Author Topic: Ozhivil Odukkam -- A second serial post  (Read 17339 times)

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43583
    • View Profile
Ozhivil Odukkam -- A second serial post
« on: October 26, 2013, 04:39:35 PM »
INTRODUCTION:


This is a fresh translation by S. Ram Mohan and  Robert Butler, the original being that of KaNNudaiya VaLLalAr. 


The serialization of a translation and commentary by J. Jayaraman, of Ozhivil Odukkam by KaNNudaiya VaLLalAr, was first begun
in the July 2004 issue of Mountain Path.  I had given this under Ozhivil Odukkam from Feb 2013 to April 2013.  The translation
continued in three issues ending in April 2005 at Verse 38.  The current translation is is an entirely new endeavor in which the
text has been translated by the above two. 

(Earlier to all these, Munagala Venkataramiah had made an unpublished translation that later appeared in four 1988 issues.)

The Text and Its author:

Ozhivil Odukkam by KaNNudaiya VaLLalAr is a 15th century Tamizh work in 253 verses.  Its main assertion, which it drives home 
by means of numerous terse and pithy illustrations, often drawn from everyday life, is that the non dual reality is unattainable
in the mental world of the body-bound consciousness, and that, to attain it, or rather to realize it as our true nature, we must
abandon all concepts, whether of Vedanta, Siddhanta or anything else, relying entirely on the inner witness of our own consciousness.
The work is clearly written from the perspective of one schooled in the philosophy of Saiva Sddhanta, a circumstance which is
compounded by the fact that  the only available commentary, by Tirupporur Chidambara Swamigal, an eminent Tamizh poet and
scholar, leans heavily towards Siddhanta terminology rather than emphasizing the Advaitic aspect of he verses. However, such
considerations do not find in the final analysis detract from the fact that Ozhivil Odukkam is a great work of Advaita, with many
parallels to the teachings of Sri Bhagavan Himself. 

It is a work which advocates the path of Self Knowledge as the means to liberation, very much in the manner of Sri Ramana
Maharshi's Ulladu Narpadu (with certain reservations), and there are a number of verses which recall the latter both in style
and content.  It mercilessly lampoons false gurus with their pedantry and posturing, and warns against the ego which only
perpetuates its own existence in its ridiculous and self defeating  attempts to transcend itself.  As for the style, the text is
terse and vivid, full of striking images which are deliberately designed to jar and shock the consciousness of the reader out
of its comfortable ego based frame of reference.                   

Ozhivil Odukkam is written entirely within the frame of reference of the philosophical school of Saiva Siddhanta.  However,
there can be no doubt that the point of the work, as evidenced in each of its 253 verses, is not to inculcate the principles
of Saiva Siddhanta , but rather the opposite.  It is to demonstrate that Saiva Siddhanta, Vedanta or any other belief system
for that matter, is powerless aid the disciple in taking the final step towards union with the divine at which point all mind based
constructs must be transcended and abandoned.  This endeavor is exemplified in the very title of the work, which can be
translated as 'Subsiding into the Self through the elimination (of obstacles i.e. the personal consciousness, the ego.]', or,
taking a slightly different grammatical interpretation, 'Ceaseless abidance in the Self.'].  Paradoxically, all those teachings which
are in the beginning aids to realization, in terms of preparing and purifying the consciousness of the disciple, become in the end
obstacles and must be left behind, a point which is given much emphasis at several points in the text itself.

(There is one Tamizh commentary by Tirupporur Chidambara Swamigal, that has been published by Mullai Padippagam, Chennai.
Here, Sri Ramalinga VaLLalAr's commentary on the verse 1 alone - which he has written - is given. Recently, a commentary
in Tamizh has been published by Sri Sriram of Ramana Bhakta Samajam of Chennai 33.)

continued....

Arunachala Siva.           

atmavichar100

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2200
    • View Profile
Re: Ozhivil Odukkam -- A second serial post
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2013, 04:50:03 PM »
Quote
(There is one Tamizh commentary by Tirupporur Chidambara Swamigal, that has been published by Mullai Padippagam, Chennai.
Here, Sri Ramalinga VaLLalAr's commentary on the verse 1 alone - which he has written - is given. Recently, a commentary
in Tamizh has been published by Sri Sriram of Ramana Bhakta Samajam of Chennai 33.)

