Tirumantram, as we have seen, arose out of Tirumular’s intense longing that mankind should share the fruits of his spiritual experiences. The treatise is divided into nine tantrams (chapters), setting forth the fundamental tenets of the nine Saiva Agarnas.
The First Tantram begins with upadesam (instruction), — instruction that lays down the essential ingredients of Saiva Siddhanta: that sets forth the experiences of pasu (soul) in its union with pathi (Absolute Being); that teaches humanity the way to scotch pasam (bondage) so as to prepare the soul toward its ultimate integration with pathi.
The first thirty stanzas deal with upadesam. The Saiva Siddhanta system should have had a complete exposition even if Tirumular had contented himself with composing these thirty stanzas only, without proceeding further. He however composed three thousand stanzas, for he felt that men of average intelligence required a much more detailed treatment that will take them step by step to the desired goal. Hence the nine chapters and the three thousand stanzas which deal elaborately with the Saiva Siddhanta system, keeping all the while before the mind the central theme, namely, that pathi (Absolute Being), pasu (soul) and pasarn (bondage) are eternal entities; that the soul, which is fettered with impurities and blinded by worldly distractions, does not, of its own accord, strive to grasp the Absolute Being; that the Absolute Being, by virtue of its innate benevolence, confers its grace on the soul which is thereby enabled to pierce through the veil of impurities; that this removal of impurities is rendered feasible for the soul when it experiences pain arid pleasure through the c yclic process of births and deaths; that when the soul is completely stripped of its impurities, it ceases to exist as such and unites itself with the Absolute Being.
Green patina is an essential attribute of copper. In like manner, ignorance is a basic attribute of the soul. Tirumular: “God, therefore, gave me birth to save my soul. He showed me the way to gnana (true knowledge). Even as a crystal reflects the colour of the precious stone placed on it, my soul sparkled with the light He showed within me.”
The Absolute Being, soul and impurity are eternal and coeval. When God in His infinite mercy showers His grace on the soul, the latter is freed of its ignorance and impurity.
The sun of God rises over the ocean of mercy, dispelling the darkness of mala (impurity), which is classified into anava, maya and karma.
When a convex lens and cotton are placed side by side, the former cannot by itself burn the latter; it can burn the cotton only with the aid of sun - beams. Though the soul and impurity dwell together, the former cannot by it self scorch the latter without God’s grace.
The soul, in association with the body, gets itself inextricably entangled in the activities of the five sensory organs, and struggles in vain to find a way out. The Guru (Teacher) however assists the soul in shedding its impurities. It is, therefore, the path of wisdom to meet the Guru, and to hear and ponder over his utterances.
Those who receive such guidance from the Guru are called the Sivayogis. Their souls ultimately get themselves merged in the Absolute Being and remain statuesque.
It is Sivayogis who can witness Siva’s cosmic dance. It is they who can see Sivalogam here and now. Such men are called Siddhar. Mukthar and Nirnalar.
Sivayogis are those who have transcended the thirty-six Tattvas and seen the Sivam beyond. They see all motion as emanating from Sivam, and, therefore, they themselves remain motionless. They may even be styled idlers! They dwell in the limitless expanse of gnana, and are enveloped in its profound quietude. However, even while thus seemingly asleep, they comprehend all cosmic activities as taking place within themselves. But their senses are not tied to worldly objects. Even as the tortoise contracts its limbs within the shell, the sensory perceptions of Sivayogis stay dormant and withdrawn. Like salt dissolved into water, their souls lose their separate characteristics and become one with Sivam
PERISHABILITY OF THE BODY:
Two vessels were made of clay. They looked hard and well-made. Unfortunately, rains came. The vessels broke up, and were again dissolved into clay.
Two poles were erected over which a beam was laid. Thirty-two rafters were arranged on the sides, and finally the roofing was made. After some years the roof was motheaten and rendered useless. The master then left the house and would not return. His wife and children however stayed on, and would not follow him.
The wounds became gangrenous. The joints loosened. The frame began disintegrating. They felt the tip of his nose to feel the breath. Then they threw him out. Crows and vultures fed on the body.
He ordered a rich meal to be prepared. Dinner over, he was talking to the lady of his love. Suddenly he felt a sharp pain in the chest. He died.
The young man married the girl he loved most. Their love prospered for a while, but soon began to wither and shrink. He died. They carried him to the funeral ground and burnt him there.
The fort was strong, as well as beautiful. Ninety-six persons lived in it. The fort crumbled down, and all the ninety-six ran away.
He was the chief of the village. He used to travel in a palanquin. But in the end they carried him in a different type of palanquin a wooden stretcher. The villagers followed, blowing shells and conches. Thus ended his travels.
He must needs leave his beloved wife in the house. He must needs leave behind everything else, his cows, house, and all other possessions. They carried him away on a stretcher, bathed the body, put sacramental rice into the mouth, burnt it. They did not think of him again
He was a mighty monarch, ruling over many kingdoms. His sceptre and crown, his horse and his sword, they are all here, but he has been taken out. What does it matter now if crows and vultures eat him? Of what avail is it if milk is sprinkled over his body? What does it matter if lie is scoffed at?
