Friday, July 28, 2006


Sri gurubhyo namaha.

Siddhar Thirumoolar composed the Thirumandiram (a treatise of extraordinary brilliance) which contains 3000 verses (mantras). It is said that the siddhar composed one mantra after each year of intense meditation. That is, he went into deep undisturbed meditation and the condensed wisdom and perception of that years meditation and contemplation was given by him as a mantra - 3000 years, it took him to compose the entire Thirumandiram. It is a 'must' read for any one on the Saiva path (Siva worshippers) and is considered as one of the best works of the Saiva sect. However, Thirumoolar was a great devotee of the Devi as well, he understood only too well the equal essence of Siva and Shakti. He also shows first hand knowledge of many yogic practices and comes across as an authority par supreme when discussing the chakras and their position, power, etc. He is a direct disciple of Nandhinatha (who Himself is Siva) and belongs to the Natha sampradaya (sect).

Some of you have read the first couple of hundred of the mantras commented by me in english and others have not. So, I am including a couple of his mantras from the very first part of the Thirumandiram - a section titled ''In praise of God'', a 'Payiram' or Proem. The english translation of the actual verse is done by someone else. I have provided the english commentary.

* mantra 14 : '' Transcends All''

Transcended He Brahma on the lotus-seat,Transcended Mayan, the ocean-hued,Transcended He, Isan, who transcends all,Transcended He space infinite, witnessing all.
Com – Transcended He Brahma on the lotus-seat Siva, He stands above (transcended) the Swadhisthana lotus (sacral chakra), which is the seat of the creative principle (Brahma). Transcended Mayan, the ocean-hued He stands above the Manipura lotus (solar plexus chakra) which is the seat of the preservative principle (Vishnu, the ocean hued Lord of Maya) Transcended He, Isan He stands above even the Anahata lotus (heart chakra) which is the seat of the dissolution principle (Rudra) . who transcends all He has transcended even the Vishudhi lotus (throat chakra) the seat of Maheshwara and the Ajnya lotus (third eye chakra) the seat of Sadashiva. Transcended He space infinite, witnessing all And transcending all, He stands in the Sahasrara lotus (crown chakra), the highest seat, being a witness to all (i.e. As pure consciousness, being the observer).
* The highest Siva resides in the Sahasrara as pure consciousness, being the silent witness, while the 5 Beings (Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Maheshwara and Sadashiva) have been given the authority to perform the 5 functions (viz. creation, preservation, destruction, veiling and revealing) and have been stationed at their respectivecenterss.

* mantra 15 : '' Blossoms as All''

Into Brahma did He expand, into Hara did He,And into the soul of the body He pervadesAs the Effulgence Divine, the Dharmic law limitless,The Eternal and the Everlasting.
Com – Into Brahma did He expand Siva creates the world, by being manifest as Brahma into Hara did He He destroys the world, by His manifestation as Hara or Rudra, And into the soul of the body while it is again He, who preserves (protects and transforms) the body, He pervades while also simultaneously transcending all the above mentioned manifestations, He is all pervading. As the Effulgence Divine He is Light (divine light). the Dharmic law limitless He is the limitless, unbiased and eternal, universal natural law (Dharma), awarding the just fruit for efforts. The Eternal and the Everlasting And it is only He who is eternal and everlasting.
* Siva is the supporter of the continued existence of the worlds, by being the creator, preserver and the destroyer of infinite world systems. He oversees the continuity of the world, by being the Dharma or Universal natural law, which enables the awarding of the right fruit (effect) to the right effort (cause).

Through the above two mantras the author makes it wonderfully clear that Siva is the Lord of Lords. At the same time the verses also convey thseparatete meaning where by the seat (chakra) of the different manifestations of Siva for the accomplishment of the five different actions is made explicit. The fact that Siva pervades everything and simultaneously transcends everything is also brought to attention. A very crucial point to contemplate. This highlights the bhava (nature) of Siva which is there and not there simultaneously!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Non difference of Siva and Shakti

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

The dichotomy and the bigotry in modern day Hinduism with regard to the nature of Siva and Shakti is quite puzzling. I should not even use the word " modern" in this context as this dichotomy has been in existence for quite some time - there have been some great men like Neelakanta Dikshidhar, Bhasurananda, Nrasimhacharya etc who have commented on this bigotry on the part of the followers of Siva and Shakti.
The followers of the different tantras in general and the followers of the SriVidya in particular are the best examples of bhaktas who have succeeded in rising above this split. In this context, a couple of names from the Sahasranama will shed more light on the unity of Siva and Shakti.

