Kanthar Anubhuthi - Verse 30
By Sri Arunagirinathar
Lord Murugan's Form
The crimson-lit western sky at sunset has a special charm and beauty which cannot be adequately explained in words. There is no comparison to it. It produces a thrill in one's heart. If this is the case with a part of the sky, what about Lord Murugan's shining form, whose not only hands or feet but whose whole being is crimson in color (verse 25)? He is an embodiment of beauty. He is charm personified. The nearest comparison conceivable is that of the sunset sky which itself is comparisonless. The glory and beauty of the Unknown and Invisible is, thus, made to be realized through the known and visible, but yet only experienceable and not relatable, beauty of our daily experience, which is only a reflection of the former.
Crimson or redness denotes perfection. The Lord who is all-red is a mass of perfection. That Lord Murugan who shines like the red-sky revealed on experience, on that day, to Saint Arunagirinathar. It was an experience given by the Supreme Lord not by words but by direct inner revelation. How can there be an equal to that Experience? God has no equal, no comparison He is the Absolute, the Spreme, the whole, the perfect. God-experience is also without a comparison and there is, therefore, no question of an unequal to it; God and God-experience are one and the same. God-experience is not like sensory experience with objects. In sense-experience, the object remains as a separate entity from us. There is the enjoyer and the enjoyed. But in God-experience, we do not retain our individual existence or experience God as we experience an object. God is the Absolute and divine experience comes only when this individuality of ours is dissolved into it. Of course, there are stages in divine experience which precede the final at-one-ment and which, too, are all divine in varying intensities.
The individual or the finite cannot experience the Infinite so long as it is a finite. It has to evaporate itself into and become the Infinite, rather be the Infinite, where experience is the same as being. Therefore, to have God-experience is to become God or be God. Hence, that experience is unique and is of a special kind unknown to the mortal.
When was God-Experience given to Arunagirinathar?
Now, when was this experience given to Arunagirinathar? "That day," says the Saint. Which day? That day when Arunagirinathar realized the transitoriness of the world and in true repentance for his mistakes dropped himself down from the temple tower as an act of expiation with remembrance of God; when God appeared before him, held him up, saved him from death and gave him Experience-Upadesa; when a sinner, an utterly sensuous man was made a saint in one moment! It is "that day" when the inner transformation took place, when the sinner, at once, became a saint, true to the words of Bhagavan Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita: "Even if the most sinful worships Me, with exclusive devotion, he should be accounted for as a sage, for he has rightly resolved." (IX-30).
Spiritual definition of "death"
What is required is a transformation of the inner personality. That is real death death of individuality which brings God-experience. The death of the body is not real death, because the individuality the essence of which is Vasanas, Samskaras, and unfilled desires does not die thereby, but persists and takes another body for its expression and fulfillment. To die as man and to be born again as man (or in any other womb), is no death. To die to the animal and the man in us and be born into the Self (God) as a Saint or God-man is real death, because we will no more be reborn.
God-experience cannot be given in words
What is the nature of that experience which the Lord gave to Arunagirinathar on that day? That experience has not only no comparison, but also it cannot be told to another, says Arunagirinathar. Why? Because that experience was not given to him by the Lord by words of mouth. It was a revelation-experience. How can that experience which was not got by words be related through words? So, the saint says that unless one has that experience as such, that is, as he had from Lord Murugan as an inner revelation it cannot be had otherwise. There is no other means of attaining it except through personal experience, even as the beauty of the crimson sky has to be seen and enjoyed by oneself. One cannot explain it to others. Then, what to say of higher spiritual experiences. We may wonder, what is the use of Arunagirinathar's saying that his experience was unique but that it cannot be related to another? It is to create a taste in us, to infuse a longing in us to have that experience. Though the beauty of the crimson sky enjoyed by one cannot be expressed, he can say that he enjoyed that beauty and thereby create a desire in the other to enjoy it and also make him come out of his dwelling at sunset, observe the sky and experience it for himself. Arunagirinathar, therefore, wants to awaken people, who are sunk in sense-experience and know nothing beyond, to that grand experience by instilling into them a desire for the higher values of life by such verses.
When the soul is awakened, Kanthar Anubhuthi
(this sacred work) will provide the needed guidance for God-experience
When the soul is thus, awakened, the work of Kanthar Anubhuthi will provide the needed guidance to help one have God-experience. This is indeed one of the rare verses in the entire work of Kanthar Anubhuthi. Great Gurus, though they cannot relate their experience to their disciples, can guide them suitably and make them have it for themselves. Though we cannot explain the sweetness of sugar-candy, we can make the other person open his mouth, put a piece into his mouth, make him taste and experience it. Such is the power of Master-souls, the Great ones who have been specially commissioned by God, of whom Saint Arunagirinathar is one rare soul.
Not only is the sugar-candy to be tasted by oneself, it should be done by everyone in the same way, i.e., its sweetness cannot be tasted by seeing it or smelling it but by putting it into the mouth, only. Hence, Arunagirinathar says that unless one has that experience in the way in which he had, i.e., an inner revelation, it cannot be even experienced otherwise, much less explained. The Lord should choose to reveal It to us and only then can we know what It is.
Instruction for the devout Sadhaka
[Though the return to world-consciousness was a little distressing and irreconcilable (verse 29), a remembrance of that glimpse of God-consciousness (of verse 28) fills the Sadhaka with an inner joy that makes him feel a sense of gratitude to his Guru (God), who gave him such initiation (vide verse 20) by way of inner experience which led him from that glimpse, though only for a moment. What transformation the Guru brought about within, exclaims the disciple, cannot be related to another; it should be had as such and also experienced as such by each one for oneself.
It is of interest to note that "Anru" (that day), in the case of the Sadhaka, refers to the day when he received the experience-upadesa from his Guru (verse 20), which brought him the glimpse of God-consciousness (verse 28), for which he expresses his gratitude now. The word "Unarvitha Adhu" of this verse has reference to "Upadesam Unarthiyava" of verse 20.]
Karthikeyan, N.V. Kanthar Anubhuti (God-Experience) of Saint Arunagirinathar. 2nd ed. India: Divine Life Society, 1990.