The Tirumantiram, is a Tamil religious poetic work written in the tenth CCE by Tirumular. It consists of over three thousand verses dealing with various aspects of spirituality, ethics and praise of the Hindu God Shiva.

The Tirumantiram is the tenth of the twelve volumes of the Tirumurai, the key texts of Tamil Saivism. It is the first known Tamil work to use the term Shaiva Siddhanta and the earliest known exposition of the Saiva Agamas in Tamil.


The Tirumantiram is divided into nine chapters (tantirams);

  • 1. Philosophical views and divine experience, impermanency of the physical body, love, education etc.
  • 2. Shiva's glory, His divine acts, classification of souls etc.
  • 3. Yoga practices according to the eight-angled way of Patanjali.
  • 4. Mantra, tantra, etc.
  • 5. Various branches of Saiva religion; the four elements of Shaiva Siddhanta.
  • 6. Shiva as guru bestowing grace and the devotee's responsibility.
  • 7. Shiva linga, Shiva worship, self-control.
  • 8. The stages of soul experience .
  • 9. Panchadsara manthiram, Shiva's dance, the state of samadhi, etc.

The poems have a unique metrical structure, each line consisting of 11 or 12 syllables depending on the initial syllable. Tirumular discusses the four steps of spiritual progress; Charya, Kriya, Yoga and Gnana, the Shaiva Siddhanta concept of Pati, Pasu and Pasa, sadhana, Vedanta, the Upanishadic Tat tvam asi and other Vedantic concepts, the transcendental reality as emptiness (Sunya) devoid of any attribute and Tantrasastra (Shakti worship), chakras, magic spells and their accessories.

The section on Yoga, called "Shiva yoga", offers details not found in the Sanskrit text of Patanjali. The Tirumantiram describes means of attaining an immortal body (kaya siddhi), advocating a theory of preserving the body so that the soul would continue its existence (Udambai valarthen uyir valarthenae).

Tirumular as a moral philosopher teaches the ethics of non-violence (ahimsa), abstinence from slaughtering, meat and alcohol. He condemns coveting another man's wife but declares that "love is God", proclaims the unity of mankind and God and stresses the acquisition of knowledge.

The final section of the Tirumantiram, named Sunya Sambhashana ("Colloquy on the Void"), is full of metaphorical sayings communicating mystical and speculative thoughts, for example;

There are five cows in the house of the Seer
Which without a cowherd wander everywhere.
If they were controlled and their thirst quenched,
Then they would give milk.

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