An English Transliteration and Translation with

Commentary of Meykandar’s Civajnaana Bootam


Dr. K. Loganathan Mutharayan

Universiti Sains Malaysia

Penang, Malaysia


Consultant Philosopher

Meykandar Adheenam



CiRappup Paayiram

malartalai ulakin maayiruL tumiyap

palarpukaz jnaayiRu padarin allataik

kaaNdal cellaak kaNpool iiNdiya

Perumpeyark kadavulin kaNdu kaNNiruL tiirntu

arun tuyark kurampaiyin aanma naadi

mayarvaRa nanti muni kaNattu aLitta

uyar CIVAJNAANA BOOTAM uraittoon

PeNNaip Punal cuuz VeNNaic cuveetavanan

Poy kaNdu akanRa MeykaNda Teevan

bava nani vanpakai kadanta

tavaradi punainta talamai yoonee

This vast world that has been brought forth into existence will remain invisible if not for the most acclaimed rays of the brilliant sun that spreads over and destroys the prevailing DARKNESS. In a like manner MeykaNdaTeevan of VeNNai, watered by the PeNNai river and with the birth name of Cuveetavanan, heard the Civajnaana Bootam that Nandi propounds to the rishies with the grace of Maha Deva himself and having destroyed the inner darkness and through that attained true self-knowledge that has the power to destroy all the miseries of existence has written this text known as Civajnaana Bootam.


kal aal nizal malai

villaar aruLiya

pollaar iNaimalar

nallaar punaivaree

All those great ones desirous of TRUTH

will worship the lotus feet of pollaap pillaiyar,

the first son of the FAULTLESS BEING

who forever remains seated (as the True Guru)

in the cool shades of the Mountain-like Banyan Tree


tammai uNarntu tamai udaiya tan uNarvaar

emmai udamai emai ikazaar-tammai

uNaraar uNaraar; udangkiyaintu tammil

puNaaraamai keelaam puRan

Those who have attained true self-understanding and through that have immense control over themselves will be in agreement with me and on account of which they will not belittle me. Those who have not ventured thus and attained self-illumination will not be able to understand this text. And if such scholars criticize it, I will not entertain their criticisms.

Part One


(Metaphysica Generalis)

First Section:


(On Fundamental Truths or Axioms)

 The First sutra:

On Fundamental Ontology

 Avan avaL atu enum avai muuvinaimaiyin

tooRRiya titiyee, odungki malattu uLataam

antamaati enmanaar pulavar.

karutturai: en nutaliRRoo enin, cangkaara

kaaraNanaai uLLa mutalaiyee mutalaaka

udaittu ivvulakam enpatu uNarttutal nutaliRRU

aaNai: itan pozippu uraittuk koLka.



This world, objectively understood and linguisticalized in terms of the pronouns he, she, it and so forth is a totality that is in historical flux; and therefore a Reality caused to appear. And since though dissolved by DARKNESS into not-being-there, it gets continuously reissued, there is a BEING that remains as the causal ground for its dissolution and reissuance. So will say the philosophers.

General Intention: What is intended is to disclose the truth that this world (that is not self-subsistent) has as its GROUND only the BEING who has within Himself the POWER to cause the dissolution of the world.

Instruction: Get to know first the overall meaning of this axiom.


1. The book is divided into two parts potuvatikaaram and ciRappatikaaram (or uNmai atikaaram). Since the first part deals with metaphysical truths that are common to the whole of humanity and are deemed to be absoulutely universal, it is rendered here as Metaphysica Generalis. The second part being a description of authentic existence, an existence consistent with the truths of Metaphysica Generalis, is translated as Metaphysica Specialis. Both these forms of inquiries arise from the common predisposition of man towards metaphysical illumination, a predisposition that is termed Metaphysica Naturalis. The text as a whole that deals with all these domains of metaphysics is translated as Metaphysica Universalis.

