Sunday, August 29, 2010



[* A paper read before the Vivekananda Society, Colombo by MR. R. S. SUBRAMANIAM]



    THE treatise called Thiruvunthiar is the earliest, though not the most important, of the celebrated 14 Saiva Siddhanta Shastras, which contains in a nutshell the teachings of the Gnana-kanda (knowledge portion) of the Saiva agamas. The Vedas and the Agamas are the revelations of the Holy Lord Siva, the first being a general treatise and the second, a special one. The teachings of the Vedas had been given to us in the Hymns of Devaram and Tiruvachakam by the masters of the Religion who flourished, at least, before the 7th century A. C. - nearly 500 years before the first work on the Siddhanta was heard.

Author and date.

    His Holiness Uyyavantha Devar, the author of this treatise, travelled south on a pilgrimage as far as Rameswaram and on his return journey stayed at Thiruvisaloor on the banks of the Kaveri. At this time he was visited by a person, who quickened by his holy presence, prayed for initiation into the mysteries of spiritual experience, as he had been whirling till then in the ocean of sorrow - births and deaths. His prayer was granted; he was shown the deceptive nature of the body and its organs; of the world outside and the inner longings that kept him bound; and the true nature of Atma and Sivam; he was further initiated how to be in constant communion with Sivam in order to destroy the tendencies developed from the past; and finally this treatise was uttered to him as a guide in case he fell off from his experience. The one, who thus had the benefit of this teaching was His Holiness Aludaiya Devar of Tiruvisaloor; and it is said to have been delivered in the year 1070 of the Saivahana Era, equivalent to 1147 A.C - Accordingly, the book is 757 years old.

Nature of the book.

    Unlike the other books of this class, Tiruvunthiar is exclusively a science of experience, a way to spiritual communion, intended as it was, for the ripened souls who thirst after the Holy Presence. The circumstances connected with its delivery shows beyond doubt that it was meant to be a staff to lean on, when the feet slip from spiritual experience owing to the powerful impressions of worldly experience which might still, lurk within. To expect then a disquisition of the doctrines of the Suddha Advaita Siddhanta Philosophy in this work is a miscalculation, though the copious commentary of Sivaprakasanar affords much information in that respect. The text is in form and expression very emphatic and impressive, and sticks in the mind almost unconsciously. A digest of such a work cannot but be brief, briefer than the brief text. What are put forward in 45 verses have been classified under 17 headings, but explanations, chiefly from the commentary, have been added to recapitulate what was taught in the class-lectures on the subject by Mr. H. Tiruvilangam. This digest is attempted not on the presumption of scholarly attainments or spiritual qualifications, but in a brotherly spirit, to present an opportunity for all concerned, to repeat what was heard, so that, if correctly grasped, it may be thought over, known and utilised for higher ends.

Meaning of உந்தி.

    The meaning of உந்தியார்
(Unthiar) is a real puzzle. Dr. Pope in his introduction to the chapter of உந்தியார் in Tiruvachakam says, "Tamil Scholars give different interpretations of the word Unthiyar. It seems to mean the players at a game resembling battledoor and shuttlecock. The word Unthi is, I imagine, used for the shuttlecock or ball which the players cause to fly aloft." Unthiayr means the players at the game called உந்தி Unthi as well as a treatise or book connected with the play but what this play is we are not told in any of the Unthiyar or its commentaries except that it is a play among women. A game of the following description is said to have been indulged in by girls in ancient times. Three holes are made on the earth side by side, (the two at the ends obliquely) and connected to one another at the bottom by a tunnel; the hole in the middle is made, on purpose, considerably smaller than the other two, which are filled with sand when the play commences. Two girls now take their seats at the ends opposite each other: the hole in the middle is covered by a small piece of cloth; one girl deals a blow with the fist on the sand in the hole at her end and the other tries to catch the cloth which shoots in the air, pushed up by the air in the tunnel. If she fails to catch she loses the game, and will have to start the play from her end, until the other loses. It would appear that when the play is going on, they sing songs with the refrain உந்தீபற
(Unthipara). It will be an interesting discovery if ballads or pastorals with such refrain can be traced at the present day among the popular songs. Very probably the first two lines were repeated by the girl who gives the play and the last, by the other. Anyhow உந்தீபற
would then mean 'spring' and fly from உந்தி - to spring or shoot up. If this is the game referred to, Dr. Pope would be right in his inference that the game might resemble battledoor and shuttlecock. though there is the shuttlecock in some form and no battledoor. The only other meaning known is உம்+தீ+பற, 'fly thy evils'. This subject may be left here for further investigation.

1. Pathi. (=The Lord, God)

    Now to proceed with the digest -

        1. * [* The numbers indicate the stanzas when particular reference is made as above.]

            That one 5, the absolute 1, the all conscious 39, the Blissful space 20,             different from the nameable 21 and nameless, the consort of Grace 21 and             Wisdom 19, the golden 38 share, the thief 23, the master 5 who enslaves us, the         Witness 30, pervades all unsullied 11, shines in 24 eight forms.

    The Lord as one is the energising spirit in the Universe, not bound by any limitations or imperfections, but as pure Intelligence leaving nothing to be known, as He is knowledge itself, Pure Bliss far beyond the bodily experience, extending and untainted like space; He is not a 'thing' within the limited sphere of the senses, to be named or described, much less is He a non-entity as the sky-flower or hare's horn. In Him is the Power (Sakti) of Grace and wisdom inseparably bound as consort, Grace to lift up the bound souls, and wisdom to illumine the darkness (Anava). He is the golden share in man's hands which misuses for sowing thistles - a price-less boon, indispensable for his elevation, but which he turns for his destruction; He, the thief, lurks in the soul from the past, undetected, who will rob it of all possessions - Karmas (deeds), Vasanas (impressions) and agnana (ignorance), and as master, have under subjection the thus emptied soul, showering on it godly possessions instead; the Witness, in whose presence evolution and involution takes place, the Unaffected and the Unchanging; He pervades like space, everything material and immaterial; the Life of life, the Life, and like space is unaffected by the thunder, and lightning of evolution &c. Eight are His forms: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Ether, the Sun, the Moon and Atma (soul), these, His body, and He, the life.

2. Pathi incomprehensible.

    That knowledge 4 is not to be known, unsearchable 7 is It, Unimaginable 15 , a rarity 19 for thought; looked for, disappears 11.

    That Intelligence or wisdom (the Lord) is of a nature different from objective knowledge obtained by the knower (Gnathru) from the knowable (Gneya)- by the subject from the object, what thus comes under the perception of the subject cannot but be "Jada", insentient and consequently, limited and perishable. The instruments of knowledge which the "knower uses for the examination of the "knowable" are but "Jada", whether perceived by the five senses or projected in the imagination from the acquired ideas, all are but 'Jada'; from the rude sense objects to the most abstract thoughts or imagination extends the little fold of "Jada" - all evanescent and changing. The labours of the painter, the poet and the intellectual philosophers are but in vain. How shocking to learn that; but the seers of Truth who transcend this little sphere of 'Jada' know the vanity of this all. Hence is it said, that the Lord, the Chaitanya-Intelligence cannot be known by the senses or thought. He is in the subject as the subject; to search for him outside in order to know Him as object, separate from the knower, is a wild goose chase. The foolish shepherd having the lamb on the shoulders, searches for it in caves and caverns, grieves, sighs and sobs.

