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Saiva Religion and Philosophy
Saiva NanmaNi N. Sellapah, SriLanaka

Religion without philosophy is blind and Philosophy without Religion is empty. Religion and philosophy are like two
sides of a coin. There are hundreds of saints and  Philosophers in Saivism. Out of them we are dealing only with the recognized four great works of Saiva Saints and Philosophers.

The four great religious Saints are called, Thirunavukarasar or Appar, Thirugnanasampanthar, Sundarar and Maniccavasagar. Their works are considered to be the primary texts on  Saiva Religion. They deal with the four stages of the path of Saivism in a prayer form that is named as Thothiram. Some commentators elaborate the four stages of the same path as four different paths leading to the same end or destination of attaining the Bliss or Benediction of
God Siva. Those aspirants who follow such commentators  are found to stagnate at the initial stage generation
after generation. That is because they are not guided properly by the practical approach of the four Saiva
Philosophers to advance step by step. The four great Saiva Philosophers are called Meikandar, Arulnanthi Sivaa Chaariyar, Umapathi Sivaa Chariyar and Sivajnana Munivar. Their works are called Jnana Sastraas which are practical and very logical. Unless an aspirant develops his power of understanding and inference it is not possible to grasp the mystical meanings of Thothras. To understand literature well a knowledge of language is essential. To realize the truth of religions Thotras a knowledge of Saastras is necessary. That is why we give importance equally to both religion and philosophy. With this outlook let us approach the four stages on the path of Self realization and Bliss. Saiva aspirants are  like pilgrims on the same highway with four stages. This spiritual journey is not outward but it is inward. It is
negative in its approach and not positive. We have to note well and clearly that the approach is only negative but
the end is definitely positive. In its spiritual progress the soul enconters three barriers or fetters. In other words, these fetters are  said to be bindings that are to be overcome in order to  obtain release of the soul. The release from all the
three bindings is the freedom of the soul that is called moksha. The  total Bliss of God is attained only in moksha.
It is not heavenly enjoyment in another world. In this world itself the soul has to obtain freedom from its three
bondages. In no other heaven can the soul attain moksha.
 

Removal of Bondages

The three fetters that bind the soul and not allowing
freedom are :
1.Maya - Physical energy
2.Karma - Mental energy of action
3.Anavam - Pure Egoism that is non mental

Usually all human beings are born with the three inner bondages By spiritual practices called Saddhanas, man attains freedom from the bondages in three stages, gradually and automatically by the grace of God. Human beings are
classified into three as:

1.Sakalar - a person with three fetters
2.Pralayakalar - a person with two fetters
3.Vignanakalar - a person with one fetter

Three negative approaches or Sadhanas are specified for the removal of barriers - step by step.
They are:

1.Sariyai - Practicals to remove Maya
2.Kiriyai - Practicals to remove Karma
3.Yoga - Practicals to remove Anavam

After the removal of the three barriers, an aspirant attains the fourth stage known as enlightenment. Without enlightenment it is impossible to achieve moksa. An aspirant who has attained liberation from the three fetters is called
jeevanmukta or liberated soul. Those whom we call Saints are really jeevanmuktas. They are entirely different from
savants or religious scholars. An aspirant who is anxious to attain enlightenment must have a clear distinction of Savants and Saints, and their status. A savant is devoted to the pursuit and acquisition of knowledge.He believes that wisdom can be achieved by the increased acquisition of knowledge. He centres his activites round the sensations of
the mind. His movements are generally limited within the relativity of the mind. He depends on concepts and projections of thoughts to find out facts. His approch to eduction is positive. A saint is devoted to the awakening of creative intelligence. Acquisition of knowledge is not necessary to awaken  creativity. Wisdom is obtained as a result of awakening  creative intelligence that is inborn in man but it is hidden by barrier screens. It is similar to the sunlight that is unseen on earth during night times.Earth's own shadow hides the sunlight at nights. Obtainig of wisdom is compared to the dawning of sunlight. Knowledge is attained by the dual function of the human mind. But wisdom is eternal and uncreated. It comes to man through insight which is called enlightenment by saints. Knowledge is the outcome of sensations whereas the wisdom of Saints flowers naturally through sensitivity of divinity. In order to get enlightenment the only exercise an aspirant has to do is meditation with observation, awareness and faith in God's Grace. The eduction prescribed by saints is to draw out wisdom from within. It is really a process of educing universal truth.