2. The term piramaaNaviyal is translated here as the science of fundamental truths or axioms. PiramaaNam here does not have the logical sense of a measure or method that would yield unfailingly truths and nothing else but truths, as it is defined in the Indian Epistemological tradition. The root maaN is Tamil and it means something luminous, iridescent. PiramaaNam in this original sense would mean fundamental metaphysical truths that are immensely illuminating.

3. Key terms:

muuvinai: Lit. the threefold activities i.e. the processes of production, retention and destruction. Both the physical as well the mental entities, including the various perceptions, conceptions that are linguisticalized are said to be not free of these three processes.

tooRRam: appearance i.e. the emergence into being-there as opposed to not-being-there, i.e. remaining hidden, concealed, suppressed etc.

titi: continuance, retention, persistence, etc. Also reality as that which persists in being-there by overcoming forces of destruction.

odungki: dissolved, shrunk, withdrawn from being there etc. The voiding of an entitiy of its appearance; being put into an apriori condition of no appearance.

malam: Derived from the root maal , meaning darkness. Here a fundamental metaphysical substance that deprives an entity whatever appearances that may pertain to it; that which voids the appearances of the entities and through that installs utter darkness of total concealment.

pozippu: The general meaning or sense of a thesis or sutra; the global meaning that emerges as a result of an intense analytic understanding of the sutra.

4. The word BEING is used here in the sense of that which is the source of the ways of Being of the world and all the entities in it. The meaning of Being is what pertains to the ‘is-ness’ of everything that stands opposed to Nothingness. Each ‘appearance’ of an entity is taken as a mode of Being or a way of Being of that entity and the causal ground of which is BEING. This is the original meaning of Sivan , where ‘si’ means ‘being’, shining out as there as opposed to remaining concealed, hidden and so forth.

5. The BEING is described as ‘antam-aati’ the causal ground of dissolution and reissuance in the sutra proper. It is further elucidated in the expression ‘cangkaara kaaraNanaai uLLa mutal’ i.e. the Primordial BEING who stands as the cause for the dissolution of the whole world. This concept is the key concept in the whole metaphysics of Meykandar; the foundational concept of Saiva Siddhanta.



1.1 Mutal atikaraNam (The First Thesis)


iiNdu, uLataay oruvan orutti onRu

enRu cuddapadda pirapajncam

uRpatti titi naacam udaittu enRatu

eetu: tooRRamum iiRum uLLatinpaale


Assertion: This whole world objectively understood as a totality of individuals in terms of persons, bodies and other entities that are existent, is in fact in historical flux i.e. subject to the processes of production, retention and destruction.

Reason: Everything said to exist in the objective sense has its supplements originating and terminating processes.

edutuk kaaddu 1.1.1

buutaati iiRum mutalum tuNaiyaakap

peetaai titiyaakum peRRimaiyin-ootaaroo

onRu onRil toonRi uLataay iRak kaNdum

anRu enRum uNdena aayntu

Because within the objective look, every spatiotemporal entity, in being seen as there has within that seeing the supplementary processes of production and termination, all those who analyse the objective understanding of the world will note that everything emerges on the destruction of another, and that which is thus produced is productive of another on its own destruction. And they will then assert that within such an objective glance we cannot access the being of anything that stands absolutely indestructible, forever outside the historical flux.


1. The ‘atikaraNam’ is translated here as ‘thesis’ , a truth that would serve to bring about assenting to the major axiom of the system. Since it is a claim, it is that which is the subject of philosophical disputes and hence something requiring philosophical arguments.

