The Religion and Philosophy of Tevaram (Thevaram)

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

This page describes “bridal mysticism” from the philosophy of God 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 - Bridal Mysticism

I - Love:

The path of purgation is not only a path of illumination but it is ultimately the path of Bliss. It is very significant that the final stage of spiritual realization is called Sivabhoga in Shaivism. The final jnana is looked upon as the blossoming of Love. Brahmajnana is Brahmanubhava. The significant words used by our poet in this connection are “Katal”, “Anpu”. All these suggest the relationship of ideal lovers. This spiritual realization becomes a story of love of the soul, the betrothed becoming the wedded love, losing itself in the embrace and rapture of union with the Lord. The artistic mysticism uses this metaphor of Love, which, therefore, is sometimes erroneously spoken of as erotic mysticism. But it must be noted that there is nothing carnal or degrading about this love though there is the use of the language of sex. It is spiritualized love and there is no other way of expressing the inexpressible. Kantabhava (Karpu) is the experience of the bride and the bridegroom. Madhura Bhava (Kalavu) is the experience of clandestine love. But all these are metaphors and symbols; for the Real transcends all these.

II - Language of Mysticism—Marriage:

This way of explaining the spiritual experience is another universal characteristic of the mystics. The divine union is according to Plotinus, the real marriage of which the marriage of earthly lovers—a blending and communion with each other—is a copy. The Psalms sing in the same strain: “My Beloved is mine and I am He” is their song of union almost amounting to identity.

The Christian mystic, St. Bernard, speaking in the same language of love refers to the spiritual marriage with Jesus who is the real Bridegroom of the soul. Henry Suso looks upon God as Love. John of Ruysbroek describes the ladder of love where there are touches and tastes of divine love as a result of which the soul is consumed and purified by this fire of love when this meeting of lovers—the Soul and God—ripens into the Bliss of union, only to be followed by the wretchedness of separation inspiring a God hunger in the soul which is finally appeased in the Beatific vision after the complete purification of the soul. St. Teresa (her autobiography) has experienced the ecstasy of the spiritual marriage with Jesus, the Bridegroom in which all fleshy feelings were ravished away and where all the faculties were suspended, when all sense of separation was swallowed up.

St. John of the Cross sings thus of this marriage of delight:

“Upon my flowery breast
Wholly for Him and save Himself for none
There did I give sweet rest
To my beloved One”

According to him, like a drop of water mingled in wine, like glowing iron becoming firelike and like air flooded with sunlight, the soul is transformed and deified in the unitive stage. Walter Hilton or Hylton awakens Christ sleeping in his heart when reason becomes Light and will become Love as a result of self naughting; whereafter comes the waking sleep of the spouse followed by the tasting of the heavenly savour. Juliana of Norwich naughtens the visible things for the vision of God where the love between the soul and God is never dissected and where the wounds of love become the divine healing of worship.

In Islamic Sufism or mysticism, we find the use of the symbolism of wine, kisses and embraces which signify the spiritual love and raptures of communion. Rabia of Basra, the Moslem St. Teresa, loses herself in union with the eternal beauty of God, like Andal and Mirabai of our land. Hallaj, the Saint of Baghdad sings, “I have become He that I love and He that I love has become myself” and his explanation of his experience is that the Divine I lives in the void of egoistic I, but when egoism is destroyed by Grace and a real intimacy develops between the self and God as the lover and the Beloved, an intimacy that is a burning endearment which is more mine than myself; where the intellect, under the influence of love becomes intuition and love, ripens into ecstasy and God intoxication, all this love of the soul being love for love’s sake, love for God Himself and not even for its experience as of the ecstasy of divine union, this Love finally leading to the Beatific vision of God in paradise; where rapt in Divine love the mystic is transformed into God. Jalal-ud-din Rumi, the great Sufi describes the reciprocity of love and transcendental union after its renunciation of sense life and its going away beyond the intellect and he sings:

With Thy Sweet Soul, this soul of mine
   Hath mixed as Water doth with Wine
Who can the Wine and Water part,
   Or me and Thee when we combine?

Thou art become my greater self;
   Small bounds no more can me confine.
Thou hast my being taken on,
   And shall not I now take on Thine?

Me Thou for ever hast affirmed,
   That 1 may ever know Thee mine.
Thy Love has pierced me through and through,
   Its thrill with Bone and Nerve entwine

I rest a Flute laid on Thy lips;
   A lute, I on Thy breast recline.
Breathe deep in me that I may sigh;
   Yet strike my strings, and tears shall shine”.

