Thiruvalluvar

By Sri Swami Sivananda

About two thousand years ago there flourished in Mylapore, Madras, a born Siddha and a born poet by name Valluvar or, as he is more commonly known, ‗Thiruvalluvar‘, which only means, ‗the devotee of the Valluva caste‘. Valluvas are Pariahs (now called Harijans) and their vocation was proclaiming the orders of the king by beat of drum. There is a tradition that Thiruvalluvar was the son of one Bhagavan, a Brahmin, and Adi, a Pariah woman whom he had married. Thiruvalluvar was born at Madurai, the capital of the Pandyas. He is regarded as an Avatara of Brahma. His wife Vasuki was a chaste and devoted lady, an ideal wife, who never disobeyed the orders of her husband, but always carried them out implicitly. Thiruvalluvar showed people that a person could lead the life of a Grihastha or householder, and at the same time, lead a divine life or a life of purity and sanctity. He showed people that there was no necessity to leave the family and become a Sannyasin to lead a divine life of purity and sanctity. All his wise sayings and teachings are now in book form and known as‘Thirukkural’. These sayings are all in couplets. Here are some of them: Just as the alphabet ‗A‘ is the beginning of all letters, so also, God is the beginning for this universe. Learn the Shastras completely and then act according to their injunctions. The Anicha flower will fade by smelling, but guests are more sensitive if the hosts turn their faces a bit.

Death is like sleeping in the burial ground; birth is like waking in the morning. These couplets are 1,330 in number. They contain the essence of the Vedas, the Upanishads and the six Darshanas. Thirukkural is regarded as a universal Bible. It is another Gita, Koran or Zend Avesta. Some aspirants repaired to Thiruvalluvar and enquired: "O sage, which Ashrama of life is better—Grihastha or Sannyasa?". Thiruvalluvar did not give any answer. He simply kept quiet. He wanted to teach them the glory of Grihastha Ashrama by example. Thiruvalluvar was taking cold rice in the morning. He said to his wife: "Vasuki, the rice is very hot. Bring a fan to cool it". Thiruvalluvar‘s wife was drawing water from the well when Thiruvalluvar called her. She at once left the rope and ran to him with a fan to cool the rice. She did not say to her husband: "How can the cold rice be hot? Why do you want a fan now?". She simply obeyed his commands. The vessel that contained water was hanging half-way in the well unsupported, on account of her Pativrata Dharma Shakti. The aspirants noticed this phenomenon and the noble conduct of Vasuki and were simply struck with amazement. About midday, on another occasion, Valluvar called his wife and said, "Bring a lamp immediately, O Vasuki! I am stitching the cloth. I cannot see the eye of the needle. I cannot pass the thread properly". Vasuki did not say to her husband: "It is broad daylight now. Why do you want a lamp? You can see the eye of the needle clearly". But she implicitly obeyed his word. The aspirants were much inspired by the ideal life of sage Thiruvalluvar and the exalted conduct of Vasuki. They did not speak a word to the saint. They took leave of the saint and quietly left the place with profound satisfaction. They were deeply impressed by the practical and exemplary life led by Thiruvalluvar and Vasuki. They learnt the lesson that the life of an ideal householder was in no way inferior to that of an ideal Sannyasin who was treading the path of Nivritti and austerity in the Himalayan caves and that each was great in its own place, time and circumstances. Dear readers! Such ladies sit enthroned in the hearts of their husbands. No doubt they are hard to find, because such women never advertise themselves; but there must be many in our land of Rishis and sages; and unless we maintain such a high level of moral purity, we will all be going down in these days of modern civilization and scientific advancement. If the husbands of the present day behave like Thiruvalluvar, the wives will say, "My husband has become senseless. He wants to fan the rice when it is so cold! He wants a light when there is broad sunlight". The wives will rebuke their husbands and fight with them. That house wherein the wife serves the husband with sincere devotion and observes Pativrata Dharma is heaven on earth. That house wherein the wife fights

with the husband and disobeys his orders is a veritable hell on earth. Ladies who practise Pativrata Dharma need not go to temples. They need not practise any Vrata or penance. Service to the husband becomes worship. They can realise God through service to their husbands. Husbands also should be ideal persons with noble qualities. Husbands are the Gurus for their wives. The wives need not get any initiation from any Acharya. Glory to such exalted ladies who practise Pativrata Dharma! Related Links 1. Thirukkural

Sri Ramana Maharshi
By Sri Swami Sivananda

Introduction Flight From Home The Great Enlightenment Tapas of Maharshi His Divine Message The Light Shines Brighter Than Ever Related Links Introduction Sri Ramana Maharshi was born on 30th December, 1879. He was known as Venkataraman. Born in a pious middle class Brahmin family, he went to a mission school and learnt a little English. Flight From Home On the 29th of August 1896, Venkataraman left his home in the district of Madurai in search of his Father, Lord Arunachala, to whom he reported himself on the 1st of September 1896, thus: O Lord, obedient to Thy call Here have I come, deserting all, No boon I ask; no loss bemoan, Take me in and make me Thine own.

From that day till the end of his earthly sojourn, Venkataraman made Arunachala (Tiruvannamalai) his abode, transmitting through Mouna, the golden language of his egoless state, the Message of Eternal Truth, to the four corners of the globe. Venkataraman left a note behind to his rebuking brother: "I have, in search of my Father, according to His command, started from this place. On a virtuous enterprise, indeed, I have this day embarked. Therefore, for this action none need grieve or trace this one. No money need be spent for searching me". The Great Enlightenment "It was about six weeks before I left Madurai for good, in the middle of the year 1896, that the great change in my life took place" said Sri Ramana Maharshi, when asked by devotees as to how he was transformed, "It was so sudden. One day I sat up alone on the first floor of my uncle‘s house. I was in my usual good health. But a sudden and unmistakable fear of death seized me. I felt I was going to die and at once set about thinking as to what I should do. I did not care to consult anyone, be he a doctor, elder or friend. I felt I had to solve the problem myself then and there. The shock of the fear of death made me at once introspective or ‗introverted‘. I said to myself mentally, ‗Now that death is come, what does it mean? Who is it that is dying? This body dies‘. I at once dramatised the situation. I extended my limbs and held them rigid as though rigor mortis had set in. I imitated a corpse to lend an air of reality to my further investigation. I held my breath and kept my mouth closed, pressing the lips tightly together, so that no sound could escape. ‗Well then‘ I said to myself, ‗this body is dead. It will be carried to the crematory and there burnt and reduced to ashes. But with the death of my body, am I dead? Is the body I? This body is silent and inert. But I am still aware of the full force of my personality and even of the sound of I within myself as apart from the body. The material body dies, but the Spirit transcending it cannot be touched by death. I am therefore the deathless Spirit‘. All this was not a feat of intellectual gymnastics, but came as a flash before me vividly as living Truth, which I perceived immediately, without any argument almost. I was something very real, the only real thing in that state, and all the conscious activity that was connected with my body was centred on that. The I or myself was holding the focus of attention with a powerful fascination. Fear of death vanished at once and for ever. The absorption in the Self has continued from that moment right up to now". Tapas of Maharshi Ramana practised Tapas in the thousand-pillared Mandapam, near the Patala Linga, in Subrahmanya‘s shrine, in the Mango garden, the Sadguru Swami cave and Cora hills. From 1909 to 1916 he lived in the Virupakshi Cave.

He encouraged others to do the same thing. All else will be known to thee of its own accord.I. "In the interior cavity of the heart. he finds a happiness which does not come to an end.. Sri Ramana says. Enquire. "Know Thyself. expressed in aphoristic terseness." This is the gist of the philosophy and teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi. He lived in the Light of the Lord within. Ramana Maharshi was known as Brahmana Swami in Tiruvannamalai. Find out the real. and yet Ramana was ever peaceful and calm through the strength of meditation and penance. and whenever he did speak. Sri Ramana‘s Who am I?. unchanging. the great Sanskrit scholar. The life of the Maharshi was one continued meditation. Discriminate between the undying. Man‘s search for happiness is an unconscious search for his true Self..During his days of Tapas. Maharshi established peace within. . Free yourself from all thoughts other than the simple thought of the Self or Atma. Maharshi seldom talked. "The world is so unhappy because it is ignorant of the true Self. all-pervading. His life was at once the message and the philosophy of his teachings. Dive deep into the chambers of your heart. Man‘s real nature is happiness. mischievous boys pelted him with stones and hurled tiles at him. His Divine Message Ramana was a living example of the teaching of the Upanishads. ‗Who am I?‘ Make the mind calm. infinite ‗I‘. when a man finds it. infinite Atma and the everchanging. Ananda Anubhavam. He spoke to the hearts of men. To realise Him. came to Ramana‘s Ashram in 1908 and stayed with Maharshi and wrote theRamana Gita. Kavya Kanta Ganapathy Sastri. The great Maharshi found Himself within himself and then gave out to the world the grand but simple message of his great life.. Happiness is inborn in the true Self. the One Supreme Being is ever glowing with the Self-conscious emanation I. enter into the heart with an onepointed mind—by quest within or diving deep or control of breath—and abide with the Self of self". "Know Thyself". phenomenal and perishable universe and body.. Upadesa Saram and Ullathu Narpathu are pearls of direct wisdom. To him all the world was one. he did so only because it was absolutely necessary. Rest there peacefully for ever and become identical with the Supreme Self. The true Self is imperishable. therefore.

O. not through bookish knowledge. The death of only those that are not able to achieve the goal of life or do their duty has any reason to be mourned. His teachings imparted through allabsorbing ‗Silence‘ embodied the highest ideals and the ultimate reaches in divine realisation.Sri B. To ever assert one‘s latent divinity. Beloved aspirant! Take heart. North Arcot District. Gird up your loins. D.. Too well did Sri Ramana expound the Vedanta philosophy. Karamchandani. I. So there is nothing to grieve for. but by practical experience. so that millions and millions might seek and find the Great Truth that Ramana realised. goading and inspiring. He has shown by his lifelong Samadhi that it is still possible to realise the Supreme and live in that realisation. and that in the present age.m. The Light of the Maharshi‘s soul shines today brighter than ever. the late President of the All India Sai Samaj. He had achieved the highest goal. they are impossible of achievement to man. encouraging. But the Light of his soul is now merged in every receptive individual soul.M. Maharshi Ramana lives in our heart.. "Self-realisation". The saint is no more in his mortal frame. has published a thrilling life of Ramana entitled. Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi has set at naught the prattle of materialists that Selfrealisation and Samadhi are things of the remote past. when Sri Ramana Maharshi left his mortal coil and entered Mahasamadhi. 1950.M. The Maharshi was operated four times. Self-realisation. A lifelong proof of the Upanishads was what we called Maharshi Ramana. guiding. That proof will for ever exist. You will soon attain Videha Kaivalya and shine for ever as an illumined sage. on the 14th April. attended on Sri Ramana when the latter suffered from a kind of malignant tumour in his upper left arm above the elbow.V. Narasimha Swami.S. A meteor hit the sky at 8-47 p. For he had fulfilled the mission of his life. Apply yourself intensely to Yoga Sadhana. His passing away should not be grieved for. In the heart of humanity the saint shall live for ever.V. The all-pervading Light which shone through the embodiment of that Light in Maharshi Ramana had once again resolved itself into its original state. P. The Light Shines Brighter Than Ever Lieut-Col. reassuring us of the Ultimate Reality. Yogi Suddhananda Bharati has written the life of Sri Ramana in Tamil. to ever strive to live in the consciousness of the immortal Self and to remain as an unaffected witness of the transitory phases of life immersed in that Supreme Silence—was the clarion call of .

and now leads on. Then he spoke in his usual sweet manner: ‗All right. if surrender is impossible what can be done? There is no peace of mind. how does God undo it? . Dogmas and religious prejudices he cared not for! For he was far above those mundane limitations. Surrender. and all will be well. D: That being God‘s dispensation. the weary travellers on earth towards the Goal through his unfathomable Silence. It can be done only by surrender. They were all alike to him. Throw all responsibility on God and do not bear the burden yourself. As an architect-supreme of Truth-transcendental. M: Yes. complete surrender is impossible. You are helpless to bring it about. a human being may want… but… but… I do not have peace of mind. Ramana Maharshi led. D: Partial surrender – well. To pay the most befitting homage to that saintly personality is to follow his teachings and to grow up in that ideal model. you have said what you wished to say. D: Is not destiny due to past karma? B: If one is surrendered to God. In course of time that will lead to complete surrender. With him lived orthodox Brahmin priests. There was silence for a while. can it undo destiny? M: Oh yes. ‗I am blessed with everything that a human being would like to have‘. what is destiny? There is no destiny.the Maharshi. ‗I have all that I want. May peace be unto all! Gems ―Arunagiri Yogi is Victorious Over All‖……quote from ―The Glory of Arunachala‖ How to conquer destiny? A well-to-do lady told Ramana Maharshi. Probably my destiny‘. Something prevents it. Controlling herself she continued slowly. it can. Moslems and Christians and the so-called Indian untouchables. Well. What can destiny do to you then?‘ D: Surrender is impossible. God will look to it. Partial surrender is certainly possible for all. Her voice choked. Well.

