Monday, June 29, 2009

06. Jaina ideas in Kural: Part V

திருக்குறளில் சமண தழுவல்கள் (பாகம்-5) 

V. First chapter on the "Praise of God"

"Descriptions of God found in chapter 'Praise of God'
lead one to conclude that Valluvar must have been a Jain"

Prof. Vaiyapuri Pillai (cited by Kulandai Swamy, 2000)

Placing a section "Proem" with an Invocation to a particular Deity or deities at the beginning of a literary work is a common practice followed in almost all ancient Tamil literatures. Valluvar was no exception as he also places a full chapter of 10 couplets in the beginning of his work, calling it "kadavul vāzhthu" (கடவுள் வாழ்த்து). We are not sure if all the chapter headings known to us through different commentators of Tirukkuŗal was the same as given by Tiruvalluvar. The word "kadavuļ" is conspicuously absent in any of the couplets in Tirukkuŗal, leave alone the first chapter. Also the word "theyvam" in chapter one. It does not mean that the occurrence of these words in the chapter 1 would have qualified the Kuŗal being called a non-Jaina work, since we have seen the frequent occurrence of these words in many Jaina works in Tamil. The word "கடவுள்" is frequently found in established Jaina texts like Cilappadhikaram and therefore cannot be taken as an indication to show the author's belief in a creator God. Cūļāmañi, a Jaina epic beyond doubt, has its Invocation titled "கடவுள் வாழ்த்து".

Amongst the two popular Brahmanic systems, namely Śaivism and Vaiśnavism, it is to Saivism that the Kuŗal is more often linked to (see Rajasingham, 1987; Subramuniyaswami, 2000; Kasthuri Raja, 2005). Of the two surviving Śramana (Ascetic) systems, namely Buddhism and Jainism, it is to Jainism that the Kuŗal is shown to have the most affinity (Chakravarti, 1953; Vaiyapuri Pillai, 1956; Zvelebil, 1975; Venkataramiaih, 2001). All scholars who regard the Kuŗal as a work of a Jaina, consider that the author's Jaina background is revealed in the first chapter itself! Those who claim the Kuŗal to be a Saiva work, often quote the following words of G.U. Pope: "Thiruvalluvar bases his ethics on the grand Truths Triparthartha: Pathi, Pasu and Pasam. In fact his creed is not a godless creed like that of Jains or Buddhists". This is indeed a surprising statement from a great scholar. It will be clear from the following sections that the Deity invoked by Valluvar in the first chapter can be more fittingly applied to even Buddhist deities. 

Jainism is sometimes called a nāstika darśana but it is misleading to say so for the term nāstika is also interpreted to mean those who do not believe in any higher reality than this sense perceived world (Jain, 2002a). Both Jainism and Buddhism thus do not hold that God is the creator, preserver and annihilator of the universe (Jain, 1992). In Mahayana Buddhism, Amitābha is both like and unlike a Supreme Being or God in many respects. He is unique in his own self created realm outside this world, source of all good, parent like perceptor, protector and helper of its inhabitants, omniscient who does not judge or punish, with an immeasurably long but not infinite life (Corless, 1995). The most famous of all invocatory practices in Mahayana Buddhism is surely that of calling on the name of Amitābha Buddha (Yuichi, 1995). According to Jains, God (or gods since anyone can attain godhood by practicing penance to annihilate one's karmas) is free from attachment and aversion, is not eternal or omnipresent and not capable of doing or undoing things at his sweet will (Jain, 1992). It appears that Pope's understanding of god in Jainism and Buddhism was fragmentary. Each of the 10 couplets in Chapter 1 has a key word or phrase attributed to a Supreme being.  Table 12 below shows these 10 names and attributes and how they are interpreted by the Hindu (Saiva) and Jaina commentators and translators. 

