Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Isana face of Siva - Mantra 57

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

This mantra of the Thirumandiram takes us into the next section in the first part. We noticed that the first 49 mantras were descriptive of the various qualities etc of Siva. The mantras from 50 to 56 were in description of the greatness of the Vedas, which forms one part of the pramana or scriptures of authority. The other branch here is that of the Tantra. The texts of the tantra school can be divided into two - namely Agama and Nigama. It is not the objective of this post to describe this in detail, those interested are referred to pursue this separately. Suffice it to say here that in what are classed Agamas, the Devi puts forth the questions (as disciple) and Siva answers them (as guru). In what are called the Nigamas, this order of who questions and who replies is reversed. Between them, the primal pair make everything explicit and clear and it also shows their samarasya (being in effect the same).

Here in this the fifty seventh mantra of the Thirumandiram the sage begins to describe the glory of the Agamas. Thus he makes it clear that the pramanas of the tantra are as valid as those in the vedas. In an overview we can see that after describing the deity (siva) the sage mentions the methods through which the above mentioned Siva can be seen and realised.

அஞ்சன மேனி அரிவையோர் பாகத்தன்
அஞ்சொ டிருபத்து மூன்றுள ஆகமம்
அஞ்சலி கூப்பி அறுபத்து அறுவரும்
அஞ்சா முகத்தில் அரும்பொருள் கேட்டதே. 57.1
Agamas From The Fifth Face Of Siva
The Lord that consorts the blue-hued One
Has the Agamas twenty-five and three;
Bowing low, the six and sixty sought
The Fifth-Faced One the Agamas' deep import to expound. 57.1
Com - The Lord that consorts the blue-hued One The Lord Siva, who has the Goddess Uma – who is dark in complexion – on the left half of His body, Has the Agamas twenty-five and three has, out of His grace, expounded the Agamas, which are twenty eight in number. Bowing low, the six and sixty sought Steeped in devotion and bowing low with humility, the sixty six siddhas (accomplished beings), from Pranavar to Mahakala , The Fifth-Faced One the Agamas' deep import to expound sought the highly subtle manifestation of Siva, as the fifth face called Isaana, and through Him learnt the wisdom contained in the above mentioned twenty eight Agamas.

* The Lingam, which is the representation of the Sadashiva aspect of Siva, is possessed of five faces – namely, Sathyojadham, Vamadevam, Agoram, Tatpurusham and Isaanam. Out of the above mentioned five, the fifth face or Isaana, is located on the top and is facing upwards (signifying its highly subtle level of consciousness). The twenty eight Agamas are from Kamigam to Vadhulam. The above mantra makes clear that the Agamas were expounded first, by Siva (united with Shakti) to the sixty six siddhas, through His manifestation as Isaana.