OF ST. ARUL NANDI SIVACHARIAR
BY J. M. Nallasami Pillai
[* This is the only other work of St. Arul Nandi Sivacharya, besides his famous SivajnanaSiddhiyar, which we possess. IrupaIrupahtu means 20 verses of two different metres, consisting of Venba and Agavalpa. The whole work only consists of 20 verses, but the author brings out in this short compass in a series of puzzles addressed to his teacher, all his vast learning and erudition.]
The Third Eye and Throat of shining blue concealed,
To rid the ills of man on earth did come
Meikandan of TiruvennaiNallur,
To see him once will make God and seer one.
God appears as man to save the souls of men in the order of Sakalars. His grace is manifested otherwise to the orders of Pralayakalars and Vijnakalars. The author identifies his guru Meikandan with God; and as such, to see him is to see God and become one with Him.
2. How did Pasa cover the soul when God is the Soul of souls?
Like unto the Sun on wide earth
Oh Meikanda Deva of Vennai
Me who is shut up in darkness
Thou didst lift up and plunge in Bliss
One question I long prayed to put
Thou didst stand as one with myself
How did ignorance cover me?
If mala’s connection, Thou sayst,
Then Thou didst stand apart from me.
If otherwise then wonder it is,
As Thou art the foe of untruth.
And Thou will not deserve the names
The Pure, Amalan and Jyoti.
The Ever Free and supreme of supreme.
If Thou lightest my soul apart
Then Thy Presence in all and my
Union with Thee will be impaired,
Oh Lord! The Truth of Devaram
That Thou art air and earth and fire
And the rest will not be a fact.
Therefore Thou be pleased to declare
If I am one with Thee or not.
Don’t be displeased, as I am stupid.
“You err; we as guru do note
Who is fit and is not” Thou sayst.
If unfit, I can’t understand
If fully fit, then Thy teaching
Will not be needed by me, Sir
If my fitness brings Thee to me,
It cannot, as it is Jada;
If not, then it cannot be true
That Thou hast none equal to Thee
The Triple Mala is Jada,
The soul from youth to old doth change;
And Thou art Pure; to whom is it
Maturity doth come indeed?
If this be the ridding of Pasa
When in man knowledge doth arise,
Then do I forget sure enough
That there is none to equal Thee.
If I rid myself of Pasa
Or Pasa rids itself of me,
Then there is no need for Thy Reign.
But it can’t be, as the saying is
“Who can see if he is not shown”
“Then know what Truth The King did hear
The ways of God’s grace are endless
Endless is His glory if told,
So don’t ask.”
This brings out in a series of most puzzling questions, how God is immanent in all nature and in man and yet is untainted and transcendent, and without whose Will and Power no evolution and salvation is possible.
The reference in the last lines is to the famous lines in St. Jnanasambantha’sDevaram sung before the great Pandyan being, whom he cured of his fever.
As I am united to Jnan and Ajnan
Please ponder well and deign to enlighten
How if I am Jnana or Ajnana
So that I can understand without doubt
The answer is that the Soul is neither the one nor the other but it is chitachitor satasat and in union with both, and becoming one with Pasa in bandha, and one with God in Moksha.
Of the Triple mala, their gun
If shown – Vikalpa, Sankalpa
Krodha, Moha, and Arish
Vishada, Madha and Arish
These eight belong to Anava.
Ajnan, Asatyam, illusion
Moha and its concealment
Marcharya and Bhaya, these seven
To Maya belonged Thou didst declare.
Motion, lying down, and Punya
Marcharya and Bhaya, these seven
To Maya belonged Thou didst declare.
Motion, lying doen, and Punya
And Papa, and getting rid
Of bonds, and abuse of others,
These six are Karma’s attributes
All these ne’er leaving, do guide me
Each its own way and do become
My very self, and not allowed
To have my own way, Oh my Lord
Of Vennai Town girt by Pennar
Thou did take name and form and place
And rid me of my name and form,
Oh Thou chief Jewel of Saivas
And True to the Truthful! Thou sayst,
The Triple Mala is Jada;
Perhaps there was some slight mistake
“It is Jada sure, but active becomes
When united to you.” If so,
My clothes and things don’t change when worn
‘It acts like poison and the like.”
