Siddhar Bhogar - "Set yourself on fire... "

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Atmavidhya Atmavidhya
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Siddhar Bhogar - "Set yourself on fire... "

Om Sri Gurubyo Namaha ! Om Hreem Sri Matre Namaha !

I have always wondered and been amazed at esoteric traditions of Siddhars in attaining the ultimate union with the absolute. The Siddhars (in both Tamilnadu and rest of Bharata varsha even including Nepal, Ceylon, Afghanistan, Tibet, China etc.) were strong proponents of liberation through means of meditation, pranayama and alchemy of the body and the mind.

In general, not much is known about the Siddhars and their elaborate mystical writings are shrouded in the secrecy of poetry and divine outpourings of bliss. What really differentiated them and to some extent marginalized the study of their extensive literature is where they differed with the established Vedic authorities of the day on the practical approaches of the spiritual sadhana.

The Siddhars were proponents of an intensely practical approach to spiritual realization and as such did not really care much about established norms of the society. Another reason is their writings are in local languages like Tamil, rural dialects of Hindi (like the Natha tradition of Siddhars), Tibetan (the Lamas) etc. This prompted their  isolation as well and limited the knowledge locally. Western oriental scholars (Indologists) have focused on Sanskrit based works exclusively for the last 200+ years and are just beginning to dive into the Siddhars tradition. Without a doubt, the siddhar tradition did originate in the vedic rishis, but overtime became more localized to that region. In the lineage of 18 siddhars we find many important names such as Nandi devar, Agasthyar, Patanjali, Kalangi Nathar (Kamala Muni), Tirumoolar, Bhogar, Machamuni (Matsyendranath), Korrakkar (Goraknath), and several other greats.

In my view, Siddhars valued direct experience (AparokshAnubuthi) of the divine, and did not rely much on the established vedic tenets. They did follow an established Guru-Sishya parampara that really loved to experiment and document the most productive methods for sadhana. So in effect they really built a tried and tested playbook that is available for all sincere seekers to benefit from. They have left behind treasure troves of writings, hymns and songs in Tamil and other languages documenting their mystical experiences.

Pardon me for the long preamble. I am coming to the point now. To my general knowledge (limited of course), I had always understood that Siddhars were staunch Siva bhaktas or Shaivites. Some recent casual research led me to the writings of Siddhars Tirumoolar and Bhogar. I was amazed to find mention of both Sri Bala and Pancadashakshari mantras were widely known among Siddhars and they were Shaktas who realized the path to Shiva was through Parashakti.

I found a small treasure of translation of the first 80 verses of Siddhar Bhogar's Sapta Kandam (7000 verses) from Tamil into English by Dr Layne Little, a professor at UC Berkeley. This work is an amalgam of Kundalini meditation, pranayama, alchemy and herbal medicines for various diseases.

I want to draw your attention to verses 64 and 65  which talk about the Pancadashakshari mantra and its effects. I am providing the Tamil transliteration and also the authors' commentary. Also provided is a link to the original work by Dr. Little. Its definitely worth a full read where Kundalini meditation is explained in-depth.

Verse 64
Having said this,
Ajna will manifest.
In this chakra
relish Manomani
as she is spelled out
before you.
Listen to the mantra
I tell you secretly...
The uniting...
Ka Ea Ee La Hreem
and in the middle...
Ha Sa Ka La Hreem
and then...
Sa Ka La Hreem
These are the three parts
of the Panchadaasakshaari
the fifteen letters.
Spell them out carefully...
And set yourself
on fire!

Verse 65
Being set aflame...
If you see the Mother's feet,
all of your devilish delusions
will be destroyed.
Being fixed...
Eight will be added to four,
and all the siddhi's
of Sound's End
will manifest
in an instant.
Being locked...
You can enter the body
of your loved one.
You can cross the Hair Bridge
over the River of Fire.
Being lengthened...
You come to know that
which needs no support,
and the symbol
becomes clearly defined in thought.

Commentary of the Author

In the sixty-fourth verse, a numerically significant point in Bhogar's work, the 8 constituents & the 8 shaktis intermingle to produce the 64 components that make up the universe, (all that can be "known").
Here Bhogar reveals the Panchadaasakshaari Mantra (lit. "the 15 syllable mantra). This is the Mother's secret mantra, a closely guarded secret of amongst Brahmins even today. This mantra is so highly esteemed among them that they will even interweave its syllables with the ancient Gayatri of the Rig Veda.
Bhogar gives this fifteen syllable mantra garland of Manomani to his readers not without some reservation. If you count the number of syllables he relates, the number comes up fourteen. He has intentionally left one crucial syllable out of the verse. The equation is incomplete. Rendered useless by the omission of a single character. Were it complete, it would put one in direct contact with the goddess Manomani, the Kundalini personified. It forms the very heart of this body of verse addressing the mysteries of Kundalini. (this explains the utter secrecy of the Srividhya mantras in those days).

In the sixty-fifth verse, "Eight will be added unto four..." i.e. the eight siddhis will be applied to the four elements that compose earthly matter.
"You can enter the body of your loved one." means that you can project awareness into organic matter, see the world through others eyes, savour union with all beings, and leap the boundaries of flesh and form.

"You can cross the hair bridge
over the River of Fire."

This line gives us one of Bhogar's more vivid allegorical images: of the trepidatious crossing over from the realm of matter into the realm of spirit. The hair bridge is the Chitrini Nadi, the innermost thread of Shashumna. The River of Fire is the Kundalini Shakti.

"...and the symbol
becomes clearly defined in thought."

Having a concentrated mind, fixed on the symbol, is a crucial part of Bhogar's system. The symbolism is indispensable. One must have a reference point in order to direct the movement of awareness and an object with which to engage the mind.
Bhogar's system gives three primary tools to awaken and direct the Kundalini Shakti:

1) Pranayama
2) Mantra
3) Symbols for visualization

Throughout this work he has given a rough draft of the sequence of their application, trouble shoots some of the dangers to be encountered, and offers his own unique kind of fatherly advice on how one lives with Yogic insight.

Kundalini Yoga, Spiritual Alchemy, & the Mysteries of the Breath
in Bhogar's 7000

English Rendering by Layne Little
Nkumar Nkumar
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Re: Siddhar Bhogar - "Set yourself on fire... "


Thanks for the valuable post.