3. Pathi realisable.

    Where search ceases13 is the abode of Sivam. It is where Natham and 36 Prana blend - Not a place nameable 29 but attainable under direction.

    He is therefore above search, name and form; though unsearchable and unknowable, he is attainable only to be 'discerned' and realised under the guidance of the seers.

    Where the Atma sees as subjective-knowledge, the never-changing, motionless perfect Wisdom (the Lord), losing the idea of its Union with such Wisdom, there is Sivam established. There too, where natham (essence of sound) which is seated in the Muladhara and Prana (Vital air) seated in the Navel-centre, coursing up together blend in the Sahasara (the thousand petalled lotus) - the crown of the spinal column, Such is the conception of the Inconceivable Nirguna Sivam.

4. Pasu (=the bound soul).

    (This Pasu), the heir to Freedom 41 , knows by attention 39, ever 40 is.

    The Atma, the bound soul, is spirit because it knows; it knows things with the aid of the Karanas (organs), one by one; it tends towards one thing and then returns from it to take up another; this method of knowing is peculiar to Pasu and is called சுட்டறிவு, knowledge by attention as opposed to the Pure Intelligence-Sutta Chaitanya of the Pathi. Pasu is the Intelligence that 'knows' அறியுமறிவு
and Pathi is the Intelligence that 'makes knows' அறிவிக்குமறிவு
the source of wisdom. Pasu is the power of sight and Pathi, the sun. Pasu never exists by itself, its nature is to cling to something and become that (சார்ந்ததன்வண்ணமாதல்); in bondage it identifies itself with the bonds, in Freedom, with the Lord; it is the iron between two magnets the nearer the one, the farther from the other. It is like a crystal reflecting any colour brought before it; in darkness it is dark, in light it is light. Nor does it cease to exist; it exists in bondage as well in Freedom; it is ever is: it is doubtless bound to be free.

Karana Avasta (=causal states)

    Pasu literally, what is bound, is from the past under bond - the veil of darkness, Anava. In that state of unconsciousness, it is devoid of the Vidyatatvas (powers of knowledge) kalai, Viddhari &c., which evolve from Asuddha Maya, and are associated with it to work out its path, hence this state of unconsciousness, unassociated with Kalai &c. is called Kevala Avasta, state of aloneness, (unconscious-aloneness as opposed to conscious aloneness) - state of dissociation. This veil of utter darkness is lifted a bit at the time of projection (srishti) by the Grace of the Lord with the instruments of Kalai and Viddhai; that state of meagre-intelligence, the state in which we are now in, is Sakala Avasta, the state with Kalai &c. the state of association. The third state is when the soul attains Divine grace by gradual preparation - when it is free from all bondage - this is called Sutta Avasta, state of Purity. To explain the above states of the soul by comparison; the eye with the power of sight is in utter darkness in the night, unable to see, that is Kevala; when a candle is lighted, the eye is able to see certain things close by, though not all - that is sakala, the eye which was able to see only one thing at a time in the candle light, sees at day break all, the darkness vanishes and the candle is thrown away - this is suttam. These three states are called Karana avastas - casual states.


5. Pasam (=bond).

    The root of worldliness is I-making Desire 15-38. Doubt and 18 Delusion habituated to the 'dual throng' and the ramifications 43 of Maya, (cosmic matter) this has ever been in bondage 2.


    The idea of Pasu, the bound soul, presupposes a bond or bonds - Pasam. Anava, that which tends to I-making, the darkness that covers the soul from the past, the cause of Agnana or Avidya has been mentioned before. It is the Mulamala - original evil or casual evil, or sahajamala, innate taint, which prompts the idea of separateness and self-conceit and causes Desire (mogha). It is Anava that blinds one from realising himself and the Lord, it is subtle and permeates one's needs, words, thoughts, motives and what not.


    Blinded by anava and induced by Mogha, the souls in their scramble for pleasure commit deeds, good and evil. If good is to cause happiness, and evil, misery to souls, and if there is the deep rooted Mogha in the heart of each soul longing for 'happiness' it would follow that good and evil are bound by self sacrifice and self assertion respectively, which again are centred in Anava - the one being a subjection and the other an assertion of Anava. Here then is the secret of the Law of actions and reactions - the Law of Karma, good deeds causing good and evil deeds, evil, to the doer. Until the complete subjugation of Anava - (which state is called Malapari pagam - maturity of evil) - pleasure and pain force upon the soul as results or reactions of its good and evil deeds. This Law of causes and effects which connects us to the hoary-past, shapes our present and future and is the regulator of births and deaths - a just and noble Law, the pride of the Sanatana Dharma and the bed-rock of Buddhism, revealed in the wild woods of India, Karma then is another bond of the soul.


    The third bond is maya - cosmic matter, that primordial substance out of which the insentient universe, - the Jadaprapancham, is evolved. This maya is considered in its two states - the asuttamaya and the Prakriti maya - the one subtler than the other: the evolution of these and of the 'tatvas' in their proper order is, though very interesting in itself, too large a subject for treatment here, suffice it to say that maya supplies to all souls, body, organs, worlds and enjoyments (தனுகரணபுவனபோகம்) and causes doubt and delusion to those under it clutches. The last two, karma and maya are said to be Aganthukamala - incidental taints.

    Thus we see that I-making and desire born of anava, pleasure and pain born of karma and doubt and delusion born of maya drown the soul in the ocean of sorrow, in the whirl of samasara - births and deaths. Intoxicated with maya, they msitake phantoms for Reality, Asat for sat. Though maya is the material cause of the Unvierse it is Asat, in relation to the soul, sat, which knows and acts; in its turn the soul is Asat in relation to God, without whom it cannot know. In fact, Pasu partakes of the nature of both Pathi and Pasam and is hence called satasat.

6. Path to Freedom.

    To cease from the pursuit2, to turn all organs direct to Intelligence25, to forger not18 His Grace but to be in constant29 communion, this is the path to Freedom, Hasten20, Hasten.

    It was told how the soul pursues the phantoms of the world, through its intoxication of Maya; the mind and the senses trained to 'run out' after them from the immemorial past have tightened the chains of Karma and Maya. Useless, is this pursuit. Now the only way open is to halt, retrace and to run in, turning the mind towards Chaitanya; to give up the roots of evil and to look for the seed of Freedom; with careful restraint not to turn back of to the sides, to run straight towards the resonance of the Holy feet, to fix all thoughts on Him; to rouse the sleeping dame His Grace and to lean on her without remission, this is the path to Freedom. The Great seers, Yogis have thus worked up, unattached to anything.

