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 8 verses of Kandhar Anubhuti. In this edition, we delve into verses 9, 10, 11 and 12.
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
பாடல் 9 ~ மட்டூர் குழல் மட்டூர்குழல் மங்கையர் மையல் வலைப் பட்டூசல் படும் பரிசென் றொழிவேன் தட்டூடறவேல் சயிலத் தெறியும் நிட்டூர நிராகுல நிர்ப்பயனே!
Caught in the net of desires for women whose flowing hair is adorned with honey-dripping flowers, When would I be free from this swaying mind ? Oh Lord! The One who pierced and destroyed the krauncha hill with His Lance without obstructions, The One who is fearless and grief-free!
We need to carefully understand that this song does not reflect the state of being of Arunagirinathar. Very similar to Verse 4, Saint Arunagirinathar voices this song echoing the predicament of the seekers. Through the presence of the metaphor of a fragrant flower, we understand that Arunagiri Perumaan is referring to the latent vasanas (deep impressions). In developing mumukshutva (intense yearning for moksha), the seeker must dissolve one’s own raga (attractions) and dwesha (repulsions). In doing sadhana, one would build new samskaras (habitual practices) that would help overcome the older samskaras. And in that process, one would witness the latent desires or past momentums coming back to take one under its grip.
Muni Arunagirinathar gives the antidote for such times. Mayaasura — who represents the Mayaa Mala — of the three malas (impurities that obstruct from knowing one’s Self), took the form of the Krauncha Hill. Lord Murugapperumaan wields the Jnana Vel (Lance of True Knowledge) to shatter the obstruction of Mayaa. It is to Him we pray to be liberated from the grip of our own raga-dwesha duality. Lord Skanda bestows fearlessness and a grief-free state from the grip of our own vasanas.
பாடல் 10 ~ கார் மா மிசை கார் மா மிசை காலன் வரில், கலபத் தேர்மா மிசை வந்து, எதிரப் படுவாய் தார் மார்ப, வலாரி தலாரி எனும் சூர்மா மடியத் தொடுவே லவனே.
When Lord Yama comes on the dark buffalo, May You appear in front of me on the peacock with beautiful feathers Oh the One adorned with celestial garlands, Velava! — the One Who slayed the capturer of Indraloka — Soorapadman, when he hid in a mango tree.
One among the finest proponents of Skandar Anubhuti — Thiru. Dindugal Shanmuganatha Pillai has narrated a seeker’s experience of having had the divine vision of Lord Skanda, during his last moments, upon chanting this song an entire day. In the very first verse, we have understood that the peacock denotes pranava-swaroopa. One among the shlokas says — “Aum shudda citta swaroopa mayura athishtanaaya namah”. This verse of Arunai Muni, beautifully brings out that Lord Skanda shall bless the jivatma with the true kingdom of Paramatma, like He restored the kingdom of Lord Indra.
பாடல் 11 ~ ‘கூகா’ என என்கிளை கூகா என என் கிளைகூடி அழப் போகா வகைமெய்ப் பொருள் பேசியவா நாகாசல வேலவ நாலுகவித் தியாகா சுரலோக சிகாமணியே!
You have bestowed the ultimate knowledge in me so that I do not have a death where my relatives gather around and wail. Velava! Lord of Naagaacala (Thirucengkodu Hill)! You have bestowed in me the ability to sing Your Praise in four Tamil poetry kinds Oh, Foremost Gem of the celestial world!
Saint Arunagirinathar had beautifully extolled in verse 3 that the mei-porul is Lord Shanumugha. The great siddhis bestowed by the revelation through Lord Skanda’s anugraha, Arunai Muni has become a Maha Siddha Purusha. He has attained a stature where he does not belong to a family or a limited surrounding when his body drops, but only to the bidding of Skanda Perumaan. He is a Thuravi or a Sanyasin or a renunciate who has offered himself to Lord Skanda. And as we learn his songs, we see that they are infused with his tapasya so much so that he bestows the anubhuti he had onto us, the seekers and learners of his songs. One can appreciate the exquisite poetic mastery of Arunai Muni, as one learns, recites and chants his songs. As we have learnt from his biography that it was Lord Skanda Himself who blessed Arunagiri Nathar by placing His Lance (Vel) on Arunagiri’s tongue and initiated the first poetic verses for Arunagirinathar. So the saint credits only the Grace or Anugraha of Murugapperuman for having the ability to be versatile in the four kinds of Tamil poetic structures — known as aasu, mathuram, ciththiram and viththaaram [ஆசு, மதுரம், சித்திரம், வித்தாரம்].
பாடல் 12 ~ செம்மான் மகளை செம்மான் மகளைத் திருடும் திருடன் பெம்மான் முருகன், பிறவான், இறவான் “சும்மா இரு, சொல் அற” என்றலுமே அம்மா பொருள் ஒன்றும் அறிந்திலனே.
The one who stole the heart of Thirumaal’s Daughter (Valli Devi) The Great Lord Muruga who has neither birth nor death Initiated me with “Be silent, without words” Amma! Other than Him, there is no thing!
This is one among the most powerful of Arunuagirinathar’s words. This verse speaks of his phenomenal initiation by Lord Muruga! In the first part of the verse, Arunai Muni calls Lord Skanda as a great thief who stole the heart of Valli Devi ! We saw in the previous edition that once Lord Maha Vishnu was reminiscing meditatively the great thaandava dance of Lord Shiva. In that state of ananda, two drops of tears fell down the eyes of Maha Vishnu, becoming his two divine daughters who performed severe austerities to become consorts of Lord Skanda. They are Maa Valli and Maa Devayani. Maa Valli as per Her boon, was born in Bhuloka and Lord Skanda had played an elaborate leela seeking Her by Himself. Very importantly, we also understood that the episode of Valli Thirumanam (Marriage of Valli Devi) is an indication of Lord Skanda coming down to unite the jeevatma of his bhakthas with Himself the mei-porul and param-porul.
In the same way, in spite of the presence of Valli Devi’s five brothers — who represent the ever-indulgent five senses and Valli Devi’s father — the antar karana (loosely interpreted as mind), Lord Skanda has entered the heart of the jivatma! In the divine experience of Sharanaagati, throughout bhakthi literature one can find loving references to one’s Ishtadevata (personal deity) as a thief! In Sri Rudram, the third Anuvaka Rudra sings “taskarāṇāṁ pataye namaḥ” — describing Lord Shiva as the Lord of thieves who exists in everything. The great Thiru Jnana Sambandar in the very first verse of Devaram addresses Lord Shiva as “தனது உள்ளங் கவர் கள்வன்” meaning “One who stole his heart”. Such is the wide and deep use of this metaphor.
In the second part of his verse, Arunai Muni reveals to us about the explosive initiation he received from Lord Skanda. We have loosely translated “சும்மா இரு, சொல் அற” to “Be silent, without words”. But this translation does not do sufficient justice. This is the episode where Lord Skanda, in a guru-sthana (acting as the Guru), initiates Arunagirinathar into a great state of antar-mouna. Ramana Maharishi, in the recent times, has well established his teachings of “சும்மா இரு”. Patanjali Muni (one among the Pathinen Siddhargal we saw in the Siddhar Charithiram series) clearly defines the ultimate state of union or yoga as “yogaś citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ”. Where all the disturbances, agitations or ripples of the mind-field ceases. And Arunagirinathar exclaims that the subject-object differentiation had vanished and he could see all as Lord Muruga only!
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!