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Translations and Commentaries by Forum Members / Kandhar Andati
« on: November 16, 2008, 11:22:02 AM »
Kandar Andati, (Skandar Andati) which comprises of 100 songs,
most difficult in form and content, has got many more excellent

Verse 80 reads like this:

Sri- rama-rama, O Sri Rama, for you, the beautiful, fragrant
   tulsi garlands are most suited,
Sri-rama-rama, O Siva, who has got matted locks, for you,
    the Ganga with waves and foams is most beautiful,
Sri-rama-rama, for Muruga, who pierced the Surapadma who stood
    as Mango tree, with green leaves,
Sri-rama-rama, well ornamented heads of devas, who are praying
    to you after the war, are most beautiful!

(Kandhar Andati - Tamil verses.  Tiruppugazh Devotees Group,
   New Delhi.  Translation, my own.)

Arunachala Siva.

Translations and Commentaries by Forum Members / Velligaram Tiruppugazh
« on: November 16, 2008, 11:14:37 AM »
Velligaram is a small village near Tiruttani, one of the six famous
abodes of Skanda.  There is a Tiruppugazh of Arunagiri Natha,
about Skanda of this village temple.

O, you went to Valli, with face like lotus and eyes like arrows,  and
                    her in the millet fileds, in Velligaram, and told her:
"Please come, my town is only 20 miles* away, and there is
           only a tank and paddy fields in between", O lovely Muruga!
'O Father, this is my offering' so saying Kannappa, gave you the
     saliva ridden flesh and you ate that and did a lot of divine plays**,
                  He is Pure Siva and you are his son!
When Saint Nakkirar*** praised you as a Master of Hills, you took
   him in a flood of grace and bliss and youn are beyond hundred
   thousand types of living beings!
He is having a mace, bow and arrow, a disc and a conchshell,
      he is Gopala, Devaki's son, he moved with the poundstone like
      a thief, but stood as an innocent boy before Mahabali, he
      is Narayana and you punished his son****
You stay and play  in Vayalur***** with paddy fields, and went
      to Velligaram to seek Valli, O Muruga, with the Spear,  the darling
      of devas!

(This song gives details of some avataras of Vishnu.  * The twenty
miles are indicated as 3.5. kathams, an old measurement. **  Divine
plays of Siva with Kannappa, are the stories of getting blood in one
eye first and after Kannappa gave his eye, the blood oozed from the
second eye and Kannappa was about to give his second eye and then
Siva appeared before him. *** Saint Nakkirar was doing penance in
a jungle near Madurai, and when his concentration wavered, a
demon took him and imprisoned.  When Saint Nakkirar sang Tiru
Murugatruppadai, a Tamil song, Muruga appeared before him and
saved him. ****  Muruga punished Brahma, Narayana's son, for
not knowing the purport of Pranava mantra. ***** Vayalur is a
town near Tiruchy where there is a Muruga temple.)

(Source: Tiruppugazh, Tamil Songs, Tiruppugazh Devotees Group,
New Delhi.  Prose rendering, mine.)

Arunachala Siva. 

Translations and Commentaries by Forum Members / Songs for Leaving
« on: November 16, 2008, 10:48:09 AM »
Neethal Vinnappam, Songs for Leaving by Manikkavachagar, is a
composition of 50 verses.  We shall see a couple of more verses now.

Verse 7 reads like this:

You have taken even this liar as a substance, and took over me,
O the Truth, who is the king of Uttara Kosa Mangai!
Please hold me, the one who is having dark poison on his throat,
O the Red, who cleanses the karmas of this lowly soul!

Verse 8 reads like this:

I am like an ant caught in the midst of a log burning from both sides,
I am with useless head, Please hold me,
O king of Uttara Kosa Mangai, O god of three worlds,
The holder of a Spear with three heads* who shines before me.

(* Trident)

(Source: Tiruvachakam, Manikkavachagar, Tamil. Saiva Siddhanta
Book Publishing House, Chennai.)

