Kanthar Anubhuthi - Verse 35

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


vithikaaNum udambai vidaa vinaiyEn,
gathikaaNa malar kalal enR— aruLvaay
mathivaa nuthal vaLLiyai allathu pin,
thuthiyaa virathaa sura bhoopathiyE. 35


Of such actions am I as not to leave the Karma-experiencing body,
To attain Mukthi, when shall You, Your Lotus-Feet, grant me?
Except Valli, with radiant like the moon,
To praise none else is Your vow, O Lord of Heaven!

"O Lord of Devaloka! O Skanda, Whose vow (divine policy) is to praise no-one except Valli Devi of shining forehead like the (crescent) moon! I am of such Karmas as not to leave (the attachment for) this Karma-experiencing body. When shalt Thou grant me Thine Lotus-Feet that I may attain Liberation?"



Detailed Commentary:

3 types of Karma: Sanchita, Prarabdha, Agami

Karmas are classified into three groups: Sanchita, Prarabdha, Agami. The accumulated effects of actions done in all one's past lives is the Sanchita Karma, which the Jiva carries from birth to birth. Until the Sanchita Karmas are completely exhausted, there is no salvation to the Jiva. A portion of the Sanchita Karmas is taken out and allotted to be worked out in a particular incarnation of the Jiva, which is called the Prarabdha Karma. While the Jiva, thus, woks out it is Prarabdha Karmas through a given body, it performs fresh actions, which are called Agami Karmas, which are added to the balance of its Sanchita Karmas. Thus, the Sanchita Karmas of an individual may be compared to a running account of which the Prarabdha Karmas are withdrawals and the Agami Karmas are the deposits. While the present body works out a certain amount of the Sanchita Karmas, it also adds something to it. This body is at once a product of Prarabdha and a cause of Agami. It would therefore appear that it is impossible to get freed from this cycle of transmigration, because the Sanchita will never get exhausted. A question would naturally arise, is there no way out? Ordinarily speaking, it is humanly not possible to get out of this vicious cycle. Hence, Arunagirinathar says, "I am of such Karmas that I cannot give up my attachment to the body."

How to get out of the vicious cycle of Karma?

Now, the purpose of the body is to undergo the experiences of past Karmas and thus, exhaust the Sanchita little-by-little. It is not supposed to add fresh Karmas, though ordinarily it is impossible to avoid the same, because of the identification of the Jiva with the body and the consequent idea of doership and enjoyership entertained by it. As an antidote to this, the practice of Karma-Yoga is prescribed. To act as an instrument in the hands of the Lord, without expectation of the fruits of one's actions, is the essence of Karma-Yoga. A proper performance of Karma-Yoga, which itself is difficult enough for the human being, will ensure that the present actions do not produce any reaction. But, even if one were to do this successfully, one would only be able to work out one's past Karmas without adding fresh Karmas to the stock of Sanchita. Even then, one's Sanchita Karmas would be quite enough to bring some births more. But, scriptures and saints are never tired of saying that the purpose of human life is to attain God-realization, not in a future birth, but right now in this birth itself. Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj says: "The goal of life is God-realization. Attain this in this very birth, nay this very second!" How to do it, is the question.

There is only way, i.e., God should "grant His Lotus-Feet," says Arunagirinathar. God, God's Lotus-Feet, Grace, Divine Consciousness, Self, Wisdom — all mean the same. The granting of the Lotus-Feet is an outer act symbolic of an inner transformation in one's consciousness. It is the dawn of wisdom, the fire of knowledge, which destroys Karmas to ashes.

Purusha and Prakriti

The Jiva is a curious mixture of two elements — Purusha and Prakriti; the light of consciousness and the mind, senses, etc. The Purusha is pure consciousness bereft of activity and Prakriti is activity but without consciousness. In the Jiva, there is a mutual transference of properties of the one to the other, and as a result of the consciousness or Jiva feels itself as the doer and enjoyer, while the mind and body appear to be self-conscious. The Jiva-consciousness may identify itself with the mind and body, and regard itself as the experiencer of past Karmas and creator of new Karmas; or it may identify itself with the pure consciousness or the Self and remain untouched by the three kinds of Karmas. The Jiva has for births been identifying itself with the body that this wrong identification has become almost natural to it, and it has forgotten its true identity.

When the Lord's Feet are granted, when wisdom dawns, when the Jiva is awakened to its pristine nature of pure consciousness, when God's Grace descends, the Purusha no more identifies itself with Prakriti and man is freed from the clutches of Karmas. When and how this happens is, of course, a mystery. God's grace is the only way. An ardent longing, sincere prayer, whole-souled dedication to God is the way. Hence, Arunagirinathar's prayer to the Lord to grant His Lotus-Feet, to attain Liberation.

Prarabdha Karmas in an ordinary man vs Karma Yogin vs Jnanin

Now, the question is, what happens to one's Prarabdha Karmas that have already begun to work? In the case of an ordinary man, the body works out the Prarabdha and at the same time there accrues Agami Karmas; his cycle of births and deaths is endless. The Karma-Yogin exhausts his Prarabdha, does not create Agami, but leaves his Sanchita untouched. He has to take a few more births to exhaust his Sanchita and attain liberation. But, the Jnanin, who has identified himself with pure consciousness, remains untouched by the three kinds of Karmas. He may appear, for the onlookers, to undergo the Prarabdha Karmas, but not so to himself. He who remains as pure Awareness, which body can he regard as his and which as others? This body, which the onlookers would regard as his, is, to him, as good as any other body. Indeed, there would be no bodies or matter, at all, but only consciousness flooding everywhere, as he belongs to a different realm of Reality. Just as when one wakes up from dream, the dream-bank, the bank-balance, credit, debit, and the multifarious transactions of the dream, together with the dream-subject are wound up and transcended into the unitary waking consciousness, so is the entire phenomenal play of Karmas and the Karma-experiencing subject transcended in God-consciousness. They belong to two different realms of Reality, and the laws obtaining in one realm do not hold good in another.

Skanda Puranam: Valli's single-minded devotion

Lord Skanda killed Surapadman, released the Devas from his tyranny and restored them to their original positions in Devaloka. Hence, He is the Lord of Gods and Indraloka.

Valli Devi shines with a brilliant forehead because of her single-minded devotion to the Lord. From her childhood, she had intense love for Lord Murugan and was ever thinking of Him, His divine Lilas, His glories, etc. Her mind was ever absorbed in the Lord, and she was determined to marry only Lord Skanda. Pleased with her earnest longing to attain Him, Lord Murugan went to the fields where Valli Devi was. He praised her, tested her, and finally accepted her as His consort. He praised Valli alone because of her total dedication to Him. This was His Vrata (divine policy).

Valli Devi represents the Jiva that longs for union with the Lord. The Lord's policy of praising none but Valli Devi indicates that He seeks to help the ardent souls which reject everything and devote themselves solely to God. To that Lord Skanda, is Arunagirinathar's prayer to grant him His Lotus-Feet.

Instruction for the devout Sadhaka

[The Sadhaka now wants to get rid of even that little Prarabdha Karma which brought him back from that glimpse to world-experience (verse 31), as also the Sanchita and Agami Karmas which might bring him rebirth. He, therefore, prays to the Lord to grant him His Lotus-Feet (liberation).

That he appeals to the Lord whose only Vrata or noble policy is to accept longing souls, as in the case of Valli Devi, shows that his aspiration for release from Samsara is so intense.]



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

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