Friday, August 27, 2010

One and many - mantrA 111

srigurubhyO namahA

The 111st mantrA of the pAyiram where we find echoes of the advaita philosophy.

பரத்திலே ஒன்றாய் உள் ளாய்ப்புற மாகி
வரத்தினுள் மாயவ னாய்அய னாகித்தரத்
தினுள் தான்பல தன்மைய னாகிக்
கரத்தினுள் நின்று கழிவுசெய் தானே. 9.9.111.

One And Many

The Supreme is one, Absolute, without lapse,
In descent thereof, Mal and Aya becoming;
Thus He, the One into many ranked;
By conscious choice a Self-deduction made.9.9.111.

Com - The Supreme is one, Absolute, without lapse, In the supreme/ transcendental state known as ‘parA’, He is One, (as) siva. He pervades all life, being both within and without everything simultaneously. In descent thereof, Mal and Aya becoming; In being the cause for the birth of desire, He (manifests) as Vishnu, while He (manifests) as braHmA during creation (of the worlds). Thus He, the One into many ranked; The One siva Himself emanates as many different dEvAs depending on the necessary function and based according to the distinction of energy or mode of function. By conscious choice a Self – deduction made. The same siva functions also as rudrA, the annihilator, keeping His real nature (of being the supreme) hidden at all times.

# Through this mantra the sage establishes that the various names like braHmA, Vishnu etc are merely descriptions of the various functions of the same siva. The reader might begin to wonder why the sage speaks of the same thing (the underlying oneness) over and over again like one who is senile, but we must be aware however that he is not merely repeating the same words. The message is the same, though the different references in the above mantrAs in this section deal specifically with the philosophical stand points that are prevalent within the dharmA (both during the sages time and now in the current time) and seek to answer the doubts raised by those stand points.

Here the sage reveals that the various names like braHmA etc are all indicative of the same person/principle, albeit speaking of different aspects of it. Just as in the case of one who is known to his children as ‘father’, and to his wife as ‘husband’, is known to his mother as ‘son’ and to his subordinate at work as ‘master’ etc is all descriptive of the same individual (with reference to his various activities/positions) here too, the same siva is known variously depending on the function. Thus we have that siva while acting as the creator is known as braHmA, while the same siva is known as Vishnu when He is involved with the preservation of the worlds that were created. The same siva is known as rudrA when he is engaged in the act of annihilation of the world at the end of time to make way for the next creation cycle and so on.

By becoming aware of this truth, the sage hopes that the seeker will have cleared a lot of the confusion that is prevalent within the folds of the Hindu thought and philosophy. This is perfectly in tune with the advaitA stand point. In the transcendent/ supreme level, where there is no activity/action per se the principle is known as siva and at this level He is One – this is the parasiva or paramasiva. The same principle when within the field of activity manifests variously according to action and is known thus through different names.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Assign nor ranks to Trinity - mantrA 110

srigurubhyO namahA
The month now being shravanA, one that is of particular merit for the devotee of siva, I have been a bit stumped for time lately. Add to that an Avani avittam and the next day's gAyatri japA and you have a perfect excuse for the delay in the next post!
Here below we see the 110th mantrA of the pAyiram where the sage laments the condition of the ignorant who, deluded by the apparent differences in form and functionality, perceive a grading/ hierarchy among the divinities when there is but One.

சோதித்த பேரொளி மூன்று ஐந்து எனநின்ற
ஆதிக்கண் ஆவது அறிகிலர் ஆதர்கள்
நீதிக்கண் ஈசன் நெடுமால் அயனென்று
பேதித் தவரைப் பிதற்றுகின் றாரே. 8.9.110.

Assign Not Ranks To Trinity

The ignorant know not, from the First did leap
The Light that flamed into Three and Five;
So blindly groping, lost in maze of words,
Isa, Mal and Aya, to graded ranks assign.8.9.110.

Com - The Light that flamed Siva, who is the great effulgence which radiates Light into Three and Five; manifests variously (according to the function at hand) as the Three – braHmA, Vishnu & rudrA, and as the Five – braHmA, Vishnu, rudrA, mahEswarA and sadAsivA. The ignorant know not, from the First did leap The many deluded people, who, without understanding this underlying reality (of siva manifesting variously) perceive these variously as braHmA, Vishnu etc. So blindly groping, lost in maze of words, Isa, Mal and Aya, to graded ranks assign And thinking them to be different (from each other and to the originating supreme), they speak of various gods. What a pitiable condition?

