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).