24 FEB 2017
The 13th night and 14th Day of Phalguna Month is observed as Mahashivratri in India. It is dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva and is considered extremely beneficial for a spiritual sadhaka. Shiva is known as the Lord of Destruction. Destruction not of the world, but of our ignorance. To create something new, something totally different from what existed previously, destruction of all existing structures is important. This paves the way for something fresh, something unique and something that has no burden of the past. That’s how significant “destruction” is.
At Anaadi, Shivodaya 2017- Mahashivaratri was celebrated in a unique way. We have been working with a lot of young people and we wanted to do something that they can relate to. Many are not used to staying awake the entire night and if that staying awake has to happen effortlessly, we need something engaging. Shivodaya was an all-night learning camp where 30 people were engaged in diverse activities.
The program started at 6.00 pm with our offering to Lord Shiva, who is Anaadi-beginningless. In the Shiva Purana, Brahma and Vishnu set out to explore the beginning and end of Lord Shiva who had taken the form of a beam of light. Both Brahma and Vishnu accepted defeat as they were able to find neither the beginning (Adi) nor the end (antha) of Shiva. Hence Shiva is Anaadi.
In the Kairata Parva of the Mahabharata, Arjuna sets out to attain the Pashupatastra. As he was wandering, he saw a wild boar rushing towards him to slay him. Arjuna, who was known for swift response and reaction, strung his Gandiva and pointed it at the boar. At that very moment, a hunter (Kirata) and his wife were present at that spot. Both Arjuna and the hunter shot an arrow at the boar and the boar fell dead. The boar revealed its true form, which was a rakshasa. An argument erupted between the hunter and Arjuna as to who shot the boar first. Arjuna showered arrows at the hunter and a fierce battle started. Arjuna kept showering arrows but the hunter accepted them with a smile. Wonderstruck by the fact that his arrows had no effect on the other person, Arjuna stood still. He soon realized that this must be none other than Rudra- Shiva himself. He surrendered to Shiva, asked for forgiveness and rendered a sloka. He won the blessings of Shiva and obtained the Pashupatastra.
Anahata, the musical offering of Anaadi had set tune to the sloka and the sloka was chanted at various intervals throughout the night.
|कपर्दिन् सर्वदेवेश भगनेत्रनिपातन ।
देवदेव महादेव नीलग्रीव जटाधर ।।
कारणानां च परमं जाने त्वां त्र्यम्बकं विभुम् ।
पिनाकगोप्त्रे सूर्याय मंगलाय च वेधसे ।
गणेशं जगतः शम्भु लोककारणकारणम् ।
व्यतिक्रमं मे भगवन् क्षन्तुमर्हसि शंकर ।
|O Kapardin, O chief of all gods, O destroyer of the eyes of Bhaga, O god of gods, O Mahadeva, O you of blue throat, O you of matted locks,
You are incapable of being vanquished by the three worlds of the celestials, the Asuras, and men. You are Shiva in the form of Vishnu, and Vishnu in the form of Shiva.
O wielder of the Pinaka, O Surya, O you of pure body, O Creator of all, I bow to you. O lord of all created things, I worship thee to obtain thy grace.
You are the lord of the Ganas, the source of universal blessing, the Cause of the causes of the universe. You art beyond the Pradhana and Purusha, you are the highest, you are the subtlest, O Hara
O illustrious Shankara, it behoveth thee to pardon my fault. It was even to obtain a sight of thyself.
Let not this rashness of mine be regarded as a fault–this combat in which I was engaged with thee from ignorance. O Sankara, I seek thy protection. Pardon me all I have done.”
Smt. Anandhi Jeeva gave a lecture demo on Bharatanatyam shastra. She beautifully walked the participants through the various aspects of classical dance. She even made the participants try out a few postures. Attempting these postures gave the participants a taste of the complexity and intricacies involved in this elegant art form.
The dance lec-dem was followed by narration of stories of Shiva.
For those attempting for the first time, staying awake post midnight can be very tough. They will need something to keep them awake. When one is deeply engaged in an activity sleep does not seem to bother. Zen is derived from the word Dhyan referring to meditation. Zen practices are highly engaging at the same time very meditative. Sooryanarayan engaged the participants in a deep form of art : Zen drawing. Zen drawings help you to accept your mistakes and create wonderful patterns out of them. One stroke at a time is the mantra! Some amazing drawings came out of the session. People who had no exposure to drawing were thrilled to see how effortlessly they could create intricate drawings. Combined with the balancing of the breath, the sketches were breathtaking. Soorya’s meditative drawing session was followed by a fiery talk on Subramanya Bharathi by Venkatapathy. He beautifully brought out how Shakthi had influenced Bharathi and how he had woven Shakthi worship in all his poems.
It was around 3.30 in the morning. That’s the toughest time to pass. We all went out a little bit to play badminton and then went to the terrace to catch a glimpse of the the clear sky. We had a mini star gazing session. This session was followed by a short session on the life story of Kabir blended with some soothing songs composed by the great saint.
The participants were awakened by Shyam’s session on “Resurgent India”. Understanding one’s role as a citizen of the country can help one act with vigor for benefit of fellow citizens. In that context, knowing the glorious past of India becomes extremely important.
It was dawn and the program concluded with a meditation session followed by a group rendering of Bho Shambo !
Aum Namah Shivaya!
Satsanga with Shri Adi Narayananan
“The power of regulating food and sleep on the path to freedom”
We take vratas on different days like Mahashivaratri, shashti or ekadashi. Vrata means a vow that you take for yourself, a direction that you set for yourself. When they take a vrata, along with that, people also take up upavasa. Upavasa literally means living nearby or being in touch with your deepest self, or your deepest Ishta Devata — the Divinity that you consider yourself close to, or whose frequency matches with yours. One is in constant contemplation of the Divinity, there is constant vichara. In vichara, there is no movement of thought. It is not continuous thinking, but becoming still. So during upavasa, will one think of one’s food, water and sleep? There will be no thought of all this, that is the meaning of mei maranthu irukarthu. So it is not control. But you are so deeply longing for it, that other things like food and sleep does not approach your thought. That is called upavasa — upavasa vrata. So that vrata is along the direction of taking you closer to the Divine, and ultimately the Divine is not an object outside of you. Initially, you approach it as an object outside of you. But then, actually it merges. Then you see, there is only the Divine. There is nothing other than the Divine. Vera onnume illa. One cannot even say,”I am Divine”, because only the Divine is. So where is the notion of “I”? Then it completely merges. Then there is nothing but Divinity. The breath is Divinity, speech is Divinity, food is Divinity, the one who eats is Divinity, the act of eating is Divinity, there is nothing but Divinity. So it is almost like floating in Divinity and that itself is Divinity! Then, it is an actual experience. And Mahashivaratri is such an auspicious occasion to take steps towards arriving at this realization. We can look at Shiva as one with this guna- Saguna. Shiva is also considered nirguna. Nirguna means beyond the gunas or gunatita. Generally this creation is considered a product of the trigunas – sattva, rajas and tamas*. The interaction and interplay of these 3 gunas creates this apparent shrishti, that is why this creation is called apparent creation. Because if these 3 gunas harmonize, balance out, then there is no creation, actually. So the creation is, yet it is not, and that is Shiva. That is beautiful! So shivaratri is considered a step that will take you closer to this realization, where you realize that all this is the Shiva tattva, and there is nothing but that. And hence it is not. And it is not contradictory. It is not! And yet it is, but these are not contradictory. In the space of experience, one can experience these deeper realities, and this is not without also, it is within and hence one cannot even speak of ideas such as ‘within ‑without’.
*Sattva – purity. Sattva means goodness, light and knowledge. It represents the quintessential balance. Nature sustains with sattva. Rajas – passion. Rajas represents transience, desire and action. Creativity is a function of rajas. Nature creates with rajas. Tamas – ignorance. It means darkness, illusion and inertia. Nature destroys with tamas.
So to experience this, to be simple, we restrict food. Why? Because, generally what happens? We are pulled towards object recognition. We focus on the objects of the senses, and that is called vishaya dhyana. We are pulled irresistibly, like we have no other choice. Our senses are pulled by their objects. It is like our senses rush towards the sense objects. Initially it seems to be thrilling. After a while, that itself becomes miserable! We feel,”Oh man, what is happening? I don’t understand!” But we are not able to give it up, because it seems superb, but at the same time, we feel it is a huge pain! So that is called vishaya dhyana. Vishaya dhyana means the flow of consciousness towards the objects of the senses. So going after the objects of the senses is not wrong. But one will see, whatever experiences are given by sensory pleasures are always limited. If you understand this, a perspective dawns. This is called vairagya. Vairagya means viraga – going beyond raaga and dwesha. Raaga is attraction and dwesha is repulsion. Vairagya is a movement that reverses the flow of consciousness — a purely outward flow of consciousness is stabilized, and is reversed. So that “flip” from an outward movement to an inward movement is a big step, in the spiritual path. Because that flip is not easy. It is non-trivial. For that one needs to take immense effort. That is why, in the Indian tradition, there are simple strategies like vrata and mauna.
We take up mauna, because the general flow might be too fast and compulsive before we can even become aware and restrain ourselves. Generally, words spill out of our mouth before we know it. Without awareness, we speak words without any control over them. So then, one takes a vow of silence — “No. I am going to direct my speech as per my will. For this time period, I shall not speak and I shall maintain silence.” This is like an important direction – setting a direction. And “not speaking” first starts from the outer, and then proceeds to the deeper, inner dimensions. The outer refers to not speaking with the mouth. Gradually one proceeds to the inner – not speaking with the manas as well, that is, not letting thoughts “speak” in the mind. Then there will be no thought. Mauna is to bring about a reversal of this movement that is going on automatically. Through these important steps, we slowly try to reverse it. When we try to reverse the flow of consciousness towards objects, that flip becomes a critical step. Consciousness is usually flowing outwards, towards something or the other in the external world. That is why many people experience this — “Oh! Thoughts keep coming! Aaaargh!” — And they are not able to stop this flow of thought and there is a huge struggle.
But that flip, once you achieve that flip, that reversal in the movement of consciousness, all of a sudden you will see, it just sets! And that is a tremendous experience actually, it is not automatic. It has to be desired for and effort should be applied in that direction, which is Mahashivaratri.