If the mind is worried over what befalls us. to help to steady the mind. All one can say is that it is God‘s will. and the firm faith that they occur by the grace of God. But God‘s will for the prescribed course of events is a good solution for the vexed question of free-will.Seekers should.Sri Bhagavan descending the Hill B: All are in Him only. await His pleasure. He said. no end to achieve can be attributed to that infinite. not otherwise. Worship The man who has the sense of the body being himself cannot possibly worship God as formless. it is wise to give up the sense of responsibility and free-will. Devotion To a devotee who was praying that she should have more frequent visions of Siva. Such is surrender. He knows what is best and when and how to do it. Success and failure . all-wise and allpowerful Being. whether good or otherwise. No motive. whatever worship he makes will be worship in form alone.‖ God’s Grace God‘s grace consists in the fact that He shines in the heart of every one as the Self. no desire. why all this creation so full of sorrow and evil. whether He appears or disappears. overcome afflictions with a cool mind. You cannot have Him obey you and yet think you have surrendered. before it became many. Sorrow and Evil It is asked. There is no meaning in attributing responsibility and motive to the One. Then He bears all the burdens and gives us peace. to do and suffer as He pleases. You have no longer any cares. ―Surrender to Him and abide by His Will. which is inscrutable. or what has been committed or omitted by us. All your cares are His. God is untouched by activities which take place in His presence. If you ask Him to do as you like it is not surrender but command to God. That is devotion. His is the burden. that power of grace does not exclude anyone. by regarding ourselves as the ordained instruments of the All-Wise and the All-Powerful.

It is better for the seeker to be in a worldly position arousing compassion from other men. not by mere human effort. one should not hide it from self-love. which the seeker wants to kill. free of desires and without hate. with the mind cool. One should try to gain equipoise of mind under all circumstances. (on the other hand). . and thus keeps his mind serene. is beautiful in a seeker. one should resolve to act rightly in future. Sri Bhagavan at Skandashram After doing a wrong action. he is actually a friend. than for him to be in a state to be envied by them Sri Bhagavan sitting in Old Hall Secret of a happy life If a person overlooks the faults of others. do not become proud. his whole life will be happy. thinking ‗This was achieved by my enterprise‘.When the desired success is not won. To be unconcerned in all things. like the anvil to the goldsmith. thus. That is willpower. Attitude towards enemies The enemy hates the ego. Success and failure are due to destiny.When any act has become fruitful. and sees only their merits. avoiding faults. become convinced that God is gracious. the fruit (of it) is just the understanding that actions become fruitful (in the usual sense) by the grace of God. it should not be thought that the action has proved unfruitful. and not to willpower or the lack of it.

All the time I was feeling that the Heart Centre on the right was working as well as ever. I had a very clear vision and experience. Where from do they arise? They must spring up from the conscious Self. untainted by sorrow. This state lasted fifteen or twenty minutes. Apprehending it even vaguely helps the extinction of the ego. that one cannot call it unreal – whilst calling real some trifling incident in the waking life that just flits by. For obtaining such knowledge the enquiry. In that state there are no individuals other than the Eternal Existence. In Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi 80 we read ―Let him find out to whom are the thoughts. .Obtaining Grace in dream On account of some arbitrary standards about the duration of the experience and so on. of no consequence and is soon forgotten. ‗Who am I?‘ in quest of the Self is the best means. Instructions The quintessence of Ramana Maharshi‘s teaching is found in a small booklet called ‗Who am I?‘ This little booklet contains the first set of instructions given by Ramana Maharshi. I knew it even in my home during my self-absorption. I speak from experience. With reference to Reality both the experiences are unreal. which indeed he daily experiences when the mind is subdued in deep sleep. Again during the incident recorded in Self-Realization. even when learned men differed from me. Then suddenly something shot out from the right to the left like a rocket bursting into the sky.‖ The full teaching may be downloaded here “Who Am I?”. Hence. in order to realise that inherent and untainted happiness. The blood resumed circulation and the normal condition of the body was restored. Vasudeva Sastri embraced the body and wept over my death. and the effects and influence of it on his entire subsequent life may be so profound and abiding. but I could not speak. I felt that the heart on the left had stopped and the body became blue and inert. Second death experience on the Hill I have been saying all along that the Heart Centre is on the right side. Thereafter the realisation of the one Infinite Existence becomes possible. it is essential that he should know himself. A man might have an experience such as getting grace in his dream. we call one experience a dream and another waking experience. which is casual. Hence there is no thought of death or suffering. All of a sudden a light came from one side erasing the world-vision. which is solely due to the fact that happiness is his real nature. Here is an adapted version for easy reference. and everyone has the greatest love for himself. Click to Download Who am I? Every living being longs to be happy. They are direct from his unique experience of self-realization. The power of the teaching can be realized by anyone who puts it into practice. The original set of questions was asked by Sivaprakasam Pillai which was later presented by Ramana Maharshi in prose form.

With repeated practice in this manner. likewise the mind projects the world out of itself and again resolves it into itself. the mind will become active and start wandering. When one persistently inquires into the nature of the mind. It is the mind that is called the subtle body or the soul. the names and forms disappear. and the thought that arose will subside. one will be led to that place. In deep sleep there are no thoughts. This Awareness is by its very nature Being-Consciousness-Bliss (SatChit-Ananda). Apart from thoughts. and like the stick used for stirring the funeral pyre. the ‗I‘ which is the source of all thoughts will go. the perception of the world as an objective reality ceases. the mind will become calm. one should not pursue them but should diligently inquire: ‗To whom do they occur?‘ It does not matter how many thoughts arise. It is only after the rise of the ―I-thought‖ that other thoughts occur. when the world appears. . but retaining it in the Heart is what is called ―inwardness‖. Letting the mind go out of the Heart is known as ―externalisation‖. Just as the spider emits the thread (of the web) out of itself and again withdraws it into itself. it will appear to be controlled. when the mind stays in the Heart. Then. which is the instrument of knowledge and is the basis of all activity.‗Who Am I?‘ I am pure Awareness. When other thoughts arise. That which rises as ‗I‘ in the body is the mind. unless the illusory nature of the perception of the world as an objective reality ceases. In the states of waking and dream. one would discover that it rises in the Heart. there is no such thing as mind. and when the Self appears (shines) the world does not appear. ―To whom has this thought arisen?‖ The answer that would emerge would be ―to me‖. That is the place of the mind‘s origin. and there is no world. Unless the illusory perception of the serpent in the rope ceases. subsides. When the mind leaves the Self. the gross names and forms appear. The mind is a wondrous power residing in the Self. the Self does not appear. (This analogy is based on a traditional story of a man who sees a rope at twilight and mistaking it for a serpent is afraid without cause. Therefore. the vision of the true nature of the Self. It causes all thoughts to arise. Other than inquiry.) Similarly. there are thoughts. Through regulation of breath. Thus. when it stays in the heart. the world appears. Therefore. If the mind. the mind will develop the power to stay in its source. Of all the thoughts that arise in the mind. there are no adequate means to make the mind permanently subside. If the mind is controlled through other means. there is no independent entity called the world. thought is the nature of mind. As each thought arises. but will rise again. the mind will subside leaving the Self (as residue). The mind always exists only by depending on something gross (physical body). there will be Self-realization. and the Self which ever exists will shine. When the breath is no longer regulated. is not obtained. Not letting the mind go out. and there is a world also. ‗I‘. one should inquire with alertness. but it will remain calm only as long as the breath remains controlled. Even if one thinks constantly ‗I‘. If one inquires as to where in the body the thought ‗I‘ rises first. Thereupon if one inquires ―Who am I?‖ the mind will go back to its source. the ‗I‘ thought is the first. When the mind that is subtle goes out through the brain and the sense organs. Apart from thoughts. the rope on which the illusion is formed is not perceived as such. on which the illusion is formed. it cannot exist independently. it will itself be burnt up in the end. The thought ‗who am I?‘ will destroy all other thoughts.

if he would zealously carry on meditation on the Self. one may live anywhere. and disappear at the same time. all is Siva.Like the practice of breath-control. If the mind becomes still. the quality of mind improves. means constantly remembering the Self. The mind should not be allowed to wander towards worldly objects and what concerns other people. By observing diet-restriction. What exists in truth is the Self alone. the individual soul. the Self itself is God. Giving one self up to God. without submitting ourselves to it. so after getting on it why should we carry our small luggage on our head to our discomfort. Since the supreme power of God makes all things move. to that extent good will result. and restriction on diet. Whatever burdens are thrown on God. repetition of mantras. The Self is that where there is absolutely no ―I‖ thought. If this truth is understood who will not give to others? When one‘s self arises all arises. The world. which helps self-inquiry. To the extent we behave with humility. the Self. All that one gives to others one gives to one‘s self. The Self itself is the world. However bad other people may be. how would most assuredly get reformed. constantly worry ourselves with thoughts as to what should be done and how. and what should not be done and how not? We know that the train carries all loads. For such a focused mind self-inquiry will become easy. However sinful a person may be. He bears them all. Through practice of meditation on the forms of God and through repetition of mantras. He who gives himself up to the Self that is God is the most excellent devotee. when one‘s self becomes calm all becomes calm. why should we. are temporary aids for stilling the mind. one should bear no hatred for them. instead of putting it down in the train and feeling at ease? . the Self itself is ―I‖. These three appear at the same time. That is called ―Silence‖. the mind attains one-pointedness. and God are appearances in it like silver in mother-of-pearl. meditation on the forms of God.

although of a low caste. would be born as the greatest man of the age. The boatman had a daughter who was of age and awaiting marriage. Krishna Dvaipayana was born of Parasara Rishi through the Matsyakanya—Satyavathi Devi—under some peculiar and wonderful circumstances. He was impressed with the sanctity and greatness of the Rishi and offered his daughter in marriage to Parasara. At a very tender age Vyasa gave out to his parents the secret of his life that he should go to the forest and do Akhanda Tapas. Vyasa. and it is said that there had been twentyeight Vyasas before the present Vyasa—Krishna Dvaipayana—took his birth at the end of Dvapara Yuga.Maharshi Vyasa By Sri Swami Sivananda In ancient days. we are expected to worship Vyasa and the Brahmavidya Gurus and begin the study of the Brahma Sutras and other ancient books on ‗wisdom‘. Parasara was travelling in a boat and he spoke to the boatman about the nearing of that auspicious time. On that day. Chaturmas begins from the Vyasa Purnima Day when. Our mythology speaks of many Vyasas. the Rishis of Aryavartha. but later gave permission on one important condition that he should appear before her whenever she wished for his presence. according to our Shastras. On this memorable day. conceived at a particular Ghatika or moment of time. Parasara came to know that a child. This itself shows how far-sighted the parents and the son were. He has also written a Smriti known as Parasara Smriti which is held in such high esteem that it is quoted by our present-day writers on sociology and ethics. began to write his Brahma Sutras. and change of place and situation should not be allowed to make such a difference in our mental attitudes. Our ancient Rishis did this Tapasya in caves and forests. The forests and caves have given place to the rooms of Sadhus in their own Gurudwaras and Mutts. Parasara was a great Jnani and one of the supreme authorities on astrology and his book Parasara Hora is still a textbook on astrology. an incarnation of the Lord Himself. Puranas say that Vyasa took initiation at the hands of his twenty-first Guru. Our Vyasa was born of this union and his birth is said to be due to the blessing of Lord Siva Himself who blessed the union of a sage with a Jnani of the highest order. as an Amsa of Lord Vishnu Himself. went to the forest to do Tapasya during the four months following Vyasa Purnima—a particular and important day in the Hindu calendar. nay. But times have changed and such facilities are not common nowadays although Grihasthas and Rajas are not wanting who are able and willing to place at the disposal of the members of the fourth Ashrama such help and facilities as they can afford. our forefathers. He studied the Shastras under sages Sanaka and . sage Vasudeva. One has of necessity to suit himself to time and place. His mother at first did not agree.

