Tirumandhiram

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The Tirumandhiram (Tamil:திரு மந்திரம் ) is a Tamil poetic work written in the 5th century CE by Tirumular and is the tenth of the twelve volumes of the Tirumurai, the key texts of Tamil Saivism. It is the first known Tamil work to use the term Shaiva Siddhanta and the earliest known exposition of the Saiva Agamas in Tamil. It consists of over three thousand verses dealing with various aspects of spirituality, ethics and praise of the God Shiva. But it is more spiritual than religious and one can see the difference between Vedanta and Siddhanta from Tirumular's interpretation of the Mahakaavyas.[1][2] According to historian Venkatraman, the work covers almost every feature of the Tamil siddha cult. According to another historian, Madhavan, the work stresses on the fundamentals of Siddha medicine and its healing powers.[3] It deals with a wide array of subjects including astronomy and physical culture[4]

Analysis[edit]

Om symbol
Tirumurai
Om symbol
The twelve volumes of Tamil Śaiva hymns of the sixty-three Nayanars
Parts Name Author
1,2,3 Tirukadaikkappu Sambandar
4,5,6 Tevaram Tirunavukkarasar
7 Tirupaatu Sundarar
8 Tiruvacakam &
Tirukkovaiyar
Manikkavacakar
9 Tiruvisaippa &
Tiruppallaandu
Various
10 Tirumandhiram Tirumular
11 Various
12 Periya Puranam Sekkizhar
Paadal Petra Sthalam
Paadal Petra Sthalam
Raja Raja Chola I
Nambiyandar Nambi


In short, the Tirumandiram, strongly emphasizes on Love is God, (Anbey Sivam).[5]

The Tirumantiram is divided into nine chapters (tantirams);

  • 1. Philosophical views and divine experience, impermanency of the physical body, love, education etc.
  • 2. Shiva's glory, His divine acts, classification of souls etc.
  • 3. Yoga practices according to the eight-angled way of Patanjali.
  • 6. Shiva as guru bestowing grace and the devotee's responsibility.
  • 7. Shiva linga, Shiva worship, self-control.
  • 8. The stages of soul experience .
  • 9. Panchadsara manthiram, Shiva's dance, the state of samadhi, etc.

The poems have a unique metrical structure, each line consisting of 11 or 12 syllables depending on the initial syllable. Tirumular discusses the four steps of spiritual progress; Charya, Kriya, Yoga and Gnana, the Shaiva Siddhanta concept of Pati, Pasu and Pasa where Pati stands for Lord shiva, Pasu stands for the human kind and Pasa stands for Maya (the desire), sadhana, Vedanta, the Upanishadic Tat tvam asi and other Vedantic concepts, the transcendental reality as emptiness (Sunya) devoid of any attribute and Tantrasastra (Shakti worship), chakras, magic spells and their accessories.

The section on Yoga, called "Shiva yoga", offers details not found in the Sanskrit text of Patanjali. The Tirumantiram describes means of attaining an immortal body (kaya siddhi), advocating a theory of preserving the body so that the soul would continue its existence (Udambai valarthen uyir valarthenae).

Tirumular as a moral philosopher teaches the ethics of non-violence (ahimsa), abstinence from slaughtering, meat and alcohol. He condemns coveting another man's wife but declares that "love is God", proclaims the unity of mankind and God and stresses the acquisition of knowledge.

The final section of the Tirumantiram, named Sunya Sambhashana ("Colloquy on the Void"), is full of metaphorical sayings communicating mystical and speculative thoughts, for example;

பார்ப்பான் அகத்திலே பாற்பசு ஐந்துண்டு
மேய்ப்பாரும் இன்றி வெறித்துத் திரிவன
மேய்ப்பாரும் உண்டாய் வெறியும் அடங்கினால்
பார்ப்பான் பசுஐந்தும் பாலாச் சொரியுமே.

loosely translated as:

There are five cows in the house of the Seer
Which without a cowherd wander everywhere.
If they were controlled and their thirst quenched,
Then they would give milk.

That's the superficial meaning. There is another meaning which should be understood.

1st Line: Says that in a seer's house there are five cows. The second word 'Agathiley' means, not inside the house; but inside a person (Agam-inside; Puram-outside) the house is compared to a person here. The five 'cows' are the five "pulans" the five "senses" (sensory organs and its functions:- Eyes - Vision,Reflexes - Feel/Touch, Ears - Hear, Tongue - Taste & Nose - Smell). So within a person exists the five senses.

2nd Line: There is no cattleman to control the animal. Because there is nobody (or nothing) to control them, they just roam "uncontrollably", here the five senses untamed, lead us to temptations! The five senses are untamed and roam uncontrollably. The five senses untamed is no less than a ferocious animal

3rd Line: If you know 'how to control' and if the 'rage' settles down,

4th Line: When the cows are tended by a cattleman all those five 'cows' will yield milk. Here the verses say that if all the five senses are controlled by a person it help one to get the "thiruvarul" which means "divine grace" (The five pulans are meant to be controlled to realise God) This is the actual meaning of the song.

If the five 'pulans' control us it means it is untamed whereas if we control the five senses it means it is tamed. If these 'cows' are controlled then they yield 'milk'. Or if one can control the five 'pulans'/ 'senses', then that will lead one to God's Anuboodhi (being with God).

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Encyclopaedia Of Indian Literature (Volume Two) (Devraj To Jyoti), Volume 2, page 1625
  2. ^ Saivism in Philosophical Perspective, page 31
  3. ^ A Short Introduction: The Tamil Siddhas and the Siddha Medicine of Tamil Nadu, page 7
  4. ^ A dictionary of Indian literature, Volume 1, page 393
  5. ^ The Encyclopaedia Of Indian Literature (Volume Five (Sasay To Zorgot), Volume 5, page 3954

References[edit]

  • A Short Introduction: The Tamil Siddhas and the Siddha Medicine of Tamil Nadu By Marion Zimmermann
  • The Encyclopaedia Of Indian Literature (Volume Five (Sasay To Zorgot), Volume 5 By Mohan Lal
  • The Encyclopaedia Of Indian Literature (Volume Two) (Devraj To Jyoti), Volume 2 By Amaresh Datta
  • Saivism in Philosophical Perspective: A Study of the Formative Concepts, Problems and Methods of Saiva Siddhanta By K. Sivaraman
  • A dictionary of Indian literature, Volume 1 By Sujit Mukherjee
  • The Tirumandiram, ISBN 9781895383614 (set of 10 volumes) English translation with commentary, 2010, T.N. Ganapathy et al.
  • The Yoga of Tirumular: Essays on the Tirumandiram, by T.N. Ganapathy and K.R. Arumugam, ISBN 9781895383218

External links[edit]