Spirituality & the Tamil Nation
Yogaswami - the Sage from Eelam
"எல்லாம் எப்பவோ முடிந்த
everything was over long, long
(1872 - 1964)
Yogaswami ... is a great saint of universal love - a true Siddha in whom
Love that is verily God, blossomed forth in all its perfection. The feeling
of oneness with the universe allows no running away from society.
Renunciation is not renouncing the world but the renunciation of the
dichotomy born of the feeling of the I
and the mine..." (T.P. Meenakshisundaran, Sometime Vice
Chancellor, Madurai University, writing in 'Saint Yogaswamy and the
Testament of Truth' by Ratna Chelliah Navaratnam, 1972)
" His very name came to mean wisdom, mystery, spiritual power and knowledge
of the timeless, formless, spaceless Self within, Parasiva. He was one of
those rare souls, like the rishis of yore, living in the infinity of Truth
within all things, which he called Siva. He was revered equally by Hindus,
Buddhists and Muslims. Devotees continue to honour him with pada puja,
worship of the master's feet, which contains the fullness of enlightenment
and hold the promise of our own spiritual freedom..." (Hinduism Today)
Know thyself by thyself
Courtesy: Hinduism Today
"At 3:30am on a Wednesday, in May of 1872, a son was born to
Ambalavanar and Sinnachi Amma not far from the Kandaswamy temple in
Maviddapuram, Eelam (Sri Lanka). He was named Sadasivan. His mother died before
he reached age 10. His aunt and uncle raised him. In his school days he was
bright, but independent, often studying alone high in the mango trees. After
finishing school, he joined government service as a storekeeper in the
irrigation department and served for years in the verdant backwoods of
The decisive point of his life came when he found his guru
outside Nallur Temple in 1905. As he walked along the road, Sage Chellappan, a
disheveled sadhu, shook the bars from within the chariot shed where he camped
and shouted loudly at the passing brahmachari, "Hey! Who are you?" Sadasivan was
transfixed by that simple, piercing, inquiry. "There is not one wrong thing!"
"It is as it is! Who knows?" the jnani roared, and suddenly everything vanished
in a sea of light. The world was renounced in that instant.
At a later encounter amid a festival crowd, Chellappa ordered
him, "Go within; meditate; stay here until I return." He came back three days
later to find Yogawami still waiting for his master.
Yogaswami surrendered himself completely to his guru, and life for him became
one of intense spiritual discipline, severe austerity and stern trials. One such
trial, ordered by Chellappa, was a continuous meditation which Chellappa
demanded of Sadasivan and Kathiravelu in 1909. For 40 days and nights the two
disciples sat upon a large flat rock. Chellappa came each day and gave them only
tea or water. On the morning of the fortieth day, the guru brought some
stringhoppers. Instead of feeding the hungry yogis, he threw the food high in
the air, proclaiming, "That's all I have for you. Two elephants cannot be tied
to one post." It was his way of saying two powerful men cannot reign in one
place. Following this ordination, their sannyas diksha, he sent the initiates
away and never received them again.
Chellappa passed in 1911. Yogaswami, obeying his guru's last
orders, sat on the roots of a huge olive tree at Colombuthurai. Under this tree
he stayed, exposed to the roughest weather, unmindful of the hardship, and
serene as ever. This was his home for the next few years. Intent on his
meditative regime, he would chase away curious onlookers and worshipful devotees
with stones and harsh words.
After years of austere meditation under an Illupai (olive) tree,
he was persuaded to inhabit a small hut in Colombuthurai made by loving
devotees. Here it was his habit to wake up early and in the dark before dawn
light camphor in worship of the holy sandals, the thiruvadi. of his guru. Once
the sun arose, he would stride through the country side, walking many miles each
day. Few recognized his attainment.
