The Icon-Thinking of Punitavati 1-10

 


1. The Love of BEING and Being Free of Problems 2. Love Unto BEING is there Always 3. The True Devotion is Always to Siva and Nobody else. 4. Why Siva is Golden in Body but Dark at the Throat? 5. BEING is both Destructive and Regenerative but all Because of Love 6. BEING is in my Heart no Matter what Others Say 7. I am the True Devotee. 8. The Submission to Siva as the Most Meaningful 9. AruL Truth Experience and Love Unto All 10. Keeping BEING as the Loved One and Enjoying Bliss Untold

 

 

 

There is a form of metaphysical thinking that I have called icon-thinking which seem to have survived despite many oppositions as integral part of Hinduism or more specifically Agamic Hinduism and which also explains why to this day the itikasas and puranas also play a meaningful role in the religious life of Hindus and why Temple worship remains still as vital as ever despite virulent attacks on it by many forces within and without. There is a craving for MEANING that arises in existential crises and no religion dogma or cult can survive unless it serves somehow this craving for the Meaning of Existence. No matter how much political might is used, no matter how skillfully the propaganda machinery is set and no matter how much threat is used in sustaining and spreading a religion, it all will vaporize as nothing as long as it does NOTserve to contribute to Existential Meaning that human beings forever seek.

We see idol worship surviving and as active as ever among the Dravidian folks despite a thousand years of Buddhism that dispersed the archetypal images into chaotic flux or meaningless dream-like entities, and despite several centuries of Islam where idol worship was decried temples destroyed and all in the name of Formless God, Allah and whose words were interpreted to mean the idol-worshippers as kafirs and so forth. This also applies to a branch within Saivism -the anusaivas -who were iconoclasts and the recent Aryan Samajists with their racialism and Aryanism and who appear to despise idol-worship as non-Aryan etc.

Such oppositions seem to emerge from Mullahs, Messiahs and Brahmanahs who were not interested in uplifting of mankind into higher reaches of spirituality but rather only in what Nietzsche called the Will to Power and hence with the ultimate motive of subjugating to one’s own will and thereby enslave the mind of the commoners to one’s own. The motive is political and NOT spiritual. The activities of the Brahmanahs who promote only Brahmanahs(and Sanskrit language that cones along with it) is a good illustration of this Will to Power and remain perpetually at the top ladder of social hierarchy and by virtue of birth alone.

As opposed to this is the religious dimension that promotes Bakti, a fervent devotion to BEING and in which LOVE reigns supreme. There is NO WILL TO POWER others but only that of becoming an Adyar, a humble tool for the workings of divine grace.

Punitavati (5- 6th cent AD) who gave a definite and new shape to the ancient Bakti, as old as Sumerian times itself as the enormously beautiful Sirbiyam of En Hudu Anna would show, sang the ARputa Tiruvantati, the Truvantati that’s a real wonder, in which she brought back not only the individual and personal existential anguish but also the ICON-THINKING to which it is related. Where there is existential anguish of unbearable pains, the anma seeks solace in being-with-BEING and LEARNING the deep metaphysical truths that ILLUMINATE the mind and thereby provide the medicine that would cure the soul of the existential anguish

In this series I hope to select some important verses from this text that contains 100 verses and bring out the various kinds of icon thinking it encapsulates.

In this first verse, the existential anguish gets stated very forcibly setting the tone for the whole of the text.


Ҿ 󾡾  :   ARputat Tiruvantaati : The Text

The Icon Thinking of Punativati- 1

The Love of BEING and Being Free of Problems

By way of an autobiographical sketch, in this first verse Punitavati discloses that it is excruciating pains in life that has driven her to surrender herself completely to the worship of Lord Siva. Siva ahs played a GAME in her life , disrupted her family life and because of which she resolved not to seek the company of any mortal man but only Siva whom she has been worshipping even during her childhood. However the pull of flesh was strong enough to make get married and lead a typical family life. Only divine interference and disruption awakened within her the deeper desire for Moksa, the PiRappu ARuttal, severing from being into endless existential repetition. The ‘idar’ that she talks about here is the pain of assuming an existence as the embodied and which brings along with the sexual desires.

Ƣ¢ ġ
п ʧ -  󾢸
ﻡ šɡ

(- Ţ. ) 

-- Ǣ; . -- ը ( - ̾) 

( - ĸ) 

š â , š ĸ ¢á , 򾢧ħ Ƣ ġ ġ, Ȣ¡, š,   ɧ Ţ Ţ ʸ š. Ţ Ǣ Ǣ , ը ͼո ĸ! ġ ʸ šɡ ġ ɡ ! ġ š ţΧ Ǣ , ! 

Ȣ: : ͼ; > : ͼ 

1. 

piRantu mozipayinra pinnelaaG kaatal
ciRantu nin ceevadiyee ceernteen - niRantikazum
mainjaanaRa kaNdattu vaanoor perumaanee
enjnjaanRu tiirppa tidar. 

Meaning: 

Though an anma roaming in the metaphysical space, I assumed a bodily form by coming to have a birth and biological nature. And since the days I mastered the language and became capable of effective communication, I have been deeply in Love with you O Lord not knowing the reasons for it all and have sought your Radiant Feet as my resort. O Lord who appears in so many colors and guises and especially as the Blue-throated Niila KaNdan and who is the Lord of all the celestial beings, tell me now when will you relieve me of the troubles that I have to endure by continuing with this biological  endowments by engracing me with the Absolute Releasement ?

Notes: In this first verse itself, Punitavati already outlines the theme, that of being relieved from the biologically constituted worldly existence. Having become disenchanted with the normal existence continuing in the bodily form itself and hence the  biological nature itself becomes immensely painful. This also shows that Punitavati already had an understanding of the HOME COMING, reaching the bottom most metaphysical grounds, on  reaching which there is no rebirth and hence the destruction of all the impulses towards a biological existence, rebirth into the world that can be continuous. 

