Sunday, 17 June 2018

ASPIRING TO ATTAIN THE HIGHEST GOAL

In the movie Dr Strange, the Ancient One tells the medical doctor, to his disbelief, that when the mind is elevated, the spirit deepens, the body heals. The Siddhas have told us to bring about noble thoughts in us and together with good practices enhance the physical body that leads to Atma Balam, where the spirit gains strength. The healing then takes place, the body goes through a dramatic change bringing it closer and closer to a divine state and eventually becomes divine in nature.

The Ancient One adds, "You cannot beat a river into submission. You have to surrender to its current, and use its power as your own." When the Dr ask how can by surrendering, one take control of it?, "I control it by surrendering control? That doesn't make any sense", she replies, "Not everything does. Not everything has to. Your intellect has taken you far in life. But it will take you no further. Surrender, Stephen. Silence your ego and your power will rise."

Everyone can attain a divine nature. That is what we have come for. It is not the sole proprietorship of a selected few. All our ancient texts have been asserting and driving the need to be noble in thought and deed. From this point we proceed to several other stages and eventually attain divinity in this very physical body of ours.

Ramalinga Adigal has spoken of the various stages of spiritual experiences. 

The 16 stages and above of spiritual experiences are:

1. Jeeva Sakiram or Normal wakefulness.

2. Jeeva Sorpanam or Normal dreaming and

3. Jeeva Suluthi or Normal ignorance, three stages where human beings lead a mundane life without even a thought of its transient nature.

The next stage is 4. Sutha Sakiram or Perfect wakefulness, the 1st state of the soul where the spiritualist are aware of the momentary nature of life; are conscious of the world and external objects; and enjoy gross things.

The fifth stage is 5. Sutha Sorpanam or Perfect dream, the 2nd state of the soul where the spiritualist seeks to see the Lord and feels himself inseparable; untiring searches for God; and enjoys subtle things.

6. Sudha Suluthi or Perfect ignorance or sound sleep or dreamless state, is the 3rd state of the soul where the spiritualist only desires God; has neither dreams nor desires; and his soul is temporarily one with Brahman enjoying its bliss.

7. Sudha Turiyam or Perfect experience or Supra-mental awareness, the 4th stage of the soul, where lust and the veils covering the soul for generations are shed one after the other; the soul is cleanse by Arutperunjhoti; and spontaneous impulses of love for God arise; and absolute union with Brahman comes about.

8. Para Sakiram or Higher wakefulness.

9. Para Sorpanam or Higher dream or Supra mental dream where the spiritualist enjoys the grace of the Lord and is in ecstasy.

10. Para Suluthi or Higher ignorance or Supra mental unknowing, where the shackles are removed by Arutperunjhoti; and the spiritualist has heavenly experiences. Above this stage, God is un-manifested.

11. Para Turiyam or Atma Tarisanam or Supra-mental perfection, where tasting God; and the glory of Arutperunjhoti; the soul is charged with divine grace; the spiritualist realizes the greatness of God's grace and his smallness; self-realization or Atma Tarisanam on the soul as an atom as brilliant as the sun takes place.

12. Guru Sakiram or Shiva Sakiram, where perceiving God in the form of light, the soul is saturated with compassion and love; it experiences divine life (Uyir Anubhavam); attains purity of the body or golden body (Sutha Degam), (the extent of achievement is dependent on the grace of Arutperunjhoti). Uyir Anubavam in Sudha Degam, where transformation to pure body; love incarnates; universality of love in all fellow beings arises; oneness in life is achieved; he/she sees the divine in all life forms; sees the smallness of oneself and greatness of God; and experiences the spontaneous flow of God in him/her. The spiritualist sees divinity in all creatures; he/she sees God in the form he/she is ready to receive; he/she enjoys supreme grace (Arul Anubhavam).

The higher stages are heavenly stages and beyond human perception where the mind fails to conceive and all senses cease to function. 

13. Guru Sorpanam or Shiva Sorpanam or Supreme dream where the descent of divinity in the individual takes place.

14. Guru Suluthi or Shiva Suzhuthi or Supreme tranquility where supreme grace flows and prepares the spiritualist for the next stage.

