Thirumular - Pranayama
Thirumular, a Yogi called Sundarar, who is said to
have hailed from Mount Kailas of Northern India and traveled to
and settled in south India; a devout disciple of Lord Siva. He
displayed his belief, God Is Love - 'Anbe Sivam´.
During his travel to the south, he came across a
herd of cows mourning
at the death of its cowherd. Touched by the compassion and grief
of the cows, he manifested himself into the cowherd´s body
and brought him to life, by Yogic power; the cows rejoiced.
Following which, he led the herd to the village safely and upon
returning to the spot where he had left his body, he was
shocked to find out that it had disappeared (Lord Siva´s
doing). Hence, Thirumular remained in the cowherd´s body
and began his 'Tapas´, meditation, under a peepul tree at
this village (Thiruvavaduthurai) and remained in 'Samadhi´.
While in 'Samadhi´, he uttered over 3000 verses now and
then, which was recorded and became known as
'Thirumantiram´ or Holy Verses.
Thirumantiram became an integral text of 'Saiva
Siddhanta´, which delivered countless number of Saints to
India and influenced the Tamil culture and Hindu religion.
Amongst the 9 'Tantras´ of the Thirumantiram, in the 3rd
Tantra we find the mention and importance of 'Pranayama´,
which is a vital path towards the attainment of Spirituality and
Self-Realization. Practice of Pranayama, is known to bring about
better health and function of the body, thereby
uniting the Soul with the Primordial Atom (God). Practice of
various Pranayama techniques, is said to have positive effects on
one´s Health (Physical), Mind (Mental) and Spiritual
The invaluable masterpiece 'Thirumantiram´
contains the teachings of breathing and its control. According to
Thirumular, Prana or life force is considered the leader of the
five senses; similar to that of the rein/steed of horses.
These five senses govern our body but, not the Soul. In order for
an individual to realize the Atma (Soul) within, one has to
master the art of Pranayama.
Following are some poems, quoted from the 3rd
Tantra of the Thirumantiram…
Verse 564 Verse 565
The mind is the master of senses five; Great is Jiva;
He is the head of the body habitat; He has steeds two,
There is a steed he rides to his destined goal; But he knows not
how to master them;
The masterly one the steed carries; If the lordly Guru lends His
The feeble one it throws away; The steeds will tame become.
That steed the 'Prana´ breath is.
Verse 566 Verse 567
Faster than bird that steed flies; Let 'Prana´ merge in
If that steed is controlled, far headier than wine And together
the two be stilled;
the pleasure it gives; Then no more shall birth and death be;
It infuses vigor, dispels laziness; Therefore, learn to direct
True we say this, let the wise listen. In streams alternating
left and right;
Then shall you taste the nectar of life.