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Siddhar Charithiram : Thirumoolar (Part 3)

This is an ongo­ing series on the Sid­dhar Param­abarai of India. 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 and Patan­jali Sid­dhar. 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, as a con­tin­u­a­tion to our pre­vi­ous two arti­cles, we will con­tin­ue to see the glo­ry of Sid­dha Thiru­moolar.

Thiru­moolar Sid­dhar


In the last two edi­tions we saw the great life charithi­ram of Sid­dha Thiru­moolar. As a dis­ci­ple of Nan­d­i­natha Sid­dhar, trav­el­ling south, trans­mi­grat­ing to Mulan’s body, revered as Thiru­moolar and author­ing of Thiru­man­thi­ram are the high­lights of our pre­vi­ous accounts.

In the pre­vi­ous two edi­tions we saw an overview of Thiru­man­thi­ram and select poems from First, Sec­ond, Third and Fourth Thanthi­ram (first part or chap­ter) which begins with a syn­op­sis of all that is to fol­low in this great mys­ti­cal work of Sid­dha Thiru­moolar. In this edi­tion we will see some poems from the Fifth, Sixth, Sev­enth, Eighth and Ninth Thanthi­ram.

The Fifth Tantra is a very spe­cial one. It gives a resume of the essen­tial fea­tures of the Saivite reli­gion. This includes the four forms of Saivism, the four stages, the four rela­tion­ships the soul has with God, the four real­iza­tions attain­able and the four aspects of the Descent of Grace. It ends with a delin­eation of unortho­dox paths, con­duct to be avoid­ed, and an affir­ma­tion of approved mar­gas or reli­gious paths. It is in this Tantra that our Sid­dhar Thiru­moolar intro­duce us to Sai­va Sid­dhan­tha Mar­ga. In Sai­va Sid­dhan­tha, Lord Thiru­moolar pio­neered the rec­on­cil­i­a­tion of Vedan­ta and Sid­dhan­ta. Fol­low­ing is one of the way he intro­duces the Path

சத்தும் அசத்தும் சத சத்தும் தான் கண்டு சித்தும் அசித்தும் சேர் உறாமே நீத்த சுத்தம் அசுத்தமும் தோய் உறாமே நின்று நித்தம் பரஞ் சுத்தம் சைவர்க்கு நேயமே.

Those who tread the path of Sud­dha Saivam Stand aloft, Their hearts intent on Eter­nal Para; Tran­scend­ing Worlds of Pure and Impure Maya, Where Pure Intel­li­gence con­sorts not with Base Igno­rance, And the lines that divide Real, Unre­al and Real-Unre­al Are dis­cerned sharp.

Sai­va Sid­dhan­ta is the name of one of the school of Hin­duism. It is today the old­est, most vig­or­ous and wide­ly prac­ticed of the six forms of Saivism. It has many mil­lions of devo­tees, tens of thou­sands of active tem­ples and dozens of liv­ing monas­tic and ascetic tra­di­tions. Sai­va Sid­dhan­ta once enjoyed a glo­ri­ous pres­ence through­out India. Today it is strongest with­in the Tamil tra­di­tions of South India, Sri Lan­ka, Malaysia and else­where. In fact, it is some­times referred to sim­ply as Tamil Saivism. The term Sai­va Sid­dhan­ta means ‘the final, or estab­lished, con­clu­sions of Saivism.’ Today there are two pri­ma­ry schools of Sai­va Sid­dhan­ta. One is the plu­ral­is­tic school of Meykan­dar, which holds that God, soul and world are eter­nal­ly sep­a­rate. The oth­er is the monis­tic school of Tiru­mu­lar, which stress­es the ulti­mate one­ness of man and God. Tiru­mu­la­r’s lin­eage is specif­i­cal­ly called Shud­dha Sai­va Sid­dhan­ta. And the Fifth Tantra expounds its path.

The Sixth Tantra cov­ers a vari­ety of aspects of Saivism and is more read­able than most of the oth­ers. Some of the areas cov­ered are: the Siva Guru, attain­ment of Grace, renun­ci­a­tion, the signs of sin, penance, jnana and Siva dar­shan in peo­ple, and a descrip­tion of wor­thy and unwor­thy per­sons. In one of the stan­za, Sid­dhar Thiru­moolar equates Guru to Siva Him­self. He says:

எல்லா உலகிற்கும் அப்பாலோன் இப்பால் ஆய் நல்லார் உள்ளத்து மிக்கு அருள் நல் கலால் எல்லாரும் உய்யக் கொண்டு இங்கே அளித்த லால் சொல்லார்ந்த நல்குரு சுத்த சிவமே.

