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Light on the True Path
OF ST. UMAPATHI SIVACHARIAR
BY J.M. NALLASWAMI PILLAI B.A., B.L.,
[This is also one of the fourteen Siddhanta Sastras, and it deals with the subject of Dasakarya or the Ten spiritual conquests of the soul. There are learned treatises on the subject in Sanskrit but none of them have been translated into Tamil, nor are the original treatises available even in print. Sriman P.M. Muttiah Pillai avergal of Tuticorin brought out a small brochure on the same subject in Tamil prose, over which a sharp controversy has raged. With all its faults it is however valuable, Dr. V.V.Ramanan’s contribution to this Journal in Vol X pp. 43-47 and 113-117 will be also of the utmost use to the student. Dasa-Karayam means ten kinds of actions or Karma and is not to be confounded with the three-fold karma which binds the soul and gives rise to birth and death and suffering. On the other hand these are steps taken by the aspirant for conquering birth and death. Though some of them have been set forth in the upanishads it is in the Saiva Agamas they have been clearly analyzed and systemized and afull and complete code of action is given. These are actual psychical and spiritual processes and unless they are practiced and realized one cannot possibly understand them. We do not lay claim to any such knowledge or practice, but in pursuance of a certain duty, we place the letter of the law before the public, so that those who may profited by it. These Dasakarya are Tattva Rupa, Tattva Darsana or Katchi, Tattva suddhi, Atma-Rupa, Atma Darsana, Atma Suddhi, Siva-Rupa, Siva-Darsana Siva-yoga, and Siva-Bhoga. We may also mention that Kachchiappa Munivar, disciple of the famous Sivajnana Munivar, gives a paraphrase of St. Umapathisivam’s verses in his learned Tanikaippuranam Nandiupadesapadalam verses, 121 to 125.]
மண்முதற் சிவமதீறாய் வடிவுகாண் பதுவேரூபம்
மண்முதற் சிவமதீறாய் மலஞ்சட மென்றல்காட்சி
மண்முதற் சிவமதீறாய் வகையதிற் றானிலாது
கண்ணுதல் அருளால்நீங்கல் சுத்தியாய்க் கருதலாமே. (1)
From Earth to Sivam each its form to see is Tattva Rupa;
From Earth to Sivam, is each mala inert,
Perceiving this is Tattva Darsanam
From Earth to Sivam, not established in them,
Through Siva’s grace, one doth sunder oneself
Is Tattva Suddhi, so the wise declare.
The word Tattva is defined by Professor MacDonnell as (thatness), very essence, true nature, truth reality, principle – (especially one of the 25 in the Sankhyan philosophy). So that it really was synonymous with the word Sat and we have elsewhere shown how the compoundSat and Asat originally meant Prakriti or maya whose components were the 25 principles from earth to Prakriti of the Sankhyana and Vedantins. According to the Agamanta these tattvas are 36, 11 over and above the 25, the authorities for which see Sri Kasivasi Senthinathier’s Tattva catechism. Man is other than 36 tattvas though bound in their toils. God is above the 36 tattvas. And the Svetasvatara Upanishad declares “As a metal disk (mirror) tarnished by dust shines bright again after it has been cleaned so is the one incarnate person satisfied and free from grief after he has seen the real nature of his Atma (II. 14).
“And when by the real nature of his Atma, be sees as by a lamp the real nature of Brahman, then having known the Unborn, Eternal Deva Who is beyond all Tattvas, (sarvattavair) he is freed from all Pasa.” (II. 15).
These two mantras by the way contain by the way the gist of the Dasakarya, and the several steps in Salvation.
The nature of each tattva that binds one has to be seen, and that this in its nature is only matter and unintelligent and that it is impure, and after thus distinguishing the tattvas for himself, and knowing how he gets bound by identifying himself with them, he must get out of their hold, by holding to the Lord, and thus purify himself. This is tattva suddhi as shown in this verse and in the 14th Mantra. This does not involve, as we have repeatedly shown that we should regard these tattvas themselves as false or the bondage as false. These tattvas*[*In the same way as the word ‘sat’ has come to mean God, the word Tattva has also come to mean God. (தத்துவன்).]as their very root meaning shows are a truth in themselves, as also the bondage. We know how the bondage came about by identifying oneself with them, and the first step in cleansing oneself of this impurity, in getting freed of their fetters, (Pasa) is to detach oneself from them. (‘வகையதிற்றானிலாது’). In this heroic effort of the soul in its battle against all passion and the flesh, its true help is the unseen Helper, Whose grace is ever and always with us to fore rain as the Devara Hymn puts it. Without its firm hold on God, this freedom is only a name, we have shown in our notes to Sivajnana Siddhiyar
பாயிருணீங்கி ஞானந்தனைக் காண்டலான்ம ரூபம்
நீயுநின் செயலொன்றின்றி நிற்றலே தரிசனந்தான்
போயிவன் றன்மைகெட்டுப் பொருளிற்போ யங்குத்தோன்றா
தாயிடிலான்ம சுத்தியருணுவின் விதித்தவாறே. (2)
Great gloom removed, one sees his knowing self,
This is atma Rupa. It is Darsan
When you alone do stand, of actions shorn,
This is Atma Suddhi, Agamas say.
