Friday, December 12, 2008

Happy Karthigai!

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

Here's wishing readers of this blog the world over a very happy Karthigai!! May the lights transform darkness into Light.


Here's a picture of the Mahadeepam in Thiruvannamalai taken from their website. Its from the festival in 2005.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Some siddha poetry.

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

A couple of verses from the Siddha masters. The first one is from the writings of the siddha called Azhukuni siddar and the second one from the great master ThAyumAnavar.

The first verse speaks about the endless cycle of samsara and the method to overcome the disease of repeated birth and death.

The second verse speaks of the way one's mind is drawn tight by the lust and desire for union with women (spoken from the view of man) and how that creates and maintains bondage. I refrain from translating these verses into English (for the benefit of our non Tamil speaking readers) at this point and also encourage the native Tamil speakers to try and provide their own translation for these verses in the comments section.

This is part of a small experiment I wish to conduct here. I would love to see if the verses of the siddhas come across with their full meaning to all who read it. Or perhaps the verses will mean different things to different people depending on where they are at in terms of their spiritual and emotional maturity. Indulge me!

''பையூரிலே இருந்து பாமூரிலே பிறந்து
மெய்யூரில் போவதற்கு வேதாந்த விதி அரியேன்,
மெய்யூரில் போவதற்கு வேதாந்த வழியறிந்தால்
பையூரும் மையூரும் என் கண்ணம்மா பாழாய் முதியாதோ? ''

- அழுகுணிச் சித்தர்.

''தெட்டிலே வலியமட மாதர்வாய் வெட்டிலே
சிற்றிடையிலே நடையிலே
சேல்ஒத்த விழியிலே! பால்ஒத்த மொழியில்
சிறுபிறை நுதல்கீற்றிலே
பொட்டிலே அவர்கட்டு பட்டிலே புனைகந்த
பொடியொலே அடியிலே ! மேல்
பூரித்த முலையிலே நிற்கின்ற நிலையிலே
புந்தி தனை நுழயவிட்டூ. ''

- தாயுமானவர் .

PS. Small typo on line 6 of the second verse (these online Tamil typing things are confusing to use) . It should be punaigandha - podiyilE - and not podiyOle.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The quest of Brahma and Vishnu - mantra 88

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

In the eighty eighth mantra of the Tirumandiram, the sage sings of the unfathomable glory of the supreme Siva by reminding us of an incident mentioned in the puranas. This 'incident' is one involving the trinity - Brahma,Vishnu and Siva. And is an oft repeated story in India. Though I refrain from going into the entire story in this post, I have tried to give as best an account of it as possible for the benefit of those who have not heard of this legend before.

அடிமுடி காண்பார் அயன்மால் இருவர்
படிகண் டிலர்மீண்டும் பார்மிசைக் கூடி
அடிகண் டிலேன் என்று அச்சுதன் சொல்ல
முடிகண்டேன் என்று அயன் பொய்மொழிந் தானே. 16.5.88.

Baffling Quest Of Brahma And Vishnu
Ayan and Mal, His Head and Foot toiling sought,
Baffled in their quest, again on earth they met;
"I saw not the Foot," Achuth plained,
"The Head I saw," Ayan falsely claimed. 16.5.88.

ComAyan and Mal, His Head and Foot toiling sought The two Gods, namely, Vishnu and Brahma, decided amongst themselves to set out in search of the head and foot of Siva (and thus they sought for years on end), Baffled in their quest, again on earth they met; and after a long and hard quest they had to return to the Earth in vain, without having seen the head or foot (the limits) of Shiva. "I saw not the Foot," Achuth plained, (and, when back on the Earth) Vishnu spoke plainly and truthfully and revealed that he had not seen the foot even after his long and thorough search. "The Head I saw," Ayan falsely claimed. But Brahma made a false claim of having seen the head of Shiva.

* Through the above mantra (and the story that it brings to mind) the sage reveals to us the glory of the Supreme Shiva who is unfathomable by even the gods like Brahma and Vishnu.
The above story is mentioned in the Shiva Puranam (the purana dealing with and extolling the virtues and glory of Shiva) and for those of you unfamiliar with the legend, I will make a brief attempt to portray it here. It is worthy of note that like many many other mythological/religious legends, many versions of the same theme exist in India and a lot depends on 'who' tells the story!

Once the creator Brahma and the preserver Vishnu were caught up in a war of words, each of them was of the view that he was superior to the other. Brahma felt that being the creator he had the more important brief and was thus more powerful to Vishnu. Vishnu on the other hand felt that being the preserver was a more difficult job and thus made him more powerful than the creator. Their battle of words soon turned into a full blown war and before long they were at each other’s neck fighting with a vigour and rage that only those blinded by their own arrogance and ego possess. Soon, all the other gods noticed this and knew that it will not be good for the world if this fight between the two gods continued any further. So (as always) they went to Shiva and sought his help in settling this dispute.

Shiva then assumed the form of a great pillar of fire (light linga) and appeared between the two fighting gods. Seeing this immense shaft of light stunned Brahma and Vishnu and they were quiet for a moment, wondering what such an unknown and mighty force might be. They then heard an asariri ( a disembodied voice) from the sky commanding them to listen. The voice then continued to say that the dispute of which of the two gods were superior to the other, would be settled if one of them was able to ‘see’ the top or the bottom of the pillar of light before them.

At once, it was decided that Brahma would go up (towards the sky) and try to find the head of this pillar of Light (Shiva) and Vishnu would go down (under the earth) to find the foot of Shiva. It was agreed that whoever was able to find the limit (the head or the foot) would be superior to the other. Brahma then assumed the form of a swan and began his journey into the sky. Vishnu on the other hand, assumed the form of Varaha (wild boar) and bored through the earth to descend into the very depths of the world. The two of them went thus on their quest for thousands of years and even still could find no end to the pillar of light (as light has no limit). After proceeding in their quest for so long, the two of them began to tire and realise that the supreme Shiva was indeed greater than either of them. This realisation began to humble their ego and their arrogance.

Vishnu decided to end his search (becoming humbled) and proceed back to the earth. At the same time, Brahma saw a Ketaki (fragrant screw pine – Pandanus Sativa, kewra in hindi and thAzhampu in tamil) flower slowly wafting downwards from the sky. He stopped the flower on its way down and asked it where it was coming from. On being questioned by the creator, the flower replied that it had been placed at the top of the pillar of fire as an offering by a devotee and had fallen from there. Unable to find the head of the pillar, Brahma decided to end his search and instead use the ketaki flower as evidence of him having reached the head.

Both Brahma and Vishnu came back to the earth in the end and when asked, Vishnu replied truthfully that he had been unable to find the feet of the fiery pillar even after a very long search going to the very ends of the universe. Brahma on the other hand (to prove his superiority over Vishnu) lied by saying that he had in fact reached the head of the pillar of fire and that he had brought the ketaki flower from the top as proof of having reached there. This false claim angered Shiva and he revealed his true form and then cursed Brahma that he would have no temple dedicated to his worship as he was undeserving (as a result of his falsity) and he also cursed the ketaki flower that henceforth she shall not be used in the worship of Shiva (as she had given false testimony when questioned). Thus through his manifestation as a fiery pillar of endless light, Shiva quelled the arrogance of Brahma and Vishnu and revealed to them (and us) their place in the pecking order!

Splendour of the Tamil agama - mantra 87

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

In this the eighty seventh mantra of the Thirumandiram, the sage impresses on us the readers the deep significance of the Thirumandiram to the peoples of the world. He also makes evident the truth that the Tirumandiram was a work ordained by the supreme Siva to ensure the continuity of the human race by revealing high truths and the workings of the body, mind, soul, universes etc.

அங்கிமி காமைவைத் தானுடல் வைத்தான்
எங்குமி காமைவைத் தான்உலகு ஏழையும்
தங்குமி காமைவைத் தான் தமிழ்ச் சாத்திரம்
பொங்கிமி காமைவைத் தான்பொருள் தானுமே. 15.5.87.

Splendour Of Tamil Agamas
In Himself He contained the glowing Fire,
In Himself the Seven Worlds, and yet all space not filling
He contained too the Tamil Sastra, in lone splendour set,
Pregnant of import, deep yet recondite. 15.5.87

ComIn Himself He contained the glowing Fire The Lord who created this body, kept the (Agni) Fire in the body in a contained state (that is, in a regulated state rather than an excessive fire). In Himself the Seven Worlds, and yet all space not filling He also placed the (Agni) Fire in the world in a regulated state to ensure the undisturbed continuity of the seven worlds (Bhuloka &c). He contained too the Tamil Sastra, in lone splendour set He created (in a regulated and contained manner) the Tamil Agama called Thirumandiram, in order to avoid confusion. Pregnant of import, deep yet recondite He ensured that all knowledge would be contained in the Thirumandiram.

