Love is God – Says Lord Muruga as the Divine Teacher

In Hinduism, the one and the same absolute truth is personified as multiple forms and names. The form is used then for meditation as well as to express unconditional love towards the divine, which has manifested itself as all beings and all objects. In Vajrayana Buddhism, such deities are called as yidams.

god-murugan-png-murugan-png-image-401

Lord Muruga and Skanda was a form that developed by a merger of multiple deities. Mountain deity Muruga of Tamil Nadu and the warrior deity Skandha were initially two different deities. But when the form that we know as Muruga and Skandha today was created, it was created to personify the angry face of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is usually depicted as having five faces. But when the same Shiva is worshipped with the sixth face which is like a hidden but wrathful face of Shiva, he is called as Shanmukha, the one with six faces.

800px-Murugan_by_Raja_Ravi_Varma

In mythology, Skandha was shown to be born because of the fire which came from Shiva’s third eye when Shiva got extremely angry. Skandha was then shown to slay a demon king called Surapadma:

Usually in  Hindu mythology, a deity slaying a demon symbolizes the absolute truth destroying the ignorance. Spiritual seeking is like an inner war done in the conquest of one’s own mind. A devotee prays to the divine to slay his ignorance. I have written more about Muruga worship in this page: 3- Level Meditation
Lord Muruga slaying Surapadma is celebrated as a six day festival in Tamil Nadu:

Sooranporu or Soorasamharam part of Skanda Sashti Vratham festival is a ritual folk performance that recreates the killing of Asuras by Lord Murugan.[1] It is performed in Tamil NaduSri Lanka and the district of Palakkad in Kerala at temples dedicated to Murugan. The Soorasamharam festival is also celebrated in Thiruvannur Subramanya Swami temple in Kozhikode District kerala for more than a century in the name Sooranpada.[1][2] The 2016 date is November 5.[3]

The Sooranporu performance is based on the story of Murugan, also known as Skanda, as given in the Skandapurana. In the days preceding the performance the Skandapaurana is narrated in the temple. The performance ends with the killing of Soorapadman (or Padmasura) and his race which is depicted through the symbolic beheading of the four Asuras Anamughan, Panumughan, Simhamughan and Soorapadman.[1] The Asuras are beheaded by Murugan using his weapon the vel a kind of spear or javelin. For the performance the velis specially consecrated and during the staging of the show it is ceremonially placed on the neck of the effigy after which the head is removed, depicting the beheading of the Asura.[1][4] Sooranporu is staged at the end of a week-long Kanda Sashti festival.[4][5]

Sooranporu is preceded by several ceremonies on the last day of the Kanda Sashti festival. Special pujas are conducted and the deity of Murugan is ritually anointed (abhishekam) and devotees seek the deity’s darshan. In some parts of Tamil Nadu women devotees observe a six-day fast which they break at the end of the Sooranporu. In Palani, a procession of Lord Murugan (known here as Dandayuthapaniswamy) is taken down from the hill temple and led through the main thoroughfares of the town before the Sooranporu.[6][7]

In Tamil Nadu, Sooranporu is witnessed every year by large crowds of devotees and the state government and Indian Railways ply special buses and trains to facilitate their travel.[8] In Kerala’s Palakkad district, Sooranporu is held in all the major Tamil settlements in the district.[1]

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sooranporu

Here is a video showing Soorasamharam celebrated on the sixth day in Tiruchendur, near Tuticorin, Tamilnadu:

This blog article explains the history of this festival in detail: https://lesbiantalk.wordpress.com/2014/11/02/soorasamharam-a-not-so-popular-festival-of-thiruvannur/

Today, November 13, is the sixth day of this festival which is according to Hindu calender.  The Sooranporu or Soorasamharam will be celebrated this evening in all the major Shiva and Muruga temples in Tamil Nadu, including the one very close to my neighborhood in Thachanallur, Tamil Nadu, India.

(From https://thachanallur.wordpress.com/)

H. H. Swami Santhananda Saraswati Avadhoota Swamigal (28 March 1921 – 27 May 2002) was a Mahatma who worshipped Skandha as Skandha Guru.

(image source: http://www.skandasramam.com/ )

Here is a short intro about him:

H. H. Swami Santhananda Saraswati Avadhoota Swamigal (28 March 1921 – 27 May 2002) born as Subrahmanyam was a Hindu spiritual leader and teacher who established the worship of Devi Bhuvaneswari in Tamil Nadu. He was the founder of the Bhuvaneswari Peetam in PudukkottaiTamil Nadu, India. The very embodiment of Prema, Sri Sri Swami Santhananda was the fountainhead of Hindu Dharma and Vedic principles. In his lifetime he had conducted several yagnas as elucidated in the Sasthras and challenged orthodoxy by bringing to light, guarded Moola Mantras that ensure common good, wealth and peace.[1]

He was a disciple of H.H.Sri Swayamprakasha Bhremendra Saraswathi of Sendamangalam and came in the lineage of H.H.Sadasiva Bhremendra Saraswathi (Sri Sri Judge Swamigal) of Pudukkottai. He founded Skandhashramam in Salem and Om Sri Skandhashramam in Chennai.

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santhananda

One of the most illustrious seers of our time, Sathguru Srimad Shanthananda Swamigal was the very embodiment of the Divine. Hailing from a glorious lineage of Avadhootha saints, Sathguru Sri Shanthananda Swamigal has been the torchbearer of Hinduism and its sanctity. Alleviating the sufferings of humanity has been his primary concern. He has advocated the greatness of Japa and Homa as a means to achieve peace and prosperity. Sathguru Sri Shanthananda Swamigal has been the fountainhead of infinite love & compassion and has bestowed solace to many. He is the guiding spirit and an epitome of peace to his devotees who regard him as the incarnation of Goddess Bhuvaneshwari. Besides Chennai Om Sri Skandasramam, Sathguru Srimad Shanthananda Swamigal has built the Judge Swamigal Adhishtanam at Pudukkottai, Om Sri Skandasramam at Salem and Dattagiri at Sendamangalam. This beautiful statue of Sri Shantanada Swamigal in Marble is placed on the left hand side of Goddess Bhuvaneswari and is 4 ½ feet in height. This gopuram represents the Tamilnadu type of architecture.

Special day : Every Month Visaka Nakshatram

He established an ashram near Salem, Tamil Nadu called Skandashramam:

Skandasramam, located in serene surroundings amidst hillocks, two kilometres away from Udayapatti of Salem Town, is a temple complex with shrines to Skanda and to other deities. This lies in Salem-Attur route.

Skandasramam was founded by Shantananda Swami in the latter half of the 20th century. Shantananda Swami – a disciple of Swayamprakasa – was also associated with the Avadhoota Dattatreya Sampradaya of Gujarat – and with several philanthropic activities.

Skandasramam is a unique temple. The presiding deities here are Skanda and Ashtadasabhuja Mahalakshmi. It was planned by Om Shri Santhananda Swamigal in May 1968, and he executed it in the form of a temple by name Skandasramam and its Maha Kumbabisekam took place on 08.02.1971.

In the Maha Mandapam, one can see Shri Ashta Dasapuja Mahalakshmi Durga Parameswari, who is also known as Skandamatha and opposite to Durga, there stands the grand, attractive, and smilling statue by name Gnanaskandan (Bala Dandayudha Pani). Both are in standing posture.

In the outer premises of the northern side of Maha Mandapam one can see the astonishing statues of 16′ Shri Panchmuga Anjaneyar and Shri Panchamuga Vinayagar. They reveal the greatness and spiritual attitude of Om Shri Santhananada Swamigal. Skanthasramam is in the form of Linga. There are nine important points in the Linga in the form of the temple, they donote:

  1. Dattatreya Bhagawan
  2. Danvanthri
  3. Swarnakarshana Bairavar
  4. Panchamuga Ganapathi
  5. Panchamuga Anjaneya
  6. Gnana Skanda Gurunathan
  7. Skandamatha
  8. Magangal Mandapam
  9. Skanda Jothi

Besides these nine points on the top of the Linga form, it is predicted as the adobe of Ganga, in between the 3rd and 5th point there is Gomuki. On the right and left side of Ganga there are moon and sun respectively. In the eastern side of the temple, there runs Kannimar Odai (stream). As it flows towards north, it is also known as Utharavahini. By the side of the stream there is the goddess Kannimar Amman.

Source: http://murugan.org/centers/skandashramam.htm

He also established an ashram in Chennai, which has a lot of deities consecrated, including a beautiful statue of Ayyappa:

ayyappa.jpg

(image source: http://www.skandasramam.com/ ).

He established Pudukkottai adhishtanam too:

On the advice of Swami Swayamprakasa, Santhananda undertook the renovation of the Samadhi of Judge Swamigal at Pudukkottai. This Samadhi was established by Swayamprakasa Swamigal in 1936. Santhananda renovated the Samadhi and a Kumbabhishekam was conducted in 1956. This is now known as Bhuvaneswari Avadootha Vidya Peetam. The main deity here is Matha BHUVANESWARI.

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santhananda

He also composed a beautiful verse in Tamil called Skandha Guru Kavacham, which preaches that Love is God:

skandhaguru-eng

skandhaguru

The complete Tamil text of Skandha Guru Kavacham, including English translation and transliteration at the end is available for free download here:

http://www.skandagurunatha.org/works/skanda-guru-kavasam/skanda-guru-kavasam.pdf

For people who can read and understand Tamil, here is the full version of Skandha Guru Kavacham:

விநாயகர் வாழ்த்து

கலியுகத் தெய்வமே கந்தனுக்கு மூத்தோனே
முஷிக வாகனனே மூலப் பொருளோனே
கந்தகுரு கவசத்தை கலிதோஷம் நீங்கிடவே
திருவடியின் திருவருளால் செப்புகிறேன் காத்தருள்வாய்
சித்தி வினாயக ஜயமருள் போற்றுகிறேன் …… 5
சிற்பர கணபதே நற்கதியும் தந்தருள்வாய்
கணபதி தாளிணையைக் கருத்தினில் வைத்திட்டேன்
அச்சம் தீர்த்து என்னை ரச்சித்திடுவீரே.

செய்யுள்

கந்தா சரணம் கந்தா சரணம்
சரவணபவ குகா சரணம் சரணம் …… 10

குருகுகா சரணம் குருபரா சரணம்
சரணம் அடைந்திட்டேன் கந்தா சரணம்
தனைத் தானறிந்து நான் தன்மயமாகிடவே
கந்தகிரி குருநாதா தந்திடுவீர் ஞானமுமே
தத்தகிரி குருநாதா வந்திடுவீர் வந்திடுவீர் …… 15

அவதூத சத்குருவாய் ஆண்டவனே வந்திடுவீர்
அன்புருவாய் வந்தென்னை ஆட்கொண்ட குருபரனே
அறம் பொருள் இன்பம் வீடுமே தந்தருள்வாய்
தந்திடுவாய் வரமதனை கந்தகுருநாதா
சண்முகா சரணம் சரணம் கந்த குரோ …… 20

காத்திடுவாய் காத்திடுவாய் கந்தகுரு நாதா
போற்றிடுவேன் போற்றிடுவேன் புவனகுரு நாதா
போற்றி போற்றி கந்தா போற்றி
போற்றி போற்றி முருகா போற்றி
அறுமுகா போற்றி அருட்பதம் அருள்வாய் …… 25

தகப்பன் சுவாமியே என் இதயத்துள் தங்கிடுவாய்
சுவாமி மலைதனில் சொன்னதனைச் சொல்லிடுவாய்
சிவகுரு நாதா செப்பிடுவாய் பிரணவமதை
அகக்கண் திறக்க அருள்வாய் உபதேசம்
திக்கெலாம் வென்று திருச்செந்தில் அமர்ந்தோனே …… 30

ஆறுமுக சுவாமி உன்னை அருட்ஜோதியாய்க் காண
அகத்துள்ளே குமரா நீ அன்பு மயமாய் வருவாய்
அமரத் தன்மையினை அனுக்கிரகித்திடுவாயே
வேலுடைக் குமரா நீ வித்தையும் தந்தருள்வாய்
வேல் கொண்டு வந்திடுவாய் காலனை விரட்டிடவே …… 35

தேவரைக் காத்த திருச்செந்தில் ஆண்டவனே
திருமுருகன் பூண்டியிலே திவ்ய ஜோதியான கந்தா
பரஞ் ஜோதியும் காட்டி பரிபூர்ணமாக்கிடுவாய்
திருமலை முருகா நீ திடஞானம் அருள் புரிவாய்
செல்வமுத்துக் குமரா மும்மலம் அகற்றிடுவாய் …… 40

அடிமுடி யறியவொணா அண்ணா மலையோனே
அருணாசலக் குமரா அருணகிரிக்கு அருளியவா
திருப்பரங்கிரிக் குகனே தீர்த்திடுவாய் வினை முழுதும்
திருத்தணி வேல்முருகா தீரனாய் ஆக்கிடுவாய்
எட்டுக்குடிக் குமரா ஏவல்பில்லி சூனியத்தை …… 45

