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.