* The fire in the body refers to the Shadaraagni which strengthens the intestines and ensures the continuity of the body. The fire in the world refers to the Vadavamugagni, which is set in the midst of the oceans to ensure that the water does not overwhelm the earth and the other worlds. Through the above mantra the author conveys that Siva ensured the composition of the Thirumandiram with a view to protect and preserve life and the world – by comparing the composition of Thirumandiram with the two great acts (of placing the two fires) of Siva in order to protect and preserve the world and the jivas in it.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The siege of Mumbai.

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

Shocking. Scary. Unbelievable.

The inhuman siege of Mumbai, the drama which began on Wednesday and still rages on as I type this post, brings tears to one's eyes. The audacious nature of the attack, its synchronicity, the complete abandon with which the jihadis have executed this attack, the utter and complete breach of security in a city that normally has police crawling the streets, I could go on.....

The notion of a safe India, of a democratic and stable India, of a spiritual and tolerant India, is disappearing fast. Replaced as it were by visions of Iraq or Afghanistan or perhaps Indonesia superimposed on the streets of Mumbai and Delhi.

As the NSG and the army join the Mumbai police in attempting to curb this most overwhelming of situations, and as millions of Indians the world over wait with bated breath and heavy hearts for the close of this drama, I realise that there is the power of prayer in each of our hands. Let millions of japa of the Gayatri mantra done the world over become astras as powerful as the BrahmastrA - destroying as it were the anger and the hatred that is at the very root of this unending struggle. Let the prayer of every AstikA (believer/theistic) be heard by the Gods in heaven. Let there be a shower of peace. May my prayers and silent tears join the floods of tears from people the world over to be a blanket of comfort for those who have lost their loved ones. May those who have lost their lives in this bloody siege find everlasting peace in the heavens, or may their next lives be at least in better and more humane times.

The sage and siddha, Thirumular questions -

'' pUsai enbadhu pUvOdu pAniyO ?
Asai kObam agandhai agatriyE
nIsa vaimpori nenjul niruthiyE
Isanai tham idhayathut kAndalE . ''

- Is pUjA (worship) defined as holding flowers in one's hand? (i.e. is it only the ritual/external?)
(Nay) When desire/lust, anger and selfish ego are removed
When the impure and lowly five senses are arrested (by pratyAhArA) within the heart
And when one sees the Lord in the abode of the Heart (etheric cave of the heart) - that is pUjA.

In the name of religion, for the sake of defending one's faith, if one had to believe in violence and spreading fear and panic, when will the time come to transcend the base demons of anger and selfish ego? When will the time come where we will know what really is prayer? Or when will we come to know what or who really is God?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Garland of mantras - mantra 86

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

Here we are at the eighty sixth mantra of the first tantra of the Thirumandiram. In this mantra the sage speaks about the mantras and the Thirumandiram also referred to as the garland of mantras.

பிறப்பிலி நாதனைப் பேர்நந்தி தன்னைச்
சிறப்பொடு வானவர் சென்றுகை கூப்பி
மறப்பிலர் நெஞ்சினுள் மந்திர மாலை
உறைப்பொடுங் கூடிநின்று ஓதலு மாமே. 14 .5.86.

Garland Of Mantras
The Heavenly Beings with folded hands approach
Nandi the Lord above and free of the bonds of Birth;
Deep in their hearts the Holy Hymns revolve
And, devoutly fixed, chant the immortal strains. 14.5.86.

ComNandi the Lord above and free of the bonds of Birth The supreme Lord who is beyond the cycle of birth and death, who is known by His name, Nandi, The Heavenly Beings with folded hands approach is approached with folded hands (humbly) by the heavenly beings endowed with superior virtues. Deep in their hearts the Holy Hymns revolve Keeping Him firmly fixed in their hearts (without pause) worship Him with this garland of mantras, And, devoutly fixed, chant the immortal strains chanting it by being deeply devoted.

* Through the above mantra the author reveals the nature of those who are fit to learn this text – Those who have received initiation (Upadesam) from their guru and who have realised the Siva who is manifest in the Sushumna nadi (as a result of the initiation and their practise), are the people who are fit to learn this text called Thirumandiram. (The above mantra does not however mean that those who have not been initiated are not eligible to study this text. It merely conveys that those who are initiated would be able to make the best use of this text – as this is a text that concerns itself with many of the practical applications of spirituality and the spiritual path, it helps to know the subject thoroughly and to have the guidance of a competent teacher/guide). Here the term 'garland of mantras' refers to many things simultaneously - first to the 3000 mantras of the Thirumandiram that are as it were 3000 beads strung in a peculiar sequence, next it alludes to the core tantric concept of mAtrukA mAlA or the garland of the (Sanskrit) alphabet which in itself forms the matrix from whence all the other 72 billion mantras originate from.

Here again, the definition of the suitable candidate for the study of this text is evidence of the fact that the Thirumandiram is a text with practise in mind. It is like most other works under the umbrella of tantra, of a very practical nature. So the upadesham or initiation by the guru which confers on the student the authority to pursue with the study of the ideas/concepts mentioned herein will have the capacity to transform the individual inside out. This is the main aim of the classical texts - to transform the knower by the deep rooted changes to the consciousness by the assimilation of the knowledge. Otherwise (as mentioned earlier) it fails to achieve its purpose and remains merely intellectual knowledge - which just sits like a lump of clay and as such is non different to the delusional knowledge of the world phenomena.

On the pointlessness of these posts?

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

Firstly - I render my due apologies to the regular readers for the disappointment at your visits only to see no updates on the blog. As you may know, the incredibly introverted period also known as navaratri has just passed. And I was attempting to use this natural inward flow of tides to achieve just that - an inward flow. The anti social that I have been over the last month is due in part to the attempt to flow inward and to another fact - that I couldn't be bothered! Vocalising or intellectualising the teachings of the sages is all fine when one is involved in the 'play', but outside of the 'playing field' I am often unable to see any merit in the process of either hoarding or the dissemination of such knowledge. Time and again I come to the understanding that in as far as knowledge (any knowledge) does not produce a profound and holistic behavioural and attitudinal change (in the knower) there is simply no point in being in possession of such knowledge. One might be better off reading the Daily Mirror cover to cover than wasting time reading through the innumerable self help / new age /ready to go advaita / books that repeatedly rehash the same concepts in ever more marketable and glorified fonts and formats.

Knowledge that is 'known' through the faculties that are held in thrall by the attitude 'of being the body' is of no value and is by nature diffracted. Though the unifying truth at the ultimate Brahman level (if you will) is an exceptionally homogeneous and indistinguishable state, its expressions or manifestations (again, if you will) are as innumerable as the grains of sand in this earth. This is because the 'expressions' are something that is 'expressed' after filtering through the state or medium of the body mind complex of the individual in question. Though this is not my excuse for my laziness, I think that the idea of not wanting to contribute more to the clutter that already exists in the knowledge super market is a huge factor influencing the on - off nature of this blog (and my mind!). So please excuse me the inconsistencies - and know that such is the nature of things.

Preamble done with, lets get to the matter at hand. I hope that all of you had a wonderful Navaratri or at least a great September - October season. I had a great one - thank you very much!

There is much that I feel like saying now. So much in fact, that my tongue (and fingers) are preempting fatigue syndrome. The ideas, nay the visions, of di 'stilling' the erratic life force through the introduced boundaries of fasting and silence and sitting, is one that produces a distillate packing a mighty punch! But I am no drunk with a loose tongue and the distill in question does not bear any similarity to the Scottish variety (or Irish or Russian or whatever). This is the juice called Soma we are on about here - and no, it has nothing to do with a red mushroom or green leaves or what have you! This is the rasa or fluid that swells from within as the inner moon begins to wax and exert a steady and strong influence on the internal waters. Quaffing that Soma, draught after draught is a highly rewarding experience - though it slurrs the speech. Who cares when speech is the prime accused here in this case? Silence seems to contain within it all sounds, every sound, and even the soundless sound. There, my brother, my sister, retreat to the cave within and enjoy the experience of this silence. The secret of secrets it is and paradoxically it needs no words to express or experience. It is a secret mainly because it transcends all vocabulary. All attempts to 'define' this experience end only in limiting or dissecting this beyond imagination Whole.

