Kanthar Anubhuthi - Verse 6
By Sri Arunagirinathar
Skanda Puranam: The Legend of Valli and Deivayaanai
Sundaravalli and Amritavalli were two daughters of Vishnu. Once they went to Kailasa, the abode of Siva, where they happened to meet Lord Skanda. Enamored of His beauty, they wanted to become His consorts and expressed their wish to the Lord. The Lord, an abode of compassion, accepted their proposals and ordered that the former be born as daughter of Nambirajan, a hunter king, as Valli and the latter of Indra, as Deivayaanai.
Due to a curse of Rishi Kanva, Vishnu and Lakshmi were roaming in a forest as Sivamuni (a dumb saint) and a deer, respectively. When Sivamuni once happened to see the deer, strangely enough, he felt attracted to it, which also returned the love. By these mutual love-looks of both, the deer gave birth to a female child. Finding the child so different from itself, the deer left it in a pit near a cluster of creepers called Vallikkodi. This child was found by Nambirajan, the hunter king, who was overjoyed to have it, as he had no children. She was named as Valli.
From her childhood, Valli developed great love for Lord Muruga and was determined to marry none but the Lord. As she grew in age, her devotion to the Lord became more intense and only the thought of the Lord ever occupied her mind.
This news was conveyed to the Lord by Devarshi Narada and the Lord also knew that the time to accept her had come.
As was the custom with the hunters, she used to protect the corns in the fields, driving away the birds. Lord Skanda went of His own accord, in search of her, to the corn-fields, disguised as a hunter and as an old man, tested her devotion and finally revealed His identity. Later on, He married her.
Spiritual significance of Valli
"Not only did the Lord go to Valli;" says Arunagirinathar, "He also asked her for service."
The Lord not only unites the devotees with Himself, but also looks after their wants, Himself. Such is the Lord's compassion. Sri Krishna, in the Bhagavad Gita, says, "Yogakshemam Vahamyaham" [Meaning: I look after my devotees' Yoga and Kshema.]
Valli is regarded as the universal mother ever intent upon the welfare of the Jivas. She knows the state of purity and evolution of the Jivas and recommends to the Lord such matured souls as fit for their release from samsara, which the Lord is too pleased to do. Hence, the Lord is said to bow to Valli's feet, asking for this service.
God and His devotee
Arunagirinathar cites this in this verse to show that the love of the Lord for His devotee is so great that even if the devotee does not know or adopt the right Sadhana but only genuinely loves and wants God, He comes to him of His own accord and accepts him. Valli is the Jivatman that aspires for union with the Paramatman. Though she was determined to marry the Lord, she knew not where the Lord was and how to attain Him. Similarly, the Jivatman cannot find God by its own effort for the simple reason that it has no true knowledge of God; it is ignorant, being a product of Avidya. But if it sincerely aspires for God, He reveals Himself, when the proper time for it comes, as the Guru trains the disciple and also tests him, and finally absorbs the Jiva into Himself, as the Lord did with Valli. If the Jiva is sincere in its aspiration, God, in the form of the Guru, will guide the Jiva properly and see that it attains Him. God is infinite mercy and compassion. He is "Dayaaparan" an embodiment of compassion and grace.
God's feet compared to a Lotus
The Lord's feet are compared to lotuses. It is implied here that our heart should melt in His love and become soft earth, a condition which is necessary for the blossoming of the Lotus.
Arunagirinathar beseeches the Lord saying, "O Lord, you went of your own accord to where Valli was (because though she loved and wanted you, she knew not where you were and hot to see you) and accepted her. Even so, kindly do manifest thy lotus feet (thyself) in my heart, which is hard like stone due to endless desires and bless me."
Thus, if the Lord's grace is prayerfully invoked from the bottom of the heart appealing to His grace-embodiment aspect rather than to the philosophically true maya-destroying aspect, He will be quickly pleased and come as one's Guru.
The word "Thaniyaa" may also mean "The Lord Skanda enshrined at Thiruthani."
Instruction for the devout Sadhaka
[The aspirant further realizes that his heart is hard like stone on account of which the lotus of the Lord's feet does not manifest itself. He appeals to the Lord's grace aspect.]
Karthikeyan, N.V. Kanthar Anubhuti (God-Experience) of Saint Arunagirinathar. 2nd ed. India: Divine Life Society, 1990.