Thursday, August 21, 2008

auvaiyar - a tamil woman/poet/sage

i enjoyed shooting this picture on the outskirts of dimapur in 2007. i am not sure if it was movies or calenders that made me associate this scene with grace. and today as i sat reading ancient people who were blessed with grace, i studied Auvaiyar.

Auvaiyar is a legendary Tamil women poet/sage who lived during 300-100 B.C.E. her economy of words to communicate profound wisdom is unparalleled. she directed some of her key works at children hoping to instill in them universal values that help in creating a just, peaceful and harmonious life.

aram seyia virumbu - enjoy giving alms
aaruvathu sinam -
bring down anger
iyalvathu karavael - never stop learning
evathu vilakael -don't prevent charity
udaiyathu vilambael - avoid injurious words
ookamathu kaividael - don't give up persevering
en ezhuthu eghalel - don't despise learning
aerpathu eghalel - accepting alms is despicable
iyamittu un - eat after donating
oppura ozhugu - act virtuously
othuvathu ozhiyael - don't give up prayers

auvaiyar had by the practice of meditation, yoga and receiving grace had found answer to the big question, who am I?

"given me miraculous powers
by your sweet grace, and mukti too;
revealed myself to me,
stilled my mind in tranquil calm.

by His grace beatific; He makes me know my Self.
that art non-dual, eternal, real, pure existence,
pure consciousness and everlasting bliss."

(translation is that of Prof. C. R. Krishnamurthi, in Auvaiyar in Tamil Literature through the Ages)

auvaiyar had one observation to make on divisions within humanity. and it may be safe to assume that problems related to caste was prevalent in her times too. the wisdom she shared was:

saadhi erandozhia verillai needhi vazhuva nerimuraiyin maethinil ittar periyor, itathar izhikulathor pattangilulapadi

there are only two castes
higher castes are ones who are compassionate and giving
lower castes are ones who are not compassionate and giving
that is all there is to say from the realm of unerring ethical living

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