But this changed significantly one day when he traveled by train
from Colombo to Jaffna. An esteemed and scholarly pandit riding in another car
repeatedly stated he sensed a " great jyoti" (a light) on the train. When he saw
Siva Yogaswami disembark, he cried, "You see! There he is." The pandit cancelled
his discourses, located and rushed to Siva Yogaswami's ashram, prostrating at
his feet. His visit to the hut became the clarion call that here indeed was a
From then on people of all ages and all walks of life,
irrespective of creed, caste or race, went to Yogaswami. They sought solace and
spiritual guidance, and none went away empty-handed. He influenced their lives
profoundly. Decades passed and he came to be Illathusiddhar, the Perfected one
of sea-girt Illangai. Later people of all walks of life, all nations and paths
came for his darsan. Many realized how blessed they were only after years
had passed. Yogaswami's infinite compassion never ceased to impress. He would
regularly walk long miles to visit Chellachchi Ammaiyar, a saintly woman
immersed in meditation and tapas. Yogaswami would feed her and attend to duties
as she sat in samadhi. Upon her directive, her devotees, some the most learned
elite of Sri Lanka, transferred their devotion to Satguru Yogaswami after her
He would mysteriously enter the homes of devotees just when they
needed him, when ill or at the time of their death. He would stand over them,
apply holy ash and safeguard their passage. He was also known to have remarkable
healing powers and a comprehensive knowledge of medicinal uses of herbs.
Countless stories tell how he healed from afar. He would prepare remedies for
ill devotees. Cures always came as he prescribed.When not out visiting devotees,
Yogaswami would receive them in his hut. From dawn to dusk they came and
listened, rapt in devotion.
In 1940, Yogaswami went to India on pilgrimage to Banaras and
Chidambaram. His famous letter from Banaras states, "After wanderings far in an
earnest quest, I came to Kasi and saw the Lord of the Universe--within myself.
The herb that you seek is under your feet."
One day he visited
Sri Ramana Maharshi at his Arunachalam Ashram. The two simply sat all
afternoon, facing each other in elequent silence. Not a word was spoken. Back in
Jaffna he explained, "We said all that had to be said."
Followers became more numerous, so he gave them all work to do,
seva to God and to the community. In December, 1934, he had them begin his
monthly journal, Sivathondan, meaning both "servant of Siva" and "service to
Siva." As the years progressed, Swami more and more enjoyed traversing the
Jaffna peninsula by car, and it became a common sight to see him chaperoned
through the villages.
On February 22, 1961, Swami went outside to give his cow, Valli,
his banana leaf after eating, as he always did. Valli was a gentle cow. But this
day she rushed her master, struck his leg and knocked him down. The hip was
broken, not a trivial matter for an 89-year-old in those days. Swami spent
months in the hospital, and once released was confined to a wheelchair.
Devotees were heart-stricken by the accident, yet he remained unshaken. He ever
affirmed, "Siva's will prevails within and without--abide in His will."Swami was
now confined to his ashram, and devotees flocked to him in even greater numbers,
for he could no longer escape on long walks. He was, he quipped, "captured."
With infinite patience and love, he meted out his wisdom, guidance and grace
throughout his final few years.
At 3:30 am on a Wednesday in March of 1964, Yogaswami passed
quietly from this Earth at age 91. The nation stopped when the radio spread news
of his Great Departure, and devotees thronged to Jaffna to bid him farewell.
Though enlightened souls are often interred, it was his wish to be cremated.
Today, a temple complex is being erected on the site of the hut from which he
ruled Lanka for 50 years. .
His very name came to mean wisdom, mystery, spiritual power and
knowledge of the timeless, formless, spaceless Self within, Parasiva. He was one
of those rare souls, like the rishis of yore, living in the infinity of Truth
within all things, which he called Siva. He was revered equally by Hindus,
Buddhists and Muslims. Devotees continue to honour him with pada puja, worship
of the master's feet, which contains the fullness of enlightenment and hold the
promise of our own spiritual freedom...
Yogaswami articulated his teachings in hundreds of poems and
songs, called Natchintanai or Mahavakyam.
