The Religion and Philosophy of Tevaram (Thevaram)

by M. A. Dorai Rangaswamy | 1958 | 410,072 words

This page describes “the philosophy of the drama of creation” from the philosophy of Nature in the Thevaram. The 7th-century Thevaram (or Tevaram) contains devotional poems sung in praise of Shiva. These hymns form an important part of the Tamil tradition of Shaivism

Chapter 2 - The Philosophy of the drama of creation

I - Theories on time:

The world is space-time-cause. Tolkappiyam speaks of the world as the basis for all acts, being characterized by space and time. Space makes possible co-existence; and time introduces sequence wherein our feeling of uniformity of nature takes this sequence for consequence or cause and effect. The whole drama thus starts. The great magician, or Lord, God, wonderfully becomes all these and the actor and the background. He is not these but He has become all of them. He is the ‘adhistana’ or the basis and the words ‘aki and ‘ay’ bring out this truth. Amongst the many things the Lord becomes, we have found mentioned the Sun and the Moon. These, as universal clocks, measure time—time cannot be measured otherwise because it cannot be spread out as space. Therefore, resort is made to signs or marks in space like the moving Sun, like the hands of the clock (This is what the old Tamil commentators term ‘carttiyalattaV). He is also the alternating day and night, the darkness and the light, the smaller units of time, measuring time as well as the lives of the living beings, cooking, to use the phrase of the Upanisad, everything and making possible the history of the universe.

Maitriyupanisad’ speaks of the two forms of the Brahman, the time and the timeless; that which begins with the Sun, and that which is prior to the Sun; that which has parts and that which has no parts. It is the timeless that has become the time. Our poet speaks of the Lord as standing as the time and the Sun. It either means that He is the time and its measurer or better that He is the eternal time, the ‘aksayakala’ of the Gita and the fleeting time represented by the Sun with whom begins time of parts.

Varied are the theories about time. Physical time of the mathematicians is relative and differs according to the velocity of the particular system of reference in the space time continuum. The psychological time, which is also that of the grammarian, speaks of the past, the present and the future. To some, the past is real and to others the future alone is real, while to the third the present alone exists. Psychological time as duration is relative to our mental condition appearing long in retrospect if it had been pleasant, short in retrospect if it had been unpleasant. As for the philosophers’ conception of time they never agree: Kant and others speak of time as the pure form of our sensuous intuition. To Bergson, time is not the spatialized time we talk of, but the la-duree, a ceaseless flow—the integral unity, the only real, the Becoming of all things. To Alexander, time is the mind of space and space is the body of time and the Deity has to emerge out of the womb of these. To Bradley, it is an appearance, though it must somehow belong to the Absolute. He points out the perpetual puzzle of time: “If you take time as a relation between units without duration, then the whole time has no duration, and is not time at all. But, if you give duration to the whole time, then at once the units themselves are found to possess it; and they thus cease to be units. Time in fact is ‘before’ and ‘after’ in one; and without this diversity, it is not time. But these differences cannot be asserted of the unity; and on the other hand and failing that, time is helplessly dissolved”. This reminds us of the Theory of Indetermination in the Modern Physics of the Atom.

To the Buddhists, time is a form contributed by the mind and not a constituent of the world. To the Nyaya-Vaisesika schools, it is real being, one of the dravyas. If it is'this insoluble puzzle which makes Alice observe, “I think you might do something better with the Time than waste it asking ridales with no answers”.

To the mystics, it is the Maya of the Lord. To them Maya is not illusion but the inexpressible art and play of the ‘Citsaktz, all intended to save the soul, to attract and educate it so as to become one with the Lord. In view of this perpetual puzzle of time, it is looked upon sometimes as the great magician, or the Brahman, to be contemplated upon for achieving salvation and freedom from Time and therefore the Maitrl Upanisad assures us “Yah kalam Brahma iti upaszta, kalah tasya atiduram apasarati”—‘From him who worships time as Brahman time runs away too far’.

There is a school of thought amongst Indian Philosophers; they are the ‘Kalavadins’ who look upon the Absolute as time and this school is found explained in the Tamil Anthology Peruntirattu under Kalavddam. This is criticized in the Svetasvatara Upanisad itself. Therefore Upanisad Vidya of contemplating on Time as a symbol of Brahman is different from this Kalavdda.