 

 



The Icon-Thinking of Punitavati -2

 

Love Unto BEING is there Always

 

The Bakti movement, coming in the wake of the collapse of the ancient Vedism and Vedanta and also Buddhism and Jainism brought also along with it a NEW NOTION of Moksa that gets well articulated by Punitavati, the women saint of the Saivas who also became quite well known across the seas ,in SEAsian countries and so forth. We have here the birth of the notion of Mukti as PiRappu ARuttal and which is a further refinement of TiruvaLLular’s piRavi peruGkadal niintal, swimming across the seas of life and reaching the shores of the Divine Feet. 

 

In the following verse she speaks of Siva’s “enbu aRaak koolam” and ‘eriyaaddu’ where both are shapes BEING assumes for the sake of destroying something. As forms of Fire, the agnim illee of Rig Veda, Siva is the Kaalagni Rudra, the immensely strong FIRE that does not allow anything to sustain itself in the world. 

 

The soul is entangled with the Mummalam, the aaNavam Kanmam and Maayai and because of which it has to suffer EXISTENCE as such and under normal circumstances the soul cherishes such a way being. However there comes a point of Metaphysical maturity where TRUE FREEDOM or Moksa is intuited as one's own possibility and AGAINST WHICH the bodily existence itself becomes painful. Living is begun to be seen as living in a prison, the prison that’s the world and all because of the bodily embodiment and which brings along with it sexuality, being a male or female and yearning for sexual gratification through marriage and so forth. 

 

It is this THROWNESS into the sexual way of Being-in-the-World and its immense power that makes Punitavati bleed with pains and insurmountable anguish. 

 

But she also sees a way out. Siva as Agnim Illee, the Radiant Fire, the Cudar Uru, can singe to ashes all these desires and FREE her and Purify her from this way of Being. On account of this Siva as the wearer of the garland of Skulls and Resplendent Fire become not forms of BEING to be feared but on the contrary to be loved most intimately. 

2

¡ 츢
զȢ ¡ -ͼŢ
ȡ â¡ ɡ()
ȡ

(-: Ţ.) 

Ȣ ¡ --Ȣ Ȣ ǡŢ. ȡ - ɡ; -- 'â¡ ɡ째' Ģ Ө Ȣšȡ. 

(: ĸ) 

š쨸¢ ɡ Ţ , ţΧ ¡. š ţΧ Ȣ ¡ Ǣ Ţ츢 ¡ . Ţ â â 즸  â¡ , š Ţ¡ɡ 째 ȡ Ҽɧ š ! 

2. 

idarkaLaiyaa reenum emakkiraGkaa reenum
padaruneRi paNiyaa reenunj - cudaruruvil
enpaRaak koolat teriyaadum emmanaark(ku)
anbaRaa then nenjen camavarkku 

Meaning 

Let HIM be indifferent to my existential anguish by not relieving me from this bodily existence. Let Him conceal from me an understanding of the WAY that would lead me unto HIM by not instructing me on it in some ways. Whatever it is I remain firm in my LOVE for Him who always discloses Himself as the Brilliant Radiance and who wearing the garland of bones sports the all destructive Fire. 

Comments:

Punitavati had a fascination for the DESTRUCTIVE aspects of BEING as Siva that she has sung eloquently in her Muutta Tiruppatikam. Having become totally disenchanted with her biological presence in the world ,as an embodied anma subject to the tribulations of worldly desires that such a bodily existence always brings along with it, she yearns for liberation that would relieve her from being born again again into the world. She has become aware that it is possible to be but without any inclination towards biological birth and hence the sexual desires that come along with it. As a wife who was deserted by her husband and as one who could not think of another round domestic life with another man, she just abandons herself to Siva in deep and unshaken LOVE, something that was there in her heart right from early childhood but somehow forgotten. 

The destruction of her family life and hence the drying up of the sexual libido,  is actually the Play of BEING, of Siva the Destroyer to enable her to RECOVER her true Love and which is for Siva. 

Now that she has recovered it , she will never abandon it, no matter what. There is HOPE and she continuously reminds herself that BEING can take many forms one of them being an archetype as One who wearing the garland of bones sports FIRE in His hands,  signaling that only He can singe to ashes the various passions rustling in her heart and without burning  off which she cannot be freed from this endless existential repetition. 



The Icon-Thinking of Punitavati-3

The True Devotion is Always to Siva and Nobody else.

The icons or archetypes or imago-dei or simply the Muurttams, to use the Tamil term and which means the emergence of ( Ta.muu) the BEING in some definite form, appears to be MAGICAL in some ways. They, not only emerge from the depths into consciousness but also possess the soul just as the lower shamanistic trances. The only difference appears to be that in this higher kind of possession the person is AWARE of being possessed and becomes also quite willing to be thus possessed. The Muurttam becomes the self itself but without obliterating the self-consciousness, and in this it is unlike the tranc-states. 

And this makes the self possessed totally subservient to the Murttam that possesses

BEINGSIVA and so forth. This brings along also a transmutation, a metamophoses of the person so that he/she is no more the ordinary person hungering after worldly pleasures but  rather the spiritual. The pattern of life and motivational dynamics underlying it changes so that a NEW RESOLVE on how to live comes to prevail. There is a Vairakkyam, a firm resolution to LOVE BEING and nothing or no one else . There is no Virakti, a meaninglessness that leads to suicidal tendencies but rather a new mental firmness and certitude arising from the living presence of BEING as the possessor of one’s soul itself. There is unmediated immediacy that makes philosophical inquiries quite unnecessary. When BEING is enjoyed as the living presence in one own's self, philosophical disputations as the reality falsity of BEING and the Murttams in which He shows Himself become quire irrelevant. 