Sayings of Yogasawami in Tamil
Sayings of Yogaswami -
translated from the original Tamil, Sivathondan
Society, Jaffna, Tamil Eelam
From the Introduction to Songs and Sayings of
published by the Sivathondan Society, Jaffna, 1974...
"The fundamental aim of all religions is the realization of
Truth. This is a matter of direct experience, in which neither the mind nor
the intellect nor any human faculty is involved. It is a question of being.
There is only one Reality, which is God or ' That ' (tat), so that '
realization of Truth ' means being aware that you are one with God or that
you are ' That' (tat tvam asi). This is the meaning of "know
thyself". He who knows himself knows everything and is one who has
attained liberation while in the human body (jivanmukta). There is nothing
left for him to do, but to help others to come to the same realization. Such
a man is the true master (sat-guru).
Those who have attained this state are exceedingly rare. But one such
'realized soul ' was living in Jaffna, in North Ceylon (Tamil Eelam), for
over ninety years, and left his body only in 1964. The contents of this book
are his songs and sayings. These flowed from him spontaneously and were
written down at the time by anyone who happened to be present.
No intellectual process was involved. He was the mouthpiece of the Divine.
It is thought best to let the contents of the book speak for themselves.
expositions can all too easily mislead rather than lead, and the more
profound the original the greater this danger becomes.
For the commentator will, in all probability, only comment
from his particular view-point and on his particular level. But writings of
deep wisdom can be understood on many different levels and from many
different points of view, some of which may even appear contradictory, since
on the relative plane Truth can often only be expressed in contradictions.
Therefore it is better for each reader to extract what he can for himself
according to his nature and level of understanding.
However, for those not familiar with the background against which all that
appears in this book is portrayed, some words of explanation are necessary;
but it is intended to limit these to what is needed from the point of views
of intelligibility alone. The language from which the following translations
have been made is
Tamil. This is the tongue of most of the people of South India and of
the inhabitants of North and North-East Ceylon (Tamil Eelam). It is a
Dravidian language of very ancient origin. The majority of the Tamils and of
other members of the Dravidian races are Hindus. All the truths that are
contained within the pages of this book have been expressed in Hindu terms
and forms ..."
I will not think of It as ' one ' or ' two '.
I will not approach It as ' good ' or ' bad '.
I will not say that It was or that It is.
I will not know what has been or what is to come.
I will not consider that there is no wrong things.
I will not think of guru and disciple.
I will not state that there is two-fold karma.
I will not say it is the conclusion of the Vedas.
I will not be moved by praise or blame.
I will not make happiness my goal.
I will not be deluded by those who flatter me.
I will not suffer through repeating " Aham Brahmasmi"
I will not declare that there is unceasing love.
I will not advise to give or not to give.
I will not have respect for fools or sages.
I will not say It is the beginning, the middle or the end.
I will not be aware of it as ' five ' or ; six ' or eight '
I will not entertain the thought of treachery or deceit.
I will not have liking for grief or indignation.
I will not show preference for nectar or for poison.
My Master - The exalted seer, my master who by
the name of Chellappan is called, the madman
Guru and s'ishya: Chellappa Swami (seated) and Yogaswami from the cover
of Tęradi Chellappâ Cuvâmikal
I saw my guru at Nallur
"Hey, who are you?" (Nee yaar?) he cried.
"Dive deep within and realize!"
"Give up attachment"
"All is well, my son" (Oru pollâppum illai)
As the divine guru to bestow true life upon me
He appeared and showed to me His feet and made me His man.
If sufferings crowd in on you in hordes
If your shortcomings seek you out and drown you
Think of the feet of Chellappan and they will take to their heels and
Wisdom in couplets
Near the house of the car, holy Chellappan would teach:
"There is not one wrong thing" (Oru pollâppum illai)
That sage the saying has declared:
"All is truth" (Muzhutum unmai)
This no one can describe.
Know that for our benefit he gave the sweet and sacred word:
"Nothing do we know" (Nâm ariyôm)
Before his devotees he formerly would say:
"This all is perfected and complete" (Eppavô mudinta kâriyam)
Come, Oh, My Mind!