7. Way of Love.

    The Path to Freedom is two-fold. To hear the holy name "Panchakshara" of the Lord who assumed form for our sake, to see the truth underlying such name as shown by Him and to unite with Him in the manner He unifies by instructing about His eternal Presence, melts the soul like heated wax and in its great Love is ecstatic and one with Him, this is the path of Love. The importance of cultivating the heart over the intellect, of feeling over thought is evident here. The knowledge of shastras or the grasp of the abstract truths is of little avail if the heart cannot pine for Him who is in the heart and lose itself in pining. The ecsasy of spiritual Love breaks all shackles and ends in the complete union of the Lover and the Beloved.

8. Way of concentration.

    Through the Pedestal8 Regions, divert the Prana22 and raise to the pedestalless higher abode and blend with the natham; the True43 wisdom you partake and attain the Fourth26 stage.


    The second is the path of concentration, there are said to be six nerve-centres or plexuses in the spinal column, called Athara by our masters; they are store-houses of energy, the seats, supports or pedestals of certain gods or functionaries of the Lord. About the lower end of the spinal column is the sacral plexus triangular in form, mulathara - the basic-pedestal, which is the seat of Pranava, god Vigneswara. Between this region and the navel is Swashishtana, square in form the seat of Brahma. The third is the navel region, manipuragam, crescent form seat of Vishnu. The fourth is the region of the heart, Anakatham, triangular in form, seat of Rudra; the fifth is the region of the throat, Visutti, hexagon in form, seat of Maheswara; the sixth is the region betwixt the brows, Anjhna, circular in form, seat of Sathasivam. Along the sides of the spinal column run the Ida and Pingala nerve-currents through which Prana acts; in the centre is a hollow canal called Sushumna which is closed at the bottom.

    Now as a preliminary step, the mind is trained to concentrate on the forms of the deities mentioned before, established on the six pedestals; when this proves successful, the Prana is checked and concentrated on the basic pedestal; the coiled up energy Kundalini - natham, is roused which forces up its way through the sushumna canal touching the different centres. When it reaches the Brahmarandra - Sandramandala or the thousand petalled lotus, - which is the brain centre, Prana and Natha blend and the soul is lost in the chitakasa. This is the honey of wisdom in the body - to merge one's mind in the Great mind, one's soul in the great soul, perfect Bliss of the Fourth states sayujya, is here.


    It should be noted that the concentration on the deities in the Atharas is Athara yoga where as seeing the Atma in its aloneness is Nirathara Yoga.

9. Nirathara Yoga.

    Discriminate the five10, from Intelligence, unattached16 to their ramifications, Unslumbering10, discerning be, - established in discernment38 and Wisdom, Even in wakefulness the highest32 bliss of Turiya you experience, the sense-enjoyments33 becoming those other, such are the true recluses32.


    The soul is said to be functioning in the Atharas in different states or Avastas. Without entering into details, it may be mentioned here that when the soul is Anjgna, the region betwixt the brows, it has under its power 35 tatvas, and is in the waking state-Jagrat. When the soul descends to the throat region it functions with 2 tatvas, Gnanendriyas and Karmendriyas having been left in the Anjgna - this is dreaming state-swapna. When in the heart, it has only 3 tatvas, - chitta, prana and Ullam; it is then in sound sleep - sushupti. Perhaps under ordinary circumstances, one has no experience when the soul is functioning with Prana and Uilam alone in the navel-regins, this is experienced, when for instance, one receives a sudden shock-the breath stops and he is thrown into unconsciousness; when he recovers he passes from Turiya to Sushupti, Swapna and Jagrat. The fifth, Turiyathitha, is experienced when the soul is in the mulathara, leaving Prana in the navel - this precedes death. These states are called (கீழாலவத்தை) Kilalavaththai beings effects of Kevalavasta.


    The next set of Avastas that requires mention here is Ninmalavastai (நின்மலாவத்தை) the effects of Suttavasthai already referred to : It covers the states of wisdom, from the spiritual down to the moonday glory known as the Thasakariyam தசகாரியம் - the 'ten results.' To know that the soul is functioning in the outer and the inner senses is Ninmala Jagrat; to know oneself by the exercises of the anthakkaranas, inner senses, is Ninmala swapna; to leave off the exercises of the anthakkaranas and to unite with unmoved mind, desire less of enjoyments is Ninmala sushupti; to break off from this unmoved mind too and be shining in spiritual aloneness is Ninmala-Turiya; to be lost in Sivanantham, Godly Bliss, is Ninmala Turiyathitham.

    The above avastas, though imperfectly explained here would mark the progress of the soul in its spiritual growth. To discriminate the five bhutas (rudiments) and the other Tatvas from the soul, to break off all attachments to the forms of maya and to isolate oneself from all the Karmas, without falling into the sleep of Kevala but discerning, resplendent in the glowing consciousness, is Nirathara yoga and to be firmly established in the chaitanya losing separateness such as subject and object, is the Highest yoga, the gnana yoga; expressions such as நோக்காமல் நோக்க, அறிந்தறியாவண்ணம், உணராமல் உணர
but mean this subjective union, the spiritual Establishment.

    To such as have passed beyond I-making, kevalakariya Jagrat is Sutta Kariya Ninmala Turiya, Even the ordinary waking state is one of spiritual Discernment - the Wisdom and Bliss experienced in the 'alone become' state, breaks through the walls of the inner and the outer senses and flows around, so that what is touched, smelt, tasted, seen or heard is that spirit. Even the previous impressions of sense enjoyments become spiritual. Such are the real yogis, the renounced, who whirl not in worldliness but stand mute as the tongue less belt.

10. Differentiation - cause of bondage.

    Should differentiation24 cease and the whole universe42 be absorbed in you and you in Him, the unattached27 Intelligence, then loosens27 all this Evil; whatever path you30 tread, no matter, know the witness, the Inner-life.

    The nature of the mind is to differentiate one thing from the other to be able to know it, this is its சுட்டறிவு
or knowledge by attention; ideas of relativity such as up and down, heat and cold, in and out are the contributors to objective knowledge (which has no place in the realm of the spirit) and are the cause of bondage. Therefore to hold the mind stable in the state of undifferentiation, to identify oneself with the Universe, discerning the Eternal Presence of the Lord there and to give oneself up to Him is to cause the cessation of bondage. The Lord, the witness of the universe being discerned, it matters little in what station of life, one conducts himself.

11. Karthritvam.

    Agency given up and individuality6 destroyed. The Lord shines and He acts, no sooner I-making19 ceases37 than flows That: in that Experience where29 O, is 'I'.

    When notions of 'I do' 'I manage' &c. die away and even the 'I' is given up; it is the Lord who takes the place; He acts in the Sanctified soul and He is there, for He is ever ready to fill the Soul with His Being the moment I-hood is subjugated. The Karmas done in such yoga produce no effect. Karmas bind the doer-the Karta, but here the Soul has given up its agency-Karthrityam-and the Kartha is really the Lord, who cannot be bound. The soul has really disappeared where O, is that which has been crying 'I' and 'Mine' from the beginning less time.

12. Malaparipagam.

    That stage in the spiritual growth where the 'I' is surrendered to the Lord is called Malaparipagam - Maturity of the Anavamala.

