Author Topic: Thayumanavar -The Silent Sage - V.S. Krishnan. -Mountain Path, July-Sep. 2016  (Read 1831 times)

Subramanian.R

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Among various human relations, the most intimate, sacred and deep rooted is the one with the mother.
While all other relations are characterized by an element of mutual expectation, the relationship with
mother is based on pure love and devoid of any expectation.  There is no parallel anywhere to the profundities
of mother's love.  Mother's love is limitless, sublime, unconditional, magnanimous and well enduring.
No words can give adequate expression to the overwhelming flow of love that springs from the heart of a mother. Her son or daughter would have risen high as a towering spiritual leader or as a universal Guru but that makes no difference for the free flow of love between the mother and daughter or son.  It is a divine
relation that cuts through all barriers.  It is unique and no other love can equal it, not even that of God.
Perhaps, that was why God Siva himself manifested as a mother to a daughter.  It is said that Lord
Siva cannot physically be present in a perceivable form 'as Himself' whenever and whatever His devotees
look for Him and that is the reason He manifested as a human mother to bestow His love and care to all
His devotees at all times. Because Lord Siva manifested as a mother, to take care of a pregnant daughter,
He came to be known as Thayumanavar or Mathrubuteswar (the Lord who became the Mother).  The legend
of Thayumana Swamy is a moving illustration of the motherly love and compassion bestowed by Lord
Siva on His devotees.

(This is according to the legend Ratnavati, a great female devotee of Lord Siva, who was pregnant
and as was customary, she returned to her mother's house situated north of Kaveri River for delivery.
One day, while her mother had gone to Tiruchirapalli, across the river, Ratnavati felt her labor
pains.  Alone at home she cried for help.  Soon her mother came and attended to her delivery. Actually
her real mother was stuck across due to the flood.  When the flood receded, she returned home and saw
the happy face of Ratnavati with her baby.  Pleasantly surprised, she asked her daughter who had helped
her for the delivery, 'You yourself came and helped!', said the daughter who had helped her in delivery,
'You yourself came and helped!', said the daughter.  But her mother said,  'I have only just returned!'
It then dawned on them that Lord Siva Himself had incarnated as her mother  (Thayum Anavar).
For Lord Siva, who has manifested in different forms at different times, perhaps this incarnation as
a mother truly reflects His divine qualities of love and compassion.  Lord Thayumanavar, continues to bless
His devotees from the Rock Fort Matrubhuteswarar temple complex constructed in the 6th century
at Tiruchirapalli.)   
     
contd.,

Arunachala Siva. 

Subramanian.R

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Kediliappa and Gajavalli were an ideal couple residing in Vedaranyam, a town in the Nagapattinam district
of Tamizh Nadu.  They were united not only by love towards each other but also by their devotion towards
Lord Thayumanavar.  They both aimed at a single goal in life;  to embrace the Lotus Feet of Lord
Siva.  Entrusted with the responsibility of managing the local temple, Kediliappa did his duties sincerely,
without expecting any reward and found happiness in his work.  Having heard about his good qualities,
King Vijaya Rao Chokkanatha offered him the position of a Minister.

Though his new work at Trisirapuram, the seat of royal power changed Kedilappa's routine, it did not   
make any difference to his devotion to Lord Thayumanavar, the presiding deity of Rock Fort temple
at Tiruchirapalli. Days passed  by. Sometime in the year 1705, a boy child of exuberant charm was
born to them. Being the ardent devotees of Lord Thayumanavar and they gave him the Lord's name.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva   
 

Subramanian.R

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Thayumanavar grew up to a handsome youth, intellectually brilliant and devout in heart.  He acquired
knowledge from whichever direction it came and in whatever form it came.  It came from the scriptures,
saints, pundits, experience and from inspiration and introspection.  He absorbed it all. However, he was
his usual self; calm, serene, composed and always finding happiness in sitting before Lord Thayumanavar,
meditating and contemplating.  Many pundits and the king himself, came to know of his brilliant powers
of observation and comprehension.

