It is a long while since we came to Tiruvannamalai, not knowing what was awaiting, not having a clue what to do. Just guided by a fool's conviction we left everything behind, bringing a lot of pain and confusion to many. It was unknown to us, so we grew a habit of fabricating stories, of which some were true and some were dreams yet to be realized, in order to satisfy the many questions, doubts and guidances we got from all around. However it was, we were never doubting our path, although we sometimes had to seriously question our decisions.
It has been a very hard journey ever since on the lap of Arunachala. They say Tiruvannamalai is Agni Bhoomi, which translates as the Land of Fire. It surely is. Right now (April 15th 2022) it must be plus 40 degrees Celsius outside at two pm. The Sun is merciless from 8 am to anyone daring to crawl out from the AC-cooled rooms. The land is harsh in here too. Dust is everywhere and people develop allergies and chronic conditions just by living in the healthy and clean nature away from the cities and pollution. Such is the welcoming spirit of Tiruvannamalai. Externally.
They say that blessed are those, who can live their lives with Arunachala. The Mountain is said to be Shiva Himself; not the abode (like is said about Mt Kailash of Tibet), but the physical manifestation of the energy. According to common transcription of the Hindu mythology Shiva is one of the Trinity of main Deities (Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, Shiva the Destroyer). Shiva is often described as fierce and fiery, merciless to its enemies.
Esoterically or Mystically, the interpretation would be the destroyer of karma, and karmic bonds. This would be analogous to a gardener, who mercilessly prunes the roses and trees into shapes and forms, in which they best bring out their essence, beauty and fruits. No gardener would leave dead branches and wild shoots growing and spoiling the harmony, irrespective of how alive and lush they would look like to be. Such is the energy of Shiva. No off-shoot will remain un-checked. No bad habit un-punished, until there is none but the essence left to shine forth for others to enjoy.
We don't claim such status or merit, but we have definitely had our share of the experience to the extent that we can personally vouch for its ingenuinity. The beauty of cleansing the minds and hearts of people lies in the emerging conviction and clarity. Purpose emerges from the confusion or desolation. It may in the beginning be a small purpose, or a short-lived one. However, when met with clarity and conviction, a new purpose will emerge. One has begun to align with one's true nature. A seemingly slow process it is.
When watching relentlessly a tree grow, one can never say when it grew the next inch, when it branched, but afterwards, one can pick the fruit from the branch, or realize the shade of the leaves topping one's head. The results are undeniable, although the process may always remain unseen.