This short treatise consisting of 54 Stanzas is one of the Fourteen Siddhanta Sastras, and its author is said to be Tiruvadigai Manavasagam Kadanthar, one of the 49 disciples of St. Meikandan. That he was a native of Tiruvadi and a pupil of St. Meikandan is certain, but there are no other particulars available about his life-history. That he must have been an advanced sage is evident from the name (காரணப் பெயர்) he bears, which means, "he who has passed beyond thought and speech."
The author tries to expound in these few pages, the truth of the sacred agamas, without going into argumentation, just so much as is sufficient for the aspirant after spiritual Truth, to bring the teaching into actual daily practices. They are in the form of questions addressed to the Teacher St. Meikandan and answers elicited from him. The latter part of the treatise explains the truth of the Panchakshara and Sri Natarajah symbols. We hope the book will be of use to many.
1. We place Him, in our heart, the Five-armed God in strong rut, of sun-set colour, tusked mouth, and pot-belly; so that we may be freed of our ignorance and be enabled without fault to spread the Light of Truth, to be gathered from the Sacred Agamas.
2. O Thou, my teacher, that perceiving the truth, showdst the truth of Supreme Knowledge and Bliss after removing the false-hood, by proving it to be false!
O Thou, Truth, that will not give out false-hood,
O Thou, that residest in Tiruvennai Nallur,
Hear, O Thou, my humble petition, and deign to answer my queries!
3. O, my Teacher, explain to me the following!
What are the 36 tatwas? What is Anava?
What is that Karma which arose even then?
What am I who seem to differ from these?
Who art Thou? What is the Lord's Sacred dance and
What is the truth of the Panchakshara?
4. O my son, who is immersed in Blissful Yoga, hear what I am now imparting to you in accordance with the teachings of the supreme Agamas, graciously uttered of yore, by the Supreme Siva.
5. The earth's form is a four-sided figure. The water is of the form of a crescent. The fire of the form of a triangle always. The air is a six sided figure. The Akas is a circle. And the soul gets a body formed of these.
6. The colour of these is golden, white, red, black, smoky-coloured, respectively and their letters are ல, வ, ர, ய, அ.
7. Their symbols are diamond sword, the lotus-flower, swastika, the six spots, and Amrita-Bindhu respectively. So the old Agamas declare, O my Son.
8. The gods; for the elements Earth &c are Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Maheswara and Sadasiva; and their functions are respectively Creation, Sustentation, Regrneration, giving Rest Droupava and showing Grace (Anugraha).
9. Brahma creates; The lotus-eyed Vishnu protects; Rudra destroys, and Isa gives them rest; and Sadasiva shows grace always.
10. The Earth is hard, water cool, and fire hot, air flows hither and thither, and Akas gives room to all.
11. We have now set forth the number and quality of the elements. If we are to tell you about the five deceitful Perceptions, they are the desire producing Sound, Touch, Sight, Taste and Smell.
12. Hear the enumeration of the Gnanendiriya.! Know them to be the ear, the skin, the eye, the tongue and the nose, which perceive the low sensations in this low world.
13 & 14. The ear perceives sound through Akas. The body perceives touch through the air. The eye perceives light through fire. The tongue perceives taste through water. And the nose perceives smell through the earth. So the Agamas declare. They who conquer these senses the Blissful Nirvana.
15. The Karmendriyas giving rise to speech &c are mouth, feet, hands, anus, and genital organs.
16. The mouth speaks through the aid of Akas, the feet move through the aid of air; the hands work through the aid of fire; the anus excretes through the aid of water; the genital organs give pleasure through the aid of earth.
17. Hear now the enumeration of the Andakaranas! They are Manas, Buddhi, Ahankara and Chitta. They respectively perceive reason, linger and reflect.
18. The foregoing 24 tatvas are stated by the ancient Agamas to be the Atma tatva. Hear, now the Vidya tatvas expounded by me.
19. Time, Niyati, Kala, Vidya, Ragam, Purusha, Maya, this is their order. Hear now their nature with attention.
20. Time measures the past, gives enjoyment in the present, and contains new store for the future. Niyati tatva fixes the order and sequence of Karma. Kala tatva induces action. Vidya tatva induces intelligence. The Purusha tatva induces perception of the five senses. And Maya induces doubt and ignorance.
21. We have now stated the Vidya-tatvas. Hear now the Suddha-tatvas! They are Suddha Vidya, Iswara, Sada Siva, Sakti and Siva tatvas.
22. * Suddha-Vidya induces more intelligence than action, Iswara tatva induces more action than intelligence. Sadasiva tatva induces them both in equal proportion. Sakti tatva induces action, and Siva tatva induces Gnana alone.
* NOTE - All these 36 tatvas are component parts of the universe of matter, (Maya) all powerful and all intelligent, in union with which, the soul gets rid of its darkness, and regains its light. This Siva tatva &c.; forming mater only should not be confounded with the Supreme Siva and His Sakti.
23. *We have now fully stated the 36 Tatwas. Hear now about the two kinds of mala; Anava and Karma. Stated, Anava induces ignorance. Karma Mala induces you to identify yourself thoroughly with the chain of pleasures and pains.
*NOTE - This Karma as defined here is exactly what the Buddhists understand by the Individual or Ego or Personality, which of course subsist from moment to moment and not anything subsisting permanently.
24. O Thou rare Teacher, Thou hast explained to me the nature of the 36 Tatvas, and Anava and Karma. Deign now to show me the nature of myself which seems to differ and not differ from these.
