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Tirumoola Nāyanār

Tirumoola
Illustration courtesy of Ramalingar Pani Mandram.
At Kailasam there was a great siddha named Moolanatha, an adept in parakaya pravesam, the siddhi by which one may enter another’s body. One day he set out southward to visit the great shrines of the Lord and to meet his old friend, Sage Agastya, then residing at the Podiya Hills. When he reached Aaduthurai, he noticed a herd of cows in mourning on a woodland. He wondered what could have happened and went to have a closer look. He found that the cowherd, Moolan by name, lay stone-dead on the ground, with the cows gathered round him weeping. At once the yogi realised it was his duty to relieve their suffering and so, after safely securing his own body in a secluded wood, entered the body of the cowherd. When the cowherd stood up, the cows were beside themselves with joy and licked his body and pressed him close. With all grief relieved and now fully contented, they resumed their grazing.

At sunset the cows turned homeward and Tirumoola followed in their wake. Moolan’s wife, having become anxious about her husband’s whereabouts, drew near to take his hand but he withdrew, saying that he could have nothing to do with her. He passed his days beneath the temple peepal tree and his nights in a nearby Math. She spent her nights tossing and turning until one morning, she sought the aid of relatives. They went and visited Tirumoola, but upon returning to her, said: “He’s not mad or afflicted in any way. He’s now a yogi of indescribable glory. You will have to accept that he cannot be brought back to household life.” Meanwhile the saint went to the wood in search of his old body only to discover that the Lord had taken it. The Lord had other plans for him: he was to remain and serve the Lord in this land. The yogi resumed his samadhi beneath the peepal tree, emerging ever so often to compose a single verse in Tamil—one per year—over the next 3,000 years until he reached the feet of the Lord. These 3,000 verses make up the Tirumantram.


Reproduced from the November 2012 issue of the Saranagati eNewsletter
published by Sri Ramanasramam. The above text has been freely adapted from editions
of Periapuranam, Siva Bhakta Vilāsam (published by Sri Ramanasramam) and other texts.