Table 12. Saiva and Jaina renderings of key phrases in Chapter 1 of Thirukkural
Key words referring to Deity or Deities in chapter 1
Brahmana way (Saiva)
Based on renderings of Suddhantha Bharathi, Satguru Subramaniyaswami & Somasundaram Pillai)
Śramana way (Jaina)
(Based on the renderings of K.N. Subramanyam, A. Chakravari, Govind Rai Jain)
ஆதி பகவன்
Primordial God, Eternal God, Ancient Lord
Ādi Bagavan, First Lord.
வால் அறிவன்
Pure Knowledge, He who knows all
Pure Knowledge, All Knower,
Supreme Wisdom.
மலர்மிசை ஏகினான்
He who dwells in the lotus hearts,
Thriller of fervent heart,
God in Florid Brain
He who walked on flowers,
Lord who walked on divine lotus.
வேண்டுதல் வேண்டாமை இலான்
To whom no likeness is,
One who likes or loathes,
He who is free of desire and aversion
Lord who has neither desire nor aversion.
God, Lord
Prabhu (प्रभु), Lord, Him.
He who controls the five senses,
Who is sensual organs void,
He who has the sense signal away
Lord who conquered five senses
தனக்குவமை இல்லாதான்
One beyond compare,
Incomparable One
Incomparable Lord,
Him who has no rival
அறவாழி அந்தனன்
He who is a sea of virtue,
One who is an ocean of virtue
Righteous One, Benevolent Lord,
Lord with the wheel of dharma.
எண் குணத்தான்
8-fold attributes,
Possessor of 8 infinite powers,
Eight-virtued divine
Him that has eight qualities,
Lord with 8-fold excellence
God, Lord, Holy
Prabhu (प्रभु), Lord, Him

5.1. Who is Ādi Bagavan?

அகரம் முதல எழுத்தெல்லாம் ஆதி
பகவன் முதற்றே உலகு (1)

Rajasingham (1987), who produced his new translation and exegesis of Kuŗal with a Saivite interpretation, mentions that Ādi Bhagvan represents the coexistence of the conjoint principle Ādi, the feminine and Bhagvan the masculine. Thus the word Ādi Bagavan, according to him means "Him who gave his one half away" and a pointer to the highest stage reached in Saiva Siddhāntā. This explanation would hold good only if the Kuŗal shows some references to the teachings of Saiva Siddhāntā. The usual interpretation of this couplet is: "Letter 'A' is the first cause of all alphabets and Primordial God the first cause of the world". This way of comparing God to letter 'A'  is reflected in many Hindu scriptures, both Vaishnavite and Saivite."I am the letter A among alphabets" says the Baghavad Gītā (10:33). Thirumoolar refers to this phenomenon in at least three places in Tirumandiram:

"By One Letter, He all worlds became" (ஓரழுத்தாலே உலகெங்கும் தானாகி) (885)
"None knows He is Letter-A" (ஆரும் அறியர் அகாரம் அவனென்று) (1751)
"All exist as Letter-A the beginning" (அகார முதலா அனைத்துமாய் நிற்கும்) (1753) 

Since Thirumandiram is a work dated after Thirukkural, it is possible that Thirumoolar the author had only followed the tradition. Not surprisingly the phrase "Primordial God" or "Supreme God" has found its place in many Tamil religious literatures that appeared after the Kuŗal. Nammālzhvār, a Vaishnavite poet, says in his work Thiruvāimozhi (1-3-5) "கணக்கறு நலத்தினன் அந்தமில் ஆதிஅம் பகவன்". It has been a custom to employ Valluvar's wordings in many literary works that appeared after Tirukkuŗal and many Tamil Jaina texts refer to Ādi Bagavan in one form or the other. Of particular interest are the terms "ஆதி முதல்வன்" in Mañimékalai (6.7) and the word ஆதி பிரான்” in Tirumandiram (319) and Thévāram (Thirumurai 3.2.12), and "ஆதி மூர்த்தி" in Thévāram (3.105.1125). Kandaswamy (2001) in his article on "Devotionalism in the Jain and Buddhist Tamil poems" has this to say: "Ādimudalvan, Ādi Buddha, Ādinātha and Ādi pagavan seem to be synonyms and convey theistic concept of Karandavyuha", the 'Manifestation of Appearance' in Mahayana Buddism.

Even the scripture of the Sikhs declares: "He created the vast expanse of the Universe with One Word" (Guru Grant Sahib, page 3). It will be relevant here to quote William Penn (1644-1718): "It is too frequent to begin with God and end with the World. But He is the good Man's Beginning and End; he is Alpha and Omega" (Reflections And Maxims, 1682, No. 27). But Valluvar mentions only the beginning, not the end. The question is whether the Kuŗal is referring to a primordial God as the causative agent for the beginning of the world. 

