An interpretation By Swami Muni Narayana Prasad

TEVARAPPATIKAMKAL

Trvaram, in the classical Tamil literature, is the body of hymns composed by the three Saiva saints Appar, Sundarar and Tirujnana Sambandar. Narayana Guru’s Tamil hymns on Siva are also on the same lines, using the same classical Tamil. Patikam means “a set of ten verses” These five patikams were possibly written around 1887.

I

1

O the origin of wisdom! O wisdom embodied!
O the ultimate goal having no name and the like
Who is the Original Transcendental Reality-You or me?
Won’t you tell me what the answer would be?
O Lord of the place named Arumanoor
Sought out even by the honey-like
Devout aspirants camping in Tillai,
O he who shares the body
Of her who has deer’s eyes!
So sole guide to all the Nayanars!

2

Please protect me along with the life-principle;
This body is filled with the three dirts.
O God, O the Great One, protect me
From being helplessly caught
Within the Pincers of the scorpion.
Look at the days that pass behind
One by one, squeezing the span life.
O he who spends his days in Arumanoor,
Give me your feet for refuge and bless me!
O Lord and the sole guide to all the Nayanars.

3

As the manifest and manifest,
And as both non-dually
As the one and as the many,
As the life of life,
As enlightenment and grace,
As the point where the rolling on
Of the wheel comes to its end,
As the neutral, non-dual effulgence,
As darkness and as brightness
As here as well as the hereafter,
As this day and that day,
You wondrously reside in Arumanoor
Please come close and possess me,
O Lord, the sole guide to all the Nayanars!

4

Identified with space and with mountains too
Withered am I now.
Before the life-span fades out meaninglessly,
O the one who assumes the forms
Of body and possessor
Of the one of the three,
Come closely and bless me!
Taking on the forms of forests,
Of fire and roaring sea,
Of rain clouds and of the sky,
And even of the place called Arumanoor
S your mysterious existence!
The Transcendental Reality that you are
Signified by the word ‘That’,
Please bless me giving your feet
O the sole guide to all the Nayanars!

5

As flowers and as their fragrance,
As the vitality always associated with them,
As atomically small and as plenitude
And also as the one spread-out-as-well-as-all;
As fire, as form and as the perceptible,
As honey-like delicious immortal elixir,
You do emerge all –radiance.

Come close by and protecting possess me,
O the eternal, O the one of final fulfillment,
O the God residing in Arumanoor,
Of the one who never ages,
O the original one, O honey,
O the sole guide to all the Nayanars!

6
Vishnu and Brahma are in search of you,
And to them you remain unattained,
As pure fire in form.
Come and save me from death
With the playful deer on your left.
Protectively possess me never to separate,
O the great one extremely dear
Even to the gods of heaven,
O the god who rules over
The lovely town of Arumanoor,
O flower, the sole guide to all Nayanars!

7
The envoys of the god of Death
May arrive at any moment;
At the very moment,
Grant me the refuge of your feet.
O the one of form of mountain,
O the protecting umbrella,
O the one whose wealth is wisdom
Graciously protect me,
O God of all living beings.
Then as well as now, I am just a dog
Before your effulgent feet.
And you are taking your position
Alone in Arumanoor.
Grant me a hold on your holy feet
O lord, the sole guide to all the Nayanars!

8
Those who devotedly cling
To your holy feet for refuge
Become freed of all abuses
And the like forever.
Conferring such constant protection,
You are ‘that’ in essence,
The anguish less one.
Even as residing in Arumanoor
Please arrive before me,
So that no afflictions affect me.
Grant me your holy feet
O lord, the sole guide to all the Nayanars!

9
O the gold-like excellent one!
O gem! O emerald!
O flower! O honey! O pollen grain!
O deer! O peacock!
O cuckoo! O Great Mountain!
O hard rock! O the extensive terrain!
What a mystery you are!
Please protect this humblest dog!
While reigning alone arumanoor
Please give me your feet for refuge,
O lord, the sole guide to all the Nayanars!

