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).