    To you who have offered yourself, He offers Himself6 , absorbs you14 in Him, Makes you Himself1, you become one with the Highest of Bliss Brahmasakti34, the sleeping dame; Endless riches42! Immeasurable Ambrosia26! Unspeakable4 That.

Satgurudarsana / Saktinipadam

That Brahmasakti, His Grace, that lifted the soul from the depths of Kevala and is eternally present in it as the source of Energy, will and knowledge, though unknown and unrecognised by conceited soul, shines forth when the I-making is dying gradually and the Lord as Guru appears to instruct the pilgrim soul in the Truth. That is, the soul is said to have Satgurudarsana (சற்குருதரிசனம்) following Malaparipagam (மலபரிபாகம்), and the Guru by his Diksha-initiation-rouses the apparently sleeping dame the sakti which over laps the soul; this is called saktinipadam (சத்திநிபாதம்). Henceforth the soul is in incessant union with Grace. Thus, to one who gave himself up to the lord. He gives Himself in return; in other words, when the 'I' is lost He reigns instead and experience of being one with that Gracious Lord is incomparable, unspeakable, it is like itself.


    They who thus realise are the rich7 in the Highest wisdom, they stand alone16 unattached, and are lost in ecstacy82 (of Wisdom).

    The Great ones who have thus realised the Bliss of Oneness are in possession of a wealth, incomparable; the Highest wealth not of perishable and transient a nature but of Imperishable and Lasting wisdom. All the wealth of the world can have no charm for them; they, no more, but That Ocean of Wisdom.

14. The Lord as Guru.

    He, who led you from the corner12 to the courtyard is Great, the Lord of the righteous. That absolute, unknowable1 by any, came in 'Form'. He became your5 master.

    The soul which was used to dwell in the corners of the senses and take delight in sense-enjoyments, is brought to the front yard, the space of Bliss, to stand isolated from its previous companions. The one who accomplishes this feat of mercy is the Great Lord, who comes to the soul in the human form, in the fullness of time. He is the Lord of those who walk in the path of Righteousness.



    This doctrine that the Lord Himself comes down in mercy to instruct a qualified soul is indeed life-giving; He comes when the soul has attained the poise-of-twofold actions (இருவினையொப்பு) and the maturity of-evil (மலபரிபாகம்) - the first, a stage in the progress of the soul where pressed between good and evil, it sees both with an equal eye and relinquishes them as causes of bondage-a preparatory step to the second, மலபரிபாகம்; He comes in the twinkle of an eye assuming human form. Is this not an imperfection in this perfect Being? Rather it is the manifestation of His Grace, He, the Gracious Lord, who vivifies the invisible and the visible, pervades through and through and yet remains unsullied, takes form when needed for soul's salvation; no limitation can be imposed by the Form on the Eternally-Free, suttachaitanya. Further, are not forms assumed by Yogis and Sittas, without losing their individual consciousness? How much more then, can the Yogi of Yogis, the Sitta of Sittas exercise this power; a clear understanding of the 'Forms' of God in the Nishkala, sakalanishkala and sakal will wipe off all doubts, on this point. If the Lord came not in sakala bow could we have been blessed with the Vedas and the Agamas.

Three kinds of souls.

    The Lord instructs the souls according to their development. The Vignanakalar, those souls who are bound only by Anava are instructed by 'intuition': the Pralayakalar who have Anava and Karma are shown the form of the Murthi; and we, the sakalar, bound by Anava, Karma and Maya are instructed by Himself appearing as Guru in human form.

15. Three classes of Karmas.

    To those who have thus exhausted all Karma by the Grace of the visible3 master, no longing after 3sense26-33pleasure, no birth3 and death, no bondage62, sorrow27 or delusion33.

    Karmamala (the bond of action) which leads to births and deaths is threefold. First the store of past Karmas which have to mature in the future, called sanchita Karmas, literally, accumulated actions; secondly, those actions which bear fruit in the present birth called Prarabdha Karmas - what has commenced:- and lastly agamika Karma - those actions done in this birth that are to mature in the future - impending actions, a critical study of this law of Karma is worthwhile attempting - how an act affects the Karmas, what changes take place in the dispositions and tendencies, how the results redound on the doer and such other points require extensive treatment which cannot be undertaken here. A mind that has attained இருவினையொப்பு, and views with dispassion good and evil deeds, cannot, of course, be affected by their results, pleasure and pain; add to this, the relinquishment of Karthritvam-Agency, born of மலபரிபாகம்,
the soul has soared to a height far beyond the atmosphere of Karma, dropping the burden of Karthritvam which alone pressed it down all the while. Thus ends Agamika Karma. At the meeting with the Guru, the surrender of Agency is even confirmed by His graceful look and the sanchita Karma is set on fire. But while the body lasts Prarabdha Karma goes on; even here the sanctified soul is free from its influences as the Lord is there and He acts as already stated. It is needless to state such great-ones of Realisation are free from impressions of sense enjoyments, have no longing to the trivialities they have trampled underfoot, and have attained the abode of Bliss from which there is no return; Birth and death, sorrow and delusion are things of the past, dead even in their recollection.

16. Soul and God.

    Who see her (Pasu) as the possessed35 and Him (Pathi) as the ghost are seers true, others see not. He becomes this one through His mercy, this can't40 become That: assume42 not egotism.

    The relation of the soul to God has been a subject of controversy from a very long time, different schools of philosophy have sprung up, but the truth seers find the harmony among them. Three relations are thinkable; they are two, they are one, they are not, - the last, namely that which denies the existence of both soul and God may be dispensed with. Leave that blind child for the present, whispering in his ear that the invisible is the reality and not the visible. If they are two no freedom or bliss of realisation is possible. If one, the soul should not have meagre intelligence as opposed to Infinite intelligence and can have no sorrow. If there is no sorrow but that the sol fancies it, whence is this delusive fancy? If that is born of maya, it would follow that the soul which is really God is subject to maya. If the soul, sorrow and the universe in which this sorrow is experienced is all delusion, who is thus deluded? It cannot be God who is sutta chaitanya; else it would be like hiding the sun in darkness.


    What then is this relation? the same relation as exists between a ghost-ridden person and the Ghost, not one, not two but non-dual, adwaita. In that state of possession, the person acts in one respect, in another respect he does not act. The ghost is all in that person in one respect; yet it is not all in another respect.

    This is the real relation that exists between the soul and God; the same is the relation between Pasam and Pasu. They are treated as Tripatharta for the purpose of differentation, to enable the mind to form a conception, they exist in this adwaita relation eternally. This relation should also be borne in mind when one speaks of Pathi, Pasu, Pasam as Sat, Satasat and Asat. There is as much truth in the statement. 'I am Brahman' as there is in the statement 'the ghost-ridden is the ghost.' To assume further is Anava, and create the difficulties above mentioned.

    [In mukti, the soul does not become God but God becomes the soul, taking his place and filling and covering him, and possessing him as a ghost possesses a man. Where the I-ness stood before in Bhandam, there is a void now in mukti and this void is filled by God. The soul does not get converted into God, but where the soul stood before, Sivam stands there in all His Glory, the soul's individuality having been destroyed.]




    Embracing other chaff-like31 religions lose not only thy life. Those words hear not, The followers of this, discern45 the Truth.