As we shall see in  the following verses, such a possession and casting existence itself as being totally subservient to BEING-as-SIVA and so forth is actually a precondtion to disclose the truths of BEING directly to the possessed making the scriptures themselves quite unnecessary. 

3. 

째 ǡš
째 žġ -
ġ ȡ

(- Ţ.) 

-- ̾Ԩ . -- ġ Ǩ; è 

(-ĸ) 

ȡ ɢ ǡ ɢ ɢ, 째 ɢ ġ ǡš. ʦȡ, ġ 째 ǡš . ھ¡ ȡ ý, Ƹ š ġ Ǣ š ġ, ɢ ﻡ ǡ𧼡, ھ

3. 

avarkkee ezupiRappum aaLaavoom enRum
avarkkee  naam anbaavathallaal - pavarsadaimeel
paakapooz cuudum avarkkallaal maRRoruvarukku
aakaappoom enjnjaanRum aaL 

Meaning: 

Having become thoroughly disenchanted with life with a man, I am determined to be in service only to BEING (Siva) in future in this birth as well in all the births to come. And I shall be bonded to Him not because of some expectations but out of Pure Deep and Abiding LOVE unto Him. So let it be known that other than for this BEING who discloses Himself as Siva who wears the crescent moon on His thick hair, thus symbolizing that He is source of all happiness, I shall never be subservient to anybody else 

Notes:

Clearly this is  Punitavati telling herself about a new resolution she has made whereby after a heroic struggle with earthly desires of an ordinary  woman, she comes to a decision that in future she shall be subservient only to Siva and nobody else. This actually is clearing herself of some doubts and tearing herself away from the pulls of the flesh because of which she was tormented as her marriage broke down or made to break down. 

With the sexual libido desiccated , this resolution of herself that she will be subservient only to Siva and that too out of Pure Love that expects nothing in return as rewards as is the case with other human relationships, shows also the transformation of the Kundalini, the sexual libido into seeking union with BEING and hence Bakti. She finds fulfillment with her LOVE for BEING and whom is seen also as the source of happiness in being seen as the wearer of Crescent Moon on the thick tuft. 


 

 

The Icon-Thinking of Punitavati-4

 

Why Siva is Golden in Body but Dark at the Throat?

 

 

Meaningful icon-thinking, an interpretive understanding of the metaphysical insights encrypted into a Muurttam begins only with the PLAY of BEING after letting an Imago-Dei overpower the soul of a person who is sufficiently ripe for such a possession. Then begins a PLAY that is essentially PEDAGOGIC, that of instructing directly the possessed soul by a variety of strategies or tantras.

 

Here we see that for Punitavati, the Muurttam, that of the Blue-throated Siva, is no more just a representational reality and installed as sculptures wrought in different media, installed in a temple and made an object reverential worship. She is well past this state of Sariyai and Kriyai and even Yoga and have ascended to a stage of Njanam where she is possessed by the  LIVING Muurttams and that too to INSTRUCT her about the ESSENCE of BEING and by BEING Himself.

 

No more Vedas Agamas and such other scriptures of words, no more gurus rishis and such other human beings who pass as authorities in religious matters. She is directly experiencing a Muurttam form of BEING in a personal way and where there is an intimacy of LOVE that emboldens her to relate to BEING in a very personal way, as the closest friend, confidante etc.

 

But strangely enough there is an  INDIFFERENCE on the part of BEING as to her plights and pains and which makes her ponder at the MEANING of the DIVINE INDIFFERENCE. It is at this point the meaning of the FORM of SIVA where while His whole body  is resplendent, bright and red but the THROAT in contrast remains dark (and about which there are many puranic stories). Perhaps, she thinks, BEING can by design ABSENT Himself and through that show that as part of His PLAY, He can CONCEAL Himself and that Blue Throat signifies this aspect of divine Play!

 

More below.

 

4.

ǡɡ Ȣ Ө¢
ǡ ġ ǡ- ǡ
¡ɡ ȡȡ
¡

(-: .Ţ.)

ǡ - ǡ ý. ¡ - էɢ Ө¡ɡ. -- () ȡ () ¢.; ȡ տ ý š. ը Ө¾Ģ

(: ĸ)

š ɢ ȡ Ũɧ¡ ɢɧ¡ ɡ 즸ǡ, 墨 Ŧ째 ǡɡ, Ȣš Ģ Ȣ ħ Ũ¢ Ө¢, Ȣ ǡ 츢ȡ! š ǡ 츢ȡ, ý ¡ Ũ Ȣ Ǣ 츢. ġ ǢŢ 򾾡  , ȡ ը 򾾡 츢. ¡ Φǡ ը ǡ ý !
 

4.

aaLaanoom allal aRiya muRaiyiddaal
keeLaata tenkoloo keeLaamai - niiLaakanj
cemmai yaanaakit tirumidaRu maRRonRaam
emmaiyaad koNda iRai

Meaning:

Having resolved that I shall be  subservient only to Siva and no other and believing that He knows this, I complained to him about my tribulations out of my immense LOVE for Him.  But alas ! He doesn't seem to listen and appears to be indifferent to my plights. What can be reason? I inquired. Then it dawned that Siva whose vast body is red and brilliant, has a throat that is, in contrast, DARK. Perhaps He can , when He chooses to, be indifferent or turn a deaf ear to the pleadings of those who love Him because of this!

Notes:

In her struggles to come to terms with the fact she has abandoned all love for the worldly things including being one with a man as her husband, and that she has only Siva to go to as the confidante, she pours out her heart in the believe that He would listen to her and do the necessary. But unfortunately this is NOT so. Despite her continuous complaints and pleadings nothing changes but in that INDIFFERENCE, indirectly disclosing to her a TRUTH about Himself.

