thathva thrayam - Iswara - Who is God?

sri:
srimathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srimadh varavaramunayE nama:
sri vAnAchala mahAmunayE nama:


So far, we have observed the nature of chith (http://ponnadi.blogspot.in/2013/03/thathva-thrayam-chith-who-am-i5631.html) and achith (http://ponnadi.blogspot.in/2013/03/thathva-thrayam-achith-what-is-matter.html).


This article can be viewed as a presentation by clicking https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1Q6qEuvsuGTv4z_5--HYzlLfRFkdprThj3xmqWoyqKCQ/present#slide=id.p.

Understanding the Iswara thathvam (God) through the teachings of the wise men

We are continuing our journey in understanding the three entities (chith, achith, Iswara) through the divine grantham "thathva thrayam" (tattva trayam) of piLLai lOkAchAryar with the help of maNavALa mAmunigaL's beautiful commentary.

Introduction

First emperumAn's svarUpam (distinct nature) is explained in detail. Thathe is completely different from all other entities is established right upfront.

svarUpam - true nature

  • By nature, ISwaran is
    • not the abode for any inauspicious qualities (meaning abode for all auspicious qualities)
    • unbounded by 
      • time - existence in past, present and future, 
      • place - everywhere in both spiritual and material worlds - all pervading nature and 
      • object - he is the in-dwelling soul of all objects
    • abode of full knowledge and unlimited bliss
    • abode of many auspicious qualities such as knowledge, strength,  etc
    • the one who fully manages creation, sustenance and dissolution
    • the one who is the refuge for the 4 types of seekers (as identified in bhagavath gIthai 7.16 by ka NNan emperumAn himself)
      • Artha: - the distressed
      • arthArthi - the one who is looking for new wealth
      • jigyAsur - the one who is looking for kaivalyam
      • gyAni - the true devotee
    • the who can bestow the four purushArthams (goals) - dharma, artha, kAma, mOksha
    • the one who has many divine forms
    • the one who is the dear lord of SrI mahAlakshmi, bhUdhEvi and neeLA dhEvi
  • He being the in-dwelling (controlling) soul of all entities does not affect him in any way, just like jIvAthmA (soul) does not get affected by the changing bodies.

His Auspicious qualities

  • His most divine auspicious qualities are
    • eternal - they always exist
    • countless - there are so many auspicious qualities
    • boundless - even one of the qualities cannot be comprehended fully
    • causeless - his divine qualities do not manifest due to external inducing, they naturally exist
    • defectless
    • unparalleled - since emperumAn does not have any one equal or greater, his qualities also do not have anything equal or greater
  • Three  categories of his auspicious qualities
    • Focussed on the ones who are favourable towards him and his devotees
      • vAthsalyam - motherly forbearance

thiruvEnkatamudaiyAn is often glorified for his vAthsalyam
      • sauseelyam - magnanimity

 SrI rAman is glorified for his sauseelyam - for mixing freely with guha, hanumAn, etc
      • saulabhyam - easy accessibility