The Truth of Three Existents

This universal truth is pointed out by Saivism as three existents called God Soul and Maya or Mass energy. This
truth is explained by Sat-karriya Vaadam. It is similar to the scientific law of the conservation of mass energy
which can neither be created nor destroyed. Saiva  Philosophers of ancient South India have gone a step further
and included soul and God with mass energy. These three existents are neither created nor destroyed but are only
transformed. According to Saiva Siddhanta philosophy the phenomena that appears to be creation, sustenance and
destruction are nothing but a process of transformation.  God is said to have designed this process in order to bring
about release to the souls through evolution. No other world religion deals with the process of combination
of evolution and transformation designed by God to bring about full freedom to all souls. In this connection we wish
to point out further that no other religions other than Saivism admits the fact that all living beings have souls.
Christianity and Islam speak about the endowment of souls only to human beings. Buddhism does not accept the
existence of souls or God. In this effort to attain freedom of the soul, man has  evolved from the stage of a single cell called amoebae by an automatic process of metamorphosis. Thereby he has acquired the sixth sense of thinking and reasoning with the aid of mind and knowledge. Human stage is not the end of evolution. In order to attain freedom of soul man has to attain the stage of Divinity in which his creative intelligence is awakened. With this awakening man gets the wisdom of God which is called enlightenment. It is an  insight that gives a pure perception of Truth or God
Conception of the mind cannot give a pure perception of  Truth. It can give only relative truth. Saivism is based
on transcending Relativity and perceiving Totality. Out of the three entities that exist eternally, God needs no practice as He is all knowing with wisdom. Maya has no knoweledge at all. So it cannot do any practice. It is the soul that needs continuous practice to obtain full freedom from its bondages. The nature of the soul in human beings is relative. When related to maya or mass energy it attains knowledge. In relationship with God it gets wisdom. Both knowledge and wisdom cannot be had at the same time. One must end for the other to begin. It is wisdom that enablesthe soul to obtain Salvation. If so what is the status of knowledge in human life? Of course it has its own placeand cannot be discarded at the initial stages of Chariya and Kiriya. The role played by knowledge is dual. It functions within the field of opposites as good and evil. Besides it is very essential to obtain food, cloth and shelter, in addition, to protect human beings from disease and enemies. Though it cannot give spiritual release it is able to give guidancefor the practices that is essential to obtain wisdom. The object of first initiation given by an enlightened priest is to guide aspirants to perform correct religious practices.

All aspirants are expected to do practice according to the initiation given by a guru or priest. Saivism clarifies clearly the status of a priest. No priest can play the part of God in giving wisdom and release to any
aspirant. The aspirant has to perform practices according to the guidance given by a guru and discover the Truth by
himself. On the successful performance of chariya and  kiriya practices, God himself is said to give the second
initiation in Yoga. The third initiation in Jnanam which is also given by God from within the soul. Those readers of this booklet who expect to obtain wisdom are liable to be disappointed unless they perfom practices given here as guidance with the aid of knowledge. They will deceive themselves if they try to awaken wisdom directly by the acquisition of relative knowledge. Knowledge is  said to be a part of wisdom that is Pooranam of Totality. Wisdom cannot be attained by any process of adding parts.  With this understanding let us deal with the four transcendental
stages on the path to attain freedom of the soul through wisdom.

