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Sivagnana Botham of Meykandar with English Translation - Part 2 - By J M Nallaswami Pillai

By J M Nallaswami Pillai

  • Table of Contents:

    • Chapter II. - Lakshanavial
    • Chapter III. - Sathanavial
    • Chapter IV. - Payanial



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Sutra. The soul is not one of the Andakarana. It is not conscious when it is in conjunction with Anavamala. It becomes conscious only when it meets the Andakarana, just as a king understands through his ministers. The relation of the soul to the five Avastha is also similar.

Commentary :

This also treats of the nature of the soul and it consists of three arguments.

First Argument :

Churnika. - The Andakarana have no activity except when in conjunction with the soul. Hence there is a soul distinct from the Andakarana.

Varthikam. - As the Andakarana are only intelligent (chit) when viewed in relation to the subordinate Tatwas but are non-intelligent (Achit) when viewed in relation to the soul, it is established that the soul is not one of the Andakarana namely Manas, Buddhi, Chittam and Ahankara.

Illustration. - (a) Manas and other Andakarana have perception of permanent sensations. The soul perceives the product of the perception by the Buddhi after such mental perceptions. These perceptions by Manas and Buddhi reach the soul as the waves rising in the sea reach the shore. As the Andakarana are different from the permanent sensations, so the soul is different from the Andakarana.

(b.) While perceiving so, the soul as Chittam considers; as Manas it doubts; as Ahankaram, it wrongly concludes; as Buddhi it determines properly. As it thus apprehends differently when it is united to each, it is different from them, just as the sun, though marking the divisions of time, is different from it.

(c.) The letter ‘A’ is the symbol of Ahankaram; ‘U’ that of Buddhi; ‘M’ that of Manas; Vinthu that of Chittam; and Natham which is inseparable from all these letters, is the symbol of the soul. The five letters constitute Pranava; when examined, consciousness arises when the soul and andakarana meet, just as the tides rise and fall during the conjunction of the sun and the Moon.

(d.) Iswara and Sadasiva are the deities respectively of Vinthu and Natham; Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra are deities respectively of ‘A,’ ‘U,’ and ‘M’.

Second Argument :

Churnika. - The soul cannot see, being shrouded by the mala.

Varthikam. - It is established that the soul cannot understand when it is solely in conjunction with its inherent mala (Anava), as this mala is something which darkens the soul’s light or intelligence.

Illustration. - The soul will not know anything, unless it receives the light through its body caused by Maya, as the eye apprehends objects by the light of the lamp. Anavamala exists in the soul eternally, becoming one with it and concealing its luster as does the firewood conceal the heat or fire present in it.

Third Argument :

Chunika. – The soul undergoes five Avastha.

Varthikam. – As the soul is in a formless (Arupa) tatwa form and shrouded by the Mala, it is established that the soul undergoes five Avastha, namely, Jakra, Swapna, Sushupti, Thuriya, and Thuriyathitha.

Illustrations. – (a) In the Jakra Avastha of the soul, when it is in the region of the forehead, it has 35 active organs including the 10 external senses. In its Swapna Avastha, when in the region of the throat, it has 25 organs excluding the 10 external organs. In the Sushupti Avastha, when in the region of the heart, it has 3 organs including Chittam. In Thuriya Avastha, when in the region of the navel, it has only two, namely Purusha and Pranavayu; In Thuriyathitha Avastha, when in the region of Mulathara, it is pure Purusha having none of these organs.

(b) The soul, which in Jakra avastha is in the region of the forehead, undergoes all the five avastha in the same region. That is to say, it becomes conscious of each perception through each of the organs and, at the same time, becomes separated from them. Sutta Avastha are like these five in number.


Andakarana is a generic word, signifying all the internal senses, but they more particularly mean as here, Manas, Buddhi, Chitta and Ahankara. The proof of the proposition that the soul is not one of the Andakarana is given in the Varthika and illustrations. In dead sleep (Sushupthi) where the internal senses are at rest, the soul is not conscious. It becomes conscious only when the Anthakarana become once more active. When the soul is in Sushupti, it is in conjunction only with Anava Mala and performing respiratory function. This last function is the watchman who guards the innermost portals of the Palace of the King (Soul) when it is in perfect solitude. The Avasthas are merely the conditions of the soul when it is in relation with all the external and internal senses or with only some of them or none at all.

1. The churnika furnishes the first proof which is amplified in the Varthika. The internal senses are active; you lift your Ego to its own place as in Yoga, the Andakarana become dead and inactive, thus showing that the Atma is not one of the Andakarana.

The distinction is drawn in the following manner.

The Andakarana are the faculties of perception and reason. They perceive and reason but are not conscious that they perceive and reason. This latter function is performed by the True Ego, Atma.

The four Andakarana are distinguished in this wise Chittam takes an impression presented by the senses and considers what it is. It cannot know that it so considers. Manas takes such an impression, and double whether it is or is not this or that. It cannot know that it so doubts.

Ahankara ventures boldly that the impression is such and such. It cannot know that it so ventures.

Buddhi determines properly that the impression is this or that. It cannot know that it so determines.

(a) The Andakarana are divided into two classes as remarked above.

Manas, Chitta, and Ahankara are merely faculties of perception and they perceive permanent sensations and the language of the text is remarkable as "மன்னு புலன்கள்" exactly mean permanent sensations. Buddhi is the faculty of reason involving the sense of agreement and difference among such impressions. The product of this faculty is what is brought to the cognizance of the soul. The first three ministers merely gather statistics and prepare them. The Chief Minister, Buddhi compares the statistics and draws his conclusions and formulates the proposition to the King (Soul).

As the waves are stirred by the winds, the senses affect the Andakarana.

(b) Another distinction is that the four andakarana are four different functions, one not capable of performing the function of another or all the rest. That which stands above, cognizant of all the four, is the soul.

