In Hans-Ulrich Rieker’s translation of the HATHA YOGA PRADIPIKA OF SVATMARAMA, the Aquarian Press 1992, (Rieker, Hatha Yoga Pradipika Of Svatmarama, 1992),
“Since there is a path to liberation, there also must exist the means to pursue it to the end. And all the means that we require to reach our ultimate goal, however high it may be, lie within us. The problem is only how to release them.”
The path of the Siddhas is known as the Siddha Margam in Tamil. Siddhas had taken birth as humans and eventually through research into the mysteries of the body and soul, evolved themselves into the ultimate. The Siddhas strived to achieve Godhead or Erai as they name it, by means of performing austerities together with living a life of discipline. The Siddhas had searched the nooks and corners of this universe for Erai and finally realized Erai in them. Towards this, they perfected means to enable the body to remain alive for generations and eons and to this date are believed to be living amongst us. They then taught their disciples this path. Together they then laid them out in writings for the future generations to cherish and follow. It is wonderful indeed of the Siddhas that they had documented every finding and discovery and till this day guide humans through their writings and the Nadi. Having achieved deathlessness, they render their knowledge to humanity encouraging them to follow suit.
However, not everybody can realize Erai in them immediately. The Siddhas realized that each person is an individual in his known right having gained experiences through several births and advancing spiritually at their own pace. Understanding this, the Siddhas drafted four stages on the path of the soul’s evolution. Therefore, the Siddhas paved the path where one would have to go through the four divisions of Yoga towards realizing Erai in a systematic way. They are namely: Sariyai, Kriyai, Yogam and Gnanam. Man confirms to any one of this stage according to his temperament and nature; beliefs and thoughts; and upbringing and faith.
The four divisions or paths to Sivahood or Godhead are revealed in verses 270 to 274 of the SHIVAGNANA SIDDHIYAR SUPAKKAM.
“The journey in attaining Shiva consists of four paths. Sanmaargam, Sagamaargam, Sarputramaargam, Taatamaargam; these four Maargam are paths to Shiva. Jnanam, Yoga, Kriya, Sariyai, those devoted to it, shall attain Sanmaargam Mukti vis Salokyam, Saameepam, Saarupam, and Saayutchyam.”
சன் மார்க்கம் சக மார்க்கம் சற்புத்திர மார்க்கம்
தாத மார்க்கம் என்றும் சங்கரனை அடையும்
நன் மார்க்கம் நால் அவை தாம் ஞானம் யோகம்
நற் கிரியா சரியை என நவிற்றுவதும் செய்வர்
சன் மார்க்க முத்திகள் சாலோக்கிய சாமீப்பிய
சாரூப்பிய சாயுச்சியம் என்று சதுர் விதமாம்
முன் மார்க்க ஞாயத்தால் எய்தும் முத்தி
முடிவு என்பர் மூன்றினுக்கும் முத்திபதம் என்பர்
The first path Taatamaargam (Sariyai), or living in the world of Shiva, is also known as the path of the servant.
“In the temples of Shiva, cleaning the floors, decoration with flower wreaths and garlands, cooking many victuals for God and devotees, chanting the glories of Shiva, lighting the sacred lamps, tending the sacred gardens and flower beds, serving the visiting devotees of Shiva and attending to their needs are the path of Taatamaargam. They who perform these acts live in the world of Shiva. When the ascetics smeared in ash carrying a staff and other accouterments of the ascetics visit the temple, the devotee must say to them, “I am the servant at your feet, what can I do for you?” Thus one should lower one’s head and in humility perform the assigned work to serve the ascetic.”