The First Stage-Chariya

Chariya begins with the worship of God with intensity of  heart and faith. As the mind is incapable of thinking without
the aid of any form, idol worship in temples is the starting stage. This temple worship stage is called bramachariya.
It starts from childhood and extends up to the age of twenty or twenty five. In ancient time there were no separate
colleges or universities. Arts and science were taught at Saiva temples. The first stage of temple worship is to prepare an aspirant for a way of life in the family and society. From the beginning of modern schools and colleges, education in temples was discontinued gradually. As a result of this discontinuation, rituals, ceremonies and festivals became prominent in temples. In most of the temples, music recitals and Bharat Natiya (dance) performances are held freely  during the annual festival periods. Saiva Temples are built with the model of a human body for the worshippers to learn the mystical aspect of concentration and meditation. The idols in the temples are like the mariner's compass. They are very well designed to guide the devotees in performing inward poojah or worship alone in silence at their residences.
 
 

Saint Appar Swami

The path of devotion was founded during the Siva Agama period about three thousand years ago. It was Saint Appar who propounded it as a proper system. In this summary we are unable to go into the details of his life career. We propose to deal only with the practical aspect of his life that gives us proper guidance in the transcendental path of devotion or chariya. From this stage he transcended gradually step by step to the stages of Kriya, Yoga and Jnana. It was only after his attainment of jnana or enlightenment that he had a pure perception of Truth or Siva. He never stagnated at the path of chariya. The generation of Saiva devotees that stagnate at this stage for thousands of years should note the transcendental guidance given by Appar Swami and follow accordingly in order to attain enlightenment totally. The progress of the soul towards enlightenment is attained by overcoming the three barriers, step by step. The three fetters are Maya, Karma and Anava. The path of devotion is  the first step. It is mainly concerned with the removal of the first fetter-Maya. In this step the worship of God in temples is very important. In addition to prayer and worship, an aspirant has to obtain religious initiation from an enlightened Guru or Teacher. Guidelines about the proper method of prayer and worship are given along with the recital of mantras.  The process of the removal of Maya is called Chariya. It is the Grace of God that removes the barrier. A priest is only a guide and has no power of releasing any oul of its bondage. Aspirants are not to be misled by false priests who exploit the ignorant devotees and make high income.

Besides the removal of Maya, Chariya marga gives all  prosperity and well being to devotees. As the human mind is not capable of thinking without the formation of mental images, idols in temples are designed in order to guide the devotes about the mystical inner meaning of Saiva religion. While Totras are in the form of prayer which is theoretical, Sastras are mostly concerned with the practical aspect of Chariya marga or path. Sastras elaborate Chariya marga as the technique of "How to listen". The process of listening is said to be an important medium
in religious education. In Tamil language it is called "Keddal". In ancient times when printing was not discovered teachers gave verbal instructions to disciples. The disciples were guided first on how to listen. The world as we see is only a mental projection that is not total Truth. In order to  perceive the reality of world, a disciple is guided to see
it without the projection of the mind, with attention,  awareness and freedom from the past thoughts. In the process
of listening also the same technique is to be followed. Disciples are instructed on how to listen without projection
of past thoughts. In other words, they are guided to listen without the formation of any bias or prejudice. This
applies to the process of reading also. To free onself  from any bias it is necessary to maintain a state of
equilibrium of the mind. It is called in Tamil as  "Iru Vinai Oppu". In modern philosophy they call it as
freedom from the dual relativity of the mind. The action of the mind is always in duality. Truth is nondual. So, to come upon Truth the mind must overcome its relativity and come upon Totality.

Unless the modifications of the mind are stopped and a state of Silence, that is free from projection of thoughts,
is brought about by prayer and concentration, it is not possible to listen properly. Such a state of silence of mind is verty necessary to listen properly without bias. To  bring about a state of silence, the utterance or repeated recital of
the mantra Nama Sivaya is prescribed. Mantra is like a  chemical short formula that is related to God. It has the
power of the Grace of God to pacify the mind and bring about silence. With the aid of Saiva Sastra practicals
disciples are trained to listen or read without the formation of any bias. This is the Sastra aspect of the
first step of Saivism that is called chariya.

