from Kalama sutra, translation from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi

This blog included. "So, as I said, Kalamas: 'Don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher." When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" — then you should abandon them.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

"Now, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them. Buddha - Kalama Sutta

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Tirumular's Thirumandiram

I've been after a copy of Tirumular's Tirumantiam (Thirumandiram) since the summer's Vinyasa Krama course, Ramaswami often referred to it as it's an important early Ashtanga yoga text, and it's where the ganesha prayer ( Links to Ramaswami teaching the prayer) that I like so much comes from. Ramaswami would often begin the asana class with this prayer

Aindu karattanai
Aanai muhattanai
Indin ilampirai pondra eyitrinai
Nandi mahandanai
Pundiyil vaittadi potruhinrene.

Him, who has arms five,
Him, who has an elephant face
Him, whose single tusk equals the charm of the crescent moon,
Him, who is the offspring of the Blissful Lord,
Him, who is wisdom overflowing
I worship (by) keeping His feet
In my consciousness (mind)

There is a three volume edition (pictured left), has anyone got or seen it? I'm wondering if this edition has the romanization of the Tamil included.

I spent most of my day off yesterday reading an online version. Here's a taste of it from the opening of the Third Tantra which focuses on Ashtanga Yoga


549: Difficult to Expound is Science of Yoga
Of difficult vast to expound
Is the Science of Breath;
Closing nostril alternate
And counting time in measure appropriate
Thus did Nandi reveal at length
The eight-fold science of yoga great--
Iyama, Niyama and the rest.

550: Yoga Includes Kavacha Nyasa and Mudra
I shall reveal herein,
The ways of Iyama and Niyama,
The secret of Kavacha, Nyasa and Mudra
The paths to reach the Samadhi State;
To course Kundalini Sakti upward,
And to reach Parasakti at Cranium high.

551: Ashtanga Yoga Leads to Samadhi and to Jnana
Waver not, this way and that
Follow the way of eight-limbed Yoga
And reach Samadhi State;
They who tread that blessed path
Shall reach Jnana's peak;
No more are they in this vile flesh born.

552: Eight Limbs of Yoga
Iyama, Niyama, and Asana numberless
Pranayama wholesome and Pratyahara alike,
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi to triumph
--These eight are the steely limbs of Yoga.

The yoga section reads a little dry but the first Tantra (only read the first and the third so far) is quite beautiful.

Here's Ramaswami giving a background to Saint Tirmular from his October 2009 Newsletter.

'The story of Tirumular is also interesting. He was a Sivayogi and a
siddha yogi, one who had attained siddhis—like what you find in the
Vibhuti Pada of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. Here is the story.
It is said that the Siva Yogi, Sundaranatha, who was one of the eight
direct disciples of Lord Siva, having received the blessings of Lord
Siva and also having become a Sidhha and being a great Vedic scholar,
decided to visit the South Indian sage Agastya (rhymes with Augustus?)
who was living in the Podihai mountains of Tamil Nadu in South India.
He worshipped the Lord in Kedhar and Pasupati in Nepal. He took a holy
dip in the Ganga and proceeded towards the South. He visited the
mountain range of Shrisailam, on the banks of the great Southern river
Krishna and worshipped Sivasankara. Travelling further south he
reached Kalahasti, another venerated hill temple of Siva. Then he went
to the dancing Siva’s (Nataraja) temple Alavanam and then went to
Kancheepuram and worshipped the Lord in the Ekambresvara temple, about
50 miles from the city of Madras (Chennai). Then he reached the great
temple in Tillai or Chidambaram and witnessed the primordial dance of
Lord Siva, the same place where Patanjali also had the vision of the
divine dance. His heart was full of immense divine joy on seeing the
dance of the Lord. Then he slowly moved further south and reached the
banks of the river Kaviri.
One day, after taking his bath in the holy river Kaveri, he went to
another Siva temple in Aduthurai. He worshipped the icon of the Lord
in that temple and never felt like leaving the beautiful form and the
spiritual environs of the place. But he collected himself and started
proceeding towards the Podihai mountains to meet with the short
statured Agastya. As he was slowly treading along the bank of Kaveri,
he saw a herd of cows standing around a spot, not moving, not grazing
as expected. He went near them and saw to his dismay, the cowherd
lying dead in front of the cows. The orphaned cows which seemed to be
unable to bear the loss of their friendly cowherd were weeping with
their heads down. It was also time for the cows to return to their
habitats to be milked and such milch cows were struggling to stay in
place with their heavy udders. The Yogi, who considers ‘Love is the
Lord’ (anbe Sivam), took pity on the cows. He used his yogic powers
called “para kaya pravesa” and transmigrated into the body of the
cowherd, known as Mula. In an instant Mula woke up as if from sleep
and the cows instantly looked happy. The Yogi, now a cowherd, kept his
own body aside under a banyan tree-planning to re-enter his own body a
short while afterwards- and led the cows back to their habitats. He
waited for the cows to return to their respective spots and then
decided to get back to the forest where his original body was.
Reaching the spot where he had left his body, he was shocked to find
that his body was missing. Actually the King’s servants finding an
unclaimed body decided to dispose of it by cremating it as per the
custom. Now the Yogi who had renounced everything had now renounced
his own body. Though he was taken aback by the turn of events, he
realized that the Lord Siva was directing him to propagate Sivayoga
through him in the Sothern part of India through the medium of the
Southern language, Tamizh . Shortly thereafter, some of the villagers
not finding Mula with the returning cows came in search of him in the
forest and brought him back to the village and left him in his house.
Mulan’s wife who herself was an orphan and childless found the
behavior of her husband odd. He said to her that he had renounced the
world and would not come back home and went into a Mutt and remained
there for the night, planning to leave the place the following day.
Mulan’s wife was restless all night. She had no relatives or grown up
children to take care of her. Early in the morning she approached the
elders of the village and narrated her plight and requested them to
persuade Mulan to return home. The elders after talking to him for a
few minutes realized that a transformation had taken place in Mula and
that he was not the illiterate cowherd anymore but an accomplished
Yogi and they thought it was due to the grace of Lord Siva. They went
back and consoled Mulan’s wife, telling her that her husband has
transformed himself to a Yogi and she should feel happy and proud of
her husband. They also persuaded the Yogi to stay near the village so
that his wife would feel more secure even though he would be separated
from her. The Yogi sat under a tree and meditated for one year and at
the end woke up from his Samadhi and composed one verse. Again he went
into Samadhi and at the end of the second year he opened his eyes and
composed the second verse and went on to compose three thousand
verses, it is believed in the following 3000 years! Thirumantiram
(lit., the sacred mantras) became a classic in Siva Yoga and there is
no one who would not be touched deeply by one verse or the other.

