Self of all souls on earth, existing beyond the mind, you are the plenitude of bliss! Lord of the Red Hill. You have entered me! Standing as the light through which the eye sees, you show me your form. From you arise, in the ear, songs, melodies, poetry and other sounds. The taste of earth on the tongue, the scent of a flower in the nose, the wind in the ear, the bite of a mosquito on the skin – all proclaim and announce you. Since you make me feel everything, from where, then, arises the sense or feeling of ‘I’?
Plenitude of bliss! Self of all souls on this earth! Lord of the Red Hill! You have entered me! After controlling the senses, I should worship you eternally with the flower of grace. Only then will I cross the shore. God unknown even to the gods! How can I praise you who are Truth itself? I myself know nothing, so all I can do is beg from you. Supreme Deity! Bliss incarnate! You should not despise me just because I am false and know nothing of you.
Lord of the Red Hill! As complete bliss you have become the Self of all souls and entered me. Will you please tell me how the following pairs came into existence: the beginning and the end, men and gods, the arts and the Vedas, mother and father? What is this strong, binding karma? What pleasures and pains does the body undergo in heaven and hell? And what is it that remains beyond all this as ‘I’? Is it fair for you, the omnipresent one, to fail me? You are the first, the head of all others, so please show me your grace.
Lord of the Red Hill! Silent Guru! Flawless gem! All the universe is like an atom or a mustard seed before You. All the worlds derive light from you, as light is obtained from the sun. Knowledge and ignorance, pujas and japas, and all the supporting rituals – who are they for? Who made the clouds wander about in the sky? O Nataraja! Culmination of the rare Vedas! Everything is your greatness. You play on the earth, in the ether, and transcend them both. You are beyond speech and mind.
O flawless gem worshipped by Brahma and Vishnu! Lord of the Red Hill! Guru who gives silent upadesa! Not knowing intuitively what the body and soul are, I think instead about how the world came into existence. Is it because of my old karma that my mind gets bogged down in these worldly matters? The fire of ego pulls me strongly, but what can I do about it? I will seek refuge in you, my true God. I have faith in your feet.
O flawless gem! Lord of the Red Hill! Guru who teaches in silence! Like waves in the ocean, one world expands into a hundred, a thousand, a crore [ten million] and then ten crores, all within a minute. Thoughts enter the ghost-like mind and flow outwards to become the universe. All relationships – mother, father, relatives – are merely a delusion. If facts could be ascertained I would find that my previous births were as dogs, jackals, and so on. The mind believes all these things to be real, even my previous births. Because I didn’t believe in your grace, I had to die and be reborn.
Culminating dancer of the Vedas! Flawless gem! Lord of the Red Hill! Guru who instructs in silence! Deluded as I was, I did not believe your grace to be real. You are the one without a second, as clearly revealed as the fruit in the hand that appears in vedic and agamic stories. It appears to be real, but if this is reality, I am blindly wandering in the forest of dualistic differences. People talk about the different types of liberation. Will it ever be possible to speak of your greatness, the perfection of your bliss?
In Tamil, ‘As clear as the fruit on the palm of the hand’ denotes something that is self-evident, needing no further proof. Usually the fruit cited is a nelli, a gooseberry-like fruit that grows on a tree.
Flawless gem! Lord of the Red Hill! Guru giving silent upadesa! Like a lethal spear in the hands of a king, the eyes of women destroy men and throw them into the muddy well of karma. How to get out of the well and become happy? After your glance of grace, it is easy to triumph over the dull intellect and be alone.
You who are unattainable even by Vishnu, Brahma and the devas! Tell me that one word that will enable me to receive your grace and attain the egoless state. Your southward-facing body of grace spoke of truth and knowledge to the four. Dweller in Arunai, You are an ocean of grace! O supreme Lord who dwells in Kailash, how superior you are to the devas!
When Isanya Desikar talks about devas he mostly seems to be referring to the minor deities who inhabit the heavenly world ruled by Indra. On some occasions, though, he uses the term to include all deities except Siva Himself.
The ‘southward-facing body of grace’ is Siva in the form of Dakshinamurti. Dakshinamurti gave silent darshan to four rishis and enlightened them all. The verse actually says, ‘body of grace in a northern direction’. This may mean that, relative to the rishis, Siva was to the north.
Kailash, a mountain in southern Tibet, is the traditional home of Siva. Isanya Desikar seems to regard Siva as a being who resides simultaneously in both Kailash and Arunachala.
Supreme Lord, unknown even by the devas! Dweller in Kailash! Like a cloud enveloping the sky, mind and maya cover up the reality. Through this maya births appear and good and bad prevail. Will you despise me and forget me? Flawless Guru-Lord! Body of grace! You are the beginning, the middle and the end. Show me that grace which has the taste of honey.