It is because of this that Tirumular identifies Love with the Lord. Love is deified; Shelley sings:

Love wrapped in its all dissolving power
I saw not, heard not, moved not, only felt
His presence flow and mingle with my blood
Till it became His life and His grew mine
And I was thus absorbed"

III - Language of Sex:

The language of sex is appropriate but must be interpreted as having a spiritual meaning. Edward Ingram Watkins in explaining the Catholic mystic languages emphasized the fact that the male element is operative, active, and directive, whilst the feminine is responsive and receptive thus each being complementary to or co-operating with God. To Coventry Patmore, the mystic poet, a true woman is God’s image infusing clod with purity. The Christian mystic Richard of St. Victor, speaks of four stairways of love: (1) the betrothal where the soul thirsts for the Beloved; (2) the marriage, where the Absolute leads the soul as its bride; (3) wedlock, where the soul is oned with God and transfigured into Him and the (4) the copulation or union when the soul is caught up to divine delight. According to Miss Underhill, the simile of marriage and the embrace is a parallel on a lower level to the consummation of mystic love owing to the virtues of mutuality, irrevocableness and intimacy, the well known marks of ancient marriage.

IV - Hinduism:

1. Kama:

The bridal mysticism is explained at length by the commentators on Nammalvar’s poems. The Cankam literature has idealized love; its poetry of love is the poetry of the noumenon. Alvars and Nayanmars speak this language of love in giving expression to their mystic experience. Kama, there, is not visaya kama or sensual passion, it is the Bhagavat Kama, spiritual love. “Kannanukke am atu kamam” is the Vaishnavite explanation. That is, “To love Lord Krishna and none else is real love”. Visaya kama is an inverted shadow in water of the real Atmakama. When, therefore, instincts are harmonized and spiritualized they become the eternal creative expression of Divine Love. The Itu (the classic commentary on Nammalvar) refers to the conversation occurring in the Brhad Aranyaka Upanisad between the Saint Yajnavalkya and his wife Maitreyi when the Rsi develops and generalizes the reply of his wife: “Verily is the husband dear, not for the love of the husband but for the love of atma. Everything is dear not for the love of everything but for the love of atma is everything dear. The atma should be reflected on and realized”. This is also the meaning of Appar’s statement, “Ennilum iniyan oruvan ulan....Innampar Icane ‘There is One (the Lord Innampar) dearer to me than myself’.

2. Beauty:

The importance of the conception of God as Beauty becomes significant when the Lord steals our hearts “Ullam kavar kalvan” and Patiran when He as the Purusottama, where all souls become His Beloved in love with Him, a love which transcends even the love of the husband and wife. Every soul according to Mira Bai (born in 1499 in Marwar) is eternally feminine and she cries, “Why callest thou man as man? There is only One He, and that is God”. The Bhagavat Kama is beyond the married love of the world. There may be in this world the feasts to our five senses but the mind which has attained equanimity seeks for the Lord beyond these five Lords (the senses) even as Draupati has said. The husband is forgotten because of the love of the real Husband or Purusottama. This language of clandestine love or extra marital love is not a negation and cancellation of human marriage but a transcendence. Being on two different levels there is no conflict or moral deterioration. Once this is realized, sex is understood as the magical desire, of the Divine Lover, the artist, the divine charmer by which the animal instinct and lust are transmuted into divine intuition.

3. The loving couple:

God is Love and it is a dynamic love abhorring its solitude and hankering after union with Soul. The Brhad Aranyaka Upa-nisad explains this truth in the form of a story. “Brahman was alone before creation as the Sat without a second as “Ekaki’ and was not pleased. Aloneness gave it no joy; He desired a second and He divided Himself into twain”. He became Sfiyahpati, the Lord of Sri, the Mother of the Vaishnavites; He became Ardhanari (half male and half female) of the Shaivites. The cosmic drama depends on this self division into loving pairs.

4. Its significance:

Prof. Srinivasachariyar brings out the importance of this conception: “To say that God creates the world out of nothing or that He makes it as a potter makes pots is meaningless and mechanical. Likewise, the view of the dialecticians who dissect living Reality into contradictions of thesis and antithesis and then unite them as synthesis is a mere metaphysical abstraction. When they say that the ‘one’ opposes itself as two and then reposes in itself, that the one enters into its opposite and then returns to itself and that the ego opposes itself as the non-ego and then returns to itself, they start with contradictions and fail to co-ordinate them. But the Vedantic view of God as Love avoids the defects of theism and monism and affirms that God as love is dual existentially and non-dual in experience. It is the Divine art of creational spontaneity which may be portrayed through the aesthetic language of poetry, music and dancing and the symbology of srngara rasa. Rhyme has more value in the mystic plane than reason”. Prof. Srinivasachariyar’s explanation is noteworthy.