The iconic representation of Siva with brilliant body but with DARK throat ( Niila KaNdan) comes to her mind and now she begins to UNDERSTAND the metaphysical knowledge encrypted into that image. BEING as SIVA is actively present but with the capacity to be INDIFFERENT as well  and it is this meaning of the icon that comes as a flash in to her mind. This is one aspect of Tirotakam, drawing a curtain around Himself so that He is absent to the anma and which is perceived as  Siva is NOT listening or BEING is not there and so forth.

Even in ordinary life we see amidst parents and children, gurus and sisyas and even among friends. One complaints but the other chooses to ignore knowing perhaps there is no substance in the complaints and that in time they will subside on their own. Perhaps in the course such complaints and pleadings it dawns to them that their actions are misplaced and that there is NO reason to complaint at all.

But any way we see here that in the existential struggles of Punitavati with her LOVE for Siva, there is already UNKNOWN to her BEING disclosing to her in various ways and because of which the ICONS that she has been worshipping become ALIVE with NEW meanings, that she can INTERPRET them and begin to appreciate the CONCEALED or encrypted meanings in such iconic representations.


The Icon-Thinking of Punitavati-5

 

BEING is both Destructive and Regenerative but all Because of Love

 

Saivism nurtures within itself an understanding of evolution that I have called Disclosive Evolution and which really means the HIGHER comes to be phenomenally present only because they are already present in the DEPTHS and which are made to surface to the fore by BEING.  This is the meaning of the key technical TooRRuvittal in Saivism. As the Satkarya Vaatam of Samkhyas  goes,  what is NOT-THERE cannot be present as a phenomenal reality ( Meykandar: illatu toonRaatu) and it is this bringing into presence what remains in the depths is what TooRRuvittal means

 

We must also note that this understanding does NOT burst into the mind of Punitavati because she read the Vedas or Agamas and did the SravaNam Mananam Nittiyasanam and so forth on the Mahavakyas.  What she did was to allow herself to be possessed by a Muurttam of BEING and let BEING Play in her mind and by which she is led to enjoy certain deep metaphysical illuminations and that ANYONE can do if the GRACE of BEING allows. Such illuminations come with apodictic certainty for BEING is there as Guru and hence the most authoritative. BEING Himself being the basis of such disclosures, they do not require proving as such and hence the accumulation of evidences and so forth. BEING is TRUTH ITSELF and hence what He Himself imparts cannot but be truth.

 

More below

 

5.

ŧ ¢ Ţ Ȣ
ŧ š - ŧ

š

(- .Ţ.)

- ; Ƣ

( ĸ)

  š տ ġ ¢ šȡ ĸ ŧ ¡. š š š쨸¢Ģ Ţ ý â ŧ. ġ 째 ŧ ը¢ š, ý 츢 ġ ͸ǡ š !

5.

iRaivanee evvuyirun tooRRuvippaan tooRRi
iRaivanee iiNdu iRakkanj ceyvaan  -  iRaivanee
entaay ena iraGkum eGkaL meel ventuyaram
vantaal atu maaRRuvippaan

Meaning

It is BEING ( Godhead) who grants  bodily existence to all creatures that move towards liberation from that bound state. It is also the same BEING who destroys the existence thus granted by bringing about death that deprives the anmas such an existence. And for those who approach BEING as the most loving MOTHER, on account of intrinsic tendency to take pity on all, He would transform the immensely painful experiences into something joyous!

Commentary:

Here begins the initial articulation of the notion of Disclosive Evolution that is implicit in the Existential Analysis of Saivism. Creation is NOT bringing into being-there the human beings out of nothing as if by a fiat. Existence as well as death  pertains to all creatures including the lower and the  notion of creation has to accommodate even this and the evolutionary developments that holds between the various life forms. Within lower inheres the higher and evolutionary mechanisms at work just make manifest this buried aspect of creature possibilities. Thus the notion of TooRRutal, bringing into being-there is not the same as the notion of creation in the Semitic faiths that goes by the name of creationism.

But nevertheless it shares with creationism the notion that without BEING (God) there cannot the  existential presence of the anmas and this differ from the Adaptive Evolution of the naturalists. GOD brings into being-there of the anmas which are initially without any bodily existence. It is this that is implied by the word TooRRam here.

But here  and I think unlike in the Semitic faiths, DEATH is also attributed to BEING and hence BEING as the Causal Ground of both existence and its deprivation i.e.. death.

But this is NOT all to His destructiveness or disconstructive  capacities. In the same vein He can transmute the extremely painful aspects of living provided one approaches BEING as loving Mother i.e. with total dependence and uncalculating love.

God must be loved dearly in order to overcome the unbearable existential pains. Perhaps in this Punitavati is articulating something she has learnt in her life itself.


The Icon-Thinking of Punitavati-6

 

BEING is in my Heart no Matter what Others Say

 

 

 

If by Agama is meant the texts that disclose the concealed metaphysical knowledge then this ARputat Tiruvantati of Punitavati, certainly qualifies to be one. It is Apta Vasanam even though the Apta here is a woman. She LEARNS something NEW and all because she is TAUGHT directly by BEING-as-Siva Himself who overpowers her soul and thereby transmuting her whole personality.  She is LIFTED UP and her visage broadened so that what was inaccessible earlier are now very much accessible . She SEES new meanings only because she is LED TO SEE by BEING Himself.

