'The Skanda Experience'
English translation by Swami Anvānanda from Saint Arunagirinatha by Swami Anvananda, (Madras: Pongi Publications, 1975). See also Kandar Anubhuti and "Kandar Anubhutiyil pothinthu meypporul tattvam" in original Tamil script.
Invocation to Lord Ganesa
By surrender to
Lord Shanmukha, His Grace Will
Searching for an equal to fight against, the great asura Gajamukha, was killed in battle by the elephant-faced God. Oh Brother of that God without an equal, bless me that I may engage in life-long service to Thee, to Thine dancing peacock mount, the Vel, and the beautiful cock (banner)!
Oh Muruga, God of Devas are you not the joyous, Ever the care-free, the unsorrowing, the Great Yogi, the Doer of good to others, possessed of kindly speech, and the Great Marve and Surprise? Oh Gracious Lord! Pray enlighten me about the experience of the good state, Where everything ceases to exist and I am lost to my self.
Oh Shanmukha! Pray reveal to me that ONE THING. Is it Ether (Akasa), Water, Earth, Fire or Wind? Or, is it Knowledge that dawns? Or, the ever reverberating Vedas? Or, is it simply the Mind, the abode where I was subdued and won?
Oh, Wielder of the Vel that pierced the chest of Soorapadma, The asura, his supporters and the seven Mountains! Pray tell me, who am entangled to a wife with bangles and to children by fetters, To be ruined thus, is it proper? Is it proper for me?
Though I am engaged in praying to Him, The Great Master of six faces having the capacity to fling away the great illusion or Maha Maya. Yet I remain enmeshed by the Loka-Maya, unable to get rid of the three desires That beset men -- for land, gold and company of women.
Helpless with irresistible longing for Valli, Lord Muruga falls at her feet and asks:
"What are your commands? "Oh Compassionate One!! Will Thine lotus feet blossom out if placed on my heart, which is hard and dry like a rocky prominence?
Oh Mind! If you heed not my advice, you will be ruined. Listen intently and I will tell you how to attain the ONE beyond all. Practise without holding back Charity and Dharma; Always fix your mind on the lotus feet of the Lord holding the Vel; Burn to ashes your unending sorrows; Give up, Give up indulgence in sinful actions.
Kumara, the ever-young son of the Daughter of the King of Mountains, the Destroyer of the asuras Who opposed Hi m in battle. He destroyed the illusion "this my native place, these my relations and this my house" by exposition (upadesa) of the True and Eternal. How can I express it in words?
Oh Thou, not beset by anxiety or fear, but, with indignation, flung the Vel at the Krauncha Peak which pierced its way through unobstructed! I, who am drawn by lust to loose women by the seductive Odour of their tresses, by the nectar of flowers adorning them, when will You free me from these?
Oh Thou, adorned with garlands of flowers on Thine chest! You directed the Vel to destroy the asura Soorapadma Who, assuming the form of a mango tree, was an enemy of Devaloka. I pray to Thee, when Yama the Lord of Death comes astride His black beast buffalo, You shoud appear before me, on Your beautiful-feathered mount and save me.
Oh Velava, dweller in the serpent mountain Who bestowed on Your devotee the gift to excel in poetry, in all four forms! Oh Crest Jewel of Devaloka! You taught the Great Truth to me with the result that when my end nears, my relatives will not gather around my body, uttering cries, 'Roo, Raa'!
The Thief who stole the red deer's daughter (Valli), He, the Great Master, unborn and undecaying, gave me the upadesa Summa iru! (Be still! Simply be!). So subtle, I cannot comprehend its meaning!
That which has neither form nor without form, being and non-being, neither darkness nor light. Manifesting thus is Muruga -- the Perfect One, the only One, holding the Vel is our Guru. Lacking His grace, can one comprehend Him?
Oh Mind! Abandon, abandon the desires that go out seeking through the five gates of body, mouth, eyes, nostrils and ears. Surrendering at the feet of Lord Muruga, Who wields the Vel in His hands, take the path to Salvation.
