Tirumular, also known as Thirumoolar, was a highly revered mystic and sage of Tamil Shaivism. He was among the 63 Nayanars and 18 siddhars. It is believed that Tirumular arrived in Tamil Nadu from the great Himalayas around 200 BCE.
Originally, Tirumular’s birth name was Sundara Nathar, and he was born in Madurai. After receiving the blessing from Lord Nandinath, Sundara Nathar left Kailash to meet his close friend Sage Agastya. Maharishi Agastya lived in Podhigai hills, Sekkizhar, Persia. Sundara visited holy Shiva temples at Kedarnath, Pashupatinath (Nepal), and Viswanatha (Varanasi) throughout the journey.
While traveling near the Sathanur village, Sundara heard a herd of cows crying. As heading toward the cows, the yogi noticed the cow’s owner Moolan was dead due to poisoning from a snake bite. Emotionally moved by the tears and pain of the cows, yogi Sundara used his powers to transfer his soul to the dead body of the cowherd, leaving his body in a tree log. After seeing Moolan, the cows became happy. A few moments after, Sundara (in the body of Moolan) came to the exact place where he left his body, but he could not find it.
At that very moment, there was an announcement from the sky (Lord Shiva) that ordered Sundara to accept Moolan’s body and use the cowherd’s local language to spread the teachings of the Supreme Lord. This is how Sundara Nathar got the name Thirumoolar.
Tirumular Philosophical Works
One of the greatest works of saint Tirumular was writing “Tirumantiram.” This book comprises over 3000 verses in Tamil and has a vital role in Thirumurai – a compilation of 12 volumes of poetry and hymns related to Lord Shiva. The book Tirumantiram has nine chapters or tantirams, which are:
- The first tantiram describes Tirumular’s philosophical views and thoughts, one to one experience with god, Shaivism, love, and physical body.
- The second tantiram describes the puranic stories of Lord Shiva, five significant tasks of Shiva such as creation, preservation, dissolution of macro and microcosmos, and giving blessings and categorizing of jivas (life).
- The third tantiram explains about yoga like Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali, Pariyanga Yoga and Kechari Mudra Yoga.
- The fourth tantiram explains Mantras and Tantras such as chakras, ajapa.
- The fifth tantiram elucidates various forms of Shaivism religion. They are Suddha Saivam, Asuddha Saivam, Marga Saivam and Kadum Suddha Saivam. Furthermore, it describes four types of sadhanas- San, Sakha, Satputra, and Dasa Margas.
- The sixth tantiram describes Shiva as the ultimate guru (teacher), blessings from lord shiva, and the devotee’s duties to follow in life.
- The seventh tantiram is about rituals to worship lord shiva, shiva linga, and self-restraint.
- The eighth tantitram mainly points to different forms of bodies and various levels of consciousness and souls.
- The final tantiram is all about attaining samadhi and shiva cosmic dances
Yogi Thirumoolar introduced a new form of yoga tradition in Tamil, which balances the human’s physical body, mind, awareness, and energy. To Tirumular, the chakra system of Kundalini is a significant aspect of Laya Yoga. The third tantiram of Tirumantiram describes yoga’s fundamental elements, including Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga, Shiva Yoga, and Pariyanga Yoga.
In the Yog chapter of Tirumantiram, Tirumular explained Ashtanga Yoga as;
Iyama niyamamē eṇṇilā ātaṉam
Nayamuṟu pirāṇāyā mampiratti yākāram
Cayamiku tāraṇai tiyāṉañ camāti
Ayamuṟum aṭṭāṅka māvatu māmē
It means yamas, niyamas, asanas, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi are the building elements of Ashtanga Yoga.
Furthermore, Tirumoolar also mentioned Shiva Yoga to obtain Kaya Siddhi – undying body, which allows one to conserve their physical body while the soul continues to live.
“Udambai Valarthen Uyir Valarthen”
Siddhar Tirumular also mentioned Pariyanga Yoga. Pariyanga Yoga includes holding or controlling the flow of semen. He described the practice of Pariyanga Yoga makes one the master of all knowledge, pleasures, and senses.
Saint Thirumoolar wants to give what he has gained throughout his lifespan to the world in the form of a mantra called the 51 letters mantra.
Si Va Ya Na Ma
Ya Na Va Si Ma
Ma Va Ya Na Si
Si Ya Na Ma Va
Va Si Ma Ya Na
While learning and memorizing the mantra, one should focus immensely on not messing up the sound’s position of words. This 51 letters mantra helps those who have difficulty concentrating their mind on a single thing or thought.
Recitation of mantra starts with loud sound then gradually declining to lower vibration and finally to inner soul level. Make use of beads or a clock to chant the mantra for ten minutes.
Next, you should speak the words quietly and concentrate on listening to the sound of a mantra for 20 minutes in total.
Daily practice of 51 letters mantra allows you to balance all the chakras points and leads you to the doors of Samadhi. Samadhi is the last stage of any yoga where one merges with the Ultimate Reality.
Following are the unforgettable life lessons taught by Siddhar Tirumular:
- It is not necessary to worship the supreme lord grandly and extravagantly.
- Even a single leaf offered to gods is enough to please him rather than providing the lord with expensive fragrant flowers.
- Show kindness and love to animals and birds. To add on, feed hungry people and animals. If one cannot afford to provide food to them, at least return them with love and respect.
- Not to have relationships with other men or women.
- Always speak words that depict love, respect, kindness, and mercy. Avoid evil and harsh words.