Generally, how does this flow towards objects happen? Because we seek comfort. We generally seek comfort and pleasure. When we have an experience, and if it gives us pleasure, we repeatedly reinforce the thought — “This gives me pleasure. This gives me pleasure. This gives me pleasure…” and we seek that experience again and again. This creates the tendency in us to go in search of that which gives us pleasure and comfort. A simple example is food — when we eat certain food items, “Mmm…this is good.…this is good…this is good…” — so saying, we go in search of that pleasurable feeling. When we seek pleasure and comfort, over a period of time, what happens? You are locked up in the experience of pleasure. If that experience is not available, it gives you a negative experience. Whatever gives you pleasure, a lack of that, or that in a different manner, gives you a different experience. It is the same object that leads to both pleasure and pain. That which gives you pleasure, a lack of that, or that in a different manner, leads to pain. We desire to go beyond this duality, and that is why we restrict the pursuit of pleasure. Generally, when we are on a vrata, for example during Mahashivaratri, if we sleep, that would be very comfortable, wouldn’t it? In fact, that would be the ultimate! Hence we restrict sleep. Why? Because, if we sleep, it would be comfortable. Not just the body, the mind also feels comfortable. What does it mean for the mind to feel comfortable? “Aha! Nice!” Usually, what do we do when we want to sleep? We switch on the fan, or the air conditioner, cover ourselves with a cozy blanket and think to ourselves — ”Ah! I don’t want any disturbance.” Then it feels nice. Seeking comfort is not wrong, but what happens? This is not a conscious process. Then, if whatever gives us comfort is taken away, or obstructed in some way, the experience turns into one of pain. We get stressed out. Hence, we take a conscious step to master these things. That is why austerity, or tapah. Tapah means fire of effort — it is certainly fire, and fire is not comfortable. Certain very intense people do tapasya with mosquitos around, without even covering themselves with a blanket. Now what do we do when we go to sleep? We turn on the fan, air conditioner, cover ourselves with a blanket and sleep comfortably. Seeking this comfort is the general orientation. Hence, you reverse that orientation, where you say,”No. It is alright with me to endure discomfort.” Then gradually, you start gaining a distance from the senses — the pull of the senses. Later you start becoming capable of directing the sensory experience. Until then, it is a non-directional sensory experience. Whether you like it or not, only vishaya dhyana is happening. It is not a conscious participatory experience. You cannot direct it. But when we gradually get engaged in these processes, such as Mahashivaratri, vrata, mauna and so on, gradually you become capable of directing the sensory experience. And that is a big step forward, because it is a step towards freedom, because you can direct it! You can direct the sensory experience — you can direct how you experience what the senses provide you. And that is very very important. That gives you a sense of freedom, a sense of expansion, and that is worth it. It is always worth it. Hence, towards that, we take up simple steps. Then you will see, life is fun! Life is a lot more than just pleasure. Life is much more than these temporary, fleeting pleasures. You can start with fleeting pleasures. There is nothing right or wrong about it, but you should not end there, for that is pointless. You have not experienced the freedom that comes from expansion, where you direct the sensory experience. Right now, what we call ‘experience’ is sensory experience only. Nobody has experience beyond this, right now. So how do we consciously direct our sensory experience? This becomes the key question. For that these kind of traditional methodologies and practices are available for all of us to take up. And all these practices are very traditional, because this is not a new quest, or a new question. It is an age-old quest!
Now, you might ask, “What if I have got work and other engagements in day-to-day life? Should I leave all that behind and pursue this quest?” Such a question cannot be, because this is more about the inner direction. Whatever be your outer circumstances, and whatever be your work for this time period, let it go on. Simply do what is required to carry out your duties. But that is about it. This is about the inner direction.
Shouldn’t the environment we are in be conducive for the successful practice of sadhana?
That is theoretical. See, we always imagine, “All these aspects need to be perfect. Only then, I can practise my sadhana.” This is again vishaya dhyana, because you are again being bound by the sensory experience. Outer environment means sensory experience, right? “Only if this, this and this (with respect to conditions in the outer environment) is conducive, I can do my action.” — If this is so, it might never happen, because the outer environment might never be under your complete control.
What if there are disturbances and obstacles in our present environment?
That is why, when we learn to walk, at that stage, we are just taking baby steps. When we take baby steps, actually you will see, there will not be any big obstacles. But, generally what happens is, our imagination works overtime – we are here taking our baby steps, but we imagine ourselves to be 100m sprinters! -(Laughter) For example, this happens with meditation — those who encounter meditation, as soon as their minds are set on practicing it, they start to think, “No no, 5 minutes is not enough for me. I must meditate for 5 hours, no, 5 days. For 5 days, I am going to sit absolutely still, and my mind is going to become one-pointed, and meditation is going to take off, and I am going to attain enlightenment, and I will see everything as light!” Our imagination is awesome. But when it comes to action, we can only take steps from where are now. We sit for 5 minutes, and our knees hurt, our back hurts. So these are practical aspects. We have not overcome all this. Before that we start imagining, “I will do tapasya for 50 years. I will do tapasya for 500 years. The Siddhas have lived such great lives.” Taking inspiration is very very good. The Siddhas are great beings. You cannot equate ourselves with them. You have to look at your practical considerations. When you sit for meditation, you experience knee aches and backaches. You need to deal with this first. But you can start with 5 minutes of meditation a day. That is okay. You cannot immediately sit for 5 days; that is not possible without the necessary background. You may not be able to sit for 5 hours, or even 1 hour, for that matter. If you try sitting for so many hours, it will be a huge struggle within yourself. Whether you experience pain in the body or not, your mind will be a huge conflict. What will you do? You will want to get up, but at the same time you will also want to sit. Have you experienced this? You will want to get up but you will also want to sit. It is an actual conflict, you cannot escape it. And this conflict will create a lot of “bloodshed” within you. You will feel frustrated and depressed, “Enna da vazhkayithu! Life is a waste!”
Sir, but at the time when this conflict is raging, if we remember our desire and inspiration -”I have to meditate” and if we keep remembering that, we can actually sit through the period.
Yes! That is called victory. But is that easy to come? In actual experience, it is not very easy to come. And how long can you sustain it? Can you sustain it for 5 hours? No. It is not very easy. A simple thing, if we sit for meditation, after a while, our back starts aching. Then what do we do? We move around looking for a wall to rest our backs on, don’t we? You will see, if you are keenly aware of your internal conditions, even doing this will disturb your internal state. Because you will start getting comfortable. And once you seek comfort, it will be vishaya dhyana. The balance that is maintained within yourself gets disturbed actually. It is actually possible to experience all this. As your sadhana becomes subtler and subtler, you can experience these internal states corresponding to outward conditions. And then you will also be able to experience being able to govern internal states, irrespective of the outer conditions. That is mastery. But it takes time and effort. Now, you are here. When you sit, your back hurts, your mind refuses to become one-pointed. The mind is just not resting in one place. It is running here, there, everywhere. This is the ground condition. You will have to deal with that. You may have the desire, the goal — ” I need to sit for 5 hours.” That is the goal. But you are not there yet. You are barely trying to walk. You are not able to sit even for 5 minutes. That is the ground reality. But keeping that (meditating for a longer time) as the goal, whatever has to be done now, has to be done. Then you will see that the outer circumstances are not a problem. The outer circumstances that you are in right now is as per your current requirements. Once you start meditating for 5 hours, the outer circumstances would certainly change. It has to change. The outer circumstances are a reflection of your inner reality. It will give space or it will fill up space. Have you observed this? Outer circumstances give you more space of operation. Take your father and mother. Is their way of interacting with you the same as the way it had been when you were a small child? No. They have given you more space and freedom. That is how it works.
The “kalam”, one’s field of action, gets created according to our inner growth, doesn’t it?
Yes, your kalam gets created. So your real work is in terms of inner effort. That effort should be continuous. You should play with it, you should experiment with it, you should gain confidence. That is the key thing, gaining self-confidence — “Ah! I can do this. I can do this much consistently.” Having this confidence, you take the next step. And from there, you keep going, progressing to greater heights. Then you will see, the outer circumstances actually give way, or fill up space; it acts both ways. In your childhood, how were you? At that time, your parents provided you with much love, affection and care, they nurtured you and catered to your every need. As you grew older, they gave you the space to expand. Otherwise you would not even be studying in college or going to work right now. They would have kept you at home saying,” No no, you are a small child, you must not go out of our home. Studying in college would be very difficult for you.” But did they do this to you? No. So the outer space always expands to accommodate your inner growth. If you remember this, then you will not be in conflict with your outer environment. But your imagination might be in conflict, because you are imagining yourself to be someone who you are not. Right now you are not there yet. That is a goal. Towards that goal, whatever steps you take to reach it, accordingly the outer space also expands to accommodate your progress. For most people, this is the confusion, or this is the conflict. But that conflict is an imagined conflict. It is not a real conflict. Because, as you grow, expand and become stronger, anyhow the outer circumstances – the people around you, etc, will have to give way, there is no other go. There is no other go. But since you are always living with yourself, you might think that it is taking forever to get there. Isn’t that so? So that is called the theory of relativity. You are undergoing the tapasya — tapah, it is fire. When you are undergoing the fire of tapasya, it seems like forever — “Enna da, I am stuck with this reality.” (Laughter) That is perception! But actually work is happening. And that is very good, in a way. It is very good, because your desire, your anxiety to reach the goal is so high, that you feel,”Eh, enna? What? Nothing is happening!” That is good, but at the same time, you should not give up practical sense. Practical outlook is very important. Now, if you are able to sit only for 5 minutes, you can only sit for 5 minutes. But during opportunities like this, like Mahashivaratri, on such occasions, you will get an external push. Then, you ride that wave. On occasions like these, you can try and sit for a longer time. It is only as you make more and more efforts towards sitting still that you come to understand -” Oh…I need to do this, I need to work on this, I need to work on that.” So you are constantly keeping your eyes trained towards the goal. As you put in effort keeping your eyes on the goal, practically, you will encounter difficulties or obstacles. But since you are inspired by the goal, you don’t leave the goal just because it is not practical. No, that is not the way. I am not saying that.
You are inspired by the goal, by the vision, but when you take one step from where you are, a great many obstacles crop up! There might be simple things that you would not have imagined in imagining and visualizing the goal – such kinds of obstacles crop up. But you are willing to face all those obstacles because you are inspired by the vision, the goal. You are inspired, your inspiration takes you. But this is perspiration, what you are doing now is perspiration. So inspiration is required, otherwise there is no direction for perspiration. And you will easily give up — “Why? I have to overcome so many obstacles. What does it matter if I continue with my efforts, or don’t continue?” — feeling thus, you could give up meditation easily. But no! That is not the way.
We are fired up!
You are fired up by the inspiration. So that is very important. But at the same time, you are not yet there. So now the ground reality is this – your legs hurt. And that is why we practise asanas. Gradually, little by little, we bring balance to the body. Hatha yoga is precisely that. Raja yoga is dealing with the mind directly. It deals with the antahkarana (the inner instrument*). Hatha yoga is for preparing the bahyakarana, the outer instrument, and gradually going towards the inner instruments as well. When both the bahyakarana and the antahkarana are prepared, then you reach the goal, or to be precise, the goal happens. Not until that. So the effort is in terms of that preparation. But as you continue to put in sincere effort to sit in meditation, you will know for yourself what your challenges are — “Oh, this is a problem for me, that is a problem for me…”. You are sincere with yourself, and you don’t know when you will overcome your hurdles, but you willingly put in effort. As you put in more and more effort, you will see, it cannot quite be said that the obstacle or problem disappears. Rather, you grow, where the problem vanishes! Let us say that you are experiencing knee pain. So you put in effort through the asanas, by which the ground conditions that sustain the knee pain have gone. That is why you take in input from tradition as well. When you take vratas and such, all of a sudden you will see, your body cooperates with you, your mind cooperates with you. You will see, if you don’t sleep, your mind will cooperate with you. But for that you should be on an empty stomach. You need to fast; if you don’t fast and if your stomach is not empty, you will go off to sleep. And if you sleep, your mind will not cooperate with you fully. Your mind will not cooperate fully, your body will not cooperate fully. You will see, you cannot sustain your energies for long. If you take a sankalpa, or resolve, you will not be able to hold on to it. Because if you sleep, your resolve might become lax — ”Enna da vazhka! What kind of life is this? Enough…this much effort is enough for today.” Your resolve will end that way. And, vishaya dhyana will become very easy, if you eat and sleep to your contentment. You need to be regulated in your food and sleep. By regulated, I do not mean eliminating your food and sleep. But if food and sleep are properly regulated, then you will see, you can give directions to the senses. You will have choice. If they are not regulated, you will not have choice. It will be compulsive action. Do you see? Simple aspects of life such as food and sleep have so much mahatvam, importance! That is why they should be well-regulated, in moderation. As you are on the path to freedom, you will see how much this operates. Only then many finer aspects get revealed to you. That is why you will see that people don’t eat outside, they take vratas. Generally what do we observe? I have seen that many people, when they go to a new place, or wherever they go, first thing, they hunt for a restaurant. (Laughter) That is not wrong, you know! Nowadays that is the fad — everyone looks for a restaurant or a movie-theatre, first thing. In fact, nightlife is one of the major ranking factors for cities. People can have a jolly night life drinking, partying, enjoying etc. But that will take you in completely different direction. It will not take you on the path of conscious growth. You will not be the director of your life.
