|Photo composition by Bala Chandran Gunasekaran|
The Siddhas have seen God. Agathiyar choses to address God as Erai. The Siddhas are forever willing to guide man back to Erai's abode. That was the wish they put forward to Erai. From Velayutham Karthikeyan Aiya's posting in his blog SITHTHAN ARUL at http://siththanarul.blogspot.com we understand the compassion of the Siddhas towards humanity. Karthiyen Aiya’s blog entry brings us back to time immemorial where the Siddhas, being compassionate and kind, put forward to the Almighty, who they prefer to call Erai, their wish to guide and save humanity. The Siddhas had wished that whoever seeks them out for solutions to their problems and surrenders to them, he shall be pardoned for his past deeds, however bad and evil they may be. The Siddhas asked that man shall not be put through the trial and tribulations and made to face the consequences of his actions but instead will be saved. Erai granted the Siddhas their wish. Simply said coming to the worship of Siddhas helps to break the chain of karma. The Gnana Thiravukol or key is provided by the Siddhas. After the audience with Erai, the next instant the Siddhas wrote down; the reasons for each individual’s sufferings; listed out solutions and remedies; wrote down ways and means to overcome or end the seeker's problems, sins, diseases, illnesses and sufferings. They wrote them in Tamil prose on dried palm leaves. This writings came to be known as the Nadi. Hence the Nadi came to be written for every individual.
Below is a translation of Karthikeyan Aiya's post,
“The Siddhas are those who knew the past, present and the future. They were gnosis. The Siddhas were similar to a company’s secretary. The Siddhas were God’s messengers. The Nadi has been written by Siddhas for us to know about our past, the present and the future. Many have corrected their lifestyle after listening to the explanations, heeding the instructions and carrying out atonement. Many more had regained their health and peace of mind. When those who had prayed to God and had yet to receive God’s blessings, approached the Siddhas instead, they immediately received God’s blessings.”
Though the Siddhas are waiting to help mankind, Karthikeyan Aiya adds that one has to seek out the Siddhas to solve his problems.
Reading Karthikeyan Aiya’s blog that carried stories of individuals who had seeked out the Jeeva Nadi in the possession of the Jeeva Nadi Guru of Chennai, for answers to their problems, dilemma and sufferings was both enlightening and revealing. Later having purchased the 5 volumes of the Nadi Guru's writings, NADI SOLLUM KATHAIGAL published by Aranthangi Shankar, and reading more real life stories of how Agathiyar came to the aid of individuals seeking solace and peace, threw more light into this amazing and mystical phenomena called the Nadi and their authors, the Siddhas. Along the way, I came to read about the many revelations in various other Jeeva Nadi in the possession of gifted souls including my Guru Tavayogi Thangarasan Adigal of Kallar Ashram at agathiarkallar.org; Sri Ganeshan of Siddhar Arut Kudil of Tanjavur; the Gnana Skandar Jeeva Nadi of Skantha Ubasagar P.D. Jegatheeswaran at http://kaumarapayanam.blogspot.com/; the Jeeva Nadha Brahma Suvadi of Sri Muthukumara Swamy; Sri Ramani Guruji at http://www.arulvanam.org and https://ramanans.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/; Sri Dharmalinga Swamigal at http://kagapujandar.com/astrology/; the Agathiyar Nandi Brighu Naadi of Sri Selvam; and finally back in Malaysia my dear friend and Nadi Guru Sri T. Ramesh.
I learnt much about Agathiyar, the Siddhas and the workings of the Siddhas and the Nadi, through the amazing revelations from these Nadis. Walking the path of the Siddhas brings us out of the web that we have spun around ourselves for ages and many births. Walking the path of the Siddhas brings us closer to Erai. As Agathiyar mentions man can hasten his spiritual advancement if he has a yearning to attain Erai Gnanam or Wisdom, uses this wisdom well, sees all as an illusion and a result of his ignorance, and begins to follow the dictates of the Siddhas.