If so, It must leave us when its
Effects are over; nor could it
Reach us, and we would not go near
And Thou wilt not unite us two,
As Thou art Ninmala. If said
The union is natural,
Then it will never leave us at all.
Remove my doubts, and do explain
How Pasa became attached to me
O Lord without end or beginning!
The connection of matter and Anavamala&c., with us is eternal like the rust in copper and husk and bran &c., in rice, and can be removed. It is Achit, Jada or not intelligent like the Soul. But the Soul’s intelligence is of a different plane from that God.
Vikalpa means distinction; Sankalpa, Proposing; Krodha, anger; Moham desire; Vishada, sorrow; Madha, egoism; Arusha, frivolity; Ajnana is mistaking one thing for another; Marcharya, enmity; Bhaya, fear.
5. Before Thy Grace this darkness cannot stand.
I Have no eye; how did I know this then.
Oh Father, crowned with garland’s fine, Oh king
Of Vennai Town, deign to remove my doubts.
The soul has no intelligence of its own; i.e., it is not self-luminous, like the eye itself, which can see in the light of the Sun or in lamp light, and is covered by darkness also; no darkness can dim the self-luminousness of the Lord. Though the Pancharatra system insists on the anutvam of the soul, yet it is surprising it calls the soul and God self-luminous (svayam-prakasa) at the same time, and attempt is made to prove it by a syllogism. (Vide Yatindra Mata Dipika, p. 120, A. GovindacharyaSvamin’s translation). If so, we should have to seek for another definition of Svayamprakasa.
“It is by nature blissful (or essentially joyous); but infected by environment (upadhi), falls into migration.” (vide Yatindra Mala Dipika, p.120) and yet this is self-luminousness.
The answer to the riddle propounded in the text is that the soul does not perceive its bondage so long it is in bondage. It is only when it get rids of it, it understands by way of inference. As Saint Umapati beautifully puts it in his Tiruvarutpayan(Light of Grace) that the earthly darkness though it veils our eye shows itself, but Anava when covering us does not even show itself.
6. With thy consort Whose face is like the moon
To grant me bliss, In Vennai Thou didst rise
And fill my heart and make it bright and show
To me Thy endless Nature and mine own.
And so, if my own truth and greatness ‘am.
To state, Oh Lord, to the ends of this earth,
I did stand as the all of what I knew.
And yet, Oh Chief, my whole in senses low
Was merged; and sore confused five states I gained.
Leaving, I died, and gained new birth, weigh well.
If my presence in all, or my being merged
In body, or sojourns in hell or Heaven
Which of these three is my true state, say Lord.
If out of nothingnothing comes is true
Then same cannot be small and great at once.
If this to souls in dwelling in elephant
And ant be compared, this of body is
True, not of intelligent soul. If said
The soul doth cognize as per body it gained
This can’t be, as then I should know from where
I left in long long succession from yore.
Being the least of least and greatest of great
Is privilege Thine and not mine, Oh Lord
Ever sweet to me, be pleased to answer me.
The truth is as stated by the author himself in his other work, the soul is neither Anu nor Vibhu in the true sense of these words, but its omnipresence extends to the whole of the particular thing it is united to at the time, on account of its nature of becoming one with whatever it is united to, which doctrine is no where set forth in any of the ordinary schools. In union with the body, though limited by the body, it is all over it, and its intelligence though perfect of its kind and pure finds play only so far as allowed by the particular body it dwells in. In union with God also, it becomes one with God, as a drop of ink dropped into a tumbler of water spreads through and through the whole body of water in the tumbler, and would even spread and spread in the whole body of the ocean water when dropped in it. The intelligence (Chaitanyam) of the soul and intelligence of God, though called by the same name, have nothing in common and belong altogether to different planes or centers. The author of YatindramataDipika and his forebears have been evidently misled by this verbal resemblance in propounding the syllogism, and in making the Intelligence of God, and that of man the same and self-luminous. But it the theory of Saivities as to the nature of the Deity of YatindramataDipika be accepted, then it will stand to reason that the intelligence of this Deity and the soul should be the same. The difficulties of the Vaishnava philosophy and system often lie connected with the particular Personality of God which they have set up as their Ideal, as for instance for their fondness for the term Saguna.
