Kanthar Anubhuthi - Verse 1

By Sri Arunagirinathar
Commentary by N.V. Karthikeyan
Chanted by S. Pranava


aadum parivEl aNi sEvalena— ,
paadum paNiyE paNiyaa aruLvaay
thEdum kayamaa mukanai cheruvil,
saadum thani yaanai sahoTharanE. 1


The dancing Peacock, Vel, and the beautiful Cock
Thus, to sing, grant me this service as my holy task;
O Brother of Vinayaka peerless! Who in battle kills,
The searching Asura, Gajamukha, with face elephant's.

"O Lord Subramanya, the (younger) brother of the peerless Lord Sri Ganesha — who kills in the battle the Asura, Gajamukha, who always searches for the Devas who will face him in battle! Grant me as my holy task the divine Seva of singing Thy praise as, 'the dancing Peacock, the Vel, and the beautiful Cock.'"



Detailed Commentary:

Kanthar Anubhuthi begins with "OM" & "Velum Mayilum Thunai"

Kanthar Anubhuthi commences with this verse. The verse begins with the word "aadum" which contains Akara, Ukara, and Makara, meaning "AUM/OM." Thus, the work commences with the OM or Pranava, the sacred mantra. Again, the first-line of Kanthar Anubhuthi "aadum pari vel aniseval" has in it hidden the great mantra in Tamil, "Velum Mayilum Thunai," which means "The Vel and the Peacock are (my) protection or support." The prayer of Arunagirinathar is for the blessedness of constantly repeating this great mantra, "Om Velum Mayilum Thunai."

Symbol of Vel, Myol, and Cock

The Peacock, in its dancing pose, symbolizes Om. Vel stands for pure knowledge. The Cock(-rel) announces in the early hours of the morning the advent of light or sun, and the divine Cock on the banner of the Lord indicates the advent of wisdom, Jnana-Surya. In that alerted condition of crowing, the cock looks more beautiful than otherwise, hence, Arunagirinathar says, "the beautiful cock." It is interesting to note that the saint has added the adjectives "dancing" and "beautiful" to the peacock and cock, respectively, but nothing to the Vel. Because the Vel, which is pure knowledge and identical with the Lord Himself, stands not in need of any adjectives; it gives value for everything and nothing can add to its glory.

In some of the verses, the Vel is referred to as the "Sharp-Vel," "Incomparable-Vel," "Victory-Vel," etc., but they are not adjectives to the Vel; they only denote that particular aspect of the Vel which is invoked, according to the context in the respective verses.

Puranam: The Legend of Sri Ganesha and Gajamukha

Gajamukha was an Asura with an elephant's face, who had obtained boons of non-destruction from Lord Siva. His only work was to trouble the Devas in Svarga. The Devas represented their condition before Lord Siva.

Once, Lord Siva and Parvathi Devi entered the mantra-mandapa (the house of mantras wherein are 7 crore of mantras) in Mount Kailasa and gracefully looked at the Samashti and Vyashti Pranavas. By this look of theirs, the two Pranavas embraced each other and there arose the divine avatara of Lord Sri Ganesha, the form of Pranava.

Lord Ganesha, under instruction of Lord Siva, fought with Gajamukha Asura. As he had boons of non-destruction by means of any astra or Sastra, Lord Ganesha broke one of His two projecting teeth (tusk) and let it go to kill the Asura. When the tusk cleaved the Asura, since he could not be killed due to Siva's boons, Gajamukha assumed the form of a bandicoot and proceeded to attack Lord Vigneshvara, who by His graceful look made the Asura His Vahana (vehicle). Lord Vigneshvara is, therefore, addressed as peerless — for He did an act which no one else could do.

The glory of Nama-Sankirtana

Nama-Sankirtana (singing the glories of the Lord) is a very effective form of Sadhana. It purifies the heart quickly. Saint Arunagirinathar himself is a standing proof of the position one could attain by singing the Lord's names and His glories. He has tasted the bliss of Nama-Sankirtana and so prays to the Lord, to serve as an instruction to us, to grant that only boon of repeating His Names always.

Instruction for the devout Sadhaka

[This is a work of Anubhuthi or direct spiritual experience. It is all practice from the very beginning, because mere philosophizing will lead the Sadhaka nowhere. Hence, in the first verse itself the practical Sadhana of Nama-Japa or Nama-Sankirtana (repetition of the Lord's Name and singing of His glories) is pointed out, by way of asking for that only boon. Unceasing remembrance of God, through Nama-Japa, Nama-Sankirtana, etc., is the beginning of Sadhana, is what is indicated in this verse.]



Karthikeyan, N.V. Kanthar Anubhuti (God-Experience) of Saint Arunagirinathar. 2nd ed. India: Divine Life Society, 1990.

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