 kaNNan emperumAn is glorified for his saulabhyam
      • mArdhavam - tenderness (of heart and body)
      • Arjavam - honesty, etc
    • Focussed on the ones who are unfavourable towards him and his devotees
      • sauryam - valour/bravery
      • vIrya - strength/power, etc
    • Common for everyone
      • gyAna - knowing about everything fully
      • shakthi - strength
      • bala - ability to support everything
      • aiSwarya - controlling capacity
      • vIrya - Even while managing everything, having no change in self (avikAra)
      • thEjas - ability to handle everything individually
  • Auspicious Qualities and the target of those qualities
    • His gyAnam (knowledge) is to help the ones who consider themselves to be ignorant
    • His shakthi (strength) is to help the ones who consider themselves to be meek/humble
    • His kshamai (forgiveness) is to help the ones who consider themselves to be commiting offenses
    • His krupai (mercy) is to help the ones who consider themselves to be suffering
    • His vAthsalyam (motherly forbearance) is to help the ones who consider themselves to to at fault
    • His seelam (magnanimity) is to help the ones who consider themselves to be downtrodden
    • His Arjavam (honesty) is to help the ones who consider themselves to be dishonest
    • His sauhArdham (good-heartedness) is to help the ones who consider themselves to be not so good
    • His mArdhavam (tender-heartedness) is to help the ones who cannot bear the separation from bhagavAn
    • His saulabhyam (easy accessibility) is to help the ones who desire to see him
    • and so on
  • Manifestation of his qualities
    • He shows great concern towards the suffering jIvAthmAs (souls) and is constantly looking for the well-being of them.
    • He constantly tries to help them when they are in distress.
    • For the ones who surrender unto him, 
      • He does not look at their defects which arise out of their birth, knowledge, actions, etc.
      • He protects them when neither they themselves can protect them nor others can protect them.
      • He performs miraculous activities to please them as he (kaNNan emperumAn) did in the case of sAndhIpani muni (bringing back his dead son) and the brAhmaNa (bring back his sons who were taken away by SrI mahAlakshmi to paramapadham to have the divine vision of krishNan in paramapadham).
      • He makes himself fully available for them.
      • He feels self satisfied after helping them as if his own personal task was accomplished.
      • Without considering the favours done by him, he looks out for the minimum virtues done by the surrendered ones and helps them forget the taste for material aspirations that is present in them since time immemorial.
      • He ignores their mistakes like a man who ignores the mistakes of his dear wife and children.
      • Even if SrI mahAlakshmi points out the defects of the surrendered person, he simply diregards them.
      • He consumes their defects with great love, just like a man in love would like the sweat etc., of his beloved.
      • In separation, he feels greater distress compared to the surrendered ones.
      • Just like a cow kicks out and pushes away the older calves when a new calf is born out of great attachment and concern, emperumAn pushes away SrI mahAlakshmi and nithyasUris when a new jIvAthmA (soul) surrenders to him.

His kAraNathvam - He being the primordial cause


brahmA (the first progenitor) being born from the navel of SrI mahAvishNu
  • bhagavAn is the cause of all the worlds.
  • Some say that atom (lowest particle) is the primordial cause.
  • Since this is contradictory to plain perception and SAsthram, they cannot be accepted as the primordial cause.
  • Others say matter is the primordial cause. 
  • Since matter does not have knowledge and does not transform on its own without the intervention of bhagavAn, matter cannot be the primordial cause.
  • badhdha chEthanas (jIvAthmA- individual soul) like brahmA, rudhran, etc cannot be the primordial cause.Since they are bound by karmA and go through sufferings, they cannot be the primordial cause. Thus ISwaran is the only primordial cause.
  • He is being the cause not due to ignorance, karmA, others’ orders etc but out of his own desire and will.
  • Since creation, sustenance and dissolution happen out of his own desire, there is no suffering in these for him. 
  • The whole process is only for his pastime. 
  • But would his pastime be interrupted in samhAram (dissolution)? Since samhAram is also part of his pastime, there is no interruption. mAmunigaL beautifully shows a practical example - when children play with sand castles, at the end of their play they knock down the castle as a part of the pastime with full joy. Similarly, dissolution is also a pastime in bhagavAn's activities.
  • Since he transforms his own body into this material world, he is the material cause. Note: There are 3 causes: upAdhAna kAraNam (material cause), nimiththa kAraNam (instrumental cause) and sahakAri kAraNam (supporting cause). For example, in making a pot, sand and clay are the material cause, the potter is the instrumental cause, his stick and wheel are the supporting cause.
  • But since there is no change to his svarUpam he is called nirvikAra (unchangeable).
  • It is only his body (chith and achith) that gets transformed. Spider makes a web from its own saliva and then it consumes it again. If a spider can do this, why can’t ISwaran who is omnipotent (capable of doing anything) do the same?

