A fortnight ago, I had a chance to visit Bhooma Venkatakrishnan’s home and bought a book in Tamil language called Mumukshuppadi. Being born and bought up in Karnataka, my knowledge of my mother tongue needs improvement.
The main purport of Srivachanabhushanam is “Acharya Abhimaname Uttarakam” (ಆಚಾರ್ಯ ಅಭಿಮಾನಮೇ ಉತ್ತಾರಕಂ) which means that only belief in the teacher will take us across this ocean of life. Now that we know the significance of a teacher, the next step is to learn the meaning of “Thirumantram, Dwayam, charama shlokam” (ತಿರುಮಂತ್ರಂ, ದ್ವಯಂ, ಚರಮಶ್ಲೋಕಂ) which are the teachings from such a teacher.
Why the name of the book is Mumukshupadi?
the book starts with the words “There are three secrets a Mumukshu should learn” (ಮುಮುಕ್ಷುವುಕ್ಕು ಅರಿಯವೇಂಡುಂ ರಹಸ್ಯಂ ಮೂನ್ರು), hence the name of this book is Mumukshuppadi. Since this book is in the forms of “sutra” (ಸೂತ್ರಂ), it is very easy to memorize and quote. This book has some unique concepts not available elsewhere.
What is the meaning of Mummukshu?
Mummukshu (ಮುಮ್ಮುಕ್ಷು) means the process of attaining liberation or moksham (ಮೋಕ್ಷಂ). This person Mummukshu is required to necessarily learn about three secrets. These secrets are also known as “Rahasyatraya” (ರಹಸ್ಯತ್ರಯ) which are “Thirumantram, Dwayam, charama shlokam” (ತಿರುಮಂತ್ರಂ, ದ್ವಯಂ, ಚರಮಶ್ಲೋಕಂ) made into sutra form by Pillai Lokacharyar (ಪಿಳ್ಳೈ ಲೋಕಾಚಾರ್ಯ) which our teachers have been instructing to seekers of moksham/liberation from this cycle of birth and death. Before the period of Emberumanar (ಎಂಬೆರುಮಾನಾರ್) the teachers used to teach these secrets in one to one meetings. But due to his immense kindness, Emberumanar ordered to teach these secrets to all people who are interested to learn. Even Manavala Mamuni (ಮಣವಾಳ ಮಾಮುನಿ) in his book ‘Upadesha Rathnamalai” (ಉಪದೇಶ ರತ್ನಮಾಲೈ) has mentioned it (ಓರಾನ್ ವಳಿಯಾಯ್ ಉಪದೇಶಿತ್ತಾರ್ ಮುನ್ನೋರ್- ಏರಾರ್ ಯತಿರಾಶರ್ ಇನ್ನರುಳಾಲ್ ಪಾರುಲಹಿಲ್ ಆಶೈ ಉಡೈಯೋರ್ ಕೆಲ್ಲಾಂ ಆರಿಯರ್ಗಾಳ್ ಕೂರುಂ). After the period of Emberumanar, the “artha vishesham” (ಅರ್ಥ ವಿಶೇಷಂ) of these teachings have been taught through upadesha margam (ಉಪದೇಶ ಮಾರ್ಗಂ). Firstly, Parashara Bhattar (ಪರಾಶರ ಭಟ್ಟರ್) wrote 8 stanza ‘Ashta Shloki’ (ಅಷ್ಟ ಶ್ಲೋಕಿ) poem by condensing the meaning of rahasya trayam. It is only Pillai Lokacharyar who can be credited with the task of teaching the meaning of rahasya trayam through exhaustive commentaries.
What other books are authored by Pillai Lokacharya on Rahasya Trayam?
Before authoring the book of Mummukshuppadi, Pillai Lokacharya had authored books on Rahasya Trayam such as ‘Yatrucikpadi’ (ಯಾತೃಚ್ಚಿಕ್ ಪಡಿ), ‘Parandapadi’ (ಪರಂತ ಪಡಿ), ’Sriyapathi-padi’ (ಶ್ರೀಯಃಪತಿ ಪಡಿ) and others. But these books have some minuses. Yatruchikpadi is very short, while Parandapadi is very long. Sriyapathipadi, though neither short nor long, but sine it had a lot of Sanskrit words, it was not suitable for women and common folk to read/learn. To over come the minuses in these three books, Pillai Lokacharya decided to bring out the book of Mummukshuppadi.
Is there any sequence in learning these three secrets?
Yes. Pillai Lokacharya has said in the second line/sutra “First rahasyam is tirumantram” (ಅದಿಲ್ ಪ್ರಥಮ ರಹಸ್ಯಂ ತಿರುಮಂತ್ರಂ). The first secret a Mummukshu should learn is the tirumantram called “Om-Na-mo-Na-ra-ya-na-ya” (ಓಂ-ನ-ಮೋ-ನಾ-ರಾ-ಯ-ಣಾ-ಯ) consisting of eight letters/syllables. The reason for learning tirumantram first is because of the reason that only when we understand ‘who we are?’, we can understand ‘what do we need?’ and ‘how to achieve that?’ Only when we learn about ‘swaswaroopam’ (ಸ್ವಸ್ವರೂಪಂ) or the real status of ‘Jeevatma’ (ಜೀವಾತ್ಮ), we can learn about “upaya/upeya” ( ಉಪಾಯ / ಉಪೇಯ). It is only in Tirumantram the special qualities of a Jeevathma/soul is explained with clarity. The real lesson we learn is the the soul/jeevathma is sub-servient to emberuman and that the emberuman is the goal as well as way to the goal (ಜೀವಾತ್ಮ ಎಂಬೆರುಮಾನುಕ್ಕೇ ಅಡಿಮೈಪಟ್ಟವನ್ – ಎಂಬೆರುಮಾನೈಯೇ ಉಪಾಯಮಾಗವುಂ ಉಪೇಯಮಾಹವುಂ ಕೊಳ್ಳಕಡವನ್). Hence the reason that our elders ask us to learn the meaning of tirumantram first. Tirumantram has two parts – ‘pranavam’ (ಪ್ರಣವಂ) and ‘Mantrashesham’ (ಮಂತ್ರ ಶೇಷಂ). Om is Pranam and Namo Narayanaya is mantrashesham. The pranavam Om is explained by the mantrashesham ‘Namo Narayanaya’. The mantra shesham is explained by ‘Dwayam’ (ದ್ವಯಂ) and the dwayam is explained by ‘charama shlokam’ (ಚರಮ ಶ್ಲೋಕಂ). Hence at first, we need to learn the tirumantram only.