Being Oure Chit, God knows no limitation and obstruction and His full and undivided Presence is felt in the least of the least and the greatest of the great. (Vide my Sivajnanabodham, pp. 30 to 32.)
The five states are Jagra, Svapna, Sushupti, Turiyam and Turiyatitam, and the next verse has reference to this.
7. Of these five states when I stand in the first
The other four I do forget and could
Not know even when I try to recollect.
Oh Meykandadeva, how then these states?
These states are endured by the soul owing to the change effected in the physical body itself, and the passage could not be understood directly but only by inference.
8. What proof is there that I exist, O Truth
Of Veonai girt by Pennar That didst show
In Human form to make my sinful self
Thy slave, O RudraPasupatih
If by going through avasthas, I am known
I do not know each and get rid of it.
If this change be due to Time and the rest,
Then I need not the help of Mal and Brahm
One organ does not know the other one.
If truth is known, one organ knows not the rest.
“Jada, They are; To self is action due.”
If so, I must know how I act on them
Enjoy when the organs are all joined, I can
Perceive through only one sense at a time.
Nor do I know how they cease in union.
If said, I have no self-intelligence
And understood with Thine, Thou hast become
My organ, and Thy greatness will be lost
Then I am Brahm, I need no Lord like Thee.
Hear me Oh Father Oh my King,
As in my presence, my own sense is nought
I could know neither myself nor Thyself.
Nor could I know in union with Thee
Oh my rare Help; my Eye, The God of Gods
Ocean of grace, how did I know myself?
What proof is there that I subsist? In union with the senses and higher organs in Bandha I become merged in them, identify myself with them, and lose my sense of identity. In union with God itself, I cannot be conscious of myself nor of God. Is it not because of this that Buddhists and agnostics, and crypto-Buddhists and idealists have denied the separate existence of the soul. Neither in Bandha nor in Moksha, can the soul perceive itself or God with object consciousness, and it is only when this consciousness is lost and God-consciousness is obtained, the Sivanubhavam can be gained. In any state of object consciousness there is duality, and with duality God-consciousness cannot be attained.
9. Oh Sea of Bliss, Sugarcane of Vennai
My Eye! When I was merged in Muladar
In body, which are tatvas which gave light?
And untied to which did I gain light?
See for detailed explanation in Siddhiyar, as to how the tatvas are united to the soul and how they influence the soul’s progress at all stages. But for its evolution through this body composed of the tatvas, Pasatchaya cannot be secured, and they act like the fuller’s earth, itself dirt, in cleansing dirt.
The Hindu idealists pursue the same steps as the Siddhanta in distinguishing a spirit or soul or chaitanyam from the body and other material environments, and proceed straightaway to identify it with the supreme spirit, simply because similar names are used here and there without noting the decided way in which they are distinguished by the use of such terms as Isa and Anisa, Atma and Paramatma, and Purusha and Paramapurusha, and Jiva and Deva; and they are spoken of as two dwelling in the same cave.
10. When I attained Karmasamya, Thou didst
Remove my Mala and enter my heart
Through grace. If so, Oh Desika, who didst
Remove my Triple darkness, I should gain
The High estate of becoming one with Thee
Without being ever separated from Thee.
If stated, Thou went not in me ere this
Through presence of Triple Mala, then Lord,
Freedom from evil, Thy lotus-foot not gained
I become rooted still in its strong-hold.
If one endures according to Prarabdha
And Akamiya will not rise, if stated so,
Then Triple Mala won’t cease till body lasts.
Then further gain and gain of Maya form.
Without balance in works, one can’t gain Thee,
This ancient Dharma will hold good no more.
Thou didst stand in my heart or Thou didst not
This Mala perished or this happened not
What shall I say? Say which of them is true
Oh Lord of Vennai rich with watered fields
Oh Meykandan, who assumed form with hands
And feet to root out of me my misdeeds
Who’s free from sin, whose throat with poison’s dark
Who is my faultless Guru.
