Siddha Agastya Maharishi
Siddha refers to perfected masters who have achieved a high degree of physical as well as spiritual perfection or enlightenment. We look at various Siddhas who have graced upon this earth with their Presence — their life and the wisdom they shared in the form of poems, couplets that are referred to as Siddhar Padalgal. To begin with, we are looking at Siddhas from the tradition of “Pathinen Siddhargal”. In the previous issues, we saw about Kudhambai Siddhar, Pambatti Siddhar, Idaikkaattu Siddhar, Sattaimuni Siddhar, Sundaraanandar Siddhar, Karuvoorar Siddhar, Goraknatha Siddhar, Matsyendranatha Siddhar, Ramadevar Siddhar, Dhanvantari Siddhar, Patanjali Siddhar, Siddha Thirumoolar, Siddha Konganar, Siddha Vanmikar, Kamalamuni Siddhar and Siddha Boganathar. In the Guru Poornima special edition of series we were blessed to also write about the great Siddha Avvai.We also saw how the Siddhargal poetry is presented in Sandhya Bhasha. In this article, we will see the glory of Siddhar Agasthiyar.
Maha Rishi Agasthya Munivar is hailed as the first of Siddhas. It is such a blessing that we delve into Siddha Agasthya Muni’s charithiram. Many references to Siddha Agasthya Muni can be found in the Puranas where it is extolled that Maharshi Agastya and Maharshi Vashishta are born from Mitra and Varuna, allured by Apsara Urvashi. The seeds having been put in a pot, Sage Agasthya Muni was born out a pot and was known as Kumbhamuni.
Agasthya Muni is also revered as one of the Sapta-Rishis. Many stories from the puranas capture the astounding siddhis of Agasthya Muni. Once when the Asuras hid themselves in the oceans and the Devas requested Agasthya Muni’s help and the great Siddha drank the oceans completely. In another episode from the puranas, Lord Shiva asks Agasthya Muni to head south and balance the world as the north was filled with everyone coming to witness the marriage of Shiva Peruman and Devi Parvati. It so happens that this phenomenal marriage occurs during a Panguni Uttram, the very astronomical event that marks the release day of this edition too!
Agasthya Muni also appears in the Ithihasas Ramayana and Mahabharatha. In Ramayana, Lord Rama describes Agasthya Muni as the great who made the Vindhya Mountains bow down. In the Mahabharatha, Agasthya Muni’s phenomenal prowess are described in the Vana Parva. You could listen to the entire narration by Shriman Adinarayanan, Founder of Anaadi Foundation at http://www.anaadifoundation.org/moodle/
Siddha Agasthya Muni was carrying a water-pot, Kamandala, in which he was carrying Maa Ganga’s waters for his everyday Shiva Pooja. It was Lord Ganesha’s leela that He takes the form of a crow and knocks the Kamandala leading to the birth of Maa Kaveri in the south. Travelling south, Agasthya Muni reached Podhigai Hills and established the glorious Siddha tradition in the south and led the first Tamil Sangam. Skanda Guru Kavacham hails “அகத்தியருக்குத் தந்து ஆட்கொண்டாய் தமிழகத்தை”. The great Tamil tradition owes it all to Siddha Agathya Muni, for it is his blessings that the devout Tamil life is such a fertile fountain of Shiva Kudumbam’s Grace! Siddha Agasthya Muni has initiated the glorious Siddha tradition and blessed us with great medical sciences, material sciences, martial arts, yoga, language and many more gifts.
In this edition, we shall see a few gems from the mystical works blessed by Agasthya Siddhar. In this very first verse of Bhrama Jnanam, Siddha Agasthya Muni reveals the yogic vision of Shakthi and Shiva!
முக்கோண வீட்டிதழின் முனையைப்பற்றிப்
பாலமெனு மயிர்ப்பாலந் தன்னைத் தாண்டிப்
பார்க்கையிலே தீபவொளி ஞானச் சோதி
நீலமணி யானகுரு நாதரூபம்
நேர்சுழியிற் கண்டறிந்து கொள்ளு வாய்நீ
வாலையுரு வடிவான ஆத்தாள் தன்னை
மயேந்திரகிரிச் சார்புதனிற் கண்டேன் பாரே
Established in Muladhara
Holding the tip of the triangular house petals
Having crossed over the hair strand of a bridge
Experiencing the effulgent inner light
The form of Supreme Guru whose radiance is like a blue gem
Have the experience of ner-suzhi
Cosmic Mother presenting Herself as Kundalini
In the vicinity of Mahendra mountain, I saw!
