Posted in Ashtadasa Rahasyam, Navarathinamaalai, Pillai Lokacharya

Navarathinamaalai – Introduction

Navarathinamalai is one of the eighteen works of Swami Pillai Lokacharya’s Ashtadasa Rahasya (18 Rahasyams). This work describes how we have to change our perceptions towards nine aspects of our life to achieve spiritual enlightenment. These instructions are offered to us in the form of nine gems and hence the work bears the name ‘Nava Rathina Maalai’.

These nine aspects are: (i) Self, (ii) Physical Body, (iii) Relatives, (iv) Pleasure Seekers, (v) Demi-Gods, (vi) Srivaishnavites, (vii) One’s immediate preceptor; Acharyan, (viii) The Divine Mother, Piratti and (ix) The Supreme Lord.

Accordingly,

  1. The self is to be perceived as different from its physical form. The self is atomic, an embodiment of knowledge and happiness, should forever be thinking about the Almighty and should realise its subservience to the Supreme.
  2. The physical body is to be construed as a tangible obstruction to realising the true nature of the self. It is imperative to understand the physical body as a bundle of 24 tattvas, that it is of temporal nature, is immutable and is the seed for all unhappiness.
  3. The relatives are to be perceived as those who inhibit us from indulging in spiritual education and acquiring true knowledge. They are also to be construed as people who harbour egotism (ahankaaram) and self-interest (mamakaaram) in us.
  4. The samsaaris or the pleasure seekers are to be construed as hurdles that prevent us from enjoying divine bliss and performing service unto the Supreme Lord.
  5. The demigods or the dhevathaanthraas are those who, irrespective of occuping exalted offices (and being subjected to egotism and self-interest), are totally dependent on the Supreme for their existence. It is for us to understand that they themselves indulge in acts of wrongdoing every now and then and hence, are not worthy of propitiation.
  6. The srivaishnavites are those who have received the grace of the Supreme Lord. We should associate ourselves with them for, in addition to encouraging devotion to the Supreme (bhagavad bhakti), their association is our ultimate end (praapyathukku ellai nilam).
  7. Achaaryan, our immediate preceptor, is the one who rectified and corrected us and placed us in the right path. He moulded us to become objects of the Almighty’s grace, and, out of his concern for our upliftment, disseminated true knowledge to us. He is therefore to be perceived with great gratitude –mahopakaaram.
  8. The Divine Mother, Piratti, condones our sins and blunders thereby making the independence (swaathanthriyam) of the Lord subtler when it comes to our deliverance. By precipitating the auspicious qualities of the Lord, she plays the mediatrix (purushakaara boothai) between us and the Supreme Lord in procuring us salvation. She is an epitome of mercy and someone unto whom we should perform service (kainkaryam).
  9. Emperumaan, the Supreme Lord, gave us the physical and sense organs at the time of creation. He always thinks of our welfare and by occupying the innermost place of our hearts, drives, encourages and leads our march towards His ultimate abode. He condones our blunders and relieves us eternally from the life of nescience (samsaaram) by leading us through the archiraadhi nerve. He blesses us with the opportunity to enjoy his auspicious attributes (gunaanubhavam) and grants us eternal service (nitya kainkaryam).

In the forthcoming posts, we will look at each of these nine aspects in detail.

Article Credits: This article is suitably edited and reproduced with thanks to Sri. Vanamamalai Padmanabhan swami.

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