Saturday, November 20, 2010

siddhAs ascend the thirty-six tattvAs - mantrA 125

srigurubhyO namahA

In what is the 125th mantrA since the start of the thirumandiram, the sage shines light on the importance of the correct understanding of the 36 tattvAs that constitute all of creation. He makes clear that it is the knowledge of the component tattvAs and the gradual ascension of these (as if climbing a ladder to reach a higher level) is the distinguishing feature of the sivayOgin. The yOgin through the yogic methods dissolves the lower and impure tattvAs into their preceding tattvAs and finally attains to the pure splendour of the siva state - while being 'alive' or while being in the physical body.

சித்தர் சிவலோகம் இங்கே தரிசித்தோர்
சத்தமும் சத்த முடிவுந்தம் முள்கொண்டோ ர்
நித்தர் நிமலர் நிராமயர் நீள்பர
முத்தர்தம் முத்தி முதல்முப்பத் தாறே. I.1.13.125.

Siddhas Ascend the Thirty-Six Tattvas

Siddhas they that Siva's world here visioned,
Nada and Nadanta deep in them realized,
The Eternal, the Pure, reposing in Bliss unalloyed,--
Thirty and Six the steps to Liberation leading. I.1.13.125.

Com - Siddhas they that Siva’s world here visioned, The siddhAs experience the supreme bliss (AnandA) that is the fruit of the sivalOkA (the realm/world of siva) in this world while in the physical body through remaining immersed in the state of samAdhI. Nada and Nadanta deep in them realized, They are capable of cognizing nAdA and the very end of nAdA (i.e. nAdAntA) as states within themselves. The eternal, the pure, reposing in bliss unalloyed, -- They are beyond birth and death, immortal; they are taint less, pure; and they abide in a state of pure bliss always. Thirty and six the steps to Liberation leading. The path to liberation for these siddars who have reached such incredible heights of consciousness is the set of thirty six tattvAs.

# This is an important mantrA as the sage declares here that the ‘mukthi mudal’ or the first step to liberation of mOkshA is the understanding of the 36 tattvAs. To understand this better we need to know first of all what is meant here by the word tattvA. The Sanskrit word tattvA has many meanings, ‘reality’, ‘principle’, ‘underlying truth’, ‘thatness’ etc are a few of the meanings. Though in the context that the word is used here it is to be taken to mean the internal principles that serve as the building blocks of the manifest and unmanifest universe. In the samkhyA system (which was the first to enumerate the tattvAs) they hold that the tattvAs are 25/26 in number. However in the shaktA and the shaivA system the total number of tattvAs is taken to be 36.

These 36 tattvAs are grouped into three groups : Atma tattvA group (containing 24 tattvAs); vidyA tattvA group (containing 7 tattvAs); and the siva tattvA group (containing 5 tattvAs). These three sets are also known as the ashuddha tattvA group (impure tattvAs), shuddha tattvA group (pure tattvAs) and the shuddhAshuddha tattvA group (the mixed – i.e.pure and impure tattvAs). Though it is beyond the remit of the current post to delve into the details of each of the tattvAs here, just with the reader who is not exposed to the understanding of the tattvAs in mind, I will provide a brief list of the 36 tattvAs below. The interested reader who wants to know more will find plenty of other resources that detail the tattvAs.

The tattvAs listed from the subtlest of subtle till the last and most gross is as follows (shivAdyavani paryantam - from shivA till what is known as earth) -
1. shivA
2. shaktI
3. sadAshivA
4. IshwarA
5. shuddhavidyA
6. mAyA
7. vidyA (which is really avidyA in essence)
8. kalA
9. rAgA
10. kAlA
11. niyatI
12. purushA
13. prakrutI
14. manas (mind)
15. buddhI (intellect)
16. ahamkArA (ego or I awareness)
17. shabdA (sound)
18. sparshA (touch)
19. rUpA (form)
20. rasA (taste)
21. gandhA (smell)
22. shrOtra (ear)
23. tvak (skin)
24. chakshU (eyes)
25. rasanA (tongue)
26. granA (nose)
27. vAk (speech)
28. pAnI (hands)
29. pAda (feet)
30. pAyU (genitals)
31. upastha (anus)
32. AkAshA (ether)
33. vAyU (air)
34. tEjO / agnI (fire)
35. salila / jalA (water)
36. prithvI (earth).

In the list above, the first five tattvAs (shivA to shuddha vidyA) are the group known as the siva tattvA group or the shuddha tattvAs (pure tattvAs) as they pertain to the supreme level. The next 7 tattvAs (from mAyA down) are the group known as the vidyA tattvA group or the shuddhAshuddha tattvAs (pure and impure/mixed set) as they are the means for both the shiva’s modification to jIvA in the evolution mode and the jivAs transformation into siva in the involution mode. The last 24 tattvAs are the group known as the Atma tattvA group or the ashuddha tattvA (impure tattvA) group as they pertain entirely to the manifest reality at a much grosser level where the siva appears bound and limited as jIvA.

It is worth noting here that the Atma tattvA set corresponds to the sthUla sharIrA or the gross physical body; the vidyA tattvA set corresponds to the sUkshma sharIrA or the subtle body and finally the shiva tattvA set corresponds to the kArana sharIrA or the causative body.
So through the above mantrA the sage indicates that the siva siddars are those who while being engaged with the phenomenal world in this physical body are able to experience the highest of states (bliss) by being ever immersed in the light of the self. They are liberated while alive – jIvanmukhtAs.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Who are the siva siddhas - mantrA 124

srigurubhyO namahA
The 124th mantrA reveals more about the siva yOgin.