# In this mantra the sage points out (yet again) the non-difference between the trinity, of each of them separately to siva. The sage further speaks to highlight the transcendence of siva to the various manifestations.

The manifestations of siva as the Three (braHmA, Vishnu & rudrA) and as the Five (braHmA, Vishnu, rudrA, mahEswarA and sadAsivA) are for the fivefold activity – creation/ srushtI, preservation/ sthithI, dissolution/samhArA, veiling/tirOdhAnA and unveiling/anugrahA. These fivefold actions are necessary for the continuity of the world phenomenon and hence the One supreme siva manifests variously to fulfil the five functions.

The jyOthI or the effulgence spoken of here is descriptive of the pure ‘chit’ or consciousness aspect of the supreme. It is the light due to which all else shines. The sage finishes the mantra with an observation of the pitiable plight of the deluded common man (us, folks!). He observes that we do not know the uniting/underlying truth that it is the One siva who manifests variously. Instead, we are deluded by the apparent difference in form and functionality and consider them to be separate entities and observe a variety of names and rituals in support of this misapprehension. Thus the truth that there is but One siva continues to evade our understanding and we get stuck with a diffracted and divisive idea of this supreme principle.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

All Gods are but the One siva - mantrA 109

srigurubhyO namahA

In this the 109th mantrA the sage echoes the words of the vEdAs in declaring the supremacy of siva and describes the all pervading nature of the supreme.

வானவர் என்றும் மனிதர் இவர் என்றும்
தேனமர் கொன்றைச் சிவனருள் அல்லது
தானமர்ந்து ஓரும் தனித்தெய்வம் மற்றில்லை
ஊனமர்ந் தோரை உணர்வது தானே. 7.9.109.

All Gods Are But The One Siva

Devas here be none, nor humans that breathe,
Save for Siva's grace, Siva in honeyed-Konrai decked;
No other God could dwell in the silence of your soul,
Other Gods you worship, know they but mortals be.7.9.109.

Com - Devas here be none, nor humans that those that are known as the dEvAs (celestial beings) and those that are known as humans (us mortals) breathe, Save for Siva’s grace, Siva in honeyed – Konrai decked; cannot exist without the overwhelming grace of siva, the lord who is decorated with a bunch of beautiful konrai flowers overflowing with nectar. No other God could dwell in the silence of your soul, (Apart from siva) There is no other God who is present naturally within each and every one of us and who is self-aware as consciousness is aware of itself. Other Gods you worship, know they but mortals be. ( The truth is) It is the One siva who manifests as the Three (trinity), the Five (with mahEswarA and sadAsiva) and who exists as different and transcendent to all these (in the body). Know this to be the truth.

* Mentioning that the immortals (dEvAs) and the mortals (humans) are all existing in their respective bodies in their respective worlds only due to the grace and agency of siva, the sage reveals an important truth. He mentions that it is the One supreme principle siva, who exists as the Self in all, be they mortals or immortals.

In the mahAnArAyana anuvAkA of the purusha suktA, (antar bahishcha tat sarvam…..) we see the description of this supreme principle. Inside, outside, above, below, to the front and the back, pervading everything, the supreme is everywhere. A reflection as it were of this supreme is the jIvAtman, residing in the innermost cavity of the heart. This is siva. The sage here echoes the same truth and declares that it is the One siva who is present as the Self of all in the various worlds.

The Three as stated in a previous mantra exist in different locations within the body (manipUrA, swAdishtAnA and mUlAdhArA) and the Five occupy the same 3 seats plus the anAhatA (mahEswarA) and vishuddhi (sadAsivA). And as stated before these Three and Five are but manifestations of the One siva, who exists as all of these by pervading them and is also transcendent to the at the same time (residing in the sahasrArA or crown). It is the One siva who is known variously as Atman, Self, braHman etc. And He should be known and realised through His own grace.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Trinity are co equals - mantrA 108

srigurubhyO namahA

In this the 108th mantrA, the sage speaks of an incident that occured while he was still resident in the holy kailAsA. It is an interesting revelation to note as it gives us an insight into the level of the sage in terms of his spiritual calibre.

ஓலக்கம் சூழ்ந்த உலப்பிலி தேவர்கள்
பாலொத்த மேனி பணிந்தடி யேன் தொழ
மாலுக்கும் ஆதிப் பிரமற்கும் ஒப்புநீ
ஞாலத்து நம்மடி நல்கிடுஎன் றானே. 6.9.108.

Trinity Are Co-Equals

Lying prostrate I adored the Milk-hued One,
While countless Devas stood around in melting prayers lost;
Then spoke the Lord to me:
"To Vishnu and Brahma are I equal;
Be it Yours to give the world
The Grace of My Feet." 6.9.108.