Sankhya. Let us pray for his blessings on us all and on the whole world. Upasana and Jnana. In the Padma Purana. Everybody knows that there are six important systems of thought developed by our ancients known as the Shad Darshanas or the six orthodox schools of philosophy. The Brahma Sutras written by Vyasa or Badarayana—for that was the name which he possessed in addition—are also known as Vedanta Sutras as they deal with Vedanta only. Karma. meaning that "going by that way one reaches Immortality and no more returns to the world". The oldest commentary on the Brahma Sutras is by Sankaracharya. viz. (i) that Brahman is the cause of this world and (ii) that knowledge of Brahman . Purva Mimamsa and Uttara Mimamsa or Vedanta. each chapter being subdivided again into four sections. the Sutras came into existence. All the five Acharyas mostly agree on two points. tradition attributes it to Vyasa. Pandu and Vidura were his progeny. and to Badarayana as the author of the Brahma Sutras. In this way. Sankaracharya. and to regulate them. Vaiseshika. His followers—Vachaspathi. It says that a Sutra should be concise and unambiguous.. Yoga. Later. viz. He arranged the Vedas for the good of mankind and wrote the Brahma Sutras for the quick and easy understanding of the Srutis. in his Bhashya. Nyaya. Vyasa lives for the welfare of the world. Vyasa‘s last work was the Bhagavata which he undertook at the instigation of Devarshi Narada who once came to him and advised him to write it as. these thoughts became unwieldy. Today we find the same Sutra being interpreted in a dozen ways. About the authorship of these Sutras. he established the three paths. Treatises were written in short aphorisms. To him is also attributed the fact that he continued the line of his mother and that Dhritarashtra. Anandagiri and others—identify the two as one and the same person. Vyasa is considered by all Hindus as a Chiranjivi. called "Sutras" in Sanskrit. but the brevity was carried to such an extent that the Sutra has become unintelligible and particularly so in the Brahma Sutras.. Nimbarka. his goal in life would not be reached. one who is still living and roaming throughout the world for the well-being of his devotees. It is interesting to note that they begin and end with Sutras which read together mean "the inquiry into the real nature of Brahman has no return". meaning clues for memory or aids to long discussions on every topic. Thus. he also wrote the Mahabharata to enable women. Vyasa wrote the eighteen Puranas and established the system of teaching them through Upakhyanas or discourses.. he was later followed by Ramanuja. Vallabha. in short.Sanandana and others. refers to Vyasa as the author of the Gita and the Mahabharata. Sudras and other people of lesser intellect to understand the highest knowledge in the easiest way. the definition of a Sutra is given. without it. It is said that he appears to the true and the faithful and that Jagadguru Sankaracharya had his Darshan in the house of sage Mandana Misra and that he appeared to many others as well. viz. while Ramanuja and others attribute the authorship of all three to Vyasa himself. Each system has a different shade of opinion. They are divided into four chapters. Madhva and others who established their own schools of thought.

is the chief means of attaining liberation. as interpreted by Sankara. Vyasa‘s life is a unique example of one born for the dissemination of spiritual knowledge. the relation between the individual soul and the Supreme Soul. His writings inspire us and the whole world even to this day. May we all live in the spirit of his writings! . and the condition of the soul in the state of release. According to some.leads to final emancipation. But they differ amongst themselves on the nature of this Brahman. Bhakti and not Jnana.

Maitreyi and others. Give back to me immediately whatever you have learnt from me". If the sin of Brahmahatyacomes to me. I myself alone shall observe it in the manner in which nobody else can". Vaishampayana had many other disciples too and they all were students of the Taittiriya Shakha. an expiatory penance for seven days". He was studying the Taittiriya Samhita from Vaishampayana who was also his Guru. And accordingly he incurred the sin of Brahmahatya. the revealer of Brahma Jnana to Janaka.Sage Yajnavalkya By Sri Swami Sivananda Related Links The name of Yajnavalkya of Mithila stands distinguished both in the Srutis and in the Smritis. there is the following history. the son of Devarata. Enough of you who is disposed to despise wise Brahmins. But Yajnavalkya persisted. The seer of a Veda Samhita from Bhagavan Surya. You get away from me. So. They will not be able to undergo such a hard penance. "O proud one. Yajnavalkya is especially known for his unsurpassed spiritual wisdom and power. you all will observe. vomited out the collection of the Yajus in the form of food. "O Guru! All these are poor-spirited young students. Once all the Rishis decided to form an association near the Meru mountain and made a rule that any Rishi who absented himself at the appointed hour should incur the sin of Brahmahatya (the sin of killing a Brahmin) for seven days. "Somehow I have to perform my father‘s ceremony. . you are very conceited. As to his obtaining the Shukla Yajurveda Samhita from Bhagavan Surya. for my sake. Yajnavalkya. instead of all. my disciples will observe the expiatory penance therefor". Vaishampayana told Yajnavalkya not to undertake it alone. because they were very eager to receive the same. "Now I have to expiate this great sin of Brahmahatya. the Vedacharya of the Taittiriya section. So Vaishampayana did not attend the meeting of the Rishis. The preceptor was offended at this audacious attitude of the disciple and said. On that appointed day fell the Sraddha ceremony of Vaishampayana‘s father. The other disciples ate that food taking the form of the Tittiri birds. Then Vaishampayana said to his disciples. At once Yajnavalkya stood up and said. Yajnavalkya was the son of the sister of Mahamuni Vaishampayana. Yajnavalkya hails supreme among sages of sacred memory. Upon the order of the Guru. Vaishampayana thought. Therefore.

each branch comprising hundreds of Yajus Mantras. It is also known as Krishna (black) Yajurveda on account of its being vomited substance. The Sun-God. Vaishampayana. Yajnavalkya said. Madhyandina and others learnt those branches. I contemplate upon that glowing sphere which lights and warms the whole world! O God who burns all miseries wrought by unrighteous activities. The Self is self-luminous. who in the form of the Atman. It is also known as Vajasaneya Yajurveda. Yajnavalkya replied that there was no hope of immortality through wealth and that she would only become one among the many who were well-to-do on earth. Thus he began to propitiate the Sun-God. Yajnavalkya divided this Vajasaneya Yajurveda again into fifteen branches. the way of attaining infinite knowledge and immortality. indestructible. . who is one and not separated or distanced by limiting conditions. Kanva. not for their sake. This immortal conversation between Yajnavalkya and Maitreyi is recorded in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. This Self alone exists everywhere. One was Maitreyi and the other Katyayani. the master of the Vedas. it is thenceforth called the Taittiriya Yajurveda. etc. O Great God. O Creator. because it was evolved in great rapidity by Surya in the form of a horse through his manes. Surya. I worship Thy lotus-like feet praised and worshipped by the rulers of the three worlds. It is realised through endless denials as ‗not this. Then Yajnavalkya determined not to have any human Guru thereafter. unthinkable". the nature of Its existence. abides in all beings. Maitreyi asked whether she could become immortal through wealth. for the purpose of acquiring the fresh Vedic portions not known to his preceptor. Maitreyi was a Brahmavadini. Give me those portions of the Veda which are not known to others". The central theme of the discourse is this: "All things are dear. "Prostration to the glorious Aditya. not this‘.They then had the direct revelation of those Yajurveda collections. When Yajnavalkya wished to divide his property between the two wives before starting for the fourth Ashrama of his life. pleased with Yajnavalkya‘s penance. assumed the form of a horse and taught the sage such fresh portions of the Yajurveda as were not known to any other. who burns ignorance which is the seed of activity! O Lord. Yajnavalkya married two wives. Maitreyi requested Yajnavalkya to teach her what he considered as the best. It cannot be understood or known. I bow to Him who surrounds all like Akasa. Yajnavalkya worshipped and extolled the Sun. On hearing this. Then Yajnavalkya elaborately described to her the sole greatness of the Absolute Self. This portion of the Yajurveda goes by the name of Shukla Yajurveda. Of the two. but for the sake of the Self. for It alone is the Understander and the Knower. As the Tittiri birds ate this Veda. Its nature cannot be said to be positively as such. the glorious Lord Hari.

and Yoga-Yajnavalkya. Janaka performed a hugeBahu-dakshina sacrifice to which all the Rishis from far and wide were invited. In order to find out who was the real Brahma-nishtha. And he offered one thousand cows with their calves. Janaka was convinced that Yajnavalkya was the best Brahma-nishtha and received Brahma Vidya from him thereafter. the daughter of Bharadhwaja.The other wife Katyayani. Then he proclaimed to the assembled ones. We find him arguing with and overcoming even his teacher Uddalaka at the court of Janaka. Vaishampayana was much pleased and he requested Yajnavalkya to teach that Veda to his own disciples also. Thereupon several Rishis challenged Yajnavalkya with many questions on transcendental matters to all of which Yajnavalkya gave prompt reply. "How can he declare himself to be the best among us?". His other works are Yajnavalkya Shakha. He caused many Yajnas to be performed and himself became the Acharya of those great Yajnas. though a great Brahmajnani. None dared to get up and take away the cows as they were afraid of censure by the others. At the sacrifice of Janaka. . But Yajnavalkya stood up and asked his disciple Samasravas to drive the cows home. He was a celebrated Srotriya and a Brahma-nishtha Guru. But on hearing that Yajnavalkya had obtained a fresh Veda from the Sun-God. The third and the fourth chapters of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad abound with the great philosophical teachings of Yajnavalkya. In the end. there was an exchange of words between Yajnavalkya and Vaishampayana. was of common intelligence. Mahamegha and Vijaya. and through her Yajnavalkya had three sons—Chandrakanta. Yajnavalkya was one of the greatest sages ever known. Yajnavalkya. The other Brahmanas got angry at this and said to one another. "Whosoever is the best Brahmana amongst you may drive these cows home". Yajnavalkya was also the author of the famous Yajnavalkya Smriti. Pratijna Sutra. Satapatha Brahmana. was a great Karmakandi too. There was a great debate in which Yajnavalkya won over all the others. Yajnavalkya took Vidvat Sannyasa (renunciation after the attainment of the knowledge of Brahman) and retired to the forest. Once King Janaka of Videha wanted to know from which real Brahmanishtha to receive Brahma Vidya. all their horns being decked with enormous gold. Yajnavalkya consented and taught his Veda to the disciples of Vaishampayana. His precepts as contained in the Upanishads stand foremost as the crest-jewel of the highest teachings on Brahma Vidya.

