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SAINT THAYUMANA SWAMIHAL - SAIVA VELLALAR PILLAI
Holy Saint Sri. Thayumanava
The World was my open book and Inner quest my deep study.
" Who am l? What am I? Whence am I ?
Such were my self-reflections during my school days. I kept aloof from home, society, and noisy crowds taking delight in inner communion. Home and school resented my dreamy mood and crazy solitude. One day I was treated harshly by my kith and kin. I ran for refuge to the temple and there hugged the feet of God. I surrendered my life into the hands of the Divine Grace. '0 Grace, I take refuge at Thy feet. Lead me to Light from this dark vale of tears. Reveal to me the mystery of life and its mission. Keep me here to fulfil that mission and call me back to be with Thee". I sobbed in a frenzy of spontaneous fervour. I felt a warm current traversing my heart and brain and a descent from above which continues to this day. I was reborn in the Grace and could now understand the meaning of life and the language of the soul.
I sat in a dark corner of the temple forgetting body and world when a song attracted me to the lotus tank nearby There, in the bright moon light, some monks were singing together a song that touched my soul.
"The Silent One possessed me in Silence
So on went the song which brought me peace and joy. I learnt from the monks the song and for the first time knew about its author, Sage Thayumanavar. I secured a copy of his works and treasured it in my bosom. The Hymns of Sage Thayumanavar became the guiding light of my life. I still believe that the Divine Grace gave a silent friend to my Pilgrim Soul.
The hymns of Thayumanavar removed my gloom and solved my mental problems. It unravelled the riddle of existence. Each line was a message and each message a vision of Truth. Each truth was a spark of intuition and each intuition had a transforming force. The style of Thayumanavar was limpid, simple, straight, bright, profound and sweet. It flowed from the abundance of Soul's delight in rapturous union with the Beloved. Every hymn is a gem of divinity. It is an enchanting flute-voice of the soul that touches all souls. The poet was song and the song the poet. This is the message of the Seer Poet:
The unique One pervades all beings. All are one in that.
Now let us see the evolution of his life towards Divinity.
The rock temple at Trisirapuram is a marvel of lndian architecture. It enshrines the image of Thayumanavar - the God of Mother love. The temple is busy with crowds of devotees singing devotional songs and dancing in ecstasy. Among them we see a brilliant boy, fair in colour, tall in stature, with rosy cheeks, lotus face and phosphorescent eyes beaming with grace and rays of knowledge. The boy contemplates upon the Divine for a while and then leaves the crowd. He quickly gets up to the topmost temple of the hill. There Ganesa stands. The boy sits self immersed, meditates a while, and then sings:
"Rare is human birth.
The boy seeks a spiritual teacher to initiate him in the secret of the divine art. He stands again before Lord Thayumanavar and pours out his soul's aspirations into songs.
He becomes silent in meditation, tears gushing out of his eyes in pearl drops of ecstasy.
A tall stately man comes in haste. He looks here and there and catches hold of the boy saying, "Come home; how long are you to be here? Come !" That is his father, Kediliappa. Kediliappa ' literally means immortal Father. Born to this mortal father. the boy sought Father, the immortal. This saintly boy is our Thayumanavar. He was named after the Deity of the Rock-Temple. Kediliappa Pillai, a Chola Vellala was an administrative officer of the Naik Kingdom.
Kediliappa originally lived at Vedaranyam, a famous pilgrim centre. He was the trustee of the local temple. He was a learned man high in intellect and wide in heart. His wife Gajavalli was a pious lady humming devotional songs while attending to house-keeping. Their home was surrounded by a divine aureole. The liberality of their hearts expressed itself in charity and hospitality. There was a royal dignity in the personality of Kediliappa, and a remarkable sweetness in his words. His elder brother, Vedaranyam, a great scholar well placed in life, had no children. Kediliappa offered his own boy Siva Chidambaram in adoption to the elder brother. The brother's face glowed with joy and there was sunlight again in his life.
