Kanthar Anubhuthi - Verse 38
By Sri Arunagirinathar
Kudhala Flower its origin and significance
Kudhala is a kind of plant that grows in hilly regions. Its flowers neither have smell nor beauty. The Lord wears a garland of these flowers. This shows the simplicity of the Lord and His gracious nature in accepting things which are not considered useful.
Skanda Puranam: Valli Devi & the Kudhala Flower
Valli Devi was brought up by the hunters, who are very cruel by nature. The Lord went in search of Valli who belonged to the hunter caste and accepted her of His own accord. This again shows His generous nature.
The word "Kudhala" may also govern Valli and then it would mean: "The Husband of the hunter caste Valli who wears the Kudhala-flower garlands." It shows that Valli was gentle in her nature, like the flower, though she lived in the midst of the cruel hunters.
Skanda Puranam: Asuras fed on by ghosts
In the battle with Surapadman and his army, countless Asura-warriors were killed by the Lord's Vel. The ghosts had a nice feast of the heaps and heaps of dead bodies of the Asuras killed by the Lord; and in their joy, they shouted, danced, sang, and glorified the Lord. The Lord enjoyed their songs and praises. What kindness and simplicity of the Lord! He who listens to the chant to the Veda-Mantras repeated to Svara (accurate accent by gods), Munis, saints, and devotees also listened patiently to the unrhythmic shouts of the devils. All these indicate the kindness and nobility of the Lord in accepting even the meanest of things.
Hope for even the meanest
How beautifully Arunagirinathar addresses the Lord in each verse to suit the prayer he puts forward or the condition he explains in that verse. Arunagirinathar had led a life of sheer sensuality and sense-gratification, wasting his life in all evil ways. He was full of the low nature. He was one who was immersed in lust and delusion. He had no good qualities or virtues. He was under the full grip of ignorance. Not only that; he was positively bad an inimical to all spiritual enlightenment. Yet, such an utterly worthless person the Lord accepted and made him His! What a wonder!
When Arunagirinathar recollects this, he could not contain himself. He is baffled and wonderstruck at the infinite mercy of the Lord. Therefore, he exclaims, "O Lord, what to say of your gracious nature! Even me, you accepted and made yours." The Saint exclaims over this gracious act of the Lord and somehow, reconciles a bit by reminding himself of the Lord's nature in accepting other useless things. He, therefore, adds, "You wear the (useless) Kudhala-garland; You are the Lord of Valli, of the (cruel) hunter-caste; You accept and even rejoice in the (unbearable, noisy) songs of the goblins." This gives him a little consolation.
This verse gives a ray of hope to even the meanest and low-natured ones; for there is a chance for their redemption because the Lord is extremely gracious.
In giving this verse, Arunagirinathar is conscious of his utterly worthless nature and the greatness of the Lord in accepting him. Herein, he expresses his eternal gratitude to the Lord. It is not that the Lord had accepted only Arunagirinathar. Many devotees and pious men have been blessed by Him. But, they deserved it; they had done penance, they were highly devoted t the lord, they did service to Him and His devotees, they were full of virtuous qualities. Thus, they deserved His grace, and there is no wonder that the Lord accepted them. But Arunagirinathar's case is quite different. The Lord's acceptance of Arunagirinathar was an act of sheer grace. It is no wonder, therefore, that the Saint should wonder over the wondrous grace of the Lord!
Instruction for the devout Sadhaka
[To be accepted, initiated into Sannyasa and be instructed upon the Mahavakha Upadesa by a Guru and thus, be reminded of one's true identity (verse 37) is of momentous importance to the Sadhaka. He wonders over his fortune and tenders his silent and heart-felt gratitude to his Guru (God) for His mercy and compassion.
Though the Guru gives such initiation only to the fit disciples, no Sadhaka can claim or feel to be really fit enough for this initiation; and even in the case of the rarely fit ones, they know that their fitness is due to the grace of the Guru showered upon them and the preparation made by him, earlier.
The Sadhaka, therefore, exclaims and wonders over the rare blessing conferred upon him.]
Karthikeyan, N.V. Kanthar Anubhuti (God-Experience) of Saint Arunagirinathar. 2nd ed. India: Divine Life Society, 1990.