"O Devis! See. I will get it fried by Anasuya. a great Pativrata who lives in the earth-plane". . Lakshmi and Parvati. Vishnu and Siva. She was the wife of Atri Maharishi. I will eat this iron-ballgram during my travel". She served her husband with intense devotion. She did severe Tapas for a very long time in order to beget sons equal to Brahma. "O Rishi Narada! How can this iron ball be fried? How can this be eaten?". They also laughed at Narada Rishi. Then Narada said.Dattatreya Related Link Anasuya is generally quoted as the model of chastity. Narada afterwards went to Mahalakshmi and Parvati and requested them to fry the iron ball. Vishnu and Siva. a great sage and one of the Sapta Rishis. Narada went to Sarasvati. Once Narada took a small ball of iron—the size of a gram-grain—to Sarasvati and said to her. Sarasvati laughed and said. ate before them the fried iron-ball-gram and gave them also a little of it. The iron ball was at once fried. "O Sarasvati Devi! Please fry this iron ball. He greatly praised the glory of Anasuya and her chastity. wife of Atri Maharishi. meditated on the form of her husband and put a few drops of water which were used in washing the feet of her husband on the iron ball. She was well established in Pativrata Dharma. Then Narada came to Anasuya and requested her to fry the iron-ball-gram. Then Narada resolved to fulfil the wish of Anasuya to beget sons equal to Brahma. Anasuya put the iron ball in the frying pan.

appeared before Atri and asked for Pati Bhiksha: "O Rishi. The Tri-Murtis were converted into three children on account of the glory of the Charanamrita. through Jnana-Drishti. Lakshmi and Parvati that their husbands had been turned into children through the power of the Pativrata Dharma of Anasuya when they asked her Nirvana Bhiksha and that they would not return unless the Devis asked for Bhartri Bhiksha (Bhiksha of husband) from Atri. to give them alms in a naked condition. She thought that those children were her own children and fed them with the milk in a nude state and put them to the cradle.Narada said to Sarasvati. Anasuya was in a great dilemma. She meditated on the form of her husband. but his endeavours were all in vain. Once when he was . This child will bear the name of Dattatreya". sincerity and devotion. The three children became one child with two feet. Anasuya related to him all that had happened during his absence. wife of Atri Maharishi. three heads and six hands. She could not say ‗No‘ to the Bhikshus. one trunk. took refuge in his feet and sprinkled over the three Sannyasins a few drops of water which were used for washing the feet of her husband. But Atri knew all this already through his divine vision. there was accumulation of milk in the breast of Anasuya. and ask her to give them Nirvana Bhiksha. Lakshmi and Parvati requested their husbands to test the Pativrata Dharma of Anasuya. if you all had done service to your husbands with faith. Atri Rishi blessed his wife and informed her that the TriMurtis themselves had assumed the forms of the three children to gratify her wish. The Tri-Murtis. placed the three children at his feet and worshipped him. He was gentle. all the Rishis and ascetics worshipped him. Lakshmi and Parvati assumed the forms of ordinary women. Sarasvati. She was eagerly expecting the arrival of her husband who had gone for taking his bath. The Tri-Murtis put on the garb of Sannyasins. He was always followed by a great multitude of people. came to know of the action of Narada and the Tapas and the wish of Anasuya. kindly give us back our husbands". appeared before Anasuya and asked her to give them Nirvana Bhiksha. He embraced all the three children. Vaikuntha and Kailasa and informed Sarasvati. As he had the rays of the Tri-Murtis. At the same time. that is. Then they disappeared. peaceful and amiable. "This child will be a great sage according to your word and will be equal to us according to the wish of Anasuya. Lakshmi and Parvati: "You also could have fried the iron ball. As soon as Atri Rishi came back home. and as he was a great Jnani. Atri Rishi duly honoured the three ladies and with folded hands prayed to them that his wish and the wish of Anasuya should be fulfilled. Then Sarasvati. Make a request to your husbands to test Anasuya‘s Pativrata Dharma". Narada went to Brahma-Loka. She had to maintain her Pativrata Dharma also. Then the Tri-Murtis appeared in their true form before Atri and said. Dattatreya attained manhood. They agreed. Dattatreya tried to get rid of them.

so also the sage. etc. 2. anger. Python 10. he came out and found that the people were still sitting on the banks of the river awaiting his return. Fish 17. Dattatreya taught his Gita. who on seeing Dattatreya so happy. Pigeon 9. Fire 5. Sun 8. purifies all those who come in contact with him. This is a most valuable book which contains the truths and secrets of Vedanta and the direct experiences of Self-realisation. The people thought that Dattatreya had fallen from his Yoga and so they left him and went away. etc. Serpent 22. Moth 12. So Dattatreya adopted another plan. trees. asked him the secrets of his happiness and also the name of his Guru. Sky 6. Maiden 21. .. Dattatreya said: "The names of my twenty-four teachers are: 1. even the scanty clothing he had. Child 20. and became an Avadhuta. greed. I have learnt patience and doing good to others from the earth. he entered a river for bathing and he did not come out of it for three days. Bee 14. for it endures every injury that man commits on its surface and yet it does him good by producing crops. Elephant 15. From water I have learnt the quality of purity. On the third day. named Avadhuta Gita.surrounded by many people. Once. Honey-gatherer 13. Beetle 1. He did not succeed in getting rid of the people by this method. He entered into Samadhi inside the water. He created a beautiful girl and a bottle of wine out of his Yogic power. Moon 7. Arrow-maker 23. Earth 2. Raven 19. Water 3. Dattatreya threw away all his personal possessions. Dattatreya said that the Atma alone was his Guru and yet he had learned wisdom from twenty-four individuals and that they were therefore his Gurus. Dattatreya then mentioned the names of his twenty-four Gurus and spoke of the wisdom that he had learnt from each. Ocean 11. while Dattatreya was roaming in a forest happily. who is pure and free from selfishness. Just as the pure water cleanses others. lust. he met king Yadu. He came out of the waters holding the girl in one hand and the bottle of wine in the other. egoism. Dancing girl Pingala 18. He went out preaching and teaching the truths of Vedanta. to Lord Subrahmanya. Air 4. Spider 24. Deer 16.

the stars. but it never gets attached to anyone of them. 6. being enamoured of the brilliance of the fire. the wise man should remain unmoved among all sorts of temptations. 5. The air. so also the sage should be glowing with the splendour of his knowledge and Tapas. Just as the ocean remains unmoved even though hundreds of rivers fall into it. The python does not move about for its food. From this I have learnt to be unmindful of food and to be contented with whatever I get to eat (Ajahara Vritti). so she fell into the net and was caught. The mother pigeon was very much attached to her children. This is the lesson I have learnt from the sun. 4. appears as so many different reflections. 7. a passionate man who falls in love with a beautiful girl comes to grief.. The male pigeon was attached to the female pigeon. A fowler spread a net and caught the young birds. 10. the clouds. so also. so I have learnt from the air to be without attachment.this world. so also I take only a little food from one house and a little from another house and thus appease my hunger (Madhukari Bhiksha or Madhukari Vritti). 11. Brahman appears different because of the Upadhis (bodies) caused by its reflection through the mind. so he also fell into the net and was caught. so also. She did not care to live. It remains contented with whatever it gets and lies in one place.3. though I move with many people in. so also. I once saw a pair of pigeons with their young birds. Just as the sun. This is the lesson I have learnt from the ocean. 8. falls into it and is burnt up. To control the sense of sight and to fix the mind on the Self is the lesson I have learnt from the moth. . are all contained in the sky. etc. The air is always moving through various objects. reflected in various pots of water. but appears to decrease or increase. Just as black bee sucks the honey from different flowers and does not suck it from only one flower. I am not a burden on the householder. 9. I have learnt from this that the Atma is always perfect and changeless and that it is only the Upadhis or limiting adjuncts that cast shadows upon it. From this I learnt that attachment was the cause of bondage. I have learnt from the sky that the Atma is all-pervading and yet it has no contact with any object. 12. but the sky does not come in contact with any of them. Just as fire burns bright. difficulties and troubles. The moon is in itself always complete. Just as the moth. on account of the varying shadow of the earth upon the moon.

It gets caught. Just as a fish that is covetous of food falls an easy victim to the bait. She broke one more bangle in each hand. The child who sucks milk is free from all cares. the glass bangles on both hands made a tremendous jingling noise. During the absence of the parents. From this I have learnt the lesson that it is useless to hoard things. There was no further noise though she . and is always cheerful. but they have to leave them all at once and depart when the Lord of Death takes hold of them. 19. Even so. loses his independence and easily gets ruined. There was a dancing girl named Pingala in the town of Videha. Then she decided to remain content with what she had and then she had sound sleep. the man who is greedy of food. passionate men fall in the traps of women and come to grief. I have learnt from that fallen woman the lesson that the abandonment of hope leads to contentment. blinded by lust. This is the lesson I have learnt from the elephant. 17. It is the lesson that I have learnt from the fish. She received the party herself. by the noise of the bangles. It was pursued and beaten by other birds. enchained and tortured by the goad. 20. While she was husking. Let me break all my bangles except two on each hand". Even so. 15. 16. She became hopeless. Therefore. From this I have learnt the lesson that a man in the world undergoes all sorts of troubles and miseries when he runs after sensual pleasures and that he becomes as happy as the bird when he abandons the sensual pleasures. falls into a pit covered over with grass. who allows his sense of taste to overpower him. one should destroy lust. A raven picked up a piece of flesh. She went inside to husk the paddy. that I am husking the paddy myself and that my family is too poor to engage others to get the work done. The deer is enticed and trapped by the hunter through its love of music. One should never listen to lewd songs. Even those two bangles created much noise. She was tired of looking out for customers one night.13. a party of people came to the house to see her on a similar mission. so also. people hoard up wealth and other things with great difficulty. she broke all the bangles except two on each hand. a man is attracted by the music of women of loose character and brought to destruction. Bees collect honey with great trouble. worries and anxieties. Even so. I have learnt the virtue of cheerfulness from the child. This is the lesson I have learnt from the deer. 14. but a hunter comes and takes the honey easily. 18. The male elephant. Accordingly. It dropped the piece of flesh and attained peace and rest. The parents of a young girl had gone in search of a proper bridegroom for her. The wise girl reflected thus: "The party will detect. even at the sight of a paper-made female elephant. The greed for food must therefore be destroyed. The girl was alone in the house.

I have learnt from the artisan the quality of intense concentration of mind. He abandoned the world and practised constant meditation on the Self. Even among two persons. He learnt wisdom from whatever source it came. . The fact was that the artisan‘s mind had been so solely absorbed in his work that he had not known the king‘s passing before his shop. I have learnt from the beetle and the worm to turn myself into Atma by contemplating constantly on It and thus to give up all attachment to the body and attain Moksha or liberation". disturbance. The spider pours out of its mouth long threads and weaves them into cobwebs. and thinking constantly of the beetle. This is the lesson I have learnt from the spider. so he becomes. a king passed before his shop with his whole retinue. Whatever form a man constantly thinks of. a man came to the artisan and asked him whether the king had passed by his shop. The mind of an arrow-maker was once wholly engrossed in sharpening and straightening an arrow. This is the lesson that I have learnt from the snake. The wise man should therefore abandon all worldly thoughts and think of Brahman only. The ascetic or the Sannyasin should remain alone in solitude. While he was thus engaged. there might be unnecessary words or strife. A serpent does not build its hole. dispute and quarrel.continued husking. an ascetic or a Sannyasin should not build a home for himself He should live in the caves and temples built by others. As a man thinks. It gets itself entangled in the net of its own making. The Bhringi or the beetle catches hold of a worm. It dwells in the holes dug out by others. he attains in course of time. 22. All seekers after wisdom should follow the example of Dattatreya. puts it in its nest and gives it a sting. King Yadu was highly impressed by the teachings of Dattatreya. The artisan replied that he had not noticed anything. I have learnt from the girl‘s experience the following:—Living among many would create discord. 24. Dattatreya was absolutely free from intolerance or prejudice of any kind. Even so. man makes a net of his own ideas and gets entangled in it. 23. The poor worm. 21. Even so. After some time. always fearing the return of the beetle and the sting. becomes a beetle itself.