பகைவர் சூதுவாதுகளை வேல்கொண்டு விரட்டிடுவாய்
எல்லாப் பயன்களும் எனக்குக் கிடைத்திடவே
எங்கும் நிறைந்த கந்தா எண்கண் முருகா நீ
என்னுள் அறிவாய் நீ உள்ளொளியாய் வந்தருள்வாய்
திருப்பேர்ருர் மாமுருகா திருவடியே சரணமய்யா …… 50

அறிவொளியாய் வந்து நீ அகக்கண்ணைத் திறந்திடுவாய்
திருச்செந்தூர் சண்முகனே ஜகத்குருவிற் கருளியவா
ஜகத்குரோ சிவகுமரா சித்தமலம் அகற்றிடுவாய்
செங்கோட்டு வேலவனே சிவானுபூதி தாரும்
சிக்கல் சிங்காரா ஜீவனைச் சிவனாக்கிடுவாய் …… 55

குன்றக்குடிக் குமரா குருகுகனாய் வந்திடப்பா
குமரகிரிப் பெருமானே மனத்தையும் மாய்த்திடுவீர்
பச்சைமலை முருகா இச்சையைக் களைந்திடப்பா
பவழமலை ஆண்டவனே பாவங்களைப் போக்கிடப்பா
விராலிமலை சண்முகனே விரைவில் நீ வந்திடப்பா …… 60

வயலூர் குமாரகுரோ ஞானவரமெனக் கருள்வீரே
வெண்ணைமலை முருகா மெய்வீட்டைத் தந்திடுவீர்
கதிர்க்காம வேலவனே மனமாயை அகற்றிடுவாய்
காந்த மலைக் குமரா கருத்துள் வந்திடுவீர்
மயிலத்து முருகா நீ மனத்தகத்துள் வந்திடுவீர் …… 65

கஞ்சமலை சித்தகுரோ கண்ணொளியாய் வந்திடுவீர்
குமரமலை குருநாதா கவலையெலாம் போக்கிடுவீர்
வள்ளிமலை வேல்முருகா வேல்கொண்டு வந்திடுவீர்
வடபழனி ஆண்டவனே வல்வினைகள் போக்கிடுவீர்
ஏழுமலை ஆண்டவனே எத்திக்கும் காத்திடுவீர் …… 70

ஏழ்மை அகற்றிக் கந்தா எமபயம் போக்கிடுவீர்
அசையாத நெஞ்சத்தில் அறிவாக நீ அருள்வாய்
அறுபடைக் குமரா மயிலேறி வந்திடுவாய்
பணிவதே பணியென்று பணித்தனை நீ எனக்கு
பணிந்தேன் கந்தா உன்பாதம் பணிந்துவப்பேன் …… 75

அருட்பெருஞ் ஜோதியே அன்பெனக் கருள்வாயே
படர்ந்த அன்பினை நீ பரப்பிரம்மம் என்றனையே
உலகெங்கும் உள்ளது ஒருபொருள் அன்பேதான்
உள்ளுயிராகி இருப்பதும் அன்பென்பாய்
அன்பே குமரன் அன்பே கந்தன் …… 80

அன்பே ஓம் என்னும் அருள்மந்திரம் என்றாய்
அன்பை உள்ளத்திலே அசையாது அமர்த்திடுமோர்
சக்தியைத் தந்து தடுத்தாட் கொண்டிடவும்
வருவாய் அன்பனாய் வந்தருள் கந்தகுரோ
யாவர்க்கும் இனியன் நீ யாவர்க்கும் எளியன் நீ …… 85

யாவர்க்கும் வலியன் நீ யாவர்க்கும் ஆனோய் நீ
உனக்கொரு கோயிலை என் அகத்துள்ளே புனைவேனே
சிவசக்திக் குமரா சரணம் சரணம் ஐயா
அபாயம் தவிர்த்துத் தடுத்தாட் கொண்டருள்வாய்
நிழல்வெயில் நீர்நெருப்பு மண்காற்று வானதிலும் …… 90

பகைமையை அகற்றி அபயமளித்திடுவீர்
உணர்விலே ஒன்றி என்னை நிர்மலமாக்கிடுவாய்
யானென தற்ற மெய்ஞ் ஞானம் தருள்வாய் நீ
முக்திக்கு வித்தான முருகா கந்தா
சதுர்மறை போற்றும் சண்முக நாதா …… 95

ஆகமம் ஏத்தும் அம்பிகை புதல்வா
ஏழையைக் காக்க நீ வேலேந்தி வந்திடுவாய்
தாயாய்த் தந்தையாய் முருகா தக்கணம் நீ வருவாய்
சக்தியும் சிவனுமாய்ச் சடுதியில் நீ வருவாய்
பரம்பொருளான பாலனே கந்தகுரோ …… 100

ஆதிமூலமே அருவாய் உருவாய் நீ
அடியனைக் காத்திட அறிவாய் வந்தருள்வாய்
உள்ளொளியாய் முருகா உடனே நீ வா வா வா
தேவாதி தேவா சிவகுரோ வா வா வா
வேலாயுதத்துடன் குமரா விரைவில் நீ வந்திடப்பா …… 105

காண்பன யாவுமாய்க் கண்கண்ட தெய்வமாய்
வேதச் சுடராய் மெய்கண்ட தெய்வமே
மித்தையாம் இவ்வுலகை மித்தையென்று அறிந்திடச்செய்
அபயம் அபயம் கந்தா அபயம் என்று அலறுகின்றேன்
அமைதியை வேண்டி அறுமுக வா வா என்றேன் …… 110

உன்துணை வேண்டினேன் உமையவள் குமரா கேள்
அச்சம் அகற்றிடுவாய் அமைதியைத் தந்திடுவாய்
வேண்டியது உன்அருளே அருள்வது உன் கடனேயாம்
உன் அருளாலே உன்தாள் வணங்கிட்டேன்
அட்டமா சித்திகளை அடியனுக்கு அருளிடப்பா …… 115

அஜபை வழியிலே அசையாமல் இருத்திவிடு
சித்தர்கள் போற்றிடும் ஞானசித்தியும் தந்துவிடு
சிவானந்தத் தேனில் திளைத்திடவே செய்துவிடு
அருள் ஒளிக் காட்சியை அகத்துளே காட்டிவிடு
அறிவை அறிந்திடும் அவ்வருளையும் நீ தந்துவிடு …… 120

அனுக்கிரகித்திடுவாய் ஆதிகுருநாதா கேள்
கந்தகுரு நாதா கந்தகுரு நாதா
தத்துவம் மறந்து தன்னையும் நான் மறந்து
நல்லதும் கெட்டதும் நான் என்பதும் மறந்து
பாவ புண்ணியத்தோடு பரலோகம் மறந்திடச்செய் …… 125

அருள் வெளிவிட்டு இவனை அகலாது இருத்திடுவாய்
அடிமையைக் காத்திடுவாய் ஆறுமுகக் கந்தகுரோ
சித்தியிலே பெரிய ஞானசித்தி நீ அருள
சீக்கிரமே வருவாய் சிவானந்தம் தருவாய்
சிவானந்தம் தந்தருளி சிவசித்தர் ஆக்கிடுவாய் …… 130

சிவனைப் போல் என்னைச் செய்திடுவது உன் கடனே
சிவசத் குருநாதா சிவசத் குருநாதா
கந்த குருநாதா கதறுகிறேன் கேட்டிடுவாய்
தாளினைப் பிடித்தேன் தந்திடு வரம் எனக்கு
திருவருட் சக்தியைத் தந்தாட் கொண்டிடுவாய் …… 135

சத்ருப் பகைவர்களை சண்முகா ஒழித்திட்டு
கிழக்குத் திசையிலிருந்து கிருபாகரா காப்பாற்றும்
தென்கிழக்குத் திசையிலிருந்து தீனபந்தோ காப்பாற்றும்
தென்திசையிலும் என்னைத் திருவருளால் காப்பாற்றும்
தென்மேற்கிலும் என்னைத் திறன்வேலால் காப்பாற்றும் …… 140

மேற்குத் திக்கில் என்னை மால்மருகா ரச்சிப்பாய்
வடமேற்கிலும் என்னை மயிலோனே ரச்சிப்பாய்
வடக்கில் என்னைக் காப்பாற்ற வந்திடுவீர் சத்குருவாய்
வடகிழக்கில் எனக்காக மயில்மீது வருவீரே
பத்துத் திக்குத் தோறும் எனை பறந்துவந்து ரச்சிப்பாய்…… 145

என் சிகையையும் சிரசினையும் சிவகுரோ ரச்சிப்பாய்
நெற்றியும் புருவமும் நினதருள் காக்கட்டும்
புருவங்களுக்கிடையே புருஷோத்தமன் காக்கட்டும்
கண்கள் இரண்டையும் கந்தவேல் காக்கட்டும்
நாசிகள் இரண்டையும் நல்லவேல் காக்கட்டும் …… 150

செவிகள் இரண்டையும் சேவற்கொடி காக்கட்டும்
கன்னங்கள் இரண்டையும் காங்கேயன் காக்கட்டும்
உதட்டினையும் தான் உமாசுதன் காக்கட்டும்
நாக்கை நன் முருகன் நயமுடன் காக்கட்டும்
பற்களைக் கந்தன் பலம்கொண்டு காக்கட்டும் …… 155

கழுத்தைக் கந்தன் கைகளால் காக்கட்டும்
தோள்கள் இரண்டையும் தூய வேல் காக்கட்டும்
கைகள் விரல்களைக் கார்த்திகேயன் காக்கட்டும்
மார்பையும் வயிற்றையும் வள்ளிமணாளன் காக்கட்டும்
மனத்தை முருகன்கை மாத்தடிதான் காக்கட்டும் …… 160

இருதயத்தில் கந்தன் இனிது நிலைத்திருக்கட்டும்
உதரத்தை எல்லாம் உமைமைந்தன் காக்கட்டும்
நாபிகுஹ்யம் லிங்கம் நவயுடைக் குதத்தோடு
இடுப்பை முழங்காலை இணையான கால்களையும்
புறங்கால் விரல்களையும் பொருந்தும் உகிர் அனைத்தையுமே …… 165

உரோமத் துவாரம் எல்லாம் உமைபாலா ரச்சிப்பாய்
தோல் ரத்தம் மஜ்ஜையையும் மாம்சமென்பு மேதசையும்
அறுமுகவா காத்திடுவீர் அமரர் தலைவா காத்திடுவீர்
என் அகங்காரமும் அகற்றி அறிவொளியாய் இருந்தும்
முருகா எனைக் காக்க வேல் கொண்டு வந்திடுவீர் …… 170

பாபத்தைப் பொசுக்கிப் பாரெல்லாம் சிறப்புறவே
ஓம் ஸெளம் சரவணபவ ஸ்ரீம் ஹ்ரீம் க்லீம் என்றும்
க்லெளம் ஸெளம் நமஹ என்று சேர்த்திடடா நாள்தோறும்
ஓமிருந்து நமஹவரை ஒன்றாகச் சேர்த்திடடா
ஒன்றாகக் கூட்டியுமே உள்ளத்திலே இருத்தி …… 175

ஒருமனத் தோடு நீ உருவையும் ஏத்திடடா
முருகனின் மூலமிது முழுமனத்தோடு ஏத்திட்டால்
மும்மலம் அகன்றுவிடும் முக்தியுந்தன் கையிலுண்டாம்
முக்தியை வேண்டியுமே எத்திக்கும் செல்ல வேண்டாம்
முருகன் இருப்பிடமே முக்தித் தலம் ஆகுமப்பா …… 180

இருதயத்தில் முருகனை இருத்திவிடு இக்கணமே
இக்கணமே மூலமந்ரம் ஏத்திவிடு ஏத்திவிடு
முலமதை ஏத்துவோர்க்கு காலபயம் இல்லையடா
காலனை நீ ஜயிக்க கந்தனைப் பற்றிடடா
சொன்னபடிச் செய்தால் சுப்ரமண்ய குருநாதன் …… 185

தண்ணொளிப் பெருஞ்சுடராய் உன்னுள்ளே தானிருப்பான்
ஜகமாயை ஜயித்திடவே செப்பினேன் மூலமுமே
முலத்தை நீ ஜபித்தே முக்தனுமாகிடடா
அக்ஷர லக்ஷமிதை அன்புடன் ஜபித்துவிடில்
எண்ணிய தெலாம்கிட்டும் எமபய மகன்றோடும் …… 190

முவுலகும் பூஜிக்கும் முருகனருள் முன்னிற்கும்
பூவுலகில் இணையற்ற பூஜ்யனுமாவாய் நீ
கோடித்தரம் ஜபித்துக் கோடிகாண வேண்டுமப்பா
கோடிகாணச் சொன்னதை நீ நாடிடுவாய் மனமே
ஜன்மம் கடைத்தேற ஜபித்திடுவாய் கோடியுமே …… 195

வேதாந்த ரகசியமும் வெளியாகும் உன்னுள்ளே
வேத சூட்சுமத்தை விரைவாகப் பற்றிடலாம்
சுப்ரமண்யகுரு ஜோதியாயுள் தோன்றிடுவான்
அருட் பெரும் ஜோதியான ஆறுமுக சுவாமியுமே
அந்தர் முகமிருந்து ஆட்கொள்வான் சத்தியமாய் …… 200