Those were days of the Naik kings. The Pandyann dynasty had declined. The Naik chiefs of Vijayanagar possessed the Madurai Kingdom ( 1559-1736). Visvanatha, Tirumalai, and Mangammal were noteworthy rulers of Madurai. They were great patrons of art and poetry. The grandson of Mangammal was Vijaya Ranga Chokkanatha. He set up his residence at Thrisirapuram. He was a pious man, but not a statesman. He ruled for twenty-seven years ( 1704-1731 ). His kingdom was often attacked by the Maharattas and the Mussalmans. He wanted strong assistants. His minister Govindappa one day came to Vedaranyam. Kediliappa received the august guest with temple honours and entertained him under his hospitable roof. Both of them spoke on religion and politics. The Minister said, "Kedili, you are a scholar, a devotee, an astute statesman, a clever diplomat and a keen accountant. You are just the man that we are seeking. Come with me and serve the King". Kediliappa shifted his family to Trisirapuram. King Chokkanatha, pleased even at the firstsight, took Kedili into his council and gave him a free hand in the management of his household. Kedili was faithful to the king, alert to his duty and timely in advising him against enemies. Chokkanatha treated him like a brother. Kedili's fame and fortune flourished day by day. There was only one gloomy spot in his life; that was the absence of a child to cheer his home.
He and his wife went daily to the rock-temple and prayed to Swami Thayumanavar for a child. They fed saints and made gifts to scholars. Kedili chanted holy songs. He also arranged for Vedic recitals before the sanctum of Thayumanavar. While the atmosphere was thus charged with holy vibrations, his wife Gajavalli became enceinte. Gajavalli spent her days in prayer and holy hearing. One day devotees were chanting the soul-thrilling psalms of Maniccavachakar when Gajavalli delivered the gifted child. That child was named Thayuamavar, for it was born by the grace of Thayumanavar Swami. Kedili was overjoyed at the sight of his luminous son, radiant in beauty. Temple bells rang in blessings.
Everyone was attracted to this lovely child. King Chokkanatha admired the boy and marked him for his service. The father brought up the son with high hopes. He taught him Tamil and Sanskrit, spiritual lore and statecraft. The king was satisfied with his progress. He was the cynosure of saints and scholars. He was an adept in Vedanta and Siddhanta. He read with rapture the hymns of Saints like Maniccavachakar, Appar, Sambandhar and Sundarar. He mastered the Meikanda Sastras. These are holy books in Tamil.
He studied the Upanishads, side by side with Tiruvachakam. He was a clever logician and none could rival him in discussions. But, he was not satisfied with book-lore. Books did not reveal the Blessed One cradled in his heart. Words did not quench his thirst. From sunrise to sunset, he was seeking for something within, for somebody that can lead him to the fount of Self-Conscious Bliss. He had a rich home. He had free access to the King's palace. He was welcomed in royal circles. But the born sage preferred solitude to company, reflection to reading and introspection to speaking. Words were loads to him, and books burdens. He went often to the rock-temple and spent his time in meditation and prayer. In the bosom of purified calmness, in the silent seclusion of inner peace, he sought Self-reality with all the fervour of his faith. His eyes flowed with tears of yearning. His lips throbbed with songs of spiritual melancholy. He had the sage-mind of Pattinattar, the contemplation of the Buddha, the inspiration of Vedic seers, the fervour of Maniccavachakar, the humility of Appar and the faith of Sambandhar. Nuggets of golden truth, cast in brilliant couplets, came out of the inner mine. Then longer poems flowed out spontaneously. Showering tear-pearls gushing out of his lotus eyes, the boy saluted and contemplated upon the Supreme. Learning yielded to yearning.
Thayumanavar saw the Hata-yogins controlling breath and twisting their bodies. He saw religionists in hot discussion; he saw verbomaniacs quarrelling about the God whom they cannot even imagine. He sought solace in the Unique One who is all and all in all.
