Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 29 Oct 2021


What does the following story of Arunachaleshwar in Thiruvannamalai mean?

[Smt. Suganya Raman asked: Pādanamaskāram Dear Swamiji! Swamiji, growing up, I have heard the following stories and have believed it too. But now, I feel there is something more to it.

Story of Arunachaleshwar in Thiruvannamalai (Story taken from the arunachaleshwara temple website):

The Creator Lord Brahmaa and Protector Lord Tirumal entered into a controversy among themselves so as to ascertain who was the greatest. Lord Shiva was asked to be the judge. Lord Shiva told them that whoever was able to see His crown or His feet would be termed as the greatest. Then Lord Shiva transformed Himself into a Jyoti (a column of fire) touching the heaven and earth. Tirumal took the avatar of Varaaha (wild boar) and dug deep into the earth to find Shiva's feet but at last accepted defeat. Brahmaa took the form of a swan and flew to see the crown of Shiva. Unable to see the crown, Brahmaa saw a thazhambu (screw pine) flower which had decked Shiva's crown falling down. He asked the flower as to the distance of Shiva's crown whereby the flower replied that he had been falling for forty thousand years. Brahmaa, realizing that He would not be able to reach the crown asked the flower to act as a false witness.

The thazhambu flower acting as a false witness declared that Brahmaa had seen the crown. Shiva became angry at the deception and cursed that Lord Brahmaa should have no temple on earth and that the thazhambu flower should not be used while praying to Lord Shiva. The place where Lord Shiva stood as a column of fire to eliminate the ego is Tiruvannaamalai.

When Lord Brahmaa is the giver of knowledge that is like gold, it’s painful to see that we people look down at the form of Brahmaa. People worship Goddess Sarasvati for Vidyaa, but also are very comfortable in accepting Lord Brahmaa as a liar!!! This can't be the only reason that Lord Brahmaa doesn’t have temples na Swamiji?

Why should we try to belittle something always, when we are trying to emphasize another? Here any form of God, if disrespected, isn’t disrespecting Ultimate God as such? Understanding that Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva are one, I am hopeful that there is an underlying significance to be understood in any divine drama.  Kindly enlighten me Swamiji! At Your Divine Lotus Feet, Your servant Suganya Raman, Ever grateful, Suganya Raman]

Swami Replied:- All such stories are only to preach good lessons to humanity. In the above story Brahmaa, Vishnu and Shiva were taken as the actors to play their selected roles. You may ask that why such highest Gods are taken as actors and instead some ordinary angels could have been selected to play this drama meant for preaching good ideals to humanity. The reason is that if you say that even the greatest God has done a blunder, you will feel that how powerful is that blunder. Hence, everybody will concentrate on the blunder deeply since even God could not escape from it.

This story introduces three types of people. One is God Shiva, who did not enter into the quarrel between Brahmaa and Vishnu to claim Himself as the greatest. God Shiva plays in the role of best person, who knows that the real greatness goes to the unimaginable God called ParaBrahman. God Vishnu and God Brahmaa indicate two persons having ego entering into quarrel with each other regarding the supreme greatness. Between God Brahmaa and God Vishnu, God Vishnu indicates the person, who is truthful even if ego existed with Him. God Brahmaa represents the worst person, who not only is having ego, but also for using fraud to protect His ego. This whole drama represents that even a truthful person may get ego like the role of God Vishnu and also preaches through the role of God Brahmaa that even a person can be not only egoistic but also fraud. By preaching these three types of personalities, this drama advices the humanity that the best person neither has the ego nor fraud, a person is better if he has only ego and not fraud and a person having both ego and fraud is the worst. Here, the worst person is indicated by the role of God Brahmaa, who is the author of supreme Spiritual knowledge called the Veda. This means that a person may be very good scholar in Spiritual knowledge, but, his practical behaviour may be worst. This shows that the fruit always comes to the action but not to knowledge. Both Brahmaa and the flower standing as false witness were cursed by God Shiva indicating that not only a sinner, but also the supporter of sin is punished by God.