 

Not only that, it would appear. There is the question of subjective certitude with respect to the TRUTH of such archetypal presentations of BEING and their meanings. And she is LED to FEEL that the icon of NilakaNdan is not only the closest to her heart but also the most meaningful and hence to led to declare that she is indifferent to the other forms of BEING such as Indra and so forth.  She is also led to see a REASON for it: The Blue Throat represents now the fact that it is Siva who drank the POISON of world destruction but kept it in His throat and hence under control, something that is NOT possible by the other deities.

 

Siva is the only one who can regulate destruction and that too by regulating aaNavam, the basis of Satanic and devilish forces of the puranas.

 

More below

6.

š
--
¡Ǣ
¡

(-: Ţ.)

- . Ŧ , š (Ţ) , (Ţ ȡ ) Ӹ áɡ. - Ţ. ɢ ﺧ ɢ .

( : ĸ)

¡ Ţâ â Ũ šĸ Ȣ Ȣ . šĸ š Ǣ ɡ ĸ  ɦġ , Ŧġ Ȣ Ȣ . 째 Ţ , ĸ վ ĸ Ţ 򧾡 ɡ ţ Ţ Ǣ ĸ Ŧ ﺢ ʦ츢 ¡, .

: šĸ Ǣ , ; : ;  : , ţ

6.

vaanattaan enpaarum enak maRRu umparkoon
taanattaan enaarun taamenka -- njaanattaal
mun nanjcattaal iruNda moyyoLiceer kaNdattaan
en nenjsattaan enpan yaan

Meaning:

Those who seek after the essence of BEING, let them proclaim that He is a celestial being. Let them also declare that He is Indra, the Lord of heavenly devas and full of all the riches. But to me and as disclosed by BEING Himself, He is the blue-throated Siva because, in the ancient days itself,  He drank the most potent poison and in that also disclosing that He is most brave. Be it known that He has captured my heart with this archetypal form in which he also discloses Himself.

Comments:

Slowly now Punitavati begins to articulate her understanding of BEING in which she seeks to weigh the different ways in which people understand and worship Him. She accommodates herself to the fact that BEING discloses Himself in different archetypal forms, each according to the different needs of the people. BEING in Himself does not have a presentational the most supreme and unique to Him. It cannot also be said He is devoid of forms for all the archetypal presentations are forms that emerge from within him. So Punitavati is made to search for not the unique and the most essential form of BEING but rather that which she finds the most meaningful and hence the form she loves most.

And it turns out that it is Siva as NilakaNdan, the Blue-throated that appeals to her most and that too as consequence of the divine illuminations she is blessed with. The mythical theme of Siva swallowing the most deadly poison and keeping it in His throat has an immense personal meaning for her. For the poison stands for the DEATH  as well as death bringing kinds of experiences and all because of aaNavam, the dark stuff that is the  real cause of DEATH and death-like miseries and tortures in life.  Punitavati who had her family life not only  disrupted but also made incapable of it, the thought of committing suicide must have occurred and but somehow rescued from that fate by the divine interference of BEING as Siva.

Metaphysical insights of a profound kind and a genuinely metaphysical life that makes it possible and all because the sexual libido is dried up and transmuted into Njaana Sakti, the Gnostic Power , become immensely blissful and hence life worth living. This transmutation is seen by Punitavati as something effected by BEING by assuming the archetypal form of NilaaNdan, the one who drinks the POISON  and keeps it safely in the throat.


.

The Icon-Thinking of Punitavati-7

 

I am the True Devotee

 

 

 

One of the features of the human mind is shunning the truth about oneself and camouflaging in so many pleasing masks and attires.  The evil within is hidden and an image of Purity and excellence is projected for the public. There is a desire only to see the GOOD and refuse to see the EVIL already there , that there is LIGHT as well as DARKNESS in the soul, that the soul is sat-asat, capable of moving unto the Sat and at the same time FALL towards the Asat. The duality underlies all the struggles of man both in the private world as well as the public domain. Man is at war with himself and because of which he is also at war in the political life.

 

It becomes a mark of great spiritual maturity to recognize and accept that there is evil in oneself, a maturity that we see so abundantly in Tevaram Divviya Prabantam Corpus.

 

One thing that Punitavati realizes is that while in social life, both domestic and public, there can be PRIVACY, there cannot be such a thing in spiritual life. For BEING as the Third-Eyed leaves not anything beyond His reckon,  His visage, he SEES ALL and hence as a matter of fact we cannot conceal or hide, distort or camouflage anything from the gaze of BEING. Only in our ignorance we think so and continue to do evil and cover it up from others as well as BEING.

 

The moment the truth that we cannot hide anything from BEING, that he SEES all, both the good and evil, explodes in the mind and then a Self-Conversion takes place whereby there is now a commitment not to do any evil at all. Life becomes authentic with NO DESIRE to do anything evil and hence a life of true tapas.

 

More bleow.

 

7

¡ Ө 狀
¡ 񽢧 -¡
â Ͼġ
ǡ¢.

(- .Ţ.)

â - ¡ , Ͼġ -  Ȣ¢ Ϩ¡. -- Ǣ տ Ŧ

(, ĸ)

! 즸 ġ š 츢ȡ. ¡򧾡 ĸ š Ȣ Ȣ񧽡 ѾŢƢ ɡ Ǣ,  ħ ĸ 즸 츢 տ ⺢ ¡ Ǣ ǡ¢. ɡ ¡ , Ũ š ﺧ ɡ ġŢ ȡ ţΧ 츢 !

7.

yaanee tavamudaiyeen en nenjcee nannenjsam
yaanee piRappaRuppaan eNnineen - yaanee ak
aimmaa vuripoortta kaNNutalaan veNNiiRRa
ammaanukku aaLaayineen.