10
This mind of yours is as hard
As rock, or wood, or steel even,
I am well aware of it.
Still, should it happen to leave
Your feet any moment day or night.
Then all is lost; I am such.
As the inexpressible word
That crowns all the scriptures,
You do remain in arumanoor
Deep in austere penance,
O goodness embodied!
O gem for all sages,
Please safeguard me!
O lord, the sole guide to all the nayanars!

II
1

O the incomparable Consciousness –Fire
That fills everywhere
And the one source of Happiness
For all the non-blinking ones3
Safeguarding me from falling
In to the ever-swelling ocean of becoming,
Benignly bless me!
O the divine effulgence of contentment
That shines adorned wit
The crescent moon on the matted hair!
O golden creeper,
Protectively wind around me,
O the ocean of kindness!

2
Of Fire, your holy body,
Smeared with holy ashes,
Shines well in the moon light.
Pray safeguard me from becoming
Immersed in the ocean of hell
And benignly bless me!
If, by meditating upon
The brightly burning form of yours
One surrenders oneself before,
Taking fruits and vegetables
And water alone for food,
You will pour upon that one
Supreme happiness,
O the Transcental brightness!

3
O Fire, O Brightness emerging from
The blazing being of yours
Always surrounded by gods,
O ocean of light filling all,
Your tresses expandingly grow
To become the matted hair-crown,
Seated wherein are seen
The crescent, Ganga and the snakes.
Without seeing your throat
That, by swallowing poison
Enabled the elixir of Immortality
To become well-seasoned,
What meaning is there
In living in this world?
On the singing cuckoo
Adorned with the laburnum-flower.

4

Along with Uma of
Breasts shaped like
Tender coconuts, and
Of voice resembling the cuckoo’s!
Oh the one with the body horripilated
By the gem-like wisdom-formula
Taught by the peacock –Rider;
And the sun, moon and fire
Forming the fish-like three eyes,
Associated always with
Snakes, water and matted hair,
Let this impure dog-like one
See that form of yours
In the form of this world!

5
Grant me the state,
That is no object of knowledge,
And not perceptible to senses,
That is plenitude of pure consciousness,
Beyond even the world of gods,
And within the being of which
Become extinct both body and life.
O the unconditioned, blemishless,
Wave less ocean of stillness,
Bless me with the favour
Of not being caught in
The snare of the uprising
And down falling waves!

6

Like a mouth less pot,
Let me not get lost
In the boundless ocean of becoming
Floating here and there about
As though an aimless dog-
Bless me with this favour
Let me take refuge in
The deer that runs very fast,
In the axe and the snake
Having its hood spread out,
In your matted hair and
The crescent moon leaning on it,
In your twin feet,
As also in all that pertains to you!

7
You, once upon a time,
Hiding behind the city-entrance,
Made the golden mountain you bow,
And bending and tightening it,
You did burn down
The entire three cities;
That God of gods
Is my only lord!
At the place called pothu4
Common always to all,
Where you ecstatically dance always,
This humble self is
Like a worthless dog!
Lost in the Maya of
The ever-changing world,
Like a wave in the sea,
I do always remain
Ignorant of Truth.
Ha, what is all this?
O the Red-bodied One!

8

The Red-bodied One!
Siva the Great,
The wearer of skull-garland,
He who reign over everything
And cuts asunder the roots of
Repeated births by imparting
The holy wisdom-formula.
He who chops down properly
All egoistic haughtiness,
He who is called by the great
As the half-woman-bodied,
And as the resident of
The dreadful graveyard-
Being such, lo and behold!
How is it that you
Assume this human form
To protect us the humans!
Won’t you tell me?

9

Undivided as spoken words
And their meaning is the being
Of the great one; how did he
Assume this phenomenal form?
Never becoming ripe
Is the way he grows
What could it be like,
O golden effulgence?
What can I exchange
For the kindness you show
To put an end to my drowsiness?
What can I do,
O the ocean of kindness,
Incompetent for anything is this humble being.