God’s touch is necessary to finally emancipate the soul. He is ever present in the soul, as ghee in milk, or the sun before a blind man. After the Guru’s touch, Akamiya will not rise and the body will perish as darkness before light.
11. My intelligence in Thee, why then
It is by mala bound Oh Vennai’s Truth.
If in Thee, I won’t merge in this; To both
Can’t hold; How am I then both Oh my Lord.
The question is that though the soul’s intelligence, will etc., cannot find play except in the Presence of God, and as such is entirely dependent on Him, how does the mala affect the soul at all? The answer is that the soul becomes one with whatever it is united to, and the Lord is ever in Advaita union with soul and its bhanda, and actuates them both and so that the soul can perform Karma and gain experience and gradually attain Karmasamya; when the soul’s impurity and connection there to is thus removed, by its undying love and God’s grace, then will it rest eternally in Bliss (Siva). The eye though in the presence of the sun cannot see, when covered by cataract, and the cataract itself has to mature before it can be removed by the surgeon’s lancet.
12. Oh Thou Meykandadeva! That didst rise
In the world and grant me wisdom old and make
My heart of lotus bloom and quarters eight
Enshine, by lifting sure the darkness’s shroud
Oh Flawless ambrosia Oh Rock of Good.
How’s it Thou dwell’st in me at times and leav’st
“I dwell in you when you think of Me, not
When you don’t. This My nature is” Thou say’st.
Then servant at my call Thou dost become
Thy omnipresent nature Thou dost lose.
If said Thou with Thy shoulders eight, three eyed,
Art present everywhere and yet Supreme
And I do unite with Thee and return,
Then it is as good as those from heat foot-sore
Who do leave after rest again again
Under the ornate shade of trees which have
No like nor hate (for those same travellers).
Thou dost shine when I think (though inseparate)?
If in that state pitying my lowly self,
Thou didst appear to me and veiled become
This ‘gainst Thy gracious Nature Lord, will go.
More, word will pass they that gained Thee have births,
And few will be Jnanis in this world.
So if Thou think’st my questions fit and wouldst
My doubts remove, then grace such answers which
Will satisfy me, Oh That passeth speech.
Our mind is mostly in an objective condition; but can rise to a pure subjective condition. So we can sink ourselves in God, and yet after a time return to ourselves. And God is one with us and different from us as mind and body(உயிரும்உடலும்), and sun and eye, and soul and soul’s sense. And yet he is far away from those who do not love Him and yet at hand to his Bhaktas. In all these three ways, which is in fact one, as the commentators point out, is the soul standing in union and apart from God.
The following Hymn from Devaram is quoted by the commentator which is too fine to be lost, and which we could not trace in the existing collections.
The Touch of song speech the taste of Fruit He is
And gushes into me and gladness gives.
If thought He comes in me, if not, He leaves
This is the nature of God as in me.
The last two lines are what our author evidently quotes, and the first two are thus expanded by St. Meykandan to illustrate God’s omnipresence and Advaita nature.
மெண்ணுஞ்சுவையும்போலெங்குமாம் – அண்ணாறா
Like that of tune n song and taste in fruit
It is everywhere Our gracious Lord, His Foot
This Advaita, the rare Vedas, do say
Is not one but Advaita it is alone.
13. Though Thou art past all-knowing by my sense
Thou wert pleased to grant me these organs all,
True God! The body born along with me,
As real and otherwise Thou didst me show
This is like tree cut down by the cowherd.
The body and senses were given to the Soul for it to work out its Karma, as the lamp-light in darkness. When Our Lord appeared as Guru in our own guise, to redeem us, by showing that we are not this body and senses and these latter are unreal as a phantasm, then this lamp light and darkness all vanished into nothingness before this Jnana Surya. This unreality is on account of its transitoriness, and its vanishing is its losing its power to affect us without the entity itself being destroyed, and our author uses the expression elsewhere ‘மாயாதே தன்சத்தி மாய்ந்து’.
Cf. “ கணத்திடைத் தோன்றிநின்று கழியுமென்றறிந் தொருக்கால்
வணக்குறீரரனை யென்றும் வானவர் வணங்கவைப்பன்.”
“For an instant it appears and lasts and dies the next instant.
