeling of such lightness, of being completely disconnected from my body, and of my energy merging with the energy of everything else around me.”
Now you know, the most silent place in the world is where its powerful energy has the astonishing ability to quieten your mind the most. Maybe it right for someone, maybe not but I hope you will experience this place when you are in India, maybe it will help you find the most silent place in your soul.
- JJ -