Formlessness and Form

The search for God is an individual experience and finds

fulfilment when He chooses to reveal His truth. A

devotee’s path to realisation is founded on the awareness

of one’s physical constraints and the perception of the

undying self that yearns for God. If God is to be

understood as formless, with no name, qualities, activities,

etc., individual souls caught in the cycle of birth will never

be able to even try to seek Him.

Out of His Sankalpa and His boundless compassion, He

thus transforms Himself into this universe and engages in

the acts of creation, protection, destruction, casting the

veil of Maya, also known as Tirodana and granting grace.

The ‘Linga’ and ‘Nataraja’ forms of Siva exemplify this

truth, pointed out Nallur Sa Saravanan in a discourse.

The cosmic dance of Siva as Nataraja has attracted many

devotees who are drawn by its symbolic impact. Karaikal

Ammaiyar introduces the concept of Nataraja in the Bhakti

cult. She renounces her appearance and chooses to live in

the form of a mere skeleton. She undertakes a journey to

Kailasa to have darshan of Siva and wishes to become His

servant and sing the glory of His feet. She prays to Siva

thus: ‘Grant me undying bliss and devotion and also

freedom from birth. If by chance I have to be born as a

result of my past karma, grant me the boon of always

having you in my thoughts. Further grant me the boon by

which I can behold your cosmic dance and sing your glory

even as I serve your golden feet.’

She sees the cosmic dance of Siva in Thiruvalangadu and

sings hymns in His praise. One has to seek God’s help to

destroy the ego sense and pride inherent in each individual

which is a hurdle to God-realisation.