10
Humble being this self,
I made no attempt to know you
Through austere penances;
Nor did I bow myself daily
Before the head of the assembly5
Nor did I shed tears
Through the eyes’ corners
On beholding your feet;
Nor did I compose
Garland- like poems
Praising your holy feet
Adorned always by the four6,
Devoutely on their heads.
You did cause my origin
As a dog-like slave
On the surface of this earth.
How can I attain salvation?
Tell me, O Lord!

III

1
AUM, the original cause of everything
Is nothing but you, the only Reality
That unfolds itself and grows
Assuming the form of the worlds everywhere,
O God, the universal being!
Let me not identify myself
With the gross body consisting of
Space, fire, earth, water and air
As also the animating brightness:
This alone is the ultimate gain I seek.

2
Happiness indeed is this sacred formula;
Would it not be imparted to me
Once more by the Goddess of Words?
If, when approaching the lord,
The all protecting one, it is
Uttered loudly by the devotees
Graced by His own blessings,
It results in happiness alone!
That Holy Formula, indeed, is everything!

3
All the souls are your apparent form;
All the bodies are yourself;
All the worlds are your sporting alone;
Nothing other than, has being
O the God of gods,
O the supreme God
Who protect all the beings
Gracefully protect us
By rendering un to dust
All the evils of this world.

4
O the lord that rides on a bull,
O silent effulgence that fills everywhere,
With no distinguishing marks,
And who swallows up and spits out
All the twenty one worlds,
The lord seated in flower (Brahma)
And Vishnu exultantly enter your being
Not leaving even a speck of dust behind;
Such being your form,
Who is there enlightened to it?

5
O the Reality denoted by the word ‘that’,
Who are you? Are you the cloud
The mountain, the ocean,
The heaven where the gods meet,
The earth or tender flowers?
This humble being that lies
Under your feet
Does not understand you.
On the one adorned with
The watery river, be graceful
And tell me who you are.
O the unblemished one,
Protect us eternally!
6

On the stainless one,
Of the eternal one,
Of the fearless one,
Of the attribute less one,
Dog-like on this earth
Is this insignificant being.
Protect me eternally from destruction.
O Lord of cosmic dance (Natesa)
Who killed the God of death
By trampling him under your feet,
Please shower your blessings
All over this earth
And thus protect us
O Siva, the Great One!

7
O the abode of greatness,
O the crescent-wearing hidden
Meaning-content of scriptures,
O the one adorned with
The swaying crown of matted hair,
O the effulgent form
Always saluted by the gods,
Please come and bless us!
O honey brightness,
O sweetness the one who blesses
Us with divine blissfulness.
O the sole refuge,
O the one who enlightens
The twelve scriptures of the south.

8
Those who awaken to you
Are the one of real wisdom
Of the wakeful consciousness that
Shines as everything everywhere,
Of the golden mountain,
Of the flower that blossoms
Beyond the bounds of understanding,
O water the ever-new immortal elixir,
O the one, knowledge in content,
Please come around and bless us!
O fire,O space,O wind,
O the expansive earth,
Come around please!

9

O the gem that nurtures
Ganga in its matted hair,
Come along! Come along!
O my own darling-consciousness,
O lotus that all the scriptures
Teach as the final goal,
O effulgence that protects
All the gods and the like,
O the ship that comes around
In the untraversable ocean,
Protect me graciously,
O the enemy of hell,
Adorned with the river!

10
Caught in the net cast by
Damsels of bewitching dark eyes,
Who will not perish?
Don’t you see this predicament?
The buffalo-vehicled one6
As well as Vishnu do not see
Even a particle of your
Essence of immortal beingness.
Won’t you bless me,
O the great Lord?

IV

1

Devoid of the seen-seer-sight distinction,
There move around certain sky-clad seers
The one whom they offer
As oblation their own inner being
And thus uproot and burn down all evils,
Transcending categorizations of all sorts,
And remaining fully identified with
The reality visualized-that one Reality,
The one whose throat is stained,
Alone is my most adorable family deity!

