Archive for February 12th, 2021

February 12, 2021

OmniLight Invocations 365

Hermit Crab

Arutperunjothi Agaval: Couplet: 387

ஏங்கா துயிர்த்திர ளெங்கெங் கிருந்தன

ஆங்காங் களித்தரு ளருட்பெருஞ் ஜோதி

Living beings

Lacking voice,

Subsisting in silence,

Sustain them in their spaces,

OmniLight of Supreme Compassion!

Note: Extant commentaries conflate the word “ஏங்கல்” (ayngal) in this couplet and “ஏக்கம்” (aykkam). The word “ஏக்கம்” (aykkam) refers to craving or longing. If this sense is used, then the expression “ஏங்காது” would mean “without craving or longing”. It results in a strange and stretched account of this couplet. Hence, we ought to stick to Ramalingam’s actual use of the word “ஏங்கல்” and identify its correct meaning in this couplet.

The Tamil word “ஏங்கல்” (ayngal) means “shout, clamor, sound, scream or vocalize like a peacock“. Therefore, the expression “ஏங்காது” (ayngaadhu) at the start of this couplet refers to living beings without the ability of voice or vocalization. They subsist without producing noise from their mouths, in silence.

In these couplets, it is evident that Ramalingam has gone way beyond ordinary human compassion as we understand it and attained the transcendent compassionate intelligence (ஒப்பற்ற பெருந் தயவுடைய பேரறிவு) he mentioned in his last talk (பேருபதேசம் – Perupadesam) in late 1873.

The Arutperunjothi Agaval is Ramalingam’s magnum opus of enlightenment poetry composed in 798 couplets in 1872. The meditative recitation of these prayers helps to develop compassion for living beings.

In later posts, I will offer commentaries on these verses.