The Second Step of Kriya Marga as shown by Saint Sampanthar

This step is the path of action as enunciated by Saint Sampanthar. The objective of this path is to get rid of the
second fetter of the soul that is called Karma. Saint Sampanthar had got rid of the first fetter Maya in his
previous birth. So he was able to obtain the second initiation direct from God through His Grace-Shakti at
his third year of his birth. God Siva's Grace was bestowed on him through Shakti in the form of divine milk.
When Sampanthar was three years of age, he went with his father to the Sivan temple at Brahmapuram. His father left
him alone at the temple tank bund and had a bath there. The child when left alone felt an intensity of heart and
cried to God. The opportunate moment came to him to obtain the second initiation. Siva heard his cries and appeared
before him with Sakti who is depicted as Mother Grace. She fed the child with her breast milk. The mystical
meaning of this feeding of milk is the awakening of wisdom or giving enlighment.
On obtainig enlightenment that child of three years sang his first divine hymn in praise of Siva and Sakti. That
sacred hymn stands as a model to illustrate the Grace of God on all devotees. It is a mystical Hymn that gives the
outer and inner forms of worship of God in the image form and formless subtle Energy. During his period the Jainists priests were very active  in doing their missionary work of conversion of Saivites as Jainists in Tamil Nadu. The king of Pandi land also  was converted as a Jainist. But the queen Pandi Madevi remained faithful to Saivism. She heard about the miraculous power of the child prodigy and invited him to cure the dangerous disease of the king that resulted after his conversion. There was a challenge between the jain priests and Sampanther as to who is to cure the king. Jain priests were given the first chance to give their treatment to the king. They tried all kinds of medicines and magical
performances in vain. Then Pandimadevi requested  Sampanther to try. He invoked the Grace of Siva and applied Holy Ash all over the body of the king. Holy ash is said to be a cure for both physical and spritual disease. With reference to the Siva Holy ash we are reminded of the ancient Greek legend in which a bird called phoenix that burnt itself to ashes and arose from it as newly reborn. Holy ash is the symbol of enlightenment in which the soul is reborn in this life itself spiritually. It is a panacea for physical and spiritual malady. With the aid of Holy Ash and the Grace of Siva, Sampanther was able to cure the king from the dangerous disease, miraculously. The king was highly please and satisfied by the Grace of God. As a result he gave up Jainism and reverted to  Saivism. So Saint Sampanther became the saviour of Saivism.

Now let us have a view of the practical aspect of the philosophy of Kiriya marga as enunciated by the Saiva
Sastras. The word Kiriya is associated with Karma which denotes action and its results. The soul when related
to mass-energy does action in relativity as its power that is called Thirothana sakti. This material energy
works according to the thoughts of the mind. Like the  positive and negative energy of atom, mental thoughts
work in the duality of evil and good. To attain full freedom from its fetters it has to transcend the three
dimensions of the mind and come upon the fourth dimension of divinity which is the Grace of God in the form of
Wisdom. When the soul transcends knowledge and acts with the aid of wisdom, its actions are free from evil and
good. The action of wisdom results in Moksha or total Freedom of the soul from births and deaths. On proper
enquiry into this aspect of Karma with awareness, attention and freedom from bias, the soul gets a total
understanding of the Truth. It is this real understanding that brings peace of mind that is called Samadhi or Shanti.
No other penance with artificial control of mind is  needed in the practice of Kiriya Marga according to the
Saiva Sastra (philosophy).

The Third Part of Yoga Marga
(The path of meditation)

Chariya and Kriya paths are associated with outward worship, whereas Yoga and Jnana paths are intended for the purpose of inner worship. The word Yoga denotes a system of physical and mental discipline for the emancipation of the soul from its bondages in order to attain divine Bliss. Saivism does not accept the views of Yogi Patanjali who enunciated the principle of Attanga Yoga. It means the attainment of success in eight types of miracles and union with God.  Siva Yoga is different from Attanga Yoga. Siva Yogis do  not perform miracles and try to mesmerise the aspirants.
As the soul and God are already united as one from eternity there is no need to seek any union of them anew.