Listen! It is I on my own accord began to worship the BEING in the archetypal forms where he wears the black skin of the elephant  , has a Third Eye on His forehead  to disclose that He sees all piercing  the dark screens  we impose on our selves and who smears the whole body with the ash, all to instruct that He dances the dance of destruction to allow the divine to flourish. And having installed Him thus  I feel that the tapas I am doing is the right one and that because of it my heart  is really good. I live now with the hope that if not today but tomorrow He will bless me with Absolute Liberation that would put an end to my phenomenal circulation.

Comments:

Bakti is personal and individual and this is the shape genuine religious life assumes when a person develops metaphysically in the right direction. Having come to this stage Punitavati seems to reflect back on what has happened to her and notes that she on her OWN ACCORD has become a devotee of Siva and that there was NO COMPULSION at all. She has undergone what can be called SELF-CONVERSION, not conversion to another religion more as an escape from the present but  rather something by conviction and  a transformation of self that  happens with self conscious awareness.

She installs the Siva archetypes within her heart and feels that this is the true tapas and that her  heart has become GOOD because of this. The active presence of BEING in these archetypal presentations also makes her HOPEFUL of attaining the Absolute Liberation, a constant theme in her outpourings.

But what makes her feel hopeful of this?

Each archetype is an encrypted image of deep metaphysical illuminations and as one installs such figures and CONTEMPLATES on them, slowly the TRUTHS hidden in the images burst into the mind shedding LIGHT into the hidden and subterranean corners. And here the archetypes of Siva as the wearer of  the black skin of the elephant ( kaimmaa uri poortta) and  as the One with the  Third Eye are significant. For He wearing the black skin simply means that He can penetrate into our innermost self and SEES even the ugly things about ourselves that we want HIDE by casting a black skin over it, a black curtain over it. But Siva has the THIRD EYE,  the eye that penetrates into ALL so that no screen can hide anything from Him. We can hide certain things from people like ourselves , have a private life outside the gaze of others. But there can be NO PRIVATE LIFE with BEING for He SEES all. At the realization of this we also realize our folly of trying to hide something from HIM. This also makes us TRANSPARENT to BEING at first but later in general to all. When the heart becomes PURE there  exists nothing to hide.

It is attainment of this kind of  inner purity and  transparency that makes her hopeful of genuine redemption.


 

.

The Icon-Thinking of Punitavati-8

 

The Submission to Siva as the Most Meaningful

 

In social existence, there is the  Will to Power (Nietzsche) over others as much as the Will  to Submit Oneself. There is a very interesting analysis of this dimension of Human Existence by Hegel with his study of the Master-Slave relationships. This dimension of social existence or at least the hierarchical dimensions of it, which is geneticized and made a matter of birth and hence made something beyond the human efforts  to change , is the essence of VarNasrama Dharma, the virus that has infected Hinduism and also killed even the Bakti revolt that sought to free Hinduism of this evil. We have to recover the revolt of the Nayanmars and Alwars and re-establish that very one is a mumuksu, one capable of aspiring towards Moksa and that there is Njanasamattuvam, EQUALITY for enjoying Civanjanam, the Absolute Illumination that redeems all and which as noted by Meykandar is already there in the bosom of all. While there differences in the intellectual styles and aptitudes, there is NO DENYING of the fact there is this EQUALITY.

 

In this following verse Punitavati articulates as if a new discovery that as a matter of fact she is ALREADY a subject to BEING only and that she is destined to live only by His dictates and NOT by any others. No mullahs brahmanahs messiahs rishis and so forth for her.  It is her RIGHT to live only in accordance with the dictates of BEING and nobody else. She is led to understand that BEING Himself is with her making it unnecessary to listen other mortal individuals,  no matter how pretentious they may be.

 

But how is that she has been raised to this level of FREEDOM and she is relieved from the enslaving propensities of such “religious” authorities?

 

With this question in her mind she SEES a meaning in the Ganges that Siva wears on His tuft and which is seen both as the river of cool Waters as well as that of Fire, and understanding in the symbolism of the Ganges both destructive and regenerative forces that has worked on her and illuminated her.

 

More below.

8.

¢ š â
¢ --
ȡɡ Ũç š
ȡ

(- Ţ.)

š ¢ - Ŧ ǡ. -- ǡ . â ¢ --   ġ ¢; (' ....' ); ھ â ڨ¡ . Ũç š -- ոâ . ȡ -- ¢

(ĸ)

¢á   ʧɧɡ ɦġ ǡ¢. Ȣ¡¡ ɧ¡ Ǣ ŧ , Ȣ , ɢ â ¢. š â á Ȣ: 츢 ¢ Ţ Ŧá á  Ƣ Ƣ ̸ ġ !

8.

aayineen aaLvaanukku anree peRaRkariyan
aayineen aqtenee aamaaRu -- tuuya
punaR kaGkai eeRRaanoor ponvaraiyee poolvaan
anaRkaGkai eeRraan aruL

Meaning:

I attained the impossible to attain when I was led to realize that I was already subservient only to Siva since  those remote days I was put into the phenomenal circulation. This understanding of my essence is something I have attained by His blessings and hence certainly NOT by my own efforts. Now if you ask me how it became possible as the Grace of Siva, know that Siva whose body is like Golden Meru (that allows only truths) carries both the Ganga of cool waters that regenerates all and the Ganga of fiery flames that destroys all.

Comments:

The most fundamental processes are those of destruction and regeneration. There is NOTHING in the world without these two fundamental processes and the metaphysical thinking of the Saivites never becomes forgetful of this. The anukkrakam , the blessings with novel possibilities and nikkrakam , the destruction of the existent in order to make room for the NEW are there and only because of that there is in the mind of the creatures the destruction of ignorance and the gaining of Consciousness.

