Another verse on the sadāśiva residing at cidambara


Only the first word (எல்லையற்ற/ ऎल्लैयऱ्ऱ /ellaiyaṟṟa) of the below verse was reverberating in my mind. But even as I decided to go to the gym nearby and work out, the first word would not leave the consciousness.

எல்லையற்ற மறைக்கொப்ப நுண்ணிய இனிமிகு துறைனூலதன்

சொல்லைகுற்ற மென்பார் விழியாகும் ஒருவழியார்க்கன்பர்

இல்லைசுற்ற மொருவன் மூவராகுமெழில்மிடறன் முச்சிக்குளிர

தில்லைசிற்ற அம்பலத்தில் எண்தோளர்க்கெண்தோழர் செய்வாரே

ऎल्लैयऱ्ऱ मऱैक्कॊप्प नुण्णिय इऩिमिगु तुऱैऩूलदऩ्
चॊल्लैकुऱ्ऱ मॆऩ्पार् विऴियागुम् ऒरुवऴियार्क्कऩ्बर्
इल्लैचुऱ्ऱ मॊरुवऩ् मूवरागुमॆऴिल्मिडऱऩ् मुच्चिक्कुळिर
तिल्लैचिऱ्ऱ अम्बलत्तिल् ऎण्तोळर्क्कॆण्तोऴर् चॆय्वारे

ellaiyaṟṟa maṟaikkoppa nuṇṇiya iṉimigu tuṟaiṉūladaṉ
collaikuṟṟa meṉpār viḻiyāgum oruvaḻiyārkkaṉbar
illaicuṟṟa moruvaṉ mūvarāgumeḻilmiḍaṟaṉ muccikkuḷira
tillaiciṟṟa ambalattil eṇtōḷarkkeṇtōḻar ceyvārē

Whole English translation:

He who calls flawed the word of the books of the subtle, very sweet path, [the books]  which equal the limitless veda; he is not a devotee of one who, guiding on a path, becomes, [as if], an eye /

[There is only] one kinsman, one bandhu. In the cidambara temple at tillai, the eight companions of the eight-shouldered one caused the top-knot of the one, of a beautiful neck, who becomes the triad, to cool [with abhiṣeka]!! //


More detailed meaning:

எல்லையற்ற/ellaiyaṟṟa: Without limit/end, limitless/endless

மறைக்கொப்ப/maṟaikkoppa: equaling the veda.

Note: In the śruti, it is said, “anantā vai vedāḥ” (taittirīya brāhmaṇa Such limitless/endless veda; equaling that (in greatness)


இனிமிகு/iṉimigu-very sweet/very good

துறைனூலதன்/tuṟaiṉūlataṉ-Of those books of the tuṟai (tuṟai here is referring to śivadharma/siddhānta; the books of the tuṟai are the books of the siddhānta path: the siddhānta āgama-s)

Note: The word துறை/tuṟai in tamiḻ can be used used in the sense of dharma. In periyapurāṇam, when describing the purpose of the birth of the child-saint jñānasambandha, it is said: வேத நெறி தழைத்தோங்க மிகு சைவத்துறை விளங்க. துறை/tuṟai here means “ford”; as in, a point at which a river or stream can be crossed or used for taking a bath, etc. Here, jñānasambandha’s advent is said to have been for the purpose of the flourishing of the veda dharma and the shining of the śaiva “tuṟai”, that is śivadharma, the way of the siddhānta. Additionally, do note that the ford imagery to describe śaivam (siddhānta) goes well with the characterization of the five streams (pañcasrotāṃsi), of which the siddhānta is one and is, obviously, deemed by the saiddhāntika-s as the ūrdhvasrotas (the upper stream-i.e. the highest).

tuṟaiṉūl: The book/books of the tuṟai. What are the texts of the siddhānta? The siddhānta āgama-s, of course. The āgama-s equal to the limitless veda.

tuṟaiṉūladaṉ-of those texts of the tuṟai; of those siddhānta āgama-s

சொல்லைகுற்ற மென்பார்/ collaikuṟṟa meṉpār: Those who call as flawed the word/words [of the aforementioned texts, the siddhānta āgama-s]

விழியாகும் ஒருவழியார்க்கன்பர் இல்லை / viḻiyāgum oruvaḻiyārkkaṉbar illai: he (the aforementioned person reviling the āgama-s) is not a devotee [or rather, not fit to be a devotee] of one who, guiding on a path, becomes, [as if], an eye.

Note: Who is the one who guides on a path and becomes, as if, an eye to the person being guided? The ācārya, of course; he who guides a soul to śiva. வழியார்vaḻiyār here means the one on/of the path. வழிvaḻi means way/path. There is a deeper meaning behind the use of two adjectives to describe a single person (the ācārya), and that too, similar sounding words: vaḻi (path) and viḻi (eye), which will become apparent towards the end of this article.

சுற்ற மொருவன் / cuṟṟa moruvaṉ:  One is the kinsman/bandhu.