Come, offer worship, Oh my mind!
To gurunathan's holy feet,
Who said, "There is not one wrong thing" (Oru pollâppum illai)
And comforted my heart.
Come swiftly, swiftly, Oh my mind!
That I may adore the Lord
Who on me certainly bestowed
By saying "All is truth" (Muzhutum unmai)
Let us with confidence, Oh my mind!
Hasten to visit Him
Who at Nallur upon that day,
"We do not know" declared. (Nâm ariyôm)
Come soon and quickly, Oh my mind!
Chellappan to see,
Who ever and anon repeats
"It is as it is." (Eppavô mudinta kâriyam)
Come, Oh my mind!
To sing of him, who near the car proclaimed
"Who knows?" with glad and joyful heart
For all the world to know.
Chellappan, the Sivaguru
He who is devoid of form as the guru of Nallur
Came and bestowed on me His grace.
The Lord Supreme, Who has become the universe entire,
Came Himself to great Nallur and said "We do not know"
He, who in writing cannot be described
As a guru came to this world
In nothing are we lacking
"All is truth" -- (Muzhutum unmai)
This world devoid of defect
Will paradise reveal to you
Give praise and worship and in joy abide!
"There is nothing wrong" -- (Oru pollâppum illai)
This matchless saying that the guru told
Will impart to you right understanding
Live, ever strewing flowers in reverence
"Who knows?" -- (Âr arivâr?)
This utterance of the master The highest knowledge will bestow
Live guarding it with honour in your heart!
"We do not know" -- (Nâm ariyôm)
These words in virtue shining
Will grant prosperity and bliss divine
Rely on them without delay and live!
"All is finished" -- (Eppavô mudinta kâriyam)
This statement of the sage will to a settled mind
The Supreme State disclose
Live, offering flowers with love at the dawn of day!
These words will banish birth
Which in Tamil pure are sung
By the devotee, who ne'er
Forgets his master's lotus feet.
Yoga Swami: The Sage of Lanka by
Santhaswami (Viscount Lord Soulbury)
(courtesy: Sri Lanka Island, 4 June 1995)
|The 123rd birth anniversary of Yoga Swami fell on
21st May 1995. The following article was written by Santhaswami who was the
elder son of the late Lord Soulbury, former Governor-General of Sri Lanka.
On the death of his father, he inherited his viscountcy and became a member
of the House of Lords. He had sought Yoga Swami's permission to renounce his
viscountcy in favour of his younger brother, but Swami refused. Instead, he
initiated him and gave him the name Santhaswami.
The fundamental aim of all religions is the realization of
Truth. This is a matter of direct experience in which neither the mind nor the
intellect nor any human faculty is involved. It is a question of being. There is
only one reality, which is God or 'That' (tat) so that realization of truth
means being aware that you are one with God or that you are "that' (Tat tvam
asi). This is the meaning of 'know thyself'. He who knows himself knows
everything and is one who has attained liberation while in the human body
(jivanmukta). There is nothing left for him to do but to help others to come to
the same realization. Such a person is the true master (sat-guru).
Those who have attained this state are exceedingly rare. But one
such 'realized soul' lived in the North of Sri Lanka for over ninety years and
left his body only in March 1964. He was known as Yoga Swami and took birth a
hundred and twenty-one years ago. He received his early education in a Christian
missionary school and, either then or later, acquired a good knowledge of
After leaving school, he was employed for some years as a
storekeeper in the Irrigation Department at a place about forty miles south of
Jaffna. During this time, in his early manhood, he met his guru -- Chellappa
Swami. Soon afterwards he gave up his job -- and everything else -- in order to
Thirst for truth
Chellappa Swami was usually to be found in the neighborhood of
Nallur, now a suburb of Jaffna town, but once the capital of the Tamil kings of
the place. The is situated the most important temple in Jaffna, dedicated to
Kandaswami or Murugan. Close to the temple itself is a large building used to
house the massive wooden chariot in which the image of Murugan is drawn round
the temple on the occasion of the yearly festival.