Arunachala Siva.

Then some more questions are raised about Akshara Mana Malai.
Why Bhagavan Ramana, composed it in Tamil?  Why there should
be 108 verses?

All saint poets composed poems only in their mother tongue.
Sankara composed it in Sanskrit, instead of in Tamil, (there was
no Malayalam language in those days.  Malayalam came around
10th Century AD.), because He was speaking in Sanskrit, and
Sanskrit was His mother tongue. Secondly, Tamil is as old as
Sanskrit.  While Sanskrit Stotras are always in the form of mantra-s,
these need special purity to sing.  Only a few Bhakti songs of Sankara
like Sivananda Lahari and Subrahmanya Bhujangam, are without any
built in mantra-s. Whereas, Tamil, and for that matter all non-Sanskrit
languages are for commoners, full of devotion and melting.  This
is fit for both Sadhus and devotees.  Hence Bhagavan Ramana sang
in Tamil.  He also composed in Telugu and Malayalam, a good number
of songs.  Tevarams say that both Sanskrit and Tamil are the eyes
of Siva.  All Sanskrit verses are Sastras and mantras, whereas Tamil
or non-Sanskrit verses are Stotras, prayers fit for any one.

Then, why 108 verses?  The Godhead as per Hindu pantheon is
adored with various groups of letters.  Siva, with five letters of
Panchakshari, Uma, with 15 letters of Sri Vidya Pancha Dasakshari,
Narayna, with eight letters of Ashtakshari, and Skanda with six
letters of Shadakshari, and Ganapati with a single letter of Om.
But for all these gods, 108 and 1008 names are usually given,
and verses are composed in 108 verses too.  Manikkavachagar
says in Tiruvachakam, "Let us sing Him, who has not got one name and
one form, but with 1000 names!   Hence Bhagavan Ramana also sang
108 verses in praise of Arunachala, in Akshara Mana Malai.       
(Source:  Arunachala Akshara Mana Malai, commentary by Muruganar.
Tamil.  Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai.)

Arunachala Siva.

The teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi / Miracles do happen
« on: November 16, 2008, 10:19:44 AM »
When Bhagavan Ramana was in the Hills, there was during some
time acute water shortage.  Tiruvannamalai is itself a hot town,
with some rains during two months that is October and November
and there would be water shortage in many years.  Since there
was such a shortage, Bhagavan Ramana and Pazhaniswami and
others had to go far away for bath and natural calls and it was
quite taxing.  When Pazhaniswami and others were sulking, Bhagavan
Ramana kept quiet as usual.  Suddenly, in the afternoon, there was
thunder and lightning and rains poured for hours.  The entire area
around Virpakshi Cave was flooded.  Rocks and boulders rolled
down from their places.  Suddenly after the rains, a stream appeared
near Virupakshi Cave and water facility became plenty after that!
Everyone with Bhagavan Ramana became quite happy. 

Even today Tiruvannamalai has got water problem and many wells
and tanks dry up often.  But the two large wells in Sri Ramanasramam,
are always perennial, with plenty of water!  The Ramana Tirtham and
Azhagamma Tirtham, are these two wells.  The first one is to the left
of Ramanesvsara Mahalingam Temple and another is to the right of
Matrubhutesvarar Temple.

This Hills which is only heat and effulgence, is also the hills of
waterfalls and streams.  This idea has been brought about by
Bhagavan Ramana in His Arunachala Padigam, (actually eleven
and not ten verses on Arunachala) Verse 1, starting,

Karunaiyal Ennai Anda Nee Enakku Katchi Thangarulilai Enral....

(Source:  Arunachala's Ramana, Boundless Ocean of Grace, Volume 1,
Sri Ramansramam, Tiruvannamalai.)
Arunachala Siva.       

