Saturday, July 31, 2010

Path to God - mantrA 99

srigurubhyO namahA
The sage discusses the total number of mantrAs in the thirumandiram and describes the divisions and the merits thereof in the following two mantrAs. These two mantrAs form a very short sub section titled -

7.. திருமந்திரத் தொகைச் சிறப்பு

மூலன் உரைசெய்த மூவா யிரந்தமிழ்
ஞாலம் அறியவே நந்தி அருளது
காலை எழுந்து கருத்தறிந் தோதிடின்
ஞாலத் தலைவனை நண்ணுவர் அன்றே. 1.7.99.


Three Thousand Holy Hymns, Mula in Tamil composed,
Did He, Nandi, reveal for all the world to know,
Wake early at dawn and pour forth the strains
Surely you'll win the splendid soft repose
Of the Bosom of the Lord. 1.7.99.
Com -Three Thousand Holy Hymns, Mula in Tamil composed, I, who am known by the name mUlan, have composed this garland of mantrAs known as the thirumandiram with three thousand mantrAs in tamil.Did, He, Nandi, reveal for all the world to know, These three thousand mantrAs, I have uttered due to the grace and inspiration of my guru, nandI, who instructed me to reveal this knowledge for the betterment and well being of the peoples of this world. Wake early at dawn and pour forth the strains If the people of this world, chant these mantrAs while fully comprehending the meaning of the mantrAs, in the early mornings on waking Surely you'll win the splendid soft repose of the Bosom of the Lord. will definitely reach the supreme lord, the enchanter of the universe(s) and thus reach the highest goal.

* This is a very well known and oft sung mantra and here the sage reveals his name and the fact that this text known as the thirumandiram has three thousand tamil mantrAs. The mantrAs are constructed in a specific order, like the flowers strung together to make a full garland. Legend has it that the siddar thirumUlar (the author of this text) would remain immersed in a state of samAdhI (absorptive meditation) in the hollow of a tree trunk. Once every year, he supposedly came out of the samAdhI state and uttered/composed one mantra. He then re entered the samAdhi! Thus the 3000 mantrAs were composed over 3000 years.

The sage mentions that it was the grace of nandI, his guru, which paved the way for him to reach such heights of understanding. He also mentions that it was due to the command of the same nandI that he began composing the thirumandiram. It was the will of the supreme siva that the sentient peoples of the world had some guidance to help them achieve the highest potential of the human birth and thus become liberated from the cycle of birth and death. And to fulfil this end, he commanded the sage to reach the southern Tamil land and reveal the sacred scripture of the thirumandiram.

After commenting on the number of mantrAs in this text and the reason for its revelation, the sage proceeds to instruct us in the manner in which he intends us to use this text. He mentions that the people of the world, who desire to reach siva and attain to liberation, should take to chanting the mantrAs in this text as a form of sAdhanA in itself. He instructs the seeker to rise from sleep early in the morning and upon completion of the morning observances and oblations and commence chanting the 3000 mantrAs herein. The sage uses the words ‘karutharindhu OdhuvAr’ to highlight that it is not enough to merely chant the mantrAs but one must thoroughly understand the meaning of the mantrAs they chant. It goes without saying that ‘understanding’ the mantrAs refers not just to the meaning of the verses, but it also includes the ‘living’ of the teachings contained in those verses. That is, the seeker must try to align his or her lifestyle to what is taught in the text.

The sage mAnikkavAsagar sings ‘’ solliya pAttin poruLunarndhu solluvAr, selvar sivapurathilullAr sivanaddikIzh ‘’ to illustrate the same - It is extremely important that the intoner understands the intrinsic wisdom behind the words he intones, otherwise they remain just powerless words. Incapable of producing transformation.

Here the sage’s words’ mUvAyiram tamizh’ conveys his intention that each of the 3000 verses must be understood as 3000 mantrAs – i.e each verse is a mantra, and the entire set of 3000 is constructed in the form of a mAlA mantra or unbroken garland of mantrAs. Thus we have the meaning that those who take to the practise of chanting the 3000 mantrAs (with full understanding of the meaning,both linguistic and practical) with devotion will definitely reach the supreme siva.