வெளியில் வெளிபோய் விரவிய வாறும்
அளியில் அளிபோய் அடங்கிய வாறும்
ஒளியில் ஒளிபோய் ஒடுங்கிய வாறும்
தெளியும் அவரே சிவ சித்தர் தாமே. I.1.12.124.

Who Are the Siva-Siddhas

Space intermingling with space,
Nectar drowning in nectar,
Light dissolving in light--
The elect are they, the Siva-Siddhas,
Who these splendid visions perceive. I.1.12.124.

Com - Space intermingling with space To know the AtmA which is an evolute of AkAshA or space merging into the cidAkAshA or the subtle ether which is the abode of siva, Nectar drowning in nectar, To know the will (icchA) of the jIvA dissolving in the will of siva, Light dissolving in light – To know the light of the jIvA dissolving in the light of siva The elect are they, the siva – siddhas, Who these splendid visions perceive. Those who know by means of refined intellect (the above) are known as the siva siddhArs. Only they are the knowers of siva.

# The term ‘aLiyil aLipOi adangudhal’ translated as ‘nectar drowning in nectar’ refers to the combined icchA (desire/ will), j~nyAnA (knowledge) and kriyA (active energy) of the individual jIvA merging into the combined icchA, j~nyAnA and kriyA of the supreme siva. The sage comments here on those special beings who are entitled to be known as the siva siddars. Through a highly clarified intellect/ awareness which in itself is a result of many practises, the siva yOgin is able to intuitively understand the truth that the AtmA or (individual) self merges with the siva or cosmic self in the highly subtle cidAkAshA. Not only are they able to understand this, they are forever engaged in the experience of this merger.

The second line of this verse also points to the state of the siddA. When the tri fold modification of the individuals energy (as icchA, j~nyAnA and kriyA) is existent it incites the jIvA into performing actions, which in turn lead to the fruits of those actions (such as heaven, hell, re birth etc). However in the case of the siva yOgin, these energies have been elevated to the heights of siva and are then dissolved into the same icchA etc of sivA. Thus the will of siva is the will of the siva yOgin. That is, they remain without any desires or activities for themselves. Instead they act as one with siva.


Friday, November 05, 2010

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

He granted me bliss supreme - mantrA 123

srigurubhyO namahA

Detailing the state of being of the siva yOgin further this mantrA describes the transcendence of the yOgin to a realm that is beyond the control of the celestials.

அளித்தான் உலகெங்கும் தானான உண்மை
அளித்தான் அமரர் அறியா உலகம்
அளித்தான் திருமன்றுள் ஆடுந் திருத்தாள்
அளித்தான் போ஢ன்பத்து அருள்வெளி தானே. I.1.11.123.

He Granted Me Bliss Supreme

He made me see the truth that He pervades all,
Granted me the vision of the world that even Devas know not,
The vision of the Sacred Feet in Holy Sabha's cosmic dance,
Granted me His infinite Grace and the Bliss supreme. I.1.11.123.

Com - He made me see the truth that He pervades all, The lord siva made me realise that there is but the one supreme that pervades all the manifest worlds Granted me the vision of the world that even Devas know not, lord siva also granted me (through the above mentioned vision of ‘reality’) the state of unending bliss that eludes even the dEvAs The vision of the Sacred Feet in Holy Sabha’s cosmic dance, He (lord siva) graced me by firmly establishing His holy feet that are ever engaged in performing the cosmic dance in the peerless space of paramAkAshA (subtle ether) Granted me His infinite Grace and the Bliss supreme (and through that) He granted me the state of supreme bliss (paramAnandA), the result of basking in the effulgence of His grace.

# This mantrA follows on from the previous one. The term ‘ ulagengum thAnAna unmai’ or ‘the truth that He pervades all’ refers to the state of being of the siva yOgin who can see only siva everywhere. The yOgin though aware of the perception of multiplicity, is ever clear about the ultimate cause of such apparent diversity. He sees nothing but the supreme siva, the seed cause, everywhere and in everything.

The term ‘ amarar ariyA ulagam’ or ‘ the vision of the world that even dEvAs know not’ is a hidden metaphor. Rather than understanding this to be a state of being which the dEvAs or celestial beings do not experience, it should be recognised as the state of being or world that is beyond the ruler ship of the dEvAs. That is, the dEvAs here refers to the divinities / energies that operate from within the lower opening/ door of the mUlAdhAra chakra. These divinities function in a manner that regulates / limits the expansive self consciousness of the jIvA. As a result of achieving the perception of reality at a level where there is but the one supreme (advaita siddhi), the yOgin resides at a plane that is transcendent to the lower chakrAs. Through perfection of the techniques of sivayOgA, the aspirant remains in equipoise and with full awareness of reality at all times (refer to previous mantrA detailing the state of shuddha jAgrat).

The term ‘ thirumandrul AdunthiruthAl’ or the ‘ sacred feet in the holy sabhA’s cosmic dance’ refers to the attainment of the holy feet/ grace that manifests from within the golden effulgence that is present in the cidAkAshA or subtle ether.

The term ‘ pErinbatharulveli’ or ‘bliss supreme’ refers to the state where there is no distinction between siva and shaktI – i.e. before the dichotomy in the siva tattvA level leading to the Shakti tattvA. Thus is the state of bliss that is unending, as it is birthless. This is the self state where there is a sAmarasyA or complete unity of siva and Shakti tattvAs.