சித்தியையும் முக்தியையும் கந்தகுரு தந்திடுவான்
நின்னையே நான் வேண்டி நித்தமும் ஏத்துகிறேன்
மெய்யறிவாகக் கந்தா வந்திடுவாய் இவனுளே நீ
வந்திடுவாய் மருவிடுவாய் பகுத்தறிவாகவே நீ
பகுத்தறி வோடிவனைப் பார்த்திடச் செய்திடப்பா …… 205

பகுத்தறிவான கந்தன் பரங்குன்றில் இருக்கின்றான்
பழனியில் நீயும் பழம்ஜோதி ஆனாய் நீ
பிரம்மனுக்கு அருளியவா பிரணவப் பொருளோனே
பிறவா வரமருளி பிரம்ம மயமாக்கிடுவாய்
திருச்செந்தூரில் நீ சக்திவேல் தாங்கி விட்டாய் …… 210

பழமுதிர் சோலையில் நீ பரஞ்ஜோதி மயமானாய்
சுவாமி மலையிலே சிவசுவாமிக் கருளிய நீ
குன்றுகள் தோறும் குருவாய் அமர்ந்திட்டோய்
கந்தகிரியை நீ சொந்தமாக்கிக் கொண்டனையே
கந்த குருநாதா கந்தாஸ்ரம ஜோதியே …… 215

பிறப்பையும் இறப்பையும் பெயர்த்துக் காத்திடுவாய்
பிறவாமை என்கின்ற பெருவரம் நீ தந்திடுவாய்
தத்துவக் குப்பையை மறந்திடச் செய்திடுவாய்
எந்த நினைப்பையும் எரித்து நீ காத்திடுவாய்
கந்தா சரணம் கந்தா சரணம் …… 220

சரணம் அடைந்திட்டேன் சடுதியில் வாருமே
சரவண பவனே சரவண பவனே
உன்னருளாலே நான் உயிரோடிருக்கின்றேன்
உயிருக்குயிரான கந்தா உன்னிலென்னைக் கரைத்திடப்பா
என்னில் உன்னைக் காண எனக்கு வரமருள்வாய் …… 225

சீக்கிரம் வந்து சிவசக்தியும் தந்தருள்வாய்
இடகலை பிங்கலை ஏதும் அறிந்திலேன் நான்
இந்திரியம் அடக்கி இருந்தும் அறிகிலேன் நான்
மனதை அடக்க வழி ஒனறும் அறிந்திலேன் நான்
கந்தா உன் திருவடியைப் பற்றினேன் சிக்கெனவே …… 230

சிக்கெனப் பற்றினேன் செப்பிடுவீர் உபதேசம்
காமக் கசடுகள் யாவையும் களைந்திடுவாய்
சித்த சுத்தியும் ஜபமும் தந்திடுவாய்
நினைப்பு எல்லாம் நின்னையே நினைந்திடச் செய்திடுவாய்
திருமுருகா உன்னைத் திடமுற நினைத்திடவே …… 235

திருவருள் தந்திடுவாய் திருவருள்தான் பொங்கிடவே
திருவருள் ஒன்றிலே நிலைபெறச் செய்திடுவாய்
நிலைபெறச் செய்திடுவாய் நித்யானந்தமதில்
நித்யானந்தமே நின்னுரு வாகையினால்
அத்வை ஆனந்தத்தில் இமைப்பொழுது ஆழ்த்திடுவாய் …… 240

ஞான பண்டிதா நான்மறை வித்தகா கேள்
கந்த குருநாதா கந்த குருநாதா கேள்
மெய்ப்பொருளைக் காட்டி மேன்மை அடைந்திடச்செய்
வினைகள் யாவையுமே வேல்கொண்டு விரட்டிடுவாய்
தாரித்திரியங்களை உன் தடி கொண்டு விரட்டிடுவாய் …… 245

துக்கங்கள் அனைத்தையும் தொலைதூரம் போக்கிடுவாய்
பாப உடலைப் பரிசுத்த மாக்கிடுவாய்
இன்ப துன்பத்தை இருவிழியால் விரட்டிடுவாய்
ஆசைப் பேய்களை அறவே நசுக்கிடுவாய்
அகந்தைப் பிசாசை அழித்து ஒழித்திடடா …… 250

மெய்யருளாம் உன்னருளில் முருகா இருத்திடுவாய்
கண்கண்ட தெய்வமே கலியுக வரதனே
ஆறுமுகமான குரோ அறிந்திட்டேன் உன் மகிமை
இக்கணமே வருவாய் என் கந்த குருவே நீ
என்னைக் காத்திடவே எனக்கு நீ அருளிடவே …… 255

அரைக் கணத்தில் நீயும் ஆடி வருவாயப்பா
வந்தெனைத் தடுத்து வலிய ஆட்கொள் வரதகுரோ
அன்புத் தெய்வமே ஆறுமுக மானவனே
சுப்ரமண்யனே சோகம் அகற்றிடுவாய்
ஞான ஸ்கந்தரே ஞானம் அருள்வாய் நீ …… 260

ஞான தண்ட பாணியே என்னை ஞான பண்டிதனக்கிடுவாய்
அகந்தையெல்லாம் அழித்து அன்பினை ஊட்டிடுவாய்
அன்பு மயமாக்கி ஆட்கொள்ளு வையப்பா
அன்பை என் உள்ளத்தில் அசைவின்றி நிறுத்திவிடு
அன்பையே கண்ணாக ஆக்கிக் காத்திடுவாய் …… 265

உள்ளும் புறமும் உன்னருளாம் அன்பையே
உறுதியாக நானும் பற்றிட உவந்திடுவாய்
எல்லை இல்லாத அன்பே இறைவெளி என்றாய் நீ
அங்கிங்கெனாதபடி எங்கும் அன்பென்றாய்
அன்பே சிவமும் அன்பே சக்தியும் …… 270

அன்பே ஹரியும் அன்பே பிரமனும்
அன்பே தேவரும் அன்பே மனிதரும்
அன்பே நீயும் அன்பே நானும்
அன்பே சத்தியம் அன்பே நித்தியம்
அன்பே சாந்தம் அன்பே ஆனந்தம் …… 275

அன்பே மெளனம் அன்பே மோட்சம்
அன்பே பிரம்மமும் அன்பே அனைத்தும் என்றாய்
அன்பிலாத இடம் அங்குமிங்கு மில்லை என்றாய்
எங்கும் நிறைந்த அன்பே என் குருநாதனப்பா
அன்பில் உறையும் அருட்குரு நாதரே தான் …… 280

கந்தாஸ்ரமத்தில் கந்தகுரு வானான்காண்
முவரும் தேவரும் முனிவரும் போற்றிடவே
கந்தாஸ்ரமம் தன்னில் கந்த ஜோதியுமாய்
ஆத்ம ஜோதியுமாய் அமர்ந்திட்ட கந்தகுரு
இருளை அகற்றவே எழுந்திட்ட எங்கள் குரு …… 285

எல்லை இல்லாத உன் இறைவெளியைக் காட்டிடுவாய்
முக்தியைத் தந்திடுவாய் மூவரும் போற்றிடவே
நம்பினேன் உன்னையே நம்பினேன் கந்தகுரோ
உன்னையன்றி இவ்வுலகில் ஒன்றுமில்லை என்றுணர்ந்தேன்
நன்கறிந்து கொண்டேன் நானும் உனதருளால் …… 290

விட்டிட மாட்டேன் கந்தா வீட தருள்வீரே
நடுனெற்றித் தானத்து நானுனைத் தியானிப்பேன்
பிரம்ம மந்திரத்தைப் போதித்து வந்திடுவாய்
சுழுமுனை மார்க்கமாய் ஜோதியை காட்டிடுவாய்
சிவயோகியாக எனைச் செய்திடும் குருநாதா …… 295

ஆசை அறுத்து அரனடியைக் காட்டிவிடும்
மெய்யடி யராக்கி மெய் வீட்டில் இருத்திவிடும்
கொங்கு நாட்டிலே கோயில் கொண்ட கந்தகுரோ
கொல்லிமலை மேலே குமரகுரு வானவனே
கஞ்சமலை சித்தர் போற்றும் கந்தகிரி குருநாதா …… 300

கருவூரார் போற்றும் காங்கேயா கந்தகுரோ
மருதமலைச் சித்தன் மகிழ்ந்துபணி பரமகுரோ
சென்னிமலைக் குமரா சித்தர்க்கு அருள்வோனே
சிவவாக்கியர் சித்தர் உனைச் சிவன் மலையில் போற்றுவரே
பழனியில் போகருமே பாரோர் வாழப் பிரதிஷ்டை செய்திட்டார் …… 305

புலிப்பாணி சித்தர்களால் புடை சூழ்ந்த குமரகுரோ
கொங்கில் மலிந்திட்ட கந்த குருநாதா
கள்ளம் கபடமற்ற வெள்ளை உள்ளம் அருள்வீரே
கற்றவர்களோடு என்னைக் களிப்புறச் செய்திடுமே
உலகெங்கும் நிறைந்திருந்தும் கந்தகுரு உள்ளஇடம் …… 310

கந்தகிரி என்பதை தான் கண்டுகொண்டேன் கண்டுகொண்டேன்
நால்வர் அருணகிரி நவமிரண்டு சித்தர்களும்
பக்தர்களும் போற்றும் பழநிமலை முருகா கேள்
கொங்குதேசத்தில் குன்றுதோறும் குடிகொண்டோய்
சீலம் நிறைந்த சேலம் மாநகரத்தில் …… 315

கன்னிமார் ஓடையின்மேல் கந்தகிரி அதனில்
கந்தாஸ் ரமத்தினிலே ஞானஸ்கந்த சத்குருவாய்
அமர்ந்திருக்கும் ஜோதியே ஆதேமுல மானகுரோ
அயர்ச்சியை நீக்கிடுவாய் என் தளர்ச்சியை அகற்றிடுவாய்
சுகவனேசன் மகனே சுப்ரமண்ய ஜோதியே …… 320

பேரின்ப மகிழ்ச்சியையும் பெருகிடச் செய்திடப்பா
பரமானந்தமதில் எனை மறக்க பாலிப்பாய்
மால் மருகா வள்ளி மணவாளா கந்தகுரோ
சிவகுமரா உன்கோயில் கந்தகிரி என்றுணர்ந்தேன்
ஜோதிப்பிழம்பான சுந்தரனே பழனியப்பா …… 325

சிவஞானப் பழமான கந்தகுருநாதா
பழம் நீ என்றதினால் பழனிமலை இருந்தாயோ
திருவாவினன் குடியில் திருமுருகன் ஆனாயோ
குமரா முருகா குருகுகா வேலவனே
அகத்தியர்க்குத் தந்து ஆட்சிகொண்டாய் தமிழகத்தை …… 330

கலியுக வரதனென்று கலசமுனி உனைப்புகழ்ந்தான்
ஒளவைக்கு அருள் செய்த அறுமுகவா கந்தகுரோ
ஒழுக்கமொடு கருணையையும் தவத்தையும் தந்தருள்வாய்
போகருக்கருள் செய்த புவனசுந்தரனே
தண்டபாணித் தெய்வமே தடுத்தாட் கொண்டிடப்பா …… 335

ஆண்டிக் கோலத்தில் அணைத்திடுவாய் தண்டுடனே
தெய்வங்கள் போற்றிடும் தண்டாயுத ஜோதியே
கந்தகிரி மேலே கந்தகிரி ஜோதி யானவனே
கடைக்கண்ணால் பார்த்திடப்பா கருணையுள்ள கந்தகுரோ
ஏழையைக் காத்திடப்பா ஏத்துகிறேன் உன்நாமம் …… 340

உன்னை அன்றி வேறொன்றை ஒருபோதும் நம்புகிலேன்
கண்கண்ட தெய்வமே கலியுக வரதனே
கந்தன் என்ற பேர்சொன்னால் கடிதாக நோய்தீரும்
புவனேஸ்வரி மைந்தா போற்றினேன் திருவடியை
திருவடியை நம்பினேன் திருவடி சாட்சியாக …… 345

புவனமாதா மைந்தனே புண்ணிய மூர்த்தியே கேள்
நின் நாமம் ஏத்துவதே நான் செய்யும் தவமாகும்
நாத்தழும் பேறவே ஏத்திடுவேன் நின்நாமம்
முருகா முருகாவென்றே மூச்செல்லாம் விட்டிடுவேன்
உள்ளும் புறமும் ஒருமுருகனையே காண்பேன் …… 350

அங்கிங்கு எனாதபடி எங்குமே முருகனப்பா
முருகன் இலாவிட்டால் மூவுலக மேதப்பா
அப்பப்பா முருகாநின் அருளே உலகமப்பா
அருளெல்லாம் முருகன் அன்பெல்லாம் முருகன்
தாவர ஜங்கமாய் கந்தனாய் அருவுருவாய் …… 355