Then the inevitable happened.  Kediliappa, the father, bid farewell to this world to rest in peace at
the Lotus feet of the Lord.  The king requested Thayumanavar to occupy the office vacated by his father.
Though the power and position did not interest him,  Thayumanavar accepted the offer as a true
karma yogi, and started performing his duties diligently. Even while doing his duties, he was driven
by the urge to know the eternal truth and looked for a master who could fulfill his spiritual quest.
One day, on his way to the Rock Temple at Tiruchirapalli, he saw the sage, Mouna Guru Desikar,
who came from the lineage of Thirumular.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.         

Subramanian.R

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Mouna Guru radiated a unique spiritual power. Thayumanavar realized that last he was discovered what
he was looking for. He sought the blessings of this saint and requested to be accepted as his disciple.
The saint said that the time for his initiation had not come yet and that he should wait for an opportune
moment.  Thereafter, Thayumanavar spent most of his time in the company of this saint.  When his 
Guru was about to depart on a long pilgrimage. Thayumanavar was heart broken, as he could not bear
the separation.

Then the Guru advised him that the essence of all spiritual pursuit -Sadhana is remain quiet -
Summa Iru.  'Remain quiet in silence'  without any thought', the Guru exhorted his disciple.
Thaymanavar followed this advice very sincerely and he consequently experienced a state
of peace and happiness: 'As I remained quiet without any thoughts , I was lifted to a state where,
without difference of 'you'  and 'me', the pure and supreme 'I' the Self alone remained.

King Vijaya Ranga Chokkanatha, himself a Siva devotee, observed Thayumanavar closely and found
him extraordinarily brilliant and always in pursuit of spiritual knowledge.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.   
 

'he wrote later.     

Subramanian.R

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The king said:'You are an enlightened  person who has a higher goal and it would not be right on my part
to restrict you to material affairs.  However, I request you to continue go guide me in carrying out my duties
as a king in the right manner.' Thayumanavar then served as a Philosopher guide to the king. After the
demise of the king, the queen, Rani Meenakshi, ascended the throne,  but she turned out to be a pleasure
seeking woman who made it difficult for Thayumanavar to continue in the court. It pained him to see
rival forces manoevring, to take over power. Disgusted by these events, Thaumanavar resigned from his
office and moved away from Trisirapuram.  He remembered the words of advice given by his guru
and remained in silence most of the time.  Gradually, the state of silence transformed him into a realized
being, ever in a state of Self awareness.  He started composing hymns  expressing of Self Realization.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.           

Subramanian.R

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At the invitation of his brother, Siva Chidambaram,  Thayumanavar visited his ancestral home at Vedaranyam.
Here his relatives requested Thayumanavar to marry Mattuvar Kuzhali, a virtuous young girl whom
they had selected for him.  Thayumanavar then consulted his mentor and philosopher guide, Mouna Guru
who said that marriage was never an impediment to those pursued their spiritual goal with seriousness.
The guru therefore advised Thayumanavar to go ahead with his marriage.  Accordingly,the marriage of
Thayumanavar with Mattuvar Kuzhali was solemnized. He was blessed with a son who was named
Kanaka Sabapathi.   Unfortunately, soon after the child's birth his wife passed away.

Thayumanavar thereafter lived in seclusion, practicing self inquiry.  Once again he met his guru, Mouna
Guru Desikar, who reiterated his advice to observe silence. His Guru who had earlier declined declined
Thayumanavar's request for initiation, now in order of renunciants (sannyasa).       

Perhaps the guru, in his wisdom, had wanted Thayumanavar to pass through the stage of family
life (grihastha asrama) to fulfill some of his latent tendencies (vasanas), before he could progress in   
spiritual life.  Thayumanavar then embarked on a pilgrimage.  At Chidambaram, standing before
Lord Nataraja, he immersed himself in thoughts of God, marveling at His Grace, splendor and beauty.
He composed beautiful hymns in praise of Lord Nataraja:  'There is no greater treasure than Thy grace,
no greater power than Thou, no greater delight than Your vision.  Overwhelmed with devotion,
I become one with You.'

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.         