And again, Ramaswami giving a taste of some of the verses pertaining to Ashtanga Yoga.

1. Certain constraints and prescribed duties (dont’s and do’s),
countless postures, breath control, sense control, concentration,
meditation, and absorption are the eight aspects of yoga.

2. One who is steadfast in Yama, the first Anga, will never cause
injuries to anyone by word or deed (nor abet). Thoroughly truthful, he
never covets; possesses exemplary qualities, and is pious. Modest and
neutral he shares his possessions with others. Pure he abjures use of

3. The Niyamas (vows) are cleanliness, both outward and inward,
compassion, dieting, forbearance, truth, sensitiveness and a mind free
from lust, greed, or sadism.

4. Further, austerity, chanting, contentment, faith, charity,
religiousness, scriptural study and its propagation, and worship are
the aspects of Niyama.

5. Asanas are many hundreds. The important ones are Bhadrasana,
Gomukhasana, Padmasana, Simhasana, Siddhasana, Veerasana, Sukhasana
and Swastikasana.

6. By the proper control of Prana (Pranayama) bliss arises in one
automatically. Why resort to intoxicating drinks? The gait becomes
sprightly and laziness vanishes. This is the truth, oh sensible one,
of the efficacy of Pranayama.

7. Usually Prana circulates in the body without control. If one, by
proper practice purifies and controls it, the complexion will become
golden, grey hair will turn black, and ultimately/untimely death will
be prevented.

8. Thirumular indicates that he, by the aid of Yoga lived long (3, 000
years). Knowledge of life and long life are essential, he says, to
attain spiritual knowledge. He says “Once I was under the impression
that the body need not be protected since it is perishable. Of late I
found that something is inside it, and that something is the all-
pervading entity, which is inside my body as though my body is its
temple. After finding that truth I have taken a vow to protect and
preserve my body temple and keep perfect.”


  1. I think amazon has a copy of the three volume edition. On a somewhat related note I finally got a copy of Samkhya Karika. Thirumandiram is now on my next to get or find list. Some reason I just really like book versions over their Internet counterpart.

  2. hey Chris,
    Been looking at that Amazon copy but they don't have a 'LOOK INSIDE" so I can't see if they have a romanaization of the Tamil. If not then I'll settle for the single volume edition. I prefer real books too but it is nice having it on my itouch and being able to read a couple of verses anywhere. I have the Samkkhya Karika on my itouch too..... clearly the modern yogi needs an ipad.

  3. I read through your blog post again and saw when you discussed about the romaniazation of the tamil. I would hope they do. If it is cheaper or if I somehow get more money I might get the amazon copy and if there is no romaniazation I will either hunt for a book with one or just find it on the internet and write the romaniaztion manually. I also hope they would have the tamil in it and a direct translation word by word from tamil to english.

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  5. I did a little more research and found a 10 volume set of Thirumandiram with the romanization and the original tamil script with it. It costs US 150 dollars. Here is the link:

    It sounds like it also has an intensive commentary along with it.

  6. There's another version of the Thirumandiram that came out in the 90's however it's spelled differently, 'Tirumantiram'. It seems to be the same translation as the 3 volume edition but is in a singler volume and includes the tamil script. Here's a link to Amazon where you can 'Look Inside',

    There seem to be a few used copies floating around, I managed to pick one up off ebay this week for £2.99. I'm envious of your 9 volume edition with the transliteration of the tamil though Chris. I did find a site that has that, here's the link

  7. I ran into a copy of the Amazon Three Volume Set at my library today and it does not have the Tamil or Romanization of the text.

  8. Thanks Chris, sounds like a hell of a library you have in your town. has your Nine volume edition turned up yet?

  9. not yet but hopefully soon

  10. everything is gurunathar thirumoolar for me.,



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