Monday, February 3, 2014

Introduction to Kandhar Anubhuti

This blog is the companion site of Subrahmanya Thiruppugazh - Sri TKS as he was fondly called spearheaded the Bhakti Movement in Chennai and Tamil Nadu using Thiruppugazh, one of the six works of Sri Arunagiri Nathar. He taught Tiruppugazh to a lot of people. I am so glad that Meena has taken the initiative to upload Thiruppugazh songs, sung by her and other members of the TKS' family onto web. The Kandar Anubhuti uploaded in the link was sung by Sri TKS himself and I am very nostalgic about it because I learnt Kandhar Anubhuti from this recording.

Kandhar Anubhuti is a truly divine work of the great mystic and saint, Sri Arunagirinathar. His name makes me feel that it was the great Lord Shiva Himself, who appeared as Sri ArunaGiriNathar (Arunagiri being the name of Sri Arunachala / Sri Annamalai) and Nathar indicating the Lord. Sri Arunagirinathar is one of the shining beacons of devotion, mysticism, tantra, mantra, yoga all in the effort to unite with the Supreme Lord, Sri Subrahmanya affectionately called Murugan in Tamizh.

Murugan and Tamizh both mean imperceivable beauty. Needless to say, the latter is best suited to praise the former.  Of all the things that I have enjoyed in English, Sanskrit and Tamil Literature, I feel Kandhar Anubhuti is the highest form of worship towards the Supreme Lord Subrahmanya, the finest literature and crowning glory of Bhakti.

The word Anubhuti means 'Union', just as the word 'Yoga'. The word Yoga is derived from sanskrit root 'Yuj', meaning 'to unite'. Yoga has been twisted in meaning to form a series of postures (which is basically the Asana part of the Ashtanga Yoga as documented by Sri Patanjali). The ultimate goal of Yoga is to Unite with the Supreme.

The Tamil word equivalent of Yoga is Anubhuti. The question comes, Unite with whom? This work enables the devotee to Unite with the Highest Form of Divinity, Sri Subrahmanya, the One without any Superior.

It also means, this work is a spontaneous outpouring of Sri Arunagiri Nathar when he was in Divine Ecstacy of being united with Lord Sri Skanda, the other name of Sri Murugan. It is popular to say that Sri Arunagirinathar sang Anubhuti when he was in Anubhuti

People who delve in Mantra Shastrams (works) will know that there are 51 principal Bheeja Mantrams. Bheeja means seeds. These 51 seeds (bheejas) are filled with explosive powers. However, they are not for the uninitiated (literally!) - These mantras need to be obtained from the Guru who 'initiates' his disciples with the proper Bheeja mantras. If these mantras are misused or used without proper technique, it can even harm the practitioner (when you play with fire, you need to be careful!). These Bheeja mantras are quite infamous because of the TV shows and movies making the black magicians and evil guys uses these sacred Bheeja syllables (kleem, hreem etc) - They are so sacred and powerful I think it is a sacrilege to even list them in text. I am indicating examples of a couple of Bheeja mantras only to illustrate what they are.

However, the mastermind of Sri Arunagirinathar wanted the benefits of Bheeja mantras to reach the common man without any evil side-effect. So, he expanded them into 51 verses of Kandhar Anubhuti! One who chants the 51 verses are indeed blessed with the result of using all the 51 Bheeja mantras without any evil side-effect! Trust Sri Arunagirinathar to do this!

Since each of the verse is expansion of a Bheeja, needless to say, each of these 51 verses is indeed a mantra. They need to be used respectfully and each of the verse can bestow a different blessing. They are not just works of beautiful poetry filled with alliteration, homophonics and illustrations - They are very potent mantras, which can grant mundane material wishes to the biggest benefit of all - Liberation and Union with Lord Subrahmanya

We will talk more about Kandhar Anubhuti going forward. In the next installment, we'll delve into the invocatory verse of this magnum opus in which Sri Arunagirinathar invokes Sri Ganesha, Murugan's elder brother to grant him the power to complete this work.

I pray to the elephant faced Lord too! For this work is immense and I am the least qualified. Meena thought it was a good idea to explain the verses of Kandhar Anubhuti, and I jumped in without a moment of thought if I have the capability for this work.

Sri Gurubhyo Nama: (All Great things are achieved only by Guru's Grace - I bow to my Guru in Who's Heart the Supreme Goddess, Sri Raja Rajeshwari resides)

Om Gam Ganapathaye Nama: (Bowing to the Lord Ganesha, remover of All Obstacles)

Om Siva Subrahmanya Swamine Naha: (Bowing to Lord Subrahmanya, who is Siva Himself)

Om Sri Arunachalaya Nama: (Supreme Lord, in a Form visible to eyes as the Holy Hill, Sri Arunachala)

Om Sri Matre Nama: (Bowing to the Greatest Mother)


  1. What a wonderful introduction to Kandar Anubudhi Sriram. All these years I have been listening to this and singing this without any idea of what it even means. Thanks to you, today I learned the meaning of the word Kandar Anubudhi and cannot wait to read the following chapters explaining the 52 verses of Anubudhi. This is a great service to humanity and there is no one that I trust more to explain our scriptures so clearly. Thanks a million da Sriram.

  2. Thanks Meena! Glad you liked it. I am already up working on the verse #0 on Pilllayar :)

  3. Wonderful introduction to anubhuti Sriram. All credit to you to have explained it in a way that we follow easily. Who better than you to do this work da? Looking forward to your next write-up.

  4. Thanks Vidya :) Will keep working on this till it is done :)

  5. Very good intro sir. Thank you.

  6. Reading this brought tears to my eyes. You have written so succinctly about this. To the point and with the utmost respect and humility it deserves.

    I remember reading the text in English and feeling the childlike joy in the writing. A huge regret remains of not having learned Sanskrit. In the 1960's my dear mother paid 100 rupees to a tutor to come and teach me Sanskrit, as I fared poorly in the subject in school, but I just had no love for it, because I was already struggling with Hindi.

    That alone is my deepest regret in life.

  7. While I realize Kandhar Anubhuti is not written in Sanskrit, so many of our scriptures, poems and praises are.

    The translation I have read is by Respected Puducode Rama Iyer Ramachander. He has thousands (literally) of translations, as he has now retired from service.

    It is a blessing for the likes but of me, who depend on the translations to know and learn from our ancient writings about the priceless wisdom of our culture.

  8. Please kindly continue your writings and it is so blissful experience..

  9. Our humble request please continue your blog and very interested in learning other verses..