OmniLight Invocations 365

courtyard
An old photo of Siddhi Valaagam (சித்தி வளாகம்) or “Abode of Adepthood”, Mettukuppam, Vadalur, Tamilnadu, India. It was Ramalingam’s final residence and venue of his last talk in October 1873.

Arutperunjothi Agaval: Couplet: 682

நால்வகை நெறியினு நாட்டுக வெனவே

பால்வகை முழுதும் பணித்தபைம் பொன்னே!

Resplendent

Gold

Treasure,

Which

Directed

Me

To

Govern

Development

In

The

Four

Types

Of

Paths,

And

Empowered

Me

To

Do

So

In

Their

Different

States,

Conditions,

And

Qualities,

OmniLight Of Supreme Compassion!

Notes:

This is a cryptic couplet because of the ambiguity of the terms “நால்வகை” (naalvagai) or “four types” and பால்வகை” (paalvagai) “types of natures” or “types of qualities”.

What do they refer to in the context of this couplet?

The suffix “நெறி” (neri) gives us a clue. It refers to a path, way, and form of discipline of attitude and action. The Tamil spiritual classic Tirumandiram (6th – 10th century CE), which Ramalingam was familiar with, describes the four ways or paths of spiritual discipline:

  1. சன்மார்க்கம் (sanmaargam) or the path of integral knowledge and realization (Jnana) Source: Tirumandiram quatrains 1477 – 1487
  2. சகமார்க்கம் (sagamaargam) or the path of yoga (Raja yoga or Kundalini yoga) Source: Tirumandiram quatrains 1488 – 1494)
  3. சற்புத்திர மார்க்கம் (satputra maargam) or the path of internal devotion (Bhakti) Source: Tirumandiram quatrains 1495 – 1501)
  4. தாச மார்க்கம் (daasa maargam) or the path of external ritual worship and temple service (External worship and service) Source: Tirumandiram quatrains 1502 – 1506

It is noteworthy that the Tirumandiram ranks Sanmaargam or the path of integral knowledge and realization as the highest path.

The distinguishing features of these four paths are also given in other verses.

Tirumandiram: 1449: “சரியாதி நான்குந் தருஞான நான்கும்” (“The four ways or paths starting with sariya and their four forms of spiritual knowledge”).

Tirumandiram 1455:

“பத்தன் கிரியை சரியை பயில்வுற்றுச்

சுத்த அருளால் துரிசற்ற யோகத்தில்

உய்த்த நெறியுற் றுணர்கின்ற ஞானத்தாற்

சித்தங் குருவரு ளாற் சிவமாகுமே”

Translation: “The aspirant who is engaged in the practice of Kiriyai and Sariyai attains Yoga by grace and achieves the transmutation of his consciousness into pure intelligence and goodness (Sivam) by Jnana.”

Thus, Sariyai is constitutive of தாச மார்க்கம் (daasa maargam) or the path of external ritual worship and temple service. Kiriyai is constitutive of சற்புத்திர மார்க்கம் (satputra maargam) or the path of internal devotion. Yoga is constitutive of சகமார்க்கம் (sagamaargam) or the path of Raja yoga or Kundalini yoga. And Jnana is constitutive of சன்மார்க்கம் (sanmaargam) or the path of integral knowledge and realization.

It is noteworthy that Ramalingam advocated the path of Suddha Sanmaargam or the pure path of integral knowledge and unity.

This couplet continues the series of couplets on the maximal excellence of the nature of OmniLight. These couplets also invoke gold and its aspects to convey this maximal excellence of the nature of OmniLight. The imperishable and immaculate nature of the OmniLight Gold is also contrasted with the perishable and imperfect nature of mundane gold.

The Arutperunjothi Agaval is Ramalingam’s magnum opus of spiritual enlightenment poetry composed in 798 couplets in 1872. In later posts, I will offer commentaries on these couplets.