Sangam age Avvaiyar The Avvaiyar who lived during the Sangam period is considered to be contemporary to poets Paranar. is said to have been pondering her retirement from Tamil literary work while resting under Naaval Pazham tree.Biography of Avvaiyar The Avvaiyars (Tamil: ஐ ) "respectable women" was the title of more than one poet who was active during different periods of Tamil literature. Auvaiyar is believed to have undertaken a fresh set of literary works. The Avvaiyar were some of the most famous and important female poets of the Tamil canon. 1st and 2nd century CE) and had cordial relation with the Tamil chieftains Paari and Athiyaman. arranged in simple and short sentences. Her works. She found great happiness in the life of small children. thus from different caste backgrounds and hence impossible to be siblings. Avvai refers to respectable elderly woman as the word ammai which means good woman in general term for a woman of any age. The chieftain had also used her as his ambassador to avert war with another neighbouring chieftain Tontaiman. She is attributed as the author of 7 vers es in Naṟṟiṇai. 15 in Kuṟuntokai. She is often imagined as an old and intelligent lady by Tamil people. All the four works are didactic in character — they explain the basic wisdom that should govern mundane life. Abithana Chintamani states that there were three female poets titled Avvaiyar. there is an image of Avvaiyar. targeted at children. who later revealed himself and made her realize that there was still a lot more to be done and learnt. These books include a list of dos and don'ts. Ramachandra Dikshitar refutes this claim based on his studies that all four of them were most likely of different walks of life. R. There is a very famous legend that is associated with Auvaiyar (also Auvayar) (Tamil: ஐ ). These works. Among them. By tradition. are often among the very first literature that children are exposed to in Tamil Nadu schools. Kabilar and Thiruvalluvar. Although traditions claim that she was a sister of Kabilar. Avvaiyar I lived during the Sangam period (c. Thus the name Avvaiyar means a respectable good woman hence a generic title rather than a specific name of a person. useful for daily life. She travelled from one part of the country to another and from one village to another. believing to have achieved everything that is to be achieved. and Naaval Pazham (Jambu) in Tamil Nadu. Most of her songs were about a small-time chieftain Vallal Athiyamaan Nedumaan Anji and his family. She wrote 59 poems in the Puṟanāṉūṟu. Chola age Avvaiyar The medievaal period Avvaiyar was the court poet of the Chola monarch and was the contemporary of Kambar and Ottakkuttar. V. Following this awakening. Legend states that she was a court poet of the rulers of the Tamil country. Mooturai and Nalvali were written for older children. Auvaiyar. Avvaiyar II lived during the period of Kambar and Ottakoothar during the reign of the Chola dynasty in the 13th century. Shrine In Muppandal. Name Etymology The name Avvaiyar is a combination of Tamil word avvai with honorific suffix ar. The rest of her songs related to the various aspects of state governance. this . But she is met with and was wittily jousted by a disguised Lord Murugan (regarded as one of the guardian deities of Tamil language). a small village in the Kanyakumari District of Tamil Nadu. sharing the gruel of the poor farmers and composing songs for their enjoyment. Her two other works. Thiruvalluvar and Athiyamaan. are even now generally read and enjoyed by them. 4 in Akanaṉūṟu and 33 in Puṟanāṉūṟu. Aathichoodi and Konraiventhan written for young children. She wrote many of the poems that remain very popular even now and are inculcated in school textbooks in Tamil Nadu. even after a millennium. a prominent female poets/ethicist/political activist of Sangam period (Tamil literature).

and Live: Poems by Avviyar. In 2009. Now Govt of Tamil Nadu is continuing this function and adding more values. so would the Tamil heritage and language. India. This festival is celebrated every year in the month of Panguni on Sadhayam star day. Nagappatinam District. Legend Legend has it that once the great king Athiyaman gave an eternal amla Nellikani (gooseberry) fruit to Avvaiyar. Avvai Vizha is conducted in the temple Avvayar situated at Thulasiyappattinam village. Avvaiyar's Works: Her famous works include: Vinayagar Agaval Aathichoodi Kondraivendhan Moothurai Nalvali . If she could live forever. a poet and translator who discovered Avviyar's work while on a Fulbright scholarship at The American College in Madurai. Vedaranyam. Publication in the U. Tamil scholars and scholars from various fields participating with passion on this occasion and deliver their speech. Red Hen Press published a selection of Avvaiyar's poetry from the 12th century. Athiyaman wanted Avvaiyar to eat the eternal fruit as she was the right person who could serve the Tamil community. this is a special and powerful fruit. in the temple premises of Arulmigu Visvanathaswamy Thirukovil. Also this place is referred to famous interaction between Lord Muruga & Avvaiyar "Suttapazham Venduma Sudatha Pazham Venduma". Avvai Vizha Annual Avvai Vizha is organized & conducted by Government of Tamil Nadu to commemorate Avvaiyar's contribution to Tamil literature. Local community. The poems were selected and translated into English by Thomas Pruiksma.S. Avvai Vizha has been started by local community long time back and still continuing willingly. whoever eats it will have a healthy and long life. entitled Give.is stated to be the spot where the great poetess left the mortal world. Tamil Nadu. Eat. This temple is under the control of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department.

useful for daily life. a prominent female poets/ethicist/political activist of Sangam period (Tamil literature). These books include a list of dos and don'ts. Auvaiyar. English: Respectable Women) was the title of more than one poet who was active during different periods of Tamil literature. There is a very famous legend that is associated with Auvaiyar (also Auvayar) (Tamil: ஔவையார்). 1st and 2nd century CE) and had cordial relation with the Tamil chieftainsPaari and Athiyaman.Abithana Chintamani states that there were three female poets titled Avvaiyar. Among them. She wrote many of the poems that remain very popular even now and are inculcated in school textbooks in Tamil Nadu.[1] Avvaiyar II lived during the period of Kambar and Ottakoothar during the reign of the Chola dynasty in the 13th century. She is often imagined as an old and intelligent lady by Tamil people. and Naaval Pazham (Jambu) in Tamil Nadu. She wrote 59 poems in the Puṟanāṉūṟu. the free encyclopedia Not to be confused with the film Avvaiyyar.Avvaiyar From Wikipedia. But she is met with and was wittily jousted by a disguised Lord Murugan (regarded as one of the guardian deities of Tamil . Avvaiyar Statue in Marina Beach The Avvaiyars (Tamil: ஔவையார். believing to have achieved everything that is to be achieved. arranged in simple and short sentences. is said to have been pondering her retirement from Tamil literary work while resting under Naaval Pazham tree. Avvaiyar I lived during the Sangam period (c. The Avvaiyar were some of the most famous and important female poets of the Tamil canon.

targeted at children.S.[2] The chieftain had also used her as his ambassador to avert war with another neighbouring chieftain Tontaiman.[2] Legend states that she was a court poet of the rulers of the Tamil country.[2] Thus the name Avvaiyar means a respectable good woman hence a generic title rather than a specific name of a person. Auvaiyar is believed to have undertaken a fresh set of literary works. [3] Sangam age Avvaiyar[edit] The Avvaiyar who lived during the Sangam period is considered to be contemporary to poets Paranar. sharing the gruel of the poor farmers and composing songs for their enjoyment.[2] The rest of her songs related to the various aspects of state governance. Ramachandra Dikshitar refutes this claim based on his . even after a millennium.[2] Kabilar and Thiruvalluvar. Thiruvalluvar and Athiyamaan. Following this awakening.[4] She is attributed as the author of 7 verses inNaṟṟiṇai. 4 in Akanaṉūṟu and 33 in Puṟanāṉūṟu. Most of her songs were about a small-time chieftain Vallal Athiyamaan Nedumaan Anji and his family. These works. Although traditions claim that she was a sister of Kabilar. are often among the very first literature that children are exposed to in Tamil Nadu schools. 9 See also 10 Notes 11 References 12 External links Name etymology[edit] The name Avvaiyar is a combination of Tamil word av vai with honorific suffix ar. V. 15 in Kuṟuntokai. who later revealed himself and made her realize that there was still a lot more to be done and learnt. She travelled from one part of the country to another and from one village to another.[2] Avvai refers to respectable elderly woman as the word ammai which means good woman in general term for a woman of any age. R. Contents [hide]             1 Name etymology 2 Sangam age Avvaiyar 3 Chola age Avvaiyar 4 Avvaiyar quotes 5 Shrine 6 Avvai Vizha 7 Legend 8 Publication in the U.language).

Avvaiyar quotes[edit] The following quotes from Aathichoodi illustrate the simplicity of her style and profoundness of the messages: Uyir Ezhuthu அ ஆ இ ஈ உ ஊ ஋ ஌ ஍ எ ஏ அ ஆ இ ஈ உ ஊ ஑ ஋ ஌ ஍ எ ஏ எ ஋ இ஑ உ ஑ இ஑ ஑ ஑ English translation Desire to do good things Anger is to be controlled Help others in any way you can Always be charitable Do not boast about what you have Do not give up hope/effort Respect learning Begging is despicable Give alms before eating Be virtuous Do not give up learning . Her works. Her two other works. are even now generally read and enjoyed by them. thus from different caste backgrounds and hence impossible to be siblings.studies that all four of them were most likely of different walks of life.[4] Chola age Avvaiyar[edit] The medievaal period Avvaiyar was the court poet of the Chola monarch and was the contemporary of Kambar and Ottakkuttar. All the four works are didactic in character — they explain the basic wisdom that should govern mundane life. Aathichoodi and Konraiventhan written for young children.[2] She found great happiness in the life of small children. Mooturai and Nalvali were written for older children.

Local community. but be just like that tall and erect coconut tree that drank water from its feet gives the benefit of giving that sweet water by its head. By tradition. Nagappatinam District.[6] Avvai Vizha[edit] Annual Avvai Vizha is organized & conducted by Government of Tamil Nadu to commemorate Avvaiyar's contribution to Tamil literature. Vedaranyam.[5] Her famous works include:      Vinayagar Agaval Aathichoodi Kondraivendhan Moothurai Nalvali Shrine[edit] In Muppandal. Now Govt of Tamil Nadu is continuing this function and adding more values. this is stated to be the spot where the great poet left the mortal world. Avvai Vizha is conducted in the temple Avvayar situated at Thulasiyappattinam village.஑ உ ஑ " has been translated as "What you have learned is a mere handful." Her quote "஑ ஑ அ .எ எ அ ஑ ஑ Do not talk bad about others Never cheat on food "Thol Ulagil Nallaar Oruvar Ularael Avar Poruttu Ellarkum Peiyum Mazhai" . Tamil scholars and scholars from various fields participating with passion on this occasion and deliver their speech.The rain falls on behalf of the virtuous. What you haven't learned is the size of the world" and exhibited at NASA. Avvai Vizha has been started by local community long time back and still continuing willingly. in the temple premises of Arulmigu Visvanathaswamy Thirukovil. Also this place is referred to famous interaction between Lord Muruga & Avvaiyar "Suttapazham Venduma Sudatha Pazham Venduma". . benefitting everyone in the world. a small village in the Kanyakumari District of Tamil Nadu. "Nandri Oruvarukku Seithakkal An Nandri Endru tharum kol ena vaenda nindru Thalara valar thengu Thaalunda Neerai Thalaiyaalae Thaan Tharuthalal" -Don't wait for a return benefit as to when a good deed done will pay back. This festival is celebrated every year in the month of Panguni on Sadhayam star day. This temple is under the control of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department. there is an image of Avvaiyar.

Athiyaman wanted Avvaiyar to eat the eternal fruit as she was the right person who could serve the Tamil community. Eat. this is a special and powerful fruit. .Legend[edit] Legend has it that once the great king Athiyaman gave an eternal gooseberryNellikani fruit to Avvaiyar.S.[7] Publication in the U. so would the Tamil heritage and language. The poems were selected and translated into English by Thomas Pruiksma.[8] a poet and translator who discovered Avviyar's work while on a Fulbright scholarship at The American College in Madurai. India. and Live: Poems by Avviyar. Tamil Nadu. Red Hen Press published a selection of Avvaiyar's poetry from the 12th century. entitled Give. whoever eats it will have a healthy and long life. If she could live forever.[edit] In 2009.