The Secret of the Gurus
Sadhu Natanananda quotes Sri Ramana Maharishi from ‘SRI RAMANA DARSANAM’, “I have seen God! I have seen him face to face! I am seeing God just as clearly as you are seeing me. Those who have seen the truth can also show it to others. There is no room for doubt in these revelations.”
Richard Schiffman quotes Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa in his ‘RAMAKRISHNA - A PROPHET FOR THE NEW AGE’. Ramakrishna too voices the same experience,“God can be seen and spoken to just as surely as I am seeing you and speaking to you. If anyone really wants to see God and if he calls upon Him - God will reveal himself. That’s for certain.”
Tavayogi Thangarasan Adigal in replying to my wish to see God and his Messengers, answered, “It is possible to see Agathiyar and Ramalinga Adigal," but continued with a question, "But is that what you want?”
The Siddhas who had walked ahead of us on this path, had reached the destination and seen the truth. They then revealed the truth to their disciples and made known the knowledge through their writings.
The Need for a Guru
Is a Guru necessary? Can’t one find his own way to God and God realization? Ramana Maharishi strongly believed that the spiritual energy of a master could transform man’s consciousness as Truman Caylor Wadlington writes in his book YOGI RAMSURATKUMAR - THE GODCHILD OF TIRUVANNAMALAI, (Wadlington, Yogi Ramsuratkumar-The Godchild Of Tiruvannamalai),
“Ramana Maharishi seldom wrote, but in his prose and verse he laid great emphasis upon the age old verity which asserts that the spiritual energy of a master transforms the consciousness of men. He claimed that nothing was equivalent to association with adepts as a means to attaining the supreme state.” 
Swami Muktananda explains why one needs a master in KUNDALINI - THE SECRET OF LIFE, Siddha Yoga Publication, 1994, (Muktananda, Kundalini - The Secret of Life, 1994),
“If he tries to discover a path by himself, he will simply go around in circles, walking for a long time but never reaching his goal. The Guru has found everything you are seeking; that which you want has become the Guru’s wealth. The difference between you and the Guru is that you are the seed and the Guru is the full-grown tree; you are the beginning, and he is the end.”
In SECRET OF THE SIDDHAS, a Siddha Yoga Publication, 1980, (Muktananda, Secret of the Siddhas, 1980) Swami Muktananda explains further the concept of the Guru,
“One’s hands can remove moss from water but they cannot create water. Forgetfulness of one’s true nature is the moss of ignorance that muddies the experience of the self. The Guru is the means of removing it. Just as the wind disperses the clouds but does not create another blazing sun, so the grace of a Siddha simply removes the veil of ignorance so that one realizes that one is already perfect.”
“For this reason, all scriptures and Sadhana are simply means of washing away the filth of ignorance. They have no ability of their own to reveal the wisdom of the self because that principle is self-existent, perfect and always manifest.”
Similarly the Siddhas work on one’s Karma so that he is free from the results of his past actions and can start afresh on a new chapter of a spiritual journey as planned and ordained by the Siddhas.
Swami Muktananda proclaims that the Masters themselves were the secret! Paul Zweig in the introduction to Swami Muktananda’s THE PERFECT RELATIONSHIP, Syda Foundation, 1985, (Muktananda, The Perfect Relationship, 1985) writes,
“He (Swami Muktananda) felt that Gods ‘secret’ was not contained in any Sanskrit formula, ancient ritual, or technique of meditation; that severe austerities and physical deprivation would not reveal it. He felt that the ‘secret’ resided with great beings, with saints; they were themselves the ‘secret’ and he could learn what they were by loving them and sitting at their feet. After almost twenty five years he (Swami Muktananda) met Bhagawan Nithyananda who became his Guru.”
“Swami Muktananda explains over and over again that only the Guru can point the way on this subtlest of all paths,” writes Paul Zweig in the introduction to Swami Muktananda’s THE PERFECT RELATIONSHIP published by Syda Foundation, 1985, (Muktananda, The Perfect Relationship, 1985). Paul Zweig adds,
“Swami Muktananda himself travelled all over India seeking a Guru. He became a monk at the ashram of Siddharuda Swami. After almost twenty-five years, he met Bhagawan Nithyananda who became his Guru. Swami Muktananda realized that the ‘secret’ was with the Guru and so the need for one to learn at the feet of such a Guru. Paul Zweig writes, “In a flash of self-understanding he knew that he had found his other half; that now he was whole again.”