V - Bhoga and Yoga:

While mystic experience may be gained by the way of Yoga or Bhoga (ascetic introversion or hedonistic extroversion), the way of Bhoga or aesthetic religion has an irresistible appeal to the mystic who follows the method of Bhagavatkama. The Lord is a Yogi to the yogi and a Bhogi to the bhogi and followers of God follow both the paths of worshipping the Lord. Campantar says of God in his marriage hymn; “Pokattan yokattaiye purintane. Nampi Arurar sings of the followers of God:

Pulkiyum talntum pontu tavam ceyyum
Pokarum yokarum pularivay mulkac
Celluma Kaviri”.

Our poet calls both the Bhogis and Yogis as Tapasvins and therefore the Bhogis are those who enjoy Bhagavatkama.

VI - Vaishnavism:

But it is very unfortunate that this Bhoga method as Sivakama has not been so very well emphasized. Bhagavatkama is a phrase well known. Sivakama is not so very well known though the Mother Goddess as the embodiment of this love is known as Sivakami inspiring the very Dance of Shiva. It is because this explanation of Shaivism is not so well known as it deserves, that the great exponent of Hindu mysticism, Prof. Srinivasachariyar distinguishes Sri Vaishnavism from Shaivism and classifies the latter with Christianity and Islam as those knowing not this method of Bhoga.

He writes in his “Mystics and Mysticism”,

“In organized Christianity, Islam and Theistic Shaivism, God is the Holy and devotional mysticism is aroused by the creator-creature feeling and it does not foster affinity.”

The distinguishing feature of Sri Vaishnavism and its importance are well brought out by the learned Professor:

“But, in Sri Vaishnavism, especially in the incarnational mysticism of Sri Krishna, God is Beauty and the bridal mystic is captivated by direct contact with Him. The rsis of Dandakaranya were so much smitten with the beauty of Rama the Righteous that they were born as Gopis of Brndavan to relish His beauty and revel in it. Sri Krishna is the Holy of Holies (yogesvara) without any touch or taint of sensuality and sin; but He humanizes Himself, as it were, and plays the game of love in the eternal spiritual world of Brindavan with a view to destroying the trsnas or thirsts of the flesh and divinizing the human finites. Why the Absolute divides itself into finite centres and why there is so much ignorance, evil and ugliness of bad karma and kama in the world are questions that admit of no solution; but mysticism has dissolved the problem by transmitting lust into love and trsna into Kr?na as is witnessed in the lives of mystics like Suka”.

VII - Akappattu—Song of love:

This characteristic feature so very well emphasized in relation to Vaishnavism is not foreign to Shaivism. The Vaishnavite commentators bring out the beauty of the Akappattus or love songs of Alvars bv renaming the saints as feminine poetesses: Parankusa Navaki (Tirumankai Alvar), Sathakopa Nayaki (Nammalvar) and Kulasekhara Nayaki (Kulasekhara Alvar). The Shaivite saints who have also composed Akapporul hymns in a similar strain may, very well be renamed as Jnanasambanda Nayaki, Vagisa. Nayaki (Tirunavukkaracar), Sundara Nayaki (Arurar) and Manikka Vacaka Nayaki. That this Bhoga marga or aesthetic religion of Sivakama is not unknown to Shaivites; we have shown with the help of references from our poet and Campantar. The bridal mysticism of our saint is beautifully brought out in Arurar’s hymn in No. 37, and we have tried to explain the hymn in the light of Vaishnavite commentators—the very commentators whom our A char iy dr follows.

VIII - The play of Love:

It is separation or vislesa that is sung in this hymn though we get glimpses of the erstwhile union or samslesa.

What our Professor states about this Ula of love, this drama of samslesa and vislesa, union and separation, may form an appropriate introduction to the said hymn of Arurar:

Bhaktirasa becomes ripe in the process of what is known as the game of love or samslesa and vislesa. The Lord plays hide and seek with the beloved soul. Samslesa is the joy of union and vislesa is the sorrow of separation in the ‘dark night of the soul’; it is the school of suffering love. The joy of contacting God is momentary in this world of Vila and it becomes secure and stable only in the world beyond. In the alternation between samslesa and vislesa, the soul is freed from sensuality and egoity and yearns for the dawn of unitive consciousness.

