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, Sattaimuni Siddhar, Sundaraanandar Siddhar, Karuvoorar Siddhar, Goraknatha Siddhar, Matsyendranatha Siddhar, Ramadevar Siddhar, Dhanvantari Siddhar, Patanjali Siddhar, Siddha Thirumoolar and Siddha Konganar. In the Guru Poornima special edition of series we were blessed to also write about the great Siddha Avvai.We also saw how the Siddhargal poetry is presented in Sandhya Bhasha. In this article, we will see the glory of Siddha Vanmikar.
Siddha Vanmikar’s birth star is Anusham in the Tamil month of Purattasi (September-October). There is an argument that the Valmiki who wrote Valmiki Ramayana is different from the siddhar Vanmikar of the south. However, siddhar Bogar in his script “Bogar 7000” proclaims that they are one and the same. He says that Vanmikar is the name of the siddhar who wrote Valmiki Ramayana in song (verse) number 5834. It is also interesting because in Tamil the letter L and N are interchangeable under certain Grammar rules. Further, in his next song (verse number 5835), Bogar says that Vanmikar ‘s age is 700 and some odd days. He also says that he is a learned scholar in Tamil language. He also makes a reference about his samadhi. Siddha Vanmikar’s samadhi is located at Ettukudi in Tamil Nadu. Legend has it that Vanmikar established a temple at Thiruvanmayur with the Lord’s name Marundhisvarar, Lord of medicines. It is held that Siddha Vanmikar used this temple premises to treat his patients. We can also see a temple of Siddha Vanmikar right in the middle of the road, opposite to the ECR bus stop at Thiruvanmayur , Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
It is also said that Vanmikar alias Valmiki wrote the epic Ramayana on getting the spiritual knowledge from Narada. The author of the Ramayana was originally a robber who preyed upon travellers in the forest. Once, when the seven sages (sapta-ris) passed by Valmiki stopped them and demanded their valuables. They questioned his actions and with great remorse Valmiki felt his error, and begging forgiveness, received initiation into the mantra of Rama reversed “ma-ra, ma as he felt unworthy of the true name. By repeating this without pause it became “rama, ramma and he sat in penance for a long time. So long that an anthill formed around him and being transformed he attained a new birth from the talmika. meaning anthill, his name became Valmiki.
Once he witnessed a hunter shoot one of the pair of Kraucha birds together in love-play. He cursed the hunter in words which spontaneously sang out as a new metre Anushtubh. Sage Narada blessed to continue and compose the Ramanyana in the new metre. Thus, Valmiki also came to be known as Adi Kavi, the first poet.
Now let us study a few verses from Vanmikar Siddhar’s Tamil poems from “Suthira Jnanam”. In this blazing song, Vanmikar Siddhar prostrates to Lord Shiva and brings out the ultimate Truth. He describes the Word, meaning the first sound vibrations or the point of manifestation. We can see how the word “image”, meaning visuals as appearing chronologically after “Word”. And the last line inspires the seeker to focus on the breath. This song is sheer thunder!
இருள்வெளியாய் நின்றசிவ பாதம் போற்றி
எழுத்ததனின் விவரத்தை விரித்துச் சொல்வேன்
அருவுருவாய் நின்றதுவே எழுத்த தாகும்
ஆதியந்தம் அண்டபிண்ட மதுவே யாகும்
திருவுருவாய் ரவிமதியாய் நின்ற ரூபம்
சிவசக்தி திருமாலின் ரூப மாகும்
வருமுருவே சிவசக்தி வடிவ மாகும்
வந்ததிலும் போனதிலும் மனத்தை வையே
Hail the holy feet of Shiva standing as the vast dark space
I shall describe in detail the Word
That which is unmanifest and manifest is this Word
It signifies the beginning and the end; the universe and the body
The divine form, the form that stands as sun and the moon
This is the form of Shiva-Shakthi and also Thirumal (Vishnu)
The form thus is the image of Shiva-Shakthi
Focus the mind in what comes in and goes out
Valmikar Siddhar also bestows on the sadhakas with yogic guidance about prana and nadis, In this song.
வந்ததுவும் போனதுவும் வாசி யாகும்
வானில்வரும் ரவிமதியும் வாசி யாகும்
சிந்தைதெளிந் திருப்பவனா ரவனே சித்தன்
செகமெலாஞ் சிவமென்றே யறிந்தோன் சித்தன்
நந்தியென்ற வாகனமே துல தேகம்
நான்முகனே கண்மூக்குச் செவுநா காகும்
தந்திமுகன் சிவசக்தி திருமூச் சாகும்
தந்தைதாய் ரவிமதியென் றறிந்து கொள்ளே
That which has come and gone is indeed the breath
The sun and moon in the skies are also breath
The conscient is one whose thoughts are crystalline
Siddha is the realized one who sees the world as Shiva
The gross physical body manifest is Nandi
Eyes, nose, ears and tongue are the four-faced Brahma
Lord Vinayaka, Shiva-shakthi are the Divine Breath
Know the sun and moon as the father and mother
Siddha Vanmikar gifts direct yogic instructions to seekers in these glowing lines. Soak in!
அறிந்துகொள்ளு பூரகமே சரியை மார்க்கம்
அடங்குகின்ற கும்பகமே கிரியை மார்க்கம்
பிரிந்துவரும் ரேசகமே யோக மார்க்கம்
பசிக்காமல் நின்றதுவே ஞான மார்க்கம்
மறிந்துடலில் புகுகின்ற பிராண வாயு
மகத்தான சிவசக்தி அடங்கும் வீடு
சிறந்தமனத் தெளிவாகிச் சேர்ந்தான் சித்தன்
சிவசிவா அவனவனென றுரைக்க லாமே
For you to know, pooraka is the carya path
Control of kumbhaka is the kriya path
Recaka that comes apart is the yoga path
That in which one remains steadfast is jnana path
Breathing life into the body is prana
The supreme abode of Shiva-Sakthi
Relishing thus with a clear mind is a Siddha
He is Shiva and so it can be affirmed
The elixirs offered by Siddha Vanmikar are so many. 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!