He invoked His grace day and night for a Guiding Light.
Kediliappa did not live to see the brilliant manhood of his son. He joined the majority while yet Thayumanavar was in his teens. His father's death intensified his yearning for spiritual freedom. "With this body, I must attain liberation ", This was his resolution. But the King would not leave him to himself. " Dear Thayumanavar, serve me in your father's place" said he. Thayumanavar had to obey the King. He became the Chancellor of exchequer of the Naik Kingdom. He fulfilled his state duties to the entire satisfaction of the King who loved him more and more. His Rani Meenakshi, fondled him. She was ready to do anything for him. People liked his gentle manners and benevolent heart. He did his duty for duty's sake; but his heart was aloof from the distractions of state affairs. He saw what the world was and took lessons from what he saw.
Those were troubled times. Trisirapuram was a field of conflicting forces. The throne was shaken by invasions and revolutions. Political butchery, local treachery, social animosity, royal indolence and religious pretence disrupted the harmony of life everywhere. The marauding Maharatta hordes and the invading Nawab's forces were lurking in ambush in the vicinity. The clatter of enemy swords enervated the Naik forces. Thayumanavar saw with open eyes the danger of royal courts disrupting by flippant pleasures. The kingdom was a web of spies and a trap of enemies. The friends of today became the foes of to-morrow. None can play with fire without being scorched. Thayumanavar did not like to be caught in this political turmoil. He witnessed a thousand golden hypocrisies and pitied humanity caught in the coils of temptation.
Thayumanavar despised the mere life of carnal desires and sex indulgence. Yoga was his deep aspiration. A Master sought the Seeker.
One day Thayumanavar went up the rock-temple for his daily worship. There he met a Sage who belonged to the order of St. Tiru Mula. The Master and the disciple discovered each other. The disciple fell at the feet of the Master, shedding tears of joy and poured out his heart in sublime hymns.
The Master blessed him graciously, took him alone, and accepted his devotion.
"Master" said the disciple, "I shall follow Thee, renouncing home and royal service."
"Wait. good soul! " admonished
Thayumanavar shed tears of joy and gratitude at the love of his gracious
The free soul, hungering for the inner delight, cannot live in the limitations of a royal court. Its proud pleasures are flimsy shows of sanity. It is a place for flatterers and not for sages and seer-poets. Thayumanavar would make his life a song-offering to the Divine of his heart. He would live in the Divine, for the Divine. He lived in tune with the Infinite and would not seek the lightning smile of royal favour. He would be the king of the Spirit's kingdom and never a slave of worldly empires. He would enjoy the soul's birth-right.
He remembered God in all the changing phases of life. He aspired for grace and never for gold.
As knowledge dawned upon the aspirant, he rose above the mythic imagination of mental poets, coloured exaggerations, fads, creeds, cults and dogmas. Faith in the inner reality gave him force. Force fructified into grace and grace into knowledge. He drew the mind from the wandering senses into inner recollection, and contemplated upon the pure reality which he was. He discriminated the Spirit from the body of nature. He internalised his attention, intensified his concentration, controlled his thoughts and lulled his mind to meditation. A dynamic peace possessed him. His heart widened into a deep compassion for all. His equal vision saw one Soul in the king and in the subject. Life in harmony with the Divine was eternal springtime; life in separation was cyclonic winter. His brain thought, his heart loved, his vital liked nothing but the Divine.
The invincible Grace heard his heart-beat. It influenced the king. Chokkanatha was a devotee of Siva and lover of saints. He saw a holy saint in his secretary, Thayumanavar. "Thayumanavar," said the king one day. "your Pilgrim Soul seeks the inner temple. I see the hidden light flaring up in your emotional symphony. We see the world with a thousand-eyed mind and arc deluded. You see the spirit of things with the one-eyed heart. Can the myriad-eyed night equal the one-eyed day ? Your soul hungers after the Supreme Reality. State service is a hindrance to your aspirations. Waste not your days in politics and diplomacy's. You are no more the king's servant; the king is your servant. Come, I shall raise a peaceful Ashram for you, and you can fix yourself in yoga there".
