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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24384

Title: The Concept of Living Liberation in the Tirumantiram
Authors: Thayanithy, Maithili
Advisor: Kanaganayakam, Chelva
Department: Religion, Study of
Keywords: liberation
Tamil literature
tantra/agama
Saivisim
yoga
bhakti
symbolism
Issue Date: 21-Apr-2010
Abstract: This dissertation examines the concept of living liberation in the Tirumantiram, a work recognised as one of the Tamil Saiva canonical texts composed around the ninth century. Modern scholarship has thus far attempted to comprehend the Tirumantiram in terms of the post-Tirumantiram traditions that developed after the thirteenth century: Tamil Saiva Siddhànta and Tamil Siddha. Consequently, the unity and coherence of the text are subjected to question, and the dual literary and cultural roots of the Tirumantiram remain largely uninvestigated. Besides, the significance of the Tirumantiram as one of the earliest vernacular works directly dealing with the question of soteriology for Tamil speaking populace, most of whom are not qualified for liberation and preceptorhood according to the Saivàgamas with which the text identifies itself, is not fully recognised. This dissertation argues that the concept of living liberation constitutes the unifying theme of the Tirumantiram, which is an outcome of the synthesis of Tamil and Sanskrit traditions, and demonstrates that the Tirumantiram-which does not apparently promote the ideology of temple cult around which the Tamil bhakti movement and Saivàgamas of Southern Saivism developed–exemplifies an alternative religious vision centred on the human body. This dissertation consists of four chapters. The first chapter examines the Tamil legacy to the concept of living liberation. The second examines the ambiguous relations between the Sanskrit traditions and the Tirumantiram. How the Tamil and Sanskrit traditions are fused together to produce a unique version of yoga, the means to attain living liberation, is the concern of the third chapter. The final chapter establishes through an analysis of sexual symbolism expressed in connotative language that the Tirumantiratm is an esoteric text. Thus, the Tirumantiram reflects the blending of an esoteric tantric sect with the leading mainstream bhakti religion, probably to win approval of and recognition in the Tamil Saiva community during the medieval period.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24384
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department and Centre for the Study of Religion - Doctoral theses

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