(c) It was before observed that the soul was of the form of Sri Panchatchara and the latter was stated as synonymous with Pranava. The symbol of Vinthu is a circle and that of Natham is a line. These two in fact, constitute the Pranava symbol o – or உ and the latter will be been is the same as Pillayar shuli. No Tamil man will begin the smallest piece of writing without prefixing Pillayar shuli. The significance being forgotten, it is thought of as a sectarian symbol, and the bigoted among Vaishnavas to whom the Pranava is as important, begin now to use ஸ்ரீ instead. Why it is called Pillayar shuli is, because God, Ganesha, represents Pure Sat, Brahm and the elephant Head is the Pranava sumbol. Cf. the popular Tamil couplet.

	பிரணவப்பொருளாம் பெருந்தகை ஐங்கரன்
	சரண அற்புதமலர் தலைக்கணிவோமே.

The popular Sanscrit slokas in praise of Ganesha also describe Him as Pranava Sorupi. The illustration contained in this stanza is a beautiful one.

(d) This contains another explanation of Pranava. Sivam was first stated as True Sat or Brahm. I have shown that the form of Ganesha shows Him to represent True Sat or Brahm. The very name of Subramanya signifies that He is True Brahm. The word Uma meaning Sakti is composed of u, m and a, i.e., Om manifested. So these different words or mantras are different modes of expressing the same Principle, the True Sat, in symbol, sound and language. So Om, Sri Panchatchara, Ganesha mantra, Subramanya mantra and Devi mantra are mere equivalents and denote the Samashti Pranava; when analyzed i.e., regarded as Vyashti, it becomes divided into Natham, Vinthu, a, u, and m. ‘a’ represents creation or origin as its place is the place or origin of all sounds. ‘u’ or ‘oo’ represents sthithi, as, when after pronouncing ‘a’ we bring it to a stand for an instant by converging the lips, ‘u’ is formed; when we close our mouths after pronouncing ‘a’ and ‘u,’ ‘m’ is formed and hence it represents Samharam. Binthu and Natham are the form and sound of these letters.

2. This explains that man’s intelligence only receives play and brightness and is capable of infinite improvement, when brought in contact with human body, by getting frequent births. That is, by evolution alone, man gets himself perfected.

3. I have not seen any objection to regarding the Soul as a separate entity more formidable that this, viz.

“If so, while I am in my objective state of consciousness, my Ego is something existing as a real entity in the physical body itself. How is it possible to transfer the same to the astral body? Then, again, it has also to be transferred to the Karana Sarira. We shall find a still greater difficulty in transferring this entity to the Logos itself; and you may depend upon it that unless a man’s individuality or Ego can be transferred to the Logos, immortality is only a name.” This objection which is stated with so much confidence will, on examination, be found to be groundless. In the first place, it is not shown, how it is not possible to effect the transference from one Avastha to another under this theory and that it is possible under the objector’s theory. Besides, the difficulty is more in the language employed, than in actual fact. And it is, often, in our experience what a fruitful source of error is the inadequate language we employ, in describing laws of thought. The objector speaks of the transfer from one body to another. On the premises already laid down in the preceding Sutras and on the view of the Avasthas as discussed in this argument, it will be apparent that there will be no transfer at all. The atma does not fly from the Sthula Sarira into the Sukshuma or astral body and leaving this into the Karana Sarira. It did not enter any new cosmic body at any one time. Its connection with Maya is eternal. And the law of mental evolution or evolution of subjective consciousness corresponds exactly to the evolution of objective consciousness. The human mind cannot evolve unless there is a corresponding evolution in its body. A pure disembodied mind or Atma is not recognized by this school. In the human as well as in the freed state (Moksha) it is connected with matter and between matter and God, the Atma is supported like a piece of iron between two magnets, the one pulling it higher and the other pulling it lower. And in the human state, the iron is in closest contact with the lower magnet, and in the Moksha with the Higher Magnet. In Moksha, the power of maya to undergo births alone is destroyed, by the Karma having been eaten up, just as a seed of grain loses its power of germination in the granary of the ant, by the sprout being nibbled off or by some other process. In human evolution, however, we find both the object and subject being evolved together and there could be no evolution of the one without the evolution of the other. In its original condition, what is here called Thuriyathitha condition, the atma is pure Purusha without consciousness of any sort, its body also being altogether undeveloped. This is the stage before evolution had commenced. The atma has no consciousness, no intelligence and no movements of any sort. In the next condition (Thurya avastha) evolution had been started, we have the first beginning of life, Purusha, in a living breathing body, without consciousness or any manifestation of any other faculties. They (mind and body) are evolved a step further in the Sushupthi avastha, and we have the first beginning of consciousness; and as such the faculty of Chittam is evolved in addition; and the objective body is then called Karana Sarira. A step further we arrive at Swapna avastha, where all the faculties (objective consciousness) except the 10 external senses (Gnana and Karma Indriyas) are fully developed and the objective body is called Sukshuma or astral body. In the final stage of evolution, where man’s consciousness has been fully developed, all the 36 tatwas formed of Maya, have been also fully developed; this is the Jakra avastha, and the body is the Sthula body. In this account of human evolution, there is no transference really. Similarly when the atma and its body undergo resolution, subjective and objective consciousness ceases little by little or is drawn in as it were, just as a spider or tortoise draws all its legs and organs into itself and rolls itself into a mass and becomes dead to all appearance. In fact, like a revolving prism of many sides, the attitude of the atma alone changes and this change of attitude or avastha is brought about, as, in the language of the text, it is in a formless (Arupa) Tatwa form enshrouded by mala i.e., not being made of matter but being chit itself and encased in matter. These five avasthas and their bodies are divided into three states Kevala, Sakala and Sutta. The Kevala state is the original state before evolution and described in the text of this sutra 'சகசமலத்துணராது' (It is not conscious when it is in conjunction with Anavamala). The Sakala state is described in the next sutra (V) and in the next one (VI) the Sutta state is treated off.