This was Chellappa Swami's favourite haunt and the place where
the imparted most of his teaching to his disciples. He did not do anything but
wandered about as he pleased, clothed in rags and begging for food for his
sustenance. Most people thought that he was mad, for he would often throw stones
at those who tried to approach him and abuse them in language.
Only very few had the purity of mind and heart and understanding to perceive his
true greatness and to detect the unlimited wealth that he had in his power to
bestow. Yoga Swami was one of the lucky few. Even he was chastened and driven
out many a time, but Yoga Swami withstood all these because of his thirst for
realizing the Truth.
It would appear that Yoga Swami was with his guru only for a few
years. At a certain point of time he was driven out and told to "Stand on your
own legs!". There is also a story that when he came to visit Chellappa Swami in
the final stages of his last illness, the latter would not allow him to enter
the hut in which he was lying, but shouted from within, "Stand outside and see!"
During the eyars immediately before and after Chellappa Swami's Mahâsamâdhi,
Yoga Swami was living under a tree at Columbuthurai on the outskirts of Jaffna
town. At this time he appears to have been practising severe austerities and in
his outward behaviour to have followed the example of his master, for he would
drive away those who tried to approach him.
But gradually, as more and more devotees gathered round him, his austere
demeanour seems to have been relaxed, and he was eventually persuaded to occupy
a small hut in the garden of a house near the tree under which he had been
living. This remained his 'base' for the rest of his life. There devotees would
come to him for help in all their problems, usually in the early mornings and in
Since the majority of his followers were Hindus, his teaching
was expressed mainly in Hindu terms, but he himself was beyond all distinctions
of religion. Buddhists, Christians, Muslims and agnostics would all come to him
for help and guidance, for he had reached the summit to which philosophies and
religions are merely paths. Like a good doctor he knew what was best for each of
his 'patients' and altered his 'prescriptions' accordingly. His teaching
embraced all the yogas and at the same time lay beyond all of them.
Nearly all his devotees were householders and engaged in some
employment or other, and apart from one or two exceptions, he rarely advised
them to retire from their employment. People would often come and say that they
wanted to give up their jobs in order to be able to devote more time to
spiritual practices but he did not usually encourage them to do this, since, for
him, the whole of man's life had to be made a spiritual practice and he would
not admit any division of human activity into holy and unholy.
To most of those who came to see him, he would end by saying
"Now go and do your work!" He laid great emphasis on work and work for work's
sake -- that is, Karma Yoga. This like Siva dhyana (meditation on God or what is
Real), was one of the 'medicines' that in one form or another, he most
frequently administered. He gave no lectures and held no classes. His teaching
was given spontaneously as it came either at his hut in the mornings or evenings
or at some apparently chance encounters in the bazaar or in the streets or
maybe, if a devotee was sufficiently fortunate, at a surprise visit to his own
house. Most of what he said was usually intended for one particular individual
though others present would of course also profit from it.
Yogaswami towards the end of his life
He untiringly tried to raise his followers to the understanding
that Truth lies beyond all forms. Throughout his life he also did his best in
many different ways to encourage and revive the proper observance of traditional
practices and every evening at dusk, a lamp, symbolizing he sacred fire, would
be lit in his hut and certain devotional hymns sung in his presence. As his
followers became more and more numerous, he gave them work to do and encouraged
them to translate into Tamil a few writings in Sanskrit or English that he
considered to be important.
In 1953 he made them start a monthly paper devoted exclusively
to religious subjects. In every issue would appear one of his songs. These
songs, to which he gave the name of Natchyintanai -- that is, 'Good Thoughts' --
flowed from him spontaneously and might come forth at any moment.
In 1935 he sanctioned, at the desire of some of his followers,
the establishment of a place in Jaffna town where they could meet and this
developed into a centre where they were able to practise meditation, sing
devotional songs, hold classes in religion and philosophy and generally carry on
any activities useful for spiritual growth.