* When we say “I”, we look at ourselves in terms of instrumentation — bahyakarana and antahkarana, because this body is an instrument for us to live this life. This body is considered an outer instrument, or bahyakarana. Likewise we have an inner instrument, or antahkarana. The antahkarana is generally looked at with respect to four aspects – manas (that which senses the sensory data and has the playing field of the emotions), chittha (memory bank), buddhi (intellect) and ahamkara (the stamp of doership on the processes of the mind and body — “I did”, loosely translated as the ego)
One would be a slave to sensory pleasures?
It would be compulsive behaviour. You would think it is choice, but that is not true choice. You are caught in the net of pleasure (and unavoidably, pain as well). Whether you like it or not, you will act compulsively, and you will no choice. That is why you need to go on a fast periodically to keep your stomach empty, and you need to regulate your sleep. How do you regulate your sleep? What is the optimal amount of sleep that you need for your life to function? That is all you must sleep, not more than that. Then you will see you will have amazing growth in meditation. If you get more sleep than this optimal amount you will see, you cannot meditate. Only vishaya dhyana will happen. Through simple practical experience you will arrive at this knowledge. That is why, we need to cut down on the pleasure and comfort we derive from long sleep. You know, when I travelled to the Himalayas, I encountered so many sadhus, all that they had on them was a dhoti, a kurta, and maybe a sweater. Other than this, they had a jolna pai, a cloth shoulder bag, a bowl for food and a razai, a quilt. In the harshest of climbs, this is all they possessed, nothing more. And they would not stay in any hut or ashrama. They would sleep on the road, or out in the open! Now, how do we fare in such conditions? We cannot even sleep inside the hotel room or ashram room, because of the cold. These people would be exposed out in the open! What a vrata! Just imagine how one should be fired up to undertake this! They would just not care for comfort. And that will give one tremendous freedom! You will see, if you just regulate these two – food and sleep, you will actually taste freedom in your life. You will experience much freedom.You can do anything you wish. You can do anything. It will give you kamya siddhi — whatever you desire will fructify. You will gain this much siddhi, just by regulating your food and sleep. It is so powerful. It does not mean that you must always go hungry, never eating or sleeping. That is for the highest order of yogis. For others it is not required. So that depends on your sphere of play, you know. It depends on your kalam. If your field of play becomes very large — actually even prime ministers, ministers and CEOs do that, they don’t care about food and sleep. They have so much work to do that they cannot afford to sleep or care about food, because then, not just them, but their entire people, or their entire organization would suffer. That cannot be. So they follow simple food and sleep regulation. These are very simple principles, nothing big. But now, in our search for something big to happen, we have ignored the simple principles of life. Hence, we see, true “bigness” does not happen. The true greatness does not happen. More than big or small, it is about greatness. It is this greatness that we miss. We live very mediocre lives, just addicted to the senses, just enmeshed with the sensory experience, with no relief or respite from the sensory experience. That is a tragic life! So any effort towards freedom is worth it. It is definitely worth it, and it is much more than anything else.
Sapta Vidanga Sthalams: Nadanam
Transcribed talk of Smt Anandhi Jeeva
For Anaadi’s Shivodaya, we were very happy to have with us Smt Anandhi, who is a dancer, dance teacher and choreographer. Everyone enjoyed her lively session, listening to her lecture demonstration on aspects of the Indian classical dance. Here we have translated and presented a very interesting and informative talk of the Saptha vidanga sthalams and the peculiar dance movements called nadanam, that are enacted in each of these 7 sthalams, during the processional carrying of the deity, Nataraja*, in the palanquin.
*Nataraja ‑Shiva as the King of dance – the Cosmic Dancer.
This Shivaratri, I shall narrate to you a story about Lord Shiva. Do you know where Shivaratri first came to be followed as a form of worship? It was in Thiruvannamalai. There was a Chola emperor by name Muchukunda chakravarti. It was through him that Shivaratri began to be celebrated as a night of worship of Lord Shiva. Why was his name Muchukunda chakravarti? Because his face was like a monkey’s. Why was his face like a monkey’s? There is a historical anecdote for it. Once, on a night, a monkey, chased by a tiger, climbed up a tree to save his life. The tiger was prowling below. Frightened that he might doze off and fall from the tree and get eaten by the tiger, and not knowing what else to do, the monkey began to pluck the leaves of the tree one by one and drop it down below. That night happened to be a Shivaratri, and below the tree was a Swayambhu lingam. And the leaves that were plucked by the monkey and dropped onto the Swayambhu lingam happened to be Bilva leaves. (Bilva leaves are considered to be very special in the worship of the Shiva lingam.)
So, pleased with this monkey who had worshipped him with a great many leaves, Shiva appeared and said to him,”Ask of me a boon.”
The monkey said,”I desire to conquer the world. But I do not wish to relinquish my identity. I want to be born with the same face – that of the monkey that I am now.”
Hence, he was born as Muchukunda chakravarti in the Chola kingdom. Once, he went to Indraloka (the world of the celestial beings), because Indra, the king of the devas, had sought his help to defeat a powerful demon called Vaalasuran. Extremely pleased with Muchukunda chakravarti and full of gratitude for him, Indra said, ”Ask of me anything whatsoever that you desire. I shall grant you the boon.”
Muchukunda chakravarti replied,” I saw you worshipping a maragatha (emerald) lingam here. My heart is drawn to it. I desire to take it to Bhuloka (earth) to install it there and worship it.”
Now, this vidanga* lingam had been presented to Indra by Mahavishnu himself, who had held it in worship. Indra held this image in great reverence. He did not wish to part with it. So he said to Muchukunda chakravarti,”Alright, come tomorrow.”
Indra did not wish to part with that linga. But at the same time, he could not take back his word. So he had 6 other identical lingams made and the next day, he showed Muchukunda the 7 lingams, all of which looked exactly like the lingam presented by Mahavishnu and which Muchukunda chakravarti desired. Indra offered him, ”Please take with you whichever lingam that you like.” Muchukunda chakravarti looked at the 7 lingams. Praying to the Lord that he may make the right choice, the king picked the right lingam as soon as he set his eyes upon them! Happy with the true devotion of Muchukunda, Indra gave away all the seven vidanga lingas to the king, who decided to install them in and around Thiruvarur.
*Vidanga refers to a lingam that has not been chiselled out and is of Divine origin. Vi + danga — the form untouched by the sculptor’s hammer.
It is this Maragatha Vidanga lingam that was installed in Thiruvarur as the image of Thyagarajar – Maragatha Nataraja. The places where the 7 Vidanga lingams were installed are called the Sapta Vidanga sthalam. Sapta means seven. The Saptha Vidanga sthalams are the seven places around Thiruvarur with Lord Shiva as Thyagaraja. Thyagaraja is the name given to the manifestation of Shiva at Thiruvarur called Somaskanda*, and 6 of the other Sapta Vidanga sthalams. This image of Thyagarajar is referred to as Veedhi Vidangar** in the sacred Tamil Thevaram hymns. The term Vidanga (Veedhi Vidanga as in Thiruvarur) represents the Thyagaraja image, as well as the Shivalingam (made of Maragatha (emerald), placed in a silver casket) that is installed in the shrine dedicated to Thyagaraja.
* Somaskanda — Sa + Uma + Skanda = Shiva along with Uma and Skanda. This form features Shiva, Uma and Skanda (Muruga or Karthikeya who is their son). Lord Shiva is seated with Parvathi to his left and Skanda seated in between them. It represents Sat — Shiva (Existence), Chit — Shakthi (knowledge) and Ananda — Skanda (bliss) arising out of their union.
**Veedhi Vidangar – The unchiseled form of the processional deity who is taken out in the streets. ‘Veedhi’ in Tamil means ‘street’.
So what is special about these 7 places? All the 7 places have the image of Nataraja, but what is different and special about each one? When the deity is carried in a pallak, or palanquin, it is not a straight procession where people simply walk carrying the deity in a palanquin, as we might usually imagine. It is a dance procession where the people perform special dance movements while carrying the deity in the pallak. Every Vidangar is associated with a peculiar and unique nadanam or dance form that has a spiritual meaning attached to it. In 7 places in and around Thiruvarur, prathishta has been done for the images of Nataraja. Let us look at each of these places and its unique dance procession.
Though Muchukunda chakravarti was a native of the Kongu region near Karur, understanding the spiritual greatness of the Cauvery delta region, he installed the original Veedhi Vidangar (the emerald lingam once worshipped by Mahavishnu himself and presented to Indra) in Thiruvarur, the Sundara Vidangar at Nagapattinam, Avani Vidangar at Thirukuvalai, Nagara Vidangar at Tirunallar, Adi Vidangar at Thirukkaravasal, Nila Vidangar at Thiruvoimur and Bhuvani Vidangar at Vedaranyam.
Thiruvarur – Veedhi Vidangar, “Ajaba nadanam”
The original Veedhi Vidangar was installed by Muchukunda chakravarti at Thiruvarur. Thyagaraja is associated with the ajaba nadanam. The ajapa mantra is “hamsa — soham”. It is the voiceless, silent japa represented by inhalation and exhalation of breath. Thyagaraja is said to perform this dance on the chest of Vishnu who is in yoganidra. This controlled breath is known to yogis.
In Thiruvarur, the evening abhishekam is referred to as Saya rakshapuja and Indra himself is believed to come here with all the devas everyday during this time, to conduct the pooja.
Thirunallar – Nagapattinam – Sundara Vidangar, “Villathi nadanam”Nagara Vidangar, “Unmatha nadanam”
Here Nataraja performs the unmatha nadanam. Unmatha means bodhai, but bodhai would not be the right word. Nataraja is in an intoxicated state while performing this dance. In Tamil, one can say mei marandhu – forgetting oneself in bliss of God consciousness.
Here, the dance is like the waves of the ocean – villathi nadanam. Kadal alai konjiyum varum, seeriyum varum. The waves can be soft and playful, or they can be wild and raging. When the deity is taken on a procession in a pallak, the people who carry the pallak enact these dance movements – the movements of waves in an ocean. Hence Nataraja’s dance at this sthalam resembles waves – small waves and big waves. The people who carry the pallak would know the procedure as to how to coordinate each of their movements so as to bring about this dance motion.
Thirukkaravasal — Adi Vidangar, “Kukuta nadanam”
Here, the dance is like that of a cock, seval – kukuta nadanam. How does a cock move about? How does a cock move its neck? So the people perform movements resembling that of a cock, while carrying the deity in the pallak during the procession.
Thirukuvalai — Avani Vidangar, “Bringa nadanam”
Here, the dance resembles the movements of a beetle, vandu – bringa nadanam. The circular patterns of movement, the vertical and horizontal movement and the jumping movement of a beetle are enacted while carrying the pallak, during the procession of the deity.
Thiruvoimur – Nila Vidangar, “Kamala nadanam”
Here, the dance resembles the gradual blossoming of a lotus flower. The blossoming happens from the inner to the outer. When they bring the deity in the pallak, they do so following the movement of a blossoming lotus – from below to above. They do not carry the deity at a fast pace. The dance is slow, because it resembles a lotus swaying gracefully to a gentle breeze. Hence the pallak is carried in a slow manner, gently swaying from side to side.
Vedaranyam – Bhuvani Vidangar, “Hamsa paada nadanam”
Here, the dance resembles the gait of a swan — hamsa paada nadanam. The dance motion while carrying the deity in the pallak resembles the graceful movements of a swan.
Hence, we see that various unique dance forms exist at the Sapta Vidanga sthalams.