"I am grateful to you. O king; God has heard my prayer from your heart. I am liberated; thanks " said the saint, and he repaired to the banks of the Kaveri to continue his meditation. The king raised a fine hermitage on the river bank and served the saint devoutly.
The saint was self-absorbed. The mind was nullified like a burnt camphor, in the flames of self-consciousness. Body-consciousness was lost in the Infinite Spirit. The body changes and falls like the petals of a flower. The immortal Spirit rises up at the magic touch of the Divine Energy generated by meditation. The saint realised the self of all throbbing in his heart. He felt the pinch of hunger when any one was hungry. He shivered when a poor man had no clothes for the winter.
One day the king offered him a rich shawl. At that moment, a poor old lady passed by shivering in cold. Thayumanavar gave the shawl to the lady, saying " Mother, you need this more than I". The king felt insulted and demanded an explanation.
Swami, I gave a fine shawl for your use
No caste, no hag !
The great silent sage, Sadasiva Firahmam, sanctified the atmosphere of India in those days. He moved steeped in trance. The sky was his roof and earth his home. To see him was to know the Real. His songs were already popular among the learned. On his way to Pudukottah, Sage Sadasiva met Thayumanavar (1738). Their meeting was like the meeting of Vedanta and Siddhanta.
"Silence is Peace; Silence is Bliss; Silence is Knowledge" wrote the sage.
Thayumanavar already a lover of Silence, became yet more silent.
The time was troubled by plots of enemy chiefs and by open skirmishes. Now the Maharatta cannon thundered and now the Musalman powder exploded. The foreigners became aggressive.
Peace was in exile and war shook the land with terror. Traitors betrayed masters. Enemy spies created divisions in the camp. King Chokkanatha was a good man but not a good ruler. He called to his help, anybody and everybody. The only true helper was the Tondaman of Pudukottah, a brave hero who guarded the Trisirapuram fort with the help of his Marava heroes. But a double-dealing Iago sent a secret spy to the sabre-rattling Maharattas. The Maharattas had politics in their brain and courage in their heart. One night when everything seemed quiet, the fort entrance opened; the main door swang aside; trumpets were heard, guns reported; cannons boomed; the Maharattas were in the heart of the city.
Chokkanatlla was choked with grief. He must either become his enemy's prisoner or die, shedding blood in fighting an overwhelming force. Chokkallatlla would do neither. He shouted aloud the name of God: " Siva, Siva, how false is the world! How dangerous sovereignty and how heavy the crown! Man has a treacherous tiger in him. How can I trust human nature? I take refuge at Thy feet, Siva ! Siva ! " The king died of broken heart. The pathetic scene inspired the Naik army with new courage. Raghu natha Raya Tondaman, the famous king of Pudukottah, took charge of the task of guarding the fort: vigilant swords and cannons kept the Maharatta hordes at hay. The Tondaman crushed the enemies whose plots were leading to a conflagration. The dread of war being over, Rani Meenakshi, the widow of Chokkanatha, assumed sovereignty (1731-1736).
The first man to attract the queen was Saint Thayumanavar.
"Holy Sir" implored Queen Meenakshi. "I am helpless and alone. You are the only wise man whom I can trust. Your head and heart alone can save the Kingdom. Its welfare depends upon you. Come and help me, in the name of my husband who loved you so much !"