There is light on the path caused by visions and voices; but they are only stepping stones and not stopping places. It is by wise introversion in the state of vislesa that the soul, which is the bride, distinguishes between what is momentary and what is eternal and renounces its egocentric feeling of ‘my’ and ‘mine’ and is purged of pride. Humiliation from without fosters inner humility and the spirit of resignation and in the state of anguish caused by the sense of separation, the bride lapses into depression and despair.

The Lord of Love also suffers from the woes of loneliness and yearns for communion with the beloved. In the rapture of reunion, each rushes into the arms of the other and reflection expires in ecstasy. But the joy does not last long as the roots of self-feeling are not yet destroyed and the bride-soul is enchanted by the physical beauty of the Lord and mistakes appearance for reality and vision for the home. Once again there is withdrawal followed by a sense of gloom and this time the bride-soul gives up its passivity and protests and rebukes the Lord for His cruelty and caprice in causing unmerited suffering to the victim and finally there is the onset of divine union. The two become united and are immersed in the joy of communion.

The symbolic language employed by the mystics in terms of spiritual marriage is entirely free from morbidity or erotomania. What is bhagavatkama is transempiricali and it is described analogically as visaya kama; but the resemblance between them is like that between the dog and the dog star. It is only the pure in heart that are free from sexuality and carnality who can appreciate the value of bhakti rasa. As Sri Suka, the pure-hearted who has specialized in the art of Divine love, reminds us in the Bhagavata, even a man who has but a few glimpses of Krsnaprema attains mukti”.

IX - Transcendental Love:

Kanta bhava or married relationship is transcended by the Madhura bhava or clandestine love. The Rasa Vila of the Gopis is the most beautiful conception—the Lord dancing with every soul. The Bhikshatana form is something similar. The Darukavana takes the place of Brndavana. What the proud Seers of the learned world failed to realize, the eternal feminine in their wives realized and experienced. Their hearts and souls transcended the visayakama stage; bewitched by the beauty of the Holy of Holies the Yogesvara, they followed Him. The phrases suggesting extra marital love and clandestine love are used; but there is nothing carnal. Theirs is not a physical hankering, an animal passion or even a human affinity; it is Bhagavatkama, Sivakama or spiritual love which Maitreyl confessed to her Lord and husband Yajnavalkya. The innocent women, all of them, become Sivakamis. Bhikshatana has no touch of sensuality or sin. The wonderful consummation is the conversion of the rebelling saints of Darukavana and their dancing in the end with the Dance of Shiva. The evil which grows in their heart and from out of their sacrifice of fire, takes the shape of terrible, cruel and deadly forms but all these become the ornaments and decorations of the Lord thus suggesting that evil is only misplaced Good, a topsy turvydom, of our activities, turning selfish instead of being offerings to the Lord.

It also brings out the doctrine of God’s Grace, which saves anyone and everyone and where every feeling however sinful becomes purified and deified, once it is turned towards the Lord, a truth proclaimed by the Bhagavata,

“whoever turns his kama (lust), krodha (anger), bhaya (fear), sneha (comradeship), aikya (the feeling of identity) and Bhakti (devotion) to Hari by contacting Him is deified or transformed into His nature (tanmayi)”.

“Even our faults you hold them as our merits”

—so sings our poet and refers to the stories like that of the anger of the asuras of Tripura. The anger and jealousy of the Rsis of Darukavana have been converted into love. The Lord dances adorned with all the deadly things they hurled at Him. The Beauty opens their eyes and they also dance in joy.

X - Krishna and Bhikshatana:

Prof. Srinivasachariyar states,

“In the mystic realm of Krsnaism there is no such defect or deprivation as radical evil or original sin. No one, not even an asura is so depraved as to be deprived of Divine redemptive Love. If man does not mount up to God by vairagya and jnana, God descends to the human level and deifies him by His Divine touch”.