Samarasyaparayana - The Supreme abode of the co equal nature of Siva and Shakti
There are a few places in the Sahasranama where the underlying unity of Siva and Shakti is described in ways that are both explicit and covert. This underlying unity of Siva and Shakti has been shown in context of name, form, nature, actions, kundalini, created universe, mantra etc. Through this particular name, it is made explicitly clear that " Siva and Shakti are equally pre eminent and equally fundamental in this universe. The Chandraloka says, " We praise the ancient pair, the parents of the universe." It further adds , " Each is the end attained by the penance of the other" - this is one of the most beautiful descriptions of this unity.

This united state of Siva and Shakti has been established to be the Brahman (see previous posts and audio sloka from VarivasyaRahasya) and there are further advanced scriptures that prove this unity in various ways. Even the Gayatri is constructed (matrika level) to covertly convey this unity as Brahman. There are a few slokas in the Varivasya that describe this in detail, which perhaps we will go through on another occasion.
The Markandeya Purana explains, " Thou art the supreme and eternal Devi in whom all are established. Brahman is supreme and imperishable. The universe is perishable. Just as the fire is in the fire stick and atoms in the earth, so remain Brahman and the whole universe in Thee."
And elsewhere in the puranas it is said " Know that the possessor of Power (Siva) and the Power (Shakti) cannot be distinguished as being separate from each other." Meaning that there is no difference between the power and the person in possession of that power. This truth is an excellent reminder to us of the co equal nature of Siva and Shakti.

The name Sivashaktyaikyarupini that occurs as the last but one name in the Sahasranama also explains the same unity. The fact that it occurs at the very end coupled with the name Lalithambika makes it clear that the final word of the Sahasranama is the unity of Siva and Shakti. The above name means the Union of Siva and Shakti - In this connection refer to shruti " By the will of Siva, the supreme Shakti becomes one with Siva tattva. Again She manifests at the beginning of creation like oil from the oil seed." The word Union here is used to mean the state of supreme equality, the being absolutely without any difference.
The Saura Samhita says " The Shakti which is separate from Brahman is not different from Brahman itself. Such being the case, it is called Shakti (as separate) only by the ignorant (those unaware of this supreme equality). It is impossible to distinguish the difference, O wise one, between Shakti and the possessor of Shakti."
This union of Siva and Shakti is also declared by the Hamsa mantra and this union can be expressed and understood only through the guru.

I could go on for days on end waxing lyrical about this supreme and underlying oneness but I will be sensible and leave you go for now. You can ponder and meditate on this unity and sameness in your own heart for the time being!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

A plug!

Sri gurubhyo namaha.
Here's something new - click here to visit my other other blog (also reachable through the link in the links section on the right) and leave your vote on the idea.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Sri gurubhyo namaha.

Following on from the post regarding the birth of the Tattvas, it is time now to understand what the word/term Prakrti (Nature) signifies. The Sankhya in one of its aphorisms in this context says - '' Since the root has no root, the root (of all) is rootless.'' The commentators explain this as follows:
Since the" root "(mula) which is the cause of the twenty three principles (tattvas) [and which along with the Soul (Purusha) and the root itself make the 25 tattvas or realities accepted in the Sankhya system], has no "root" that is, has no cause; the cause of all (which is Nature) is "rootless" or void of roots. By this it is to be understood that there is no other cause for Nature, for if that were accepted, then there would be, by parity of reasoning, another cause for that and so on without end.
The sankhya clarifies this point further by saying that " Even if there be a succession of causes, there would be a halt at some one point. And so it is merely a name we give for that one point which is the point in question, when we speak of the 'root' of things with the name MulaPrakrtiti (Nature) ". That is to say, since there would be a regressus in infinitum, if there were a succession of causes - another cause of nature, and another cause of that and so on- there must be at some point, a halt, a conclusion, at one uncaused and eternal thing. Therefore, that final point at which it stops is what we call the Primal Agency (Pra - Kriti) and this word (Prakruti) is nothing more than a sign to denote the cause which is the root of all.