You can even search for these dance processions on YouTube. For example —
Generally, we imagine that a procession is just the carrying of the deity in a pallak in a simple manner. Actually, there are different procedures to carry the deity in the pallak. Each deity has a different procedure by following which, it must be carried. This “nadana procedure” has been followed for generations together. Even today, when people carry the deity in the pallak, they follow the procedure pertaining to the unique nadanam of that deity. Without posing “logical” questions such as — “How can a selai, an image, dance?”, to this day, these people still follow the tradition of the nadanam with faith in their hearts.
In the Indian tradition, the whole of creation is seen as the dance of Shiva, the Cosmic Dancer, Nataraja. We share here a few lines from a beautiful poem by Smt Smrithi that reflect this -
“Thillayile nadana kaatchi
yellai illa inbam tharume
Idathu padam thooki nindru
muvulagamum aalum sivane…”
Shakti Dasan Bharati
மகளிர் தினம், ஆண்டு தோறும் மார்ச் 8 ஆம் தேதி அன்று உலகெங்கும் கொண்டாடப்படுகிறது. இந்த வருடம் மகளிர் தினத்தையொட்டி இந்தக் கட்டுரையில, நம் நாட்டின் மஹாகவி என்று அழைக்கப்படுகின்ற சுப்பிரமணிய பாரதியை பற்றிக் காண்போம். ‘ரௌத்திரம் பழகு’ என்று பாடி நமக்கெல்லாம் புரட்சி உணர்வை ஊட்டிய பாரதிக்கும் மகளிர் தினத்திற்கும் என்ன சம்பந்தம் என்று நீங்கள் வியப்படையாளம். ‘Behind every successful man there is a woman’ என்பது ஓர் ஆங்கிலப் பழங்கூற்று. நம்மைப் போன்ற சாதாரண ஆண்மகன்களுக்கு இது பொருந்தும். ஆனால் நம் மஹாகவிக்கோ இந்த உலகத்தைப் படைத்து, காத்து, அழிக்கவல்ல அந்த ஷக்தி தேவியே மூலமாக நின்றாள். அதனால் தான் தன் பெயரை ஷக்திதாசன் என்றே மாற்றிக்கொண்டான் பாரதி. அதாவது அந்த ஷக்திக்கே தன்னை அடிமையாக்கிக்கொண்டான். சக்தியும் பாரதியும் பற்றி மேலும் இந்தக் கட்டுரையில் காண்போம்.
நமக்கெல்லாம் தெரியும் அவன் ஒரு மஹாகவி. ஆனால் தெரியாத பலவிஷயங்களும் உள்ளன. ‘ஆயிரம் ஆண்டுகளுக்கு ஒரு முறைதான் ஒரு மஹாகவித தோன்றுவான்!’ அப்படி வாராது போல வந்த ஒரு மாமணி நம் மஹாகவி பாரதி. இப்படி ஆயிரம் ஆண்டுகள் நம் தர்ம தேவியும், தேச மாதாவும், தமிழ்த் தாயும் தவமாய்த் தவமிருந்து பெற்றடுத்த பிள்ளையைப் பற்றி நாம் பார்க்க வேண்டுமானால், அவரை ஈன்றெடுத்த இந்தப் பாரதத் தேசத்தைப் பற்றியும், அதன் மகத்துவத்தைப் பற்றியும் நாம் அறிந்துகொள்ள வேண்டும். நம் பாரதத் தேசத்தைப் பற்றி ஆழ்ந்துச் சிந்தித்தால் தான் அதன் அருமை நமக்குப் புரியும். ஆனால், இப்பொழுதெல்லாம் ஆழ்ந்து சிந்திப்பது என்றால், முகப்புத்தகம் சென்று, MEMEs பாக்கணுமான்னுக் கேட்டுப்போம். நம் சித்தர்களும், ரிஷிகளும், முனிகளும் வேர்வையும் ரத்தமும் சிந்தி, தன் வாழ்க்கை அர்பணிச்சு உருவாக்கிய இந்தத் தேசத்தையும், பண்பாட்டையும் இருவரி MEME எழுதி கொச்சை படுத்தக்கூடாது. நம் பண்பாட்டைப் பற்றிச் சிந்திக்கணும்னா, அதைப்பற்றி பாராயணம் செய்யனும். நம் தேசத்தைப் பற்றி, அறிய முயற்சி எடுத்து, தவம் பண்ணனும். பாரதி சொல்கின்றான்:
செய்க தவம் செய்க தவம் நெஞ்சே, தவம் செய்தால்
எய்த விரும்பியதை எய்தலாம்
அப்படி முயற்சியெடுத்து அறிந்தால் தான் இந்த தேசத்தை பற்றியும், பாரதியை பற்றியும் அறிய முடியும்.
மூன்று விஷயங்கள் சேர்ந்தால் நம் பாரத தேசம். பாரதம் = தர்மம் + தெய்வம் + தேசம். அப்போ பாரதி யார் ? பாரதி = பாரதம். நமக்கெல்லாம் இருப்பது தேகாத்ம போதம். பாரதிக்கு இருந்தது தேசாத்மபோகம். தன் வாழ்க்கை இந்த மூன்று விஷயங்களுக்காகவே அர்பணித்தவன் பாரதி. அதிலும் தன் புனைபெயர் ஷக்திதாசன் என்ற பெயர்க்கேற்றாற்போல், சக்தியின் அருளாலேயே வாழ்ந்து முடித்து கொண்டு அவளுடனே சென்றும் விட்டான்.
சக்தி தேவி சரஸ்வதி ரூபத்தில் அருள்:
வெறும் 39 ஆண்டுகளே வாழ்தவன் பாரதி! நன்றாக புரிந்துகொள்ளுங்கள், நமக்கெல்லாம் நம் வாழ்க்கை என்னனு கண்டுபுடிக்கவே அவ்வளவு காலம் தேவைப்படும். 20 வயசுல ஒரு இன்ஜினியரிங் முடிச்சிட்டு, அப்பறம் எதுக்கும் ஒரு MBA படிப்போம். மறுபடியும், ஆசைப்பட்டு வெளிநாட்ல ஒரு MS/ME பண்ணிட்டு கடைசியா வேலைக்கு போவோம். அப்புறம் பிடிக்காத வேலைல இருந்து மொதல் மாசச்சம்பளத்துல ஒரு கேமரா வாங்கி hobbyயா எதயாச்சும் பண்ணிட்டு அதுதான் நம்ம வாழ்க்கையோனு நினைப்போம். அதுக்குள்ள, ஜல்லிக்கட்டுக்கு போராட்டம் வரும். அதுல அந்நிய மாடுகள் கொண்டு சதி என்ற தகவலை பாத்துட்டு, நாட்டு மாடுகளை வாங்கணும்னு ஆசை வரும். கடைசில நம்ம டீச்சர் சொன்ன மாதிரி மாடு மேக்க தான் நாம லாய்க்குனு, ரெண்டு நாட்டு மாடு வாங்கி கிராமத்துல செட்டில் ஆவோம். இப்படி என்னுடைய பல நண்பர்கள் முடிவு பண்ணிட்டாங்க. அதுக்கே நம்மக்கு 30–35 வயசாகிரும். ஆனால் பாரதியோ தான் வாழ்ந்த 39 ஆண்டுகளில் அடுத்த ஆயிரம் ஆண்டுகளுக்காண வேலையை முடித்துக்கொண்டு போய்விட்டான், அவன் ஒரு மஹாகவி.
1882 ஆம் ஆண்டு டிசம்பர் 11இல் பிறந்தவன். அவன் பெற்றோர் அவனுக்கு இட்ட பெயர் சுப்பிரமணியன். பாரதியுடைய அப்பா ஒரு தமிழ் பண்டிதர், பொறியாளரும் கூட. தன் பிள்ளை ஆங்கிலக் கல்வி கற்று பிரிட்டிஷ் அரசின் கீழே பொறியிலில் வியாபாரம் செய்யவேண்டும் என்று தந்தைக்கு ஆசை. ஆனால், தன் தவப்பிள்ளையை அவ்வளவு சீக்கரம் விட மாட்டள் தேவி. 1893 தன் 11 வயதிலே, பாரதி என்ற பட்டம் பெற்றான் சுப்பையா. தனது பதினொன்றாம் வயதில் பள்ளியில் படித்து வரும்பொழுதே கவி புனையும் ஆற்றலை வெளிப்படுத்தினார். பாரதி- சரஸ்வதி தேவியின் இன்னொரு பெயர். தமிழ் கவிமூலம் தன் பாரதியை தர்மத்திற்கான ஆற்றல் செய்ய செய்தாள் ஷக்தி தேவியான சரஸ்வதி. அவனே சொல்றான்:
சந்திர னொளியில் அவளைக் கண்டேன்
சரண மென்று புகுந்து கொண்டேன்
பயனெண் ணாமல் உழைக்கச் சொன்னாள்
பக்தி செய்து பிழைக்கச் சொன்னாள்
சக்தி தேவி குரு ரூபத்தில் அருள்:
குரு பாரம்பரியம் கொண்ட நாடு நம் நாடு. இந்த நாட்டை எப்பொழுதெல்லாம் அதர்மம் தர்மத்தை கீழே தள்ளி மேலோங்குகிறதோ அப்பொழுதெல்லாம் பகவான் அவதரிக்கின்ற பூமி நம் பூமி. கிருஷ்ணர் சொல்லியிருக்காரே பகவத் கீதைல:
யதா யதா ஹி தர்மஸ்ய க்லானிர்பவதி பாரத
அப்யுத்தானமதர்மஸ்ய ததாத்மானம் ஸ்ருஜாம்யகம்
(எப்போதெல்லாம் தர்மம் வலுக்குறைந்து அதர்மம் ஓங்குகின்றதோ அப்போதெல்லாம் நான் ஓர் ஆன்மாவை உருபெறச்செய்கின்றேன்)
தர்மத்தின் வாழ்வுதனை சூது கவ்வும் தர்மம் மறுபிடியும் வெல்லும்.
குரு என்கிற சப்தம் நம் நாட்டிற்கே சிறப்பானது. டீச்சர் உண்டு. ஆனால் பாடம் நடத்துபவர்க்கு குரு அல்ல. தன் தவத்தின் வலிமையால் மௌனியாக இருந்து சிஷ்யருடய அறியாமையை அகற்றுபவர்க்கு தான் குரு என்ற பொருள் பொருந்தும். நாட்டின் குருமார்கள் காரணமாகவே தருமம் இன்னும் வாழ்ந்திட்டு இருக்கு நம் நாட்டிலே. அப்பிடி பட்ட குரு பாரம்பர்யம் கொண்டவன் பாரதி. அவதார புருஷர் பகவான் ஸ்ரீ ராமகிருஷ்ணா பரமஹம்சர், அவருடைய சீடர் சுவாமி விவேகானந்தர். அவருடைய சீடர் இங்காலந்நாட்டிலே பாதிரியாருக்கு மகளாக பிறந்து, அங்கே விவேகானந்தரைச் சந்தித்து சரணடைந்து, இந்த நாட்டிற்க்காக அர்பணிக்கப்பட்டவள் என்ற பெயர் பூண்ட நிவேத தேவி. அவருடைய சீடர் மஹாகவி பாரதி.
அருளுக்கு நிவேதனமாய், அன்பினுக்கோர் போயிலாய், அடியேன் நெஞ்சில்
இருளுக்கு ஞாயிறாய் எமதுயர் நா
டாம் பயிர்க்கு மழையாய், இங்கு
பொருளுக்கு வழியறியா வறிஞர்க்குப் பெரும் பெருளாய்ப் புன்மைத் தாதச் சுருளுக்க நெருப்பாகி விளங்கிய தாய் நிவேதிதைத் தொது நிற்பேன்
பாரதி தன் குரு மீது பாடிய பாடல். ஷக்தி ரூபிணி நிவேதிதா தேவி பாரதிக்கு கொடுத்த தர்மம்- பெண்விடுதலை.
