Today everyone is of the opinion that Penance or Meditation means something that is done by sitting at a place with our eyes closed and imagining some forms or chanting some auspicious names or mantras of the lord or closing our eyes and observing our breath. But these were not penance. The above said techniques at the max will allow once to attain a state or give spiritual maturity to do penance and that’s it. Worse if someone does meditation with the closed eyes then he will be trapped in illusion or Maya.
So the first step for everyone to understand is Meditation or Penance should never be done with closed eyes. Penance is the one which should be done with our eyes open.
If one does any spiritual practice with his eyes closed then only Maya or illusion will be working there. That is why our saint vallalar has asked us to be “Awake”. In Tamil Awake is called as “Villithiru” which implies two things. One is having our eyes opened and other is being aware. Penance has to be done with awareness and also with our eyes open. Eyes can be fully opened or half-opened but never closed.
Among us we have a strong opinion that when our eyes are opened we will see the outside world but when we close our eyes and do mediation we see the supreme lord within us. Thinking that opening of our eyes as the external eye and closing of our eye is the internal eye is the biggest ignorance that we have imagined ourselves.
It is again an illusion thinking that when we close our eye there is calmness which will lead us inside.
Think this way, closing of our eyes is darkness and opening of our eyes is light. Telling in other way closing of our eyes is like New Moon Day and opening of our eyes is Full Moon. In order to indicate this only it is recommended in our country to visit holy place and holy mountains during Full Moon Day. In India we find so many people going around holy mountains and also Jeeva Samadhis of saints during Full Moon Day.
When we close our mind and imagine something then it is possible to see any forms that we visualize. This is again illusion and not true divine experience. Any vision that is got with open eyes when we are fully awake and alert is the true divine experience.
When one person dies we call that the person has closed his eyes isn’t? Even in this world to do any work we need to open our eyes isn’t and this is true even in our spiritual practice.
It is also said during the auspicious day of Shiva Ratiri (Auspicious night of lord siva) if one does not sleep or keep his eyes opened and worship the lord then he will attain the abode of lord. This is to emphasis the importance of being awake and keeping of our eyes opened for any spiritual practice. Our saint have conveyed this information through the way of devotion.
In Bhagavat Gita also Lord Krishna recommends one to do penance with eyes opened only. Great Saint Thirumoolar in his works says “Blind Person Leading Blind men will fall together in the pit of death”. Here he clearly talks about person who teaches peoples incorrect way of doing meditation (doing meditation with closed eye) and the followers of that person finally dying instead of overcoming death.
Now it was seen that Penance has to be done with open eyes! Now let us see how to do penance. Here also the great saint Thiurmoolar in his works ThiruManthiram writes as
“Breaking through the lamp and lighting the light in the lamp
Raising/Simulating the light inside the lamp
And who realizes about the light within the lamp, for them
Union with the Lotus feet of the Lord of the light of the lamp will be possible” – ThiruMantiram Song 2186
This is the great words which clearly explains how one should do Penance and what is the role of Guru in it. The light that was lit was done by a sarguru. Let us see the meaning of the above great song.
What is meant by breaking through the lamp and lighting the light in the lamp? To understand this let us see what does Lamp denotes. In human body Eyes were the lamp. Remember the great words in Bible by Jesus “Eyes were the lamp of one body”.
Lighting the light of the lamp indicates – at present we do not have the capability to look inside us, so one has to lit the divine light of the lamp to look inside us. How do you lit a lamp? Through other lamp that is already lit right? So a qualified satguru by the process of Deekshai will lit the light of the lamp by the divine light in his eyes. This is the first step, so in order for one to do penance the divine light in our eyes has to be lit meaning should be initiated to look in.
