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Tiruvaasakam 13-1 š 13-1

 

 

 

It has been said, quite rightly, that there exists no Bakti literature more moving than Tiruvaasakam of Manikavasakar. His first hymn ‘Namaccivaaya vaazka’ is sung very widely by the Saivites throughout the world to this day attesting to its magnificence. As said by CivappirakasarVaLLalaar and many others,the lyrics of Tiruvaasakammelt the heart and let there flow genuine LOVE for humanity.Right from my youth I have beenreciting some selected hymns of Manikkavasakar and Namazvar both moving in their own way and challenging me immensely as to the meaning of the messages they tried to communicate. I knew they were saying something very profound and which forms the foundation of their Bakti, a Bakti that combines Njanaam, deep metaphysical wisdom.

 

 

I am beginning this series on the explicit request of W. Pillai of S. Africa and will translate with my own commentary the verses in13. Tirupuuvalliand 35. Accopattu as requested by him.Later I hope also to provide translations with commentary of SivapuraNam TiruvaNdap Pakutu and so forth

 

I am following here the original and English translations of T.N Ramachandran, published by International Institute of Tamil Studies , Chennai , 2001, venturing to give my ownwhen I feel it is necessary. The commentaries are my own.

 

Loga

 

 

 

 

Tiruvasakam, š

 

13. ĢThe Plucking ofthe Flowers of Divine Illuminations

 

1.

ħ ֧

Ш , 󦾡Ƣ

θ

Ҩ¡ Ģ ¡ !

 

:

 

ǡ Ţ иǡ ĸ á Ģ Ũ¢ Ż ֧, ظ Ż ø ¢, ɢ Ш ŧ Ũ Шǡ Ţ Ţ, . ɢ վ ¡ á ¡ Ш츢 ſá ɢ է째 Ҩ¡ ɢ Ţ Ũɧ Ҩ¡ǡɡ š â Ц Ż 츨 1

1.

iNai aar tiruvadi en talaimeel vaittalumee

tuNai aana cuRRaGkaL attnaiyum tuRantozinteen

aNai aar punal tillai ambalattee aadukinRa

puNaiyaaLan ciir paadi puuvallik koyyaamoo !

 

iNai aar tiruvadi : The divine twin feet of immense brilliance

en talaimeel vaittalaumee :Immediately when BEING places them on my head

tuNai aana cuRRaGkaL : all the worldly relationships of kith and kin

attanaiyum tuRantozinteen: I disengaged and lost forever

aNai aar punal tillai ambalattee adukinRa : the BEING who dances in the Tillai Ambalam where remain the Pool of His Grace wel embanked

puNaiyaaLan ciir paadi : holding ontoHim as the raft to swim across the sea of Samsara and singing the songs of His glories

puuvalli koyyaamoo: I keep on plucking the blossoms of deep metaphysical insights

 

Meaning:

 

BEING dances the cosmic dance using the Siva Tatvas Natam and Bindu as His two legs. And when He places them in my head where metaphysical thinking develops, on account of Sivanjanam that now begins to glow, I gain BEING Himself as my existential Ground and in that let go spontaneously the circles of friends and relativesof worldly ties that had served me as my anchor till then. I also accessed the Primordial Ground of Tillai Ambalam where BEING as the Siva Nadarajah enacts the everlasting Cosmic Dance with His Woman and merged in the pool of His Grace kept there well with many embankments. Holding His company as my raft to cross the world of Samsara, I sing the glories of BEING and roaming thus pluck the flowers of Deep Metaphysical illuminations that become now available.

 

Comments:

 

The ordinary existence conditioned by various kinds passions holds within itself the Pure World of Metaphysical Existence, the Tillai Ambalam where BEING dances the Cosmic dance which is simultaneously the Dance of Bliss and with His consort Sakti. We in the course of our metaphysical excursions cannot see His Whole Form but only His Divine Feet meaning only the various movements of His Play. It is through the Play or Dance that BEING that we intuit the presence of BEING and seek to be ONE-WITH Him.

 

But this requires that we severe all the ties with phenomenal world and enter the noumenal, discard the ordinary religions and enjoy the Pure Religion where the only tie we know is the LOVE for BEING. But this is NOT possible purely by our own human efforts. Though we can try but as a matter of fact it belongs to the Grace of BEING, only ifHe wills it,we can enjoy it. Manikkavasakar enjoyed this and puts it metaphorically as BEING placing His Divine Feet on his head which is dream theme with the meaning that the THINKING becomes transmuted into that of contemplating on Sivanjaanam.

 

Once Sivanjanam, like day-break begins to glow, in small measures at first but more splendidly as time goes on, the worldly ties drop off spontaneously NOT as irreal but as no more MEANINGFUL. The burst of the light of Sivanjanam changes the notion of MEANING itself by making Being-with-BEING as the only meaning for existence. In the light of this new meaning, what remained meaningful and important earlier just simply vanish into backgroundreal butnow unimportant and quite irrelevant.