I have tried. Again and again. And yet again. I have tried to define it, to explain it, to expand on it. And each time I have come to see that the 'experience' is beyond the scope of expression. Like a mad man trying to catch the flowing water with his bare hands, I fail in each attempt to succinctly express the experience. It may be that the muddy waters of my mind have not cleared sufficiently or it may be that the VagdevatAs (the goddesses of speech) and the effects of multiple kissing the Blarney Stone have failed to confer on me the power of clear speech. I reserve the right to change my mind on this one at a later stage if the need arises!

'Enough already! Give us the bite.' I hear you think. OK. Here you are then. In the very beginning stages of one's quest for what has always been in one's hand (The Self, I mean) a precise and carefully controlled path (a.k.a. SAdhanA) is extremely important. The repetitions of the different nAmAs or names of various gods and goddesses, the constant and continuous practise of japa (repetition) of mantras (I wont translate this as sacred/mystic formulae) until they take one eventually to a place of steady silence beyond the nAmAs or sounds themselves is crucial. This can and will produce holistic transformation in the individual. And until such time the wise individual will persist against all odds. This is power in your hands. This is expression of free will. This is a way.

The ever compassionate and all seeing siddha, the sage Thirumular, expertly defines and expresses the importance of mantra(s) in one's path. We will see what he has to say on that in the next post with the mantra 86 of the series we are slowly moving through in this blog.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ayudha Puja - Changing trends.

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

Gone are the good old days of worshipping machines, spanners, spades, axes and office storage units on the holy day. The folk of today celebrate Ayudha Puja (part of the celebrations during Navaratri/Dussera) in a much more literal fashion.

Saw this in the Hindu today -


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Gossamer Dreams - Threads of Illusion

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

'' Searching through the fabric of Eternity
In vain.
Countless wombs of endless diversity
And pain.
The One is Two and the Two become Many
Yet again.
Nothing to lose and nothing here to gain,
Joy is a dream and so is the pain.

Standing beyond, the Triad laid bare
The prize, for those only who dare.
With vision -
Of a kingdom beyond Delusion.
Expansive states of shining Mind -
Fruits of untying the threads that bind.
Ye, luminous dancing Dragon flies -
Now Red, now White, then shining bright
Until the torrential descent of Light.

Spirit to Matter and Matter to Spirit
The fools cry 'Fate', while the wise say 'Merit'.
The wheel keeps on turning, day and night
Churned by the yearning, there is no end in sight.
Yesterdays deeds make Tomorrows seeds
Consumer now but later the Feed.
An eternal past and immortal future -
Compassion of God or is this my torture ?

All is clear when I kindle the flame,
There is nothing to see and no one to blame.
O Butterfly wings
And gypsy rings -
Hark, the birth of the King of Kings.

THAT I AM - There is no other any
The One is Two and the Two become Many.''

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bliss to Humanity - Mantra 85

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

The eighty fifth mantra of the Thirumandiram proclaims the philosophy of the siddha masters. Their compassion for mankind and their un reverential attitude towards the (then) established 'spiritual politics' makes them stand out.

யான்பெற்ற இன்பம் பெறுக இவ் வையகம்
வான்பற்றி நின்ற மறைப்பொருள் சொல்லிடின்
ஊன்பற்றி நின்ற உணர்வுறு மந்திரம்
தான்பற்றப் பற்றத் தலைப்படுந் தானே. 13.5.85.
Bliss To Humanity
All the world may well attain the Bliss I have;
Who hold firm to the Heavenly secret the Books impart,
Who chant the hymns that thrill the flesh
And swell the heart,
They, sure, take their place in foremost rank. 13.5.85

ComAll the world may well attain the Bliss I have In order to help the people of the world to attain the state of Bliss that I have attained as a result of my meditation (thinking) of Siva, Who hold firm to the Heavenly secret the Books impart when I begin to speak of the secret of the supreme Siva who resides in the Akaashaa (ether) in the form of pure consciousness, Who chant the hymns that thrill the flesh And swell the heart, it is found that it is the mantra that causes sensations in the body. They, sure, take their place in foremost rank And when one attempts to identify with those sensations (in the body) through constant practise, Siva comes and unites with them.

* Hymns that thrill the flesh refers to the mantra that causes sensations in the body. That is, when one thinks and meditates on the hidden Siva, it causes certain sensations to be felt and sensed in the head region. When we seek (desire) and attain the many sense objects that are external (worldly) we experience a sensation of joy/happiness. Similarly, when we meditate on the all pervading Lord, constantly by saturating the mind with His thoughts, there arise certain vibrations (Spandam) as a result of the union of the object of meditation (namely, Siva) and the one who meditates. These vibrations are the signs through which the Siva announces His arrival and His fixing of Himself in the mind of the devotee. [This will be explained in greater clarity when commenting on the mantra 1542 ]. Through the above mantra the sage instructs all the people of the world to constantly meditate on Siva and revel in the Bliss that is born as a result.

The philosophy ''All the world may well attain the Bliss I have'' (Yaan petra inbam peruga ivvvayagam) is perhaps the best indicator of the universal and the unbiased attitude of the siddars. They were (as mentioned in the introduction to this commentary) and still are one of the most compassionate wise men/women who at all times strived to reach out and pass on the hard earned wisdom and its miraculous siddhis or powers to all people of this world without reservations. Unlike the modern guru, they sought nothing in return for this compassion. Unlike the Brahmin hierarchy of yore, they had no bias based on one's birth and place in the caste system. Unlike their contemporaries in spiritual heights from other parts of the world, they had no elitist attitudes when it came to the crunch. Though the siddars spent most of their time away from human habituation and company (being to the most part invisible even if they walked about towns and villages) and did not subscribe entirely to the clear cut varnA or caste system, they attempted to 'reach out' to the common man plenty. The clearly visible urge and the ever present urgency to freely distribute the glories of their meditative and absorptive heights is seen from even the most cursory of glances at the siddha texts. They were also pioneers in 'de mystifying' the complex Hindu thought and practises by detailing them in a very down to earth language (as against the highly terse and aphoristic nature of the Sanskrit texts) and often using crude or 'unrefined' language in the process. This apparent disregard for the established 'norm' in such systems coupled with the kind of 'target audience' for these words became very important reasons for the Brahmin elite and other scholars to disregard the siddha thought and system (even though it was as valid and as detailed as other schools of thought).

Here the sage uses this as a first line for this mantra and highlights the concept of universal brotherhood and egalitarianism.

Immortal Vedas - mantra 84

Sri Gurubhyo namaha.

This is the eighty fourth mantra of the Thirumandiram where the sage reveals that the words which make up the body of scripture known as the Vedas and the meanings of those words are ever revealed by the grace of the supreme Siva.

சித்தத்தின் உள்ளே சிறக்கின்ற நூல்களில்
உத்தம மாகவே ஓதிய வேதத்தின்
ஒத்த உடலையும் உள்நின்ற உற்பத்தி
அத்தன் எனக்குஇங்கு அருளால் அளித்ததே. 12.5.84.
Immortal Body
Of Books that glow and thrill the heart,
The Vedas stand in truth unsurpassed,
The Lord who, the center holding,
Bodied forth the Vedic chants;
Likewise in His Grace to me gave this body-temple to hold.

ComThe Vedas stand in truth unsurpassed, Of the Vedas that have been held as the best of Of Books that glow and thrill the heart,all the books that delight the soul and bestow incomparable wisdom Likewise in His Grace to me gave this body-temple to hold the Lord out of His grace towards me (in this body) Bodied forth the Vedic chants revealed the body (of the Vedas) namely the word/sound The Lord who, the center holding and the meaning (of the word) that is born out of the body of the Vedas.

* The term ‘body of the Vedas’ refers to the words/sound that the Veda is composed of and the term ‘which is born from within the body’ refers to the meaning of the words. That is to say that the Lord out His grace, revealed the words and the meaning of the words that make up the Vedas. In this mantra the concept that shabdha (word/sound) and its artha (meaning) are in a state of constant union or sAmarasya is detailed. In the tantra sastras it is explained in much clearer detail as to how the shiva (shabdha or sound) and shakti (artha or meaning) are forever united in a state of co equality.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

From Kailash to Earth - mantra 83

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

A beautiful mantra occurs as the eighty third mantra and it describes the astral journey undertaken by Thirumular to reach this our earth from the lofty heights of Kailash in the Himalayas. One of my personal favourites!