Subramaniam Sir

Are u aware of how many verses Saint Ramalingaswamigal has covered ? Is it just one verse ?
However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them? - Buddha

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43583
    • View Profile
Re: Ozhivil Odukkam -- A second serial post
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2013, 04:53:39 PM »
Dear atmavichar,

Yes.  Only one verse. But it contains the essence of Self Knowledge in the light of Saiva Siddhantam.

Arunachala Siva.

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43583
    • View Profile
Re: Ozhivil Odukkam -- A second serial post
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2013, 10:31:23 AM »
continues...

The biography of the author gives us clues as to why the influence of Saiva Siddhanta should be so clearly in evidence in his work.
According to the Lexicon of Tamizh literature by Kamil Zvelebil, the author's monastic name was Sambandha Saranalayar (C. 1400 -
1450?), an eminent Saivite who composed Saiva Siddhanta works such as Tattva Vilakkam, before changing his allegiance to
Aikyavada Saivism. and his name to KaNNudiaya VaLLalAr, in which guise he became a great spiritual leader, teacher and poet,
and, of course, composed the great work Ozhivil Odukkam in which Vedanta and Siddhanta are reconciled.  From the foregoing,
we might expect that not only would the author tend to speak from the viewpoint of Siva Siddhanta, but that he would continue
to promote, up to a certain point, positive Saivite values, such as paths to liberation, charya, kriya, yoga.  However he makes it
clear that none of the foregoing has any place in the process of the final merger with the Self, Sivam.  In fact he devotes a chapter
to the elimination  or eradication of each of these in turn.  His condemnation of yoga and its associated practices is particularly
damning.

Other accounts of the author's life are numerous and contradictory.  The earliest dates for him have been given as 1380-1476. 
Others give much a later date, the early decades of the 17th century.  In one account he is said to have been born in a wealthy
family of Sirkazhi, a town near the east coast of Tamizh Nadu, 20 km. from Chidambaram.  It is also referred to as Thonipuram,
Boat City, in view of the legend that Lord Siva used it as a boat when a flood engulfed the earth.  The city was famously the birthplaceof the great Saiva Saint Jnana Sambandhar.  It is said that whenever VaLLlAr's family visited the temple complex, they paid
homage at the shrine of Jnana Sambandhar twice, burning camphor and offering praises, once as they entered, and again as they
left the temple complex, and that thus it was a great love for, and devotion to the saint grew up within the young boy, which
happened in the course of time ripened into realization and union with Lord Siva.  No other details appear to be known.  One might
speculate that like Sri Ramana Maharshi, he was one of the rare souls who, due to his spiritual maturity, was able to attain
realization at an early age without the aid of an embodied guru. 

It seems likely that KaNNudaiya VaLLalAr, from the tenor of his verses, would have belonged to one of the Siddhanta monastic
orders, possibly as the head of a math, or at least as a high ranking spiritual  teacher and preceptor.  However his allegiance to the
saint Jnana Sambandhar, whom he claims as his only guru, suggests that he realized that the intellectual and physical rigors
of the monastic existence could not bear fruit without the qualities of self surrender and devotion, exemplified in the lives of           
the great saints of Tamizh Nadu. One version has it that he was the son of Meykanda Sivachariar, an Acharya of the Saiva
Siddhantam School, and that he abandoned this path in favor of the path of direct realization.       
                 
On the surface level, Ozhivil Odukkaam, after an opening chapter which covers a dazzling array of advaitic topics in no particular
order, delineates the path of the mature disciple, as he becomes ready for divine grace, finds his guru, transcends the traditional
paths of charya, kriya, and yoga, renounces the world inwardly and optionally outwardly, and merges finally with Sivam.

However, the whole text is so deeply imbued with the aim of conveying some sense of supra mental state of union with the Real,
and of awakening in the reader a desire and hunger for this state, that any sense of narrative or progression is entirely
transcended.  Ozhivil Odukkam is like a many faceted jewel, each facet reflecting the truth in its own sparkling and original manner.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva, 

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43583
    • View Profile
Re: Ozhivil Odukkam -- A second serial post
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2013, 01:40:08 PM »

continues.....