The saint took pity upon the helpless queen; he felt obliged to do his best to maintain peace and restore order in the realm. Under his influence, treachery was knocked down like an uprooted tree. The den of misrule became a heaven of order and discipline, under the control of Thayumanavar. The Rani was all regard for him. But her regard carried passion into her youthful heart. His beauty of person his strong will, wisdom, sagacity, political acumen, religious fervour, austerity and sweet words, worked like magic upon her imagination. Regard turned into affection, affection into love, love into lust, and lust inflamed hidden passions in the uncontrolled mind. She treated him like her close companion. The friendship ripened into love; and she approached him alone one night with a pining heart, with passion-lost modesty. She stood before the meditating saint like an image of love-lorn beauty. The saint knew her wiles.
Thayumanavar: What has brought you here, Queen, at this hour ?
Queen: My heart has brought me to you, sir. I offer myself to you in surrender. I love you.
Thayumanavar: But I love none but the Divine in my heart.
Queen: Sir, consider me as your wife.
Thayumanavar: I consider you as my Mother. Mother, do not test me. I am your simple child.
Queen: My lord, I dedicate my life to you; embrace me now, or I shall embrace death.
Thayumanavar: That shall not be, Mother. O God, save me from the noose of lust. Divine Force, save me from this flashing sword of lustful eyes. Let not my purity be killed by its venomed edge.
Queen: My beloved sir, I shall give you all my wealth; love me.
Thayumanavar: Woman. your wealth is filth.
Queen: I surrender my kingdom to you.
Thayumanavar: Your kingdom is wardom. Leave me in peace.
Queen: My man, it is the Queen's order. Obey me.
Thayumanavar: I obey only the King's order. The King of my soul is God.
The Rani cast a lust-lit look and departed like stormdriven lightning. Her love changed into wounded pride; she meant harm and the saint knew it.
Next day, she was determined to force him to her will. She ordered one of her ministers, Narayanappa, to bring the saint to her private apartment. The minister went, saw, came back and reported that the saint escaped; his whereabouts not known ! She sent spies abroad. But before she could avenge herself, civil war raged in the kingdom; Chanda Saheb assailed her capital; conspirators and opportunists shattered her peace and the minister himself rebelled against this woman of intolerable pride and suspicious conduct. We shall see the result of these political upheavals later on.
Where was Thayumanavar ? How did he escape the guards and the spies? Silent, aloof, meditative, Thayumanavar had watched the play of the egoistic forces in the royal court since the sudden death of the king. Opportunists and sycophants thought the honest saint a stumbling block on their way to power. How can the blind know the sun? They knew that the queen loved him. They made her believe that Thayumanavar was an impostor. Influential talebearers, wicked slanderers, double-tongued flatterers, who won her favour, poured gentle venom into her ears. " O Queen, I sounded his heart today; it is flaming with passion for you. He closes his eyes just to adore your image installed in his soul. Meet him alone; He will fall at your feet; he is your slave; see that today !" Thus the cunning courtiers calumniated the saint and induced the queen.
The saint knew the nature of the worldly; he heeded not the dagger-look of jealousy, the frown of insolence and the nuisance of talebearers. With a calm self-gathered inner strength, he was prepared for the coming events. Daily he was making himself ready to leave the capital. He had two trusted disciples. Arulayya, the first disciple, had the gift of clairvoyance: " Master, the talebearers are working out a plot that would cost you either your sainthood or your life. So, I am removing the family property to Vedaranyam. It is under the Maharatta king of Tanjore. These people cannot go there." The saint nodded his assent. Arulayya quietly removed all valuables to Vedaranyam along with a merchandise. Everything was kept ready for the saint outside the fort. That particular night, the saint dressed himself as a Naik soldier and escaped watching eyes. The horse was ready; Arulayya was there to do everything. They quickly crossed the boundary of the kingdom. And then, Thayumanavar, in the robes of a wandering sanyasi, joined a party of monks bound for Rameswaram. In those days, the Maravas of Sivaganga and Ramnad raised the standard of national Independence against alien powers that usurped the throne of the Tamil Nadu. Even to the end of the eighteenth century, the brave Maravas fought for national freedom and gave shelter to political refugees. It so happened that the party which opposed Rani Minakshi, hatched its plot in the Marava territory, from Sivaganga and Ramnad. So Thayumanavar made haste to reach Ramnad where he could live unmolested by the Rani's men. The king of Ramnad received the saint with due reverence and gave him a garden home for the practice of his yoga.
