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St. Tirumular – A Study In Brief




    "இத்தனைக்குமேலுள்ளான் பரமனவனொருவன்
    அவனேநானன்றி அயல்வேறுஅல்லன்காண்."
The Pratyagatman or the Perfection of Man

    "பசிதாகமெனக்கில்லை மாந்தவியந்தானில்லை
    சுகதுக்கமெனக்கில்லை சுற்றமுமேதானில்லை
    எங்கும்நிறைந்திருந்தும் ஏகாங்கிமாயிருப்பேன்
    எனக்கங்மமில்லைபங்கமில்லை இங்கிதசங்கேதமில்லை
    மானமில்லைஈனமில்லை மாயைமயக்கமில்லை
    ஊணுறக்கந்தானில்லை ஊனமொன்றுமெனக்கில்லை
    மனைவிமக்களெனக்கில்லை மாநிலத்தார்யாருமில்லை
    இப்படியிருக்கு* மெனக்கோர்குறைசொல்லி
    †மாயக்காரியவள் மதனியிடம்‡ முறையிட்டாள்."
[* Perfect man. † Maya or Avidya. ‡ Vidya or True Knowledge (Perfect Womanhood)]

The Evolution of Natural Man

    "முறையிட்டசப்தமது முழுங்கியதேயம்பரத்தில்
    அம்பரத்தாடுமழகனது கண்டுகொண்டே
    ஆடாடென்றாடினான் ஆட்டிவிட்டபம்பரம்போல்
    தேவியவள்ஒருத்தி தேவடியாள்போற்குதித்தாள்
    ஆட்டமுங்குதிப்பு மதிசயமாயிருக்குதென்று
    ஆனந்தமயங்கடந்து அகண்டவெளியாயிருந்த
    ஆதியவள்|| எனையீன்றாள் அவசரமாயோடிவந்தாள்
    மாயப்புலைச்சியவள் மகிழ்ந்துசிலவார்த்தைசொல்ல
    மாயவுருவானேனான் மனமறுகப்பேசலுற்றேன்
[|| "That which is Supreme Brahman, that which is the undivided Existence-Knowledge-Bliss- that is what I call my Mother." – Sri Ramakrishna's sayings.]



"Realisation supersedes blindness of faith. A state of conscious awareness is beyond the mind with its arguments moods."

St. Tirumular is the greatest Siddha of the Tamil Land. His greatest Siddhi (achievement) is his realisation of the Oneness, call it by what other name you like. He came into the world a perfect being. But his perfection was marred by an incident in his life which happened by the very reason of his being a perfect man. But he outlived it reasserting his perfection. A perfect man is a perfect fruit of the Tree of Life – fully ripe and ripening, is ready to fall from the tree, not separating itself from the tree thereby but holding it all within its own perfect self which is the seed within. That perfect seed within Man (திருச்சிற்றம்பலம்) is in the midst of the Lotus blossom commonly described as the Heart or centre, which is the seat of Emotions. It is the Emotional Nature of Man which enslaves him, as it is the same Emotional Nature which enfranchises him. Emotion when freed from the taint of attachment lifts up the Soul and leads to the Enlargement of self-experience which enlarges the Soul until it merges in Infinity and emerge again from it with infinite powers of the soul which make it easy for it to be in-tune with-the Infinite. When the soul merges in Infinity and emerges from it, not lost in the Infinite, but attuned thereto, it is in full possession of the Infinite potentialities of the soul, which tend to make of man "a Potential God" which he ever is but never knows until he realises his own Self. This then is the One Responsibility which each and every person has in this world – and if the full force and meaning of Self-Realisation is grasped and understood, it will be found to be the only responsibility which every person owes to himself, his God and the Universe. The Life of St. Tirumular is an object lesson intended to drive home this great Truth unto men's minds.


When this responsibility of Man is realised, it will be found that all one's obligations are personal.

