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Kandar Anubhuti by Saint Arunagirinathar — Part 1

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!

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