9.22.2008

Kannappa Nayanar: Union with Lord Shiva

Far above all humanity, on a rocky hill, a man discovered an ancient temple of Lord Shiva. Such was the power of the temple, and the shrine within it that he decided to remain there while his hunter friends were sent home to tell his father he was not coming back. Within a small temple that housed the beautiful emblem of Lord Shiva, he sat, catching the first gaze of the shrine, pure in itself and silent.

A silent interior, created in rock, with the wind whistling through the grilled windows; this was the most perfect place for a contemplative lifestyle. The man gazed at the idol, its beauty filled the air with energy, giving him a sense of awakening and a connection he had never felt before. He suddenly knew, this was his life, this was his goal and this was the only reason for his birth.

Life took a turn, for the worse for others, but for him it was different. The meaning of life had brought in new zest, new contemplation, new curiosity and all of this was triggered by the presence of divinity within the emblem that resided in this temple. The lap of nature had everything to offer. The waterfalls provided the pure water for abhishekam, the animals provided tender meat, and the flowers were the fragrance in His home and the herbs bloomed into a different fragrance bringing purity into the air, a freshness that was so divine, so new and so alive that the earth appeared most fertile and in full bloom.

Within this paradise the man contemplated, probably not in sacred syllables, or mula mantras or bija mantras that were recited but the Lord was offered the best of everything. As life passed by, the man raised each flower to the lord in worship, offering it as part of his very own heart, surrendering to the Lord.

My heart merges into you O Lord Shiva

My heart ceases to be with me any more

You have stolen the only thing I ever possessed,

Love, deep love for you O Lord.

As the puja continued, the flowers gracefully fell over the sacred stone, decorating Him and draping Him in a dress of color and fragrance. Color that dressed the Lord in brightness, fragrance that enveloped the room into potency, into a space where the air stood still and the lamp glowed brighter than before.

The man looked up at the Lord again, tears rolled down his eyes as his heart melted into divine song. He closed his eyes and burst into tune, sweetness rained in the room, echoing among the walls as they descended as a garland of letters on to the very emblem. When he opened his eyes, the Lord stared at him. Twinkling eyes, full of life and clarity… a different kind of clarity coupled with purity as they stared on at him. The Lord and the man stared at each other. This was a divine moment, one that is scarcely granted to any devotee, one that is felt once in a million years. The man’s heart sank; he was blessed to be given this divine vision. He picked up a vilva patra and placed it on each of his eyes, and then on his forehead and placed it back on the peetha.

To the bright eyes of the Lord

These are my eyes, I offer in each leaf of this vilva

I surrender to you, I seek no other vision

My sight has gone, I see only you

Divinity, surrounding my soul, capturing my imagination

Capturing my heart, soul and vision,

I see only you Lord, I can see only you.

This Vilva I offer to you, are my eyes, my life, my being, me

As he placed the sacred vilva on the peetha and raised his head, the eyes of the Lord bled, tears of a different kind rolled down, tears in blood that emoted to his surrender. The hunter looked up, with pain in his heart, over the Lord’s plight, over his suffering and tried to stop the bleeding with all the herbs he could find, crushing them to paste… yet they continued to bleed.

He raised his arrow, and just as the vilva leaf signified the three eyed Lord Trayambakeshawara, he dug out of his socket, the sun, his eye, the glowing radiance and placed it over the bleeding eye of the Lord. It was a moment of lull, the Lord twinkled again, beautiful eyes as the Sun and Moon glowed from within the Linga. The heart stopped a beat, as the hunter overjoyed over his Lord’s eye danced around the room, little aware that he now bled in the socket. When he stopped to look at the Lord, the other eye now began to bleed.


It was simple. He had the solution. He took out the arrow and as he raised his foot and placed it at the Lord’s bleeding eye, he aimed the arrow to cull out the moon, his eye from its socket. This was surrender, where the self feels no pain, nor loss, nor sorrow nor time nor fear, nor greed; this was a state to be in.

Oh Lord, the vilva, a significance of my own eyes

I offer to thee, my very own fire, sun and moon.

Here take my eyes, for I have seen thee,

Divine vision, I need not see no more

You are all I wanted to see,

I have lived for this moment.

As he drew the arrow close, the three eyed Lord, appeared, transforming the room into a moment in heaven. The power surged, the moment weakened every nerve in the man, the room glowed in sacred light, the world halted, the wind stopped, the silence overpowered the room, the emblem shined and the hunter was gone. A moment in history, a moment of life, a moment of true meaning, a moment divine, a moment felt and a moment never to come back. This is the moment of true worthwhile living.

