Sunday 30 April 2017


2017 0430 18  Thirugnana Sambandar Thevaram: Thodudaiya Seviyan...

Periya Puranam
Information about Thirugnana Sambandar comes mainly from the Periya Puranam, the eleventh-century Tamil book on the Nayanars that forms the last volume of the Tirumurai. The first three volumes of the Tirumurai contain three hundred and eighty-four poems of Sambandar, all that survive out of a reputed more than 10,000 hymns.
According to the texts, Sambandar was born to Sivapada Hrudiyar and his wife Bhagavathiar who lived in Sirkazhi in Tamilnadu. When Sambandar was three years old his parents took him to the Shiva temple where Shiva and his consort Parvati appeared before the child. 
The child pointed to the sky
His father saw drops of milk on the child's mouth and asked who had fed him, whereupon the child pointed to the sky and responded with the song Todudaya Seviyan [at the age of three], the first verse of the Tevaram
At his investiture with the sacred thread, at the age of seven, he is said to have expounded the Vedas with great clarity. Sambandar attained liberation (mukti) at the age of sixteen soon after his marriage.

Click on the Pictures for hearing the [Sambandar Thevaram] hymns:

தோடுடைய செவியன் விடை ஏறி ஓர் தூவெண் மதி சூடி 
காடுடைய சுடலைப் பூசி என் உள்ளம் கவர் கள்வன்  
ஏடுடைய மலரான் முனை நாட் பணிந்து ஏத்த அருள் செய்த 
பீடுடைய பிரமாபுரம் மேவிய பெம்மான் இவன் அன்றே. 

"The God with a ring in His ears appear on the Holy Bull [Creation], He has the moon on his head [Protection], He wears the ash of the burnt bodies in the cremation ground [Destruction], He-the thief- has stolen my heart [Hiding], He blessed the Brahma, who is on the Lotus, when he prayed the God in the past [Blessing], He is that Peruman of the great Piramaapuram". 

Sunday 23 April 2017


2017 0416 17  Thirunavukkarasar [Appar] Thevaram : Where is GOD?

Thirunavukkarasar [திருநாவுக்கரசர், Thirunāvukkaracar, meaning "king of the gift of the tongue"], also known as Appar [அப்பர்], was a seventh-century Śhaiva Tamil poet-saint, one of the most prominent of the sixty-three "Nayanmars" [63 நாயன்மார்]. He was an older contemporary of Thirugnana Sambandar [திருஞானசம்பந்தர்]. His birth-name was Marulneekkiyar [மருள்நீக்கியார்]; he was called Appar by Sambandar.
Sekkizhar relates this incident in his Thiruthondar Puranam [Periya Puranam]: Hearing the repute of the child saint Sambandar, Navukkarasar came to Sirkazhi to pay homage to him. As he went forward, a hand holding the hoe [உழவாரம்], his tool of service, Sambandar worshipfully approached him. Navukkarasar , melting with love, fell at his feet. Taking hold of the hands of him who prostrated, Sambandar paid obeisance to him, hailing him, "APPARE!" [அப்பரே !] "O Father!"  The other in turn replied, "Your humble servant!"

Where is GOD?
Thirunavukkarasar [a] Appar

Like fire in fuel and ghee in milk,
He is hidden, the great gem of effulgence,
On churning, by planting the rod of kinship with Him,
And with the rope of feeling,
He will stand before us.

விறகில் தீயினன்; பாலில் படு நெய் போல், 
மறைய நின்றுளன்; மாமணிச் சோதியான்;
உறவு கோல் நட்டு உணர்வு கயிற்றினால்   
முருக வாங்கிக் கடைய முன் நிற்குமே. 
                  திருநாவுக்கரசர்  [அப்பர்]  தேவாரம் 

YouTube Video: Appar Thevaram: Masil Veenaiyum: [Click Here]

The king put Thirunaavukkarasar in the lime kiln for many days. By the grace of God nothing happened to Thirunaavukkarasar and he came out of the kiln all afresh. At that time he sang this hymn.

The shelter under the parallel feet of the God, my boss, is like the nice melody of Veena, the early evening moon, pleasant breeze, the Spring, a pond where bees are in making sound.

