பொருளடக்கம் பக்கம் செல்க

tiruvAcakam -part I
English Translation, Commentary of (late) Rev.G.U. Pope

tiruvAcagam or Sacred Utterances
of the Tamil Poet, Saint and Sage MAnikka-vACagar
Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1900
(part I - Hymns 1 -10 )

HYMN 1 (civapurANam)
Civan's way of Old (or)
Civan's Course from Everlasting

This has always been considered the first of MAnikka-vACagar's poems, and it has all the characteristics of a preface, as enumerated in the NannUl; but its very technical completeness makes its genuineness doubtful; and it rather apperars to have been added by the Tillai assembly when the lyrics of the Saint were first collected. In the VAthavUrar purANam(V II) it is said that after the divine Master had returned to Kailacam, the sage with the 999 devotees remained under the Kurunthu tree at Perunn-turrai, where the God had first appeared to him; erected a shrine there, and spent this time in adoration and praise, until his fellow-worshippers passed through the fire to Civan, leaving him alone. To this, the first period of his religious history, the following three poems belong; and also according to tradition, lyrics 19, 20, 23-29, 32-34, 36, 38, 39, 41-48, and perhaps a few others.
Here all the Tamil lines are of four feet, except the last, which has three only. The connection is VeNTaLai. The metre is veng-kalipA.

Hail, the five letters! Hail, foot of the Lord !
Hail, foot of Him Who not for an instant quits my heart !
Hail, foot of the Guru-pearl that rules in GOgari !
Hail, foot of Him Who becomes, abides, draws near as the Agamam !
Hail, foot of Him, the One, the Not-One, and the King ! (5)

Victory to the foot of the King, who soothed my soul's unrest and made me His !
Victory to the jewelled foot of Pinnagan, who severs continuity of birth !
Victory to the flower-foot of Him Who is far from those without !
Victory to the anklets of the King, rejoicing 'mid those that fold adoring hands !
Victory to the anklets of the glorious One, who uplifts those that bow the head ! (10)

Praise to the foot of ICan ! Praise to my Father's foot !
Praise to the foot of the Teacher ! Praise to Civan's roseate foot !
Praise to the foot of the Stainless, who in love stood near !
Praise to the foot of the King, who cuts off delusive birth !
Praise to the foot of glorious Perun-turrai's God ! (15)
Praise to the Mount, in grace affording pleasures that cloy not !

Because He, Civan, within my thought abides,
By His grace alone, bowing before His feet,
With joyous thought, Civan's 'Ways of Old' I'll tell,
That thus my former 'deeds' may wholly pass. (20)

I came, attained the grace the 'Brow-eyed' showed,
Adored the beauteous foot by thought unreached.
O Thou, Who fill'st the heaven, Who fill'st the earth, art manifested light,
Transcending thought, Thou boundless One ! Thy glory great
I, man of evil 'deeds' know not the way to praise ! (25)

Grass was I, shrub was I, worm, tree,
Full many a kind of beast, bird, snake,
Stone, man, and demon. 'Midst Thy hosts I served.
The form of mighty Asuras, ascetics, gods I bore.
Within these immobile and mobile forms of life, (30)
In every species born, weary I've grown, great Lord !

Truly, seeing Thy golden feet this day, I've gained release.
O Truth! as the OngAram dwelling in my soul,
That I may 'scape. O spotless one ! O Master of the bull !
Lord of the VEdas! Rising, sinking, spreading, subtile One ! (35)
Thou art the heat ! and Thou the cold ! the Master Thou, O spotless One !
Thou cam'st in grace, that all things false might flee,
True Wisdom, gleaming bright in splendour true,
To me, void of all wisdom, blissful Lord !
O Wisdom fair, causing unwisdom' self to flee far off ! (40)

Thou know'st no increase, measure, end ! All worlds
Thou dost create, protect, destroy, enrich with grace,
Release. Thou causest me to enter 'mid Thy servant band.
More subtile Thou than fragrance. Thou'art afar, art near.
Thou art the Mystic word, transcending word and thought. (45)
As when are mingled milk, sweet juice of cane and butter,
Thou dost distil, like honey, in the thought of glorious devotees,
And cuttest off the continuity of births - our mighty One !