Swami Muktananda stresses,
“Without the Guru’s company, it is difficult to contemplate the self. Without the Guru’s teaching, there is no discipline in one’s life. Without the Guru’s blessing, there is no love. Without the Guru’s knowledge, there is no end to desire, the intellect does not receive the light of wisdom, and the delusion and pain created by duality are not eradicated, nor are doubts dispelled. The Guru is as necessary as Prana, the life force, is necessary to the body.”
Swami Muktananda’s Guru, Bhagawan Nithyananda too spoke of the importance of a Guru. He told Muktananda,
“Meditation on the Guru gives you life. All knowledge is in meditation on the Guru.” These words were like a Mantra to Muktananda.
Ram Dass in PATHS TO GOD – LIVING THE BHAGAVADGITA, Harmony Books, 2004, (Das R., 2004) writes,
“A Satguru is the one who is the doorway. Along the way, however, there are the Upagurus. They are teachings for us; they are like marker stones along the road – teaching rather than teachers.”
It is beautiful to read that we are surrounded by a web of well wishes waiting to help us get free, as Ram Dass writes,
“We look around and see that we are being guided, protected. Besides the Satguru and Upagurus on the physical plane, there are astral guides, beings on all those other planes as well. We are surrounded by a web of well-wishes, all wanting to help us get free.”
The Siddhas are ever waiting and hoping that an aspirant or a likely candidate should stumble upon them where they could take him in and groom him to become another Siddha at par with them.
Searching For a Guru
Swami Shivananda of Rishikesh says about seeking the Guru,
“Let each man take the path according to his capacity, temperament, and understanding. His Satguru will meet him along the path. Listen to all, but follow one. Respect all, but adore one. Gather knowledge from all, but adopt the teachings of one master. Then you will have rapid spiritual progress. Once you choose your Guru, implicitly follow him. God will guide you through the Guru.”
Swami Shivananda himself went in search of a Guru and explains how he benefited from the association with the Guru. After serving as a doctor in Malaya Shivananda decided to quit his career and become a mendicant in 1923. He writes,
“I led the life of a wandering monk, just for a short period, in search of my Guru and of a suitable place charged with spiritual vibrations, for spending my life in seclusion and to do rigorous Sadhana. I met many Mahatmas and learnt wonderful lessons. A deep study of the ways of Mahatmas opened my eyes and gave me strength to stick to rigorous Sadhana in the right direction.”
“I came to Rishikesh in June 1924 and found it my destination. I found Rishikesh an ideal place for intense and undisturbed spiritual practices true for all seekers after truth. I prayed to the Lord for his grace. From the sacred hands of Paramahansa Viswananda Saraswati, I received holy initiation on the bank of the Ganga on 1 June 1924. My Guru gave me initiation and enough spiritual strength and blessings.”
Yogi Ramsuratkumar too went in search of a Guru. In 1947 with a burning desire to realize his innate divinity, he set off in search of a master. The search for his spiritual father brought Ramsuratkumar first to Sri Aurobindo and later to Ramana Maharishi. After spending three days with Ramana Maharishi he moved on to Swami Ramdas. When Ramana Maharishi followed by Aurobindo, passed away, Ramsuratkumar thought that he should offer himself to the remaining sole savior Ramdas. Ramsuratkumar had at last found his master. Although he had seen Ramdas numerous times before, he came to recognize Ramdas as a truly great Siddha now.
Truman quotes the yogi on his three masters who worked on him,
“This beggar had three fathers. There was much work done on this beggar. Aurobindo started, Ramana Maharishi did a little and Ramdas finished.”