II - The Agamic theory:

Arurar in addition to the reference to the Vedas which must include in the context, the Upanisads, speaks also of Agamas referring to God as He who blesses the followers of Agamic conduct. “Ammane akamaczlark karul nalkum tammane” Therefore, the Agamic theory of time may be referred to here. There are two schools of Agamic thought; one, which looks upon this universe as being evolved as the play of His ‘Citsakt? and which therefore ultimately believes in monism; the other which looks upon the universe as being evolved out of Maya which is considered a separate category as real as God Himself. But, both of them agree in the main about the various stages of this evolution. God thinks of evolution and there develops a stress within the matrix or Maya which begins thereby to vibrate. Evolution thus starts; knowledge, will or desire and activity arise and there come the first five stages, according to the different proportions of these saktis. These five are beyond time and therefore called eternal. These are the Suddha or pure tattvas. The 24 tattvas of the Sankhyas are the impure tattvas forming the end of this evolution. In between these two, the pure and the impure, occur the seven tattvas, called Suddhasuddha (Pure-impure) tattvas. These seven and the other 24 are not called eternal for they are all in time. Of these seven, the first to be evolved is Time itself. Next comes ‘Niyati’ or order to determine activity; it introduces the uniformity of Nature, the causal law. Kalu, which is next evolved, removes the darkness of Anava in which the soul is enshrouded revealing thereby the latter’s power of activity. Vidyatattva, evolved next, reveals the soul’s power of knowledge. Ragatattva, which follows, kindles in the souls a desire for enjoyment, according to their respective karma. When this scheme is thus prepared the soul is generally ready for its entrance into specific bodies to start on its individual history when the 24 asuddha tattvas are evolved for building up its body. Arurar speaks of 96 elements, which are the finished products which make up this body. The 96 elements or tattvas are: Anma tattvam— 24; Nadi— 10; Avasta— 5; Malawi— 3; Gunam— 3; Mandalam— 3; Pini—3; Vikaram— 8; Adharam— 6; Dhatu— 7; Marapu— 10; Kocam— 5; Vayil— 9.

III - Arurar on time:

Therefore, when the world is mentioned by our poet who may be taken to have known this Agamic scheme, we may take it as referring to the frame work of this space, time and causality all referring to the wonderful play of magician, the Lord. Our poet often speaks of ‘Mayam’.when referring to the Universe and its life; the life is ‘maiyam’. ‘Mayam’ is not mere illusion though our poet uses it in that sense as well, but more often it probably refers to the magic of the Lord, the creative genius working wonders. Therefore, in other places, our poet addresses the Lord as ‘Arputan’. Mayan has been used for describing Visnu. Even as Krishna is spoken of as the ‘Cheat’, Shiva also is addressed by our poet as ‘Patiran’— the Cheat. It is the wonder where contradictions are resolved; that is the wonder of wonders. Even Sankara accepts the universe as real as against the Buddhists but according to him it is relatively real being transcended rather than negatived by the Absolute. Sankara even speaks of the Lord appearing as though a man for blessing the world: “Dehavan iva jata iva sa Lokanugraham kurvan laksyate” in explaining the conception of incarnation in his commentary on the Gita.

Our poet refers to the Lord being the Time, both as Before and After-relation and as Past, Present and Future. He is Tomorrow, Today and Yesterday, the day and night, the daylight and darkness. The Lord is not within Time. Therefore, there is no Before or After, no beginning or no end, or to say the same thing, “He is the Before and the After”. He has become the Beginning and the End. These terms ‘Mun, Pin may refer to space and time. He is one whole infinite—Ananta. It is impossible to know His beginning. He transcends all causes. He is the beginning, the womb of all. He is the beginning of everything, but His beginning is not known. He never dies or He is never born, and He never grows old unlike others placed on this sharp edge of the sword of fire called Day, cutting and cooking them all. The Lord is beyond Time and that is the significance of the puranic story of the Lord as Kalakala destroying Kala or Death for the sake of Markkanda. Our poet suggests that the Lord will do the same for all his followers. The conception of Kalakala, according to the Svetasvatara Upanisad reveals the delusion of those men who think of Time as the cause of creation. This Upanisad explains the theory that the entire world is eternally enveloped by Shiva who is Kalakala and who is of the nature of consciousness

The Maitri Upanisad refers to an ancient old verse:

“‘Tis Time that cooks created things,
All things, indeed, in the Great Soul (mahatman)
In what, however, Time is cooked—
Who knows that, he the Veda knows.”

