Sharanaagati is the state of complete submission to one’s Guru or Ishtadevata. Sharanaagati leads to tremendous outcomes and many great Masters have showed this to be very true. In one among the most complex, intricate and celebrated composition — Subramanya Bhujangam, Sri Adi Sankaracharya states that “I neither know sounds, words, prose nor poetry; Shanmukha Consciousness resides in my heart glowing, and that is how these words pour out.”
Sharanaagati is a phenomenal state that is worthwhile our life’s time to aspire and pursue. In taking us closer to the attainment of the golden state of Sharanaagati at the Feet of Muruga Peruman — Lord Skanda, Saint Arunagirinathar guides and shows the way for longing seekers.
In this “Sharanaagati ” series, we welcome you on a journey where we perform abhyasa of “Kandhar Anubhuti” gifted to us by the great Saint Arunagirinathar.
A brief note on Saint Arunagirinathar
Arunagirinathar is revered as a great poet-saint who lived during the 15th century hailing from one of the panchabhuta sthala for agni tattva — Thiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, India. There are different versions of his historic account and different interpretations of his self-referencing poems. We understand from these accounts that in his youthful age, Arunagirinathar gravitated towards extensively engaging in pleasures that please the body and contracted leprosy. At an intense point of inflection in life, it dawned upon him how worthless his pursuits have been and decides to end his life by jumping off the temple tower of Thiruvannamalai, crying out “Muruga!!!”
The all-compassionate Lord Skanda Himself intervened and embraced him. Lord Muruga with His Vel(spear) wrote a mantra on Arunagirinathar’s tongue, gave him a japa mala and commanded him to sing songs on Him. Arunagirinathar was initially hesitant but when Muruga Peruman Himself bestowed the first line of a song, Arunagirinathar found that he could effortlessly compose and sing the remainder.
Overwhelmed by the experience, Arunagirinathar wholeheartedly surrendered in Sharanaagati to Lord Muruga. In his celebrated Tiruppugazh, Arunagirinathar Swamigal states , “O mind of mine, it’s good you decided to surrender. See him on his peacock vahana. He has now taken charge of you. Doubt not, there is no greater state. Dwell on his holy name always.”
Arunagirinathar’s exemplary life and literary works are direct portals to the Grace of Shanmukha Peruman. Arunagirinathar Swamigal continues to guide all sincere seekers to attain Sharanaagati at the Feet of Lord Skanda!
Import of Kandhar Anubhuti
Swami Arunagirinathar has bestowed six prominent works for the world to cherish — Thiruppugazh, Thiruvaguppu, Kandhar Andhaadhi, Kandhar Alangaram, Kandhar Anubhuti and Vel-Mayil-Seval Viruttham.
Kandhar Anubhuti is regarded as a Mantra-Shastra — a treatise of mystic imports and has been placed on par with the well-known Mantra-Shastra of Thirumanthiram - a treatise of 3,000 verses of Siddhar Thirumular. The Thirumanthiram is the 10th book of the Panniru Thirumurai (the 12 sacred Saiva works) of the Saivites. Correspondingly, the Kandhar Anubhuti is regarded as the 10th book of the Panniru Thirumurai of the followers of Lord Murugan. Some gems from Thirumanthiram have been presented in the Siddhar Charithiram series of Parnika Magazine.
“Maatrukaa Pushpa Maalai” is a treatise of verses with the 51 letters, of the Sanskrit language, from ‘A’ to ‘Ksha’. Maatrukaa Pushpa Maalai is also said to mean a treatise of 51 verses, because of the correspondence in number and the Kandhar Anubhuti comprises of 51 verses. Arunagirinathar himself refers to this work, in the Kaappu verse, as “a garland knit with beautiful sorkal (words or aksharas of Tamil)” — “Senchor Punai Maalai”.
“Kandhan” in Tamil refers to Lord Skanda, Who is also adored as Shanmukha, Subramanya, Karthikeya, Guha, Velayudha, Muruga, Arumuga, Senthilnatha, Saravana, Dandayuthapani and more names. “Anubhuti” signifies the spiritual union of the Jeeva (loosely means soul) with Shiva (God) thereby implying direct or immediate experience of God. Hence “Kandhar Anubhuti” would mean the Immediate or Direct Divine Experience of Lord Skanda.
Kandhar Anubhuti contains many Mantras both explicitly and implicitly. The Names of the Lord, such as Murugan, Kanda, Shanmukha, Guha, Velava are Mantras by themselves. Kandhar Anubhuti is replete with these Names of the Lord. Further, in many verses there are Mantras in the form of mystic formulae as brought out by N.V. Karthikeyan of Sivananda Ashram. Some instances are “Velum Mayilum Thunai” in verse 1, “Naatha Kumaraa Namah” in verse 36, “(Naan) Iraiyoon Parivaaram” in verse 37 and “Guruvaai Varuvaai Arulvaai Guhanae” in verse 51.