நம்ம எப்போவும் நம்ம கடமை இதுதானாங்கிற யோசனைளையே காலத்த கழித்திருப்போம். பாரதி, கலைமகள் தனுக்கு கொடுத்த தர்மத்தை சரிவர செய்தாரா? ஒரு கவிஞன் கவிபுலமை கொண்டு என்ன செய்துவிடமுடியும்? எப்பிடிப்பட்ட கவிஞன் பாரதி பாருங்க.
பாரதி ஒரு புரட்சிக் கவிஞன். எப்படி புரட்சி? பாரதி, அடிமைப்பட்ட நாட்டிலே இந்த அடிமை விலங்கை அறுத்தெறிய வேண்டும் என்பதற்காக, ம் என்றால் சிறைவாசம் ஏ என்றால் வனவாசம் என்ற காலத்தில் வந்தே மாத்திரம் என்று பாடியவன். இப்பொழுது பாடினால் பாடிவிட்டு போகட்டும் என்று சொல்லிவிடுவார். அன்றைக்கு பாட முடியாது. ஆனால் பாரதி பாடினான்:
வலி குன்றது ஓதுவோம் வந்தே மாத்திரம்
பாரதி ஒரு பெண்விடுதலைக் கவிஞன். பெண் விடுதலைக்காக தம் எதிர்பார்ப்பு, ஏக்கம், கனவு, கற்பனை, குறிக்கோள், வேட்கை ஆகிய அனைத்தையும் சம விகிதத்தில் கலந்து உருவாக்கிய ஒரு கற்பனை ஓவியம் ‘புதுமைப் பெண்’. ஒரு பெண்ணுக்கு இருக்க வேண்டும் எனக் காலங்காலமாகப் பேசப்பட்டு வந்த அச்சம், மடம், நாணம், பயிர்ப்பு என்னும் மரபு வழியான குணங்களை அடியோடு மாற்றி, முற்றிலும் புதுமையான முறையில் பாடினான் பாரதி.
நிமிர்ந்த நன்னடை நேர்கொண்ட பார்வையும்
நிலத்தில் யார்க்கும் அஞ்சாத நெறிகளும்
திமிர்ந்த ஞானச் செருக்கும் இருப்பதால்
செம்மை மாதர் திறம்புவது இல்லையாம்
அதற்கேற்றாற்போல் ஒரு பெண்ணையே தனக்கு குருவாக வைத்துக்கொண்டான், அவன் ஒரு புரட்சிக் கவி.
ஒரு கவிஞன் எல்லா பாடல்களும் பாடுவான். ஆனால் பாரதி பாடாத ஒரு பாடல் உண்டு. தாலாட்டு பாடலை அவன் பாடவில்லை. ஏனென்றால் உட்கார்ந்து கொண்டே தூங்குவதில் நாம் வல்லவர்கள். இந்த நாடு ஏற்கனவே தூங்கி கொண்டு இருக்கிறது. உறங்கிக் கொண்டு இருக்கும் நாட்டிற்குத் தாலாட்டு பாடல் கூடாது என்று பாடாதவன். ஆனால் சாதாரணமாக தூங்குகின்றவர்களை எழுப்புவது என்று உண்டு. அதற்கு நம் நாட்டிலே பாடும் பாடலுக்கு சுப்ரபாதம் என்று பெயர். பாரதி சுப்ரபாதம் பாடினான். எப்பிடி பாரதி சுப்ரபாதம் பாடினான்? பாரதீய குழந்தைகள், பாரத மாதாவை எழுப்புவது போல பாடினான் அவன் ஒரு புரட்சிக்கவி!
“பொழுது புலர்ந்தது, யாம் செய்த தவத்தால்;
புன்மை இருட்கணம் போயின யாவும்;
எழுபசும் பொற்சுடர் எங்கணும் பரவி
எழுந்து விளங்கியது அறிவெனும் இரவி;
தொழுதுனை வாழ்த்தி வணங்குதற் கிங்குன்
தொண்டர்பல் லாயிரர் சூழ்ந்து நிற்கின்றோம்.
விழிதுயில் கின்றனை இன்னுமெந் தாயே,
வியப்பிது காண்! பள்ளி எழுந்தரு ளாயே! ”
பாரதி ஒரு கட்டுரை ஆசிரியன். அவன் எழுதிய கட்டுரைகள் முன்னும் பின்னும் இருந்ததில்லை. பாரதியின் ‘ஸ்வராஜ்யம்‘ என்பதில் ‘ஸ்வ’ என்பதற்குத் தரும் விளக்கம் காண்போம்.
“ஸ்வராஜ்யம் வேண்டுமென்று நாம் கேட்கிறோம். இதிலே ‘ஸ்வ’ என்பது யாரைக் குறிக்கிறது?….
‘ஸ்வ’ என்றால் ‘தனது’ என்று அர்த்தமாகிறது. யாருடையது? இந்தக் கேள்விக்கு நாம் மறுமொழி சொல்வதென்ன வென்றால், பாரத தேவியுடையது. பாரத தேவி தன்னைத் தானே பரிபாலனம் செய்து கொள்வது ஸ்வராஜ்யம் ஆகும்.” (– காலவரிசைப் படுத்தப்பட்ட பாரதி படைப்புகள் 2, பக் 692)
பாரதி ஒரு கதாசிரியன். சின்ன சங்கரன் கதை, ராகவ சாஸ்திரியின் கதை, சந்திரிகையின் காதல் என்ற பல கதைகளை இயற்றியவன். பாரதி ஒரு உளவியல் அறிஞன். மனத்தைப் பற்றி அவன் பாடியது போல யாரும் பாடியிருக்க முடியாது.
பேயாய் உழலும் சிறுமனமே!
பேணாய் என் சொல் இன்று முதல்
நீயாய் ஒன்றும் நாடாதே!
நினது தலைவன் யானே காண்
தாயாம் சக்தி தாளினிலும்
தருமம் என யான் குறிப்பதிலும்
ஓயாதே நின்று உழைத்திடுவாய்
உரைத்தேன் அடங்கி உய்யுதியால்.
பாரதி ஒரு குழந்தை கவிஞன். நமக்கெல்லாம் தெரியும்:
ஓடி விளையாடு பாபா நீ ஓய்திருக்கள் ஆகாது பாபா,
கூடி விளையாடு பாபா ஒரு குழந்தையை வைத்ததே பாபா.
குழந்தைகளுக்காக மிக அற்புதமான கவிதைகளை படைத்தான் பாரதி. ஔவையார் போல் புதிய ஆத்திச்சுவடி கொடுத்தான்:
கண்டிப்பாக நாம் அதை படிக்கவேண்டும். பாராயணம் செய்யவேண்டும்:
பாரதி ஒரு காதல் கவிஞன் 14 வயதினிலே 7 வயது செல்லம்மாவை மனம் புரிந்தான். இத்தனைக்கும் கனவு என்ற தன் சுயசரிதையில் சிறார் திருமணத்தை விரும்பவில்லை என்று எழுதியிருக்கிறான். இருந்தாலும் தான் வாழ்ந்த வாழ்நாளில் தன் ஞானத்தால், கவிதைகளால் ஸஹ தர்ம சாரிணியையும் தன்னைப்போல் பெரும் இடத்திற்கு கொண்டு சென்றான். எப்படி? தான் கண்ட புதுமைப்பெண்ணாக செல்லம்மாவை மாற்றினான். பாரதி மறைந்த பின், அவனுடைய கவிதைகளை இந்நாட்டிற்கு கொண்டு சேர்க்கவேண்டும் என்பதற்காகவே வெளியுலகம் அறியாத செல்லமா, தானாக முயன்று முன்வந்து பாரதி ஆசிரமம் நிறுவி அவன் பாடல்களை வெளிக்கொணர செய்தாள். இறக்கும் தருவாயில், தன் முழு சுயநினைவு இழந்த பின்னும் செல்லமா, பாரதி தனக்குக் கொடுத்த வாழ்க்கையை பற்றி பாரதியின் வரிகளிலேயே பாடிக்கொண்டிருந்தாள்:
திண்ணை வாயில் பெருக்க வந்தேன் எனைத்
தேசம் போற்றத் தன் மந்திரி ஆக்கினான்
திருமால் வந்தன் நெஞ்சுநிறய புகுந்தான்
அவன் காதல் பாடல்கள் அனைத்தும் செல்லம்மாவையே குறித்தது. அதில் அத்துணை காதல் சுவை இருக்கும்.
சின்னஞ்சிறு கிளியே, கண்ணம்மா! செல்வக் களஞ்சியமே!
என்னைக் கலி தீர்த்தே, உலகில் ஏற்றம் புரிய வந்தாய்!
பிள்ளைக் கனியமுதே! கண்ணம்மா! பேசும் பொற் சித்திரமே!
அள்ளி அணைத்திடவே, என் முன்னே ஆடி வரும் தேனே!
ஓடி வருகையிலே, கண்ணம்மா உள்ளம் குளிருதடி!
ஆடித் திரிதல் கண்டால், உன்னைப் போய் ஆவி தழுவுதடி!
உச்சிதனை முகர்ந்தால், கருவம் ஓங்கி வளருதடி!
மெச்சி உனை ஊரார், புகழ்ந்தால் மேனி சிலிர்க்குதடி!
Bharathi is a cartoonist. சித்ராவளி என்ற பத்திரிக்கையை தொடங்க வேண்டும் என்று எண்ணினான். ஆசிரியராக இருக்கும் போது அவனே படங்களை வரைந்தான். அவன் ஒரு இயற்கை கவிஞன், சித்தாந்த கவிஞன், வேதாந்தா கவிஞன், சமுதாய கவிஞ்சன்- இப்படி அடுக்கிக்கொண்டே போகலாம். இப்படி தனக்கு வழங்க பெற்ற தர்மத்தை, சில காலங்களிலேயே செம்மையுற செய்தான் பாரதி.
கவிதை எழுதுபவன் கவியன்று. கவிதையே வாழ்க்கையாக உடையோன்,
வாழ்க்கையே கவிதையாகச் செய்தோன், அவனே கவி — பாரதி.
நமக்குத் தொழில் கவிதை, நாட்டிற்கு உழைத்தல், இமைப்பொழுதும் சோராதிருத்தல் — பாரதி.
தன் வாழ்நாள் முழுவதும் தெய்வத்தைப் பற்றி பாடிக்கொண்டேயிருந்தான் பாரதி. பாரதி, விநாயகப் பெருமானிடம் சென்று துதிக்கிறான்.
“கற்பக விநாயகக் கடவுளே போற்றி!
சிற்பர மோனத் தேவன் வாழ்க!
வாரண முகத்தான் மலர்த்தாள் வெல்க!
ஆரண முகத்தான் அருட்பதம் வெல்க!”
இப்படி விநாயகரை முகஸ்துதி செய்து தன் வேண்டுதலைத் தொடங்குகிறான். கணபதியிடம் வேண்டி நின்ற பாரதி பராசக்தியிடம் செல்கிறான். அவளிடம் சென்று ‘நீயே சரணம்’ என்று கூவுகிறான்.
“நீயே சரணம் என்று கூவி —
என்றன் நெஞ்சிற் பேருறுதி கொண்டு —
அடி தாயே எனக்கு மிக நிதியும் —
அறம் தன்னைக் காக்கும் ஒரு திறமும் —
தரு வாயே யென்று பணிந்து ஏத்திப் -
பல வாறா நினது புகழ் பாடி —
வாய் ஓயே னால் அது உணராயோ? —
நின துண்மை தவறுவதொ ரழகோ?”