Thou hast the colours five ! While heavenly ones extolled
Thou didst lie hid, our mighty Lord ! In the strong grasp of deeds, (50)
I lay, hidden amid illusion's shrouding gloom.
Thou binding with rare cords of virtue and of sin,
Didst clothe with outer skin, enveloping with worms and filth, -
Within my nine-gated dwelling foul bewildered,
By the five senses sore deceived, - (55)
To me, mean as I was, with no good thing, Thou didst grant grace,
That I, with mind erewhile embruted, - pure one ! - should
Become commingling love, in soul-subduing rapture melt !
Thou cam'st in grace on this same earth, didst show Thy mighty feet
To me who lay mere slave, - meaner than any dog, - (60)
Essential grace more precious than a mother's love !

Spotless splendour ! Brightness of full-blown flower !
O Teacher ! Honied ambrosia ! Lord of Civa-town !
O venerated One, Guardian, Looser of PAcam's tie,
Working in grace of love, that in my mind delultion may die out ! (65)
Great river of exceeding tenderness, with ceaseless flow !
Ambrosia that satiates not ! Infinite, almighty Lord !
Light unseen that lurks within the souls that sought Thee not !
Thou Who abidest in my soul, till melting waters flow !
Thou Who art without pleasure or pain, Who yet hast both ! (70)
Loving to loving ones ! Effulgent One, Who all things art,
And their negation too ! Great Master, whom no darkness gathers round !
First One, Thou'rt End and Midst, and art devoid of these !
Father, Lord, Who drew'st, and mad'st me Thine !
Eye of the minds that see by keenest glance of wisdom true, (75)
Hard to be eyed ! Subtle understanding, none can scrutinize !
Holy ! Who comest not, nor goest, nor mingling liv'st !
Guardian who guardest us ! Great Light whom none can see !
Flood of delight ! Father ! Light of all passing splendours
That appear ! Unutterably subtle Intellect ! (80)
Of all that in this world diverse pronounced as truth
Is known, Thou art the knowledge sure ! Full certitude !
Precious ambrosia, fountain welling up within ! My Owner Thou !

I can't endure, our Guru, in this changing straitened frame to 'bide.
Aran! All Thy saints made true invoke Thee, (85)
Worshipping abide, and praising Thee, from falsehood freed,
Hither return no more ! That deeds and birth cling not,
To sever bonds of this deceitful sensuous frame the might is Thine !
Lord who dost dance, trampling dense darkness down !
Dancer in Thillai ! Dweller in the Southern PAndi land ! (90)
Thou Who dost cut off evil birth ! - Adoring ever, Thee they name,
Whom words declare not; then 'NEATH THY SACRED FEET
In Civan's town who dwell, - full many a one, - beneath
The feet of Civan, lowly bending utter praise. (95)

HYMN II . kIrttit tiru akaval

(composed in Tillai, tiru vAtavUrar purANam, v. 62)

