Saint Arunagiri is of an extraordinary type. To him Lord Skanda Himself appeared as Guru and gave Upadesa, a Japa-Mala, etc. and the Saint had, by the unusual grace of the Lord, Realisation or God-experience, as a result of which he gave out many works of exquisite Tamil verses.
Saint Arunagirinathar has sung 16,000 poems called Tiruppugazh, ‘Glory of the Lord’, though only about 1,300 of them are available now. This is his main, renowned work. His other works are Tiruvaguppu, Kandar Anatati, Kandar Alankaaram, Mayil Viruttam, Vel Viruttam, Seval Viruttam, Tiru Ezhu Kuttrrirukkai, and Kandar Anubhuti.
Kandaranubhuti is a small work of 51 verses. Though, from the point of view of the number and size of the verses, Kandaranubhuti is a small treatise, yet it is the most deep and direct. It is a powerful work and gives the direct Divine Experience of the Saint, as also intimate clues for Sadhakas to attain that experience. It is a work on Anubhuti or God-attainment and is the crowning glory of all the works of the Saint. It is regarded as a Mantra-Sastra, without an equal to it, and is held in high esteem by all.
The term Kandaranubhuti is derived from Kandar and Anubhuti. ‘Kandar’ in Tamil is ‘Skanda’ in Sanskrit. ‘Anubhuti’ means ‘becoming one with’, or ‘Experience.’ Hence Kandaranubhuti means to become one with Skanda and denotes God-Experience. This is a work sung by Saint Arunagirinathar as a result of his God-Experience or ‘Kandar Anubhuti’, which also directs others to that Experience. It is the experience of the Saint given expression to in such powerful words that, when it is repeated by others, it is capable of bringing the same experience in them, in due course. Such is the glory of the work.
Kandaranubhuti is considered by many to be a collection of verses independently sung by the Saint at different times in accordance with the prevailing kind of religious and spiritual exaltation of his mind. Hence we may not see much continuity in the ideas conveyed by the verses, i.e., the ideas expressed in the verses appear to be independent and not closely connected. But a deeper and intimate study of the work would reveal an esoteric meaning in the work—an inner link of ideas from verse to verse—which lays out a method of Sadhana to a serious seeker after Truth, taking him from the earliest stages of Sadhana, through different levels of experience, hinting at the difficulties that he has to face and the methods of overcoming them, and finally granting him Anubhuti or God-Experience. It is a marvellous piece of work, a masterpiece of Saint Arunagiri.
This is considered as a Mantra-Sastra,—a treatise consisting of Mantras or mystic formulae,—and a daily recitation of Kandaranubhuti is indeed capable of bestowing whatever one wishes, in the manner one wishes. It is a Mantra-Sastra because it contains several Mantras in it; ‘Velum Mayilum Thunai’, in verse 1; ‘Kumaraya Namah’, in verse 36; ‘Aham Brahma Asmi’, in verse 37. The Vel is a mystic, Divine Weapon and is referred to by the Saint as Mantra-Vel in one of his Tiruppugazh songs. Out of the 51 verses, in 25 verses there is invocation to the Vel directly, and in 8 to the Peacock. And in addition, each verse is replete with the different Names of the Lord, such as Kanda, Muruga, Guha, Shanmukha, Velayudha, Kumara, the peacock-rider, the consort of Valli, etc., from the beginning to the end. For all these reasons, the work Kandaranubhuti is considered as a Mantra-Sastra.
We may regard “Kandaranubhuti” as the crowning glory of Saint Arunagiri’s works, though each other work of his has a purpose, speciality and charm of its own. All the works of Arunagiri put together may be regarded as the ‘Arunagiri Veda’, of which Kandaranubhuti would form the ‘Anubhuti-Upanishad’. It is the culminating and the wisdom-portion of his works. The 51 verses of Kandaranubhuti are verily 51 Mantras, like the Upanishadic Mantras,—so concise, so pithy, and so brevity-filled, with many secret clues to higher meditation and attainment. We can say without the least hesitation that the treatise fulfils the purpose of an Upanishad, remarkably. Truly it is a Mantra-Sastra!
We can pay no better tribute to Saint Arunagiri and his unique work “Kandaranubhuti” then what Saint Thayumanava Swamigal has said: “When shall be that blessed day, when I shall get the grace of my (spiritual) father (saint Arunagiri) who, obtaining Anubhuti (or Direct Spiritual Experience) of Lord Skanda, has sung (the work) Kandaranubhuti!”
It is, therefore, beyond doubt and dispute that Arunagiri attained God-Experience first and then gave the work Kandaranubhuti to the world. Such God-experienced saints are the Sivajnana Yogis or Jivanmuktas, and they are characterised by extreme compassion to people. They are in constant union with God and their actions are verily God’s actions. God speaks and does superhuman things through them for the benefit of the world. Kandaranubhuti may, therefore, be said to be a divine gift to the seeker-world.
May we sing Kandaranubhuti daily! May we recite it daily! May we take to a deeper study of it and contemplate on the truths conveyed therein! May we all attain that blessed Divine-Experience which Saint Arunagirinathar had! May the Saint bless us all! May the blessings of Satguru Swami Sivananda and the Almighty Lord Skanda be upon us all! (From “Lord Shanmukha and His Worship” by Yogi Sri Swami Sivananda)
Miraculous experience of a devotee
A Muruga devotee , who used to chant daily Kanthar Anubhuthi, was traveling from one village to another through a jungle-path. He was suddenly attacked by a thief. The devotee plucked the stem of a betel leaf which he was carrying and uttering the phrase “Tholaipatturuvath Thodu Velavanae”, meaning: “O Lord Velayudha, who dispatched the Vel as to pierce (through the heart of the Asura Surapadma)” (last line of verse 4), shot it on the thief. Oh my Lord! The betel stem acted as the Vel and killed the thief on the spot. Such is the power of Kandar Anubhuti.
The mastermind of Saint Arunagirinathar wanted the benefits of Bheeja mantras to reach the common man without any evil side-effect. So, he expanded them into 51 verses of Kandhar Anubhuti.One who chants the 51 verses are divinely blessed with the result of using all the 51 Bheeja mantras without any evil side-effect. Sri Arunagirinathar has done this out of fear compassion for us.
As each of the verse is an expansion of a Bheeja, needless to say, each of these 51 verses is indeed a mantra. They need to be chanted respectfully and each of the verse can bestow a different and unique blessing. They are not just works of beautiful poetry filled with alliteration, grammar, homophonics and illustrations —They are very potent mantras, which can grant mundane material wishes to the largest benefit of all which is —Liberation and Union with Lord Shanmuga.