அம்பிகை பாரதியைக் கருணையுடன் பார்க்கிறாள். மகனே, நான் உண்மை தவறவில்லை. நீ எப்போதும் என் புகழ் பாடி வாய் ஓயாமல் பாடுகிறாய்; தெரியும். உனக்கு என்ன வேண்டும் கேள்” என்கிறாள். பாரதி சொல்கிறார். 
“நின்னைச் சில வரங்கள் கேட்பேன் —
அவை நேரே இன்றெனக்குத் தருவாய் —
என்றன் முன்னைத் தீய வினைப் பயன்கள் —
இன்னும் மூளா தழிந்திடுதல் வேண்டும் —
இனி என்னைப் புதிய உயிராக்கி —
எனக் கேதும் கவலை யறச் செய்து —
மதி தன்னை மிகத் தெளிவு செய்து —
என்றும் ஸந்தோஷங் கொண்டிருக்கச் செய்வாய்!”
இப்படி எல்லா தெய்வங்களைப் பற்றியும் பாடினான் பாரதி. விநாயகரை பாடினான், முருகனை பாடினான். ராமனை பாடினான். கண்ணன் என் தந்தை, கண்ணன் என் மகன், கண்ணன் என் ஆசான் என்று 23 பாடல்கள் கண்ணனை பற்றியே பாடினான். இயேசுவை பாடினான், அல்லாஹ்வை பாடினான். இப்படி எல்லா தெய்வங்களையும் பற்றிப் பாடிவிட்டு, அறிவே தெய்வம் என்ற பாடலில் இப்படி தொடங்குகின்றான்:
ஆயிரந் தெய்வங்கள் உண்டென்று தேடி
லாயிரம் வேதம் அறிவொன்றே தெய்வமுண்
அப்படியானால் தெய்வத்தை பற்றி அவன் எத்தகைய எண்ணம் கொண்டிருந்தான்? இதைப்பற்றி நாம் ஆராய்ச்சி செய்யவேண்டும்.
விடுதலைப் போராட்டக் காலத்தில் தேசிய உணர்வுள்ள பல்வேறு கவிதைகளைப் படைத்து மக்களை ஒருங்கிணைத்த காரணத்தால் பாரதி தேசியக் கவியாகப் போற்றப்படுகிறார். மண்ணும் இமயமலை எங்கள் மலையே… மாநிலமீதிதுபோல் பிறிதிலையே… இன்னறு நீர்க்கங்கை ஆறெங்கள் ஆறே… இங்கிதன் மாண்பிற்கெதிர் எது வேறே என்று எழுதியவர்.
தன்னுடைய தாய்நாட்டை நினைந்து பெருமைகொண்டதோடு மட்டுமன்றி அதன் எதிர்காலம் எவ்வாறிருக்க வேண்டும் என்ற பார்வையும் பெற்றவர்.
எங்கள் மாநில தாயை வணங்குதும் என்போம்…
ஆயிரம் உண்டிங்கு ஜாதி…
எனில் அணியார் வந்து புகழ் என்ன நீதி…
தாயின் வயிற்றில் பிறந்தோர்…ஒரு தாயின் வயிற்றில் பிறந்தோர்…
நம்முள் சண்டை செய்தாலும் சகோதரர் அன்றோ”
என்றவன், பள்ளித்தலமனைத்தும் கோயில் செய்குவோம் என்றான் . வங்கத்தில் ஓடிவரும் நீரின் மிகையால் மையத்து நாடுகளில் பயிர்செய்யும் நதிநீர் இணைப்புத் திட்டத்தை விடுதலைக்கு முன்பே கனவுகண்டவன்.
சிந்து நதியின் மிசை நிலவினிலே
சேர நன்னாட்டிளம் பெங்களுடனே
சுந்தரத் தெலுங்கினில் பாட்டிசைத்து
தோனிகள் ஓட்டி விளையாடி வருவோம்
கங்கை நதிப்புரத்து கோதுமைப் பண்டம்
காவிரி வெற்றிலைக்கு மாருகொல்லுவோம்
சிங்க மராட்டியர்தம் கவிதைகொண்டு
சேரத்து தந்தங்கல் பரிசலிப்போம்
நாட்டையும் மொழியையும் பிரிக்க நினைப்போர்க்கு இது பாரதியின் பதில்! ‘ஆடுவோமே பள்ளுப் பாடுவோமே ஆனந்த சுதந்திரம் அடைந்துவிட்டோம்’ என்று விடுதலைக்கு முன்பாகவே பாடிக்களித்த பாரதி, தேச விடுதலைக்கு முன்பாகவே உயிர்நீத்தவர். அவன் உண்மையிலேயே ஒரு தீர்க்கதரிசி.
இப்படி தர்மமும், தெய்வமும் தேசமும் போற்றி வாழ்ந்த பாரதி வழி நடப்போம். அவன் படைப்புக்களை படித்து, அது போல் வாழ்ந்து அந்த ஷக்திதாசன் போல் நாமும் நம் தர்மதேவதைக்கும், தேச மாதாவுக்காவும், தமிழ் தாய்க்காகவும் சேவை செய்வோம்!
தேடிச் சோறு நிதந் தின்று
பல சின்னஞ் சிறு கதைகள் பேசி
மனம் வாடித் துன்பமிக உழன்று
பிறர் வாடப் பல செயல்கள் செய்து
நரை கூடிக் கிழப்பருவம் எய்தி
கொடுங் கூற்றுக் கிரை யெனப்பின் மாயும்
பல வேடிக்கை மனிதரைப் போலே
நான் வீழ்வே னென்று நினைத்தாயோ?
References: 1. http://ilakkiyapayilagam.blogspot.it/2011/09/blog-post_14.html
Utishta Bharata- Resurgent India
Bharata has traditionally been considered the karma bhumi — the land of action and punya bhoomi — a sacred land. It is a land which has been blessed by the feet of many mahatmas and guru paramparas — unbroken lineages of enlightened masters. This article is a humble attempt to present some interesting details about our Bhumi, its culture and its worldview. Like Hanuman, we have forgotten the greatness of our land and our people. Once we regain our civilisational memory, once we remember that we are “the descendants of Rishis” as Swami Vivekananda said, we revere our bhumi and work for a resurgent India.
From our oldest Vedas, Bharata has consistently been described as the land south of the Himalayas extending up to the Sindhu Sagara( The Indian Ocean). It is 3200 kilometers in length with an area of 329 million hectares making us the 8th largest country in the world. However, we have the second largest cultivable area in the world with 160 million hectares of highly fertile land. 60 percent of our land is cultivable as opposed to a global average of just 10 percent. What has made this land so extraordinarily fertile? The mighty Himalayas in the north has given rise to great rivers like the Sindhu, Ma Ganga and Brahmaputra which irrigate large parts of Northern India. The Sindhu Ganga plain is 80 million hectares in area, with slow running rivers that irrigate fertile fields. The soil is renewed every year by the rivers and the plain has a depth of 1400 meters! Maa Ganga alone gives life to over 40 crore people. From time immemorial, our civilisation has been nurtured on the banks of the Ganga, and she is rightfully seen as a mother to our civilisation. The Ganga is so deeply entrenched in our civilisational memory that many rivers in the Indian region have been named after her. The Mahaveli Ganga in Sri Lanka and the Mekong in China are named after her. The western and eastern coast has an area of 40 million hectares nurtured by rivers like the Godavari, Krishna and Cauvery. Civilisations across the world flourished on the banks of great rivers and we are blessed with many such, each capable of sustaining a civilisation on its own. Recognizing the great blessing of these rivers, we bow down to them as our mothers. The flow of these rivers makes India the most irrigated land in the world with a potential to double the irrigated area. Our average annual rainfall of 105 cm is among the highest in the world. Surya deva casts his benign gaze on India throughout the year. This means that almost the whole of India can cultivate 2 crops a year, with many regions able to cultivate three crops in a year. There are very few regions worldwide that can boast of cultivating three crops a year. Our bhumi, the Himalayas, our rivers and rainfall combine to make us the richest agricultural region in the world. In spite of our large population we have a decent ratio of arable land per person. One meaning of Bharat is the land which is capable of Bharana(feeding) the entire world. This incredible fertility has made Bharat the home to an extraordinarily wide variety of flora and fauna. We have over 45,000 species of plants and 7500 species of fauna. The sciences of Ayurveda and Siddha flourished in our land.
The Dharmic Worldview
The Himalayas in the north, the southern coasts with few natural harbours and the torrential rainfall in the east protected our boundaries and allowed us to live securely in our lands for millennia. An extraordinarily sophisticated civilisation flourished in our land deeply anchored in Sanatana Dharma — a civilisation of spiritual, social and material abundance. The Bharatiya worldview understood the essential unity of all creation and saw it as the manifestation of the Divine. Therefore it become our Dharma to live in sustainable harmony with all existence. This gave rise to a culture filled with the spirit of Yagna — joyous and selfless offering — a culture of sharing and abundance. As Swami Chinmayananda famously said, this is a land where one can walk from the Himalayas to Kanyakumari with a staff, a bowl and a stick in hand and expect to be fed and clothed because our people will joyously share and support even with the little they have. This culture of sharing is manifest in many forms in this land. A famous example is the thinnai that is seen outside traditional south Indian homes where anyone can come and rest or even spend the night and leave. Traditionally food and medicine were always to be given as Dhana and never sold. Even today these principles live on in many of our rural regions. The Grihastha( householder) was seen as the foundation of society and was given the responsibility of caring for all of creation. The householder was to earn Artha(Wealth) by dharmic means and spend them for dharmic causes — sustenance of family, society and all living beings around. Communities and Gramas, organic groupings of people were considered as legitimate participants in the state. The guiding principle was Swarajya- Independence and Swavalamban- self-reliance. Each household had its Swarajya ‑its locus of action and responsibility, each grama had its Swarajya and so on in increasing circles of independence. Even today, maintaining law and order as well as social security is still largely handled by the community. India is one of the least policed countries in the world and has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. India has a violent crime rate of 4.6 crimes per 1,00,000 people while countries like the United States have figures as high as 439, this despite spending more and being better policed. Social security comprising of health care, care of the elderly, the sick and the destitute are still largely handled by the community in our land. These functions, which are handled by Governments in many developed countries take up more than 1/3 of the government spending.
Dimensions of Indian Genius
Irrigation was taken very seriously across the whole of India and locally suited techniques were developed in every region. The famous ery system of Tamil Nadu ensured availability of water throughout the year. British records in the 1850s estimate that Madras presidency had over 50,000 interconnected tanks which were constructed and maintained by the community. Natural farming and bio-cultural methods were highly developed. There was also a sophisticated system of redistribution that ensured social security and providing of essential services. Till 1800, India was the leading producer of textiles in the world with thousands of varieties of fabrics and weaves. Even with the industrial revolution, Indian textiles were competitive in terms of both price and quality. The imposition of brutal tax and export tax rates, sometimes up to 80 percent proved to be a cruel blow to the textile industry. The pattern was the same across other industries as well. India was systematically de-industrialised. Education in India was largely community supported and community run. The individual student had to only pay a nominal fee and in most cases education was given free to everyone. Each village had its own primary school and clusters of villages had a center for higher learning. There was a central importance given to the teaching learning process and infrastructure was seen only as an aid. There were many universities of higher education including Nalanda, Taxila, Odantapuri, Vikramashila etc. Dharampal, a Gandhian historical has used British Colonial records to demonstrate that there were over one lakh schools in Bengal in 1830! Madras Presidency had a well-developed system of education as well. Interestingly 80 percent of the students studying in Madras Presidency were from OBC, SC and ST backgrounds.
