1.26.2007

Shiva temple, Villianur
















(Click the image to enlarge)

This is a small quaint temple, near Pondichery hosting a unique Shiva linga. The Linga being made of mud does not endure a direct abhishekam hence the Linga is always covered in the brass vessel before the water is poured. It’s a small temple that speaks volumes on devotion.

I walked around, savoring every minute of this temple. As we did the pradakshanam and walked behind the main sanctum, 63 Nayanars caught my attention. A quick photo and it was a snap to keep.

A collapsible gate separated them from me. 63 Nayanars with hands folded stared out at me. They looked imprisoned to say the least. I looked free, or was it the other way around? It seemed like a one to one with them. We stared at each other for a while.

63 enlightened souls appeared to have been barred from walking out and breathing the fresh air, or was it me taking in the foul realities of life.

63 enlightened souls glistened in the darkness while I paled out in the bright sunlight

63 nayanars silently worshipped the Lord in His heavenly abode while I thought I was freely walking the earth.

63 nayanars found a place next to the Lord while I still hunt for my identity.

63 nayanars didn’t care for freedom while my soul breaks every rule in the way

63 nayanars display humility with folded hands while I carry a heavy ego through my living days

63 nayanars silently speak faith while I voice mine like I know it all

63 nayanars have given up their souls for peace while I still hold on to mine, fearing to let go.

63 nayanars taught devotion to the world while I drop ego into every word.

63 nayanars glow with enlightenment while I still look around in the dark.

63 nayanars forever worship the Lord while I drift away trying to control my mind.

63 nayanars teach the meaning of freedom while I try to understand mine

63 nayanars appear to be imprisoned while I still try to break mine.

The Lord works in strange ways towards those willing to learn, it’s a test of endurance for us to see ourselves through. Spiritualism is tough stuff, its something I still do not know how to define.

24 comments:

anil joshi said...

Kavitha,Would you kindly explain what it means by the word"nayanar"
As usual a very thought provoking write up.We all indeed are caged by our own ego & beliefs & waste our today To secure the tommorrow.Everyone of us realizes this at some point of time,but this realization is momentary.A penance is what is required to make this permanent!

JC Joshi said...

Hi Anilji. Kavitha said, “…63 Nayanars with hands folded stared out at me. They looked imprisoned to say the least. I looked free, or was it the other way around? It seemed like a one to one with them.”

The above reminded me of a cartoon reportedly made by the famous cartoonist, Shri Shankar Pillai. It was said that he first came to limelight with a figure of two asses pasted on the wall of a busy street in the market. The caption, however read, “WE ARE THREE!”

Any viewer of these idols of 63 Nayanars - who believably represent a cross section of the society, the rich and the poor of different faiths, and not saivites only, hundreds of years ago - similarly, could perhaps realize the original intended communication by the ‘wise’ ancients, with the background knowledge of ‘64 Yoginis’, (8x8, as we had seen earlier also), as reportedly used by the ancient Tantriks, and man itself also believably made of earth!

kavitha said...

Hello Anilji,

Nayanars were devotees of Lord Siva. They were saints from Southern India, especially Tamil Nadu, and were mostly responsible for development of Shaivism in the Medieval period. While the Nayanars are devotees of Siva, Alvars are devotees of Vishnu.

There are 63 Nayanars in all who religiously sang songs and were entirely devoted to the propagation of Shaivism in the South.

They are always found in a line on the precinct of Shiva temples either as stone idols or as bronze idols. The picture here is of bronze idols which are not exactly in a line but have been kept in one place. They really looked so caged up!

Rgds
Kavitha

JC Joshi said...

Kavitha, please also refer to an article on the 63 Nayanars By G. Vanmikanathan available on the internet.

I give below an extract from the said article.

"...Lord Siva, whom these Saiva-Siddhantins worshipped, is not a sectarian deity but the Supreme Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer of the universe, who comes in human form from time to time and "plays" with these servitors when their devotion gets incandescent... These nayanars do not belong to any one community; they hail from various communities—high and low, rich and poor. They are of both the sexes and of all ages, and range from tribal hunters to emperors of vast domains. Caste and community, wealth and status, do not count with them, even as they do not with the Lord..."

anil joshi said...

Kavitha,Thanks for the information.Incidently I remembered few Naynars that are active in Kerala politics & are communists. we also have the word "Alwar" in Marathi & it means tender/loving/gentle.

JC Joshi said...

