"Sri Sivan Sir Sadguro Sharanam. Prostrations to Lord Vinayaga who stands revealed in the essence of Vedanta."
My name is Krishnan Mohan. I had the good fortune to be associated with Sri Sivan Sir (hereinafter referred to as Sir) for about a decade and proof read His magnum opus "Yeni Padigalil Mandargal" (YPM hence forth) which was first published by Narmada Padipagam in Chennai in 1986. SIR attained Siddhi on 7.3.1996. He wrote a treasure trove of manuscripts from which the essence was culled out and published as YPM (Yeni Padigalil Mandargal) by Sir Himself in 1986 of which a revised edition was brought out in 1994. This book has the potential to change one's outlook and priorities drastically for the better in worldly as well as spiritual life. Sir is present in it and will guide those who hold it in their hands in their quest for spiritual bliss. YPM IS THE BEST AND SAFEST SOURCE TO KNOW ABOUT SRI SIVAN SIR.
Sri Sivan Sir was an enlightened soul held in high regard by such lofty saints as Kanchi Maha Periyaval and Govinda Damodara Swamigal (Triplicane Swamigal). He was incidentally born to the same set of divine parents who gave Kanchi Maha Periyaval to the world. He was born as Sadasiva Sastri on 3.10.1904.
I have been fortunate to interact with some genuine saints who had a few things in common. They were free from hypocrisy, thoroughly honest, practised what they preached, lived a simple life as laid down in our scriptures, and avoided use of modern gadgets. More importantly they kept scrupulously away from money, honour and popularity.
I met Sivan Sir when I was almost convinced that a majority of people considered God to be some kind of magical protection against the effects of conscious sinning and considered pardoning such wanton sinners His sole business! Unfortunately this plausible point of view is upheld by most of our self serving exponents of Dharma by clever or even distorted presentation of our holy epics such as Ramayanam, Mahabaratham, Srimad Baghavatham etc . It is strange that those who lecture glibly about god and guru as omniscient beings somehow believe that they are privileged souls and the same omniscient god or guru will turn a blind eye to their sins committed in secrecy!
YPM has a different point of view. It says that only paying lip service to god, guru and scriptures but violating them in day to day conduct is a sin and those who do this are probably worse than those who denounce god! YPM holds the view that it is better to be a benevolent and honest atheist than being a divine fake or hypocrite!
I want to keep my personal views to the minimum as the purpose of this website is to let interested but Tamil challenged readers into the contents of YPM in a very, very selective manner as an exhaustive translation is both impossible and beyond my very limited capabilities. There is nothing like reading it yourself as the contents of YPM are too subtle expressed in an inimitable style thereby making any translator's job quite unenviable.The USP of YPM is that a honest and interested reader can't help interacting as he reads. It is not a scripture which one can read with the sole aim of giving discourses.
In Sir's own words YPM throws light on both "what is what and what is not" in the spiritual realm. For spiritual novices like me "what is not" is certainly more useful and easy to understand . For we are living in a strange era where people believe in god but persist in sins, love Krishna but can't stand the word "scriptures" (Krishna whom we extol as Jagadguru asks Arjuna to consult scriptures when it comes to dos and donts of life ), praise and even propagate Guru but disregard His guidance in day to day life! Above everything saints are respected for sheer worldly qualities like creating and augmenting wealth, intelligence, appearance, popularity, organisational and oratorical skills, political acumen, influential contacts and the like. How great is the sway of Maya in that we expect someone like us, perhaps superior in the above mentioned worldly qualities to deliver us from the cycle of birth and death!
Sir never drank plain water, took bath only a few times in a year (no bad odour about Him) and lived on a few spoonfuls of cooked rice daily. Once I asked Him how He was able to give up water, He replied with child like innocence "Adu Bhagavan kudutha token". So profound and yet so humble. I have seen Him wearing a sweater in May in Chennai when it is extremely hot and humid here. Sir used to refer to professional speakers and writers in the field of religion and spirituality as "informative" people. He was of the view that we should call someone knowledgeable only if they have some experience.
Most of the time I have seen Sir like Sri Dakshinamurthi, conscious, sitting without any movement, radiating peace and tranquility! When I learnt Gita later I found verse no17 in chapter 3 (Karma Yoga) tallying perfectly with Sir's impossible trait . The verse says " but for that man who rejoices only in the Self, who is satisfied in the Self, and who is content in the Self alone, verily there is nothing to do." Sir was a living interpretation of this verse.
If any of the readers know Tamil and still have not made an attempt to read YPM, it is a very costly omission. YPM has the potential to disabuse your mind of its pet ideas on God and spirituality besides acting as a powerful antidote to attachment to the world. This on condition that one is a honest seeker and not just a on a wild goose chase for some magical potion which will enable him to lead an untrammeled worldly life culminating in God realisation . Try it and you will be convinced. It contains everything which the Vedas contain-again in Sir's own words.
My only qualification to do this job is that I have seen Sir and prostrated to Him and He in His infinite wisdom used me as an instrument in the revised edition of YPM in 1994.
Blue print of YPM:
The title Yeni Padigalil Mandargal can be literally translated as "human beings on the ladder of evolution". Sir Himself calls it "a treatise on spiritualism and human salvation". It runs to 648 pages inclusive of a few maps.
There is a prologue (mugavurai) followed by what Sir calls as "gradations in human levels". This will help you to judge yourself provided you have the objectivity and guts. The gradations start from Sinner (Papi) and end in Gnani (the enlightened). They are: 1. Papi (the sinner) 2. Pamaran (the ignorant ) 3. Viveki (the vigilant) 4. Sadhu (the altruist) 5. Siranda Viveki (the stoic) 6. Mutrina Viveki (the detached) 7. Daiva Viveki (the Brahmin who sticks to his swadharma as laid down in the Vedas) 8. Daiva Sadhu (zealous devotees such as Nayanmargal and Alwars) 9. Mahan (the saint). 10. Thuravi (the hermit who raises above body conscience too). 11. Gnani (the enlightened).
As you read on you will observe that most of those who pass for enlightened in this world will be bracketed as Pamaran or Papi in YPM. From Viveki it is only character and conduct that earns one a place.
All these gradations, especially the first two are illustrated profusely from situations arising in everyday life. For example look at this sentence. "Nermayai odukki daiva bahthiyil muzhgubavan Papi". It means that person who affects excessive devotion to god but leads a dishonest life is a sinner.
After this comes what Sir calls as "very important" the purpose of which is to tell one how to read these gradations in a sensible manner to avoid rushing to wrong conclusions and placing one in a higher category!
Now starts the main part of the book in which all the gradations are listed as "thoguppu" and a few gradations explained. There are 180 such "thoguppus". These end on page no 314.
From page 315 starts the more readable part for a beginner consisting of 39 chapters which form the rest of the book. Some chapters are general in nature such as destiny, our soul etc. There are a few on saints like Manikavachagar, Pattinathar, Sadasiva Bramhendral, Theertha Narayana, Badrachala Ramadas (these are a treat to read indeed) etc by way of explaining Sir's advanced gradations such as Daiva Sadhu, Mahan, Thuravi and Gnani.
At this point of time I am not able to commit on the periodicity and extent of this exercise. I would leave that to Sir safely. It is my wish to publish atleast two instalments in a month, preferably on Thursdays.
My priority is to refrain from misinforming. Even if one of the readers feels inspired to buy the original and read it, I will regard my efforts well served.