Wednesday, August 12, 2009

About 18 Siddhargal

Sri Pathanjali is considered the first siddhar. The information on Pathanjali is available only in Purana's. Pathanjali is considered as a form / incarnation of Adiseshan (the snake associated with Lord Vishnu). Lord Vishnu sleeps over Adiseshan. Once, Lord Vishnu saw the Siva Thandava (the divine dance of Lord Siva) and got extremely happy. Adisheshan could not bear the weight of Lord Vishnu in such a state. So, when Adiseshan informed Lord Vishnu of his difficulty, He was told about the Siva Thandava. Adiseshan also wanted to see the Siva thandava. So he did penance and Lord Siva appeared before him and granted his wish to see the divine dance. Lord Siva told him that he and Viyakramabathar would see his dance in the southern city of Thillai. Thillai is the other name of Chidambaram and it houses the famous Nataraja temple (please refer to the note below for details about the dance of Lord Siva).

Hence, Adisesha came to Thillai in South India and performed poojas for Lord Siva along with Viyakramabathar. Eventually, both of them witnessed the Siva Thandava.

Afterwards, Pathanjali (Adisesha) stayed in Thillai forests for a long time. He wanted to teach his script (Vyagarana Suthiram) to his disciples in the thousand-pillar structure in Thillai. However, Pathanjali was afraid that Himself being the form of Adisesha, his disciples would be burnt when they come near his breath.

Hence, he arranged for a partition between himself and his disciples. He taught his disciples sitting behind the partition. Sixty students (disciples) were learning under him. The students were very much impressed with their master and were anxious to see his face.

Once, a student got very apprehensive and pulled the partition to see the face of the master. All the students were burnt at the same instant. However, one of the students, Kaubathar did not attend the lecture on that day due to an external work. On seeing his fellow students being burnt to ashes, Kaubathar was terrified. Pathanjali changed his form and pacified his student. Pathanjali was very happy that one of his disciples is alive and he taught all the skills to his disciple, Kaubathar. Kaubathar's disciple is Govinda Bhawat Badal, who is also considered as the Guru of Adi Sankaracharya.

There are varied schools of thought that the Pathanjali who wrote “Maha Bashyam” inNorth India is different from the Pathanjali who wrote “Gyana Sutra” in Tamil. As siddhars have been known to live for ages, the period of the life of Pathanjali and the exact duration of his life can not be known. Moreover, there are no definitive texts available about Pathanjali. Both Pathanjali and Viyakramabathar had lived in Tamil Nadu in a period where siddhars had also lived there. Both of them had observed the divine dance of Lord Siva at Thillai in Tamil Nadu. Both of them attained their Samadhi at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu. Hence the argument that Pathanjali could not have written texts in Tamil could not be true.

About Siva Thandava

The dance of bliss, or the Ananda Tandavam of Siva is said to symbolize the five divine acts of creation, sustenance, dissolution, concealment and bestowment of grace. The dance of Shiva has been frozen in metal and held in worships in Nataraja Sabhas, in virtually all of the Saivite temples in Tamilnadu. Five of the foremost Sabhas (Pancha Sabhai) are at Chidmbaram (Kanaka Sabhai the hall of gold), Madurai (Rajata Sabhai the hall of Silver), Tiruvalangadu near Chennai (Ratnasabhai the hall of rubies), Tirunelveli (Tamirasabhai the hall of copper) and Kutralam near Tirunelveli (Chitrasabhai the hall of pictures). Other dance halls of significance are Adri Sabhai (the Himalayas), Aadi Chitsabhai (Tiruvenkaadu near Chidambaram) and Perur Kanakasabhai (Patteeswarar temple at Perur near Coimbatore).

‘Siddhi’ means ‘Perfection’ and those who had attained perfection are known as ‘Siddhars’.Jesus Christ himself says in the Holy Bible;Matthew 5,48:”Be ye perfect therefore as your heavenly Father is perfect.”None excepting the Siddhars of India had attained that state Jesus refers to.And it is the Siddhars of south India who had conquered death by “internal breathing”known as “ull moochi” in Tamil(whereby ‘outside’ air is not necessary for breathing),the art popularly known in the U.S. as “Kriya Yoga” popularised by ‘Yogananda Paramahamsa’ in his book “Autobiography of An Yogi”

Siddhars have clearly studied the science of the breath and have even calculated the number of breaths a person expends in his entire life-term.The normal person takes four seconds for one breath cycle(inhalation and exhalation),so works out to 15 per minute,900 per hour and 21,600 per day.If the cycle was slowed down to a breath for every 2 ½ hours,we’d be able to live for thousands of years like Markandeya,Thirumoolar and Babaji who had all lived for thousands of years in their physical body and are living even now amidst us in their “glorious radiant body”.