Knowing this, worship ye Hara with oneness of heart.
He will make you the worshipped of the Gods.’
‘வாழ்வாவது மாயமிது மண்ணாவது திண்ணம்’
“This life is a delusion. This (body) will be reduced to earth for sure.”
“ I am here to-day and not tomorrow
Oh why was I born at all.”
14. Removed were my bonds! Lo, I reached Thy Foot.
Oh Lord so sweet who dwell’st in Heaven of Grace.
And who didst teach I was Thyself, Self gained,
Me who thought I was different from Thee!
By the twin karma what am I to know?
If good and bad resulting from those acts
Of mind and body and speech they are deemed,
These acts die instant and aren’t worth a grain.
Non-conscientiousis cause and effect the same,
How then do they affect me so at all?
If due to me, the actions wont follow,
And I wont act to merit Yama’s wrath.
And Thy own doing, there will nothing be.
If Thou dost make me eat and store
For future use, then for Yama no use.
If you both act, one is enough for me,
No two are needed so; Thy Lordship’s gone.
But Thine is Grace past measurement by speech.
What’s aught will never cease, not aught
Come out of naught; whatever is will be.
As this is true, one’s stock enjoyed, there wont
Be further need; while eating, seed arise
Then will my thought alone induce Thy Grace!
There isn’t need for rule that we must give alms.
How then do Karma and Karma bhanda
That distress me so bad arise at all?
Do please unfold to me Oh Siva Lord!
The text which we have translated as
“Who didst teach I was Myself, self-gained
Me who thought I was different from Thee” is
வேறின்றிருந்த வென்னையான் பெற
வேறின்மை கண்ட மெய்கண்டதேவ.”
This riddle which is at the foundation of the Siddhanta very few are able to comprehend. In verse 18, the statement is made தானுமாய் என்னையின்றாக்கி, தன்னையும் என்னையுந்தந்து.”
“His grace and Self shining alone
And my low self, fully destroyed,
And granting knowledge of me and self.
And in verse 20,
ஒன்றாய் நின்றவந் நிலையில்
தன்னது பெருமை தாக்கானாயினும்
என்னது பெருமை யெல்லாமெய்தித்
(See lines 8 to 12 of the translation).
St. Meykandan states the puzzle in two verses.
“எவ்வுயிருந் தானென்னி லெய்துவாரில்லைதான்
மப்பனைந்த உப்பினுள மணைந்து சேடமாங்
The state of the union of the soul in Mukti is called Oneness; but this oneness has to be distinguished from the Oneness’ but this oneness has to be distinguished from the Oneness of Ekatmavadins. While the two unite, if the individuality of the one persists there can be no real union. If one perishes altogether, the union is meaningless. If all is God, there is no one to attain mukti. If anything other than God is postulated, His supremacy will suffer. How is the difficulty to be got over? The soul has to die, and yet to live to partake of the eternal bliss. The death here is of the soul’s individuality, Karmic Ego, Ahankara, Anava, his objective knowledge and consciousness, which must perish or be merged completely, and the soul’s personality will subsist free and unencumbered and feel the bliss or Svanubhava or Sivanubhava.
“ஏகமாய் நின்றே யிணையடிகளொன்றுணரப்
போகமாய்த் தான் விளைந்தபொற்பினான் – ஏகமாய்
This is true Oneness, even in the language of grammarians as we have pointed out elsewhere. This is what saves our True Vedic and Agamic Philosophy from degenerating into pure Pantheism. As Mr. Armstrong observes, we shrink from Pantheism, not from dread of losing the Physical Universe in God but from dread of losing ourselves in God, as Pantheism only becomes deadly to vigorous religion and morality when it makes man’s soul, man’s self, a portion of God. We can understand our author’s repeated statements, என்னையீன்றாக்கி and என்னையுந்தந்து ‘myself destroyed,’ ‘myself gained’. This gaining of our true self, this preservation of our personality is what is implied in the statement “முத்தியிலுமும் முதலுண்டு”, and does not mean the preservation of TripudiJnana or the conscious perception of seer and seen, the knowledge of Jnana, Jneya and Jnana. For how is such a consciousness possible when self is destroyed, and Tatbodha is lost.