'஋ அ ?' 'அ ஑ . useful for daily life was arranged in simple and short sentences. The other Auvaiyar (ஏ ) was a contemporary of Kampan and ottak KUtthar(எ ).Auvaiyar & her Writings " ஑ ஑ " " By considering universally acceptable values in just one line Auvaiyar even excelled ThiruvaLLuvar's brevity and succeeded in making them stay in memory for the rest of one's life. ouvaiyAr's motto can very well be phrased as short and effective following the n^annUl addict " ஑ ஑ " .. Professor C. PAri and athikamAn ( . (she) directed her moral instructions at children who have open minds and are more receptive.Krishnamurti on Auvaiyar in Tamil Literature through the Ages . She was the elderly figure most familiar to Thamizh people ( ). One of them lived during the Sangam period and was a close friend of the Kings.. The recital of these poems by groups of children with a characteristic melody would always bring nostalgic memories of childhood days. In Thamizh literature there are many poetesses with the name Auvaiyar (ஏ ). One of the major criticisms of Thamizh poets and authors is that.அ ஑ ). She wrote 59 poems in PuRa n^AnURu ( ).. In these days of technical specialization. Only after attaining a certain level of proficiency." 'அ ஐ ஋ எ ஆ ஑ ஑ ?' ஋ ஑ அ அ ' ஐ . Her list of Do's and Don'ts. Anyone who was educated in the Thamizh region would have studied and memorized ouvaiyAr's poems early in school.R. many do not ever reach this stage so that our own literary treasure becomes a closed chapter for them. in their zeal to display their literary skills. they made their style very difficult. one would be able to understand the meaning or appreciate the finer points of literary maneuvers..

Salient Features of ouvaiyAr's Literary Works a) By considering universally acceptable values in just one line ouvaiyar even excelled ThiruvaLLuvar's brevity and succeeded in making them stay in memory for the rest of one's life.1.Secondly .all the social reformers up to this time were focusing their efforts in conveying ethical messages at adults with varying degrees of success.3. ஑ ஆ எ ஋ ( ) ஑ உ அ ஑ ஑ In the next example the first two lines depict the concept and the next two denote the simile. you should do so without expecting when it will be repaid. The first two lines in the following MUthurai ( ) poem give the upamAnam (உ ). the example in the simile taken from the social environment and the next two lines state the upamEyam (உ ). Auvaiyar followed a different strategy and directed her moral instructions at children who have open minds and are more receptive.. Konraiventhan ஑ .. The analogy is the coconut palm tree which takes in water from the ground and gives it back through the coconut milk without expecting any thanks. the concept to be simulated. The following quotes from Atthi ChUdi (~tftiVF) will illustrate the simplicity of her style and profoundness of the messages: அ Enjoy giving alms ஆ Anger is to be controlled இ ஑ Never stop learning ஈ ஑ Don't prevent charity உ Avoid injurious words ஊ ஑ ஑ Don't give up persevering ஋ ஋ இ஑ Don't despise learning ஌ இ஑ Accepting alms is despicable ஍ Eat after donating எ Act virtuously ஏ எ Don't give up prayers எ Don't carry tales b) It is difficult to match ouvaiyAr's similes for their appropriateness or simplicity. Muthurai - and Nalvazhi - 7. Her important works are Athisoodi ஆ . When you do a good deed to someone else.4. எ ஑ அ .

஋ ஑ ஋ . Without actually calling him names. gave the impression that she was praising Kampan. she proved that she could be as ruthless as the next person. . In the following example. Auvaiyar recited a poem which. depending upon how much they are willing to share their fortunes with others. . religion or wealth. on the surface. like so many other segments of the society. the evils of the caste distinctions were pointed out in the clearest possible manner. - ( ) c) Auvaiyar used the same literary format even to drive home certain weaknesses in the society. When Kampan tried to put Auvaiyar on the spot with some disparaging remarks. ஋ f ஆ (஋ ஋ ஌ இ ஑ =஋ ஑ = = ) ஑ ஋ ஑ அ =அ . was a male dominated one even in those distant days. - Auvaiyar had a tremendous capacity in expressing profound concepts in a simple but . The pulavar ( ) community. . =஑ . high and low. இ இ ஑ ( ) இ இ ஑ Two lessons could be learnt from this 12th century poem: i) the caste distinctions were in existence for a long time and people realized how it could be a source of social turmoil and ii) the word mEthiniyil ( ) would extrapolate the application of these concepts to the whole world. She states that human beings can be divided only into two divisions. The stratification of people into high and low was not desirable whether it was based on caste.

While most young women would welcome such attention. "art can be mastered by practice. Please take away my youth and my beauty so that I can have peace and follow my chosen way of life. hair grayed. she was deeply devoted to religion and literary pursuits and wanted to serve the people.f ஑ ஑ ஑ ஑ It is amazing that with a short but effective minor poems. knowing that her loving Ganesha had graciously answered her prayers. there lived in the south Indian Tamil land a woman saint known as Auvai or Auvaiyar. knowing she was safe from the world. Thamizh can be mastered by speaking. Abandoned by her parents at birth. good behavior can be developed by practice. She said. a Tamil appellation for a respected senior mother or lady. Pandya and Chera. one can become learned by cultivation of mind. and wandered far and wide in the palmyra-covered Tamil kingdoms of Chola. Sadhvi Auvaiyar Ma in Loving Ganesa. dedicated to the practice of yoga and to following her guru's instructions.convincing manner. Auvaiyar was raised by a family of Panars. Her life was simple. who were wandering minstrels. where most people find security. but friendship. and in the days that followed her skin wrinkled. but I want to dedicate myself to the Goddess of learning and to the spread of learning. Himalayan Academy A long time ago in the ninth century. it was for Auvaiyar more threat than opportunity. Looking at her reflection in the village well. and pressure was brought to bear for arranging her marriage. Her interests were philosophical and devotional. my Lord. limbs stiffened and breasts sagged. Known for her intelligence and extraordinary beauty. to save her from this fate: ―Oh. grace and philanthropy are inherent". As her . she had many aristocratic suitors. She did not want to make a man the center of that universe. The surprise is why her advice has fallen on deaf ears. Auvaiyar gained fame and remained in the hearts of people for over a millennium. ஑ ஑ ஑ ஑ . and her life revolved around her love of Siva. Faced with the impending marriage that her family would surely arrange. As a young girl. a feat not accomplished even by poets who have great literary works to their credit. Vighneshvara. Auvaiyar wept and prayed before her chosen Deity. the maiden was overcome with joy.‖ Ganesha heard her prayer. The fact that this was done by a woman is something Thamizh people can really be proud of. these people are only after my youth and beauty. Auvaiyar left the shelter of home. eyes dulled.

These maharajas patronized her cultural works so that her fame spread far and wide. to Mount Kailasa. the Periyapuranam. Her innumerable literary and philosophical works. ruler of the Chera kingdom. of sweet and comely speech? The thunderous thud of the swift elephant And that of the agile horse must give place To that of the rider of this old dame! He is none other than the mighty Mahaganapati. the Peace of God) Cool. Vinayaka appeared before her. Kari and Seraman. King Seraman. (This great song of religious devotion to Ganesha is sung to this day throughout the Tamil land at the time of Ganesha worship. But Lord Ganesha appeared and told her to finish her rituals calmly and without haste. near the end of her life. she sang this in her unique and charming Tamil: O king. They were as aware of her as she was of them. She is now acclaimed as the wisest woman of all ages in the chronicles of Indian culture. Thereupon she entered her trance even more deeply and sang the renowned hymn of praise entitled Vinayaka Ahaval.) As she finished her worship and placed the sacramental offering at His gracious feet. . before the two friends arrived. among whom were Shri Shri Shri Adiyaman. the wisdom of God Siva and the Gods. with the promise that she would be taken to Kailasa ahead of her two friends. (From Om Ganesha. cover the entire gamut of human experience and testify to her profound wisdom. Siva's abode. both extolled as great Saiva saints in Sekkilar's epic hagiography. One day. and Seraman was on a white horse. She became disturbed and tried to rush her worship. Adoration to the Remover of Obstacles Translated from Tamil by Tiru K. the mystical teachings of the siddhars. She had a vision in which Saint Sundarar was proceeding to Mount Kailasa. filled with a yearning to join her spiritual friends on their last journey. Sundarar was riding a white elephant. with his comrade. for both children and elders. Auvaiyar Ma was a contemporary and close associate of two noble Siva bhaktas. she slowly matured into spreading the tantras. particularly during the annual Ganesha Chaturthi festival. When Seraman Perumal inquired how it was that she had arrived ahead of them. lifted her in His gentle trunk and delivered her to the Sivaloka. are historical figures distinguished by their bravery and benevolence. gold girdle. Pari. fragrant lotus feet with anklets tinkling sweet. Her royal benefactors. Sundarar and Seraman Perumal. it is said that Auvaiyar was in the midst of her daily worship of her beloved Ganesha. flower-soft garment setting off the comely hips. Swaminathan.spiritual sadhana bore fruit. is there anything unattainable To them who intensely contemplate On the fragrant feet of the son Of Ummaiyal. Vinayaka Ahaval.

the sixteen states of the prasada mantra. elephant-face with the bright red mark. O Being. giving. born of the Master of Mystery in Mount Kailasa. set foot in the world in the form of a guru. three eyes and the three required marks. heavy tusk. four mighty shoulders. fixed me firm in the six yogic centers. the goad. poured in my ear uncloying precepts. the sun's movement and the charm of the moon. your glance. With that unfailing weapon. moon and fire -the mantra unspoken asleep in the snake -and explicitly uttered it.pot-belly and big. fond of the three famed fruits. sweetly given me your sweet grace for firm control of the senses five. You have come and entered my heart. the water lily's friend. stilled my speech. you have put an end to my heinous sins. imparted the skill of raising by breath the raging flame of muladhara. desiring to make me yours this instant. gladly. the breast aglow with the triple thread. declared the final truth is this. imprinting clear the five prime letters. five hands. To the tongue of the serpent that sinks and soars you have brought the force sustaining the three bright spheres of sun. mouse-rider. you like a mother have appeared before me and cut the delusion of unending births. a place for me in all four states. snapped my two-fold karma and dispelled my darkness. blue body dwelling in the heart. shown me at last the head of sushumna. bright and beautiful! Wish-yielding elephant. explained the secret of immortality. the noose. taught how to still the organs of action. dissolved the illusion of triple filth. the gold crown gleaming. taught me how to shut the five sense gates of the nine-door temple. laid bare for me the clarity of ever-fresh awareness. two ears. . pendulous jaws. out of grace. graciously shown the way of life unfading. taught me the writ of ida and pingala.

You have steadied me clear in human form all besmeared with holy ashes. Boundless beatitude you have given me. ended all affliction. vast beyond all vastness. giving me miraculous powers. In the Ahaval (p. She shares her enthusiastic experience of grace with the world just before she departs from this life. Vinayaka. Saint Auvaiyar's Approach to Vinayaka .. noted for its poetic diction. revealed my Self to me and by your grace swept away accumulated karma." and finally comes "Peerless Vinayaka. Vinayaka. your feet alone. too. shown the way of grace: Siva eternal at the core of sound. lines 1-14 delineate the form of Vinayaka. . plunged me in bliss which is the common ground of light and darkness. restored my real state to me. made me experience in my heart the inmost meaning of the five letters." She describes in great detail the way His grace worked on her and transformed her life. and mukti.331). 329 -. Lines 15-72 depict the detailed action of divine grace bestowed on His devotees. O Master of Wisdom. O Master of Wisdom. clarified my intellect. atom within atom. stilled my mind in tranquil calm beyond speech and thought.Ratna Ma Navaratnam Saint Auvaiyar's ode to Vinayaka is one of the most popular canonical hymns of adoration. In the whole poem Saint Auvaiyar addresses Ganesha in three places only.. He confers power and peace of the Supreme Para-Siva to His votaries. by your sweet grace. sweetness hid in the hardened node. "O. Sivalinga within the heart. Master of Wisdom. Your feet alone. vivid imagery and yogic insights. the orifice of Brahman opened. and rule me now. It is a work of paramount importance.revealed to me in thoughtful wisdom the six-faced form and the meanings four. as it communicates the quintessence of the worship of Ganesha. disclosed to me the subtle body and the eight separate modes of being. are my sole refuge. wish-fulfilling elephant!" is followed by "The one who rides the mouse. added me to the congregation of your servants true and trusty.

