One day like today, many lifetimes ago, the Gods Brahma and Vishnu were arguing over who is the greatest. Brahma in Hinduism is the creator of the universe. He is the most sage-like of the Gods, with white hair as soft as a the wings of a swan and a white beard. He holds a kapala, or a vase, in one hand in which he carries the water that he uses to create the world. In the other he holds beads with which he chants. In some depictions of Brahma he has two more hands in which he holds the Vedas in one and a lotus in another but on this day, years ago, Brahma was human-like and limited by the reach of two arms. Vishnu, known as the protector of the universe, is always well dressed. He is the richest of the gods for who does he have for a wife but the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, herself. While Brahma radiates an aged and wise white color, Vishnu is adorned in gold. He holds a conch in one hand and Sudarshana chakra, a spiked wheel, his weapon of choice, in the other. The third most famous of the Gods is Shiva. Shiva, the intense young man who is adorned with snakes and rudraksha beads and wearing the skin of a tiger for clothes, was not present when Brahma and Vishnu started their argument. But, worry not, he will make his illuminating appearance soon.
Both Vishnu and Brahma had a well versed argument in how they are the greatest God in the universe. “I am the creator” Brahma said “If not for me, there would be no world, no universe”. Vishnu retorted, “I am the protector. How could the world continue to thrive without me?” They bickered for eons, as many foolish arguments go. Each came up with a better argument than the last. At last, after the sun moved around the center of the milky way galaxy a few times, they called Shiva to settle the dispute.
Amused, unperturbed, Shiva took the form of a grand unending pillar of light. “He who finds the end of me first will be named the greatest God in the universe” he declared. And immediately, they were off in separate directions eager to prove themselves, Brahma toward Shiva’s head and Vishnu toward his feet.
Their enthusiasm faded quickly. For another million years they traveled, each in their respective direction. Brahma grew wearisome. He wondered how far Vishnu had gotten. He wondered if this was all just a joke against him, to make him look like a fool to the other Gods. Suddenly, he came upon a flower that was falling down.
“Oh flower!” Brahma called. “From where are you coming?”
“From Shiva’s ear!” the flower responded.
So there is an end to this shaft of light Brahma thought. “How long have you been falling ,sweet flower” he inquired further.
“Oh, just four lifetimes of yours” she answered.
Brahma was shocked. Four of my lifetimes. It’s impossible for me to win this! An idea took hold of him. He took the flower and raced back down to the beginning of his journey.
“I’ve done it! I found the end! I found the end!” he joyously claimed to Shiva and Vishnu, who quickly returned at Brahma’s call. “Look and I brought this flower from your ear to prove it”
Shiva, however, saw through Brahma’s cunning strategy. Angered, he cursed Brahma to never be worshiped in a temple. And even today, there is no puja, or ritual, done for Brahma in any major temple of India. After seeing this, Vishnu surrendered. “Oh Lord! I have realized my errors! There is no God greater than you!” he admitted.
And it was then that Shiva was established the greatest God of all.
Arunachala marks the place where the Shiva as a light shaft went through the Earth. This is why it is such a powerful spiritual incubator in our world-powerful enough to attract the rarest incarnation of all time.