 

srushti, sthithi, samhAram

He is the full controller of all these activities. samashti srushti (upto the creation of pancha bhUthas) are done by bhagavAn himself directly and vyashti srushti (various beings, manifestations, etc) are done indirectly by bhagavAn being the antharyAmi of other beings.

srushti (creation)

  • srushti involves
    • transforming subtle matter into gross matter
    • providing body and senses to jIvAthmAs
    • expanding the knowledge of jIvAthmA
  • srushti is done through brahmA, prajApathis, time and all beings by being present as their in-dwelling soul.
  • srushti is done in rajO guNam (the mode of passion).

sthithi (sustenance)

  • sthithi involves
    • , sustainingjIvAthmAs by being present within them with favourable intentions and helping them in all different situations, just like water sustaining the crop in a rice/paddy field
  • sthithi is done by 
    • descending in many incarnations starting with vishNu (which is the first incarnation in the material world)
    • establishing SAsthram through manu, rishis, etc
    • guiding the jIvAthmAs in good path
    • being antharyAmi of time and all beings
  • sthithi is done in sathva guNam (the mode of goodness).

samhAram (dissolution)

  • samhAram involves
    • pulling back the jIvAthmAs into a subtle state to minimize their attachment to material aspirations. This is similar to keeping one’s own uncontrollable son under arrest for the well-being of the son.
  • samhAram is done by being the antharyAmi of rudhran, agni, time and all beings.
  • samhAram is done in thamO guNam (the mode of ignorance).

bhagavAn's supreme quality during srushti

  • If some are joyful and others are in distress, would that not reflect partiality and cruelty in bhagavAn's part?
  • Not at all - since everyone gets his/her body based on his/her karmA, and all actions are done to reform/uplift the jIvAthmA slowly into a higher state, there is no partiality or cruelty in bhagavAn's part.
  • bhagavAn performs srushti, sthithi, samhAram with a divine form as stated by nammAzhwAr in 3.2.1.

bhagavAn's various forms

  • emperumAn's forms are
    • more enjoyable than his svarUpam (nature), guNam (quality), etc.
    • eternal - always with a form
    • uniform - without the effects of old age etc
    • made of auspicious matter which is in the mode of pure goodness
    • fully revealing of his true nature unlike material body which covers the soul’s knowledge.
    • eternally glowing
    • abode of all divine qualities like beauty, softness, etc
    • those which are meditated upon by all yOgis
    • those which will cease our attachment to everything else
    • which are enjoyed by nithyasUris and mukthAthmAs
    • those which remove all pains
    • source of all incarnations
    • refuge for everyone
    • abode for everything
    • decorated with divine weapons (conch, discus, etc) and ornaments (garlands, necklaces, etc)
  • bhagavAn's svarUpam is attached with 5 different categories of forms namely
    • parathvam - form in paramapadham
    • vyUham - forms in vyUha state which is primarily focussed on the material worlds
    • vibhavam - innumerable incarnations of emperumAn
    • antharyAmi - in-dwelling soul in all jIvAthmAs (souls) and achEthanams (matter)
    • archai - innumerable deity forms which are worshipped at temples, mutts, homes, etc
    • These are briefly discussed at http://ponnadi.blogspot.in/2012/10/archavathara-anubhavam-parathvadhi.html.
parathvam

  • paramapadham is described as the place of endless bliss and innumerable auspicious qualities and where kAlam (time) is not the controller. In samsAram time is the controller - whether we want or not, time automatically transforms every thing.
  • everything is spiritual in paramapadham.
  • He along with his divine consorts SrI mahAlakshmi, bhU dhEvi and neeLA dhEvi are the prime focus.
  • He exists there for the full enjoyment of nithya sUris (eternally free souls) and mukthAthmAs (the souls who were bound in samsAram before but free now in paramapadham).
  • His auspicious qualities such as knowledge, strength etc are fully manifested in paramapadham.

vyUham


kShirAbdhi nAthan is a representative of vyUha forms
  • forms that are accepted by bhagavAn
    • for the purpose of maintaining order (thru srushti, sthithi, samhAram) in the material worlds,
    • to guide/nourish the jIvAthmAs in samsAram and
    • to be the object of meditation for the meditators.
  • para vAsudhEvan first expands himself into vyUha vAsudhEvan.
  • vyUha vAsudhEvan expands himself in to 3 more forms - sankarshaNa, pradhuymna and anirudhdha.
  • sankarshaNa
    • gyAnam (knowlege) and balam (ability to support everything) are predominant in him.
    • He presides over the jIva thathvam (soul) and distinguishes between soul and matter, and initiates the process of giving names and forms to them.
    • He is responsible for establishing SAsthram (vEdham, vEdhAntham, etc) and samhAram (dissolution).
    • He subsequently expands into pradhyumna form.
  • pradhyumna
    • aiSwarya (controlling ability/wealth) and vIrya (power) are predominant in him.
    • He presides over the manas thathvam (mind).
    • He is responsible for 
      • instructing on the righteous principles
      • the creation of human beings and chAthur varNams (four categories - brAmaNa, kshathriya, vaisya, shUdhra)
      • the creation of all who are focussed on the mode of goodness (which ultimately leads to bhagavAn)
  • anirudhdha
    • shakthi (strength) and thEjas (ability to handle anything individually) are predominant in him.
    • He is responsible for
      • giving true knowledge
      • creation of time and all entitieswhich are in the mixed mode of goodness, passion and ignorance.