    The warning is given that a clear understanding of the Truth alone will lead the soul to the abode of Bliss, while ignorance and dull understanding will keep it still fettered. Waste not time and life in hearing other doctrines, this doctrine of the sutta adwaita is The Truth and its followers alone discern the Truth.    

Here ends this science of Wisdom, the guide to spiritual Experience and thus have I understood.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


by R. S. SUBRAMANIAM Esq., Colombo.

    To start with a paradox in the investigation and study of spiritual truths is indeed setting up a blind while labouring for sight through the mist. 'Death before death' is an apparent absurdity and perhaps the lenient critic would assign 'premature death' as its possible significance, death being associated with sunken eyes, wrinkled face and withered frame consequent on old age. A better and deeper meaning comes to light in closer examination. Leaving aside the mystery that is generally attributed to life and death, we may, without going far wrong, define, according to the first impressions we form of them, life as the manifestation of energy or activity, and death as the cessation of it. On seeing a beast of prey, for instance, lying across the road, the first test we would adopt is to observe whether there is motion of any kind in it, whether it moves its limbs or wags its tail or ears. Failing to notice any, we would keep ourselves at a safe distance and shout or pelt or pick, to observe whether it responds to these stimuli. If response is received, we conclude, it is alive; if none that it is dead. So then, the two elements that constitute life are, the manifestation of activity and the response to external stimulus and the absence of these is death. Knowing as we do, that any external stimulus should take the form of either sound, touch, form, taste or smell, and that these should enter by the five portals, - the external senses, and pass through the inner gates of Manas, &c. (the Anthakkaranas), we may, by an extension of the meaning of death, call that state in which one though alive is not attracted by the object of sense, death; likewise that state in which the senses themselves fail to draw him away, as death; that state too in which the manas and its colleagues cease to function as death. 'Death before death' is then a state in life, where the normal activity of the senses and the mind ceases - a state beyond the sense-world and the thought-world. This is, in brief, the explanation of the startling paradox 'death before death'.

    The following stanza of St. Thayumanavar aptly describes the subject matter of this paper.*


தான்கெட்டரின்றிச் சலிப்பறியாத் தன்மையனுக்கு

ஊன்கெட் டுயிர்கெட்டுணர்வு கெட்டென்னுள்ளமும் போய்

நான்கெட்ட வாபாடித் தென்ளேணங் கொட்டாமோ. (Tiruvachakam)


தந்தைதாய் தமர்தார மகவென்னு மிவையெலாஞ்

சந்தையிற் கூட்டமிதிலோ

சந்தேகமில்லை மணிமாடமாளிகை மேட

சதுரங்க சேனையுடனே

வந்ததோர் வாழ்வுமோரிந்த்ர ஜாலக்கோலம்

வஞ்சனை பொறாமை லோபம்

வைத்தமனமாங்கிருமி சேர்ந்தமல பாண்டமோ

வாஞ்சனையிலாத கனவே

யெந்தநாளுஞ்சரி யெனத்தேர்ந்து தேர்ந்துமே

யிரவு பகலில்லாவிட்த்

தேகமாய் நின்ற நின்னருள் வெள்ளமீதிலே

யானென்பதறவு மூழ்கிச்

சிந்தைதான்றெளியாது சுழலும்வகை யென்கொலோ

தேடரிய சத்தாகி யென்

சிந்தைமிசை குடிகொண்ட வறிவான தெய்வமே

             தேசோ மயானந்தமே.     (தேசோமய --3)


Father, mother, kindred, wife and child, all these are

like the gathering at the mart, no doubt about this.

Life favoured with ruby-laid palaces, mansions

terraces and four-classed-armies, jugglery like

The body, pot of filth, habited by the mind-worm, given to

deceit, envy and avarice, is delightless dream

By knowing thus and considering times of weal and woe as one

And plunging, I-hood destroyed, in the ocean of Thy

Grace, which pervades as one, where night or day is not

Without clearing the mind, why do I whirl, O Bliss of Lustrous

Beauty, O God of Intelligence, unsearchable Reality

that indwells my heart.


    A brief survey of the world around us is indispensable for this study as the whole fabric should rest on this basis. The world, though one of ups and downs is after all a disappointment and sorrow. The lowest man, the man of the world, thinks, he finds pleasure and pleasure alone, as he ignores his disappointments in the full blaze of sense-enjoyments; the highest man, the spiritual man, looks through the eyes of the spirit and finds Peace and Plenty, Beauty and Happiness, but the middle man sees the world in its true colours, duality all round, pleasure and pain, good and evil, riches and poverty. With a better mind and heart than those of the lowest man he sympathises with the poor and the needy. The wails of widows, the tears of orphans, the sobs and sighs of the distressed appeal effectively to his heart and set him a thinking; he quails at the picture of misery, disappointment and sorrow that meets his eyes at every turn. Millions he sees homeless and helpless, millions forced to life-long fast, millions of the deaf, the dumb and the maimed; little helpless orphans that lie like strewn leaves on road sides knocking at death's door. In such a state of dejection and sorrow for his brothers and sisters, his heart is ready for the seed of spirituality; he enquires into the cause of these varying states of life in the world, into the misery that envelopes each soul and knows the unerring and universal Law of Justice that is behind. Thoughts of his own miserable state now flash through his mind, thoughts of innumerable births he must have had and of the cause that is operating on him, haunt him. He fully realises the utter futility of his kith and kin, much less of his possessions, in contributing to his happiness; he sees that his numberless fathers, mothers and children of his past births had done nothing and that those of this life can do nothing to help him out* [* பட்டினத்தார் திருவேகம்பம் 13] The impermanency and unreality of his wealth and other possessions induce him to seek for something real and there dawns in him a discrimination between what is real and unreal* [*தாயுமானவர் தன்னையொருவர், 2] He appeals to the Lord of all to take him away from this world of delusion and bondage.* [* தாயுமானவர் எனக்கெனச்செயல் 10, பட்டினத்தார் பொது 18] Hate for the things of the world dominates his mind and he even despises his own body. * [* தாயுமானவர் பொன்னைமாதரை 1, பாயப்புலி 18] Sick of the world he is terror-stricken to be born again. Birth must end, he resolves and sings with St. Manickavasagar.

        Grass was I, shrub was I, worm, tree

        full many a kind of beast, bird, snake.

        Stone, man and demon 'midst Thy hosts I served

        The form of mighty Asuras, ascetics, gods I bore

        Within these immobile and mobile forms of life

        In every species born, weary I've grown, great Lord.

                        திருவாசகம் சிவபுராணம் 26-31


    In floods from sorrow's pouring clouds that rise, Thy loving ones

    Sinking have seized the raft of Thy blest foot and risen to heaven

    Whirl's amid troubled sea, where women billows dash and lusts

    Sea Monster wounds, I sink Master, I Thee my Refuge make.