முருகனாய் முதல்வனாய் ஆனவன் கந்தகுரு
கந்தாஸ்ரமம் இருக்கும் கந்தகுரு அடிபற்றிச்
சரணம் அடைந்தவர்கள் சாயுஜ்யம் பெற்றிடுவர்
சத்தியம் சொல்கின்றேன் சந்தேக மில்லையப்பா
வேதங்கள் போற்றிடும் வடிவேலன் முருகனை நீ …… 360

சந்தேகம் இல்லாமல் சத்தியமாய் நம்பிடுவாய்
சத்திய மானதெய்வம் கந்த குருநாதன்
சத்தியம் காணவே நீ சத்தியமாய் நம்பிடப்பா
சத்தியம் வேறல்ல கந்தகுரு வேறல்ல
கந்தகுருவே சத்தியம் சத்தியமே கந்தகுரு …… 365

சத்தியமாய்ச் சொன்னதை சத்தியமாய் நம்பியே நீ
சத்தியமாய் ஞானமாய் சதானந்த மாகிவிடு
அழிவற்ற ப்ரம்மமாய் ஆக்கி விடுவான் முருகன்
திருமறைகள் திருமுறைகள் செப்புவதும் இதுவேதான்
கந்தகுரு கவசமதை சொந்தமாக்கிக் கொண்டு நீ …… 370

பொருளுணர்ந்து ஏத்திடப்பா பொல்லாப்பு வினையகலும்
பிறவிப் பிணி அகலும் பிரம்மானந்த முண்டு
இம்மையிலும் மறுமையிலும் இமையருனைப் போற்றிடுவர்
முவருமே முன்னிற்பர் யாவருமே பூஜிப்பர்
அனுதினமும் கவசத்தை அன்புடன் ஏத்திடப்பா …… 375

சிரத்தா பக்தியுடன் சிந்தையொன்றிச் செப்பிடப்பா
கவலைய கன்றிடுமே கந்தனருள் பொங்கிடுமே
பிறப்பும் இறப்பும் பிணிகளும் தொலைந்திடுமே
கந்தன் கவசமே கவசமென்று உணர்ந்திடுவாய்
கவசம் ஏத்துவீரேல் கலியை ஜெயித்திடலாம் …… 380

கலி என்ற அரக்கனைக் கவசம் விரட்டிடுமே
சொன்னபடிச் செய்து சுகமடைவாய் மனமே நீ
கந்தகுரு கவசத்தைக் கருத்தூன்றி ஏத்துவோர்க்கு
அஷ்ட ஐஸ்வர்யம் தரும் அந்தமில்லா இன்பம் தரும்
ஆல்போல் தழைத்திடுவன் அறுகுபோல் வேரோடிடுவன் …… 385

வாழையடி வாழையைப்போல் வம்சமதைப் பெற்றிடுவன்
பதினாறும் பெற்றுப் பல்லாண்டு வாழ்ந்திடுவன்
சாந்தியும் செளக்யமும் சர்வமங்களமும் பெருகிடுமே
கந்தகுரு கவசமிதை கருத்திருத்தி ஏற்றுவீரேல்
கர்வம் காமக்குரோதம் கலிதோஷம் அகற்றுவிக்கும் …… 390

முன்செய்த வினையகன்று முருகனருள் கிட்டிவிடும்
அறம் பொருள் இன்பம் வீடு அதிசுலபமாய்க் கிட்டும்
ஆசாரம் சீலமுடன் ஆதிநேம நிஷ்டையுடன்
கள்ளமிலா உள்ளத்தோடு கந்தகுரு கவசம் தன்னை
சிரத்தா பக்தியுடன் சிவகுமரனை நினைத்துப் …… 395

பாராயணம் செய்வீரேல் பார்க்கலாம் கந்தனையும்
கந்தகுரு கவசமிதை மண்டலம் நிஷ்டையுடன்
பகலிரவு பாராமல் ஒருமனதாய் பகருவீரேல்
திருமுருகன் வேல்கொண்டு திக்குகள் தோறும் நின்று
காத்திடுவான் கந்தகுரு கவலை இல்லை நிச்சயமாய் …… 400

ஞான கந்தனின் திருவடியை நம்பியே நீ
கந்தகுரு கவசம் தன்னை ஓதுவதே தவம் எனவே
உணர்ந்துகொண்டு ஓதுவையேல் உனக்குப் பெரிதான
இகபரசுகம் உண்டாம் எந்நாளும் துன்பம் இல்லை
துன்பம் அகன்று விடும் தொந்திரைகள் நீங்கிவிடும் …… 405

இன்பம் பெருகிவிடும் இஷ்டசித்தி கூடிவிடும்
பிறவிப்பிணி அகற்றி ப்ரம்ம நிஷ்டையும் தந்து
காத்து ரக்ஷிக்கும் கந்தகுரு கவசமுமே
கவலையை விட்டுநீ கந்தகுரு கவசமிதை
இருந்த படியிருந்து ஏற்றிவிடு ஏற்றினால் …… 410

தெய்வங்கள் தேவர்கள் சித்தர்கள் பக்தர்கள்
போற்றிடுவர் ஏவலுமே புரிந்திடுவர் நிச்சயமாய்
கந்தகுரு கவசம் சம்சயப் பேயோட்டும்
அஞ்ஞானமும் அகற்றி அருள் ஒளியும் காட்டும்
ஞான கந்தகுரு நானென்றும் முன்நிற்பன் …… 415

உள்ளொளியாய் இருந்து உன்னில் அவனாக்கிடுவன்
தன்னில் உனைக்காட்டி உன்னில் தனைக்காட்டி
எங்கும் தனைக்காட்டி எங்குமுனைக் காட்டிடுவான்
கந்தஜோதி யானகந்தன் கந்தகிரி இருந்து
தண்டாயுதம் தாங்கித் தருகின்றான் காட்சியுமே …… 420

கந்தன் புகழ் பாடக் கந்தகிரி வாருமினே
கந்தகிரி வந்து நிதம் கண்டுய்ம்மின் ஜகத்தீரே
கலிதோஷம் அகற்றுவிக்கும் கந்தகுரு கவசமிதை
பாராயணம் செய்து பாரில் புகழ் பெறுமின்
கந்தகுரு கவச பலன் பற்றறுத்துப் பரம்கொடுக்கும் …… 425

ஒருதரம் கவசம் ஓதின் உள்ளழுக்குப் போகும்
இருதரம் ஏற்றுவீரேல் எண்ணியதெல்லாம் கிட்டும்
முன்றுதரம் ஓதின் முன்னிற்பன் கந்தகுரு
நான்முறை ஓதி தினம் நல்லவரம் பெறுவீர்
ஐந்துமுறை தினமட ஓதி பஞ்சாட்சரம் பெற்று …… 430

ஆறுமுறை யோதி ஆறுதலைப் பெற்றிடுவீர்
ஏழு முறை தினம் ஓதின் எல்லாம் வசமாகும்
எட்டுமுறை ஏத்தில் அட்டமா சித்திகிட்டும்
ஒன்பதுதரம் ஓதின் மரணபயம் ஒழியும்
பத்துதரம் ஓதி நித்தம் பற்றறுத்து வாழ்வீரே …… 435

கன்னிமார் ஓடையிலே நீராடி நீறுபூசிக்
கந்தகுரு கவசம் ஓதி கந்தகிரி ஏறிவிட்டால்
முந்தை வினை எல்லாம் கந்தன் அகற்றிடுவான்
நிந்தைகள் நீங்கிவிடும் நிஷ்டையுமே கைகூடும்
கன்னிமார் ஓடை நீரை கைகளில் நீ எடுத்துக் …… 440

கந்தன் என்ற மந்திரத்தைக் கண்மூடி உருவேற்றி
உச்சியிலும் தெளித்து உட்கொண்டு விட்டிட்டால் உன்
சித்த மலம் அகன்று சித்த சுத்தியும் கொடுக்கும்
கன்னிமார் தேவிகளைக் கன்னிமார் ஓடையிலே
கண்டு வழிபட்டு கந்தகிரி ஏறிடுவீர் …… 445

கந்தகிரி ஏறி ஞான கந்தகுரு கவசமிதைப்
பாராயணம் செய்துலகில் பாக்கியமெல்லாம் பெற்றுடுவீர். …… 447

இயற்றியவர் :ஸ்ரீமத் சத்குரு சாந்தானந்த சுவாமிகள்

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Bhoothanatha Geetha – The Song of Ayyappa

Bhoothanatha Geetha (or Bhutanatha Gita) is a very rare Sanskrit text. We are greatly indebted to Mr. V. Aravind Subramanyam for working all his life to find the old manuscripts of this book, translate it and make it available with English and Tamil translations. . The book can only be directly ordered from him by sending a DD or cheque to his residence in Coimbatore Tamil Nadu. It is not available elsewhere. I got a copy of it yesterday and I want to share what I found in it. Mr. Aravind Subramanyam, due to his earnest love for Dharama Sastha, always adds Maha Sasthru Priya Dasan before his name. He has also written a complete purana called Sri Maha Sastha Vijayam.

Boothanatha Geetha is much shorter than Bhagavad Gita but conveys the key points of Advaita Vedanta. It has 132 verses in 8 short chapters. Bhagavad Gita is a conversation between Krishna and Arjuna. Similarly, Bhoothanatha Gita is a conversation between Prince Manikanta who was considered as the avatar of Dharma sastha and Rajasekharan, the king of Pandalam.

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Boothanatha Geetha has certain uniqueness that other texts don’t have. To explain that, I will comment on some of the important verses from the book.

Boothanatha Geetha is written in much simpler Sanskrit. So, it is easier than Bhagavad Gita, if you want to read the text in the original. The first sloka is very simple and with basic knowledge of Sanskrit, one can understand it:

janma mrtyAdi duhkhAnAm nAzAya mahIpate

karmano nAzanam mukhyam tadupAyam nizamyatAm

Meaning: Oh King, destroying one’s karmas is important for the destruction of the suffering that arises from the cycle of birth and death. You can hear the way for it from me.

The text has 8 chapters. The first chapter Brahma Lakshana Yoga starts with this sloka and proceeds to explain the nature of Brahman, the absolute reality.

Chapter 1 – Brahma Lakshana Yoga

Here is the eighth sloka which talks about it:

AdimadhyAntarahitam svayam jotih parAtparam

avyayam nirgunam rAjan kAladezAdi varjjitam

citganam nityamAnandam tatbhinnam nAsti vastu bho

asitatvamaham taccetyAmnAyah parikIrtitah

Meaning:

Oh king! Brahman has no beginning, no middle and no end. It shines on its own and is the greatest of the greatest. It is imperishable, attributeless and beyond space & time.

It has been described in the scriptures that it is conscious and always in bliss. Nothing other than that exists! It is you and it is also me.

(It is interesting to note that the line ‘citganam nityamAnandam tatbhinnam nAsti vastu bho’ is a description of sat-cit-ananda or truth-consciousness – bliss. citganam = conciousness; nityamAnandam = bliss; tatbhinnam nAsti vastu bho = truth).

These lines also combine two mahavakyas, ‘tat tvam asi’ (You are that) and ‘aham brahmasmi’ (I am Brahmam’ together by saying ‘asi tat tvam aham’ (that exists as you and I). A good sloka for memorization for people who are learning Sanskrit. This sloka is similar to a lot of verses in Sankhya Yoga, the second chapter of Bhagavad Gita.

If Brahman is all that exists, then how do we explain the multiplicity in the existence? In the next few slokas, Manikanta attempts to clarify this doubt with the famous example of gold and gold ornaments found in Chandogya Upanishad.

In Chandogya Upanishad, Svetakethu’s father teaches him ‘tat tvam asi’ (you are that) and proceeds to explain with this example:

“Just as, my dear, by one clod of clay all that is made of clay is known, the modification being only a name, arising from speech, while the truth is that all is clay; “Just as, my dear, by one nugget of gold all that is made of gold is known, the modification being only a name, arising from speech, while the truth is that all is gold; “And just as, my dear, by one pair of nail—scissors all that is made of iron is known, the modification being only a name, arising from speech, while the truth is that all is iron—even so, my dear, is that instruction.”

Manikanta must have been well versed and quite familiar with Chandogya Upanishad and even some Buddhist texts as we will see.

Manikanta explains that just like gold ornaments with different shapes are essentially gold and nothing else, all the myriads of names and forms that we see is essentially Brahman and nothing else. The multiplicity is seen due to Maya (illusion or unreal).

In 12th sloka, the king questions, “What you are saying now seems to be contradictory to what you said before. If Brahman is all that exists, then where does maya come from?. How do the scholars of Advaita accept this contradiction?

This would remind us of Arjuna’s confusion when he complains to Krishna in Gita 3.1 that Krishna seemed to be contradicting himself.

Manikanta then explains that maya is nothing but the idea of a separate self. When you see something as me or mine, it is maya. This illusion has no beginning but it has an end. It is due to this illusion, one perceives or feels himself different from Brahman. Manikanta then encourages the king to investigate and see if there is really any truth in saying things like ‘this is my hand’, ‘this is my leg’ etc. He asserts that if one investigates carefully, one can know that there is no such thing as ‘mine’.