The sacred foot that danced in Tillai's city old
Is His, Who in all varied lives has energized;
Revealed in beauty of innumerous, varied qualities;
In earth, in sky, and in celestial worlds.
All ordered lore hath He revealed, and He made void. (5)
My darkness hath He driven for aye far off.
Within His servants' inmost soul that love o'erflows
He dwells, - His glory and His choice.
On great MahEndra's biding hill
In grace He caused the uttered Agamas appear. (10)
He came with the good goddess,
Pleasant and gracious, mingling with men at KallAdam.
With her whose words are milk in the 'fivefold couch,'
He caused sweet grace, that unfailing accumulates, to grow.
In guise of a woodman, of her whose lips are crimson, (15)
He sank in the lovely expanse of the swelling breast.
Becoming a fisherman He caught the shark.
And he received the Agamas, a rich spoil.
Moreover, on MahEndra seated, the self-same Agamas
From His five mouths He graciously spake forth. (20)
In our abode a BrAhman He became,
And as a deathless Guru dwelt in grace.
Assuming diverse forms, and diverse habitudes,
As hundreds of hundreds of thousands of natures,
I Can, Lord of the bull, that the world might be saved, - (25)
He and the Lady, His partner, - came in grace.
Bringing horses, in the Western land,
Right royally He rode in state.
In fair PuttUr, town of the dart, upon the bull He rode,
Made manifest His state and glorious pomp. (30)
In a mirror, at PuttUr of the santhal-wood,
Gave increase to the woodman armed with bow.
His form all flame, that held the 'gram-bag',
In magic beauty exquisite, of old he showed.
He whose extent to Hari and to BrahmA was not known, (35)
In goodness jackals into horse made,
To make him His, He of the sacred foot,
The chargers to the PAndiyan sold,
Nor deigned to take the heaped-up gold.
Our King made me His slave, and in the path of grace to keep, (40)
Made manifest the ancient brightening ray.
Becoming a BrAhman, graciously making me His own,
He showed the magic illusion.
Coming to Madura, the city great and fair,
He became a horse's groom. (45)
And therein too, for the female devotee
He condescended to carry earth.
In Uttara-KOca-Mangai abiding
He showed His special form.
In PUvanam he vouchsafed to appear in beauty, (50)
And showed His ancient spotless form.
In VAthavUr he came sweetly gracious
And caused the sound of His tinkling anklets to be heard.
In Perun-turrai's blissful home, a Blessed One He dwelt,
And guileful, in undimmed lustre hid Himself. (55)
In PUvalam, beauteous, sweet and gracious,
He sin destroyed.
A water-booth he placed, to gain the victory,
And graciously became an attendant who serves water.
He came a guest to VenkAdu. (60)
Beneath the Kurunthu tree He sat that day.
In royal Mangai, in fair beauty throned,
The eight great mystic powers in grace He gave.
Becoming a hunter, and assuming the form He desired,
In the forest with guile He lay hid. (65)
Exhibiting a body, assumed at pleasure,
He bore the fitting form.
In Jackal-town well pleased in grace
He became an earthly babe.
In PANTUr He came to dwell. (70)
In the resplendent island, in the south of DEvUr,
He assumed kingly state.
In sacred ArUr, famed for its honey-dripping groves,
He bestowed the gift of wisdom.
In Idai-maruthu, by hosts attended,
He planted His pure foot. (75)
Assuming the nature of Ekambam,
He became partner with his never-sundered queen.
In glory He dwelt in sacred VAnjiyam,
And delighted in the society of her of perfumed locks. (80)
He became an attendant bearing a mighty bow,
And assumed many various appearances,
He dwelt in a spacious home in KadambUr;
And showed Himself in beauty in the hill IngOy.
He became a Caivan in AiyAru. (85)
He abode with desire in Turutti.
In the 'town of the sacred palm' He dwelt desired.
In Karumalam He manifested His presence.
In the 'Vulture's Hill' He dwelt without a flaw.
In Purrambayam He taught virtues manifold. (90)
In KutRAlam He was for a sign.
Concealing His endless greatness in form of fire,
In beauteous disguise the only primal One assumed a form,
In magic splendour came in grace,
Took each one's nature into Himself,- (95)
Being the infinite Lord of grace, our king,-
Became a Sage as moonlight bright.
Thro' upper air descending to the beauteous LAND
He came in fairest form and filled with grace,-
Lord of the HILL MahEnthiram, mountain of mystic lore, (100)
The King of grace, immeasurably great !