This is Pure Existence, living in Pure Religion, a religion that knows only LOVE for BEING and nothing else. Ecologically this Pure Life is life in Tiru Tillai, the expanse (Ambalam) where BEING executes the Cosmic Dance with His Woman. As the anma lives a life within such an ecology, always praising the glories of BEING, more and more metaphysical illuminations come to be enjoyed by the anma and which is put here in terms of the metaphor of plucking of flowers.

 

Tiruvasakam, š

 

13. ĢThe Plucking ofthe Flowers of Divine Illuminations

 

2

 

ġ ۨ

, á

վ

Ţ Ģ ¡

 

:

 

ĸ š쨸¢ ǡ츢 , ɡ š Ӹ š쨸¢ ġ Ż ¢ Ы 츢, 째 ǡ Φ á . š â š â ̼ 츢 Ȣ Ȣ áŢ Ż Ģ š š.

 

2.

entai em taay cuRRam maRRum ellaam ennudaiya

pantam aRuttu, ennai aaNdu koNda paaNdipiraan

anta idaimarutil aanantat teen irunta

pontaip paravi naam puvalli koyyaamoo?

 

Meaning:

 

I am caught up in a network of social relationships where I see someone as my father, as my mother, as my relatives and friends and so forth. BEING, as the Lord of PaNdi Nadu, through illuminating me withSivanjanam singed to ashes all these social ties and thus making me PURE, emerged from within and made me a subject only to his dictates. This happened in the place of Idaimarutu where resides BEING as the cauldron of the Honey of Bliss and let us sing the glories of this and in that also pluck the flowers of deep metaphysical illuminations.

 

Comments:

 

The ordinary existence, that in which an anma lives as an embodied entity, is full of network of blood ties, collectivity memberships and comradeships. The birth as a biological entity brings along with it someone as father and another as mother and others as brothers sisters and so forth. Such blood ties and their extensions provide a nexus of relationships in which a person remains enmeshed most of thetime and unable to live happily without them for fear of loneliness that would ensue if one isolates oneself from them. However in being enmeshed in such a network, the truth of BEING and the possible new kinds of ties with BEING remain concealed or hidden. Perhaps there is only a vague awareness an intuitive feeling along with doubts and uncertainties which are not sufficient to forge new ties.

 

However as BEING slowly discloses Himself from within to the measure and manner a person can comprehend, there comesa point when it DAWNS like daybreak, the Absolute Illumination, the Sivanjanam and along with it the REAL PRESENCE of BEING within as well as without. A new metaphysical world is ACCESSED and pulled by an irresistible attraction into it, the person moves in and in that lets go and burns to ashes the network of earthly relationships in which he was enmeshed. The newfound resplendent presence of BEING and the possibilities to forge a new network of metaphysical relationships with BEING liberates the person from the limitations imposed by the biological constitution.

 

Existence takes a new turn, a metaphysical turn and because of the Inner Purity within which is made possible and further sustained, it also becomes a life of immense bliss, that of tasting Civanantam, the Honey of Supreme Sweetness.

Manikkavasakar is not a sastra addict who pours over endlessly on the sastras of the past and tastes only in a secondary manner this Civanantam.BEING blessed him with a direct experience of this in a place called Idaimarutu, and so moving in its impact and transforming effect that Manikkavasakar cherishes the memory of that momentous event and singing continuously the bliss of that moment, also plucks the flowers of NEW metaphysical illuminations that blossom as he persists in this.

 

Tiruvasakam, š

 

13. ĢThe Plucking ofthe Flowers of Divine Illuminations

 

3

¢

¢ â ¡

, ; Ţ¢

š¢ Ģ ¡

 

:

 

Ӿ Ƣ ɡ ¢ ɡ , š 측 â ¢á , 󨾸 Ţ ¡ .򧾡 ¡ Ż Ǣ Ы 츢 ȡ. ¡ ǡ Ǣ ġ 츢, ¡츢, ¢ ǡ Ģ š !

 

3.

 

naayin kadaippadda nammaiyum oru porutpaduttu

taayin peritum tayaa udaiya tam perumaan

maayap piRappu aRuttu aaNdaan; en val vinaiyin

vaayil podi addi puuvalli koyyaamoo

 

Meaning:

 

Even though the society has pushed me aside and depressing me socially and thereby has made me one like stray dog, BEING has not done that and bestows upon me the same care and concern as for all others and all because of LOVE that exceeds even that shown by a mother towards her children. Having severed all my ties to the physical with letting there be flashes of Sivanjanam, He also has become my inner Ruler. Now let us singe to ashes the bondage of Karma that is instrumental for the painful and endless existential repetition andpluck the flowers of deep metaphysical illuminations in that process.