Why it has been told that before lighting the lamp it has to be broken? It is not that there is no divine light in our eyes now, it is there but it never acts meaning this light is hidden by one’s karma. Everyone’s divinity that is present in one’s eyes is hidden by the karma that one has been born with. So in order to initiate this divine light or make this divine light to act the guru has to break this layer of karma that is covering one’s divine light in the eyes. Breaking also indicates the eyes has to be kept opened. Only when our eyes were open can the Guru’s divine light from his eyes can lighten our lamp (Eyes). By breaking through the barrier of karma and initiating the divinity within us Guru is making us to born again. This is what conveyed in Bible as “One who does not born again will not reach the kingdom of the lord”. Saint Agastiyar also tells one should know the way to born again indicating this. A person who is born again by Guru through Deekshai is called Duvichan in Sanskrit.
Raising/Simulating the light inside the lamp – The second line tells how one has to do Penance, the purpose of penance is to simulate or increase the effulgence of this divine light in our eyes by constantly keeping our mind on this. How to keep our mind on this divine light? When one is initiated by a guru, the guru lightens the divine light of our eyes, when this divine light is lightened one gets divine consciousness in one’s eye (a sort of burning sensation or feeling inside the eyes). The sadaka or the disciple now just has to concentrate on this consciousness and do nothing. When the divine light is simulated or increased by constantly fixing our mind on it the 7 layers of karma that is hiding our divinity will melt and one gets to see his Soul called Anma Darshan. So with our eyes open and keeping our mind on the divine consciousness in our eye that is got through or initiated by Guru is the correct way of doing penance.
Now Third and Fourth line explains what happens when one does this penance
And who realizes about the light within the lamp, for them
Union with the Lotus feet of the Lord of the light of the lamp will be possible – When the divine light increases and melts our karmas we get self realization and Gnana after which we can unite with the lord of the divine light, which is called Lord’s holy feet. So for the 3rd and 4th Step to occur which is getting Gnana/divine wisdom and reaching the Lord 1st and 2nd Step has to be done.
So one can do penance only after a Sarguru has initiated him. This process is what told by Yovan in Bible as “I am initiating you with the holy water but the one who is more powerful than me will come and he will give initation with the fire and the holyspirit”. Here Fire and Holy Spirit means initiation through sarguru’s divine light of his eyes.
Now the question comes is it not possible to do Penance without a Guru? The answer is NO. It may be possible for some person with extreme devotion like that of Kannapa Nayanar but for others without guru we can no way have self realization and attain lord. This divine light of our eyes is called as Holy Feet of Lord and by various code words like 8 and 2 (Right and left Eye), Sun and Moon, Siva and Sakthi and MeiPorul or Thiruvadi or Padaka.
By Penance we should know and realize about the divine light of our eyes and this divine light lights our wisdom and knowledge. So to lighten or see the light we should open our eyes right! So do penance with Eyes open. Penance in short is the art of doing nothing and just being there. Doing Nothing and Just being there is keeping our mind always on the divine light of our eyes and never flowing with the thoughts.
Now the important question is Can any one be initiated and do Penance? Yes any human being can be initiated and do penance but the person hence forth should live a noble and virtuous life and never do the five great sins which are Stealing, Lying, Alcoholism or Using Any Drugs, Killing which includes eating Non-Veg Food and illicit desire or Lust. Only a pure soul with penance and love can reach the supreme lord.
To know more please read Thiruvadi Upadesa in our website and also our Articles and books.
Our SarGuru with the grace of Vallalar gives this initiation or Deekshai. So for, he has published around 27 books explaining in detail about Thiruvadi. His Publication also includes commentary on the great works of ThiruMantiram, ThiruVasagam, Thiruvarutpa. By all these books he has established that the wisdom conveyed by all these saints and the way of doing penance is same. All these books were written in Tamil. We have translated two books Saakaa Kalvi (Spiritual Education of Deathlessness) and Vallal Yaar (Who is Philanthropist) and is available in our site. If anyone needs hard copies of the books in Tamil (totally 27 books) and in English 2 books can contact us.