Thayumanavar went to Rameswaram and there dedicated thrilling psalms to the Universal Mother who saved him from the dangerous lust of the Rani. Any how he had to guard himself from spies and traitors.
Thayumanavar remembered the words of Sadasiva Brahman and he practised inner Silence as well as outer. The mouth would not open for words and his mind for thoughts. At this juncture he met another (1743 ) time near Mana Madurai the Silent Brahman and received his blessings. The Brahman wrote a famous book called Atmavilas which pleaded for perfect silence and solitude and aloofness in utter renunciation. This book was explained to Thayumanavar. Thayumanavar wrote many poems in the light of Atmavilas. Sadasiva said in it,
"Live not in the crowd of men; run away to solitude.
Thayumanavar steeped himself in meditation and in writing his spontaneous hymns which Arulayya copied and gave to the world.
Silence opened the psychic centres and meditation absorbed cosmic energy and awakened Divine knowledge so that the Sage lived in tune with the Self and wove his realisations into sublime verses.
He scarcely saw the people. The few that sought him were satisfied with hearing his hymns sung by Arulayya every evening. The garden where Thayumanavar lived is marked today by a small temple where his image is adored. There too an offer came to him from the Royal court, but he refused it. "I have seen enough of this political and social drama. I have watched the world and I prefer silence all the more. Silence is my book of Knowledge." wrote the saint. He forgot the past in self-immersion. He opened his heart to divine love. He entered inner solitude, plunged into inner silence, and settled in the deeper Self. He kept his self-level, even like the ocean which overflows not by the inflow of rivers and which dries not by evaporation.
In meantime, the political turmoil in Madura and Trisirapuram ended in a tragedy for the Queen. Rivals joined the Nawab and brought about her downfall. Chanda Sahib ravaged her kingdom and imprisoned her. She drank poison and died. Thayumanavar saw the tragedy of selfish pride, greed, vanity, ambition and treachery that made a hell of human life. He saw the fate of passion. He saw how rival forces endangered kingdoms. His way was now free from the queen's spies.
Just at this time, his elder brother, Siva Chidambaram, came to Ramnad and persuaded him to return to Vedaranyam, where he could live conveniently and carry on his yoga. Thayumanavar started with Arulayya, visited Madura and other pilgrim centres on the way and reached Vedaranyam. The village received its sage with temple honours. Thayumanavar entered his ancestral home. A bride awaited his arrival. His relatives entreated him to marry her and to show the world how one can be yogin and a householder at the same time. There was the word of his Master too. The Brahmacharya life of Thayumanavar was so disciplined, he was physically and spiritually so strong that he could live in communion with God, wherever he might be. So, the saint married the chosen bride, the fair and chaste Mattuvarkuzhali meaning 'lady of flowing fragrant tresses'. Both lived together like life and body. They got a child who was named Kanakasabhapati. Thayumanavar initiated his wife in Yoga and meditation, after the birth of the child.