The splendor of His crown and the insignia of the triple strand of initiation on His chest mark the extending vistas of light and sound mingling in the oneness . She sees in one hand the displaced tusk ready to be used as a writing stylus. "Heard melodies are sweet. we find the allusion to the sacred feet of grace. radiating light with the golden hip-chain and white. too. There is ceaseless creation. the source of the bodily energy from extinction and are a symbol of grace. adorned with the red mark on the forehead. Thus the hymn Vinayaka Ahaval is a highly mystical work. holding the modaka sweet. Ganesha's elephant face. The author begins the poem with a salutation to the holy feet of Ganapati. The twinkle in His eye symbolizes His auspicious nature." So muses the saintly poetess who experiences the wordless music of the primordial Aum. leaving its pronounced marks on the face of Ganesha. From His feet emanate the seven modulations of the musical notes. moon and fire emanates from His triple eyes. the divine mother views Ganesha's five arms. the eternal substratum. beams with beauteous smile at the votary who sings His praise. the poetess describes the vision of the beauteous formation of the body of Ganesha. The other hand. His countenance glows in sky-blue hue. The primordial vibration from the muladhara. His shoulders appear strong and balanced. The lofty trunk is the fifth hand. indicates the ever-watchful. through grace. He is a living presence to Mother Auvai and not an image of stone. giving rise to the succinct vibrations of mantras. So potent are His lotus feet of grace. but those unheard are sweeter. It consists of seventy-two lines of poetry. reminding us that. outflowing from the elder son of Siva. which generates the heat necessary for the functioning of the inner organs. The goad and the noose in the other two hands are the deterrent weapons to safeguard man from the pitfalls of disillusionment caused by pernicious desires and egoism. symbolizing the creative function. Ma Auvai sees. so symmetrical and subdued. wafting from His fan-like ears and awakening her to the sublime awareness of Reality. illuminating the caverns of the heart and the crevices of the outer world. signifying His perennial grace and the Pure Awareness of the One in many." In this context. vigilant preservation followed by dissolution of all that is transient. gives rise to the cosmic dance full of dynamic motion around and within. the impressive nature of Vinayaka's countenance. which holds the water pot in an act of oblation. It permeates the outer cosmos as well as the inner realm of "Being. signifying that the poem has been based on the foundation of grace. She commences her poem by extolling the feet in words that vibrate with melody. How wonderful are His expansive ears. His five hands signify the five-fold activities of the manifested cosmos. protective care and the assurance of the reward of fulfilment. with sound and light. as it were. a subtle veiling leading to the stage of anugraha. In the middle and at the end of the poem. silken attire. Meditating on His feet. His feet guard. revelation. His feet are mystically placed at the tail end of the spinal column called muladhara. It is the reemergence. Then occurs the phase of involution. She sees one tusk broken and kept in one of His hands. while the other tusk adorns His comely elephant face and is the source of mitigating countless malicious forces. The light of Truth radiates in His countenance as the principle of delusion recedes.The symbol of divine grace is conveyed by the image of the feet of Ganesha. Vittaka Vinayaka. The gleam of the sun. Eka dantaye vighna vinashine. in her yogic perception.

rapt in mute wonder. He pointed the way." In this poem. Her japa is impregnated with ceaseless remembrance of the vibrant word. she turns her gaze at His immanent form again. The mystic mantra Aum permeates her whole being. All come within the purview of the all-knowing God Siva and are either scourged or saved by their own actions. Ma views Him enjoying the triple delicious fruits and is amazed at the incongruity of Pillaiyar's riding on His rat mount! It reminds her that life is a bundle of contradictions and contrasts. the pendulum of the individual being swings in harmony to the symphony of the universal being. Faithfully has she recorded the steps of the religious practice (sadhana) that took her from the grip of the mundane world to the absorption in bliss divine. Vasishtha and Narada. which starts like a catalog of His iconographical details and consummates in the highest communion with Aum Ganesha. my true Self.here where men sit and hear each other groan -.is the noblest service of all the realized seers in the fold of Hinduism. Mother Auvai melts in love. And the more she meditates on the oppressive limitations exercised by the principles of time and space and the sway of the thirty-six categories (tattvas) of manifestation. His main intent is to wean the heart of man from the darkness of ignorance to the light of wisdom and Truth. Such is the mystic import of the mother's poem on Vinayaka. Who can deny the truth of her awareness of the Supreme Being and dismiss her translucent experience as ephemeral outpouring of an overworked mind? Mother Auvai is the witness. floods all the six psychic centers of consciousness within Auvai Ma and consummates the supreme awareness of the Self. son of Siva. His place in the Hindu pantheon and the truth of the many legends that have grown up around Him all pale into insignificance before the living testimony of the noble poetess Auvaiyar in her wonderful praise of Vinayaka. and her poem is the living testament of Ganesha's grace and how He came into her inner being as a guru and endowed her with insight of truth by placing His gracious feet on her head. she communicates the inevitable bliss of realization when she exclaims "He. Problems arising from the origins of Lord Ganapati. The divine mother recollects the immense love bestowed on her by Ganesha. filled my whole being. We follow her from behind. like Saint Manikkavasagar.of Ganesha. Neither discord nor limitation nor separation can be . as step by step she leads us into the mysteries of the yoga marga. Auvaiyar Ma thus is transported in bliss at the vision of the wish-fulfilling elephant-faced form of Vinayaka. once ignited by the grace of Ganesha. so ably propounded by sages like Patanjali. The massive elephant with His immense strength and prudence is no less important than the humble mouse. the deeper is her withdrawal into the interior of her being. as she recalls in tranquility her yogic vision and the experience of the inner self mingling in the greater Self! To experience the Reality of the Supreme Self and communicate it to the world of suffering humanity -. and fortified with the mystic mantra of the guru. Lest the grandeur of the supernal light dazzle her. The dormant shakti. where the phantom of duality ceases to lure her. From lines fifty-five to the end. Deep concentration is the secret of mastering the avenues of the deluding senses.

experiencing the most inexplicable powers at each of the centers. Finally. inaudible mantra known as ajapa is also made vividly clear to her as the gravitational prana. Mother Auvai reveals in unmistakable terms of poesy the indefinable and subtlest of the subtle aspects of experiential awareness of the Supreme Sat. where bliss ineffable transmutes her whole being into the radiance of light eternal. pure existence. Blessed is the saint whose attainment is so absolute and perfect. once awakened can effect wondrous transformation in the personality. What has my Ganesha done to me? She ponders and is filled with an unquenchable devotion. at the same time. her communication of the intangible rings of sincerity and sublimity. Mother Auvai finds herself in . leading the vital force from one center of consciousness to the other centers gradually. Beyond Aum is the silent melody of ajapa. life-giving. as this subtle fire is termed. Auvai Ma's descriptions of illumination are highly mystical and elude the comprehension of those who have not yet experienced such yogic fulfillment. Gone forever are the network of limitations exercised by actions of past births. it reaches the zenith. real. the inexpressible. The fire in its dormant state has been ignited by the spark that blazoned from the inhaling breath. Yet. pure consciousness and everlasting bliss. retention and exhaling of the life breath every fractional second of our existence. kundalini shakti. The serpent power. eternal. The tongue is made so potent as to experience infinite power of expression. as she proclaims the greatest of her utterances in the whole of this magnificent poem: Given me miraculous powers by your sweet grace. in the vibration of inhaling. Stilled my mind in tranquil calm. whence the light of the sun. moon and stars appear but reflections of the true glory of the effulgent Self. immortal and immaculate Ganesha. heard and yet unheard. Many have been the expositions on this aspect of meditation by the rhythmic modulation of the life breath. which has baffled humanity down the ages. The perplexing question of who am I. That art nondual. He makes me know my Self.sensed in the experience of the divine mother from this stage. Yet. That is He: the ever-elusive. and the roots are exterminated forever and ever by the power of Ganesha. and mukti too. The steps to control the inhalation and exhalation by suitable chanting of mantras. revealed myself to me. or life force. It ascends up the mystic center of consciousness. The Mother resumes her normal consciousness and recalls her vision of ecstasy. We perceive the awakened kundalini in Auvai Ma arising as a coiled snake at the touch of the flame. have all been made so vividly clear to Mother that her perception intuits through the yogic cord to the highest center at the crown of the head. has been solved by Saint Auvaiyar: By His grace beatific.

" it is the nature of such experience to seek and abide in an everlasting allegiance with all who have attained. and Namah Sivaya is the reality when we start from man's experience of the outer world. It is the panacea for the ills of human existence. Their insignia of renunciation and purity are self-evident. Ganesha will be the illuminator. and the form is that of Ganesha. the honored son with manifold names who is testified in diverse forms of worship. The Mother's incantation in her immortal poem validates her experience of the truth of Pashu-Pati. So. Having entered into the beatific bliss of the "liberated. The immanent and all pervading intermingle in Auvaiyar Ma's cosmic vision as she swims in the ineffable experience of the undifferentiated Supreme. Panchakshara. tug at our heart strings. Saint Auvaiyar's outpourings. "Sweeter than ambrosia and subtler than the subtlest of the atoms is it. too. Therefore. immersed in the glory of illumination within. Yet. embodied in the purest form of poesy. It overwhelms Auvaiyar with such a surging love for humanity that she communicates the incommunicable by the assurance so positive and veritable to take up the incantation of the mantra of Five Letters. afflictions recede. human life cannot exist without our real Self. however hidden by fog or mist. who can effect this transfiguration. and we follow her from afar as she ascends on wings of self-knowledge. mindless. Then all appearances of otherness and of dualism (dvaita) vanish. the unification of the respective individual and universal aspects. Thus the worship of Aum Ganesha by the renowned seer Auvaiyar reveals the wondrous Truth that the self has been illumined by the Self and abides in the Self. of the jivatma and the Paramatma. She can only communicate with us in the language of symbols. The dominance of the ego by thoughts raised by the mind (manas) can conceal the real Self from our consciousness. even though apparently hidden. All the Hindu seers proclaim the one supreme Truth of realization by the act of self-surrender before the self-luminous Siva -. Mother Auvai explains in her poem that Ganesha is the Deity of yogis. Divine Mother Auvai's poem on Vinayaka gives a super experience (anubhava) of reality by means of the spiritual practice enjoined in the yoga pathway. There only remains the real Self within as well as outside the ego-self. He typifies the coupling of two mutually complementary elements yoked together with a view to obtaining unity in being and in action. The sun is hidden from our sight by the clouds. The ego can hide our real Self from our consciousness. The ego is the I-maker (ahamkara) and is inseparable from the Self (atma). the guru. the reality of the Self is obscured by illusion." No more opposing factors of dualism. The radiant wisdom has been her priceless boon from the one-pointed worship of Ganesha. as her worship of the image of Ganapati transcends from the physical and subtle phases to the state of supreme awareness of Oneness." Who can know the Real? Only those who have experienced it. Their common symbol is Aum.one of whose rays divine is Pillaiyar.tranquil quiescence: "speechless. Aum is the symbol of reality when we start from the inner being. the mother bids one and all to surrender all at the gracious feet of the Lord of Wisdom. just as day cannot exist without the diffused light of the sun. It is the drawing together of man to his inner ruler . It is the way of grace. no more darkness in the transcendent luminosity of Ganesha! Absorbed in divine bliss.