In the chain of Salvation herein sketched one ring is attached to the other. One in a sense overlaps the other. The moment one detaches oneself from the Tattvas (Tattva Suddhi) one stands apart, and knows that he is not dead, inert and impure body, and that he is an intelligent being. This is Atma-rupa. Then he knows that all the afflictions he has been suffering from, from the enduring taint of anava, like hate and love, are no more his, as he is Jnana svarupa, and the afflictions were begotten of his identifying himself with the Tattvas. But though he can differentiate between non-intelligent Tattvas and his own intelligent and thus form an idea of his self, can he see his own form? This will be thinking thought an impossibility, like the eye trying to see itself. But still it is declared he could cognize himself even though it be for a moment, before he plunges his self in the supreme self and becomes lost to view (Tattva suddhi). This sight of self is possible when after absolute detachment, one stands still without thought or action, like a flame undisturbed by wind in a sheltered spot. This is only for a moment as the next stage (atma suddhi) supervenes at once. His momentary individuality is lost, and he identifies himself with the supreme as he had just a few moments before he had been identifying himself with the Tattvas. The latter condition is ‘ஆணவத்தோடு அத்துவிதம்’, and the former is ‘மெய்ஞ்ஞானத்தாணுவினோடு அத்துவிதம்’. So that except at the point of Atma Darsana, the soul never retains its individuality, but identifies itself with the Tattvas on God. Hence as I have elsewhere shown the fallacy of the Buddhists and Prachchamia Buddhists who deny the reality and individuality of the soul.
எவ்வுடிவுகளுந் தானாய் யெழிற்பரை வடிவதாகி,
கவ்வியமலத் தான்மாவைக் கருதியே யொடுக்கியாக்கி
பவ்வம்விண் டகலப்பண்ணி பாரிப்பானொருவ னென்று
செவ்னையே யுயிரிற்காண்டல் சிவரூப மாகுமன்றே. (3)
Becoming all forms, of the Form of the beautiful Parai,
Whirling the Soul in birth and death in mala’s noose,
There is One who doth remove the sins and show great grace,
To see this One in one’s soul bright is Siva Rupa.
The soul regained its true form, when it detached itself from the Tattvas. It stood still for a moment and plunged itself in Sivam. Just at the moment of the plunge, the soul gains a knowledge of the Form of God. But where is to be seen? Like his own, it is not individualized. The soul could however distinguish itself from God. He is not the sinning and mala bound soul. He is one who joining it to the wheel of Samsara by giving it Tanu, Karana, Bhuvana and Bhoga from maya, lifted it out of the deep darkness and caused malaparipaka and appeared in Person as the Parama Guru and showed its grace, and entered its heart, of the size of the Thumb. And yet He was everywhere and everything. And all this He became as He is Pure chit, Parasakti. This perception of God as all, all is Sivamayam, is Siva Rupa The importance of the word Sivamayam which everyone prefixes to his writing will thus be apparent. It is an experience, and a great experience in all our thoughts. With this idea to guide us throughout, oh, how well our actions will be transformed from being Ahankara into Siva Akara. Then no evil will flow from our word and act and thought, but peace and good will, kindness and charity, love and Ananda.
பரையுயிரில் யானென சென்றற நின்றதடியாம்
பார்ப்பிடமெங்குஞ் சிவமாய்த் தோன்றுத லதுமுகமாம்,
உரையிறந்த சுகமதுவே முடியாகு மென்றிவ்
வுண்மையினை மிகத்தெளிந்து பொருள் வேறொன்றின்றின்றித்
தரைமுதலிற் போகாது நிலையினினில்லாது
தற்பரையி னின்றபூந்தாது அற்புதமே யாகித்,
தெரிவரிய பரமானந்தத்தில் சேர்தல்
சிவனுண்மைத் தரிசனமாய்ச் செய்யுநூலே. (4)
The Parai’s stand in soul, of I-ness and my-ness freed is Siva’s Foot,
Where one sees God in all and everywhere that is Siva’s Face,
The Bliss that is past speech, that alone is Siva’s crown,
This truth perceiving well and seeing naught else than God,
Not sliding back to earth and like, not standing still,
Not plunging in the thought that he is God but sure becoming That,
To unite with that Paramananda so unspeakable,
This the Vedas say is Siva Darsanam.