The text is accompanied by an extensive "urai" or prose commentary, written by Tiruporur Chidambara Swamigal.  His guru
was Kumara Devar, a Kannada king who famously renounced the world to become the disciple of the renowned Santalinga
Swamigal.  (See my post originally from the article of David Godman and others.).  Both of these wrote works which number
among the most important advaitic texts ever written in the language of Tamizh.  Before becoming the disciple of Kumara
Deva, Chidambara Swamigal had become an accomplished scholar.  The encyclopaedia of Tamizh literature, Apitana
Chintamani refers to him as Ilakkana Vidwan - a scholar language and letters.  It is not surprising therefore he wrote a number
of commentaries, including several of the works of his guru's guru, Santalinga Swamigal, and the one is on Ozhivil Odukkam,
which was written at the behest of Santalinga Swamigal. 

The commentary is excellent in many respects, but it occupies itself in some details with Siddhanta philosophy and metaphysics,
somewhat to the detriment of the advaitic content of the work.  The difficulty of the text itself, and the complexities of the
commentary appear to have led on occasion to the mistaken belief that the work is more concerned with minutiae of Siddhanta
philosophy, rather than the issue of non dual Self Realization, which is absolutely not the case. 

As can be seen from the foregoing accounts, there are few indisputable facts about the life of KaNNudaiya VaLLalAr.  However
it seems clear that he possessed a life long allegiance to Jnana Sambandhar as his guru, and that this allegiance caused him
at some point to reject the philosophical and scholastic norms of Saiva Siddhantam in favor of a direct gnosis of the nature
of the Self, Reality, inspired by his guru.

Previous editions and translations:

IN 1851, Ozhivil Odukkam was first published in Tamizh, along with the "urai" - commentary of Chidambara Swamigal, by the
Tamizh Siddha Ramalinga Swamigal, called as VaLLalAr, author of hymns which are collectively known as the Tiru Arutpa.
The text was next published in the early years of the 20th century.  The copy used for this translation was published in
Madras in 1908, comprising the text and original commentary only.  Subsequent editions have followed this pattern, giving
the text and original commentary only.  Recently a new Tamizh edition has been published, authored by a devotee of
Sri Ramana and  Murugnar,  writing under the name of Mugavi KIanna Murugan Adimai, consisting of the text in Tamizh and
a commentary in modern Tamizh, which incorporates elements from the original commentary and draws upon the works of
Sri Bhagavan and Muruganar to provide illustrative examples in support of its explanation of the text.  This is available from
Sri Ramanasramam Book Depot.  The only English translation I know, of is that by Sri Munagala S. Venkataramiah (later
Sri Ramananda Saraswati), the compiler of Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi.  The typescript, with a short introductory preface
by Sadhu Arunahala (formerly Major A.W. Chadwick), is kept in the Sri Ramanasramam archives. It appears to be in a draft form
requiring further editing, and was never published, although, as indicated in the preface,  the authors clearly expected it to be
published by the Asramam, as were other favorites of Sri Bhagavan such as Tripura Rahasyam and Advaita Bodha Deepika
both of which were translated wholly or in part by Swami Ramananda Saraswati. 

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                                               

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43583
    • View Profile
Re: Ozhivil Odukkam -- A second serial post
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2013, 08:25:16 AM »

continues....

Sri Ramana Maharshi and Ozhivil Odukkam:

Reference to Ozhivil Odukkam are scattered throughout the works which record devotees' conversation with Sri Bhagavan.
And their reminiscences to Him also.  Smt. T.R. Kanakammal, in her recollections, Ninavil NiRaindhavai, tells an interesting
story which illustrates the regard in which Ozhivil Odukkam, as a work of Advaita, was held by both Sri Bhagavan and Muruganar.
She tells how one day Muruganar was explaining the meaning of certain verses from Ozhivil Odukkam to her in the presence of
a visiting Swami from Kovilur Math.  First he would explain the verse from the point of view of its Saiva Siddhanta based
commentary, and then according to the teaching of Sri Bhagavan.  At some point of time, the Swami interposed, asking whether
the latter interpretation was from the point of view of Vedanta or Siddhanta.  The question seemed to take Muruganar by
surprise, and he replied, 'I do not know Siddhantam, nor do I know Vedantam.  All i now is 'Ramanantam'.