Com - While countless Devas stood around in melting prayers lost; (Once) in the beautiful sabhai/ court in kailAsA, the hall was filled with a great many dEvAs who are immortal. Lying prostrate I adored the Milk- hued One, (while) I went and paid my respects and offered my prostrations to the holy feet of the milk hued Lord. Then spoke the Lord to me : ‘’To Vishnu and Brahma are I equal; The Lord then declared to me that I (the sage) am equal to the creator (braHmA) and Vishnu. Be it Yours to give the world The Grace of My Feet (And hence) go you to the world (earth) to become an AchArya / guru and guide the people there so they too may obtain the grace of my feet.

* What we get here is a glimpse into the life of a true siddha. The sage speaks of a time before he arrived down to earth from the lofty kailAsA and entered the body of the illiterate mUlan. To venture into that story here would be to digress from the topic at hand – so may I please refer the interested reader to an older post where this is described in detail? So, while still in kailAsA the sage speaks of an occasion when he went to the Lords court to pay his respects. The hall was filled with the dEvAs and various other denizens of the heavens, they were the immortals – who had risen to a state beyond birth and death and rebirth.

The words ‘milk hued’ are used to describe siva here as the sage speaks of the highest principle, like the dakshinAmUrthy aspect with shuddha sattvA (pure sattvA). While there in the presence of siva, the Lord declared to the sage that he was a perfected being and that the state he had reached was supreme and akin to the state of the trinity. Thus, like He had commanded the trinity to take on their respective stations (creation & c), the Lord instructed thirumUlar to also take up a divine task.

The Lord instructed thirumUlar to grace the human world (earth) with his presence and his wisdom. Please also note the earlier instances where the sage speaks of coming to the earth and composing the thirumandiram on the instruction of siva. Here he describes the incident while being on the topic of the trinity and their attributes. Thus instructed by siva, thirumUlar arrived into our world to serve as a siddha guru and guide those qualifying seekers and the rest of us through his grace into the kingdom of knowledge. The words ‘grace of my feet’ also suggest the instruction to spread the spiritual lineage, the kailAsa paramparA through the method of dIkshA or initiation.

(Such is the stature of the sage that it is no wonder that he speaks of the trinity like they are his school mates!)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Trinity are Kin - mantrA 107

srigurubhyO namahA
The 107th mantrA speaks of the similarity among the trinity and their benevolence in terms of being protective of their devotees.

பயன் அறிந்து அவ்வழி எண்ணும் அளவில்
அயனொடு மால்நமககு அன்னியம் இல்லை
நயனங்கள் மூன்றுடை நந்தி தமராம்
வயனம் பெறுவீர் அவ் வானவ ராலே. 5.9.107.

Trinity Are Kin

But if we thus the soul of truth probe and bare,
Aya nor Mal to us no alien Beings are
But Indissolubly Kin to Nandi, the Three Eyed
Blessed be ye all by the Heavenly Three. 5.9.107.

Com - But if we thus the soul of truth probe and bare, If we evaluate (the trinity) using the yard stick/ measure of the merit earned by the jIvAs (through these deities) Aya nor Mal to us no alien Beings are braHmA or Vishnu are not of a different nature to siva. But Indissolubly Kin to Nandi, the Three Eyed They (the trinity) are ever engaged in their respective duties (viz. creation & c) as divinely willed by lord of the Three Eyes, siva. Blessed be ye all by the Heavenly Three Hence, O people of the world, attain to greater states through the worship and subsequent grace of the holy trinity – the three fold aspects of siva : braHmA, Vishnu and rudrA.

* This mantrA clarifies the position of the sage, just in case the ignorant reader assume that the sage is biased and partisan when it comes to the celestial hierarchy! To first set forth the differences in the states indicated by the names braHmA & c when compared with the supreme siva, the sage spoke of the limitedness of the glories of the trinity. But here to stop the reader from getting any wrong notions, he uses a different measure (in the place of glories).

The limitations of the trinity notwithstanding, when it comes to the granting of merit and spiritual upliftment, the trinity are definitely capable of delivering. In this aspect, that of benevolence and spiritual merit, they are non-different to siva. This is because they are manifestations of the same supreme principle and are ever engaged in their duties as assigned by siva.

With this mantra the sage confirms that there is nothing wrong with the position of those mathAs or schools of thought which hold one among the trinity to be the highest. This is because the worship of the trinity is also quite capable of producing the spiritual and material advancement of the devotee. Hence their non-difference.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Nine aspects of One Being - mantrA106

srigurubhyO namahA
In the 106th mantrA we see more on the nature of the trinity and the sage sheds light on the divinities resident in the chakrAs.

