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The Icon-Thinking of Punitavati 31-40

 

 

31. Saivism is Love and Demands Social Commitment 32. The Third Eye of Siva 33. To Hell with the Scriptures! 34. The Genuine Shape of Religious Life 35. The Pure Moon and the Dark Spot. 36. Sexual Love and Divine Love 37. The Asuras and Devas in Religion 38. The Horns of the Bull and the Teeth of the Boar 39. The Meanings of Colors 40. The Will to Submit and Serve BEING

 

 

 

 

 

31. Saivism is Love and Demands Social Commitment

 

The most arresting phrase in the following verse is maanudaril niiyum tikazti, perunj ceemam ceerntaay and peeranbee innum perukku the former meaning be among the human beings and you would have great riches or goodness and the latter keep on increasing great love for all.

 

It is declared that Siva is Love and that human beings in the imitation of Siva should also become humanized humans and socially committed to the upliftment of the down trodden, bypassed, miserable, neglected and so forth. A spiritually matured person must be among the people and NOT be away from them for the feeling of solidarity with the masses is that which avoids the birth of social antagonism, caste battles and other kinds of disruptive social dissensions. The balm that brings about social cohesion and solidarity is LOVE, Care Concern and so forth. A religion that does humanize the human beings and let there be more love among the people will be naturally destroyed. A loveless society is self-destructive and for which reason Punitavati advocates the cultivation of more and more LOVE among the people.

 

The essence of BEING-as-Siva is LOVE and here she sees that in the Dance he dances in cremation ground wearing the garland of bones, a bizarre and no doubt aesthetically not that pleasing kind of dance. But it is an act of supreme kindness, of love for it in this dance that an anma is purified of the memories of the life it has led and now all in the past. It has to be thus freed so that a NEW life becomes possible relatively independent of the former.

 

Behind the gruesome imagery lies a metaphysical truth of supreme kindness and care.

 

 

More below.

 

 

31

 

狀 ۼâ

狀 - ơ

¡ š

 

(-) Ţ.

 

-- š¡. ۼâ - ɢǢ Ţš¡ ( ɢ š ͨ¡ ɢǢ ɢá šá . -- ; . ¡ - ¡ɡ.

 

(ĸ)

 

ﻡ Ǣ 狀 , Ŧ ؾâ Ȣ Ȣ š¡. ɡ ո ̽ Ţ ۼâ ɡ θ. â Ŧ ơ, Ţ ¡á¢ Ҹ ¡ Ũ¢ š , 츢 š¡.

 

31

 

makzti mada nenjcee maanudaril niiyum

tikazti perunj ceemanj ceerntaay - ikazaatee

yaar enpeeyeenum aNintu uzalvaarkku aadpadda

peeranbee innum perukku

 

Meaning:

 

O you stupid heart , full of ignorance! Be happy that at long last you have attained the gift of worshipping Siva. Because of this, having discarded the animal qualities within you, shine forth in humane qualities that comes along with enjoying Sivahood. Also dont ever ridicule Siva who as the Kapaali wears the a garland of skulls and dances in the cremation grounds for He , wears the bones of all the dead showing no discriminations at all and dances for the pacification of the dead souls. You who have submitted to Siva, should do only that which would increase your LOVE for Him!

 

Comments:

 

BEING assumes both the benign and esthetically appealing forms along with the gruesome, ugly and frightening. While Saivism has accommodated itself to both Tamil Vaishnavism seems to have focused more upon the benign beautiful and gentle, the kalyana guNam as they say. But despite the appearance of being gruesome for the ignorant mind, BEING is LOVE Supreme and hence not at all gruesome - even such archetypal presentations are also for the good.

 

The Dance in the cremation grounds where He wears the bones of all who are dead showing no preference at all is actually the dance that terminates even the final traces of the earthly life that has been led . The memory of that life must be wiped out completely but without wiping out the karmic traces that has been acquired for otherwise a new lease of life will be impossible. The skull and bones symbolically stands for the last remnant of the life that has been led and while bones may survive and become fossils but the MEMORY of that life may linger behind in the subtle of body of mantras that the soul becomes at the point of death when it is freed from the physical embodiment. This mantra-complex that is the form of the disembodied soul assumes, must be cleansed of the earthly memories for it to be possible to enjoy another lease of life.

 

A new lease of life with the memory of the past life well preserved will be nightmarish.

 

This cleansing is what is done by Siva as the Kapali who dances wearing the bones as His garland, a metaphoric way of putting what is actually a metaphysical process, something that happens in the depths.

 

 

 

 

The Icon-Thinking of Punitavati-32

 

32. The Third Eye of Siva

 

One of the most enduring and meaningful symbolisms of Siva is that of appearing with a Third Eye, the NutaR kaN, the eye on the forehead and which relates to the presence of transductive perceptions as a possibility of human beings. Each time we have a dream experience and forms of perception even higher than that, the Third Eye in us is already active affording us insights into the metaphysical realms where the celestial beings are present enacting the dramas of life. It is engrossment with these celestial beings and how they enact the dramas of life that constitutes the essence of Icon Thinking such as that of Punitavati here and a host of other Baktas in India and elsewhere.

 

The key terms in this verse are mutaR kaNNaan and mukkaNNaan, the first meaning He who shows Himself as the First-as-There and the second the Three Eyed BEING both central in Saivism. The description of the First-as-There already brings along with it the notion that BEING is forever above and outside the Darkness, the aaNava Malam and that it is BEING-as-Siva who VIOLATES this Black Hole and makes Himself present and thereby into being-there of the whole universe. The description that He is Three-Eyed shows that He never fails to SEE everything that transpires in the world and as it is and hence without any errors. The Third Eye sees the truths, the absolute truths and which is the basis for destroying whatever that is false, put here in the metaphor of castles, the various false metaphysics that the human mind weaves in its attempt to run away from reality and secure a safe but false haven.