Saint Sundarar

    The revival of Yoga Marga was brought about by Saint Sundarar by his immortal devotional hymns.  Siva Yogis need not renounce the world and become Sanyasis or mendicants. Saint Sundarar lived a family life. He did not follow the eight fold path of Attanga Yoga. He did not perform miracles to draw the attention of the public. His Siva Yoga was based on devotion and non attachment. Though married twice, yet he was able to lead a life with intense devotion and unselfish service to God.

    His system of Yoga was entirely limited by the two practices of Sivoham Bhvana and chanting of Panchadcharam akin to auto suggestion of being one with God and sublimation and meditation with the proper aid of the chanting of the five lettred mantra known as Namsivaya. With these practices he became a comrade of zgod. As such the Yoga path he showed was comradeship with God. Hindus call him as the comrade (Thozan) of Siva and his system of Yoga as saka marga. This denotes a system of psychological fearlessness. Fear is a destructive agent in human life. Hence comradeship with God is encouraged in Siva Yoga.

Views of Saiva Philosophers

Saiva Sastras explain Yoga system as a means of awakening of creative intelligence in a silent thoughtless state of
mind. Thereby a true understanding and inference of truth is obtained. In Tamil it is called "Thelithal" the understanding power development. Because of the lack of the power of  understanding the mystical truth in the primary texts, the common layman misinterprets the real meaning and stoop to superstitious beliefs. Saivism is based on mysticism. Lack of the power of understanding leads to religious superstition as the power of understanding through the awakening of creative intelligence is very low in the religious layman. Hindus are found to be prone to superstitious faiths and actions.
 

Saivism is built on the foundation of mysticism. The chief mystic in Saivism is called Thirumular. He gives an analyticaland logical explanation to the mystical approach to Siva Yoga in his unparalled text on Saivism that is called Thirumanthram. In his thirty sermons at the first chapter of the text, he illustrates beautifully the mystical aspect of Siva Yoga. He does not mention there at all about the Attanga Yoga of Patanjali Rishi. But deals with Attanga Yoga in the third chapter for the sake of those who are interested in it. As Siva Yoga enunciated by Saint Sundarar is in tune withthat of the Mystic Thirumular we have just mentioned about it for those who like to have a comparative study.

Those who perform Siva Yoga practice are called Sivayogis. They are said to be reborn in this world itself without the death of the body. They die of their mind and thoughts. only. With such a death they move about. It is only at the death of thoughts, the wisdom of God takes possession of the empty mind. In other words, on the death of thoughts the empty mind is converted into a receptacle of God's wisdom. Then the mind transcends its three dimensions of waking, dreaming and sleeping and functions in the fourth  dimension of God's Grace. The aim of Sivayoga is to attain the fourth dimension of the mind. On such an attainment the Sivayogi is enlightened. He is able to obtain an insight into Truth or God. Such an insight cannot be obtained by any process of the development or the control of the mind in any artificial methods. To attain the wisdom of God, Saiva Sastras guide the aspirants  properly to perform the practices of Sivoham Bhavana and transcendental meditation. Sivoham Bhavanai is a spiritual auto-suggestion performed with the chanting of the mantra Sivoham. It means " I am one with God Siva".  Such a regular practice of auto suggestion  lifts an aspirant to the level of nonduality with God.

Transcendental meditation is done with the regular utterance of the mantra "Siva-Siva". The power of this mantra gives a purgation of the mind of its thoughts. Then the mind  transcends the three dimensions. In the fourth dimension, the mind transcends space, time and cause. Names and forms of God become immaterial at this stage. God Siva himself transcends religion and verbal explanations. A Siva Yogi also transcends all religious and principles. In this world itself he enjoys the Bliss of God. Well being in physical, mental and spiritual health is attained. A Sivayogi neeed not be an ascetic. Saint Sundarar lived a family life with all prosperity and happiness.