Is this not true of the Bhikshatana form and may we not call Arurar’s mystic way, Bhikshatanaism? This story of Bhikshatana points out that even Rsis may become proud and not self surrender and love, may mislead the soul. The story starts with the Kapali form, the Hound of Heaven hotly pursuing us; it becomes the bewitching Bhikshatana form begging for our souls crossing our way and making love to us and blossoms up into the form of the eternal dance of Nataraja, These have been explained earlier in our study of our poet’s puranic mysticism. Bhikshatana form has been found to be the motif of Arurar’s poetry. What our Professor says as forcefully and beautifully of Brndavan and Krishna lila is word for word applicable to the Darukavana and Sivatandava, by merely changing the proper names.

The passage reads as follows with the change of the proper names:

“To the philosopher, the world is maya or the ridale of thought; but to the bhakta. it is Sivamaya or crammed with Shiva love; Darukavana is not merely the headquarters of cosmic Beauty and bliss but is the ‘eternal now’ in spaceless space in which what is beyond shines as indwelling love in the heart of every jiva”. (May we add in the Daharakasa of the heart?).

“In that exalted state of mystic union transcending the imperfect moods of prayer and praise, voices and visions, there was no thought of anything, as every thought was lost in enjoyment. There was no sense of unity or duality though the distinctions remained and it was the very acme of Brahmananda. The whole universe felt the rhythm and the rasa par excellence of the Ananda Tandava (may we add, following the love escapade of Bhikshatana) and danced to the Divine tune like the notes of a symphony. The lila of Brahman the God-head as the cosmic dance as Trimurti is the play of the Static ‘Sat’ in the dynamic many which only the mystics as Rsis, Rsipatnis or the other seers can realize. Ananda Tandava of the Beggar God (may we add, inspired by the love of all souls represented as Sivakami) reveals the all pervasive divine love in the attractions of the atoms, the dance of the planets gravitating round the sun, the music of the spheres, the procession of space-time, the merry-go-round of ‘srsti’ and ‘pralaya’, the rhythm of life in the body with the systole and diastole and the dance of sankalpa and vikalpa in the brain with its dialectic alternations of purvapaksa and siddhanta. All the dynamic movements in the starry heavens above and the supramental attractions of lovers with all the romance of poetry and music below reveal the cosmic Izla of love of the eternal in the temporal process. In Anandatandava, Sri Nataraja, the erstwhile Bhikshatana, the centre alone is everywhere and the circumference nowhere. The sceptic and the cynic have a stony heart and are not moved by the mystic Bhikshatana form and His Dance in which Brahmarasa or Love itself is the play, the Hero and the actors as the two sided and many-sided Love, (where we may add, the Tragedy of the fallen souls of Rsis is converted into this comedy of their Love).

XI - Arurar as himself and as the Lady-Love:

In our saint’s poetry, we find that the speeches of the damsels of Darukavana occur very often which drove us to the conclusion that the Bhikshatana form was the basic motif of his poems. The Alvars very often forgot themselves and sang as gopis or women madly in love with God. In a similar way our poet probably feels that the outpourings of his heart fit better and make good poetry when cast in the mould of the speeches of the damsels of Darukavana. It is not that he is always conscious of it. In the white heat of love this motif comes to him as a matter of course. In the 36th hymn, he definitely says that he sings like the women in love with God. But in other hymns, this motif peeps in, in spite of himself. He is sometimes referring to his own autobiography as a man but even there, in spite of himself this motif is trying to get the upper hand of him as may be seen in the Tirunakaikkaranam hymn. This clearly proves what the Vaishnavite commentators have asserted, that the ‘Penpeccu’ the speech of the lady-love is the real speech of the soul. Therefore, there is no contradiction in these two trends. As the Vaishnavite commentators point out, the Alvars start singing in ‘Tanana tanmai, i.e., as themselves as men but in the white heat of their passion for God, they lose themselves and sing in ‘Pirar’ or ‘Pirattiyana tanmai”, i.e. as the lady-love. In the Alvars songs the whole of a hymn is either in ‘Tanana tanmai or Pirattiyana tanmai". But in Arurar” s poems (as is often the case in Appar” s poems) even within a particular hymn, these two trends are found, thus showing that the Pirattiyana tanmai is trying to come to the forefront. We have read the hymns Nos. 8, 9, 11, 18, 26, 32, 33, 36, 40, 42, 43, 49, 66, 84, 88, 91 and 94 in this light. In all these hymns we have the motif of the Bhiksdtana form.

The damsels in love with the Bhiksdtana form are innocent women forgetting their ‘self’ at the bewitching beauty of the Lord and becoming His lovers in the transcendental stage. Arurar probably has the same experience of the Lord. In the speeches of these damsels there is a child-like innocence. They play and laugh in the presence of the Lord, full of humour, enriched by their childish fright and wonder. The real concern for the Lord and the sympathy with His beggary, show that they are more concerned with Him than with themselves.