மாசில் வீணையும் மாலை மதியமும் 
வீசு தென்றலும் வீங்கிள வேனிலும் 
மூசு வண்டறை பொய்கையும் போன்றதே 
ஈசன் எந்தை இணையடி நீழலே.

YouTube Video: Appar Thevaram: Madarpirai Kanniyanai: [Click Here]

Thirunaavukkarasar was beyond the desires of wealth and other material pleasures wanted to be at the holy feet of the God permanently. By His grace he got the place under His comforting feet singing this nice hymn. He describes the vision of Kailasa dharshan he had, when he got out of the temple tank in Thiruvaiyaru, in the padhigam starting with 'mAdhar piRaikkaNNiyAnai' 

I enter Kailasam behind many celestials who are carrying flowers and water and singing praises of Siva, who wears a crescent moon as a beautiful head garland, and Parvathi. When I reached thiruvaiyARu without my feet touching the ground, I saw a male elephant coming with his loving young female elephant [like Siva and Parvathi coming together]. I saw Siva's holy feet and many other wonders I have never seen anywhere else!

மாதர் பிறை கண்ணியானை மலையான் மகளொடும் பாடி 
போதொடு நீர் சுமந்தேத்தி புகுவார் அவர் பின் புகுவேன் 
யாதும் சுவடு படாமல் ஐயாறு அடைகின்ற போது 
காதல் மடப் பிடியோடும் களிறு வருவன கண்டேன் 
கண்டேன் அவர் திருப்பாதம் கண்டறியாதன கண்டேன்.

Sunday 16 April 2017


2017 0416 16  Manikkavachakar: Thiruvachakam

A peek into Thiruvachakam, a collection of spiritual verses on devotion to Shiva from the saint Manikkavachakar in Tamil language.

Do not sip honey from a small flower of the size of a millet seed.

Whenever we think of Him, behold or speak of Him,

Honey of bliss overflows forever, dissolving us, melting our very bones.

To Him, the (Cosmic) Dancer, go and breath His praise, you humming bee.  [T10.3]

தினைத்தனை உள்ளது ஓர் பூவினில் தேன் உண்ணாதே 
நினைத்தொறும் காண்தொறும் பேசும்தொறும் எப்போதும் 
அனைத்து எலும்பு உள் நெக ஆனந்தத்  தேன் சொரியும் 
குனிப்பு உடையானுக்கே  சென்று ஊதாய் கோத்தும்பீ !  [தி 10.3]

This  beautiful verse directs the humming bee wandering in small pleasures, jiva [individual soul] to yearn for Shiva, the Supreme soul and abode of boundless joy.

It is from Thiruvachakam, a collection of 656 deeply spiritual verses that poured out from the heart of saint poet Manikkavachakar in Tamil language.  

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In the seventh to ninth centuries AD there appeared in South India an upsurge of devotional fervour that completely transformed the religious inclinations and practices of the region. The movement’s leaders were the various saints who toured the countryside singing songs in praise of their personal God. The language of these songs was deliberately simple, for they were intended to be sung by ordinary devotees, either alone or in groups.

This was the first of the great bhakti movements that were to invigorate the Hindu tradition throughout India in the succeeding centuries. It was so successful in transforming the hearts and minds of the South Indian population, one commentator has gone so far as to say that these poet-saints ‘sang Buddhism and Jainism out of South India’. 

The Saiva revival of this era owed much to four poet-saints who are often collectively referred to as ‘the Four’ (Naalvar). Appar, the first to emerge, flourished in the seventh century. Thirujnanasambandhar, the next to appear, was a younger contemporary of his. They were followed by Sundaramurthi in the 8th century and Manikkavachagar, whom most people believe lived in the 9th century. 

The spontaneous songs of these early Saiva saints were eventually collected and recorded in a series of books called the Tirumurais. The first seven (there are twelve in all) are devoted exclusively to the songs of Tirujnanasambandhar, Appar, and Sundaramurti, which are known as the Tevarams, while the eighth contains Manikkavachagar’s Thiruvachakam and Thirukkovaiyar. These twelve Thirumurais, along with the later Meykanda Sastras, became the canonical works of the southern Saiva branch of Hinduism. This system of beliefs and practices is still the most prevalent form of religion in Tamil Nadu. 