2. The ‘meerKooL` is derived from the verb ‘meerkoL’ i.e. to assume, presuppose, take it as indisputable etc. The noun ‘meerkooL’ is thus an understanding that is assented to by all, a judgment that is agreed upon by all. The ‘eetu’, the Reason is that observation or understanding on the analysis of which the meerkooL emerges rather like an induction. The edutukkaaddu is actually an argument that discloses the connection, i.e. a showing that makes the readers see for themselves the derivability of the meerkooL from the eetu. What we have here is not logical deduction either in the manner of Aristotelian syllogism or modern mathematical logic. It is also not the inferential dialectics of the Indian logicians with their five constituents of pratigjna etc. We have in this text the exercise of a species of natural logic in which the eetu may serve the understanding leap towards a truth hidden or enclosed within it. The movement of understanding is archaeo-teleological and the logicality of the movement is made visible by the exercise itself, a form of hermeneutical logic that is articulated in the MARAPIYAL of TOLKAAPPIYAM dated around the 3rd cent. B.C.

3. While in the main sutra the definite pronouns he, she, it etc. is used, here we have a shift towards the indefinite pronouns of oruvan, orutti and onRu (some one male, female and some one thing). Though it corresponds to a shift in referential frame, i.e. from the personal frame of reference to the general, nevertheless there is no departure from the notion of objective understanding that remains always spatio-temporal in view of its presupposition of referential frames. The term ‘cuddappadda pirapajncam’ is rendered here as the world of objective understanding as such, a region of the more general world of thetic consciousness.

4. By ‘buutaati’ is meant the objects that are evolved from the basic physical constituents of space, earth, water, air and wind. It is implied that the objective glance only encounters the physical and remains blind to the psychical. Generally it means anything that emerges into vision, into existence, into being-there as an entity. It is derived from the roots ‘puu’ to emerge and ‘aati’ the primordial.

5. The notion of ‘tuNai’ is rendered as supplementary process here. In the noting of something as existent within the objective glance, the presence of a process that causes it to appear and another that causes it to disappear are already there. That this is the case follows from the fact that otherwise time-consciousness as such and also the intuition of directional space as such will not be the fabrique of human understanding. And without this there can be no referential frames for human understanding and hence language as such.

1.2 iraNdaam atikaraNam (The second Thesis)


Ini, odungkina cangkaaraattin allatu uRpatti illai enRatu


illataRkut tooRRam inmaiyin, uLLatarku ceyvoor inRic

ceyvinai inmaiyin

Assertion: There is no reissuance of the world other than from THAT which stands as the cause of its dissolution.

Reason: That which is metaphysically NOTHING, can have no appearances whatsoever; and that which appears requires something other than itself to cause its appearance as it is incapable of it on its own.

edutuk kaadu 1.2.1

Ilayitta tannil ilayittataam malattaal

ilayittavaaRu uLataa veeNdum - ilayittatu

attitiyil ennil aziyaatu, avai azivatu

at titiyum aatiyum angku

Within the ontological/hermeneutical seeing, the world as a whole would appear to be resolved by allowing the DARKNESS to prevail. But to account for the existential continuity of the world, it must be taken to be continuously reissued just as it was at the point of dissolution by overcoming the hold of DARKNESS. Thus there is voidance and disvoidance ‘done’ by BEING who stands, because of this, outside and above the world of flux. Now if the outsideness of BEING is denied and reissuance of the world is attributed to the production and retention grounding powers, then the TOTAL DISSOLUTION of the world as a whole, which is true, cannot be accounted for. Hence the causal agencies of production and retention are also to be located within the transcendent BEING who is the cause of the voidance of the world as a whole.

edutuk kaaddu 1.2.2

Vittu uNdaa muulam muLaittavaa taarakamaam

attan taaL niRRal, avar vinaiyaal- vittakamam

Veedduvanaam appuzup pool, VeeNdu uruvam tan koduttuk

kuuddanee maN pool kuLirntu

Now if it is asked how such a BEING can stand as the causal ground for the production and retention of the entities as well, it can be said that HE functions rather like the earth that provides the soil, moisture and other necessary conditions for a seed to sprout, should there be any seeds. Like a worm desiring to metamophorse into a full grown grasshopper is helped to realize it, so would BEING facilitate the attainment of every form and structure that is ‘desired’ by the creatures to realize their own intrinsic possibilities. BEING would appear immensely uncanny or magical in the course of such facilitations.

