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Death Before Death By R. S. SUBRAMANIAM Esq., Colombo.


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.*

        *வான்கெட்டு மாருதமா யந்தழல்நீர் மண்கெடினும்
        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 4
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 1 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

    வாயிலோரைந்திற் புலனெனும்வேடர் வந்தெனை யீர்த்து வெங்காமத்
    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.

    உற்றாரையான்வேண்டே னூர்வேண்டேன் பேர்வேண்டேன்
    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.

    நெக்குநெக்குள்ளுருகியுருகி நின்று மிருந்துங்கிடந்து மெழுந்து
    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.

    பெண்ணவன்காண் ஆணவன்காண் பெரியோர்க் கென்றும்
        பெரியவன்காண் அரியவன்காண் அயனா னான்காண்
    எண்ணவன்காண் எழுத்தவன்காண் இன்பக் கேள்வி
        இசையவன்காண் இயலவன்காண் எல்லாங் காணுங்
    கண்ணவன்காண் கருத்தவன்காண் கழிந்தோர் செல்லுங்
        கதியவன்காண் மதியவன்காண் கடலேழ் சூழ்ந்த
    மண்ணவன்காண் வானவர்கள் வணங்கி யேத்தும்
        வலிவலத்தான் காணவனென் மனத்து ளானே.

                    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.

    அருளேயோ ராலயமா வானந்த மாயிருந்த
    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.

    பாலரொடு பேயர்பித்தர் பான்மையென நிற்பதுவே
    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.

    ஒராமலே யொருகாலுண்ணாமலுள்ளொளியைப்
    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.

    குறைவிலா நிறைவாய் ஞானக்கோதிலானந்தவெள்ளத்
    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.

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