It is said that birth in Thiruvarur, death in Varanasi, worshipping in Chidambaram and merely thinking of the deity at Tiruvannamalai will grant one mukti. While where one is born or dies is not in one’s hands, surely one can worship at Chidambaram. All that it takes is a little effort. But for those who cannot do even that, there is a simpler way — merely thinking of Siva. God is simple, so are the means of attaining Him.

There have been instances in which Lord Siva has talked to mortals. Faith in Him leads to moksha. We must first of all realise that this world and its attractions are temporary, and to be attached to them only takes us away from God. We must make the most of the time we have to worship Him. It is only when death approaches us that we think of Him. We cry for the dead, but why do we not cry for ourselves? After all, we are all moving towards death. Our march in this life is towards the ultimate end, which is death. But death is for this body of ours, not for the atma, said K. Sambandan in a discourse.

Our tears should not be for the dead, but for those who have not realised that they must think of their atma, and not of this perishable body.

Life is demanding, and it is true that we face many problems every day. The Tamil poet Avvaiyar saw even her stomach as a tormentor. It wasn’t possible to eat in one sitting what her stomach required for a week. Just when she wanted to do something else and told her hunger to go away, it wouldn’t, but tormented her until she ate. Although it seems as if she might have said it in a lighter vein, this verse shows us the various distractions in life. We must, of course, carry out our duties in this life, but we must not allow anything to distract us totally from our pursuit of moksha.

It is the Lord’s desire that everyone be saved. Not all respond to His kindness in the same way, though. So He comes in different guises for different people. Siva enables some people to realise that He is their antaryami. He appears before some people with His matted locks and His weapons. He appears before some in the guise of a human being. He offers us opportunities to seek His feet, with the aim of saving us.