25. Hear well what I state! Achit cannot subsist before Pure Chit. Chit cannot perceive achit. The atma (soul) is what distinguishes and perceives both Chit and Achit. So the Vedas declare without doubt.
26. Hear now how the 36 Tatvas cannot be conscious of themselves. The six kinds of taste cannot perceive themselves. So also the tatvas do not know themselves.
27. As a person has to taste these 6 kinds of taste and then perceive them, so you are the intelligent person who uniting with these Tatvas perceives each and all of them.
28. "Out of thine undiminished grace, thou hast shown me my nature. Explain to me Thy own Imperishable Form." "As the sun enables the eye to see, so we will enlighten you and your intelligence."
29. Know more. The senses cannot understand without the soul, and cannot understand the soul." So, also do we enlighten you without your being able to perceive us.
30. As the Vowel letter 'A' is to the rest of the letters, so we stand as the Life of all life. When we are not present in any soul, there will be no light. So the good Agamas declare.
31. O Meikanda Natha, graciously expound so that I may understand the nature of the Sacred Dance with the sound of the five letters seen by the sages.
32. O my son bear; The Supreme Intelligence dances in the soul formed of the letter ya, with a Form composed of the five letters Si, va, ya, na, ma, for the purpose of removing our sins.
33. * Hear now how the Dance is performed! In His feet is Na; in his navel is ma; in His shoulders is Si; in His face is Va; in His Head is ya.
* NOTE - These letters have to be contemplated in those parts.
34. * The Hand holding the drum is Si; The Hand spread out is Va; The Hand holding out protection is ya; the Hand holding the fire is Na; the Foot holding down Muyalaka is ma.
* NOTE - This is another form of contemplating the Panchakshara.
35. The arch (திருவாசி) over Sri Nataraja is Omkara; and the Akshara which is never separate from the Omkara is the Filling Splendour. This is the Dance of the Lord of Chitambara. They undrstand this who have lost their self (Ahankara). Understanding, they leave their births behind.
36. Creation starts from the Drum. Protection proceeds from the Hand of Hope. The fire produces destruction. From the Foot holding down proceeds Droupavam; the Foot held aloft gives mukti.
37. By these means, Our Father scatters the darkness of maya, burns the strong karma, stamps down mala (Anava) and showers grace, and lovingly plunges the soul in the Ocean of Bliss. This is the nature of His Dance.
38. The Silent gnanis, destroying the three kinds of Mala, establish themselves where their selves are destoyed. There they witness the Sacred Dance filled with Bliss. This is the Dance of the Sabhanatha whose very form is Grace.
39. The One who is past thought and speech assumes graciously the Form composed of the Panchakshara in the Dancing Hall of Parasakti, so as to be seen by His consort, Uma, Haimavati. They never see births who see this mystic Dance.
40. O my gracious Guru! Thou hast explained to me beautifully the nature of the Nadhanta Dance. Let me now know the nature of the Panchakshara. Can they be one with the letters which are perishable?
41. The Symbols of these letters may be perishable but not their connotation in any language. The meanings of the five letters respectively are God, His grace (Sakti), soul, Droupava and Mala.
42. God, Grace, soul, Droupava, and mala are the purport of the five letters. (Sivayanama). If pronounced beginning, with Na, you will not obtain grace. You will obtain It when you pronounce it beginning with Si.
43. If this beautiful Panchakshara is meditated upon, the soul, getting rid of its Anavamala will land in the Region where there is neither light nor darkness, and there, God's Grace (Sakti) will unite it to Sivam.
44. If the Panchakshara is pronounced with the letters denoting the two Mala, then he will not get rid of his three Mala, and obtain Bliss. If pronounced otherwise according to law, your gnana will be boundless and you can live in Bliss.
45. In the Panchakshara, are found the Agamas and the Vedas, given out by the gracious God. In it are found the Puranas, In it, the Blissful Dance and in it is found the silent Mukti, which passes beyond all.
46. The Agamas declare that the nature of the union secured by the Muktas is like that of the fruit and its taste, fire and its heat, the musiccal composition and its tune.
47. The Vedas with truth declare that as the various tatvas are found united inseparably in the bound condition, so the souls in the freed condition will dwell as one with God.
48. As the moon's light is indistinguishable in the Light of the Sun, the soul will unite itself to the foot of the Supreme Lord and will plunge itself in Bliss.
49. If it be said that the soul had to go and unite itself to God, then the Omnipresence of Siva will be destroyed. If God is said to have united himself to the soul, then they must be different. But what then is the truth? The position is like that of the Sun which surrounds the man who had lost his blindness.
50. Thou tellest me that the Supreme one who is past thought and speech is gracious and suffers no taint, that like this Pathi, the Pasu and Pasa are also eternal. Prove this in mukti also.
51. O my Son, Hear how they are in mukti! He who enjoys the Supreme Bliss is the soul. He who imparts this Supreme Bliss is the First Cause. That which increases this happiness is mala. Understand this is all love.
52. "O my father, let me know the unfailing means of securing this Mukti?" "Hear me state this! They who regard and worship the Guru, Linga, and God' devotees as the incomparable God, will not suffer births and deaths."
53. Melting in love, as the cow that had calved recently, the Jivan muktas will take strong hold of the Guru, Linga and Bhaktas, and will be possessed of great love to them, which will destroy their sins.
54. O Meikanda Natha, the fruit of True Penance, who dwellest in both Tiruvennainallur and Swethavana, O Ocean grace, I have been saved by thee, saved from being tossed about in the ocean of sorrow.