2
In the plenitude of the all-sustaining existence
The non-existent world is no hindrance;
With this stance never lost
And standing firmly in the neutrality
Of that which transcends pure sound
Where all enquiries do conclude
With the I-sense also lost,
With no possibility of re-emergence-
The state thus attained
Is my most adorable deity!

3
With the relevance of space,
Earth and fire gone,
With all sufferings gone,
With the need of a residence,
Directions and defects gone,
With all the desires gone,
With the cyclic rotation of time gone,
What remains as pure Effulgence,
With not even the ember
Of burning wisdom remaining,
With the relevance of relatives,
One’s own guru and primeval cause gone,
The great silence that continues to exist,
Is my dearest adorable deity!

4
With relevance of the three hundred
And thirty three million gods gone,
With the differentiation of
The three presiding deities gone, 7
With the imaginary dualistic world,
Like the lotus blooming in mirage, gone,
With the relevance of the three
Basic realities gone, 8
With the relevance of the three worlds9 gone,
With relevance of the three
Kinds of liberation gone,
What appears before me
The three-eyed guru, the Jewel of jewels,
Is my dearest family deity!

5
With word and mind gone
What shines as the expansive
Space-filling effulgence
With no specific perceptible form,
Yet filling all that is perceivable,
And perceivable everywhere as a mystery,
As subtler than the subtlest,
As self-effulgent existence,
That compassionate one who protects us
Is my dearest family deity!

6
Having dissolved in to the functioning mind
The illusory apparent world
That unfolds itself owing to
The very same mind’s functions,
And dissolving that mind
In to the casual vitality,
And thus all the unfoldments
Having attained their term,
What remains as
A flaming fuel-less fire-
That plenitude of
Existence-consciousness-value10
Is the treasure I pray for!

7
The real Brahman
Appears otherwise due to illusion,
And because of it, ritualists,
Caught in prarabdha karmas
Remain blind.
As where the blind men
Who saw the elephant.
O mercy-maker,
To embrace the karmas they do,
Is it aimed at making them their own,
That ritualists, blind as they are,
Remain engaged in karmas?
What ultimate gain would be theirs?

8
“Everything indeed consists of his deeds,”
Is the simple saying we are graced with;
And it was uttered without words
By those who realized
The pure effulgence of blissfulness
In to which become sacrificed
Many a thousand cosmic systems
On perceiving it as ineffably
Subtler than the subtlest.
Is it possible
To be liberated form
The phenomenon of birth (and death)
In this world, without reaching
This realm of awareness,
O Siva, the one deity?

9

“Everything indeed is myself, myself”
With this realization of unity attained,
And that too having become
Merged and lost in your being,
Where the differentiation of you and me.
Has no meaning at all,
One finds all afflictions terminated.
Saying so, yet afflicted
With the sense of belonging
I stand before you with hands folded.
Let me become free of sufferings
O the ocean of blissfulness!

10
In the fullness of Sat11
The asat12 having become no hindrance,
With the notion of the one
Ancient cause gone,
The relevance of a mould
As well as the effect-idea gone,
With all the concepts gone,
The non-dual reality that pervades
The being of tat and tvam13
That banisher of death
And the related sufferings,
That bottomless form
Is my adorable deity!

V

1
If you think of the absolute as mind in essence
Then comes matter as opposed to it;
On the other hand,

If one think of the Absolute as Reality
Then appearance comes as opposed to it,
If one think of the Absolute as
Pleasure-giving experience,
Then opposed to it is
Pain-giving experience,
That Reality which has
For its essential quality
The absence of all such (dualities)
Is always the absolute, my God!

2
Beyond the mind-matter duality,
Beyond the reality-appearance duality,
Beyond the bondage-liberation duality,
Beyond the defect of seeing
Numerous perceptibles,
What radiates filling
The being of all such,
And what, like sweetness in sugar,
Exists captivating the inner being
Is, in essence, the God
I adore always!

3

If thought of as one
Then comes against it all dualities;
An ascending hill is always
Followed by a descending deep.
Absorbing all such shortcomings
Into Himself there exists Pinjaka (Siva)
The one who captivates the minds
Of those filled with pure love,
And his playful manifestation
Comprises all the worlds we see.

