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Thirumanthiram - Brief of the tantras
Thirumandiram has nine tantras and an exordium (pAyiram). The topics explained in them are given briefly here.
Exordium (Introduction - pAyiram)
To start with the saint Thirumuular hails the Lord Shiva, the Supreme. Expressing his humbleness in front of the Limitless Lord Siva, the saint discusses the glory of vedas, Agamas. He also gives an account of his past incidents, guru and also indicates the count of the hymns he composed (3000).
In this chapter the sage explains about the transient, not lasting characteristics of youth, body and wealth and advices adhere to the discipline and good characters. This tantra is ascribed to be the essence of kAraNa Agama.
When the individual stands in such a discipline, the Grace bestowed upon by the God is described in this tantra. The purANic events like burning of three cities, blessing viShNu with disc, standing beyond the reach of braHma and viShNu are indicated in this tantra. This is said to be the essence of kAmika Agama.
Holding to that Grace of God, the ways to unify the mind with the Supreme is discussed in this tantra. This tantra deals with the aShTanga Yoga, i.e. yama, niyama, Asana, prANAyAma, pratyAhAra, dhAraNa, dyAna, samAdi. The essence of vIrAgama is said to be presented here.
The splendid mantras and their glory for the seeker who tries to get to a union with the Supreme are explained here. It describes the Holy Five Syllables (panychAkshara), six AdhAra chakras and various other chakras. This is said to deal with the essence of cintya Agama.
The path tread by the devotees who stand receiving the unparalleled Grace of the God is explained in this chapter. This deals with the charya, kriya, yoga and GYAna disciplines. This is the essence of vAtuLa Agama, it is said.
The maturing of the seeker by the grace of the guru and the Divine is dealt with in this tantra. The greatness of the holy forms and the Holy Ash is explained here. This tantra is said to be the essence of vyAmaLa Agama.
The worship procedures that streamline the spring of devotion towards the God are the topics discussed in this chapter. Controlling the senses are also the topics of discussion. kAlOttara Agama's essence is said to be this tantra.
The spiritual benefits that are obtained as one progresses this way towards the Supreme are described in this. tatvamasi its meaning, and the avastas are dealt with in this chapter. This is said to be the essence of suprabeda Agama.
The bliss these matured souls get by the Divine Grace is told in this tantra. Various panchAksharas are described here. sUnya sambashanai is a section of cryptic deep meanings. This tantra is said to be the essence of makuTa Agama.
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