Lord Shiva has danced as Nataraja at five temples–five sabhas–Chidhambaram, Maduarai, Thiruvilankadu, Tirunelveli and Kutralam. Chidhambaram Nataraja Temple is known as Gold Sabha or Ponnambalam. It is believed that Lord Shiva danced in the golden hall on a Thiruvathirai nakshatra to fullfill the desire of his devotees Pathanchali and Sage Vyaghra Padar. dancing in the ponnambalam. The song avaguna viraganai describes this cosmic dance:
- Vel/Mayil Viruttam
Saturday, 6 May 2017
Friday, 5 May 2017
Continuing the part 1 of Thiruvilaiyadal in Thiruppugazh, we discuss a few more divine sports of Shiva as mentioned in the Thiruvilaiyadal Puranam.
Shiva defeats Kali in a dance contest. SivA performs Oordhwa ThAndavam to pick up the bejewelled crown that He throws into the sky and picks it up with his toes and makes the fierce and valorous Bhadra Kali bashful with embarrassment (because she could not compete in dance with SivA)
From the song vetha verpile
காதும் உக்ர வீர பத்ர காளி வெட்க மகுடம் ஆகாசம் முட்ட வீசி விட்ட காலர்
Wednesday, 3 May 2017
The divine plays or Leelas of Shiva are 64 in number. They describe the exploits of Lord Siva who incarnated as Somasundara, Chokkanatha or Sundaresvara — the king of Madurai and husband of Queen Meenakshi. According to the Thiruvilaiyadal Purana, composed by Paranjoti Munivar in the sixteenth century, these sports have taken place in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. Legend has it that Meenakshi and Sundareswarar ruled over the city of Madurai for a long period of time. Sundareswarar also goes by the name Sundara Pandyan. Ugra Pandyan, the son of the divine couple, is believed to be none other than Subramanya.
A few of these thiruvilaiyadals find frequent mentions in Thiruppugazh. Let's study them.
In his previous incarnation, Sundarar was Alala Sundarar, one of the Shiva ganas. Alala Sundarar was living in the Mount Kailas, when he was enamored of two girls Anindita and Kamalini, the attendants of Goddess Parvathi. They, too, fell in love with Sundarar. Kamalini, the attendant of Parvathi in Kailasa took birth in Thiruvaaroor, and was called Paravayar.
One day, Sundarar meets Paravayar in the temple and both of them fall in love with each other. Sundara expresses his love for Paravai to Shiva. Shiva brings them together by appearing in their dreams and telling them to get married to each other.
Later, Sundarar marries Sangili, who was Anindita in her previous birth. Paravai is furious about her husband's second marriage and refuses to let him into the house. Sundarar again seeks the help of the Lord. The Lord goes as Sundarar's messenger to Paravai, and then she relents. The Lord's role of being a messenger of his devotee is mentioned in the following two songs:
Friday, 28 April 2017
Many references to Krishna's divine plays as mentioned in Thiruppugazh have been discussed in an earlier post. In fact the entire Mahabharatham can be described as Krishna's Leela. In this post, however, we are discussing only the childhood leelas as mentioned in Thiruppugazh.
The first Leela is Krishna being tied to the mortar (உரல்). This story occurs in many songs and symbolically shows that though the Lord is beyond anybody's grasp, He allows Himself to be bound by His devotees
- sivanaar manam kuLira
நவநீத முந்திருடி உரலோடெ யொன்றுமரி
ரகுராமர் சிந்தைமகிழ் மருகோனே
Wednesday, 26 April 2017
Let's continue to enjoy more Thiruppugazh songs in which Sivam is described in detail. Here's how gaganamum anilamum describes the Universal Matter – as the Ultimate and Eternal Object that remains after the cataclysm (pralaya) at the end of the Yugas that can be perceived by our minds if it directs its attention inwards and beholds the luminous substance.