That Great Saint, sage and poetess of the Tamil Land has said:-

    "உடம்பினைப் பெற்ற பயனாவதெல்லாம்
    உடம்பினில் உத்தமனை காண்."

    *"The Summum bonum of Human Existence is
         To realise the Supreme Personality of God in one's own person."
[* Vide My Translation of Auvayar's Yoga Aphorisms Part 1, entitled the Path of Salvation.]

One must grow at all costs. If one is true to oneself that one must be true to everyone else with whom he has any relation. And Man stands in eternal relation with God on the one hand and with the Universe on the other. He is, so to say, "the tiny nail" (கள்ளாணி) which connects the various links together in the infinite chain of Cause and Effect which go to make the universe and gives it that Unity (of Design) which is the Law of God. The one and the Many cannot exist together without the intervention of Man as Saviour and Saved. As saviour, he is at-one-with-God. As saved, he is at-one-with-the Many, that is to say, the universe. True Gratitude to the Teacher is in the extension of Knowledge beyond that which the Teacher has taught and the pupil has learned. The true disciple is he who is in search of Truth, not he who blindly refuses to progress beyond the bequest of inherited ideas. If any person progresses it is not only he who progresses, but all those with whom he has any connection. And Man's connections do not cease until he has encompassed the whole Universe, and realised in his own person the whole growth of Humanity. The aim of every person must be to so grow out of his own shell as to become "the Son of Man", - the born heir of all the ages, the true child of Humanity. It is the first essential and preliminary step for entering the kingdom of God. It is only "the son of Man" – one who has lived the varied life of Humanity in one's own life, and none else can enter the Kingdom of God. And even he must go through the process of transformation (or transfiguration by the touch of Light) which makes the Son of Man become the Son of God. The whole personal relationship of Man is summed up in the pregnant words Pati-Pasu-Pasam. Pati is God whose Law is Unity. Pasu is the Life Process whose Law is Evolution. (Evolution by its very nature implies and involves Involution). Pasam is the universe (the world of attachments) whose Law is Number. Before enunciating the Mystic Science of Number as the Law of the Universe, we have a word to say about temperament in the personal relationship which it influences for good or evil.


"Temperament may bias one way or the other in the personal relationship and therefore temperament is not to be trusted as much as personal sincerity. Personal Sincerity in whatever direction must lead to personal growth; and personal growth is the highest fulfilment of all obligation. What each person owes to the world is the perfect expression of personal potentialities. When the personal ideal is realised, all obligations are redeemed. Obligations exist so long as the highest ideal is not seen. Faithfulness to the ideals embodies the fulfilment of all obligations. The greatest and the only obligation is therefore to one's Self" – not the I-making little-self but the Thou-making Tat-Self which teaches "Thou art That" –" Tat-tvam-asi!"


Where there is "personal sincerity" there is Hope and Faith – the first one, the eternal message of the Spirit, and the next one the fulfilment in due season of that Hope which is instilled in the trusting Heart and distilled as Faith Supreme and unfaltering. Faith is not merely religious belief. It is the result of virile activities of the purified mind which constitutes what we call true religiousness of Mind.

    "வாய்மையால் அஹம்தூய்மையாம்.'

    "Our theism is the purification of the Human Mind." – Emerson.
And the activities of the purified mind have the power of Transforming the subjective vision into the objective progress. It is a systematic process and synthetical growth which is the outcome of a disciplined and dedicated life lived with unerring fidelity to First-Principles. It consists in the development of Character, in the development of discrimination and in the constant expansion of personality. "Religion is not assent to or dissent from metaphysical statements. It is a life-process, involving the constant transfiguration of human-life, the constant spiritualisation of human-experience.† [† Cf. "அழித்தழித்து அம்மணியாய் ஆக்கிவைத்தேன்." – Godward Ho!] Therefore CHARACTER is the test of vision (as it is the building up of true Man); it is the guarantee of the depth and the worth and the earnestness of FAITH." Personal Sincerity thus leads to Religious Faith, which involves the development of character, of discrimination and of personality. And the Sruti sums up the whole of this process in the imperative injunction 'Satyam Vada: Dharmana-chara.' The one naturally leads to the other. For the Law of Nature is "Deeds not Words"; "They who do the things have the Power: they who do not the things have not the power." Words are of value only as they correspond with deeds. Words spoken with conviction in mind always lead to deeds. They fulfil themselves. They are called Siddha Vak – the perfection of speech.