The first couplet has been often compared to the following verses from various scriptures: 

In the the respective languages
English translation
Gītā, 10:20
अहमादिश्च मध्यं भूतानामन्त एवच
I am the Beginning, the Middle
and also the End of all beings
Qur'an, 57:3
هُوَ الْأَوَّلُ وَالْآخِرُ
He is the First and the Last
Revelation, 1:8
egw eimi to a kai to w
arch kai teloV
I am the Alpha and the Omega,
the Beginning and the End
Isaiah, 48:12
אֲנִי רִאשׁוֹן וַאֲנִי אַחֲרוֹן
I am the First and I am also the Last
Tirumandiram, 1570
ஆதிக்கண் தெய்வமும்
God is the Beginning and End of all

The couplet in Kuŗal differs from all these verses on one aspect. While the verses from Gītā, Qur'an, Revelation, Isaiah and Tirumandiram portray God as the "First and the Last" or the "Beginning and the End" (ஆதியும் அந்தமும்), the Kuŗal speaks only about the beginning (முதற்றே) of something which is the "first" (ஆதி). 

Since the usual reference to the "End or Last" is missing in couplet 1, we can safely conclude that Valluvar here was not talking about a Creator God who is often projected as the "Beginning and the End" but a god or deity who is adored as the first. This suits perfectly to the Jain Ādi Bagavan, the first of the Tirthankaras.

In Jainism the world does not start from God or proceed from him because He is not the cause. Most translators take the word “ulaku” here to mean the physical world, but rarely to mean the people who live in the word. While the simile “all alphabets" (எழுத்து எல்லாம்) is plural, the word "world" (உலகு), when taken literally, is singular. It makes sense if we take the “world” as plural and the only way to do so is to take it as a reference to the people of the world. Writes Somasundaram Pillai (1959): “It must not be objected that ulaku (the world) is in singular number, as this word like may similar terms in Tamil has frequently a plural and general significance as in the third couplet of chapter 3; so also the word ulaku in couplet 256. The word ‘ellām’ (எல்லாம்) is so placed in the sentence to qualify for both ‘ezhutthu’ (எழுத்து) and ulaku (உலகு) (Somasundaram Pillai, 1959).

எழுத்துகளுக்கு முதல் அகரம் (Alpha is the first for all the alphabets)
உலகத்தார்க்கு முதல் பகவன் (Baghavan is the first of the world)

Standing on its own, the phrase 'Adi Bagavan' can be translated both as 'First Bagavan' the Jaina way or as Primordial God, the Hindu way. The question is whether the word "ஆதி பகவன்" refers to the first Jaina Tirthankarā Adi Bhagvan, or the Primal God as most translators interpret. Lord Rsabha, the first Jaina Tirthankarā, is called the father of philosophy and human culture (Pragwat, 1970; *, *) and also has the distinction of being referred to be the harbinger of human civilization (Jain, 1999; *, *, *). In a sense, he occupies the equivalent place of prophet Abraham who is referred as the "Father of all" in the Semitic world (Luke 1:7, John 8:53). Chakravarti (1953), Subramanyan (1987), Vaiyapuri Pillai (1956) and Govindarai Jain (1998) have put forward the idea that the word "ஆதி பகவன்" (Ādi Bagavan) in the very first couplet in Kuŗal is a reference to the first Tirthankarā of Jains, Lord Rashaba. Tirthankarās are Fordmakers whose teachings provide the ford by which souls can cross to salvation (Bashan, 1988; Jain, 1999; Shanta, 2001). Just as the Mahāyanā Buddhists have their Buddhas or Bodhisattvās, Muslims have their prophets and Hindus their Avatārs, the Jains have their Fordmakers or Tirthankarā. Gopalan (1979) in his work on the social philosophy of Kuŗal considers this a weak claim since the historicity of Lord Rashaba has not been established unlike the last two Tirthankarās, namely Pārśva and the last Tirthankarā Mahāvira. This line of argument makes no sense when we consider the fact that the historicity of many of the religious figures have not been established. For instance, we cannot deny Islam as a Semitic faith simply because Adam and Abraham to whom the Qur'an makes frequent references, are not known to be historical figures. To cite another example, it is absurd to say that "Letter A among alphabets" does not refer to Lord Krishna simply because he is not a historical figure.