As I had indicated elsewhere earlier also - as seen from the fables recorded in ‘Panchatantra’ wherein apparently complicated subject of ‘Political Admistration’ is dealth with through simple stories for the sake of layman - the ancient wise Hindus have attempted to read mute communications in ‘Nature’ to reach at the ‘essence’ or the ‘central idea’, or the ‘Truths’ of different events. And, thereafter from these essences to further reach the one and only cause or the ‘Absolute Truth’.

Perhaps the central idea of the 'Hindu Philosophy' could be visualised from the mention of an ‘avatar’ or incarnation of Lord Vishnu, ‘Krishna’ - the one that has the power of 'thousand suns' - as ‘Yogiraja’ or the king of the ‘Yogis’, that is ‘ancient scientists’, as responsible for the creation of physical world/ universe, and Lord Vishnu, in ‘Yoganidra’ that is a Super conscious state, on Ananta - in the middle of the ‘kshirsagar’ or ‘milky ocenan’ - that is 'Nadbindu' the point source of universal energy and the real Creator, whose perfect model is our planet Earth and also the ‘purushottam’ or the best human being at any time...

The figure of numeral 8 - that when written horizontally symbolically indicates infinity or ‘ananta’ - provides a hint to reach Krishna the ‘bhagyawan’ or ‘lucky eighth and the only living child of Ma Devaki’ in human form. Human being was also simply considered in visual appearance as two vessels one kept over the other and the human form was generally referred as ‘ghatam’ or a pitcher used to hold water/ liquids (and the ‘acupuncturists’ considered human form to consist of a ‘conception vessel’ and a ‘governing vessel’)…

JC Joshi said...

Kavitha, Anilji...

With the background knowledge that there also is a city named Alwar in Rajasthan in the hills of the Aravalli range - surrounded by lakes, forests and palaces - it is interesting to learn that Vaishnavites are known as ‘alvars’ in South India while "alwar" in Marathi means tender/loving/gentle!

We also know that in Hindi ‘var’ means either a boon asked from gods/ goddesses, or a fruit, or an acquisition of ‘siddhi’ that is ‘expertise’. With the prefix ‘al’, ‘alvar’ could perhaps signify the characteristic of Vishnu as the desired ‘fruit’ - the believably ‘unborn child’ in the words of the ‘wise’ ancient - as the one who can be reached only by gentle, tender and loving motherly humans, within each of whom He believably resides in the ‘Mooladhar Bandha’, or ‘womb’, or the ‘conception vessel’! Hindu Mythology belives in 'Krishna' the incarnatin of Vishnu, only as the 'male' in 'Brindavan' or our galaxy, as we have seen earlier also!

JC Joshi said...

Indians - who all, once upon a time, were called 'Hindus' – after realizing the existence of the unseen and mischievous Creator, or God, advised people to be always conscious of the Nirakar or the Formless God, for He was always watching everyone. And, like Buddhism is known to have spread far and wide, (and maybe not all over the world at a certain period - it being 'Kaliyuga'), however, it is likely that the message about 'God consciousness' would have spread worldwide in the further 'advanced' past...

It is also an accepted historical fact today that at a certain point of time when the original inhabitants of Europe were ‘barbarians’, ‘Aryans’, a believable ‘intelligent race’ had settled in India, as ‘Indo Aryans’ and in Europe as ‘Euro Aryans’...

It is perhaps due to the believable mischievousness of the Creator, or His helplessness, that there always exist opposite ‘characters’ in ‘Nature’ in the 'drama of human life'. That’s why one finds the opposites: Sweet and sour; good and bad; and so on and, of course, God (in the ‘East’, as ‘Master’ of humble Hindus, from the common man to the king, who like the ’63 Nayanars’ are seen standing with folded hands to inspire others) and Dog (in the ‘West’ as ‘servant’ of the egoist man)!

The reflection of this phenomenon was recently also seen in the so-called ‘Reality TV Show’, ‘Big Brother’, where one ‘present day English’ character called a ‘present day Indian’ character a ‘dog’ and it boomeranged on her!

Maybe, ‘scientifically’ speaking, it was the fault of the ‘genes’, or as per the ancient belief because of ‘destiny’, or perhaps because of apparent better upbringing traditionally in some minority Hindus even today when the majority apparently has been influenced more by the generally by the believable 'egoistic thoughts' associated with the direction West by ancient Astrologers!

JC Joshi said...

Buddha apparently advised man not to let his good characteristics be lost and to accept good properties from others while purging once own bad characteristics and not accepting bad properties of others...