Having met a few of the most formidable objections taken to this view of the Siddhanta school, let me here state a few of the objections to the Idealistic view for which a rational answer is not yet forthcoming. Evolving Logos and Mulaprakriti (matter) from Brahm (Sat), why don’t you apply the law of causation and conservation of energy, and say otherwise that, Logos and matter are not Brahm, and why do you throw a veil between Logos and Brahm, and why do you say also that matter is not ‘Sat’ but Asat, and why should the one energy or Chaitanyam or Sakti of the Logos subdivide itself and form into different monads and acquire Karma, and become evil, and corrupt and bring sin and sorrow into this earth? If Atma is not a particle of this Chit but a mere reflection or shadow, how could a mere shadow become individualized and clothe with thought and action? And why should this shadow work out its own salvation? Will it not disappear when the substance is itself resolved. And in the same way as the Logos manifested itself in various bodies, as the sun in various pots of water, cannot the Logos itself gather up its lost energies or cannot the energy pass into the Logos as soon as the body dies, just as the sun’s reflection ceases as soon as the water pot is broken? With what grace can the objection be stated that unless the man’s individuality is transferred into the Logos itself, immortality is only a name, when for no reason or end, the human monad is evolved from Logos, and when there is an equal chance for the individual attaining immortality to evolve again as a human monad?


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Sutra. The senses while perceiving the object cannot perceive themselves or the soul; and they are perceived by soul. Similarly, the soul while perceiving cannot perceive itself (while thinking cannot think thought) and God. It is moved by the Arul Sakti of God, as the magnet moves the iron, while Himself remains immoveable or unchangeable.


This treats of the way in which God renders good or actuates the souls and consists of two arguments.

First Argument

Churnika. – The Tatwas act with the aid of the soul.

Varthikam. – It is established that the five senses perceive only as the instruments of the soul, as they can perceive nothing when not acting together with the soul.

Illustrations. – The soul has regal sway over the five senses; these are not conscious of the soul and its sway, and the soul itself will have no consciousness except through the five Senses; but if the soul itself is not active the eye though seeing cannot see, and the ear though hearing, cannot hear.

Second Argument

Churnika. – The souls understand with the aid of Hara.

Varthikam. – As the soul cannot perceive itself, in the same way, the five senses cannot feel except with the aid of the soul, it is established that the soul also perceives with the aid of God.

Illustration (a). Thou who hast even forgotten the text of the Veda which says that the world (animate and inanimate) becomes developed in the presence of Siva, understand that the soul knows (the world) only according to its Karma with the light of Siva. As all Asat is sunya, He cannot experience Asat.

(b). Just as the stars which lose their individual light in the light of the sun and yet do not become the sun itself, so the soul receiving impressions. From all the five senses with the aid of God who is the only Truth, becomes indistinguishable and inseparable from Him (without becoming one or different from Him.)

(c). The Arul of Isa exists eternally with Him. It is His Sakti. Without Him, Sakti does not exist; and without Sakti, he cannot be. Hara (and His Sakti) appear as one to the gnanis, as the sun and its light appear as one to the eye.


This Sutra points out the essential limitation of all human senses, faculties, and the soul. The power of each is limited to knowing or perceiving the lower one and it cannot perceive itself or the higher faculty, and one faculty cannot perform the functions of another. The external and internal senses and the soul are therefore placed in an ascending order. Of these the highest, the soul can only perceive and know what is subordinate to itself. It cannot know itself nor know God. It is on this analogy and for this reason that God is imperceivable by the human senses and inconceivable by the human mind or soul; and it will be seen further that the soul cannot see God at any time by its own powers and that even the Yogi sees nothing but a figment of his own brain.

Not only are these human powers limited in their nature but there exists an interdependence of the lower over the higher. In the last sutra, it was shown that the soul does not become conscious till the Andakarana are evolved from matter; and it is here shown that the Andakarana themselves will not act unless the soul influences them and act together; and that the Andakarana have no independent action. And it is further seen that the higher consciousness exists or even predominates when the lower ones cease. That which stands therefore to the soul as the soul stands towards mind, is God, 'முற்றறிவன்', Perfect Intelligence பேரறிவன் ‘Supreme intelligence’ or as described in the next sutra ‘Siva Sat’ or ‘Chit Sat.’ And herein consists the most important distinction between God and man, and which entitles this school of philosophers to call themselves Asthika and all the rest (theistic and atheistic) Nasthika. In the latter theistic schools, their ideal of God is a purely personal or human one i.e., man raised to a God, or as in the idealistic school, God is brought down to the level of man, in either of which cases, the conception of God does not soar higher than that of man and the true ideal of God is never reached. Coming to the distinction noted above God and man do not differ in mere place or quantity or quality or in degree of power, strength or intelligence. It is not the same order of being differing merely in the amount of strength and intelligence. Man is not a particle of God, so that the requisite number of particles of human souls will make up one God. Put thus, the idea is absurd enough, yet one finds thousands of people believing in the theory. The real difference is that God and man belong each to a different order or plane or existence. Just as we ascend from the plane of objective consciousness to the plane of subject or mental consciousness and just as we ascend from the latter to the consciousness of true subject or soul, so also do we ascend from the latter consciousness to True Sat or God. The base of the lower rests upon the higher but not as effect and cause. Such expressions as உயிருக்குயிர் (Life of life) அறிவுக்கறிவு (Intelligence of Intelligences) express the relation clearly and yet we find these expressions freely used by Idealistic philosophers without any meaning. According to the latter school, God will be an அறிவு (Intelligence) and not an அறிவுக்கறிவு (Intelligence of Intelligences). When Siddhanthis use the expression "எல்லாம் சிவன்செயல்" “All actions are God’s actions,” they are also misunderstood often times, and the expression simply means that God is He who sustains our very being and actions as He vivifies our intelligence. Though there is dependence of the soul on God in respect of its Itcha (will) Gnana (Intelligence) and Kriya (action) yet the souls self action and responsibility is not destroyed. For instance when I move my arm, not only is my volition and energy (Itcha and Kriya Sakti) brought into play but the same action is sustained by and is possible only in the presence of the supreme energy (Kriya Sakti) of God. When I think also, Gnana Sakti of God is also brought into play. Only when God works, He does not work as we do. As the 1st illustration to the second argument points out, His presence produces these effects (சந்நிதிக்கே ஐந்து தொழிலாம்). And even then, He does not suffer any change as pointed out in the Sutra. Analogous are these. All the actions of the human body are supported and aided in the end by the Force of Gravity which is one and uniform, and yet in ordinary language we do not recognize its power, though a scientic account of all the causes must include it as well. Similarly, all our visual perceptions are aided by the Sun’s Light which is one and uniform. Yet I say merely ‘I see.’ Accordingly the ignorant do not recognize and feel the Power of the Lord, but the wise recognizing this Power, try to realize and feel it by withdrawing more and more from themselves and bringing themselves more and more into contact or rapport with Him, aided thereto by His Arul Sakti. And the last illustration appropriately discusses the nature of this Arul Sakti. The approximation of man to God results in the end in adwaitha relation as described in the 2nd illustration. In day light, the light of the star is completely lost to all sight and yet not lost. The light of the star blends with and becomes indistinguishable from the light of the Sun. Its identity is lost and not itself. There is no annihilation of the soul but its individuality or Egoism is lost, its Karma having been eaten. This is Moksha or Nirvana, according to the Saiva Siddhanti. Then and then alone will its action, if it has any, be in reality that of the Lord. The subject is further discussed in the next Sutra.