செல்கின்ற வாறறி சிவமுனி சித்தசன்
வெல்கின்ற ஞானத்து மிக்கேள் முனிவராய்ப்
பல்கின்ற தேவர் அசுரர்நரர் தம்பால்
ஒல்கின்ற வான்வழி யூடுவந் தானே. 11.5.83.
From Kailas To Earth
I sought the way countless Devas, Asuras, humans take
To scale the heights; all wisdom conquered;
Thus a Shiv Muni I grew and Siddha true,
Came down here through the cerulean blue. 11.5.83

ComTo scale the heights, Came down here On my way down from the great Kailash (the Himalayan abode of Siva) a Shiv Muni I grew I came thinking and meditating on Siva. all wisdom conquered Siddha true I was a great muni (sage) versed in the knowledge of conquering the Siddha named Manmatha (God of Desire). through the cerulean blue I came down here (to earth) through the astral pathway in the sky, I sought the way countless Devas, Asuras, humans take similar to the sky that resides in its subtle aspect in the (thirty three crore) Devas, Asuras and humans.

* Sivan Muni means one who meditates and thinks of Siva constantly. Conquering the Sidhasan (line one) means the knowledge capable of winning/ conquering Kama or Desire. Through the above mantra, the author tells us that he came down to earth from the abode of Siva by travelling through the astral pathway in the sky.

Ninenty million yugas - mantra 82

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

The eighty second mantra uses a word with multiple meanings to suggest transcendence of body as well as extreme longevity.

ஞானத் தலைவிதன் நந்தி நகர்புக்கு
ஊனமில் ஒன்பது கோடி யுகந்தனுள்
ஞானப்பா லாட்டி நாதனை அர்ச்சித்து
நானும் இருந்தேன்நற் போதியின் கீழே. 10.5.82.
Through Ninety Million Yugas
While Time's unbroken chain trailed its nine Yuga's length,
Wisdom's Mistress into Nandi's City passed,
And bathed His Feet in Wisdom's loving stream;
And I sat and watched, under the sacred Bodhi tree. 10.5.82

Com – Wisdom's Mistress into Nandi's City passed I entered the city of Siva, where He is together with Parashakti, the Mistress of knowledge/wisdom While Time's unbroken chain trailed its nine Yuga's length transcending the junction where the nine terminations (kodi) meet. And bathed His Feet in Wisdom's loving stream There, I worshiped the Lord by performing the Abishekam (bathing) using the milk of wisdom And I sat and watched, under the sacred Bodhi tree and I remained there absorbed in the supreme wisdom of Siva.

* The Tamil word Kodi (crore) also means termination/knot/end. Thus, the term nine crore Yuga refers to the nine terminations in the body – namely, the seven chakras along with Vindhu (sperm/ light) and Nada (sound). The term unbroken (i.e. without defects) refers to the transcending of the above mentioned nine terminations. Note – Abishekam is the ritual process where the idol/yantra of the deity is bathed using different liquids (like milk, water, oil, honey, curd, etc). Here the author compares the physical ritual to the bathing of Siva (in consciousness) with pure wisdom, compared here to milk to illustrate its purity. The above mantra shows that the author has transcended the body (which is the junction where the nine terminations meet) and remains fixed in the highest Siva.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Agamic truths in Tamil - mantra 81

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

The eighty first mantra of the Thirumandiram asks a very important question - what besiges people to take on many and repeated births?

பின்னைநின்று என்னே பிறவி பெறுவது
முன்னைநன் றாக முயல்தவம் செய்கிலர்
என்னைநன் றாக இறைவன் படைத்தனன்
தன்னைநன் றாகத் தமிழ்செய்யு மாறே. 9.5.81.
Agamic Truths In Tamil
What availeth thee now to be born,
If to the Lord, the mead of penance you deny?
The Lord made me, my task assigned,
In sweetest Tamil His Glory to expound. 9.5.81.

ComWhat availeth thee now to be born,What is the reason for many to hesitatingly suffer future births? If to the Lord, the mead of penance you deny? It is because they did not attempt their best to perform pure penance and worship in their past lives. (Because I performed pure and true penance) The Lord made me, my task assigned, the Lord bestowed me with true wisdom and graced me with this birth, In sweetest Tamil His Glory to expound so that I may compose this Agama in praise of Siva in the sweet language called Tamil.

* It is to be noted here that the Tamil language was already flourishing before the arrival of Thirumoolar to the Tamil country. But there were no texts in Tamil script that revealed and explained the great Agamic truths – they were available only in the Sanskrit script. It is to be understood that Thirumandiram is the first text that explained the Agamas and their essence in the Tamil language. (Refer 87 and 90). Through the above mantra the author tells us that his birth, through which he expounded the agamas in Tamil, was a result of penance performed in his previous lives.

Kayakalpa - Mantra 80

Sri Gurubhyo namaha.

The next mantra of the Thirumandiram talks about the years Thirumular spent in the physical body through Kayakalpa siddhi.

இருந்தேன் இக்காயத்தே எண்ணிலி கோடி
இருந்தேன் இராப்பகல் அற்ற இடத்தே
இருந்தேன் இமையவர் ஏத்தும் பதத்தே
இருந்தேன் என்நந்தி இணையடிக் கீழே. 8.5.80.
Countless Years In Mortal Body
Remained thus prisoned in mortal coil for ages beyond count;
Remained in space where day nor darkness is;
Remained in places where Devas offered praise,
Remained immutably fix't at Nandi's holy Feet and true. 8.5.80.

ComRemained thus prisoned in mortal coil for ages beyond count I lived for an extraordinary (very long) period of time in this same physical body. Remained in space where day nor darkness is I remained in a state where there is neither day nor night, namely the state of Self illumination. Remained in places where Devas offered praise I remained fixed in a place which is worthy of the praise of even the Devas. Remained immutably fix't at Nandi's holy Feet and true I remained firmly seated (under) the holy feet of my Guru, Nandi (Siva).

* The comment that the author lived for a very long period in his physical body, hints at his achieving the Kayakalpa Siddhi – i.e. the absolute state of the physical body, where it is imperishable. The space where there is neither day nor darkness refers to the state where the solar and lunar nadis are powerless to operate. Here it is to be understood that the sun represents intellect and the moon represents feelings/sensation. Thus, it is the state of self illumination where the intellect and the feelings of the self are no longer operational. [For more details refer to mantra 1528]. Hence it is clear from the above mantra that the author remained fixed for countless years in his body, in the state of self illumination, seated under the feet of his Guru Nandi.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Under the sacred Bodhi tree - Mantra 79

Sri gurubhyo namaha.
The seventy ninth mantra of the Thirumandiram describes the glory of Shivas sacred wisdom.

சேர்ந்திருந் தேன்சிவ மங்கைதன்
சேர்ந்திருந் தேன்சிவன் ஆவடு தண்டுறை
சேர்ந்திருந் தேன்சிவ போதியின் நீழலில்
சேர்ந்திருந் தேன்சிவன் நாமங்கள் ஓதியே. 7.5.79.

Under The Sacred Bodhi Tree
Fixed in devotion fast I clung to Her Lord-elect,
Rooted firm to Siva who in Avaduthurai smiled;
In devotion fast sought repose under Siva Bodhi's shade,
In devotion fast I chanted
The lyric spell of His countless names. 7.5.79.

Com – Fixed in devotion fast I clung to Her Lord-elect I remained fixed in the worship of the Lord in the form of Ardhanarishwara (half male and half female – the united state of Siva and Shakti). Rooted firm to Siva who in Avaduthurai smiled I remained fixed in the Sahasrara lotus which is present at the (top) end of the spinal chord through which Siva guides the Self into spiritual maturity. In devotion fast sought repose under Siva Bodhi's shade I remained (merged) in the shade of the consciousness/ wisdom of Siva. In devotion fast I chanted The lyric spell of His countless names And during then, I remained, lost in the meditation of Siva’s many names.

* The term Siva Bodhi refers to the wisdom of Siva. Being under the shade of Siva Bodhi refers to the state of being absorbed in the overwhelming wisdom of Siva – a state similar to being in a trance, all but a holy trance. The author reveals that he remained in a trance like state, merged in Siva consciousness, brought about through meditating on and chanting the many names of Siva.

The word Bodhi is a compound and refers to a tree. The legendary tree under which (in Gaya) the Buddha attained to enlightenment. Here the word shiva bodhi refers to the shade of the shiva tree. The concept of ArdhanArishwara (half shiva half shakti) is a very unique vision that is central to the tantra thought of the co equal nature of the shiva and shakti. There is no difference between shakti (power) and shiva (the wielder of the power).

Devotion to Shakti - Mantra 78.

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

The seventy eighth mantra of the Thirumandiram describes the Bliss or Ananda that arises when the self remains united with the shakti in the sushumna channel.

