Nayanaar lived in the 13th
century. He was born in
a village called Thiruvennainallur
in Tamil Nadu. He was named Thiruvennkaadan after
his parents had prayed devotedly
to the presiding deity of
the village, Thiruvenkaadu, located
nearby. He was also addreesed
by his Sanskrit name, Svethavanan.
He is considered as the first authentic preceptor of Truth and has interpreted the term Advaitham, not in the usual negative way as
"not two but one," but by replacing it with a new interpretation.
To quote Thomas Merton,
"In mystical union,
God and man, while remaining, no doubt, metaphysically
distinct,are practically and experimentally
'one spirit' ".
Caiva Sidhaantam is called the "quintessence of Vedaanta" and to distinguish it from Kevala Advaitha, it is called Suddha-adhvaitham, that is, pure Advaitha.
Just as the Maandookya Upanishad with its 12 verses has a voluminous "kaarika" (commentary) by Gauda paada, and with a "bhaashyam" (super commentary) to it by Sankara,so too Meikandadevar's Civa-jnaana - Bodham has a kaarika and a bhashyam in Civa-jnaana - siddhi by Arunnandi Civanaar and Civa-jnaana - prakaasam by Umaapathy Civam respectively.
bases of knowledge of Caiva
Sidhaanta are in the 12
(practices and rituals) and in the 14 Saastraaas (philosophical treatises ).
Civa - jnaana - bodham is considered the pinnacle.
Meikkanda Devar, the first of the philosophers in the Caiva Sidhaanta
and his work, the briefest of all religious scriptures, as brief as the
Maandukya Upanishad, and the corner-stone of the philosophy is but a
codification of doctrine, dogma, metaphysics and philosophy scattered through the pages of the Thiruvaachakam,the Thirumurais and the Thirumanthiram.
His composition,Civajnaabodham consists of 12 aphorisms / verses (sutras) 40 lines, 216 words, 624 letters of alphabet and 81 couplets.
The 12 aphorisms/verses (sutras) are divided into 4 sections, 2 of which fall under a General chapter and the other 2 under a Special chapter. Each section comprises 3 verses.
Meikandar has culled the gist of the several "sutras "in 12 pithy
sentences. To quote Gordon Mathews, they are :
* God who causes dissolution is the primal source of the world.
* How the world is evolved again
* The existence of the soul
* The existence of the soul
* God's service to souls
* The real and the non real
* A supplement to the above
* How the soul obtains knowledge
* How the soul is purified
* How desire, the fetter, is removed
* How the soul reaches the sacred feet of God
* How God, invisible and unknowable, can be worshipped
as visible and knowable
çèá¨õëª -- Introduction
æùª - firmly rooted
Íùª - banyan
å¨Èùª - shade
ëéù (ëéù² ) - mountain (doubt)
ô¨ùªùèõÐ (¬ùªùèõÐ ) - archer (without)
íÕó¨á - bestowed by
âçèùªùèõÐ (âçèóªóèõÐ ) - the unchiselled One
¬éú ëùõÐ - cin mudra (symbol of contemplation)
- at the Lotus feet
åùªùèõÐ - good people
µéäôîõ - renders
The unchiselled One,
(Pollaar, as he is called)
With His Cin Mudra
Seated under the shade of the firmly rooted banyan,
Renders to all the good people,
That which has been offered at His Lotus feet
And which has been bestowed by,
The Archer who bent the mountain as a bow,
Siva, the Undoubtable One
íéôáìæÐæëª -- Address to the Assembly (Prologue)
êëªéë - of themselves
ãúõÐåÐÊ - on realizing
êéë - (and) the Being
ãéìá - having
êäª - in them
ãúõÐôèõÐ - they will know
öëªéë - me
ãéìéë - that which is my possession
öéë - my
¬æÈèõÐ - will not belittle
êëªéë - themselves
ãúõèõÐ - those who do not realize
ãúõèõÐ - will not realize
ãì§ªÆ - elephant
¬éáåÐÊ - in agreement
êëªë¨äª - in them
ãúõèéë - lacking in a total view
îæóèëª - not listen
µ÷äª - external appearance
Those who on realizing of themselves,
As having the Being in them
Will not belittle me or that which is my possession
Those who do not realize themselves
Will not realize
(Like the five blind persons each identifying only one part of the)
(And hence) lacking in total view
Who will not listen or be in agreement
Of its external appearance.