If one could tell the way He made me His:
He showed His sacred form of power and grace;
He exhibited His BANNER of sacred ashes;
The RIVER of rapture that straightway (105)
All human vileness sweeps away, in grace He gave:
The Partner of the DAME, in mercy great !
While the great NATHA-DRUM spake loud
He made me His, so that impurity touches not.
He bears the mystic SPEAR, (110)
The splendour He whose flame pure light emits,
Who cuts away the primal threefold bond;
A loving one, the lotus GARLAND blue
In fragrant loveliness He wore;
Hari and BrahmA knew not Him to mete; (115)
On prancing charger forth He rode.
He shows in grace the way knows no return;
The old dominion of the PAndi LAND is His;

He bears to bliss supern His pious saints
Uttara-KOca-Mangai is His TOWN; (120)
To the primeval Beings He gives grace,
The GOD OF GODS His sacred NAME;
His VEHICLE is gift of joy dispels the dark;
His the MOUNT of grace that greatness gives,
Fitted to each one's lofty nature, each one's power; (125)
Meetly in love He makes them His;-
Me, cur, in Tillai filled with good,
He bade draw nigh th'all-glorious company;
Yet, Ah ! He left me here.
That day His servants who gained grace to go with Him, (130)
Mingled in perfect union with Himself,
While those that gained it not leaped on the fire !
Then did bewilderment come over them,
On earth they rolled, they fell, they wailed,
They rushed with eager foot to reach the sea; (135)
'Our Lord, Our Lord', they wept and called.

While those who gained His foot pressed near,
And cried, 'Celestial Dancer, who to Patanjali gave grace,'
And yearned to gain satiety of bliss,
He dances 'mid the company of beauteous 'Tiger-town', (140)
That golden beauty like HimAlaya wears,
There to Umai, whose roseate mouth is filled with sweetness,
And to KAli grants the beauteous smile of His blest countenance.
Thus the King with His assembled saints
Joyous hath entered 'Tiger-town,' with garners filled, (145)
High Lord of Kailai that resounds with rapturous song.

HYMN III - thiruvanndappahudi

This poem has an introduction of twenty eight lines, after which the praises of Civan are intermingled with somewhat intricate but ingenious allegories. The whole partakes of the nature of a rhapsody, - not without some sublimity, - and can be fully appreciated by those only who have studied the whole Caiva system as shown in Notes I-XVII. It is an imitation, it would seem of the Sanskrit Catarudriya or Hyme to Rudra. Yet, Civan - the Auspicious - is imagined by the Tamil Caivaites quite otherwise than by the northern and more ancient authorities Civan in the south is the Guru, the friend, ulmost the familiar companion, of His votaries, and is addressed with a mixture of awe and of simple affection that has a peculiar effect . Through all MAnikkaVacagar poems this personal relation of the God as manifested Guru to His devotees or disciples is, of course most prominent. I am not aware of anything quite like this in the mythology of the north though among the worshippers of Vishnu in His various incarnations something analogous may exist. Here lines 1-12 are very intricate, and emphasize two thoughts (1) that the Supreme in His greatness embraces all, and pervades the minutest things in His universe; and (2) that He is the unique Being, whose wondrous and admirable sublimity is not to be fully comprehended by any finite beings, gods or men. The two epithets the the Great One (line 6), and the Beautiful one. (line 12).

The idea of lines 13-16 is peculiar to the Caiva system, which teaches that there are three great processes carried on by Civan, the Supreme, in the Universe. In the beginning of each aeon He evolves the phenomenal universe, and through countless ages sustains it as the theatre of births and deaths - of the whole drama of metampsychosis; and at the end of each aeon He involves the phenomenal universe in its primal elements. These three processes of evolution,conservation and involution, are commonly assigned to three deities, of whom BrahmA is the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, and Civan the Destroyer. This however was seen to give to Civan an office apparently inferior, and certainly less gracious, than that which belongs to the other Gods. The South-Indian Caiva system boldly faces this difficulty. According to it there is really but one God. He is called, among many other names, Civan 'the Blessed One'. Vishnu and BrahmA and the other so-called gods are but dependent 'souls' like the rest, and at the beginning of each aeon their place and office for that aeon are assigned them by the Supreme as the result of merits accumulated. The BrahmA of the present aeon is the Demiurge or fashioner of The evolved Universe: he puts it into shape, and is the mere agent of Civan. This system invites us to contemplate the universe at the beginning of each aeon awaiting the action of the Supreme. Existence is eternal; it is subject to what are called deluges, or overhelming catastrophes, in which all the heavens, and all the regions of the abyss, all worlds, and all beings are restored to their rudimental condition, after which, by the will and operation of Civan they resume their normal manifestations. What exists at the beginning of an aeon

First, we have the Lord, Pathi, Sivan, PerumAn. He is the First Cause of all things; the only God. Inseparable from Himself, dwelling in Him,is His personified energy or Sakti --- his bride said to be the originator, source, fountain, beginning of all emotion, action, wisdom, and grace.