 

BEING-as-Siva, the absolutely pure and who would never tolerate anything IMPURE and hence the false and misleading, would destroy these castes, the muppuram which Tirumular describes as the mummala kaariyam, the various and vacuous mental castles men build under the influence of aaNavam Kanmam and Maayai, the agents of mental and hence metaphysical blindness

 

It is against this metaphysical understanding that Punitavati sees the meaning the Sacred Thread that Siva wears on His chest and which is imitated by the Saivites. It appears to her as a small stream of light that flows out from the Crescent Moon that rests on His Golden hair.

 

What does that mean?

 

The meaning is described below.

 

 

 

32

 

Ǣ ﺨ ¢

ո ظ - â¢

Ӿ â š

Ѿ

 

 

(- Ţ.)

 

⢠- á . Ӿ - ӾĢ . š Ѿ - Ƣ¡ Ȣ . , ¢ ( ý) ظ

 

( ĸ)

 

ġ Ȣ ȡ â¦ǡ Ч츢, ¡ ӾӾ Ȣ ǡ , ¡ Ȧš ﻡ ǡ â â ġ 츢 ĸ Ȣ Ģ. Ţ š Ѿ ŢƢ¢ Φ 츢ȡ , Ҹ즸 츢ȡ â . 츢ȧɢ, ﺨ ¢ Ƣ ﺢ ظ 츢 .

 

32.

 

peruku oLiya cenjcadaimeel piLLaip piRaiyin

orukatiree poontu ozukiRRu okkum - teriyin

mutaRkaNNaan muppuraGkaL anRerittaan muuvaa

nutaRkaNNaan tanmaarbin nuul

 

Meaning:

 

BEING instead of being absolutely above and totally beyond, became Sataciva and thereby the FIRST-as-There by destroying and burning to ashes the threes castles of aaNavam Kanman and Maayai that obstruct and blocks off the emergence of the world as such. Thus He became the FIRST-as-There and discloses this truth by presenting Himself as Siva who wears the White Sacred Thread on His chest. This thread appears to me like a single ray of light flowing down on His chest from the Crescent Moon resting on His glowing Hair.

 

 

Comments:

 

Punitavati is LEARNING the metaphysical truths as they are unfolded encrypted in archetypal presentations that BEING blesses her with by way of instructing her. And now she is concerned with the secrets associated with the Sacred Thread on the chest that is part of iconographic details of all Siva Muurttams or archetypal presentations. This symbolic adornment looks like a single ray of light streaming down on His chest from the Crescent Moon resting on His glowing Tuft, another symbolism the meaning of which will be unfolded soon.

 

The white thread normally with three strands twisted together represents the fact that BEING is the destroyer of the Three castles , those of aNavam Kanmam and Maayai that serve as the inhibitors of the PRESENCE of the world and everything in it. These castles, speaking metaphorically here, are actually PRISONS that lock up phenomenal presence, the world being in the Light , being as-there. BEING emerges as the Sataasiva and with untold VIOLANCE pierces through these obstructions , singes them to ashes so that things hidden away come to be PRESENT. Thus He is the Primordial BEING , the mutaR KaNNaan where kaN here means the GROUND of presence along with the One who sees all always and unfailingly , NutaR kaNNaan where kaN here means the eye. BEING is the EYE itself for He SEES all as they are in themselves for otherwise it will be impossible to bless the creatures effectively and regulate the world suitably.

 

This White Thread rustling on His chest also indicates the PURE SEEING that remains unfailingly there and metaphorically spoken of as the Third Eye, the Single unblinking EYE on the forehead and so forth, an image of Siva that is very ancient indeed.

 

 

 

 

The Icon-Thinking of Punitavati-33

 

33. To Hell with the Scriptures!

 

Punitavati comes with one of most arresting and bold statements in the following verse that deserves to be studied carefully. She declares virtually to hell with all those individuals who chat away just mere scriptural knowledge, the sastra scholarship without seeking the metaphysical excursions into the Depths wherein one meets the celestial beings directly. (nuulaRivu peeci nuzaivilaar tirika) For obviously the sastras, the Nuul can become that which displaces genuine spiritual experience and arrest the mind into words and produce endless and vain disputes and thereby not only greater dissensions among people but away from BEINg Himself. The sastras become another tool for group identification and hence spiritual retardation. The worship of letters displaces the worship of the gods and through that arrest the growth of genuine spirituality.

 

We can see that Punitavati can enter into Icon Thinking only because she has very boldly thrown away all the texts, all the scriptures including the Vedas Agamas and so forth and because of which she has ascended into the realms of the gods and where she is taught directly by BEING Himself through His various presentational forms.

 

Her mental freedom from the sastras has earned her this beautitude.

 

It is also as a result of genuine spiritual pedagogy that she is led to the UNIVERSAL dimensions of the human. BEING shape shifts and though for her the Blue-throated Siva form holds the meaning of true spiritual life, she also sees that all such muurttams are different presentations of the SAME BEING, occasioned by the fact that the contextual conditions of the different individuals are different.

 

Here we should not fail to note the presence of the Hermeneutics - the notion of TEXT with its attendant DUALITY of structure, the Surface and the Deep. All the presentational forms of BEING, the muurttams are the Surface Structures and as such all having the SAME Deep Structure, BEING Himself.