சிவன்முதல் மூவரோடு ஐவர் சிறந்த
அவைமுதல் ஆறிரண்டு ஒன்றோடு ஒன் றாகும்
அவைமுதல் விந்துவும் நாதமும் ஓங்கச்
சவைமுதற் சங்கரன் தன்பெயர் தானே. 4.9.106.

Nine Aspects Of One Being
Siva the First, then the Three, and the Five following,
With whom flourished Bindu and Nada,
Nine are they all, yet one and the same--
All these but names of Sankara First. 4.9.106.

Com - – Siva the First, then the Three, and the Five following, siva the supreme first principle, appears as the Three and as the Five in the sabhai (court) / plane known as thirucchitrambalam. Nine are they all, yet one and the same – the above mentioned plane is composed of the six psychic centres known as the AdhArAs (the 6 chakrAs from mUlAdhArA to ag~nyA), the downward pointing sahasradaLA padmA (thousand petalled lotus) and the upward pointing sahasradaLa padmA (thousand petalled lotus) with mahEshwarA and sadAsivA respectively. With whom flourished Bindu and Nada, when the bindu and the nAdA begin to grow and wax in these centres, All these but names of Sankara First. the lord of the sabhai/ plane at that stage is known as sankarA, the One.

* This mantra has to be understood with some background knowledge of the various chakrAs and the divinities therein. The sage has used ample metaphors and the famous ‘twilight’ language technique in this mantrA to keep the more esoteric meanings secret. I will try to explain this mantrA as much as possible here, but please note that the full essence of what is said here needs to be learnt from a competent guru directly by the interested disciple.

The Three refers to the holy trinity – namely, braHmA, Vishnu and rudrA.

The Five refers to the above mentioned three together with mahEshwarA and sadAsivA.

The six AdhArAs or psychic centres are mUlAdhArA, swAdishtAnA, manipUrA, anAhatA, vishuddi and ag~nyA.

The two refers to the downward pointing thousand petal lotus and the upward pointing thousand petal lotus. sahasradaLA means the thousand petal lotus situated at the crown of the head. The yOgis state that this lotus on the crown is angled/pointing downwards when the jIvA is involved in the worldly dimension (i.e. involved with the everyday activities of the phenomenal world) and the same lotus is angled/pointing upwards when the jIvA is focused on siva or the spiritual dimension.

The bindu or vindhu refers to the Light principle.

The nAdA refers to the Sound principle.

Thus the mahEshwara mandala refers to the orb of Light while the sadAsiva mandala refers to the orb of Sound. The growth of these two mandalAs within the etheric body of the individual (due to specific practices) to finally saturate the energy body of the jIvA is indicated by the words ‘ ArirandondrOdOndru’ or the ‘six and two with one and one’.

The sage states that when the individual has perfected his energy body by the cultivation of bindu and nAdA (refer above) and the associated mandalAs/ orbs, then the supreme siva manifests as the Five and the Three and gives rise to joy and happiness. Hence He is known as sankarA – the auspicious. Note that the joy described here is sivAnandA or Bliss – a state beyond happiness and unhappiness.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

God is One - mantrA 105

srigurubhyO namahA

In the 105th mantrA of the pAyiram, the sage details the transcendence of the supreme IsA and throws light on the twin fold effects of karmA and the misapprehensions regarding the supreme that arise as a result of the effects of karmA.

ஈசன் இருக்கும் இருவினைககு அப்புறம்
பீசம் உலகல் பெருந்தெய்வம் ஆனது
ஈசன் அதுஇது என்பார் நினைப்பிலார்
தூசு பிடித்தவர் தூரறிந் தார்களே. 3.9.105.

God Is One

Beyond the Two Karmas is Isa seated,
The seed of this world, the mighty God become;
"This" and "That" is Isa--so the thoughtless contend,
The dross but know the basest sediment low. 3.9.105.

Com - Beyond the Two Karmas is Isa seated, the lord IsA (siva) is situated beyond the rule of the trinity- who create, sustain and destroy the bodies of the jIvAs based on the two fold nature of karmA. The seed of this world, the mighty God become; this supreme siva, who is verily the seed/cause for the birth of the trinity (and thus the world), is the only supreme God in this world. ‘’This’’ and ‘’That’’ is Isa – so the thoughtless contend, the ignorant due to the taint of their avidyA speak variously about the supreme IsA, as this and that without any clear knowledge. The dross but know the basest sediment low But those who are free from any misapprehension, they know clearly that siva is the supreme and that the IsA is the cause of all causes. Knowing this well, they remain firmly established in the service of this supreme.