Time itself is cooked and swallowed away. The Kathopanisad speaks of the creation becoming the food of the Brahman where Kala is the ‘upasecana’. The Lord for saving the soul appears within the frame of space and time and He is realized by the soul in and through time through all forms of God in which He is incarnating Himself as Beauty in Nature and Art and as Guru in Man, He being always inside the sacred temple of the hearts of the souls even as He is inside all Nature. The whole evolution is sometimes explained as the significance of the story of Dasavatara and Manikkavacakar speaks of the soul taking the forms of various living beings described by our modern evolutionists. But Arurar in speaking of the Astamurta is really speaking of every soul being the Temple of God, Brahmapuri and not of any particular history.

IV - Purpose of Creation:

The purpose of this divine play of creation where the formless assumes form is as already stated the salvation of the soul. We have referred to this, from the point of the Lord entering the soul to save it. We can now refer to the creation in its march, through time, to the timeless salvation. Out of pity for the souls tossed about in the ocean of karma, the Lord has blessed them with salvation and increase ® (which remind us of the ‘sreyas and prey as of the Upanisads). The soul has to go through the various experiences of the world to be purified for ultimately hankering after the Lord. As already pointed out, “the Lord exhibits His magic, making us realize our birth when He inspires us to experience the mind which never forgets Him, for all of which He gives us this body, so that those who contemplate on Him with their mind, as the One ever remaining in their eye, may see Him He has entered this world as one inside this earth”. Beautiful nature, wherein the puranic Lord of mystic glory presides enabling the soul to attain salvation is described in a verse by our poet wherein he rolls together the beautiful nature, the puranic personality of the Lord and the historic march towards salvation. “It is the beautiful spot where the koel sings in the midst of creepers; it is the beautiful spot where the peacocks dance; it is the beautiful spot of the Lord who had swallowed the poison; it is the beautiful spot where the karmas cease; it is the beautiful spot where the wealth of moksa is gained; it is the beautiful spot of the damsel of Grace”. Our poet describes the way of the Lord in another verse: “He blesses us with gold and reality. He makes us enjoy the happiness of the world and the bliss of salvation (tiru). Then he pardons the excesses. He makes us submit to Him so that all the sins may fly away. Ah! He is one who cannot be known categorically. But He is our Father”. The poet therefore asserts, “He is concentrating Himself determined to give salvation”—“Muttikku onrinan”.

Our poet speaks of the Lord as ‘Uli’ or the aeons, the Lord becoming the aeons. The significance of this conception of aeons is very well brought out in the following passage:

“It is remarkable that in an age when the rest of the world had made little history, the seers of India could imagine long stretches of time, extending over millions of years. The theory of the four ages (catur-yuga) does not mean that the time-process is cyclical, but rather that it is like a spiral. Nor does it mean that the four yugas should necessarily succeed one another. All the ages are all the time there. And, the progress of the world implies that Kali, Dvapara, and the Treta should to a greater and greater extent, get sublimated in Krta-yuga. Krta in the terminology of the game of dice is the highest throw which includes all the others. Krta-yuga, also called Satya-yuga, thus means the whole age, of which the others are but parts and distortions. It is towards this age that the entire creation is moving. It is the age of Truth, Peace, and Harmony. I think that the world is moving towards peace, i.e„ Ahimsa. The way of violence has been tried for ages and has been found wanting”:

Thus wrote Mahatma Gandhi declaring his faith in cosmic progress.

He had also the vision to see that India has a major contribution to make towards world-welfare, and led her through the gates of freedom by the novel strategy of peace and love.

“I do believe”, he said,

“that if India has patience enough to go through the fire of suffering, and to resist any unlawful encroachment upon its own civilization which, imperfect though it undoubtedly is, has hitherto stood the ravages of time, she can make a lasting contribution to the peace and solid progress of the world”.

