In a lecture about early Saivite saints of Tamil Nadu, Malayaman elaborated on the contributions of Karaikkal Ammaiyar and Thirumoolar. Karaikkal Ammaiyar prayed for release from births and death. However, if such release was not going to be granted to her, she at least prayed that she never forget Lord Siva. She prayed that her thoughts always be of Him. People say God resides in Heaven. Others say He has a divine abode. While Lord Siva is said to be in Kailasa, Karaikkal Ammaiyar said He resided in our hearts. She knew that He was the One who gave us this life on earth and He was the One who ended it. Karaikkal Ammaiyar was respectfully and affectionately addressed by Lord Siva as “Mother.” How many would have had such an honour? Karaikkal Ammaiyar was anxious to see Lord Siva’s Divine Dance. Her wish was fulfilled in a place called Thiruvalangadu, near Chennai. Of the five shrines where Siva’s dance as Nataraja is significant, Thiruvalangadu is one.

The saint Thirumoolar’s greatness is acknowledged by the Nayanmar Sundarar, who describes himself as the servitor of those who serve Thirumoolar. Thirumoolar’s work known as Thirumanthiram, which talks of yoga and gnana, also talks about how to conduct worship. It recommends the offering of green leaves to God, food to the hungry and grass to cattle. Thirumanthiram talks about the impermanence of wealth, of youth, of life itself. Thirumoolar describes poignantly how death can happen suddenly. It talks of how a man ate the tasty meal his wife had prepared, had an enjoyable conversation with her, complained of a mild ache in the left side of his chest, lay down to rest and never woke up! Thirumoolar warns of the dangers of falling into the trap set by those who pretend to be men of God. It lists the qualities a virtuous man will have. He will not kill; nor will he even utter a lie; he will not steal; he will have self -control at all times; he will have no hesitation in sharing what he owns with others; he cannot be faulted on any ground and so on. The Thirumanthiram tells us how we should live our lives, and thus serves as a partial guide book too, in addition to being one that offers religious instruction.

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