He is beyond worlds all Yet, here below, He bestows His grace abun­dant On the good and the devout, And in love works for sal­va­tion of all; Thus is the Holy Guru Whose praise is beyond speech Like unto Siva, the Being Pure.

And in anoth­er stan­za, the Sid­dhar calls Siva Gnani is Siva:

சிவனே சிவ ஞானி ஆதலால் சுத்த சிவனே என அடி சேர வல்லார்க்கு நவம் ஆன தத்துவம் நல் முத்தி நண்ணும் பவம் ஆனது இன்றிப் பரலோகம் ஆமே.

Siva Jnani is none but Siva Him­self; And they who seek his feet as Siva’s Shall in sooth the won­drous Tatt­va muk­ti gain; They shall no more be in the cycle of births; Sure their reward, the Lib­er­a­tion Finite.

The Sev­enth Tantra is a trea­tise on some advanced and high­ly tech­ni­cal aspects of Saivism. It is part­ly writ­ten as an expo­si­tion of Tiru­mu­la­r’s own real­iza­tions. It dis­cuss­es the Lingam, Grace and cor­re­spond­ing attain­ments, mudras, con­trol of ida and pin­gala nadis, worlds reached by dif­fer­ent class­es of yogis on death, and the Sat Guru.

The Eighth Tantra cov­ers many of the impor­tant the­o­log­i­cal ele­ments of Sid­dhan­ta and is cer­tain­ly one of the most inspir­ing. Among the con­cepts pre­sent­ed are expo­si­tions of: the five sheaths (bod­ies), the eleven avasthais (states), the three padarthas (pati, pasu and pasam), and how they are essen­tial­ly one, the 36 tattvas and their elab­o­ra­tion into 96 tattvas, the four states (wak­ing, dream­ing, dream­less sleep and turiyam or the “fourth,”) and Turiy­a­tee­tam or the “state beyond the fourth,” the three malas, the free­ing of the mala fet­tered soul (Iruvinaiop­pu, mala­pari­pa­ka, and Sak­tini­pa­ta), the mahavakiyam of the Upan­ishads, advaitic real­iza­tion where the soul becomes Sivam leav­ing behind the tattvas, malas and all avas­tais, the true Sid­dhan­ta where know­er, known and knowl­edge become one, the affir­ma­tion of Sid­dhan­ta and Vedan­ta as the same, the three gunas, the dasa-karanas, and the extir­pa­tion of desire as a neces­si­ty for Real­iza­tion. Many impor­tant tech­ni­cal aspects of the Self, Jiva, the objec­tive world are dis­cussed in great mys­ti­cal depth in this Tantra. In one such stan­za, Sid­dhar expounds on one of our MahaVakyas- TAT-VAM-ASI which can be rough­ly trans­lat­ed as You are That. He says:

சீவ துரியத்துத்தொம் பதம் சீவன் ஆர் தாவு பர துரியத் தினில் தற்பதம் மேவு சிவ துரியத் தசி மெய்ப் பதம் ஓவி விடும் தத்துவ மசி உண்மையே.

Turiya of Wak­ing State Is Tvam-Pada; The end of Jiva Turiya is the begin­ning of Para Turiya Jagrat; At the end of Para Turiya Is Para Pada (Tat-Pada) Three steps beyond, In the fourth, is Siva Turiya (Asi Pada).

The Ninth Tantra is essen­tial­ly a descrip­tion of the fruits of real­iza­tion. This includes an account of the attain­ment of akasa, the bud­ding up of knowl­edge, the bliss of true knowl­edge, the state of lib­er­a­tion, and the Samad­hi of Silence. It also con­tains descrip­tions of Siva’s var­i­ous dances, the ashram of the Guru and the meet­ing of the Guru. These nine tantras end with hymns of praise to Siva and a descrip­tion of Siva’s all-per­vad­ing nature.

Thus con­tin­ues the Thiru­man­thi­ram of Sid­dhar Thiru­moolar with detailed expo­si­tion of var­i­ous aspects of Uni­verse as well as our Self. The elixirs offered by Sid­dha Thiru­moolar 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 anaadifoundation@gmail.com.

In absorb­ing this, may our abhyasa con­tin­ue, may our shrad­dha in the Sid­dha Parampara strength­en and may rev­e­la­tions awak­en as we grow with­in!

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