                        திருவாசகம் அடைக்கலப்பத்து


    With this change of life, our hero turns a new leaf, he has set his foot on the ladder of spirituality, which should be remembered, is firmly planted in Vairagya, non-attachment to the things of the world.* [* St. John. V. 25.] Having spurned all his erstwhile rare possessions of pride, he is in search of that one Reality, hungering after that Bliss alone. But he is not out of the woods yet, as now and then he is caught in the traps of traitors, he is deceived by the mischievous senses - the Gnanendrias. The eyes draw him away to gaze at a lovely object before he can check them, the ears want to hear the sweet music of charming maids and so on. * [* பட்டினத்தார் பொது
4] The senses accustomed to run in particular grooves from immemorial past, cannot bear to be denied their wonted food - the objects of senses. They become turbulent running from corner to corner in search of pleasure. They assembled in serious conclave and decry the purpose of the aspirant as foolish and profitless. They press him to reconsider his decision, without wasting time which can be advantageously employed in the enjoyment of the world, they seem to be very sympathetic to our hero and try a thousand and one ways to pull him down from the ladder. This is the activity or life of the senses. Many have so fallen through the delusive admonitions of the traitorous senses. No traitor in the world is so harmful and destructive as the five felons in man, who not only delude him to forego his spiritual heritage but usurp his power and got complete mastery over him so that he is lost in their maze.* [*திருவாசகம் கண்டபத்து
தாயுமானவர் தத்வமுறைமை
6] Fully alive to the glory of his goal, a glimpse of which he catches now and then through the thicket of the senses, the mind and its attendance Kama, desire &c., he persists in his path and clinging to the glorious feet of the Lord, thus exclaims, terror stricken


தீயிலே வெதப்பி யுயிரொடுந்தின்னச் சிந்தைநைந்துருகி மெய்ம்மறந்து

தாயிலாச்சேய்போ ல்லைந்தலைப்பட்டேன் றாயினிங்கருணையாமன்றுள்

நாயகமாகி யொளிவிடுமணியே நாதனே ஞானவாரிதியே.

                    (தாயுமானவர் சிவன்செயல் 5)


While through the gates of the (senses) five, the objects-hunters

    came and dragged me, half-fried (me) in

The fierce fire of lust and ate, (me) alive, my heart

    moved by pain, I melted and forgetting myself

Like a motherless orphan wandered and suffered, O radiant

    ruby, more gracious than a mother!

Lord of the Golden Hall! O Supreme Being, O Sea of Wisdom!


    In this frame of mind, the aspirant endeavours to admonish, in return, the senses. O eye, the beauty you admire today, fades tomorrow, what will you then admire, O ear, the music you relish now, ceases the next moment, what music then? Will you go with me to see the never fading Beauty, to hear the unending music, to taste the tasteless Taste? Thus one by one, the impermanence of the things of the world is shown to the senses and their course is turned within. The five portals are blocked and guarded and the usurpers are dethroned and subjected, they are now at his beck and call. And this is the death of the senses.

    The power that grows unconsciously within, now enables the aspirant to fight out the rest of the battle with renewed vigour. It is said that those who control the senses achieve a conquest unparalleled.

    He who with firmness curb the five restrains

    Is seed for soil of yonder happy plains.     

                குறள் நீத்தாரபெருமை
4 Dr. Pope's translation.


    Yet there is the possibility of a slip for though our hero has left the objective world, left the world of the senses, there still stands unvanquished the arch-fiend, the traitor of traitors, who can raise the world from their ashes, who can create his own objects of desire and traverse the whole universe in no time, the felon who has been collecting forces all the while the battle was raging on in the outer-skirts - it is the mind. To one who has watched the vagaries of the mind, the tremendous world within will be quite apparent - how it whirls round and round wanders hither and thither, how it constructs palaces and mansions and lives in them, how it enjoys by itself every pleasure it needs. This world of thought is the curse of man, it is here all the subtle forces work together and form his character; even his physical form is the outcome of this thought-world. It is even here the demons of lust (kama) jealousy, avarice and the like reign. Clothing others with one's thoughts and sitting in judgment over others are the most common of evils and they are the sharpest weapons one wields for self-destruction. Forbear judgment on others, avoid assigning motives to other's acts, desist from ransacking your neighbour's pockets, then your character is well formed. It should be known that such evils even though thought of, have their effects on you. Beware of the thoughts if you would progress one should not be deluded by the thought that his thoughts are hidden and do no harm; thoughts are indelibly engraved and they mould his being.

    The worlds we have left behind are in the sphere of the mind in a subjective form: a veritable forest to be cut down and cleared. The mind is a pivot, is a master-key; one may open with it the doors of Heaven or Hell as he chooses.* [* தாயுமானவர் பாயப்புலி
45] Turn the mind within, you reach Heaven; allow it to run out, you reach Hell. One who has outwardly abandoned the objects of sense but clings to them in the mind cannot progress in this path; there is the likelihood of his slipping down to the world again. Therefore such thoughts should at once be suppressed.* [* தாயுமானவர் ஆசையெனும்
21] An attempt in that direction causes, as in the case of the senses, a rebellion within which cannot be quelled without requisitioning the help of an iron Will. The turbulence of the mind entirely depends upon Desire which is at the bottom and the bit and bridle to be applied to the former should be used for the latter too. Desire being controlled, the mind ceases to agitate, consequently thought, word, and deed in their turn die of themselves.* [* ஆசையெனும்
28] Desire is the root of all evil, it is the cause of all bondage.

ஆசையெனும் பெருங்காற்றூடியிலவம் பஞ்செனவு மனதலையுங்காலம்

மோசம்வருமிதனாலே கற்றதுங் கேட்டதுந் தூர்ந்து முத்திக்கான

நேசமு நல்வாசமும்போய்ப் புலனாயிற் கொடுமைபற்றி நிற்பரந்தோ

தேசுபழுத்தருள் பழுத்தபராபரமே நிராசையின்றேற் றெய்வமுண்டோ.



    Caught in the storm of desire, like light cotton

        while the mind wanders

    Perdition results: by this too is caused loss of

        knowledge leant and heard, loss of

    Yearning-for-Mukti and company of the Good; such stand,

        alas, identified with the senses and tangled in the

        miseries of Samsara

    O, the Most High of full-lustre and flowing Grace ! is

        there God to one without uncovetousness.


    Know the Reality from the Unreality by discrimination (viveka) and abandon the object of sense through non-attachment (vairagya) and continue that state of mind for the extinction of all desires. The effect of desire on the mind is best seen in dreams, when the mind has its full play unchecked by any rule of ethics. It creates every object of desire. One desire that cropped up in the morning or the day before and already forgotten, is reproduced in the state of dream, as it was lying potentially all the while. It is within the experience of all that their wished-for objects appear in dreams and they possess them with joy but they wake up only to laugh at their own folly. Even in the waking state, desires do their function but owing to its subtlety, it remains unseen. Selfishness, anger, jealousy and the like are the medium through which they work and the evil thoughts generated by them constitute the activity or the life of the mind. For the purification of thoughts, then, desire for the things of the world should be rooted out and replaced by desire for the things of the spirit. With this turning of the channel inward, godward, the mind and the senses turn too.