Frankly speaking, it was through a novel by a westerner, I learnt for the first time that when a Hindu says ‘namaste’ - with folded hands - to another, he is actually praying to the god within (all humans, as well as within any non-living thing even, as it still gets reflected in the worship from a mouse to a mountain ritually carried forward through generations).

It was perhaps as the interprertation of the realization by ‘elevated souls’ - that human being was ‘a model of the (illusory) universe’ [in the east] or ‘an image of God’ (Himself) [in the west] - which was expressed in the eastern belief, “Atithi Devo Bhavah”, that is, 'An unannounced visitor is god'. It is this thought that attracted the curious adventurers or apparent ‘foreigners’ to ‘India’ (difficult to identify the place to which one actualy belongs - because of apparent continuous to and fro movements going on over long duration). The phenomenon is like bees getting 'naturally' attracted towards beautiful flowers apparently for honey, but which in infact is in their mutual interest.

And, it was the peace loving and simple, or ‘tolerant’ (Bholanath-like) inhabitants that allowed material exploitation of the ‘golden bird’ that India once was known as while on the other hand inspiring some to disseminate ‘spirituality’ in other regions in the west too on their return…

'Yogiraja Krishna', in the Gita, says that all 'wrong' actions are on account of lack of (overall) knowledge...

JC Joshi said...

The ancients believed human life as merely ‘Maya’ that is illusion – like films prepared by the innumerable ‘characters’ that form the make-believe world of cinema. It apparently has some ‘scientific logic’ behind the production and contains various apparently important messages for communication to/ for brain-storming by the masses at large - on innumerable and apparently unending issues of day-to-day life.

Howerver, some 'wise' person today might feel all these to be just like trash thrown in the trash bin, which is however perhaps purposely anyway getting continuously recycled for long on the planet earth during its present life of over 4 billion years…

However, the essence communicated by the apparently ‘wise characters’ - in the apparent drama of eternal human life – is that they found man on planet earth a projection of just one out of innumerable other apparent physical forms in the apparent infinite universe by ‘The Absolute Truth’ or the Formless Creator since time immemorial.

It was believed by them that as Bhootnath or the Lord of the Past, He is merely reviewing its thoughts/ acts in its unending past within its ‘third’ or ‘mind’s’ eye for its own purpose, or multiple purposes, that apparently isn’t directly made known to any one. It could be purely for entertainment, or as a pastime, and so on, or all of the possible purposes that get reflected in the variety of thoughts experienced by animals, and particularly by humans, from time to time...

JC Joshi said...

And, as every film has an ‘END’ - that fortunately gets displayed in words as such after the film ends, so that the spectators could perhaps proceed towards one’s temporary or permanent abode or proceed on some errand – everyone knows every human life to certainly come to its conclusive end after a certain short or long duration, maybe without any notice as in the case of a massive heart attack, or maybe one to succumb to death after some short or long duration of illness, i.e., with due advance notice...

Similarly the ‘wise’ ancients also have indicated that the drama of all animal life forms apparently comes to its end when a Yuga ends, i.e., after a period of apparent long duration – and the life then restarts from that point when a new Yuga begins…

For those who have more faith on the ‘present day scientists’, and not the ancient Hindus, the newspapers indicate the health of our planet earth in an article by Jonathan Leake, “We have just 10 years to save the world, warn scientists”…the stark warning reportedly coming from scientists working on the final draft of a new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

JC Joshi said...

The planet earth that is immortal Shiva of the "Satyam Shivam Sunderam”, or “Shiva is the only truth and He alone is beautiful” fame - if the believable ‘Destroyer’ enjoys comedies for a change - must be having a big laugh at the ignorance of the relatively more egoistic man, particularly that of ‘born Hindus’ today compared to the symbolic ‘Nayanars’!

Ignorance of ‘truth’ by man today, with reference to the field of ‘political administration’ or the leaders of present day Indians, could perhaps be visualized from what ‘feel good’ amongst the 'youths' in the party - because of advancement in the ‘material field’ - did to the ‘King’ or the ruling party of Democratic India in the year 2004 (digits adding up to 6, triple of which is associated with ‘Satan’) when the party unbelievably and unexpectedly lost in election.

Perhaps the shocking defeat happened because they had come to power on ‘spiritual’ grounds and had Adam-like succumbed to the universal temptation generated by the ‘forbidden fruit’ in the Christian Era, the countdown of which was perhaps indicated by the ‘triple nine’, symbolically representing Christ, in the year 1999 and perhaps confirmed by the India-Pak LOC (Kashmir believably as the common disturbed head of both countries) earthquake on 10/10/2005 (all the digits adding up to 9, as those of the year 2007 also do)!

