Girivalam is a monthly Holy walk performed on the ‘Pournami’ Full Moon Day around the Tiruvannamalai ‘Hill’ the Giri. Unlike other circum ambulation which are usually performed around a deity or a sanctum sanctorum Girivalam is performed around the Tiruvannamalai hill which is itself Lord Shiva.
Here are the most important things to follow during Girivalam
1. Perform Girivalam with People
It is always good and divine to perform Girivalam with your Friends and Family other than performing it alone.
2. Chant Arunachala hymn
During the Girivalam avoid talking or chatting unnecessarily, keep chanting the ‘Arunachala Shiva…’ hymn
Iha Para Sukha Dayaka, Esha (Sai), Iha Para Sukha Dayaka
Om Namah Shivaya, Shivaya Namah Om”
3. Avoid Footwear
This is the most important and foremost rule that you should follow. Never wear any kind of Footwear during Girivalam. Remember you are not going around a temple but climbing around on Lord Shiva himself.
4. See Arunachala Peak
Through out the Girivalam keep an eye on the Arunachala Peak, if possible before every step you keep to seek His blessings. Looking at the peak will also give you the energy to keep your next step.
5. Feed Animals
Try to buy some ‘Pori’ and ‘Biscuits’ for the monkeys and dogs on the path and feed them.
6. Carry Necessary Food
Buy enough water and some little eatables to eat and drink while you walk.
Note: Remember you are performing the holy Girivalam not as a pleasure trip but to seek blessings from Lord Arunachaleshwarar so avoid playing around, respect the Siddhars and Sadhus you cross don’t make unwanted comments on them.
Thiruvannamalai all along these years have been the land of divinity and peace. The mountain is sacred by itself as it is considered as Lord Shiva. No where on this earth a whole mountain is considered sacred. Many Hindu temples from Kailash to Sabarimala are considered sacred only because God’s abode is on their top but the Hill of Thiruvannamalai is itself a Linga form of Lord Shiva.
But is that all that brings people to Thiruvannamalai, no certainly not. Thiruvannamalai is a region full of beautiful forest and calm atmosphere. Coming to Thiruvannamalai gives tranquility to oneself. The place make you think more about God. The peace-fullness adorns you to think more about your Inner-self like no other place.
The Pure air lushing through the natural herbs becomes the natural medicine and that’s an important reason for many Sadhus and Siddhars to come settle in Thiruvannamalai.
What is Divinity
The world has been here for Zillions of years, every Living organism since then has always been longing for a state of sanctity and divinity. Divinity comes with Peace when you sit alone in a calm place with your eyes closed your mind rewinds all the past happenings clearing all the worldly affairs. When you wake up you feel fresh as you have cleared all the scrap and that is the power of Silence and Thiruvannamalai gives you that Peace.
It’s now time for you to reach Thiruvannamalai, find your place stay calm and experience the tranquility and divinity within. Remember living in Thiruvannamalai is living with God himself.
There are many sacred mountains around the World and especially in Hinduism where the Deity is always at the top of the mountain, for instance take Tirupati where Lord Venkateshwara is on the top of the Holy Mountain but in Tiruvannamalai the Temple of Lord Arunachaleshwarar is on the Foot of the Mountain. In Tiruvannamalai the Sacred Mountain is itself the Sanctum Sanatorium.
In Thiruvannmalai Lord Shiva is worshipped by climbing his Holy Mountain bare footed and that is called ‘Girivalam’ in Tamil which translates to Giri- Mountain & Valam going around. In Sanskrit it is called as Giripradikshina. Climbing the mountain on a Full moon day is the most sacred event in Thiruvannamalai.
The great Devine Poet Arunagirinathar says ‘Be they of lowly birth, without the advantage of learning, unable to practise the virtue of liberality, it is of no account. Those who perform pradakshina of holy Aruna, the Supreme, submit to his rule and become his devotee, will excel even amongst the most excellent . . .’
The path of Girivalams has lot of small Shrines and Lingas all over, even today Sidhars are believed to live there in the mountains.On every Pournami Day (Full Moon) lakhs of devotees throng the town of Tiruvannamalai to worship the Aadhi Linga which is the Mountain itself.No where else in the world a whole mass of land is considered holy and worshiped as God.
During the month of Karthigai to commemorate Lord Arunachala the God of Fire, a huge Deepam (Lamp) is lit on top of the Arunachala Hill. On Karthigai Deepam Lord Shiva is said to come to earth spreading light to the already darkened world.
Living in Tiruvannamalai is nothing but living on the feet of God himself to find ourselves that is nothing but finding Arunachala in us. Many great saints such as Bhagawan Sri Ramana Maharishi settled on the foothills just to experience God in him.
Today the world is facing one of Mankind’s largest and worst ever turmoil in the name of the Coronavirus. This disaster is spread all along the world without any differences. The Many world is paralysed but the heavenly earth keeps spinning, Trees are Happy, Animals are Happy, Its raining as usual, we get to see the mountains far away and our air seems to be clear.
This has a big lesson to us. Major Chadwick an American disciple of Bhagavan once asked him ‘Do you have disciples?’ Bhagavan swiftly answered No, he further asked ‘You say we need a Guru to attain Liberation?” Bhagavan answered Yes. Both the questions and the answers seemed very contrary to one another, confused Chadwick asked Bhagvan Shri Ramana Maharishi ‘I am Confused’ Bhagavan explained him ‘What do you think brought you here such a long distance and made you remain so long? Why do you doubt? If there had been any need to seek a Guru elsewhere you would have gone away long ago.’
This answer opens up a huge ocean of philosophy, Bhagavan always said ‘Don’t search your master outside, but search within’ and that’s what Thiruvannamalai is all about. Thiruvannamalai is a Land where people realize their self, the calmness on these mountains tells every human who he is and his purpose of life.
Man was born to lead a life of equality and search himself within him, Ramana Maharishi always advocated equality in every sense, he never differentiated between his deciles, he never saw their status, colour, religion, caste or creed. Bhagavan Ramana Mahirishi lived an example for Equality.
When we see things happening around the world today we miss Bhagavan to the fullest. People who frequent to Thiruvannamalai will know the true sense of Unity and equality on every step we keep on the Girivalam path. In Thiruvannamalai everyone searches for their inner selves at the feet of Lord Arunachaleshwarar. You may find people sitting all over forgetting their Rich, Power, every worldly affair they poses.
We wish this Evil will go away soon and People come to Thiruvannamalai in search of Peace.