Manikanta also quotes the famous analogy of crystal to explain the relationship between Brahman and Maya. Maya doesn’t stick to Brahman even though it appears to be, just like a red flower placed on a crystal makes the crystal to appear red, even though the crystal itself doesn’t have the quality of the redness. At the same time, the color exists inseparable from the crystal just like maya is in a sense inseparable from Brahman.

Chapter 2 – Brahma Jnana Yoga

The second chapter is Brahma Jnana Yoga. Manikanta begins by explaining how the three gunas or trimurties sattva (Brahma), rajas (Vishnu) and tamas (Shiva) originated from Brahman.

In this chapter, Manikanta talks like Buddha. Buddha used to discourage metaphysical questions which are about the origin of the world, the origin of maya or the origin of suffering.

In Buddhist texts, there is a parable called the parable of a poisoned arrow. This parable was said as a response when someone asked how suffering originated in the first place:

“It’s just as if a man were wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with poison. His friends & companions, kinsmen & relatives would provide him with a surgeon, and the man would say, ‘I won’t have this arrow removed until I know whether the man who wounded me was a noble warrior, a brahman, a merchant, or a worker.’ He would say, ‘I won’t have this arrow removed until I know the given name & clan name of the man who wounded me… until I know whether he was tall, medium, or short… until I know whether he was dark, ruddy-brown, or golden-colored… until I know his home village, town, or city… until I know whether the bow with which I was wounded was a long bow or a crossbow… until I know whether the bowstring with which I was wounded was fiber, bamboo threads, sinew, hemp, or bark… until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was wild or cultivated… until I know whether the feathers of the shaft with which I was wounded were those of a vulture, a stork, a hawk, a peacock, or another bird… until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was bound with the sinew of an ox, a water buffalo, a langur, or a monkey.’ He would say, ‘I won’t have this arrow removed until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was that of a common arrow, a curved arrow, a barbed, a calf-toothed, or an oleander arrow.’ The man would die and those things would still remain unknown to him.

“In the same way, if anyone were to say, ‘I won’t live the holy life under the Blessed One as long as he does not declare to me that ‘The cosmos is eternal,’… or that ‘After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist,’ the man would die and those things would still remain undeclared by the Tathagata.

Manikanta says something similar in Chapter 2 , verse 6:

yastvagAdhe mahAkUpe patito bhUnnrpottama

tasmAdArohanopAyam avicintya samUDhadhih

tatra sthitvA cintayeccet kUpasyotbhavakAranam

katham tIram ca samprAptum zaktah sabhavati prabho

Meaning:

The greatest of kings! If some one falls down inside a deep well, is there any use in thinking about the reason the well was there in that place? How can you escape from the well if you don’t think about the way to escape from it?

Manikanta in many places, discourages useless questions and mere reading of scriptures without striving to know the truth in one’s experience.

Then Manikanda stresses the importance of a satguru. He says ‘samyag vettum param brahma kAryam satguru sevanam (2.7)’, which means if one wants to know the truth of Brahman in once’s experience, serving a satguru is mandatory. We will see who this satguru is, in a moment.

Manikanta then says that without the help of satguru. people end up like the blind men arguing about the shape of an elephant. The story of the blind men and the elephant is very famous in Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. The doctrine of Anekantavada is based on this story, which you can read about here: Logic And Spiritual Enlightenment – An Overview of Anekantavada, Saptabhangivada (Seven Valued Logic) and Syadvada of Jainism

Manikanta also goes ahead and narrates the story. (The version Manikanta narrates only has two blind men, but in other versions they are more). Two blind men once wanted to know about an elephant. So, each of them went near an elephant to touch and feel it so that they can find out the shape of the elephant. One guy touched the ears of the elephant while the other person touched the trunk. After that, both of them were perfectly convinced that they knew everything about the elephant and its shape. The guy who touched the ears argued that the elephant looks like a fan where as the guy who touched the trunk insisted that an elephant looks like a long pipe. Seeing these people fighting, a person with the perfect eye sight came and explained to them what an elephant really looks like.

Manikanta ends this chapter by conveying the difference between meditating on and worshipping the formless and attributeless truth (nirguna brahman) and a deity with a form (saguna brahman). These verses are similar to the verses in the 12th chapter (Bhakti Yoga) of Bhagavad Gita where the conversation is about the same topic. Manikanta says that one who meditates on the formless, attributeless Brahman will attain liberation in this life and become Jivan Muktas. People who worship the divine in a form will attain liberation after their death. Adhi Shankara in his commentary on Bhagavad Gita also conveys the same while interpreting the verses in chapter 12 of Gita.

Chapter 3 – Gunatraya Yoga

This chapter talks about Panchikarana, a Vedantic theory that talks about how matter came into existence from five elements (panchabhutas).

Chapter 4 – Tattva Vijnana Yoga

There is something interesting to note in the beginning of this chapter. Manikanta begins by saying that there are 96 tattvas which exist in nature. A tattva is nothing but a smallest indivisible unit or element of what appears in our consciousness. For example, memory is a tattva, ego is a tattva, perception of sight is a tattva etc. When you observe the contents of your consciousness, it is possible to come up with many such tattvas. But the number of tattvas vary by tradition. For example, Bhagavad Gita talks about 8 tattvas. Samkhya school identifies 24 tattvas and Shaiva Siddhanta tradition identifies 36 tattvas. There is one tradition that talks about 96 tattvas. It is nothing but the tradition of Siddhas who specialized in both spiritual matters and herbal medicine. Since Manikanta too talks about 96 tattvas here, it is possible that he was also a Siddha who had mastered siddhis and the art of medicine.

The purpose of the description of these tattvas is to not to commit them to memory as a bunch of information. Enumerating these tattvas are only useful to see that they are not ‘you’ or ‘yours’. In other words, these are tools for self-inquiry rather than a collection of facts. As a mere collection of information, it is useless. So, if one is longing to get liberated, he needs to take care to see that he doesn’t identify with a whole bunch of information.

Citta Suddhi – Purification of the mind

Manikanta then begins to explain how the mind gets unpurified. When we make any decision we use our intellect or the sense of discrimination. But this intellect when influenced by rajas (desire and activity leading to fulfilling the desires) and tamas (lethargy, hatred and anger born out of that hatred) grabs your attention away to multiple things. Intellect eventually gets multibranched because of myriads of desires and fears. That is why there is a lot of self-conflict and that is the reason why human beings suffer a lot from cognitive dissonance.

Gita talks about this too:

vyavasayatmika buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana
bahu-sakha hy anantas ca buddhayo ‘vyavasayinam – Gita 2.41

Meaning: A person who has achieved one pointedness (by purifying his mind) has an intellect which has just a single branch. But the intellect of the people who have not achieved such one-pointed devotedness is many branched.

While explaining, Manikanta suddenly reminds him that it is useless to just read these things and say things like ‘there are 96 tattvas’, ‘the scriptures say so’ etc. It is a waste of time to talk about things he knows only by reading and not by his experience.

Then Manikanta uses an analogy to explain what is mandatory for the purification of the mind. Let us say the mind is like a milk; and the impurities are like water. If you want to get rid of all the water and get pure milk, the only choice you have is to heat it. No amount of adding anything or trying to remove anything will get rid of the water. Simply reading the scriptures is like trying to heat the milk without fire. If there is no fire, then no matter how long you wait, the water will be still there. Manikanta says that a guru’s words and guidance is like the fuel which can create the fire. Only when the scriptures burn in the fuel of the guru’s words, the impurities of mind will evaporate and the mind will get purified. A seeker should listen to guru’s words and do meditation according to what he taught.

Then Rajasekharan asks, ‘How do I find a satguru? How would I know that he is satguru? Since you know a lot of scriptures, please explain’. It is important to note that Rajasekharan still insists to hear what is written in the scripture. He doesn’t seem to be wanting to know what Manikanta knows by his experience. This is the reason why Manikanta throughout this Gita insists the futility of mere intellectual debates without attempting to directly know the truth by experience.

So Manikanta defines who a ‘satguru’ is by listing four qualities of a satguru:

  1. He doesn’t have any attachments.
  2. He is peaceful and calm.
  3. He loves his disciples.
  4. He knows the truth by experience.

There is another thing to note here. People believe that Kabir who lived in 15th century was the one who coined the word ‘satguru’ and who was also called as a satguru for the first time. Because there were no references to the word ‘satguru’ in any other older scriptures. But Manikanta lived in 10th or 11th century AD. No body has dated Bhoothanatha Gita yet, but assuming that it was written down right after his life, it is probable that Manikanda was the one who was called as satguru for the first time and who probably used that word for the first time.

Manikanta then defines the quality of a seeker:

  1. He has realized that life is prone to suffering.
  2. He is longing to get freedom and prays sincerely for emancipation.

Then he defines the quality of a scripture (sastra). A scripture is a book which gives the path to destroy the following 8 qualities called as ashtaragas:

  1. kama — lust
  2. krodha — anger
  3. lobha — greed
  4. moha — delusory emotional attachment or temptation
  5. mada — pride, hubris, (being possessed by)
  6. matsarya — dissatisfaction
  7. asooya – jealousy
  8. thrshna – Craving (a very acute form of desire)

A warning about fake gurus!

Then comes a beautiful sloka which says something that no other scripture has said to my knowledge. It warns about gurus who are after your money!

guravo bahavassanti zishyANAm dhana hArakAh

durlabho deziko rAjan teshAm santapahArakAh (4.20)

Meaning: There are plenty of so called gurus who take away your money. But the gurus who can take away your misery are very rare!

Finally, Manikanta offers you a solution. Since it is very rare to find such gurus, he says that he himself is both Guru and God for a person who shows selfless devotion to him. What this sloka actually conveys is, dharmasastha is satguru! If you don’t have a guru and can’t find one, just be devoted to sastha! Devotion purifies the mind and the divine as the satguru is always there as the inner light in every being.

Chapter 5 – Karma Vibhaga Yoga

This chapter discusses three types of karmas and how karmic material travels from one body to another body. Certain themes from Chandogya Upanishad appear here too. Here Manikanta insists that one should safeguard his body and not neglect it just because it is going to die own day. Because this body is the instrument which helps you to enjoy the four purusharthas of life: dharma, artha, kama and moksha. At the same time, he also says that the purpose of having this human body is to realize the truth.

He then lists the qualifications for a seeker. In Vedanta there is a concept called sadhana chatushtaya which lists qualifications of a seeker. This sloka just lists four simple qualities that a seeker should have as qualifications : 1) Vairagya – non-attachment 2) Guru Bhakthi – devotion to guru, in this case Dharmasastha. 3) Shama – tranquility of the mind 4) dhama – control of senses.

The chapter ends as Manikanta stresses the importance of devotion in the last few slokas. Devotion purifies the mind as well as helps the person to develop the above mentioned qualifications.

Chapter 6 – Bhakthi Vibhaga Yoga

This chapter once again stresses the importance of devotion. It talks in detail about the three gunas and three type of devotees.

Chapter 7 – Karmakarma yoga

In this chapter Rajesekharan asks important questions.

Here is the essence of his question: ‘If someone is absorbed in the pleasure of Brahman and has no craving, then how will he be motivated to do any action at all? How can he deal with things in practical life as before without anything driving him from the inside?’

Manikanda replies that a person who exhibits feats by climbing a big staff are able to do so effortlessly because their mind is one pointed. When you attain one pointedness through self-realization, you will have more efficiency to do your actions. He lists people such as Janaka, Sukha, Gargi and Katwanga as examples of people who continued to live their married life after their self-realization.

Then he talks about the impermanence of the worldly things and how liberation is the only thing which is permanent. He says that this world is a stage for dramas and Brahman is the one who runs the show; night is the screen and sun is the light; we are are actors; karmas are the musical instruments and the desires are the music. Once a person starts to look at life this way, he will be able to develop vairagya (non-attachment) very quickly.

Chapter 8 – Varna Vibha Yoga

Manikanda talks about four varnas. The slokas are like rewritten verses of Purusha sukta. It talks about how people from different varnas were born from different parts of purusha.

He then says that being a householder is better than being a wandering monk, forest ascetic or a bachelor. These verses seem to echo what some older grihya sutras say. They also favoured married life over asceticism.

Manikanda then warns the king to not to read various scriptures and get confused. He says that whatever that has been conveyed so far is the essence of the scriptures and that he didn’t have to read anything else.

Finally he declares ‘sarvajnoham sarvagoham sarvasAkshyahameva bho’ which means I am the omniscient, omnipresent and a witness of everything. He asks the king to meditate on him all the time and promises him liberation.

…………………………

Thank you for reading. I could only write this because of grace! I sat this morning and resolved to write a detailed post on Bhutanatha gita and let everyone know about this text. I wanted that to happen on this Diwali day itself. I hope this answer gave a complete introduction to Bhoothanatha gita. I wish you a happy and peaceful Diwali!