It is clear also that Sri Bhagavan actively encouraged Muruganar to write his own commentary on Ozhvil Odukkam from
Vedanta standpoint.  The work was never started.  However the fact that this request was made and tentatively accepted
by Muruganar is clear from two prefatory verses to the unwritten 'urai' which are recorded in the eighth volume of Sri
Ramana Jnana Bodham, the portmanteau collection of Muruganar's unpublished verses.  We quote these two verses below,
from Sri Ramana Jnana Bodham, Verses 1832-33:

Ozhivil Odukkam reveals the ultimate Reality which remains ever attained.  In order that this work may achieve the richness
of being adorned by a vedantic commentary, I will, with grace abounding, ascertain the true intention of its author,
KaNNudaiya VaLLalAr, and I will bring out a commentary, penetrating his work in the light of pure consciousness, he state
of remaining awake in the Heart.

My Lord, who ruled me in such a way that I should no longer, through delusion, fall into error, commanded me to write a
vedantic commentary on the illustrious work, Ozhivil Odukkam.  He Himself let me know its correct meaning, remaining in
my heart so that His command is executed. 

At times, in translating Ozhivil Odukkam, I had the sense that the six centuries separating Sri Ramana Maharshi and KaNNudaiya
VaLLalAr had telescoped down, and the two were revealed as one in their timeless, transcendent state. It seems that VaLLalAr
is talking about Sri Ramana Himself in His final years in Verse 228, describing the Jnana Guru:

Dwelling detached from a body, weakened through its effortless rejection of worldly desires; that last residue of spent karma
lingering about Him like the scent of faded flowers; His gaze where ever dwells the joyous bliss of freedom from the senses;
His divine countenance -- these images shall never leave my heart.   
                 

Introduction completed - Translation of the verses with commentary will continue..


Arunachala Siva.

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43583
    • View Profile
Re: Ozhivil Odukkam -- A second serial post
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2013, 10:16:09 AM »
After a long introduction, Robert Butler and S. Ram Mohan gives the verses in prose.

Prefatory Verse:

Placing upon his head the mighty lotus feet of Jnanasambandhar, the beneficient king of gurus,m who defeated the
Jains and Buddhists in debate, and thus attaining realization, he (KaNNudaiya VaLLalar expounded this work, Ozhivil
Odukkam, so that all devotees might consume the honey of bliss which welled up in his heart upon the destruction
of the ego self.

This verse affirms that, having placed on his head the holy lotus feet of the Sadguru, Jnana Sambandhar, the vanquisher
of foes, external and internal, the author, rejoicing in the bliss that wells up upon the extinction of the ego, wrote this work
Ozhivil Odukkam, for all those who are it to experience that same bliss. Jnana Sambandhar, whom the author holds as his
Sadguru, had vanquished the Buddhists and Jains in various debates as external foes.  Jnana Sambandhar famously reconverted
the Pandyan King back to Saivism after he had been converted to the Jaina faith, which was prominent in Tamizh Nadu in
his time, an incident which is celebrated in Padigam 39 of of third volume of Tirumurai Canons, in which he rails at length
against the beliefs and practices of the Jains.  We may also take it that the internal foes that prevent the personal self,
the Jiva, from merging with the Self, Sivam, are also meant.  The verse further affirms that KaNNudaiya VaLLalAr, having
experienced the supreme bliss that welled up with his heart, upon the extinction of the ego, composed this work out of
his great compassion in order that all devotees might attain the same state.

TEXT:

The raised hand of Him who pours forth His blissful compassion through the destruction of my personal self, is the baton
of Truth, flourished to call a halt to the dance of of the Vedas and Agamas.  It is the crown upon the head of the Mountain
of the six chakras.  It is the Sun, rising to dispel the darkness which obscures my consciousness.