Translations and Commentaries by Forum Members / Songs for Leaving
« on: November 15, 2008, 03:34:27 PM »
Manikkavachagar's Neethal Vinnappam, Songs for Leaving contains
fifty verses.  We shall see a couple of more songs in this post.

Verse 6 reads like this:

Without receving your ever growing Grace given to my hands,, 
I am now suffering, please hold me, O king of Uttara Kosa Mangai,
the god with a crescent moon, on his long shining matted locks,
O the Effulgene of pure gold and flashing  lightning!

Verse  7 reads like this:

I am like a fly falling into the glowing fire, am falling into the sweet
   words of women,
Please hold me, the six footed bees are humming over your
garlands your matted locks, O king of Uttara Kosa Mangai,
I refused to drink the nectar from your hands, O this poor me.

(Source: Tiruvachakam, Manikkavachagar.  Saiva Siddhanta Book
Publishing House, Chennai.  Translation, mine.)

Arunachala Siva.   

Bhagavan Ramana has taken great pains to explain personally
the meaning and purport of His Sad Darsanam, to a few devotees.
Lakshmana Sarma, Who, and Muruganar had this fortune.  But,
He never wanted to explain the meaning and purport of Arunachala
Akshara Mana Malai.  One reason is that the literal meaning is quite
simple but there are allegorical and esoteric meanings for some of the
verses, as we have seen in Tiruvachakam of Manikkavachagar.
Arthur Osborne had written two or three meanings for some of these
verses in his English translation. 

Whenever, devotees asked for the meaning of the verses, Bhagavan
Ramana has said:  "Please interpret  them as you find suitable. Like
you, I must also think over the meaning before giving it to you.  If
I had had conscious cerebration before writing them, I could elucidate
them at once.  All of a sudden, spontaneously, they poured forth."

This is the essence of ecstatic mystic poetry, like Valli calling Skanda,
'O my Lord!' and not in so many precontemplated words decribing
Muruga's valour, his Spear, his Peaccok, his Rooster flag and so on
and so forth.

But Muruganar before writing his commentary in Tamil, on
Arunachala Akshara Mana Malai, has sought Bhagavan Ramana's
clarifications on certain points and got his translation verified by Him.

The name Akshra Mana Malai itself gives out two or three interpretations.

a.  This is a bridal or marital garland for the Arunachala. 'mana'
      means in Tamil, wedding.

b.   A garland of unceasing fragrance, by Ramana.  Aksha, means not

c.   A marital garland woven in Tamil alphabets, akshara, means letters.

d.  The Rosary of Ramana, aksha-mala, rosary.

The poem is also in some places, Ninda Stuti, adoring in the garb of
scolding.  Like when Siva took away one of the eyes of Sundara Murthy,
in Tiruvottiyur, near Chennai, he sang:  " O, O, you live, you live,
with three eyes!"

(Source:  Arunachala's Ramana, Boundless Ocean of Grace, Volume 1,
Sri Ramansramam, Tiruvannamalai.)

Arunachala Siva.

Akshara Mana Malai, the bridal song, as already posted, starts with
'a' of the alphabets, and ends with the 'va' last letter and continues
further.  It is like a rosary, beads after beads and when the final bead ends, you start with first bead to continue again.  There is also one
more reason, that the devotees and singers can easily remember the
next verse, by keeping in mind the next alphabet in Tamil.  This
is the reason, why this cannot be translated in the same form as in
Tamil.  Tamil has got only one 'ka', one 'cha', one 'ta' and one 'pa'
and there is elaborate grammar as to how each place, it should be
pronounced.  This is not known to the present  day Tamilians and that
is why there is difficulty in pronouncing 'ka' in different places, and
there is difficulty in pronouncing Sanskrit Verses.   Further, as in
nursery rhymes, and number songs, the reason is to remember the
order of verses correctly.   There are Tamil songs like Tiruvezhu
Kootrirukkai, by Arunagiri Natha, where the each number, one, two
and three are written to characterize one quality or characteristic
of Skanda.  This is called Rata Pandham in Sanskrit.  This particular
verse is inscribed in marble slab in Patala Lingam Temple, in
Tiruvannamalai.  I shall post my poor translation of this song later.