தாத மார்க்கம் சாற்றில் சங்கரன் தன் கோயில்
தலம் அலகு இட்டு இலகு திரு மெழுக்கும் சாத்திப்
போதுகளும் கொய்து பூந் தார் மாலை கண்ணி
புனிதற்குப் பல சமைத்துப் புகழ்ந்து பாடி
தீது இல் திரு விளக்கு இட்டு திரு நந்தவனமும்
செய்து திரு வேடங் கண்டால் அடியேன் செய்வது
யாது பணியீர் என்று பணிந்து அவர்தம் பணியும்
இயற்றுவது இச் சரியை செய்வோர் ஈசன் உலகு இருப்பர்
Next, Sarputramaargam (Kriyai) or the ritual worship of Shiva is known as the path of the son.
“Fresh-smelling flowers, incense, sacred lamp, articles for ritual ablution of the idol, food offerings to God, five part purification, seat for the deity, invocation of the God in the form of light and of life into the idol, invitation of the deity, worship by pure devotion, eulogizing God with love, offering flowers, keeping alive the sacrificial fire, doing all these ritual acts daily. By these acts the devotees abide very close to Ninmalan (Shiva with no impurities).”
புத்திர மார்க்க கம புகலின் புதிய விறைப் போது
புகை ஒளி மஞ்சனம் அமுது முதல் கொண்டு ஐந்து
சுத்தி செய்து ஆசனம் மூர்த்தி மூர்த்தி மானாம்
சோதியையும் பாவித்து ஆவாகித்து சுத்த
பத்தியினால் அருச்சித்து பரவிப் போற்றிப்
பரிவினோடு எரியில் வருகாரியமும் பண்ணி
நித்தலும் இக் கிரியையினை இயற்றுவோர்கள்
நின்மலன் தன் அருகிருப்பர் நினையுங் காலே
The third path, Sagamaargam (Yogam) or attaining the form of Shiva is also known as the path of companionship.
“Control of the senses; regulating the two breaths (in-breath and out-breath); realizing the essence of the six Adhara kundalini Chakras with triangles and squares; worshipping the presiding deities of each Chakra; ascending to Brahmarandhra and inducing the lotus bud to blossom; stimulating the sun Mandala there and helping the resulting ambrosia spread all through the body; worshipping and meditating the effulgent Shiva without remissness; and observing the Ashtanga Yogam. These devotees will get the form of Shiva.”
சக மார்க்கம் புலன் ஒடுக்கித் தடுத்து வளி இரண்டும்
சலிப்பு அற்று முச் சதுர முதல் ஆதாரங்கள்
அக மார்க்கம் அறிந்து அவற்றின் அரும் பொருள்கள்
உணர்ந்து அங்கு அணைந்து போய் மேல் ஏறி அலர் மதி
மண்டலத்தின் முக மார்க்க அமுது உடலம் முட்டத் தேக்கி
முழுச் சோதி நினைந்திருத்தல் முதலாக வினைகள்
உக மார்க்க அட்டாங்க யோக முற்றும் உழத்தல் உழந்தவர்
சிவன் தன் உருவத்தைப் பெறுவர்
The final path, Sanmaargam (Jnanam) is also known as the true path.
“Wisdom from all Puranas, Sastras and sacred texts of all external religions; elucidation of all and rejecting the falsehood as untruth; knowledge of God, soul and fetters; acquisition of true knowledge of the righteous path for attaining Shiva; and merger with Shiva without any differentiation among knowledge, knower and the object of knowledge. People in this just path acquire greatness and attain Shiva.”
சன் மார்க்கம் சகல கலை புராண வேதம்
சாத்திரங்கள் சமயங்கள் தாம் பலவும் உணர்ந்து
பன் மார்க்கப் பொருள் பலவும் கீழாக மேலாம்
பதி பசு பாசம் தெரித்துப் பர சிவனைக் காட்டும்
நன் மார்க்க ஞானத்தை நாடி ஞான
ஞேயமொடு ஞாதிருவும் நாடா வண்ணம் ஞானப்
பின் மார்க்கச் சிவனுடனாம் பெற்றி ஞானப்
பெருமை உடையோர் சிவனைப் பெறுவர் தானே
The Siddha Sugabramar in the GNANA SUTHIRAM mentions these four divisions too.