 

So the different muurttams are not thrown out as different facets of Brahman as the Advaitins do and for which reason they do not condone icon worship but only the sravanam mananam etc of Mahavakyas, but taken as Surface Structures at the depth of each of which we have the SAME BEING and as the root cause.

 

 

33

 

Ȣ ѨŢġ â

ȡ - ĸ()

째 š š

째 է ¡

 

(- Ţ.)

 

- . Ѩ ġ - Ȣ ѨŢġ.

 

( ĸ)

 

Ũ Ţ Ţ¡ ŦƢ Ȣ ǧ Ȼ Ȣ 츢 ȧš Ȣ¡¢ ý Ȣŧ â Ȣ Ũ Ȣ Ѩ ⾢ ġ š Ȣ â. ¡ Ũ ¡ , ȡ ĸ ǡ , Ũ 째 Ţ Ȣš Ţ ŧ Ǣ .

 

33.

 

nuulaRivu peeci nuzaivilaar tirika

niila maNimdaRRaan niirmaiyee - meelulakattu

ekkoolattu evvuruvaay ettavaGkal ceyvaarkkum

akkoolattu avvuruvee yaam

 

Meaning:

 

Let those ignorant individuals extolling mere scriptural knowledge without direct and deep experience of BEING roam around in vain. To me who have learned about BEING and as informed by Him, it is the essence of the Blue-throated Siva that constitutes the divine world. And it is He who appears in whatever form one worships in whatever mode and in whatever state. HE discloses Himself in that Form consistent with that state.

 

Comments

 

BEING is uncanny and His real essence is what ought to be sought after and understood. The emotional attachment to the scriptures is a displacement of real Bakti where the direct experiencing of BEING is forgotten in the worship of letters. When instead of taking as an instrument for understanding the metaphysical realms, they become the end in themselves, locking up the mind and FREEZING it or arresting it, the soul gets suffocated without experiencing the real presence of BEING. The meaning of spiritual life is to be in the PRESENCE of BEING in whatever form and no matter how crude and simple it may be.

 

There are countless number ways that individuals can seek to be in His presence. Some may choose Him to worship in the archetypal form as Siva , others as VishNu, Ambal, Murukan Christ Allah and so forth. Some may choose dancing, others singing hymns, the practice of rituals, the recitation of mantras, taking someone as a guru and imagine he is god incarnate and worship accordingly . BEING is behind it all as the Deep Structure and hence for those who understand this it is the workings of BEING, the Uncanny and hence will reamain OPEN to all. As Meykandar follows it up later, , BEING grants whatever form one desires ( veeNduvaarkku veenduruvait taan kodutu) and all in the interest of raising the Divine deep within the soul so that it is redeemed.

 

This direct experiencing , no matter how primitive and unsophisticated it may is MORE MEANINGFUL than mere scriptural verbosity and endless debates on theological subtleties which are in fact hindrances to genuine spiritual experiences. This truth is also disclosed in the story of KaNNapar who was unconventional in his worship where he offered choice meat and all against the established rules pertaining to Siva worship. But nevertheless BEING blessed with Him with disclosures while the Sivaccariyar, a strict adherent of formal rules failed.

 

 

 

The Icon-Thinking of Punitavati-34

 

34. The Genuine Shape of Religious Life

 

Punitavati, this brilliant lady who was instrumental for the birth of Bakti revolt in India and as a mass movement, not content with castigating the useless and wasteful verbal spillage in the name of spiritual scholarship now goes on to outlining the essential form of genuine spiritual life.

 

We as human beings are IGNORANT, there are blind spots in our understanding and in that we effect actions without knowing their future consequences. These elicit Karmic traces, mantra complexes which are in the world as in the mind and which OBSTRUCT the recognition that we are already in submission to BEING and live as dictated by Him. The karmas (along with aaNavam and Maayai) block off this understanding and because of which we are thrown to Darkness, the Sivaratri, a night-life with absence of an understanding of the presence of BEING as the most Radiant Principle.

 

Genuine religious is concerned with icon thinking (uLLattaal unni) especially of Siva who singed to ashes the castles of ignorance. And this requires that we ascend to the realms of these icons, the muurttams and hold them reverently in our mind and paying loving respects to them CONTEMPLATE as to the meaning of the symbolic elements there.

 

Most of what goes in the name religion are actually acts of Displacement, wearing various kinds of masks and dancing stupidly and because of which there are conflicts of all kinds. But these conflicts are there as expressions of the acts of burning of Siva with fire bursting from His Third Eye, the EYE that affords Absolute Illuminations.

 

The implication is that there will be troubles, battles and wars, conflicts and disputes as along as men wear masks of all kinds to hide their ignorance and dance monkey dances instead of Barata Natyam.

 

34

 

Ȣ¡ Ţɸ

--

ո¡ ȡ ɢ

ո¡

 

(- Ţ.)

 

- 򾢧. - (Ŧ) ʧ. -- . Ţɸ - Ģ Ţɸ . Ȣ¡ - Ţ Ȣ . Ţɸ ¡ .

 

(ĸ)

 

Ǣ 츢 Ģ Ţɸ , ȡ ¡ Ȣ¡ Ǣ Ģ Ǣ, ¡ Ŧ째 Ż ȡ 츢ȡǡ Ţ 츢 ɧ . ¢ Ȣ Ģ Ƣ. ¡ɢ, ȢĢ Ţ 츨¡ Ƣ Ŧ Ŧ, Ũɧ Ż Ũ ɡ Ȣ Ģ ġ.

 

34.