As mentioned earlier, the song is in the manner of a lady-love singing
for her lover or a married young wife awaiting her husband's arrival
from outside and singing ecastatice songs about seperation.  There
are lines to indicate both the aspects in Arunachala Akshara Mana
Malai.  This is both the panting of the individual soul for union with
Brahman or the song of ecstasy after consummation.  This is called
an epithalamium or 'hymnal chant' on a consummation that is over.
Or the prothalamium, where Bhagavan Ramana steps down to the
level of devotees or a lady love waiting for godhead or a lover.  There
are twenty verses, in the former type and twenty five verses in the
latter type, as per the researchers of the 8 volume book, Arunachala's
Ramana, the Boundless Ocean of Grace.

(Source:  Arunachala's Ramana, the Boundless Ocean of Grace,
Volume 1, Sri Ramansramam, Tiruvannamalai.) 

Arunachala Siva.

The bridal song of letters, is made up of two line verses, an indication
of brevity.  It starts with Tamil alphabet 'a' and ends with 'va' and again
'a' etc., are repeated a few times to complete 108 verses.  The
refrain Arunachala Siva, is repeated in between two verses.  The
song is also completed repeating Arunachala Siva, a number of times.

Why such a bridal song, should be in brief two line verses?  Why
not three line verses like Upadesa Saram, Tamil, or in four line
verses like Sad Darsanam, Tamil?  I was thinking about this point.

The bride always calls her lover in brief words or phrases.  She does
not use elaboration.  Imagine a woman calling her lover, or being
in bed with her lover.  She will say merely:  O my Lord!  or O my
Prana Natha, the Master of my soul!"  For example, Lakshmi
in bed with Vishnu, would merely say, 'O my Lord', and not as:
" O Narayana, wearing a yellow robe, having conch shell, the disc,
the mace, and sleeping on Adi Sesha, the killer of Kamsa, the brother
of Uma, or the Master of Jaya, Vijaya... all this crap!"

Any extremity of emtions will only be brief.  No elaboration.  No
Shakespearian rag!  When Jacquline Kennedy, saw the bullets
piercing John Kennedy, in Dallas, Texas, she merely exlaimed:
'Oh, No.'.  She did not say, 'O my husband, the 44th President of
United States, the Supreme Commander of the world's mightiest
Armed Forces... etc., etc.,   When we see a snake in the garden,
we merely say: "O snake" and run away.  We do not elaborate.

This is the prime reason for Arunachala Akshra Mana Malai, or any
mystic songs of saints and poets being brief.  Kabir Das made only
dohas.  Tayumanvar has composed a song called Malai Valar Kadhali,
the Lady reared by the mountain Himavan, there he addresses Siva
and Parvati in brief two line verses, called "Kannis" in Tamil.
So also in his Ananda Kalippu, the exclamation of Ananda and other

Brevity is a virtue.  And coming back to Upadesa Saram, that is why,
Bhagavan Ramana said, meditation without movement of lips within,
is greater than elaborate poojas and mantra japas.

Arunachala Siva.

Arunachala Akshara Mana Malai, was composed by Bhagavan Ramana,
when He was in the Hills.  This was one of the first compositions of
Bhagavan Ramana.  As happened in cases of many of His songs,
this was written for the sake of Pazhaniswami and other devotees
to be used by them when they go for alms on the streets of Tiruvannamalai.  Since most of the sadhus were singing Tevaram and
Sivapuranam, in Tiruvachakam, while going for alms, Pazhani Swami
wanted a new song to exlusively identify the inmates of Virupakshi
Cave, Ramana's devotees, to the householders in the town and hence
this song. 