Even a Sivayogi cannot overcome the effects of past Karma or deeds. Action an reaction are the keynotes of Karma.
Sundarar had a family life with two wives because of the  effects of past karma. It is a fallacy to think that karma
is fate or destiny. It is not the purpose or end to which any person or thing is appointed by God. The Westerners
usually condemn the Hindus and Buddhists as fatalists. This view is a fallacy. It is man who does karma an reaps its
fruits. Karma is like a boomerang that returns towards the thrower. The only way to get out of the effects of karma
is to perform duty without the expectation of rewards, in a well balanced state of mind.

The Last  Stage of Sanmarga
    (The Path of Truth)

The Bliss obtained by Siva Yoga technique of practice is liable to slip. "There is many a slip between the cup and
the lip". Sanmarga explains the cause of such a slip and guides the aspirant how to be wary and avoid any slip. A
Sivayogi is not to rest assured that he has attained  permanent wisdom through Sivayoga practice. Wisdom of man
is not permanent as that of God.

A Sivayogi who has attained enlightenment is called  Jeevan Mukta. Though a Jeevan Mukta has attained liberation
from the three bondages, yet he is prone to the attacks of the residual thoughts of the subconscious mind that lay
hidden without being known by the conscious mind. A Jeevan  Mukta cannot be totally freee from residual thoughts called Vasana malam. A Jeevan Mukta can only be free from Vasana malam when he becomes Para Mukta after his physical and mental death.

Until a jeevan mukta breathes his last, he cannot become a Para Mukta. Lord Siva is depicted as the God of death.
Without a physical an mental residue death it is impossible to attain para mukti or total liberation of the souls.It is Siva
who gives such a total liberation to the souls. As such he is called Sankaaran or the God of Death. Timid and
spiritually weak aspirants are usually afraid of the God of Death. So they love Lord Vishnu who is the God of protection.
We may obtain protection from Vishnu God but we cannot get a death of the mental residue in our subconscious mind.
In order to obtain total liberation we have to love the  God of Death who wears the poisonous cobra at His waist.
The cobra worn by the God of Death has a mystical meaning which very few devotees realize. In the absence of realization, they fear the God of Death. In Sanmarga, death plays an  important part. Death is not an end of life. It is really a transformation of mass into energy. Its spiritual, mystical meaning is what is death to relative knowledge is the birth of Wisdom of God. He is a coward who dies many times before his death through fear. Through the motive of fear one cannot be a true devotee. A true devotee will be able to  face death without fear on his death bed. The ornament of
snake in Lord Siva guides us to infer the truth about death without any fear. Out of all types of poisonous snakes, the Cobra is said to be the chief or king. Yet it is called the good snake by the Saiva devotees. Let us discard its dangerous qualities and investigate about the guidance it gives us on proper meditation for those who are in the stage of Sanmarga. The guidance which we have to infer for the sake of transcendal meditation is "Awareness from moment to moment without any limitation to time and space".

The cobra has no ears. Yet it is a wonder how it is able to hear better that human beings. Nature has provided it with
the power of sensitivity to even the lowest vibrations of sound. Every part of its body, the skin, blood cells, flesh
and nerves responds to the vibration of sound. Like human beings who are afraid of snakes, the cobra is also afraid
of us.It is because of the fear of death that one tries kill the other first. Of late a miracle has been performed by
few persons, by living together with poisonous snakes  within a glass room, without fear, for several days.
Such persons had the full understanding of how the cobra's respond even to very low sound vibrations. Even on hearing the vibrations caused by the walking foot sound of a person, the cobra is awakened. With awareness it spreads its hood ready to hit at the person who approaches it. Without  noticing the cobra if that person approaches it, he is hit
by it. But if the person is far away from it, the cobra does not chase the person and hit him. It makes a hissing
sound and runs away. The person who lives with cobras in a glass is well aware, from moment to moment, how the cobra is disturbed even by  low sound vibrations. So he lives with the cobra without causing any disturbance with sound vibrations. A total  awareness of sound vibrations, from moment to moment, is very essential to live with cobras. If there is no such awareness the result will be fatal. We have to note well here that the sensitivity and awareness of the cobra is  free from the sensations of the mind. Whereas human consciousness is the result of the sensations of the mind.