Subramanian.R

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Thayumanavar composed many hymns that are unparalleled om their poetic beauty and devotion.  He
returned to live in Tiruchiarappalli and served his master, Mouna Guru.  After the guru shed his body,
Thayumanavar became the head of the Mutt (monastery) and spent most of the time in silence.  Thayumanavar aimed at reaching the pure state of mind-lessness (manathatra pari suddha nilai).  He said: 'For those enlightened devotees, who ever remain in a state of bliss, words and their meanings will be a burden.' (allum pakalum arivaki ninravarkke sollum porulum sumai kaan para parame).  He added that his aspiration was to overcome the obstacle of words and their meanings and remain, day and night in silence.  (sollum porulum atru summa iruppatharke allum pakalum enakku asai paraparame.)

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.       

Subramanian.R

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According to him this is possible only by refraining from any thoughts, actions or words.  He said that
remaining in a state of silence is the highest state.  The state equal to Yoga.  He composed immortal
verses about his divine experiences.  He had now become a realized soul. The purpose for which he had
taken birth was fulfilled.  This body is a mere means or instrument to seek the higher truth and once this
end is achieved the medium loses its relevance.  In his last years he went on a pilgrimage to several
sacred places including Tiruvotriyur, Kanchipuram, Tiruvannamalai, Tiruvarur, Madurai and finally
Rameswararam.  Having served the cause of Saiva Siddhantham and having attained the state of realization,
he was free from the delusions of body and mind.  Around 1783, Thayumanavar entered Maha Samadhi,
union with eternal reality at Ramanathapuram.

Bhagavan Ramana was a Jivanmukta, liberated while still living in the body. He was dispassionate 
and ever conscious of His Self. Yet, when reading the verses of Thayumanavar, He became choked
with emotion that tears rolled down His cheeks.  He found it difficult to continue, put aside the book
and remained in a contemplative state.  This shows what profound impact Thayumanavar's verses had
created on Him.  What made Thayumanavar's work appeal to Bhagavan so much?  Why was Bhagavan,
who was always steady and still, so moved by the verses of Thayumanavar?  Why did Bhagavan want
Thayumanavar's songs also to be included in the Tamizh parayana at the Asramam?

contd.,

Arunachala Siva,     
 

Subramanian.R

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In the presence of Bhagavan devotees never felt the need for words.  The spell of silence was overwhelmingly
present around Bhagavan.  Before Him one felt the power of silence as if it was a solid substance.
Bhagavan said, 'Silence is never ending speech. Vocal speech obstructs the other speech of silence.
In silence one is in intimate contact with the surroundings.  The silence of Dakshinamurti removed the
doubts of the four sages.  He expressed the truth by means of silence (mouna vyakhya prakatita tattvam).     
Silence is said to be exposition. Silence is so potent.'  (Talks 68). 'Language is only a medium for communicating one's thoughts to another.  It is called in only after thoughts arise;  other thoughts arise after the I-thought rises; the I-thought is the root of all speech.  When one remains without thinking one understands another by means of the universal language of silence.' (Talks 246). 'Silence is unceasing eloquence.' (Talks 20).

Bhagavan often remained in silence for long stretches of the day and often communicated in silence.
The time He spent in silence was much more than the time He used for words.  He was well known for
the brevity of His speech.  He must have been moved, when He found His own experience being expressed
in the songs of Thayumanavar.  When Bhagavan had not spoken about, but experienced within,
Thayumanavar had spoken of, through his songs.  While replying to the questions raised by devotees,
Bhagavan often referred to Thayumanavar's works and selected some of his verses for recital (parayana)
at the Asramam.  Bhagavan said: 'Silence is the most potent form of work.  However vast and emphatic
the Sastras (scriptures) may be, they fail in their effect.  The Guru is quiet and peace prevails in all.
His silence is more vast and more emphatic than all the Sastras put together.'  (Talks 398).

'On one occasion, Bhagavan quoted the words of Thayumanavar and underlines the importance of
mouna (silence).  He defined mouna as 'the state which spontaneously manifests after the annihilation
of the ego.'  In the whole of Thayumanavar's literature, what Bhagavan preferred is the following line:
'With the disappearance of ego, another I-I spontaneously manifests in full glory.'  (Talks 122).