The limitation of the human intelligence is thus described in Sivagnana Siddhi, “The soul understands with the aid of theSupreme Intelligence as it understands through some sense or other, forgets what it has learnt, learns from others, is not conscious of itself, does not understand of itself.”

On the other hand God is described as ‘Swa Para Prakasam’ ‘He who is self luminous and illumines others.’ On this subject the same authority raises several other questions and gives beautiful replies.

If God illumines all souls, He must illumine all of them equally well. If each one’s intelligence follows his own Karma, then no God is required. The answer is that Karma itself acts through God, though God cannot change Karma. And the analogies of the earth which yields according to the labour of the peasant, and the sun who can only ripen those fruits that are matured, are pointed out.

The theory that the soul is self luminous or self intelligent is refuted by the fact that the soul is only conscious when in union with the senses; and the opponent is compared to a man who would say that a man, with the full power of eye sight, finds out objects by feeling with his hands.

Man’s intelligence is in fact analogous with his eyesight. He is not blind (non-intelligent) nor is his sight such as to make him see in the dark and dispense with the aid of the sun’s light (God’s grace.)


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Sutra. That which is perceived by the senses is Asat (changeable.) That which is not so perceived does not exist. God is neither the one nor the other, and hence called Siva Sat or Chit Sat by the wise; Chit or Siva when not understood by the human intelligence and Sat when perceived with divine wisdom.


This treats of the nature of Sat and Asat and consists of two arguments.

First Argument

Churnika. – Everything that is perceived by the human understanding is liable to decay.

Varthikam. – As an object exists or does not exist according to one or other attitude of the soul, it is established that the object perceived by the human understanding is Asat.

Illustration. – Hear, O! thou who art ignorant of the real nature of Asat. All those that are perceived by the human faculties and senses will be found to be Asat by him who has understood Sat. O! Thou, who art not Asat. If similes are required to illustrate that the world is Asat, they are the figures formed on the water, the dreams and the cloud-car. They disappear before Him, as does darkness before the sun.

Second Argument

Churnika. – The Being so arrived at (that is not perceived by the soul) is Hara.

Varthikam. – All objects understood by us do not require a light to know them by, and all not so understood cannot be known even with a light. Hence that which is not included in these two and which is beyond the ken of human powers and is within its ken also, that is Sivam which is Sat.

Illustration. – (a) If the meaning of the expression that God is neither what can be proved and known by us nor what cannot be known is asked, he who has found the truth will say that He exists. He cannot be seen by the human understanding as He will then become Asat. He must be seen by the Arul Sakti of Siva who cannot be known by man. This Arul Sakti is His Foot.

(b). The faculties by which the soul perceives are Asat. Therefore none of them can perceive the One. Even thou, who so perceivest, cannot understand Him. If examined, what thou perceivest will be different from thee. He who has understood himself will perceive himself to be not different from Him, as he merges his personality in Him and understands through His Arul.

(c). If God is capable of being meditated by man, He becomes Asat. If He is regarded as a Being beyond human meditation, He will be a mere fiction. If He is meditated as neither, He will be a nonentity. If He is meditated as an object of meditation though He is beyond human meditation, this will be also a fiction. The Param can only be meditated with the aid of His Arul. Therefore He is not a nonentity.

(d). To be known by the soul, He is not different from itself. As He is even present in its understanding it cannot know Him. As He in fact makes the soul see, its understanding cannot comprehend and point Him out to the soul, just as the eye which the soul enables it to see and yet is one with it cannot see the soul.

(e). God is not one who can be pointed out as “That.” If so, not only will He be an object of knowledge, it will imply a Gnatha who understands Him as such. He is not different from the soul as an object of knowledge. He becomes one with the soul pervading its understanding altogether. The soul so feeling itself is also Sivam.


This Sutra contains the true and only definition of God, and all other attributes of God follow from the two given here. The way in which these attributes are derived is thus. In the first place, God must either be an object of human knowledge of He is not. If the first, everything that is perceived by us is liable to decay and change and we cannot regard God as liable to change. Therefore God is beyond human perception and hence called Sivam or Chit (Pure Intelligence). If it is not an object of knowledge, is it nonentity? Of course not, and hence He is ‘Sat’ ‘that which subsists’ ‘The only Truth.’ These two form the components of the word ‘Satchithanantham,’ so freely applied to God in the Saivite and Vedantic lore. This is our only definition of God and it is seen that any definition of God must contain these elements and the conception of God could not be simplified in any degree. Stated thus, very few religionists would quarrel with our definition of God. And yet how very few of the religions of the world even those, which charges others as polytheistic and idolatrous have an ideal of God which conforms to this definition. Their traditions, beliefs and methods of worship destroy this true idea For instance if our definition of God, that He is inconceivable by the human intelligence and imperceptible to human powers, is true how are all those religions which believe in Avatars, Christianity and Vaishnavism included, reconcileable with our definition. When God is born in the flesh, is He not a tangible thing, a thing to be seen by our eye, felt by our touch and comprehended by our senses. How can we then call Him indescribable and imperceivable. How can the Author of evolution subject himself to the laws of evolution – birth and death. Is it not therefore that our sages one and all declare that – He is 'உதியா மரியா' 'இறப்பிலி பிறப்பிலி' (without birth and death). We challenge any body to point out in the vast puranic lore, any story in which Siva is said to have been born in the flesh and the very stories which exist, only serve to illustrate the difference between Him and the so called Immortals, namely, that Siva cannot die and be born, and that all others are capable of births and deaths, and our poet says:

"எல்லார் பிறப்பும் இறப்பும் இயற்பாவலர்தம்,
சொல்லாற் றெளிந்தேம், - நம் சோணேசர்,
இல்லிற் பிறந்த கதையும் கேளேம் பேருலகில் வாழ்ந்துண்டு,
இறந்த கதையும் கேட்டிலேம்."

