(pronunciation = 'thiru-moolar')
By Swami Sivananda
Tirumular Nayanar was a Saiva Siddhar. He was one of the eight students of Thirunandi Devar who showered His grace on them. They were all Yogis. He was called Tirumular because he entered into the mortal frame of Mulan.
Tirumular desired to see Agastya Maha Rishi in Pothia hills. So he left Kailasa and went southwards. On the way, he visited many Saivite shrines. When he came to Thiruvaavaduthurai, he took bath in the river Kaveri and went to the temple. He went round the temple twice and offered prayer to the Lord.
When he was walking along the bank of Kaveri, he saw a herd of cows shedding tears. He found out the cause the cow-herd lay dead. Tirumular wanted to pacify the cows. So, he entered the body of the cowherd after safely depositing his own body in the trunk of a tree. The cows rejoiced again.
This cowherd was known as Mulan, a resident of Sattanur. In the evening, Mulan would normally drive the cows back into the village. Mulan's wife was eagerly expecting the return of her husband. But, when she approached Mulan (who was really Tirumular) that day, he would not allow her to touch him, but said, "Oh lady, I am not your husband. Adore Lord Siva and attain liberation."
He then left her and went away to a near-by math.
The lady complained to the leaders of the place, about the conduct of her husband. They examined him and came to the conclusion that he had attained great spiritual evolution. So, they asked her to leave him alone.
The next day, Tirumular followed the cows but could not find his body where he had left it. It was the Lord's leela. Lord Siva wanted Tirumular to write a book on Saiva Philosophy, containing the essence of all Siva Agamas, in Tamil.
Tirumular understood Siva's wish and returned to Thiruvaavaduthurai. He worshipped the Lord and sat under the near-by peepul tree in deep meditation. He was in samadhi for three thousand years. But, every year, he would come down from samadhi and compose a stanza, thus, in three thousand years he wrote three thousand stanzas. This book is called Thiru-Manthiram. When the Lord's mission had been fulfilled Tirumular went back to Kailasa.
Thiru-Manthiram deals with the practical and theoretical aspects of Saivite religion and philosophy. The treatment of Pathi (Lord Siva), Pasu (individual soul), and Pasam (attachment) in the old method is found in this book.
By the practice of the eight limbs of Raja Yoga, the Yogi obtains the blessing of Uma and attains Amarapadavi (Godhood).
By the practice of Yama (self-restraint). He attains Siva Padam the (Abode of Siva).
By the practice of Niyama (religious canons), He hears Nadam (mystic sound).
By the practice of Asana (Yoga posture), He attains the stage.
By the practice of Pranayama (restraint of breath), in which all the gods eulogise him, He attains the form of Siva.
By the practice of Pratyahara (abstraction of the senses), the gods become confused as they cannot differentiate him from Siva. He can go anywhere including the worlds of Brahma and Vishnu.
By the practice of Dharana (concentration). He can walk into any place just as one can walk on earth. He attains the Abode of Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra and Indra.
By the practice of Dhyana (meditation). He frees himself from all the Upadhis (limiting adjuncts) or fetters and unites with Lord Siva.
By the practice of Samadhi (superconscious state), God alone is the Guru or the spiritual teacher. He reveals Siva. SatGuru is Ambalam or Chidakasa (the divine plane of Consciousness). You will have to search for the Guru in your own heart. Knowledge, devotion, purity, siddhis (psychic powers) are obtained through the grace of the Guru. The grace descends on the virtuous aspirant who has purity, dispassion, etc.
The thirsting aspirants should get help from the Parama Guru. He imparts spiritual instructions to the aspirants. Then Suddha Guru confers upon them divine grace. When the aspirant obtains the divine grace, he gets several powers: purity, the power to know the Mantra, higher psychic powers, etc. Then the SatGuru reveals him in the Chidakasa (the seat of Consciousness in the ether of the heart), breaks the three bonds, viz., Anava (egoism), Karma (action) and Maya (illusion), and helps him to enter the illimitable domain of moksha or supreme abode of eternal bliss. SivaGuru presents himself later on and manifests Sat (Reality), Asat (unreality) and Sat-asat (that which is indescribable as either). When the Jiva (individual soul) attains the final knowledge he becomes Sivam Himself. The Guru who presents himself in the earlier stages, too, is Siva Himself.
The devotee attains the grace of the Lord when he meditates on Him in the chambers of his heart; in the space between the two eye-brows and in the head. The holy Feet of the Lord are highly eulogised. The holy Feet of the Lord are Mantra, Beauty and Truth.
Jneya or that which is to be known is Siva Ananda which is a product of Siva and His grace, Sakthi. The Jnata (knower) is the individual soul or Jiva. He knows Siva by abiding in Siva Ananda and obtains Nyaanam (wisdom).
Moksha is the attainment of Siva Ananda. He who attains Moksha will attain supreme knowledge of Siva. He who gets established in Siva Ananda will attain knowledge and Moksha (final emancipation).
The Jiva who knows Siva Ananda dwells forever in it. He attains Siva and Sakthi in Siva Ananda. He is endowed with true knowledge which is really union of Siva and Sakthi. Lord Siva shows the path which leads to Moksha, to the aspirant who is endowed with dispassion, non-attachment, and renunciation, and who praises Him always and performs regular worship.
The devotee of Lord Siva, though his Tapas (austerities), gets strength to resist the temptations of the world and Indra. He does not care at all for the celestial pleasures offered by Indra. He is quite contented with the Supreme Bliss attained through union with Lord Siva.
Sekkilaar, and G. Vanmikanathan. Periya Puranam A Tamil Classic On The Great Saiva Saints of South India. Ed. Dr. N. Mahalingam. Chennai: Sri Ramakrishna Math, 2000.
Sivananda, Swami. Sixty-Three Nayanar Saints. World Wide Web edition. India: Divine Life Society, 1999.