A clear understanding of the difference between sensations and sensitivity is very essential at this point. Sensations of the mind leads to the development of concepts.  Sensitivity of the inner heart leads to pure percepts without the modifications of the mind. Concepts can never give a total understanding of truth. To discover the truth, perception is necessary. Man is the  master of the mind. Sensations are his master tools. With sensations he develops concepts but not percepts. The  layman devotee tries always to obtain percepts through the modifications of mental thoughts. Such efforts in temple worship or in any dialogue with the enlightened may be continued throughout one's life till death. But one cannot obtain pure perception of truth by such mental efforts. The cobra, depicted as an ornament of Lord Siva, is only given as an example to the devotees regarding the need of  obtaining pure perception through sensitivity with the
incessant practice of observation, attention and awareness in silence of mind.

Listening with the ears is said to be better that reading with the eyes. The human ears are capable of hearing only
sound vibrations that travel sixteen to forty thousand miles per minute. Cobra is able to hear very low sound
vibrations. Sanmarga guides us on how to listen in silence, without the aid of ears and how to see without the aid of
eyes that is called pure perception. In the process of  learning arts and science, sound and light play the most
important part as audio visual aids. They help us to  understand various concepts. But they cannot aid us to
have pure perception. For that purpose what we have to do is to develop the power of sensitivity to hear and see
subtle sound and light which are neither heard by the ears nor seen by the eyes. At this juncture, it is very necessary to clarify the difference between perception and pure perception.  Otherwise, aspirants are liable to confuse them and take an ordinary perception of the eye or mind as pure perception of God or Truth. No other Saiva or any other saint has
clarified this point like the chief Saiva Saint, Maniccavasagar.

Saint Manicavasagar

Now let us delve deep into his sermons on Sanmarga in order to obtain pure perception of Truth rather than sense
perception of relative knowledge. As he obtained the second and the third final Saiva Initiation, directly from  God Himself, he had pure perception or enlightenment. With such spiritual insight he clarifies the difference between
ordinary perception and pure perception. In his immortal text, Thiruvasagam, he gives an apt and  magnificient clarification for all of us in the Capter on "Koyil Thirupathikam"-Hymn number 7. There he poses the  problem of "How to think without thoughts?" Certainly he was able to do so and guides us accordingly. By the means of thinking with thoughts, pure perception cannot be had, because in the thinking with thoughts there is a duality of the thinker and the thoughts. The thinker of thoughts is no other one than the mind. Mind is a product of mass energy that moves always within the opposites of negative and positive charges. In other words, the movement of the thinker (man) is always within the opposites of evil and good. Unless the mind becomes empty there is no possibility of God's grace taking possesion of it. To think without  thoughts, the mind must be completely in silence or empty. The aspirant who has attained the stage of Sanmarga is on a slippery ground. If he is not watchful, careful and wary he is sure to slip down from that stage. Let us investigate how he is made to slip by the cunningness of the mind. An aspirant gets an insight by the process of meditation. It comes in a flash and passes off. It is not possible to  retain it in the memory and get it back as thoughts. But the mind tries to retain it in the subconscious layer and project it as insight. A projection of the mind is not real. It is only a shadow like the view of a cinema projector. The shadow of unreality shows itself as real by its very quick movement.