Decline Under the British
India suffered a terrible decline in all dimensions — economic, social, and cultural under British rule. Angus Madisson’s report, shows that India had 32 percent of the world’s GDP in 1 A.D. It was 24.4 percent in 1700. By the end of British rule it was an abysmal 4.2 percent. Agriculture, industry and education were systematically destroyed by oppressive and hostile policies. Chengalpet in 1770, before British rule had 50 percent of its population involved in agriculture. Within a hundred years of British rule over 80 percent became dependent on agriculture due to the decline of industries. In 1800 India was the leading exporter of textiles. By 1830, Indian textiles were wiped out from the market. Thousands of weavers died of starvation. In 1750 India had 25 percent of the world’s manufacturing output. In 1913, it was 1.4 percent.
Now is our time
After Independence, we have struggled to come to our own. We have managed to achieve food sufficiency and even surplus food production. Our economic growth over the last twenty years is among the fastest in the world. But much, much more needs to be done. But the story is not that of despair and the reality is not grim. We live in very exciting times. India today is the fastest growing economy in the world. Our Demographic dividend has ensured that we will have an 86 crore working population by 2020. This is a tremendous opportunity for us to transform this nation. The 2005 economic census said India has 4.5 crore entrepreneurs, a figure far higher than the global average. This is important because small industry employs over 10.5 crore people and contributes about 47 percent of our GDP. India is an entrepreneurial and entrepreneur driven nation. Entrepreneurship blooms across the country, even in unexpected places. Consider the town of Karur in Tamil Nadu, with a population of around seven lakhs. It has given rise to two major banks, namely Karur Vaisya Bank and Lakshmi Vilas Bank both with deposits of around fifty thousand crores! How did Karur a small town with no special educational ecosystem or government patronage give rise to these? Tiruppur near Coimbatore, exports textiles worth several thousand crores every year, with little infrastructural or governmental support. The spirit of community and entrepreneurship is inherently high across this nation. The combination of economic growth, the demographic dividend and the inherent entrepreneurial spirit makes for exciting times to live in. For the first time post-independence, there is a generation which has the mind space to look beyond survival and family and look at pursuing aspirations, building companies and engaging in nation-building. That is us. What are we going to make with this immense possibility?
The governance landscape is equally promising. Development as an agenda is being adopted by parties across the political spectrum and this resonates with the common voter. For probably the first time in independent India, development is an issue that can swing elections. Technology driven governance is becoming a reality with portals like data.gov.in providing free, open-source, governance data and attendance.gov.in monitoring the attendance of central government employees. There is also an increasing space for youth in governance. Many states have launched Chief Ministers Fellowships where the brightest talent from across the country can work directly under the chief minister in ensuring the implementation of flagship schemes. The Maharashtra War Room, is a team within the Maharashtra government, comprised of young technocrats, which oversees and ensures effective implementation of key government schemes. Most of the members are below 30 with no previous political backgrounds. The last two years have seen over 19,000 new villages getting electricity for the first time. Jan Dhan Yojana (Banking for all), Aadhaar and mobile payment platforms like BHIM have laid the foundation for path breaking initiatives. Most subsidies given by the government can be directly deposited in the accounts of the beneficiary. Duplication and false claims can be eliminated based on Aadhaar. Mobile payments ensures that the common citizen can access and transact using his bank accounts effortlessly.
Our civilisational memory shows us that this is no new phenomenon, but an ancient Bharata which is being rejuvenated and finding its rightful place in the modern world. We live in the cusp of exciting times, transformational times. A few hundred years later people may record this century as decisive in the history of Bharatha. Given the immensity of what’s happening around us, given the immense potential and the exciting opportunities to build something, to serve or engage in nation-building, the question becomes: How do you wish to contribute?
- Timeless India, Resurgent India — a publication by Center for Policy Studies, Chennai.
- Talks by Dr Gurumurthy on the economic aspects of
Whatever is of any value in this article is due to the grace of the gurus. The mistakes are entirely mine.
Siddha Parampara of India
Venkatapathy and Sooryanarayan
Machamuni is a great siddhar who was the brought up as a child by Siddhar Pinnakeesar. He is also Pinakeesar’s disciple. North Indian legends tell that Machamuni was born under an inauspicious star. His parents threw the baby into the ocean. A fish swallowed the baby, where he lived for many years. Then there is a story that once Lord Siva was preaching Uma Devi. Uma Devi had slept when Lord Siva was preaching her. However, the fish with the baby was listening to the lecture. Later on, Siddhar Machamuni was rediscovered by Lord Siva. Although it is a story, it is fascinating indeed. In the 523rd song of “Karuvoorar Vadha Kaviyam”, Karuvoorar says that Machamuni is a Sembadavar. Sembadavar’s are the traditional fisherman. From the name Machamuni, it is easy to say that he is a fisherman (Macham mean fish in Tamil). Siddhar Agasthiar in the 218th song of his book “Amudha Kalai Ganam ” says that Machamuni belongs to the Sembadavar social group. However, Siddhar Bogar in the 5700th song of ” Bogar 7000 “, says that he belongs to ” Kalludayar ” social group. Also in song 5873, he says that Machamuni was born on the Rohini star in the Tamil month of Adi (July-August). Understanding the impermanence of human life, he in search of truth got teachings from Siddhar Kakapujandar. In the book ” Agasthiar 12000 “, in the fifth Kandam, Siddhar Agasthiar says that Machamuni had taken lessons from Siddhar Kakapujandar. He also says that he donated all his wealth to poor people on attaining spiritual salvation. He followed vaasiyogam and awakened his kundalini energy to understand his inner self and attain siddhis. After 12 years of vaasiyogam, he got astamasiddhis and pronounced his major works in Siddha medicine system. By tremendous efforts and constant practice of meditation and yoga, he realized the true nature of the Self. After learning Siddha medicine, alchemy, gnana and Siddha yoga philosophies, by dint of his deep meditation he proposed many theories in the space and atomic sciences. Machamuni in his 97th song of his book ” Machamuni Thandagam 100 “, also mentions the words “Guru Nandhi” and “Guru Bogar”, while offering prayers to his guru. Hence, it can be said that Siddhar Bogar and Siddhar Nandeeswarar were also his gurus. Machamuni also mentions about the Siva Thandava witnessed by Siddhar Pathanjali in one of his songs. Hence, it can be said that he had lived in the period when Siddhar Pathanjali and Sri Viyakrabathar witnessed the Siva Thandava in Thillai. Thillai is the other name of Chidambaram and is one of the five dance halls of Lord Siva.
Machamuni Siddhar is called Machindranath or Matsyendranath in the northern part of India. He is traditionally considered the founder of hatha yoga as well as the author of some of its earliest texts. He is also seen as the founder of the Natha Sampradaya, having received the teachings from Shiva. He is mainly associated with kaula shaivism. He is also one of the eighty-four mahasiddhas and considered the guru of Gorakshanath, another prominent figure in early hatha yoga. He is revered by both Hindus and Buddhists, and is sometimes regarded as an incarnation of Avalokiteśvara. He attained jeeva samadhi in Thiruparankundram in Tamil nadu.
Some of the books written by Machamuni are
Machamuni Perunool Kaviyam 800
Machamuni Sarakku Vaippu 800
Machamuni Vagaram 800
Machamuni Yogam 800
Machamuni Vaithiyam 800
Machamuni Thirumandiram 800
Machamuni Gyanam 800
Machamuni Vedantham 800
Machamuni Gurunool 800
Machamuni Thitchavidhi 100
Machamuni Thandagam 100
Machamuni Gyana Thitchai 50
Machamuni Sthoola Sukkuma Karana Gyanam 30
Machamuni Suthiram 21
It is our blessing and privilege to expound some of the works of the great and venerated Matsyendranatha Siddhar or Machamuni. In this article, we will study one specific aspect from Machamuni Siddhar which is about the Kechari Mudra. Kechari Mudra is a vital practice from the Yogic perspective and Machamuni Siddhar instructs on its importance, practice, and benefits through his poems.
|ஓங்கார மாவதென்ன வென்று கேட்கில்உகாரமொன்று மகாரமொன்று அகார மொன்று
பாங்காக நின்றபிர ணவமே யாச்சு
பாரிந்தக் கருவல்லோ ஆசான் சொன்னார்
வாங்காத அகாரஉகா ரத்திற் சேர்ந்து
வன்னிநின்ற யிடமல்லோ மகார மாச்சு
தாங்காதே உரைக்கிற்றகே சரியைக் காட்டும்
சச்சிதா னந்தமென்ற மவுனந் தானே
|What becomes Aumkara, if so asked,
Are the syllables u, m and a
Standing together to become Pranava.
See! Isn’t this the nucleus said by the Master!
Merging with the a and u, unuttered,
Hasn’t the fire-residing place become the m syllable!
Inexplicable, indicating Kechari,
The silence called Sat-cit-ananda!
The great Siddhar Boganathar has referred to Kechari mudra as the king of mudras. The Kechari mudra is a very advanced yogic practice where the tongue is stretched and elongated through various practices so as to roll it back and penetrate the through the upper passage to the nostrils. This is done so as to arouse the kundalini to higher chakras, thereby leading to the effulgence of ambrosia, and thereby leading to the state of Sat-cit-ananda. As part of the Anaadi Foundation’s winter and summer yatras, we have visited the Kriya Yoga Ashram in Tapovan, Rishikesh. The Ashram has been established by Shankarandagiri Maharaj coming in the lineage of Yukteshwaragiri Maharaj. We found instructions to sadhakas printed and pasted in many places saying, “Remember to hold Kechari mudra while chanting your mantra.” Do join us the next time! And what is result of practising Kechari mudra? Siddhar Machamuni explains,
|காணப்பா யிதுகண்டால் ஞானஞ் சித்திகைவிட்ட சூஸ்திரம்போல் தேகஞ் சித்தி
ஊணப்பா அஷ்டாங்க யோகஞ் சித்தி
ஒன்றுமில்லை யென்றுசொன்ன சரங்கள் சித்தி
தொணப்பா பிறவியத்த குணமோ சித்தி
சொல்லரிதா மென்றுசொன்ன மவுனஞ் சித்தி
வீணப்பா மற்றதெல்லாம் வாய்பேச் சாகும்
மேவியந்த கேசரிக்குள் விரைந்து கூடே
|See! If this is realized, it leads to Siddhi of Wisdom
(A Kite) Untethered from the thread, leads to Siddhi of Body
Experience of the soul, leading to Ashtanga Yoga Siddhi
The state of empty breath is a Siddhi
Attaining the quality of no births is a Siddhi
The inexplicable silence is a Siddhi
All else are vain pursuits/talk
Embrace the Kechari and quickly merge
Machamuni Siddhar very mystically explains how one can gain Siddhi over body and mind by the practice of Kechari Mudra and how important it is. He compares the one who has mastered Kechari Mudra to a Kite untethered from its thread. Here thread refers to the knot that ties us to the body. What happens to one who untethers from this knot? What is the freedom they get? Machamuni continues:
|மதிகெட்டா ரென்றசொல் லாருக் காச்சுமகத்தான கேசரிக்குள் வாழ்ந்தோர்க் காச்சு
விதிகேட்டா ரென்றசொல் லாருக் காச்சு
வேதாந்த சிரோமணியாம் ஞானிக் காச்சு
பதிகேட்டா ரென்றசொல் லாருக் காச்சு
பராபரத்தை யம்பாரமாய்ப் பாய்ந்தொர்க் காச்சு
கெதிகேட்டா ரென்றசொல் லாருக் காச்சு
கேள்வியற்ற மூடருக்குக் கிட்டுந் தானே
|The term intoxicated person has come to refer
Those who are dwelling in the sacred Kechari
The term annihilators of destiny has come to refer
Those who are shining Vedanta-Jnani gems
The term ungodly persons has come to refer
Those who have plunged in the Parapara
The term non-conformists has come to refer
Those who are dumb with no more questions
Siddhi over Kechari Mudra gives us spiritual intoxication that no one can dream of. It is our wish that you explore this yogic treasure under an able-guru. To go beyond likes and dislikes, to reach the state of Moksha- the Eternal Freedom!