Related links:

Kalahasti - the land where Vayu is felt

A reflection on Lord Shiva

Mano Laya with Lord Shiva

Photo courtesy: Shaivam.org

21 comments:

JC said...

“Hari ananta, Hari katha ananta…”

With the above conclusion of wise ancients, read with the stories of, say, Ramakrishna Paramhansa, or Buddha, and so on innumerable characters, one could perhaps conclude that one - irrespective of one’s caste, creed and sex and location - can realize the ‘truth’, that is, one can reach Shiva the Formless anywhere upon the globe. That’s what Krishna also is indicated to say in the Gita also…and Shiva is called Gangadhar etc (indicating the globe, that is the 4.6 billion-year-old planet according to 'the present day scientists' and Anant or unending by wise Hindus, as His physical form!)...

JC said...

Kavitha, What is common between Ramakrishna Paramhansa and Kannappa Nayanar?

Maybe, one could say these were two characters in the past that existed in east and south of the then ‘India’. But - unlike millions others characters of their time - they came to limelight and are remembered as spiritually elevated beings although both of them were illiterates…majority of whom are a demoralised lot today...and some of those are seen either to commit suicide, or are becoming parts of some 'extremist' groups...perhaps naturally because time moves backwards!

JC said...

Kavitha, 'I' have sent the following as my reaction to an article that appeared in my newspaper today to indicate how even the 'well versed' characters behave mechanically, perhaps because of poison that believably exists during Kaliyuga...

"This refers to Why We Should Take Care Of The River Ganga (The Speaking Tree 23rd Sept) by Shri Kailash Bajpeyi, member, executive committee, Sahitya Akademi.

Although the writer has (perhaps mechanically) indicated where holy ‘GANGA’ appears in various scriptures etc, I was surprised to read him say, “Our great rivers, including the Ganga, are dying…” while he also indicates it as “Tripathga – flowing through the three worlds of heaven, earth, and hell…” and also “Ganga is called Alaknanda – from the locks of Shiva…” etc.

Perhaps limitation of space resulted in his not writing that Shiva is also called Gangadhar the one who holds River Ganga, and also Chandrashekhar the one who holds the moon on his forehead (who thus has a cool head!) …the characteristics that point at Earth as the Shiva of Hindu Mythology – who is capable of ‘holding poison in its throat’…Also it is well known that earth, fire, air, water, and sky, called the Panchbhootas go into the formation of all temporary physical forms in the entire universe, and Shiva is also called Bhootnath the Lord of the ghosts, or past…And man was also realized as a model of Shiva the immortal – the three rivers, Ganga, Yamuna, and Brahmaputra are reflected by ‘nadis’ (generally pronounced as ‘nardi’ (that carry energy) to differentiate it from nadi the river (that carries water)…

Shiva is not dependent on humans – we are dependent on Him, the Neelkantha!"

Everymatter said...

I like thepurpose of your blogging and since long you are working on it

it is really worth.

I hope our coming generationwill learn indian culture

Best of luck

YOSEE said...

Kannappar's story works in many layers. At the very basic level it illustrates the all consuming love the jivatma feels for the paramatma. Beyond that is the primordial urge for Sayujyam. Yet again,its a vindication of the sense of liberation, that now that these eyes have beheld the Light,life's purpose is fulfilled, so i give up, as arpana, these eyes that served as means to that end. I vaguely remember reading Sri Ramana's explanation for this rather violent expression of Bhakthi. He asks why would Siva make his bhaktha do such violence to his body (considered a temple)? Only to make him ( and others) realise that its a folly to equate self with this flesh.( BTW, i shuddered to read the news about a recent incident where a schizophrenic man re-enacted Kannappar's deed, with a view to gaining moksha. Who is to say what is enlightenment and what is insanity ?)

JC said...

Yes, there is apparently a thin line between intelligence and madness (because the head is governed by the essence of moon, teh most evolved planet).

However, the ancients were relatively much wiser in their communications.

The basic idea conveyed through the Hindu mythological stories communicates how one should consider the pros and cons before performing actions (or its equivalent in the 'west': 'think twice before you leap'), such as conveyed in the story related to Ved Vyas intending to dictate Mahabharat to Ganesha. It is said that Ganesha told him that there shouldn’t be any break in the dictation - on the happening of which he would stop writing. In reply Ved Vyas also told him not to write unless he has fully comprehended what all he is dictated!