 

Comments:

 

BEING does NOT discriminate and create caste hierarchical relationships among people wherein some are cast as untouchables and as such deserving none of the rights of dignified social life. All this only because in the heart of such people there is NO LOVE and religion is understood only as the practice of empty rituals and that too rather mechanically. They behave like mindless machines with their actions ruled by srutis smrities and such other sastras. They are addicts to sastras and sampradayas and as thus unable to PRACTICE LOVE unto all that is the mark of those who are in direct communion with BEING.

 

Manikkavasakar as one who is Pure and Free puts himself in the position of such an touchable and notes that even though the cruel society may ostracize and deprive him of all human rights, BEING who is LOVE Itself, does not discard him like these people but rather CARES for him with a LOVE that exceeds even that a mother shows towards her children. Despite being humiliated thus by society, he does wither away in utter humiliation and all because of the LOVE BEING has towards Him.

BEING hates nobody including the sinner and patiently awaits even such individuals for him or her to repent and reform.

But how is this possible?

 

Only through gaining Sivanjanam that allows at first the severance from the slavery to the physical and later to the Karma that binds the anma to endless existential repletion.

 

The possibility of gaining the aruL of BEING and enjoying Sivanjanam is NOT denied to anybody by BEING. All have as their birth right njanasamattuvam, the equality to access and enjoy Sivanjanam and thereby enjoy also Mukti.

 

Tiruvasakam, š

 

13. Ģ The Plucking ofthe Flowers of Divine Illuminations

 

4.

è š

, ,

Ţ ţá

š Ģ ¡!

 

:

 

ĸ 𨸸 ġ Ŧġ š տ ŧ ɢ úɡ úŨ š, ڦǡ ɡ ǡ ¡ â Ţ Ŧɢ š ţ Ţ š ţ Żɦǡ Ģ š!

 

4.

 

paNpadda tillaip patikku arasaip paravaatee

eNpadda takkan arukkan eccan intu anal

viNpadda puutappadai viirpattiraraal

puNpaddavaa paadi puuvallik koyyaamoo!

 

Meaning:

 

Instead of being devoted only to Siva the Lord of Tillai, the Ground of Final redemption, so many people in the world worship the false and minor deities of Takkan, Sun and the Moon, the God of death and basic elements of Fire and so forth. Well let us remember the wounds inflicted on these minor deities by Siva who assumed the Destructive Form of Virabadra and singing these valiant exploits pluck Puuvalli, the flowers of deep metaphysical illuminations

 

Comments:

 

A singled minded devotion to Siva, as the Lord of Tillai is the REAL meaning of metaphysical life. What is desired at this point are NOT worldly riches, good health mundane happiness and so forth but rather Absolute Liberation or the Final Redemption which is actually getting into Tillai and hence escaping from existential repetition, being born again and again endlessly. But this kind of desire for Mukti is rare and comes only with higher kind of culture.

The impatient mind of people meanwhile worships the numerous little gods and in that forget the worship of Siva with a single-minded devotion it rightly deserves. The littler minds worship Takkan the Sun and Moon, the God of Death the Panca Putaas and so forth thinking that they are greater than Siva and so forth. The high religious practice, devotion only to the Lord of Tillai gets diluted into worshipping so many minor deities and all because the mind refuses to lift itself up to a higher culture, higher tastes and worship.

 

But BEING as Siva does not leave people to this fallen state. Assuming the form of ViraBadra, he creates painful dramas in the life of such people and where it is also shown that such lower powersare wounded, defeated and made o assume a subordinate place.

 

Those desirous of Sivanjanam, the Absolute Illumination should never forget this, cautions Manikkavasakar so that the mind is kept steadily and resolutely in attaining nothing else but Sivanjanam.

Tiruvasakam, š

 

13. ĢThe Plucking ofthe Flowers of Divine Illuminations

 

5.

 

Ŧ

; ĸ

, ¢

š 째 Ģ ¡

 

:

 

ġ§ɡ š Һ ǧ Ţ Ţâ á Ŧ . , ¢ɢ ŢŢ, , ĸ ʿ ո Ţ츢ȡ. ž¢ š Ŧ, ĸ š šɡ Ŧɧ ġ 즸  Ģ š!

 

5.

 

teen aadu konRai sadaikku aNinta civaperumaan

uun naadi naadi vantu udpukuntaan; ulkar munnee

naan aadi aadi ninRu, oolam ida nadam payilum

vaan naadar koovukkee puuvalli koyyaamoo!

 

Meaning:

 

BEING as Siva wears on His long and flowing hair the KonRai flowers that ooze the honey of Civanantam, the Divine Bliss Supreme. And as I live as the physical self and hence ignorant of this possibility, He enter my fleshy body on His own accord and plays various games there so that in my worldly life among the people there comes to prevail various miseries that make me cry out with unbearable pains. But since it is all for the good and for enabling us to enjoy the Civanantam, bearing all these pains let us pluck the flowers of Puvalli to worship this BEING who is also the Lord of the Mantra world.