Man is the same Divine essence as the woman. The difference lies only in the body and the mind of emotions. Otherwise, both are equal spirits. The spirit of both is god. Mind, life and body are garments of the god in the spirit. Get in; gather in the mind; Plunge into the heart. Go deeper and deeper and touch the spirit; then open your eyes and see. You can see the same spirit that you yourself are throbbing in the other sex too. You will then enjoy beauty of the sex just as you enjoy the beauty of a fresh lotus floating like cups of the divine smile on waters. All vital emotions come from outside and attack the mind. Close the door against all evil influences; then, the mind and heart can rest in the peace of the soul. This is done by purity of thought, of word, of deed, of companionship, of food, of drink and of sleep. In all these necessary functions, keep to the ideal of holiness and purity. Then the soul will be crystal-pure. Keep the witness-attitude towards thoughts that move the mind. Do not wander with them. Watch the breath coming in and going out. The thought centre is the same as the breath-centre. To control the thought, breath-control is a great help. Do ten pranayamas in open air before the rosy dawn and meditate for half an hour. Do likewise before the rosy eve. This will tame the mind and emotions and restore perfect peace. The concentration is developed by self-fixity and that by studying and listening to holy books and by keeping holy company. Pure, sweet and substantial vegetable food twice a day at the call of hunger, will do to keep the body strong enough for a disciplined life. You must be very careful about your diet, its purity, quality and measure. Do not give room for constipation and irritation. Peace and holy thoughts are as good for the mind as milk and fruits for the body.
The sex energy is meant mainly for the propagation of the race for which a little would suffice; the energy must never be wasted. The sex function must be carefully limited to the getting of progeny and must not be indulged in for its own sake. Sex can be controlled day by day, by family men, by means of meditation and worship. Let the wife regard her husband as shiva. Let them worship each other in that attitude of mind and meditate together for half an hour at dawn and dusk. Then, day by day, they will learn to live in pure spiritual devotion and forget vital passions that spoil their health and disturb their thoughts and distract their soul.
Thayumanavar and his wife lived such a life of purity and meditation. He read to her ancient books of wisdom. He dedicated song-flowers to the divine every day and explained them to his companion in life. They lived a simple life and gave liberally to the needy. Thayumanavar, like his father, supervised the local temple. He made it thrill with the songs of saints and vedic hymns.
But unfortunately, Thayumanavar's wife passed away saying, "Lord, renounce the world after educating my boy and placing him well in life and not before let my soul rest in Thee !"
The sage Thayumanavar was faithful to his duty as a father. He educated his son, placed him with his elder brother and waited for the next command from his Master.
Thayumanavar was now soul-free; he kept himself aloof from home affairs. He gave away a part of his wealth to his son and another part to charitable endeavours and a third part to the temple, keeping for himself the wealth of divine Grace. The time was ripe; the Master came one day when he was meditating before the vast sea near Vedaranyam. Thayumanavar fell at his feet crying:
"Master, by Thy Grace, I am free to follow Thee. Bless me with Thy Grace. Let me enter the high plane of superconscious trance. Let my being thrill with the nectar of immortality"
The words uttered by the Master were woven into hymns and became the Philosophy of the Silent Sage.
The Master graciously looked at the ripe soul and said,
"My darling, your psychic being is ripe enough to receive that yoga.
"My son, hear from me the ancient wisdom taught by Sri Mula and Satyadarsi and sing it to humanity.
The world of manifold appearances is the multiplicity of one Divine
The body is the mechanism of the Mayashakti, the illusive Force of
The Divine Grace transforms life into love and love into bliss.
"Dear one, keep these in mind and renounce everything for the sake of
The Divine Master, then initiated the faithful disciple in superconscious trance, poured his energy into him and watched his progress for a few days before he disappeared.
Thayumanavar received the words of the Guru with all the sincere devotion of a true seeker. expressing his deep gratitude in sublime verses. Then he went to Chidambaram.
The heart feels joyful as one thinks of Chidambaram, sanctified by holy saints. Thayumanavar stood there in the entrancing presence of Lord Nataraja. He was bathed in tears of emotion. He forgot himself in trance. He poured his heart's fervour into hymns of sublime wisdom.
"There is no treasure higher than Thy Grace.
"Every religion hails Thee as its God
Thayumanavar was steeped in trance for a month or two at Chidambaram and then went on a pilgrimage to Arunagiri, Kanchipuram, Tiruvotriyur, Tiruvarur, Madura and other places before he finally reached Rameshwaram.
