(A reflection on the Conciousness and embodied Self)
In this work, Guru introduces the concept of spiritual distinction between Chit (Conciousness/ Awareness) and Jadam (embodied Self). Literally ‘Jadam’ means still/apathetic/ dull/inanimate/insentient which are the qualities of ignorance. Chit is the dynamic energy and Jadam is the inert matter. This may be compared to Purusha and Prakriti of Sankhya philosophy.
Only Chit is Real and transcendent. Jadam is unreal and transitory. Chijjada-chintanam helps the devotees to discriminate between Chit and Jadam, and accept what is ‘Real’ and discard what is unreal. This work contains only ten slokas, each potent with the philosophy of Vedanta.
1. orukodi divakararothuyarum-
padi paarodu neeranaladikalum
kedumaru kilarnnu varunnoru nin
As if one crore suns rising all at once and eclipsing the earth, water, fire and all else, that ascendant divine form, should ever abide with brilliance.
Just like infinite number of suns rising simultaneously, and so brilliantly illuminate the five basic elements (earth, water, fire, air and space) and theircombinations and make them imperceptible to the senses, Your Divine form should always remain effulgent in me.
Herein Guru describes the ecstasy that one experiences in realizing Truth (Awareness). The devotee pleads to God (Siva) that this ecstasy should remain eternal. A description of the same anubhooti (experience of ecstasy) is seen in stanza 35 of Atmopadesa-satakam:
(Like ten thousand suns coming all at once, the wisdom’s function comes. That is the primal Sun, which comes out tearing the veil of maya-darkness. Maya covers Awareness, and is transient.)
2. idane irukanmunayennilathi-
nnidayilla irippe athilonnilume.
Give me but one glance with the corner of those keen eyes. This is the wish of this servant, O Uma’s spouse. Ignorance will be won with that itself. It has no existence in front of even one of those eyes.
The devotee continues his plea in this stanza. O! the consort of Uma (Siva), this servant of yours , has the desire to get Your blessings, even through a glance from the corner of Your eyes. With this blessing arisingfrom Your glance, I shall gain victory over Jadam (the attachment to the body that enjoys pleasures and pain), ie get rid of my ignorance about the Truth. This Jadam (ignorance) cannot stand before your eyes, i.e. a Divine glance from you will remove my ignorance.
3. nilamodu neruppu nirnnozhukum-
jalam asukan ambaram anchilume
alayate adikkadi nalkuka nin
nilayinnithuthanne namukku mati.
Without straying in earth, in fire, in evenly flowing water, in air and in space (in names and forms, which are the combinations of all these five) give me your steady state again and again. This is enough for me today.
God has created this world from five basic elements (earth etc.) and their various combinations, with names and forms. The devotee pleads with God to save him from the desires created by worldly objects and to give him equipoise (steady state of mind) like Him. He further adds ‘Give me this state, and that is enough for me for the present’ i.e. I am satisfied with this realization.
4. mati thottu manam muthalanjumunar-
From mind, then the five senses like smell and up to Grace is Awareness (Chit). From earth up to darkness is matter. All here do contain in these two.
The thought relating to a desire to gain something in future is called Mati. From this Mati (mind), and knowledge gained through the sense organs (Jnanendriyas) upto the point of Awareness through Divine Grace is Chit (Conciousness). From earth to darkness is all Jadam (matter). Everything in this universe is contained (falls) within these two categories.
In this stanza the Guru has brought the distinction between Chit and Jadam. One should have the understanding of both these, and then, with his discriminating ability (vivekam), accept Chit, and discard Jadam.
5. akhilarkkumathingane thanne matham
sukha sadhyamithennu sukadikalum
pakarunnu paramparayay palarum
bhagavanude mayayaho! vauthe.
All the sages are of this same opinion. Easily attainable- says sage Suka and others. They transmitted it down from age to age. The Maya of the Blessed One is great indeed.
The views of all Jnanis (people who have attained spiritual wisdom or known Brahman), regarding the distinction between the ‘Real’ and the unreal is the same. All sages including Suka Brahma Rishi have said that it is easy to realize Truth by this method. Such knowledge is spread or disseminated, from generations to generations, through the Guru-sishya system (Preceptor and pupil lineage).
O! great is Maya (the delusion created by God). I am spell bound! In spite of this, no one heeds this and awakens from the darkness of ignorance. The phrase ‘who awakes’ can be seen also in stanza 6 of Atmopadesa-satakam.
