Monday, April 12, 2010

The Divine Song of Grace

Ramalinga composed many hymns and poems expressing his devotion for God and his spiritual aspirations. His favorite time for such composition was at night. Velayutha Mudaher, in 1867, after great effort, persuaded Ramalinga to allow him to collect and publish the poems with the title Thiruvarulpa or The Divine Song of Grace. A history of their composition was written by Velayutha in 63 verses and appended to this collection.

Soon after its publication, a group of people in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, headed by a famous scholar, Arumuga Navalar, wrote a pamphlet which described as presumptuous the title of 7he Divine Song of Grace. They asserted that such a title should be applicable only to the verses of the four earlier Tamil Saivite saints. After several more pamphlets appeared on either side, Arumugam Navalar filed a lawsuit seeking to force the title of the book to be changed. Summons were issued by the High Court in Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu. At the appointed time, Ramalinga walked into the courtroom, only after everyone from both sides of the dispute had taken their seats. When Ramalinga entered, everyone except the English judge, stood up immediately out of reverence for him. Ramalinga went to his seat, gestured in respect to the court and then walked out. Again everyone, including the plaintiff, Arumuga Navalar, stood up as he left. The English judge who had been carefully observing the expressions of reverence of everyone for Ramalinga, then asked Arumugam Navalar why he had shown such respect to the respondent. Navalar explained that it was a custom of the country to show respect to a saint. The judge immediately set aside the suit, ruling that the greatness and sanctity of the hymns was merited when even their critic was obliged to revere the saintliness of their author.

The Divine Song of Grace is one of the greatest master works of the Tamil language. Written in melodious verse, it expresses the nature and attributes of God, the soul and the symphony of life. It describes the various stages of Self realization and the transformation of Ramalinga's mortal human frame into a divine immortal body. Ramalinga wrote that his mortal body became resplendent with a golden hue and transformed into a "body of love" (Anburoo or Suddha deham). He sang more and more in ecstatic delight for the flow of Divine Grace. His "body of love" was transformed into an effulgent body, known as the "body of Grace", Pranava deham or "body of light". Unlike the previous one, this body was imperceptible to the sense of touch. It is imperishable and non susceptible to the ravages of Nature. His aspiration to merge with God Supreme was fulfilled at this stage. At one point, he states:

"I prayed for an effulgent body that would endure forever against wind, earth, sky, fire, water, sun, moon, death, disease, weapons of killing, planets, injuries of evil deeds or anything else. He later fulfilled my prayers and I have such a body. Think it not a mean gift. O people. seek refuge in my Father who is the lord of the Beatific Splendor that immortalizes even the material body." (Canto 6, chapter 13, verse 59)

It was about this time that the disciples of Ramalinga tried to photograph him. A famous photographer, Masilamany Mudalier of Madras was brought down. He attempted to photograph Ramalinga eight times, but the photographic plates revealed only his clothing and no part of his body. One of his disciples, Kandaswamy Pillai offered an explanation. According to him the body of Ramalinga had already been converted into a body of sublime light and hence it would not reflect on the photographic plate.

His body cast no shadow. To avoid undue publicity to this fact, Ramalinga covered his head and effulgent body with a white cloth. He was a straight, slender figure of moderate height. He had a long sharp nose and broad soothing eyes sparkling with spiritual fire. His frame appeared thin. He took a small quantity of food only once in two or three days. He could very easily read the minds of others and frequently performed miracles, such as healings. He often disappeared for many days at a time. He was simple, humble, gentle and loving.

source: Babaji and the 18 Siddha Kriya Yoga Tradition


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