* The two karmAs mentioned here refers to the two fold result of our actions – the merit and the demerit. In the first line, the sage makes clear that the supreme siva is transcendent to the dual parameters of the virtue and the vice, the merit and the demerit, the heaven and the hell. It is also possible to infer from the first two lines that the trinity who are responsible for the creation, etc are able to perform their functions (for the jIvA) only so long as the jIvA’s karmA allows for it. As being born, to live and then to die etc are all decided by ones actions in this and other lives. According to the merit and demerit in the ‘kArmic account’ of the jIvAs they whirl through endless births and deaths. The supreme however is beyond all this and is attainable only when the effects of the two fold karmA is nullified through the birth of real knowledge.

The sage here mentions that the people of the world have various ideas about God. This is due to the taint of ignorance which again is a result of karmA. In their delusion they follow many deities and perform various rites and rituals. On the other hand, the awakened beings who are free from the fault of misapprehension can clearly see that the supreme siva is the seed cause for all creation. They realise that the IsA is beyond all temporal limitations and being possessed of this knowledge they remain firmly devoted to the supreme – without being distracted by wrong notions about what is supreme and ultimate.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Trinity -- One Continuity - mantrA 104

srigurubhyO namahA

The next mantrA in this section speaks of the functions of the trimUrthi's (trinity) and highlights the fact that they are ever engaged in the performance of their duties as instructed by siva. Though on the very obvious front this mantrA speaks of the deities per se, it is also descriptive of the inner chakrA system as the deities themselves represent energetic principles in one level.

ஆதிப் பிரானும் அணிமணி வண்ணனும்
ஆதிக் கமலத்து அலர்மிசை யானும்
சோதிக்கில் மூன்றும் தொடர்ச்சியில் ஒன்றெனார்
பேதித் துலகம் பிணங்குகின் றார்களே. 2.9.104.

Trinity--One Continuity

He, the Being First, and He, the Emerald-hued,
And He of the glowing, original Lotus-seat--
Are these three separate or one continuous whole?
Thus the world in divisions many wrangle! 2.9.104.

Com - He, the Being First, rudrA the divinity in the first seat known as the mUlAdhArA (root chakra), and He, the Emerald-hued, Vishnu the one who is possessed of the hue of pure sapphire {the tamil word ‘animani vannan’ means the colour of the blue gem, which I translate in the commentary as sapphire. However the English verse describes this as the Emerald hued}And He of the glowing, original Lotus – seat – and braHma, who is seated in the swAdishtAna (sacral chakra) lotus which is responsible for creation. Are these three separate or one continuous whole? Thus the world in divisions many wrangle! The people of the world in their ignorance do not understand the connection between the three as stages on the same scale, and thinking (without proper discrimination) that they are separate/ different they remain deluded and argue amongst themselves.

braHmA is He, who seated in the swAdishtAna chakrA, performs the function of creation/ srushtI. Vishnu is He, who seated in the manipUraka chakrA (solar plexus), performs the function of preservation/ sthithI. rudrA is He, who seated in the mUlAdhAra chakrA, performs the function of destruction/ samhArA.

Due to the fact that the above mentioned trinity is engaged in the actions of creating, preserving and destroying the bodies and faculties of beings in the world(s), they are but the same. It is only in terms of their functionality they differ. There is no difference of quality in terms of one being birthless while the others are not etc among them – the difference is in their different functions. As the functions are tied to the common element of the phenomenal world the trinity too is connected to that commonality.
The trinity are operating under the command and the authority of the One. The supreme siva. In this too, there is no difference among them. Here the sage comments on the different sectarian traditions, who depending on their orientation think that their deity is superior to the others and wage wars and debates based on this misapprehension. Without understanding that the trinity is under the one commander (siva), they remain lost.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Hari, Hara and Aya - mantrA 103

srigurubhyO namahA

With the 103rd mantrA we begin a new sub section which in the text I have is titled 'thiru mummUrthigalin sEtta ganitta murai' and is titled 'thiru mummUrthigalin muraimai' in other publications. This subsection containing ten mantrAs deals with the nature, the powers and the limits of the trinity – brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver and rudrA the destroyer.