The above thus also helps understand why ‘blind copying’ wasn’t recommended – one was advised ‘to read between lines’. Hence, the essential saying, “Satyam Shivam Sunderam,” that is, 'satvam' or essence is the truth [or Shiva (the immortal Formless) is the only Truth, and it alone is beautiful, or its equivalent, "Brevity is the soul of life"]…

JC said...

The above, however, brings to my mind a fact related with my engineering college days in the Sisties.

The roll numbers during final exams used to be decided on the basis of our first names. An average boy all the four years thus got seated behind a relatively more intelligent class fellow. He fortunately had a very keen vision and had asked the boy seated in front of his chair to keep his answer sheets such that he could view those. He managed to copy the answers almost synchronously! And, he also managed to get first division all the four years! In fact in certain papers he had more marks than the concerned student, because he could answer some questions on his own too! Those limited few who were aware of the truth weren’t surprised. Perhaps copying is fruitful to some extent in Kaliyuga only (as we copy the 'west' in certain fields of activity)!

JC said...

If one could bring his mind to accept that what ‘we’ are getting to see, in kaliyuga, is what had happened in the past in the life of one an only Formless Being in the very beginning stage and is being reviewed by Him, one could visualize that what we believe to be ‘copy of the west’ could be interpreted as what in the initial stage went outwards from east (may take help of a fountain water as a model as the streams of water eject from a nozzle - and the same after reaching a peak returns back to its origin to be recycled again)!

JC said...

Due to various possible factors - including ‘inferiority complex’ and therefore ‘prejudiced mindsets’ - mainly due to imperfection in language(s), most of the time misunderstanding between two persons, or even many, happens because of possibly ‘wrong interpretation’ of what one says/ has said verbally, or in writing, which then can be produced as evidence also…and thereby could eventually result in different versions as the various possible ‘half-baked truths’…

I give below a reaction sent to my newspaper…

“This refers to subverse/ second opinion article Error tactics by Jug Suraiya (9/24).

A numerologist would find September (called ‘sitamger’ by some) as the Guru Month, related with number 9 (numeral zero with a tail = Hanuman?), which an astrologer/ yogi might relate with Saturn - lying dormant in super conscious state - attached to Mooladhar that houses the essence of Mars…(Oct the tenth month reduces to number 1)…

The above is beyond the writer as he is well known through his own confessions made often in his non-stop beautiful worded writings in English, but restraining himself to English authors (‘birds of the same feather’) most of the time - that he is an atheist…

Maybe otherwise he could be satisfied with the adage, in his favourite language, “To err is human, and to forgive divine.”

Unfortunately, ‘divine’ is ‘out of course’ for the writer, and hence no use of wasting words on his ‘half baked’ thoughts (read in his own ‘Jugular vein’) :-)”

JC said...

Continuing with shortcomings in human languages, it can be observed that Nature’s language is universal and easily understood by all and sundry, even by animals, without the need of a Guru! For example, cold wind in certain locations where one might fine oneself, temporarily or for long time, makes one’s teeth rattle and forces one to seek for shelter/ warm clothing/ fire and so on. And, in the absence of either or all of these, irrespective of whether he is rich or poor, a person might even die…

When an infant cries, its mother alone because of experience might know whether it is hungry, or ill, or experiencing pain in its body somewhere…

Hindu Belief – that of a soul acquiring human form only after it has passed through minimum 8.4 million forms prior to this acquisition – conveys immortal Formless God, or Energy, as the Mother of all mothers. And, it also indicates the need for one to approach It directly, through faith in one God, and even indirectly through some other form(s) with full faith, but maybe then should expect a lower level of spiritual elevation!

JC said...

Kavitha, as everyone is supposed to seek Godd in one's own way, in so far as ‘I’ am concerned, being a ‘literate’ who happened to study ‘science’/ ‘engineering’ subjects etc., ‘I’, after reading the Gita, believe to have ‘surrendered in Krishna' (who believably evolved into Shiva at the end of Satyuga whereas we are in Kaliyuga the beginning and therefore closer to Krishna the original rep of Vishnu!), while attempting to increase my knowledge base - as the Gita also indicates ‘wrong acts to result from lack of knowledge’, and Yogis advised reaching ‘siddhi’ or overall knowledge and not just ‘expertise’ in one particular field!

[Also, ‘I’ had indicated earlier, in some comment long ago, how ‘we’, me and a friend, an ‘Advisor’ to Govt in some particular field of expertise, after a casual discussion during a chance meeting reached the conclusion that what we do not know is much more than what we know!]

In view of the above, ‘I’ have tried to collect essence on different subjects, for arriving at some overall view of the Formless and His likely purpose in the drama!

Kavitha said...