Secondly, we have Souls, lives, atomic existences,the flocks, pacu. These have now no embodiment , no powers, energies, or faculties,abiding like birds sleeping in the night on the branchces of some mighty tree, hardly to be distinguished from the tree itself, save that they live. These are definite in number, and are eternal; no addition can ever be made to the number of souls that are alive in the universe, none of them can ever die. Since, as we shall see, these may gain absolute identification with Civan-PerumAn and thus be embodied no more, the number of embodied souls diminishes; but no soul ceases to exist even after obtaining release, and being taken into God. It may be, according to this system, that the time shall arrive when all embodied lives have obtained release, and then the worlds will for ever cease and Civan be all in all. Each of these souls has its load of deeds which are stored up, and are a' parte ante, eternal; the result of which, in pleasure or in pain, each soul in some embodied form must experience. As the Caiva system says, The fruit of deeds must be eaten '

These souls, at the beginning of each aeon, crouch waiting for their embodiments. There are now no evolved worldsno heaven, no hell, no gods and demons, men. All these have been, and shall be,but now are not. That SOULS may be furnished with embodiments, and with worlds in which they may experience their fate, we have thirdly, the Bond, pAcam the eternal material cause of the creation. This is threefold, pure maya, impure maya and prakrithi, the of offspring of the latter, which is undefined. These three categories PATHI, PACU and PACAM - which we call roughly 'The God, SOUL AND MATTER' Are the subjects expounded in the Caiva Siddhantha Philosophy.

Civan's palpable and subtle existence

The developement of the sphere of the elemental universe,
Its immeasurable nature, and abundant phenomena,
If one would tell their beauty in all its particulars,
As when, more than a hundred millions in number spread abroad,
The thronging atoms are seen in the ray that enters the house, (5)
So is He the GREAT ONE, Who exists in the minutest elements.
If you would know Him, BrahmA and the rest with MAl,
His greatness, source, glory, and end,
Conjoined with His eternity, His extent, His abiding essence,
His subtile ant palpable manifestations, (10)
They sought to understand. As the rush of a mighty whirlwind
The Beauteous One drave them far in whirling course !

The operations of the Supreme

He is the Ancient One, Who creates the Creator of all;
He is the God, Who preserves the Preserver of things created;
He is the God, Who destroys the Destroyer; (15)
But, thinking without thought, regards the things destroyed.
To the six sacred sects with their six diverse kinds of men
He is the attainment of deliverance; and Source of being to the heavenly ones
He is the Possessor of all, Who resembles an insect.
Day by day He to the sun its lustre gave. (20)
In the sacred moon He placed its coolness;
Kindled in the mighty fire its heat;
In the pure ether placed pervasive power;
Endued the ambiant wind with energy;
To the streams that gleam in the shade their savour sweet, (25)
And to the expanded earth with its strength He gave;
For ever and aye, me and millions other than me,
All in their several cells hath He enclosed.

Forty epithets
See Him the First! See Him the Whole !
See Him Himself, Being without compare ! (30)
See Him adorned with the wild boar's ancient tusk !
See Him Whose girdle is the forest tiger's skin !
See Him with ash besmeared ! Whene'er I think and think,
See, I cannot bear the thought ! I perish overwhelmed !
See, in the sweet voiced lute He is the melody ! (35)
See, each thing, as its essence is, He knows !
See Him, the Infinite ! See Him, the Ancient One !
See Him, the Great One Whom BrahmA and MAl saw not !
See Him, the Wonderful! See, the Manifold !
See Him, the Ancient One, transcending words ! (40)
See, He dwells afar where human thought goes not !
See, He is taken in the net of piety !
See Him that One, Whose title is 'the only One' !
See, He extends throughout the wide extended earth !
See Him, more subtile than an atom small ! (45)
See Him, the King incomparably great !
See Him, the Precious One, rarest of all that's rare!
See, mingling with all beings, each one He cherishes !
See Him, the Subtile One, Whom science fails to see !
See Him, above, below, He spreads ! (50)
See the beginning and the ending He transcends !
See, the 'bond' and 'loosing' He ordains !
See, He is That that stands, and That that goes !
See, He discerns the aeon and its end !
See Him, the Lord Whom all may gain ! (55)
See, Civan Whom the gods know not !
See Him. the Male, the Female, and 'neither one'!
See, even I have seen Him with my eyes !
See, the ambrosial Fount, yielding abounding grace!

