Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Meat eaters will have to face hell's torments - mantrA 199

srigurubhyO namahA ||
This subsection presents the next ethic / moral precept that leads on from the first one (namely not killing). This is a sensitive subject and might upset the perception and challenge the daily habits of many readers of this blog - thankfully, there are only two verses and there is not much explaining to do on my part! Please be aware that I am not presenting any judgements or moral bias here but simply providing the commentary for the verses as they occur.

7.. புலால் மறுத்தல்

பொல்லாப் புலாலை நுகரும் புலையரை
எல்லாரும் காண இயமன்றன் தூதுவர்
செல்லாகப் பற்றித் தீவாய் நரகத்தில்
மல்லாக்கத் தள்ளி மறித்துவைப்  பாரே. I.7.1.199


This is the next sub section and is also composed of only two verses like the preceding one. Here the sage advices the aspirant to never eat meat of any kind.

Meat Eaters Will Have to Face Hell's Torments
The ignoble ones who base flesh do eat,
Death's agents bind them fast for all to see;
And push them quick into the fiery jaws of hell,
And fling them down there for ever to be. I.7.1.199

Com - The ignoble ones who base flesh do eat, those who are so base and lowly that they shamelessly consume flesh (meat) Death's agents bind them fast for all to see; are bound by the minions of yamA (Death) in a manner that all can see. And push them quick into the fiery jaws of hell, They are then taken to (a type of) Hell where their bodies are first eaten away slowly by thousands of termite like creatures and then they are subject to the great fires. And fling them down there for ever to be. Into such a Hell they will be flung in a manner to ensure that they are on their backs stretched out (while being subject to the tortures mentioned above) for long periods of time.

*Once again, simple words that require no elaboration. Except that it is worthy of note that the scriptures mention in great detail various kinds of Hells – each designed for specific sins, where different types of sufferings are visited upon those who have ordered into those Hells by the minions of yamA.  The Devi Bagawatam  describes 28 types of  Hell with names and ends the description by mentioning that there are hundreds of thousands of types of Hell. The type of Hell described here by the sage is similar to what is known as kirimibakshA or the Hell where one is worm food. The description is of a lake that is of enormous proportions and which is filled with billions of worms/termite like insects which consume the person. KumbipAkha (lit. cooked in a pot) is also mentioned in the texts as being the Hell where one who cooks animals/meat is sent to where they are made to experience the pain of being boiled alive in a pot!

thirucchitrambalam |

Thursday, November 07, 2013

They who kill reach hell - mantrA 198

srigurubhyO namahA |

The 198th mantrA is the second and last one of this very short subsection. The verse is very simple in construct and the meaning is laid plain for all to see. This verse is also a bridge to the next subsection which deals with the next moral precept for the spiritual aspirant - that of never eating meat - and such meaning is implied in this verse.

கொல்லிடு குத்தென்று கூறிய மாக்களை
வல்லடிக் காரர் வலிக்கயிற் றாற்கட்டிச்
செல்லிடு நில்லென்று தீவாய் நரகிடை
நில்லிடும் என்று நிறுத்துவர் தாமே. I.6.2.198

The men who shouted,"Kill and stab,"
Them with strong ropes Death's ruffians bind;
And stationing them at the fire-gates of Hell,
The agents yell, "Stand, go; and in the fire pit roast." I.6.2.198

Com - The men who shouted,"Kill and stab," Those animal like people who go through life shouting ‘kill’ and ‘stab’ – i.e. those who commit murder and kill and take life. Them with strong ropes Death's ruffians bind; are definitely bound tight with unbreakable ropes by the messengers of Death (yamA). The agents yell, "Stand, go; and are ordered about brutally to stand here or to go there And stationing them at the fire-gates of Hell, and in the fire pit roast. These agents of Death then take great pleasure in consigning them to the flames in the fire pits of Hell for very long periods of time.

*Using simple words that are plain for all to understand, the sage declares that all those who kill and take life will most certainly be consigned to long stints in Hell where the minions of the Lord of Death will subject them to much torture and suffering. No further elaboration is necessary!

thirucchitrambalam ||

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Dont kill even an atom of life - mantrA 197

srigurubhyO namahA ||

This, the first tantrA began with the subsection named upadEsha in which some of the spiritual instructions were laid down as the traditional words of the guru to the novice initiate. This was followed by the sage describing the transitory nature of this body, one’s wealth, youth, beauty and even life itself. Understanding the enormity of the challenge (i.e. perception of (non dual) reality after the total annihilation of all delusion) and the realisation of the short time span we have to accomplish it must now goad us into immediate action. Having set the stage so far, the sage now begins to advice the disciple on the code of right living.