One Word more as to PURITY. It is emphasized as the essential element in spiritual progress because it goes to the root of the matter. "It is a constant regression from the sex and physical consciousness and from the other innumerable superimpositions of Nature that make for the manifold in vision and experience. Sex and Maya are synonymous terms;* [* Cf. My Mother's teaching: "எந்த 'வாக்கு' தாண்டினாலும் ஆண் பெண் என்கிற மாயை மயக்கம் தெளிவது கஷ்டமப்பா."] and this definition takes Maya out of its metaphysical setting into a setting of effort at gaining the spiritual consciousness. Ultimately PURITY implies the complete spiritual consciousness. PURITY is at the bottom of SPIRITUALITY, which is the CONSCIOUSNESS of TRUTH AND REALITY. 'Blessed are the Pure in heart, for they shall see God.' CHASTITY is the struggle towards PURITY. PURITY itself is a state; it is CHASTITY become triumphant; it is SPIRITUAL INSTINCT. Indeed Morality and Spirituality are inseparable; and the qualities of spiritual vision are written in the language of character. CHARACTER IS THE TEST.


Now I shall proceed to state the Mystic Science of Number which is the Law of the Universe," according to the spiritual vision of St. Tirumular, which is written in the language of Character and hence called Tirumantram. "மனம் ஒருவழிப்பட்டது மந்திரம்." The Mind upturned or uplifted and made one pointed is the source of all mantras. And St. Tirumular is the author of three thousand such Mantras which form a separate Tirumurai (திருமுறை) called the Eleventh.

    ஒன்றவன்தானே இரண்டவனின்னருள்
    நின்றனன் மூன்றினுள் நான்குணர்ந்தான் ஐந்து
    வென்றவனன் ஆறுவிரித்தனன் ஏழும்பர்ச்
    சென்றவன் தானிருந்தானுணர்ந்தெட்டே."
His Self the Eternal Unit is: His Grace so sweet makes It two. In three-fold cause abiding the four fold Mind congniseth. He conquering the five-fold senses, evolving the six-fold character, Transcending the Seven-fold Heavens and Existing in the knowledge of eight-fold form complete.

As the summation of all this is Nine-fold categories His Sakti abides which merging in nought (the influence) becomes attached to His Self, the Eternal Unit, thus making the Mystic Number which conquers All, because it has conquered the World by the subjugation of the flesh to the Spirit.


We have the Unit as the basis of the Science of Number. Its value may vary but the unit itself is constant and is represented by the Number One. All other numbers are but variations of the Number One. From One as the starting point, we may proceed up to infinity by the process of increasing and multiplying it or down to infinity by the process of decreasing and dividing it. If we think well, we will find that whatever process we follow, whether that of increasing and multiplying or decreasing and dividing, we soon find the ultimate result is something which transcend thought, transcends the efforts of the conceiving mind to grasp it. Nought is as inconceivable as infinity. The infinitely small and the infinitely large both meet and merge in the thought-transcending infinity. So One is the most convenient starting point in the Science of Number. As Unit it abides in all the variations of numerals and fractions. But it abides therein as a factor or part. It is Sakala in form i.e., with parts. In nought it has shed its parts and is Kevala – a homogenous man without parts. In Unity, it is Nishkala i.e., impartible or indivisible and hence Akhandakaram.

Just as the Exact Science of Number hovers round Unit Unity and variety or manifoldness, even so the Holy Science of Srividya which is the science of all sciences has its tripod or three fold basis in.