The crucial question to be answered is if Lord Rashaba could also be called Ādi Bhagavan. Sharma (2002), who authored an attractive and scholarly book on the history of Jainism, mentions at least seven additional names for the legendry figure Rashaba. Two of these names, namely Ādinātha and Ādiśvara Bhagvan (OISJ and JAA) are strikingly similar to the phrase used in Kuŗal Ādi Bagavan. The latter name Ādiśvara Bhagvan is also written as Bhagwan Ādināth or Ādināth Bhagwan (see these links: *, *,*). In fact there are Jaina books with the title as Ādi Bhagwan. R.B. Pragwat's (1970) book on Lord Rishaba is titled: "Ādi-Bhagavan Rishaba, father of philosophy and human culture"! Subramanyam (1987) mentions that the Jaina commentator of Kuŗal Kavirāja Pandithar idenfies Ādi Bagavan of the first Kuŗal as Lord. He also mentions that many other nighantus (meaning: lists of vocabularies) in Tamil, both of Jaina and non-Jaina origin, point to the term Ādi Bagavan as from the Jaina tradition.

Why did Valluvar use the words like "இறைவன், தெய்வம்" in other parts of the work, but opted for this twin words he never used any other place in his work? Is it because 'பகவன்' is an apt rhyming word for 'அகரம்'? We cannot take it this way because any writer mentions the message (பொருள்) first and then looks for the simile (உவமை).   The importance here is to Ādi-Bagavan ஆதி பகவன்and the simile “உவமை” is akaramஅகரம்”. So he selects the phrase Ādi Bagavan first and then looks for simile which is "அகரம்". As Sarangapani (1973) said, Valluvar could have composed his first couplet based on the first verse in Tolkāppiyam which also begins with the phrase "அகரமுதல". Valluvar seem to have deliberately chosen this phrase "ஆதி பகவன் in spite of many other options like இறைவன், தெய்வம் etc. available to him. And that too words of Sanskrit origin in the very couplet of a work that contains very few words of Northern import!  

Venkataramaiyah (2001) points out the mention of Ādi Bagavan as "எண் எழுத்திரண்டும் பரப்பிய ஆதிமூர்த்தி" in section four of Mandala Purudar’s Nigañdu work. He also quotes this from Kayādara Nigañdu: 

கோதிலருகன் திகம்பரன் எண்குணன் முக்குடையோன்,
ஆதிபகவன் அசோகமர்ந்தோன் அறவாழி அண்ணல்

This verse has nearly half of the attributes mentioned in the first chapter of Kuŗal. Being a later work, the author has obviously styled his composition based on the Kuŗal. He might have used these attributes in his work realizing that they all suit well to describe the Jaina deity, Arhat (அருகன்). While it is true that the phrase "ஆதிபகவன்" can fit the description of a Creator God (Shiva or Vishnu), it can also suit Jaina Arhat but not Lord Buddha.

Considering all the points we discussed above, the best way of translating the first couplet in Kuŗal would be:

With alpha begins all alphabets;
And the world with the first Bagavan.
* KN, SI

5.2. Who is Pure Knowledge?

கற்தனால் ஆய பயனென்கொல் வால்அறிவன்
நல்தாள் தொழார் எனின் (2)

Shah in his article on the Jaina concept of God [*], mentions that in the state of Godhood, the soul is free and enjoys four infinites, namely Infinite Knowledge, Infinite Perception, Infinite Power and Infinite Bliss. From Jaina point of view, this couplet might actually be a statement of reference to the "Knowledge", one of the attributes enjoyed by the soul in the state of Godhood. There are many references in Tamil Literature where Jaina deities are referred as "Knowledge", "Knowledge of Virtue", "Knowledgeable", and as "Knowledge that spreads righteousness":  

அறிவன் அறவோன் அறிவுவரம்பு இகந்தோன்
செறிவன் சினேந்திரன் சித்தன் பகவன்

(Cilappadikāram.1: புகார்க் காண்டம், 10. நாடுகாண் காதை, Lines 176-177)

Venkataramaiyah (2001) cites more references from other Tamil Jaina works, like Mérumandira Purāñam (அறிவினாலறியாத அறிவன் நீ) and Ceevacambõthanai (அறம் பகர்ந்த அறிவன). In spite of all these, the phrase "Vālaŗivan" (வாறிவன்) cannot be considered as something applicable to a Jaina deity alone since God as ‘knowledge’ is a common attribute found in almost all religious systems. In Islam, one of the 99 names of Allah is "Knower" (الْعَلِيم or Al-'Alim). Tirumandiram, a Tamil classic on Saiva Siddhāntā, calls Lord Siva as "All Knower" (எல்லாம் அறியும் அறிவு).

What avails you if you know all,
But not the knowledge that knows all?

