There are three aspects on every Spiritual endeavour – philosophy , mythology and rituals . On these philosophy, creates the thought process, by which we understand ,and gain wisdom of any particular spiritual commune or ideology of any religion . Moving forward from it we learn about mythology , to create the belief system, that could support that philosophical thought , and finally we carry on certain rituals that our thought process , which is converted into a belief system, can carry on related actions. Circumambulating Arunachala is bringing all of the three aspects of a standard spiritual endeavour, in one single process where one practices the Advaita philosophy , experiences the mythological stories on Arunachala in practical level , and finally carries on a ritual of circumzmbulating that could liberate him, from the past karmic bondages.
That’s why Arunachala instructs Maharishi Gautama, with following words in Arunachala Mahatmaya.
“Even a great sinner who has no good deed to his credit can attain all kinds of powers by circumambulating Me. Merit acquired by bathing in all the tirthas, by performing all the sacrifices, by studying all the scriptures and by following all the dharmas can be easily acquired by merely circumambulating Sonachala.One attains this world, (i.e. the earth) at the first step, the middle world at the second step and the world of the devas at the third step. At the first step sins committed mentally are destroyed, at the second the sins committed by speech and at the third the sins committed by the body.”