Even the monism according to Western Idealsits or Psychologoists is not the absolute monism as understood by Indian Idealists. What they call one is the merging together of the subject and object, and they assert this can never be separated. This is the Siddhanti’sAdvaita or Ananya. In an article in the Monist (Jan. 1913), on Fichte’s conception of God, the writer sets forth some of his conceptions. The all-embracing ideal is the ideal of unity, and all human effort can be regarded as a striving for unity and that all intellectual endeavor is an effort to bring about a harmony on subject and object, that when you seek to know anything, you try to make yourself one with it.
“Really to know the nature of something other than yourself means to bring yourself into such intimate relations with it that you may almost be said to have become one with it. Furthermore, Fichte says, you try to effect this harmony by subordinating yourself, as it were, to the object. If you would know an object, you must submit yourself to it, must follow its leadings, must sink yourself in it. In putting the matter thus, Fichte is not doing justice to that more active aspect of the knowing process in which we prescribe conditions for nature, in our experiments, and ask leading questions of her. But even here our activity is preliminary to the more submissive attitude that Fichte is describing. In experiment we arrange, indeed, the conditions under which we are to observe; but in the observing itself we must lay outside our preconceived notions of what we are to see, must become for the time a mere seeing, must – in a highly significant sense – lose ourselves in the object.
“Thus in at least two senses we may say that the search for knowledge is a search for unity. But the quest of unity is characteristic of other aspects of life besides that of intellectual endeavor. All that we ordinarily call the practical life of man, as Fichte also points out, is dominated by the effort to bring about a harmony of subject and object. In this case, however, he tells us, we achieve the harmony by compelling the object to conform to the subject. Whenever you attempt to secure any practical results in the outside world, what you are really trying to do is to compel that which is not yourself – some external object, some force of nature, the will of another individual – to conform to your will, to become a medium for the realization of your purpose. Now, the purpose that you wish to see accomplished is, for the time being, yourself; and when you try to realize it through any external means whatsoever, you are trying to bring a not-yourself into agreement with yourself, to effect the harmony of subject and object by making the object to conform itself to the subject.
“Yet again, when we look at the esthetic side of life, we see the same striving to realize the ideal of unity. And this is true both of the creation and of the appreciation of works of art. The artist seeks to mould his objective material – words, tone, whatever it may be – into the form which shall express his purpose, seeks, that is, to make the object conform to the subject. On the other hand, the ideal of the form to the subject. On the other hand, the ideal of the appreciation of art, as distinguished from its creation, is the losing of the subject in the object. The sense of me and not-me disappears; the soul becomes one with the beautiful object.”
Our favorite illustration has all along been a person whose soul is absorbed in listening to music. (We have used the simile of the cool-bath in Sivajnanabotham p.107). The sense me and mine or consciousness is lost but feeling is present, and the latter will become more and more intense, as consciousness is lowered more and more. All pleasure will be lost when one begins to think that the music is good or bad, as consciousness is introduced. See also ‘The paper on ‘Advaita’ in my ‘Studies’.
The arguments against the doctrine of karma could not be put more forcibly than in this verse.
The acts of the mind, body and speech are what result in Papam and Punyam, and though they may appear to be evanescent, they induce other acts and results, and desire and Vasana are strengthened and these bind us more and more (Karma bhanda), though these acts may be said to be non-intelligent; and the Karmic Law is under the guidance and control of the supreme Law of Siva. Of course, man always attempts to choose and chooses the good in preference to the bad, and would avoid the unpleasant and evil if possible, but unfortunately his judgment clouded by Anava is always wrong. So, man is enjoined not to eat the fruit himself but obey God’s Law and dedicate all his acts and thoughts to God, when this karma-bhanda cease altogether, and Karma Samya( இருவினையொப்பு) is attained.
15. Oh King with lotus hands which hold the deer,
Who dwellest on High-Walled VennaiNallur
Will past karma attach themselves to me
Or I go out to unite with karma?
And Thou doth not join me and karma both?
What need is there for Thy Pure Grace, Oh Lord.
As St. Meykandan points out, man and his karma act and react, attracted to each other as a piece of iron is by a magnet. But both would be life-less but for the Supreme Power of God acting on them both.