15. Guru Turiyam or ShivaTuriyam, where the body transforms into Pranava Deham or body of grace; and merges with Arutperunjhoti; resulting in deathlessness or the conquest of death. Ramalinga Adigal mentions one Muthuthandavar and Tathuvarayar as having attained this state.

16. Sudha Shiva Sakiram or Absolute supreme consciousness. 

There are still higher stages that Ramalinga Adigal hesitates to express, Sudha Shiva Sorpanam, Sudha Shiva Suluthi, Sudha Shiva Turiyam and Sudha Shiva Turiyateetam.

(Source: "An Introduction to the Philosophy of Ramalinga Swami" by Dr C Srinivasan, published by Ilakkia Nilayam, Tiruchi, 1968 (Srinivasan).

An article in the website http://www.ramalinga.com (now defunct) "A Vision of Dematerialization of Ramalinga's Living Body" by Gangadharan, a disciple of Mother Mira Alfassa, it was stated that Mother Mira Alfassa (aid of Sri Aurobindo of Pondicherry) had seen, during her meditation, the happenings that took place on that Friday night when Ramalinga Adigal attained the Jothi in Sidhivalagam. 
He was verily a supreme form of the divine. Flood of light was radiating from his pure and luminous body into all the directions. The intensity of the flood of light that radiated from his whole body was very powerful and one shall have the strength and capacity to bear and receive it. My (Mother Mira Alfassa) whole body vibrated with a joy and pleasantness because of the vision of light of his body.
Supreme grace, supreme compassion, and the light of grace are expressive of the secret truth that they hold the key for transformation of physical body into the deathless physical body of grace in its eternal youthfulness. One has to live in the depth of the ocean of blissful grace-light for being transformed into the divine nature and as the divine body.
After sometime of concentration, he rose up and saw the physical sky. Full moon was shedding its blissful cool rays over the earth. A little distance away from the moon was seen a very bright dazzling star of light. Vallalar poured his concentrated gaze at it for some time. He became enraptured with blissful joy in the heart, which radiated on his face. A little time thereafter, he again sat on the white seat of the plank and entered into deep concentration. 
Though Vallalar was inside the closed and bolted room, he could see clearly the whole universe with its tiers of many worlds of mind, life and the physical including the physical earth and sky with its moon, stars and clouds.
When he was thus absorbed in deep concentration, an effulgent truth-light of grace broke out from his heart and with its unique heat began to burn his radiant physical body very slowly, as at a snail's speed, and that in an upward direction, from the heart towards the head. The burning of the body may be somewhat likened to that of an incense-stick which however burns downwards by its inner heat of fire, forming ash covering but without the falling down of the ash-form. When the upper part of his radiant body was burnt completely from heart to head, there was left in its place a form of pure white substance, which also radiated its light of consciousness. The burnt part, however, showed all its features intact and clearly and even the burnt hair of his head was seen distinctly as luminous white hair. Then the heat of the pure light of grace descended to burn the lower part. 
After the whole body was thus burnt, Vallalar was seen as a bodily form of pure white substance from head to foot, radiating its light. The white form kept intact all the different kinds of cells of his body and all the distinctive features and formations of his interior and exterior body. His bodily form did not shrink in size after the burning. I saw no visible flame nor sensed its heat during the burning of his living body, nor smoke, nor any bad smell as of burnt tissues, nor heard any cracking noise as of burnt bones. Instead, there was a sweet fragrance since the time his body began to burn and it spread everywhere. I sensed in my heart an ineffable calmness and silence, which gave me in turn a state of bliss. 
Now a second stage of burning began. The unique heat of grace-light began to burn slowly Valalalar's luminous form of white substance from head to foot downwards. When his white substance-form full of its radiating light, was thus burnt completely, the white substance became very fine sub-atomic conscious particles, which permeated and pervaded the entire universe and the farther pure worlds of consciousness beyond. The fine, white and conscious particles with its radiating light also entered into and got distributed everywhere in the earth and even in matter. After the universal pervasive distribution of the particles, they could be seen no more and disappeared from my sight. Now there pervaded everywhere the sweet, soft and fine fragrance of camphor which gave my body a blissful sensation and enraptured my heart as well. 
Then I had the rare vision of Vallalar's universal luminous golden form. In fact, the immensity of his golden form contained in it the whole universe. This form too disappeared from my view and was replaced by another vision in which I saw the golden light of truth-knowledge and grace entering into all the directions more speedily than the lightning. It permeated and pervaded the whole universe and the farther pure worlds of consciousness. It entered into our earth and all its crores of the physical forms of beings and objects and in the apparently insensible matter and even in the very dark realm of the vast in conscience. All the forms that were permeated by the golden light of truth changed into golden forms of beings and objects. The golden light entered into my whole Adhara including the physical body. My body felt in all the cells vibrations of ease and pleasantness. 
Then I heard some words of grace. However, they were indistinctly heard and could not be deciphered, as I was absorbed in a rapture of bliss due to the sublime vision and experiences. Thus, the vision lasted an hour of time and ended. 
The visible physical light is the concrete symbol of the vast truth-light of grace, which is the source of all lights. Camphor is verily a solid form or symbol of that light. Vallalar's soul is inseparable from the conscious white particles of substance, which he has become, and pervading distributed everywhere. When the supreme truth-consciousness manifests in the physical world, it becomes the golden light of grace. The golden light of grace will purify and transform man and the physical body too will become deathless physical truth-body, and the Sanmaarga of truth, purity, and goodness shall prevail on the earth. As Atma realizes the pure spirits, the body too shall realize its truth as the true body of the spirit.
https://agathiyarvanam.blogspot.com/2013/07/ramalinga-adigal-arutprakasa-vallalar.html