Note: This refers, of course, to sadāśiva, who is with an ātma for all time, while the soul’s form (it takes when incarnating), his parents, his friends, his place of birth, his characteristics, etc are changing. The permanency of the relationship between sadāśiva and the ātma  is indicated here.

மூவராகுமெழில்மிடறன் / mūvarāgumeḻilmiḍaṟaṉ: He, of the beautiful neck, who becomes the triad

Note: The term has to be split as மூவராகும் / mūvarāgum  + எழில்மிடறன் / eḻilmiḍaṟaṉ. mūvar means triad here. mūvarāgum means “becomes the triad”. eḻilmiḍaṟaṉ means “he of the beautiful neck” (மிடறு / miḍaṟu means neck)

முச்சிக்குளிர/muccikkuḷira: [cause] the top-knot of [the one, of the beautiful neck, who became the triad] to cool

This has to be read together with the previous phrase.

தில்லைசிற்ற அம்பலத்தில் / tillaiciṟṟa ambalattil: In tillai, in the cidambara [temple]

எண்தோளர்க்கெண்தோழர் செய்வாரே / eṇtōḷarkkeṇtōḻar ceyvārē: The eight companions of the eight-shouldered one will do.

Note: What will they do? They will cause the supreme sadāśiva to cool, from head to foot; all the way from the top-knot on his head. The last word, செய்வாரே / ceyvārē must be read together with முச்சிக்குளிர/muccikkuḷira. So, rearranging, the verbal phrase is as follows:

முச்சிக்குளிர செய்வாரே / muccikkuḷira ceyvārē : They will cause his top-knot to cool [by performing abhiṣeka with water and other unguents].

Why is the deity described as eight-shouldered here? The term for his being eight-shouldered comes right from the devāram, where the hallowed tamiḻ poets describe him as eight-shouldered. The simplest explanation is that the supreme deity, sadāśiva has five heads, with four heads facing in the four cardinal directions while the fifth is on top of the four heads, facing upwards. The two shoulders for each of the four cardinal faces add up to eight.

Thus ends the literal translation. A hidden meaning has been left behind for those interested in reading this article till the end.


Now, the obvious question is that who are these eight companions, who perform abhiṣeka to sadāśiva, residing in that pristine temple of cidambara?

See, there was an inextinguishable urging inside me for the past several days to write a verse in tamiḻ on the eight vidyeśvara-s. “How can their names be found in a text written partially in Old Javanese (related to the Malay of my own homeland, siṁhapurī) but not be found in a single tamiḻ work of note, especially when drāviḍadeśa is the only place where the siddhānta tradition really thrives?” See here for a note on the presence of saiddhāntika tradition as far as Java. It seemed rather blameworthy and I sought to rectify what I perceived as a deficiency.

These are the aṣṭavidyeśvarāḥ and this is a fixed order of their hierarchical ranks, with ananta being the highest of all the 8 vidyeśvara-s and second to sadāśiva only, and śikhaṇḍin being the last of all the vidyeśvara-s.

1. ananta (infinite, endless, limitless)

2. sūkṣma (subtle)

3. śivatama/śivottama (most gracious/most auspicious)

4. ekanetra (Literally, one-eyed, but netra also means leader

5. ekarudra (one rudra)

6. trimūrti (three forms)

7. śrīkaṇṭha (beautiful/radiant neck)

8. śikhaṇḍin (one with a śikhā)

These eight effulgent and exalted beings, though not directly named in the above verse, have been subtly indicated, without doing violence to the hierarchical order. See:

எல்லையற்ற / ellaiyaṟṟa (limitless): ananta

நுண்ணிய / nuṇṇiya (subtle): sūkṣma

இனிமிகு / iṉimigu (very sweet/good/kind/pleasant): shivatama/shivottama

விழியாகும் ஒரு வழியார்க்கு / viḻiyāgum oru vaḻiyārkku (The guide on the path who becomes an eye): ekanetra (netra means both eye and leader. The word “oru”, meaning one, is to emphasize the “eka” in ekanetra)

சுற்ற மொருவன் / cuṟṟa moruvaṉ (the kinsman is one): ekarudra. This is in reference to the story from the śatapatha brāhmaṇa from the veda where prajāpati was abandoned by the deva-s, and only rudra  in the form of manyu remained within him and manifested as hundred-headed, thousand-eyed form. The singular term “oruvan” here is to emphasize the “eka” in ekarudra, as “oru” did for ekanetra.

Note: Today, I was struck by an alternative for சுற்ற / cuṟṟa. The word கொற்றன் / koṟṟaṉ meaning victor. In that case, the reading will be கொற்ற னொருவன்.

மூவராகும் / mūvarāgum (he who becomes the three): trimūrti

எழில்மிடறன் /  eḻilmiḍaṟaṉ (he of the beautiful neck): śrīkaṇṭha who is of the beautiful neck.

முச்சி / mucci (top-knot/ śikhā): śikhaṇḍin who sports a śikhā.

Thus, all eight vidyeśvara-s have been indicated indirectly. Towards the completion of the verse, I had an imaginative vision in my mind, where the eight vidyeśvara-s are performing abhiṣeka to the deity of cidambara.









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