In the coming verse, Siddha Agasthya Muni establishes the glory of the Siddha tradition and the nature and work of Pathinen Siddhargal.
இருப்பார்கள் அவர்மகிமை யென்னசொல்வேன்
ஏகபர வெளிதனிலே சூட்சா மாகிச்
சிரிப்பார்கள் பிரபஞ்ச மாயை நீக்கித்
தேஜோம யானந்த மூர்த்தி யாகி
விரிப்பார்கள் சாத்திரத்தில் நூல்கள்தோறும்
விபரமது கண்டுரைப்பார் மேல்மூ லத்தோர்
தரிப்பதுதான் காயசித்தி விண்ணிற் கூடித்
தானிருப்பார் பதினெட்டுச் சித்தர் தானே
How do I extol the greatness of those who eternally live?
Having become very subtle and roaming in the matchless para-veli
They will laugh away being disentangled from the delusive world-order
Having attained the form of tejomayananda
They would elaborate their experiences through scriptural writings
Melmulattor will reveal all essential details
What they have attained is kaya-siddhi
The eighteen siddhas stand celestially existing forever
In this golden verse from Samadhi Suttiram, Siddha Agasthya Muni reveals about the pranava-deha that the greatest of Siddhas attain to!
போமே நரைதிரை புகழ்பட நோயறும்
தாமே தேகந் தளிர்நிற மொத்திடும்
தேமே தேகந் திகழும் பதினாறாய்
ஓமே வாசியென் றுள்ளிட நிற்குமே
Grey hair, wrinkled skin, all diseases shall vanish in the glorious state
The body complexion will be like a glowing tender leaf
The body will ever be in youthful sixteen
The prana as aum will become the inner body
In this select verse from Thirumandira Vilakkam, Agasthya Muni reveals the indescribable potent of the pancakshara-mantra and the variations!
பார்த்திடவே தற்புருஷம் இருபத் தஞ்சு
பாடுகிறேன் நமசிவய அகோர மாகும்
சேர்த்திடவே ஜெபிக்கவுச்சா டனம தாகும்
சிவமான சவுமியத்தை செபிக்க கேளு
கார்த்திடவே நங்சிவய நமவென் றாலோ
காதலித்த புத்திரரைக் கொடுக்குங் காணும்
எர்திடவே அங்சிவய நமவென்றாக் கால்
இயல்பாகத் தேகநோய் தீருங் காணே
On revelation, tatpurusha is associated with twenty five variations of mantra
I reveal here the secrets of variations of pancakshara associated with aghora
On repetition one could accomplish the state of seperation
On repeating pancakshara one attains great and auspicious states
If one repeats nang-sivaya-nama
It would grant the birth of the the eagerly awaited
If ham-sivaya-namah is repeated,
All bodily diseases are dispelled
The elixirs offered by Siddha Agasthiyar are so many. We invite you to contemplate more on these lines and share with us your insights. We also invite you to share with us lines from Siddhar Padalgal that have deeply touched you. You could write to us at email@example.com.
Bogar is a legendary South Indian Siddhar (a Mystic and a Yogi). He had miraculous powers. Most of the understanding of the biography of Siddhar Bogar is based on two of his poems, Janana Sagaram-557 and Saptakandam which is also called as Bogar-7000. Bhogar was a South Indian by birth, belonging to the lineage of visvakarma (goldsmiths), who became a siddhapurusha under the guidance of Siddha Kalanginaathar. Kalanginaathar Siddhar is the disciple of Siddha Tirumular. Many a times in his works, Bogar calls Tirumular his great grant guru, in tamil Pattar. Describing his life to Pulippani (Bogar’s Disciple), Bogar says he received initiation (diksha = empowerment) from his Guru Siddha Kalanginathar, who taught him all Sastras, Itihasas (great epics), Yoga and the path to attain Samadhi. He learnt Brahma-Vidya from the great Tamil sage and Siddha Agastya Peruman. Later, he wrote Boga Sastra of 7000 which includes the techniques of yantra, mantra and tantra. After learning the techniques of Yoga, mantra and tantra he travelled all over the world and also went to China. The call to visit China came from his Guru Kalangi who was in search of a successor to carry on his mission there. He visited China several times and trained Chinese in Siddha sciences, medicine, Yoga and ancient arts.
In Bogar’s Saptakanda he reveals details of various medicinal preparations to his disciple Pullippani (so named as he is believed to have wandered in the forests atop a puli or tiger) and at every stage he quotes his guru as the authority. Also Pulippani must have been a young man then, as he is often referred to as a balaka.