vibhavam


dhasAvathAram - the 10 main incarnations
  • there are innumerable incarnations of bhagavAn.
  • his incarnations are categorised into
    • mukya avathArams 
      • these are considered most important and worshippable for mumukshus (one who desires for mOksham)
      • bhagavAn himself descends in many divine forms such as mathsya, kUrma, varAha etc
      • the forms are made of divine matter (just like in paramapadham).
      • he carries all his auspicious qualities in full into these forms just like in paramapadham.
      • just like a lamp which is lit with a match stick glows more than the match stick, his incarnations glow more than his form in paramapadham.
    • gauNa avathArams
      • gauNam means giving his svarUpam (nature) or shakthi (strength) to jIvAthmAs to fulfil specific goals.
      • these are considered less important and not worshippable for mumukshus, because the purpose of these avathArams is to fulfil specific tasks only.
      • two categories
        • svarUpa AvEsam - bhagavAn giving his divine svarUpam (nature) to jIvAthmAs and descending with his divine form. Examples: parasurAma, etc.
        • shakthi AvEsam - bhagavAn giving his powers alone to jIvAthmAs for specific purpose. Examples: brahmA, rudhran, vyAsa, etc.
  • he descends into various incarnations purely by his divine desire.
  • the goal of these incarnations is explained by bhagavAn himself in bhagavath gIthai 4.8 as 
    • parithrANAya sAdhUnAm - protecting his devotees (the virtuous)
    • vinASAya cha dhushkruthAm - annihilating the evil-minded
    • dharma samsthApanArtham - establishing the righteous principles
  • Though at times it is said that bhagavAn incarnates due to rishi's curse, etc, those are only pretext (false reason) and the real reason is his desire only.

antharyAmi

 

  • antharyAmi means being all pervaded and fully controlling all entities from within.
  • Wherever jIvAthmAs go, bhagavAn also accompanies them to guide them.
  • For the ones who want to meditate on bhagavAn, he mercifully appears with a divine form and his divine consorts within their hearts.
  • He is constantly protecting the jIvAthmAs by being with them within their heart.

archai


108 dhivya dhEsams - the ones which are glorified by AzhwArs
  • this is explained as the epitome of all the different forms of bhagavAn.
  • As poigai AzhwAr identified in mudhal thiruvanthAdhi 44th pAsuram, emperumAn happily accepts the form that is desired by his devotees.
  • archAvathAram is present at all places and at all times to everyone unlike other forms (param, vyUham, etc) which are limited to 
    • certain dhEsam (places like paramapadham, kshIrAbdhi etc) 
    • certain kAlam (time like thrEthA yugam, dhvApara yugam etc),
    • certain adhikAris (persons like dhaSarathan during rAmAvathAram etc)
  • He ignores the faults/mistakes of his worshippers due to his causeless mercy.
  • He fully depends on his worshippers for all of his actvities (like bathing, eating, sleeping etc).
  • He descends into many temples (dhivya dhEsams, abhimAna kshEthrams, village temples, etc - everywhere irrespective of city, country, continent, planet, etc), mutts and our own homes.
  • Complete nature of archAvathAram
    • He creates the taste and attachment towards him through his archAvathAram.
    • He is the abode of all auspicious qualities - all his qualities such as sauseelyam (magnanimity), saulabhyam (easy accessibility), vAthsalyam (motherly forbearance) etc are fully manifested and visible here. These qualities are subdued in paramapadham, since everyone is pure and fully realised in paramapadham.
    • He is the refuge for everyone irrespective of his birth, knowledge etc.
    • He is the most enjoyable as explained fully by AzhwArs and AchAryas. We have already enjoyed AzhwAr/AchAryas archAvathAra anubhavam in http://ponnadi.blogspot.in/p/archavathara-anubhavam.html.
  • His magnanimous nature in archAvathAram
    • Even though he is the master and everyone else is dependent on him, he manifests himself as the dependent and fully dependent on his devotees.
    • Being in a deity form, he presents himself to be 
      • ignorant - since he understands everything through his devotees
      • incapable - since he waits for his devotees for all of his actions like bathing, eating, dressing, sleeping etc
      • fully dependent on his devotees as explained above
    • Still, out of his causeless and unlimted mercy, attachment and compassion towards his devotees, he fulfills all their desires without expecting anything back, thus manifesting his great quality called vAthsalyam (motherly forbearance)