நோ஢ழை யாவாள் நிரதிச யானந்தப்
பேருடை யாளென் பிறப்பறுத்து ஆண்டவள்
சீருடை யாள்சிவன் ஆவடு தண்டுறை
சீருடை யாள்பதம் சேர்ந்திருந் தேனே. 6.5.78.
Devotion To Sakti
Bright jewelled, the Eternal Bliss named,
She my Saviour, sundering all bonds of birth;
Siva's treasure, Mistress of Avaduthurai cool,
Her Feet I reached and in devotion fast remained. 6.5.78.

Com – Bright jewelled, the Eternal Bliss named The Devi (Shakti) who is adorned with the purest jewels is known by the name of SivAnandavalli (She who is saturated in the supreme Bliss of Siva). She my Saviour, sundering all bonds of birth She cut asunder all the bonds, which were the root cause of my physical birth. treasure She possesses limitless glory. Siva's Mistress of Avaduthurai cool She is manifest in the (stem of the veena) spinal chord where Siva is present for the sake of ripening (maturing) the jiva. Her Feet I reached and in devotion fast remained I attained to Her feet and there remained in steadfast devotion.

* The term ‘Avaduthandurai’ in line three of the above mantra refers to the path through which the Self is matured (through wisdom) – namely the spinal chord. Through the above mantra it is obvious that the author remained in the state of bliss that arises as a result of being united with the Shakti in the Sushumna Nadi or central channel. The cutting away of the bonds refers to the vaasanaas or latencies that lie in the karana sharira or the causative body. This causal/causative body precedes the manifest physical (sthula sharira) or gross body. The latencies or vaasanaas 'sprout' like seeds producing the need to take on a physical body or bodies. A central theme running through kundalini yoga, kriya yoga (not karma yoga) and other such methods is the 'burning' of these latent seeds through knowledge produced/realised as a result of sadhana, ascension of kundalini through the sushumna, etc. The vaasanaas thus 'burnt' do not possess the power to 'sprout' any more and thus the need for future repeated births is exhausted and the state of moksha or liberation is achieved.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Sri gurubhyo namaha.

Here is a beautiful poem. The author is a woman and housewife of the Mahar (untouchable) community. Truth as clear and sweet as crystal.

''The flesh is defiled—so they all declare,
But the spirit is pure…
Without defilement is no flesh created
Anywhere in all the world.
The defilement of flesh is in the flesh itself, of surety,
So says the wife of Choka, the Mahar. ''

This poem was part of an article on the position of women in the Hindu society in the days of yore and their fall from that high seat in todays India. For the full article see here.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The tears of the cows & the dance of Shiva - mantra 77

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

The seventy seventh mantra of the Thirumandiram sees the sage reveal the reason behind his arrival to the Tamil country (the southern part of India). Here, the history of Thirumular is worth being noted - for the benefit of those who are not familiar with the story of Thirumular.

It is understood that the sage Thirumular was not originally called that and he was also not a native of the Tamil land. He was a brahmin from the Aryan lands and was a co disciple of the maha yogi Patanjali (both being direct disciples of the Nandishwara). Later in the text the sage reveals further clues as to his origin and his arrival in the south of the country, which we will discuss briefly below.

After years of being absorbed in the supreme bliss that is Siva in Kailash (Sivas mountain abode)the sage decided to set out on a journey. He began to proceed southward by way of etheric/astral travel (aakaasha marga) while reciting the sacred thousand names of Siva (siva sahasranama). On arrival into the southern region, the sage descended on the earth and began to walk towards the village. On his way he encountered a very strange and moving scene. Just beyond the outskirts of the village, in an open meadow, the sage saw many cows gathered around a lifeless body. The dead body was that of the cowherd, a native of the Dravidan land. He was known as Moolan (keep in mind that the word moolan signifies 'root' or 'originator' and signifies the muladhara or the base lotus). The sight of a dead body was probably not enough cause for the sage to do anything, but what he saw at the scene changed the course of his life forever. The sage saw that the cows which were gathered around the body were deeply moved by the death of their master. They were shedding tears, tears which ran down to the face of the dead Moolan, as if trying to wake him up from his sleep, trying to remind him that he had to take them home to safety soon.

Perhaps the imagery of the lost cows trying to find their way to safety, perhaps the empathy towards their heart felt pain at the sudden loss of their friend and master, perhaps the good fortune of the Tamil peoples and their descendants, or perhaps the will of the lord, this strange scene moved the very heart of the sage. The sage decided to use his yogic powers to help the cows to the safety of their corral. He saw a tree nearby which had a crevice of sorts, providing some space for concealing his body. So the sage went to the crevice in the tree and sat himself down in it. Then using his yogic powers of transmigration (koodu vittu koodu pAyum siddhi) the sage directed his consciousness to enter and reanimate the body of the dead Moolan. At this stage the sage had intentions of only guiding the cows to the village and then re entering his own body after completing that task - so he made sure his own body was safely hidden from view in the crevice of the tree.

On seeing the limp form of their master wake up as if from a deep sleep, the cows were overjoyed. They licked the face of the face of Moolan (now animated by the sage) and expressed their delight at this sudden change of fate. The sage then began to gather up the cows to take them to the village before nightfall. He spoke to the animals in the voice of their master to comfort them and lead them on. The sage after taking the animals to safety returned to the same tree to re enter his body and continue on his journey. But as fate would have it, his old body was not to be seen in the crevice of the tree. He looked around in panic trying to find the body, but it was no where to be seen. The sage sat down and began to meditate on the strange turn of events.

Then, Shiva appeared before the sage and explained to him that it was He who had burnt the old body of the sage. He told the sage that there was a task of herculean proportions waiting for him in the world. Shiva revealed to the sage that his life's work was to spread the ancient and eternal science of yoga and the Agamas to the peoples of the south. It was his job to disseminate the truths of the Vedas and the Tantras (which were in the sanskrit language - northern/aryan language) in the Tamil language to the people of the south. And it was with this in mind that his old body had been destroyed by Siva. He also revealed that the sage shall henceforth be known as ThiruMoolan (in memory of the cowherd whose body the sage remained in since - the Thiru is an honorific). The sage gladly accepted the instructions of Siva and went in to deep state of meditation.

He remained in this deep meditative state for a period of 3000 years and each year he came up with the revelation of one mantra. Thus he revealed the 3000 mantras (that make the Tirumandiram) over the 3000 years. These mantras that form the body of this work touch most of the esoteric and occult teachings and are constructed in such a way as to produce the states of mind needed to comprehend the meaning of the mantras. The book is divided into nine tantras where successive stages of cosmic expansion are gradually revealed.

Here in this mantra the sage reveals the reason for his arrival in the Tamil nation to his disciple called Malangi.

மாலாங்க னேஇங்கு யான்வந்த காரணம்
நீலாங்க மேனியள் நோ஢ழை யாளொடு
மூலாங்க மாக மொழிந்த திருக்கூத்தின்
சீலாங்க வேதத்தைச் செப்பவந் தேனே. 5.5.77.

Import Of Siva Dance
This it was, O Malanga, urged me here to come,
The Veda to expound and the Dance Divine's deep import;
These mysteries occult the Lord first unveiled
To Her of the azure hue and jewels bright. 5.5.77.

ComThis it was, O Malanga, urged me here to come, O Malanga, listen to the reason why I came to this southern country (Tamil Nadu).The Veda to expound and the Dance Divine's deep import; It is for the revelation of this beautiful secret science, that details the superb divine drama of creation,To Her of the azure hue and jewels bright enacted by Shakti, who is deep blue in complexion and whose limbs are straight and perfectly in proportion, These mysteries occult the Lord first unveiled who basing Herself in the Muladhara is manifest everywhere right through to Sadashiva and dances this secret five fold dance of cosmic creation.

* The Malanga addressed here is the name of one of the sage’s disciples. The creative impulse responsible for the creation of the cosmos is present in Light that is blue in colour. Hence the Shakti, who manifests creation from the above mentioned blue light, is described as the one who is deep blue in complexion. All life is present merged in the red light that is present as the intelligence in the blue light. Through the above mentioned two kinds of light, the subtle worlds and the gross (five) elements are created. And through them, by the process called Panchakritya, the physical world and the bodies in it are created. The Panchakritya process is called the five fold dance by the author. So, here the author reveals the reason for his arrival in South India – it is for the revelation of the above mentioned yogic secret of creation, to the people of the world. It is worthy of note here that the Third eye is revealed in the blue light (spoken of above).