Now that India has, under the guidance of the Mahatma, passed through the fire of suffering, the stage is set for her to march along the road to world-perfection. She has a primary part to play in the great cosmic drama of Time whose sole purpose is to unveil the face of Eternity, to usher in the satyayuga.

The truth of this statement about this cosmic drama of the alchemy of soul-making is well brought out by the following line of Arurar:

“This is the beautiful spot where He is contemplated with a firm resolve for many aeons for achieving salvation”.

It is significant that the poet speaks of the Lord becoming aeons being at the same time our kith and kin: “Uravum uliyum aya Peruman”. These words suggest that all this march of aeons is for the benefit of us all so that we may become one with Him and His eternal bliss.

V - The momentary and the eternity—Philosophy of History

Our poet speaks at times of his experience of the Lord as occurring on one particular day. The experience which occurs is eternal though the realization, because of the exigencies of our speech, is to be referred within the time order without which no worldly speech is possible. That is the case with all mystics.

Vaughan is describing his experience of eternity in the following lines:

   “I saw Eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light,
   All calm, as it was bright;
All round beneath it, Time in hours, days, years,
   Driven by the spheres
Like a vast shadow moved; in which the world
   And all her train were hurled.”

Here he remembers it as an occurrence of the other night even as our poet speaks of it as occurring on one particular day.

Therefore, the Nobel Poet Laureate T. S. Eliot speaks thus:

   “To apprehend
The point of intersection of the timeless
   With time is an occupation for the saint.”

That moment of intersection is really eternal, though it has to be expressed to us in our language as a point of time. Our poet speaks of the Lord as the eternity of the music of the harp thus helping us to realize the eternity or the Timeless though experienced in this world as a point of time even as we experience the eternal music or art in a moment and lose ourselves in eternity.

The significance of this conception of time or the Philosophy of history is brought out in the passages given in the note below:

Note - Eternal Life:

“The rapture of unitive life here is momentary and is only a foretaste of the eternal bliss Beyond. Time is a rapid succession of events, physical and psychical, and is a fleeting flux without any fixity or stability. It is particular and perishing as the past is past and the present glides away and the future is yet to be. Time as an endless series is self-contradictory as it implies continuity and discontinuity. The past, the present and the future are disparate as the past is only retrospected, the present is actual and the future is anticipated and yet the past flows into the present and the present glides into the future without any break or bar.

Endless duration is thus self-discrepant and it is the bad infinite. Some say that space-time is real and that the self and deity emerge later on. Others divinize time. It is not the specious present or totem simul or the willed change. Time is not being and becoming since static existence is as unthinkable as perpetual or infinite motion. History as a connected record of events in time given in sense-perception is midway between sense-perception which deals with particular events and philosophy which deals with truth which is true at all times and in all places and to all persons.

While some think apocalyptically of continuous progress, the good time that is coming and the golden age of the advent of God’s kingdom in the future, others refer to the golden age in the past. Still others are pessimistic as they refer to a gradual deterioration of life or regress and impending gloom. Still others feel that the world is like a dog’s curly tail which neither progresses nor declines and think of cycles. Still others think that the universe contains many possibilities and the present order is the one actualized by the creative will of God as His play. But the mystic experience is different from all these diagrams and dialectic descriptions of the mere speculative philosopher. The mystic’s intuition of Brahman exceeds the limitations of spacetime-cause and the map-making intellect and it is immutable and eternal.

The parinamic process of prakrti and the contractions of karma are transfigured and transcended in the Eternal. But prakrti and the Self are not destroyed or devoured by the Absolute. They are not sterilized or sublated as, to the mystic seer, time is a moving image of eternity or, as the eternal, in and beyond the temporal.

Brahman is the home of the eternal perfections of truth, goodness and beauty and the mystic ascends gloriously by the straight and shining pathway of the gods to the Absolute or Brahman beyond. He goes from the temporal to the eternal, from darkness to light and from the immanent and infinite to the transcendental beyond all language and thought and enjoys the integral experience of Brahman (paripurna Brahmanubhava). The attainment of the Absolute is the one aim of all mystics and it has its fruition in realizing Brahman in all beings and all beings in Brahman as the twin experiences of spirituality and service.”