Manikkavachagar’s fame and reputation as being one of the foremost Tamil saints and poets rest almost exclusively on the eminence of the Thiruvachakam.  

The Thiruvachakam is a very personal document, for it reveals far more about its author and his varying states of mind than the Thevarams do. It is also more philosophical. 

Thiruvachakam is, and has been for more than a thousand years, one of the most well known and best-loved works of Tamil devotional literature. It is so highly regarded that extracts from it are chanted every day in many South Indian homes and temples. 

The meaning of its sweet verses is beyond intellectual knowledge. Thiruvachakam is a sea of divine honey expressing the God-experience that puts an end to the birth-misery of getting caught in the womb.

Sivaprakasa Swamigal summed up the feelings of those who had been stirred by this work when he wrote: If Thiruvachakam is recited but once, there are none whatsoever whose hearts will not melt and flow, whose eyes will not fill up with tears, who will not tremble and quiver, the hair of their body standing on end, and who will not become His devotees!

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Once Vaadavurar came to the Thiruperundurai temple, had darshan of the Lord in it, and while going round the temple, saw a Siddha Purusha [Lord Shiva in disguise]. He was thrilled at the sight, fell down at the feet of the Guru like an uprooted tree and prayed that he, a humble being, should be accepted as a disciple. 

Having come down solely to bestow grace on him, Iswara, by his look, immediately gave him jnana upadesa [initiation into true knowledge]. That upadesa took deep roots in his heart, and gave him indescribable happiness. Vadavurar started singing many devotional songs in praise of the Guru, which were like gems. Iswara was pleased, and addressed him as ‘Manikkavachakar’ [meaning ‘one whose speech is gems’]. 

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Thiruvaachakam opens with SHIVA PURANAM -- an Invocation to Lord Shiva:

நமச்சிவாய வாஅழ்க நாதன் தாள் வாழ்க
இமைப்பொழுதும் என் நெஞ்சில் நீங்காதான் தாள் வாழ்க
கோகழி ஆண்ட குருமணிதன் தாள் வாழ்க
ஆகமம் ஆகிநின்று அண்ணிப்பான் தாள் வாழ்க
ஏகன் அநேகன் இறைவன் அடிவாழ்க 5
Hail, the five letters! Hail, foot of the Lord !

Hail, foot of Him Who not for an instant quits my heart !
Hail, foot of the Guru-pearl that rules in GOgari !
Hail, foot of Him Who becomes, abides, draws near as the Agamam !
Hail, foot of Him, the One, the Not-One, and the King ! (5)

வேகம் கெடுத்தாண்ட வேந்தன் அடிவெல்க
பிறப்பறுக்கும் பிஞ்ஞகன்தன் பெய்கழல்கள் வெல்க
புறந்தார்க்குச் சேயோன் தன் பூங்கழல்கள் வெல்க
கரங்குவிவார் உள்மகிழும் கோன்கழல்கள் வெல்க
சிரம்குவிவார் ஓங்குவிக்கும் சீரோன் கழல் வெல்க 10

Victory to the foot of the King, who soothed my soul's unrest and made me His !
Victory to the jewelled foot of Pinnagan, who severs continuity of birth !
Victory to the flower-foot of Him Who is far from those without !
Victory to the anklets of the King, rejoicing 'mid those that fold adoring hands !
Victory to the anklets of the glorious One, who uplifts those that bow the head ! (10)

For the full text of Shivapuranam with meaning and chanting: [Click Here]


Sunday 9 April 2017


2017 0409 15  Homeopathy:  Dr Samuel Hahnemann M.D. [1755-1843]

What I learnt from the life of Dr Samuel Hahnemann:

Dr Samuel Hahnemann
At the end of the last post, appeared the following paragraph: "Ironically, the same doubts and reservations Dr. Kent first entertained, still arise today in the minds of many. What is homeopathy?  How does it work?  Is it really a science?  Can those little sugar pills be effective or is improvement merely a 'placebo' [a non-medicinal substance, given as a pacifier] effect?" 