And every Tamil student can recall to mind the popular Stanza of Kalamegam in which he claims superiority to Vishnu who is superior to God, as Siva has no births, Vishnu’s births are ten and his own are innumerable. The Churnika points out that all object and subject (mental) phenomena are liable to decay, not annihilation, but change. They so change from moment to moment, they are so evanescent that they may almost be said to have no existence at all, 'இல்லே யெனு மாயை' and these are therefore called Asat. And to avoid further misconception, it is defined as that which exists or does not exist according to the objective or subjective attitude of the mind, bearing in mind, however, Asat here includes all the phenomena of object and subject, both being objective to the soul. Asat or Maya therefore does not mean nonexistent nor illusion nor Mitya. It simply means ‘other than Sat.’ And this definition has to be borne in mind fully, as the confusion of its meaning alone has given birth to the tortuosities of the Idealistic School. The latter School compares Asat to the imagined silver in the shell and the snake in a rope. That this is a false analogy, without any meaning, is easily shown. For the production of this illusory knowledge we must have previously possessed a knowledge of two realities both the shell and silver, and the snake and the rope and an imperfectly intelligent being, who by either defective vision or distance or fear &c. mistakes one thing for the other. The silver and snake, in themselves realities, are not in the shell and rope respectively but in a defective mind. In the genesis of the Asat, what supplies the places of silver, shell and defective mind must be shown. So far as the illusory knowledge of silver is concerned we have traced it to a defective mind. If myself and my human consciousness, objective and subjective is an illusion, who is the subject of this illusion. Inevitably, God. Such a God is itself illusory and He could not be self luminous and Intelligent. The analogy gives us no sense whatever and though the objection as stated here has often and often been pressed, yet we find no book meeting it and we find the analogy repeated often enough and even by intelligent men, parrot-like. The nature of Asat is further explained in the illustration, and the similes given are in themselves real experiences while they last, and the point of comparison is simply their evanescent and temporary character.

2. The second Varthika gives one of the many dilemmas found in this work. If God is knowable by us, it will be easy enough to know Him and we do not require a superior Light to guide us to Him. If He is not knowable, then however we might try, we cannot discover Him, and the worship of God will be all vain trouble. The meaning being that it is not possible to know with what is called Pasa and Pasu Gnanam i.e., by the human powers and by the soul itself. The Divine Light (Pathi Gnanam) must penetrate our soul and then we can discover Him dwelling in ourselves; and merging our personalities in Him, we become indistinguishable from Him and we can as it were, call ourselves even God, in name. At no time, can we therefore see God face to face as He, as it were, lies behind us, lives in us, part of our very being. Sivagnana Siddhi summarises the reasons thus:

“God cannot be perceived by the Human intelligence as He is not separate from the soul, as He illumines its intelligence, makes it understand whatever it thinks about, and as He has no such pride as I and mine, everything being in Him.”

(b) and (d) and (e). Maya is object. Soul is subject. The object cannot perceive the subject; otherwise the subject will become the object and the object subject. God is true subject, and Maya and Soul are objects and hence Maya and Soul cannot perceive God. The subject receives further elaboration in the next Sutra.

(c) This verse discusses the various conceptions of God by the Yogis, and they are reduced to either mere idols of the human mind or fiction or nonentity, in all of which cases, the meditation of God will bring no profit whatever. When the highest conceptions of God in the Yoga philosophy are thus declared to be mere material idols or myths, it need not be pointed out that any representation of the Unknown and the Inconceivable by either the eye or the ear or any other human senses will be equally material conceptions and fruitless. This then is our real reason for the objection taken to all forms of idolatry. The religions ordinarily professing hatred of idolatry are based on such narrow philosophic foundations that they simply object to the idols of the eye – namely pictures and statues, &c., but their ordinary conceptions of God conveyed by the language and sound is equally gross and idolatrous. If you object to a male representation of God in gold or marble as your Father and ‘Our Lord’ and repeat other names which are mere idols of the ear, and what benefit would it bring you the worship of these mere names? If you object to locate the picture of the eye in a temple, why do you build Him a temple in words and in your mind and say ‘Our Father which art in Heaven.’ This heaven of your mind is as unreal a representation of God’s abode as the Temple of the earth. A prayer is a mere word or sound worship, and all our mantras fall within this category. God can only be and is therefore represented by means of all the human senses, and the mental conceptions simply follow from the sensory conceptions. Of all these, however, the eye and the ear standing foremost among the most intellectual of the five gateways of knowledge, the symbolic forms of these two senses are deservedly most popular. And of these, the forms of the eye are all the varied forms of the universe, the five elements, the Sun, and the Moon, and the luminaries and all animal form chiefly man, comprised under what are called Ashta-Mukurtham; which forms are again divided into Guru, Lingam and Sangamam: Guru and Sangama comprising Living Beings and Lingam including all pictorial and sculptural representations, from the root ‘lik,’ meaning to write or describe. Cf. The word ‘Lipika,’ used in the ‘Secret Doctrine.’ The symbols presented to the ear, are sounds, words, names, and mantras, prayers, &c. And of all these the Pranava and Sri Panchakshara stand foremost. And these mantras form what is called Sabda Brahm. And how futile this worship of Sabda Brahm is when not accompanied by Pathignanam is illustrated by the Puranic story of the Rishis of the Tharukavana. Cf. the following extract from ‘Barths’ Religions of India. “Sacrifice is only an act of preparation, it is the best of acts but it is an act and its fruits consequently perishable. Accordingly although whole sections of these treatises (Upanishads) are taken up exclusively with speculations on the rites, what they teach may be summed up in the words of Munduka Upanishad “Know the Atman only and away with everything else; it alone is the bridge to immortality.” The Veda itself and the whole circle of sacred science are quite as sweepingly consigned to the second place. The Veda is not the true Brahm; it is only its reflection. And the science of this imperfect Brahm, this Sabda Brahm or Brahm in words is only a science of a lower order. The true science is that which has the true Brahm, The Para Brahman for its subject.” That is, the Vedas themselves resolve into Asat and they cannot know Sat. These thoughts are not only found in almost every page of our sacred literature, but they can be met with even in every popular song, and story. If I attempt here any quotation, these will in themselves form matter for a separate book, but I am unwilling to leave it without a few, seeing the importance of the subject. Turning over the first few pages of ‘Thiruvachakam’ we meet with these:

