Kanthar Anubhuthi - Verse 2
By Sri Arunagirinathar
Murugan is the divine essence of God the Absolute
"Muruga, You are the Lord of the six attributes; pray tell me that 'Good' of freedom from attachment and egoism."
It is not the traditional six attributes of the Lord denoted by the term Bhagavan that the saint attributes to the Lord, but a set of quite different ones. What are these? God is bliss. He is happiness. He is joy. Bliss is Satchidananda. It is the Ananda of the consciousness of unlimited existence. God is infinite existence identical with absolute consciousness. Because of this, He is Ananda. It is self-bliss and not the happiness derived from something other than itself.
We are also sometimes happy and joyful, but our happiness is mixed with pain. Even when we are happy over something, something else torments us from within. Also our happiness soon passes away, giving place to pain and bereavement. But God is not so. Hence, to clarify this, as it were, in the second attribute He is said to be free from pain also. And what is this happiness and freedom from pain due to? He is the Lord of Yoga, always in a state of yoga or union with everything. He is at one with all things and everywhere, inseparable from anything. Nothing is separate from Him or outside Him. Hence, there is no pain for Him, pain being caused by separation from beloved objects or non-attainment of loved objects, which question does not arise in the case of God. He is in "Yoga" with all things.
Now, what does it matter to us, if God is bliss, free from pain and everywhere? He is not merely these. He is the Lord of Yoga, too. He always intends our good. He is our well-wisher and so He speaks what is good for us, for which Arunagirinathar offers prayer. The Lord comes as our Guru and gives us upadesa. We, in our ignorance, do not know what is good for us and often pray for those things which will bring us our own destruction. The Lord intends our good, speaks what is good, and also does what is good for us. He appears as this vast creation, through His sportful Lila; and provides the needed field for the Jivas to have various experiences and then He releases them from His maya by an act of grace.
Thus, the Lord is bliss, freedom from pain, and yoga. This is His essential nature as He is in Himself. The Lord is also good-intending, good-speaking, and good-doing. This is what He is in relation to us. He appears as this vast creation, comes as our Guru, gives us upadesa, reveals Himself to us and absorbs us into Himself. How He appears as the cosmos, etc., is a wonder, and we can only say that it is His Lila (divine sport) or Vinodam (diversion). Thus, the blissful and painless Lord of Yoga intends, speaks and does what is "good" for us.
Aarupadai Veedu (Six abodes of Murugan)
Among the innumerable places of worship of Lord Muruga, six are foremost and are called Aarupadai Veedu. These are Thirupparankundram (3 miles from Madurai); Thiruchendur (down south on the seashore); Thiruvaavinankudi or Palani (near Dindugal); Thiruveragam or Swamimalai (near Kumbakonam); Kundruthoradal or Thiruthani (near Arakonam) and Palamuthircholai (near Madurai). The six attributes of the Lord are said to denote these six places of worship. Further, these six places are also said to represent the six Chakras or plexuses in the body, which means that Subrahmanya is the Lord of the six Chakras. Again, Lord Shanmukha is the Lord with six-faces and each face confers on His devotees each attribute mentioned in this verse. (It does not however mean that the six faces are independent of each other or act separately).
"O Lord, are you not the Lord of these six attributes? (yes.) Therefore, tell me the 'good.'" And what is that good? It is a two-fold blessedness - that of ceasing from everything of the world and also losing oneself in God. This is the "good," says the saint.
How to lose oneself from the world?
All things should cease, is the first state of blessedness. There are hundreds and hundreds of things in the world. Can we put an end to them all? Is it possible? No. Then, how do we cease from them? The only way is to withdraw ourselves from them. Hence, the first step in Yoga is Yama (self-restraint) constituting Ahimsa (non-injury), Sathya (truthfulness), Brahmacharya (all-round sense control), Asteya (non-covetousness), and Aparigraha (non-acceptance of those things that are not necessary for one's bare existence). When a total sense-control is effected, which implies also control of mind, what remains is the ego-principle or the "I." This should also be lost. But where? The ego is the universal asserting itself in a particular, just as the crest of the wave is the sea-water rising in a particular place. As the wave-crest sinks into the ocean, the "I"-consciousness loses itself in God-consciousness. Thus, all-ceasing and mine-losing covers the entire course of Sadhana, that of withdrawal from externality and absorption in God, which is the "good," says Arunagirinathar.
One may wrongly construe that ceasing from all external activity and losing oneself may mean a negative state of sleep, swoon, or void, wherein also these are absent. No, says the saint. That state is, therefore, emphasized as "good." Sleep, swoon, etc., are states not "good," because they do not lead one to union with God, but revert one to the same miserable condition in which one was before going to these states. So, it is absorption in God, and not going to sleep, etc., that is indicated.
The only good is God; all others which we consider as good are only "goods." Therefore, losing oneself in God is good, not losing oneself in the world, because, the world is a source of pain and misery; and God is the source of bliss, of freedom from pain and of yoga.
Saints: God's representatives on Earth
When one attains this good, he becomes a saint; and saints also possess the six attributes of God mentioned in the verse. They are ever blissful, they are always free from pain and ever absorbed in yoga; they are intent upon the good of the world and speak to people what is good to them. They do good to them in various ways, as participants of the divine Lila. This is so because saints are representatives of God on Earth; in and through them God works here.
Instruction for the devout Sadhaka
[Now Sadhana has been commenced. But two things are essential and must be clear to the mind at the outset, namely, the goal to be attained and its nature. So the saint has given these in the second verse that "good," or attainment of God, or moksha is the goal. And what is the nature of that "Good"? He makes this also clear by giving the six attributes of the Lord. That God is the goal and He is bliss, etc., for which we should pray and strive for should be impressed upon the mind of the aspirant, lest he should be side-tracked or attracted to something else, such as name and fame, siddhis, etc., is the instruction of this verse.]
Karthikeyan, N.V. Kanthar Anubhuti (God-Experience) of Saint Arunagirinathar. 2nd ed. India: Divine Life Society, 1990.