KaNNudaiya VaLLalAr starts the work with this obeisance to his sadguru Jnana Samabndhar.  As a child of three, Jnana
Sambandhar was taken by his father to the Thoniappar Temple at Sirkazhi. Leaving the child on the steps of the temple
tank, his father went down to bathe.  Unable to see his father, who was immersed in water, the child began to cry
for him, whereupon the parents of the universe, Lord Siva and his consort Parvati, appeared there. The divine Mother
fed him with milk from her breast in a golden dish.  Then the divine couple disappeared.  When his father rose from
the tank and saw the traces of milk around his mouth, he asked the child who gave him milk.  The blessed child pointed
with his raised finger to the sky (...pointing with one finger of his divine hand graciously raised up to the heavens...
Periya Puranam V. 1976.)  and sang the famous decad beginning todudaiya chevian  -- He who wears ear rings at his ears,
which extols the grace of Siva.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.     
                   

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43583
    • View Profile
Re: Ozhivil Odukkam -- A second serial post
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2013, 11:55:03 AM »
Main Text - Verse 1 - comments continue:

The raised finger of Jnana Sambandhar is then compared to the baton of dancing master, which he flourishes to call a halt
the dancers who circle about him, and to single out for praise the one who is the greatest among them.  In a similar fashion,
Jnana Sambandhar calls a halt to all the myriad conflicting belief systems that swirl about in the minds of disciples, singling
out Lord Siva alone as the Supreme Reality.  These belief systems are the numerous philosophical systems that are enshrined
in, or are elucidation of the Veda and Agamas and which must be transcended if the aspirant is to attain final liberation.

Finally the pointing finger is referred to as the crown upon the head of the Mountain of the six chakars.  The chakras are the
six bodily centers, starting with muladhara at the base of the spine and ending with the sahasrara at the crown of the head.
The term mountain is used because it is he practice of yogis to refer to the central pranic channel of the body, the sushumna
nadi as Mount Meru, and the left and right spiraling ida and pinagala nadis as the sun and moon revolving about it.  The
point is that the transcendent state here alluded to as being accessible through the grace of Jnana Sambandhar, entirely
transcends the physical body and its sphere of objective experience, hence it is alluded to as an abhishekam -- crown upon
the head of the six chakras.

In this verse, we meet for the first time the word "ozhivu", here translated as 'destruction'.   This refers to the removal
of the obstacles that obstruct the aspirant's quest for Self Realization, the ego, and the world of mind and senses which
is founded upon it, and which prevent Sadhaka from subsiding (odukkam) into his true nature as the Self or Sivam.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.     

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43583
    • View Profile
Re: Ozhivil Odukkam -- A second serial post
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2013, 12:17:15 PM »
Text - Verse 2:

What course of study might (the mature disciple) adopt to achieve loss of his personal self, if the Sadguru does not cast
his glance (of grace) upon him?  He is like an elephant in musth, who becomes quite still, without the slightest tremor,
when in his dream the enduring great lion that is the Sadguru appears before him on his path.

This verse states that the destruction of ego cannot be achieved by the aspirant unless by the grace of the Guru.  The verse
presents us with the image of an elephant dreaming it is in musth, charging wildly through the forest, as we may imagine,
until a powerful lion, its traditional nemesis, appears on its path, and it comes to a sudden halt and stands completely motionless,
transfixed by the lion's gaze.  In the same way, the personal self, the Jiva, rushes about wildly in the dreamlike world of the mind
and senses until it is brought to stillness by the glance of the Guru, and comes to rest in its true nature as the Self, the state of
kevalam in which the triad of knower, known and knowledge is entirely transcended.

Howeve long and arduous the sadhana, the sadhaka must abandon all his efforts and surrender himself to the Guru, who is
the embodiment of divine Grace. It should be noted, however, that KaNNudaiya VaLLalAr, like Sri Ramana Himself, did not, as
far as we know, follow any living Guru, but attributed his realization entirely to Jnana Sambandhar who lived several hundred
years before his time. 

The author uses the phrase "tan izhappu" - the loss of himself, oneself, to denote the state of total loss of ego, the same
phrase as that employed by Sri Bhagavan in Verse 27 of Ulladu Narpadu, where He says, 'Without investigating that place,
in which the 'I' arises, how can the loss of oneself, in which the 'I' does not arise, be achieved?'  It is significant that the
emphasis of this verse is not on gaining oneness with Sivam, the common goal (though variously defined) of all schools
of Saiva Siddhantam, but on 'losing' the personal self or ego, upon which that Sivam is gained, as it were, by default.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                     

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43583
    • View Profile
Re: Ozhivil Odukkam -- A second serial post
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2013, 09:35:43 AM »

continues.....