When some went in search of their Gurus, for others the Gurus came in search of them. Gnanananda describes with passion and gratitude on his acquaintance with his Guru,
“This world is a river in spate with strong currents of strife, sorrow and agony threatening to engulf us. Nevertheless, good fortune it was that rescued me from these dangers and seated me firmly on the effulgent rock of Shivaratna. His grace enveloped and took full possession of me in time before I was drowned. My master was waiting for me under a tree on the shore and the powerful glow of his eyes drew me automatically to him like a magnet.”
Paramahansa Yogananda in his AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A YOGI, Self-Realization Fellowship, 1990 (Yogananda, Autobiography Of A Yogi, 1990) describes the sacred moment when he met his Guru Sri Yukteswar,
“Together Habu and I set out for a distant marketplace in the Bengali section of Banaras…... As Habu and I moved on, I turned my head to survey a narrow inconspicuous lane. A Christ like man in the ochre robes of a Swami stood motionless at the end of the lane. Instantly and anciently familiar he seemed.”
And thus began a divine relationship between master and student.
Meeting the Guru
Lucy Cornelssen in “HUNTING THE “I”, Sri Ramanasramam, 2005, says,
“If you are ready for him, he will meet you without any searching for him on your part. And only then can you be sure that he is the Guru for you.”
Swami Muktananda writes, in WHERE ARE YOU GOING. A GUIDE TO THE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY published by Syda Foundation, 1989, (Muktananda, Where Are You Going? - A Guide To The Spiritual Journey, 1989),
“Such guides exist…they enter our lives when we are ready to know the truth about ourselves, when we are ready to discover our own inner reality. Meeting us inwardly and outwardly, on every level, at every stage of our journey, the Guru accompanies us so that we may arrive at the goal. Meeting the Guru, we have an experience of the truth. Meeting the Siddha Guru, we receive the blessings of all the perfected ones.”
Just as Swami Muktananda writes, “Meeting the Siddha Guru, we receive the blessings of all the perfected ones,” Siddha Konganar in a prayer to Agathiyar mentions that the mere mention of Agathiyar’s name, one has the entire Siddhas attention and glance on him.
Chant Agathiyar’s name,
For he shall gift to you all the eight Siddhis,
He shall present you the mendicant’s attire,
Then all Siddhas will converge and salute,
No one will be deprive of witnessing the Jothi or light,
Agathiyar was a yogi born of fire,
This truth shall prevail throughout the 1008 worlds.
அகத்திய மாரிஷி நமா என்றென்றோது
அஷ்ட சித்து தனை ஈவார் குளிகை ஈவார்
அகத்தியரே காஷாய வேடமீவார்
அப்போது சித்தரெல்லாம் கைக் கொள்வார்கள்
அகத்தியரைத் தெண்டனிட்டு மேரு செல்ல
யாருக்குந தடையில்லை அரசே யென்பார்
அகத்தியர் தாம் எக்கியத்தில் பிறந்த யோகி
ஆயிரத் தெட்டு அண்டமெல்லாம் ஆணையாச்சே
Swami Shivananda says, “He alone can show you the path to attain God, who is the Guru of Gurus, and obviate the snares and pitfalls on your path.” Agathiyar is one such Guru.
Gordon Matthews in his translation of Meykanda Devar’s SHIVAGNANA BOTHAM (Matthews) writes,
“When the soul in association with the senses and intellectual faculties is immersed in earthly experience, it knows the non-real through the non-real, but it does not know itself or God. However, when God comes as a Guru and teaches the soul, the soul is made to see that the world of experience, evolved from Maya, is non-real. It ceases then to identify itself with the non-real and to depend upon it; and in so doing it discovers its oneness with God.”
“By reason of the soul’s virtue in previous births, God, who has been immanent in the soul, making it know, now vouchsafing to take the form of a Guru, initiates the soul in the Saiva mysteries, saying, “O thou son of a king, fallen among savages, the senses, and brought up by them, thou hast been ignorant of thy true greatness and hast wandered in ignorance.”
“The primal one himself teaches these souls as a Guru: for in the form of consciousness he is in union (with him). When because of the soul’s meritorious practices the primal one enlighten the soul as a Guru…”
Below is a summary of the states of the souls, their remaining impurities and how the Guru appears to them.
