Friday, July 30, 2010

God's deep Mystery - mantrA 98

srigurubhyO namahA
The current sub section of the thirumandiram ends with the 98th mantrA - and here the sage reflects on the teaching of the supreme siva and asserts the finality of the advaitA (non dual) perspective in being the liberating knowledge.

தத்துவ ஞானம் உரைத்தது தாழ்வரை
முத்திக்கு இருந்த முனிவரும் தேவரும்
இத்துடன் வேறா இருந்து துதிசெயும்
பத்திமை யால் இப் பயனறி யாரே. 4.6.98.

God's Deep Mystery
At the foot of the Sacred Hills, the Rishis and Devas sat,
Seeking Liberation's endless Bliss,
Devoutly praising, yet knowing not,
So this deep Mystery I here expound.4.6.98.

Com - this deep Mystery I here expound the supreme lord siva out of His boundless compassion appeared in the form of the guru to reveal the secrets of the tattvAs At the foot of the Sacred Hills, in the foot hills of the great and lofty kailAsA peak. Seeking Liberation's endless Bliss, the Rishis and Devas sat, and the sacred heights of the holy kailAsA are populated with an array of sages and demi gods and celestial's, intent on the goal of mukthi or liberation Devoutly praising, they remain forever engaged in the various rites and rituals, devoutly worshipping the supreme siva as seperate and different to themselves yet knowing not (this deep Mystery) and as a result they are unable to obtain the highest merit of this secret knowledge of the tattvAs.

* Here the sage clearly points out the fruitlessness of upAsanA or sAdhanA of any kind performed with an attitude of difference/ duality. The sage echoes the words of the scriptures in revealing the truth that when the attitude of difference between the worshipper and the worshipped exists the highest peak of self state is as yet unattainable. It would be apt here for us to note that it is more or less common that we normally proceed from one to the other.

We start on the process of the sAdhanA (spiritual discipline/practise) with an attitude of utmost devotion to the object of our upAsanA. This chosen deity/god/goddess/principle is here described as siva. In the early stages, the devotee is aware of the many differences between himself and the deity and thus this whole worship of his is tainted by the perception of this difference. With the help of the various nyAsAs (ritual placements) and mantra japA (chanting of mantrAs as initiated) and other practises over time the devotee attempts (or rather, should attempt) to seek and understand the unity or oneness of the deity and his own self or Atman. This is a higher state of being and here the devotee perceives no difference between his self and siva - a state of shivOham (I am siva). This is an unbroken state of bliss, of pure awareness without modifications as specific objective 'knowledge'. This is the ultimate prize of the tattva j~nyAnA or the knowledge of the tattvAs.

The traditional style of the siddars where multiple layers of meaning are cloaked in apparently normal words is used here. The place which the sage reveals as the place where siva as the guru revealed the sacred knowledge of the tattvAs is the foot hills of the holy kailAsA. This could be interpreted as the physical region of kailAsA, the legendary abode of siva in the HimAlayAs. On the hand, it could be understood as the sahasrArA (the thousand petaled chakrA on the crown) for which kailAsA is a traditional metaphor. If we understand kailAsA to be the sahasrArA, the foot hills is obviously the region just beneath it. To those who are aware of the placements of the chakrAs along the sushumnA nAdI (central channel) the place will be known as the spot where the guru sthAnA (seat of the guru) is situated. Thus the fact that this supreme knowledge is one that is received only from a competent guru is conveyed through the use of the metaphor.

In the original the sage mentions 'இத்துடன் வேறா இருந்து துதிசெயும்' which refers to the attitude of difference between the worshipper and the worshipped. Due to the fact that the various sages (rishis) and celestial's (dEvAs) offer all manner of worship to siva with a feeling that He is different to themselves, they are unable to attain to the highest state of liberation. It goes without saying that due to the merits earned by such dualistic worship, the grace of the lord eventually will deliver them to a state where the above described duality is totally removed due to the dawn of real knowledge of the self.

So in the last two lines of this mantrA the sage reveals the truth in advaita bhAvanA or the attitude of non duality in the ultimate stages. He makes clear that unless one reaches the state where this perception of difference is dissolved in the knowledge of self, there is no liberation. Those readers who perform regular pUjA can bring to their mind the ''.......sO(a)ham bhAvEna pUjayEt' mantrA to highlight the same truth.

Here we reach the conclusion of the sub section titled 'avai adakkam' with its four mantrAs all spoken in tones of humility. The next post will bring us to the next sub section which serves to highlight some unique aspects of the text to come and provides accurate count details for the mantrAs.