"பரமன் காண்க"
(Behold the Supreme)

"சொற்பதங் கடந்த தொல்லோன் காண்க"
(Behold The most Ancient God who cannot be described by words)

"சித்தமுஞ்செல்லா சேடசியன் காண்க"
(Behold The Incomprehensible Being who cannot be reached by the Human mind)

"தேவரு மறியாச் சிவனே காண்க"
(Behold the Lord unknown to the Immortals)

"சொற்பதங் கடந்த தொல் லோன்
உள்ளத்துணர்ச்சியிற் கொள்ளவும் படான்
கண்முதற்புலனாற் காட்சியுமில்லோன்"
‘He is passing the description of words, not comprehensible by the mind, not visible to the eye and other senses’ (note here the words ‘eye and other senses’)

"யுரையுணர் விறந்த வொருவ போற்றி."
(Praise be to the One who is passing speech and thought)

"வேதங்கள் ஐயா வெனவோங்கி
ஆழ்ந்தகன்ற நுண்ணியனே."
(Thou hast passed far beyond the reach of the Vedas, which called loudly for Thee)

"ஓர்நாமம் ஓருருவம் ஒன்றுமில்லான்"
He has no name, and no form and no marks whatever.

"சோதிமணிமுடி சொல்லிற் சொல்லிறந்து நின்றதொன்மை
ஆதிகுணம் ஒன்றுமில்லா அந்தமிலான்."

(His Lustrous Crown is where all speech and thought cease to enter,
He has no beginning, no attributes and no end.)

Turn to the ‘Thevaram:’

"அவன் அருளே கண்ணாகிக் காண்பதல்லால்.
இப்படியன் இவ்வுருவன், இவ்வண்ணத்தன்
இவனிறைவ னென்றெழுதிக் காட்டொணாதே."

(Unless you can see him with His Grace as your eye,
You cannot describe Him in words or picture, as this is the God possessing such and such attributes, forms and qualities).
Says our Sainted Poetess Karaikal Ammayar:

"அன்றும் திருவுருவம் காணாதே யாட்பட்டேன்
இன்றும் திருவுருவம் காண்கிலேன் - என்றுந்தான்
எவ்வுருவோ நும்பிரான் என்பார்கட் கென்னுரைப்பேன்,
எவ்வுருவோ நின்னுருவம் எது."

When I first became Thy slave I did not know Thy form,
I have not seen Thy form even now.
What am I to say to those who ask me what Thy form is?
What is Thy form? Which is it? None.

Our Thayumanavar:

"உரையுணர்வு இறந்து தம்மையுணர்பவர் உணர்வி னூடே
கரையிலா இன்பவெள்ளம் காட்டிடும் முகிலே."
"சொல்லாலும் பொருளாலும் அளவையாலும்
தொடரவொண்ணா அருள்நெறி."

"குலமிலான் குணங்குறி யிலான்."
"சுருதியே சிவாகமங்களே யுங்களாற் சொல்லும்
ஒருதனிப்பொருள் அளவையீனென்னவா யுண்டோ
பொருதிரைக்கடலெண்ணினும் புகல
கருதவெட்டிடா நிறைபொருள் அளவையார் காண்பார்"

Cf. with verse (d).

"அறியுந்தரமோ நானுன்னை, அறிவுக்கறிவாய் நிற்பதனால்
பிறியுந் தரமோ நீ யென்னைப் பெம்மானே - பேரின்பமதாய்
செறியும் பொருள் நீ நின்னையன்றிச் செறியாப் பொருள் நான்."

Having said so much, it might reasonably be asked, how is it, that the Saiva Religion whose Temples are more numerous than that of any other faith and are spread out from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin and the Islands beyond and from the caves of Elephanta to the Rock cut Temples of Mahabalipuram, tolerates these practices? This is the subject of the next chapter on Sadana and the reason is found there. This symbolic worship (sensory and mental) is required as Sadana for the human soul and these are not Sadhia i.e., the means to attain an end, the knowledge of Sat, and not the end itself; or in the words of the extract quoted above, these are acts of preparation. The human mind, if it must progress in Spirituality, must withdraw more and more from its own self and rest itself on what it considers, the Highest, the Holiest and Loveliest and bestow upon it all its deeds, riches, and thoughts ( ). By such continued practice of Altruism and love of Sivam, who is All Love, will reach true Bhakti or Pathi Gnanam, described in the last chapter on Payan. Besides when we must worship God, we must worship in that body in which He is present, and we have before shown that the whole universe, animate and in animate, forms His body; and that all forms of nature are His. And our sages praise Him therefore:

"பெண் ஆண் அலியென்னும் பெற்றியன் போற்றி."
(Praise be to the One who is male, female, and neuter.)

"பூதங்கள்தோறு நின்றா யெனின் அல்லாற்
போக்கிலன் வரவிலன் என நினைப்புலவோர்,
கீதங்கள் பாடுதல் ஆடுதலல்லாற்
கேட்டறியோமுனைக் கண்டறிவாரை
சிந்தனைக்கும் அரியாய்." 