This song is a rapturous flood of devotional mysticism, and at the
same time, telling the advaitic principles.  Such songs are seen in
the compositions of Tayumanavar, Manikkavachagar and Sri
Ramalinga Swamigal and Nammazhwar and Arungiri Nathar.   

This is a bridal song, with the maiden calling for her lover, to come
swiftly to marry her or elope with her!   But this has been sung by
Bhagavan Ramana after the Self Realization.  How come?  Why should
an individual soul, already merged with Effuglence, call for Godhead
to unite with her?  We have only to take, that these are for various
melting devotees seekkng union with Siva and not for Bhagavan Ramana
Himself.  But He comes down to the level of devotees and seek the
coming of Siva, as Manikkavachagar has done in many of his songs,
in Tiruvachakam and Tiru Chitrambala Kovai.  It is like Arunagiri Natha
pining for Muruga, saying, 'Come fast.  The cool moon is burning me!
The roaring waves of the ocean are pouring molten iron into my ears.
The jasmine flowers irritate my nostrils.  The milk is sour.  The sight
of union of cuckoo birds is harming my eyes.  The silk cotton bed is
like a fireplace!'
This sort of bridal mysticism is prevalent in Andal also.  (Amukta Malyata
heroine).  But she is by nature, a woman.  Waiting for wedding.  Hence
it was natural for her to ask Vishnu to come as a bridegroom.  But
for Manikkavachagar, Arunagiri Natha and Bhagavan Ramana, it is
contrived through a nayaki nayaka bhava, the ultimate resonance
of the individual soul seeking union with the Self.

There are many interesting aspects in Arunachala Akshara Mana Malai.
We shall see a few of them.)

Arunachala Siva.

Sri Ramana Neethal Vinnappam, of Muruganar, consists of 50
verses like Manikkavachakar's and is modelled on the same.  Even
the metre is followed in an identical manner!

Verse 1 reads like this:

Your shining rays of the Sun, not visible for those who have hearts
     of thievery and darkness,
Have entered my Heart, your light is ruling me,  and I am pining,
O Venkata with matted locks with floods of Ganga, please hold me,
You always remain in me with out getting sulky, this is my request!

Verse 2 reads like this:

I have no other requst excepting this, O Venkata,
Even after seeing the sublime love of Kannappa, you have taken my love,
You have made me shine, do not make the go dull at any time,
O the king of Tiruchuzhi, O Effulgence, who wears holy ashes,
   like silvery gold!

(Source:  Sri Ramana Sannidhi Murai, Muruganar, 1998 edition,
Sri Ramansramam, Tiruvannamalai,  Translation, mine.)

Arunachala Siva.

The songs for leaving or Neethal Vinnappam, in Tiruvachakam,
speaks about the poet's inability to leave the worldly desires and
asking for Siva's grace to overcome them.  These have been written
from the point of view of devotees like us, since Manikkavachagar,
has attained Siva realization!  This is like, Bhagavan Ramana telling
in Arunachala Akshra Mana Malai, that his five sense are creating
problem for him!  For whom, the five senses are creating problem?
It is for us and not for Bhagavan Ramana!

Verse 1 reads like this:

O Siva you with your Grace, merged in me, this lowly wastrel,
O the god of bull, please make me leave all these,(desires)
O the god wearing the tiger's skin, the king of Uttara Kosa Mangai,
O the god with matted locks, I am distressed, please hold me!

Verse  3 reads like this:

My five senses, on seeing the women with eyes black as rain clouds,
Are uprooted like a tree on the river bank in floods, please hold me,
O the god of Tiruvarur, the king of Uttara Kosa Mangai!
The consort of the woman, with nicely ornamented breasts, please
    make me grow in love for you!

(Source:  Tiruvachakam, Tamil Verses, Saiva Siddhanta Book
   Publishing House, Chennai,  Prose rendering, mine.)

Arunachala Siva. 

