The Great Life Without Death (2)

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Lord Siva as “Kalantaka” (The Terminator of Time and  Death) dancing on Yama (God of Death), Gangaikonda Cholapuram Temple (Tamilnadu, South India, 11th century C.E.)

Embodied immortality is the consummation of enlightenment on the path of Suddha Sanmargam.

In Suddha Sanmargam, ARUTPERUMJOTHI is contemplated and worshipped as the being which confers embodied immortality on those who have attained unitive experience and realization of it. Many verses and statements by Ramalingam affirm this truth.

There is a Hindu legend about a boy named “Markandeya” who was destined to die at age 16. At the end of his fifteenth year, overcome by the dread of death, Markandeya sought refuge in the deity Siva and worshipped the Siva Linga, the aniconic symbol of the deity.

At the appointed time, the messengers of Yama (the god of death who is depicted in the Hindu traditions as riding a water buffalo) came to sever the soul of Markendeya from his body, but were unable to accomplish this task because the youth was ceaselessly chanting Siva’s name.

Lord Yama himself appeared before Markandeya and commanded the boy to cease his worship of Siva and to follow him to the abode of the dead. Markandeya refused and devotedly hugged the Siva Linga. Yama, in his arrogance, threw his noose of death over Markandeya and the Siva Linga with the intent of dragging both to the world of the dead.

At this juncture, Lord Siva  saved his devotee Markandeya by kicking and killing Yama, the god of death. He conferred on Markandeya the boon of immortality and of remaining forever a sixteen year old boy. Hence, in this manifestation, Siva is described as “Kalantaka”, the destroyer of death and time.  This manifestation of Siva in the form of “Kalantaka” is depicted in some South Indian Siva temples, notably the temples at Chidambaram and Thirukadaiyur, Tamilnadu.

Raja Ravi Varma’s (1848 – 1906) depiction of Kalantaka

In an incomparably higher way, ARUTPERUMJOTHI, the mother of all “Kalantakas”,  and the One in whose presence all the godheads and the domains they command are mere straws, liberates those who have given their all, or surrendered body, mind, and soul, from the clutches of death and confers on them the benediction of blissful embodied immortality.

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