Arunachala Stuti Panchakam (Tamil)
(Śrī Aruṇācala Stuti Pañcakam), the ‘Five Hymns to Śrī Aruṇācala’, which is a collection of the principal devotional songs composed by Śrī Ramaṇa, is the first section of (Śrī Ramaṇa Nūṯṟiraṭṭu), the Tamil ‘Collected Works of Śrī Ramaṇa’. The following are the five main songs that comprise it:
(Śrī Aruṇācala Akṣaramaṇamālai), the ‘Bridal Garland of Letters to Śrī Aruṇācala’, is a song composed in the metaphorical language of bridal mysticism or madhura bhava (the affectionate attitude of a girl seeking union with her lover, the lord of her heart) and consists of 108 couplets, each of which begins with a consecutive letter of the Tamil alphabet and ends with ‘Aruṇācalā’, a vocative case-form of the name ‘Aruṇācala’ (or ‘Arunachala’, as it is often less precisely transcribed).
In the title of this song, akṣara is a Sanskrit word that means both ‘imperishable’ or ‘immutable’ and a ‘letter’ of an alphabet, maṇam is a Tamil word that means ‘union’, ‘marriage’ or ‘fragrance’, and mālai is a Tamil form of the Sanskrit word mālā, which means a ‘wreath’ or ‘garland’, particularly one made of flowers, so the compound word akṣara-maṇa-mālai means the ‘marriage garland of letters’, the ‘garland of immutable union’, the ‘fragrant garland of letters’ or the ‘garland of imperishable fragrance’.
In these 108 verses, Śrī Ramaṇa pours out his intense love for God in the form of the sacred hill Aruṇācala, praising his boundless grace and praying to him for the imperishable state of absolute oneness with him, which can be gained only by means of true self-knowledge, since the true form of God or Aruṇācala is nothing other than our own essential self, the pure consciousness of being that we always experience as ‘I am’.
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