(People who want to purchase this book can find details on Mr. V. Aravind Subramanyam’s bloghttp://shanmatha.blogspot.com/2011/04/bhoothanatha-geetha.html )

Entry of Women to Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple -A Detailed Look at Sabarimala’s History and the Recent Supreme Court Verdict

I am republishing an answer I wrote in Quora regarding the recent Supreme Court Verdict on allowing women of all age groups to Sabarimala temple. The question was “Should women be allowed to enter Sabarimala shrine?”. I am quoting from Wikipedia to give some background for this issue:

Sabarimala is a Hindu Temple in the Indian district of Kerala, where women pilgrims of menstruating age (10-50) were not legally allowed to enter from 1991 to 2018. In September 2018, a landmark judgement by the Supreme Court of India ruled that all women pilgrims, including those in the menstruating age group, should be allowed entrance to Sabarimala. This verdict led to widespread protests by the believers.Several women attempted to enter Sabarimala despite threats of physical assault against them but failed to reach the sanctum sanctorum.

Full article:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entry_of_women_to_Sabarimala_Ayyappa_Temple

It is time for our society to understand the correct reasons for the ban of women between 10–50 and decide something for the greater good. Whether these women should be allowed there or not depends on what we agree to as a society, after carefully weighing down the pros and cons. Rules are made for people, people are not made for rules!

There are advantages in not allowing the women of that age group. But there are disadvantages too! After understanding both, let us decide what should be done!

First, the Supreme Court has approached this issue with a wrong assumption. There is no gender discrimination here and it is not the reason for disallowing young women to Sabarimala!

There are three different reasons which are said for disallowing women of age group 10 -50. The first reason is no longer relevant, the second reason is absurd and the third reason, which is the actual and the important reason, is completely ignored.

But if the third reason is properly explained, I think most of the people who are now protesting will understand. Let us see those three reasons one by one.

  1. Usually, there are different rules for the temples which are situated in mountains with high altitude or mountains which are amidst dense forests. Just imagine how people went to Sabarimala two or three centuries before. They have to take long and dangerous routes which were completely unsafe for women. Such temples cannot be kept open during all days of the year just like other temples. To state an example, devotees climb the Velliangiri mountains in Tamil Nadu during the month of April and May. But women of age group between 10–50 are not allowed to climb Velliangiri hills either. This ban is for their own protection. Because, there are chances that they can get raped and killed. In the dense forests of high altitude, there are lot of chances for women to get stuck at some place along the way where there is no one to help. Even now, it is better for women of young age to not to climb Velliangiri hills. Because I have climbed those mountains and anyone who climbed it can understand why it could be dangerous.But this is not applicable to Sabari Mala anymore. Sabari Mala today is not dangerous for women anymore as it was once. Women devotees can be completely protected. So as I said, this first reason is no longer relevant.
  2. We also have a story associated with it. It is said that Ayyappa is a Naishtika Brahmachari and he doesn’t want to see young women at all. Whether a woman is 13 or 47 doesn’t matter, she can still disturb the penance of Ayyappa and spoil his Brahmacharya. We need to stop taking myths too seriously. Because, sometimes myths go to the extent of insulting and degrading the divinity which is all pervading and beyond space and time. First of all, there is a difference between Dharma Sastha and Ayyappa or Manikandan. Manikandan was a human prince who lived about 1000 years before. The myths about Manikanda are not reliable because they were written for certain reasons that I will explain later in this answer. Manikandan was considered as an incarnation of Dharma sastha just like we consider Rama as an incarnation of Vishnu. Dharma Sastha is depicted as having two consorts: Poorna and Pushkala. These words mean completion or fullness and prosperity respectively. Here the idea is, after a person attains Moksha, he also attains fullness and prosperity. Also, in Sabarimala, the pujas and moola mantra are addressed to Dharma Sastha directly. Manikandan is said to have merged with Dharma Sastha which is a symbolic way of conveying that Manikanda attained Parinirvana and merged with divinity. So stating that allowing young women to Sabarimala will disturb Ayyappa’s Brahmacharya is completely absurd! He doesn’t exist as a distinct personality anymore. So in the name of Ayyappa, all you are worshipping is Dharmasastha, which in reality is the same as Shiva, Vishnu or Shakthi. It is one divinity that we pray to!

Some people even went ahead and said that the floods in Kerala is the result of the anger of Ayyappa. They also go ahead and say that there will be serious consequences if women are allowed. The idea that all pervading divinity would punish innocent human beings because of anger is totally primitive and complete nonsense. This self-contradicting God is not what Sanatana Dharma talks about. Such ideas are spread by common folks who hasn’t read Bhagavad Gita or Vedas, and has got nothing to do with Ayyappa. Please don’t make God limited and portray him as such a dumb person who will get angry and punish innocent people just because a 12 year old girl or 47 year old woman spoiled his Brahmacharya vrata. Even a human being wouldn’t do that!

3. Here is the actual reason for disallowing the women of age group 10–50. Sabarimala temple has a uniqueness that other temples do not have. To my knowledge, it is the only temple which is maintained for this special reason.

Once it was believed that renouncing the world and practicing austerities were completely necessary for an individual to attain liberation. Even Adhi Shankara has written in his commentaries that if one is seeking liberation then he has no choice other than renouncing the world, own only a begging bowl and keep wandering. But after Bhakthi and other spiritual traditions became popular, it was said that even married people and women can be seekers. So, there are many spiritual sadhanas which have been designed for people who live in family. For example, during the month of Dec-Jan (Marghazhi), women wake up very early and go to Vishnu temples and sing Bhajans; this is a spiritual practice for women but it is open for men too. There are some sadhanas which are open only for women and not for men. For example, women in Tamil Nadu do a special worship for Lord Ganesh by offering him with a snack known as ‘Auvaiyar kozhukkattai ’. Men are not allowed to know the reason and purpose of this worship; they are not allowed to eat those kozhukkattais either which is so unfortunate. 🙂 I have tried to get them many times when I was a kid but no luck! The same way, the pilgrimage to Sabarimala is a spiritual Sadhana for men. Women do not need it and I will explain why.

There is enough scientific evidence now for the fact that men lack self-control when compared to women. Since men have more testosterone, they are naturally very aggressive, lack self-control and very week in delaying gratification. In other words, women can very easily sacrifice a smaller reward that is immediately available for a bigger reward that awaits them in the future. They can also very easily go through a smaller difficulty now to avoid a bigger difficulty later. We have all intuitively known this. Back in school, we all know who makes more noise when a teacher steps out and which gender always fails to do the home work .

A pilgrimage to Sabarimala allows married men to live like monks and practice severe austerities, see divinity in each and every person, completely surrender oneself to divinity and avoid even the sight of women. Doing this for 41 days can free men from many of their habitual tendencies or Vasanas. Such a spiritual practice that is done once in a year for 18 years is actually enough for a person to reach spiritual liberation.

The devotees are expected to follow a Vratham (41-day austerity period) prior to the pilgrimage. This begins with wearing of a special Mala (a chain made of Rudraksha or Tulasi beads is commonly used, though still other types of chains are available.). During the 41 days of Vratham, the devotee who has taken the vow, is required to strictly follow the rules that include follow only a lacto-vegetarian diet (In India, vegetarianism is synonymous with lacto-vegetarianism), follow celibacy, follow teetotalism, not use any profanity and have to control the anger, allow the hair and nails to grow without cutting. They must try their maximum to help others, and see everything around them as lord Ayyappa. They are expected to bath twice in a day and visit the local temples regularly and only wear plain black or blue colored traditional clothing. Saffron colored dresses are worn by Sannyasi who have renunciated material life. But, many devotees still continue to wear saffron colored clothes which becomes a part of Vedic culture which connects the whole Hindus worldwide.

Source: https://www.rvatemples.com/listings/sree-dharma-sastha-temple/

When a devotee reaches the Sabarimala shrine, he can see the Mahavakya ‘Tat tvam asi’ written above the temple in Devanagari script:

main-qimg-20ab769da0a4d42c6dd14f452da5b10a-c.jpg

This is the truth one realizes by experience when a person attains Atmajnana. This is the spiritual instruction that Dharmasastha attempts to give. The whole purpose of pilgrimage to Sabarimala is to realize this truth in one’s experience at some point of time in his life.

A true seeker of liberation who is a devotee of Dharmasastha would want to meditate in and around the temple and he doesn’t want to see anything that is distracting. He doesn’t the want sight and proximity of women because sometimes the sight and proximity can distract him and make him to start thinking about something else. This is a specially designed Sadhana which can help men to get rid of many vasanas, including any obsession they may have about women.

A woman doesn’t need such a sadhana because nature itself has given her a lot of concession by making her more disciplined. As I said, it is a scientific fact that women have more self-control than men because of their low levels of testosterone. More over, women also have enough compassion to understand the weakness of men and allow them to have their own space. Do men ever claim space in a ‘Ladies only’ bus or women’s gym? We understand why they need their own space sometimes. Just like that, Sabarimala has been a space for men (and women who are under 10 or over 50) to the spiritual practice created for them.

Because of this, Sabarimala has attracted people from all religions and all faiths and helped people to forget their religious differences. I know of many Christian men who wore mala for Sabarimala without letting their wives know; only after they came home, their wives found out that their husbands just got converted! I used to have a close friend in primary school whose dad did the same thing. Ever since, their family follows both Hinduism and Christianity.

There is also a sannidhi for Vavar who was a Muslim. Sabarimala already includes the aspects of all sects within Hinduism:

The customs of the pilgrims to Sabarimala are based on five worshipping methods; those of Shaivites, Shaktists and Vaishnavites. At first, there were three sections of devotees – the devotees of Shakti who used meat to worship their deity, the devotees of Vishnu who followed strict penance and continence, and the devotees of Shiva who partly followed these two methods. Another name of Ayyappa is Sastha. All these can be seen merged into the beliefs of pilgrims to Sabarimala. The chain the pilgrims wear comes from the Rudraksha chain of the Shaivites. The strict fasting, penance and continence is taken out of the beliefs of the Vaishnavites. The offering of tobacco to Kaduthaswamy can be considered to be taken from the Shaktists..

Source: http://missiongreensabarimala.com/pilgrimage/history/history-behind-worshiping-methods

There is also a Buddhist aspect to Sabarimala too. To understand that, we need to explore the history instead of relying on the myths. As we understand some history, we can also understand why these myths are created. The form of Dharmasastha itself was created to resolve conflicts between Shaivites and Vaishnavites.

I would like to give an example to illustrate a point here. Years before, I saw a Telugu movie (starred by Chiranjeevi I think) which was dubbed in Tamil. After watching the movie I realized that the Telugu movie itself was a remake of the Tamil movie ‘Mannan’ starred by actor Rajinikanth. So, both these movies have the same story and screenplay; only the hero has changed. The same has happened with Sabarimala. The spiritual sadhana and uniqueness of the Sabarimala has stayed the same over many centuries but the hero of Sabarimala was changed once in the history! But that doesn’t matter. Wise people know that ‘ekam sat viprAh bahudhA vadanti’ (Truth is one; but called by many names).

Have you heard of Avalokiteshvara?

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(Image source: Wikipedia)

Avalokiteshvara is the Buddhist version of Lord Shiva. Mahayana Buddhism which was popular in Tamil Nadu had once adopted many deities of Hindu sects for the tantric practices they had. It would be right to say that except the terminology and some minor differences, Mahayana Buddhism and Hinduism are the same. Because, these Buddhists also consecrated idols and temples. For the forms of deities, they mostly absorbed the deities of existing sects of Hinduism and portray these deities as forms of Bodhisattva. They also have other deities surrounding the main deity forming a mandala and use it for meditation. This is exactly what we do in Hinduism when we consecrate temples. A temple is nothing but a big mandala, which is a space for meditation for general public. We have Shaiva, Vaishnava and Saktha agamas which explain the consecration processes of temples.

Here is an excerpt from an article written by someone who has already done a lot of research on this subject:

There is considerable evidence that Lord Ayyappan was once a Buddhist deity, and that Sabarimala was once a Buddhist temple complex. However, it appears that prior to its Buddhist incarnation, the temple was an early Dravidian Saivite centre; therefore it has been a sacred spot of singular merit of at least three or four millennia. Its famed Makara Jyotis (Divine Light) which appears mysteriously in the forest on Makara Sankranti day gave it the name Potalaka.

Astonishingly, it appears that the Dalai Lama’s Palace in Lhasa, the incomparable Potala, is named after Sabarimala! The Bodhisattva (Buddha-to-be) Avalokitesvara Padmapani, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, who is, by tradition, reincarnated as the Dalai Lama, was also the one worshipped at Sabarimala.

I am indebted to my cerebral friend Devakumar Sreevijayan (formerly of Austin, Texas and currently of New York City) for almost all of this fascinating research. It is in three texts: the Avatamsaka Sutra, the Hymn to the Thousand-Armed Avalokitesvara, and the writings of the intrepid Chinese traveller Hsiuen Tsang (Zuen Xang?), that we find the detailed references. Dev found a good deal of information in the book, The Thousand-Armed Avalokitesvara by Lokesh Chandra.

But there is ample circumstantial evidence for Kerala’s Buddhist/Jain past. Unlike Nagarjunakonda in Andhra Pradesh and Sravanabelagola in Karnataka, they have left no large monuments in Kerala, but it is known that Kodungallur, for example, was a Buddhist centre. Kodungallur, at the time known as Muziris, was a major port; a Buddhist nunnery there became a great Devi temple later, associated with Kannagi, the heroine of the Tamil epic Silappathikaram (The Jewelled Anklet) written by the Chera Prince Ilango Adigal, who lived in what is now Kerala.

