Monday, 12 July 2021

Freedom, surrender and clinging fast to ‘I am’

This brief article is adapted from a reply I wrote to a friend today.

As you say, our life (in the sense of our outward life as a person in this world) is preordained, so it is not in our hands, but though we are not free to change what has been allotted to us to experience, we are free to want to change it and to try to change it, but using our freedom in such a way is obviously futile and just immerses us further in saṁsāra, the great ocean of incessant activity. The only wise way to use our freedom is to turn within to cling firmly to ‘I am’, thereby surrendering ourself completely to him.

If it is Bhagavan’s will I would love to return to Tiruvannamalai and spend the rest of my life there, but if or when that will ever happen is entirely in his hands. Somehow it seems to be unlikely, because he has been keeping me away for so many years now, but who knows what he may want to happen in future? All we can ask of him is to give us ever-increasing love to turn within and hold firmly to his feet, which are always shining in our heart as ‘I am’, as he himself sings in verse 7 of Śrī Aruṇācala Navamaṇimālai:

அண்ணா மலையா யடியேனை
      யாண்ட வன்றே யாவியுடற்
கொண்டா யெனக்கோர் குறையுண்டோ
      குறையுங் குணமு நீயல்லா
லெண்ணே னிவற்றை யென்னுயிரே
      யெண்ண மெதுவோ வதுசெய்வாய்
கண்ணே யுன்றன் கழலிணையிற்
      காதற் பெருக்கே தருவாயே.

aṇṇā malaiyā yaḍiyēṉai
      yāṇda vaṉḏṟē yāviyuḍaṯ
koṇḍā yeṉakkōr kuṟaiyuṇḍō
      kuṟaiyuṅ guṇamu nīyallā
leṇṇē ṉivaṯṟai yeṉṉuyirē
      yeṇṇa meduvō vaduseyvāy
kaṇṇē yuṉḏṟaṉ kaṙaliṇaiyiṟ
      kādaṯ perukkē taruvāyē
.

பதச்சேதம்: அண்ணாமலையாய் அடியேனை ஆண்ட அன்றே ஆவி உடல் கொண்டாய். எனக்கு ஓர் குறை உண்டோ? குறையும் குணமும் நீ அல்லால் எண்ணேன் இவற்றை. என் உயிரே, எண்ணம் எதுவோ அது செய்வாய்; கண்ணே, உன்றன் கழல் இணையில் காதல் பெருக்கே தருவாயே.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): aṇṇāmalaiyāy aḍiyēṉai āṇda aṉḏṟē āvi uḍal koṇḍāy. eṉakku ōr kuṟai uṇḍō? kuṟaiyum guṇamum nī allāl eṇṇēṉ ivaṯṟai. eṉ uyirē, eṇṇam eduvō adu seyvāy; kaṇṇē, uṉḏṟaṉ kaṙal iṇaiyil kādal perukkē taruvāyē.

English translation: Annamalai, the very day you took charge of me, a slave, you took possession of soul and body. Is there any deficiency for me? Defects and qualities, except you, I do not think of them. My life, whatever be thought, do that; eye, just give only a flood of love for your pair of feet.

Explanatory paraphrase: Annamalai, the very day you took charge of me, [your] slave [servant or devotee], you took possession of [my] soul and body. [Therefore] is there [now] any kuṟai [imperfection, defect, deficiency, need, want, dissatisfaction or grievance] for me? [Since] kuṟai [imperfections, flaws, faults, defects, impurities or vices] and guṇam [good qualities or virtues] [cannot exist independent of you or as other than you], I do not think of them but only of you. My uyir [life or soul, implying my real nature], whatever be [your] thought [intention or wish], do that; [my] kaṇ [eye, implying both my beloved (the one who is more dear to me than my own eyes) and my own real awareness (which is what is always shining in my heart as ‘I am’)], just give [me] only a flood [overflow, fullness, abundance, surge or increasing intensity] of love for your pair of feet.

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