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.               

Subramanian.R

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'What is that power that is not located 'here' or 'there' but is present all over the universe?  Which
is that power that showers grace?  Which is that power which gives life to all lives?  What is the power
that is infinite and eternal?'  Thayumanavar posed such questions and answered that God alone is the
supreme power. (Angu, Ingu - Thayumanavar.)  He further said that the eternal reality, which we call
God, is beyond words, beyond expression and beyond the mind.  It is Silence.

There is divinity in every human being but this divinity is lost when the mind comes into play.  It is the
mind that makes a person someone other than what he naturally is.  Thayumanavar has therefore
prayed to be blessed with the pure and perfect state that is free from the mind.  He emphasizes in his
songs the need to reach this state of purity and perfection, free from the mind.  (Manathatra Parisuddha
Nilai.).

The mind is always seeking something.  Even when it gets what it wants, it is never contented but
pursues some other object.  Like the waves of the ocean, thoughts go on and on, generating multiple
desires.  According to Thayumanavar the only way to attain the state of contentment and fulfillment is
to remain quiet (Summa Iru).  In most of his songs, he highlighted the advice of his Guru had given
him in two simple words - Summa Iru.

In one song, Thayumanavar sings:  'You made me sit quietly. Can there be a greater happiness
than this?'  (Soothu Onrum Inri Ennai Summa Irukkavithai, Ithu Onrum Pothatho Inbam Paraparame.)
Though the advice 'Be quiet and still' appears to be simple, it is not as easy as it appears to be,'
because the mind never rests, even for a while. It keeps generating thoughts. Even for a moment,
one cannot free oneself from thoughts.  The mind loves to indulge in thoughts right from the moment
when the individual wakes up from deep sleep (Sushupti). When it leaves one thought, it catches hold
of another thought and this goes on and on.  Thayumanavar says that the mind is like a monkey that has
been bitten by a scorpion, its movements wild and agitated.  (Kolli Thel Kotti Kudikindra Pei Kurangu
Kalla Manam Thulluthen Kando Paraparame).

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                           

Subramanian.R

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Re: Thayumanavar -The Silent Sage - V.S. Krishnan. -Mountain Path, July-Sep. 2016
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2016, 11:08:36 AM »
He says:  'O God, why have you put me in a situation where my mind swings, changes and jumps
like a monkey?  (Gunamilla Manamenum Pei Kurangin Pinne Maratha Kayudan Suzhala Ennai Vaithaye)
In another song, Thayumanavar said: 'Oh mind, having associated with you for so long, I will now give
a good farewell to you.  With the blessings of my venerable Guru, I will reach a state beyond illusions
like 'I' or 'mine' and will attain my natural state of being one with the Lord.  (Vendiya Naal Ennodu
Pazhagiya Nee..)

Though the world is a myth, a mere dream and transitory in nature, the mind always tends to turn
towards the outside world.  Thayumanavar says:  'The worldly life is just a dream.  I want to distance
myself from this world and wish to live where there is no imagination or thoughts.  O Mind, leave me
alone and go to an imaginary world and live there.'  (Arpa Maname Akila Vazhvu Ahtanaiyum Soppanam
Kandai... Karppanai Illa Idathe Ennai Summa Vaithirukkka.)

To be in a state of stillness, without any thoughts, is indeed the highest state a Sadhaka can aspire to,
but it is not easy task to keep the mind still.  In a song entitled Tejomayanandam, Thayumanavar
says: It may be possible to control and manage an elephant, a lion or a tiger.  It may be possible to
put five different metals into fire and perform the miracle of converting them into gold.  It may even
be possible to walk on water, to enter into fire, and come out unharmed, and to gain all the siddhic powers,
but it is very difficult to control the mind and remain quiet.  (Yanai, Singam, Karadi, Puli...)  Mouna Guru
who recognized the difficulties, faced by Thayumanavar, in controlling his mind, told him that the act
of 'summa iru' required great conscious effort and then gave him detailed instructions scrupulously.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                         