 

aamaaRu aRiyaavee valvinaikaL antarattee

naam aaL enRu eettaar nakar muunRum - veemaaRu

orukaNaiyaaR ceRRaaNai uLLattaal unni

arukaNaiyaa taarai adum.

 

Meaning:

 

The karmas that exist as insentient mantra complexes in space as well as in the body, afflict the anmas without being conscious of their consequences and through that bring about physical and mental sufferings . However there is a way to be free from their afflictions . We must praise BEING( Siva) in humble submission and also install Him in the heart and contemplate on His essence. And as we do this and gain Civanjaanam , the Absolute Understanding, we shall gravitate CLOSER to BEING and in this way become free of such afflictions.

 

Comments

 

Punitavati has outlined in many of the verses so far the metaphysical significance or SYMBOLIC Meanings as disclosed by the archetypal forms and puraNic lores of Siva, the BEING. The Crescent Moon, the Snake, the Ganges , the Blue Throat and so forth are seen to INSTRUCT the anmas on metaphysical truths and hence illuminate the mind in various ways. Now she attends to the EFFECT of such contemplations by noting the freeing of the anmas from Karma as a consequence of these.

 

Karma is one of the three agents of IGNORANCE and is directly responsible for the configuring of experiences as painful or pleasant by way of instructing the anmas with respect to whether they are moving in the right direction or not. Each action effected elicits a karmic complex hanging in the space and which attacks the anmas breeding sufferings of all kinds if the actions are evil and immoral. The karmic traces being mantra complexes and hence insentient will not be conscious of the sufferings they bring about. They function like blind machineries totally indifferent to the anguish they may occasion among the anmas.

 

But how to escape from being afflicted thus?

 

Only BEING can provide the escape route and that too only by ILLUMINATING the anmas with respect to Sivanjanam, the Absolute Illumination. So we have to submit ourselves to this BEING, who mythically speaking destroys the castles of ignorance with the a single arrow of Fire released from His Third Eye that spills out FIRE when opened. This FIRE is that which burns off ignorance and makes the anmas shine forth in Sivanajanam. What is important is not simply praying but rather CONTEMPLATING deeply the presentational forms of BEING, get to understand more and more of His essence and thereby become mentally close to Him. This psychological proximity, being within the PRESENCE of BEING is the only way to be free of the afflictions of this Karma that is very tenacious in its functioning.

 

 

 

 

 

The Icon-Thinking of Punitavati-35

 

 

35. The Pure Moon and the Dark Spot.

 

From the verse below Punitavati is preoccupied with the symbolic significance of the Moon and the Snake that Siva wears on His body communicating deep metaphysical truths that go into determining the essence of existence. The Hermeneutic Semiotics that she is practising is concerned with the dynamics of existence - whatever meaning she wrests out must illuminate existence and NOT negate it as a dream-like meaningless appearance so well entrenched in Advaitic thinking thanks to early Buddhists who advocated such views in order to maintain their metaphysics of no-substance, nothing permanent etc.

 

In entering boldly into Icon Thinking, she is already refuting them without overtly refuting them. She enjoys direct visions of the Muurttams, the Icons and which she sees also as various presentations of BEING and which have encrypted in such forms various kinds of meanings, the understanding of which will also enable her to understand existence.

 

In the following verse she is puzzled about the simultaneous presence of both the Pure Moon of faultless white and its opposite the Dark Spot on the body of Siva. What can be the meaning of this and what does it tell about existence?

 

The Pure Moon is the Bindu and which the Saktas symbolize as the Poddu or Tilak normally black or red and which means vacittuvam, the capacity to attract others onto oneself and bind them (black) and show immense and sincere love (red) that should be the basis of family life.

 

Against this what can be the meaning of the Dark Spot on the neck, which is the deadliest poison, one way of looking at the aaNava Malam, or simply the Malam?

 

Read below for an elucidation of this puzzle.

 

 

35

 

츢 -

š Ũ

Ȣ

 

(-: Ţ.)

 

ﺢ. -- Ƣ. š -- Ƹ 񨼨 š . Ȣ -- Ƹ ¡ . θ.

 

 

(ĸ)

 

Ţâ Ƹ š Ģɢ ⽡ 즸 Ŧɢ 츢. 𼦾ɢ, ¾ 츢 š 츨 츢 Ƣ ﺢ , Ƹ Ũ¢ Ţ

 

35.

 

aduG kaNdaay veNmati enRu anjci iruL poontu

idaGkoNdu irukkiRatu okkum - padaGkoL

aNimidaRRa peezvaay aravasaittaan koola

maNimidaRRil uLLa maRu

 

Meaning:

 

There is a dark spot on the blue throat of Siva on whose neck also moves about the snake of Kundalini with beautiful neck and wide-open mouth. This spot is like the dark patch that enters the PURE and bright moon for fear that if left as such it would attack the anmas and make them suffer.

 

 

Comments:

 

Punitavati who struggled against her sexuality that led her at first towards marriage and later suffer immensely on the dissolution of family life, knew very well how powerful the libido is and how cleverly it is manipulated by BEING to bring down even the mightiest kings. Sexuality is a weapon in the hands of BEING and He wears the snake, the symbol of this power on His neck just to instruct the anmas that He can use this, if need be, to make them humble.

 

The Pure Full Moon, spotlessly clean is the Bindu, also that which can enter the souls and CHARM them so that they become irrational and totally moved by FEELINGS and not REASON. The intellect can be dulled, and it needs to be dulled for it to experience the aesthetical and the metaphysical Moon, the immensely Seductive Woman can do this. But not to allow for it to function with all the seductive powers unsullied, there is placed a DARK patch just to mar its beauty and singular elegance.

