Kailāśa Paramparā - Himalayan Lineage
Seek the Nāthas who Nandīnātha’s grace received. First the rishis four, Śivayoga the holy next, then Patañjali, who in Sabhā’s holy precincts worshiped. Vyaghra and I complete the number eight. Through instruction imparting, Malangan, Indiran, Soman and Brāhman, Rudran, Kalangi and Kanchamalayam come as my disciples in succession.
Rishi Tirumular, Tirumantiram 67. tm
What Is Hinduism’s Nātha Sampradāya?
The Nātha Sampradāya, “the masters’ way,” is the mystical fountainhead of Śaivism. The divine message of the eternal truths and how to succeed on the path to enlightenment are locked within the Nātha tradition. Aum.
Nātha means “lord or adept,” and sampradāya refers to a living theological tradition.
The roots of this venerable heritage stretch back beyond recorded history, when awakened Nātha mystics worshiped the Lord of lords, Śiva, and in yogic contemplation experienced their identity in Him.
The Nātha Sampradāya has revealed the search for the innermost divine Self, balanced by temple worship, fueled by kundalini yoga, charted by monistic theism, illumined by a potent guru-śiṣya system, guided by soul-stirring scriptures and awakened by sādhana and tapas. Thus has it given mankind the mechanics for moving forward in evolution.
Today two main Nātha streams are well known: the Nandinātha Sampradāya, made famous by Maharishi Nandinātha (ca 250 bce), and the Ādinātha Sampradāya, carried forth by Siddha Yogi Gorakshanātha (ca 900).
Yea, there is infinitely more to know of the mysterious Nāthas.
The Tirumantiram states:
“My peerless satguru, Nandinātha, of Śaivam honored high, showed us a holy path for soul’s redemption. It is Śiva’s divine path, San Mārga, for all the world to tread and forever be free.” Aum Namaḥ Śivāya.
In a thatched pavilion, over 2,200 years ago, sits the great Himalayan guru Nandinātha. His disciple Tirumular receives the master’s transmission of wisdom and perfect union with the Absolute. Śiva is present in the form of the aniconic Śivaliṅga.
What Is the Lofty Kailāśa Paramparā?
The Kailāśa Paramparā is a millennia-old guru lineage of the Nandinātha Sampradāya. In this century it was embodied by Sage Yogaswami in Sri Lank. Aum.
The authenticity of Hindu teachings is perpetuated by lineages, paramparā, passed from gurus to their successors through ordination.
The Kailāśa Paramparā extends back to, and far beyond, Maharishi Nandinātha and his eight disciples—Sanatkumāra, Sanakar, Sanadanar, Sananthanar, Śivayogamuni, Patañjali, Vyāghrapāda and Tirumular.
This succession of siddha yoga adepts flourishes today in many streams, most notably in the Śaiva Siddhāṅta of South India.
Our branch of this paramparā is the line of Rishi Tirumular (ca 200 bce), of which the first known satguru in recent history was the Rishi from the Himalayas (ca 1770-1840).
From him the power was passed to Siddha Kadaitswami of Bangalore (1804-1891), then to Satguru Chellappaswami (1840-1915), then to Sage Yogaswami (1872-1964) of Sri Lanka, and finally to Śivāya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001).
The Tirumantiram states:
“Thus expounding, I bore His word down Kailāśa’s unchanging path—the word of Him, the eternal, the truth effulgent, the limitless great, Nandinātha, the joyous one, He of the blissful dance that all impurity dispels.” Aum Namaḥ Śivāya.
Who Were the Early Kailāśa Preceptors?
Among its ancient gurus, the Kailāśa Paramparā honors the illustrious Rishi Tirumular and his generations of successors. In recent history we especially revere the silent siddha called “Rishi from the Himalayas.” Aum.
Having achieved perfect enlightenment and the eight siddhis at the feet of Maharishi Nandinātha in the Himalayas, Rishi Tirumular was sent by his satguru to revive Śaiva Siddhāṅta in the South of India.
Finally, he reached Tiruvavaduthurai, where, in the Tamil language, he recorded the truths of the Śaiva Āgamas and the precious Vedas in the Tirumantiram, a book of over 3,000 esoteric verses.
Through the centuries, the Kailāśa mantle was passed from one siddha yogi to the next.
Among these luminaries was the nameless Rishi from the Himalayas, who in the 1700s entered a teashop in a village near Bangalore, sat down and entered into deep samādhi.
He did not move for seven years, nor did he speak.
Streams of devotees came for his darśana. Their unspoken prayers and questions were mysteriously answered in dreams or in written, paper messages that manifested in the air and floated down.
Then one day Rishi left the village, later to pass his power to Kadaitswami.
The Tirumantiram expounds:
“With Nandi’s grace I sought the primal cause. With Nandi’s grace I Sadāśiva became. With Nandi’s grace truth divine I attained.” Aum Namaḥ Śivāya.
Who Were Kadaitswami and Chellappan?
Kadaitswami was a dynamic satguru who revived Śaivism in Catholic-dominated Jaffna, Sri Lanka, in the 1800s. Chellappaswami was an ardent sage, ablaze with God consciousness, immersed in divine soliloquy. Aum.
Kadaitswami was a powerful siddha, standing two meters tall, whose fiery marketplace talks converted thousands back to Śaivism.
It is said he was a high court judge who refused to confer the death penalty and renounced his career at middle age to become a sannyāsin.
