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.