Verses 3 to 6 delineate the qualities of the impostor, false guru, and highlight the inherent dangers of following him.

Text - Verse 3:

Do not associate with those gurus who are impostors. (trying to impress you with their) actions.  They are like laborers
who work for wages, or merchants who sell and barter goods.  As for the true, the supreme guru, he is unchanging like
time, yet casting his gaze (upon his disciple) he establishes him (in the non dual state beyond objective consciousness).
There are no words to praise him.  He is beyond the reach of the mind.

This verse warns against association with these false gurus whose actions and motives are not different from those of
laborers who work for wages, or merchants who ply a trade for profit.  Again the paramount importance of the gaze of the
guru, one of the six forms of initiation to be mentioned in later verses, is emphasized. Since the guru, in his state of oneness
with the Self, is beyond the reach of the mind, uses his gaze as a kind of portal, as it were, to admit the light of the Self into
the illusory world of the disciple and dissolve away its false appearance of Reality.

In order to express the unchanging nature of the guru, the author compares him to time.  Time presides over all the divisions
of time itself, the movements of the sun, moon and stars, and all the events which transpire in the phenomenal world, yet is
touched by any of these. In the same way the true guru is the embodiment of Self, Sivam, which, though it involves the jiva
in Maya and the round of rebirth and death, ultimately eliminating its impurities and leading to salvation, yet remains transcendent
and unaffected by this apparent activity.

Text - Verse 4:

The teachings of those who are steeped in the delirium of the three deadly impurities are like in the incoherent ravings of a
madman.  They import them to the foolish, passing them off as wisdom.  We are reminded of the story of the shepherd who
jumped into the river, clutching a brood of bears who were being swept along by the flood, and was drowned along with them.

In this verse, the teachings of false gurus are compared to the 'incoherent ravings of a madman', which are passed off as words
of wisdom.  Both the false gurus who purvey such half baked instructions and the ignorant disciples who follow them will
ultimately meet with disaster.  The author gives the example of a shepherd on the river bank who mistakes a brood of bears,
which is being swept along in a flooding river, for sheep, and jumps into the river to save them.  The  bears in turn hold tightly
to the shepherd, assuming him to be some kind of boat or raft to keep them afloat, and as a result, both the shepherd and the
bears are drowned.  Similarly the would-be-guru is unable to recognize when disciples are immature and unsuitable, and the
disciples, being immature, are unable to recognize that their would be guru is not qualified to teach them, leading to the ultimate
discomfiture of both.

'The three deadly impurities' referred to as Anavam, karma, and maya.  These are the three impurities which in Saiva Siddhantam
are held to obscure and delude the jiva, preventing it from attaining union with Sivam.  Anavam is the obscuring principle
which blinds the jiva to its true nature, as Sivam, and thus gives rise to the principle of egoism, the sense that it alone is responsible
for, and in control of, its own actions.  Karma consists of the ego based actions, performed by the jiva under the influence of
Anavam and the experiencing of the consequences of those actions, which in turn gives rise to further actions, a cycle which
propagate itself across innumerable births and Maya is that which causes the jiva to perceive the undifferentiated oneness of Sivam,
as a world consisting of myriad discrete phenomena, existing separately from each other, and from the individual who witnesses
them.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                                   

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43583
    • View Profile
Re: Ozhivil Odukkam -- A second serial post
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2013, 09:38:29 AM »
continues.....

Text - Verse 5:

Will a blind sifter of gold be called 'Kubera'?  Can a ram discern and demonstrate the sweetness of sugarcane?  Similarly,
can we see any likeness between the guru who is the embodiment of grace and one who is incapable of establishing the
disciple in Mauna, beyond the thirty six tattvas?