- State of the soul - Vijnanakalar
- Remaining impurities - Anava Malam
- Form of the Guru - Do not need an external Guru to instruct them. Lord Shiva confers grace through Satinipatam, which is descent of Sakti into the soul and remains inside them acting as the inner guide.
- “To Vijnanakalar, souls involved only in Anava, he comes as the inner principle of the soul’s consciousness; he himself appears, as true knowledge.”
- State of the soul - Pralayakalar
- Remaining impurities - Anava and Kanma Malams
- Form of the Guru - Lord Shiva appears as divine God and confers grace through Satinipatam, which is descent of Sakti into the soul.
- “To Pralayakalar, souls affected only by Anava and Karma, he comes as a Guru in Shiva’s form; he himself standing before them as Guru imparts true knowledge.”
- State of the soul - Sakalar
- Remaining impurities - Anava, Kanma and Mayai Malams
- Form of the Guru - Lord Shiva appears as a Satguru who expunges all impurities, and confers grace.
- “To Sakalar, souls immersed in all three impurities, God comes as a Guru of human form; he imparts it concealing himself as a Guru.”
“These souls obtain knowledge by austerities previously performed: for when the soul in previous births has performed Sariyai, Kriya, and Yoga, these meritorious practices reveal the knowledge which is the right path, but do not they give deliverance. Those who have performed these practices enter the respective heaven. In order that they may sever the attachment of desire, they are born again in high station for the performance of such works, and attain knowledge.”
Veeraswamy Krishnaraj in his comprehension of Arulnandi Shivachariyar’s SHIVAGNANA SIDDHIYAR writes,
- “Those souls that are rising, Vijnanakalar - the highest class of souls among the three mentioned in SHIVAGNANA SIDDHIYAR with only one impurity known as Anava Malam, do not need an external Guru to instruct them. Lord Shiva by remaining inside them as the inner guide rids them of the Anava Malam, bringing the merits and demerits to a resolution and conferring spiritual knowledge or divine grace known as Saktinipata, the descent of Sakti into the soul. Vijnanakalar receive Gnana from Lord Shiva himself as the incorporeal inner guide.”
- “To Pralayakalar with Anava and Kanma Malams, Lord Shiva appears as divine God.”
- “Lord Shiva appears to Sakalar with Anava, Kanma and Mayai Malams in human as a Satguru.”
The first two appearances are direct, receiving help from Lord Shiva, meaning that there is no physical presence of Shiva offering help. The third is indirect in the form of a human Guru [Aasaan-Murthi].
For those who are not fortunate to have a personal Guru, Swami Shivananda suggests that he take God, the Guru of Gurus in Shivananda’s words, as his Guru,
“If you have no Guru, take Lord Krishna or Shiva or Rama or Christ as your Guru. Pray to him. Meditate on him. Sing his name. He will send you a suitable Guru.”
Ramalinga Adigal took Lord Murugan as his Guru and ventured to become the greatest Siddha ever to walk the face of the earth in the past millennium. So did Arunagirinathar and Pamban Swamigal of recent times. The Siddha Avvai took Lord Ganesa as Guru and attained enlightenment while the sixty-three Tamil Saivite Saints (Nayanmar) became enlightened by the grace of Lord Shiva.
Tavayogi Thangarasan Adigal and Thavathiru Rengaraja Desiga Swamigal expound the effectiveness of having faith on the Siddhas, Siddhas who had realized the truth. Their Mantra is “Potrinal Unathu Veenai Agalum Appa”, which literally means, “Praise the Siddhas and your sufferings shall end.” Similarly, Tavayogi Thangarasan Adigal and Thavathiru Rengaraja Desiga Swamigal advocated the path of surrender and submitting to the Siddhas. The Siddhas had attained God; they are fully capable of showing us God. Swami Muktananda assures us that the power of the Siddha lineage fully supports the Guru, and once a seeker has received Sakti, the lineage stands behind him, protecting him as he moves towards the goal. We need to put in the necessary effort and pray that the Lord showers his grace on us. Then it turns out to be a successful venture.