The new born baby is perfect for its breath measures 12 inches long(from nose-tip to the crown of the head),but after six months or so,the secret mystical opening between the palate of the mouth and the crown of the head(kanown as ‘unnakku’ or ‘annakku’ in Tamil gets blocked,thus making us lose 4 inches of breath for the 21,600 breaths per day for our entire life-term and this loss increases greatly when we walk,run,sleep and make love.If the secret mystical opening were re-opened,the ‘third-eye’ too(which lies on its axis)would open and man would be the perfect person he really is;Thirumandiram 1780:

“To His west (right-side) He seated me

“Daily meditate on me” – said He,

“That is the but the Truth that lies seated

Between the crown of the head and the palate of

The mouth

This the Word True,

Cherish it as secret divine.”

The Siddhar at first attains the eight great supernatural powers known as ‘Ashtanga siddhis’ in Sanskrit and ‘Attama siddhis’ in Tamil,they are

“anima,mahima,laghima,garima,prapti,prakamya,isatvam,and vasitvam.”

These powers and other ‘minor’ powers are explained in detail in various yogic as well as religious texts;Thirumandiram 668:

To become tiny as the atom within the atom (Anima)

To become big in unshakeable proportions (Mahima)

To become as light as vapour in levitation (Laghima)

To become as heavy as the mountain (Garima)

To enter into other bodies in transmigration (Prapti)

To be in all things, omni-pervasive (Prakamya)

To be lord of all creation in omnipotence (Isatvam)

To be everywhere in omnipresence (Vasitvam)

These eight are the Great Siddhis.”

Siddhars could be broadly based into three categories:

1) First Siddhar ( mudhal Siddhar ‘Moola marabu);

2) Intermediary Siddhars ( idai siddhars ‘Bala marabu’)

3) Final Siddhars ( ‘Kailai marabu’)

Before the act of creation,there was nothing,there was no light,no darkness.From ‘The infinite Light’ emerged the five ‘boothas’,the five elements- space,air,fire,water and earth.From the five elements emerged the seven forms of life.

The cause of this emergence which being the infinite Light is the first Siddhar or perfect being.

The intermediary Siddhars are those that are not born of the womb,but enter into other bodies and for the welfare of the world and various life-forms perform various noble acts.

The final Siddhars are those that are born of the womb and by the strength of the Spirit attain the ‘deathless-state’ (‘Saha kalai’),all the supernatural powers and all the arts and branches of knowledge (’64 kalai jnanam’ or 64 branches of knowledge) without being ‘taught’ by themselves or anybody else(like Mahakavi Kalidasa and St.Arunagirinathar,St.Ramalingam) in his ‘Thiru Arutpa:

The Holy infinite Light full of Grace,

The Holy infinite Light full of Grace,

Most compassionate infinite Light

Full of Grace;

Everything will be revealed to you,

I swear

When you take your breath with all tattvas

In the name of the Almighty

To Chitrambalam.

Chitrambalam’has a very deep hidden meaning,’Chit’ means knowledge and ‘Ambalam’ means space,in the human body that place is in the centre of the forehead, in- between the eyes,otherwise known as the ‘third-eye’,the eye of ‘jnana’,wisdom.When one through yogic means takes the breath through the ‘sushumna nadi’,an astral nerve located at the centre of the spinal column along with all the tattvas,which are the instruments or concepts of for example the five elements in nature whose concepts are correspondingly located in each of the five lower ‘chakras’(subtle energy-centres) to the centre of the forehead,everything is revealed to that person.The person in a flash becomes the source of all knowledge !

‘Akasa’ or space in its gross form is known as ‘bootha akasa’,but the yogi is able to perceive not only the thoughts,but also the intentions and experiences (in their totality) of others by looking at the finer form of space around the person known as the ‘chit akasa’ which is beyond the experiences of the five senses.

There is even a finer aspect of space known as ‘chitta akasa’ which is beyond that of the mind also known as the above mentioned ‘Chitrambalam’.Its form is that of Divine Wisdom,in this state there is no distinction between the seeker and the object.

Man becomes pristinely pure when he sheds off the five ‘malas’ or stains:

So he becomes the perfected person,the Siddhar.They are the ones who attain liberation,they are not bound to any likes or dislikes,so are free from the endless misery that is the cycle of birth and death.They realize the nine states of the Lord,;Thirumandiram 497:

They who get rid of difficult five malas (stains),

They become Siva;

They become blemishless,

They are the Siddhars who

Attain state of Mukti (liberation) Finale,

They uproot Soul’s bondage

End cycle of births,

They alone realize

The nine states of the Lord"

Ancient Siddha Poems From Tamil

Siddhar poems form an important corpus of Tamil poetry of circa 16th Century. Though the Eighteen Siddhars are revered by scholars, their poems did not find an important place among the "interpreters" or "hermeneutists" of the Tamil school of interpretation. For instance, the very popular Thirukkural has found interpreters even in the modern Tamil era, [The late Dr.Mu.Varadharasanar]. But only a very few interpreters have tried their hands at Siddhar poems. The following reasons could be attributed to the lack of interpretation:

1. Siddhar poems were quite off-beat for their time.
2. Siddhar poems were hard to interpret due to their
esoteric quality.
3. Many scholars and interpreters thought these poems
belonged to the schema of mysticism and the occult.
4. These poems apparently contained imagery offending
the conventional reader of poetry.

