[The below narrative is credited to Mullai Achagam of Tiruvannamalai]
"On this glorious planet called Earth which is so unique in the entire Universe in that it has a day of 12 hours with the Sun and another equal 12 hours with the Moon. This Holy Hill of Tiruvannamalai is its veritable ornament indeed, as its the oldest and the most majestic mountain on Earth, from both the geographical and spiritual points of view.
Our sacred scriptures do proclaim that the Lord of this vast Universe manifested Himself as a huge column of effulgent fire tipping the very heaven, and that even the Lord of Creation Brahma, and the Lord of Protection Vishnu were not able to reach its top or bottom when they each tried to do so, at the glorious Time of that splendid Divine manifestation, in those days of yore long ago.
It is thus no wonder that this sacred Hill had been, has been and will be attracting from time to time great saints and true seekers of Divinity. Earnest Visitors to the sacred Caves on this Hill bear witness to this solemn Truth, forever, even to this day they are face-to-face with Infinity itself in all its Glory.
Great Cave dwellers—Guhai Namasivayar and his able disciple Guru Namasivayar—the divine twins—as it were—who came over here after the famous Nalvars of the Siva Cult—have added their spiritual lustre not only to this Hill and the place but also to this entire land, by their remarkable ascetic life embellished with their miracles. Which they performed in the humanitarian spirit to secure faith of their devotees both to them and to the ultimate Divinity itself which triumphs everywhere, in various, shapes and forms, in general; and in particular—in such holy places as this one, which has been sanctified by the majestic presence of great souls.
These two Madans were also inspired poets and they sang of Almighty Arunachala. These two Saints with following admirers all hailed from Sri Sailam—another great holy place and who were drawn by Divine Will, on their pilgrimage accordingly to this Holy Hill. On their way, they were obliged to halt at Poonamalle—a sacred place for Lord Siva, a massive Temple there. As they all were true worshipers of Lord Siva they had their own holy images of the Lord for their usual daily personal worship (before taking their noon meals). For worship, they gathered flowers from the gardens of that locality without seeking permission from the owners, of course in good faith; and so used them for their personal Divine worship.
The ruler of that place who was not a Saivite and to whom a complaint of theft of flowers went up for decision, took offence of their action, as unauthorised. By the Lord’s Will, it turned out that the flowers they used were miraculously converted into a huge garland for the Lord in the Temple; thereby absolving them from any charge of theft whatsoever of the flowers in question. The ruler though amazed over the miracle wondered that if they were so devoted to the Lord (who was pleased to intercede on their behalf in such a spectacular gracious and helping manner) that they should prove and confirm it by swallowing a red hot iron as though it was a sweet fruit of that size.
One of the top devotees of the Master by name Virupaksha Devar stood the test by eating the red hot iron ball brought to him, while at the same time uttering the sacred name of the Lord two times. To the utter bewilderment of all, including the ruler; who then onwards became a devout Saivite and an ardent devotee of the Master and his group.
After this miracle, the master and his disciple reached Tiruvannamalai and made it their residing place. As ordered by Lord Arunachala, the Master took his lodging in a cave, while the other disciple Virupaksha Devar of the “iron ball” miracle occupied a cave higher above; and continued his services to the Master as before. These two caves bear their names even to this day, accordingly as a mark of due regard and respect for those great souls.
The other top disciple who is destined to shine more and whose name is also Namasivayar, with the other followers of the Master lived in the cave below and rendered various kinds of work assigned with great devotion and sincerity. The entire holy group was one of utter dedication for the welfare of suffering humanity which went to them for comfort and solace all in the name of God Almighty.
Water Springs on the Hill for devotional and personal use purposes were indicated by Lord Arunachala himself, as the legend tells: and they are the present perennial tanks, three in number—famed as Mulaipal Theertham, Arutpal Theertham and Pada Theertham, even to this day.
A dead pregnant sheep that had two calves in its womb was brought to the Master by a shepherd for sale, as advised by certain rogues of the locality who alleged that the Master was a good and regular mutton eater and that he would purchase the dead sheep for a suitable price—all contrary to the truth of the matter. The Master, in his kindness, accepted the dead sheep, with a smile; and advised the shepherd to collect the price therefore on the next day. When the owner turned up the next day, he found to his surprise and great wonder the very dead sheep grazing in the field nearby, fully and briskly alive, with two calves nearby, just then delivered by it, all well and alive. The fools who wanted to play a dirty trick on the Master on hearing this miracle, hung their heads in shame and were converted as believers in the greatness of this Saint who was capable of raising the dead to life.
