‘Kandar Anubhuti’, the immortal song of Arunagirinathar ends up with the verse, ‘Guruvai Varuvai Arulvai Guhane’. It should be noted that Arunagirinathar prays that Lord Muruga should come to him not as a God to bestow blessings but as a master-teacher to guide him and enlighten him to the path of nobility, virtue and perfection.
Muruga not only came to Arunagirinathar as a Guru but He came in the form of a Guru to whoever rendered the verses of Arunagirinathar, “Guruvai Varuvai Arul Vai Guhane”. He came to us even when we have not rendered those verses. All that we did was to visit his sacred abode, Palani, on the occasion of Thaipusam.
When I and my father visited Palani, we happened to attend a bhajan. A devotee was rendering a song at the premises we were staying. The moment we heard the song, we felt, we were elevated to a new state of bliss. We forgot ourselves for a while. We sat there, listening intensely. Hailing from Kerala, we could not grasp the meaning of those Tamil songs but we experienced an unknown power emanating from those songs. Never before, a devotional song inspired us and influenced us so much as these songs. As he finished his rendering, my father went near him and expressed his appreciation and reverence. My father then came to know that the songs he heard were called “Thiruppugazh”, composed by saint Sri Arunagirinathar and the singer who rendered them was Calcutta Thiruppugazh Mani Iyer. Addressing Mani Iyer, my father said: “There is some power in the songs you rendered. That power is drawing me near you. Would you please come down to our place at Thrissur and teach us these wonderful songs?” It was an unusual request. Knowing his preoccupations, we were prepared for a negative answer but we were pleasantly surprised when he said “yes”. To cut a long story short, he came, conquered our heart and gave us the voice and knowledge. In few days, he had transformed all of us into hard-core Thiruppugazh singers.
It was a wonder he did; came all the way to our house miles away, initiated all of us brought up in Kerala background to Thiruppugazh culture and left in mere four days. The light of Thiruppugazh which Mani Iyer kindled in the heart of every member of our family illuminates even now, after over 50 years. Every member of our family can recite Thiruppugazh flawlessly. My brother conducts discourses on Thiruppugazh. My mother used to render Kandar Anubhuti without referring to book. As every year passes by, we recall with reverence what a precious treasure that Mani Iyer has passed on to an unknown people like us, without expecting anything in return. What he did was part of his usual pilgrimage and Satsang but what an enormous difference it has made on our lives? We strongly belief that no ordinary human can do this wonder and it was Muruga who came as a Gurunatha and gave us the teachings in the form of ‘Thiruppugazh’.
We still remember the words Mani Iyer uttered when he departed from our house: “Thiruppugazh is not merely a form of worship. It is a way of life. It is not merely the means for leading a life of truth, it takes us to the right end; liberation from the cycle of repeated birth and death. Nourish this culture and pass it on to future generations.”
With the passage of time, our family members had settled down at different places but wherever they went they carried the book of Thiruppugazh. They seldom needed the book as they knew most of the songs by heart. It was not the Thiruppugazh book that went with them. It was the Thiruppugazh culture, the devotion and humility that went with them and guided them in every stage of life. Though I went to distant places like Patna in an effort to build my career, I never lost touch with Thiruppugazh. I was driven by a desire to know more about Thiruppugazh. I studed the research work of Sri V.S. Chengalvaraya Pillai, “Arunagirinathar Varalarum Nool Araichiyum”. Though I knew the songs, I could not comprehend their meaning. I went through the works of Sri Krupananda Variyar who gave translation and interpretation to all songs.
Whatever little gems and pearls that I collected from this vast ocean of Thiruppugazh, I decided to share them with other devotees by way of a book. With the grace of Lord Muruga, I successfully launched my book, “Thiruppugazh, Glory to Lord Muruga”. While the first edition was sold out, the second revised edition has now been brought out with the patronage of Sri Lakshmanan of Uma Pathippagam, Chennai. Among the many devotional works published by him, special mention must be made about the five books he published on “Arunagirinathar Aruliya Thiruppuzagh, Moolamum Urayum”. Sri Lakshmanan, has received many awards from Central and State Governments for the great service he is doing in the publishing industry for over 25 years. This book, containing over 400 pages and priced at Rs.200/-, deals with the life and teachings of Arunagirinathar in greater details. Apart from hailing the glory of Muruga, the book highlights His infinite qualities, His various abodes and portrays the life of His innumerable devotees. There is a chapter that describes few devotees who have dedicated their life for the sake of Thiruppugazh. The book also gives meaning and interpretation to the immortal verses of Kandar Anubhuti and Kandar Alamgaram. Those interested in the book can approach this writer.
This website was first launched to introduce the book. But over the period, this journey has given new experience. Tiruvannamalai, the birth place of Arunagirinathar, always held special interest for me. This holy place is known as the confluence of saints. It was here, Sri Ramana Maharshi found spiritual fulfillment. The end of all spiritual knowledge is the knowledge of Self. “Once you know yourself, then there is nothing else to be known”, he said. I have shared in this website whatever little that I have known from the teachings of Bhagavan.
V.S. KRISHNAN Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com Phone: 0422-2426283 / 9894194585