Siddhar poems are so much entrenched in metaphor and imagery that they often resemble puzzles that have to be unscrambled. These poems question the assumptions and basics of accepted Tamil theology. While polytheism was an unquestioned canon of their time they dared to speak of "One Indivisible God". Siddhars like Siva Vakkiyaar have directly attacked the empty and meaningless rituals practiced by the brahmans of their time. Siva Vakkiyaar's poems bear testimony to this point. Almost all these mystic poets share contempt for the body. But it is not a mere shunning of the body. They seemed to have reached a point of ennui with regard to the desires of the body so that they wanted to shun the "flesh" and the millions of ailments it is heir to. All of them wanted to subjugate the senses.

Winning, a permanent victory over the five senses offers an absolute control of the body leading to the control of the wandering mind. One of them refers to the five senses as "five thieves". Thiruvalluvar who wrote in the Ist Century A.D. has compared the control of the five senses to the action of the tortoise when it protects itself from the enemy. Siddhars looked at life from a different angle of vision. They also despised and scorned the nine portals of the human body. They were existentialists in another sense. They lived a mendicant's life and slept in the temples when they wanted to stretch their body. According to Pattinathar, even a person with a begging bowl and a dog for company is a "family man". They were misunderstood in their own time since they repudiated the materialistic view of life and claimed that there could be only one supreme God. Very little has been on record about their personal life, except for meager details like place of birth and place of death. Some anthologists have pinned down their community. This socio-economic background information has been handy in the understanding of their imagery.
Some of them might have turned misogenics after enjoying the intimacy of quite a number of women. Despite this fact, their addressee is pre-nubile girl who is referred to as Vaalai pen. Some of their poems indicate [Karuvoorar's poems especially] that this Vaalai is girleen who has not attained puberty, but who is tremendously beautiful.

That Thirukkural seems to have had a strong influence on the Siddhars is evident from many cross-references in their poems:

"As the bird flies away from the egg shell
Should be the friendship of the body to being"
[Thirukkural: Section on impermanence]

Thiruvalluvar, the saint-poet with a strong Jainistic streak, explains the relationship of the body to the
soul in the above lines. Or the impermanence of the body is stressed here in the most epigrammatic manner.
In the section devoted to "Penance" Thirukkural writes:

"All the beings of the world will worship the one Who doesn't slay and doesn't eat that is slain".

In another Couplet he writes:

"When words of sweetness exist, uttering the harsh ones Is like snatching the half-ripe ones rejecting ripe fruits".

The echo of these lines can be found in Pattinathar's poems. Pattinathar has also expressed his wish to be a non-violent vegetarian and as abstainer from killing. Thiruvalluvar has devoted a separate chapter on "Abstinence from killing". From Pattinathar's poems one can estimate that he was well grounded in classics like Periya puranam and Siva puranam. History indicates that the Siddhars who lived in South Indiawere 18 in number. If a yogi is to be accepted as a Siddhar he should be able to perform the following feats:

1. Anima or the ability to turn oneself into a atom.
2. Mahima or the ability to transfigure oneself to the
size of a mountain.
3. Lahima or the capability to become as light as air.
4. Karima or the capability to become heavy as gold.
5. Prapthi or the ability to rule over everything.
6. Vasithuvam or the ability to attract everyone.
7. Brakamiyam or the art of transmigration.
8. Eesathuvam or the ability to achieve everything one
wish for and the ability to enjoy it.

These are called as "Eight Great Siddhis" or Ashtamaha siddhi. These mystic poets represent different communities. Siddha Pattinathar was born into a rich family of merchants in the sea-town of Kaveripoompattinam and he himself was a successful merchant before giving up his materialistic way of life. Badhragiriyar who finally became a disciple of Pattinathar was the king of a province in Thanjavur. Idaikkaattu Siddhar was a goat-herd according to the available meagre records of literary history. Thiru molar is said to have come from Varanasi to meet the Saint Agasthiar of the South. During his journey he happened to stop at a place called Tiruvavaduthurai in TamilNadu (one of the states of south India) and felt pity for the cattle that were so much attached to the cattle-herd whose name was
Moolan. Moolan had died of a snake bite and with the help of his inner-vision and power of transmigration; the Siva Yogi shed his physique and entered the dead Moolan's body to console the cattle. After reaching the village where the cattle-herd lived, he left the cattle in the pen and tried to extricate from Moolan's wife who was unaware of the fact that the person who appears as her husband was the Siva Yogi. When he checked for old body he was dismayed because it had disappeared. He accepted everything as the will of God and decided to live in the same village as Moolan and he was later called Thiru Moolar. Another mystic is a Muslim by birth as his name Beer Mohammed suggests. Roma Rishi might have had connections with the
Rome of his time. Some like Paampaati Siddhar wrote treaties on herbal medicine and were capable of small miracles in real life. Boghar is said to have visited the Roman Empire to study the herbs of that country for medical application. Boghar was born into a family of potters in China as the legend goes. Pulasthiar is Sinhala by birth. Idaikaattu Siddhar is said to be the author of Saareeram, a book on medicine. Some consider him as the disciple of Boghar. In the advanced stages of penance, these mystics are said to have lived just on air and dried herbal leaves. Some of them able to suspend their bodility functions temporarily if they had to spend their days in a hostile environment. From rhymed quatrains, rhymed couplets based on Thirukkural, to simple folk songs, Siddhars have used a variety of stanza forms to express their thoughts. Catchy lines from the Siddhars sung by beggars can still be heard in the village streets of TamilNadu. Many readers quote these poems or snatches of lines quite unaware of the source. A handful of these poems have been simplified and adapted a lyrics for Tamil film songs. One can read this anthology of Siddhar Poems just to get the basics of meditation and yogic breathing. Another can refer to it to decipher the formula to concoct traditional siddha medicine. Still others can use this anthology to make a deep study to acquire the methods of conquering the five senses of the body. For a serious reader of poetry it is treasure house that has a richness and freshness of its own. One will be struck by the candidates with which these poems analyse God and the filthiness of the body. A few of the sections written by Vanmeegar and Nandeeswarar prescribe the rules for making offering to a deity.