Bogar anticipating that in due course of period, during the kali yuga human beings will suffer from large number of disease. As an expert in medicine he used 4448 rare herbs and made 9 poisonous medicine (Nava Bashanam), mixing these 9 poisons into one needs great knowledge and skill, to make a Master Medicine ( One medicine to cure all disease ). Siddhar Thirumoolar also discuss one such Master Medicine in his book Thiru Mandiram. With the consultation of Agasthiar ( Father of Ayurvedic Medicine) and other siddhars, Bogar concocted the 9 poisons (Nava Pashanam) and made the Master Medicine in the form of Lord Murugan who is celebrated and worshiped at Palani Murugan temple.
Legend has it that, at Ivar Malai, Siddha Boganathar prepared the concoction of navapashana, to make the moorthi of Pazhaniandavar, the revered Lord at Palani. It is our good fortune that at the foothills of Ivar Malai, at the Chidakasha Hall of Anaadi Foundation, we are writing this article. Siddha Boganathar is also said to have been associated with Mahavatar Babaji. He is called as the Jnana Guru of Babaji.
In this edition, we shall see a few gems from the mystical work Samadhi Dhikshai blessed by Boganatha Siddhar. In the very first verse of Samadhi Dhikshai, Bogar Peruman directs the seeker to kindle the energies from muladhara-chakra through pranayama and direct it to the chakra of the syllable ya — ajna-chakra.
பொருந்திடும் வட்டம் பூவிதழ் யகாரம்
திரிந்திடும் வாசி செலுத்திய அவ்விடஞ்
சொரிந்திடும் நூலுஞ் சொக்கிடும் வெளியிடும்
இருந்திடு மூல மிருத்திநீ யூதே
Release the meditative energy from Muldadhara
Direct the breath through the four circles
To the circle of the syllable ya
Where rhythmic breathing is internalized
Boganatha Siddhar also bestows on the sadhakas the nuances of the samadhi — state of equanimity, by stating when the kundalini-shakthi blossoms forth, amrita shall descend from sahasrara to ajna-chakra, leaving on with experience of supreme equanimity — samadhi.
தானென மண்டலந் தாக்கிநீ வூதிடக்
கோனென வழலைக் குமட்டிக் குருவாம்
மேனென மெய்ப்பொரு ளெடுத்திடு மப்பலம்
வானென நிமிளை விடியிருஞ் சமனே
To attain liberation direct the prana to the chakra
Where the supreme coiled snake is the guru
Whose sublime wisdom will remove misery
The great red ambrosia trickling down shall bring the mind to peace
Siddha Boganathar also explains how kundalini passing through the six chakras will pave the way for samadhi, that makes jnana as a prathyaksha. Siddha Kakabhushandar calls this the state of “wandering samadhi”. Soak in!
சமனெனு முயிர்ச் சார்ந்த யிடையிடு
தமனெனுட் டீக்கறுப்புத் தாக்கிடு அவ்விடை
கமனெனு பாத்திரம் சடுவங்க மாகும்
அமனெனு சமாதி அடைப்பது தானே
The state of samadhi of the soul is permeated
In me as a friend inside, where wisdom has driven away ignorance
And the six adharas, which form the space of the body
Become gateway for the self-effulgent samadhi
Siddha Boganathar shows the way to realize one’s full potential by breaking away the limitations of the body. For that Siddha Boganathar clearly prescribes Hatha Yoga.
அடைப்பது பெட்டி மூடிய மடவாய்
திடப்பது மூடித் திறந்திடு அக்குழி
கடைப்பது அறுசாண் கலத்தி டுபாதி
திடப்பது பற்பந்தி சயகீழ் மேலிடே
To preserve the body, open the lid
The lid is opened by Hatha Yoga
The human body is the gateway
By reversing the many-bonded body, make it the truth and achieve victory
In the erstwhile Pandiya Kingdom, there lived an easy-going yet fearless youngster whose profession was catching snake for livelihood. One day, while looking for a rare kind of Navaratna snake he happened to encounter the great Sattaimuni Siddhar (one among the revered Pathinen Siddhargal). This incident became a turning point in the life of this young snake-catcher.
Sattaimuni Siddhar asked, “What is it that you are seeking?” When the young snake-catcher revealed that he was after a Navaratna snake, the Siddha laughed out loud. “The most glorious and splendid snake resides within you! And you are foolishly searching for one outside!”
As the snake-catcher implored, the Siddha explained further, “The snake inside every human body is known as Kundalini. The one who catches hold of this and controls the snake is a true Pambatti (snake-charmer)! For this snake carries on its head the ultimate gem!” The snake-catcher surrendered to His Guru Sattaimuni Siddhar and received initiation. The Guru immediately left the place immediately. This great Disciple to the great Master mastered the control of Kundalini and attained great Siddhis.