The process of creation called Panchakritya which is a combination of five fold elements, is also hinted by the five fold division that is the creation process. The five actions that are necessary for the appearance and the absorption of the phenomenal world are creation (srishti), preservation (sthithi), destruction/absorption (samhAra), veiling (tirodhAnA) and revealing (anugrahA). The lords responsible for these five fold actions are Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Ishwara and SadAsiva respectively - these five collectively are known as the Pancha brahmas in the shakta texts. There are many layers of meaning that can be understood for the above five beings and their activities and almost all of them are beyond the scope of this post to touch on or effectively explain. The interested reader is advised to study texts of the Sankhya philosophy and other tantras (shakta) that detail the tattvas and the successive manifestation of the phenomenal worlds.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Mystic truths - Mantra 76.

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

The seventy sixth mantra in the Thirumandiram where the author gives further clues pertaining to the discipline of body and mind needed by a student to achieve clarity in this path.

சதாசிவந் தத்துவம் முத்தமிழ் வேதம்
மிதாசனி யாதிருந் தேன்இன்ற காலம்
இதாசனி யாதிருந் தேன்மனம் நீங்கி
உதாசனி யாதுடனே உணர்ந் தோமால். 4.5.76.
Mystic Truths Flashed
Sadasiva, Tattva, the Muthamil and Veda
Them I sought not while here I stood;
I held them not in the heart; but soon my mind turned,
And indifference abandoning, realised them all. 4.5.76.

ComSadasiva, Tattva, the Muthamil and Veda The Sadashiva Tattva (Principle), the beautiful Tamil language and the Vedas Them I sought not while here I stood were all deeply and thoroughly examined and realised by me. I held them not in the heart And during the time I spent so in researching and studying (the above mentioned subjects), I remained without even food- which strengthens and helps the body. but soon my mind turned As a result of that, the confusion and duality in my mind was cleared and the mind made pure. And indifference abandoning, Casting aside my likes and dislikes (and other such pairs of opposites) realised them all I remained pure, enabling me to realise the Truth.

* When it is said that one does not eat in the day, it does not mean that one does not eat at all. Instead, we take it to mean that one eats in the night. This is an axiom of the Nyaya school of thought as propounded by Gauthama rishi. It is known as the Devadatta nyaya - where Devadatta is the person who declares that he never eats in the day. On observation it becomes clear that the above Devadatta never looses weight but is still healthy and robust (even though he does not eat in the day). From this it becomes evident that Devadatta must be eating in the night (so that he can still maintain the body weight), even though that he eats in the night is not expressed in literal words.
Likewise, the first two lines of the above mantra have to be understood to mean that the author analysed and researched, to an extremely high degree, the Sadashiva Tattva,( the absolute principle pertaining to the supreme), the Tamil language and the Vedas. As a result of his intense involvement, he even abandoned everyday things like food and likes and dislikes. And as a further result (of being indifferent) he attained the clarity of mind, enabling him to realise the truth that is conveyed through the three (see above) subjects. It can be understood here that the author recommends the sadhakas to eat moderately (not in excess) and remain pure without bias, in order to reach great states of clarity and understanding. In the above mantra the sage gives useful advice to his disciples who are on the quest to reach rarefied heights of self knowledge to aid their abiding in the state of Siva samadhi. He also reiterates the vedic and upanishadic truth that one biased (held in thrall) by likes and dislikes and one who is a slave to his senses (held in thrall by food,smells,tastes etc) can never imagine reaching such unadulterated and blissful heights of absorptive consciousness.

Lost in Shakthi devotion - mantra 75

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

In this the seventy fifth mantra the sage declares his experiences in Kundalini yoga and through the choice of words also declares his worship of the supreme Shakti. In this mantra and from others elsewhere in the book, we can identify traces of the sage's devotion to Devi and his knowledge and practice of Shakta advaita (non dual philosophy from the Shakta angle) and Srividya. However, in this mantra the author continues from the last mantra to discuss the secrets of Kundalini yoga in depth. He makes clear that the state of undivided oneness that is termed Samadhi is acchieved through the repeated process of Kundalini yoga where the latent kundalini shakti is systematically awakened, forced through the central naadi (energy channel) called sushumna, upward until it reaches the sahasrara where it merges with the state of being that is Siva. This union of energies (in both its kinetic and potential aspects) is at the very heart of both the Srividya tradition and of Kundalini yoga.

An interesting point to note here is that the tamil siddars embraced kundalini yoga and pranayama with a great zeal as both these processes are concrete and can (if pursued correctly and repeatedly) produce kayakalpa (strengthening and making this physical body immortal) and also non dual samadhi consciousness.

இருந்தஅக் காரணம் கேள்இந் திரனே
பொருந்திய செல்வப் புவனா பதியாம்
அருந்தவச் செல்வியைச் சேவித்து அடியேன்
பரிந்துடன் வந்தனன் பத்தியி னாலே. 3.5.75.
Lost In Sakti Devotion
Hear O! Indra, what urged me thus?
She the Holy One, Lady of the Universe, rich and vast
In devotion deep and true, Her I adored
And with ardour unceasing, here I pursued. 3.5.75.

ComHear O! Indra, what urged me thus? O Indra, listen attentively to the reason why I remained so, merged in the seven chakras. She the Holy One, Lady of the Universe, rich and vast It is to attain the realisation of the supreme Parashakti, who is the Lady (supreme ruler) of the seven worlds (chakras) who is fit to be adored and worshiped through the best of penances. In devotion deep and true, Her I adored With the highest Bhakti (devotion) I approached Her there in the Chidaakasha (ether region in the top of the head) And with ardour unceasing, here I pursued and after attaining Her through Bhakti, I returned back down filled with Her grace.

* The Indra who the author speaks to here is the name of one of his disciples and is not a reference to Indra the king of Gods. Here the author explains Kundalini yoga – When the consciousness of the individual is directed towards Siva who is in the Akaashaa of the head, the Kundalini, which until then is lying dormant coiled in the Muladhara, is awakened. The awakened Kundalini starts to ascend towards the Sahasrara (in the top of the head) where it unites with Siva, resulting in the state of Samadhi. Those who attain to the state of Samadhi unite with the supreme consciousness above and then return back (to a ‘normal’ state) after being ‘separated’ from the state of oneness with the supreme consciousness. This is what the author refers to when he states that he returned below after attaining Parashakti through Bhakti, filled with Her grace. Through the above mantra the author makes clear his reason for being aware of and merged in the seven chakras – for the upward ascension of the Kundalini so that he might united with the supreme consciousness through the resulting Samadhi state.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The dance of Light particles - mantra 74

Sri gurubhyo namaha.
The second mantra in the section dealing with the history of Thirumular is also the seventy fourth mantra in the entire text when taken from the start. In this mantra the sage describes the subtle and esoteric practise where the dance of the light particles is seen and realised. This mantra could do with a lot more explanation - however, I am limited by the fact that many metaphors and words used to describe this process is beyond the scope of normal language and is to be understood by experience.

செப்புஞ் சிவாகமம் என்னும்அப் பேர்பெற்றும்
அப்படி நல்கும் அருள்நந்தி தாள்பெற்று
த்தப்பிலா மன்றில் தனிக்கூத்துக் கண்டபின்
ஒப்பிலா எழுகோடி யுகமிருந் தேனே. 2.5.74.

Witnessed Divine Dance
Flashed in my mind the mystic name of Sivagama;
Straight I rose to Arul Nandi's Holy Feet;
These eyes witnessed, enthralled,
The surpassing Dance in Holy Sabh;
Thus I lived and joyed for seven crore Yuga. 2.5.74.

ComFlashed in my mind the mystic name of Sivagama I attained the competency to befittingly narrate the SivAgama, Straight I rose to Arul Nandi's Holy Feet I attained to the holy feet of my Guru, who bestowed on me the competency to befittingly narrate the SivAgama. These eyes witnessed, enthralled,The surpassing Dance in Holy Sabh After I witnessed the beautiful movement of the incomparable light particles in the pure and complete Akaashaa (ether) on the top of my head, Thus I lived and joyed for seven crore Yuga I remained with all the seven chakras radiantly manifest.

* The dance in the holy ground refers to the motion of the many light particles that are dancing in the Chidaakasha or the ether that is present on the top of the head. The seven chakras and the solar and lunar currents function in the body. The Solar digits (Surya kalai) which are twelve in number function by channelling energy from inside the body to the outside world. The Lunar digits (Chandra/ Soma kalai) which are sixteen in number function by channelling the energy from outside to the inside. Those who think and assume that they are just the body are not aware of these subtle energy centres. But those who are practise Siva yoga are aware of the movement of rays of light (energy) both around and inside the body, through which the inside and the outside merge into each other everyday at all times. It is the fact of awakening the seven chakras and aligning them through the rays of light mentioned above and thereby attaining the state of equilibrium of the inside and outside, that is meant by the words lived in light for seven crore yuga. [Particle physics, astronomy, astrology, yoga – all in the most beautiful poetry – is discussed in the above mantra]. Thus the author confesses that he remained merged in the light of the awakened chakras as a result of his witnessing (and realising) the movement of the light particles as mentioned above.

