Thursday, September 13, 2012

The body temple crumbled, the ninety six tattvAs fled - mantrA 154

srigurubhyO namahA |

In this the 154th mantrA the sage observes how the entire set of the tattvAs desert this body at the time of death.

முப்பதும் முப்பதும் முப்பத் தறுவரும்
செப்ப மதிளுடைக் கோயிலுள் வாழ்பவர்
செப்ப மதிலுடைக் கோயில் சிதைந்தபின்
ஒப்ப அனைவரும் ஓட்டெடுத் தார்களே. I.2.12.154

The thirty and thirty and thirty-six they say,
They that behind temple walls safely dwelt,
They saw the temple walls crash and crumble,
And all alike, without a trace, thence did melt. I.2.12.154

Com - The thirty and thirty and thirty-six they say, The complete collective of the ninety six tattvAs They that behind temple walls safely dwelt, are normally resident within the wondorous temple enclosed by well fortified walls. They saw the temple walls crash and crumble, and (eventually) when the well constructed walls of this temple crumble and fall And all alike, without a trace, thence did melt. The entire lot of them leave this temple they inhabited and there is no trace of them that remains.

*The ninety six mentioned in this mantra are the ninety six tattvAs. Readers would be aware that elsewhere in this text we have spoken of the tattvAs as being thirty six in number. There is no deviation from that here even though they are being enumerated as ninety six. What the ninety six refer to are given below –
The three sets (described in mantra 125) of tattvAs namely; the five siva tattvAs, the seven vidyA tattvAs and the twenty four Atma tattvAs together make thirty six tattvAs.
The pancha bhUta kAryAs (the five fold activity of the five great bhUtAs/elements) are twenty five in number. The vasanAdi five tattvAs and the ten vAyUs (which are the five main prAnAs and the five sub prAnAs) are a further fifteen. The nAdi’s or subtle energy channels are ten in number. vAk or speech is four (parA, pashyantI, madhyamA and vaikharI). Edanai is three and the gunAs are a further three (rajas, tamas and sattvA). Together the second group numbers to sixty tattvAs.

Though the above listed ninety six are named as tattvAs here, the scriptures differentiate the first thirty six as the tattvAs and the remaining sixty as tAttvigam. For fear of expanding this current section beyond immeadiate necessity, I am refraining from further elaborating on the above listed ninety six. In the present context it will suffice to know that these 96 are responsible for the appearance of what we call life and the physical body. Thus the physical body is identified as the temple (indicating its sacred nature) and further detailed as one which is well built – with solid walls. The 96 are described as being the indwelling divinities as it is only their presence within this body which makes it a temple – otherwise, it is merely an empty shell. The sage indicates that once the allotted span of life is exhausted (when the walls of the temple crumble), these 96 will leave the body that housed them all along and leave no trace behind of their ever being there. 



Anonymous said...

Swami, do we have to take that, on death, the soul leaves taking along all such 96 tattvas?

this is leading to a great thinking. eyes are still there, but cannot see. ears are still there, but cannot hear., the body is still there, but where went all the emotions, feelings, etc.

Great poem.


mooligai sidhan said...

srigurubhyO namahA |

do we have to take that, on death, the soul leaves taking along all such 96 tattvas?

In a manner of speaking yes. But if you examine the above question again and try and define the word 'soul', you will understand that the embodied soul or jIvA is nothing but the collective of the 96 tattvAs. Thus it is not as if some soul is taking away these things - these things are what we call soul.

In the second part of your comment, you have recognised an important truth - that the seeing, hearing, feeling etc are not present in the physical organ per se. They are faculties of the indriyAs which are located in the subtle body as tattvAs. Which is why even while alive, though the ears appear to be there fixed in the body, there is no assurance that it is capable of hearing well.The emotions, feelings etc are only temporary notions of the mind complex and they become seeds for future births and the experience of the journey between births.