For the answers, we have to study deeply Dr Richard Haehl's "Hahnemann, His Life and Work", the most authentic reference on the life and work of Samuel Hahnemann [1755-1843], the founder-father of Homeopathy. 

I was fortunate enough to get a copy of this great book from my homeopathic collegue Sivasuriyanarayana [Suri] of CECRI who presented it to me. I studied it many times over with undiminishing enthusiasm. What I share with you now are only excerpts from that masterpiece of Dr Richard Haehl, M.D.



Regarding the boyhood of Samuel Hahneman we have to rely almost entirely on his own record, Hahnemann's Autobiography:

"I was born on April 10th [around 12 midnight], 1755, in Saxony, one of the most beautiful parts of Germany. This may have contributed largely to my veneration of the beauties of Nature... My father was a painter for the porcelain factory of that town. He had found for himself the soundest conceptions of that which is good and can be called worthy of man. These ideas he implanted in me. 'To act and to live without  pretence or show," was his most noteworthy precept, which impressed me more by example than by his words. He was frequently present though unobserved, where something good was to be accomplished. Should I not follow him?"

"I spent several years in the Town school of Meissen, and when about sixteen years of age, I attended the Prince's School of that town. The Rector of Prince's School, Magister Muller, loved me as if I were his own child. I had free access to his room at any time of the day...All my fellow-pupils loved me. Here I made it my duty to grasp what I was reading rather than read too much, to read little but correctly and to classify it in my mind the portion already read before continuing."

"At Easter, in the year 1775, I was given leave to go to Leipsic with 20 thalers for my support, the last money that I received from my father. I studied privately all the time, reading always the best that was procurable and only as much as I could assimilate. On August 10th, 1779, I defended my dissertation and thereupon received my degree of Doctor of Medicine. The study of chemistry occupied my hours of leisure. ..I had no lack of friends or opportunities to learn." 

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At 24 years of age, Samuel Hahnemann, Doctor of Medicine, began to practice the art of healing. His researches in Chemistry drew his attention to the Frenchman Demachy. Hahnemann translated Demachy's work, 'The wholesale manufacture of Chemicals', into German, not merely mechanically, but inserting numerous footnotes, supplements, independent references, etc. so that a review of the translation said:

"If ever a work was worth translating, it is certainly the present one, which fortunately fell into the hands of one who has made it more complete. Demarchy's orginal French work has always been appreciated by all readers who knew this language. Dr Hahnemann has rendered it into German, making many detailed additions which are partly corrections, and partly amplifications... We have now therefore reasons to assert that there does not exist a better work to on the manufacture of chemical products than the present one." [This book was published in 1785.]

Hahnemann had shown in his treatment of Demarchy's work, his complete mastery of French. What surprises us even more is Hahnemann's exceptional booklore and keen independent sense of observation. Without specialized tuition in chemistry or practical work in a chemical laboratory, this self-taught student of chemistry is often able to correct and supplement the Parisian scientist.

In addition, we find many practical suggestions on technical matters, even instructions to copperplate engravers, builders and potters. Where Demarchy simply suggests without giving details, names or particulars, Hahnemann completes the reference to the smallest detail. 


During the years 1785-1789 Hahneman published more than 2200 printed pages, including translations, original works and essays. He further worked strenuously at his own medical profession. We marvel at the unusual capacity  for work, at the energy, the industry and zeal with which the man of thirty  to thirty four years accomplished this task.

Hahnemann recognized the insufficiency of medical science and the therapeutic methods of those days, which he denounced with undaunted energy and eloquence of speech like the old prophets. In his work on "Arsenic Poisoning" he gives vent to his convictions in a ruthless manner.

The most important part of this essay of Hahnemann is "the forensic detection" of arsenic poisoning. This sphere of legal chemistry received a new stimulus through Hahnemann's researches, and a remarkable progress in its development was due to him. Hahnemann recommended three more tests for arsenic in addition to those already known. 

Hahnemann demanded the prohibition of the sale of arsenic, which at that time was largely sold by various tradesmen under the description of "fever powders." He made detailed suggestions for the prescribing of poisons in general, which were carried out later on and are still accurately followed up to the present time.