Note - The Philosophy of History:

“The philosophy of history brings out the possibility of universal salvation or sarva mukti and thus offers a corrective to subjectivism which may arise from immanental mysticism. The meaning of history is gradually unfolded as the revelation of the eternal in the temporal. History chronicles, events given in senseperception in the order in which they occur. In the scientific sense, sequence is explained as consequence and facts are explained in terms of cause and effect in a connected way as karma. But this view is mechanical as it does not reveal the inner purpose of historic events.

History needs God as Providence who brings good out of evil and there is one increasing purpose running through the ages. But progress is often followed by regress and the natural order often conflicts with the moral order. Besides, God does not depend on man for the furtherance of His purpose. History is said to be stained with the blood of martyrs and the tragedies of unmerited suffering and there seems to be so much caprice and cruelty in the world that they shake one’s faith in Providence and in the triumph of virtue. A higher view of history is that it refers to Isvara as the moral Ruler who metes out justice impartially to everyone according to the merits of the karma of individuals.

Karma has a twofold meaning, scientific and moral; in the former sense, it is the law of causality on the moral level; isvara metes out justice impartially to everyone according to his deserts, and the jlva alone is responsible for his deeds. In a higher sense, God’s righteousness is rooted in redemption and karma has its fulfilment in krpa or Divine mercy. But it is difficult to decide whether Grace is the result of karma or is unconditioned and spontaneous. History finally marks the progress of soul-making by Divine Love and then the soul reunites with God and is made godly, leading to sarvamukti or universal salvability.

The philosophy of history is the revelation of the Eternal in the temporal in the interests of the moulding of the mystic. To the mystic, becoming rests on the bosom of being in the Ocean Pacific of the All Self or Vasudeva. As Milton says, Eternity greets our bliss with an individual kiss and by contacting God it is eternalized and no longer returns to mortality. Thus history starts with the temporal, then expounds the eternal in the temporal and is fulfilled in the vision of the eternal beyond the temporal”.

VI - The golden age—past or future:

In dealing with this question of time we may refer to the people who emphasize the importance of the Past. They swear by the ancient tradition or ‘Sampradaya’. In so far as this school insists on the social side of the religious experience, it has a value provided it does not forget that salvation or moksa it is beyond time from which there can be no return to the order of time. Our poet does not break away from the past tradition. He is using the old puranic stories for delivering his message He refers to the Agamas and Vedas and the various kinds of worship prevalent in his age. But to him they are all the outward forms which become significant and important only when inspired with the love for God. He has in a sense revolutionized at least some of the stories, for instance, that of Bhikshatana. There are others who expect the golden age, not in the Past but in the Future. They see a progress in the world and in the possibility of perfectability in man. If this is not a belief in the day of judgment, our poet also may be taken to belong to this school for along with other mystics, he believes in the universal salvation of all living beings. It is very difficult to say whether he believed that the history is a march of progress or decline or a wave with its crest and trough alternating, though he firmly believes in the ultimate purpose of all this universe is the salvation of all living beings. All our attempts are aimed at achieving happiness. Some think that it can be achieved in this very world. Others promise this happiness in a future world. Our poet speaks of ‘Vanakam’ or the world of the Devas in terms of the tradition of his days. But that is only a reference and not his message. He is also believing in the possibility of this world being the seat of divine bliss. Has he not described this world as the very form of the Lord? But the ‘Vfyuperu which he speaks of is beyond Time and Space though he has necessarily to describe it in terms of space and time.

VII - Optimism and Pessimism:

These remarks may suggest that our poet is an optimist. Man is after all an incorrigible optimist. But at least in some hymns there is a current of pessimism running through. The following references bring out the miseries of the world, the ocean of births and deaths, the beautiful ford of youth being washed away by the Hood, the sensitive body unable to bear even the pressure of a grain, the sudden transformation of marriage festivity into a funeral mourning, the tyranny of the five high way robbers of our senses, the trap of death, the vily net spread out by deceitful women, the heap of flesh and blood misnamed body, the thatched shed of a body built by nerves and bones, the unreliability of this world and its people, the declining life tapering into nothing in the end, the life of a dew-drop before the hot sun, the life of delusion, ignorance and sin which brings nothing but tears when one thinks of it.