When the Guru returned, he saw the attainment of his shishya. He asked his shishya, ‘Son, though I initiated you into this path of Spirituality I did not even ask your name. At least tell me now, what is your name?’ The shishya replied, ‘Swami, I was just a snake-charmer who caught snakes for money. But you showed me the way of Kundalini and showed me the way to control it and have the Dharshan of the Paramporul within me. How can I tell you what my name is? Then and now, my life is all about the snake. So call me Pambatti.’
To this, the Guru laughed and blessed him saying, ‘Let it be. From now on you will be called as Pambatti Siddhar.’ And so he came to be known as Pambatti Siddhar.
After his Enlightenment, Pambatti Siddhar attained many siddhis, especially becoming adept in Siddha Medicine and Siddha Yoga. He practiced as a Siddha Doctor in Maruthamalai. There is Guha (cave) present even now beside the Marudamalai temple where he lived. He also lived at various places like Mahalingamalai in Vathiraayiruppu, Kollimalai, Madurai, Puliyur and Bhavani. Finally, He attained Jeeva Samathi at Sankarankoil in Tirunelveli District of Tamil Nadu (India).
Literary Works of Pambatti Siddhar
Some of the Pambatti Siddhar poems are addressed to a snake. Not to any snake outside but to the snake that is coiled within us, the Kundalini. With a yogic awakening within, the Kundalini along with our own consciousness raises from untruth to Truth. Staying true to the great Siddha’s work we follow the Kundalini’s way in selecting Pambatti Siddhar’s work. We have picked couplets to trace this way of Kundalini in the hope that it will help the writers as well as the readers to lead from untruth to Truth — Asotama Sadhgamaya. We feel blessed to present you selections from Pambatti Siddhar’s ஆடு பாம்பே! ஆடு! (Dance Snake! Dance!).
“From without to within” — Transcending limitations in Mooladhara and Swadhisthana
One of the major challenges for any beginners in the path of Spirituality is their deep attachment to the external objects. Strongest among them is the identity with the body. Observe around you, how undue importance is given to the bodily pleasures. Multinational industries and organizations thrive on glorifying this thirst for worldly indulgence and bodily pleasures. There is a proverb, beauty is only skin deep. Yet this globally resounding persuasion is fast enticing people around the world to invest their lives in pursuit of a made up outlook and external validation.
Siddhas never say reject the body — that will not come from those who developed the whole system of Yoga for the benefit of mankind. But they always warn us against giving exaggerated importance to this fleeting object called the body, which was born and which will eventually die. Rather, they encourage us to dig deep within us, to go beyond this shell called body to find the treasure that is deep within us. Pambatti Siddhar has a whole set of couplets on this great truth from which we will share one here:
நீரிலெழும் நீர்க்குமிழி நிலைகெ டல்போல
நில்லாதுடல் நீங்கிவிடும் நிச்சய மென்றே
பாரிற் பல உயிர்களைப் படைத்த வன்றனைப்
பற்றவேநீ பற்றித்தொடர்ந் தாடாய் பாம்பேLike momentary bubbles that form and pop on the surface of water
Our mortal body too is sure to be gone (in the Flow of Life).
The One who is the Creator of all beings,
Catch hold to catch hold (realize) of Him and Dance, O Snake!
“Making effort to know the Truth”- Churning in Manipura
In a short, crisp and profound example Pambatti Siddhar explains the fleeting reality of the body to which we give so much attention and asks us to look for the Creator behind this creation. But what will it be like to be a seeker who realizes this? Where will his efforts be hereafter? Siddhar explains,
கானலைமான் நீரெனவே கண்டு செல்லல்போல்
காசினிவாழ் வினைமூடர் கண்டு களிப்பார்
மேனிலைகண் டார்கள் வீணாய் வீம்பு பேசிடார்
மெய்யன்பதம் நாடுவாரென் றாடாய் பாம்பேLike an ignorant deer seeking water in a mirage
Foolish men seek joy in untruth
Those who have realized higher states observe Mouna (silence)
To search That Essence of all Truth, Know this and Dance, O Snake!
“Love for all”- Falling into all Expansive Anahata
The main goal of Spirituality is knowing the essence of the Divinity present within us, within everyone around us and everything of this world and beyond. And the result of it is overflowing compassion towards every living things of this world. As Mata Amritanandamayi says, ‘The first step in spiritual life is to have compassion’ or Master Thich Nhat Hanh puts it, ‘Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet’.