But saints are not always happy. Every one of them has undergone the suffering of the dark chamber of separation and desolation. For, it is this purgation which purifies the soul, so that it may blossom into God-head. It is in such moments of desolation that the mystics speak the language of sex. Despair and desolation characterise the love song called ‘the neytal” in Tamil. The symbology of this sex poetry we have described in our study of the hymn No. 37. We have not included this hymn No. 37 amongst the Bhiksdtana hymns referred to above; for, it stands unique as the song of the soul of Arurar as the beloved bride of the Lord. His embrace continuing as a sweet remembrance, is soon realized as something of a distant past, with the consequent feeling of desolation. But the lady-love cannot forget the Lord; her body becomes emaciated and she remains sleepless. In the hope of meeting the Lord she makes a last attempt to live; but the physical frame cannot bear the strain and the mind becomes bitter. Still she is not hard on Him, though the body refuses to co-operate with her. No longer the clothes or the bangles can stay on her body which becomes anaemic losing its colour. Her mind recounts to her the love-story, the sight of Him, the flaring up of her love and that fire of love consuming away the body, when all through these stages, she has no desire, no power, no relation except the Lord, during all this quest of her prose, the quest of her poetry and the final quest of her silence. Finally comes a dream or a hope where she enjoys His presence praises Him, embraces and becomes one with Him. Thus we see the poet burning away all his fleshy feelings and becoming pure and whole to become identified or to be in communion with God. The last hymn describes to us the final union in allegoric language.

XII - The Hound of Heaven and the final union:

The Puranic mysticism of Arurar studied in the previous chapter agrees with his artistic mysticism, bridal mysticism, ethical and spiritual mysticism studied in this part. The Kapali, Bhikshatana and Nataraja are important conceptions from this point of view. To many of us in the struggle for existence, world or Nature appears red in tooth and claw. It is a never ending wheel of karma, ever moving and crushing us. It looks as though it is cutting away our head when going wrong and is still allowing us to live as though to get for more of our blood. It chases us like the Hound, wounds us, allows us to escape, but still pursues us, like the cat playing with the mouse. The wounds are inflicted. The Hound pursues with its unrelenting steadiness. This is the Kapali, the Hound of Heaven, appearing as this world and the karma. We think we can escape; but the Hound pursues us dancing frightfully in that graveyard of bones and corpses when in this race, mind finally turns away from the evanescent world to the permanent values, the eternal verities of life. Then dawns the knowledge in the mind of the soul that the Hound of Heaven is really our beloved Lord, pursuing us because of his mad attachment to us unable to bear our separation; He stands naked wanting nothing but our love, performing this great Tapas of a hunting race for attaining us. The Kapali appears as a Bhikshatana, the bewitching beauty. He crosses our way making assaults on our feminine modesty; the erstwhile wounds are His attempts at forceful abduction. They are really the imprints of His kisses. The souls are bewitched by His beauty and follow Him. Mind is purified, egoism disappears, there is no thought of the T; the Soul has no other existence apart from the Lord.

The karmas are completely washed out, the wounds are healed, and in worshipful prayer they are treasured as marks and signs of His love even by Him. “Ah, How my sins have become your feast?”—cries the lady-love—“Patakame coru parriyava”

This is Arurar’s theory of Grace—

Kurram ceyyinum kunamenak karutum kolkai”;
“Kurrame ceyinum kunamenak kollum kolkai”.

The world and the egoistic soul with all the karmas are thus transcended.

All this is not felt to be the victory of the Soul but the victory of the love of the Lord, His Astavira (the eight heroic deeds). There is no more death; Death has been conquered. There is no more lust; Kama has been burnt away into ashes, to be besmeared with as the purest love. The three malas or tripuras have no effect on us, for they have been burnt away to come into the service of the Lord and to become His divine art. The egotism (Daksa), the blind pride (Andhaka), the power (Cakra), intoxication (Jalandhara) are all dead. Where can all these be when the soul has no other thought but the Lord, when it is lost in Him and is one with Him?

There is a feeling of complete identity in this communion, the smaller self dying to live as the Higher Self. It is then the experience of Nataraja, the universal bliss, first, a dance of Ardhanari, a dance of communion, then ultimately the dance of the One where there is no feeling of duality.

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