Punitavati , as are all creatures,  is ALREADY INDEBTED to Siva and SERVE only Him in all obedience. But in the thick of ignorance and interior DARKNESS this awareness remains buried deep down making the anma cling to this man that woman, this guru , that deity and so forth and thus into seeking a kind of saturation and fullness in such clinging. Any attachment other than to BEING is bound to fail  for all such attachments are between finite minds. Even the most glorious guru  is after all a human being and hence subject to many faults and imperfections.

But the disclosure that one is bound to  be subservient only to Siva or BEING and NOBODY ELSE is the disclosure of immense value for it puts an end to all these uncertainties. Punitavati , for that matter anyone, secures the Final Ground of Attachment in having Siva Himself as the One whom one ought to love cherish and serve.

This disclosure appears to Punitavati the rarest of the rare kind of blessings from Siva and she marvels at it,  noting that He is the source of TRUTH and who both destroys and regenerates all to bring about a spiritual evolution among all the creatures.

.

The Icon-Thinking of Punitavati-9

AruL Truth Experience and Love Unto All

 

Saivism and VaishNavism share with Jainism and Buddhism the notion of compassion as the most important ingredient of religious or metaphysical life and would appear to differ in this respect from Brahmanism that cares only for VarNasrama Dharma and ever busy with justifying it and in that oblivious to the commonalities among creatures and the humanistic dimensions it encourages.

Saivites locate the LOVE in the world in the presence of aruL and in the following verse Punitavati gives a metaphysical meaning to it and which might have worked on Tirumular and made him declare that anbee Sivam, Love is God.

In terms of the concept of Arul, we can see TWO different kinds of individuals - those with aruTkaN and those without it. The former, moved by care and concern for all, DO NOT SEE any differences especially the hierarchical because they see the EQUALITY as well as UNITY of all that lurks at the depths. The latter, with a certain spiritual blindness, are BLIND to the commonality but eminently conscious of only the differences. Out of perhaps an inner lack in terms of true achievements which will make them feel worthy of themselves, they look to their caste and such other peripheral matters and seek to enjoy a vicarious kind satisfaction of greatness. What we find in such individuals is the pressure of the Will to Power by way of feeling great and thereby overcoming their inner insecurity and all because of lack of real achievements.

Punitavati claims that she has been  spared of this metaphysical blindness because of the aruL of BEING which she also sees as that which can confer Mukti on her.

But the most important insight that she articulates here is the LINK between truth seeking, being in truth and gaining this aruTkaN, the loving disposition that makes her LOVE all without caring for the differences that may in fact obtain. The truth-experiences, the MeyyuNarvu is also seen as that which humanizes the human beings.

9

է Ħġ Ţ
է ɡ - ǡ
ը ŢԨ  ﻡ

(- Ţ.)

( է -- ǡ)  .  ġ 񦸡 ̧š ġ ɧ¡. .

(ĸ)

󾦾 󾦾 Ħ ¦  Ţ š Ĩġ  Ţ է¡. ġ š ﻡ է, Ż ҽ ﻡ 츢 š  . ʧ¡ɢ ǡľ ը Ţ Ţ򾡸 ը 츢 ɧ Ȣ즸 š쨸 ŢԨ . ը ŢԨǡ Ţ , 񼡦 ը Ǣ Ȣ -- ġ էǦ ŧ¡.

9.

aruLee ulakelaam aaLvippatu iican
aruLee piRappu aRuppataanaal - aruLaalee
meypporuLai nookkumk vitiyudaiyeen enjnjaanRum
epporuLum aava tenakku

Meaning:

It is  the Grace of BEING that rules this vast universe that comes as the heaven and  earth, the high and low and sentient and insentient and so forth and makes them move. It is this Grace that allows existential repetition that facilitates the destruction of IGNORANCE that finally brings about  LIBERATION, the freeing from the cycle of endless rebirths by making it possible the attainment of Absolute Understanding. And this is facilitated  by this Grace that implants within me the desire only for TRUTH and living solely by TRUTH and hence avoiding all untruths. But because I am moved by this desire to seek out only the truths, it becomes impossible for me put aside anything as lowly for all are equally expressions of the same Grace.

Comments:

This is certainly one of the most important verses in the long history of Saivism or Hinduism in general. After millenniums of evolutionary changes and after assimilating the best of the various religions that held sway in the land, LOVE evolved as the important ingredient of religious life and Saiva Siddhanta having been  forged in this crucible emerged as a metaphysics of LOVE or more precisely of Grace, the phenomenal expression of which is universal LOVE for all and for which reason BEING is also noted as LOVE ( anbee Sivam).

AruL means simply giving without any expectations , a pure giving even the human beings experience when they are moved by genuine LOVE. This sentiment MOVES ONE to give and without expecting anything in return and in which case it will become instrumental and hence simply a barter. This perhaps is the same as Nishkaama Karma of Bagavath Gita but with a different kind of metaphysical understanding.

The LOVE of BEING permeates the whole world -- the high and low , the sentient and insentient and so forth. In fact there is NOTHING that is NOT an expression of the LOVE of BEING. Now how did they come to this view especially against the background of the discriminatory caste systems that prevails so stubbornly?

Saivism accommodates in its metaphysical thinking DEATH , not only that of  the creatures but everything including the vast cosmos. The aaNavam is there like the Black Hole ever ready to swallow and eliminate the worldly presence of everything, including this vast cosmos as a whole. Every creature carries within itself a Black Hole, the Yama, the symbolized aaNavam,  the God of death that is forever ready to bounce upon one and swallow the life energies and thus cause death. Thus living as such that we take for so granted is actually not only a struggle against this Black Hole but also a victory over it. And it is this Grace of BEING that vanquishes thus death bringing Black Hole and blesses one with continuous living and when dead , then another lease of birth so that there follows EXISTENTIAL REPETITION in an endless manner.