6. valuthum cheruthum nadumadhyavuma-
malamayayilanu mayangi manam
O Awareness, rising steady and waveless as big, small and middling too. Save me from sinking in to Maya’s dross, with delusion and foothold lost.
Chidabaram is the sky in the plane of Aatma. It also means one who permeates the whole world with his Consciousness. Here this word has been used with reference to Chidambaranathan (Siva). God is everything, big and small and all that falls in between. The devotee prays to God to save him from Maya (delusion) that makes his mind impure, and also from the ocean of worldly existence (Samsara-sagaram) created by Maya, in which he goes up and down, aimlessly in the bottomless water of Samsara (repeated births and deaths).
7. arule thirumeniyaninjidumee-
irule veliye idaye pothuve,
porule puri moonnumerichavane.
O Grace, O darkness that adorn the sacred body, O light, O nook and public space.
O core and the essence that dwells within the core. O Burner of the three cities!
In this stanza, God is addressed using various epithets. He is called as: (1) The compassionate one; (2) The one whose body is enveloped in the darkness of Maya; (3) The all pervasive space; (4) One who is in every nook and corner and in public places, i.e. one who permeates the whole world; (5) The Core, and whatever is within the Core; (The Truth that exists in the granite stone/idol).
He is also praised as Tripuranthaka (the destroyer of the three cities), which refer to the three avasthas (states) of (1) Jagrat (waking state) (2) Swapna (the dream state) where the mind is independent of the body and the outer world and (3) Sushupti (deep sleep) where neither the mind nor ego exist, and where there is no awareness of one’s own body and the universe.
Siva is called Tripuranthaka, because he destroyed these three states and dwells in the fourth state called Turiya. Also he helps the devotee to overcome the three states and attain the fourth state.
8. eri kayyathilenthiyirangivarum
purithannilirunnu puram poriche-
O divine one, descending with the fire (of knowledge) holding in the hands. It is marvelous indeed the burning of the three cities, sitting in the city called ‘Chidambaram’.
Fire is symbolic of knowledge. God wields the lamp of Jnana (Awareness). Hence, the use of the words ‘the Divine one, who descends with the fire of knowledge in the hands’, is used to describe Siva in the fourth state Turiya, which is Awareness. This act of Siva, dwelling in the fourth state, after destroying the first three states, is really marvelous!
9. puthumamkani puthamrute, gulame
madhuve, madhurakkaniye, resame,
pathiye, padapankajame gatiye.
O fresh mango bloom, O fresh nectar, O confection sweet, O honey, O luscious fruit, O rich juice. O my master whom Brahma and Vishnu seek. Your lotus foot alone is my final refuge.
Even, in this stanza, the devotee extols God with praise. He addresses Him variedly as: (1) O! Fresh Mango; (2) fresh Ambosia; (3) An Article of sweetness (Jaggary); (4) Nectar (honey); (5) O! luscious fruit; (6) O! the essence of sweet fruits; (7) O! the Master whom Brahma and Vishnu search and seek. Your lotus feet is my final refuge and salvation.
10. gati neeyadiyannu gajatheyuri-
chatukonduda charthiya chinmayame,
chati cheyyumiruttorujati vidu-
You are the only refuge for this supplicant. O Awareness who adorn with stripped elephant’s skin. To get rid of the treacherous ignorance, bless this servant with your Grace.
O! embodiment of Jnana, who wears the cloak of stripped elephant hide, (from the Asura called Gaya, who acquired such supernatural powers that he could conquer the Gods and Munis, who therefore took refuge in Kasi, the abode of Siva. Siva ripped his body and used the skin as a cloak to cover His shoulders). You are the only refuge for this servant. The darkness of ignorance betrays my life, just as the golden deer betrayed Seetadevi. To get rid of this darkness (ignorance) I need Your Grace. To this effect, show me compassion. I am your servant (devotee).
These stotras (hymns in praise of God), are full of tatva (philosophy) and bhakti (devotion). They help the devotee to realize the Truth.What Adi Sankara explains as Drik-drisya-vivekam (Aatma-anaatma vivekam) is explained by Guru in this work in simple but potent words. Vivekam means the ability to distinguish between Drik (one who sees-Chit) and Drisya (what is seen- Jadam). Let Guru, bless us to discriminate between Chit and Jadam, and to embrace Chit and discard Jadam.