Reality, Brahman,is beyond Attributes.It is beyond description.It transcends Space and Time; beyond Mind; beyond senses; Words fail.It can, at best , be described, but never defined.
IT is an experience and can never be brought under Logic and Reason as these fail in their attempt to decipher IT .How to describe the Indescribable? Avaktavya?
Unless you know what It Is,at least an idea about It,how can you attempt to Realise It? Upanishads attempt by describing It by a method of Negation of known Attributes. ‘Not this,Not This’.That is ,’ It is Neither tall,nor short,nor in between; Neither big, nor small, nor in between; Neither Make,nor Female, nor the Third Gender: Neither the Known,nor the Knower…..’ This is called the ‘ Neti Nyaya’.. Not this, Not This…Process in Tharka,Logic.
However, those who Realised Brahman,have suggested some Attributes for the One that is beyond Attributes.It is an attempt to catch in words the Experience that can not be caught in words.Just as however hard we try to explain what hunger/pain is,when we know we can not really convey what we feel.
One set of Attributes is,
- Chit, Consciousness.
For those who find this too as difficult, It, Brahman, is suggested to be expressed in the form of Light,which in real terms,does not have a beginning and end,nor middle Even this is merely an attempt at describing Brahman. Yet, this simple mode has helped people to meditate and help in Self Realisation.
Then comes the Advice from Vedas. If you find contemplating on Brahman as an abstract principle, have one with Names and Forms. This can be what you like. And meditate upon it. Then you shall evolve spiritually towards Realisation of Brahman per se. This is called Saguna Upasana or Saguna Aradhana. Contemplating on The Brahman as Beyond Attributes is called Nirguna Upasna or Nirguna Aradhana.
In Saguna Upasana, one finds Gods with Names and Forms.Even here these Gods are expressed in the form of Light, Jyothi.
Such a thought is exquisitely conveyed in a Tamil poem by Saint Thirunavukkarasar, also called Appar. Appar in Tamil means father .Appa is a familiar term . Appar is a term of respect. Siva called out to Thirunavukkarasar as ‘Appa’.
The following poem is by Thirunavukkarasar.He is one of the Four foremost Saints who worshipped Siva. The others are,
These four have sung hymns in praise of Siva and the collection is called Thevaram and it forms the core of Saiva worship, along with Thiruvasakam by Manikkavasagar.
Thirunavukkarasar was a Saivite and switched over to Jainism. Distressed at this, his sister, a great devotee of Siva ,prayed Siva that her brother should be back to Shaivism.Siva did so.( I shall write about it later)
After Thirunavukkarasar returned to Shaivism,Jain monks egged the King to torture Thirunavukkarasar. Thirunavukkarasar was tortured, thrown out fro a hill,given poison ,thrown into 🔥.
When he was tortured thus, Thirunavukkarasar sang Ten Hymns,Namasivaya Pathikam,Tem Hymns of Namasivaya.I provide the Tamil text below. This song is to be sung while lighting the Lamp at home.
இல்லக விளக்கது விருள்கெ டுப்பது
சொல்லக விளக்கது சோதி யுள்ளது
பல்லக விளக்கது பலருங் காண்பது
நல்லக விளக்கது நமச்சி வாயவே. Raaga. Gandhara Panchama.
இல்லக = இல்லத்தினுள்
விளக்கது = உள்ள விளக்கானது
விருள்கெ டுப்பது = இருளை கெடுப்பது. அதாவது ஒளி தருவது
சொல்லக = சொல்லினுள் உள்ள
விளக்கது = விளக்கானது
சோதி யுள்ளது = ஜோதி வடிவில் உள்ளது
பல்லக = பலருடைய மனதில் உள்ள
விளக்கது = விளக்கு அது
பலருங் காண்பது = எல்லோரும் காண்பது
நல்லக = நல்லவர்களின் மனதில் உள்ள
விளக்கது = விளக்கு அது
நமச்சி வாயவே = “நமச்சிவாய” என்ற மந்திரம். Thevaram
- Lamp that is at home dispels/destroys darkness;( here it can also mean that this light dispels darkness of the Mind).
- Meaning of words explains/ (Vilakku in Tamil means Lamp as well as Explain) Destroys darkness in the form of Confusion.
- It is the Form of Light.
- It is the Glow of Light,Jyothi.
- It is in evey one’s Mind.
- Seen by everyone.
- It is in the minds of the Righteous.
That Light is Namasivaya.