(Tirumandiram, 2596)

The contention is not how the word "Vālaŗivan" has to be translated, but to whom the attribute refers to. From the evidences we have seen so far, it is clear that the ‘Intelligence’ in this couplet can refer to the Deity of any religion. The following translation could be considered appropriate for couplet 2:
Of what avail is learning if one worships not
The holy feet of Pure Intelligence? *

5.3. Who walked on flowers?

மலர்மிசை ஏகினான் மாண்அடி சேர்ந்தார்
நிலமிசை நீடு வாழ்வார். (3)

This couplet has been given two different renderings, one the Jaina way and the other Hindu way. We will soon realize that it can easily be given a Buddhist interpretation as well. Jaina claims include that the one who walked over the lotus flowers placed for him by the gods is none other than the Tirthankara or Arhat (arugan in Tamil). This Jain deity is depicted as standing on a lotus flower (Pope, 1886). The feet of arugan are always supported by this divine lotus and hence addressed as one who walked on lotus flower (Chakravarti, 1953) or his feet referred as "மலர்மிசை நடந்த மலரடி" (Zvelebil, 1975). We see Kavunthiyadigal praising Jaina god Arugan in Cilappathikāram:

மலர்மிசை நடந்தோன் மலர்அடி அல்லதென்
தலைமிசை உச்சி தான்அணிப் பொறாஅத

(1: புகார்க் காண்டம், 10: நாடுகாண் காதை, Lines 204-205)

The only other person two whom malarmisai ékinān could refer to is Lord Buddha. I am not aware of Buddha being called as "மலர்மிசை நடந்தோன்" or "பூமேல் நடந்தான்" in Tamil literature. But considering the fact that the general beat of the Kuŗal is the characteristic Śramana dharma of ahisma and satyā (கொல்லாமை மற்றும் பொய்யாமை), it can safely be concluded that this couplet fits the Jaina god arugan as well as Lord Buddha. 

The famous commentator of Tirukkuŗal Parimélazhagar makes this interesting statement: "இதனைப் பூமேல் நடந்தான் என்பதோர் பெயர் பற்றிப் பிறிதோர் கடவுட்கு ஏற்றுவாரும் உளர". (i.e. "There are also people who consider "One who walked on flower" a reference to some other god"). Who is this other god  "பிறிதோர் கடவுள்"? Parimelazhagar is obviously referring here to the Jains! Normal Cutler (1992) points out how Parimélazhagar reads his Vaishnava ideas into such practically simple phrases in Thirukkural. For Parimélazhagar, the paraphrase "மலர்மிசை ஏகினான்" becomes "he who went into the flower" (மலரின்கண்ணே சென்றவன்) which he explains as the speedy entry of God into the lotus heart of the devotee who thinks loving of Him (Cutler, 1992). Manakkudavar, generally accepted as a Jaina commentator, renders the phrase unambiguously as "He who walked on flowers". In chronology, Manakkudavar's commentary is considered to be the earliest (Sundaram, 1990).
Satguru Subramaniyaswami, Rajasingham and many others have rendered phrase (malarmisai ékinān) "மலர்மிசை ஏகினான்" as "He who resides in the lotus hearts". This interpretation, surprisingly one of the common ones, is little far stretched considering the fact that there is no reference to the heart in this couplet. It is iniquitous on the part of those who translate "நிலம் மிசை" in the second line as "on the earth" to translate "ர் மிசை" in the first line as "in the heart". Such an interpretation seems nothing but a extrapolation based on the Hindu belief that heart is the abode of God (e.g. Siva) which is not even implied any where in the Kuŗal. Here I quote Thirumandiram again which repeats this idea of "Siva abiding in the heart" throughout the work:

அகம் படிகின்ற நம் ஐயனை ஒரும்
அகம் படிகண்டவர் அல்லலில் சேரார்
Muse on the Lord who resides in your heart;
They who see Him residing within, know sorrows none.

