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Njanappana – The Fountain of Wisdom [Part 3]

You can read the Part 1 of this series here and Part 2 here. Part 3 of this series follows:

ചുഴന്നീടുന്ന സംസാരചക്രത്തി
ലുഴന്നീടും നമുക്കറിഞ്ഞീടുവാൻ
അറിവുള്ള മഹത്തുക്കളുണ്ടൊരു
പരമാർത്ഥമരുൾചെയ്തിരിക്കുന്നു
ഏളുതായിട്ടു മുക്തി ലഭിക്കുവാൻ
ചെവി തന്നിതു കേൾപ്പിനെല്ലാവരും

നമ്മെയൊക്കെയും ബന്ധിച്ച സാധനം
കർമ്മമെന്നറിയേണ്ടതു മുമ്പിനാൽ

മുന്നമിക്കണ്ടവിശ്വമശേഷവും
ഒന്നായുള്ളൊരു ജ്യോതിസ്സ്വരൂപമായ്
ഒന്നും ചെന്നങ്ങു തന്നോടു പറ്റാതെ
ഒന്നിനും ചെന്നു താനും വലയാതെ
ഒന്നൊന്നായി നിനയ്ക്കും ജനങ്ങൾക്കു
ഒന്നുകൊണ്ടറിവാകുന്ന വസ്തുവായ്‌
ഒന്നിലുമറിയാത്ത ജനങ്ങൾക്കു
ഒന്നു കൊണ്ടും തിരിയാത്ത വസ്തുവായ്‌
ഒന്നുപോലെയൊന്നില്ലാതെയുള്ളതി
ന്നൊന്നായുള്ളോരു ജീവ സ്വരൂപമായ്‌
ഒന്നിലുമൊരു ബന്ധമില്ലാതെയായ്‌
നിന്നവൻ തന്നെ വിശ്വം ചമച്ചുപോൽ
മൂന്നുമൊന്നിലടങ്ങുന്നു പിന്നെയും
ഒന്നുമില്ല പോൽ വിശ്വമന്നേരത്ത്

Transliteration from Malayalam to English

Chuzhannitunna samsaara chakratthil
Uzhannitum namukkarinjeetuvaan
Arivulla mahatthukkal undoru
Paramaartham arul cheythirikkunnu
Eluthaayittu mukthi labhippaanaay
Chevi thannithu kelppin ellaavarum

Nammeyokkeyum bandhicha saadahanam
Karmam ennariyendathu mumbinaal

Munnam ikkanda viswam aseshavum
Onnaayulloru jyothi swaroopamaay
Onnum chennangu thannodu pattaathe
Onnilum chennu thaanum valayaathe
Onnonnaayi ninakkum janangalkku
Onnukondariyaavunna vasthuvaay
Onnilum urakkaattha janagalku
Onnu kondum thiriyaatha vasthuvaay
Onnu pole onnillaathe ullathil
Onnaayulloru jeeva swaroopamaay
Ninnavan thanne viswam chamachu pol,
Moonnum onnil adangunnu pinneyum
Onnu kondu chamachoru viswatthi

Meaning in English

Going through this cycle of life, death and re-births (samsaara),
To teach us who get caught in it and who would be set free,
The great, realized souls,
Have showered us with that ultimate truth,
To attain moksha / liberation with ease,
All you have to do is to please listen (to the truth that was realized by the sages)

Know that the thing that keep us all tied to this world (keeps us in the cycle of life, death and rebirth),
Is our past Karmas, know that first.

Every part of this world that we knew already (now and in past lives),
Turns into One ethereal light during a massive flood / dissolution (“munnam” refers to pralaya, which is dissolution of the world),
With that (the One) being attached to nothing,
Or letting anything to get attached to it (but simply remaining as a witness),

Those who try to figure that out one by one,
It is perceived as the One thing through which everything is known,
And for those who are fickle minded and with a mind which is out of their control,
It cannot be comprehended by any means.

Every being looks the same, but also different from each other,
But they all have the same spirit / jeeva swaroopam,
And it looks like it was all created by God,
Again with all three worlds as it’s parts.

Comments

After talking about the transient nature of human life and  the existence of various Shastras, Poonthanam now talks about samsaara chakra – the cycle of birth, death and re-births and how we, human beings, are moving up and down through this never ending cycle, not being able to attain salvation. We wander through various realms – as human beings, as animals, trees or other beings, until we realize our true self and be free from this samsaara chakra and finally reach our source – the union with the divine.

Being born as a human being and to pursue spiritual path itself is considered one of the luckiest things to happen in this vicious cycle of samsara. Yet, most of us are not blessed to pursue that path. The poet says that it is ok if one cannot follow the spiritual path, there are still many ways to attain salvation, which is the ultimate aim of life. He says, the great saints and gurus of the past, who have realized the ultimate truth have spoken a lot about various ways to attain moksha. All we, the ordinary folks, have to do is to “listen”! The poet says, “ചെവി തന്നിതു കേൾപ്പിനെല്ലാവരും” [Chevi thannithu kelppin ellaavarum] – and he implies that, God has given you human life and ears to listen (sravanendriyam), so please listen to what “arivulla mahatthukkal” – the learned, sel-realized sages – have to say!