Shantideva says, “The human body is the vehicle for longevity, while the spirit is the vehicle for immortality.” 

He wrote on the results of yearning for liberation.
“The soul yearns to be free, and through our becoming aware of this we undergo what the mystics call awakening where we then begin to center our life on a high spiritual ideal. A new aspiration is born in the soul, which frees the need of a larger draught of air, a more expansive horizon, and which desires direct contact with the indefinite existence. In order to attain the highest illumination we all have to pass through a spiritual birth. Man as a creature, brought into being out of nothing, certainly is at the mercy of his creator. Man as a spirit, by becoming spiritually conscious he can control his destiny.” 
God’s grace is of utmost importance on this path to realization. With his, grace (Arul) comes his blessing (Aasi) and his guidance. His grace falls on us only when the ego dies as Shantideva says, “God appears when the ego dies”, much like the Ancient One says, "Silence your ego and your power will rise."

Lets take the first step to make this physical body the abode of the divine, bringing him in to do his work. Lets prepare, uplift and elevate ourselves to the stage where the divine then comes within to do its job both for the self and others.

Towards this purpose, the Siddhas have written extensively. The Siddhas have given us guidelines on how we are supposed to live this life in their works. The Tiruvalluvar gave us the "Tirukkural". Avvai gave us the "Avvai Paadal", "Aatthi Chudi" and "Kondrai Venthan". Svatmarama gave us the "Hatha Yoga Pradipika". Pathanjali gave us the "Yoga Sutras".

Tiruvalluvar, reminds us of the following: be righteous; be kind in speech; be grateful; maintain self-control; do not desire another man’s wife; be forgiving; do not envy; do not covet; do not slander; perform charity; be truthful; abstain from anger; and be courteous.

Avvai in "Aatthi Chudi" has 109 advises for us, amongst them: do good; control anger; do not hinder aid to others; feed the hungry; help the needy; keep reading; do not be jealous of other’s achievement; help your relatives and friends grow with you; look after your parents; do not forget those who have come to your aid; do not secure what does not belong to you; do not venture into things that are degrading by nature; abstain from using harsh language; refrain from thinking degrading thoughts; do not harm others; give your best in every venture that you undertake; lead an honest life; respect others. Similarly Avvai in "Konrai Venthan", has 91 advises for us. Through her "Avvai Paadal", "Muthural", she has 30 advices and another 40 in "Nalvazhi."

Pathanjali lays out eight stages: Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. They start with the very basic – characteristics of a good person. They speak about good morals and attributes.

Agathiyar through his Agasthiyar Gnanam spells out the attributes that one should seek and become.

The very first lesson that the Siddhas teach us is to bring change in our behavior, speech and beliefs. They emphasize on character building, good behavior, right conduct, right knowledge, and yogic practices. They ask us to restrain our anger, lust and ego. Once we take care of these, then perception and understanding will changed accordingly. The world will still be the same. Nevertheless, we shall see it in a different perspective then. We shall see the world differently. We shall accept everything as Erai’s doing. We shall go with the flow. Moving further on there comes a stage where nothing is understood, instead everything is known.