 

The DARK patch on the blue throat of Siva, has some resemblance to this. It is there placed against the PURE BLUE body of Siva so that again the singular Power of the Blue is somewhat checked or marred. The color Blue stands for LOVE, and Pure Love is NOT an empirical possibility - every phenomenal expression of LOVE has some defects, a dark spot.

 

 

 

The Icon-Thinking of Punitavati-36

 

36. Sexual Love and Divine Love

 

As Dr KaNNan and many other Tamil scholars have observed, the burst of Bakti literature was prepared for by the CaGkam literature that took the LOVE theme as central in the dynamics of existence and as disclosed by literature as well as ordinary language use (Vazakku and CeyyuL). When this LOVE became divine and directed towards the icons, be Siva or Tirumaal muurttams, we have the beginnings of Bakti, certainly a recovery reformed by the high development of secular literature during the CaGkam epoch. The theme of LOVE and MARRIAGE also occur in Bakti literature but in a sense that is divine and not any more human. ( See Andal Namazvar Manikkasakar etc)

 

Punitavati sees this in the symbols of the Crescent Moon and the Snake, both worn as ornaments by Siva. Punitavati wonders why the moon always remains a Crescent Moon and does not ever become the Full Moon as it does in Saktaism that centers on the worship of BEING-as-Woman, the Mother etc.

 

The Moon symbolizes the Pure Divine Love while the snake the sexual libido that underlies species regeneration, that which is also under the management of the Woman, the Kaamatci, a form of In-Anna of the Sumerians (Ta. iin: to give birth to, regenerate etc). To become matured in spirituality one has to transmute the sexual love into Divine Love, the Snake into the Moon and which is one of the most important aspect of the spiritual struggles of mankind. The false asceticism is a product of this struggle and history shows that it is not the solution. Forced renunciation of family life does not always lead to spiritual maturity - in fact it may lead to violence pre-matured death fanaticism and so forth. The selfish sexual Love has to blossom gradually into Love for Humanity as a whole for it to become truly Divine and Pure.

 

Punitavati recognizes the encroachment of sexual interests in the context of Pure Love and which she sees as the attack of the snake on the moon, and because of which she also sees that the Moon remains forever the Crescent Moon.

 

 

More below.

 

36

 

ר š

ڦ - š

Χ ﺢ

է

 

(-. Ţ.)

 

- , . () š - 󿡸 . 󿡸 Χ, ﺢ է

 

(ĸ)

 

ר ! ڧ, . š Ţ , ¢ Ţ , š ﺢ ¡ ¡ ? Ũ¢ Χ ﺢ, š ¡ Ģ ¡? š¡.

 

36

 

maRuvudaiya kaNdattiir vaarsadaimeel naakam

teRumenRu teeyntuzalum aa aa - uRuvaan

taLaramiitu oodumeel taan atanai anjci

valarumoo piLLai mati?

 

Meaning:

 

Oh my lord with a Blue Throat that has also a dark patch on it! Let me tell you something. The snake in your long hair creates a fear in the moon that also rests there that it would attack it if grown full and because of which it always remains the crescent moon, never ever becoming full. And when there is this fear that it would attack and make it weary, how will it ever grow and become the FULL moon?

 

Comments:

 

Punitavati in the last in this and the next few verses to follow is trying to bring out the MEANINGS implicit in the symbolism of the Snake and Moon both worn by Siva on His tuft. Here she is puzzled as the why the moon worn on his tuft is ALWAYS the crescent moon and NEVER the Full Moon. She appears to see not only an incompatibility between the two but also an antagonism where the Snake would attack and torture the Moon making it weary and so forth

 

The meaning of the snake is clear: it is the sexual libido and which is a WEAPON in the hands of BEING for regulating all creatures. Cast into being a Male or Female, there is the very powerful sexual attraction between them that provides the primordial meaning for existence. Where sexual happiness is made impossible, the whole motivation for living further also disappears.

 

The Moon, in contrast represents Pure Love, the divine love that makes people give and help others without expecting anything in return. True LOVE is that which underlies the Nishkaama Karma, actions that seek nothing in return. This is the source of ALTRUISM that also founds the activity of social service, helping out the suffering humanity and other creatures to the best of ones ability.

 

This altruism has it enemy, namely Sexual Love and whenever sexuality, in the broad sense of seeking out pleasures, invades the mind, then ALTRUISM does not grow at all.

 

The implication is that the sexual desires, those that are implanted by the Snake, must be overcome or transmuted for the Moon of Altruism to grow and become full.

 

 

The Icon-Thinking of Punitavati-37

 

37. The Asuras and Devas in Religion

 

It would appear that Punitavati is not of the opinion that religious life or metaphysical life is wholly good always projecting only the best for mankind. For she recognizes the presence of the adal avuNar, the aggressive devilish forces who can take over the religious life but in that bring more miseries, sufferings and bloodshed into existence than peace prosperity happiness and joy. History of world religions provides enough evidences for this.

 

But why is this? Do we have an understanding why in the name of religions more atrocities are committed along with the most humane and civilized?

 

While the Semitic religions see this as the work of Satanic forces (that they see not in themselves but only among the kafirs, it would appear), Saivism sees it as the essence of aaNavam, the dark force that is instrumental for there being death as such and the cruel human actions where wanton destruction and killing of innocent people are matters of joy. This Black Hole is there just as anati or unfabricated as BEING Himself transforming the celestial beings into the evil forces, the avuNar. In Sumerian times itself there was already a recognition of this where the angelic were called dingir and the devilish dingir-hul (devil?)