Hi Joshi Uncle

Your statement "Yogis advised reaching ‘siddhi’ or overall knowledge and not just ‘expertise’ in one particular field! " is a very enlightening one.

We have been so conditioned to excel in just one science that we quite ignore the others. Besides the siddhis that are often spoken about are so far fetched and apparently do not seem to make sense in current day life style that people of our culture/religion/sect/cult/school have largely forgotten about it and left it to rot.

These things will appear to us as points of enlightenment only when the US claims patent to such extension of science when discovered and we will then wake up to say - hey we knew it long ago and stake claim to something none of us even cared about.

Till then we not only remain ignorant and feel great about it but we also severely lack the self esteem and intelligence to respect our own tradition.

We honestly are a pathetic bunch of people and an ideal example of an ancient civilization in decline.

In any regular house hold, the parents of today are going to make doubly sure that the kids are nurtured enough to see only money and material value of self instead of spiritual value of self...

Being extremely educated does not make us worldly wise. Thats the sorry state of the indian mind.

Regards
Kavitha

JC said...

Kavitha, You have more or less correctly painted the existing status of 'education' in the 'present day India', that is, in Kaliyuga and particularly towards its fag-end.

It can also be said to reflect almost the beginning of 'churning' by, let us say, Krishna, who is understood by all as the one responsible for production of butter/ cream, the essence of (cow's) milk during Dwaperyuga, that is a relatively more advanced stage in evolution - but short of 'perfection' achieved by him in the form of four-handed Shiva (like Vishnu) - his enlarged or 'virat' form - the immortal only at the end of Satyuga...

'I' also give below my reaction to an article sent to my newspaper, whhich is likely to fall into 'deaf ears', or / rather 'blind eyes' because of Kaliyuga...

"This refers to Human rights first by Shri Rajindar Sachar, former chief justice of the Delhi high court (9/25).

Looking at the debates that are being generated in the 'media' today, even after over six decades of ‘independence’, the impression the ‘common man’ today apparently gets is that despite innumerable ‘experts’ in different fields apparently working for ‘his’ welfare from time to time have failed miserably to achieve the desired result because they stand divided!

The ancients appear to have surrendered to the believably Supreme Being. But, the apparent advancement in Technology in recent times, during the ‘Christian Era’, have, perhaps falsely, generated a feeling of God as an obsolete entity and man himself capable of solving all problems, whereas in practice although it is clear that man is perhaps being taken for a ‘red herring chase’ by some mischievous being, we foolishly tread the beaten track – just like a blind person walking downhill, and wondering why he/ she does not reach the peak despite passage of time…

One can perhaps therefore hope God would one day personally say that He Himself is the 'Terrorist' that we sought to eliminate! And unfortunately for us mortals He is immortal!"

Kavitha said...

Very well put Joshi Uncle. Worship of man is definitely more evident and God has quite become an obsolete figure in our spectrum.

It just surprises me that we get so locked into the various activities of our lives that we fail to see what the real meaning of our existence is. We dont even seem to want to get to have the maturity to realize the subtlety of the lords activities.

Isnt it strange that so much money is spent in figuring out the big bang theory but we dont have a few minutes to try and understand why we were born in this form in the first place.

And its not that God wants us to follow him/her but its us who needs their presence in our lives. So end of the day... this is not a game of which religion has how many followers and is therefore more superior, not at all actually, this is about 1 person (any one of us) realizing the true meaning and setting an example to everyone else.

The problem is we a defeated in this battle even before we started. And this defeat is not a defeat that would reduce us because we get our self assurance from the outside world anyway... but are we happy - no. Why? because we thought we knew it all!!! Obviously we dont. But since there is no money in it... we think we dont need it...

Sad... very sad

JC said...

Kavitha, Reading between lines, ‘Hindu Mythology’ (Indu meaning moon, the Guru) conveys that eight-handed Durga, as ‘shakti’ that is energy attached to 'Her Tiger' (Shiva), that is, Earth-Moon, is relevant in Satyuga when evolution process was eventually completed. However, with the start of churning, it is Brahma (Sun) who is relevant at other times. And Brahma is believed to have four faces (Shiva and Vishnu both are also shown as four handed, both thus making a total of eight)…Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh believably comprise the three aspects of creation, sustenance and destruction respectively of the unique creator…
The ‘present’ being one of the 1,000 or so Kaliyugas, a duration of 4,32, 000 years each, when human efficiency naturally is the lowest (ranging between 0 & 25%) because of poison that necessitated Shiva with the help of Parvati to hold it in His throat in the interest of ‘life on earth’…

Therefore, although it appears sad to some, the majority is expected to show such an apparent stage of helplessness…

JC said...