These three manifestations are together known as the trinity / trimUrthy. They are responsible for the creation, preservation and the dissolution of the world system. They are also very important deities in the Hindu pantheon and command huge followers who consider them (each separately) to be the highest god. In the shaivA view however, they are seen to be manifestations of the absolute siva principle which modifies variously as the trinity and the five fold manifestation (please wait for the mantrAs to follow) where the difference is in function/ action.

With the ten mantrAs of this section, the sage reveals the real cause of the manifestations (siva), the essential oneness among them and finally the transcendence of the siva principle above all. Though at the first sight some of the mantrAs might appear to be partisan in nature, it is my request to the reader to penetrate the outer layer and meditate on the intent of the sage here. Clearly, the sage is an enlightened master and is beyond the sectarian/ partisan divide. His real intent therefore is to awaken us, the readers to the truth of the absolute siva principle that is both the cause for all the rest and is also always beyond everything else. The verses in this sub section are beautifully resonant with the advaitA philosophy which speaks of the One.

At the end of the following ten mantrAs, we will reach the end of the pAyiram or the introduction section of the text and proceed to the higher teachings of the nine tantrAs. We will also (hopefully) reach a plane where many of our misconceptions (that we may, due to misapprehension, have already) regarding the trinity will be cleared to make way for higher knowledge.

திரு மும்மூர்த்திகளின் முறைமை

அளவில் இளமையும் அந்தமும் ஈறும்
அளவியல் காலமும் நாலும் உணா஢ல்
தளர்விலன் சங்கரன் தன்னடி யார்சொல்
அளவில் பெருமை அரியயற் காமே. 1.9.103.

Hara, Hari And Aya
Limitless youth, the beginning, and end
And measuring out the Time, these four considered
Sankara stands supreme and of His devotees
To Hari and Aya infinite Grace goes. 1.9.103.

Com - Limitless youth, the beginning, and end If we consider the qualities of limitless youth, of beauty beyond compare and of limitless existence, And measuring out the Time, these four considered, and Time, which is the measure of everything – i.e. when we consider the above mentioned four qualities, Sankara stands supreme the sankarA who is ever engaged in bringing joy to the hearts of the jIvAs is beyond compare and stands supreme among the gods. And of His devotees To Hari and Aya infinite Grace goes of all His limitless glories, His devotees sing in praise always. But all those limitless and superlative glories could never belong to ayan (brahma) and hari (Vishnu).

* The word 'சங்கரன்'/ sankarA used to refer to siva in sanskrit means ‘ sam karOthIthi’ , i.e. as it brings forth untold auspiciousness and good, it is known as sankarA. Thus the sage uses the epithet sankarA to describe the siva who is different to the trimUrthy or the trinity (viz. braHma, Vishnu, rudrA) and illustrates how He is superior in every way to the trinity.

The word 'தளர்விலன்' / ‘thaLarvilan’ in the original refers to the birthless (and thus deathless) nature of the supreme siva. The reason the sage brings this eternal aspect of siva to our attention is to clearly differentiate Him from braHma and Vishnu, who are possessed of birth and death. The braHma and Vishnu etc are products of name and form (nAma & rUpA) and are thus affected by the phenomena of worlds being born and dying. Though when seen in the context of human life span it can appear as if these gods have never ending lives, in reality they too are somewhere within this cycle of birth and death. When during the pralayA or cosmic dissolution, everything merges into its preceding and subtler state, the braHmAs and the vishnus will also disappear. New braHmAs and vishnus will arise in the next cycle of creation and so on.

The sage mAnikkavAsagar says of braHmA, Vishnu and rudrA as ‘’ nammavarE’’ ( that they are like us – meaning that they too have birth and death and are not eternal).

Through the above mantra the sage questions if it will be apt to say that all the limitless glories that are attributed to the supreme siva (by His devotees) can also be true for the other gods in the trinity. He answers that question himself by saying that it surely cannot be said so. To further clarify his position, the author mentions the four qualities (limitless youth, beauty, infinite nature and being beyond Time) which clearly show us how siva is different in every way to the trinity. It will be wise for us to remember that the sage is not trying to create any partisan party in the Hindu fold! He is merely trying to establish the nature of what he terms siva throughout this text by clearly differentiating this principle from the other manifestations (of which the trinity is an important one).


Friday, August 06, 2010


srigurubhyO namahA


'' Suspended. Somewhere
between present and future,
Death. Waiting vulture. ''
- mooligaisidhan

Heads of Seven Orders - mantrA 102

srigurubhyO namahA

The 102nd mantrA of the pAyiram section is the closing verse in the sub section dealing with the guru lineage of the author. Here, the sage lists the names of the seven masters who head the seven orders that come from the kailAsa paramparA.