The name which he gave to the paper, to the institutuion and to
the organization which controlled it was Sivathondan. Siva is God and Thondan
has the meaning of servant and also that of devotee, so that the word
Sivathondan signifies a devoted servant of God or one whose service is devoted
to God, that is, one who does everything that he has to do for God and not for
Everything is God's work and in one sense everyone, every being,
is doing Sivathondan. But man has won the unique privilege of being able to do
it consciously. To make use of this rare opportunity is the best and easiest way
open to him in this age of purifying himself, subjugating his ego and attaining
therely that unalloyed happiness which is his birthright.
Yogaswamy - The
Sage from Tamil Eelam -
The Hindu Scriptures have recorded with penetrating insight,
the significance role of the Spiritual preceptors, who have from age to age
contributed to the undying renoun of the Guru Paramparai and who have built
up a continual tradition of Guru Tattvam. The young Nachiketas learn the
nature of Truth from Yama. Maitreyi from Sage Yagnavakkya Bhrigu from
Varuna, Narada from Sanat Kuamar and the four aged Rishis of old sat at the
feet of the Adi Guru Dhakshanamurthi.
The spiritual knowledge was handed from Guru to disciple in succession in
the unbroken tradition of the Sanatana Dharma. The advent of Siva Yogaswami
of in Tamil Eelam marks one such phenomenon. His Spiritual advent had a
subtle impact on the people in their progress in Spiritual, mental and
physical planes of living. In Eelam, Triad KadaiSwami, Chellappa Swami and
Yogaswami lived and moved from middle of the nineteenth century and the
middle of the twentieth century. Nallur Chellappa, the mad man of Nallur
Theradi imparted the Yogamirtham, the nectarine wisdom of the ancient seers
to Siva Yogaswami of Columbuthurai, whose Natchinthanai reflections embodied
the priceless legacy of the Ilankai Yoga Guru Paramparai. In Natchinthanai
reflections, there are many moving compositions and references to his
initiation by Sat Guru Chellappa Swami. We quote some of the cantos which
according to many devotees Yogaswami used to sing frequently in his Ashram
and whose magnetic impact was exhilarating and elevating.
When I saw my Guru for the first time,
Seated on the steps leading to the chariot of Murugan,
"Who are You?" He shouted.
"Deliberate within", said he in jovial mirth.
"Give up attachments", was his refrain.
His very name to mean wisdom, mystery, spiritual power and knowledge of the
timeless, formless, spaceless Self within, Parasiva. He was one of those
rare souls, like the rishis of yore, living in the infinity of Truth within
all things, which he called Siva. He found his Guru amid a festival crowd
outside Nallur Temple in 1905. As he walked by Sage Chellappa, shook the
bars from within the chariot shed, shouting at the passing brahmachari,
"Hey! Who are you?". And in that moment Yogaswami was transfixed. "There is
not one wrong thing!", "It is as it is! Who knows?" the Gnani roared, and
suddenly everything vanished in a sea of light. The world was renounced in
After Chellappa's mahasamadhi in 1915, Yogaswami undertook five years of
intense sadhana, moving about Jaffna and the entire island on foot. Later
people of all walks of life, all nations and paths came for his darshan.
Yogaswami lived from 1872 to 1964, revered equally by Hindus, Buddhists and
Muslims. Yogaswami articulated his teachings in hundreds of poems and songs,
called Natchinthanai or Mahavakyam…Sarvam Sivam Seyal, Sarvam Sivamayam and
Dr. K. Ganesalingam, Adheenap Pulavar, London Meykandar Adheenam
was a mystic saint who attracted many from home and abroad. Prominent among the
western disciples was the American born Subramuniyaswami (1927–2001) who founded
the Kauai Aadheenam and the temple complex in Hawaii. His successor and present
head of this Adheenam is Bodhinatha Veylanswami.