According to Sage Narada, there are 9 different paths of Bakti – Sravanam (listening), Keerthanam (singing), Vishnu smaranam (constant contemplation on God), Paada sevanam (serving the lotus feet of God), Archanam (salutation), Vandanam (worship), Daasyam (servitude), Sakhyam (friendship) and Aatma Nivedanam (self surrender). Sravanam (listening) and Keerthanam (singing) are the foremost of these nine paths. Hence, being born as a human being who can listen and sing, according to Bhakta Kavi Poonthanam, is one of rarest and luckiest things to happen in this cycle of birth, death and re-incarnations. He is telling us that, the easiest way to realize our truth and to attain moksha (“ഏളുതായിട്ടു മുക്തി ലഭിക്കുവാൻ” [Eluthaayittu mukthi labhippaanaay]) is to listen to what the learned sages who have already realized the truth has to tell us. They say, bhakti or devotion alone is the easiest and the supreme path through which God reveals Himself in this Kali yuga. Chant His auspicious names (naama sankeerthanam / naama japam) and like Krishna says, “Just fix your mind upon Me and engage all your intelligence in Me. Thus you will live in Me always, without a doubt.”

Poonthanam too says in the previous lines:

“ഗുരുനാഥൻ തുണ ചെയ്ക സന്തദം
തിരുനാമങ്ങൾ നാവിന്മേൽ എപ്പോഴും
പിരിയാതെയിരിക്കണം നമ്മുടെ
നര ജന്മം സഫലമാക്കീടുവാൻ”

[Gurunaadhan thuna chaika santhatham
thirunaamangal naavinmel eppozhum
Piriyaatheyirikkanam nammude
nara janmam saphalamaakkiduvaan]

May the guru bless us to have the holy names of God on the tip of our tongue forever, and to chant those auspicious names always, so as to make this human life meaningful and to fulfill the purpose of life.

However, the poet says, we must know first of all that, the only thing that ties us to this samsara chakra is Karma. Be it good Karma or bad, both of them bind us to this never ending cycle of samsara. Only when we realize our truth, we can attain salvation.

It is our ego, the misidentification of “I”, that makes us to do either good Karmas or the bad. One of the famous examples is of the rope and snake. The realization that, it is the illusion, maya, that makes a rope looks like a snake is real knowledge – jnana. Similarly, we must know who we really are in order to be free of any bondage.

The poet emphasises that the law of Karma is inescapable. It is impartial, simple and straightforward. How can we be then free from all our Karma phalams (the results of good or bad karma)? Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita:

tasmād asaktaḥ satataḿ
kāryaḿ karma samācara
asakto hy ācaran karma
param āpnoti pūruṣaḥ

Therefore, only those who act without being attached to the fruits of his action, but as a matter of performing his duty, can attain the Supreme. (Gita 3.19)

Only when we do our duties without any attachment to it’s results, but merely as a means to perform our prescribed duties, we shall be free from our Karmas and bondage.

The poet goes on to say;

“Munnam ikkanda viswam aseshavum
Onnaayulloru jyothi swaroopamaay…”

this whole world would gradually dissolves into one “Jyothi swaroopam” (an ethereal light, God, the One) during flood (munnam in this verse is referred to as flood). This ethereal light that alone remains at the end, merely being a witness to everything, neither getting attached to anything nor letting anything else to attach themselves to it…

To all those self realized masters, the jnanis, this whole existence appears as One, whereas, to those people with restless mind and have no control over their mind, none of these make any sense at all. This experience becomes completely incomprehensible to such fickle minded people, says the poet. And he says, even though everything in this universe looks completely different outwardly, it is the same Oneness – that Jyothi Swaroopam, the spirit – that illuminates through every living being. Yet, that which illuminates everything in this universe as One, the One through which everything else is known, contains all the three worlds (Moonnum onnil adangunnu pinneyum). “Three” here could mean, three worlds, or the trinities, or the three gunas (Sattva, Rajas, Tamas).

The poet tells us that, when everything finally dissolves into One, all our individual souls are immersed into that Jyothi Swaroopam, the Parama Chaithanyam – God – which has no beginning or ending. We would be reborn again, according to our own Karmas into various beings. Poet is also telling us that, whatever we do, none of our karmas affect that Jyothi Swaroopam – it is untouched by our individual actions. It means, the God is never affected by our own actions, He is untouched and unaffected by whatever is happening in this world. He always remain a witness which has neither any beginning or ending.

“All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything.” – Swami Vivekananda

to be continued…

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