Praised by devout Devas and by the people on earth, Oh Foremost of the Gurus! The Abode of eight attributes! When will Thou confer upon me that state proximate to You? With mind melting, I could go on chanting Muruga, Kumara and Guha.
Oh Valorous Sura, who flung the Vel to kill The age-long Soorapadma! Oh Victorious Lord who restored Devas their world! Weltering in the disease of avarice without clear thought of what is good, Do I deserve this restless fate?
The learning we acquired and the wisdom we possess were given by Muruga -- for His own service. Renounce the craze for worldly life, Realise what is Truth and Dharma. Let the tongue walk, walk the same way.
Stainless Shiva is without birth or death. He is without thought or forgetfulness, and is beyond the comprehension of Brahma and Vishnu. Oh You, His son, the One above all are sinless, fearless, the Protector of Devaloka! The One who put fear into Soorapadma.
Oh, the One without beginning or end! Oh Lord, holding the pointed Vel! If poverty, the sinner were to visit me, my beauty and my wealth, my mind and character, my family and religion will all desert me; Will they not?
Oh Victorious Muruga! Saviour of Devaloka! With shoulders like mountains, Who has crossed beyond the City of Devas! How wonderful, You made me deserve Upadesa about the One Reality, So rare and difficult to get!
When will Thou condescend to take me, Who knows not the way of merit, to where both Your lotus feet rest, where there is neither thought nor nescience? Oh Boon-giver, Muruga, the peacock Rider, Who cut asunder the hated Soorapadma!
Meditating on Your youthful form, Oh Kumara, and worshipping at Your holy feet, I gained spiritual wisdom. But You, the Lord of Devas, Great as Meru, worshipped the feet of Valli with tresses Long, like sheaths of coconut flowers.
Because out of ignorance, I failed to worship Your holy feet. Should I be forsaken to suffer totally? Is it just, is it just? Oh King, with the valorous sharp Vel, a monument of virtues, and ever locked in the embrace of the lightning-like Valli!
Can I, hugging women with sharp Vel-like eyes, ever think of being embraced by Your grace? Oh King of Devaloka, the valorous Fighter! With the Vel, You routed out Soorapadma, piercing through the Krauncha Peak.
Thinking it real, I adopted this evil way and I am now tossed about in pain. Alas! Does it befit Your devotee? Oh peacock-mounted Warrior! Not only are Your hands, Your Vel an But everything emits a reddish glow!
I have no basis to receive Your grace nor hast Thou thought of me for a moment. Oh Crest Jewel of Devaloka! Thou who art known by Vedas, Agamas and Wisdom, Art, yet beyond them, uncomprehended by the wonderful mind.
In the past, greatly did I cherish this way of life transient like lightning. Now, is this the fruit born of my fate? Oh King, peacock-mounted God! You are the Gold, the Gem, the real Wealth and Grace divine.
Thou art the perennial Nectar, Oh King, holding the pointed Vel, Of Jnana, the treasure house. Can one express it, when by Your grace the I that was Mine was devoured, It stood by itself ever-lasting, transcending all.
On Your twelve shoulders, trained in wrestling, rest the garlands of my praises. But Thou hast abandoned me in the meshes of Maya, My wicked and sinful ignorance unforgiven.
One day, You gave me the experience of that incomparable upadesa. Unless experienced in the same manner, how can it be made known to others? Oh Wielder of the Vel, bright as the crimson sky!
You decreed that I should fall into the mire of Maya and lead a useless life like this. Have I, in my previous life done anything despicable to deserve this? Oh peacock-mounted God! May You prosper hereafter!
Oh Victorious One who cleft the Krauncha Peak! Oh Lord, high as a mountain, embracing Valli The cow-elephant of the hunter tribe! Should I be left adrift with a brain fuddled by knowledge of secular arts learnt by rote?
When can I see my way out of the tangle of wealth dense and dark like the Vindhya jungle, and of the mire of misery of worldly life? Oh Son, born of the boon obtained by Goddess Ganga! Oh Kanda, Muruga, Karunakara!