Lo, I have seen His mercy s might ! (60)
See, His roseate Foot this earth hath trod !
See Him, even I have known, the Blessed One !
See, in grace He made me His !
See, her His Spouse whose eyes are dark-blue lotus flowers !
See, Her and Him together stand ! (65)

The Sea and the Cloud

Lines 66-95 are well nigh untranslateable, for they contain a subtle and intricate allegory, by means of which the grace of the manifested Civan, who is praised under the title of the 'Cloud' is set forth. The idea is that the Infinite sea of rapturous supreme felicity is Civan, but - as the Cloud in the monsoon season sucks up water from the sea, and rises in black masses that cover the sky, while all the phenomena of the wonderful outburst of the beneficient, but also fearful, monsoon are exhibited - so does the Supreme manifest Himself as the Guru, the Object of Love, and Give of grace to His worshippers. In the monsoon season, lightnings flash from one end of the sky to the other, crested torrents sweep down over the hills, bearing with them uprooted plants and trees, and not unseldom huge snakes that have been disturbed from their rocky mountain hiding places. The various kinds of 'Gloriosa' spread forth their beautiful flowers like supplicating hands, while every valley and hollow is filled with water. Meanwhile, as the heat is most intense just before the burst of the monsoon, the poet pictures a troop of thirsty antelopes, deluded by the mirage which seems to offer them refreshing streams and shade: disappointed they are left to die of thirst in the wilderness. Meanwhile the pain of the fierce heat has ceased. Down the gorges of the hill the torrent rushes, and is received into tanks prepared for it by the expectant husbandmen. These lakes are fragrant with beautiful flowers, and on their banks the maidens have kindled fires with aromatic woods, at which they dry their hair and garments after the refreshing bath. The cultivators may now sow their seed and expect a rich harvest. All this is the work of the black clouds which drew water from the sea to fertilise the earth. In these lines every particular of the description has its mystical meaning, which hardly needs illustration. The student will compare VII, 61-64.

The ancient sea of bliss supreme is THAT indeed !
Appearing like a black vast CLOUD,
Arising in the hill of Petun-turrai blest,
Whilst sacred lightnings flash frorn every point -,
While serpent bright of sensual bondage dies -, (70)
While the sore sorrow of the fervent heat hides itsellf;
While the all-beauteous Hibiscus shines forth,
Swelling in its wrath like our mortal pain,
It sounds forth in mighty grace as a drum.
While the kAnthal stretches out supplicating hands, (75)
And the tender drops of sweet unfailing grace distil,
While the gleaming torrent swells on every side,
And rises to the highest banks of every lake -;
The 'demon-car' of the six sects
Excites the thirst of the large-eyed antelope throng. (80)
And they with eager desire crowd to drink;
And faint with unquenched thirst haste hither and thither:-
Meanwhile, the heavenly mighty stream
Rises and rushes, crowned with hubbles of delight,
Eddies around, dashes against the bank of our 'embodiment, (85)
And twofold deeds of ours growing from age to age, -
Those mighty trees, roots up and bears away.
It rushes through the cleft of the high hills,
Is imprisoned in the encircling lake,
Where grow the expanded fragrant flowers, (90)
In tank, where rises smoke of the agil, where beetles hum;
And as it swells with ever-rising joy,
The ploughmen-devotees in the field of worship
Sow in rich abundance seed ofdance seed of