16. I speak no sense being confused in mind,
The duty of the great is to remain
Unruffled in explaining one’s sore doubts.
If it is myself that unites with Thy Self
Thy Nature rare transcends man’s speech and thought.
The body with seven Dhatus and nine holes
Inside which pouring me and keeping bound
Without escape, and freeing me of it,
Induc’st Thou my Will and Jnan and act
This Thy skill is a wonder great indeed.
The good and bad that follow as result
Of my own thoughts and words and acts, knows’t Thou;
And yet without transgression of law’s bounds
Without excess or shortness and fitting
The place and time, Thou makest me eat
Impartially, and hence Just art Thou named.
The acts of the wise men are not confused
The acts of the unwise are sure confused.
The Karmic acts which fill through all Adhwas
And do flow over, Thou didst remove and cleanse.
What was it then that was removed when I
In evil and good balanced did become?
The acts done here whom then do they affect?
If me, they can have no true power over sure.
If not, is not protecting virtue greatness Thine?
Oh apple of my eye, my soul’s true soul!
The King of Vennai, Meykandadeva!
Do favour me that Grace whereby, in this
Distressful frame, karma I might endure.
The soul is ever in union with God, though it cannot comprehend Him in his bound condition, he becomes one with God as a salt crystal in a tumbler of water.
The seven Dhatus are nerves, bones, brain, muscle, skin, blood, and semen; the nine holes are the two ears, two eyes and two nostrils with the organs of excretion and mouth.
The adhvas meaning literally paths comprise mantra, Varna, Pada, Bhuvana, Tattva and Kala, which are higher evolutes of subtle matter, through which the soul has to ascend, after eating the fruits of karma, through all these ascents.
By means of the Dikshas, the Guru purifies these adhvas by adhva and kalaChodana and cleanses the soul. And the pupil asks if Mala Vimochana is effected by the Guru, what is the necessity for attaining karma samya. The answer is that though he attains karmasamya, the cleansing cannot be perfected without the guru’s touch. The further question is asked as to what remains to be eaten even after the Guru’s touch. It is Prarabdha that remains till the body lasts. But to the Jivanmukta who has dedicated all his acts &c., to God, this Bhoga becomes God’s Bhoga itself. Compare the verse in Unmeinerivilakkam.”பாதகங்கள் செய்திடுனும்,&c.” The pupil would insinuate that if he had yet to enjoy Prarabdha even after the Guru’s touch, God’s justice would be affected.
17. To make them serve, to some Thou show’st the way;
The rest are in Thy toils. Those dead to self
By Thy Eye’s Flash, to them Thou givest Thy self
To others art concealed why Oh My Lord
Full crowned with Honeyed cassia of Vennai.
All are God’s children, and yet some receive His favours and others are wallowing in death and birth. This inequality is the subject of discussion in this stanza. This is apparently so. His grace is acting on all; but each individual’s karma and desert does not fit him to receive the grace of God in full. It is those matured souls that can deserve His Final grace. It is by our own self will, we shut out God, Who is ever with us and in us.
18. My birth’s real reason not perceived,
The earth’s great Lord I thought I was.
Untruth for truth I did mistake;
The earth’s vain things I sought, not Him;
In me He was concealed yet moved
With me. And what concealed myself
And Him, the sense of I and mine,
He did perceive and follow me
In bodies, births and in worlds all,
Entering when I did and leaving when I left
And endless fruit to me did cause
According to law and without
His leaving me, He did become
My own servant and see the play
Of my births and returns and stand
One with myself my Father Lo!
Filled with o’er-flowing Love He did
In the Town of Grace appear and show
How His Great Joy can be deserved
And can destroy all world’s untruth.
He bore the name Meykandanath
So that all sea girt world may know
And soared over me in Him Concealed.
His Grace and Self shining alone
And my low self fully destroyed
And granting knowledge of me and self
His actionlessness and my own
Want of all Power, He showed, my Lord
What Wonder This in me does raise!
This shows how God is ever with us, in sakala and suddha, ever working for our good as suits our condition. He follows us so close everywhere and anticipates and answers our wants and wishes that the author calls him a servant.