 

Saivism, and unlike VaishNavism in this, seeks to understand these fundamental processes of death destruction and regeneration and BEING as the one who dances with a garland of skulls bones etc and very frequently in the cremation ground. This is certainly bizarre and superficially frightening symbolism. The immature and the weak minded who shun away from witnessing TRUTH as it is, may revile at such icons of BEING but those who do not do so but worship and pierce through to the MEANING of it all and understand BEING without any remainder, wholly and fully and hence both His benign and cruel forms, will get to enjoy true liberation.

 

So claims this woman Punitavati, certainly one of boldest who walked on the soil of India and who rejoiced in the Dance of Siva in the cremation grounds and sang so eloquently of this Dance of Destruction.

 

More below.

 

 

 

 

37

 

¡ ׽

¡ ¢ɡ - ¡

쨸¡ ơ ŧ ĸ

쨸¡ š

 

(-: .Ţ.)

 

׽ - Ģ . - Ƣ. - . ¡ - Ȣš. ¡쨸¡ ơ - ɢ ơ ; ɡ ¡ á ơ ĸ ƢΧšá¢ , ¡쨸 š.

 

( ĸ)

 

ý ¢ɡ Ũ ¡ Ǣ ȡ Ǣ Ǣи Ũ¢ Ȣ ¢ɡ âƢ Ŧ Ţ ¢ . Ũ, ¡쨸¢ Ţ𼡧 Ũ ơ, ը Ǣ ը Ȣ Ȣ ŧ, ž ĸý ﻡ 츢, Ż ĸ š Ģ .

 

 

37.

 

matiyaa adal avuNar maamatil muunRu adda

matiyaar vaLarsadaiyinaanai - matiyaalee

enbu aakkaiyaal ikazaatu eettuvareel ivvulakil

enbu aakkaiyaayp piRavaar iiNdu

 

Meaning:

 

BEING as Siva who is the one who destroyed the three castles of the Asuras of metaphysical ignorance with His arrows of FIRE emerging from His eyes on the forehead is also He who wears the Crescent Moon of Love on His long tuft. Instead of insulting Him for throwing one into the historical processes with the assumption of skeletal body, if one praises Him profusely for blessing one thus, then it would become possible to be freed from being born again and again with such a body.

 

 

Comments:

 

The anma assumes physical existence and hence one caught in the historical processes with its stresses and strains only because there is an assumption of physical body with skeletal support and so forth. For the metaphysically inclined this is like being imprisoned, being caged for it restricts what can be experienced and understood. And because such sufferings one may be inclined to decry BEING for throwing one to such a way of Being-in-the -World by taking it as an act lacking in mercy and kindness. Such an interpretation will be immensely foolish and not conducive at all for further progress in metaphysical understanding.

 

We have to understand that BEING can be angry and destructive but out of LOVE for the creatures and for they becoming more free . The antigods, the Asuras are beings who, filled with the darkness of IGNORANCE and immense Prejudices, erect various of CASTLES -- ideologies, religions and cults- to secure themselves from the onslaughts of the Fire of Metaphysical Illuminations that would FREE the anmas from such self imposed mental prisons. BEING as Siva destroys these nevertheless by opening His Third Eye, the EYE that opens up deep visions that would destroy the darkness of ignorance.

 

Even Siva casting the anmas into historical existence by conjoining the soul with a physical frame is PEDAGOGIC in functions. While still living as such, if we persist in LEARNING whatever that can be within such embodied existence praising BEING so that He would continuously illuminate the anma appropriately, then there will come a time the anma may not be forced into the gross physical body of flesh and bones but rather mantra-bodies that will be less restrictive.

 

 

The Icon-Thinking of Punitavati-38

 

38. The Horns of the Bull and the Teeth of the Boar

 

The initial stages of Bakti movement appears not to have differentiated into strict divisions of Saiva and VaishNava with little communication between them; happily they entertained both types of icons in their Hermeneutic Semiotics, an interpretive understanding of the MEANINGS of the icons and puraNic themes that came along with them.

 

In the following verse we have also the Boar (called eenam, also a term used by Poykai Azwar), but Punitavati notes only the presence of the garland of TEETH of this boar as worn by Siva along with the snake of KuNdalini, the symbol of sexual libido. As in Poykaiyaar the Boar is Dark but not its teeth and which seen as similar to the Crescent Moon that Siva wears on His tuft.

 

In the ProtoSiva image in the Indus, we have Siva wearing the horns, perhaps of the Bull, the symbol of Power also noted as the sign of kingship in some primitive societies. In Tamil we have the phrase komban, the one wearing the horns but meaning someone might and skillful etc. In the Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh, we have also the Bull of the Heaven set against Gilgamesh but is killed by Enkidu who also preserves the horns.

 

Why doesnt Punitavati refer to the horns of the Bull, which is more common in the Icon of Siva, but to the horns of the Boar here? Is there something specific that she has seen and wants to communicate in this verse?

 

She compares these teeth of the boar to the Full Moon in the sky but which has become dwarfed and reduced to the crescent form by the attacks of the snakes in the sky, perhaps the Ragu and Ketu and which are shapes of the libido in the Collective Unconscious, the primordial sources of KuNdalini Sakti that human beings earn and enjoy. This comparison also contains the clue as to how she understood the meaning and which is given below.

 

38

 

Ǣ š š

ڸ§ ħ -- 񼧾

Ҩ¡

ܧ .

 

(- Ţ.)

 

- ; . - Ȣ . 즸, è ڸ ħ .