The commentator Bhasurananda, describes the following points in this connection when describing the name of the Devi in the Sahasranama (Mulaprakritihi) -
Amongst the actions (Karma) which are to become ripe in a certain time, those that ripen are exhausted by fruition, the others which are as yet unripe and have not come consequently to fruition, a new creation for their sake being useless, a prakrta (temporary) pralaya or dissolution takes place. Then Maya, consuming all the world, is absorbed into the independent Paramasiva, who is without attributes. This Maya abides thus (merged) till the ripening of the remaining Karma - when all the world is revealed again.
The Vishnu Purana says - " The earth, the basis of all, becomes dissolved in water, water is absorbed into fire, fire is absorbed into air, air into ether, ether into the Unmanifested (Avyakta or Maya), and this is entirely absorbed in the Unconditioned Purusha." The Avyakta or the Unmanifested is Maya. The dissolution of this Maya is not absolute annihilation, but like the modifications of the mind in the state of sleep, as there is no appearance of the modifications of Maya during Pralaya. Though at that time (of dissolution) by the power of illumination of the unconditioned Supreme Self (Purusha), Maya receives light, yet it remains as if it has no light. If there is no light at all to the Maya, then there is no existence of it. If you accept this theory, there will be no succeeding creation.
The modification of Maya in the form of desire for creation arises in Paramasiva for the sake of bestowing the fruit on those whose unripened Karman are absorbed in Maya, when their Karman become ripe in course of time. It is this state of Maya that is variously described in the scriptures by the words ' desire', 'sight', 'thought' etc. ( refer, And then the Brahman desired, May I be many, etc). This manifestation of Maya characterized by objective distinctions, is the first creation, the creation of Darkness called Tamasa Sarga, void of consciousness. From this creation called Tamasa, in which the three gunas were differentiated, there arose the creation of the partially manifested Mahat. This is the second creation. That is to say, the distinct manifestation of the three gunas as separate (instead of their equipoise), is the second creation, namely that of Mahat.
From that Mahat, arises the third creation, that which is called Ahamkara. In this creation (ahamkara) the three gunas are manifested objectively. This Ahamkara or egoism is threefold, namely Vaikarika (pure), Taijasa (passionate) and Tamasa (Dark) - note that the three gunas Sattva, Rajas and Tamas in concentrations produce the above mentioned threefold manifestations of Ahamkara. The last of these (namely the Tamasa) is the origin of the elements. And as the Tamasa is the origin of the elements, it is to be understood that the rest of creation belong to Sattva and Rajas.
From that Tamasa Ahamkara, which is called the origin of elements, arose, with the aid of Rajas, the creation of the five Tanmatras (subtle elements - refer previous post on tattvas for details). This is the fourth creation.
From the pure ego called Vaikarika Ahamkara, with the aid of Rajas, arose the creation of the aggregate of the eleven senses/organs (the two sets of Indriyas - refer post on tattvas for details). This is the fifth creation.
From the Rajas(passionate) ego named Taijasa ahamkara, arose the deities, Dik, Vata, Arka, Asvins, etc, who are the deities of the fourth and fifth creations. This is the sixth creation.

** The above description is of the Sankhya school. The Saiva school holds as follows - From the pure Vaikarika Ahamkara comes the Mind, from the passionate Taijasa Ahamkara comes the ten senses or Indriyas.***
The above named six creations are Prakrta as they belong to Prakruti.

