Sree Narayana Guru's

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 (Ten stanzas on Compassion)


Providing help to others has been defined as a virtuous action (punya) and inflicting suffering on others has been considered as a sinful act (papa). A compassionate mind rests on righteous or virtuous actions. Guru has elaborated the greatness of compassion using the medium of Anukamba-dasakam, and exhorts us to make compassion a regular habit. This work was written in 1914.


Stanza 1.


oru peeda yerumbinum varu-

ttarutennullanukambayum sata

karunakara nalkukullil nin

thirumay vittakalatha chinthyum.


O! the Compassionate One (Karunakara), please bestow on me the feeling (the quality) that I should not cause suffering even to an ant, and that I should always have within me the thought that I should not distance myself from You.


Karunakaran (the creator of compassion) is the embodiment of compassion. When a devotee gets the awareness of God within (the Jeevatma and Paramatma are ONE), he also becomes a compassionate individual. When a devotee feels compassion and devotion (Dharma and Bhakti) within, he is a blessed one.


In the epic Mahabharata, Dharmaputra is described as the personification of Dharma. It was his devotion to the Lord, that made him and his brothers victorious in the Kurukshetra war. When Dharmaputra played the game of dice, the Lord was not with him. Therefore he was defeated and lost everything. This clearly shows that it is not enough to have only Dharma, but it must be supported by devotion (Bhakti).


Stanza 2.


arulal varumimbam anpaka-

nnoru nenchaal varum allalokkeyum

irulanpine maattum allalin-

karuvakum karuvamitethinum.


Compassion leads to joy. If there is no compassion in the heart, miseries are sure to follow. Ignorance (of the Lord) destroys compassion, and becomes the root cause of sorrow. This can even lead to premature death. A man reaps what he sows. Compassion begets compassion. Those actions committed without compassion for others lead to misery and suffering. Ignorance induces us to perform sinful acts. These become the cause of sorrow. It is also true that sinful acts can result in loss of money, health and fame. At times it may lead to premature demise.


Stanza 3.


arul anpanukamba moonninum

porulonnanithu jeevatharakam

arulullavanaanu jeevi’ ye-

nnuruvitteeduka ee navakhari.


Compassion, mercy and honesty are qualities based on the same foundation of Truth. In principle, these motivate man to help others, which are of virtuous actions. Such actions assist a man to cross the ocean of Samsara (repeated births and deaths and associated sorrows).


Only those who have compassion, are real human beings” (arulullavanaanu jeevi). This is a nine syllable mantra (in malayalam) coined by Guru. This should be chanted like any other mantra, according to Guru. Here he has assumed the role of a mantrasrashta (a creator of mantras).


Stanza 4.


arulillayathenkilasthi thol

sira naarunnorudambu thanavan

maruvil pravahikkumambuva-

ppurushan nishphala gandha pushpamam.


A man without compassion is a stinking torso made of bones, skin and nerves. He is just an animal in a pigstay. Guru has described the body as a stinking barrel of a gun in Atmopadesa-satakam stanza 8.


If a man is devoid of compassion, he is like a mirag, which only gives the false notion of the existence of water. Similarly a man without compassion gives the false notion about himself, though, in fact, he cannot be called a human being. He is like a flower that does not have scent or bear fruit. Without these qualities, a flower is useless to man, like existence without a purpose.


Stanza 5.


varumaru vidham vikaravum

varumarillarivinnithinnu ner,

uruvamudal vittu keerthiya-

muruvarnninganukamba ninnidum.


The human body takes birth, grows, undergoes metamorphosis, decays and finally gets destroyed. Compassion does not have these six different transformations. In other words, compassion (Truth) is timeless- it has no beginning or end. Compassionate persons will be remembered even after their death. They continue to live in the heart of millions, in the form of fame.


In the stanzas six to ten that follows, Guru has elaborated with examples, the features of compassionate souls.


Stanza 6.


paramarthamurachu thervidum

porulo, bhootadayakshamabdiyo?

saraladvaya bhashyakaaranam

 guruvo yee anukambayandavan?


Lord Krishns, is refered to as the Charioteer who advises (Arjuna) about the eternal Truth. Lord Budha was an ocean of mercy and patience. (Jayadeva in Geetagovindam describes him as ‘sahrudayahrudaya’ –the compassionate hearted). Adi Sankara was the lucid exponent of Advaita philosophy. Guru says that a compassionate person can be considered equal to such great men.


Stanza 7.


purushkriti poonda daivamo?

naradivyakriti poonda dharmamo?

paramesa pavithra putrano?

karunavan nabi muthuratnamo?


Is the Compassionate person, the creator of compassion (God) in the human form? Or Dharma in the divine human form? Or else he may be Jesus, the son of God, or he the compassionate jewel, Prophet Mohammed?


Stanza 8.


jvara maatti vibhooti kondu mu-

nnaritham velakal cheytha moorthyo?

aruthathe valanju padiyau-

tharamam novu kedutha siddhano?


Or Is he the Thirujnanasambhandar, who could perform miracles? (cure illnesses with vibhooti), Or Is he Thirunavakkarasan, the rishi who wandered as a singer and alleviated the pain (sorrows) of people?


Stanza 9.


haranannezhuthi prasidhamam-

marayonnothiya mamuneendrano?

mariyathudalodu poyora-

pparamesante parartyabhakthano?


Is he the Manikavachakar, the great saint, who wrote the famous work on Lord Siva? Is he Nandanar, the selfless devotee of Parameswara who ascended heaven with his body?


Stanza 10.


nararoopameduthu bhoomiyil

perumareedina kamadhenuvo?

paramadbhuta danadevata-

tharuvo yee anukambayandavan.


Or Is he the divine cow (Kamadhenu- the cow that gives whatever you desire), in the form of a human? Or the Kalpavriksha, the divine tree that produces all that you ask for?


In stanza 5, Guru says compassion is Truth. After this he states that the compassionate ones are equal to the noble seekers/seers of Truth. In other words the compassionate people are also seers of Truth.


Phalasruthi (Benefit)



guruvothum muniyothumarthavum

oru jathiyilullathonnuthan



Arumamara refers to Vedas. What the Vedas state and the seers and preceptors (Gurus) say are the same. If we examine the Truth all Agamas teach the same.


The scriptures and seekers of Truth state this fact: “Providing help to others is a noble action- causing misery, is a sin”. (paropakaram punyam, papam para peedanam) The Gurudeva has covered this aspect in Atmopadesa-satakam stanzas 24 and 25.


It is not enough merely not to hurt or cause sorrow to others (non-violence), which is a form of inaction. One has to do good to others (action). This additional concept of positive action is implied in the words Jeeva-karunyam and Anukamba, which deal with compassion and mercy in the real sense and purport.