Richard S. Weiss in RECIPES FOR IMMORTALITY, MEDICINE, RELIGION AND COMMUNITY IN SOUTH INDIA, published by Oxford University Press, Inc., 2009 (Weiss, 2009) says it beautifully,
“Human effort is successful only with divine assistance.”
The Grace of the Guru
Swami Chidvilasananda talks about the grace of the master in the DARSHAN a Siddha Yoga Publication, May 1992, (Chidvilasananda, Darshan, 1992),
“Grace has the power to cleanse us completely. Allow grace to function through your mind, your intellect, your body, your dreams, and your speech, and you continually live in grace rather than in the creations of the mind. Grace comes from a master. When you have grace you have everything.”
“Whatever brings you to the Guru, if you are really open to what the Guru has to give, unfailingly you do find relief and an experience of inner transformation.”
The Guru will go to any length for the disciple, she says,
“A true Guru wishes only the best for his disciple’s upliftment. The Guru totally sacrifices himself to redeem his beloved disciple. The Guru bears every pain to purify the disciple and have him experience the vision of God.”
Swami Chidvilasananda in INNER TREASURES a Siddha Yoga Publication, 1995, (Chidvilasananda, Inner Treasures, 1995) says,
"In the tradition of the Siddhas, the Guru is recognized as the embodiment of the grace of God, and therefore it is the Guru who oversees the Sadhaka’s transformation, infusing it with divine grace. In Sidhayoga, the Guru’s grace intensifies your longing for the vision of God. The Guru’s grace continually nudges you forward on the path towards oneness. The Guru’s grace draws you within to the realm of divine peace. In that ultimate state, the only attachment you have left is to the Guru’s feet."
In an article on Guhai Nama Shivaya in THE MOUNTAIN PATH 1990, (The Mountain Path, 1990),
“Taking into my heart as my Guru the red mountain Lord(Arunachala), who now stands formless before me, I have put to flight the unutterable arrogance of my good and evil deeds, my souls indissoluble threefold impurity and my unparalleled accumulation of Karma.”“In Virasaivism it is the Guru’s job to cleanse the devotee of the threefold impurity that clings to the three bodies. This process would have been initiated by Guhai Nama Shivaya’s human Guru, but as the above verse (Guhai Nama Shivaya’s VENBA TIRATHU) clearly states, it was Arunachala-Shiva who completed the job.”
Swami Muktananda in THE PERFECT RELATIONSHIP, (Muktananda, The Perfect Relationship, 1985) published by Syda Foundation, 1985, quotes poet Saint Kabir,
Kabir wrote, “As long as I was looking for you, I did not see you. I went from door to door knocking, yet none of the doors was yours. I looked for you on so many paths, yet none of them led to your court. However, when I received Ramananda’s grace, when Guru Ramananda erased me and I became completely pure, I saw that you were behind me like my shadow. Wherever I went, you were there before me.”’
Ram Dass in PATHS TO GOD – LIVING THE BHAGAVADGITA, Harmony Books, 2004 (Das R., 2004), writes,
“….the relationship with the Guru is totally an internal matter. The essence of a relationship with a Guru is love, the Guru is a being who awakens incredible love in us, and then uses our love to awaken us out of the illusion of duality. Once the awakening begins, you can’t help but feel profound love for all beings that have helped you along the way.”The Guru or the Master shows man God - his creator. That is the gift of a Guru to his disciple.
Although Ramana Maharshi advocated the need for a Guru, he himself did not have a physical Guru to guide him. Prof. D.S.Sarma writes in FRAGRANT PETALS - A REPRESENTATIVE ANTHOLOGY, Sri Ramanasramam, 2005, “..illumination came to him (Ramana) suddenly, without any previous training or effort, and at once he became firmly established in the very centre of reality for the rests of his life.” Rama Varma Appan Tampuran adds,“Such self realization dawned all at once for the Maharishi. The light of the self shone forth suddenly like a flash of lightning.”