VENKATAPATHY AND SOORYANARAYAN
This is an ongoing series on the Siddhar Paramabarai of India. Siddha refers to perfected masters who have achieved a high degree of physical as well as spiritual perfection or enlightenment. We look at various Siddhas who have graced upon this earth with their Presence – their life and the wisdom they shared in the form of poems, couplets that are referred to as Siddhar Padalgal. To begin with, we are looking at Siddhas from the tradition of “Pathinen Siddhargal”. In the previous issues, we saw about Kudhambai Siddhar, Pambatti Siddhar, Idaikkaattu Siddhar and Sattaimuni Siddhar. We also saw how the Siddhargal poetry is presented in Sandhya Bhasha. In this article, we will see the glory of Sundaraanandar Siddhar.
Sundaraanandar Siddhar is the disciple of Sattaimuni Siddhar, whose life and select works were presented in the previous edition of Siddhar Charithiram. There are not many references about the pre-siddhi life of Sundaraanandar Siddhar. The text of “Bogar 7000” by one among the great Pathinen Siddhargal – Bogar has a few references about Sundaraanandar Siddhar. There is a reference that Sundaraanandar Siddhar was the grandson of Rishi Navakanta from the Kishkintha hills. Siddha Sundaraanandar is also considered to be an expert in space travel, samadhi and Khecari Yoga.
Legend has it that, the great Siddha and Sage Agastya Muni, presented a lingam he worshipped to Sundaraanandar Siddhar. From then on, Sundaraanandar worshiped this lingam and performed pooja everyday. The book “The Yoga of Eighteen Siddhas: An Anthology” describes a beautiful incident. It so happened that Lord Shivaperuman took the form of a Siddha and met Sundaraanandar Siddhar and asked him to explain that particular lingam he had. Siddha Sundaraanandar explained that there are two major types of lingam – Parartha-lingam and Ishta -lingam. Parartha-lingam is further classified into five: Swayambu-lingam – one which appeared by itself; Gana-lingam – one created by Lord Shivaperuman’s attendants Ganas; Daivika-lingam – one created by divine beings; Arsha-lingam – created by the Rishis and Manusya-lingam created by human beings.
Ishta-lingam is created for the personal use of a specific person and one who possesses such a linga does not eat anything until worship of the linga is performed everyday. Sundaraanandar Siddhar explains to the Visitor that the one he possesses happens to be an Ishta-lingam and an Arsha-lingam having been created by the great Agastyamuni. As per Agastyamuni’s guidance, he performs pooja everyday. “As I see the Lord everywhere, I see Him in the lingam also. Like fire resides in a stick, I see the all-pervasive Lord in the lingam and worship everyday.”
Sundaraanandar Siddhar lived with his guru Sattaimuni Siddhar in the Thavasi Parai caves in the Saduragiri Mountains. He later established the Sundaramahalingam in the Thaniparai area of Saptur reserve forests in Tamilnadu. The mountain shrine is considered a dwelling place of many siddhars. One can also find numerous medicinal plants growing in the Saduragiri Mountains.
While living in the Sathuragiri hills, it is said that Sundaraanandar Siddhar compiled various works on Siddha medicine and astrology. Sundaraanandar Siddhar in his works of astrology has provided means to appropriate general predictions on the day of birth, day of attaining puberty etc. In another work it is said that, Sundaraanandar Siddhar has provided auspicious days for cultivating mango, coconut, banana, sugarcane, lentils and other crops for a fertile yield. Manaiyadi Saasthiram given by Sundaraanandar Siddhar guides in appropriate ways to construct houses that lead to healthy life of the occupants. Sundaraanandar Siddhar works on poison treatment and preparation of medicinal salt muppu are also hailed in the Siddha medicine system. Koodal at Madurai is considered as the samadhi sthala of Sundaraanandar Siddhar. In this edition we are blessed to present a few gems from the literary works of Sundaraanandar Siddhar.
Like his predecessors and his successors, Sundaraanandar paadalgal touched many dimensions. Some of the Sundaraanandar paadalgal contains beautiful anecdotes on That, Parampoorul, the power of Silence, etc., which is as unique expression as the Siddha’s work.