    (i)    SAKTI which is Only (cf. Ekaiva Sakti) representing the mathematical Unit;

    (ii)    Saktiman or God who pervades through all representing Unity; and

    (iii)    Sakti Tattva or the Universe representing the manifoldness and variety of numbers.
Without knowledge and experience of One as representing the Unit we cannot have any knowledge of the Science of Number;- of Unity or Variety and its manifoldness. Even so, without the knowledge and experience of the Individual Self (Svatmadarisanam) we can have no knowledge of the Science of God or the Universe. What One is to the Science of Number, that 'I' is to the Science of Knowledge or Atma-Vidya, otherwise called Sri Vidya in its fuller and more comprehensive meaning of the science which gives one a knowledge of the threefold First cause in its nine fold aspects and of the universe as its manifestation or verse from the Tirumantra of St. Tirumular.

    "தீருநிலனும் விசும்பங்கிமாறாத
    தூருமுடம்புரு சோதியுமாயுளன்
    பேரும்பராபரன் பிஞ்ஞகனெம்மிறை
    யூருஞ்சகவன் உலப்பிவிதானே." - திருமந்திரம்
Here the Siddha gives a description of his chief who is the Lord and King. For the Siddha follows his God forever (சித்தன் போக்கு சிவன்போக்கு).

    "Our Lord, the King is the Self of All
    Making His abode everywhere in all parts;-
    Deathless is He with braided look of hair on head
    His name too is Paraparam – Supreme and humble!
    The Water of Life and the Fragrance of Earth,
    The All-pervading Akas and the Fire of Spirit,
    With the ever-moving Spirit of Air or Motion absolute
    These (in Linga-form) His effulgent body enter shedding the Light of Grace!."
Such the Supreme Personality of God which every Soul endowed with body must realise in his own way in his own person. That is the Supreme obligation of every person. It is a moral duty which everyone must discharge, if not now in the living present, sometime hence in the dark and distant future.



In the Silver Mountain known as the Beatitude of Kailas the Lord abideth with his heavenly hosts, there was a Yogin who had received the Grace of Nandi, the domestic chamberlain, so to speak, of the Lord on High. He left his abode to spend some time with Agastyar, the equal of God, who has made the Pothigai range, his abode, ever since the occasion of the Lord's marriage with Uma. From Kailas to Kedaram and from there to Nepal, and Kasi he wended his way and visited Sri Sailam, Kalahasti, Tiruvalangadu, Kanchipuram, Tiruvatigai, Chidambaram etc., and reached Tiruvavaduthurai on the banks of the sacred river Kavery. One day when about to leave that sacred place, he heard the lowing of a herd of cows in moanful tune and hastened to see what the matter was about. He found, on reaching the place, that the cowherd, whose name was Mulan, had died, and the faithful cows gathering round his body were giving vent to their grief at the loss of their protector by pathetic cries and means which excited the pity of the Siva-Yogin, whose heart was mellowed by the supreme love of God for all His beings (Jivakarunyam). The great yogin of highly developed mystic powers be thought of saving the cows the sorrow of the loss which they felt so much and finding no other way of doing so, except by making the dead cowherd to rise again, resolved to lay aside his own perfected and purified body for a while and enter into that of the cowherd, which he accordingly did after taking care to conceal his own body in a safe place.


When the cowherd rose again, as from sleep, the cows were all overjoyed and they leaped and danced and frisked in gambols around him, licking his body in love, and expressing their joy in various ways. As the sun went down and the shades of evening fall, the cows' maternal instinct getting the better of their grateful love for the cowherd, they thought of their calves at home and wended their way back to the village, each one entering its home. The risen up cowherd followed them with delight and saw them safely enter their respective homes, himself standing in the street. When lo! the cowherd's wife espying her Lord and seeing him so late in coming, went up to him and fondly enquiring began to caress him as became a loving wife. But he motioned her off and kept her at a distance, sternly commanding her to leave him alone as he had no manner of connection with her, he entered a rest house for religious men hard by. The woe be gone wife followed him with the milk, kept watch over him during the whole night, while he was deeply absorbed in Siva-yoga-samadhi. On the breaking of Morning, she complained of her husband's strange conduct to the elders of the village, who came and saw him, but found him immersed in Siva-yoga-samadhi. They advised her to leave him alone, giving her little hope of regaining him, and took her to her home in the village.