A blind sifter of gold is one who earns his poor living by sifting spoil heaps and the likes for the particles of gold.  Being
blind, he is only able to identify the gold by touch.  Kubera is the gold of wealth.  The true Guru is like Kubera, surrounded
by gold beyond measure, and the false guru is like the blind sifter, having to struggle to locate even a tiniest particle of it.
The blindness of the sifter means that, rather than seeing the gold with his eyes,  he has to feel for it with hands, just as
the unqualified guru, being unable to perceive the Truth directly has to resort to external means such as those specified on
the paths of chariya, kriya and yoga, which are discussed in later chapters. 

In the second comparison the false guru is compared to a ram leading his flock into a field of sugarcane.   The ram, when it
enters the field of sugarcane will only on its bitter leaves.  He neither has the knowledge of the sweet juice in the stem of
the sugarcane, nor does he have the ability to bite through and crush the hard stem to obtain the sweet juice inside.  Being
himself unable to do so, he will not be able to educate the rest of the flock about the sweetness of sugarcane juice or the
means of obtaining it.  Similarly the impostor guru is capable of introducing his disciples only to the externalities of spirtual
disciple, like he methods of worship and puja, and the practices specified on the path of chariya, kriya and yoga, which,
as noted above, are discussed in later chapters.  He will not be able to make them understand true spirituality, the knowledge
of the Self, like the sweet sugarcane juice, as he himself has not tasted it.

Chidambara Swamigal notes in his commentary that the mention of the ram implies a comparison with the elephant, who,
unlike the ram, crushes the sugarcane to extract the sweet juices, and show his foal how to do likewise, just as the true guru
is able to impart it to his disciples.  He quotes Prabhu Linga Leela, Ch. 18, Verse 7, in illustration, 'He who sees the outer eye
is inferior; the realized jnani sees with the inner eye.  In the same way, the elephant, on seeing a field of sugar cane, take the
sweet juices, whilst ram eats only the bitter leaves.'

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.
                               

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43583
    • View Profile
Re: Ozhivil Odukkam -- A second serial post
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2013, 01:12:06 PM »

Verse 5 - comments continue....

The thirty six tattvas are in Saiva Siddhanta metaphysics the components  that make up the phenomenal universe, being the
manifestation of the supreme consciousness, Parama Sivam.  This supreme reality is only one, but has two aspects, the
transcendent and the immanent.  In manifestation consciousness first evolves into five universal, unlimited aspects of itself,
called para tattvas, beginning with the Siva and Sakti tattvas.

Next to evolve is Maya tattvas, which veils this universal consciousness with the illusion of duality.  In order to do this, it evolves
five pure-impure tattvas, kala, niyati and so forth, each of which limits and makes finite one of the universal aspects represented
by five pure tattvas.  The result of this limitation is a separation of he universal subject-object into subject (aham, the 'I) and
object (idam - the world), represented by the Purusha, the personal self and prakriti, its operative energy, which is the source
of the remaining 24 impure tattvas, made up of inner organs of cognition, the organs of sense and action, and the subtle and
gross elements.

It should be borne in mind here firstly that, even at the grossest level, the nature of this material universe is ultimately not other
than Consciousness, and that at the most fundamental level that supreme consciousness remains in essence unchanging and
undiminished.

The tattvas will be discussed further in later verses.  However, the reader should be aware that the purpose of this work is
to guide the reader towards a direct realization of the nature of the Reality which lies beyond all mental constructs, not to
inculcate the principles of any religious or metaphysical system, whether it be that of Saiva Siddhanta, Advaita Vedanta or
any other.  For the purposes of understanding this work, the reader need only remember that the tattvas represent the
illusory world of duality in which the individual self believes itself to be perceiving through the mind and senses, and interacting
with, an objective world independent of itself.

Verse 5 - comments concluded.

****

Arunachala Siva.               

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43583
    • View Profile
Re: Ozhivil Odukkam -- A second serial post
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2013, 10:11:47 AM »
Text - Verse 6:

Alas, will they (the false gurus) ever free themselves from the error of prescribing to us how we may obtain the fruits of
union (with Sivam), when they do not possess the evidence provided by their own consciousness?  (Their disciples are like)
strangers who do not know (where they are), wandering about, getting lost and suffering, after taking the directions to a
place who has never been there himself. 