Pray grant me the boon that my mind and intellect may not be dimmed by evil pursuits after beautiful women. Oh Shanmukha, Child of Ganga! Abode of Grace, possessed of peacock, capable of engaging in battle.
With this body created by Brahma nd pursued by prarabdha, when will I Be redeemed to attain Your holy feet? "Oh Lord, You have taken vow to praise no other woman but Valli Whose forehead shines like the crescent Moon."
Oh Lord, whose lotus feet adorn the heads of Brahma and other Devas, But whose head, in turn, is adorned by the feet of the hunter's Daughter! What is the Truth you taught when Shiva reverentially called you, "Natha, Kumara" and said, "Teach me"?
The state of parivara or close associate of the Lord Who threw the powerful Vel at the Krauncha Peak. Strive for, Oh mind, patiently and with serene knowledge rooting out, completely, the ego-sense of I-ness.
Ever boastful, knowing none good, addicted to evil, how can I account for Your subjugation of me? Oh Velava, praised by the hordes of demons and wearing the garland of Koodala flowers, You are the Consort of Valli!
Oh Prince, embracing the lightning-like Valli! Oh Guru of Lord Shiva! When will the seven kinds of births and the desires of Maya, tightly holding me, come to an end?
The sharp Vel that drove away evil from me I will not forget. Should I remain deluded by this samsaric life? Muruga, You walked about the hills, with its pools, and green fields of millets dotted with watchers' lofts, looking for Valli.
Oh Victorious Muruga, mounted on the peacock, Oh Yogiswara, the Guru giving Jnanopadesa! When Yama creates a furore to take away my life, protect me from death by giving refuge at Thine lotus feet.
The material goal of life is not the goal that should be known. It is apprehended by meditation of the Ultimate. When God with the peerless Vel gave upadesa of this, So soon, relationship with the world ceasing, thought and speech were cut, knowledge departed and ignorance followed suit.
Oh Lover of Valli, attired in dress beautiful embellished with many a precious gem! Oh my Friend, Muruga! By Your gracious act the fetters of my desires got broken to pieces and indescribable anubhuti the Experience of the divine state was born in me.
Oh Muruga, possessor of the matchless Vel! You pointed to me as the place to surrender, Your two sacred feet that manifest as moksha on the heads Of great Devas, in the four Vedas, in dense forests and in the fields of millets. Can it be described?
Should I beg at the doors of the learned and wise men who hold back concealing their knowledge? Will You bestow on me the ultimate Wisdom? Gurunatha, Kumara, holding the thunderbolt, Oh, Compassionate Bestower of Shiva-Jnana?
Oh Kanda, weUder of the bright Vel, Son of Uma, Kumara, the Lord of the Vedas! You are my mother and my gracious father. Wipe out all my turmoils and take possession of me.
Will I get Your gracious conferment of that high state which lies beyond the six and thirty tattvas?
Oh Guru, who killed the angry Soorapadma, who invaded and restored back the Kingdom once again, cool and pleasant to devas.
The Wise -- shedding all worldly knowledge, cutting the bondage to close relations, the veil of ignorance being shattered, all delusions being given up, in their midst you abide. Further, when the jñānis cast away completely the Jīva-sense (ego-sense) and realise You by Brahmic wisdom, You stand merged in their consciousness.
Lord, holding the Vel radiating light! The merciful effulgent Presence that removes the miseries of those who meditate on You! Can one describe to others understanding That Being, standing alone unattached?
Intellect being dimmed, the mind weakening, being in a comatose state and having lost the way to Salvation, I ask, is it my fate to remain ruined? Oh Son of Ganga, the Master of Divine Bliss! Oh Valorous One who destroyed the asuras completely!
English translation by Swami Anvānanda from Saint Arunagirinatha by Swami Anvānanda, (Madras: Pongi Publications, 1975). See also Kandar Anubhuti in original Tamil script.