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We, the Creators of this Web Site, are pleased to note the overwhelming response from the Viewers. Lots of queries are being received wanting us to explain in detail about the meanings of Thirumanthiram Verses. We are pleased to open a separate page for queries and answers under the title 'Quest and Quenching' for the benefit of viewers. To start with some of the queries received and answered already are given herein below, with the request to the viewers to pour in volley of queries that may worry in mind concerning the inner meaning of Thirumanthiram Verses.

Wolaganatha Pillay

Q: How do I access the thirumanthirams?

A: Thirumanthiram Verses, as the chronicle of Thirumoolar forwarded by 'Sekizhar' portrays, have been sung by its author putting in great efforts, each verse transpiring as an outcome of efforts of a year. This goes to say that each verse of Thirumanthiram has vast inner meaning befitting a year's effort. Only those people who have insight and blessed with the graces of God will be able to expatiate on it in proper perspective. Hence, you are advised to accost Thirumanthiram always with the assistance of a choice guru. Glancing through it with only literal meanings, as you would any other book, will not be of any help and for sure, what you gain out of it will be only superficial.

R. Kumar Sankar.
Gaborone, Botswana, Africa.

Q: In Thirumanthiram poem no:59 (TM59), there is a reference to 18 languages. Can you tell me what these 18 languages are?

A: The list of 18 languages is found mentioned in Encyclopaedia namely Abhithana Sindhamani. I fear that the list is not pertinent but spurious. Some of the languages mentioned are Tamil,Sanskrit,Pali,Prahkrata,Marati,Bengali,and so on and so forth.

The period of Thirumoolar has bearing on this subject, which has been completely and conveniently forgotten by those of the authors of Abhithana Sindhamani. The period of Thirumoolar can be reasonably fixed at 5500 BC, the reasons having been set out properly in my book 'Thirumanthira Cindhanaigal'

Whereas, Tamil and Sanskrit were only in vogue in the period said afore, the others in the list found to be off-shoots of Dravidian and Aryan Languages came into being at various intervals afterwards. Hence, the listing of 18 Languages mentioned by Thirumoolar perceived to be prevalent contemporary to his period would be much difficult. Various exponents, faithful to Thirumoolar, have therefore rightly averted giving the list in their explanatory paraphrase. Therefore, it is just on our part also to follow suit.

Hereat, I would like to expound the poem as below, which may be found useful by you on translating the prosody:

"Those who know the roots of Languages, say 18, know that all of them have come into being by grace of God. As they know God hath condescended on mankind the Languages as a boon to kindle Knowledge, they come to realize the God Himself in proper prospective. The Pundits know well that the Languages which are tools of Knowledge have been made use of not only by the mankind but also the Almighty hath done with it for preaching of morals, otherwise called in Tamil as "Aram", adhering which in its proper course will lead up to the Lotus feet of God".

R. Kumar Sankar.
Gaborone, Botswana, Africa.

Q: Can you tell me what are the '10 directions' referred to in Line1, TM32, and '7 worlds' referred to in Line2, TM32?

A: You have asked me to explain the 'Ten Directions' and 'Seven Worlds' occurring in TM32.These can be construed as follows:

Ten Directions:

1. East 2.South East 3.South 4.South West 5.West 6.North West 7.North 8.North East 9.Upwards and 10.Downwards.

The Four Directions normally known are further bifurcated angularly, which are called as South East, South West, North West and North East. These eight directions are generally known in Tamil as Eight Angular Directions. Further, these eight directions constitute only Two Dimensional expanse. To add to this, the direction towards top and that towards bottom would give Three Dimensional perspectives and this alone will represent the entirety. Hence, Thirumoolar herein made mention of Ten Directions, which would go for explaining the Omnipresence of the Almighty.

Seven Worlds:

1.Boolokam 2.Bhuvalokam 3.Swargalokam 4. MAlokam 5.Thavalokam 6.Brahmalokam and
7. Sivalokam.

Herein, Thirumoolar chose to mention the above Seven Worlds in the intention of alluding to the travel places of a right Soul of ripe state, the spheres of different lokams one by one upwards leading upto the last and final world called Siva Lokam. There are further seven worlds going deep into abyss downwards. These are not to be construed herein for reason of context.