Subramanian.R

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Re: Thayumanavar -The Silent Sage - V.S. Krishnan. -Mountain Path, July-Sep. 2016
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2016, 10:53:03 AM »
What constitutes one's true nature is the Self which gives the individual the consciousness of his
existence.  The mind and body are just instruments that one possesses.  It is the mind which
creates the wrong notion of 'I am the body'.  The body grows, decays and perishes.  What is real,
the supreme and eternal is the Self.  Self Knowledge alone is the absolute knowledge.  In his songs
entitled Akarabhuvanam Chidambara Rahasyam, verses 18-23, Thayumanavar explains the advice
he received from Mouna Guru:

He came and claimed my body, my belongings, my very life
And taught me the path of rejection:
You are not the five senses, nor the five elements,
Nor organs of action,
You are none of these,
You are not the body,
Nor are you knowledge and ignorance,
You are the Chit, the real, which is like crystal,
Reflecting the qualities of whatever is placed before it,
And yet having no connection with it.

(Bhagavan and Thayumanavar by Robert Butler, T.V. Venkatasubramanian and David Godman.)

It is only when one identifies with the mind that one becomes somebody other than one's real
Self. According to Bhagavan the ego which is the creation of the mind, is the single obstacle
Self Realization.  Remaining quiet (summa iru) is the best way to drive out the ego.  In His
Akshara Mana Malai, Bhagavan asks Arunachala:  'Arunachala!  You did not say the words,
'Do not speak. Just be still', but, communicating through the posture of divine silence, you remained
still, speech and breath both in abeyance, exemplifying that state.'  (Verse 36, sollathu soli nee sollara
nil enru...)

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.           
 
                 

Subramanian.R

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Re: Thayumanavar -The Silent Sage - V.S. Krishnan. -Mountain Path, July-Sep. 2016
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2016, 10:32:07 AM »
Bhagavan highlights the value of silence again in another passage:  'Arunachala!  May you bestow your
grace by simply remaining enthroned in peaceful repose within my heart, so that it sweetly surges,
becoming an ocean of bliss, and in consequence both word and thought subside within. (Akshara Mana
Malai Verse  31).  While talking to a devotee from Colombo, Bhagavan agreed that it is difficult to remain
quiet and that some effort like meditation is necessary.

He said: 'Concentration is not thinking of one thing.  On the other hand, it is keeping away all the thoughts
which obstruct the vision  of our true nature.'  (Talks 398).  Maharshi then quoted the song of Thayumanavar:
'O Mind, I advised you to remain quiet by ignoring that advice, you went on debating abstract things
and what have you gained?  When remaining quiet is bliss, why do you pursue this world of Maya?
Though great saints keep on reiterating the importance of remaining quiet, you keep on wandering
in the forest of ignorance.  (Udal Poyyuravu Verses  5 & 52 and Payappuli, Verse 6).

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.         

Subramanian.R

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Re: Thayumanavar -The Silent Sage - V.S. Krishnan. -Mountain Path, July-Sep. 2016
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2016, 10:45:05 AM »
Who is a true devotee?  The true devotee is one whose heart is overwhelmed with love and whose
mind entertains no other thoughts except that of God. When the heart is full of love, Lord Siva
comes and resides there  because, as Tirumoolar said, Lord Siva and Love are not separate.
Siva is love and Love is Siva.  When the loving mind is centered on God, it totally surrenders
and individuality ceases.  When devotion  becomes so perfect, mature, and complete, the devotee
attains the state of non  duality, (Advaita) with God. According to Tirumantiram, in the beginning
one visualizes God, later one sheds tears of His idol and finally one realizes God within.   Thayumanavar
was a fine example of such a devotee. He symbolizes the true love of a mother, the enlightened wisdom
of a sage and the dedication of a true devotee.  Thayumanavar, the Silent Sage and the true devotee,
remains as a beacon in the galaxy of saints who reveal the way to spiritual fulfillment to us.

concluded.

Arunachala Siva.