Faith

Hymn that enlightens

The Subramanya Bhujanga is a brilliant hymn of Adi Sankara that extols Lord Muruga’s ineffable supremacy even as it confers mental strength and solace to all caught in samsara. Legend has it that once a rival of Adi Sankara, jealous of the acharya’s felicity in debates, casts an evil spell that causes severe stomach pain to him. Being a jnani, Adi Sankara just tries to bear the pain as part of prarabdha karma and does not seek alleviation of distress. But the omniscient Lord, the embodiment of compassion, bound by His vow of protecting His devotees, appears in his dream and summons Adi Sankara to Tiruchendur, pointed out Nannilam Sri V. Rajagopala Ganapadigal in a discourse. Adi Sankara reaches this place through yoga marga and is overwhelmed when he has a vision of Muruga with Adisesha spreading his hood over Him. This perhaps inspires the poet-philosopher to sing this hymn in the Bhujanga metre, as it conjures wavelike, graceful movements of a snake. More striking is the bhava of humility that is characteristic of the truly devout who are inspired by the Lord’s infinite power and grace. At the outset, he says: “I do not know sabda or artha; neither am I proficient in gadya, prose or padya, poetry; Yet when the Lord sits in my heart with the effulgence of His six shining faces, words rush with a flow from my mouth with ease and perfection.” This is the confession from the greatest ever exponent of philosophical and spiritual truths that explain the Advaita Siddhanta. Lord Muruga’s grace is shown to be the source for all human achievements, skills, etc. Muruga is seen as the very essence of the Mahavakyas that convey the truth of the identity of the atma with Brahman. Contemplating on Him one gains purity of thought and gradually becomes enlightened.


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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 4:19:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/hymn-that-enlightens/article25532477.ece

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