Sant Tulsi Das in Ramayana depicts Lord Rama (model of Sun or Brahma) saying to Lakshamana (model of Earth or Shiva) that love cannot be gerneated without fear! It is because of it that the ‘present day scientists’ also are in a hurry to locate some other planet where Noah-like man could escape before it is too late!

JC Joshi said...

Sorry Kavitha! The Kashmir earthquake happened on the 8th October 2005, the total of all the digits of which works up to 7, which I had earlier also elsewhere shown to be related with earth or ‘Ajna chakra’ that believably opens the barrier to provide access to ‘Sahasrara Chakra’ or Supreme Knowledge - and not the 10th as I have erroneously indicated!

anil joshi said...

Kavitha For a glimpse of Pandharpur please visit www.esakal.com & click on the image of God Vithoba on the Lt. side of the main page.

JC Joshi said...

The ‘wise’ ancients while outlining the boundary conditions through the stories of burning of Kamadeva, and Bhasmasur etc by Shiva/ Vishnu - as the joint role of the main elements fire and earth - and the ‘Great inundations’ or ‘Pralaya’ from time to time through earth and water, have through the 63 idols of ‘enlightened Nayanars’, as viewed by the yet to be liberated sixty-fourth idol in human form, perhaps indicated representation of the believably the total 64 Yoginis, or 64 Yonis or typical characters possible in human form for different typical roles in human life’s drama, as also seen in the epic of Mahabharata where a large number of characters are depicted…

The astrologers appear to have believed it represented through eight selected planets from Sun to Jupiter, wherein one typical role or characteristic property of each planet is represented by a typical character in human form, for example, Brahma/ Rama/ Arjuna in the mythological stories at different times representing the Sun while Saturn always represented formless Vishnu and Earth or Shiva as the perfect model of the formless Creator.

And, the seven other graded variations in each of the planet’s characteristic property, after interaction of each with the other seven, getting reflected in seven different roles as parents/ close siblings of the main character...thus making possible 8x8 that is 64 characters...

JC Joshi said...

Anilji, Thanks for the reference. I enjoyed my favourite Pandit Bhim Sen Joshi's bhajan on the video presentation on Vithoba, a form of Krishna... Although I understand only a few words of Marathi, yet I enjoy good music in any language.

Kavitha, maybe Anilji, like me too, feels shy to enquire if there was any possibility of modification of your video presentation on Amarnath to play when the visitor to your blog so desires.

kavitha said...

Hi Joshi Uncle, Anilji,

As I have imported this from Google videos i am not sure i can make any changes to it.

I will have to experiment to see how i can make this more user friendly.

Regds
Kavitha

kavitha said...

Hi Joshi Uncle, Anilji,

It has been done successfully! The autoplay mode has been disabled. Let me know if its ok.

It is now left to the viewers choice.

Regds
Kavitha

JC Joshi said...

Continuing, let us see how without limiting them to a particular region/ place or time the wise ancients apparently realized 63 ‘Nayanars’, or 63 Yoginis/ Yonis as universal figures, or ‘Truths’ or ‘essencess’ within each human form even - as a ‘bahuroopiya’ or a multiple personality that any individual naturally reflects itself through one’s actions over his life time/ at the same time while addressing different personalities in the apparent hierarchy...

Through the popular incident leading to the birth of ‘bhagyawan’ that is lucky, Yogiraj/ Bhagwan Sri Krishna inside his maternal uncle Kansa’s prison in Mathura and murder of His seven elder siblings before Him - immediately after they were born - by the prison guards on the orders of Kansa, one could perhaps try to visualise how the Yogis have indicated the basic design of KRISHNA ‘the flute player’ in human form as a model of the Creator or Nadbindu the point source of sound energy or Big Bang.

They also indicate that although those seven siblings or the essences of seven planets apparently exist in each human form at different levels from ‘Mooladhar’ to ‘Sahasrara’ besides that of 'Krishna' also [as indicated by the Gaja (Ganesha)-Graha(Krishna) story also] at the ‘Mooladhar’, it is because of ‘Maya’ that the un-liberated being is apparently unable to overcome illusion because of lack of overall knowledge, failing to activate the formless being through zero thought to reach the ‘Absolute Truth’, particularly more so in the ‘present’ that is Kaliyuga, the age of ‘specialization’ and not ‘siddhi’ or overall knowledge of the Supreme being...

JC Joshi said...