    Let us pause here to survey the spiritual heights already scaled by the aspirant. Unlike the worldly-minded, who are caught in the storm of selfishness, tossed hither and thither on the waves of Envy, Pride and Avarice, and dashed on the rock of Impatience, Disappointment and Sorrow, our hero rests comfortably in the calm of selfless Love, rocks in the swings of Kindness, Humility and Beneficence and fortifies himself with the barricades of Patience, contentment and Happiness. Instead of the oppression of the mind and the narrowness of thought caused by dark motives of selfishness, our hero experience delightful freedom and lightness through expansive Love. In the place of the unbearable writhing under the burden of his own thoughts, our hero swings heartily in the thought of the Lord. While the worldly-minded acquire wealth by addition to their possessions, piling gold upon gold, diamond upon diamond and yet are unhappy, our hero gains his wealth by a process of subtraction, throwing overboard gold and diamond, father and mother, kith and kin, thought by thought until the thought of the Lord dominates, and he is perfectly happy. That destructive and baneful habit in the ordinary man, of clothing others with his own thought, of picking holes on other's coats and of trying to remove the mote in other's eyes, is replaced by a cruel judgment on himself, on his own acts and on his own thought, while again the worldly-minded go seeking for help, every help comes to our hero in time, and he knows, it must come as the Law of Righteousness is unerring, Peace of mind is his possession and love his gift; his look charms the world; his internal Peace throws out a lustre of sublimity. He cannot be harmed by any one, he is envy-proof, malice-proof. His atmosphere being hallowed by the waves of the spirit, no arrows of evil thoughts directed against him can find their way to him: they come and fall down blunted, unable to withstand the resistance of the waves; they fall down as the arrows of Visvamithra fell down before Vasishta.

    The only way for the purification of the mind is to witness its work every moment. Ask what is my mind doing now? If you find it engaged in building up a castle, pull it down and bring it back to its corner. If you find it shooting arrows of malice or envy, curb it as it digs your own grave. By persistent application of this method alone, can the mind be conquered. St. Thayumanavar addresses his mind thus.* [*பாயப்புலி 49. தன்னையறிய 1.]

நாராயநெஞ்சே யுன்றன்றுன்மார்க்கம் யாவையும் வைத்துக்கட்டிங்

காராயடிக்கடி சுற்றுகின்றாயுன்னவலமதிக்

கோராயிரம் புத்திசொன்னாலுமோர் கிலையோகெடுவாய்

பாராயுனைக் கொல்லுவேன் வெல்லுவேனருட்பாங்குகொண்டே.

                            (பாயப்புலி -50)




Come O mind! pack up all thy improprieties and from here

Enquire (for Truth) Oft art thou whirling and considerest not

My thousand advices against thy evil nature, O Perishing one

See thou! I'll kill thee with the axe of Holy Grace: I'll conquer thee.


    Once or twice in a day during the calm hours of the morning or night-fall, one should sit in judgment over his mind, reviewing the doings of the whole day and censure the mind for any misbehaviour. By a repetition of this process, one will be able to witness the thoughts as they occur and check them then and there. Perseverance in this will result in the complete annihilation of the tendencies, Samskaras, that raise such thoughts. With desires checked, tendencies destroyed the mind attains the Peace sought for.

    Now our hero can be thrown in the midst of gaieties, in the midst of worldly revelry; none of these will attract him; he is the spoon which knows not the taste of the dainty dish. And this is the death of the mind; there is a higher stage of this death. which will follow.

    The characteristic of the mind is to grasp at anything, but as its channel and that of the senses have been turned inward, it cannot grasp at the things of the world. It now flies to the Holy Lord in good earnest, it sticks fast to Him. The senses of the aspirant pine after the Lord, his only thought is about Him, his only desire is to posses Him. Thus sings St. Maniccavasagar.


    கற்றாரை யான்வேண்டேன் கற்பனவு மினியமையுங்

    குற்றாலத்தமர்ந்துறையுங் கூத்தாவுன் குரைகழற்கே

    கற்றாவின் மனம்போலக்கசிந்துருக வேண்டுவனே.

                                திருப்புலம்பல் 3.*

Cf also
திருப்பாண்டிப்பதிகம் 1. பட்டினத்தார் 5]


Nor friends, nor kin I seek, no city I desire, no name I crave,

No learned ones I seek, and henceforth lessons to be conned suffice

Thou dancer in Kuttalam dwelling blissful, Thy resounding feet

I'll seek; that as the cow yearns for its calf, my longing soul may melt.


    The yearning for Him with melting heart, tearful eyes and shivering frame, if experienced in the life of any, that man is truly blessed. That marks the intensity of the Love which then holds sway. Masters of different religions have testified to it and their ecstatic utterances while in that mood, will melt even a stony heart. Saints Maniccavasagar, Thayumanavar and others, have left on record how they pined for the Lord and how all should pine for Him.


    நிக்குமழுதுந்தொழுதும் வாழ்த்தி நானாவிதத்தாற் கூத்துநவிற்றிச்

    செங்கர்போலுங் திருமேனி திகழநோக்கிச் சிலிர்சிலிர்த்துப்

    புக்குநிற்பதென்றுகொல்லோ வென்பொல்லா மணியைப்புணர்ந்தே.

                                புணர்ச்திப்பத்து 8.*

Cf also
வாழாப்பத்து, தாயுமானவர் பன்மாலை 1. எனக்கெனச்செயல், கல்லாலினீழல்]



In bliss dissolved soul melted utterly, with every gesture meet

Laughter and tears, homage of hand and lip with every mystic dance

To see with joyous thrill, that Sacred Form like ruddy evening sky

When shall I pass, in mystic union joined with Him, my faultless Gem.


    As a result of this strong and sincere yearning, the aspirant sees the Lord in everything; the whole world is to him an emblem of God. His mind cannot now see one thing from the other, the differences have disappeared and in the insect that crawls, in the birds that fly, in the stone and in the beast, he adores the Lord.

பெண்ணவன்கா ணாணவன்காண் பெரியோர்க்கென்றும் பெரியவன்கா

    ணரியவன்கா ணயனானான்கா

ணெண்ணவன்கா ணெழுத்தவன்காணின்பக்கேள்வி யிசையவன்காணி


கண்ணவன்காண் கருத்தவன்காண் கழிந்தோட்செல்லுங் கதியவன்காண்

    மதியவன்காண் கடலேழ்சூந்த

மண்ணவன்காண் வானவர்வணங்கியேத்தும் வலிவலத்தான்காண

    வனென் மனத்துளானே.

                    திருநாவுக்கரசுசுவாமிகள் - திருவலிவலம் 7.


    Ceases here all differentiation, which is the function of the mind, and this is the death proper, of the mind. Even the aspirant is astonished at the death of the mind which was waging war against him before, like a formidable enemy.


    பொருளோடி யானிருக்கப் போயொளித்த நெஞ்சேநீ

    மருடீர் முயற்கோடோ வான்மலரோ பேய்த்தேரோ

    விருடீர நீயுறைந்த்தெவ்விடமோ காணேனே.

                        தாயுமானவர் ஏசற்றவந்நிலை. 9.