 

Comments:

 

The self is engulfed with what is called Maaya Malam, that which disposes the self identify itself with the physical body thinking it is in fact the Physical Self, the Putaanmaa. This disposition introduces a metaphysical blindness, a darkness where the self is unable to see other possibilities it has for being happy especially that of enjoying the Divine Bliss of Civanantam symbolized by the KonRai flowers that BEING as Siva wears on his long and flowing hair, the Keesam or Sadai and because of which He is called Keesi or Sadaiyan.

 

BEING knowing this imprisonment of the anmas within the physical enters the physical realms itself in various mantra forms and enacts various plays in the phenomenal world so that there are PAINS that make the self cry out and seek liberation from that world. The existential miseries force the self to liberate itself from the physical and enter the metaphysical or mantra realms and where resides the possibilities of enjoying the immensely blissful Civanantam.

 

Understanding the real meaning of existential miseries in this way, Manikkavasakar implores that bearing all such pains,we should seek out the flowers of Metaphysical illuminations and offering them worship Siva thinking of His kindness even here.

 

Tiruvasakam, š

 

13. ĢThe Plucking ofthe Flowers of Divine Illuminations

 

6.

 

â Ǣ

, âǢ

â ۧ

âš Ģ ¡!

 

:

 

ͼ ŢȢ 째 Ө¢ ﻡ ը â Ż Ǣ ɢ ġ ú ɢ ȢŨ Ǣ á. ɡ šȡ ȡ â Ż ﻡ â ġЧ츢 Ż Ǣ׸ǡ Ģ š!

 

6.

 

eri muunRu teevarkku irangki aruL ceytaruLi

ciram munRu aRa tan tiruppuruvam nerittaruLi

uru muunRum aaki uNarvu aritu aam oruvanumee

puram muunRu arittavaa puuvalli koyyaamoo!

 

Meaning:

 

Taking pity of the three Great Gods Brahma Tirumaal and Rudra who in their own forms of fire destroy the darkness of ignorance, BEING-as-Paraciva, disclosed Civanjnanam through opening the eyes on the brows and thereby led them to cut off their own ignorant heads and witness the Paraciva who is ABOVE them. Thus becoming these three great gods BEING discloses Himself as the rarest rare consciousness where it is known that it is He who becomes the three and all. This also involves the destruction of the castles of Ignorance, those of aaNavam Kanmam and Maayai and singing the praises of this BEING let us pluck the flowers of the metaphysical illuminations!

 

Comments:

 

Whether the little gods or the Great Gods Brahma VishNu or Rudra, all are equally the presentational forms of BEING where BEING-as-Paraciva stands as the Deepest Structure within all. He presents Himself thus but all equally Light of Metaphysical illuminations, to destroy the Darkness of Ignorance within the mind of creatures each archetypal form shedding light in its own limited way. The ignorance is understood metaphorically here as the THREE CASTLES, the Muppuram where each castle is ascribed the three primordial sources of Blindness - aaNavam Kanmam and Maayai.

 

When BEING purely out of kindness destroys these castles, the three great gods are also beheaded and freed of their limitedness and because of which they also begin to witness the presence of the Third Eye, the eye of Sivanjanam, the absolute understanding and hence also the presence of BEING deep within. Thus it turns out that BEING is ONE only and that all these archetypal forms are assumed by Him to enact the AS-IF Plays so that the creatures are slowly freed of their blindness that throws them into the painful Ignorance.

 

Only with this realization and contemplation on it that it becomes possible to pluck the flowers of deep metaphysical illuminations and Manikkavasakar beseeches us to do just that.

 

Tiruvasakam, š

 

13. ĢThe Plucking ofthe Flowers of Divine Illuminations

 

7.

Ž š, š š

¡ ,  

θ 

̽ Ģ ¡

 

:

 

즸Ƣ á տ â š Ǣ ʸ Ž 츢Ȧ , š ը š , ɢ¡ 츢 Ӹ š Ũ ¡ Ǣǡ .Ŧġ š쨸¢ ¡ Ÿǡ Ƹ ¡ á ը ơ ̽ Ƣ ġ ̽ Ũ ¨Ħġ Ż Ǣ׸ǡ Ģ š šã!

 

7.

 

vaNaGka talai vaittu vaarkazal, vaay vaaztta vaittu

iNaGka tanciir adiyaar kuuddamum vaittu, em perumaan

aNaGkoodu aNi Tillai ampalattee aadukinRa

kuNam kuura paadi naam puuvalli koyyaamoo!