One time a shepherd was with his sheep grazing on the Hill, when a Tiger pounced on one of the sheep and carried it away in its mouth. The man ran towards the Saint in despair and reported the loss of the sheep. The saint sang a Prayer stanza in praise of Lord Arunachala and as a result, the tiger came back with the sheep and left it down, unharmed as before. On seeing this new miracle wrought before their eyes, some men of low culture and mischief, to under-rate the Saint and spoil his great image before his devotees’ brought a live man wrapped in funeral clothes and sought his grace for bringing him back from “death” to “life”. The Saint who could see everything, and who knew the trick as well as the truth behind, told the culprits that the man reported as dead had gone to the next world—indeed it turned out to be so. Though greatly shocked, the mischief makers repented and doubtlessly were reformed.
A girl of utmost faith to the Saint and who knew the greatness of this Master Yogi got married to a suitable bridegroom. But as cruel Fate would have it, the man passed away on very day of the wedding. The poor girl who lost her husband so suddenly in so short a time, ran to the Master and reported the tragedy to him and implored him for help. The Master who was ever all mercy, kindness and fatherly affection towards his devotees, consoled the girl by wiping away her tears and blessed her saying she would certainly find her husband, now lying dead in her house, fully brought to life. When she returned there the dead man was seen rising fully alive and restored to his newly wed wife and those these two lived a blessed and prosperous and happy life for a long spell of 75 years, from that day onwards, as blessed by the Master in their favour!
Divine poems composed by the Master are a boon to devotes, of a very high order and are available to all of us, as preserved by his worthy successors, in the same field of piety and devotion.
Now we turn to the important events that took place in the life of the Master’s first and foremost disciple bearing the same name and who got it adorned with the prefix of “Guru”—the name famed as “Guru Namasivayar” having been given by Master himself, in due recognition of his devotee’s great devotion and accomplishments in the realm of the spirit.
On one occasion, the Master give his vomited food to his devotee with directions to have it consigned somewhere, where no human foot could pass over it. That most devoted disciple well thought over such a place for it; and felt so convinced that even such a food though a vomited one, was so “holy” as not to be placed anywhere, on the earth but quite fit for being partaken by him: and stored in his very stomach, where the question of its being passed over by anybody’s foot did not arise at all the Master was thus made fully aware of the disciple’s supreme devotion to him!
On another day while he was massaging the holy feet of the Master, the devotee suddenly laughed. When enquired about, he replied his laugh was with those of others, in the far away Thiru Aroor, when a dancing girl, while performing her feats before the Lord Thiagaraja, in the Festival, had slipped, and so gave room for amusement to the audience—including he who was by the side of the Master at Tiruvannamalai. On a second occasion, he had both his hands in quick rubbings with each other and assigned the reason therefore as his putting down a fire, which had caught suddenly upon a curtain inside the Sanctum Sanctorum at Chidambaram.
Realising his devotee’s great faculty for seeing things even at a distance and responding to them quickly from where he was, the Master was so pleased as to confer on him the fitting name of “Guru Namasivayar”. The disciple is also another worthy poet of divinity like his Master, and his poems are also available to us, for our edification and spiritual welfare.
As ordered and blessed by the Master, the Saint Guru Namasivayar started on his Divine mission to Chidambaram to carry out certain devotional improvements and service at that most holy Saivite place. On his way the Divine Mother herself fed him on more than one occasion. As willed by Lord Nataraja Himself, in the form of a begging Sannyasin, the saintly Guru Namasivayar collected contributions for the daily noon Food offering to the Lord; and utilised the surplus amount for making precious jewelled ornaments to adorn the Lord. After carrying creditable and fitting items Divine service there, he went to Thiruperumthurai, the first important place associated with the honey tongued Saint Manikkavachakar; and attained Siddhi there, in the form of a Sivalingam.
The great Master Guhai Namasivayar as well as the other remarkable devotee Virupaksha Devar shook off their mortal coils at the appointed times on the sacred Hill Arunachalam itself, in their Caves; and got merged with Lord Arunachala, one as a Lingam and the other as a heap of holy ash—which two holy relics are worshipped even to this day by devotees.
Let us recite the divine poems of these two Saints Guhai Namasivayar and Guru Namasivayar get elevated, blessed and solve all our problems. They both will certainly bless us so".