Skandaarpanam! Aum Tat Sat!
Skanda Guru Swaminey Namah
Aum Tat Purushaaya Vitmahe Maha Senaya Dheemahi Dhanno Skandap Prachodayaad
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 2 verses of Kandhar Anubhuti. In this edition, we delve into verses 3, 4 and 5.
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 3 ~ வானோ? புனல் பார்
வானோ? புனல் பார் கனல் மாருதமோ?
ஞானோ தயமோ? நவில் நான் மறையோ?
யானோ? மனமோ? எனை ஆண்ட இடம்
தானோ? பொருளாவது சண்முகனே.
Is it space, water, land, fire or air
Is it the dawn of Jnana or the chants of four vedas?
Is it the “I”, Manas or the where Grace rules me?
The Supreme Principle is Lord Shanmuga!
In this verse, Arunagirinatha Swamigal establishes That which is the supreme or fundamental principle — mei porul or param porul. Paramporul or the nitya vasthu is That which is anaadi, fundamental to everything, That from which all has come and all goes to. What could be that Supreme Principle? He negates the pancha bhoothas or the five fundamental elements. He delves subtler and negates them too. Ultimately referring to Lord Skanda Himself as the very fundamental priniple or mei porul.
பாடல் 4 ~ வளைபட்ட கை
வளைபட்ட கைம் மாதொடு, மக்கள் எனும்
தளைபட்டு அழியத் தகுமோ? தகுமோ?
கிளைபட்டு எழு சூர் உரமும், கிரியும்,
தொளைபட்டு உருவத் தொடு வேலவனே.
With bangle-clad wife and children
Being entangled until death, is that right? is that right?
Oh the wielder of Vel that pierced
Kraunja Hill and the chest of Sooran! (with his kinsmen surrounding him)
Many seers have explained that Soorapadman, Singamughasuran and Tarakasuran stand for anava mala, karma mala and maya mala respectively. The bandha one has in material life contains all these malas or (loosely meaning) impurities. The bandha(bondage) developed by living in a family with all relationships is maya swaroopam. The action we engage in serving, nurturing and protecting one’s bandha relations, is karma swaroopam. The very way in which we hold these relationships with respect to us — my wife, my son, my this, my that — is aanava swaroopam. To be entangled in such a life and eventually dying without realizing Paramporul is a bane, says Saint Arunagirinathar.
பாடல் 5 ~ மக மாயை
மக மாயை களைந்திட வல்ல பிரான்
முகம் ஆறும் மொழிந் தொழிந்திலனே
அகம் மாடை, மடந்தையர் என்(று) அயரும்
சகமாயையுள் நின்று தயங்குவதே.
All-powerful Lord who can destroy the all-powerful Maya
Though has given the Supreme Upadesa
One still is caught and stuck in
All the maya of possession, wealth and passions.
The popular commentaries for this verse hold the notion that — even though Lord Shanmugha has given the upadesha of Shadakshara Mantra, I am still stuck in the mundane material life under the grip of maya. But such an interpretation would lessen the greatness of Lord Skanda and hence it should not be taken that way. The very life of Arunagirinatha Swamigal is an example of how Lord Skanda rid all the entanglement and severe consequences of Arunagirinathar’s relentless pursuit pleasures, earlier in his life. Here Saint Arunagirinathar magnanimously empathises with the non-seekers and as well Sadakas, who are stuck in maya. By contrast, Swamigal says, it is Lord Skanda’s upadesha and Grace that can altogether cut one’s deep rooted entanglements. Having not had the anubhuti, one feels stuck. The verse uses such an alankara to bring out the contrast between the highest supreme and the deepest entanglement.
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.You could write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!