யுகஇறு திகளிலு மிறுதியி லொருபொருள்
உள்ளக்க ணோக்கு மறிவூறி
ஒளிதிக ழருவுரு வெனுமறை யிறுதியி
லுள்ளத்தை நோக்க அருள்வாயே
More attributes of the Super consciousness follows, with the following example from suruthiyaay. The etrnal and immutable substance is said to be the True Significance of the Great Delusion or Maya (மிக்க மேலான பொருளான பெரிய மாயையின் உண்மைத் தத்துவம்) and Saint Arunagiri says that Murugan taught him so that he could speak about it to this world!
Tuesday, 25 April 2017
In the previous post on Sivam in Thiruppugazh, we discussed the grandeur of Sivam and tasted the meaning of Sivanubhuti. This post savours a few more samples.
In the song aanaatha piruthivi, the saint-poet longs for the day he would be able to achieve union with மாறாத சுகவெளத் தாணு – changeless and a perennial flood of bliss. To achive this union or experience ஏகி பவம், we must escape the bonds of attachment to earthly possessions and the deep darkness of maya or illusion and shun all thoughts. The saint uses choice words such as ஆகாச பரம, சிற் சோதி, ஆறு ஆறின் அதிகம் - அக்ராயம், பரதுரிய அதீதம், அகளம், எப்போதும் உதயம், அநந்த மோகம், வானாதி சகல விஸ்த்தார விபவரம், லோகாதி முடிவு, மெய்ப் போத, மலர் அயன் மால் ஈசர் எனும் அவற்கு ஏ(ஹே)து, மாளாத தன் நிசமுற்றாயது, அரிய, நிராதாரம், உலைவு இல், சற் சோதி, நிருபம்
ஆனாத பிருதிவிப் பாச நிகளமும்
மாமாய விருளுமற் றேகி பவமென
வாகாச பரமசிற் சோதி பரையைய டைந்துளாமே
ஆறாறி னதிகமக் க்ராய மநுதினம்
யோகீச ரெவருமெட் டாத பரதுரி
யாதீத மகளமெப் போது முதயம நந்தமோகம்
வானாதி சகலவிஸ்த் தார விபவரம்
லோகாதி முடிவுமெய்ப் போத மலரயன்
மாலீச ரெனுமவற் கேது விபுலம சங்கையால்நீள்
மாளாத தனிசமுற் றாய தரியநி
ராதார முலைவில்சற் சோதி நிருபமு
மாறாத சுகவெளத் தாணு வுடனினி தென்றுசேர்வேன்
When one merges with the Lord, then you get all the perks that the Lord enjoys, including taking a ride on the peacock along with Him, with celestials singing panegyrics. What a liberty that the true devotee enjoys with the Lord! Here are lines from இருவினை புனைந்து
இருவினை புனைந்து ஞான விழிமுனை திறந்து நோயி
னிருவினை யிடைந்து போக மலமூட
விருளற விளங்கி யாறு முகமொடு கலந்து பேத
மிலையென இரண்டு பேரு மழகான
பரிமள சுகந்த வீத மயமென மகிழ்ந்து தேவர்
பணியவிண் மடந்தை பாத மலர்தூவப்
பரிவுகொ டநந்த கோடி முநிவர்கள் புகழ்ந்து பாட
பருமயி லுடன்கு லாவி வரவேணும்
Sunday, 23 April 2017
What is the goal of Bhakti? Our individual souls/consciousness are under bondage because of ignorance and limiting adjuncts such as mind, body and senses. We are assailed by cravings, desires, egoism, pride, greed, lust and likes and dislikes that keep us from realizing the divinity within. The ultimate goal of bhakti is to help the individual soul to merge itself in the Supreme Soul or Paramatman that is Infinite, Omniscient, Omnipotent, and an embodiment of knowledge and bliss. The Supreme Soul is self-luminous and illumines everything; it is formless, all-pervading indivisible, decayless, timeless, Eternal, and Immortal.
What prevents us from seeing ourselves as we truly are – as Pure Consciousness – are the three malas or cloakings that prevent us from recognizing the unifying spirit in all beings and make us feel separate and different. This experience of differentiation comes from a power called Maya which is a mala that our bodies are subject to. Mala means taint or impurity, a limiting condition that hampers the free expansion of spirit. It is of three forms, anava mala, maya mala, and karma mala. These Malas are part of our existence, part of the fabric of who we are.