Dweller in Kailash and Arunai! Truth Supreme, unknown even to the gods! You are time, space, name and form. How can I control the mind which, caught in bondage, wanders out through the five senses? Why have I always so far thought that I am the body? How to know the truth? Where is the direct experience? By what process is it known? O True Light! Kindly grant me the grace to unite my mind to you.
Dweller in Aruna and Kailash! The Supreme, unknown even to the devas! The blind, delusive ignorance stalking through my intellect can only be removed when the sun of your grace shines there. So declare the Vedas. My mind suffers from the delusion that this earthly life is real. It values relationships such as father, mother, wife and son and thinks that they are also real. Kindly make my mind clear. Show me your grace.
Dweller in Arunai and Kailash! Supreme Truth that even the devas cannot know! Of what use is it to relinquish my family and other relationships? By wandering among the people who give alms, and by suffering, I have not achieved anything. I have not mingled with your devotees and worshipped their feet. My unmelted mind remains like a stone. Make me think of your feet, for I have not yet reached the ocean of your kindness.
Dweller in Kailash! Dweller in Arunagiri! Supreme, true Lord who cannot be comprehended by lesser gods! By studying and by directly realising, I should have controlled the mind that always runs out towards the world. I should have immersed myself in the still and waveless ocean of your grace. With purity, and without any attachments, I should be offering devoted worship to you. O flawless one, teach me all this! You have taught and liberated sages like Sanaka.. You are the first cause. Even Brahma and Vishnu were unable to comprehend who you are. You who are knowledge itself, show me your grace.
Sanaka is one of the four sages taught by Dakshinamurti. The other three are Sanandana, Sanatkumara and Sanatsujata. All four of them are sons of Brahma, created by his mind.
Resident of both Arunai and Kailash! Supreme God unknown by lesser gods! The Agamas declare that you are the beginning, the middle and the end, that you are full of knowledge. By your grace devotees have intuitively found you and become deathless. By catching hold of the vibration of Om, your devotees have merged with you, like light into light, space into space, and by acquiring pure knowledge have become consciousness itself. So say many sacred books. Show me too your benign grace.
Dweller in Arunai and Kailash! Truth Supreme, unknown even to the gods! Some of your devotees danced; some wept and cried out of love; some worshipped you everywhere, weeping, and praising with flowers in their hands. What is the karma that prevents me from worshipping you like this? Thinking that the world is real, I wandered around hankering after money. I went after women and contracted diseases. O my Lord, though this was my condition, you came in search of me and bestowed your grace.
Lord of Arunai, I salute you! O Light! The great light unknown even to the devas! Have you, abiding in the joyous company of your devotees, forgotten me? Do you regard me as trash? Other than you, you who have taken possession of me, do I have any other support?
Lord of Arunai who dances at the end of the wonderful Vedas! You have already told me, ‘There exists one alone. It appears as the three worlds, the soul and the Supreme Lord. It is grace. It alone shines as the Guru and as the Supreme Brahman.’
The realms of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. Alternatively, it may indicate the worlds of devas, asuras and human beings. The series of shorter verses, referred to in the introduction, begin with verse forty-three.
Lord of Arunai, I salute you! By shining as fire, you have removed my forgetfulness. You showed me your grace by telling me, ‘Get relief from this dream by looking at your own Self’. In the three states of waking, dreaming and sleeping, none of the three bodies knows who he really is. Nor do they know where the ‘I’-feeling is located. It was your instructions alone that saved me.
Lord of Arunai, I salute you! You destroyed the power of the mind which, assuming the form of the false ego, construes the world as something real. You broke the ego that identifies the Self with the body. You rooted out lust and gave me a clear vision of heaven. How gracious you are!
People speak about gold and gems as having varied properties. Similarly, without knowing the Self, they talk about it in different ways. Lord of Arunai, this is pitiful. True devotees know you alone, the one and only truth that appears as the world, the soul and God.
The Lord residing in Arunagiri appeared before me as my Guru in order to lift me up. Placing his feet lovingly on my head, He blessed me with the words, ‘This is the time’. He made me experience sat-chit-ananda, cut off the delusion of death and enveloped me in silence. How great he is!
Lord, Guru and Father! My friend residing in the Heart! Flawless gem! King who dances in the dancing hall of the Heart! True friend! Omnipresent plenitude! Eternal flawless bliss! Destroyer of bondage! Supreme yogi instructing like a Guru! How great you are!
How I praise you, my Lord, the Supreme! I believed in Nama Sivaya. Unapproachable by Indra, Brahma, Vishnu and others, you are the sat-chit-ananda that has possessed me.
I praise you as the flame that is beyond and inside all the worlds as the light within the light. O true knowledge and bliss! Culmination of the Vedas! You found the right place and possessed me with your breath.
Dweller in Arunai! Unknowable even by the devas! Easily accessible to devotees, you are where all words end. You are both the sight and the seer. Your dance is omnipresent, but even the devas are unable to comprehend it.