Sri Agasthiar Siddhar

Siddhar Agasthiar, often referred to as Sage Agasthiar is the most celebrated of the siddhars in Tamil language. Agasthiar wrote 'Agathiyam', the first grammar book of Tamil language. There are numerous legends associated with Agasthiar in Tamil literature. There is a temple and a water-falls dedicated to him near Papanasam, Tamil Nadu. Almost all the information available on the internet is to do with Agasthiar and Tamil language and it is difficult to come across information relating to Agasthiar in the tradition of siddhar school of thought. 'Agasthiar Paribashai Thirattu' and 'Subramaniar Suddha Jnanam 100' are some of his well known books.

  1. Sage Agatthiyar : Foremost of the siddhas - An article by Dr. Mandayam Kumar. Acknowledges Agasthiyar as a siddhar. It also relates Agasthiyar with other siddhars namely Bogar, Sattamuni, Nandeeswarar, Pasupathi, Vyagrapadar, Pathanjali, Pulippani and Pambatti. It is very difficult to come across an article connecting a variety of siddhars, sages and other people. The author says that the article is based on stories, scripts and other epics. The birth of Agasthiyar is given as the Avittam star of Kumba month (quoted from Sattamuni). This is in contrast to the widely accepted table of 18 siddhars, which indicates Aayilyam star in the month of Markazhi. This makes one wonder whether, the Sage Agasthiya widely talked about in Tamil literature and Siddhar Agasthiyar are the one and the same. The one point that is in common with this article and the current siddhar website is that both say, He lived for over a thousand years.
  2. Agasthiar Universal Mission - The ashram is located in Thiruvannamalai, Tamilnadu.

Sri Kamalamuni

The following information is available about Sri Kamalamuni in the book “ Bogar 7000 ” written by siddhar Bogar.

Song 5729: Kamalamuni was born on the Tamil month of Vaikasi (May - June), his birth star being 2nd part of Poosam.

Song 5725: The siddhar named Kamalamuni belongs to Kuravar caste. He lived for six-eight generations.

Song 5841: Kamalamuni is 4000 years and some 300 odd (days) old. He lived in China for a long time.

However, siddhar Karuvoorar in his book “ Vadha Kaviyam ” (Song 584) says “Maamuni” belongs to “ Kannar ” caste. He does not explicitly say “Kamalamuni”, but mentions “Maamuni”. The author of this article does not understand whether Karuvoorar refers to Kamalamuni or not.

Sri Kalangi Nadhar belongs to Kannar caste. Many people believe that Sri Kalangi Nathar is siddhar Kamalamuni. In the 63 rd song of “ Kamalamuni Suthiram 76 ”, a line says that “ Kamalamuni alias Kalangi ”. Hence it can me true that Sri Kalangi Nathar is siddhar Kamalamuni himself.

In “ Bogar Janana Sasthra ”, it is mentioned that Kamalamuni attained samadhi atMadurai . However as per the table of 18 siddhars, it is belived that siddhar Kamalamuni attained samadhi at Thiruvavur.

About Kuravars

Kuravars form the sixth largest Scheduled Caste population both in Tamil Nadu and in Ramanathapuram district. They make certain household items out of bamboos and palm leafs and sells them to earn their living. They hunt birds and rear country pigs (black pigs) both for their consumption and sale. They also hunt cats from the village side for consumption. Some of them work as fortune-tellers. Since they use the trained Kili (parrot) to predict the fortune of the people, they are also known as kili josiyars. However, they do not go to any other castes asking for food. They are also not required to perform any inauspicious tasks and rituals for other Scheduled Castes. This information on Kuravars is taken from the article "Untouchability and Inter-Caste Relations in Rural India: The Case of Southern Tamil Villages" by A. Ramaiah of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Deonar, Mumbai.

