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Arunachaleshwara Temple: A Big God in a Big Temple under the 'Biggest' Mountain  

July 2015


I’m sitting in Arunachaleshwara Temple, Periya Kovil, the Big Temple, as we commonly call it here. It's Pradosham that sacred time when we worship the faithful servant of Siva, the bull Nandi, who represents the Jiva (individual-self) in surrender to Siva-Peruman, carrying the Lord in his heart.


I’m reminded of that verse from the bible that says "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning..." (Lamentations 3:22-23)


Truly! How inexhaustible, how big, how generous and lavish, overflowing with love is our God!

Yes, this is Big Temple! Not just physically but also in a more subtle and greater sense. Here I feel my heart expands and opens wide to embrace something so large, so full, and beyond me. I come here almost every day but this Temple never ceases to leave me standing in awe at the Majesty of our Siva-Peruman, the Great One.


Truly, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning...


I see Ganesha, that huge God with a big belly. He contains all things, he embraces all things... Indeed, no obstacle can stand in his way! And I feel humbly small and invincibly strong at the same time, as I stand before this enormous manifestation of Divinity.


I look up and see Arunachala, the big Mountain, the ‘biggest’ mountain, the ever expanding mountain, the never-changing immovable Reality, the mountain in which all is contained. It fills the space above the Temple. Even the sky seems to hide his boastful expansiveness and fades away behind great Arunachala.


O Arunachala, your son stands before his Father in awe... mercy never ceasing, love never ending, glory and power ever flowing... and no matter how much i drink of you I’m ever thirsty for more of you, for you endlessly enlarge my heart with each sip... O that this little stream will merge into the Great Ocean...


Truly, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning...


And, there’s my dear Muruga, radiant Light, beauty unsurpassed, highest wisdom... And Mother Shakti, Unnamulai Ambal, the glorious Supreme Mother whose heart rejects none and embraces all. What a Great God indeed!


I notice the thousands of figures of Divinity on the Gopurams (the towers of temple). The ONE expands into thousands of forms to play with us in the fleeting moments of samsara. What a big, generous, expansive vision of God – One in many forms!


Truly, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning...


And I see throngs of devotees filling the temple, a never-ending sea of the faithful flowing in and out. These too are expansions of the One great mystery. Together we melt into one big river of emotions and stories flowing towards the Great Ocean. And we all are coming to the only One whose arms are big enough to embrace each one of us and hold us altogether... Siva-Sakti, Ummai-Appa, Mother-Father of the Universe.


What a Big God, in a Big Temple, Manifest as the Biggest Mountain, in the little cave of my heart.


Tell me, is there any greater than our Siva-Peruman?


One with many names - Yahwah, the Father of Christ, Allahu Akbar, the Great One, MahaVishnu, the Expansive One, Sakti, the all-powerful One, and here I stand at Arunachala with lips and heart shouting... Hara Hara, Mahadeva, Siva, Siva, NaMaSiVaYa...


Truly, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning...


Siva, Siva, NaMaSiVaYa...


Love and Light,


Fr Kumeran

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