The experience gained in the seventh of the Dasakarya is carried further and a closer realization is reached in this eighth conquest of the soul. There are also certain dangers to be safeguarded in this experience. When one matures in the Sadana there is naught else but God, he is likely to regard himself as God, which Aham Brahma Jnanam. This will not only stop his progress further but will lead him back into the wheel of Samsara; and thus all the up-hill work achieved till now will end in nothing. On the other hand he is absolutely enjoined to sink his individually into the supreme getting cleansed of his Ahankara and mamakara, and then God’s grace enters his soul which is Sattinipada. This is Parai or Sakti and The Foot usually symbolizes God’s sakti or grace. The author follows the description of the crown as given in Tiruvachakam (18.i) “சோதிமணிமுடிசொல்லிற் சொல்லிறந்து நின்ற தொன்மை” “wouldst hear of his bright jeweled crown? It is glory old that passeth speech.’
கெய்துயிர் தனைக்கண்டிங் கவ்வுயிர்க்கு மேலா,
மொப்பிலருள் கண்டுசிவத் துண்மை கண்டிங்
குற்றதெல்லா மதனாலே பற்றிநோக்கித்,
தப்பினை செய்வதுமதுவே நினைப்புமது தானே
தருமுணர்வு புசிப்புமது தானெ யாகி,
யெப்பொருளு மசைவில்லை யெனவந்தப் பொருளோ
டிசைவதுவே சிவபோக மெனுமிறைவன் மொழியே. (5)
Whatever befalleth one, he sees its truth
His self who doth it sense, and what transcends,
The grace beyond compare, The Lord Siva,
And views all that befell from that standpoint
And sees that from same grace flow good and bad
As do all sense and sense-experience,
And knows that naught can move except through Grace,
And unites self to Grace that is Siva-yoga
All the published texts give the reading Siva Boga in the last line, but it is to be taken as meaning Siva-yoga, the ninth Dasakarya, both words meaning the same; and it has to be distinguished from the tenth, Parabhoga. When one reaches this condition, he is not affected by like and dislike nor afflicted by pain and pleasure. He knows how they are caused, they are of the flesh and caused by his attachment to the flesh and he is not the body. Further becomes to look upon them from a higher stand point, from the stand point of Spirit. They have no power in themselves to affect souls, nor the souls to be affected unless this Chetana and Achetana Prapancha is willed to move by the supreme Power of God. All good and bad ultimately flow to him. He is the Final cause and cause of causes. And the final surrender is made ‘not as I will but as thou willst.’ This is the arpana, Sivarpana, set forth in the 10th Sutra of Sivajnanaboda “ஏகனாகி இறைபணிநிற்க,” மலமாயை தன்னொடும் வல்வினையின்றே,” when the oneness, advaita union is reached and all the mala, maya and karma lose their power and the final conquest over the flesh is reached Pasatchaya. And the soul is landed in the bliss of the Parabhoga or Siva-Bhoga, the last of the Dasakarya. “பாசங்கழன்றாற் பசுவுங்கிடம் பதியாம்.”
பாதகங்கள் செய்திடினும் கொலைகளவு கள்ளுப்
பயின்றிடினு நெறியல்லா நெறிபயிற்றி வரினும்
சாதிநெறி தப்பிடினுந் தவறுகள் வந்திடினும்
தனக்கென வோர்செயலற்றுத் தானதுவாய் நிற்கின்
நாதனவனுட லுயிராயுண் டுறங்கி நடந்து
நானாபோ கங்களையுந் தானாகச்செய்து
பேதமற நின்றிவ னைத்தா னாக்கிவிடுவன்
பெருகுசிவ போகமெனப் பேசுநெறி யிதுவே. (6)
Even though one commits heinous sins,
In murder, theft, and drink indulges,
Treads paths which he ought not to tread,
Caste rules defies and makes mistakes
Atones with God, self-action lost,
Our Lord doth convert sure his soul
Into His Body and own soul
And then it’s He who eats and sleeps
And walks and transmutes all Bhoga
Into His own, all difference lost
He sure doth make the soul Divine
This is the path called great Siva Bhoga.
When the soul is finally cleansed of its sin, He dwells in God and God dwells in Him. He has absolutely no perception of any difference, between himself and God and other things. He enjoys the Bliss Supreme, and he is not even conscious he is so enjoying. In this condition, while he still retains the body, he is called a Jivan-mukta. As a result of this physical covering and environment, he comes into contact with other physical objects and things. Actions necessary follow and whatever they may be, the jivan-mukta is not responsible. No taint can attach to him, as all his Tanu, karana, Bhuvana and Bhoga had all been converted into Siva-Tanu, Siva karana, Siva Bhuvana and Siva-Bhoga. The only condition is the soul must lose all sense of self and the feeling that he is the actor. Then all his acts and burdens become those of the Lord. This is God’s great Atonement so wrongly understood in Christian teaching.
Saint Chandesvara Nayanar’s act infelling his father, and St. Manickavachaka;s spending the treasure of his sovereign are mentioned as instances of his principle herein enunciated.
Hail All Hail to Saint Umapati.
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