The world's life depends upon rain. Rains failed and famine raged fearfully. Thayumanavar meditated before Lord Ramanatha at Rameshwaram for the good of the land. He looked up and prayed. "Pour down O Blessed heavens if it is true that God is one and His blissful path is path "
Heavens heard his prayer. The clouds gathered; lightnings flashed; thunder roared; and rains poured and poured until the tanks were full and the fields were green and famine was no more. The Raja of Ramnad and his subjects worshipped the Sage and brought him to Ramnad in a palanquin. It is said he mobilised the Marava Chiefs to ward off foreign impacts.
Thayumanavar rejected all royal honours and preferred to spend his life in a garden hut in Lakshmipuram . Thayumanavar entered into deep trance. From that highest state of divinity, he poured out his spiritual intuitions in sublime verses. He wrote them on palm leaves. His disciples Arulayaya and Kodikkarai Jnani copied and sang them to the public.
The songs spread like wild fire. The sage did not like publicity. He wrote in silence, lived in silence and steeped himself in Divine Silence. His mission was fulfilled. The purpose of his embodiment was over. He prayed for a strong body only for self realisation. He was now in perfect union with the Divine, immersed in That consciousness. The body was dead to him. So he willed to shed it off. He entered into his samadhi-room and closed the door, leaving a note outside on which these words were written:
The disciples read this with great joy and meditated before the door. There was no stir inside; it was very late for supper; Arulayya gently called, knocked; no response. He broke open the door. Ah, what did he see ! The body lay there; the face was smiling as usual; but the Soul that was the real sage had flown away like a bird from its cage.
It was on a full moon day in the month of January 1742 that Thayumanavar entered the final beatitude. 15th January is this Saint's day. The disciples, the Rajah and the local worthies adorned the body, took it in procession, paid their last honours and buried it, singing his hymns.
The real Thayumanavar, His Spirit, still endures and shall ever live in his soul-thrilling hymns. Hail Thayumanavar !!
Books there are in plenty, perpetually pouring in torrents from the printing press. Books of Light and Wisdom were written long before the invention of printing. They were written in peace and silence. They were the Voice of Silence. Many books of to day are mere words, words spun round a few ideas. Some are big in size but poor in substance. Some are books on books and some merely bookish. Some are monotonous fads and pet rigmaroles. Scarcely a hundred can be said to be thoroughly original and of eternal interest as reliable guides to collective living.
The Upanishads, The Gita, The Bible The Light of Asia, Shakespeare, Dante, Sufi Sadi's Gulistan, Thirukural of St. Valluvar, Valmiki, Tulasi and Kamba Ramayanas, Mahabharatam, The Revelations of Satyadarsi, The Hymns of Thayumanavar, Maniccavachakar Ramalinga and the Bharata Sakti are the most precious books of eternal value in the world literature.
The hymns of Thayumanavar bring high solace to life; to hear them is to elevate life and soul. To live them is to enjoy the highest Bliss in spiritual consciousness. They are dynamic song-thrills that spark out of the Bliss-centre. Even a song a day will do to elevate human life towards Divine transcendence. Thayumanavar, is an out and out scripture for Saints and Yogins. It covers the entire field of Yoga and Jnana. It brings high solace to house-holders purifying their mind and heart. It feeds the flames of inner communion in real Yogins. There is not a single Tamilian who does not sing Thayumanavar and find joy in it. Every home cherishes it. Every mother puts her child to bed with its sweet symphony. The hymns of Thayumanavar are sublime music of the Soul, the song of the inner Spirits, and sparks of Divine Essence. It is very difficult to render them into another language. Any how I have ventured to do it during my silent hours of inner Communion with the immortal Spirit of the Saint. Now readers, imagine that the Saint is sitting in your heart while reading these rhythmic lines in deep ingathered tranquillity. They will exalt your thoughts and emotions to Supernal heights of peace and bliss.
Dr. B. Natarajan of Chennai (Madras), India (1978)
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