Translations and Commentaries by Forum Members / Skandar Andati
« on: November 15, 2008, 11:22:50 AM »
I shall give one more verse from Kandar Andati, a poem of 100
verses, by Arunagiri Natha.  This verse speaks about the nine
planets which cannot go near Skanda devotees, and try any mischief!

Seyavan pundhi....going to the beautiful river in the jungle of
    Vallimalai, to meet the hunter girl, Valli,

Seyavan pundhi....  the god of Tiruchendur, who killed the demons 
     with valour with his Spear, if you pray to him,

Seyavan pundhi....  The mars, the mercury, the moon, the Venus,
      the Jupiter and the Sun,

Seyavan pundhi.....The Saturn, the lame son of the Sun, and the
      two snakes, namely Rahu and Ketu*, can never cause distress
      to you, at any time, why worry?

(* The Rahu and the Ketu are not indicated in the verse, but should
    be presumed.)

(Source:  Skandar Andati, Tiruppugazh, Tiruppugazh Devotees Group,
New Delhi, Prose rendering, mine.)

Arunachala Siva.   

Translations and Commentaries by Forum Members / Kanchipuram Tiruppugazh
« on: November 15, 2008, 11:15:10 AM »
There is one song among the many songs sung by Saint Arunagiri
Natha, in Kanchipuram.  In Kanchipuram, there is also an exlusive
temple, for Skanda, called  Kumara Kottam.

The verse is on Nayaki-Nayaka Bhava, and it reads like this:
The maiden, on seperation from her lover, Muruga,  sings,

The full moon in the sky, is emitting poisonous rays, poisonous
      rays, worse than a cobra!

The roars of the ocean's waves, and the crying of the snails  on the
         seashore and the oysters' sounds from the sea,
         these  sounds are really roasting me!
I came to you without the feeling of love, but you came to me with love,
            you should come to me and embrace me, saying 'Do not fear!' 
You went with the green peacock and married the green hunter girl,
             and live in all green hills,
You anklets ensure protection to the devotees, who look at your feet,
            you like these small breasts of this maiden,
And stay in Kacchi* and you are loved by Kamakshi who is in the
            Karpaga Vana** and her consort Kacchabesvara!***

(* Kacchi - Tamil classical name for Kanchipuram.  ** Kamakshi
  is said to have done tapas in Karpaga Vana, a garden in Kanchipuram
  and attain the left side of Siva's body in Tiruvannamalai. *** This
  is the name of Siva in Kanchipuram and he is called called, Ekambara,
  the god with eight directions as his attire! )

(Source:  Tiruppugazh Verses, Arunagiri Natha.  Tiruppugazh
  Devotees Group, New Delhi.  Prose rendering, mine.)

Arunachala Siva.       

Poosalar Nayanar belonged to a village called Ninravoor, near
Kanchipuram.  He wanted to build a temple for Siva, and he
went around for funds, but could not get much. So he decided to
build one, in his mind!  With great devotion, he buillt that inner
temple, brick by brick, planted the Siva Linga inside the shrine,
constructed a beautiful golden dome, and a deep tank within the
temple precincts, all in his mind.  Around the same time, the king
of Kanchi was constructing a temple, and after completion, he
asked Siva to come and inaugurate the temple, consecrate, and bless the devotees.  Siva told him, that one temple by Poosalar is already ready
and he had asked for the same date for consecration and so the king
had to wait.  The king was perplexed as to how there could be another
new temple nearby.  So he went around places and came to Ninravur,
and asked the saint.  Poosalar replied that he has constructed a temple
only in his mind and Siva has agreed to inaugurate!  The king waited
there patiently and found on that day, Siva coming with his Uma,
blessing Poosalar and taking him to His Abode, on the bull!

This story incidentaly, is more related to the Verse 4 of Upadesa Saram.  This explains the verse more vividly.

(Source:  The stories of 63 Saiva Saints  -  Saiva Siddhanta  Book
Publishing House, Chennai.)

Arunachala Siva.