Tuesday, October 19, 2010

He roasted the seeds of recurring births - mantrA 120

srigurubhyO namahA

I hope all of you had a wonderful navarAtri. I did! Indeed, with the overflowing grace of my guru this navarAtri was an intensely blissful experience and I am now slowly 'coming down' from the heights of the mEru parvatA.

Coming now to the thirumandiram from where we left it before the navarAtri, we will continue with the next mantrA. This is the 120th in the series and in this mantrA the sage details the purificatory effects of the 'dance' of siva.

ஆமேவு பால்நீர் பிரிக்கின்ற அன்னம்போல்
தாமே தனிமன்றில் தன்னந் தனிநித்தம்
தீமேவு பல்கர ணங்களுள் உற்றன
தாமேழ் பிறப்பெரி சார்ந்தவித் தாமே. I. 1.8.120.

He Roasted the Seeds of Recurring Births

Like unto the swan that from milk the water parts,
So the Lord, Himself, alone, in this Sabha unique,
Grasped the senses many that scorch like fire,
And thus the Seven Births unto roasted seeds rendered. I.1.8.120.

Com - Like unto the swan that from milk the water parts, Like the swan which is able to separate the water that has been added to cows milk, So the Lord, Himself, alone, in this Sabha unique, the dance of siva, beyond compare, which happens in the stage known as the cidAkAshA is capable of separating the impurities / taints from the jIvA. Grasped the senses many that scorch like fire, (due to this supreme dance of the lord) the many virtues and vice (pApa punyA) that have become imprinted in the mind of the jIvA due to the effect of the actions performed in countless births, are burnt as if scorched by fire. And thus the Seven Births unto roasted seeds rendered. And the virtues and vice that have been accumulated through countless births become like burnt seeds – i.e. they do not produce fruit. They remain powerless to sprout into further effects.

# To set the context for us to understand this mantrA, we need to first understand that the effects of the actions we perform are divided into those that are known as punyA or merit and pApA or demerit. The merit and demerit pertain to the mind/ intellect spheres and it is here they reveal their effect by producing a virtuous mind or one that is full of vice. They are recorded as it were in the manas level and they are carried over from one life to the next. Moreover they are actually responsible for the direction and experiences during each lifetime. The 15th chapter of the bagawad gItA (purushOttama yOgA) discusses the effects of these taints in the life of the jIvA and in the region between lives etc in great detail. The interested reader is directed to pursue this in greater detail there.

The swan in Indian mythology is a symbol for discrimination. This is due to the fact that when a mixture of milk and water is presented to the swan, it is able to drink just the milk and leave the water in the bowl! It is this faculty of separating the wheat from the chaff or the pure from the impure which is implied when our scriptures portray saraswati the goddess of learning and wisdom atop a swan. It leads us to infer that those that are wise are firmly established in that wisdom by the virtue of discriminative analysis. This also implies the ability to discriminate between the sat (real) and the asat (unreal), between AtmA (Self) and anAtmA (non Self), between jIvA (individual embodied soul) and siva (supreme unmanifest absolute).

In this mantrA the sage compares this legendary capacity of the swan to discriminate between milk and water (even when thoroughly mixed), to the ability of the dance of the supreme lord which produces the separation of the vAsanAs / tendencies from the mind of the jIvA. The dance of the lord is a metaphor for the increased vibrations that are produced through the meditation and other allied practises. The cidAkAshA or mental ether is referred to by the word sabhai or stage where the ‘dance’ occurs.

The tamil word ‘vinai’ refers to karma and also implies the ability to ‘sprout’ like a seed. This is because karma is understood to be the cause for repeated births. Just like a seed or grain retains the power to actually sprout into a seedling when the conditions are suitable (even though the grain remained dry for long), the manas or mind is also affected at different times by the latent vAsanAs or tendencies (which are a result of the virtue and vice accumulated over many lives). This leaves the position of the spiritual aspirant quite vulnerable as these tendencies may raise their heads at any time during the spiritual awakening of the aspirant and may then render the sAdhanA useless by dragging him down to lesser states.

The only way to ever completely ensure that these seeds or grains do not sprout in the future is to parch the grain or seed through the action of fire. Like the seed that has been cast into the fire never sprouts, the virtue and vice (punyA and pApA) that are embedded in the buddhi tattvA of the jIvA will bear no fruit. Now, the fruit of punyA or virtue is heaven and good lives and the fruit of pApA or vice is hell and bad lives. Thus the state where these do not bear fruit anymore is the place known as liberation or nirvana or mukhtI. There is no longer the time spent in heaven and hell and being cast back into the earth when the fruits of actions performed has been exhausted. The jIvA is set free.

The condensed meaning of the above verse will thus be that through the dance of the supreme lord siva, the vinai or the cause of births and its effects namely that of virtue and vice are effectively destroyed. As a result the jIvA is freed from the trans migratory cycle known as samsArA.



tahariel said...

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mooligai sidhan said...

srigurubhyO namahA |

Thank you for your kind words! You can ofcourse contact me through email at the address given below (you can also find it as a link in my profile)-
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