The Thirumurai is a compendium of spiritual wisdom that reveals not only the Absolute Truth but also the way to attain it through a principled way of life and unalloyed devotion to God. Comprising twelve books that include the hymns of the Saivaite Saints — Gnanasambandhar, Thirunavukkarasar, Sundarar, Manikkavachagar, Thirumoolar, Sekkizhar and other Nayanmars — this body of Tamil literature is the force that has fostered the cultural and social values along with the Bhakti tradition that is the basis of Saiva Siddhanta.

In a lecture, Sri M. Muthukrishnan pointed out that in the divine experience of these saints, God is beheld as the very embodiment of love and compassion, and therefore their hymns have an inherent power to generate love and compassion among people. God is not in an elevated and unapproachable place, out of reach for the suffering humanity; He is ever present and ready to help anyone who seeks His help sincerely and with devotion. He is a universal principle and all aspects of creation manifest His glory. Moreover, the individual is urged to analyse the cause of one’s birth and strive to escape further births.

Cultivating the sterling values of Jnana, detachment (Vairagya) and discrimination (Viveka) can help us to choose the righteous path in this age of Kali that is fraught with evil and corrupt practices. The sense of ego and the material world around are powerful influences to dissuade one from this quest. One has to be ever alert to the temptations and adhere to the right path. Intense self-examination and association with the pious are advised for a proper understanding of the true nature of the Self which is the essence of eternal truth, consciousness and bliss. God’s experience can be gained through constant thoughts of Him and this is possible by chanting His names and recalling His greatness as often as possible.

Saint Thirunavukkarasar exemplifies the faith of a true devotee for he remained unhurt when he was cast into the lime kiln. The saint claims triumphantly that he had merely sung the Lord’s name unceasingly.

Keywords: SaivaiteThirumurai

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