Sat-chit-ananda shining as ‘I am He’! By manifesting love to your feet, I understood you to be king. You made me praise your blissful form and become silent. Kindly liberate me.
The end of the Vedas [i.e. the Upanishads] proclaim that if you think without thought of the eternal, blissful Lord who shines everywhere as Sakti and Sivam, that devotion itself is liberation. Through that experience of liberation consciousness becomes great.
Supreme Light! Consciousness itself! Shining flame of Arunai, I praise you as the unbroken light, without beginning or end. I call out to you, ‘My jewel! My Guru! You are flawless nectar!’
All learning and knowledge come through God’s grace. Other than that, what will we learn? I attained silence; now please give me the knowledge to get rid of births. Those who hold onto their undying Self as Sivam, they alone attain clarity.
O Supreme! Everything we hold onto is false. The immanent knowledge is Siva. He is without flaw or error, and has no form or character. He is pure and blissful. Let us worship him and be happy.
The Vedas, the Guru’s teachings and the experience of one’s own Self are all one in the vision of that light that forms the substratum and gives light to the sun, the moon and fire. In the Heart, where there is neither day nor night, the light is experienced as the Supreme Siva.
I worshipped the Supreme Siva and by plunging into the ocean of his grace, found him to be the substratum. The bliss experienced by his devotees is inexplicable. Even the Vedas and the Agamas fail to describe it.
Assimilator of all, shining as the Self! You are everything, and nothing is outside you. King! Guru! Knowledge! You are form; you are the path; you dance as ‘I’ and ‘you’. Undiminishing knowledge, you shine within your devotees as the unbroken Supreme Siva!
O Siva! Consciousness itself shining in the minds of devotees! You are the one, the auspicious, the undivided whole! Self that shines at the end of tapas! Father of Arunai, You remove unholy karmas!
O mind, listen and kindly understand: Siva, the all-pervading consciousness, is eternal; he is flawless, purity, completeness, the self-shining light of knowledge. He is the Father dwelling in Arunai.
O worried mind, you are always wandering in the countryside and the forest. Offering love to the feet of the Guru, I will tell you the truth: ‘The Supreme shines as pure knowledge. Merge there and realise.’
By devotion to the Supreme Sadguru, peerless wisdom can be attained. Praise the Guru as the one who has attained liberation, as the consciousness of Siva, as God, as the eternal bliss, as absolute fullness, as true jnana and the Self.
The devotees praise him with complete devotion. Though he is the Self, they will praise him with infinite names. He shines in the flawless intellect, not different from it. With infinite love let us adorn our heads with His feet.
Learning and knowledge are God’s alone. By continuous love, the plenitude is attained. If this is gained, bliss continuously flows and future births cease.
There are many ways to reach the Self, and many teachings that are hard to understand. The wise think that these various instructions are just impediments. They simply relinquish speech and mind.
You have had many thoughts arising out of sankalpa, but what did you gain by them? Your intellect got spoiled because it became full of fear and thoughts of danger. If you reach the feet of the Guru, taintless wisdom will certainly dawn in you. So, the acceptable way is to seek the aid of grace for realising the truth.
A sankalpa is an intention to do or accomplish something.
The mad chase after mantras. Crazy people get caught in the ego, in maya, praise many gods and follow the tantric ways. Why do you run insanely after all this? The world is made, and so is religion. They are all incapable of praising the beautiful flame of wisdom.
The Self, fullness and perfection, can neither be described nor rejected. It is a state of bliss and knowledge beyond words, having no day and no night. It is called nishtha by the Vedas. The Self, complete in itself, is not something that can be caught hold of.
Nishta is derived from a word which means ‘balanced” or ‘in a state of equilibrium’. It denotes a state in which one is unwaveringly established in the Self.
The one omnipresent self-effulgent Supreme Being is everywhere, shining as light. So what does it matter whether we worship, or do puja, or praise inside or outside?
What Supreme shall we catch hold of? What is it that catches? The undivided whole, knowledge itself, is that Supreme. The greatness of those who can directly speak of this is indescribable.
Those who are adorned by the feet of the silent great ones will certainly attain realisation. It is blissful to praise the Lord, but if one has the benefit of being looked at by the Master, one becomes that peace and bliss.
No amount of learning can teach one to give up the ego. The best course is to catch hold of what is real, without any support. He who is fully conscious is really God. He is the real nature of one’s own true state. The experience is silence; it cannot speak.
They are truly great who live without the mind. Is there anything other than the Self? The state of sat-chit-ananda, alone is real. Those who are in nishtha, without any activity, they alone are realised.
It is sheer delight to speak of Lord Aruna, the Light who is both beginningless and endless, unbroken, infinite space. It is sheer delight to say that Lord Aruna, the Light, is the source giving light to the sun, the moon, and fire. At the moment when one realises the Self by diving within, you become the face on the mirror. O personification of grace! What else needs to be known other than you who are omnipresent and who possess all?