Anava mala is the root mala, the primal limiting condition which reduces the universal Consciousness to a small, limited entity. It is a cosmic limiting condition over which the individual has no control. It is owing to this that the jiva (individual soul) considers himself a separate entity, cut off from the universal Consciousness. Maya mala springs from Anava mala.It is that binding condition that causes you to see yourself as separate from others and causes you to perceive people, places and things as being different from each other and different from yourself. Karma mala evolves out of Maya mala. It is the limiting conditions created by samskaras/vasanas of your past and present lives. It is the condition in which you believe yourself to be the body and you attribute all your actions to the limited "I" consciousness of your own ego.
In Thiruppugazh, we have several poems that sing the glory of Lord Shiva, His Form and His dance. But in this post, we will take excerpts from poems that glorify Siva as the all-pervading, Universal Substance.
In the poem kANoNAthathu, Sivam or the Universal and Infinite Matter is something which cannot be seen but is omniscient; cannot talk but makes one speak; it resides in the body made of five elements but remains imperceivable by it; it conforms to all worldly aspects of unity and diversity; it is known as the Cosmic Union of Shakthi (bindhu) and SivA (nAdham).
Wednesday, 12 April 2017
Devi is any goddess, though in Saivism it would mean the consort of Shiva. For Vaishnavas, it would be the goddess Lakshmi. In Thiruppugazh we have the description of both the Devis.
In the song aNisevviyAr, Arunagirinathar describes Parvati Devi as holding Mount Meru as a bow, an attribute usually associated with Shiva – which is quite understandable, because Shiva holds the bow in His left hand, and Parvathi occupies the left half of Shiva. She dances with Shiva in the jungles.
குண வில்லதா மக மேரினை
அணிசெல்வியாய் அருணாசல குரு
Sunday, 9 April 2017
Read here the story of Nakkeerar, a nineth century Tamil poet who wrote a learned commentary on the well-known work entitled Irayanār Ahaporul. Nakkeerar is famous for stubbornly clinging onto his beliefs even in the face of supreme and incontrovertible evidence. Vankya Sudamani Pāndyan offers a bundle of gold coins as a prize to any poet who would compose a poem that would clear his doubt whether women could have naturally fragrant hair. Lord Shiva himself composes a poem that answered this query and hands it over to a poor scholar Tharumi. However, Nakkirar finds fault with a particular line in that poem and even when Siva asserts the correctness of Tharumi's thought and diction, Nakkirar persistently refutes it. Shiva opens His third eye and Nakkeerar feels as if his body is set ablaze. He undertakes a pilgrimage to Mount Kailasa and on the way he encounters the demoness Karkimukhi who imprisons him in a cave along with 999 other pious men, similarly held captives in order to perform a sacrifice offering one thousand men. The place of captivity is a mountainous cave on the top of Tirupparankunram, and Nakkirar in the opening lines of the poem Tirumurugārrupadai extols its praise, as the holy abode of Muruga. When the poet finishes his poem of praise, Lord Muruga appears and kills the demoness with His powerful Lance and rescues the thousand men. This entire episode is described in the song piraviyaana sadam
பொறி வழாத முநிவர் தங்கள் நெறி வழாத Sage Nakkeerar who controlled his sense organs from going astray and righteously performed his daily religious rites,
Thursday, 6 April 2017
There are two lesser known events that take place before the war. At the center of both the events is Krishna who makes every effort to ensure victory for the Pandavas. The first event ensures that none of the Pandavas will die in the war. The second event ensures that Vidura stays out of the war.
Duryodhana refuses to give the Pandavas their kingdom. Lord Krishna is all set to go to Hastinapura in the last ditch effort to avoid war. Of course, He knows that war is inevitable. But Sahadeva doesn't want war. Krishna tells him that he could try tying Him down and prevent Him from going on a peace mission.
Wednesday, 5 April 2017
Out of the 503 Thiruppugazh songs that Guruji Shri A.S.Raghavan has taught us, it is difficult to find references to all the episodes that occur in the monumental epic called mahabharata. But there are a couple of songs that give us the gist of mahabharata. Let us now examine them.