R. Kumar Sankar.
Gaborone, Botswana, Africa.

Q: Thank you very much for explaining the meaning of 10 directions, and setting out the 7 worlds in the context of TM 32. Because of your explanation, my footnotes and translation have become more relevant and significant than before. From what I understand from you, a ripened soul passes over top seven worlds. Am I right in relating this to the spirit of meaning of the term 'Pass Over' imbibed in chapter2 Exodus of the Old Testament of the Holy Bible? Shall I say Shiva's Parasaththi passes over only the top seven worlds leading the soul in its course?

A: The quotation of chapter 2 of the Holy Bible made by you is quite relevant. There is one point, which I would like to bring to your kind attention about this is the mention of Parasaththi in the phase of 'pass over', that requires to be expatiated further.

After all we all know the God is omnipresent-all pervading and hence soul is never separated from the Lap of God, whether in top or abysmal world. The Parasaththi is nothing but embodiment of compassion of the Lord, which is inseparable from It as the rays from the sun. Hence, the Omnipresence of the Lord is otherwise called Parasaththi in Saiva Siddhantha tenet. It is always helping the soul in accordance with its will. The Parasththi therefore helping the soul when it is bent towards earthly pleasures is called as 'Thirothanam' i.e. veil of Lethe namely cloud of forgetfulness, forgetful of the earlier births of a soul and what it is rightly upto and the Parasaththi helping the soul when it is bent towards merger with God is called Arutsaththi. Therefore, when the soul is ripe and passing over the Seven top world one after another it is Arutsaththi, which helps its course.

I am therefore of the opinion to correct the word Parasaththi as Arutsaththi where it occurs with 'pass over' of top Seven worlds will make your translation much more pertinent and add to its beauty.

R. Kumar Sankar.
Gaborone, Botswana, Africa.

Q: You have used the phrase 'veil of Lethe' in relation to the 'Maraippu cakti' in your explanation. Is the word 'Lethe' an English word or a Latin word? Can you please explain so that I can understand the same?

A: As regards 'Lethe', it is a Greek word found in Greek Mythology. It is rather a river in Hades, whose water caused forgetfulness of the past in those who drank of it. It refers therefore to any such oblivion or the kind of it. Herein, it refers to forgetfulness of the earlier births and hence the Maraippu as what is called in Saiva Tenet.

R. Kumar Sankar.
Gaborone, Botswana, Africa.

Q: Can you please write an elaborate introduction on life, its long journey in reaching God, the delusion which make one feel different from God, (maya), the necessity and ways to over come such delusion, techniques adopted for breaking the cycle of birth and death, etc?(which will go a long way in making common people understand Tirumandiram better)

A: The journey of soul rather 'Sojourn' from the incessant shackles of the births and deaths to redemption leading up to the Beatitude is a great thing, I am afraid, when dealt with will occupy volumes and volumes. I therefore suggest that you may refer to my book on 'Thriumandhira Cindhanigal' on its being uploaded in our Web site. ( Delay in this regard is due to non-availability of dynamic Tamil fonts.)

R. Kumar Sankar.
Gaborone, Botswana, Africa.

Q: In TM 63, there is reference to three names of 'VyAmaLam', 'Uttiram', and 'Suppiram'. In the list of 28 AgamAs, these names are not there. I wonder as to whether these names could be AgamAs at all. Can you please clarify this on urgent basis?

A: The Agamaas listed out in TM63 are nine in toto which are given below:
1.KAranam 2.KAmigam 3.Veeram 4.Cindhiyam 5.VAdhulam 6.ViyAmalam 7.(Devi) KAlothiram 8.Suppiram and 9.Makutam.

I have dealt with the meaning of this TM63 elaborately with that touch of research in AgamAs in my book namely, 'Thirumanthira Cindhanaigal'. However, I will put it in succinct as this herein below:

The list of 28 Agamaas found in Agamic literature now in Sanskrit is nothing short of concoction without understanding of related Thirumandhirams in Tamil. Only nine Agamaas were originally handed down from the Eternal source to Nandhi and in turn from Nandhi to Thirumoolar.