 

(ĸ)

 

ɢ Ħ¡ ţâ , 𨸨 ɾ Ŧ, ȡ â ȢǢ ¡ ǡ. š , Ǣ š š Ţ, ڸ ڸ !

 

38.

 

iiNdu oLiceer vaanattu ezu matiyai vaaL aravan

tiiNdac ciRukiyatee poolatee - puuNdatoor

taareeRu paambudaiyaan maarbil tazaittilaGku

kuureeRu kaar eenak kombu

 

Meaning.

 

Siva, the BEING in His presentational forms, over and above wearing the garland of konRai flowers, and having the Bull of Infinite Virility and the Snake of Sexual Libido as His weapons, also wears the horns/teeth of the male and dark boar. When looking at it, it appears (to me) like the full moon in the brilliant sky dwarfed by the Snake that swallows it!

 

Comments:

 

Here the symbol of the boar is common to the Disclosive Evolutionary accounts of Vaishnavism where BEING is taken to shape-shift to manage the phenomenal world that is seen to evolve into many forms. The Boar represents not only the mammalian stage but also that which suppresses and thereby saves the Golden Mountain under its claws. The Dark color symbolizes the moving into the Dark chambers or the Unconscious Realms. When cosmic destruction takes place, the divine Essence are preserved and kept in the Depths, in the dark corners only to be re-issued again for the phenomenal world to continue as before.

 

Now Siva is said to the wear the TEETH of this same Dark Boar, the shape VishNu assumes to rule the Nether world. The Horn represents the POWER and Siva wearing it shows that while as VishNu He may shape shift, but the POWER behind it all is held by Siva.

 

This TEETH, the weapon of the boar is said to be similar to the crescent moon and which is implied by the mythical account of the Snake swallowing it. But what does this mean?

 

The Full Moon is Pure Love and the snake is the sexual libido and when in the heart the sexual desires along with its possessiveness come to prevail, the Pure Love dwindles; the Full Moon becomes the crescent moon. The horns of the Dark Boar stand in a similar relation to the Horns of the White Bull of Siva. While the horns of the Bull, provides the power to destroy the Darkness of Ignorance and serve the ascendance towards the celestial, the horns of the Boar serve a lower purpose - that of simply preserving the divine essence during cosmic dissolution.

 

 

 

The Icon-Thinking of Punitavati-39

 

39. The Meanings of Colors

 

There is a tremendous confusion with respect to understanding the meaning of icons and one of them being the colors of such icons: the black of Tirumaal, the red and gold of Siva, the brilliant light color of Muruka, the Pure White of Vaaliyon (Balarama) Brahma Saraswati etc. One of the most ridiculous interpretations is that Tirumaal and KaNNan must be Dravidian gods because they are black!

 

The icons, it must be noted here, have nothing to do with skin color of the people for they are celestial beings, mantra-bodies and hence transcendent to the racial make-up of the people in whose mind they emerge and through a play, make them raise metaphysical questions and through that enable them to gain illuminations.

 

Punitavati deals with the color of Siva in the following verse: Why His body is golden but becomes silver on wearing the sacred ashes? Earlier she has also noted that Tirumaal was one half of Siva taking the place of Uma Herself and thereby becoming Blue. But now she sees the Woman Herself as an equal and inalienable part of Siva and because of which the body as a whole is golden

 

What are meanings then?

 

Read below as to the meanings of the color codes of the muurttams.

 

 

 

39

 

Ƹ

ɢ --

Ũç ½ Ǣ

Ũç Ȣ

 

(- Ţ.)

 

- ž Ţ¡. Ƹ - áۨ, - Ƹ. Ũ - Ƹ . ǢŨ -Ƹ ¢ , Ȣ ½ θ. Ȣ -

 

(ĸ)

 

â¡ ĺɡá , ɢ â¡ , ɢɡ âȡ. Ц Ƣ¡ â Ţ ɢɡ ȡ. Ц 츨 츢 տ ⺢, Ǣ Ũ¡ ¢ áɡ ȡ !

 

39.

 

kombinai oor paakattan koNda kuzakanRan

ambavaLa meeni atu munnanj - cempon

aNivaraiyee poolum podiyaNintaal veLLi

maNivaraiyee poolum maRittu

 

Meaning:

 

While Siva appears as Blue when He incorporates VishNu and Uma as integral parts of Himself, He appears Red when he incorporates only Uma as an equal half of Himself. And furthermore He shines forth Gold like the PonmeeRu, that Hill that contains everything of Supreme Bliss. But when he wears the white ashes with the intention to burn and purify the anmas to make it possible for them to enter this Pon MeeRu, He becomes the Silver on the silver peaks of Kailash

 

Comments:

 

Punitavati has been concerned above with symbolic significance of the Snake and Moon and why the Moon always remains the crescent moon on His tuft. Now her attention shifts to the semiotics of the body colors the Red Gold and Silver, which are also elements of deep dreams. BEING assumes these forms to INSTRUCT the anmas of some deep metaphysical TRUTHS and Punitavati, having grasped them, is hinting at them here.

 

BEING as Man-Woman Complex, the destructive-generative Power of the world is RED and shines forth as Gold, the two colors being interchangeable. The Gold color signifies something non-diminishing and hence that of Supreme Bliss, the Sivaanantam. It is the kind of happiness that all, including the devas, are after and which is possible only if possessed wholly by this androgynous archetype where the Woman and Man are equally present, where the distinction between masculinity and femininity is neutralized completely so that existence becomes transsexual, something above the polarity of Male and Female. What it means is that we have to transcendent our sexual and polar dimensions and rise above by incorporating both into our being. The man has to become the woman, and the woman likewise the man.