Came in the
Saiva Siddhanta tradition of Jaffna (Yazhpanam), Sri Lanka (Ceylon),
Yogaswami (1872–1964) was giving solace and spiritual guidance to many. His
teachings are given in the Tamil book Natchinthanai as poetry and
prose, mostly in poetic form. A study of this book would show the philosophical
views of Yogaswamy.
For those who
have not come in the Saiva-Tamil tradition, his philosophical views may appear
to be a mixture of Siddhanta and Vedanta. Main area where this is seen is the
one relating to God and soul. However, a careful study of the book would reveal
that they are actually Siddhanta views.
‘Soul is one;
it is Brahmam or God’, are Vedanta views. Following lines in Natchinthanai
reflect these views:
as Siva is for those of understanding’ (Seevan Sivan enal therinaarkkundu)
‘It is a
joy to seek as we are Siva’ ( Naam Sivanena naaduthal inpame)
not the aspect of Siva?’ (Nee Sivaththin amsam allavaa?)
also says that you, I and all are Siva. Perhaps because of these words of
him Kauai Aadheenam has given its philosophical conclusion, which is Vedantic,
eternally perfect and one with God Siva. We are That. We do not become
That.’ – (Aadheenam’s booklet, ‘All about Kuai’s Hindu Monastery’, Himalayan
Acdemy, USA, 2006)
‘We are That
(Brahmam, God)’ or ‘I am That’ is the Vedanta interpretation of the Veda
mahavakya, ‘Aham Brahmasmi’. Siddhanta interpretation is ‘I become That’.
Obviously Kauai Aadheenam accepts the Vedanta interpretation and refutes the
Siddhanta interpretation. It gives its Vedantic interpretation as Saiva
Siddhanta truth, and that also as told by Sivayogaswamikal.
Aadheenm reads Vedanta views in the words of Sivayogaswami, most of his
teachings indicate that Saiva Siddhanta was his philosophy. Even the lines given
above, if interpreted correctly in the background of the Saiva tradition in
which he came, would not be understood in the Vedantic way.
Saiva Siddhanta, souls are many and eternal like God. They are also separate
from God. It also speaks of Anavam, which is the source of our ego, the
I-ness, ignorance, hatred etc. Existence of anavam is not found in Vedanta or
any other Indian philosophy.
Soul is in
association with anavam and acts as one with it. This relationship is called
Advaita relationship. Advaita means ‘not two’. Soul should strive to break
its advaita relationship with anavam and develop the advaita relationship with
God. (Meaning of Advaita relationship in Siddhanta is different from that in
Vedanta). St. Thayumanavar asks, “When could I attain the advaita
relationship with God, like the advaita relationship I had with anavam?”
chapter, ‘Let us meditate on Siva’ (‘Sivaththiyaanam Seivom’), in
Natchinthanai, Yogaswami states, “Remove the anavam of I-ness, we are That”.
Removing the anavam is a Siddhanta view. Saying ‘We are That’, is a Vedanta
view. However, identifying with Lord Siva, and considering ourselves as He, is
called Sivohambavana, which finds place in Saiva religion.
is stressed as an essential part of the spiritual exercise in Saiva Siddhanta
tradition. It helps one to snap all his worldly attachments, and develop
attachment to Lord Siva. This is explained by Yogaswami at many places in
Natchinthani. The line, ‘It is a joy to seek as we are Siva’, given
above, is an example. Few other lines are,
‘Meditate, soul is Siva’
am He and meditate daily; all the mental attachments (aasai) will disappear
and Grace of Siva will be showered’.
also speaks as follows:
the mind, Worship as one (with me) the Being that shines as this world, soul
and higher Reality’.
