Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Dont kill even an atom of life - mantrA 197

srigurubhyO namahA ||

This, the first tantrA began with the subsection named upadEsha in which some of the spiritual instructions were laid down as the traditional words of the guru to the novice initiate. This was followed by the sage describing the transitory nature of this body, one’s wealth, youth, beauty and even life itself. Understanding the enormity of the challenge (i.e. perception of (non dual) reality after the total annihilation of all delusion) and the realisation of the short time span we have to accomplish it must now goad us into immediate action. Having set the stage so far, the sage now begins to advice the disciple on the code of right living.

This subsection and the next nineteen to follow all contain instructions on the code of conduct expected of the aspirant. Instructions here are moral, ethical and societal in nature and on closer inspection they can be understood as the perfect prescription for the spiritual aspirant. The true disciple must try and regulate his life and cultivate the necessary discipline and courage that is necessary to tread this path of sivayOgA. Base emotions must be controlled through the cultivation of good mental attitudes; restless energy must be spent on service to the world around one till it is exhausted. These instructions occur (much like in the vEdAs) as vidhi and nishEdA – i.e. commandments and prohibitions.

Consisting only of two mantrAs, this subsection titled ‘Not Killing’ conveys a very important principle to cultivate – hence it’s place as the first of the virtues to cultivate. ‘Thou shalt not kill’ is a commandment in the Old Testament. Similarly, it is a cardinal principle here. The brevity of the section dealing with this must not confuse us into thinking that it is not important. It is my personal opinion that it is precisely because of how important and cardinal a rule it is, that the sage has not wasted any effort in impressing this idea upon our minds – we must feel the truth in this already if we are on the path to self knowledge. Not killing means to never separate a life from the body it occupies. 
6. கொல்லாமை
பற்றாய நற்குரு பூசைக்கும் பன்மலர்
மற்றோர் அணுக்களைக் கொல்லாமை ஒண்மலர்
நற்றார் நடுக்கற்ற தீபமும் சித்தமும்
உற்றாரும் ஆவி அமர்ந்திடம் உச்சியே. I.6.1.197


Flowers many to dear, loved Master's worship;
Even one atom of life, kill not:
The lovely garland, the steady flame, the firm will,
The passionate heart--such the worship's crowning part. I.6.1.197

Com - Flowers many to dear, loved Master's worship; for the (internal) worship of the supreme guru (siva), the various fragrant flowers are represented by Even one atom of life, kill not: the pure practise (vow) of never killing. The lovely garland, the steady flame, the firm will,The passionate heart The light within the two eyes is the perfect and beautiful garland. The steady and un agitated mind is the extraordinary lamp fit to be used in this worship. such the worship's crowning part. When the pUja (worship) is so performed, the supreme manifests in the crown of the (worshipper’s) head.

*The supreme guru refers to Siva and the word ‘அணு‘meaning atom is here used to signify life. For internal worship, there is no need for any external paraphernalia or instruments. The sincere devotee must take the vow of not killing, as this is like the various fragrant flowers that will be offered in this internal worship. Using the light within the eyes and remaining motionless one must contemplate on the crown of one’s head and be established in a state of meditation. The practise of not killing is the pure ground through which this can be accomplished.

thirucchitrambalam ||


Unknown said...

"The sincere devotee must take the vow of not killing, as this is like the various fragrant flowers that will be offered in this internal worship."

This line is a little confusing. Can you elaborate?
- K

mooligai sidhan said...

srigurubhyO namahA ||

The sage is speaking of a few things simultaneously here. Firstly the more obvious and explicit message is that one must develop the attitude of non killing. That is, one must realise the sanctity and the importance of all life and constantly strive to act in a non violent and inclusive manner. It goes without saying that this type of mental attitude when cultivated thoroughly will help in attaining equanimity and a calm and controlled mind. This will then enable (through chitta shuddi)the aspirant to proceed to the more subtle form of worship (antaryAgA) where the rituals are mentally performed without external aids. In the process of such internal worship at an advanced stage the vow of non killing is so sacred that it is akin to the flowers (that are necessary for the archanA and other adoration of the divinity in the primary stage of external worship).

On another level, this verse indicates the message that rituals and sacrifices (like ashwamEdhA, naramEdhA,etc and other ceremonies that require the sacrifice of living beings)that cause harm to the life of other sentient creatures are not worth persuing for ones spiritual advancement. Rather, one must through the practise of yOgA and pratyAhArA cultivate a pure mind with which the internal worship can be practised - this higher form of worship requires nothing more than one's own mind and the only sacrifice it seeks is that of the baser instincts and qualities in the individual.

On yet another level, the practise of killing (whether to eat the meat of the animal or any other such act of violence to another life)leaves scars on the mind (not to mind the karma etc). The violence and hate etc just keep occuring more and more and such a mind will never know calm or equipoise, thus it can never understand the pureness of being.

Hope this is enough clarity.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much. Reading the blog is satsanga.
- K