The revered Patriarch Bodhidharma (Daruma in Japanese) from Kodungallur was the originator of the Zen sect (dhyana in Sanskrit, Ch’an in Chinese) — he went to the Shao-Lin monastery in China (420-479 CE), and he took the martial art of kalari payat there for the protection of the unarmed monks, whence the various martial arts of East Asia. According to Chinese legend, Bodhidharma also created the tea plant, by tearing off his eyelids and planting them in the ground: presumably this means he also took the tea plant with him.

The legend of Mahabali — the asura king sent to the underworld by an avatar of Lord Vishnu — also gives clues to the Hindu-Buddhist past: an egalitarian Buddhist rule overthrown by Brahmin-led Upanishadic Hindus. Perhaps there was a period of co-existence, much like the centuries-old peaceful co-existence between the followers of the Buddha and Eswara/Siva in South East Asia. In the great temples of Java and Cambodia, Eswara/Buddha are almost seen as interchangeable.

At Prambanan in Java (the Hindu counterpart to the great Buddhist complex at Borobudur) and at Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the images of Siva/Eswara and of the Buddha are sometimes intermixed; apparently there was no great animosity between the worshippers of both. Similarly, one might hope, the transitions from Siva to the Buddha to Ayyappan were relatively peaceful.

The circumstantial evidence for the Buddhist nature of Lord Ayyappan is compelling. For one, the devotees chant: “Swamiye saranam Ayyappa,” so close to the Buddhist mantra: “Buddham saranam gacchami, Sangham saranam gacchami, Dhammam saranam gacchami.

Furthermore, the very sitting posture of the Ayyappan deity is suggestive: almost every Buddhist image anywhere, including those sometimes unearthed in the fields of Travancore by farmers, is in sitting position. Whereas practically no other deity in Kerala is in that posture.

Says Lokesh Chandra: ‘The Avatamsaka Sutra describes the earthly paradise of Avalokitesvara: ”Potalaka is on the sea-side in the south, it has woods, it has streams, and tanks”…Buddhabhadra’s (AD 420) rendering of Potala (or Potalaka) is ”Brilliance.” It refers to its etymology: Tamil pottu (potti-) ”to light (as a fire)”…brilliance refers to the makara-jyoti of Sabarimala.’

‘Hsuen Tsang refers to Avalokitesvara on the Potala in the following words, summarised by Waters (1905): ”In the south of the country near the sea was the Mo-lo-ya (Malaya) mountain, with its lofty cliffs and ridges and deep valleys and gullies, on which were sandal, camphor and other trees. To the east of this was Pu-ta-lo-ka (Potalaka) mountain with steep narrow paths over its cliffs and gorges in irregular confusion…” ‘

All of this is still true; Hsuen Tsang’s description could easily be of contemporary Sabarimala. The only difference perhaps is that the forests are no longer so dense. Pilgrims believe that those who ignore the strict penances — abstinence from alcohol, smoking, meat-eating and sex — are in danger of being attacked by wild animals while on their trek. However, there are not too many large animals in these forests any more, as a result of human encroachment.

Lokesh Chandra continues: ‘Hsuen Tsang clearly says that Avalokitesvara at Potala sometimes takes the form of Isvara (Siva) and sometimes that of a Pasupata yogin. In fact, it was Siva who was metamorphosed into Avalokitesvara…The image at Potalaka which was originally Siva, was deemed to be Avalokitesvara when Buddhism became dominant… The Potalaka Lokesvara and the Thousand-armed Avalokitesvara have echoes of Siva and Vishnu, of Hari and Hara.’

‘…Lord Ayyappa of Sabarimala… could have been the Potala Lokesvara of Buddhist literature. The makara jyoti of Sabarimala recalls Potala’s “brilliance”… The long, arduous and hazardous trek through areas known to be inhabited by elephants and other wildlife to Sabarimala is spoken of in the pilgrimage to Potala Lokesvara. The Buddhist character of Ayyappa is explicit in his merger with Dharma-sasta. Sasta is a synonym of Lord Buddha.’

Thus, the history of Sabarimala is to some extent a microcosm of the religious history of India. It is interesting that there are connections between Kerala, in the deep South, and Ladakh/Zanskar in the far North, where the last of the Tibetan Buddhists practise their religion unmolested.

Those devout Ayyappan pilgrims in their dark clothes symbolising the abandonment of their egos, who flock to the hill temple in the cool winter months, are thus, in a way, celebrating two of the great religious streams of Mother India: both the Hindu present and the Buddhist past.

Source: https://www.rediff.com/news/dec/31rajeev.htm

Some people may get offended after knowing that Sabarimala was once a Buddhist shrine. But in our culture, only ignorant people have problems with names and forms. Wise people didn’t even hesitate to consider Buddha as an avatar of Vishnu. In fact, Dharmasastha is nothing but an union of Shiva as Avalokiteshvara and Vishnu as Buddha! It is very important to note here that Buddha didn’t allow women in his community. So for many centuries, Buddhist monks went on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Avalokiteshvara in Sabarimala and young women were not a part of this pilgrimage.

Pothigai hills near Tirunelveli was once a hub of Mahayana Buddhism. It interacted with Shaivism and Saktha traditions and absorbed many deities. While Hindu texts show that sage Agastya learnt Tamil from Lord Shiva, Buddhist text maintain that Agastya learnt Tamil from Avalokiteshvara. Also, one of the forms of Avalokiteshvara is Goddess Chandika who is called as Cundi in Buddhism. Here is the image of Cundi:

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(Image source: Wikipedia)

You can compare this form with the Hindu Goddess Chandi:

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(Image source: Wikipedia)

It is interesting that Parashurama, who was a devotee of Chandika lived in Pothigai hills too, which I have explained in this answer: Shanmugam P’s answer to What is Tripura Rahasya?. Parashurama is also believed to have constructed the temple in Sabarimala. It is interesting to note that Parshurama is connected to both Chandika (which is a form of Avalokiteshvara in Buddhism) and Sabari Mala. This also gives strength to the theory that Sabari Mala has got something to do with Avalokiteshvara.

The consecration of Avalokiteshvara as Dharma sastha must have happened during the time when Mahayana Buddhism and Hindu sects existed in harmony. Just like there are ignorant people now who fight over petty issues, there must have been people who fought over such differences back then. The myths were created to pacify them.

Pothigai hills are called as Mount Potala in Buddhism. People who wanted to go to pilgrimage to Sabarimala had to go through Pothigai hills since there is a ghat there. The same ghat has been used by the buses now to go to Sabarimala. In Buddhist literature, Pothigai hills and Sabarimala are collectively called as Mount Potala.

Pilgrimage to Potala began in about the 1th century CE although records are very scant. Both of the great Tamil Buddhist epics, the Maṇimegala and the Cilappatikanam mention pilgrims going to Mount Potala. The Mahāyānist poet and philosopher Candragomin went there by ship and is said to have spent his last years on the mountain. He wrote his most famous work, the Śisyaleaka, while there and gave it to some merchants to pass to his disciples in northern India. When the Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsiang was in Nalanda in the 7th century he met a brahmin who had made a vow to worship a statue of Avalokiteśvara which was on the top of Potala, a vow he had been able to fulfill. This statue was believed to be the bodhisattva’s exact likeness. Later, Hiuen Tsiang travelled through south India and although he was unable to visit Potala himself he left this description of it based on what others had told him. “To the east of the Malaya Mountains is Mount Potala. The passes on the mountain are very dangerous, its sides are precipitous and its valleys rugged. On the top of the mountain is a lake, its waters as clear as a mirror. From a grotto preceeds a great river which encircles the mountain twenty times as it flows down to the southern sea. By the side of the lake is a rock palace of the gods. Here Avalokiteśhvara in coming and going takes his abode. Those who strongly desire to see him disregarding their lives and fording the streams, climb the mountain forgetful of its difficulties and dangers. Of those who make the attempt there are very few who reach the summit. But even if those who dwell below the mountain earnestly prey to behold the bodhisattva, he appears to them sometimes as Isvara, sometimes in the form of a yogi, and addresses them with benevolent words and then they obtain their wishes according to their desires.” This description is clearly a blend of fact and fiction, something about Potala that increased as time went by. Gradually the sacred mountain came to be seen as a kind of magical fairy land, a paradise where rare medical herbs and exquisite flowers grew, where mythological animals frolicked and where those blessed enough to be reborn in Avalokiteśhvara’s presence abided in bliss.

Source: https://dhammawiki.com/index.php/Mount_Potala

So, what happened when Manikanda lived? Manikandan rediscovered a path to Sabari Mala and also went and meditated in the manimandapam. It is only after Manikandan, the pilgrimage to Sabarimala became easier! All devotees today (who go to Sabarimala by following a proper procedure including wearing mala and practicing austerities for a mandala) are going through the same path that Manikandan once rediscovered and went through! Manikandan himself was a devotee of Avalokiteshvara who attained Moksha.

But the issue that has happened today has actually led to something good. It has given reasons for people to explore the real concept behind Sabarimala pilgrimage. It has reminded us about the importance of Sabarimala.

So, should women between the age 10–50 allowed inside the shrine of Sabarimala? We need to ask women what they want to do and we have two options to choose from:

  1. Since Sabarimala pilgrimage is an unique Sadhana for men that requires staying away from women and since women do not need such Sadhana, the correct reasons should be properly explained in court instead of stating rubbish reasons like ‘It will spoil the Brahmacharya of Ayyappa’. This may cause the court to revise its judgement.
  2. If women or court really insist that young women should be also allowed, then women should be allowed to go there during a different season with full protection when men are not allowed. So men can practice 41 days of austerities as usual and go to Sabarimala during January; women of age group 10–50 can practice austerities for probably a lesser number of days (for. e.g. one week) and go to Sabarimala during the month of April when the shrine opens for Vishu. Thus, allowing men and women during different seasons can help devotees to resolve the issue without disturbing the spiritual practice that they do. I am pretty sure that Agamas are not very strict and they are liberal enough to make such provisions. Even if people are scared of any negative consequences, I am sure that there should be pariharams done for that! Our agamas are very rich and they certainly have room for many customizations.

It is very important to set our emotions aside and think. Causing violence and chaos in the name of saving a temple or a deity has got nothing to do with spirituality.

The Holy Jihad in Islam and its True Spiritual Meaning

The meaning of Holy Jihad in Islam
The meaning of Holy Jihad in Islam

 

The greatest Jihad is to battle your own soul. to fight the evil within yourself
                                                                      – Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

( Please visit this link for more examples of this concept: https://abuaminaelias.com/jihad-against-the-soul-in-islam/)

This is the true meaning of Jihad in Islam. Jihad is nothing but conquering oneself. An external Jihad is fought during unavoidable circumstances to protect the world against people who want to destroy peace. But Islam says that unless a man first fights against his own ignorance, craving, delusion etc, he is not qualified for an external Jihad.

The situation of Bhagwad Gita is actually an external Jihad. Arjuna refuses to fight the war against adharma, even though it is his duty as a warrior. But Krishna asks him to surrender the fruit of actions and just do his duty. This concept of surrender is the basis of both Karma Yoga in Bhagavad Gita as well as Islam. The word Islam itself means ‘surrender’. Prophet Mohammed’s main work was to resurrect the old Abrahamic concept of unconditional love and surrender to God. That is what Islam means.Everything else in Quran is a collection of social laws that Muhammad gave to people of those days in his country.

The key concept here is Inner jihad. It is a way of purifying one self. The concept of Navaratri that we are celebrating is also a symbolic representation of the Inner Jihad. Mahishasura represents the three malas: ahankar, karma and maya (delusion). Kali destroying Mahishasura in 9 days represents destroying these three malas (3 days for each mala). The tenth day, Vijayadasami represents the victory of the inner jihad. A victor who conquers himself thus is called as Jina in Jainism. Mahavira (which means ‘the Great warrior’) was called by that name as he had conquered himself.

This is the significance of festivals like Navratri or Durga Puja and even Diwali. Today is Vijayadasami, the tenth day following the 9 day Navaratri celebrations that just happened. Navaratri is a festival that is celebrated all over India in a grand manner. In Eastern parts of India, it is celebrated as Durga puja. On this Vijayadasami day, let us all remember the significance of walking on the spiritual path, removing the ignorance and reaching salvation .

Maha Pushkaram Festival in Thamirabarani River – October 12–23, 2018

 

Thamirabharani is a river that flows in the Southern part of Tamil Nadu, India. Right now, a 12-day festival called Maha Pushkaram is happening throughout the banks of this river. In this post, I am just republishing an answer that I wrote on Quora:

A Pushkaram is a festival that happens in one of the twelve holy rivers of India once in every 12 years during unique planetary positions, to remember our ancestors and to worship the rivers; A Mahapushkaram is something that happens once in every 144 years!