Mahabharata was dictated by Sage Vyasa and written by Vinayaka on the Meru mountain. Enjoy the following lines from gugaiyil navanaathar
Saturday, 1 April 2017
Read the previous posts:
The song vanjam kondum describes in graphic detail the war scene between vanaras and Ravana –; how the vanaras hurl uprooted trees and boulders that come down heavily crushing the enemy, driving the entire clan of the demons to the South, the direction ruled by YamA, and how amidst the relentless onslaught of arrows Ravana keeps boasting in vain about his valor.
வஞ்சங்கொண் டுந்திட ராவண
னும்பந்தென் திண்பரி தேர்கரி
மஞ்சின்பண் புஞ்சரி யாமென வெகுசேனை
வந்தம்பும் பொங்கிய தாகஎ
திர்ந்துந்தன் சம்பிர தாயமும்
வம்புந்தும் பும்பல பேசியு மெதிரேகை
மிஞ்சென்றுஞ் சண்டைசெய் போதுகு
ரங்குந்துஞ் சுங்கனல் போலவெ
குண்டுங்குன் றுங்கர டார்மர மதும்வீசி
Thursday, 30 March 2017
Read the previous posts:
In விடுங்கை, it's not only the Vali vatham, the poet describes in great detail the slaying of Ravana too.
கொடுங்கைப் பட்டம ராமர மேழுடன்
நடுங்கச் சுக்ரிவ னோடம ராடிய
குரங்கைச் செற்றும கோததி தூளெழ நிருதேசன்
குலங்கட் பட்டநி சாசரர் கோவென
இலங்கைக் குட்டழ லோனெழ நீடிய
குமண்டைக் குத்திர ராவண னார்முடி அடியோடே
பிடுங்கத் தொட்டச ராதிப னாரதி
ப்ரியங் கொட் டக்கநன் மாமரு கா
Wednesday, 29 March 2017
Read here the first part of the trilogy on Ramayana as described in Thiruppugazh.....
The next episodes that find mention in 503 songs taught by Guruji A.S.Raghavan:
Rama and Sita, along with Lakshmana, live at the Panchavati hermitage where Surpanakha comes across them and is infatuated with the handsome brothers. Angered by their spurning her love, Surpanakha attacks Sita, and Lakshmana, obeying Rama's orders, chops off Surpanakha's nose. Surpanakha stomps into Ravana's court, and incites Ravana to force Sita to marry him.
மூக்கறை மட்டைம காபல காரணி
சூர்ப்பந கைப்படு மூளியு தாசனி
மூர்க்க குலத்திவி பீஷணர் சோதரி முழுமோடி
மூத்தவ ரக்கனி ராவண னோடியல்
பேற்றிவி டக்கம லாலய சீதையை
மோட்டன் வளைத்தொரு தேர்மிசை யேகொடு முகிலேபோய்
மாக்கன சித்திர கோபுர நீள்படை
வீட்டிலி ருத்திய நாளவன் வேரற
மார்க்கமு டித்தவி லாளிகள் நாயகன் மருகோனே
Notice that the poet refers to Surpanakha as the sister of the virtuous Vibhishana rather than the depraved Ravana. This refers to the events in the past lives of Surpanakha and Vibhishana, who were Chandrachuda and Sumukhi in their previous births.
Thursday, 23 March 2017
References to Ramayana have occurred in more than 150 Thiruppugazh songs, but in this post we will cover only a few out of the 503 songs that Guruji Shri A.S.Raghavan has taught us.
The objective of Rama's incarnation was to annihilate asuras and their king, the demon Ravana. Asuras complain to Vishnu about the atrocities committed by Ravana and seek His asylum. Vishnu then decides in what forms various devas should be born on earth and assist Him in this mission. Accordingly, Surya and Indra are born as Sugriva and Vali respectively; Brahma descends on earth as Jambhavan, the king of bears; Agni as Neela; Rudra as Hanuman; and other devas as vanaras in Kishkintha. This is described beautifully in karuvadainthu (கருவடைந்து)