In this edition, we have presented a few gems from the works of Matsyendranatha Siddhar from his tamil text “Kaarana Jnana Suttiram”. We invite you to contemplate more on these lines and share with us your insights. We also invite you to share with us lines from Siddhar Padalgal that have deeply touched you. You could write to us at email@example.com. In absorbing this, may our abhyasa continue, may our shraddha in the Siddha Parampara strengthen and may revelations awaken as we grow within!
Millets: From the farm to the palm
Dietary choices have an impact on the planet in a very significant way. They determine the kind of food that is produced and what happens to the food after it is produced. While the high focus on increasing food availability by mass cultivation of certain crops like rice and wheat have helped to alleviate hunger, they have also resulted in several problems including a) monoculture leading to reduced biodiversity: of the 50,000 plant varieties rice, wheat and maize account for 60% of the plant-based food supply b) increase in the carbon footprint of food due to usage of fertilizers for cultivation, processing of food and transportation c) large volumes of food wastage.
In a developing country like India which has a population of 1.2 billion people, one hand the policies laid out to increase food production did help to reduce hunger but on the other hand they have reduced the nutritional diversity of food. For instance, in 2016, India produced about 103 million tonnes of rice while only 17 million tonnes of pulses. A lopsided focus on rice and wheat not only reduces the nutritional diversity but also imbalances the water consumption by agriculture and the rainfall dependency. Rice requires about 2.7 million acre-feet of water and 1250 mm of rainfall in contrast to grains that need only .8 million acre-feet and 350 mm of rainfall. Dietary patterns in turn are impacted by the production and availability of the foods of choice. So the cultivation is dependent on the demand and the demand drives production. Hence sustainable diet not only involves the consumption of nutritional and energy efficient foods but also the production of the same. Solutions addressing responsible and sustainable food consumption can lead to both incremental and rapid transformations as different stakeholders like farmers, end consumers, food retailers, technologists and policy makers join hands.
In the above context, millets are wonder grains and for millennia we have been consuming them. However after the Green Revolution, rice and wheat started dominating the farmlands and millets that are far more sustainable, slowly but steadily began disappearing from our food system. Getting people to change their food habits is not easy. Changing the entire farming and food system is even bigger a challenge.
Here are some reasons why you should start including millets in your diet today:
- Millets are packed with nutrients:
- High Fibre – All millets have at least 5 times the amount of fibre as rice. Barnyard millet has 50 times as much.
- Low Glycemic Index – Millets contain complex carbohydrates that digest slowly and release sugar slowly into the bloodstream. They are an ideal diet choice for diabetics and those at risk of metabolic disorders.
- High Calcium – Finger millet has thirty times more calcium than rice, while every other millet has at least twice the amount of calcium compared to rice.
- Iron content – In their iron content, foxtail and little millet are so rich that rice is nowhere in the race.
- Millets are also rich in minerals and micronutrients like Beta Carotene, which rice completely lacks.
Since millets are superior to rice in all aspects of nutrition, they can be used to solve the rural as well as urban malnutrition problem that the world is facing today.
Obesity, diabetes, heart diseases among the urban populations of the world can be traced back to their dietary imbalance and the presence of carbohydrates and absence of other nutritional elements in our diet.
To overcome these problems, increased use of millets in our diets can be the answer.
Are millets tasty?
Sure, millets are nutritious. But, how do they taste?
Millets certainly are tasty foods. For generations, Indians have been consuming millets as a part of their daily food. Ragi porridge, Pearl millet porridge, millet laddoos, millet upma, millet dosas are very popular dishes. Processed foods like millet cookies, cakes, nutrition bars, puffed millet snacks, millet heath mixes, etc can also be found in most of the supermarkets and local stores.
Almost all foods that are cooked with rice and wheat can be prepared with millets. Each millet adds a unique flavour to the dish and consuming millets also ensures a healthy digestive system due to its high fibre content. Also millet cookies do not stick to the mouth like other cookies, and this adds a lot of taste to it.
Millets need hardly any irrigation:
Millets are rain fed crops and hence they need no irrigation. Lets us look at the water footprint of growing 1 acre of millet and 1 acre of rice. It takes 6 million litres of water to cultivate one acre of rice. This equals the annual water consumption of 100 families. To simply put it, 1 tanker full of water goes into producing 1 kg of rice! On the other hands millets require only about 28% of the water needs of paddy, and can also withstand severe droughts. They can go without water for more than a month. That is why millets can withstand drought-like conditions in the Deccan and Rajasthan and produce food and fodder.
Millets grow on the poorest of soils
Millets are often growing on skeletal soils that are less than 15 cm deep. Millets do not demand rich soils for their survival and growth. Hence, for the vast dryland area, they are a boon. Millets can grow in poor quality soils, turning hitherto uncultivable land into productive farms. Together with their companion crops, millets enrich and build the soil. Most millets can be grown on low fertility soils, some in acidic soils and some on saline soils, which is a testimony to their hardiness and extraordinary capacity to survive very harsh conditions. Millets such as Pearl millet can be grown on sandy soils as is done in Rajasthan. Poor farmers especially in dryland India are owners of very poor lands and low fertility farms. The only crops that sustain agriculture and food security on these lands are millets.
Millets produce multiple security
They offer not only food but also fodder, health, nutrition, livelihood and ecological security.
The residues from Sorghum and Pearl Millet are also extensively used as domestic construction materials, livestock feed as well as for fuel. Millet farms are inherently biodiverse and hence provide security to the farmer.
Being all season crops, they can be cultivated all year round. A millet farm has several other crops such as groundnut, horse gram and lentil planted within it. Combined with the fact that no pesticides are used, such a farm becomes a thriving ecosystem.
Multi crop farms are a natural insurance against not only pests, but unpredictable weather and market pricing as well. If one crop fails, the farmer has others to use for food and to sell. Thus, while other food crops can offer us food security, millets can offer multiple securities.
Millets do not require chemical fertilizers:
Millets do not demand synthetic fertilizers. In fact, under dryland conditions, millets grow better in the absence of chemical fertilizers. Therefore, most millet farmers grow them using farmyard manure under purely eco-friendly conditions. In recent years, farmers have also started using bio fertilisers such as vermicompost produced in their backyard and growth promoters such as panchagavya, amrit pani etc. These practices make millet production not only eco-friendly but stays under the control of farmers. Less demand for fertilizers also helps aquatic habitats and discourages polluting industries. In a time when most farmers get into severe debts for purchasing chemical fertilizers, and end their lives as a result, encouraging millets is a step towards helping them.
Resistant to pests
Some millets like the Foxtail millet are completely pest free. Other millets don’t need chemical pesticides to grow as their seed coats are strong and deter most insects. Unlike other grains, millets are resistant to most pests, which means that the farmer need not spend money buying harmful pesticides. This also ensures that the farmer’s health is not affected by spraying pesticides and most of the millet fields are healthy without the presence of chemicals. Simple traditional methods of pest control will take care of the pests. The next time you buy millets, you need not worry about the “organic” tag, because most millets are cultivated pesticide-free anyway. Most of them are not affected by storage pests either. They are nature’s boon to the agricultural community.
Millets as Climate Change Compliant Crops
Millets are not only adaptable to wide range of geographical and ecological conditions but also resilient to agro-climatic variations.
Due to all the qualities mentioned above, Millets remain our agricultural answer to the climate crisis that the world is facing. Climate Change is expected to confront us with three challenges.
- Increase in temperature upto 2–5 degree Celsius
- Increasing water stress
- Severe malnutrition
And millets have the capacity to meet these challenges:
- They can withstand higher heat regimes and temperatures upto 46 degrees Celsius.
- Millets grow under non-irrigated conditions in such low rainfall regimes as between 200 mm and 500 mm. Thus, they can also face the water stress and grow.
Every one of the millets is a storehouse of dozens of nutrients in large quantities. They include major and micronutrients needed by the human body. Hence they can help people withstand malnutrition.
It is important to note that with the projected 2 degree Celsius temperature rise, wheat might disappear from our midst, since it is an extremely thermal sensitive crop. Similarly, the way rice is grown under standing water makes it a dangerous crop under climate change conditions. Millets are not just food; they are an integral part of the culture of thousands of communities all over the country. It is a food that is so deeply integrated into the culture of communities.
As consumers, we are the key decision makers who not only decide what we, our family and friends eat, but also decide the future of our food system. When we opt for healthier and more sustainable foods in the market, the demand for such food increases and retailers also start procuring these foods. Trends are bound to move towards sustainability.
And always remember: Farmers grow what we eat and retailers sell what we buy. It is never the other way round.
Stories for the young
Bhajagovindam — 8
ध्येयं श्रीपतिरूपमजस्रम् ।
नेयं सज्जनसङ्गे चित्तं
देयं दीनजनाय च वित्तम् ॥ २७॥Geyam Gitaa naama sahasram
Dhyeyam Sripathi roopamajasram
Neyam sajjana sange chittam
Deyam deenajanaaya cha vittam (27)
Sing the thousand names of the Lord, constantly remember His form, enjoy the company of good people and share your wealth with the needy.
Narada Maharishi, as always, had a doubt. He asked Lord Vishnu, “What is the benefit of associating with good people?” Lord Vishnu is like the many teachers you see. No direct answers! Find it for yourself! Lord Vishnu told Narada to ask a parrot perched on a tree. Narada saw the parrot and asked the question. The parrot immediately dropped dead! Narada was shocked. He ran back to Vishnu and asked Him about the incident. Vishnu said, “There is a calf out there. Please put your question to him”. Narada then asked the calf and the calf too fell dead. Narada was really worried. He wondered if he had committed a sin by asking such a question. He ran back to Vishnu totally shocked and Vishnu with His usual calm smile said “There is a prince out there. Go and ask him”. Now Narada wouldn’t go. Narada said “Prabhu! Once bitten twice shy! I don’t want the prince to die”. Vishnu assured him that nothing would happen. Narada went to the Prince. Narada swallowed hard for every word he said, fearing that the Prince might die upon completing the sentence. Once Narada completed the question, the Prince laughed. Narada was relieved that the prince didn’t die after all. The prince said “Lord! How is it possible that you ask this question to me while you are always in the company of Narayana? I was a parrot and the moment I associated with you, I died and came back as an evolved cow. The moment the cow associated with you, it died and now it is a prince. Now! The moment I saw you I am enlightened. Such is the power of association.”. Narada was speechless!
In this shloka, Shankara highlights the importance of chanting the Lord’s name, remembering the Lord’s form, enjoying the company of good people and sharing one’s wealth with others. It is very important to pay attention to the kind of people we associate with. The more evolved they are, the better the chances of our evolution too. Many a time you may have experienced a pressure from others to do things that you may not do by yourself. These may be good things or may not be acceptable things. Hence, paying conscious attention to the people around you is important. Some people take this to extremes and lock themselves up in seclusion. That will also not help unless you are the mature kind of person who can handle yourself. Become aware of the influence your friends have on you and things will automatically fall in line. Good luck with your associations!
From the lives of Mahatmas
As narrated by Shri Adinarayanan at Paramanandanubhava, Rishikesh 2015 -
The important thing is what principles we can draw in from the lives of mahatmas and apply in our lives, and keep going, as there is a lot of work to do. See, even miracles and so on, what is the big deal? You just look at it within the frame of reference logically. An incident in Ramakrishna Paramahamsa’s life beautifully illustrates it. (Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was the Guru of Swami Vivekananda.) There was a yogi who trained really hard, and he could light a fire just by mere sight. He came and demonstrated it to Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. His disciples were mighty impressed. Ramakrishna simply said, ”Eh! Antha theepetti konduva da. Ithukku than ivalo aarpatam ah? Hey! Bring me those matchsticks. Is this what all this fuss is about?” [Laughter]
Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa