G. Valmikanathan in his book MAKERS OF INDIAN LITERATURE-RAMALINGAM, published by Sahitya Akademi (e-book at http://www.vallalar.org) traces Ramalinga Adigal’s journey on the Pathway to god dividing it into three portions,
Journey on the purgative way,
Journey on the illuminative way,
Journey on the unitive way.
He explains further,
‘The purgative way is that part of the long path which, one treads towards the godhead and in which one purges oneself of all desires and attachments, of all imperfections, of all acts of commission and omission of shortcomings in renunciation, of shortcomings in the total love of god in the passion for the apprehension of the godhead.’
‘The illuminative way is that part of the path, which comes after the purgative way, and in which one gains illumination, knowledge, and gnosis.’
‘The unitive way is that part of the pathway in which the pilgrim marches on with buoyant and joyous steps, filled with hope and freed from doubt or misconception. The journey is characterized by a sense of urgency. The pilgrim, in this part of his journey, begins to walk fast, then breaks into a loping trot, finally, gallops on with increasing tempo towards the beckoning smile and the outstretched arms, and is soon locked in an eternal embrace with the beloved, the eternal being, the godhead, the ground of all being. The journey on the unitive way is composed of several factors of experience. Recollection and quiet, contemplation, ecstasy and rapture, dark night of the soul, and unitive life.’Valmikanathan compares the experiences gained or endured in each of these ways,
‘Of these three sections of the pathway, the first is painful and dolorous, the second a strange mixture of sorrow and joy, the joy increasing in intensity as ignorance is slowly replaced by illumination, and the last section of sheer delight, of mounting bliss.’
In QUIET MIND, FEARLESS HEART- THE TAOIST PATH THROUGH STRESS & SPIRITUALITY by Brian Luke Seaward, published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey, 2005, Teilhard de Chardin says,
‘The path of human experience would be mighty crowded if everyone embarked at the same time. Therefore, it makes sense that not only is there numerous paths, but we each move at a pace that is conducive for our own soul growth process. Brian describes what he calls ‘seasons of the soul’ as follows.’
‘We begin the centering process (autumn), where we leave the known of the external world and enter the unknown depths of the mind.’
‘Next comes the emptying process (winter), a time of clearing and a cleansing of thoughts and feelings that no longer serve us: this may involve some grieving.’
‘As spring follows winter, so the grounding process follows the emptying process, a period in which new insights is gained to improve our quality of life.’
‘The fourth season is the connecting process (summer), where we come back home to share the wisdom we have learned and to celebrate the sacred connectedness of life.’
Ramalinga Adigal started worshiping Lord Murugan in Chennai and Thirutani, Lord Siva and Vadivudai Ambigai in Otriyore, and Lord Nadarajah in Chidambaram. Later when he resided in Vadalur, he started the following establishments; the Sanmarga Sangam; the Sathya Dharma Salai where he fed the poor; envisioned and built the Sathya Gnana Sabai where he worshiped god in the form of LIGHT and called Him Arutperunjyothi. He finally settled in Sithivalagam in Mettukupam where he merged with Arutperunjyothi Aandavar.
Ramalinga Adigal's outpouring have been compiled as the Thiru Arutpa. When one reads the songs one would realize the amount of gratitude Adigal had poured forth.
I have compiled in ANANDHA KALIPPU, those hymns that flowered from Ramalinga Adigal's soul in those intimate moments of realization of joy and bliss on attaining and gaining the Lord's grace.