This has been categorically spelt in TM 62. In the ultimate line of TM 62 Thirumoolar says that his guru Nandhi received only nine Agamaas in lineage. In that case there can be no Agamaa more than nine. How then 28 Agamaas are found to be listed in vogue? Thirumoolar has answer for this in TM1429. Each one of nine Agamaas is trifurcated on the basis of 1.KarmaGAndaa 2.UpAsanAGAndaa and 3.GnanaGAndaa. This classification of nine Agamaas ramifying into three folds comes to 27 in all. There is nother one added to it, which is quintessence of unfailing Gnanaa, putting together the number of Agamaas becomes 28.

Not understanding this, the virtuoso of Sanskrit Agamaas, while translating the original Agamaas from Tamil to Sanskrit made a spurious list adjusting to the number 28 occurring in TM. That the list is concocted is testified by the fact that there is no other Agamaa is available at present than 6 of them.

It is noteworthy that for this reason only ViyAmalam is not found in Sanskrit list, whereas, (Devi)Kalothiram is mistakenly relegated to the list of UpaAgamaa.

For further details you may refer to my book.

R. Kumar Sankar.
Gaborone, Botswana, Africa.

Q: Can you please tell me the names of the 6 availiable AgamAs? Can we get them, and where? What is the main content of the AgamA, 'makutam'?

A: In reply to your query about available AgamAs, I'd state as per the available information, the following are the 6 AgamAs that are available on print:

1. KaranAgamA
2. KAmigAgamA
3. VeerAgamA
4. AjitAgamA
5. VAdulAgamA
6. MakudAgamA

Of these, some of them have been printed by Research Institute of Indology, Pondicherry, all having been printed not in 'Granta Libhi', but in 'DevanAgiri'. Some of them were printed in 'Granta Libhi' by an institution called 'Sithantha ParibAlana Sabai' of Devakottai. Unfortunately, these are not readily available now and the said sabai is defunct now for all practical purpose. You can contact Pondicherry Institute for further details.

As I know, the KaranAgamA and KAmigAgamA have been printed by South India Archagar Association for about ten years ago. The exact details as to the place of availability of these collections are not known, as the Association has changed its address. I had the oppurtunity of perusing a very old publication of KAmigAgamA, perhaps, dating back to 1840 that is available with Kanchi MeygandAr Math. However, this is not for sale, but kept as one for reference purpose only.So much is the information available about the 6 AgamAs

As regards MakutAgamA, it's an unique AgamA dealing with modes and methods of Kiriyai to be performed in Thillai. The peculiarity about the Thillai is that the kiriyai here relates to all the three forms of worship viz., Lingam (Formless form), Nataraja (Form), and Chith Space (formless) whereas, all the other 273 Shrines which have been sung in praise of by NAlvar are concerned with kiriyai for worship of Lingam only. This AgamA is known to the esoteric called as Dhikshidhars of Thillai and kept among themselves as if patented.For your information the 9th thanthra of Thirumanthiram is the quintessance of MakudAgamA only.

R. Kumar Sankar.
Gaborone, Botswana, Africa.

Q: Will you kindly give us details on Granta Lipi?

A: The language Sanskrit has no alphabets in written form. What it has instead is only phonetics. It is because of this, Sanskrit Language has borrowed structures of alphabets from Devanagiri(Hindi) and Granta. Whereas the Devanagiri was created in North India, the Granta was the structure of alphabets created in South India for Sanskrit with Tamil characters as base. The type and style of Granta Lipi has in case of most of the characters similarity with that of Tamil.

Since Sanskrit has no structure of alphabets called 'lipi', the hymns of Sanskrit Vedas are called "Ezhudha Kilavi"(Book not in written form).

The Granta Lipi is also waning out from the scene for the nonce. That the Aagamas whatever that are available are all found only in Granta Lipi testifies to the fact that the Aagamas were originally in Tamil only and later copied by vested interest to Sanskrit. Only for this reason the Vaidigas(followers of Sanskrit Vedas) have scant respect for Aagamas. All these go to prove that Aagamas were originally available only in Tamil.

