Faith

Arunagirinatha’s prayer

Saint Arunagirinatha’s favourite deity was Lord Shanmukha, and he wrote many works in praise of Him. In his Kandar Alankaram, Arunagirinatha begins by invoking Lord Ganesha. Arunagirinatha was born in the sacred town of Tiruvannamalai, and he spent many years there. So naturally, he seeks the blessings of the Ganesha in the Tiruvannamalai temple. Moreover, as Arunagirinatha himself says in the verse, Tiruvannamalai is the place which confers mukti, if one merely thinks of it. He says Lord Ganesha can be seen in the temple at Tiruvannamalai, with his trunk ready to receive offerings of food. Lord Ganesha blesses anyone who knocks on his head with his knuckles. There is a reason for this gesture, commonly observed by devotees before the idol of Ganesha, said R. Narayanan, in a discourse. It is to indicate that the devotee is seeking forgiveness for his wrongs. But more importantly, it is to stimulate good thoughts, and to seek Ganesha’s blessings to enable such lofty thinking. The Ganesha idol waits in readiness to receive the offerings of jaggery. And it is the younger brother of this Ganesha, whom I worship, says Arunagirinatha.

In his Kandar Alankaram, Arunagirinatha says that if one reads even one verse of Kandar Alankaram, he will not be afraid of kings, or of the God of death. He will not fall prey to illness. He will not fear wild animals, like bears, tigers or elephants. And this fearlessness towards death, in fact, is the attitude of any saint. Appar, for example, ignored the king’s summons, and said he was not anyone’s subject. Nor would he fear death. He would serve God and would be His slave, but would serve none else. When he was cast into the sea, with a stone tied to him, he still did not fear death. Usually people say they are not afraid to die. But when they are on the verge of death, they begin to fear death. But saints like Appar and Arunagirinatha never fear death. Arunagirinatha prays to Lord Shanmukha to help him control his senses, and to focus his mind on Him.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 1:39:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/religion/arunagirinathas-prayer/article7151384.ece

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