A hundred and sixty four visits?

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

The much anticipated Guru Purnima came and bought with it plenty of streams of pure Grace from the lineage of the masters. Slowly, I am recovering from the internal impact of the day. Coming back to the earthly realms and sitting at the computer I am sad to know I have unwittingly disappointed plenty. One hundred and sixty four people to be precise!!

The site meter tells me that in the two days preceding Guru Purnima, one hundred and sixty four visitors were directed to this blog as a result of their search words ' Thoughts of / on Guru Purnima'. And all they got was a post written before the guru purnima of 2007. I wanted to post something about the guru and more thoughts on the special day a week or so back. But one thing after another and I was quite caught for time. Result - no post this year for the guru purnima. Effect - perhaps quite a few people disappointed by being 'fed' something from last year.

It is quite encouraging though to know that so many had their minds occupied by the thoughts of the day that they spent a few minutes grazing the site for what its worth. I will remember it the next time. Two of the busiest days in terms of visits to my site - and I did nothing to feed them.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Visions of the master

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

The strongly sensuous fragrance of heavy Frangipani (plumeria alba) riding the gentle breeze held my inner demons in thrall. Evocative, enchanting, bewitching, deluding and stupefying all at the same time, this strange garden was verily the physical manifestation of the essence of the Erotic sentiment (sringAra rasA). My heart races and in its hyper accented rhythm it skips plenty beats. My body feels as though it is made of air and will float away into the vast open space in front of me. There seems to be no heat in the sun, who is midway on his daily journey. The air is cool but not cold. An abundance of birds of various kinds with plumage so exotic makes me realise that the colours I see are not those I have seen before. Their call, so poetic - now a crisp Haiku, now a long Ballad - conjures visions of millions of lovers, lost in the bliss of the other.

The sweet and indistinct murmur of a thousand bees from somewhere behind makes me turn around. At first there appears to be no one or nothing that could be responsible for the sound. Within seconds however, I can see the beautiful form of a woman who seemingly just appears out of thin air. Her skin glows, radiant, and she is incredibly beautiful. Her poise and the proportions of her body suggest a kind of grace almost unseen in the world and something about her reminds me of my self. Her eyes, deeply piercing scan me almost as if taking in more of me than I even knew existed. Then she smiled.

Without words she makes it clear that she is a Duti. A very essential link in the masters journey to higher realms. In a few moments I can see nine women, all Dutis - each looking as beautiful as the one beside her. They smile in unison and I know instinctively I have come to the right garden.

A man appeared from my right - I say man, for he had the face of a man. His body below the neck was quite unlike what I would refer to as man. Indeed he had the body of what resembled a snake with two disproportionate claws. Upon his arrival a sudden silence and a sense of anticipation became tangible. The song birds held in their breath. The leaves held still their gentle sway. The nine Dutis disappeared as suddenly as they appeared. A sharp note from a conch preceded the entry of the master. That and an internal calm that spread through to my very being. The master was approaching where I was stood. As he came closer I could see that his eyes were red and showing signs of being intoxicated. Was it Ecstasy or rapture? Verily he looked like another Unmatta Bhairava.

I could feel my legs getting lighter and my spine stretch. When I looked down I could see that my legs were not on the ground. In fact, they were a couple of feet above the earth - hovering there. I was floating. I was flying. I was dissolving.

I was nothing.

I was everything.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Shade or Shadow

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

'' While you are busy searching for shade
I hunt for the Shadow.
The shadow that follows all, doggedly
And without fail.

Shadow the realm of the Dream,
Shadow the truth of the realm.

Of what use is shade to one
When chasing shadow is better fun ? ''

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

In meekness and prayer - mantra 73

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

This is the start of the next section in the Thirumandiram titled ' திருமூலர் வரலாறு' or 'The history of Thirumular' and it heralds the 'start' of the aagamaa otherwise called Thirumandiram. In the previous four sections the sage dealt with the context and after setting the scene, he now begins to journey deeper.

Please note that in this mantra, the two major divisions of the paths (ie bhakti and jnyana) and the two major divisions of the energy channels (ie ida&pingala, and the sushumna) are spoken of. If the commentary attached is not sufficient in its depth to explain the metaphors thoroughly, I am totally open to teasing it out in the comments box by way of Q&A's. Feel free to drop a line with your comments/questions if any.

நந்தி திருவடி நான்தலை மேற்கொண்டு
புந்தியின் உள்ளே புகப்பெய்து போற்றிசெய்
தந்தி மதிபுனை அரனடி நாள்தொறும்
சிந்தைசெய் தாகமம் செப்பலுற் றேனே. 1.5.73.
In Meekness And Prayer
High on my bowed head Nandi's sacred Feet I bore,
Intoning loud His Name in my heart's deepest core,
Daily musing on Hara wearing high the crescent moon,
Thus I ventured the Agamas to compose. 1.5.73

ComHigh on my bowed head Nandi's sacred Feet I bore I raise to the top of my head, the two holy feet of my Guru Nandi and place them there Intoning loud His Name in my heart's deepest core and keeping Him firmly fixed in my consciousness, I worship Him. Daily musing on Hara wearing high the crescent moon And meditating daily on the holy feet of Siva, at the junction where the three roads meet, who wears the crescent moon on His matted locks, Thus I ventured the Agamas to compose I begin to narrate (compose) this Agama called Thirumandiram.

* The holy feet of the Guru and the Holy feet of Siva refer to the sun and the moon (i.e. the Ida and the Pingala nadis which are the lunar and the solar channels). The worship of Siva is divisible into two kinds, namely the Bhakti path and the Jnyana path. The Bhakti path relates to the worship of Siva who is of form. In this method the respective form (manifest) is visualised and meditated on in the Anahata Lotus (heart chakra).The Jnyana path relates to the worship of Siva as Light without any form. In this method, with the grace of Siva and the through the path shown by the guru, the awakening of the third eye (wisdom) is achieved. The reference to meditation on Siva’s holy feet at the place where the three roads meet refers to the third eye where the three channels (Ida, Pingala and Sushumna) meet. To illustrate the fact that the worship of Isaana (in the form of light) happens at the place above the third eye (i.e. the top of the head), the author uses the words high on my head Nandi’s sacred feet I bore. Note the beautifully rich and clever use of words, which gives different layers of meaning. Through the above mantra the author conveys that he is commencing the narration of Thirumandiram (from here) through the grace of Siva.

The hue of red coral - mantra 72

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

The seventy second mantra of the Thirumandiram and the sixth mantra in this, the fourth section of the first tantra, forms the last mantra in this section dealing with the guru hierarchy in Thirumulars stream. The next mantra and few that follow will deal with the history of thirumular.

எழுந்துநீர் பெய்யினும் எட்டுத் திசையுஞ்
செழுந்தண் நியமங்கள் செய்யுமின் என்றண்ணல்
கொழுந்தண் பவளக் குளிர்சடை யோடே
அழுந்திய நால்வர்க்கு அருள்புரிந் தானே. 6.4.72.
Nandis Attain Celestial State
"The Heavens in eight directions may rain,
Yet shall you the Holy rites and pure perform;
"So spoke He of the matted locks and coral hue,
And His Grace conferred on the steadfast Four. 6.4.72

Com – "The Heavens in eight directions may rain Even during terrible times, where incessant rains batter the eight directions (i.e. even during the period leading to the pralaya or cosmic dissolution) Yet shall you the Holy rites and pure perform the Lord Siva instructed them (the four – see previous) to continue the performance of the practices (meditation, prayer &c) that lead to spiritual growth. the steadfast Four So the four remained steady in their love, So spoke He of the matted locks and coral hue fixed on the beautiful matted locks of Siva, glowing with cool light the colour of fine coral. And His Grace conferred Thus the lord Siva bestowed His grace on the four (Sanakar &c).

* The reference to being fixed in Siva’s matted locks glowing with the fine light of coral is to convey the practise whereby yogis remain fixedly submerged (in meditation) in the cool reddish light that is seen in the top portion of the head. It is also noticeable from the above mantra that Siva instructed the four to continue without pause, their respective sadhanas that lead to the highest state.

Here ends the fourth section of the Payiram (Proem) titled ‘The Guru Hierarchy’.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The paths revealed - mantra 71

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

In the seventy first mantra the sage describes the two separate methods or paths : that of renunciation and that of complete being. He conveys that the paths though different in their premise or approach, aim eventually to take the jiva to a state of liberation from the repeated cycle of birth and death.

