Tuesday, April 10, 2012

He was generally considered to be an iconoclast because he vehemently decried temple worship. He did so no doubt, but he said still more vehemently that man should make his heart the temple of God. He had scant respect for rituals which in popular belief had become a substitute for love and service to God and to fellow beings. He was a vehement opponent of caste. Almost all the siddhas believed in the oneness of all creation and they preached a philosophy of love and service and of an inward contemplation. Sivavakkiyar is a shining example of this faith. Some of his verses have the force of a sabre thrust.

Sivavakkiyar explains the transformation of the physical body into a divine body on the analogy of a worm turning itself into a butterfly. Let us state briefly the various stages involved in kaya sadhana. Sthula sarira is the unripe, ordinary, physical body not disciplined by yoga. It is a "deceptive threshold", and one has to "open" it , i.e., go beyond it to achieve kaya siddhi. Sivavakkiyar says that people should protect, immortalize, and preserve the body through the method of yoga just as they would protect a beautiful lady of the house73. When the sthula sarira is disciplined by yoga it becomes ripe or pakva.

Sivavakkiyar is fond of using the expression threshold, i.e., " vasal " in Tamil and he calls the human body as a threshold where God resides. The concept " threshold " is a mystical one and the body is one such mystical threshold, the other threshold being the guru.

In Siddha literature the threshold is a mystical thing. It is a boundary between two worlds, the ordinary, profane world and the sacred world beyond. It is a point where we pass from one mode of being to another, from one level of consciousness to another. The term " vasal " used by the Tamil Siddhas stand for the moment when we ourselves open up to new depths of our being. They say that one need not go to
places of pilgrimage or study sastras when the threshold is in oneself. The idea of the body as a microcosm of Reality received a spiritual, mystical denotation in the Tamil Siddhas as against the purely physical denotation of it in the other traditions. The inter- relations of man's body and the universe (that is Reality) have to be realized by spiritual endeavour. Kaya sadhana is such an endeavour.

Another important aspect of the Siddha view of the human body is nyasa, which consists of feeling the God or powers representing the Gods in different parts of the body.