Sri Kamalamuni Siddhar

  1. Sri Kamalamuni Siddhar - The information from Bogar 7000 - This note basically quotes songs from "Bogar 7000" and gives details about his birth star, birth place and his age. It also says that he lived in China for a long time.
  2. Shaking the Tree - By Layne Little - In his / her article based on Bhogar 7000, suggests that Kamalamuni is Kalangi Nathar. Quote: 'Kalangi was a poet in his own right, composing the Kalangi Nanavinda Rahasiyam-30, and using his other name Kamalamuni, he composed the Kamalamuni Nanasuttiram-76'. As, Kalangi Nathar is not listed in the first list of 18 siddhars, this might be possible. However,Wayne Little, does not give more information to quantify the above statement in the article.

Sri Thirumoolar Siddhar

Thirumoolar (Tirumoolar) took the body of herdsman 'Moolan' and wrote the famed script 'Tirumandiram'. His mantras are very simple, but convey a deep meaning in them.

  1. Thirumoolar - The most celebrated Tamil Siddhar - Gives a few widely popular axioms of Tamil language. A very good article on Thirumoolar.
  2. Thirumoola Nayanar - An article on Thirumoolar from the point of view of Shivites. Hosted at shaivism.org.

Sri Machamuni Siddhar

In the Encyclopedic dictionary authored by T.V. Sambasivam Pillai (Reference 1), a strange story is told.

Machamuni is a siddhar. He was the child brought up by Pinnakeesar. He is also Pinakeesar's disciple. There is a story that once Lord Siva was preaching Uma Devi. Uma Devi had slept when Lord Siva was preaching her. However, a fish was listening to the lecture. Later on that fish was transformed into Siddhar Machamuni by Lord Siva.”

Although it is a story, it is very interesting indeed.

In the 523rd song of “ Karuvoorar Vadha Kaviyam ”, Karuvoorar says that Machamuni is a Sembadavar (Presently categorized under backward classes by Government of Tamil Nadu in Government Order 36, 1996). Sembadavar's are traditional fisherman. From the name Machamuni, it is easy to say that he is a fisherman (Macham mean fish in Tamil). Siddhar Agasthiar in the 218th song of his book “ Amudha Kalai Ganam ” says that Machamuni belongs to Sembadavar caste.

However, siddhar Bogar in the 5700th song of “ Bogar 7000 ”, says that he belongs to “Kalludayar ” caste (The author of this article is unable to understand the exact meaning of this song). Also in song 5873, he says that Machamuni was born on the Rohini star in the Tamil month of Adi (July-August).

Machamuni in his 97th song of his book “ Machamuni Thandagam 100 ”, mentions the words "Guru Nandhi" and "Guru Bogar", while offering prayers to his guru. Hence, it can be said that Siddhar Bogar and Siddhar Nandeeswarar were his gurus.

Machamuni also mentions about the Siva Thandava witnessed by siddhar Pathanjali in one of his songs. Hence, it can be said that he had lived in the period when siddhar Pathanjali and Sri Viyakrabathar witnessed the Siva Thandava in Thillai (for details about this event, please refer to the information on siddhar Pathanjai in this web site). Thillai is the other name of Chidambaram and is one of the 5 dance halls of Lord Siva.

In the book “ Agasthiar 12000 ”, in the fifth Kandam, siddhar Agasthiar says that Machamuni had taken lessons from Kaga Bugandar. He also says that he donated all his wealth to poor people on attaining spiritual salvation. Machamuni attained samadhi at Thiruparankundram.

Some of the books written by Machamuni are

  • Machamuni Perunool Kaviyam 800
  • Machamuni Sarakku Vaippu 800
  • Machamuni Vagaram 800
  • Machamuni Yogam 800
  • Machamuni Vaithiyam 800
  • Machamuni Thirumandiram 800
  • Machamuni Gyanam 800
  • Machamuni Vedantham 800
  • Machamuni Gurunool 800
  • Machamuni Thitchavidhi 100
  • Machamuni Thandagam 100
  • Machamuni Gyana Thitchai 50
  • Machamuni Sthoola Sukkuma Karana Gyanam 30
  • Machamuni Suthiram 21

References

  1. Encyclopaedic Dictionary (1938) By T.V. Sambasivam Pillai Vol I-V, Published by The Department of Indian Systems of Medicine & Homoeopathy , Arumbakkam, Chennai - 600 016 (Available for sale from Central Library, Anna Hospital Complex, Arumbakkam, Chennai).

Sri Pambatti Siddhar

The most popular and well known of the siddhar’s is "Pambatti Siddhar" (the snake character) who may be taken to be a true representation of his tribe. He takes the snake for a symbol to represent the human Soul and uses the expression : "AODU PAMBE" (De thou, Dance Snake) as a refrain at the end of each stanza of his poem. The poem of this siddhar is in fewer than six hundred lines and deals with philosophic and spiritual matters in the authentic siddhar pattern with great passion. He sings Lord Siva as the Supreme Power of the Universe. There is a poem on his Guru, Who is credited with super natural powers. He then boasts of the similar powers of his tribe in a mood of fantastic self-adulation, where his imagination runs riot. "We can make men women", he says and adds, "We can destroy" this great universe. He asserts that they have power equal to that of God and can control the elements. He is there, merely expatiating on the Ashtama Siddhis, which is believed to confer eight kinds of devises and super natural powers on those who have achieved it. They are

  1. Anima -- Power of becoming the size of an atom and entering the smallest beings.
  2. Mahima -- Power of becoming mighty and co-extensive with the universe.
  3. Lagima -- Capacity to be quite light though big in size.
  4. Garima -- Capacity to weigh heavy, though seemingly small size.
  5. Prapthi -- Capacity to enter all the worlds from Brahma Loga to the neither world.
  6. Prakasysm -- Power of disembodying and entering into other bodies (metempsychosis) and going to heaven and enjoying what everyone aspires for, simply from where he stays.
  7. Isithavam -- Have the creative power of God and control over the Sun, the moon and the elements and
  8. Vasithavam -- Power of control over King and Gods.