Agathiyar in my Nadi readings has mentioned the importance of overcoming the adverse feelings in order to rise to the level of a Siddha. These are the very basic requirements that one has to have in order to transcend further to the state of compassion that is required for a Siddha. Ramalinga Adigal and Siddhartha were very compassionate towards other beings. These features in them lead them on towards attaining the effulgence and nirvana respectively.

In the preface to his "Manumurai Kanda Vaasakam", the original in Tamil by Rengaraja Desiga Swamigal and translated into English by R.G.Rajaram (Swamigal R. D.), Rengaraja Desiga Swamigal list Ramalinga Adigal’s teachings and his path that of Samarasam which contains four disciplines :

1. Indriya Ozhukkam (Ozhukkam means self - control) that is of two kinds,

a. Gnana Indriya Ozhukkam: listening to the praise of god, preventing bad words entering our ears, avoiding looks of harshness and wickedness, abstaining from touching evil things, abstaining from gluttony etc.

b. Karma Indriya Ozhukkam: speaking sweet words, telling no lies, resisting by all means from harmful deeds to other living beings, leading a religious life, associating ourselves with people of saintly character, and maintaining a healthy body.

2. Karma Ozhukkam: the mind has to be directed to the cit sabhai (cit sabhai is the heart in which the divine abodes) by taking it away from other objects, not to enquire into the faults of others, not to be wicked.

3. Jiva Ozhukkam: the discipline that teaches one to treat all human beings as equal, and feel the presence of oneself in all human beings, one must not be affected by the various distinctions as social, national, linguistic, caste, religion, etc. because the soul belongs to a different sphere where no differences exist.

4. Anma Ozhukkam: the further development of jiva ozhukkam wherein the soul looks upon all living beings alike (not only human beings but also other beings). The soul feels great compassion for all the beings, considers ‘anma’ as the ‘sabhai’ and the ‘inner light’ as god.

Through the teachings and guidance of the Siddhas, we build up the body and soul to make it a suitable dwelling for the Lord. The Siddhas tell us to care for the body for it is only with this body that we can achieve realization of Erai. Tirumoolar mentions in his "Tirumanthiram" that he had regarded his body as dirt only to realize later that it is the abode and temple of the Lord. Since then he had taken extra care of it.

In Hans-Ulrich Rieker’s translation and commentary of the "Hatha Yoga Pradipika" of Svatmarama, The Aquarian Press 1992, (Rieker, Hatha Yoga Pradipika of Svatmarama, 1992)
Not to cause suffering to any living being; to speak the truth; not to take what belongs to others; to practice continence; to develop compassion and fortitude; to be merciful to all and honest; to be moderate in eating and pure in heart. These are the first prerequisites of Yoga (the yama).

Self-limitation, austerities (Tapas), cheerfulness, religious faith, charity, contemplation, listening to sacred scriptures, modesty, a clean mind, recitation of Mantra (japa), and observance of rules, these are the second requirements of Yoga (the niyama). Thus equipped one can venture to take the first step into the wonderland of one’s own self.

Good deeds, kind words, noble thoughts, a pleasing personality, interest in lofty pursuits are the distinguishing marks of sattva.
B K S Iyengar in the foreword to the same work writes, (Rieker, Hatha Yoga Pradipika Of Svatmarama, 1992)
The "Hatha Yoga Pradipika" is divided into four parts. The first explains yama (restraints on behavior), niyama (observances), asana (posture) and food. The second describes pranayama (control or restraint of energy), and the shatkarmas (internal cleansing practices). The third deals with mudras (seals), bandhas (locks), the nadis (channels of energy through which prana flows) and the kundalini power. The fourth expounds pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (absorption).”

He does speak of non-violence, truthfulness, non-covetousness, continence, forbearance, fortitude, compassion, straightforwardness, moderation in food and cleanliness as yama, and zeal in yoga, contentment, faith, charity, worship of God, study of spiritual scriptures, modesty, discriminative power of mind, prayers and rituals as niyama.