“When the Parama Guru arrives,
The path of Sariyai shall arise,
Slowly when the path of Sariyai is trod,
Kriyai path shall arise shortly,
Upon walking the path of Kriyai,
Son, the Yogam path will clearly arise,
Walking the path of Yogam,
The Jnanam path shall appear.”
நல்லதொரு பரமகுரு வந்த தாலே
நலமுள்ள சரியை வழி மார்க்கன் தோணும்
மெல்லவே சரியை வழி நடந்தயானால்
விபரமதாய்க் கிரியை வழி விரைவில் தோன்றும்
வல்லதொரு கிரியை வழி கண்ட பின்பு
மைந்தனே யோக வழி தெளிவாய்த் தோன்றும்
செல்லதொரு யோக வழி நடந்தாயானால்
திறமையுள ஞான வழி தெரியும் பாரே
The Siddha Shivavaakiyar too mentions these four divisions.
“Upon entering Sariyai, Salokyam shall one receive,
Through Kriyai, Saameepam shall he reach,
In Yoga, Saarupam shall be attained,
Jnanam, these four, Saayutchyam shall one attain.”
தெளின்த நற் சரியை தன்னில் சென்று சாலோகம் பெறும் தெளின்த நற் கிரியை பூசை சேரலாம் சாமீபமே
தெளின்த நல்ல யோகம் தன்னில் சேரலாகும் சாரூபம்
தெளின்த ஞானம் நான்கிலும் சேரலாகும் சாயுச்யமே
The Siddha Kunangkudi Masthan Sahib who sings the praise of Agathiyarin the AGASTHIYAR SATAGAM pleads of Agathiyar for the experience of all these divisions in the 52nd verse.
The various paths and stages on spiritual development and the respective stages of Mukti as revealed in the SHIVA GNANA SIDDHIYAR is translated by G. Vanmikanathan in his PATHWAY TO GOD TROD BY SAINT RAMALINGAR (G.Vanmikanathan, Pathway to God Trod by Saint Ramalingar),
“Sanmaargam, Sagamaargam, Sarputramaargam Taatamaargam, to gain Sankaran (Shiva), good paths four are these; Jnanam, Yogam, Kriyai, Sariyai, thus also these are called.”
To aid us in our understanding, G. Vanmikanathan categorizes the famous four Samayakuravars (also known as Naalvar or Naayanmaar’s) in the respective paths and stages of spiritual development.
Saint Thirugnaanasambandhar  as a follower of the Jnanam-Sariyai Maargam;
Saint Thirunaavukkarasar  is identified as one who followed the Jnanam-Kriyai Maargam
Saint Sundaramoorthi Swamigal  as a follower of the Jnanam-Yogam Maargam, and
Saint Maanikkavaachakar as the follower of Jnanam-Sanmaargam.
The Siddhas are ever eager to share their experiences. They are waiting for potential aspirants to come by. At other times, they go in search of the aspirant himself and confront him. All that is required of one is to be receptive enough and submit to them and they shall show him the path. When one has faith and belief in them, they point out signposts. When he adheres to their teachings, they start to give him guidelines to follow. After some time into the worship of the Siddhas, they then show signs of their presence. He needs to be alert though to recognize these signs. Their appearances and the miracles that they perform will help strengthen his belief and faith in them. Once he believes they are around, they shall then start to lead him by taking hold of his hands. The day then comes when they shall carry him on their shoulders as a father carries his child. Then there is no more paths for him to walk on for his path is their path too. There will only be one set of footprints then - that of Erai. At that stage, he lives for the sake of Erai, not for himself. Erai moves in him. He only becomes a tool to carry out Erai’s massive tasks of getting humans to realize their full potential and beget self-realization.