Kavitha, 'I' give below another reaction to yet another unending debate 'I' sent this morning to my newspaper on 'my' present realisation of what 'Truth' is...

This refers to subverse/ second opinion article No end of isms by Jug Suraiyaji (9/26).



By the way, 'my' attention was also attracted towards two quotes in the ‘sacred space’, which ‘i’ reproduce below.

(1) “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” – Buddha

(2) It is difficult to live in the present, ridiculous to live in the future, and impossible to live in the past. Nothing is as far away as one minute ago.” – Jim, quoteworld.org…

"Truth is bitter." Someone, in India also similarly cited example in Hindi, in respect of intensity of 'Truth's' bitterness, 'bitter gourd covered with a paste of bitter neem'!

Although it is beyond ‘non believers’, particularly those who happen to be merely ‘Hindus, by birth’ too (and therefore half-baked 'Hindus, by thought'), the ‘wise ancient Hindus’ realized the entire universe/ earth to be illusory (like projection - as a reflection of it - by man of a recorded film on the ‘silver screen’)! That is, History needs to be understood as projection of His Stories related with His Past successes and failures - reflected through various fictitious characters/ super computers - before He achieved ‘Perfection’…reflected in the form of Earth, the Provider of all materials while on the other hand acting as a stage too!

Thus it is a matter related with PAST only – call it our helplessness that we are obliged to view how foolish we were in the past!

May God bless our souls before He goes to sleep - thus The End of the drama!

JC said...

The ‘Hindu’ concept (as recorded in the Gita also), that is, of a soul – an (inferior) image of Shiva Himself - as the VIP that resides temporarily within innumerable forms for certain duration in a cyclic form during one day in the unending life of Brahma reduces the reply to the question: Who am I? to the belief that 'I' am in fact the formless, a component of the Supreme Being itself in the ‘present’ that is apparently attached to the image that was relevant in the remote past, and which ‘I’ called ‘me’, JC - an imperfect being!

JC said...

Here is another reaction to an article in my newspaper to indicate another approach in search of 'Truth'...

This refers to subverse article Separated at death by Shri Maxwell Pereira, former joint commissioner of police, Delhi (9/27).

The comparison between two characters in Delhi Police force who, during a certain short duration in the life of earth, both apparently excelled equally in their assigned task of dealing with ‘criminals’ and ‘terrorists’, but each eventually at death got labeled as villain, and hero in the eyes of the public at large.

The article makes a good attempt at bringing forth in words - a difficult task for average man - the fine dividing line that apparently exists between a ‘hero’ and a ‘villain’, such as mythical characters Rama and Ravana, examples with which ‘Hindus’ are familiar, and the writer being a ‘Christian’ might have liked to draw similar examples from the Bible, had he thought of doing so.

A ‘believer’ might also see in it the unseen Creator’s hand, whereas a ‘non believer’ might call it a coincidence that the end of the 9th month in this calendar year 2008 marks the beginning of ‘Navratri’, the nine days when Goddess (Mother) is worshipped by ‘Hindus’, the carried over specimens of an ancient most and most advanced civilisation of their time, although ritually only today because of Time being Kaliyuga, literally the ‘Dark Age’ when poison rules the mind of the masses…

JC said...

Kavitha, In view of the so-called advancement in Technology, when all important events, such as marriages etc., are video-photographed and leisurely reviewed later by the concerned to recreate and enjoy the environment that existed on that particular occasion when no one had a single moment to spare on account of different responsibilities assigned to each, perhaps it should be much more easier today for the 'literates' to appreciate the Supreme Being’s desire to also similarly review His Own innumerable possible versions of His Past...

It believably is being imagined by Him from apparent time to apparent time within zero time, because of His being the unique perfect immortal being (energy) that alone is related with time and space zero! And, is believably possible to be reached, though rarely, by certain characters in human form, such as Kannapa Nayanar etc - only if one could merge the soul with the supreme soul, with firm faith and belief in the existence of the unique Formless Being!

ஜீவா (Jeeva Venkataraman) said...

That was well written!
GopalaKrishnaBharathi in his Nandanar sarithiram wites like this:
"கண்ணப்பன் செய்ததை கனவிலும் செய்வேனோ.?"

Kavitha said...

Hi Joshi uncle,

the translation for the comment above is given here:

"You have detailed the union of paraman and prakruti using the ardhanArIswaran with Tamil posts. Please go on, thanks."

Regards
kavitha