Whether any man ever had or can have these powers is an open question.

He then bursts out that they, like Prahima can create new worlds, make him his servants and live in a status of equality with Lord Siva and make Him play with them. Then there is usual tired against this life and its short lived sensual pleasure. The value of reminciation and sacation is also dealt with. He ridicules ideal worship and the Vedas. Agomas and other Scriptures. The cast differences are denounced by him. He has also several stanzas on mystic knowledge of Yoga.

As a poet, he is not contemptible (deserving to be treated with contempt). He has a facility of expression and an imaginative flavour in thought. He holds that those who have no feeling of love in their hearts can never attain salvation. His God vision is pictured in a fine stanza. This poet uses entirely the common speech of the people and has produced powerful effect.

Each one of the stanzas of his work ends in the world "Aodu Pambe". Probably that may be the cause of his name. He seems to belong to Maruthamalai in Kongunadu. It is given in the work above that he got instructions from Sattamuni. As per the lines "Pathir-ar-Sankarankoil Pambatti" found in the old stanza, which is given as source so far, his place of Samadhi has to be taken as Sankarankoil is Tirunelveli District of Tamil Nadu (India).

Scripts taken from:
Chapter Eighteen (Pages 364 & 365) of book entitled "Eighteen Siddhars in History of Siddha Medicine" by Mr. N. Kandasamy Pillai, Former Member, Siddha Science Development Committee and Published by the Government of Tamil Nadu in 1979.

A Precise History of Sri Pambatti Siddhar Samadhi at Sankarankovil

The nobility and sublimity of the Cobra, which symbolically represents the power of Kundalini in human beings, is hailed with mystical flavor in more than a hundred verses by Sri Pambatti siddhar, each ending with the refrain 'Dance Thou Cobra!'.

He is the last among the noted 18 siddhars. He belongs to the Kozhayi family. TheHimalayas are their ancestral land. Essentially the Kozhayi's were cowherds and sheep herds and dependent on the products of cows and sheep. Slowly they moved out of their place and in due course came to South India . Some say that Sri Pambatti Siddhar was born at Thirukkokarnam, near Pudukkottai and some others in the Pandya Kingdom . Mrigasirisham was his birth star in the Tamil month of Karthigai (November-December). He was considered a manifestation of Lord Siva. On being given spiritual initiation by his Guru Sattamuni, as the disciple changed the five elements into a five-headed cobra, he came to be known as "Pambatti siddhar". There are a few who say that he got this name because he lent symbolically in his verses the image of a cobra to the Kundalini power.

Sri Pambatti siddhar attained the eight supernatural powers called 'Ashtamasiddhi' after performing penance for a very long time in a cave on Marudamalai, near Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. Also he lived in places like Mahalingamalai in Vathiraayiruppu, Kollimalai,Madurai , Puliyur and Bhavani.

Sri Sivaprabhakara Siddhayogi Paramahamsar was the worthy disciple of this great siddhar. The former was born in a Namboodiri family of Kaladi, Kerala. As the Guru and his follower remained inseparable, they did atonement for 45 years on the Himalayas and came to Sankarankoil. Sri Pambatti Siddhar established the statue of Goddess Gomathi Amman there. Later, at the south-west corner, about a furlong behind the temple, amidst punnai trees (now door number 15, Puliyankudi Road). Sri Pambatti Siddhar got established in the state of Nirvikalpa Samadhi (also known as Jeeva Samadhi) at the sacred hands of his disciple.

Some books mention that Sri Pambatti siddhar attained samadhi at Virudhachalam and some at Thirukkadaiyur. However, their claims have no established proof. It may be assumed that Sri Pambatti siddhar would have lived in those places and in order to reveal that the disciple could himself assume the frame of his master, might have got established in samadhi in these two places in the guise of Sri Pambatti Siddhar. This might have been possible for him because Sri Prabhakarar got into the bodies of 15 persons at different times by the unique process called 'Metempsychosis' (Transmigration) and proved himself to be the noble student of his aspired preceptor.

It can be authentically proved that Sri Pambatti siddhar got samadhi only at Sankarankoil. Some such proofs are cited below:

1) In his book entitled "History of Siddha Medicine" written in English by Mr. N. Kannuppillai and published by the Government of Tamil Nadu in 1979, under the chapter "Eighteen Siddhars", the author has written on pages 364-366 about Pambatti siddhar and clearly mentioned that he attained samadhi at Sankarankoil.