But along with this there is also another expression of this same Grace-- that of facilitating LIBERATION from this hold of the Black Hole so that one is forever outside its reach. And interestingly enough and as the most original contribution of this remarkable woman is the understanding that SEEKING TRUTH and  avoiding untruths, accumulating truths after truths is the WAY for attaining this final liberation and that this also a GIFT of this aruL, of Grace. Thus the Grace is not only LOVE but also UNDERSTANDING that shines in TRUTH.

TRUTH is NOT simply a matter of Logic, it is also a matter of survival and attaining liberation.

Punitavati notes an existential implication of this understanding  that she has gained, of course, through immense struggle  -- it becomes IMPOSSIBLE for her to hate and demean anyone or anything in the world. She has to ACCEPT all as they are for all them are equally the expression of the same Grace that had facilitated her own development and presence as such!


.

The Icon-Thinking of Punitavati-10

 

Keeping BEING as the Loved One and Enjoying Bliss Untold

 

 

Bakti is very ancient in Dravidian culture when we view it from the Sumerian (and Harappan) times. The enormously personal and moving Exaltations of Inanna by En Hudu Anna (c. 2200 BC) and her temple hymns such as the Kes temple Hymn are evidences for that.  One important ingredient of this is LOVE unto BEING in some archetypal form is praising Him lavishly but with true and becoming epithets so that the God is pleased and does good for the person who thus loves and praises.

 

In the following verse we see BEING being LOVED very dearly and because of that existence becoming something full of joys. No more life as a misery, of one wholly painful and miserable such as was the case with Buddhist and Jains of the times.

 

The heart becomes PURE and GOOD (nan nenjsam) only because the soul is made TRANSPARENT to BEING, as Punitavati has declared above. This is the root of all that is humane - that which kills all the propensities for evil. It is not a value among values but rather placing oneself in an inner ecology whereby every impulse to do evil is NOT allowed to emerge.

 

To keep BEING as the only one who is loved belongs to the highest stage of spiritual life, the initial stages being the domestic life where love blooms even in the hardest soul but perhaps tinged with sexual desires.  A man or woman who cannot show love in domestic life cannot in fact rise up to the level where in place of earthly spouse we have BEING in some archetypal form.

 

The Gods are not only to be UNDERSTOOD in terms various kinds of INTERPRETIVE moves of the mind (prompted by the Play of BEING itself as we have seen above and will see also later) but also to be LOVED DEARLY and which is the essence of Bakti. Historically seen, this kind of LOVE based Bakti (which may be a recovery of its ancient roots) belongs to the evolution of Dravidian spirituality out  of the hermeneutic analysis of Existence and in which the Love based Domestic Life was seen as the basis even for sociopolitical aspect of it.

 

It is the analysis of domestic life into KaLaviyal (premarital love life) and KaRpiyal (post marital love life) that was continuous developed finally emerged as the Bakti where the spouses were supplanted by an archetypal form of BEING, Siva or Tirumaal. What we have here is then Divine Domestic Life and because of which there is also immense happiness and joy. BEING-as Siva as the deeply loved one also infuses the heart with joys just as the thoughts of the loved one in ordinary would.

 

10

츢ɢ ¡
츢ɢ - Ũ
áɡ Ч
â

(- . Ţ.)

, ɢ ( ¡) , - 񧼡

(ĸ)

Ƣ¢ ġ Ⱦ ý   ɢ§ , ġ Ǣ ɧ ¡ š ơ ɢɡ, . Ũɧ áɡ, ɡ  . š Ţ Ȣ , 󧾡 ! Ũ . š ɧ áɡ ɢ â¾ Ŧȡ ԧ? ¡ š.

10.

enakkiniya emmaanai iicanai yaan enRum
manakkiniya vaippaaka vaitteen - enakkavanaik
koNdeen piraanaakak koLvatumee inbuRReen
uNdee enakkariya thonRu

Meaning:

Because I loved BE*ING-as-Siva  so dearly from the day I began to speak, joy swells my heart each time I think of Him. And because of that I kept Him , the Highest of all the deities, the Ican as my beloved who brings joy and happiness always. And furthermore I also had Him as my Lord and behold! The moment I had Him thus, as dearest unto me, I felt that I had attained the rarest of the rare. There cannot be anything more wondrous than this !

Comments:

Here we see the transmutation of man-woman love into Divine Love where Bakti emerges as the relationship that holds between the human self and the Deity of choice , here Siva. There are other cases where it is KrishNa as in the case of Sri AndaL. And in the case of  Abirami Paddar, BEING emerges as the most enchanting Woman, the Abirami to captivate the masculine soul and keep it in divine thought but within feelings of Bakti , Divine Love.

What we have is the rebuttal  of the arid intellectual approach to metaphysics and the understanding of BEING that was dominant among the Buddhists and Jains of the time and which is continued to this day by the Advaitins.  BEING endears Himself not to those who analyze with razor-sharp  intellect  the various notions  into fine details and subtleties  but to those who LOVE Him dearly and in that cultivates the FEELINGS of LOVE and sympathy to all. Deep thrusts  that provide immensely satisfying INSIGHTS or metaphysical illuminations are NOT to be had through arid and dry and very egoistic logical chopping but through the cultivation of FEELINGS so that LOVE for the Divine comes to prevail there. BEING chooses to reside in such hearts and once HE is there then there will no end to joys and delights of the soul. For each time He is thought of, there will blossoms metaphysical illuminations so deep and profound  that there will exaltations after exaltations making the whole life  wonderfully joyous.

This is what Punitavati is experiencing and looking at the immense happiness she is enjoying now and the sense of fulfillment that she experiences in having her whole mind  for Siva that she loves so dearly, she is affirmative that she could not have had a life  more wondrous than this!
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