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Life History Of Arunagirinathar - Story Of Author Of Thiruppugazh - Hedonism To Devotion

The life history of Arunagirinathar is one of a person converting to spiritual life after realizing the futility of hedonistic life. Thiruppugazh literally means ‘praise of the lord’ and is dedicated Lord Murugan or Subramanya Swamy. Arunagirinathar composed the famous Thiruppugazh Tamil verses. Arunagirinathar means lord of the Crimson Hill.

Story Of Arunagirinathar - Wanton Life - Attempt Suicide - Lord Murua Rescues Him

Arunagirinathar led a wanton life. Although married, he frequented whorehouses. He spends all his wealth on prostitutes. His wife abandoned him due to his this behavior. He was financially bankrupt.

Numerous attempts by his elder sister to correct him were ignored.

Finally, he led the life of helper at whorehouse.

One day his elder sister confronted him about his unjustifiable lifestyle. During the argument, Arunagirinathar tried to justify his action by putting blame on other people’s behavior. In a fit of rage, the elder sister asks Arunagirinathar to fulfill his sexual desire on her and not outside.

In that moment, Arunagirinathar realized the folly of his lifestyle. His source of pleasure became his greatest agony.

He decides to commit suicide. To put an end to his shameful life he tried to commit suicide by jumping down from the temple tower at Tiruvannamalai but he was rescued by Lord Murugan in the guise of a saint.

He abandons the decision to commit suicide. There was a wholesome change in the tenor of his life as he became a saint. He started singing the narrative of Lord Muruga in a spirit of deep devotion. Kambattilayanar, a sculptured figure seen on a stone pillar of the Tiruvannamalai temple, represents the event of his being saved by Lord Muruga.

Life History Of Arunagirinathar

Arunagirinathar flourished in the 15th century AD during samaya kalam (the age of faith)  in Tamil Nadu.

His life history is not well known. Pulavar Puranam, a later work in Tamil, narrates Arunagiri's life history but is not considered historical. It is said that Arunagiri lost his mother early in life and was brought up by his elder sister. Later, he lived with his wife and children.

Arunagiri mentions king Prabhu Devarayan (the then ruler of Tiruvannamalai temple) in his compositions. This is historical and as such, Aruangiri's time is fixed as the middle of the 15th century AD.

After singing many songs at Tiruvannamalai, he went on a pilgrimage to all the holy temples of Murugan to worship him. He went to all the six famous shrines of Murugan known as Arupadai Veedu. He visited nearly 240 holy shrines and sand the praise of Lord Muruga. He spent many days in temples at Chidambaram, Chirkali, Viralimalai and Palani. At Vayalur, he had a vision of Lord Muruga on his peacock and at Tiruchendur, of dancing Muruga.

He also visited holy places in Sri Lanka like Arukonamalai, Kathirkamam and Trincomalai, temples in North India, and pilgrimage centers like Varanasi, Haridwar (Mayapuri), Vairavivanam, Suganadam, and Visakhapatnam, and san devotional songs in praise of them.

Arunagirinathar passed away on a full moon day in the month of Ani (June - July).

Lord Murugan Appears To Help Arunagirinathar

One Sambandan was the court poet of Prabhu Devaraya who was a Devi worshipper. He was envious of Arunagiri and swore that he would invoke Parashakti but failed to do so.

Arunagiri sang in praise of Lord Murugan and to the astonishment of all, the sound of the dancing peacock was heard and Lord Murugan appeared as a flash of lightning. Arunagiri also restored the eye sight of the king whose eyesight got weakened in that flash of lightning in which God Muruga appeared.

Arunagiri And Srivilliputhuran

There was a person called Srivilliputhuran who cut off the ears of those whom he defeated in religion-literary debates. Arunagiri was invited to one such debate. For the debate, Kantarantati was sung line by line and Srivilliputhuran gave the meaning.

When Srivilliputhuran was unable to analyze one of the verses, Arunagiri did it. Srivilliputhuran accepted his defeat and asked Arunagiri to cut off his ears, but kind-hearted Aruangiri refused to do so.

Thiruppugazh And Other Compositions 

Thiruppugazh is a collection of poems in praise of Murugan and is acclaimed for its rhythmic alliteration. Tiru Vaguppu is another of his poems. Kandaratadi, Kandar Alankaram, Kandar Anubhuti, Cevalviruttam and Tiruvezhukutrirukkai are his other hymnal compositions. Scholars do not accept such poems as Mayil Viruttam and Vel Viruttam as Arunagiri's compositions.

Arunagirinathar Teachings

Arunagirinathar's knowledge of the Vedic texts, agamic texts, Shaiva Siddhanta philosophy was wide and deep as evidenced by his reference to thie thirty six tattvas.

According to him, liberation (sayujyam) could be attained through temple service (charya), rites of worship (kriya), yoga and jnana (knowledge) and the chanting of the five syllabled sacred name of the Lord (Panchakshari mantra Namah Shivaya).