Kanthar Anubhuthi - Verse 27

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


minnE nikarvaalvai virumbia yaan,
ennE viThiyin payan ing— ithuvO
ponnE maNiyE poruLE aruLE,
mannE mayil ERiya vaanavanE. 27


Lo, lightning-like life I eagerly covet!
Why so? Is it so here due to my bad fate?
O Gold! O Gem! O Verity! O Grace-Embodiment!
O King! O Peacock-riding Providence Great!

"O Lord, Who art rare like Gold, Who shinest like a Gem, who art the Supreme Reality, Who art an embodiment of Grace and Compassion, the (Eternal) King, the Great One that ridest on the peacock! How is it that I eagerly hug this lightning-flash-like transitory life (taking it as real)? Is it due to my fate that it is so here?"



Detailed Commentary:

Ignorant of the real nature of the Lord, we take this transitory world as real and go after it, says Arunagirinathar. What is the nature of the Lord? He is the only worthy Object; the objects of the world are perishable. He is like gold, a rare substance which has intrinsic worth, which is self-shining and lasting. He is self-luminous like the gem Carbuncle. He is the Supreme Reality, the source of everything. Above all, He is an embodiment of compassion, a mass of love, a concrete form of grace. He is the eternal King of the Universe, as against the finite nature of the things of the world. He rides on the fast-moving divine peacock, to confer His blessings on devotees, instantaneously.

Life is transitory

This life is transitory. Everything here is passing. Change is the character of this world. Like a lightning-flash life comes and goes. Ere it is perceived, the lightning vanishes. So uncertain is life. Now it is, and now it disappears. Even this short, uncertain life is full of pain, suffering, and anxiety at every stage. Persons and things are seen to pass away, daily, before our very eyes, yet we cling to them in the vain hope of getting enjoyment from them. This body of ours is itself evanescent and the things of the world are also perishable; either we may pass away at any moment or the things may leave us without notice. Yet the delusion for them does not leave us! "Why is it so?" wonders Arunagirinathar and adds that it might be due to our fate.

Fate's strong hold on us

We have been eagerly going after and hugging the worldly objects since so many births. Will they leave us easily now for our saying, "I do not want them, I want only God?" No. The world has its hold on us and continues to have, because we wanted it and went after it, though we may not want it now. Often, devotees and Sadhakas are unable to find out the reason for the persistence of the impact of worldly objects, misery, and suffering, in spite of their sincerely rejecting the worldly objects and seeking God with true love for Him. Devotees who truly dedicate themselves to God, who honestly seek Him, often find themselves in a peculiar predicament of an inner, ununderstandable longing for the world in the form of subtle desires. They are at a loss to know the reason for the same. Arunagirinathar also finds himself, or rather places himself, in that condition and gives a clue to this perplexing riddle. The things wanted and hugged before come and have their say now, though they are not wanted now, says Arunagirinathar. This is the reason for the present suffering of devotees. But the saint wants to drive at a greater secret by this. We wanted them before, so they come now; even so, as we do not want them now, they shall leave us when the force that brought them is over. Our present difficulty should not therefore deter us from our pursuit of seeking God. Even as the things wanted before come now, God, whom we now sincerely seek will surely come. Thus, there is a guarantee that God will come, if we want Him. And, as though to convince us, in the very next verse, the saint gives his glorious spiritual experience of God-vision. The transitory world's persisting impact upon us, in spite of our really wanting God, should not discourage us, but should be a source of inspiration to put forth greater efforts to attain God, which attainment is assured by the very same law that works unfailingly. What an encouragement to dispirited and drooping souls!

Hence, realizing the transient nature of the life phenomenal, we should turn our attention to God, who is the supreme being, the eternal reality, the ocean of compassion, who is ever ready to help those who take refuge in Him; and the world would soon cease to have its hold on us. To be freed from the clutches of karmas that bring us again and again to this fleeting life, resort to the Lord is the only means. Hence, Arunagirinathar says, "O Lord, is it due to my (bad) fate that I suffer now taking this evanescent life as real?" Such depressive moods do come in the life of Sadhakas, even after considerable progress. But there is no room for despair, because "He is an embodiment of compassion, He is the eternal reality, the unchanging One." What a contrasting comparison Life is transitory, like the lightning-flash that appears and in a moment disappears; the Lord is eternal and graceful. Let the drooping spirit, therefore, find consolation and continue its Sadhana, awaiting the day of the dawn of His grace, is the instruction of the saint.

Instruction for the devout Sadhaka

[When, thus, the Jiva in the "supportless" condition continues its meditation steadfastly on the Self (or the Lord), in response to its prayers (verse 26), divine grace begins to manifest form within and God is visualized as a rare substance, as the self-luminous reality, as grace-mass, as the inner king (as God, Gem, etc.) This experience itself is so unique and blissful that he feels a sense of regret for not having taken to spiritual practices earlier but wasted his life so far in going after (the fleeting pleasures of) the phenomenal life. Of course, he reconciles himself saying, "This is so probably due to my Prarabdha Karma (fate)." Thus, the meditation is continued and deepened until the Jiva gets a glimpse of cosmic consciousness, which is described in the next verse.]



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

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