Directed by his satguru to be a worker of miracles, he performed siddhis that are talked about to this day—turning iron to gold, drinking molten wax, disappearing and appearing elsewhere.
Chellappaswami, initiated at age nineteen, lived alone in the teradi at Nallur temple.
Absorbed in the inner Self, recognizing no duality, he uttered advaitic axioms in constant refrain:
“There is no intrinsic evil. It was all finished long ago. All that is, is Truth. We know not!”
The Natchintanai says:
“Laughing, Chellappan roams in Nallur’s precincts. Appearing like a man possessed, he scorns all outward show. Dark is his body; his only garment, rags. Now all my sins have gone, for he has burnt them up!
Always repeating something softly to himself, he will impart the blessing of true life to anyone who ventures to come near him. And he has made a temple of my mind.” Aum Namaḥ Śivāya.
Who Are the Most Recent Kailāśa Gurus?
Sage Yogaswami, source of Natchintanai, protector of dharma, was satguru of Sri Lanka for half a century. He ordained me with a slap on the back, commanding, “Go round the world and roar like a lion!” Aum Namaḥ Śivāya.
Amid a festival crowd outside Nallur temple, a disheveled sādhu shook the bars from within the chariot shed, shouting, “Hey! Who are you?” and in that moment Yogaswami was transfixed.
“There is not one wrong thing!” “It is as it is! Who knows?” Sage Chellappan said, and suddenly the world vanished.
After Chellappan’s mahā samādhi in 1915, Yogaswami undertook five years of intense sādhana. Later, people of all walks of life, all nations, came for his darśana.
There is no one greater in the three worlds than the guru. It is he who grants divine knowledge and should be worshiped with supreme devotion.
Atharva Veda, Yoga-Śikhā Upaniṣad 5.53. yt, 26
Abiding in the midst of ignorance, but thinking themselves wise and learned, fools aimlessly go hither and thither, like blind led by the blind.
Atharva Veda, Muṇḍaka Upanishad 1.2.8. upm, 77
Truth is the Supreme, the Supreme is Truth. Through Truth men never fall from the heavenly world, because Truth belongs to the saints. Therefore, they rejoice in Truth.
Krishna Yajur Veda, Maha Nārāyaṇa Upaniṣad 505. ve, 439
The supreme mystery in the Veda’s end, which has been declared in former times, should not be given to one not tranquil, nor again to one who is not a son or a pupil.
To one who has the highest devotion for God, and for his spiritual teacher even as for God, to him these matters which have been declared become manifest if he be a great soul—yea, become manifest if he be a great soul!
Krishna Yajur Veda, Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.22-23. uph, 411
Disciples get, by devotion to the guru, the knowledge which the guru possesses. In the three worlds this fact is clearly enunciated by divine sages, the ancestors and learned men.
Guru Gītā 43. gg, 14
I adore the lotus feet of the teachers who have shown to us the source of the eternal ocean of bliss, born of the Self within, who have given us the remedy for the hala-hala poison of samsara.
Guru Gītā 115. gg, 47
What is needful? Righteousness and sacred learning and teaching. Truth and sacred learning and teaching. Meditation and sacred learning and teaching. Self-control and sacred learning and teaching. Peace and sacred learning and teaching. Ritual and sacred learning and teaching. Humanity and sacred learning and teaching.
Krishna Yajur Veda, Taittirīya Upanishad 1.9. upm, 109
Though himself unattached, the guru, after testing him for some time, on command of the Lord, shall deliver the Truth to his disciple in order to vest him with authority.
Of him who is so invested with authority, there is verily union with the Supreme Śiva. At the termination of the bodily life, his is the eternal liberation—this is declared by the Lord.
Therefore, one should seek with all effort to have a guru of the unbroken tradition, born of Supreme Śiva himself.
It is laid down by the Lord that there can be no moksha, liberation, without dīkṣā, initiation; and initiation cannot be there without a teacher. Hence, it comes down the line of teachers, paramparā.
Without a teacher, all philosophy, traditional knowledge and mantras are fruitless. Him alone the Gods laud who is the guru, keeping active what is handed down by tradition.
Kulārṇava Tantra 10.1. kt, 101
Nandīnātha accepted the offering of my body, wealth and life. He then touched me, and his glance dispelled my distressful karma. He placed his feet on my head and imparted higher consciousness. Thus, he severed my burdensome cycle of birth.
Tirumantiram 1778. tm
Night and day in Nallur’s precincts, Chellappan danced in bliss. Even holy yogis merged in silence do not know him.
He keeps repeating, “All is truth,” with radiant countenance. Night and day in Nallur’s precincts, Chellappan danced in bliss.
To end my endless turning on the wheel of wretched birth, he took me ’neath his rule and I was drowned in bliss.
“There is nothing in the objective. All is truth”—His grace made Māyās shrouding darkness to depart. In that state, my body and soul were his possessions.
O wonder! Who in the world is able to know this? Night and day in Nallur’s precincts, Chellappan danced in bliss.
Natchintanai, “Chellappan Danced” nt, 88
The silent sage proclaimed that day that all that is is truth. Do Śiva-thondu with the thought that defect there is none. Birth will cease to be. All sins will be destroyed. Arise and be awake! All victory is yours!
The silent sage proclaimed that day that all that is is truth. Be not faint in heart! That “Jīva is Śiva” is clear, if the guru's word of truth you come to understand.
The silent sage proclaimed that day that all that is is truth.
Natchintanai, “The Silent Sage...” NT, 77