There are lot of beliefs associated with Pushkaram and Maha Pushkaram, but here are a few reasons why celebrating this festival is very important:

  1. Our culture grew in the banks of rivers. So we have always seen rivers as holy and divine. This festival reminds us about the importance of the rivers and the need to save them. So, this festival, if understood the significance, creates a good awareness about the need to save and protect one’s environment and its perennial rivers.
  2. This also gives us an occasion to remember our ancestors. Thamirabarani has its own list of ancestors to remember. There is one story that says that sage Agastya brought about 18 Yadava tribes from Dvaraka to the south. They were the Velir clans who ruled various small kingdoms in Tamil nadu. That is why the worship of Vishnu as Mayon has been very ancient in Tamil Nadu. Agastya is believed to have settled in the Pothigai hills where the river Thamirabarani starts. It is also said that Parashurama lived in these hills after getting spiritual instructions from Dattatreya in Gandhamana hills near Rameshwaram. This interaction has resulted in a wonderful spiritual book ‘Tripura Rahasya’ and I have explained about it in my answer here: Shanmugam P’s answer to What is Tripura Rahasya?

3. It is a custom for wise people, spiritual seekers, gurus of various schools etc to gather and meet in the temples in the river banks during Mahapushkaram. So, Mahapushkaram is a chance to meet wise people and be in their presence. This festival is actually a satsang, a communal gathering of seekers and wise men.

4. During this festival, religious differences disappear. Because anyone can show respect to the rivers and remember their ancestors regardless of the religion. In Tirunelveli, Christians and Muslims have been celebrating Mahapushkaram along with Hindus:

“It was a picturesque scene to be cherished forever by the Hindus who have arrived at Thamirabarani on Sunday to celebrate ‘Maha Pushkaram’ when they bumped into groups of Muslims and Christians, who were already engaged in paying respect to the perennial river, as a gesture of religious harmony.

The ‘Thamirabarani Maha Pushkaram’, which is being observed by Hindus after 144 years is attracting a great number of Hindus from across the nation. Devotees are performing rituals and taking holy bath at more than 40 ghats that dot the 125-kilometre stretch river which courses through Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi.

On Sunday, a group of 100 Muslims from Melaseval village including 85 who are working at Chennai arrived here and took a dip in Thamirabarani as a respect to the perennial river that quenches the thirst of people from time immemorial. They also offered prayers at the riverbank along with Hindu men and women to emphasise their amity towards the latter.

Speaking about the act, villagers of Melaseval have said, “River is not representing any religion. It quenches the thirst of a person irrespective of his/her caste or religion. People from four districts are drinking the water of Thamirabarani. It is the time to thank Thamirabarani which is perennial and offers livelihood to numerous people and especially those who reside near the bank.”

Of the 100 Muslims, 85 arrived here all the way from Chennai to pay their respect to Thamirabarani. Sharing his thoughts on this friendly gesture, Mohammad Jamal, who works at Chennai, has said, “While the arrangements for Thamirabarani Maha Pushkaram were going on, I had a discussion with my friends in Chennai and we have decided pay respect to Thamirabarani which fulfils our water needs.”

Meanwhile, more than 50 Christians from the same village have arrived at Thamirabarani riverbank and offered prayers for its longevity and cleanliness. Commenting on this, I Sewin, who led the Christians for prayer has said, “Though Melaseval is inhabited with people from different religions, it never witnessed a religious clash. When we (Christians) built a high school in 1992, it was a Muslim who constructed a block and a Hindu had donated a large sum and helped acquiring permission.

This deed is to highlight our religious solidarity.” Speaking to Express, P Dharmaraj, former MLA of Palayamkottai Assembly Constituency and one of the organisers of this gesture of goodwill, has said, “Since the Hindus, Muslims and Christians from this constituency are living as brothers and sisters, it was easy for me to help organise this event. They (Muslims) publicly announced their plan in their mosque to offer a prayer for Thamirabarani. I am proud of the people of my constituency,” he prided.

From http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2018/oct/15/confluence-of-religious-harmony-at-thamirabarani-1885599.html

5. The festival occurs at the same time Navaratri is happening. Navaratri is celebrated to glorify and worship the feminine. Pushkaram is celebrated to glorify and worship the rivers. But rivers are considered feminine too! Thamirabarani is personified as a female who carries the memories of Agastya and Parashurama. She reminds us about Tripura Rahasya and Lalitha Tripura Sundari, the personification of supreme consciousness that rules and witnesses the three states of consciousness: Being awake, sleeping and dreaming. These three states are called Tripura. Tripura Rahasya conveys that supreme consciousness or sat-chit-Ananda, personified as Devi, Chandi etc is the only reality that pervades space and time. Since the same Goddess is worshipped during Navratri too, this Mahapushkaram happening in Tirunelveli has gained a lot of importance.

This festival started in the medieval era. Here is an excerpt from the book ‘Kamandalu: The Seven Sacred Rivers of Hinduism’ By Shrikala Warrier, which gives some background to this festival.

Bathing festivals are a powerful expression of Hindu piety and the pushkamm which are celebrated once every twelve years at each of the twelve major rivers of India are occasions when devotees engage in auspicious activities such as snana (bath), dana (charity), japa (chanting), archana (worship) and dhyana (meditation) to gain spiritual merit. The temple towns along the course of these rivers take on a festive air as millions of pilgrims arrive to participate in the celebrations.

According to a legend in astrology treatises such as Jataka Parijata (1426CE), a pious Brahmin undertook severe penance and was granted a boon from Shiva that he would be able to live in water and have the power to purify all the holy rivers for the benefit of humanity. The Brahmin became known as Pushkara or ‘the one who nourishes the world’. When Brahma required water for creation, he pleaded with Shiva to permit Pushkara to reside in his water carrier or kamandalu. Sometime later, it is said, Brihaspati (Jupiter), the preceptor of the gods, wished to have Pushkara because water was essential for the world and Pushkara’s power to purify it was unique. Pushkara was initially reluctant to leave Brahma’s kamandalu but it was finally agreed that he would enter one of twelve sacred rivers along with Brahma and the other gods when Brihaspati travelled from one zodiac sign to another.

The Pushkaram for each river lasts for the whole year° but the first twelve days of Jupiter’s entry into a rashi or zodiac house and the last twelve days when the planet exits from that rashi are considered to be particularly auspicious days. A dip in the waters on any one of these twenty four days is believed to erase all sins. it is also considered an auspicious time to conduct shraddha” rites for deceased relatives and to offer libation to the gods (tarpana).

From ‘Kamandalu: The Seven Sacred Rivers of Hinduism’ By Shrikala Warrier’

Currently, this festival is a big talk in Tirunelveli, the place where I live. The places near the western ghats in Tirunelveli district has once been a great spiritual hub in South India. For the past few days, there has been a huge crowd in the river banks as people are coming from various parts of India to take part in the festival:

In comparison to the people from various Indian states, devotees from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have visited more in numbers on Friday here to take part in the ‘Thamirabarani Maha Pushkaram’, an 11-day-long festival that takes place once in 144 years. After taking holy bath in Thaipoosa mandapam and Kurukuthurai Murugan temple ghats at Thamirabarani river, the devotees offered prayers at Nellaiyappar and Papanasam temples. In view of ‘Maha Pushkaram’ Trains arriving from places including Bangalore, Mumbai and Mysore were densely packed. Occupancies in nearly 250 lodges located in Tirunelveli Junction, Pettai, Meenatchipuram, Vannarapettai, Sripuram, Melapalayam and Palayamkottai have also gone up.

From http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2018/oct/13/thousands-take-dip-in-thamirabarani-as-maha-pushkaram-gets-underway-1884897.html

Today at noon, I went with my family, including my young son who is about two years old. The crowd was a little less; It would be a lot more in the evenings and weekends:

 


 

Some videos regarding Maha Pushkaram:

For those of you who want to watch some scenic locations on the banks of this river, watch the following video which is regarding Maha Pushkaram in Tirunelveli. Though the audio is in Tamil, you can enjoy the beauty of the river, the classical dance and music:

 

For people who understand Tamil, the following video gives more information (the lady who is standing among the people in the video is my school principal Mrs. Usha Raman. I was searching for related videos in Youtube and this took me by surprise. I have dedicated my book to my school principal and I have a lot of respect for her 🙂 )

This is another song which was composed about this festival. The Youtube video describes that this song was produced in Jayendra Saraswathi school in Tirunelveli, which is actually the school I studied:

Here is a classical dance performance with a Tamil song praising the river:

The following video is a celebration happening in a village:

A description of Maha pushkaram in Tamil with some footages of the river:

As a token of remembrance, I brought this stone from the river. I am pretty sure that it is ancient 🙂

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Types of Jnanis – Spiritually Enlightened People

Tripura Rahasya‘, is a text on Advaita Vedanta which personifies the supreme consciousness as Tripura (three cities or the ruler of three cities), a feminine form who is also known as Tripura Sundari. The states of waking, dreaming and deep sleep are the three cities ruled by Tripura.

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Click here to read quotes of wisdom from Tripura Rahasya

What is Misery? – Tripura Rahasya 2:19 and Hedonic Treadmill

The following is an excerpt from the 19th chapter of Tripura Rahasya:

80-83. Those are the best who are free from all of the vasanas, and particularly from the least trace of that of action. If free from the fault of mistrust of the teachings of the
Master, the vasana due to desire, which is not a very serious obstruction to realisation, is destroyed by the practice of contemplation. Dispassion need not be very marked in this
case. Such people need not repeatedly engage in the study of scriptures or the receiving of instructions from the Master, but straightaway pass into meditation and fall into samadhi, the consummation of the highest good. They live evermore as Jivanmuktas (emancipated even while alive).

84-86. Sages with subtle and clear intellect have not considered it worthwhile to eradicate their desire, etc., by forcing other thoughts to take their place, because desires do not obstruct realisation. Therefore their desires continue to manifest even after realisation, as before. Neither are they tainted by such vasanas. They are said to be emancipated and diverse-minded. They are also reputed to be the best class of Jnanis.

87-90. Rama, he whose mind clings to the ignorance of the necessity of work cannot hope for realisation even if Siva offers to instruct him. Similarly also the person who has the fault of marked indifference to or misunderstanding of the teachings. On the other hand, a man only slightly affected by these two vasanas, and much more so by desires or
ambitions, will by repeated hearing of the holy truth, discussion of the same, and contemplation on it, surely reach the goal, though only with considerable difficulty and after a long lapse of time. Such a Sage’s activities will be small because he is entirely engrossed in his efforts for realisation.
[Note: His activities will be confined to the indispensable necessities of life.]

91. A Sage of this class has, by his long practice and rigorous discipline, controlled his mind so well that predispositions are totally eradicated and the mind is as if dead. He belongs to the middle class in the scheme of classification of Sages and is said to be a Sage without mind. 

92-94. The last class and the least among the Sages are those whose practice and  discipline are not perfect enough to destroy mental predispositions. Their minds are still active and the Sages are said to be associated with their minds. They are barely Jnanis and not Jivanmuktas as are the other two classes. They appear to share the pleasures and pains of life like any other man and will continue to do so till the end of their lives. They will be emancipated after death. 

95-96. Prarabdha (past karma) is totally powerless with the middle class, who have destroyed their minds by continued practice. The mind is the soil in which the seed, namely prarabdha, sprouts (into pleasures and pains of life). If the soil is barren, the seed loses its sprouting power by long storage, and becomes useless. 

97-103. There are men in the world who can carefully attend to different functions at the same time and are famous and extraordinarily skilful; again some people attend to work as they are walking and conversing, while a teacher has an eye upon each student in the classroom and exercises control over them all; or you yourself knew Kartaviryarjuna, who wielded different weapons in his thousand hands and fought with you using all of them skilfully and simultaneously. In all these cases, a single mind assumes different shapes to suit the different functions at the same time. Similarly the mind of the best
among Jnanis is only the Self and yet manifests as all without suffering any change in its eternal blissful nature as the Self. They are therefore many-minded. 
[Note: Kartaviryarjuna was the chief of the Haihayas who were the sworn enemies of Parasurama. He was himself a devotee of Sri Dattatreya and had received the most wonderful boon from his Master, namely, that his name should be transmitted to posterity as that of an ideal king unparalleled in legend or history. His reign was
indeed remarkable and his prowess was unequalled, much less excelled. Still, as destiny would have it, he was challenged by Parasurama and killed in battle.] 

104-05. The prarabdha of Jnanis is still active and sprouts in the mind but only to be burnt up by the steady flame of jnana. Pleasure or pain is due to the dwelling of the
mind on occurrences. But if these are scorched at their source, how can there be pain or pleasure? 

106-08. Jnanis of the highest order, however, are seen to be active because they voluntarily bring out the vasanas from the depth of the mind and allow them to run out.
Their action is similar to that of a father sporting with his child, moving its dolls, laughing at the imagined victory of one doll over another, and appearing to grieve over the injury to another, and so on; so the many-minded Sages have pleasure or pain from work.

109-12. The vasanas not inimical to realisation are not weeded out by the best class of Jnanis because they cannot seek new ones to crowd the old out. Therefore the old ones continue until they are exhausted and thus you find among them some highly irritable, some lustful and others pious and dutiful, and so on.