In the ‘present’, the average man tends to read the Hindu mythological stories just like fiction, for entertainment or pastime only – but, of course, in times of need these sometimes could come in handy to encourage oneself even if one is ignorant about the ‘science’ behind the script…

Looking for the hidden communication, it could be visualized that based on realization of human form to consist of essences of selected planets and necessity to awaken ‘kundalini’ to achieve ‘Supreme Knowledge’ or ‘moksha’ that is liberation, the story of ‘Satyavadi’ (that is the one who ever spoke the truth) King Harishchandra is retold to indicate how even a truthful king might have to play different roles in the drama of human life - during one life time - varying from a king to a servant of the caretaker in the crematorium, believably as part of some sort of a test…

The cause of such a happening in the particular story is attributed to sage Vishwamitra (perhaps essence of planet Mercury that is associated with powerful ultraviolet rays with its house at the heart level or ‘Anahat Chakra’ just above the solar plexus), one of the advisors of the ‘Suryavanshi’, or related with Sun, King of Ayodhya (solar plexus or ‘Manipuraka chakra’), who had believably also attempted to send King Harishachandra’s father, Trishanku, to ‘heaven’ and failing which had made arrangements for his stay in a space station like place - between earth and ‘heaven’ (that is essence of moon or ‘Sahasrara Chakra)...

The similarity between the script or ‘Truth’ could be noticed when one finds it similar to the story of Lord Rama, where once again it was sage Vishwamitra who was responsible for Rama’s marriage with Sita that led to Rama’s exile for 14 years! Of course, Rama had Vashishtha (essence of planet Jupiter or 'Swadhisthan chakra' at the navel level associated with Infra Red rays) also as His advisor (perhaps also indicating the evolutionary processes in 'Nature' leading towards gradual perfection)!

JC Joshi said...

Like utterance of just one word, say Chennai, could make Indians write innumerable essays bringing out different aspects of the city, similarly ‘Nayanars’ might help understand how the wise ancients understood the phenomenon of hierarchy for display of the grand variety in ‘Nature’ - including in human life - as ‘natural’! And, further also the physical universe as human dream-like ‘Maya’ or illusion created by the Supreme Being who is Nirakar or Formless!

It is a known fact that human thoughts apparently aren’t under control of an average individual, for when an average man is troubled by disturbing thoughts and wants to relax or sleep one can’t because those thoughts keep on bombarding one’s head.

To reach at the root of the phenomenon, the ‘Yogis’ showed that it was possible to control one’s thoughts - initially by withdrawing to an isolated location far away from the crowd to the Himalayas, say - like the ‘present day scientists’ found seated in the confinement of their labs, the ‘Centre of our Galaxy’, a Black Hole, continuing to remain for billions of years far removed from the other Heavenly Bodies that it makes go around it - and later by developing a mental state such that one ever remains undisturbed by the apparent chaos in the apparent external world. Hence, one reads Krishna’s advice in Gita to ever remain unmoved under all circumstances...

Maybe, one could now also comprehend the logic behind ‘Maya’ with the ‘present-day-scientific-finding’ that exchange (and communication also, perhaps) between different galaxies takes place through pure heat energy or Infra Red rays - that is perhaps related with planet Jupiter, which also has Saturn-like rings or Vishnu/ Krishna-like ‘Sudershan Chakra’ too - and the ancient thought about Krishna (the centre of a galaxy) being present in 16,000 (arbitrary) forms with that many, or maybe innumerable, wives at the same time! Or, maybe they meant innumerable mothers in whose ‘womb’ or ‘Mooladhar Chakra’ He believably continues to remain as the ‘unborn’!

JC Joshi said...

Hi Kavitha,

Last evening I was doubtful if the video presentation had been set right, for although you had said that the auto mode had been removed, I had a feeling that only the sound was suppressed as it appeared that buffering was happening silently!

However, today it appears that you have succeeded in making it more user-friendly, ie, now it is left to the choice of the visitor to play it if one so desires.

Thanks!

workhard said...

Hey that was really nice article.. i wanted to ask the same thing as to what nayanar was...

Work from home

Anonymous said...

Hi Kavita,

I was searching on Bahuroopiyas and suddenly find these blogs. I am working with a Philosophy prof.Peter Emberley (Canada) from Carlton university who is working on Bahurupiyas,and I suddenly read Mr JC joshi's brief interpretation on bahurupiyas, I Think it will be great if we can get in touch with Mr JC Joshi, is it possible to get his email id or phone number. Peter is in india now, so he can even come to somewhere to meet mr. Joshi

My email id is mithas22@gmail.com

thanking you

Mitasha