sing her litany of love and walk in the presence of Pillaiyar. one after another. ஋ அ ஑ உ உ அ ஑ ( )அ ஑ ஑ அ ஑ ஑ ஆ அ ஑ ஑ ( )அ அ ஑ ( ) . on top of the head. united with his personality. until it reaches the opening of brahmarandhra. Omkara abides as the Primal Word. The vital power of the vibration of the litany of Omkara. the Son of Siva. where all means of expression merge into "That which is. Yoga is the disciplined effort that draws the individuality of man. the bhakti and the jnana pathway in the worship of loving Ganesha in order to gain the apperception of Reality. According to Auvaiyar Ma. with one accord. He who reaches this end is a yogi.(antaryamin) enthroned in his own Self. Omkara leads to final liberation. The theme of kundaliniis intimately connected with the cult of Ganapati worship. brings about the cooperation of the Divine and effects the union with Siva at sahasrara. the word symbol of Ganesha. and the many converging into the One. had given immortal expression to the efficacy of the mantra Aum in a gem of Tirumantiram. who lived before Saint Auvaiyar. to the Lord (Isha) pervading beyond and to the all-Knower (ayamatma) who comprehends from within. the six chakras. Rishi Tirumular. The iconography of Lord Ganesha accentuates the resonance of the sacred syllable Aum. culminating in the experience of the oneness of Truth. the Supreme is revealed to Auvaiyar as self-luminous and selfevident. or superimposed circles of the body. and these merge into one another by the control of the breath. Omkara manifests in the many forms. Omkara activates all true experiences. and through the reciting of the formulae." Aum Tat Sat. and realize His grace within our own real Self. Saint Auvaiyar Ma attempted the yoga. let us. It is the goal of all types of yoga. The way of yoga leads to the immortality of the liberated one. consciousness in the form of a serpent sleeps within the body and can be awakened by japa techniques to penetrate. We discern in the poem on Vinayaka the underlying principle of the One in the many. where it brings about the union of the being with Siva. The human body consists of the five elements. supplemented by the infusion of bhakti. By the Grace of Ganesha. until consciousness dissolves into the original matter. His grace is the alchemy that transforms the wise language into wisdom itself. In the footsteps of this votary. The divine mother Auvaiyar attained the goal of the highest awareness of the Supreme Siva by her earnest worship of Vinayaka.

my Lord with the long spear (Vel) Poverty is awful. Avvaiyar sang the following இ இ அ அ அ ஑ இ ஑ ஑ ஌஑ இ இ இ ஆ அ அ ஑ இ Iniyadhu Kaetkin Thaninedu Veloi Inidhu Inidhu Ekantham Inidhu . Even more awful is poverty during youth Even more awful is incurable disease Even more awful is women without kindness The most awful to take the food served by her Then He asked what is the most pleasantest thing in the world. If You ask what is the most awful thing in the world.அ ஑ ஑ ஑ ஑ அ ஑ ! He asked what is the most awful thing in the world ஑ ஑ அ அ அ அ ஑ ஑ ஑ ஑ ஑ ஑ ஑ ஑ இ ஆ அ இ அ ஑ உ ஑ Kodiyadhu Kaetkin Nediyavev Veloi Kodithu Kodithu Varumai Kodithu Adhaninum Kodithae Ilamayil Varumai Adhaninum Kodithae Aatronaak Kodunoi Adhaninum Kodithae Anbila Pendir Adhaninum Kodithae Inbura Aval Kayil Unbadhu Thaanae meaning.

. If You ask what is the pleasant thing in this world. if You ask me the biggest thing. my Lord with the unique spear (Vel) Being independent and alone is pleasant Even more pleasant is to worship the Supreme Being Even more pleasant is to be in touch with the learned and knowledgeable Even more pleasant is to see their presence in reality and in the dreams Then Lord Murugan asked what is the most biggest thing in the world. And there came the next song ஑ ஑ ஋ ஑ ஑ ஑ அ ஑ அ அ உ இ உ ஑ ஑ அ ஑ ஑ உ அ ஑ அ ஑ எ ஑ உ எ எ ஑ ஑ இ Periyadhu Kaetkin Yerithavazh Veloi Periyadhu Periyadhu Bhuvanam Periyadhu Bhuvanamo Naanmugan Padaippu Naanmugan Kariyamaal Undhiyil Vandhon Kariya Maalo Alaikadal Thuyindron Alaikadal Kurumuni Angaiyil Adakkam Kurumuniyo Kalasathir Pirandhon Kalasamo Puviyir Sirumann Puviyo Aravinukku Oruthalai Baaram Aravo Umaiyaval Siruviral Modhiram Umaiyo Iraivan Baagaththu Odukkam Iraivaro Thondar Ullaththu Odukkam Thondartham Perumai Sollavum Peridhae meaning.Adhaninum Inidhu Aadhiyai Thozhuthal Adhaninum Inidhu Arivinar Saerdhal Adhaninum Inidhu Arivullorai Kanavinum Nanavinum Kaanbadhu Thaanae meaning.

but when we observe the beauty. the comparison goes on increasing in size until in gets into the small heart of the devotees The last one asked by Lord Murugan was about the rarest thing.The snake with a thousand heads The Aadhi Seshan is a ring in Goddess Parvathi's finger Goddess Parvathi is a part of Lord Shiva Lord Shiva is inside the hearts of his devotees So praising the devotees of Lord Shiva is a big thing Though the comparison Avvaiyar made might be logically questionable. Avvaiyar responded with the song below அ ஑ ஑ ஑ ஑ ஑ ஑ ஑ ஑ ஑ ஑ ஑ ஑ ஑ அ ஆ அ ஑ அ அ Ariyadhu Kaetkin Varivadi Veloi Makkal Yaakkaiyir Piraththalum Aridhae Makkal Yaakkaiyir Pirandha Kaalaiyum Moongaiyum Sevidum Koonum Kurudum Paedum Neengip Piraththalum Aridhae Paedu Neengi Pirandha Kaalayum Gnanamum Kalviyum Nankural Aridhae Gnanamum Kalviyum Nankurum Aayinum Dhananum Dhavamum Thariththalum Aridhae Dhananum Dhavamum Tharithaark Kalladhu Vaanavar Naadu Vazhi Thiravaadhae .The world (landscape) is a big thing The world is a creation of Lord Brahma Lord Brahma came from the umbilical cord of Lord Vishnu Lord Vishnu sleeps in the big ocean The big ocean was contained within Agathiar's kamandalam (small vessel) Agathiar was born in a small pot (Kalasam) The pot is a small portion of this earth The earth is a burden for one of the heads for the Aadhi Seshan .

my Lord with the spear (Vel) Being born as a human is rare Even if born a human. it is rarer To have knowledge and education Even if one has good knowledge and education. and Live: Poems of Avvaiyar BY Akshay Ahuja Give. aphoristic . and Live: Poems of Avvaiyar TRANSLATED FROM THE TAMIL BY Thomas H. blind Even if born without disabilities. to tell us how to live. So it can be startling to encounter an unknown work that speaks directly to us with this lost confidence. 2009) M poems: oral instruction is one of poetry’s oldest functions. Here is a poem by the 12th century Tamil poet Avvaiyar. it is rarer To be born without being dumb. in Thomas H. it is rarer To have benevolence and ethics Without those benevolence and ethics Heaven would not open its gates to give to people A Moral Education: Give. Eat. humpback.meaning. Pruiksma’s beautiful translations of her short. if You ask me what is the rarest thing. Pruiksma (Red Hen Press. deaf. but it is often hard for modern poets to muster the confidence that earlier writers must have felt. Eat. both about their own wisdom and their position in society.

and intimately acquainted with the natural world. well-traveled.As long as they can. The introduction tells us that ―everyone in Tamil Nadu who can read has read her poems. Good done To a man who lacks gratitude and sense Is a pitcher cast upon rocks. have not scared many people away. These poems are plain and durable. Till the day they chop it down. A doctor who ends a tiger‘s disease Becomes his next meal. is only a polite way of saying ―older woman. the wise help Even those who do wrong. Avvaiyar. and her rare hints of ill-temper come when discussing ―Idiots / without learning. a tree grants People shade. for example — Avvaiyar’s work is not primarily devotional or mystical. 41 There is a sense of authority here usually found only in sacred texts. she writes.‖ Her warnings.‖ and there is even an earlier Tamil poet who is given the same honorific. suitable for everyday use. it seems. — p.‖ on whom knowledge and art are wasted. how to spot a true friend. is like a turkey who sees a forest peacock and ―spreads his ugly wings / And struts. She was also proud of her role as a poet. An ignorant man who learns a great poem.‖ Children grow up learning the . — p. The stories that exist about her life are apparently unreliable. But unlike the other ancient Indian poets who have been translated into English — Kabir and Mirabai. They deal with the basics: the body’s desires. One can learn a few things from reading the poems: she was clearly devout. numbered poems — even her name. 33 Very little is known about the woman who wrote these untitled. dealing with adversity.

A tree does not have a choice in granting people shade. the doctor or the tiger? These reflections grow fruitfully as you absorb more of the verses. Should you try to help apparently bad people or not? If the poet’s only intention is to instruct children. If on our old earth There walk one upright man. or exist happily between them. and then move on to the quatrains translated in this book. Since similar images. but because they are worth remembering. Is the poet implying that wisdom consists in cultivating this higher indifference. like all great artists. for example. this refusal to discriminate between individual merits. she was giving us tools to think about how to resolve these apparent contradictions. often from the natural world. — p. the translator tells us. 31 . and the dissonance becomes more complex. Many adults.alphabet through her acrostic poems. Look at the two poems quoted above. I suspect. even in the face of the axe? Also.‖ they retain their power to reach us. but that. This is the same sort of education that collections of folklore once gave to the communities that created them: simple moral tales that are never outgrown because they are finally as profound as a person’s desire to think about them. all vividly rendered. never forget them — not just because of early training. she is not doing her job in straightforward fashion. Eventually I saw that Avvaiyar was not merely confused. Read the poems again. though. The water that runs from the well to the rice Also waters the wayside grass. and grow with thought. but simply following its nature — who. begin to interact with each other in the reader’s mind. a tiger is not necessarily ―doing wrong‖ by eating a person. then. is responsible for what occurs. for his sake Everyone receives rain. Unlike ossified precepts in English like ―A friend in need is a friend indeed. fill many of Avvaiyar’s poems – the broken clay pitcher appears again. as well as other animals dangerous to man — constellations of opposing concepts. You’ll notice that they appear to be recommending exactly contradictory courses of action.

But Avvaiyar has already written a response to my petty concern: Magnolias have large petals. Pruiksma deserves our thanks for giving her to us in any form at all. Pruiksma has. although this may seem like faint praise. He currently lives on Vashon Island. Washington. .F.V. 31 Biography AVVAIYAR is thought to have lived in the 12th century. poet.‖ for example. which are translated in this collection. Ramakoti. Further. The only possible complaint is that this is a slim collection which does not contain the totality of Avvaiyar’s work. at least. but very little is known about her life. The sea is vast Yet cannot clean hands.I do not know a single character of Tamil. and The Body and the Earth: Notes from a Conversation. And his lines have a purity and flow – the delicate assonance of ―runs-rice-wayside. If you subtract the facing Tamil pages. and Live is the only set of translations easily available in English. Don‘t judge a man small by his body. a beautiful sense of where to break lines. the little spring Yields sweet water. Give. Since Avvaiyar strikes me as a poet of world stature. PRUIKSMA is a writer. His other books include A Feast for the Tongue: Forty Servings of Spoken Tamil with Helpings of Equally Spoken English. that mirrors the movement of the water — which help place them quickly in the memory. Beside it. (co-authored with the artist C. 2002). — p. an alphabetical acrostic still used to teach children. instead of ―righteous. Among her works are the Atticuti. and how to use a vocabulary that suits the era and culture of these poems — ―upright. a sweet fragrance. Eat.‖ which would have the wrong associations in English. honeysuckles.‖ in the poem above. and translator from Seattle. and the quatrains in the Muturai and the Nalvali. K. Oberlin Shansi. so I cannot judge the accuracy of these translations. John). there are only about twenty pages of poetry. whose best verses merit a place beside the Tao Te Ching or the Dhammapada. THOMAS H. (co-authored with Dr.

The Baltimore Review. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Guernica. . and Ploughshares. among others. The Gettysburg Review.AKSHAY AHUJA grew up in New Delhi and Maryland. He lives in Boston and blogs occasionally atThe Occasional Review.