Bhagavan Ramana and Giri Pradakshina
Sri Ramana used to go around the Hill on pradakshina quite often during his time. In this connection, He once said to a devotee: “The greatness of the giripradakshina has been described at length in Arunachala Purana. To go round this hill is good. The word pradakshina has a very precise meaning. The letter pra stands for removal of all kinds of sins, da stands for fulfilling desires, the syllable ksha stands for freedom from future births, na stands for giving delivrance through jnana.” B.V.Narasimha Swami in his book, Self-Realisation, says, “Almost from the time the young Maharshi came to Tiruvannamala and until 1926, he used to perform pradakshina of the hill several times a year.”
Once Muruganar, a great devotee of Bhagavan Ramana, asked him to elucidate on the spiritual benefit of going round the hill. Bhagavan asked him to go round it first and then come to him. Sri Muruganar followed his advice and told Bhagavan that he lost his dehatma buddhi (body consciousness) after a while and regained it only after reaching Adi Annamalai. He reported to Bhagavan that the experience was unexpected and unique. Sri Bhagavan smiled and asked, “Do you now understand?”
Sadhu Bramiam a physician who was a devotee of Sri Ramana writes: “on one of my early visits I went on giripradakshina with some friends. When I returned my feet were blistered and I entered the hall limping. Bhagavan asked me the cause of the limp and then said that I should bathe the feet in warm water for a few minutes and repeat the pradakshina the next day and the day after. I did so and the feet gave no more trouble.”
When a devotee thought that giripradakshina was meant only for novices and not for advanced sadhakas, Bhagavan made him understand that this was not so and the devotee changed his notion and started going round the hill regularly and was helped immensely in his sadhana. On another occasion a sadhu going regularly round the hill, requested Bhagavan for a vedantic text. To this another devotee casually remarked “He only goes round the hill, what will he do with any vedantic text”. Bhagavan immediately retorted, “What better sadhana can there be than going round the Hill?” There are thus many anecdotes which show the great importance Bhagavan gave to Giripradakshina.