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. It 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.
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! In the previous edition we have looked at a brief historical note on Saint Arunagirinathar. We have also looked at the kappu verse and the first 33 verses of Kandhar Anubhuti. In this edition, we delve into verses 34, 35, and 36.
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 especially 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
பாடல் 34 — சிங்கார மடந்தையர் சிங்கார மடந்தையர் தீநெறிபோய்மங்காமல் எனக்கு வரந் தருவாய்!சங்க்ராம சிகாவல சண் முகனே!கங்காநதி பாலக்ரு பாகரனே!
May my compulsive behavior in kama be goneBless me with the boon of not being dimwittedOh Lord Shanmugha upon the invincible peacock vahana! Oh Divine Child of Ganga! Oh Abode of Compassion!
In the Bharathiya Guru Parampara, Purushartha compassing dharma, artha, kama and moksha is a well-known principle. The Sanatana Dharma traditions do not censure kama bhava. Arunagiri Peruman, in this verse, points to a particular “anatma kama vritti”. From the famous and brilliant Yogasutra of Siddhar Patanjali Peruman we know that “yogah cittah vritti nirodah” broadly meaning that Yoga is the state of control over one’s afflictions of the mind. vritti here is the conditionings or afflictions. When one is so deep rooted in the identity of the body, one tends to be lost in the engagements of superficial beautification and compulsive tendencies rooted in the identity of the Self as the body. Hence one’s center of one’s own identity stems from an “anatman” frame of reference, as we assume the transient as the permanent. This phenomenon is called “anatma kama vritti”.
Such a frame of misunderstanding the Self is limiting and hence Arunagiri Peruman is invoking Lord Shanmugha (One with Divine Six Faces) to guide us from our misconceptions and limitations. Shanmugha is a name attributed to Lord Skanda for many reasons. Significantly, Lord Shiva’s five faces — Ishana, Tatpurusha, Aghora, Vamadeva and Sadyojatha and Lord Shakthi’s face together in the Shiva-Skahthi Swaroopam is the glorious Shanmugha form. In the Yoga Marga too, Lord Shanmugha guides the rise of Kundalini through the six chakras from muladhara to ajna.
பாடல் 35 — விதிகாணும் உடம்பை விதிகாணும் உடம்பை விடா வினையேன்கதிகாண மலர்க்கழல் என் றருள்வாய்மதிவா ணுதல்வள் ளியையல் லதுபின்துதியா விரதா சுரபூ பதியே!
Owing to my deeds, clinging to the body bestowed by Lord BhramaWhen would You bestow me with the state of MuktiAdoring none except Valli Devi, whose forehead is bright as the moonOh Viradha, Lord of the Celestials and Terrestrials!
Arunai Perumaan invokes specific forms of Lord Skanda appealing to break-free from specific limitations. In this verse, Arunagirinathar Swamigal says that one endlessly seems to take up a body owing to one’s past deeds and their consequences (வினை). Another name of Lord Bhrama in Tamil and Sanskrit is விதி or Vidhi. As per one’s deeds one takes up birth after birth as bestowed by Lord Bhrama. Attaining to Lord Skanda’s feet — Sharanaagati would lead one to Para Gati — the supreme state of Mukti where one is liberated from the infinite cycles of birth and death. And to bestow this supreme state upon us.
Arunai Muni appeals to Lord Skanda in the form of consort to Valli-ammaiyaar. In verse 22 we clearly saw the import of Valli Thirumanam that the Divine Marriage to Valli Devi is not just an episode from the Puranas. This represents an event that happens even today. It is the phenomenon where Lord Muruga seeks out to merge with the souls ripened through Jnana and Bhakthi. Many great devotees and yogis have presented the purport of Valli-Thirumanam as the episode of “இறைவனே வலிய வந்து ஆட்கொள்வான்” — The Lord Himself seeks out to rule over the truly devout. Also in verse 21, we have seen that the word Viradha or விரதா is so beautiful. It is said that Lord Muruga has taken upon the divine vrata, an austere vow to dedicate Himself to protect and guide His Devotees!
பாடல் 36 — நாதா குமரா நம நாதா குமரா நம என் றனார்ஓதாய் என ஓதியதெப் பொருள்தான்வேதா முதல் விண்ணவர் சூடும் மலர்ப்பாதா குறமின் பாதசே கரனே!
Lord Shiva hailed you as Natha and chanted Kumara NamahWould you not shared the Pranava Upadesha that You imparted to Lord ShivaYour feet are soft as the divine flowers adorning Lord Bhrama and DevasOh One who sought the feet of Valli Devi!
As mentioned earlier, Arunai Perumaan invokes specific forms of Lord Skanda with specific prayers. In the Skanda Purana, Lord Skanda quizzes Lord Bhrama on the meaning of — Aum — the Pranava Mantra. Unsatisfied with Lord Bhrama’s inability to answer, Lord Skanda knocks and imprisons Lord Bhrama. Lord Shiva having come to know this, becomes furious and questions Lord Skanda if He happens to know the true meaning of Aum. Lord Skanda demands that Lord Shiva assume the role of a student or sishya to receive the Pranava Upadesha. Lord Shiva too obliges, folds His hands, kneels in reverence and hails Lord Skanda as Gurunadha and chants “Naatha Kumaraa Namah”, thereby receiving Pranava Upadesha.
In explaining the context and significance of Kandhar Anubhuti, it has been explained in the beginning of this series and also briefly at the introductory part of every article that — Kandhar Anubhuti is regarded as a Mantra-Shastra, replete with mantras. Arunagiri Perumaan invokes Lord Skanda as the Shiva Guru and initiates us the appropriate mantra to be chanted.
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!