Realizing the false from the truth, one then makes the move towards union with Erai. G.Valmikanathan in his book ‘Makers of Indian Literature - Ramalingam’, published by Sahitya Akademi (e-book at http://www.vallalar.org) traces Ramalinga Adigal’s journey on the pathway to Erai dividing it into three portions; journey on the purgative way, journey on the illuminative way, and journey on the unitive way.
The purgative way is that part of the long path which, one treads towards the godhead and in which one purges oneself of all desires and attachments, of all imperfections, of all acts of commission and omission of shortcomings in renunciation, of shortcomings in the total love of god in the passion for the apprehension of the godhead.
The illuminative way is that part of the path, which comes after the purgative way, and in which one gains illumination, knowledge, and gnosis.
The unitive way is that part of the pathway in which the pilgrim marches on with buoyant and joyous steps, filled with hope and freed from doubt or misconception. The journey is characterized by a sense of urgency. The pilgrim, in this part of his journey, begins to walk fast, then breaks into a loping trot, and finally, gallops on with increasing tempo towards the beckoning smile and the outstretched arms, and is soon locked in an eternal embrace with the beloved, the eternal being, the godhead, the ground of all being.
The journey on the unitive way is composed of several factors of experience. Recollection and quiet, contemplation, ecstasy and rapture, dark night of the soul, and unitive life.
He explains the nature of each part,
Of these three sections of the pathway, the first is painful and dolorous, the second a strange mixture of sorrow and joy, the joy increasing in intensity as ignorance is slowly replaced by illumination, and the last section of sheer delight, of mounting bliss.In the website, http://www.ramalinga.com (now defunct), an extensive explanation is given on what happens during the union between God and man.
Ramalinga affirms that, following the Divine Path of Truth and Purity, the most impure body will become a body pure and imperishable. Then the Divinity descends and settles in disciples Heart, who becomes entirely filled by Him.
The Boundless Benevolent Jothi abides in the Heart of those who have realized the Deathless Body as clearly as the fruit in their hands.Tavayogi revealed this secret too when he autographed my copy of his first book, "Andamum Pindamum."
To say “Heart” isn't referring to the physical heart neither the heart chakra, although its “location” is near to both of them. The Heart is the most pure and hidden place, only "stepped" by God.
This Secret, which has been hidden and now is divulged according to the explicit wish of Ramalinga, points the disciple’s Heart as the End of the Path showed by Him.
Captivated by the "Ardent Fire" of the Divine Essence, the disciple stops thinking, feeling, acting and even existing. He has become pure Love and Compassion, and this is what he spills on all the beings.
He (Ramalinga Adigal) described a “Principle of Light” that is the unique one capable of producing this first transformation.
This Principle has two important aspects: Compassion toward all the beings (Paropakaram)and devotional meditation (Satvicharam).
According to Ramalinga, the first of these aspects was the most important; if is acquired, the Grace will come easily. God is present in all the beings and all the beings are in God. Cultivating the human compassion for all the beings can be achieved the God's Grace (divine compassion), similarly to the way in which a spark becomes a radiant Light.
Likewise he taught that it was necessary to develop another aspect of the Principle of Light: the ardent Devotion to God. The key is constituted by the constant thought on God, begging for his Grace. In one of his poems he expresses that is necessary to think incessantly on God, until be melted with the Divine Love. Then the crying happens unexpectedly and praises are sung to God, being produced in the disciple a smooth internal heat.
When this universal Love and this sacred Heat are realized, body and soul are prepared for the descent of the Grace in the shape of Light. When this happens, the material body constituted of impure elements is transformed into a “Body of Pure Light” that emits a golden brightness.