 

Meaning:

 

BEING with His consort plays the AS-IF games with all the celestial beings in the vast expanse of Tillai, the Pure and Beautiful Abode of all and as the result of which it transpires that the head is only for worshipping the Dancing Feet with glittering anklets and the mouth is only for singing His praises. In addition to these there comes to be a community of humble baktas united as a community for singing the glories of BEING.Let us all sing His munificence so that the evil in us is destroyed and good in us develops and pluck the flowers of metaphysical illuminations to make them become true.

 

Comments:

 

A number of interesting aspects of metaphysical life are enunciated here. First of all this body serves initially the attainment of various worldly intentions by serving as the instruments for effecting various kinds of actions. The body in fact is a collection organs and mantra-complexes (softwares) to activate them and to divert the Divine Praxis already there as the Panca Kritiyas for one’s own purposes. These are the self-willed actions which in turn elicit karma complexes that throw the anma into continued historical existence. However BEING plays various AF-IF plays so that eventually the self loses its will to the WILL of BEING and at which point the Ego is destroyed and anma begins to enjoy the Civattuvam, the SAMENESS as BEING that is of immense Bliss. Subsequent to that it begins to dawn that the whole body is only for divine service, the head to bow down humbly before the Dancing Feet and the mouth only for singing the glories of BEING.

 

This GAME that individualizes an anma and make it enjoy the Pure Religion, all by itself now andin direct communion with BEING does NOT leave such an individualisolated. For such individuals recognize each other and in total and implicit sameness of understanding constitute a community of their own where there exist no combative dialogues with arguments debates philosophical disputes and so forth but only the desire to SING the praises of BEING. Such are Adiyars and who have transported themselves to a Metaphysical Ground of NO disputes but only that of SINGING HYMNS in praise of BEING.

The singing of hymns as opposed to philosophical disputations is a Sadhana that would endear the anma to BEING and bring them CLOSER to Him for the hymns do not develop the Ego but rather kills it by melting the heart and make it shine forth in LOVE.

 

Tiruvasakam, š

 

13. ĢThe Plucking ofthe Flowers of Divine Illuminations

 

8.

 

Ȣ Ǣ ¡ 째

Ȣ Ц, á ̽ Ţ

Ȣ Ţɨ

Ȣ š Ģ ¡ !

 

:

 

Ȣ¢ ý ¡ ƢǢ , 񧽡 񽡸 զȢ¡ Ȣ Ȣ Ũ Ǣ, ɢ áŢ ¡Ǣ ɡ Ţ Ǣ, ¦ġ ʧ Ȣ šʱ ȡ á. ̽ Ȣ Ҹ, š ġ Ǣ ŢŢ Ţ Ţɨ 츢 Ƣ š! š! š Ż Ǣ׸ǡ Ģ š šã!

 

8

 

neRi ceytaruLi tan ciir adiyaar pon adikkee

kuRi ceytukoNdu, ennai aaNda piraan kuNam paravi

muRi ceytu wammai muzutu uzaRRum paza vinaiyaik

kiRi ceytavaa paadi puuvalli koyyaamoo !

 

Meaning:

 

I am, because infected with the unfabricated Mummalam primordially, capable of going the wrong ways in my life. But BEING standing the eyes of my eyes guides me forever in the direction of TiruneRi, the Right Way so that I am drawn to becoming a humble devotee of BEING and belong to the community of such genuinely pious individuals. Singing the KINDNESS of BEING who thus rules all of us, let us praise Him as the only One who is capable of destroying the ancient Karma-chain that pervading the whole of our Being-in-the-World creates so many miseries in life and pluck the flowers of metaphysical illuminations!

 

Comments:

 

It is a well-established TRUTH and which is never forgotten by all the Sivanjanies that there is already the WAY, thePURE RELIGION for all of us to understand and live by. It is the WAY that makes one Egoless and humble and who with the understanding that one is NOTHING if not for the Grace of BEING, knows nothing except sing the glories of BEING by way of expressing his gratitude. The genuinely religious are NOT despots who would like to carve out a kingdom of disciple of his own and becoming a GOD in himself unto such people.Such messianic tendencies or even seeking to become the Jagadguru and so forth is entirely inconsistent with true religiosity, which consists in being forever thankful and humble for the kindness BEING shows towards the creatures endowing them with whatever they enjoy as their own.

 

Even here BEING does not discard such errant individuals. Standing as the EYE of the eyes, He forever draws their attention to the WAY, the TiruneRi, the WAY that leads them to enjoy being in the direct presence of BEING Himself, put here metaphorically as reaching the Golden Feet (pon adi) meaning the vision of the Cosmic Dance that generates Bliss Supreme. But this is possible only when the anma becomes PURE, free of the Mummalam, the aaNavam Kanmam and Maayai. Here Manikkavasakar isolates Karma, and noting that it is that which throws the anmas into existential repetition and hence all the pains and miseries of worldly life, seeks to be freeof it by noting that it is only through the Grace of BEING that even this can be accomplished.

