The holy land of India had given to the world many great saints and sages who have shown to humanity the correct way of leading a peaceful, happy and divine life. Among them Saint Arunagirinathar, who lived in the fifteenth century, had given to us nine most valuable gems of his works: Kandar Anubuthi, Kandar Alankaram, Kandar Andhathi, Thiruezhukuttrirukkai, Vel, Mayil, Cheval viruthangal and Thiru Vaguppugal. Aurunagiri's philosophy can easily be understood from these works.
It is a marvel that Arunagiri is able to express lofty thoughts in felicitous phrases which, so to say, sing and dance in a dazzling variety of ways. As we read his songs, we see the scenes flash before our mind's eye. It may be a description, one-half of which we see the picture of an old man, grey haired and pot bellied, walking unsteadily supported by the staff, and the other, a delightful picture of Rama as a child crawling along as Kausalya stretches forth her hands to receive Him. It may be a picture drawn with a few strokes describing the life of a person from the pre-natal to the post-mortal state or a tale full of sound and fury signifying nothing unless the Lord is pleased to rescue him.
We may see another dimension of Arunagiri's personality - being free from egoism. His prayer to the Lord to be cleansed of this impurity is answered. He considers himself as a person of no significance at all. We hear of "suicide squads", members of which volunteer for work, which may be fatal. Emancipated souls, likewise, are prepared to forgo the bliss they enjoy in meditation in order to labour and suffer for others. On occasions chosen by the Lord, emancipated souls may enlist themselves as members of a mission seeking redemption, forgoing their enjoyment of bliss. May we not understand in this sense Arunagirinathar's identification with all those who have lapses, spiritual and moral ? Arunagiri never forgets that it is due to Murugan's Grace that he could overcome the temptation of the world and defy death also. His insight and experiences recorded in his works do give us his philosophy of life - life in its fullest sense in all its abundance. His work would also help us to have life and have it in abundance.
Among the Tamil knowing people, Saint Arunagirinthar's name is greatly cherished, not only for the notable events in his life, but also for the excellence of his literary compositions, his profound knowledge and the eminence of his spiritual status.Even though no authenic records are available regarding the biography of Saint, traditions and the facts gleaned from his own writings point to the conclusion that he was born in Tamil Nadu six centuries ago.He lived a life of sin in his very early days but the divine spark that was ever present in him got the better of his base instinct, and Arunagirinathar eventually turned into a great devotee of Lord Muruga. His songs were born of divine inspiration and are collectively known as tiruppugazh Out of 16,000 songs believed to have been sung, about 1,300 are extant. The songs which are in Tamil are remarkable for their captivating rhythmic patterns and high philosophic content. The abstruse concepts of Advaita philosophy are conveyed in his songs in such simple terms that even a layman can comprehend the same. The synthesis of Bhakti and Gnana can be seen in all his innumerable groups of devotees in homes, temples and congregations.In the galaxy of Saints of Bhakti cult, Saint Arunagirinathar occupies a place along with Tulsidas, Nanak, Tukaram, Meera and Chaitanya.