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).