More on Thiruvachagam……. July 30, 2005Posted by vettithoughts in On spirituality and religion.
I recently got the book that I had ordered through Amazon- “The Tiruvacagam or Sacred Utterances of the tamil poet, saint and sage Manikka-vacagar” English Translation by Rev. G.U.Pope.
It is not surprising that there were lots of comparison between the Christian thoughts and Manickavasagar’ throughout the preface like conversion, beautification etc. He also says that in some respects shaiva system resembles Christianity (???) but with a lot of corruptions (???) in terms of 1‘deplorable’ superstitions. The entire preface sounds like how any Christian would question all the so called beliefs and mode of worship. Finally he mentions that Manickavachagar’s Thiruvachagam has the influence of Bhagavad Gita in every poem where Krishna is replaced by Shiva. But I should mention that this is a comprehensive translation work on The Thiruvasachagam, with numerous notes and references for the literate and illiterate of tamil works.
In the preface, on page xxi the title is Civan appears. The sage’s conversion. What I had understood from previous internet searches was that Manickavachagar or Vadavurar even from his younger years wanted to attain Sivanandam and actively seeking a ‘Guru’ for his spiritual progress. Conversion means change or switch or alter. I think what a Guru does is “initiate” his student. Rev. G.U.Pope remarks at another place that the belief that Lord Shiva came down to impart the Siva Gnana Bodham to Manickavachagar is anachronistic as Meykanda devar did not exist for another 2 centuries after Manickavachagar’s time 2(650-690 AD). 3Meykandar devar was born in 1225 BC in Thiruvennainallur. (Is any one aware of this discrepancy?)
In my last post I mentioned that I was listening to IR sir’s Pollaa Vinayen, which is the favorite of many. That is the first song/hymn of Thiruvachagam. It is titled ‘Sivapuranam’. Rev.Pope says that though this is considered to be the first hymn and has all the features of a preface, its genuineness is doubted (Again I would appreciate if someone can clarify on this). As I am listening to the song I have tried to follow the original Sivapuranam verses and get the translation from various sources. I have also attempted to put together the verses and their meaning from 2 main sources for people like me who are listening to these verses for the first time through IR sir’s CD.
The original sivapuranam starts with (verses 1-2)
“Namachivaya vazhga, Nadhan thal vazhga immaippozhuduhum ennenjil ninggadhan thal vazhga” 4(Long live Lord’s name ‘namasivaya’! Long live lord’s feet! Long live the lord’s feet that do not leave my heart even for a moment!). While Rev. Pope has done an excellent job for a person from another religion, I personally found the translation work from a website more resonating with meaning and understanding. Again the lines (verses 4-5) “Agama magi-ninru annippan thal vazhga; Egan angan iraivan adi vazhga” has been translated as “Hail, foot of him who becomes, abides, draws near as the agamam! Hail, foot of him, the one, the Not-one and the king!” by Rev. Pope. 4Mr. V. Subramanian has in the website I mentioned earlier translated the same verse as “Long live the feet of the sweet lord who is the agamas 5 [Agamas: The Saivas recognise twenty-eight Agamas, of which the chief is Kamika. The Agamas are the basis of Saivism. Kashmir Saivism is called the Pratyabhijna system. The latter works of Pratyabhijna system show a distinct leaning to Advaitism. The Southern Saivism, i.e., Saiva Siddhanta, and the Kashmir Saivism, regard these Agamas as their authority, besides the Vedas. Each Agama has Upa-Agamas. Of these, only fragmentary texts of twenty are extant. Lord Siva is the central God in the Saiva Agamas. They are suitable to this age, Kali Yuga. They are open to all castes and both the sexes.] ; Long live the only one, long live the many formed! Long live the lord!”
IR sir’s ‘Pollaa Vinayen’ song starts from these words which actually comes in the lines 24 and 25. 4These lines mean “you are beyond thought and you are limitless. I, the one with a past of many evil deeds, do not know how to praise you”. Beautifully put!! From here I have tried to follow the order of the lyrics in the CD as we hear it.
Following this verse, in the hymn is (verses 26-31)
“Pullagaip pudaiyap puzhuvay maramagip pal virugamagip paraivayp pambagik kallay manidharayp peyaayk kananggalay val asuraragi munivarayth thevaray cellaanindra ith th thavaray sanggamathul ellap pirarappum pirandhuilaithen emberuman” 4I have repeatedly taken countless births as various non-moving things such as rocks, grass, small plants, trees, etc, and various moving things such as worms, various animals, birds, snakes, humans, ghosts, ganas, rakshasas, sages, devas, etc. O lord, I am tired of all this endless cycle.
Here IR has sang the last line first before going to the verse 26 and voice really conveys the pain the poet must have felt during this endless process of birth, death and rebirth, that he wants relief from all this suffering. The chorus here adds to the situation. He finishes that stanza with
And here comes the first chorus of Namasivaya vazhga…..At this point one is overwhelmed with the devotion of the poet.
will be continued….