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 36 verses of Kandhar Anubhuti. In this edition, we delve into verses 37, 38, and 39.
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 37 — கிரிவாய் விடு கிரிவாய் விடுவிக் ரமவேல் இறையோன்பரிவா ரம்எனும் பதமே வலையேபுரிவாய் மனனே பொறையாம் அறிவால்அரிவாய் அடியோடும் அகந்தையையே!
The Lord who hurled His Lance splitting the Krauncha HillMay I seek to attain the stature of His DevoteeOh my mind! With (patience)silence-instilling JnanaMay I uproot the limiting identification centered in the ego!
There are layered nuances to this verse of Arunagiri Peruman. We have repeatedly looked throughout Kandhar Anubhuti that Soorapadman or Padmasuran is the embodiment of Aanava Mala. How will a sadhaka rid of this mala or impurity? To the sadhakas, Arunagirinathar Swamigal reveals the key in this verse. In the second quarter of this verse, Peruman says “பரிவாரம் எனும் பதம் மேவலையே”. The literal meaning here is that, Arunagiri Peruman prescribes to cultivate the tendency and aspiration to attain to the stature of “அடியார்” or “தொண்டன்”. The broad translation to this stature can mean “devotee” but this word is not sufficient to fully qualify the meaning here. Such a stature is bestowed upon those who have attained the great state of Sharanaagati and live their lives through the lens and reality of serving the Divine Will of Murugaperuman.
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. This verse too has embedded in it an important Mantra as brought out by Shri. N.V. Karthikeyan of Sivananda Ashram. (நான்) இறையோன் பரிவாரம் — ‘Iraiyon Parivaaram’ : ‘Parivaaram’ means ‘retinue’, ‘belonging to’, ‘closely associated with’. ‘Iraiyon’ means God. ‘(Naan) Iraiyon Parivaaram’ therefore means the sacred mantra — “Aham Brahma Asmi”.
Bhagavadpada Sri Adi Shankaracharya’s Bhaja Govindam verse 9 also echoes the same as we learn the key for sadhakas is Satsanga with the Self-Realized. “satsaṅgatve nissaṅgatvaṃ ; nissaṅgatve nirmohatvam । nirmohatve niścalatattvaṃ ; niścalatattve jīvanmuktiḥ ॥”. This song means that from satsanga, company of good people (realized Masters), comes non-attachment, from non-attachment comes freedom from delusion, which leads to self-settledness. From self-settledness comes Jivan Mukti! Hence with constant association with the great and true Devotees, that is by serving them we may attain to the stature of later becoming one — தொண்டருக்கு தொண்டனாகும் பெருமை.
பாடல் 38 — ஆதாளியை ஒன்று ஆதாளியை ஒன் றறியே னை அறத்தீதாளியை ஆண் டதுசெப் புமதோகூதாள கிராத குலிக் கிறைவாவேதாள கணம் புகழ் வேலவனே!
Irrespective of having been an ignorant, vain in speech and non-righteous personHow would I put in words Your Grace that has made even me Your devotee!Oh Lord adorned with Koothala flowers! Oh Lord of Valli Devi!Oh Lord praised with hymns by ghosts!
In the previous verse, we saw that having the tendency and aspiration to become a Devotee would lead to an evolved state of overcoming the Aanava mala. In this verse, Arunai Perumaan makes it abundantly clear to every sadhaka two things. One, it is through Lord Skanda’s Grace alone that one can attain to the stature of His Devotee. Two, irrespective of one’s past doings and acquired tendencies, owing to Lord Skanda’s Grace, parinama or transformation is guaranteed. Sage Valmiki’s past actions however adharmic they were, owing to Grace, an unprecedented transformation happened. He has bestowed us with one of the greatest literary works which is a fruit of his tapasya. Arunaigirinathar Swamigal says his own life is an inspiration for every sadhaka that whatever the past actions and tendencies were, it does not matter. Seek Sharanagaati and Lord Skanda will bless appropriately. Vedhala or ghosts (loosely meant) are considered inferior forms with sufferings due to past burdens. Lord Skanda’s Grace liberates one even if one’s burdens are tantamount as that of the vedhalam.
பாடல் 39 — மாஏழ் சனனம் மாவேழ் சனனங் கெடமா யைவிடாமூவேடணை யென்று முடிந்திடுமோகோவே குறமின் கொடித்தோள் புணருந்தேவே சிவசங்கர தேசிகனே!
When will the huge cycle of sevenfold-birth, mayaAnd the three kinds of delusionary desires come to an end?Oh King! Embracer of Valli Devi, who is like the tender lightning-like creeperOh Preceptor of Shiva Shankara!
Through the words of the Realized, we have come to know that the Jiva (soul) undergoes countless cycles of birth and death in seven different forms owing to three key ishana or desires, as governed by Maya Shakthi. The seven categories of birth are in the forms of: plants, aquatic creatures, reptiles, birds, animals, human beings, and Devas (celestial beings). It is said that for attaining to the human form, one has gone through 84 lakh wombs of the earlier forms. The three Ishanas are 1.Arthaishana, 2. Putraishana or Daaraishana, and 3. Lokaishana. In the Tamil spiritual literature these are referred in the reverse order as: மண்ணாசை, பெண்ணாசை and பொன்னாசை. Arthaishana or பொன்னாசை is the unending desire to acquire more possessions and wealth. Putraishana or Daaraishana or பெண்ணாசை is the redundant desire to seeking happiness through procreation. Lokaishana or மண்ணாசை is the desire for power, name and fame to spread across the sphere of existence of Loka. Seeking the Grace of Lord Skanada and invoking Him in the forms of King of the Universe, Embracer of Valli Devi and Guru of Sivashankara is the prescription of Arunagirinathar Swamigal.
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!