2) In the hoary palm leaves of Pulithevar entitled " Nerkattum Seval " in the form of a song there are references to the places where the 18 siddhar's had attained samadhi and in it is mentioned that Sri Pambatti siddhar's place of samadhi is at Sankarankoil.

3) Dr. Yogi S. A. A. Ramiah in his book " A Collection of the Verses of the Eighteen Siddhars for Daily Recitatio n" (in Tamil) too makes a similar mention when he records that Sri. Pambatti siddhar in order to attain Svarupa samadhi in Sankarankoil kindled his cobra power of Kundalini.

4) The Gayatri Mantra of Sri Pambatti siddhar is :
"
Om Sankaranaalaya Pathivaazh Sittharaaya
Vechitra Rupaaya Pambatti Sittharaaya Namaha" .
This also makes an identical proclamation.

Thus, beyond doubt, it is established that Sri Pambatti Siddhar's Jeeva Samadhi is only at Sankarankoil and not anywhere else.

The sole disciple of Sri Pambatti Siddhar was Brahmananda Sri Sivaprabhakara Siddhayogi Paramahamsar and that of the latter is Brahmasri Siddharaja Swamiji, who has, at the behest of his Guru, had undertaken the great task of constructing a sacred samadhi Temple for his Guru's Guru. Brahmasri Siddharaja Swamiji had taken up some other truly useful missions to the society. His plan was to construct separate buildings for siddha research centre and for mass feeding, to be housed within the proposed building complex of the siddhar samadhi.

Just in front of the siddhar samadhi lies a big water tank called "Govinda Peri", meant for the annual float festival of the temple. It was in ruins and Brahmasri Siddharaja Swamiji had desilted the tank and renovated its southern and western walls at a cost of about Rs.80,000 and let the people of the area of the town to bathe comfortably in it. Also he had renovated the "Govinda Peri Mutt" and established a "Bhakthi Peeth". He had finished construction of two temples - one dedicated to Lord Ganesh and the other to Lord Balamurugan - and they are meant for public worship.

The Eminence of Sri Pambatti Siddhar's Samadhi

Some special features of Sri Pambati Siddhar's Samadhi are presented here:

1) It is a historically recorded evidence that in order to cure Pulithevar, a daring patriot, of his excruciating stomach pain the then pontiff of Thiruvaduthurai used the ant-hill soil on the Samadhi of Sri Pambatti Siddhar. It readily reveals the curative efficacy of the Samadhi soil. Daily devotes who throng the shrine take the soil to their homes as 'Prasadam'. The Tulsi tank water in the temple cures many diseases and protects devotees from many diseases.

2) There is a grill-structure with 18 lamps, just behind the Siddhar's shrine. The Pranava Mantra "OM" is at its centre. There is a "Trident" at the top of the lamps to refer to the Three Lords, born out of the Pranava Mantra. Each lamp encompassing "OM" stands for a Siddhar.

The prayers of those devotees who keep a small cloth packet containing Sesame seeds in each of these cup like lamps, fill with gingelly oil, light them and pray sincerely are heard and fulfilled at once. This is what devotees who gather at the shrine in multitudes often assert. Brahmasri Siddharaja Swamiji himself once directed some of his devotees to observe this rite in order to rid them of the adverse effects of Mars in the 7th house of their horoscope (Commonly referred as "Sevvai Dhosha" in Tamil Astronomy) or the hostile influence of Raghu, Kethu and Saturn. Those who follow these directions fervently get the following favours:

Those who suffer from

  1. Sevvai Dhosha get a good life partner,
  2. Saturn's retardation get peace of mind,
  3. Issues beget children,
  4. unemployed get suitable jobs, etc.

3) There is a big lamp which is kept burning all the 24 hours of a day at the Sanctum Sanctorium of Sri Pambatti Siddhar. It consumes one litre of gingelly oil per day. Sri Pambatti Siddhar protects the interests of those who keep it burning and workship him earnestly. Daily devotees bring garlands, flowers, camphor, incense sticks, coconuts, bananas and other fruits for the daily adoration of the Parabrahamam Statue established on the Samadhi of Sri Pambatti Siddhar. No doubt they get His blessings in full measure.

4) This is an exquisitely carved four-sided idol. At the top it is a 14-headed cobra spreading its hoods, with figures of Lord Vishnu on the east, Lord Siva and splendid Goddess Gomathi on the south, Lord Muruga on the west and Lord Ganesh on the north. This signifies that the 14-headed Cobra, Sri Pambatti Siddhar, contains the Three Lords in Himself. This also implies that HE is Parabrahman Himself.

5) This Siddhar temple is popularly known by the epithet 'Samadhi of the Munificent Philanthropist' for the obvious reason that large scale mass feeding was frequently conducted here by Sri Siddharaja Swamiji. Currently the mass feedings are organized by the S.P.S.S.P. trust. True to the epithet, on the days of Adi Thapas in the month of July-August, a very extensive mass feeding is performed every year. So far 16 such feedings have been accomplished and over 20,000 people are fed on each occasion.