At this stage the Sadhaka, the seeker transforms himself into a Bhakta. What are the qualities of a Bhakta? Siddhar Pambatti says,
எள்ளிலெண்ணெய் போலவுயி ரெங்கு நிறைந்த
ஈசன் பதவாசமலர் எண்ணி யெண்ணியே
உள்ளபடி அன்புபத்தி ஓங்கி நிற்கவே
ஒடுங்கிய டங்கித்தெளிந் தாடு பாம்பேLike oil in a sesame seed, He is all-pervading
Deeply contemplate on that Isan and His Essence
With a heart filled with Love and Bhakthi (devotion)
Having stillness and humbleness, Dance, O Snake!
“Discriminating Truth from Untruth”- The Power of Vishuddhi and Ajna
Siddhar Pambatti was also a seeker once. He has walked the same path that we all are treading now. He explains how a seeker moves about in the world.
சொல்லும்புளி யம்பழத்தி னோடு போலவே
சுற்றத்திருந் தாலுமவர் தொந்தங் களற்று
நில்லுமன மேநீபர நின்ம லத்திலே
நின்றுணைதான் வெறும்பாழென் றாடாய் பாம்பேLike the seed in the core of a ripe tamarind fruit
Amidst all outer relations, stay unattached to the pulp.
Oh mind, stay rooted in the pure supreme!
In being so, Realize You are That Void and Dance, O Snake!
In the ripe tamarind fruit, one could see how the seed is very smooth and perfectly non-sticky to the flesh around it. In the case of a mango seed or a date-fruit seed, one could observe how the seed has a lot of pulp attached to it. Pambatti Siddhar advises one to be like the tamarind seed even amidst all worldly relations and relatives. He says in the core is the That Void, the true nature of the Self.
“Surrender and Ultimate Bliss”- Ecstatic Sahasrara
This is the journey of a sadhaka. It begins with the realization of the transient nature of external things. Then the outgoing mind is turned inward. It continues onwards in searching for the Truth within. During this journey, the seeker cleanses his internal through Antahkarana Shuddhi and develops a proper inner attitude for realizing the Truth — Antar-Bhava.
It is a great honor and privilege to walk the path of Truth. But it is a path that cannot be walked alone. A person walking this path needs the nurturing of a mother, support of a father and the guidance of a teacher all merged in one — a Guru. Lucky is one who has the blessing and initiation of one’s Guru on this dance of the Kundalini, the Snake. But what is the end result? After all, it is Truth and that which is. We ought to have known our true nature and it is our shortcoming if we have not realized it. But the Guru is always compassionate. He not only helps us in unveiling the maya, he also gives us the Ecstatic Realization and the vision to see it all. What remains is the Truth, our Love for the Guru and Ecstasy. Who can explain this experience better than Pambatti Siddhar who himself walked his path with the Grace of His Guru, Sattaimuni Siddhar.
உள்ளங்கையிற் கனிபோல உள்ள பொருளை
உண்மையுடன் காட்டவல்ல உண்மைக் குருவைக்
கள்ளமனந் தன்னைத்தள்ளிக் கண்டு கொண்டன்பாய்க்
சுளித்துக் களித்துநின் றாடாய் பாம்பேLike placing a fruit on an open palm,
The Satguru shall bestow the Realization of Truth.
Removing all agitations of the mind, see That, Love Him
and Dance And Dance forever, O Snake!
The metaphor of “fruit on the palm” is found in various Vedantic literature also. The story of Hasthamlakacharya, one among the disciples of Sri Sankaracharya, is very relevant and will help us understand more. Once a man called Prabhakara had a son who for most of his life appeared to be dumb. When Sri Sankaracharya had come to the village where they reside in, the father brought his son to the great Master and shared his worries about the boy. Sri Sankaracharya looked at the boy and asked him, “Who are you?” Much to the elation of everybody around, the boy responded in 12 poetic verses which were a gist of the Vedanta.
Only then did everybody realize what an evolved intellect the child had. Sri Sankaracharya named the child Hasthamlakacharya and accepted him as his disciple. Hastha means palm and amalaka means a gooseberry fruit. He was named so signify that his knowledge of the Self was as clear and easy as a fruit on the palm. Pambatti Siddhar uses here this metaphor to extol the Grace of Guru which can bestow atma-vidya vividly.
In this edition, we have presented a few gems from the works of Pambatti Siddhar. There are as many as 600 poems written by Pambatti Siddhar and we have barely scared the surface of it. We invite you to contemplate more on these lines and share with us your insights. We also invite you to share with us lines from Siddhar Padalgal that have deeply touched you. You could write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In absorbing this, may our abhyasa continue, may our shraddha in the Siddha Parampara strengthen and may revelations awaken as we grow within!