(Tirumandiram 1874) 

Who lives in the heart according Valluvar? Being a moralist and concerned with conduct of man in this world, he had only this to say:

உள்ளத்தால் பொய்யாது ஒழுகின் உலகத்தார்
உள்ளத்துள் எல்லாம் உளன்.
He who lives truly in his own heart,
Truly lives in the hearts of all people.
(294) SS

Is there any reference to Hindu deities being called as the One who walked on flowers? Mayilai Seeni Venkatasamy in his book "திருக்குறள் மூலமும் கட்டுறைகளும்" (part of this work "மலர்மிசை ஏகினான்" reproduced here by R. Banukumar: and here; see also *) brings to the notice a reference to Lord Siva as the 'one with flower embedded feet' in Thévāram: "தாளிடைச் செங்கமலத் தடங்கோள் சேவடியார் போலும், நாளுடைக் காலன்விடி வுதைசெய்த நம்பர் போலும்". Venkitasamy wonders if it was due to Appar's prior experience of being a Jaina chief that he calls Siva this way! We see more verses of this nature in Thévāram:

எரியாய தாமரைமேல் இயங்க னாரும்
இடைமருது மேவிய ஈசனாரே. (Appar in Thirumurai 6.16.7)
பூமேல எழுந்தருளி இருந்தானை (Appar in Thirumurai, 6.84.1)

Sangam classic Paripātal has this this reference too:

மண்மிசை---அவிழ்துழாய் மலர்தரு செல்வத்துப்
புள்மிசைக் கொடியோனும், புங்கவம் ஊர்வோனும்,
மலர்மிசை முதல்வனும், மற்று அவனிடைத் தோன்றி
உலகு இருள் அகற்றிய பதின்மரும், இருவரும்,
மருந்து உரை இருவரும், திருந்து நூல் எண்மரும்
(Paripādal 8:1-5) 

Here the phase "மலர்மிசை முதல்வன்" apparently refers to Brahma on the lotus (தாமரை மலர்மேல் அமந்த பிரமனும், Subramanian et al, 2004). Once again we see that this is not a reference to the one who "walked" on flowers but one who sat on it. There is no denying of the fact that there is hardly any Hindu deity that is not portrayed as standing or sitting on the lotus flower. 

The Jaina claim is further reinforced by similar references to the Jaina deity in Ceevakacintāmañi (பூந்தாமரை மேல் சென்ற திருவாரடி, 2814), Mérumandira Purāñam (கமல மீதுலவும் உன, செய்யுள் 66), Cūlāmañi (தாமரைப் பூவின்மேல் சென்றான் புகழ் அடி, துறவு 71) and Neelakési (தண் தாமரை மலரின் மேல் நடந்தாய, 33).

Based on the discussion we had so far, we can conclude that the deity implied in this couplet suits perfectly the the Jaina Arhat. And to Lord Buddha as well in spite of the fact that there are not many references in Tamil literature like the one for Arhat. As far as the translation is concerned, one of the best ways of translating couplet three would be:

Long life on earth is theirs who reach
The glorious feet of Him who walked on flowers.

5.4 Who is beyond likes and dislikes?

வேண்டுதல் வேண்டாமை இலான்அடி சேர்ந்தார்க்கு
யாண்டும் இடும்பை இல. (4)

Here again the phrase "வேண்டுதல் வேண்டாமை இலான்" ("He who has neither desire nor aversion") has a strong ascetic flavour and would therefore be more relevant to a Jaina, Buddhist or even a Hindu ascetic who has attained liberation. Deity in Jainism, by its very nature, is incapable of rewards and punishments and is absolutely devoid of love and  hatred, attachment or aversion (Jain, 1999). Lord Buddha states that only he is a Brahmin who is free from desire and aversion (rāgo ca doso) (Dhammapādā (407) or likes and dislikes (ratiñ ca aratiñ) (Sutta Nipata, Mahavagga, Sutta 9.642). In Bhagavad Gītā, we see Lord Krishna telling Arjuna that all living entities are born into delusion, overcome by the dualities of desire and hate (icchā & dvésha: इच्छा & द्वेष) (7:27). A creator God is therefore not born into delusion for him to be overcome by the dualities of love and hate. Venkataramaiyah (2001) cites verses of similar import from some Tamil Jaina works like Thirukkampakam (வேண்டுதல் வேண்டாமையில்லாத வீரன், 58) and Thiru Nūtranthāthi (ஆர்வமும் செற்றமும் நீக்கிய அச்சுதன, செய்யுள், 20). Interestingly we see Appar attributing this quality to Lord Siva: "வேண்டுதல் வேண்டாமை இல்லான் றன்னை" (Tirumurai, 6.46.9). Once again, we see Appar being different from other Saiva saints!

As far as the translation of this couplet goes, there cannot be any controversy since a literal translation will not affect the claims of either parties. 

