Q: I feel that Arunachala is like a mother who will go with me everywhere, even when I am in another country.

AS: Arunachala does not go anywhere. Arunachala is the Self, and the Self neither comes nor goes. The word ‘achala’ in Sanskrit means 'unmoving'.

Q: There is a verse in Arunachala Mahatmyam which says that all those who live within a thirty-mile radius of Arunachala attain liberation without any effort or initiation. What does Swami think of this verse?

AS: For liberation, there must be a continuous remembrance of Arunachala. One must also have faith in Arunachala and surrender to it. Arunachala is pure consciousness; it is not an inert lump of rock. If you have faith that Arunachala is a Guru who will guide you, it will respond with the appropriate guidance.

But to get this guidance one must surrender to the mountain and have strong faith in it.

Arunachala is like a fire; if you come near it you may get warm or even get burned. But if you wearing insulation, even though you are physically near, you may not feel the fire at all.

LWB, p. 33