Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Body is burnt to ashes. Beyond that we know not - mantrA 159

srigurubhyO namahA |

In the 159th mantrA the sage observes that this body is nothing more than a pile of bones wrapped in skin. The true principle, the AtmA or self is beyond the scope of our perception as we perceive only through the agency of the five sense instruments and the supreme self is transcendent to these.

ஐந்து தலைப்பறி ஆறு சடையுள
சந்தவை முப்பது சார்வு பதினெட்டுப்
பந்தலும் ஒன்பது பந்தி பதினைந்து
வெந்து கிடந்தது மேலறி யோமே. I.2.17.159

Five the segments of the head, six the plaits of hair,
Thirty the joints, eighteen the sides,
Nine the roofs, fifteen the rows--
All to ashes burnt--no more we know besides. I.2.17.159

Com - Five the segments of the head, six the plaits of hair, This physical (human) body is possessed of five indriyAs or instruments and six AdhArAs or energy centres (chakrAs). Thirty the joints, the places where bones unite /join are totally thirty in number. eighteen the sides, and the structures (skeletal) dependant on the above thirty junctions are eighteen in number. Nine the roofs, and the layers that envelope (the skeletal frame) it, like roofs, are nine totally. fifteen the rows—And those bones that are laid out in rows are fifteen in number. All to ashes burnt—And that the body so fashioned is consumed by the flames of the pyre is the extent of our knowledge, no more we know besides. For beyond this we know nothing more of the journey of the life principle.

*The five indriyAs are the five sense instruments (gnyAnEndriyAs) and the six AdhArAs refer to the group of chakrAs from mUlAdhArA to Ag~nya. The sage proceeds to describe the arrangement of the various bones that constitute the skeletal frame and observes that these bones are wrapped as it were in nine separate layers. This collective of bones and skin known as the body is cast on the pyre after death and it is plain for all to see that all this would be consumed by the fire. In the last line, the sage suggests that this becomes the limit of our perception as to what happens after death – i.e. it stops with the body which is physical and is thus perceivable by the senses. We are however not aware of the subtle principle which is life itself and which is beyond death.  



Anonymous said...

venthu kidanthathu, maelariyomae...

Who knows?

For, if he knew, then, how would we know, for, we are still alive, in a materialistic world.

If i know that any body knows, then im too dead and the any body too is dead and then we two make a different world and how would you know that we knew..

Hi, this whole song is left open for some wild imaginations and interpretations and i would warn any body to not take the poem or the comm as it is :

It is more deeper.

Dive deep is all i would say.


mooligai sidhan said...

srigurubhyO namahA |

Though your words urging everyone to 'dive deep' are appropriate for the task of contemplating the thirumandiram, there is no further analysis necessary for this particular mantrA.

That our physical bodies are by nature perishable and that there is another part of our being that is beyond this material composition is the main thrust of this mantrA. The fact that we are unable to 'see' beyond this outer shell of bones and skin is also spoken to indicate the limitations of our sensory faculties, and thus our reasoning ability.

It is not the intent of the sage to declare that he or anyone else for that matter does not know what remains after the death of the physical body. As he is a siddha or accomplished person and thus one who has already 'died a thousand deaths to the world'- ofcourse he is aware of what remains when the body is dead.The word 'mElariyOme' does not include the enlightned or the aware beings but only speaks of those who are ignorant of the true nature of being.

mooligai sidhan said...

srigurubhyO namahA |

And as an extension to what has been mentioned in the previous comment, the sAdhakA who is blessed enough to belong to a true and correct paramparA or spiritual lineage would through the grace of the guru's of that stream attain the knowledge of what remains when the body is tossed into the pyre. The is no need for any 'wild imagination' to speculate on these realms - as our intellect and reasoning faculties remain limited due to their being able to 'percieve' only those things which possess the attributes of sound,touch,form,taste and smell.

If something does not possess any of the above qualities (like the self, the supreme siva,etc)then we are unable to recognise its existence! Upon developing the necessary faculties through yOgA and other methods one might be able to 'see' beyond the material world quite easily and normally and have a clear perception of the self as seperate to the physical body.