No evil will befall those who reach the feet
Of the One beyond likes and dislikes.

5.5. Who controls the five senses?

பொறிவாயில் ஐந்வித்தான் பொய்தீர் ஒழுக்க
நெறிநின்றார் நீடு வாழ்வார். (6)

Translators in general have taken this couplet as a reference to God who controlled his senses. The question why should a creator God be praised for controlling his senses is rarely asked? P.S. Sundaram (1990) writes: "It may seem strange to refer to God as one who conquered the five senses as if this was for Him a matter of effort." S.M. Diaz (2000), another translator, also mentions that there is a controversy on the real meaning of "aindavithān" for it would be wrong to describe God as the one who has scotched the five senses as He is above all this. In Bhagvad Gītā, Lord Krishna says "One who restrains his senses and fixes his consciousness upon Me, is known as a man of steady intelligence" (Gītā 2:61). Thus the one who is supposed to restrain the senses is an earthly being and not Lord Krishna. 

To get over the difficulty in attributing this quality to a creator God, some translators have tried to give the couplet strange renderings. Sivaya Subramaniyaswami translates the phrase poŗivāyil aindhavithān (பொறிவாயில் ஐந்வித்தான்) as "Him who controls the five senses" but as we saw the slôka from Gītā, only humans are required to control their senses. Another Saiva translator Rajasingham (1987) while commenting on his translation clearly mentions the difficulty in translating the couplet. In his attempt to make it conform to the nature of Lord Siva, he ended up producing a translation which was completely off the markl: "The deathless state to reach, liberation it is from falsehood; When path ahead is found, senses verily are restrained". Other translators like K. Krishnaswamy & Vijaya Ramkumar have attempted to get over this difficulty by employing non-committal rendering: "He who has controlled the five senses and is established in the path of righteousness will lead a life of fulfillment". This rendering is also far away from the original. 
It is only in Jainism and Buddhism that Tirthankarās, Siddhās and Bodhisattvās, being men, have risen to the status of godhood or celestials by controlling their senses. A Hindu interpreter can even get away by translating Ādi Bagavan as Primordial God but not while translating couplet six, unless he takes it as a reference to a Hindu sage. Well aware of this difficulty, Rajasingham (1987) quite rightly agrees that this couplet is a difficult one to translate. 

Control of the five senses is the attribute of an ascetic, be it a Jaina, Buddhist or a Hindu. It is worth noting that the word ‘Jinaliterally means "conqueror or victorious", i.e. the conqueror of five senses. Cilappadikāram (10.198) says "ஐவரை வென்றோன்", Ceevacambõthanai (1-29) says "பொறிவாயில் ஐந்தவித்த புனிதன் நீயே" and Ceevacintāmañi (2563) says "பொறிவரம்பாகிய புண்ணிய முதல்வன்". Couplet six therefore appears to be a reference to a "Victorious" Jaina God who has conquered the five senses. This act of conquering five senses has been repeatedly mentioned in the Kuŗal.
Couplet 24.

The restraint of senses five by the ankush of firmness
Is the seed for the bliss of heaven.

Couplet 25:
Even the celestial king Indra will vouch the strength
Of one who rules his senses five.
* KK, PS

Couplet: 126.
If you withdraw -like a tortoise- your senses five in one birth,
It will protect you in seven.

Couplet 343.
To be controlled are the senses five,
And to be given up at once are all cravings.

What is implied in couplet six has been reemphasized by Valluvar under chapter 35 on "Renunciation" when he says: "Cling to the one who clings to nothing; and so clinging, cease to cling" PS (Kuŗal 350). Only a human being, after conquering the five senses, would be expected to live a life free of any attachments. Valluvar here seem to ask ascetics to shed their desires by clinging to those who do not cling to anything in this world. This is exactly what Lord Krishna said Bhagvad Gītā:

One who can control his senses
By practicing the regulated principles of freedom,
Can obtain the complete mercy of the Lord and thus become
Free from all attachment and aversion.
(Gītā 2: 64)

It is therefore very clear through this slõka from the foremost Hindu scripture that only mortals are required to control their sense and thus get free of attachment and aversion (வேண்டுதலும் வேண்டாமையும்).

P.S. Sundaram's simple and straightforward translation reflects the style, content and spirit of couplet six:

Long life is theirs who tread the path of Him
Who conquered
the five senses.

5.6. Who is that beyond compare?

(Continuation of Section V. First chapter ......)

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