Essays About Shaivism

History, Philosophy, Beliefs and Practices of Shaivism,


Tirumula Nayanar was the author of Tirumandiram, one of the most authoritative works embodying the Siva doctrine.

He was a great Siva Yogi who had obtained the grace of Nandi, the door-keeper of Lord Siva. He came to South India from Kailas. He had a desire to see Agastya Rishi on Podiya hills in South India. He went to Kedarnath, Nepal, Avimuktam, the Vindhyas, Kasi, Kalahasti, Tiruvalangadu, Kanjivaram, Tiruvadigai, Chidambaram and Perumbarrappuliyur. Then he came to Avaduturai and worshipped the Lord there.

He left this place and was moving on the banks of Kaveri. Here, some cows were crying on account of the death of cowherd Mula who lived in Sattanur. The Siva Yogi became very compassionate when he saw the condition of the cows. He entered into the body of the cowherd and drove the cows homeward. When he reached the cowherd’s house, the wife of Mula approached him, but he would not permit her to touch him. He did not even talk to her. She was much afflicted at heart and spent a sleepless night. Then those who saw him said that he was a great Yogi. The Siva Yogi who entered the body of Mula sat in meditation and entered into Samadhi. He came down from his Samadhi and proceeded to enter into his old body. He did not find the body in the place. Through his Yogic vision, he found out that Lord Siva wanted that he should write a book on Saiva philosophy which would be useful to the people of South India and He hid his body for this purpose.

Then he went to Avaduturai, meditated upon the Lord and wrote out the doctrine of Saiva philosophy in three thousand stanzas at the rate of one stanza in one year. He rendered into Tamil the Saiva doctrine of the Sanskrit Saiva Agamas. His work became the foundation upon which the later structure of Saiva Siddhanta philosophy was built. After finishing this great work, he went back to Kailas or the world of Lord Siva.

Tirumular gives a description of the fruits that can be obtained by the practice of the eight limbs of Raja Yoga. The Yogi obtains the blessing of Uma and attains Amarapati by the practice of Yama (self-restraint). He attains Sivapadam by the practice of Niyama (religious canons). He hears Nadam by the practice of Asana (pose). He attains a 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 senses) and 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 or fetters and unites with Lord Siva (Tat Padam) by the practice of Samadhi (superconscious state).






Source: Reproduced, with the general permission, from Lord Siva and His Worship, WWW edition 2000, By Sri Swami Sivananda © The Divine Life Trust Society