One stanza which we wish to share with you is about the importance of the mantra- Namashivayah. Here we present the Siddhar Sundaraanandar ’s words from Siva Gnana Suthiram.
|நவ்வெழுத்தும் மவ்வெழுத்தும் குண்டலியு மாச்சு
நடுவில் நின்ற சிவ்வெழுத்தும் மனமு மாச்சு
வவ்வெழுத்தும் யவ்வெழுத்தும் பிடரி யாச்சு
வயிற்றிலே நின்றெழுத்தும் சிவ்வு மாச்சு
அவ்வெழுத்தும் அகாரமுத லந்த மாச்சு
ஆதியிந்தப் பேரொளியாமம் உகார மாச்சு
உவ்வெழுத்தும் பெரியெழுத்தைச் சாத்த உல்லோர்
உண்மையுடன் சிவநிலையை ஊன்ற லாமே
|The letter Na and Ma became the Ida Pingala of the Kundalini
And the one, Ci, became the mind
Va and Ya became the nape
The letter standing at the stomach has turned to be Ci
The letter A became the essence of all
That primodial Light became U
One who utters U and the big letter
Truly can be rooted in That Siva-consciousness
Na-Ma-Ci-Va-Ya, also called as Siva Panchakshara, is a five-syllable mantra which is one of the most important mantra in our Hindu Dharma. And the “big letter” is AUM also called as the Pranava mantra or the “unspoken word” in Siddha tradition. Sundaraanandar explains that by uttering these two words of AUM and Namahshivaya, the sadhaka can be rooted in that Siva consciousness.
In this stanza, Sundaraanandar explains to us about Mantra Yoga and its benefits. Many of Siddhars, by their tapas, have identified many primordial sounds that could be of benefit to sadhakas. For example, a Tamil work called Tirumantiramalai-300 we can find a set of fifty letters, and they constitute the various parts of the body.
Here are more gems that we wish to share from our learnings of Siddhar Sundaraanandar’s work is his encouraging words to Sadhakas on the progress on the path of Yoga. Siddhar Sundaraanandar gives very specific instructions as to the progression of a yogic sadhaka. These verses vividly gives us a glimpse on the Path ahead of us.
|மாச்சப்பா முதலிலிப் படியே காணும்
மைந்தனே தம்பிக்கு மிரண்டாம் பக்ஷம்
பாச்சப்பா மூன்றான பக்ஷத் துள்ளே
பசிமெத்த வுண்டாகும் பாரு பாரே
|Difficulty, that will be in first step only
My son! It will escape on the second fortnight
Look! Within the third fortnight,
There will be intense yearning(for the Beyond)
|பாரடா நாலான பக்ஷத் துள்ளே
பதிவாகும் லெகுவாகும் யோகம் பார்க்க
நேரடா அஞ்சான பக்ஷத் துள்ளே
நிச்சயந்தா னொளிவீசும் கண்ணாற்பாரு
கூறடா ஆறான பக்ஷத்துள்ளே
குண்டலிதான் பிரகாச மாகும்பாரு
ஆரடா யேழான பக்ஷத்துள்ளே
ஆச்சரியம் பராபரையைக் காணலாமே
|Look son! Before the fourth fortnight
You will see that the Yoga is established and easy
Cherish! In the fifth fortnight
The radiance of Kundalini will shine, Be sure to have the Darshan
Speak! Before the sixth fortnight
Kundalini will raise, See!
Behold! Within the seventh fortnight-
Ah! You can see the Paraparam!
Like this, Sundaraanandar goes on to explain about the advanced stages of Sadhana. Sundaraanandar does not stop with the explanation on the different stages of Sadhana. He even mentions about the hurdles we might come across during each stage and even prescribes cure through Siddha medicine to alleviate them.
We encourage the readers to take a deeper look at the various stanzas and their meaning from our great Siddha – Sundaraanandar. In this edition, we have presented a few gems from the works of Sundaraanandar Siddhar. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
In absorbing this, may our abhyasa continue, may our shraddha in the Siddha Parampara strengthen and may revelations awaken as we grow within!