They are quoted in original as their meaning has already been given.

Nalva yilceytar natantar ututtar naraitta rirantar enruna nillattil
Collayk kalikinratu”

Poriva yilivvain tinaiyu maviyap porutu” 

Piravik katalnin tiyeri” 

Otupunar karaiya milamai yuranki vilitta lokkumip piravi”

“Pulanain tumayan kiyakan kulaiyap poruve lornaman tamar-tam naliya
Alaman tumayan kiyayar vatanmun” 

Valunra varuntum utampitanai makilatu” 

Manakko lamate pinkko lamatam piravi”

Vanar nutalar valaippat tatiyen” 

Aivarkontin kattavati alkulippat taluntuven” 

Matta yanai yeri mannar cula varuvvrkal
Cetta poti laru millai” 

Terra muntel marana muntu tuyara manai valkkai
Marra muntel vanca muntu” 

Cetiko lakkai cenru cenru teyntollai vabamun
Vatikol kannar vancanaiyut pattu mayankatS”

“Vulvar kantvr nammu laivar vanca manatfire
Yava ralu mikalappattin kallalil vilate

Arittu namme laivar vantin karalaippan poruttal
Ciritta palvay ventalaipo yurppuran ceramun

Poyyar kantir valkkai yalar pottataippan poruttal Maiyal kontir”

Ktica nlkkik kurra nikkic cernamana nikki
Vaca malku kulali narkal vancamanai valkkai
Acai nikki

Inpa rmmtel tunpamuntu elaimanai valkkai”

Tantai yarum tavvai yarum ettunaic carvakar
Vantu nammd tullaldvi vananeri kattum
Cintaiyire nencimre”

Iraikalo ticainta inpam inpatto ticainta valvu
Paraikilit tanaiya porvai”

Onmicai yutirak kuppai yoruporu lilata mayam
Manmarit tanaiya nokka matantaimar matikku minta
Manutap piravi”

Arupatum pattu mettu marine tancu nankum
Tunuparit tanaiya nokkic collirnon rakac collar”

Colliti lellai yillai cuvaiyilap petai valvu
Nallator kunai pukku nalamika arinte nallen

Narampind telumpu katti nacaiyino ticaivon rillak
Kurampaivayk kutiyi runtu”

Manamena makilvar munne makkaltay tantai cunram
Pinamenac cutuvar pertte pinaviyai venten”

Talvenum tanmai vittut tanattaiye manattil vaittu
Valvate karutit towtar marumaikkon riyakillar
Alkulip patta pdtu alakkanil oruvarkkavar”

“Utiramr iraiccik kuppai etuttatu malakkuk kaimel
Varuvator mayak kurai”

Poyttanmait taya mayap porvaiyai meyyen rewnum
Vittakat taya valvu”

Manuta valkkaiyon rakak karutitir kanmr pilkum”™

Emman emmanaiyen renak kettanaic carvakar
Imma yappiravi piran teyiran teyttolinten”

Patiyum curramum perramakkalum pantai yaralar pentirum
Nitiyi limmanai valum valkkaiyum ninaippoli”

Puranti raintu narampe luntu naraittu myurai yarra larnt
Taram purintu ninaippa tanmai yaritukan"

Pataiye lampaka tara valilum pavvan culntara calilum
Kataiye lampinait teraival

Tunci yumpiran tunci rantum tuyakka rata mayakkivai”

Inkalakkum utarpiranta variviliyen”

Poyye ceytu pibrampurame tiriven tannaip pokame”

Mariner onkan matanallur valaiyir pattu matimayanki
Arive yalinten aiyanan”

Velankatu tatankannar valaiyutpattun nerimarantu
Malankati marantolinten”

Alukku mei”

Manai nokkiyar kanvalaip pattu varunti yanurra valvinaik kanci

Cetta potinilmun ninru nammaic dlarkal kutic cirippatan munram”

Polla livvuta laipporu lenru”

Kalutai kunkuman tancuman teyttal kaippar palpuka mar-ratupolap
Palutu nanulan rultatumarip patuculit talaip pattanan

