An individual is at the centre of a range of relationships with family, society, nation, world and God. This demands an accommodating outlook in his way of life. The affirmation of the oneness of God and love, particularly of love as the very essence of Godhood, is the basic postulate of Saivism, said Sri R. Selvaganapathy in a lecture. Saint Tirumoolar in his magnum opus Tirumadiram encapsulates this truth when he declares “Anbe Sivam” (Love is the Supreme God). He asserts “Onre Kulam, Oruvane Devan” (There is one family and only One God). This explains the relationship between mankind and God. In the saint’s view, those who see a difference between love and God only betray their ignorance.

Out of compassion for humanity caught in the wilderness of samsara, and due to the grace of the Supreme Lord, the saint chose to live in this world in a cowherd’s body. Traditional lore has it that he lived for 3,000 years and was engaged in yogic meditation all the while. Being a realised soul who enjoyed the bliss of union with the Supreme God, he wanted mankind also to partake of the same. He composed the valuable hymns of the Tirumadiram which reveal God and also the way to the four primary goals of life — righteous living, wealth, happiness and salvation.

Tirumoolar advocates a simple way of living to fulfil one’s duty to God, beast and man that does not demand any ostentation or out-of-the-way effort on any individual. To one who wonders how to worship the Almighty, the saint’s simple suggestion is to offer merely a green leaf. The unsaid advice is on the bhava of worship with its focus on love and humility. If it is within one’s means, offer a mouthful of grass to the cow, says the saint. He then asks, “Could you not spare a handful of food to the hungry whenever you have your meal, or a kind word to those around you?” Such advice is practicable to all regardless of one’s status, learning, wealth, etc. It kindles the latent spark of compassion embedded in each one of us.

Only when the heart melts with love can there be spiritual awakening. This love is equal to the service of the Lord. Service to others is service to God.

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