(The sages can only sing Thy praises as the One immanent in all Nature, and withal as being the immutable and unchangeable; we have not heard of any persons who have seen Thee except in this way. Thou art beyond the reach of all thought.)

"கண்ணாலியானும் கண்டேன் காண்க."
(I have seen Thee with my eyes.)

’இன்னிசை வினையிலி சைந்தோன் காண்க.’
(Thou art present even as the Harmony in the Vina.)

"பூவினாற்றம் போன்றுயர்ந் தெங்கு மொழிவற நிறைந்து மேவிய பெருமை."
(Thy greatness in being present in one and all, like the smell in the folwer.)

"அருக்கனிற் சோதி அமைத்தோன் திருத்தகு
மதியிற்றண்மை வைத்தோன் திண்டிறல்
தீயின் வெம்மை செய்தோன் பொய்தீர்
வானிற்கலப்பு வைத்தோன், மேதகு
நீரி லின்சுவை நிகழ்ந்தோன், வெளிப்பட
மண்ணிற் றிண்மைவைத்தோன், என்னென்று
எனைப் பலகோடியெனைப் பல பிறவும்
அனைத்தனைத் தவவயின் அடைத்தோன் அஃதான்று"

(Thou art present as the Light in the sun.
Thou art present as the coolness in the moon.
Thou hast added Heat to the fire.
Thou art present even as Akas diffusing everywhere.
Thou art present even as the sweetness in water.
Thou art present even as the hardness in earth.
Thou art present in each and everything as such.
And yet art Thou not all these things.)

"பத்திவலையிற் படுவோன் காண்க."
(Thou art ensnared by Bhakti (Love).)

அருவமும் உருவமு மானாய் போற்றி.
பேராயிரமுடைய பெம்மான் போற்றி.
(Praise be to Thee who hast forms and art formless.)
(Praise be to Thee who hast thousand names.)

"கண்ணிற் காண்பதுன் காட்சி கையாற்றொழில்
பண்ணல்பூசை பகர்வது மந்திரம்.
மண்ணோ டைந்தும் வழங்குயிர் யாவுமே
யண்ணலே நின்னருள் வடிவாகும்மே."
Real seeing with our eyes is when we see Thee.
Real Pujah with our hands is when we worship Thee.
When we repeat Thy names, it is uttering manthra.
All the five elements and animate nature are Thy Gracious Forms

"வடிவெல்லாநின் வடிவென வாழ்த்திடாக்
கடியனேனுமுன் காரணம் காண்பனோ."
(Can I hope to see Thy Truth
When I do not praise all Forms as Thy Form)

"அருவெனில் உருவமுமுளை உருவெனில்
அருஉருவமு முளையவை யுபயமு மலை."
(If it is said, Thou art Formless, no, Thou hast also a Form. If it is said, Thou hast only a form, no, Thou art also formless. Thou art neither.)

And again when we picture in words or in our minds, God, say as the Creator, the protector and the destroyer, why should we not also picture Him to our eye as such? It is not that, when we speak of in words, God as creator &c., or think of Him as such, we have really advanced in any way in our knowledge of God. And it is, on this principle that the whole of the innumerable forms in Temple worship has grown among the Hindus. Each form and every detail in that form is symbolic of some idea or thought. These forms are such that if today all our philosophical works and Shastras, &c., are destroyed, it is possible to evolve, all our various Hindu Philosophical systems, Moral, Social and Religious from these images alone, provided we possess the key. This is not an idle boast, but it is want of space and fear of encumbering the subject with too much of my own views that forbid me to elaborate the subject further. However I will conclude this article by referring to and explaining in part the most important of the Saivite Forms, namely the image of Natesa and the Chin Mudra. It will be too great a detail if I proceed to describe the structure of the place or Temple called Chit Ambaram or Chit Akas, Chit Sabha and Pundarikapuram or the city of the Heart in the midst of which the Divine Dancer performs His Natak. The pose is that of a dancer. And now dance is defined as the music of motion. And when, as we have shown, God manifests Himself as the great Energy or Force or Maha Chaitanyam, when He wills that the whole universe of Mind and Matter should undergo Evolution (creation, development and Reproduction). What could be more appropriate than to regard this Grand Moving Force as a great Dancer. In the words of our sage –

'காட்ட வனல் போல் உடல் கலந்துயிரையெல்லாம்,
ஆட்டுவிக்கும் நட்டுவன் எம்மண்ணலென வெண்ணாய்.'

(Our God is the Dancer who like the heat latent in the firewood diffuses His Power in Mind and Matter and Makes them dance in their turn.) I prefer again to quote the famous author of ‘Nithineri Vilakkam’ in order to explain a few of the other Symbols.

'பூமலி கற்பகப் பூத்தேள் வைப்பு
நாமநீர் வரைப்பின் நானில வளாகமும்
எனைய புவனமும் எண்ணீங்குயிரும்
தானே வகுத்ததுன் தமருகக் கரமே
தனித்தனி வகுத்த சராசரப்பகுதி
யனைத்தையும் காப்பதுன் அமைத்த கைத்தலமே
தோற்றுபு நின்ற அத் தொல்லுலகடங்கலும்
ஆற்றுவது ஆரழல் அமைத்ததோர் கரமே
ஈட்டிய வினைப்பயன் எவற்றையும் மறைத்துநின்
றூட்டுவ தாகும்நின் ஊன்றியபதமே;
அடுத்த இன்னுயிர்கட்கு அளவில் பேரின்பம்
கொடுப்பது முதல்வநின் குஞ்சித பதமே
இத்தொழில் ஐந்தும்நின் மெய்த்தொழில்.'

Roughly translated, the passage means ‘O my Lord, Thy Hand holding the sacred drum (Damaruka - உடுக்கை) has made and arranged the Heavens and the Earth and other worlds and innumerable souls. Thy raised Hand protects the Chethana and Achethana Prapancha which Thou hadst created. All these worlds are changed by Thy Hand bearing Fire. Thy Sacred Foot, planted on the ground, furnishes rest to the tired soul struggling in the toils of Karma and eating the fruits thereof. It is Thy lifted Foot which grants eternal bliss to those who approach Thee. These Pancha Krithya are in fact Thy true Handy-work.