 

Tiruvasakam, š

 

13. ĢThe Plucking of the Flowers of Divine Illuminations

 

9.

 

Ţ ,

â¡, Ƣ

â Φ;

š Ģ ¡!

 

:

 

øý Ţ¡ Ƣ¡ 쨸 , Ģ âЧ š± â Ħġ 츢 츢 Ƣġ 째 Φ ý ɢ ʸ ¡ ġ Ȣš ɢ , ¡ Ũ Ţ § š쨸 Ţ. § 󾾡 ͼ, Ȣ Ǣ š Ż ǡ Ģ š šã!

 

9.

 

pal naaL paravip paNi ceyya, paata malar

en aakam tuna vaitta periyoon, ezil kuur aay

kal naar urittu ennai aaNdukoNdaan; kazal iNaikaL

pon aar aanvaa paadi puuvalli koyyaamoo!

 

Meaning:

 

BEIING as the Destroyer-Generator, like exacting a creeper from the hard and unyielding stones, exacted from within me the pure self, peeling off the crusts of self infected with the Mummalam through various kinds of Plays that are simultaneously diksas. Thus making me a self more beautiful than before, implanted His divine Feet permanently within my self so that experiencing became only that of experiencing supreme Bliss.My whole life alsobecame of one praising His glories and serving Him and nobody else. Praising this Divine Feet that are full of gold of supreme bliss and singing, let us pluck the flowers of deep metaphysical illuminations.

 

Comments:

 

There are many metaphorical expressions the meanings of which must be wrested out to appreciate what Manikkavasakar is trying to communicate. The ordinary self is compared to a stone because it is hard-hearted and without the feelings of LOVE and KINDNESS for the fellow creatures. What makes it so are the dirt, the Mummalam, aaNavam Kanmam and Maayai, that which pollute the soul and make it beastly and without any beauty of the humanistic elements. BEING, out of Grace, plays various kinds of Games which serve as Diksa, acts of purification that peels offthe hard layers and frees the true self, kind and loving unto all and hence beautiful.

 

Furthermore this inner purity can be sustained only if BEING is present inalienably with the soul for then just like there will not darkness at the presence of light, there will notbe again the Mummalam infecting and polluting the soul . Manikkivasakar experienced this state of being over-powered by BEINGand because of which he was able to enjoy the state of being FREE of the dirt and PURE because of that. This state also being a state of only the blissful is experienced, the only thing that is left to be done is to sing the glories of BEING and do whatever that can be done within this mode of living, the most blissful earthly existence.

 

To sustain the non-absenting presence of BEING within one, is one of the final Sadhanas of genuine religious existence and where further metaphysical illuminations are there to be enjoyed and this is what Manikkavsakar is beseeching all of us to do.

  

Tiruvasakam, š

 

13. ĢThe Plucking of the Flowers of Divine Illuminations

 

10.

 

, Ш¡

ħ á

墨 Ģ

Ģ ¡ !

 

:

 

ý ŢξȢ Ţ ¡ Ţ򾢸ǡ Ǣ á¡ â , Ũ¢ Ż ǢŢ ʨ ú Ǣ á, Ш¡ɡ ǡ. ĸ š ¢Ǣ Ƣ , ﺢ, ġ ﺢ ,   տĸ 츢 Ģ . š ŧ ¡ âǡ Ƣ 즸 ű Ҹ , Ż Ǣ׸ǡ Ģ š šã!

 

10.

 

peer aasai aam intap piNdam aRa, peruntuRaiyaan

ciir aar tiruvadi en talaimeel vaitta piraan

kaar aar kadal nanjcai uNdu ukanta kaapaali

poor aar puram paadi puuvalli koyyaamoo!

 

Meaning:

 

My essential and natural desire for Moksa remains twisted into excessive desires for the physical such as my bodily frame. But BEING who placed His Divine Feet on my head by way of gracing me with Sivanjaanam that would liberate me from such desires also shows Himself as He who dwells in this TirupperuntuRai. This BEING is also the Kapaali, He who wears the garland of skulls to show that He is the only ONE who can swallow the potent poison that was churned in the Dark Ocean of Life and keep it within His Blue Throat. Let us praise and sing His glories and pluck the flowers of deep metaphysical illuminations living thus!