MUTABILITY OF YOUTH:
The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. The calf grows up and becomes an aged animal. We should see the truth behind such phenomena, and perform good deeds before youth fades away.
When young, he was like a sugarcane to women. But he is now old and shunned by them.
Yesterday he was a boy; today he is an young man; tomorrow he will be old. People are still indifferent to the eternal verities and are reluctant to grasp the truth!
The sun measures the world; we count the hours with the aid of the sun. Still fools stumble into the pit of ignorance prepared by the Lord of Death! Let us worship God before youth changes into decrepit old age.
Those green leaves and flowers we now see on that branch, do fall down and die.
The farm is cultivated collectively by five men. One day they receive a directive from the owner. Immediately they quit the farm and run away
The shiny black hair turns grey. Birth leads to death. Hence we should follow the right path, perform the right deeds and beseech Gods grace before the soul leaves the body. Do not covet another man’s wealth. Feed the poor before you eat.
“Kill! Stab! Cut!” cried some. But all of them are now stationed in Hell by the messengers of Death. Non-violence is the finest flower with which to worship at the shrine of God.
Murder, robbery, drunkenness, lust, falsehood, these are the five great sins. Therefore eating meat which comes out of killing is the act of men beyond the pale of society.
COVETING ANOTHER MAN’S WIFE:
He has a wife who tastes delicious like jack fruit. What a pity he seeks his pleasures with another man’s wife who tastes bitter!
That delectable mango comes from his own orchard. But he ascends a tamarind tree in the neighbour’s backyard to eat its sour fruits!
Sexual pleasure which man derives from woman is akin to a dream. Most men worship this pleasure as though it were heavenly bliss. They pour margo oil into a tumbler intended for drinking sugarcane juice! The leaves of that tree look attractive indeed, but the fruits are bitter. Her limbs may seem shapely and seductive, but it is wrong to be ensnared by them.
Life is like a tattered cloth. When we have no money, friends leave us. We cannot command any comforts, we cannot occupy a place in society. Let those, whose sole occupation is to fill in the pit called stomach, realise that if they are blessed with God’s grace, all the pits, bottomless though they may seem at the moment will be filled in and levelled.
Only they are Brahmins who discharge their holy functions. They perform yagnas and are busy doing good things. Gayatri and Savitri are their mantras. They alone are real Brahmins who, having received guidance from Guru, perform pranayama and other necessary karmas, and lead a worthy life. They alone are real Brahmins who probe into the mysteries of Vedanta. Such Brahmins bring prosperity to the country.
An illiterate king is like Yama, the Lord of Death. Indeed Yama is to be preferred to the illiterate king. For, while such a king indulgesin indiscriminate killing, Yama refrains from killing good men. Under unrestrained tyranny. people too disregard moral obligations, plunging the country into chaos and destruction. It is the king’s duty to see to it that all sections of the population perform their respective functions. He must be shrewd enough to detect impostors who exploit religion for personal profit. He must punish those who violate the laws of righteousness
Do not eat all that you have without sharing it with others. Even crows eat in company. Blessed are those who give towards charity. It should be possible for all of us to feed the cow with some grass, or give at least a handful of rice to the beggar, and to speak always kind words. TO share what we have with the poor is true charity.
Mankind seldom realises that love is Sivam. Those who understand this truth are themselves tramsformed into the object of their love. Without love you cannot receive God’s grace even if you offer Him sacrifice by cooking your own flesh as meat with the bones as fuel. You can however see Him if your melts with true love. If you pray thus even once, He will became your guide, He will protect you form within and from without.
Real learning is that which equips you to receive His grace. Commit no faults in prayer. For, He manifests Himself in all things, in instruction as also in its content.
Direct instruction form a teacher is decidedly superior to book learning. Such instruction is of the highest value when its subject is the Absolute Being. Doubtless one can acquire a good deal of knowledge through personal experience. Such knowledge however can be put to good se only under direct guidance.
Those who have proper instruction cannot comprehend that God dwells within their own selves; they strive after personal advancement and worldly pleasures. We will do well not to associate ourselves with such men, not to speak with them, still less tell them anything. There are also educated fools who cannot grasp true knowledge. Education acquires content only when it teaches one to love God.
An objective temperament helps in securing correct knowledge. Our saints and seers reached great heights only by bringing to bear a spirit of detachment on all their activities. Truth cannot be comprehended without such an objective frame of mind.
The cow that gets rice broth is not inclined to wander in search of a tank. In like manner he who seeks divine joy cares little for the intoxication caused by liquor. It is the degraded who indulge in drunkenness. There is a sect of Sakthi worshippers who seek spiritual advancement through the aid of intoxicating liquor. Debauchees use liquor to intensify their lust. But true gnanis drink the honey of divine happiness. Sivayogam and Sivagnanam are beyond the reach of the drunkard. Deceit and murder have their origin in drunkenness. Keep away, therefore, from intoxicating liquor. Follow the teachings of the Guru and keep your mind turned inward. Practise Aradhara yoga; you will find the correct path.