 

This Gold Bodied Siva-Sakti is also full of aruL, LOVE SUPREME and because of which He-She cannot be INDIFFERENT to the sufferings of the anmas caught in Samsara, the web of historical relationships that come along with the assumption of a physical frame and along a biological identity. This condition is also a kind of condition of Impurity, of metaphysical blindness, of ignorance. Hence there is a need to PURIFY them so that they see the Golden possibilities, which are always there for them to appropriate and enjoy. For this purpose and wholly as an expression of His aruL or LOVE, Siva wears the ashes over His body that signifies this WILL within Him. And at that point BEING becomes present in world however not immediately but at the peak of the snow-clad Kailash, meaning He becomes available only if we try to climb up the metaphysical ladder and seek Him out. He pulls us unto Him by becoming present at the Peak and in responding to that pull we cannot remain where we are - we have to LEARN, get illuminated and becoming pure in this way climb up the Hill. This aspect of BEING is the meaning of the color SILVER as opposed to the GOLD.

 

 

 

 

 

The Icon-Thinking of Punitavati-40

 

40. The Will to Submit and Serve BEING

 

 

Saivism takes the self as anati, unfabricated primary substance and which can never become as something absent. It is always there whether with a body or not. Its essence is the will and which splits into the Will to Power and Will to Submit and Serve, the former installed by the Sun Principle, Natam and latter by the Moon Principle, the Bindu. The conflicts and co-operations constitute the dynamics of the human struggles, the nata bindu dance as put by AruNakiri Natar.

 

Now genuine religious life or metaphysical life is a form of life where both these earthly wills are brought to submit itself to the Divine Will already there and live accordingly. In this evolution of the self-willed anma, the self with Ego becomes the egoless anma where the Will of BEING becomes the same as self-will. There comes to be a SAMENESS of self-will with BEING-WILL and which is the meaning of advaita in Saiva Siddhanta.

 

In the verse below Punitavati alludes to this by describing such individuals as ToNdar or Adiyaar, those who have submitted their will to the Will of BEING and knows nothing except to SERVE BEING by being His earthly tool.

 

But how is that Punitavati is led to articulate such an advaita, the advaita of the sameness of WILL?

 

It belongs to as part of Icon Thinking that she pursues very vigorously here. As she gains visions of the Icon, struggles to make sense of the MEANINGS of the various iconic details, becomes not only aware of her own ignorance but also her indebtedness to whatever she is, whatever understanding she enjoys to BEING. She recognizes the presence of ARUL of BEING, His Grace as that because of which she is whatever she is.

 

She is NOTHING if not for the Grace of BEING.

 

It is this understanding that dawns within her as part of the Icon Thinking that destroys her Ego and makes her submit and in all humility to the Will of BEING and thereby attain the SAMENESS with BEING, an advaita of no difference with BEING in the Will.

 

40

 

Ȣ 狀 š¡ Ģ

Ȣ - Ȣ򦾡

ǡ

ǡ

 

(-. .Ţ.)

 

狀! š¡ Ģ Ȣ . - . - ¡ Ĩ Ŧ. ǡ - ¡. - Ţ ( ¡ )

 

 

(ĸ)

 

Ȣ¡¢ɡ 측 狀! 츢 Ȣ Ţ ơ š ĸ š ġ Ǣ 򨾧 Ȣ š¡ġ ¡Ǣ ¡ǡ Ţ. šȡ š쨸 š쨸 Ȣ Ŧ ơ ɧ ƨ Ǣ Ģ !

 

40

 

maRittu madanenjcee vaayaalum collik

kuRittut thozu toNdar paatam - kuRittoruvar

koLLaata tiGkad kuRuGkaNNi koNdaar maaddu

uLLaataar kuuddam oruvau

 

Meaning:

 

O my ignorant heart! You ought to combat the arrogance within that arises because of ignorance and subduing the egotism learn to worship the feet of the servants of BEING even if only in words and try to become also an adiyaar, the servant of BEING. You must think that this way of life is the most authentic and in order to lead that kind of life you must forsake the company of those arrogant individuals who make gods of themselves by not reflecting at all of BEING and His Grace.

 

Comments:

 

The Bakti revolution set up the personal ideal of toNdar, one who is bent on social services as the most authentic way of life. This contrasts with the earlier ideals of a Brahmanah (in the non casteic sense), the Bodhisattva of Buddhism, the Tiirtangkara of Jainism and so forth. As one gains truth after truth and finally encounters the TRUTH that whatever one is, it is all because of the Grace of BEING, an indebtedness to BEING comes to prevail and which kills all the arrogance. All the ideals such as Brahmanah or even a Guru, holds a CONCEIT within for they seek to offer themselves to be worshipped and thereby seek to displace BEING Himself. This hidden and camouflaged self-conceit and which is contained in such claims as akam Brahman asmi (I am indeed Brahman) is a product of a metaphysical ignorance, a conceit that comes to prevail on not knowing that even such attitudes are products of the AS-IF PLAY of BEING and hence we are NOTHING if not for the GRACE of BEING.

 

This is the highest metaphysical wisdom; the understanding of the most self-transforming TRUTH, after understanding which one becomes only an Adiyaar. To be an adiyaar is NOT to isolate oneself from the people but to be amidst them doing whatever one can to alleviate their sufferings and also illuminate them and destroy the ignorance within. It is a life of social service that emerges as the most authentic life for it is this life that is consistent with the understanding that BEING-IS-LOVE (anbee Sivam) as much as it is also the sadhana that would disclose more and more of the essence of BEING.

 

 

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