கலந்தருள் காலாங்கர் தம்பால்அ கோரர்
நலந்தரு மாளிகைத் தேவர்நா தாந்தர்
புலங்கொள் பரமானந் தர்போக தேவர்
நிலந்திகழ் மூவர் நிராமயத் தோரே. 2.8.102.

Heads Of Seven Orders
Kalanga immanent-living, Agora his very next,
Maligai Deva the goodly and the holy Nadhanta,
Paramananta, who the senses conquered and Bhogadeva,
And Mula here breathing--of the Eternal are they all. 2.8.102.

Com - Kalanga immanent-living, Agora his very next, The siddha kALAngar and the siddha agOrar who are ever immersed in the state of ecstasy of sivAnandA.Maligain Deva the goodly and the holy Nadhanta, The siddha thirumAligai dEvar, who is ever striving to do good, and the siddha nAdAntar.Paramananta, who the senses conquered and Bhogadeva, The siddar paramAnandar and the siddar bhOgadEvar , who having won over the indriyAs (senses) remain as pure intelligence. And Mula here breathing -- of the Eternal are they all. And thirumUlar (the author), who is currently living and present in the world. All these seven masters are the greatest siddhAs. Perfected beings who have conquered the disease of birth and death and are thus eternal.

* In this mantra the sage names the seven masters who belong to the seven orders mentioned in the previous mantra. All these seven masters are siddhAs of great stature. They are perfected beings.

The sage uses the word ‘ nirAmayatthOrE’ in the tamil original. The word ‘nirAmayam’ means faultless. The ‘fault’ / ‘taint’ here refers to the disease of birth (and death). The cycle of birth and death is a result of avidyA (ignorance/misapprehension). Due to this, the jIvA feels different to siva and perceives duality or multiplicity. This results in actions which produce subsequent fruits in the form of re births. As long as this taint of avidyA continues to exist, the jIvA is not free from the clutches of birth and death.

So, when the sage speaks of the above named seven masters as eternal beings, it is to confirm that these masters have reached the plane of supreme enlightenment. They are established in the Self and are ever immersed in sivAnandA. Their compassion for the people and their desire for the well being and spiritual upliftment of the masses is the reason for the spread and continuity of their lineages.

The seven above named masters and their respective orders are all established in the siddha tradition. Being beyond birth and death, these eternal masters continue to guide the people through the strength of their tapas and spiritual merit.

The words 'Mula here breathing' allude to the fact that some of these above named seven masters are denizens of other worlds and planes of existence. The sage thirumUlar too as we have seen elsewhere (and will see more of in the following mantrAs) was originally a resident of kailAsA, the abode of siva. Due to the instructions of his guru nandi and in order that the sentient people of this world of ours may benefit from the esoteric teachings, the sage travelled down to earth and settled in the southern Indian Tamil land. Thus the words 'here breathing' refer to the fact that the sage lived for some time among us in the world we know as earth, in a physical (elemental) body that breathed like the rest of us. The state of being achieved by the siddhas make the act of breathing more or less redundant as they have established kumbhakA or breath suspension. They are no longer subject to birth, decay and death like the rest of us.


Thursday, August 05, 2010

Seven Holy Orders - mantrA 101

srigurubhyO namahA

With the 101st mantrA of the pAyiram section, the author begins the next sub section - the one titled 'guru mada varalAru' or ' tracing the spiritual lineage'. This is a very short section and contains only two mantrAs and serves to 'authenticate' as it were the teachings contained in this text by bringing to our attention the lineage or spiritual paramparA that is the very source of these teachings. The kailAsa paramparA, to which the sage belongs, is a very well known and accepted lineage and has been the traditional lineage from which many great masters have arisen to grace this world or ours. Here the sage mentions them very briefly.

குரு மட வரலாறு

வந்த மடம்ஏழும் மன்னும்சன் மார்க்கத்தின்
முந்தி உதிக்கின்ற மூலன் மடம்வரை
தந்திரம் ஒன்பது சார்வுமூ வாயிரம்
சுந்தர ஆகமச் சொல்மொழிந் தானே. 1.8.101.

Seven Holy Orders
Seven are the Holy Order, spiritual and true;
Mula, of the first, from the Himalayas sprung,
In the Tantras Nine and Hymns Three thousand
Propounds the Word of Agama in beauty light. 1.8.101.