You may have a doubt running in your mind at this as to why then the Aagamas in Tamil are not available at present? The answer is that there had been two great deluges which had swept the terrain south of Kanyakumari whereby the original Tamil Aagamas were devastated and in its place the copied text of Aagamas in Sanskrit(Granta Lipi) escaped to stay beyond Tamil region.

R. Kumar Sankar.
Gaborone, Botswana, Africa.

Q: Can you please clarify the terms'kandhuruk kAlAngi kanja malaiyanOdu' in TM 68? Are these merely names, or are these qualified names (names with adjectives)?

A : Regarding TM68, the purport of the same in succinct is this: Thirumoolar had seven specific disciples who were responsible for bringing seven mutts into being. The seven disciples are: MaalAngan, Indhiran, Soman, Brahman, Rudhiran, Kandhuru, and Kalangi Kanchmalayan. Of these, Soman, Brahman and Rudhiran are the disciples of first batch and the rest form the second batch. These have been implicitly explained by Thirumoolar in his work and hence evidenced internally.

R. Kumar Sankar.
Gaborone, Botswana, Africa.

Q : Can you tell me the English equivalent of the word 'mazhu'. This occurs in TM 89. Is it axe? What does it signify in the Hand of Lord SivA?

A: Regarding TM89 and Mazhu I would like to have this put before you with reference to the context of the TM poem. The formless Almighty takes the form only with the intention to come down to the level of thinking of sentient beings esp. mankind. This is because the mind of the man is capable of receiving things only in forms and these forms are analyzed within Budhdhi Thathuvam culminating in the experience of knowing a thing related to the forms. In keeping with this process, the Almighty which is formless originally takes forms whatever the mankind pleases only to facilitate intimacy between Him and the souls. One such form is that which is used to be alluded in Saivism namely, Lord Siva.

Lord Siva is narrated as having so many extra-ordinary appendages like Maan, Mazhu and His vehicle known as bull. These are appended to Him only with certain implications, more so they are nothing but personification of great ideas and principles of Saivism.

To detail on the above, let us take Maan first. This represents Asuththa maayai which develops into material body of souls and the worldly expanse. In Saiva Sidhdhaantha doctrine, this asuththa maayai is called as Moola Prakruthi Maayai consisting of 24 thaththuvas otherwise grouped as Aanma Thaththuvam. This is palpable to senses and is materially solid.

There are seven more thaththuvam called Vidhya thaththuvam above the level of Aanma Thaththuvam each sublime to one another. This is called as Misra Maayai otherwise known as Suththaasuththa Maayai. This is admixture of both Suththa and Asuththa Maayai.

There is another band in this series which is called as Suththa Maayai otherwise known as Vindhu Maayai, consisting of five Siva Thaththuvams, each sublime to one another.

Lord Siva utilizes the existence of Maayai, which is formless and the seed of cosmos to create material world and bodies of souls only to kindle and improve the knowledge of souls. This Maayai, as has been given above processed and categorized into three categories which are Suththa, Asuththa and Suththaasuththa Maayai. Of these Suththa and Suththaasuththa Maayai have no forms whereas Asuththa Maayai has forms. These are codified as Vindhu, Mogini and Maan respectively. As Vindhu and Mogini Maayai have no forms these could not be represented in the appendage of Lord Siva, whereas suththa Maayai having form and codification as Maan(deer) has been represented in the appendage of Lord Siva as having been held in his hand.

Just as above Petram i.e. the bull is representation of souls which take Lord on to them and do service loyally. Mazhu represents tripod held in the hands of Lord Siva which is representation of small deities known as Brahma, Thirumaal and Rudhran entrusted with the job of creation, protection and destruction respectively in service to the Lord Siva.

In the poem, Thirumoolar conveys that in keeping with the idiosyncrasy of souls the Lord has taken forms of pleasure of mankind such as Petram , Maan and Mazhu and on meditating, making the same diffuse into that of formless which is the original of the Almighty. Doing so the Lord has entrusted him(Thirumoolar) unto the Lotus Feet of Him.

