Monday, July 16, 2012

The Lord's Feet is the final refuge of souls Illumed - mantra 138

srigurubhyO namahA |

In the 138th mantrA of the thirumandiram the sage presents the idea of the guru pAdukA or the holy feet of the guru located in the guru chakrA. Read together with the following mantrA, this verse also points to the underlying unity between one's guru and self or atman.

திருவடி யேசிவ மாவது தோ஢ல்
திருவடி யேசிவ லோகஞ்சிந் திக்கில்
திருவடி யேசெல் கதியது செப்பில்
திருவடி யேதஞ்சம் உள்தெளி வார்க்கே. I.2.26.138

The Holy Feet is Siva, if you but know,
The Holy Feet is Siva's world, if you but think,
The Holy Feet is Freedom's bliss, truth to say,
There is the final refuge for souls illumed. I.1.26.138

Com - if you but know, The Holy Feet is Siva, If one realised siva, he would know that it is light, appearing as the Holy Feet, which is known as siva. if you but think, The Holy Feet is Siva's world, And if one contemplated this further, he would know that it is this light (the Holy Feet)which is the world where siva resides, sivalOkA. truth to say, The Holy Feet is Freedom's bliss, To tell you the truth, if I were to speak more about this, then it is this light (the Holy Feet)that is the very path to reach siva. for souls illumed. There is the final refuge. For those spiritually mature, those who are possessed of the capacity to look within, it is this light that is their only sanctuary.

*The term ‘thiruvadi’ in the original which is translated as Holy Feet is a common one in all siddha and shaiva scriptures. Though it is indicative of many things and particularly of the guru pAdukA that is present in the guru chakra on the crown of the head, it is technically a metaphor for Grace. The divine Grace of siva, of the guru, is said to flow through the feet – hence the custom of namaskArams or prostrations and the worship of pAdukAs or the feet/sandals of the guru etc. Thus is all siddha writings, the term is a metaphor for this supreme Grace which is difficult to describe effectively in words. This Grace is pure sattva gunA, hence it is pure light. Thus the term is also a metaphor for light. Elsewhere in the text, the sage states that if one were to search for the form of light (which illumes every other form), then it would turn out to be light itself. As in, it is a manifest symbol of the supreme siva – spontaneous and all pervading. This mantra then reveals that it is divine Grace that is the path to sivalOkA or the world of siva (i.e. the guru), it is this divine Grace that is also at the end of the path as siva. Furthermore, it is this divine Grace that is also the final refuge or sanctuary for the spiritually mature soul.In a hidden manner, the sage hints here at the ‘guru mantra dEvatA swAtmA aikyatvA’ or the underlying unity between the guru, the mantra, the deity and one’s own AtmA. An important aspect in the path of sAdhanA, and though it appears as if the mantra is speaking of something else altogether, my own meditations on this makes it seem the main subject of this mantra. This idea is only strengthened when we consider that the next mantra is all about the guru.The path, the destination, the traveller are all really light – all siva.