 

Comments:

 

Unless we interpret the mythical and metaphorical allusions here along the lines of Hermeneutic Semiotics, we are bound to misunderstand Manikkavasakar here. BEING is also the TERRIBLE, the Kaalaakni Rudra, the Kapaali who wears a garland of skulls and so forth. For the immature mind this form of Siva and also KoRRavai, Durga, Narasimha and so forth, the so-called terrible and fear-striking forms, may strike as entirely inconsistent with LOVE as His essence. But Saivism also understands the presence of Black Holes, the aaNavam Malam, that which kills mercilessly and which permeates the whole universes. When the Devas and Asuras churned the Ocean of Milk, in the end there emerged the aalakaala visham, the poison, the aaNavam Malam itself that the ordinary gods knew not how to control and regulate. For this poison is that which brings about the DEATH of everything and only the Power that has within it the capacity to REGENERATE the universe, can in fact also control this mighty poison of the whole universe. BEING-as-Siva, where “si’ means “make something be-there” is understood as this Power which is also the Ultimate Power.

 

This Ultimate Power is understood as Kapaali just to indicate that it is BEING-as-Siva who can grant a life beyond DEATH and hence beyond being born again and again.

 

Placing His Feet on the Head is also a metaphor, a dream theme whereby it is indicated that BEING graces the anma with Civanjanam, the Absolute Illumination, that only which can liberate the anma from the worldly desires and greed that throw the soul into endless existential repetition. What redeems and confers Mukti is Sivanjanam and this unlike all other forms of understanding is something peculiar - one can enjoy it only if BEING wills it.

 


G.U Pope and Tiruvaasakam

 

 

Dear Friends

 

It has been said, quite rightly, that there exists no Bakti literature more moving than Tiruvaasakam of Manikavasakar. His first hymn ‘Namaccivaaya vaazka’ is sung very widely by the Saivites throughout the world to this day attesting to its magnificence. As said by CivappirakasarVaLLalaar and many others, the lyrics of Tiruvaasakam melt the heart and let there flow genuine LOVE for humanity. Right from my youth I have been reciting some selected hymns of Manikkavasakar and Namazvar both moving in their own way and challenging me immensely as to the meaning of the messages they tried to communicate. I knew they were saying something very profound and which forms the foundation of their Bakti, a Bakti that combines Njanaam, deep metaphysical wisdom.

 

Below are the words of G.U. Pope, a Christian missionary who turned out to be a great admirer of the Bakti in Tamil literature. This is taken from the preface who wrote to the English translation of Tiruvasagam published in 1900 in Oxford at the Clarendon Press.

 

Below I also give the first verse from Tuiruppuuvalli with English translations and comments.

 

Loga

 

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 Rev. G.U. Pope M.A D.D

 

PREFACE,

 

Fr has been repeatedly asked, ‘Of what possible use can the republication, translation, and editing of books like the Tiruvacagam be? and, ‘Who can be expected to desire to make themselves acquainted with such works?’ This consideration has delayed the publication for some time; and it is not at all to be anticipated that the circulation of the book, at least in Europe, will, for some time to come, be encouraging. Still, this is a work that ought to be done! If the Tamil people and the English are ever in any degree to understand one another, and to appreciate each other’s thoughts and feelings regarding the highest matters; if any progress is to be made in the development of a real science of Hinduism, as it now is, our English people must have the means of obtaining some insight into the living system which exercises at the present day such a marvellous power over the minds of the great majority of the best Tamil people.

 

For, under some form or other, Caivism is the real religion of the South of India, and of North Ceylon; and the Caiva Siddhanta philosophy has, and deserves to have, far more influence than any other. The fifty-one poems which are here edited, translated, and annotated, are recited daily in all the great Caiva temples of South India, are on every one’s lips, and are as dear to the hearts of vast multitudes of excellent people there, as the Psalms of David are to Jews and Christians.

 

 

The sacred mystic poetry of a people reveals their character and aspirations more truly than even their secular legends and ballads; for sacred hymns are continually sung by the devout of all ages, and both sexes; and all classes of the community are saturated with their influence. The attentive consideration of the system here developed must lead to a sympathetic appreciation of what the hopes, fears, aspirations, and yearnings of the devoutest Hindu minds in the South are, and have been from time immemorial. I have occasionally ventured in notes to go beyond the province of editor and translator, and have criticized many things here and there; yet I feel quite sure that my kind and candid friends in South India will be in no danger of misunderstanding the spirit in which I have written. These are times when in regard to all religious systems thorough rational investigation, searching historical criticism, and a careful candid consideration of the meaning of the symbols by which doctrines are supposed to be expressed, are quite necessary everywhere. The result of this searching, yet reverent, analysis has been and is ever more and more of the utmost value in the West. Whatever is TRUE will bear the test of the severest scrutiny, though men may feel obliged from time to time to modify the expressions of their belief, and to readjust their most cherished formulas. There is an evolution of religion. Meanwhile, TRUE DIVINE FAITH lives on, and grows more vigorously for the conflicts in which it is ever, of necessity, engaged.

 

It is much to be desired that our friends in South India should recognize this, and consent to enter upon a thorough scientific investigation of the historical foundations of their popular beliefs, the precise import of symbolical expressions, and the practical bearing of every portion of their wonderful ‘Siddhantam.’

