Vedanta Darshanam

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Kandhar Anubhuthi
Kandhar anubhuthi is written by a tamil saint called Arunagirinadhar. Saint Arunagirinadhar considered Lord Muruga as his beloved deity and has written many great works in the praise of Lord Muruga and along with the Vedantic import. Saint Arunagirinadhar was most known for his work called Thirupugazh which is written in praise of Lord Muruga along with vedantic imports.

Kandhar Anubhuthi is a work of 51 verses. This work speaks about the state of realization of Ultimate Reality of Brahman which is symbolized as Lord Muruga. The saint not only speaks about that Ultimate Reality, he also presents the fundamental problem which is ignorance in each suffering person and also gives the way to get to that state of realization. He enumerates many problems that we face as if those were his problems and is seeking God’s grace to get rid of those problems, but he is actually showing us the way to pray to the Lord for his grace so that we can get rid of the problem. In the midst of such prayer verses, he also gives his state of mind and thanks Lord for helping him to crossover all suffering by the knowledge of the Truth. The contexts of certain verses may seem to contradict as in one verse he would be seeking god’s grace to overcome some weakness that are binding and in the very next verse he would thank the Lord for giving knowledge. But as mentioned before, the Saint is actually established in Brahman, compassionately presents how one may have to overcome it and the reason for presenting his current state is to show what the state of a person is who is established in Brahman. So the state of being established in Brahman is the Ultimate goal of spirituality and currently that state is not present in person who is suffering in this world. So if a person suffering, he must understand that he has to get rid of the suffering once and for all by understanding the real nature of Lord which is his own nature as well.

In the final few verses the Saint speaks about the state of being established in Brahman. Here is stanza 48.

aRivonRu aRaninRu aRivaar aRivil

piRivonRu aRaninRa piraan alaiyo

seRivonRu aRavandhu irule sidhaiya

veRivenRavarodu uRum velavane
Ceasing from every knowledge, those who know, O Lord,

Dost Thou not, in their intelligence, inseparably stand?

Their relations coming to the naught and darkness destroyed,

O Velava! Thou abideth in them who have conquered their delusions

In this stanza, Saint Arunagirinadhar is giving the mental state of that Jnaani who have realized his own nature of Self.

The first line might seem to be contradicting as it says that the Lord is in the mind of the people who knows and has ceased all other knowledge. Any knowledge, whether it is worldly knowledge or spiritual knowledge, happens in the mind. We have the instruments, the organs of knowledge, through which we get the worldly knowledge. But the knowledge of the Self is contrary to this worldly knowledge in a way that it cannot be known like worldly knowledge. Self cannot be known through any instrument because Self is the knower. Even when we get the worldly knowledge, the Self stays behind as the illuminator of both the mind and the object and thus making it possible to get the knowledge of the object. But such a Self is never affected by these worldly experiences, it just stays as illuminator. And such an illuminator is never illumined by anything else. It is Self-effulgent and ever exists. Also, Self doesn’t have any intention to illumine things, as long as we experience objects of the world, we can know that it is the Self that is illumining everything.

The very first sloka of Drig drishya viveka says

“roopam drishyam lochanam drik thath drishyam drikthu maanasam

Drishyaa dheevriththayah saakshi drigeva na thu drishyathe”

“Form is seen eyes are its seer, eyes are seen mind is the seer, mind is seen Sakshi is the seer alone and sakshi is never seen”

So that Self which is the illuminator of everything, which is of the nature of Anandam is to be realized as our own nature. Anandam always is our very nature but it is not known because of the ignorance. Ignorance not only veils our nature of Anandam but also make us see everything else as real and different from us. And once things are seen in the world as real and different from us, we get different experiences from these objects. Thus, the root cause of these problems we have in the world is ignorance of our nature.

A seeker of liberation would try to realize his own nature of the Self as directed by the Guru and Shastra. When a seeker understands clearly that any amount of worldly knowledge or experience cannot give contentment and peace, and also when he understands clearly the nature of the Self through the study of scriptures from the Guru, the seeker’s mind automatically gets withdrawn from the objects of the world and focuses on the Self. When mind becomes free from binding thoughts, it automatically becomes calm and a calm mind naturally experiences Anandam. A mind that is free from binding thoughts is the pure mind and in that mind Self shines naturally. But until this withdrawal becomes natural, with the strength of knowledge effort has to be put to withdraw the mind from the worldly objects and should be focused on the Self. Thus in that mind which is withdrawn from the world, can experience the Anandam. And this has to be practiced continuously until it becomes very natural.

Thus in the 2nd and 3rd line, Saint Arunagirinadhar speaks about the Jnani for whom withdrawing the mind from the objects of the world and focus on Self becomes natural. Such a person is ever established in Self and hence Anandam is very natural for that person and will remain inseparable from him forever. Such a person has nothing else left to be known, he is ever free, ever free from all delusions, ever free from all bondages. That Self, Saint Arunagirinadhar symbolizes as Lord Muruga. In the very next stanza, he says that the anandam of Self cannot be expressed in words and hence one has to realize oneself to know it.
From poetical perspective also, one can enjoy the usage of words and meter that is used in Kandar Anubhuthi by Saint Arunagirinadhar. In many Muruga temples and homes, this work is chanted during Kandar Shashti along with Kandar Sashti kavacham of Devaraya Swamigal.

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