Hence Kandhar Anubhuti is held in high esteem as a Mantra-Shastra and as the crowning glory of Sri Arunagirinathar’s works, because of its high spiritual value and mystical depth. Kandhar Anubhuti is also specially revered because it intricately blends Bhakti and Jnana, devotion and wisdom. Kandhar Anubhuti is a text of great importance to sincere seekers, for in it lies the tremendous potential to attain the Lord’s Feet through Sharanaagati. It is undoubtedly a phenomenal blessing that we begin this journey of abhyasa of Kandhar Anubhuti through this series.
Kandhar Anubhuti bestowed by Saint Arunagirinathar
நெஞ்சக் கன கல் (காப்பு) நெஞ்சக் கன கல்லு நெகிழ்ந்து உருகத் தஞ்சத்து அருள் சண்முகனுக்கு இயல்சேர் செஞ்சொற் புனை மாலை சிறந்திடவே பஞ்சக்கர ஆனை பதம் பணிவாம்.
In order to mellow anyone’s stone like heart and to melt in devotion, I offer this garland of carefully-knit grammatically-rich poem to Lord Arumuga, who is the refuge to His prostrating seekers. For this endeavour to become excellent, I seek the Grace of Lord Vinayaga.
Kaappu is the invocatory song to seek the blessings of The Lord of Obstacles — Lord Vinayaga. Through the word “panchakaravaanai”, Lord Vinayaga is referred to as the one with five arms. It would also imply the own who bestows the “panchakshara mantra”. To takes us deep within the Temple called Kandhar Anubhuti, Arunagirinathar first brings us to bow down to Lord Vinayaga at the very entrance of this portal to Lord Skanda. Through this invocation, Arunagirinathar also clearly states the outcome of this text right at the beginning. As we lay lost in the ocean of Samasara, this garland of carefully-knit words (sounds, implying Mantras) prevents us from sinking with the weight of our delusional sense of the Self.
பாடல் 1 ~ ஆடும் பரி, வேல் ஆடும் பரி, வேல், அணிசேவல் எனப் பாடும் பணியே பணியா அருள்வாய் தேடும் கயமா முகனைச் செருவில் சாடும் தனி யானைச் சகோதரனே.
The dancing Peacock, Vel, and the beautiful Cock! May you bestow me a life of singing thus your glory. Oh dear Brother of Lord Vinayaka, who destroyed the demon Gajamukaasuran in battle, when the demon had assumed a form with a huge elephant’s head and went hunting celestial divine beings.
The first verse commences with the word “aadum” which contains ‘A’, ‘U’, and ‘M’, meaning “AUM”. Thus Kandhar Anubhuti begins with the auspicious Pranava, the most sacred Mantra. And the first-line “aadum pari vel aniseval” has in it hidden the great Mantra in Tamil, “Aum Velum Mayilum Thunai”. The word “seval” has also the meaning thunai - protection or support. This Mantra means “The Vel and the Peacock are (my) divine protection/support”. Hence there is an additional meaning to this prayer “bestow me a life of singing thus”. Arunagirinathar prays to Lord Muruga to constantly experience Pranava as the Self. It can be only Lord Muruga to bestow the initiation of the Pranava Mantra as He did to His Father Shiva Peruman. And Arunagirinathar also refers to Lord Muruga as the brother of Lord Vinayaga who is “Pranava-Swaroopa”. The slaying of Gajamukaasura also implies the prayer for slaying “Aanava Mala” — impurity caused by the delusional sense of “I” hindering the Self from realizing Pranava.
பாடல் 2 ~ உல்லாச, நிராகுல உல்லாச, நிராகுல, யோக இதச் சல்லாப, விநோதனும் நீ அலையோ? எல்லாம் அற, என்னை இழந்த நலம் சொல்லாய், முருகா சுரபூ பதியே.
Blissful in a state where the duality of joy-sorrow is absent, in yoga, are You not the Lord rejoicing as you guide your devotees sweetly and perform the Divine Play, Leela in their lives! O Lord Muruga! O Lord of Devaloka! Please instruct in attaining the great state where the sense of I ceases.
“Ullasa” here refers to Muruga Peruman as Sat-Chit-Ananda. “Niragulaa” means free from sorrow. But the very nature of dwandva — duality is they come and as well go in pairs. If one is free from sorrow, one is free from the duality of joy and sorrow. “Yoga” here has multiple imports. One is the unison with Sat. Also in Kundalini Yoga there are attributions to Sushumna Nadi and Muruga being its Lord. “Ellam Ara” also signifies the destruction of Ahamkara and Mamakara principles. Such a state of unison with Sat where the sense of I ceases, is inexplicable. Hence Arunagirinathar prays “Muruga! May you instruct and guide”.
It is a divine blessing that we study Kandhar Anubhuti through this Sharanaagati Series. We invite you to chant aloud Kandhar Anubhuti, contemplate more on these lines and share with us your insights.
In reciting, learning and absorbing these revered verses, may our abhyasa continue, may our shraddha strengthen and may revelations awaken as we grow within!
Skandaarpanam! Aum Tat Sat!