Naraippu muppotu pinivarum inne nanriyil vinaiye tunin-teytten
Araitta mancala tavatai yarinten ananen namanaravar tam-mai”

Punnu naippani venkatir kantal polum valkkai kalintana nalum”

Muntic ceyvinai yimmaikkan naliya murkka nakik kalintana Zcalam”

Cirucari teyirap parkat konniyen”

“Alippa raivar puravutai yarka laiva rumpura vacara vantu
Kalittuk karpeytu poyina pinnaik kataimu raiyunak keporai yanen
Vilittuk kantanan meypporul tannai”

Kamlen kalai kalpala nanam ";

Kotukka kirrilen onporul tannaik kurnan cerram ivaimuta-laka
Vitukka kirrilen vetkaiyum cinamum ventil aimpula nenvaca malla
Natukka murrator muppuvan teyta naman ramarnara kattital anci
Itukka nurranan uyvakai arulay”

Aiva kaiyarai yarava raki yatd kontoru kalavar mnkar”

“Elai manuta inpinai nokki yilaiya varvalaip pattirun tinnam
Valai tanpaluk kumnamak kenru vanca valvinai yulvalaip patfuk
Kulai mantartan celkatip pakkam poka mumporu lonrariyata elai”

Pinikol dkkai pirappirap pennum itanai nikki”

Vatikol kanninai mafantaiyar tampal may ala turru vancanaik kitamaki”

Pavame purintu akalitan tannil palapakarntala mantuyir valkkaik
Kava venrulan tayarntuvi late”

Valvavatu mayammitu mannavatu tinnam
Palpovatu piravikkatal pacindy ceyta paritan
Talataram ceymmin”

Pariye cuman tulalvir parinari kiruva tariyir
Kurikuviya kurrankolu nalalara mulave”

Ulakke yuntu pataittlt tivait tilapparkalum cilarkal
Valakke yenir pilaikkem enpar matimantiya mantar”

Valotiya tatankanniyar valaiyi laluntate
Nalotiya namanartamar nanuka munam”

Potiyecuman tulalvir poti yavamavatum ariyir
Matimantiya valiyecenru kulivilvatum vinaiyal”

These references have been discussed in our studies of these hymns.

All these, he speaks of with reference to those who become slaves of their passions. Sometimes he identifies himself with the suffering humanity and attributes all its evils to himself. But he points out that once people wake up from this sleep and dream they wake up into the bliss of God. ‘Where the fool sleeps the wise is wide awake and where the fool is wide awake the wise falls asleep’: That is the message of the Gita and it is this our poet also hints at

The fire which is meant for cooking is often used for destructive purposes for incendiarism by man. But that is not the fault of the fire. The world is neither good nor evil; it only reflects the moods of man using or living through it. As our poet says, it is a mixture of bitter margosa and sweet sugar-cane, a mixture of pain and pleasure. To the right minded this world itself is the means to the end. This samsara cakra or ‘the wheel of life’ is according to the Svetdsvatara Upanisad the wheel of Brahman or the Brahma cakra or as Appar has put it this world is the very form of the Mother.

How is this change of vision to be brought about? Arurar’s words are, “Acai nikki anpu certti’’. The difference between the destructive and constructive attitudes is beautifully described by our poet in this phrase “Acai nikki anpu certti”, ‘Acai’ is an attachment, a slavery to the world and to the senses, all for self aggrandisement which leads only to restlessness of worldly misery, whilst ‘Anpu’ is becoming one with the thing loved, surrendering the smaller self to the higher self whose form is Bliss. That is why the mystics denounce the sense pleasures or rather sublimate and transmute them into the eternal bliss of the Lord. Has not Appar given expression to this truth in the verse “Macil vinaiyum malai matiyamum”? Has not Arurar spoken of the five senses being the very form of the Lord, who becomes the experiences of these senses and their objects? Therefore, what our poet preaches is not a philosophy of world and life negation but a philosophy of fulfilment and in that sense it is a philosophy of world and life affirmation. Our poet looks upon every thing in this world as the gift of God and he refers to Him for everything he wants. His wives were to him the gifts of God and as we have already pointed out even the happiness he, enjoyed with Cankili is according to our poet the transmuted pleasure of yogic bliss.


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