Com - Seven are the Holy Order, spiritual and true;from the Himalayas sprung The seven spiritual orders or matA’s that stem from the holy kailAsa paramparA are all engaged in the sanmArgA (i.e. they are all valid spiritual lineages under the sanAtana dharma) or the true path.Mula, of the first, Of these seven orders, the order of mUlA to which the sage belongs, is one among the oldest orders. (In that path)Propounds the Word of Agama in beauty light The words of the AgamAs (tantric spiritual scriptures) in their entirety have been expounded beautifully (by the author) and most lucidly In the Tantras Nine and Hymns Three Thousand in the form of the nine tantrAs and the three thousand mantrAs contained therein. (so that the people of the world might be able to follow the instructions of the AgamAs.)

* This mantra sets the context to reveal the validity of the content of the thirumandiram and goes on to establish its position in the spiritual hierarchy of the paramparA or lineage starting from nandhinAthA. If we look back to the fourth sub section (mantrAs 67 – 72) dealing with the sage’s guru paramparA, we can recollect that he belongs to the hallowed kailAsa paramparA. Here he details the seven matAs or orders that stem from the kailAsa paramparA and also establishes that the mutt of mUlA to which the sage belongs is one among the oldest in that lineage.

We are also told that the teachings and practises of this order are elucidated here in clear detail in the form of nine tantrAs composed totally of three thousand mantrAs in the form of the thirumandiram. The words of the AgamAs and their various teachings and the esoteric transmissions that enable the seeker to proceed on the path to siva are all concentrated here in the thirumandiram – like the nectar of a million different blooms contained within the honey.

The grace of thirumUlar and his compassion for the regular human being along with the far reaching wisdom and compassion of nandI has resulted in this divinely inspired text, where the diverse teachings of the shaiva tradition have been condensed to become one smooth path to the supreme.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

General and specialised knowledge - mantrA 100

srigurubhyO namahA

This is the 100th mantrA of the pAyiram or the invocation division of the thirumandiram.

வைத்த பரிசே வகைவகை நன்னூலின்

முத்தி முடிவிது மூவா யிரத்திலே

புத்திசெய் பூர்வத்து மூவா யிரம்பொது

வைத்த சிறப்புத் தருமிவை தானே. 2.7.100.

General And Specialised Knowledge

In the Holy Three Thousand is the Salvation Finale

Of the diverse works, true and good;

In the Divine Three Thousand, original and wise,

All knowledge is, special and general.2.7.100.

Com - Of the diverse works, true and good; In this holy and pure text known as the thirumandiram, a variety of prizes (fruits) are contained. In the Holy three thousand is the Salvation Finale All the 3000 mantrAs in this text are descriptive in one way or another of the final state, known as mukthI or liberation/ salvation. In the Divine Three Thousand original and wise, These 3000 mantrAs are uttered as a result of tremendous deliberation, contemplation and immersion in divine wisdom. All knowledge is, special and general. And these 3000 mantrAs, which can be divided into two parts; the general and the specific, produce untold merit for the devotee (who chants these daily as instructed by the sage) and help him attain the supreme state of liberation.

* The sage notes that all the 3000 mantrAs contained within the body of the thirumandiram are esoteric teachings which reveal the path to salvation in all its glory. The mantrAs are descriptive of both the state of supreme knowledge and the means to attain that state. These mantrAs and the teachings they embody are designed to be a full fledged path to salvation.

The reference to the many many kinds of prizes that are contained within the thirumandiram is a reference to the nine different tantrAs that form the body of this text. The reader should take note that the first five tantrAs collectively are known as ‘general’ and the last four tantrAs collectively are known as ‘specific’/ ‘special’.

It is this division of the ‘level’ of the teachings that the sage speaks of in the next line of this mantra where he mentions that all this knowledge is divided in to the general and the specific. Thus we can understand that the thirumandiram and its 3000 mantrAs are a veritable source of divine knowledge which is a perfect means to attain to the supreme.

Please note here that the first five tantrAs which are considered ‘general’ illustrate methods to live the rest of this life (in this phenomenal world with the elemental body) in a harmonious and conducive fashion. While the last four tantrAs which are considered ‘special’/ ‘specific’ illustrate methods to attain to salvation. In other words, the first few tantrAs provide the methods to attain the chitta and bhUta shuddIs that are necessary to pave way for the higher states of dhyAnA and finally the samAdhI experience. And according to the division, the mantrAs produce the relevant results/ merit.

With this mantra the subsection dealing with the unique attributes of the 3000 mantrAs in the thirumandiram comes to an end. The sage opens the next subsection with the 101st mantra of the text, in which he proceeds to describe the guru paramparA or the spiritual lineage to which he belongs and describes the spiritual lineage that ensues from him (i.e. disciples of thirumUlar).