The curious may enquire how the hand with the drum signifies creation or creative Power. Those who have read Mrs. Annie Beasant’s Lecture on Sound will have noted that when creation is started Sound or Natham is the first product, out of which all other tatwas are evolved, and the Damarukam is probably the oldest and most primitive sound producing instruments known to the Aryans and which, the use of it still in all religious observances also points to.

The Chin Mudra found in the Person of the Divine Guru Dakshina Murthi explains the nature of the three padarthas and the difference of the Bandu and Moksha conditions. For a fuller account of this symbol, see the pages of ‘The Theosophist.’



- - - - - - - - - -

Sutra. In the presence of Sat, everything else (cosmos-Asat) is Sunyam (is non-apparent) Hence Sat cannot perceive Asat. As Asat does not exist, it cannot perceive Sat. That which perceives both cannot be either of them. This is the Soul (called Satasat).

Note. This treats of the nature of the Soul and consists of three arguments.

First Argument

Churnika. – Hara has no experience of Pasa.

Varthikam. – As, before the Perfect and Eternal Intelligence, the imperfect and acquired intelligence (falsehood) is shorn of its light, it is therefore established that in the presence of Siva Sat, Asat loses its light.

Illustration. – Hara who is not separate (from Pasu and Pasa) cannot know them as objects. So He cannot know Asat as different even when He knows it. Evil Asat ceases to exist before Him, as does darkness before the Sun.

Second Argument

Churnika. – Pasa cannot know Hara.

Varthikam. – Asat is non – intelligent as it will be found to be so when examined closely.

Illustration. – The ignorant man who follows a mirage as water, will find it to be false when he reaches it. So the soul whom God’s grace has not reached will find Asat to be Sat. As Asat does not exist, it cannot know (Sat.) Therefore learn that Asat has no understanding.

Third Argument

Churnika. – The soul lives in both.

Varthikam. – it is established that the soul which has such double perception is neither of them; as the soul is that which perceives both, understands on being taught, and exists in either condition eternally.

Illustrations. – O Thou who art engaged in deep studies, The soul has knowledge of both Sat and Asat and hence is neither of them. It does not appear as equivalent to either of them, nor is it nonentity being neither of them. Its nature is like the smell of the flower which at one time was non-apparent, though existing in the plant and at another time became apparently visible.

(2). Thou art not Sat, as thy understanding is changeful and imperfect, becoming deranged in disease and recovering its brightness when medicines are administered. Thou art neither Asat as thou hast to eat the fruits of Karma, knowingly performed by thyself, and which Asat cannot know and enjoy.

(3). Ignorance (Agnanam) will not arise from God who is the true intelligence as it is Asat (like darkness before light). The soul which is ever united to God is co-eternal with Him. The connection of ignorance with the soul is like the connection of Salt with the water of the sea.


We have proved to ourselves the existence of the three categories or Padarthas, Pathi, Pasu, and Pasa in the first chapter. We have learned to distinguish them further in the second chapter. And now what is the use of all this knowledge? All knowledge and all philosophy will be utterly useless if it will not lead us to believe that we have a better end to attain to and to action that will bring about this end. The true end or Siddhantha is what is treated off in Chapter IV and this chapter preceding it is appropriately devoted to the treatment of the action or Sadana or means of attaining the True End. Now in proceeding to begin Sadana, if we begin as the author of Vichara Sagar begins, ‘I am God, I worship myself. Why should I worship any other?’ we cannot achieve much. Unless we can distinguish ourselves from God, we cannot attempt to become God. This Sutra therefore enjoins on the person beginning his practice a further caution not to mistake himself for God, thereby distinguishing between Sat, Asat and Satasat and showing also what becomes of the lower planes when we pass on to the Higher. Asat has already been explained to mean other than Sat. This word and Sunyam do not mean non-existent and nonentity but also mean non-apparent or non-luminous or non-distinguishable (விளங்காமை, பிரகாசியாமை). The Ganges pouring from its thousand mouths into the broad sea preserves its taste and reddish colour for miles and miles beyond, but as we proceed down, the water gradually loses its taste and colour and finally, sure as anything, we cannot find it. It is lost completely. No, it is not lost. The great sea which is greater than the great Gauges has completely engulfed and covered it up and in consequence it is the sea and it’s Salt and not the Ganges and its taste that is apparent to us. Sea is Sat and the Ganges mingling with it is Asat or Sunyam . Again darkness is as real an experience of our sight as day light. We speak of darkness engulfing the whole world at night; but with the first streak of dawn, darkness has completely fled and vanished. Has it? And if so, where to? No, it has neither gone not fled anywhere nor has it become non-existent. Darkness is present in Light and is completely absorbed in it. The greater Glory and Power of the one subjugates or covers the power of the other.

We have elsewhere referred to the analogy of the sunlight and stars. The author of Sivagnana Siddhi calls this 'முனைத்திடாமை' which is explained to mean, that God cannot distinguish it as apart from Him as we distinguish one object from another. Knowledge and consciousness is only relative; and in the Presence of the Absolute, the All, there could be no relativity and no knowledge or consciousness. Hence Sat cannot perceive Asat. As elsewhere explained, in the subjective state, the object vanishes. That is in pure subjective consciousness, object consciousness merges, becomes indistinguishable, there is no knowledge of object.

2. Asat cannot perceive Sat as it cannot rise above itself in perception and as it is itself the object of the soul. So it is doubly distant from Sat.

3. This argument brings out the whole subject of Atma Darsan and shows how the soul can be seen or perceived. The soul cannot be perceived directly as this is physically and psychologically impossible. It is by learning to distinguish itself from other things that it can know what it really is. There are two such things from which it has to distinguish itself, namely, Sat and Asat. In the human condition it is one with Asat and the first step in spiritual progress is to distinguish itself and then slowly to separate itself from Asat. But it should not be supposed from the fact of the soul rising to its own plane from Asat that it is a co

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