The Yogin who had entered the cowherd's body finding himself left alone, awoke from his trance and wended his way back to the place where he has lodged his original body. But what was his amazement when he found that it was gone. He then and there turned his ken inside and by his introspective vision intuitively learned that the Lord of Hosts has hid his original body from his view, that he might bring out in Tamil the truths revealed by Him in the Sivagamas. The knowledge of the Lord's purpose gave him heart of Grace and he returned to Tiruvavaduturai; there entering the temple of Siva, he saw the Lord of Hosts enshrined therein in a beatific vision and resolved to relive his life of Faith and Love and Self-realisation over again. Thus resolved, he sat at the foot of a Bodhi tree (Asvata Vriksha) in a garden outside the temple and began to practice Siva-yoga, aiming at the realisation of Oneness with the Ever Existent One, and he continued to progress on and on a given line until at the end of one year (equal to one day at the Devas) he attained to realisation on the chosen path and he embodied the truth realised in the beautiful language of character which was hence known as Tirumantra. For as the poet has said:

    "Truth is beauty; Beauty is Truth, that's all
    Ye know; And all ye need to know on earth."
Thus he lived for Three thousand Years, Cheating Time of his prey (by Kalavanchana) and living the life of truth that he may reveal the power of truth to Mankind. He then attained to the eternal realisation of the Oneness of God and Cast off his bodies three, which still live on and influence character, as "footprints on the sands of time."


Here again we wish to say a few words on the Science of Number, which in the language of character or siddha terminology describes the progress not merely of man, but humanity towards the Eternal Goal which is the Home of the Lord.

As One is the Unit of the mystic number up to 10, which denotes the perfect union of the Self with the non self in mystic harmony in tune with the music of the spheres, so is ten the unit for 100 which is the allotted span of life for individual man in this material age, when he naturally becomes perfect. The perfect individual (with a knowledge of his own true Self) is again the unit of the siddha, whose mystic number is the millennium (1000 years). The siddha is the Son of Man, the orphaned child of Humanity, the Prodigal who has turned his steps homeward bound. The returned Prodigal is received by the Mother who reveals to him His divine parentage and presents him to Her Lord, our Father in Heaven. It is then that he becomes the Son of God, realising the absolute divinity of His Soul and its oneness with God, who is at Rest, and in Advaita Relation with the Mother and the Son, who from the Trinity in Unity which is the eternal Godhead of all nations and races in all ages and chimes. It is this great truth that the great siddha of the Tamil Lands, St. Tirumular, lived to teach the world; and he did it with remarkable success, his Tirumantras three thousand will clearly show to any One who can understand and realise the Higher Mysteries of Truth


Sekkilar, the great devotee who made a string of all the beautiful types of character and divine influence that graced the national life in the South of India, in relating the parable of this Good shepherd on Earth, thus concludes his account of the life's influence of this Great devotee and Man of God.

    "முன்னியவப் பொருண்மாலைத் தமிழ்மூவா யிரஞ்சாத்தி
    மன்னியமூ வாயிரத்தாண் டிப்புவிமேன் மகிழ்ந்திருந்து
    சென்னிமதி யணிந்தார்தந் திருவருளாற் றிருக்கயிலை
    தன்னிலணைந் தொருகாலும் பிரியாமைத் தாளடைந்தார்."

    That Truth of Truths is garland sweet of Tamil he made in three
        Thousand verses and laid at the Feet of the Lord
    Living the blessed life of Truth for those three-thousand years on
        This earth of ours
    And by the Grace of Him who the crescent wears on his
    Reached the beatitude of Kailas joining His Feet in full realisation
        of the Eternal Oneness of things.
- C. V. S.

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