When the nervous, circulatory, respiratory, digestive, endocrine and genito-excretory systems are cleansed through asana, prana moves unobstructed to the remotest cells and feeds them with a copious supply of energy. Thus rejuvenated and revitalized, the body - the instrument of the self - moves towards the goal of self-realization.
Iyengar in his book "Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali", HarperCollins Publishers, 2005 (Iyengar, Light On The Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali, 2005) writes as follows:
Patanjali’s 196 aphorisms or sutras cover all aspects of life, beginning with a prescribed code of conduct and ending with man’s vision of his true self. Pathanjali teaches the sadhaka to cultivate friendliness, compassion, to delight in the happiness of others and to remain indifferent to vice, and virtue so that he may maintain poise and tranquility. He advises the sadhaka to follow the ethical disciplines of yama and niyama, the ten precepts which govern behavior and practice and form the foundation of spiritual evolution.
The yama are:
Intending no harm in word, thought or deed; being sincere, honest and faithful; being careful not to misappropriate another’s wealth; being chaste and not coveting the possessions of others or accepting gifts.
The niyama are:
“Purity of thought and deed, contentment, Tapas, study of the self, surrender to God.”
Iyengar also adds that for one who lacks ethical discipline and perfect physical health, there can be no spiritual illumination.
By practice and renunciation in the eight yogic disciplines which cover purification of the body, senses and mind, an intense discipline whereby the seeds are incinerated, impurities vanish, and the seeker reaches a state of serenity in which he merges with the seer.
Leonard Orr observes in his book "The Yoga of Everlasting Life (Orr) the common denominators of the practices of all the immortals he had met (eight of them),
Notice the main points are not intellectually stimulating. They are practices. They are not something you can learn. They are something, which you do. They are like the water, which runs forever, the fire, which is always consuming. The wind, which always moves. The earth, always changing and nourishing. The immortal yogis who do these simple practices are always awake and alive. The basic practices described here naturally evolve the soul to this high state of body mastery.
Just as a seed carries a tree in it and a child evolves into a man tomorrow, he is already divine in nature. He only needs to drop the veils that prevent him from realizing who he actually is. Ramalinga Adigal expounds this concept about there being seven veils and demonstrates them in the Sathya Gnana Sabai that he had envisioned and built in Vadalur for all to see. Adigal placed seven veils depicting Maya and which when pulled aside reveals the truth, Arutperunjhoti, the true self devoid of malas. He defines these seven veils of spiritual ignorance as lust (kamam), anger (krodham), greed (lobham), infatuation (moham), pride (ynadha), malice (matsaryam) and killings (kolai), seven veils that cover us preventing us from seeing the truth and reaching it, that we need to drop.

Tavayogi Thangarasan Adigal demonstrates this concept too through the seven-tier granite structure that he was instructed to install at his old Kallar ashram by Agathiyar. After dropping or overcoming these seven veils of ignorance or Maya one reaches the summit or peak symbolically represented by light as in Vadalur and Kallar respectively.

For one to attain spiritual illumination or Jnanam on the onset is a difficult task since we are dealing with mind-stuff that is not easily comprehended, the Siddhas take us through these four stages, from the elementary level to the attainment of gnosis (knowledge). They devised these paths so that every individual could get on the bandwagon to Godhead and made sure no one was left out. The Siddhas have treaded the path to Erai. By holding on to them, we too can see and experience all that was seen and experienced by them. We need to get their attention, sincerely adhere to their instructions and guidance, and pray that they show solace and shower their grace onto us. 

The true path is extremely simple where we need to care for this body to receive Erai in us and eventually merged with him. One needs to prepare this body, which then evolves into a temple so that Erai is received into this body. One needs to take steps to prepare it to unite with him while still alive in this very body. Erai then resides in this body, in every cell and atom and brings changes to this body. The changes take place internally, which slowly influences one’s outer appearances, thoughts, and the way one sees things.

The Siddha Margam is a simple path to Erai. When we call out the names of these Siddhas, their attention falls on us. Through their teachings and guidance, we build up the body and soul to make it a suitable dwelling for the Lord. Once Erai and the Siddhas shower their grace we are assured of their blessing and we then shall have the strength to undertake our mission with an assurance of success. The results are seen immediately. Devotees of the Siddhas can attest to this truth.