And St. Sundara called God his friend who was with him even in his mischiefs. And yet how God soars high above all, transcendent, covering us fully in Him, merging us in His Glory and Bliss. The destruction fully of man’s low individuality, though his personality is fully safeguarded has to be particularly noted. This the author points out in several places. There is complete subordination even in mukti; and the soul is alone capable of enjoying the unspeakable Bliss and is not entitled to any other powers of the Lord. God is actionless, as there is nothing objective to him and He has no attachment; and man can neither know nor act unless actuated by a higher power, as a consonant by a vowel. It is when the soul recognizes fully his powerlessness and submits his will to God and surrenders, his egoity will be destroyed.
19. Me who am sinking in Dharmand Adharm
The Lord whose throat did swallow poison dark
From the black sea, Svetavana of Vennai
In my own Form He came and saved with Grace.
The self that is surrendered by the soul, The Tat Bhoda or Ahankara or Anava is the best offering of food (Naivethyam)(‘தற்பபோதக் கவளமிடக் களித்துண்டு’) to God, and this is the food which inducing both Papam (Adharma) and Punyam (Dharma) acts as a poison. This poison therefore when we transfer it to the Golden orb of the Sun (as in the Rig Veda Hymn), Hiranmaya Siva-surya, Bhargas, this showers ambrosia on us (மிடரே அமிர்தம் பிலிற்றும்மே), while this poison has not effect on God Himself as He is ‘வேண்டுதல் வேண்டாமையிலான்’ (having no likes nor dislikes).
20. Who is the One with them who did give up
Relations, parents, wife, and everything else
Who is far from them who are not like them,
Who has no end nor any beginning,
He did appear and my evil mind control
Fixed firm, and held, my darkness and light lost;
Without His entering me nor my leaving Pas
By entering Him. In that state of being One,
Which is not one, not dual nor neither,
When though He did not give His greatness all,
I did gain all the greatness which I could;
And He gave me not himself but me too,
And endless joy out of His sea of Bliss;
And filled me in and out ever in separate
And showed me such rare magnanimity
And granted me the lotus of His Foot
He is The Lord who is my King and Chief
Of Vennai girt by Pennar of great Floods,
And Meykandadeva, Protector sure,
Whose Temple is His Gracce. He is the One
Eye of all souls in this world that destroyed
All my mala, when I Him did approach.
It is only when we renounce all, family, wife, friends and glittering things of this vain world, which are, as if it were mere delusion so transitory and so elusive, that God gives Himself wholly to us; and St. Manickavachaka asks who is the better for the bargain.
“தந்த துன்தன்னை கொண்ட தென்றன்னை
“Thou gavest Thyself to me, and took me unto Thyself,
Oh Sankara, who is the cleverer of the two”.
As we are always in God, there is no question of His coming to us or our going to Him. The advaita which is described as the state of Oneness, as the oneness of vowel and consonants, is further defined by his famous Phrase “ஒன்றாகாமல், இரண்டாகாமல் ஒன்றுமிரண்டுமின்றாகாமல்”, neither one, nor two nor neither.
The released soul is alone entitled to eternal Bliss and not to God’s Powers of creation &c, as we have already pointed out. This is clearly enunciated in the concluding Sutras of Badarayana. (உயிர்தானும் சிவானுபவ மொன்றினுக்கேயுரித்தே“(Siddhiyar) ‘அருளாலயத்தன்.’ His Grace of Sakti is the Temple wherein He dwells. This is the ParamaVyoma, Parama Akas, Chitakas, Paramalaya of the upanishats, identical with the Supreme Jnana Sakti who is said to be Siva’s Sarira also. He dwells in Her, and She dwells in Him; and the soul dwells in them Both, and Both dwell in the soul. This is the mystery of mysteries.
உடையாள் நடுவுள் நீயிருத்தி
The mistress dwells in midmost of Thyself
Within the mistress centered dwellest Thou
Midst of Thy servant if Ye Both do dwell. - (Dr.Pope)
The Tamil commentary is by one NamasivayaThambiran of Tiruvavaduturai Mutt and it is a most illuminating one.
Hail to our Saint Arunandi Siva.