 

In matters of religion the greatest hindrance, and the most truly irreligious thing is the spirit of ignorant, unreasoning, unsympathetic antagonism. Every system has its truths and profounder thoughts; and these lie deeper than ‘full fathoms five’ in man’s nature; and must be fundamentally and essentially in large measure the same for all men, and for all time. It is only by recognizing these common truths, and making them the basis of inquiry, as to further alleged Divine communications, that it is possible to gain a true religious development.

 

Very many things celebrated in these remarkable poems are doubtless without even the shadow of historic foundation, but it is yet possible to feel a lively interest in some, at least, of them as poetic fancies. What seems graceful and touching to one people often excites laughter, or scorn, or even detestation, among others. So, in regard to symbols, it is quite certain that many expressions, figures of speech, and allegories, very dear to peoples in the West, have no significance whatever to those of the East. And very, very much that seems to Oriental minds edifying, is repellent to those of the West. Still, I think the time has really come when thoughtful and candid People may lo much to remove the hindrances, that undoubtedly exist, to the closer union of the convictions and sentiments of devout men in East and West. I may add that nothing can be further from my purpose in this work, and more utterly distasteful to me, than theological controversy; and if in this work any one word of mine should give pain to any of my valued Tamil friends, I ask forgiveness in advance.

 

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1.

iNai aar tiruvadi en talaimeel vaittalumee

tuNai aana cuRRaGkaL attnaiyum tuRantozinteen

aNai aar punal tillai ambalattee aadukinRa

puNaiyaaLan ciir paadi puuvallik koyyaamoo !

 

iNai aar tiruvadi : The divine twin feet of immense brilliance

 

en talaimeel vaittalaumee :Immediately when BEING places them on my head

 

tuNai aana cuRRaGkaL : all the worldly relationships of kith and kin

 

attanaiyum tuRantozinteen: I disengaged and lost forever

 

aNai aar punal tillai ambalattee adukinRa : the BEING who dances in the Tillai Ambalam where remain the Pool of His Grace wel embanked

 

puNaiyaaLan ciir paadi : holding ontoHim as the raft to swim across the sea of Samsara and singing the songs of His glories

 

puuvalli koyyaamoo: I keep on plucking the blossoms of deep metaphysical insights

 

Meaning:

 

BEING dances the cosmic dance using the Siva Tatvas Natam and Bindu as His two legs. And when He places them in my head where metaphysical thinking develops, on account of Sivanjanam that now begins to glow, I gain BEING Himself as my existential Ground and in that let go spontaneously the circles of friends and relativesof worldly ties that had served me as my anchor till then. I also accessed the Primordial Ground of Tillai Ambalam where BEING as the Siva Nadarajah enacts the everlasting Cosmic Dance with His Woman and merged in the pool of His Grace kept there well with many embankments. Holding His company as my raft to cross the world of Samsara, I sing the glories of BEING and roaming thus pluck the flowers of Deep Metaphysical illuminations that become now available.

 

Comments:

 

The ordinary existence conditioned by various kinds passions holds within itself the Pure World of Metaphysical Existence, the Tillai Ambalam where BEING dances the Cosmic dance which is simultaneously the Dance of Bliss and with His consort Sakti. We in the course of our metaphysical excursions cannot see His Whole Form but only His Divine Feet meaning only the various movements of His Play. It is through the Play or Dance that BEING that we intuit the presence of BEING and seek to be ONE-WITH Him.

 

But this requires that we severe all the ties with phenomenal world and enter the noumenal, discard the ordinary religions and enjoy the Pure Religion where the only tie we know is the LOVE for BEING. But this is NOT possible purely by our own human efforts. Though we can try but as a matter of fact it belongs to the Grace of BEING, only if He wills it, we can enjoy it. Manikkavasakar enjoyed this and puts it metaphorically as BEING placing His Divine Feet on his head which is dream theme with the meaning that the THINKING becomes transmuted into that of contemplating on Sivanjaanam.

 

Once Sivanjanam, like day-break begins to glow, in small measures at first but more splendidly as time goes on, the worldly ties drop off spontaneously NOT as irreal but as no more MEANINGFUL. The burst of the light of Sivanjanam changes the notion of MEANING itself by making Being-with-BEING as the only meaning for existence. In the light of this new meaning, what remained meaningful and important earlier just simply vanish into background real but now unimportant and quite irrelevant.

 

This is Pure Existence, living in Pure Religion, a religion that knows only LOVE for BEING and nothing else. Ecologically this Pure Life is life in Tiru Tillai, the expanse (Ambalam) where BEING executes the Cosmic Dance with His Woman. As the anma lives a life within such an ecology, always praising the glories of BEING, more and more metaphysical illuminations come to be enjoyed by the anma and which is put here in terms of the metaphor of plucking of flowers.

 

 

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