Then comes the Vaikrta creation or the creation belonging to the products (namely Mahat,etc). This consists of trees etc (with upward life current movement), animals etc (with horizontal life current movement) and the bhuta and pretas (spirits,ghosts,etc with downward life current movement).
These Prakrta and Vaikrta creations when taken together are termed the Kaumara creation. The Puranas say - " The first is the creation of Mahat, there the inequality of the gunas arises. The second is that of egoism (ahamkara) and therein arise Dravya (object), Jnayana (Knowledge) and Kriya (Action). The third is the creation of the elements. There arises the subtle elements (tanmatras) having the energies of the dravyas (objects). The fourth is the creation if the senses (indriya) which consists of Knowledge and Action. The fifth is Vaikarika, the creation of the devas and which consists of the Mind. The sixth is the creation of Tamas which is the creation of the all pervading Maya, devoid of knowledge.
Here the commentator urges that the correct understanding of the above mentioned creations is helped by consulting the vayu and other puranas in this context. As even though the Avyakta or the creation of Maya is described above as being the sixth creation it has to be taken as the first is the order - as the previous one is the origin of succeeding ones. Thus the Supreme Brahman alone is the origin of Maya (Avyakta) and thus all the other creations. Thus He himself has no roots, being the root of all - hence that is the root matter named Mulaprakrti.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Vyasa Pooja

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

As some of you would already know, today is Guru Pournami - The full moon day that is dedicated since time immemorial to the compassionate and enlightened souls that have been the lineage holders of the various Sanatana Dharma lineages. Traditionally considered to start from Vyasa the great Guru, the founder of the vedic lineage that has been gracing the world with its wisdom and love through a succession of wonderful masters.
Today, there are two things to be done. One's own Guru, Parama Guru and Parapara Guru etc and the entire lineage is to be thanked and praised - for without their compassion and grace, the spiritual growth is almost impossible for us, conditioned as we are by eons of vasanas. Gurus in general, from Dattatreya to Dakshinamurty, from Veda Vyasa to Sri Sri Ravishankar, from Bogar to Gorakkar, from Bhaskararaya to Krishna Chaitanya, they all have to be thanked today. It is the accumulated vibrations from all of their (varied) sadhana and other practices that become the drum beat of the rhythm of upliftment for this world.
The second thing to be done is the review of the entire year that has just passed. We have to become aware systematically of the journey (in spiritual terms) that we have gone through in the year gone by. And it is to be acknowledged that all this has been through the grace of the Guru. We then make plans for the next year to come (in spiritual terms again) and perhaps take the vows that will enforce our discipline to be able to accomplish the goals that we set for the year to come. And again, it is to be acknowledged that all this will be possible only through the continued grace of the Guru.
The guru of gurus, Shiva the Yogi beyond all yogis is to be contemplated in the heart. With His five faces. Each of them being the source for the flow of waves of wisdom and knowledge. Waves of love, encompassing All.
The guru of even that Maha Yogi, the Devi, Maha Tripurasundari, is to be contemplated as being within the disc of the luminous full moon. No invoking (avahana ceremony) is needed, as She is eternally present in all Her power in the full moon (as the aggregate of all the Kalas(nitya deities) in the 16th Kala). Through Her grace, this entire three fold universe (Tripura) will be the sporting ground for the devotee. Nothing, then would be impossible.

Let the grace and compassion of the Gurus and the Masters (wherever they are) shower upon all of you, like rain from the dark monsoon clouds. And may all of you feel refreshed by that shower like the body and mind of one who has taken a drought of the nectar of Immortality called Soma.
Om Tat Sat - Sarvam Sri GurudevatArpanamasthu. Om

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Birth of the Tattvas.

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

She Says -
''The knowledge of things imperceptible is by means of Inference; as that of Fire (when not directly perceptible) is by means of smoke'' - Thus declares the Sankhya. And since we are attempting here to gain an understanding of things (e.g Prakruti, Purusha, Atma etc) not cognizable by the senses, we must first establish that instrument of right knowledge - Inference (anumana). This inference can be more clearly described as ' the recognition of a sign', as the knowledge that there is a fire in such and such locality where we cannot directly perceive the fire, is brought about by the 'recognition of the sign' occasioned by the smoke. It can be further understood that, that which is true but is not established by inference, will be established by 'revelation'. But here, we will deal mainly with inference to establish the ground realities.