Saint Maniccar illustrates the action of the mind with that of a swing which moves to and fro. The mind always
oscillates between knowledge and ignorance, evil and good. sin and benevolence. To attain liberation of the soul, both
knowledge and ignorance must cease. But we are only taught to end ignorance and evil. Ignorance cannot be overcome unless knowledge is also got rid of. When the rope of a  swing snaps there is no movement of to and fro. The person who swing, falls on the ground. The ground becomes his support. Similarly the soul that ends the movement of the mind obtains the support of God as its ground. From this illustration we are able to infer that the purpose
of meditation is to obtain stillness or silence of mind. Saint Maniccar gives simple natural guidance in his
sanmarga on the technique of attaining peace of mind and bliss of God. He states clearly that he has never done any
hard penance (tapas) or severe Attanga Yoga. When Yogis  were performing Yoga practice, day and night, Lord Siva
did not appear before them to give benediction to them. But He appeared before him at Thiruperumthurai and gave
him the second initiation, personally.What he did was Siva Mantra Dhiyanam-i.e meditation with the aid of
Siva Mantra. As a result of such meditation, Siva gave him the power of subtle hearing, without ears, seeing
without eyes and thinking without thoughts. All these are possible to us also if we can be successful in the ending
of thoughts through meditation, attention and awareness.

Love of God in Sanmarga

Prayer and philosophy of Saivism are based on the pure love of God that is called Bhakti in Tamil Language. In all the
four paths of Saiva Religion, bhakti plays an important part. In Sanmarga, Saint Maniccar has formulated the highest form of bhakti, unknown in other religions. Bhakti is said to  transcend the four paths of Saivism as follows:

First path:  Dasa Marga - The loving path of a servant to master.

Second path: Satputra Marga - The path of love like that
             of a child to it's parents.

Third path:  Saka Marga - The path of love like that of a friend
to friend

Fourth path: San marga - The path of love like that of a wife to
husband

This is the highest form of love in which self sacrifice and self forgetfullness play an important part. Sexual
love is naturally an illustration of spiritual love. A  dutiful virtuous wife forsakes her home, parents, relations
and friends. She sacrifices every thing in response to her love for her husband. She forgets herself and forgets her
name itself when in union with her husband. This is an  example for the spiritual devotees to follow in their
devotion to God. No Yoga practice or penance is needed in such a Sanmarga Devotion or piety cannot be separated frompure philosophy.

Sanmarga is the path of Truth. In this path one has to  discover the truth by one's own self. A devotee has to be
a light unto himself. That is to get enlightenment by the Grace of God, directly, spontaneously and immediately.
The adverb, immediately has a mystical meaning that is not understood by many people. It means obtaining enlightenment without the assistance of any mediator, such as a human priest or teacher. In the process of technical education, the assistance of a teacher is of course very necessary.  But in the discovery of truth what is needed is the
awakening of creative intelligence which is very essential. Saint Maniccar completed his literary and technical
education at the age of sixteen. The king of Tamil Nad; Pandiyan heard about his geniality and skill and appointed
him as his chief minister. But he was dissatisfied with his scholarship. He realized that scholarship is not
needed to attain enlightenment. So he gave up all positive method of education in acquiring knowledge and took up the process of negative education to achieve the wisdom of  God. He calls negative education paradoxically as a
pathless path (Neri Alla Neri). So, truth is a pathless land. The course of Sanmarga as explained by Saint Maniccar is
to remove the barriers that obstruct enlightenment. The grace of God transcends space, time and cause. A path is
limited within these three dimensions. No amount of effort within such limitations can give us enlightenment. What we
have to do is only to remove the barriers that obstruct the light of God. Removal of barriers is called in
Tamil as "Pasa Neekam". Egoism known as Anavam, is the strongest barrier that can only be removed by practising Sanmarga. The guidance  given by Saint Maniccar is to practise Sivoham Bhavana and Meditation with the aid of Siva Mantra. As we have already explained these Sadhanas we need not repeat them here.  In Sanmarga we are not to imitate Saints but to emulate them mystically.

                        END


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