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Kandar Anubhuti by Saint Arunagirinathar — Part 4

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!

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