Forget all the stories you have heard before about this creation that begin by saying ' In the beginning there was nothing'....... Consider for a moment that there was in the 'beginning' Two things - Prakruti (Nature) and Purusha (Soul). Now, listen as the Sankhya exposes the rest of the Tattvas (principles) on which all creation is based on.
Prakruti (Nature) is the state of equipoise of Sattva (goodness), Rajas (passion) and Tamas (darkness). The state of equipoise of sattva, rajas and tamas means their state of being neither less not more (one than the other)- put simply, the state of not being an effect/product in which one or other of them predominates. Thus it is clear that Prakruti is the triad of gunas (qualities), quite distinct from the products (to which this triad gives birth to).
From this Prakruti (on the energisation of the gunas) proceeds the Mahat (the Great One/ Mind). This is the principle of Understanding or Buddhi.
From the Mind (Mahat) comes Ahamkara or self consciousness. This self consciousness can be understood to be the conceit of a separate personality.
Of this Ahamkara, the five Tanmatras (subtle elements) and the ten Indriyas ( organs) are products. The five tanmatras or subtle elements are (the principles of) Sound, Touch, Colour, Taste and Smell. The ten indriyas or organs are actually divided into two sets of five indriyas (internal and external). They are also termed Jnyanendriya and Karmendriya (the organs of perception and the organs of action respectively). The organs of perception are the sense organs - Ears, Skin, Eyes, Tongue and Nose and these are called the Jnyanendriyas. The organs of action are Hands, Feet/Legs, Mouth, Anus and Reproductive organs and these are called the Karmendriyas.
The five Tanmatras (subtle elements) give birth to the five Sthula Buthas (Gross elements) which are Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth.
And then there is the Purusha (Soul) which is something that is quite apart and different to either the products or the cause.
Thus the 24 (or 25 if the indriyas were taken to be 11 - will be explained later) tattvas or principles are born which are the aggregate of everything else - that is to say, without these tattvas there is nothing.
Now on the 'inference' relating to the tattvas (please note that the following are based closely on the sankhya doctrine) -
The knowledge of the existence of the five 'subtle elements' is by inference from the five 'gross elements' or the sthula buthas. That is, the Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether are proven to exist by perception and thereby (i.e, from that perception;for perception must precede inference, as sated in the Nyaya sastras) the 'subtle elements' are inferred. The application of the process of inference in this case is as follows:
1. The Gross elements are those which have not reached the absolute limit of simplification or the atomic state, and they consist of things (namely, the subtle elements or Atoms) which have distinct qualities (like for example, the earth element has the distinctive and innate quality of odour, and so on for the others).
2. Because they are gross - And everything that is gross is always formed of something less gross or more simply more subtle. Like the jars, webs etc - i.e, the gross web is formed of the less gross threads and so on)

The knowledge of the existence of Self consciousness (Ahamkara) is by inference from the external and internal organs (indriya) and from these the subtle elements as mentioned above. The application of the process of inference to this case is as follows -
1. The subtle elements(tanmatras) and the organs(indriyas) are made up of things consisting of Self consciousness:
2. Because they are the products of Self consciousness:
3. Whatever is not so (i.e. whatever is not made of self consciousness) is not thus (i.e. it is not a product of self consciousness) as the Soul (Purusha) which not being made up of thereof is not a product of it!
* But then, if it is so; i.e. if it is that all objects, such as jars, are made up of Self consciousness, while Self consciousness depends on 'Understanding' or 'Intellect' or 'Mind', the first product of Prakruti, then some may say that, since it would be the case that the self consciousness of the potter is the material (cause) of the jar, the jar then made by him would disappear, on the death of the potter, whose internal organ (or Understanding) then surceases. And this the objector might go on to say, is not the case; because another man (after the death of the potter) recognizes that ' this is that same jar (which you may remember was made by our deceased acquaintance)'
In reply to such an objection the Sankhya says - It is not thus, because on one's death, there is an end of only those modifications of his internal organ ('Intellect') which could be the cause (as the jar no longer can be) of the emancipated soul's experiencing good or ill. But it is not an end of the modifications of intellect on general nor is it an end of intellect altogether. Thus we are spared the trouble of further argument so far as concerns the objection on the assumption that the intellect of the potter surceases on his death. We can go further to admit, for the sake of argument, the surcease of the 'intellect' of the dead potter, without conceding any necessity for the surcease of his pottery.
Also to be understood as - 'Let the Self consciousness (Ahamkara) of the Deity be the cause why jars and the like (all objects) continue to exist, and not the self consciousness of the potter (who may lose their self consciousness, whereas the Diety, the sum of all life, never loses His/Her Self consciousness as long as living continues (which it will endlessly).