4

It is wrong to think of it
As existing at this moment,
If its existence is at another moment,
Then it will never be ultimately real;
How can it then attain
Destruction at a third moment?

What is felt as lovable at one moment
May be felt as detestable at another.
Lo! Even Brahma, Visnu and Rudra
Will vanish lost in this cyclic process.

5

Brahma, Visnu and Mahesvara
Rudra and also Sadasiva,
On perceiving the never-ending
Revolution of the wheel of Time,
Stand with hands folded
Before the God (who unfolds all this),
And as part of His sportive action
Let’s dissolve all the worlds,
Yet remaining symbolically as linga
Fixed well with sealing gum—
Such is the God I adore!

6

Differentiated objects are
Mere insert entities;
Contacted with senses, they assume
All the forms forming the worlds
Here as well as the hereafter
That great Effulgence,
Grace and Compassion in essence,
The Siva-Sun that shines
In the transcendental sky
Shows gorgeously and swallows up
This utter darkness, and again
Spits it out multifariously.

7

The five elements like earth,
The five sense organs and their objects,
All having merged in the being
Of pure Consciousness
That exists as ineffable
Transcending the cause - effect duality
And beyond the grasp of mind,
And that enables the enlightened ones’
Temptations to be subsumed
By its plenitude of effulgence----
Into that blemish less
All-en encompassing brightness
I offer my thoughts
As my humble tribute.

8

This body is not a dependable reality,
When will the Lord of the world
Along with the ever –new creeper
That forms part of His being,
Reach here as blooming kindliness,
So that I may become immersed
In the crystal clear immoral elixir
Of divine Bliss
And quench all my thirst,
Where the relevance of
Ends and means also become nought?

9

O the Dispenser of Mercy!
Did you spread out this world
Merely in order that
The ever-unsatisfied birds
Cold play constantly with it?
Did you let me live
In this abode of metal functions,
Taking it for a great treasure,
In order that I may enjoy the gruel
Made of weed-seeds harvested from
The waste-land of mind?
I take your feet as the sole refuge;
Worn out and totally exhausted as I am.

10

The moment Yama, unresisting,
Is caught in the trap of Siva,
At that very moment beco0mes
The effulgence of wisdom wee-revealed;
Beyond all calculations
Will then the I-sense attain
Unity with the transcendental Siva;
Such twin fragrant louts feet
Alone are my sole refuge!

Notes

1. Arumanoor is the name of a place in South kerala. There-installation of the image of Siva (called Nayanar-nayaka-siva conceived as the one who guides all the Nayanars, the Saivite saints) at this place was done by of the disciples of Narayana Guru. Yet the idol of the make-shift temple used, while the reconstruction of the main temple was going on, was installed by Guru himself, when this hymn was also written. Arumanoor literally means, ‘the lovely place’.
2. Tillai is the Tamil name for Cidambaram, the epicenter of Saivitecult.
3. Never to blink their eyes is thought of as habitual with gods(devas), the inhabitants of heaven
4. Pothu is another Tamil name of the Cidambaram town. It literally means “common to all”.
5. The sanctum sanctorum of Siva Temple at Cidambaram is known as `Cidambara sabha (The assemble of consciousness-space), sabha meaning ‘assembly’. All Saivites are supposedly assembled there with the dancing Siva heading them.
6. The four well-known Saivite saints, Appar, Sunder, Manikkavachakar and Tirujnana Sambandar.
7. Refers to Kala-the god of death.
8. Brahama, Vishnu and Mahesvara.
9. The soul, the world and God.
10. The earth, heaven and the mind-world (bhah, bhuvah and suvah).
11. Sat-cit- ananda
12. Sat means ‘existence’, the all- underlying and ever –existing causal substance.
13. Asat means ‘non-existence’or the ‘non-existent’, signifying the apparent world.
14. Tat means ‘That’, the Universal Being or the Absolute and tvan means ‘you’, signifying the individual being.
15. Yama is the god of death.