‘Believe in God ---- Think that I am not---- God is existing --- Whoever
thinks of something, he becomes that --- Ultimately all will be seen as He’.
teachings of Yogaswamy clearly indicate that he speaks of contemplating as ‘I
am Siva’, which is Sivohambavana. He also uses the word ‘bavanai’ in
these teachings. His words,’Whoever thinks of something, he becomes that’
explains the basis of Sivohambanai. These show that he considers the soul as
different from Siva, which is a Siddhanta view. This is clearly seen in the
following words of his:
have the greatness (‘mahimai’) to meditate as I am He. In whatever way one
meditates, he becomes in that way’.
views are also given directly by him at many places. Following are some such
views relating to God and soul:
are not the mind, not budthi, not chitham. You are Atma. Atma never
perishes.--- Practice as the soul is in the presence God. --- God exists
inside and outside.’
in His inherent form, is inseparable from Sakthy’.
the thirty six tatvas leave away -----.’.
‘Transcending the six aatharams ---‘
‘Praise to the Satguru who made me as the one who transcended the tatvas
(thaththuvaatheethan) by removing the six paths of Aththuva --.’
Saiva Siddhanta views found in Sivagnanabodham and other Siddhanta texts. They
are not Vedanta views. Many more such Siddhanta views are seen in his
Sivayogaswami clearly expresses Saiva Siddhanta views in his Natchinthanai book,
it is unfortunate that Kauai Aadheenam chose very few lines in it and reading
Vedanta in his words. Correct interpretation of such lines which appears to
reflect Vedanta views is as follows:
makes the innumerable souls” (‘Alakil uyirkalai aakkuvaan avane’)
language the word ‘uyirkal’ means ‘souls’. However, in usage it also denotes
the physical bodies of living beings. In Saiva Siddhanta, creation means the
soul obtaining a physical body. This body is made from maya and given
to the soul by God. (Maya in Vedanta is different from that in
Yogaswami said “He makes the innumerable (alakil) souls”, what he
meant is that God creates the physical bodies of living beings. He also
indicates that souls are many by giving an adjective ‘alakil’. In one
of his letters (Thrumukangkal), he refers to the souls as ‘mannuyir’
meaning ‘eternal soul’. It is to be noted that his choice of Tamil words
relates mostly to words in Saiva devotional and philosophical texts.
not properly understood by Kauai Aadheenam which, knowingly or unknowingly,
gives out its view that ‘soul is one, and it is God’, as Siddhanta concept.
“Soul as Siva is for those of understanding” (‘Seevan Sivanenal
of soul as Siva comes out as a practice of Sivohambavana. One with spiritual
understanding would see himself as Siva and everything as Siva.
3. ‘It is
a joy to seek as we are Siva’ ( Naam Sivanena naaduthal inpame)
again is Sivohambavana.
you not the aspect of Siva?” (‘Nee Sivaththin amsamallavah?’)
souls, are in the form of icchai, gnanam and kiiyai, which are our
capabilities. For this reason, the soul is also referred to as iccha gnna
kiriya sorupi. Sivasakthy is also in this form. Our capabilities are
impaired by the associated anavam. If not for anavam we would be like
Siva, as an aspect of Him, but never equal to Him or part of Him. Eighth
aphorism (sutra) of Sivagnanabodham indicates it by saying that the true nature
of soul is to be in the company of Lord Siva who is not alien to it.
are few examples of Natchintanai lines which need correct interpretation. Kauai
Adheenam has given incorrect interpretation and injected alien views into Saiva
Siddhanta, in the name of Yogaswami. It has also incorrectly interpreted
Thirumanthiram and other Saiva texts, paving the way for a new brand of Saiva
philosophy. This was exposed earlier by Siddhanta scholars. Two books which give
the exposition and refutation of the views of this Aadheenam are, “Souls Are
Beginningless” and “There Has Always Been Only A Pluralistic Saiva
Siddhnta Philosophy”. These books were written by V.K.Palasuntharam and
issued by Selangor Ceylon Saivites Association of Malaysia in 1984.
study of Natchinthanai shows that the philosophy of Yogaswami is Saiva
Siddhanta. For correct interpretation of Sivayogaswami’s words, one should have
Siddhanta knowledge and must be familiar with the Saiva Tamil tradition in which
this mystic saint was born.