The knowledge of the existence of Intellect is by inference from Self Consciousness. That is to say by inference from the existence of self consciousness, which is a product, there comes the knowledge of 'Intellect' (Buddhi) or the great 'inner organ' (antahkarana). Hence it is called 'Mahat' or the 'Great one'. The existence of this is recognized under the character of the cause of this product (namely, self consciousness).
The application of this inference is as follows:
1. The thing called Self consciousness is made up of things that consist of the moods of judgment (or Mind).
2. Because it is a thing which is a product of judgment.
3. Whatever is not so (i.e. whatever is not made out of judgment or mental assurance) is not thus (i.e. not a product of mental assurance). Like the Soul (Purusha) which is not made out of this or anything antecedent.
* The reasoning behind it is as follows - Every one, having first determined anything under a concept (i.e. under such a form of thought as is expressed by a general term), after that makes the judgment, 'This is I', or 'This is to be done by me', and so forth, so much is quite settled. Now having in the present instance, to look for some cause of the thing called ' Self consciousness' which manifests in the various judgements just referred to, and since the relation of cause and effect subsists between the two functions ( the occasional conception and the subsequent occasional judgment, which is a function of the self consciousness), it is assumed, merely that the relation of cause and effect exists between the two substrate to which the two sets of functions belong. It hence follows, as a matter of course, that the occurrence of a function of the effect must result from the occurrence of a function of the cause.

Listen to the Caterpillar!

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

''O, Fellow Pilgrim, I hope that you have enjoyed your forays here over the last few weeks. I hope too, that you feel comfortable and ready to go with me on this yatra (yes, I am afraid we must begin our 'ascent' on schedule) from here. Before the ascent though, we must settle on a comfortable ' base camp' - don't you think? And from that 'base' (adhara) we will begin to gain altitude ( be warned - the dizzying heights of this mental exercise coupled with the effects of oxygen deprivation as a result of all the herbs, will I am sure, leave you fit to collapse).''
The welcome and the warning now done with, we shall go over to the disclaimer part - '' Well, do not try this at home on your own. If you are determined to try it anyway, then all the best! All litigation subject to the jurisdiction of Sri Nagara, Beyond all worlds.'' Now, over to the content and the description of the aforementioned 'base camp'.

Like with most things, you would (quite naturally) want to start at the very 'beginning'. Good. So I will. The only thing is, what could we safely assume to be the 'beginning' of this universe which is lauded in the Vedas as the 'one without any beginning or end'? Where then can we 'begin'? With my innate capacity for being distracted, I choose not to dwell on this theoretical dilemma at present, but rather, to surge ahead (ah, the delusions, the grandeur) with the task at hand. Namely, to begin, somewhere, 'any'where! After some deliberation I think that a microscopic/ pre natal view of Cosmology (the story of how all 'this' came into being) is what we will hold as our 'base camp'. From there we will begin this journey.

Come now, Pilgrim, sit here a while. Join me and the others here as we huddle together in a circle around the dhuni (yogi's fire place), warm but gently tingled by the clear crisp Himalayan air. The night sky is a riot of stars, and there is not a sound to be heard. Or is there? Sshhh, listen, can you hear it? Sounds like the swarming noise of bees, millions of bees, hhrriimmmm....did you hear it? And did you notice how the humming suddenly turned into the clear, pleasing voice of the woman? Ah, yes, She is a great story teller, and now, She is ready, with Her voice and our minds all tuned to each other.....