BE CALM! : Summa Iru!
Lock down for 21 days!
There are two things an individual is normally engaged in; either his body is busy doing something or his mind is engaged in thinking something. Seldom does he remain, free from all distractions, as ‘being himself’. Seldom does he remain in his natural state of peace and happiness. It was Arunagirinathar who stressed the importance of being still and silent (Summa Iru). It is believed that Arunagirinathar was initiated into sainthood by Lord Muruga himself and the Upadesa given to him was “Summa Iru”. Arunagirinathar gives expression to this divine experience: “ When the Lord commanded me to remain still and silent, I could not comprehend the truth behind those great words” (Summa Iru Sollara Enralume Amma Porul Onrum Arinthilane (Kandar Anubuti 12).
‘Summa Iru’ means remaining away from the mind and body. It is the ideal state where the mind ceases to function and where the body stops making demands. When a person remains thoughtless and speechless, he attains his natural state of serenity and peace; the state that leads him to ‘Siva Yoga’. The words ‘Summa Iru’ seems to be a simple exercise and the devotee in his quest for peace and happiness starts practicing it. Though it seems to be a simple exercise, once started, the devotee would elevate himself to the state of silence and meditation, leading to the state of Samadhi, the state that liberates him from the cycle of repeated birth and death. In his Kandar Anubhuti (43), Arunagirinathar says: “Oh God, when I remain quiet and you bestow your blessings, all my desires get eliminated and I reach the state of silence.”
In the modern world, one has to do certain duties where body, mind and intellect come into play. One may take the help of the body, mind and intellect to do his duties but whenever possible, he should aim at reaching that state free from mental and physical activities. Whenever he is free from his basic duties, he should utilize that occasion for being ‘Summa Iru’, the blissful state of being himself.
Can we utilize these 21 days for 'summa iru'( be calm)?
So many people have tried. Thenkachi Swaminathan has written a small story about this.
An auditor in a temple finds an entry" Summa iruppavanukku orupattai saadham"). A Plate of rice for a person who remained quiet.
The auditor went home and started thinking whether it is worth while to give a plate of rice to a person who remained doing nothing.
As he was thinking, all his thoughts ran over about the marriage of his daughters, education of his son, his own retired life, thought of owning a house etc etc. Not even a single minute he could remain quiet.Next day he entered the temple and wrote" Two plates of rice to a person remaining quiet"
* Adapted version of a narrative by Vathsala Jayaraman received via Group email
M G Warrier