He classified the large number of recommended remedies for poisoning by arsenic; he grouped together the best remedies resulting from his personal physiological experiments, and gave accurate directions for their use... he was able to enumerate no less than 389 different authors and works, covering different languages and several centuries, and in 861 passages and quoted exactly the page and volume -- a further proof of his marvellous book lore!

He gave up his medical practice in 1792. His growing family had to be supported almost entirely by his literary work which comprised of chiefly translations of chemical and medical works. Hahnemann, however, carried on the fight against blood-letting, purging and aperients with growing zeal and the greatest intrepedity.  


In translating Cullen's "Materia Medica" -- this must be clearly indicated as the zenith of the Leipsic period -- was established the first milestone on the road of development of a new method of treatment, of which Dr Hahnemann was the originator. [1792]

In the question of the medicinal effect of Peruvian bark, Cullen defended the old opinion of the efficacy of this remedy through its "tonic effect on the stomach." Hahnemann attacked this opinion vigorously in his notes [Vol II p.108]: 

"The undiscovered principle of the effect of the bark is probably not very easy to find. I took for several days, as an experiment, four drams of good china twice daily. All symptoms which are typical of intermittent fever made their appearance. This paroxism lasted from two to three hours every time and recurred when I repeated the dose and not otherwise. I discontinued the medicine and I was once more in good health." 

Hahnemann spoke out clearly:

"Peruvian [Cinchona] bark, which is used as a remedy for intermittent fever, acts because it can produce symptoms similar to those of intermittent fever in healthy people."

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Hahnemann, the physician, recognized more and more the complete insufficiency and unreliability of the science of treatment of his day; he expresses this conviction repeatedly and unhesistatingly and especially attacks the evil of blood-letting. Therefore, he withdrew more and more from medical practice, which gave him no internal satisfaction.

He sought after further knowledge, and thus penetrated deeper into the science of chemistry -- that helpful adjunct to medicine. In 1793, at the Crell's Annals, he was mentioned as a 'famous analytical chemist."  The practical physician became a translator and author. 

As such, his fame augmented; he became known and acknowledged in ever wider circles, for he did not merely translate, but added original information each time, by personally working through the material. 

That led him to testing the effects of remedies on himself, and thereby to the first idea of his subsequent law of similars.  Hahnemann founded a group of collaborators for proving drugs. One among these, Franz Hartmann gives us a picture as vivid as it is charming.

"Provings were carried out according to an exact system and from detailed instructions. The observation of the results were entered up in a carefully prescribed manner. The power of a medicine was only established after comparisions of different participants.

Under Hahnemann's guidance, I have proved many a remedy, together with others like Gross, Hornburg, Franz, etc. From his instructive suggestions, I obtained then for the first time clear sensations, which I could again express very accurately.  Had I learned nothing more than this from him, I should feel compelled to be eternally grateful."

Hahnemann's fame was widespread and he achieved cures bordering on the incredible, which gave more and more reason for his fame. These successful cures helped to bring Hahnemann's new system of therapeutics into vogue and make it known.

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[Readers should also note that Dr Hahnemann brought out the first edition of his magnum opus THE ORGANON only in 1810 after 18 years of research and experience, from 1792, the year of Peruvian bark experiement, and THE CHRONIC DISEASES only in 1828, after 18 more years of research and practical experience!]

Thus 1792 is the year of birth of Homeopathy. Homeopathy is "a perfectly simple system of medicine, remaining always fixed in its principle as in its practice." And it is scientific. It follows the Natural Law of Similars [Similia Similibus.]  It is a "medicine of experience". Anybody can test its efficacy, anytime, anywhere in the world.


Sunday 2 April 2017


2017 0402 14  Dr James Tyler Kent M.D. [1849-1916]


Dr J T Kent [1849-1916]
"What are you going to post, coming Sunday and the next?" asked my wife. "31st March is Dr Kent's birthday and 10th April is Dr Hahnemann's. Hence, I am going to write about what I have learnt from the lives of  Dr James Tyler Kent and Dr Samuel Hahnemann," said I.