O Mind, that is gone and hid while I am in union with that Being

Who is Bliss enshrined in the temple of Grace

Art thou, the illusion-less hare's horn or sky lotus or the mirage,

I see not, (my) darkness left, where thou abidest.


    Ahankara (I 'hood) is the next veil to be consumed by the fire of Wisdom. This is the last possession of our hero to be abandoned. Many of the sharp and irritating points of I 'hood have been unconsciously rounded, while our hero was achieving his conquest in the plains below. 'I did it,' 'I want it,' 'I said so.' 'I should lead' &c., have long ago bade farewell to him. Perhaps what now assert themselves, are, 'I strive for Bliss,' 'I am good,' 'I attain Bliss' &c., a very light shade of the 'I'. Even this should be exchanged for 'the lord does' 'the Lord is,' 'the Lord wills'.* [* தாயுமானவர் பொருளியல்பு 7. ஆசையெனும் 8] This done, the battle is over. 'And this is the death of the 'I'.

    Those who go up the ladder so far can hardly be distinguished from ordinary mad-men, they have the simplicity of children and the selflessness of the demoniacs.


சீலமிகுஞானியர் தஞ்செய்கை பராபரமே.

                        தாயுமானவர் பராபரம் 143*

                        [* Cf also சிற்சுகோதயவிலாசம் 9.]


    'Unless ye become like little children, ye shall not enter the kingdom of Heaven' says another Master (St. Mathew 18.3) St. Maniccavasagar prays to the Lord for a boon, namely to make him die as a maniac in the eyes of the world.

    உத்தமனத்தனுடையானடியே நினைந்துருகி

    மத்தமனத்தொடு மாலிவனென்ன மனநினைவி

    லொத்தனவொத்தன சொல்லிட வூரூர்திரிந்தெவரும்

    தத்தமனத்தன பேசவெஞ்ஞான்றுகொல் சாவதுவே.

                            திருச்சதகம் 3


Melting at the thought of the Excellent, Father, Master's feet

And in rapturous mood, uttering the promptings of the mind,

From land to land rambling, that men may say 'A madman this'

And speak their fancies, O' when shall I pass.*


[* For every hymn of Thiruvasagam quoted, except this, I have given the translation of Dr. Pope. I must say with all deference to the learned translator, I have been obliged to attempt a translation of this hymn just to bring out the spirit of it, as he has apparently twisted the meaning and makes the Saint court Death to avoid the discordant sayings of the people; besides அடியே நினைந்து
in the text should not be rendered 'Thy servant thinks' as he has done, as it cannot be the combination of அடியேன் + நினைந்து
which when combined would read அடியேன்னினைந்து or அடியேனினைந்து.]


    This state of Bliss is called Thuriya. Here Atma stands in its knowledge-form, isolated from the senses and the mind; it is knowing oneself without speech and thought, (உரையுணர்விறந்துதம்மையுணர்தல்). A state to be and to become, unqualifiable yet attainable. The more one describes this state the farther is he from the Truth.


    பாராமலுள்ளபடி பார்த்திருந்தால் வாராதோ

    பத்துத்திசையும் பரந்தெழுந்தானந்த வெள்ளந்

    தத்திக்கரைபுரண்டுதான் (தாயுமானவர் உடல்பொய்யுறவு 58)

If, without differentiating nor once bestowing thought,

    without seeing the light within (as object)

One establishes himself in it, discerning as it is - Will it not come

The flood of Bliss, springing and overflowing the banks

    rising and pervading the ten quarters.


    He is lost in the flood of Bliss, what remains is the Ocean in which the drop fell. To say he attained Bliss is an error, for there is no 'he' in that state, nor can the Gnani say 'I attained Bliss' as the 'I' is dead. Nirwana, Heaven, Moksha, these are different names for That. It is Oneness, Bliss, these again are relative ideas, therefore - Silence.


    துறையிலேபடிந்து மூழகித்துளைந்து நான்றோன்றாவாறுள்

    ளுறையிலே யுணர்த்திமோனவொண் சுடர்வைவாடந்த

    இறைவனே யுனைப்பிரிந்திங்கிருக்கிலே னிருக்கிலேனே.

                                தாயுமானவர் வம்பனேன். 2.


To become the undiminishing Fulness, to fall on and plunge in

The flow of the flood of spotless Wisdom-Bliss and become dissolved in

And thereby effect the non-appearance of I'hood

Thou show'dst the way by quibbles and didst grant the sharp radiant sword of Silence

Separated from Thee, O Lord, here I can't remain, I can't remain.


    குலமிலான் குணங்குறியிலான் குறைவிலான் கொடிதாம்

    புலமிலான் றனக்கென்னவோர் பற்றிலான் பொருந்தும்

    மிலமிலான் மைந்தர் மனைவியில்லர் னெவனவன் சஞ்

    சலமிலான் முத்திதரும் பரசிவனெனத்தகுமே. ஆசையெனும் 30.


    Sorrowless is he, who is

        Casteless, unqualifiable, non-lowly

    Who is without harmful object-attachment, bereft

        of all self-seeking desires

    Who is homeless, childless and wifeless

    And such is worthy of comparison to Para Siva,

        the Giver of Freedom.


    To call this incomparable state of Bliss, death, is a lie; to name this Life of All-knowledge, death, is utter ignorance; to call this state of self luminosity, death, is blindness. It is the Life in life, an Eternal Life of lasting Bliss and knowledge; Yet, it is death as the I'hood has vanished.

    My brothers, 'one ounce of practice is worth more than tons of tall talk'. One who has experienced the death of the mind in his life teaches more by his silence than another who speaks volumes. If among the Buddhists I come across such a conqueror of self I adore him; if a Christian has ascended such spiritual heights I sit at his feet. Religions and creeds are nothing if one cannot live a spiritual life. Mere knowledge develops only one's Ahankara.

    Should we not able to boldly affirm, when asked,

Do any hearts beat faster, Do any faces brighten,

To hear your foot steps on the stair, To meet you, greet you anywhere

Are any happier today, Through words they have heard you say

Life were not worth the living, If no one were the better

For having met you on the way, And known the sunshine of your stay.*


[* From a letter of Swami Narayana from Port said. 11-8-1903.]


    Therefore should we not all, from this moment seriously consider the life we lead, should we not make this hall a holy place for practising our spiritual ideals, should we not infuse into our being a selfless Love for all, so that with the Grace of the Lord, we may, with conviction each of us exclaim,

    நடல்லினு மோடினுநிற்கினும் வேறெருநாட்டமின்றிக்    

    கிடக்கினுஞ் செவ்விதிருக்கினு நல்லருட்கேள்வியிலே

    தொடக்குமென்னெஞ்ச மனமற்ற பூரணத்தொட்டிக்கிளே

    முடக்குவன்யான் பரமானந்த நித்திரை மூடிடுமே.

                            தாயுமானவர் பாயப்புலி 12


    Even while walking, running or standing, while

        lying devoid of other desires

    Or sitting evenly, in hearing of the Gracious,

        my mind will be engrossed

    And I, in the cradle of Mindless Perfection, will lie

        crouched, and the sleep of Highest Bliss will enshroud me.