edutuk kaaddu 1.2.3

nookkaatu nookki nodittu anRe kaalattil

taakkaatu ninRu, uLattil kaNdu IRaivan-aakkaatee

kaNda nanavu uNarvil kaNda kanavu uNarak

kaNdavanin iRRu, inRaam kaddu

The BEING standing absolutely transcendent to the world of flux, without any shade of time consciousness, sees without really seeing, acts without really acting, understanding everyone unmediatedly by standing one-with their mind. Though HE sees everything standing nonalienly with them as they themselves are, HE remains absolutely unaffected by whatever transpires to the individuals. HE recognises everything as one recognizes in the events of one’s own experience, the contents of a dream one had had previously of the same event.


1. There is an implicit shift in the kind of Being mode pressupposed here. Having pointed out the impossibility of locating timeless and absolute realities within the historical spatiotemporal objective glance, a shift is made here dialectically to the hermeneutical or ontological. Instead of infinities, totalities are encountered and through a transcendence beyond the totality, the metaphysical realities, here BEING as such. The ‘illatu’, the absent, is what is not there at this metaphysical level, at the level beyond the total. Hence it is understood via negativa, as that which is incapable of appearances, which can never be apprehended at all as there in whatever form.

2. Implicit in this shift from the objective/ontic to the hermeneutical/ontological is also the introduction of the science of Fundamental Ontology. For in pointing out the death and rebirth of the world as a whole, the origin of fundamental temporality and the competence for time reckoning in man is also explicated. Temporality is ontological and when the horizontal glance shifts to the objective in a dialectic fashion it becomes the capacity for time consciousness that accompanies every objective understanding. While under normal circumstances temporality remains situational, at the point of the death and rebirth of the world as a whole, Fundamental Temporality is exposed and thus the temporicalness of the human mind and its finititude. The BEING as that transcendent reality that remains the causal ground of the death and rebirth of the world, remains atemporical, outside the world of flux and remains supremely conscious of everything, seeing without really seeing, acting without really acting etc. While man is temporical and hence finite, BEING is atemporical and is infinititude itself. While things have Being, man has {Being-[BEING]} i.e. man in his Being is already tuned to the presence of BEING.

3. It is only at the level of Fundamental Temporality that Fundamental Ontology, the central questions of Metaphysica Generalis can be pursued. Here we have genuine metaphysics that discloses the TRUTH of BEING as well as MALAM, the DARKNESS, the ANTIBEING. BEING is not that which directly dissolves, eats up every appearance, every possible modes of Being of entities but rather effects it by allowing the ANTIBEING to have its expression and which is also battled with, violated and made to submit immediately. Thus BEING is disclosed here as that which regulates, has power over MALAM, that metaphysical reality that atomizes everything, throws everything to the womb of DARKNESS, by depriving everything of every possible mode of BEING, of appearance.

4. Along with the metaphysical truths of BEING and ANTIBEING, the truths of innumerable psychic entities even at the level of fundamental ontology is disclosed here. That which appears within the phenomenal world must already be at the metaphysical level for what is NOT THERE cannot appear when the hold of MALAM is violated. Since the psychical is certainly phenomenal, it is therefore not a nothing at the metaphysical level. Enveloped by ANTIBEING, it remains there like the seeds, full of various kinds of potentialities but all resolved completely so that there is no expression of it whatsoever; no appearance whatsoever.

5. The BEING is also the immensely fecunditive power that tirelessly gives birth or generates whatever structures and forms desired by the creatures. Here we have reference to the Feminine aspects of BEING, BEING as eternally and tirelessly productive. While the masculine aspect of BEING violates the hold of MALAM, pierces through the darkness and makes the creatures conscious, even in a rudimentory manner and thus make them emerge into existence with desires, the Feminine aspect of BEING provides whatever thus desired. The infinite variety and awesome fecundity of MOTHER, makes one attribute to the BEING uncanniness which at lower levels is grasped as the miraculous, magical etc.