This subsection and the next nineteen to follow all contain instructions on the code of conduct expected of the aspirant. Instructions here are moral, ethical and societal in nature and on closer inspection they can be understood as the perfect prescription for the spiritual aspirant. The true disciple must try and regulate his life and cultivate the necessary discipline and courage that is necessary to tread this path of sivayOgA. Base emotions must be controlled through the cultivation of good mental attitudes; restless energy must be spent on service to the world around one till it is exhausted. These instructions occur (much like in the vEdAs) as vidhi and nishEdA – i.e. commandments and prohibitions.

Consisting only of two mantrAs, this subsection titled ‘Not Killing’ conveys a very important principle to cultivate – hence it’s place as the first of the virtues to cultivate. ‘Thou shalt not kill’ is a commandment in the Old Testament. Similarly, it is a cardinal principle here. The brevity of the section dealing with this must not confuse us into thinking that it is not important. It is my personal opinion that it is precisely because of how important and cardinal a rule it is, that the sage has not wasted any effort in impressing this idea upon our minds – we must feel the truth in this already if we are on the path to self knowledge. Not killing means to never separate a life from the body it occupies. 
6. கொல்லாமை
பற்றாய நற்குரு பூசைக்கும் பன்மலர்
மற்றோர் அணுக்களைக் கொல்லாமை ஒண்மலர்
நற்றார் நடுக்கற்ற தீபமும் சித்தமும்
உற்றாரும் ஆவி அமர்ந்திடம் உச்சியே. I.6.1.197


Flowers many to dear, loved Master's worship;
Even one atom of life, kill not:
The lovely garland, the steady flame, the firm will,
The passionate heart--such the worship's crowning part. I.6.1.197

Com - Flowers many to dear, loved Master's worship; for the (internal) worship of the supreme guru (siva), the various fragrant flowers are represented by Even one atom of life, kill not: the pure practise (vow) of never killing. The lovely garland, the steady flame, the firm will,The passionate heart The light within the two eyes is the perfect and beautiful garland. The steady and un agitated mind is the extraordinary lamp fit to be used in this worship. such the worship's crowning part. When the pUja (worship) is so performed, the supreme manifests in the crown of the (worshipper’s) head.

*The supreme guru refers to Siva and the word ‘அணு‘meaning atom is here used to signify life. For internal worship, there is no need for any external paraphernalia or instruments. The sincere devotee must take the vow of not killing, as this is like the various fragrant flowers that will be offered in this internal worship. Using the light within the eyes and remaining motionless one must contemplate on the crown of one’s head and be established in a state of meditation. The practise of not killing is the pure ground through which this can be accomplished.

thirucchitrambalam ||

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Share with others before you eat - mantrA 196

srigurubhyO namahA |

The 196th mantrA forms the end of the current subsection dealing with the transitory nature of life.

அவ்வியம் பேசி அறங்கெட நில்லன்மின்
வெவ்விய னாகிப் பிறர்ப்பொருள் வவ்வன்மின்
செவ்விய னாகிச் சிறந்துண்ணும் போதொரு
தவ்விகொ டுண்மின் தலைப்பட்ட போதே. I.5.10.196

Speak not in envy, stray not from the Dharmic way,
Covet not other's riches with lustful greedy glances;
With heart to pity attuned, as you sit down to eat,
Share with others before the feast commences. I.5.10.196

Com - Speak not in envy, stray not from the Dharmic way, you must not speak ill of others (biased by envy, jealousy, anger etc) and lead yourself into the path of adharmA (improper conduct). Covet not other's riches with lustful greedy glances; you must not act out of hatred and greed and want what is not rightfully yours, you must not commit theft and violence (which stem out of greed and hatred) for improper gain. With heart to pity attuned, as you sit down to eat, You must live with a controlled mind that has learnt to be content with what is available and when sitting down to eat (with the senses controlled) Share with others before the feast commences. You must be compassionate to the needs of others, and if someone comes visiting, share at least a ladle of food with them before you commence your own meal.

*In the last mantra of this subsection the sage leaves us with a few good pointers. One must remain unaffected by envy and jealousy as they cause one to commit actions that are impure and unjust. One must also remain free of greed and anger as these will drag one to base actions that have devastating consequences. It is also good to note that these emotions cloud the mind and cause agitation that renders meditation and contemplation impossible. Learning to be content with what is available; one must live a regulated life if desirous of self knowledge. Most importantly (being aware of the momentary nature of life and the preciousness of life) we must be empathetic to the needs of those around us and be ready to share what we have with those that don’t or those who are guests in our home. Upholding these morals one must live this short life and try to rid the mind of its useless delusions and dangerous emotions. Some of these morals will be discussed in greater detail in different sub sections to follow within the body of the first tantrA

thirucchitrambalam ||