மொழிந்தது மூவர்க்கும் நால்வர்க்கும் ஈசன்
ஒழிந்த பெருமை இறப்பும் பிறப்பும்
செழுஞ்சுடர் மூன்றொளி யாகிய தேவன்
கழிந்த பெருமையைக் காட்டகி லானே. 5.4.71.
Lord Transcends What He Revealed
The Lord it was who spoke to the Three and to the Four,
He spoke of Death futile and of Birth according;
At once of God and the three Radiant Lights;
Yet His surpassing greatness ne'er fully revealed.5.4.71

ComThe Lord it was who spoke to the Three and to the Four The path that was revealed to the three, namely Sivayoga Maamunivar, Vyaghrapadar and Patanjali and the four, namely Sanakar, Sanandhanar, Sanatanar and Sanatkumarar, by Siva He spoke of Death futile and of Birth according is the great path that is capable of destroying the cycle of birth and death. At once of God and the three Radiant Lights The supreme Siva, who is in the radiant form of the Sun, Moon and Fire, Yet His surpassing greatness ne'er fully revealed is not one who bestows small grace (i.e. He is the one who reveals the supreme truth)

* It is to be observed and understood that the path revealed by Siva to the four (Sanakar, Sanandhanar, Sanatanar and Sanatkumarar) is the path of Renunciation. The path that was revealed to the three (Sivayoga Maamunivar, Vyaghrapadar and Patanjali) is the path of being in the world and through that guiding the people of the world. That is why the author separates the two kinds of masters as the three and the four. It is to be mentioned here that although the two paths are different in their means, they both attempt to reach the common end – namely that of ridding the cycle of birth and death (I.e. Liberation). And now seems to be the best time to highlight the fact that the path of Thirumoolar is the bridging (synthesis) of the above mentioned two paths.

The four gurus - mantra 70

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

The seventieth mantra here has been posted sometime in the back in reply to a query from a reader regarding the four masters mentioned here. Please refer to the other post here.

நால்வரும் நாலு திசைக்கொன்று நாதர்கள்
நால்வரும் நானா விதப்பொருள் கைக்கொண்டு
நால்வரும் யான்பெற்ற தெல்லாம் பெறுகென
நால்வரும் தேவராய் நாதர் ஆனார்களே. 4.4.70.
Four Nandis
The Four, each in his corner, as Master ruled,
The Four, each his diverse treasure held,
Each in his turn spoke, "Take all I've;
"And thus, Immortals and Masters became. 4.4.70.

ComThe Four, each in his corner, as Master ruled The four gurus namely Sanakar, Sanandhanar, Sanatanar and Sanatkumarar took to each of the four directions (of the earth). The Four, each his diverse treasure held Each of the above named four gurus gathered immensely varied and deep experience of the various tantras and other texts. Each in his turn spoke, "Take all I've;" And the knowledge that they gained through all their respective sadhanas, they freely shared with the people of the world by explaining the esoteric texts and by initiating disciples. And thus, Immortals and Masters became Thus the four, rose to the position of being Gurus of the world. (as a result of their deep wisdom and the compassion they had for the people of the world)

* Through the above mantra the sage explains the method through which the above named four were elevated to being teachers of the world. Note that the importance attached to personal experiences with regard to spiritual knowledge and its further dissemination to others.The above mantra comes in the section detailing the guru parampara of Thirumular and traces the lineage from the Guru Nandi down. The four (Sanakar & c) are the four disciples who are evident in the image of Dhakshinamurthy (the guru of gurus) and are the mind born sons of Brahma. Another interesting (and unique aspect of the siddha masters) point that is evident in the above mantra is the siddha policy of sharing their wisdom for the betterment of humanity. (Yaan petra inbam peruga ivvayagam - let the universe obtain the bliss that I have obtained [through sadhana and intense spiritual practices] ) Like mentioned elsewhere in this blog, the siddha masters possesed extra ordinary social consciousness and never hesitated to use their tapas, magic, consciousness, wisdom etc for the upliftment of the 'common man'. Here the sage conveys that above and beyond the incredibile wisdom and enlightenment possesed by the four (sanakar & c), their compassion and love for mankind is instrumental in them being elevated to the seat of being the teachers of the world.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Know thyself?

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

'Know thyself' the wise master says. 'Know thyself' the scriptures affirm. 'Know thyself' my intuition screams.

Is the Self 'knowable'? Does not the Self defy all notions and perspectives by being non substance? Knowing the self in terms of its qualities or its size etc is not possible as the self is in possession of no attributes. It is like water or air, having for itself no shape or form, yet readily taking the shape of the container it is placed in. It is beyond gender or race and as it exists even beyond the temporal or spatial dimensions it is ageless too.

What is there to know about the Self? And if we consider that the Self exists eternally as the absolute witness, setting the context and being the constant background for everything how could one know the self? Can a mirror reflect itself?

Is the knowledge that there can be nothing known about the Self, the true self knowledge? The self or the atman existing as such. Without any justifications for its existence, without any attributes and beyond all modifications, it merely Is.

How then is the Self knowable?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Is there a distance?

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

A verse by the poet, saint, mystic and rebel Kabir that says lots -
'' Path presupposes distance;
If He be near, no path needest thou at all.
Verily it maketh me smile
To hear of a fish in water athirst. ''

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The seven disciples - mantra 69

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

The sixty ninth mantra of the Thirumandiram details the names of the seven disciples of Thirumular who form part of his parampara or lineage.

மந்திரம் பெற்ற வழிமுறை மாலாங்கன்
இந்திரன் சோமன் பிரமன் உருத்திரன்
கந்துருக் காலாங்கி கஞ்ச மலையனோடு
இந்த எழுவரும் என்வழி யாமே. 3.4.69.
Seven Disciples
By merit of instruction imparting,
Malangan, Indiran, Soman and Brahman,
Rudran, Kalangi and Kancha-malayan,
These seven in my line successive come. 3.4.69.

ComBy merit of instruction imparting The lineage of those, through whom, the Thirumandiram has been initiated is as follows. Malangan, Indiran, Soman and Brahman, Rudran Malangan, Indiran, Soman, Brahman, Rudran, Kalangi and Kancha-malayan the unshakable Kalangi, and Kanjamalayan. These seven in my line successive come The above named seven are the students who have followed in the same lineage as me.

* Through the above mantra the sage names the initiates who have followed in the same lineage. Here in this mantra the sage lists the names of seven disciples who followed him and who were initiated into the wisdom and science of the Thirumandiram. In a separate verse earlier the sage detailed the names of the masters who formed part of the parampara or lineage of gurus before him. Here he details the masters of the same lineage who came after Thirumular.

The eight nathas - mantra 68

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

Back again to the Thirumandiram and my apologies to the regular readers for the delay in this the next instalment. In this mantra the sage refers to the science pertaining to the ascension of kundalini.

நந்தி அருளாலே நாதனாம் பேர்பெற்றோம்
நந்தி அருளாலே மூலனை நாடினோம்
நந்தி அருளாவ தென்செயும் நாட்டினில்
நந்தி வழிகாட்ட நானிருந் தேனே. 2.4.68
Eight Nathas
By Nandi's Grace I, His Masters elect,
By Nandi's Grace I Primal First sought;
By Nandi's Grace, what can I perform not?
Nandi guiding, I here below remained. 2.4.68

Com – By Nandi's Grace I, His Masters elect It is only through the grace of Siva that I attained to the state of being the Guru (master). By Nandi's Grace I Primal First sought It is only through His grace that I approached the Siva called Rudra, present in the Muladhara lotus (Root chakra). By Nandi's Grace, what can I perform not? In this world, there is nothing that can not be attained or accomplished with the grace of Siva. Nandi guiding, I here below By Siva Himself showing me the path, I was able to ascend from the Muladhara (at the root) to the Sahasrara on the top of the head. remained And there (in the Sahasrara) I remained.

* It is to be understood from the above mantra that the reference to the ‘Mulan’ (Primal First) signifies the Deva present in the Muladhara or Root chakra. Each chakra has its own presiding divinity – and Rudra is present as the Swayambhu (self originated) Lingam in the Muladhara lotus. The sage comments on the ascension of the Kundalini, from Muladhara to the Sahasrara, mentioning that with the grace of Siva it is possible for the sadhaka to proceed from the root to the top of the head and remain there merged in the bliss of union with Siva. The deeply mystical and often concealed science pertaining to the awakening and the subsequent ascension of the kundalini is referred to here and the sage further mentions that such a process becomes natural and free from fear where Siva Himself assumes the role of the guide.