Just as the life and teachings of Jesus Christ needed the Apostles to explain and expound, the Organon and the Materia Medica of Dr Hahnemann needed great disciples like Boenninghausen, Hering, Lippe, Dunham, Kent, Roberts, and others. Among these great men, Kent stands supreme.

James Tyler Kent was born in Woodhull, New York, on 31 March 1849 [six years after the death of Hahnemann] and lived for 67 years. After completing two undergraduate degrees by the age of 21, Kent undertook two postgraduate courses at the Eclectic Medical Institute of Cincinnati, Ohio. At 26 years of age, he set up practice as an eclectic physician in St Louis, Missouri and soon became a distinguished member of the Eclectic National Medical Association.

In 1878, Kent’s wife, Lucy, became critically ill. By then, Dr Kent was a highly qualified and experienced physician and Professor of Anatomy at the American College of Saint Louis. He was helplessly watching the health of his adored wife progressively deteriorate. Despite the medication of his most competent colleagues, asthenia (lack of bodily strength), persistent insomnia and anemia kept Mrs. Kent, bedridden for months on end. Her condition became more and more perilous until, reluctantly, Dr. Kent acceded to his wife's request to consult Dr. Phelan, a highly recommended homeopath.

Dr Phelan examined the patient and then proceeded to question her about the manifestation of her malady. He also made penetrating inquiries as to her mental and emotional state, her reactions to cold, to heat, as well as the impact of climatic and seasonal conditions. After careful consideration of all the information, Dr Phelan put a few little globules into a glass of water, gave the patient one teaspoonful and instructed that dose be repeated every two hours till she fell asleep.

Thereupon Dr Kent decided that the homeopath must be a simpleton, firstly for asking such absurd questions that seemed to him to be entirely unrelated to his wife's illness, and secondly for suggesting that his little globules would succeed in easing her to sleep where strong drugs had failed. However, not wishing to upset his wife, but without conviction, he administered the next dose. 

Then Dr Kent went to his room to prepare for his lectures and was totally immersed in it. When he remembered and re-entered his wife's room for the third dose, he was astounded to see her sleeping peacefully and profoundly. Little by little, the patient responded to the daily ministrations of Dr Phelan and within weeks, had completely recovered. Dr Kent was so impressed by what had been accomplished by homeopathic treatment, that he zealously took up the study of homeopathy and thereafter devoted his life to that science. 

Under Phelan's guidance Kent studied Dr Hahnemann's Organon, and Materia Medica Pura for nights on end. He left the membership of National Society of Eclectic Medicine and completely changed over to Homoeopathy. He considered Homoeopathy to be the only therapy that was guided by laws and principles and the only one to address the fundamental cause of illness.

This skeptical husband* became one of the foremost homeopaths and made great contributions to the realm of medical science including the great classical works known and used throughout the world: Lectures of Homoeopathic Philosophy, Homoeopathic Materia Medica, Repertory of the Homoeopathic Materia Medica, and many others.


Repertory of the Homoeopathic Materia Medica (1897) Forms the basis of many of the more recent repertories.

What the Doctor Needs to Know in Order to Make a Successful Prescription (1900)

Lectures on Homoeopathic Philosophy (1900)

Lectures on Homoeopathic Materia Medica (1904). Drawn from his lectures on remedies from Hering’s Guiding

Symptoms of our Materia Medica.

New Remedies, Clinical Cases, Lesser Writings, Aphorisms and Precepts (1926).

High potency prescription (200C and above for chronic cases)

Provings of drugs like Alumina, Aurum ars, Aurum iod, Calcarea silicata, etc.


"To learn the Materia Medica, one must master Hahnemann's Organon, after which the symptomatology and the Organon go 'hand in hand'. The Organon, the symptomatology, and a full repertoy must be constant reference books, if careful homeopathic prescribing is to be attained and maintained." [from Kent's Preface to his Lectures on Materia Medica] 

*Ironically, the same doubts and reservations Dr Kent first entertained, still arise today in the minds of many. What is homeopathy? How does it work? Is it really a science? Can those little sugar pills be effective or is improvement merely a placebo effect?

Read this revealing article: Homeopathy - Beyond Mystique by Sandord Lapedis