Posted in Navarathinamaalai, Pillai Lokacharya

Navarathinamaalai – 2 – The Physical Body

In this previous post, we saw the first of the nine aspects Pillai Lokacharya communicated in Navarathinaamalai. In this post, we move forward to see how the second aspect, i.e. the physical body is described in this entry.

The physical body:

  1. Obstructs the realisation of the true nature of the soul;
  2. Generates false, inaccurate knowledge of the self (viparIta gnAnam);
  3. Is a bundle of 24 tattvas;
  4. Has a temporal existence;
  5. Induces the soul into materialistic pursuits and pushes it into samsAram eternally.


(1) The physical body is made up of 24 tattvas. SwAmi Nam AzhwAr has explained this in the Thiruvaimozhi ‘pong aim-pulanum, poRi aindhum, karumEandhriyam aim-bhUdham, ingivvuyirEa prakruthi, mAnAhnkAra manangaLEa’ (10-7-10).

The 24 tattvas include: a) The five senses: smell, vision, touch,sound and taste; b) The five sensory organs: nostrils,eyes, skin, ears and tongue; c) The five action organs (karma-indriyam): mouth, hands, feet, kudham and kuRi; d) The Pancha Butas: Akasa, Vayu, Agni, Appu and Prithvi; i.e. The sky, wind, fire,water and the earth. The 21st tattva is Prakruti,the 22nd is mahAn, the 23rd is ahankAram and the 24th is the mind. Therefore, the body is a mass of these 24 elements.

(2) Since the sensory organs are controlled by the body (which itself is made of 24 tattvams), the latter does not allow the soul to realize its true nature (aLavudai aim-pulangaL aRiyA vagai—ThiruvAi Mozhi 3-10-11). This results in the soul gaining viparIta gnAnam or false knowledge.

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