R. Kumar Sankar.
Gaborone, Botswana, Africa.

Q : Sivakatir Swamiji of Kauai Adheenam USA has asked me to find a Tamil Verse (Tirumantiram or some other divine song) matching the following Translation. May be, you know it offhand. I am searching through the whole of Tirumantiram. Do you recollect anything? Your assistance, as always, will be invaluable. Will you kindly take a few moments from your busy schedule and assist me in this, please.?

From: Sivakatirswami <>
it seems that we have this English verse which was presumed to be a translation of a Tirumantiram...
unfortunately we are unable to determine which Tantra and which verse it is... hunting for one mung bean in a sack of rice! (smile) But ideally there is such a verse...

"The soul, which in its real condition was of the form of Siva, was confined and conditioned by its original anava mala. When this mala ceased to obstruct the soul, the soul resumed its original form of Siva.

A : The clarification requested requires elaborate explanations. However I would put it in succinct as this. The word Aanavam is a pure sanskrit word meaning the one which made the Aanma(soul) into a small Anu(atom). The word Aanma in turn means that expanding into omnipresence. This word namely Aanavam is taken in the above meaning by Thirumoolar and referred to in many of the verses in Thirumanthiram.

True to the meaning of the above, Thirumoolar in his seventh thantra under the caption Purudan and Jeevan written poems as below which will be of nearest context to your requirement. May be it is not given in one poem as a whole but scattered in two/three poems in juxtaposition.

Anuvul avanum avanul anuvum
Kanuvara nindra kalappathu unaraar
Inayili eesan avanengum thaanaagi
Thanivara nindraan saraasaram thaanay (TM 2010)
Padar konda aalathin viththathu pola
Sudar konda anuvinai thoovazhi seyya
Idar konda paasa irulara votti
Nadar konda nalvazhi naadalu maamay (TM 2009)
Mayviya seevan vadivathu sollidil
Kovin mayirondru noorudan koorittu
Mayviya koorathu aayiram aanaal
Aaviyin kooru nooraayirathu ondray (TM 2011)

In TM 2011, Thirumoolar gives an account of how much the size of a soul is, which none other than him ventured to say. He says, the size of a soul is approximately equivalent to one in lakh of a hair shred of tail of a cow. Note that the said hair should be split along the grain i.e. it should be split vertically and not horizontally. This is tantamount to saying that the size of the soul is far more small that it is as invisible as an atom.

It may also be noted that he has referred in this context to hair shred of a cow, which will not be dark but in contrast gray, meaning the soul is a light but dimmed.

Thirumoolar, therefore, taking this into consideration of the above refers 'purudan' as anu in TM 2010. The meaning of the verse is self-explanatory.

In TM 2009, Thirumoolar says the very same idea in other words that the purudan is as small as a seed of Banyan tree. It is capable of catching light and hence the soul in an atom form, on lighting by external means, here by splendorous light of the Almighty, attains a stage of purity, pure from ignorance (Aanavam). The soul having been tangled in the clutches of Aanvam (here it is referred as Irul) is extricated out of it and comes into the right path where it can reach the Almighty in dancing form (here it is referred as natar).

These three poems, very closely related to each other, considered and analyzed adjacently will serve the purpose of your requirement.

I have also another point to tell you. People normally call uyir as soul. But it is not right. The word soul in English means mind and activities associated with it. In this meaning it refers to purudan mentioned above. The right word for uyir in English will be self.

Kandasamy Ganesan

Q : Will you kindly tell me where would I get the original text of Thirumanthiram and choice explanatory book of the same?

A : The addresses you required in connection with text books of Thriumanthiram are given below:

Thiru Aankeerasa S. Venkatasamy Sharma,
33/2, Vivekanandha puram 1st street,
West Mambalam, Chennai - 600033
Ph.: 044 - 471 3351 -------- Original text of Thirupananthaal Mutt.
Saiva Sidhdhaantha nool pathippu kazagham,
154, T.T.K.Salai, Alwarpet,
Chennai - 600018
Ph. : 044 - 435 4157 ------- Text with explanations.