This verse expresses the author's horror at seeing the disastrous condition into which the disciple is led by heeding the
wrong guidance, of the false guru.  The false guru, though he himself has not attained the state of union wit the divine,
attempts to prescribe to the disciple how he can reach that state.  Woe betide him !  Can these impostors ever become
free of the great error  of such misguidance? Even  in the worldly plane, a stranger journeying on the instructions of an
ignorant fellow traveler, who himself has never been to the place of destination, will certainly lose his way and come to
grief.  How much greater the harm that can come to someone on the spiritual plane from the attempts of the would be guru
to convey to him a state of being which he has never experienced himself !

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.     

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43583
    • View Profile
Re: Ozhivil Odukkam -- A second serial post
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2013, 10:20:04 AM »
Text - Verse 7:

Know that only he is the Jnana Guru who with a glance brings the disciple to Absolute Stillness, having perceived  (in him)
the state of maturity wherein he becomes harmonized (with the Self) as that which is false gradually disappears, so that
he dissolves into the waves of the ocean of bliss of union (with the divine) in which he exists as Reality itself.

Having described the characteristics of the false guru, the author now speaks of the attributes of the true guru, the Jnana
Guru.  In his enlightened state, he is able both to recognize those disciples who are already experiencing a degree of bliss
which precedes the annihilation of the ego, and to establish them in that state by focusing the energy of grace upon them through
his glance.   The state of bliss which typically precedes final liberation is one in which the aspirant runs the risk of being caught up
in, and overwhelmed by that state, mistaking it for liberation itself.  At this point the guru fixes his gaze upon him so that he is
not agitated - pathaiyaamal paarkum, enabling him to merge in the state of the Self which is beyond even bliss. 

The Tamizh phrase used to describe the evolving state of the mature devotee, - poka poka porunthi - becoming harmonized (with
the Self) as the false gradually disappears - describes the gradual process through which the mind is purified and made steady
prior to its final elimination in the state of realization.  This phrase finds an echo in the worlds of Krishna (in Bhagavad Gita, 6.25):
'Let him gain little by little (shanaih - shanaih) tranquility by means of reason controlled by steadiness and having fixed  his
mind on the Self, let him not think of anything else. 

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                 

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43583
    • View Profile
Re: Ozhivil Odukkam -- A second serial post
« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2013, 09:48:12 AM »
Text - Verse 8:

In Divine Silence, overflowing with the bliss of Sivam, the guru speaks (without speaking), like a honey bee regurgitating the
nectar it has consumed into the honeycomb.  For those (disciples) who at that time wait in attendance without any thought in
their minds, like the seasons which appear in due course, his worlds will constitute lofty tapas, or the import of Vedas.

A honeybee collects nectar from flowers and discharges into the honeycomb without contaminating it in any way, even though
the nectar is discharged only through its mouth.  Similarly, the guru absorbs and transmits the knowledge of Sivam, free from
contamination by his body, mind and senses.  In due course, the supreme bliss or Jnana of the guru will surely manifest itself
as a glance of grace, a thought of love, words of instruction or by mere touch.  This is movingly expressed by Sri Bhagavan
in Akshara Manamalai  Verse 63:  'Look at me, Think of me, Touch me! Ripen me and make me fit!  Then be my master and
rule me, O Arunachala!

Just as the seasons of the year silently bide their time, to manifest in due course, unaffected by the cycles of growth and decay
that they cause, the grace of the guru, flowing in divine silence, will surely be granted to those disciples who patiently dwell
in the service of master, unaffected by the changing conditions of their bodily incarnation.  The phrase - 'without any thought
in their minds' might be translated as 'free of all objective thought'.  There can be no thought without an object, and when
thought turns upon itself, it subsides into pure being.  Such is the state of the disciple who is ripe for divine grace.  The presence
or absence of the spoken word, is not at issue in the authentic communication between guru and disciple. Sri Bhagavan eloquently
expresses the nature of this communication as follows: "Silence is ever-speaking; it is the perennial flow of language; it is interrupted
by speaking.  These words obstruct he mute language.  There is electricity flowing in a wire.  With resistance to its passage, it
glows as a lamp or revolves as a fan.  In the wire it remains as electric energy. Similarly also, Silence is the eternal flow of langage,
obstructed by words."  (Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, Talk NO. 246, 8th September 1936.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.