6. BEING because absolutely conscious of everything within an unmediated immediacy, is said to see without really seeing, act without really acting etc. This unmediated immediacy is described also as ‘uLatiR kaaNal’ seeing with the mind ( and not the eyes etc.), a form of seeing that is immediate and non referential as that which exists between two individuals who confront each other just before they conceptualize it in terms of an ‘I’ and ‘thou’.

7. BEING though active in its own way is not involved in the world of flux. While the creatures learn, reduce ignorance in the course of worldly experience, BEING being fully conscious and absolutely atemporical does not learn at all. HIS consciousness of the world is akin to that of recognition as one sees in the events one is experiencing what one has already seen in a dream. In such experiences there is no violence against ignorance, no reduction of the hold of darkness. There is no learning but only recognition.

1.3 MuunRaam atikaraNam (The Third Thesis)


ini, cangkaaramee mutal enRatu


cudduNarvaakiya pirapajncam

cudduNarvu inRi ninRa cangkaarattin

vazi allatu cutantiram inRi niRRalaan

Assertion: Now the causal agent of the voidance of the world as a whole is also the causal ground of its appearance (or disvoidance).

Reason: The world of objective understanding, being non self-subsistent, presupposes for its being-there as such, a BEING that stands understanding everything without the objective glances and which is also the causal agent for its dissolution.

edutuk kaaddu 1.3.1

OnRalaa onRaal uLataaki ninRavaaRu

onRalaa onRil avai iiRaatal - onRalaa

iiRee mutal; atanin iiRalaa onRu pala-

vaaRee tozumpu aakum angku

The world of flux and everything in it has appearances and continuities because of BEING who is not one of the world. And because when everything is resolved into their primordial seed forms they are retained within BEING (there is no other location) it is by BEING that they must be reissued. And because of the utter dependence on BEING for every mode of Being of beings, even those brave souls who have extricated themselves from being bound to the world of flux and thus have become deathless, owe their Being as such to BEING. Such individuals in moments of true understanding will remain forever subservient to BEING and maintain a worshipful stance.


1. The issue taken up here, that the self owes whatever it is in whatever modes of Being to the GRACE of BEING, is very central to Saiva Siddhanta and constitutes its essence. In this it also distinguishes itself from the Vedantic schools of thought that centers on the notions of ‘Akam Brahmam asmi’ ‘Tat twam asi’ etc. BEING is full of GRACE as it is a POWER that no one can surpass. Whatever one is, one is so because of the GRACE of BEING. The attainment of moksa and thus escaping the world of flux that brings birth and death in a cyclic fashion is no exception to this.

2. Implicit here is another aspect of fundamental ontology, the source of the dynamics of the world and the psychodynamics of the creatures. At the very moment DARKNESS is destroyed and rays of consciousness bestowed upon creatures, there is already a pull unto BEING, a pull that does not cease to be till the moment of true moksa. This psychotropism towards numinous BEING is that which makes man a searcher, go out of himself and attach himself to something external. It is that which makes him reach out something outside himself and thereby become intentional, desire prone etc. It is this that makes him also temporal, a basic condition of his own self that he gains consciously only when he understands Fundamental Temporality.

3. Implicit here is also the disclosure of the TRUTH of cutta mayai and acutta mayai, the primordial media for the linguistical and concretival realizations that constitute the stuff of the world. When everything is resolved to their primordial originary state of unmanifestation, they subsist in seed forms in maayai that contains within itself both the forms. BEING stands one-with this maayai and causes the appearance of the world purely by HIS WILLING. It is because to HIS WILL that the world owes its existence, the wise ones even at the point of mukti will remain eternally grateful and totally submissive to the incomparable might of BEING. They will never assert even for a moment that ‘I am God’ etc. as it is done in Vedantic utterances.