Sri Pathanjali / Patanjali Siddhar

Siddhar Patanjali is the most celebrated of the siddhars in current Yoga schools. His Yoga Sutras have been translated into different languages and are followed by Yoga practitioners worldwide. There is a lot of information about Patanjali's Yoga Sutras on the internet.

  1. Sri Pathanjali Siddhar - The first of 18 Siddhars - This article details Sri Pathanjali as a form of Sri Adisesha and his association with Viyakramabathar. It also mentions that they witnessed the dance of Lord Siva (Siva Thandava) at Chidambaram (Thillai).
  2. HRIH: Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. International Language - The Internet Archive of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. It is an "all in one" page, with different interpretations translated in different languages. Has an active Buletin board.
  3. YERC: Patanjali - An crisp article on Patanjali. It conforms with the first article that Patanjali wrote 'Maha Bashyam'.
  4. An Interpretive Translation of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras - By Swami Venkatesananda
  5. Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - Translation by Chester Messenger
  6. The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali - Interpreted by William Q. Judge
  7. Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - By Raghagavan Iyer

Sri Sundaranandar Siddhar

Sri Sundaranandar is the disciple of siddhar Sattamuni. It is believed that he got the Siva Linga of siddhar Agastiar, established it in Saduragiri and worshipped it.

Saduragiri Sundara Mahalingam temple comes under the Thaniparai area of Saptur reserve forests in Tamil Nadu. It is located in Watrap, Viruthunagar district. Srivilliputtur is the big city located near Saduragiri. For thousands of years, realized sages and siddhars lived there worshipping the Siva Linga called “ Sundara Mahalingam ”. “Sundaram ” means, the handsome One, “ Maha ” means great and lingam means “ Siva, the Supreme Self ”. This mountain shrine is a considered as a dwelling place of siddhars. This can also be attributed to the numerous medicinal plants available in the SaduragiriMountains . There is also a cave called " Thavasi Parai " in Saduragiri. Sundaranandar and his Guru Sattamuni lived there.

Siddhar Bogar sings about Sundaranandar in songs 5828 and 5829 in his book “ Bogar 7000 ”. He says that Sundarandar was an expert in space travel and samadhi yoga. In songs 5920 and 5921, Bogar gives the following information. Sundaranandar was born on the Tamil month of Aavani (August – September) on the star Revathi (3 rd part). He is the grand son of Navakanda Rishi living in the Kishkinta hills and that he belonged to Agamudayar (Thevar) class.

However, siddhar Karuvoorar in his song 582, says that Sundaranandar belongs to Reddy class. Siddhar Agasthiar in his book “ Amudha Kalai Gyanam ” also says that Sundaranandar is a Reddy in song 218. Sundaranandar attained his samadhi at Madurai .

The following are the books of Sundaranandar.

  • Sundaranandar Vaithiya Thirattu 1500
  • Sundaranandar Vaithya Kaviyam 1000
  • Sundaranandar Merpadi Suthiram 500
  • Sundaranandar Vagaram 200
  • Sundaranandar Aathetha Suthiram 104
  • Sundaranandar Vatha Suthiram 100
  • Sundaranandar Visha Nivarani 100
  • Sundaranandar Vakiya Suthiram 66
  • Sundaranandar Kesari 55
  • Sundaranandar Suttha Gyanam 51
  • Sundaranandar Thitchavithi 50
  • Sundaranandar Thandagam 47
  • Sundaranandar Kesari Poojavithi 37
  • Sundaranandar Athisaya Karanam 36
  • Sundaranandar Sivayoga Gyanam 32
  • Sundaranandar Muppu 25
  • Sundaranandar Sivagyana Botham 16

Sri Sundaranandar Siddhar

Sri Sundaranandar Siddhar - Saduragiri Sundara Mahalingam - This article says that Sundaranandar and his Guru Sattamuni are associated with Saduragiri Sundara Mahalingam. As Sattamuni (10th siddha) is his Guru, it can be implied that the table of 18 siddhars might not be in a strict time frame or that several siddhars co-existed in the same time period. The article also quotes information from "Bogar 7000" .

Sri Vaanmeegar / Valmiki Siddhar

Sri Vaanmeegar's birth star is Anusham in the Tamil month of Purattasi (September-October). There is an argument that the Valmiki who wrote Valmiki Ramayana is different from the siddhar Vaanmeegar of the south. However, siddhar Bogar in his script"Bogar 7000" proclaims that they are one and the same. He says that Vaanmeegar is the name of the siddhar who wrote Valmiki Ramayana in song (verse) number 5834. He makes a clear distinction between the names Vaanmeegar and Valmiki.

Further, in his next song (verse number 5835), Bogar says that Vaanmeegar's age is 700 and some odd days. He also says that he is a learned sholar in Tamil language. He also makes a reference about his Samadhi. This author is not able to understand the exact meaning of the second part of that song.

It is also said that Sri Vaanmeegar alias Valmiki wrote Ramaya on getting the spiritual knowledge from Narada. Sri Vaanmeegar's Samadhi is located at Ettukudi in Tamil Nadu.

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