Conclusion

Thus we have seen the 3 entities namely chith, achith and ISwara in  fair (detail. This is one of the most difficult subject matters since it involves many technical and in-depth aspects. We have seen the tip of the iceberg - there is so much more relishable explanations in mAmunigaL's vyAkyAnam for this divine grantham thathva thrayam of piLLai lOkAchAryar which is called kutti bhAshyam (the essence of emperumAnAr's SrI bhAshyam). Let us glorify our SrIman nArAyaNan, AzhwArs and AchAryas for providing us with these great literatures which are more valuable than anything else for us.


piLLai lOkAchAryar, maNavALa mAmunigaL - srIperumbUthUr

adiyen is grateful to Sri U.Ve. P B Sampath swamy who taught thathva thrayam (both the text and meanings) to adiyen.

SrImathE ramyajAmAthru munIndhrAya mahAthmanE
SrIrangavAsinE bhUyAth nithyaSrIr nithya mangaLAm

mangaLASAsana parair madhAchArya purOgamai:
sarvaischa pUrvair AchAryai satkruthAyAsthu mangaLam
 

AzhwAr emperumAnAr jIyar thiruvadigaLE SaraNam
jIyar thiruvadigaLE SaraNam
AchAryan thiruvadigaLE SaraNam

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan


Sources: thathva thrayam


4 comments:

  1. Swami, regarding this section:

    "The whole process is only for his pastime.
    But would his pastime be interrupted in samhAram (dissolution)? Since samhAram is also part of his pastime, there is no interruption. mAmunigaL beautifully shows a practical example - When children play with sand castles, at the end of their play they knock down the castle as a part of the pastime with full joy. Similarly, dissolution is also a pastime in bhagavAn's activities."

    Sri Kanchi Swami has beautifully pointed out the mEdhAvilAsam of mAmunigal. Actually, both udayavar and ulagAriyan say, "shrShti, etc is for the purpose of leela". According to Kanchi Swami, mAmunigal was not satisifed with the wording of thse pUrvAcHAryAs. After all, shrShti itself is a leela, so how can one say it is for the purpose of leela, as though leela is earned by the work of shrShti? At the same time, our periya jeeyar, being charamOpAya nishtar, did not want to openly point out that ulagAriyan and udayavar's phrasing was somewhat inadequate and he did not want to show his own intelligence by writing an explanation.

    So, very ingeniously, our "poi illAdha manavAla mAmunigal" raised a pUrvapaksha - "would this leela be interrupted in samhAra?" and in the guise of answering that pUrvapaksha, included that observation of samhArA itself being a leela. This completed the explanation of the previous AchAryAs and pEriya jeeyar disguised his own observation as though it is a well known answer of the above AchAryAs as well!

    This only highlights the great intellect of jeeyar as well as his charamOpAya nishtai. Sri Kanchi Swami asks, out of the hundreds of vidwAns and AchAryAs, who else but mAmunigal alone would have had the keen intellect to identify this issue? So many vidwAns have read udayavar and ulagAriyan's statements, but it was only mAmunigal who identified a potential issue to be addressed. And who other than Jeeyar would answer it so beautifully with charamOpAya nishtai?

    And who else but Kanchi Swami could point this out?

    maNNu pugazh manavAla mAmuniyE innum oRu nURRandu irum!

    dasan,

    Srinivasan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. dear swamy,
      thanks for expanding the beautiful point with insights from kAnchi swamy's wonderful works.
      adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

      Delete