Towards this purpose, the Siddhas have written extensively. The Siddhas have given us guidelines on how we are supposed to live this life in their works. The Siddha Tiruvalluvar  gave us the TIRUKURAL. Siddha Avvai gave us the AVVAI PADAL, AATTHI CHUDI and KONRAI VENTHAN, all in the Tamil language. Siddha Pathanjali  gave us the YOGA SUTRAS. Svatmarama gave us the HATHA YOGA PRADIPIKA. Siddha Pathanjali has laid out eight stages in his Yoga sutras: Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi.
They start with the very basic – characteristics of a good person. They speak about good morals and attributes. Tiruvalluvar in the TIRUKURAL, reminds us of the following: be righteous; be kind in speech; be grateful; maintain self-control; do not desire another man’s wife; be forgiving; do not envy; do not covet; do not slander; perform charity; be truthful; abstain from anger; and be courteous.
Avvai in her work entitled ATHI CHUDI has 109 advises for us, amongst them: do good; control anger; do not hinder aid to others; feed the hungry; help the needy; keep reading; do not be jealous of other’s achievement; help your relatives and friends grow with you; look after your parents; do not forget those who have come to your aid; do not secure what does not belong to you; do not venture into things that are degrading by nature; abstain from using harsh language; refrain from thinking degrading thoughts; do not harm others; give your best in every venture that you undertake; lead an honest life; respect others. Similarly Avvai in KONRAI VENTHAN, has 91 advises for us. Through MUTHURAI, she has 30 advices and another 40 in NALVAZHI.
Agathiyar through his AGASTIYAR GNANAM spells out the attributes that one should seek and become. Listen to a portion of Agathiyar’s work at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAj1FSfO3Qo
The very first lesson that they teach us is to bring change in our behavior, speech and beliefs. The Siddhas emphasize on character building, good behavior, right conduct, right knowledge, and yogic practices. They ask us to restrain our anger, lust and ego. Once we take care of these, then perception and understanding will changed accordingly. The world will still be the same. Nevertheless, we shall see it in a different perspective then. We shall accept everything as Erai’s doing. We shall go with the flow. We shall see the world differently. Moving further on there comes a stage where nothing is understood, instead everything is known.
Agathiyar in my Nadi readings has mentioned the importance of overcoming the adverse feelings in order to rise to the level of a Siddha. These are the very basic requirements that one has to have in order to transcend further to the state of compassion that is required for a Siddha. Ramalinga Adigal and Siddhartha  were very compassionate towards other beings. These features in them lead them on towards attaining the effulgence and nirvana respectively.
In the preface to his MANUMURAI KANDA VASAKAM, the original in Tamil by Rengaraja Desiga Swamigal and translated into English by R.G.Rajaram (Swamigal R. D.), Rengaraja Desiga Swamigal list Ramalinga Adigal’s teachings and his path that of Samarasam which contains four disciplines :
1. Indriya Ozhukkam (Ozhukkam means self - control) that is of two kinds,
a. Gnana Indriya Ozhukkam: listening to the praise of god, preventing bad words entering our ears, avoiding looks of harshness and wickedness, abstaining from touching evil things, abstaining from gluttony etc.
b. Karma Indriya Ozhukkam: speaking sweet words, telling no lies, resisting by all means from harmful deeds to other living beings, leading a religious life, associating ourselves with people of saintly character, and maintaining a healthy body.
2. Karma Ozhukkam: the mind has to be directed to the cit sabhai (cit sabhai is the heart in which the divine abodes) by taking it away from other objects, not to enquire into the faults of others, not to be wicked.
3. Jiva Ozhukkam: the discipline that teaches one to treat all human beings as equal, and feel the presence of oneself in all human beings, one must not be affected by the various distinctions as social, national, linguistic, caste, religion, etc. because the soul belongs to a different sphere where no differences exist.
4. Anma Ozhukkam: the further development of jiva ozhukkam wherein the soul looks upon all living beings alike (not only human beings but also other beings). The soul feels great compassion for all the beings, considers ‘anma’ as the ‘sabhai’ and the ‘inner light’ as god.
Through the teachings and guidance of the Siddhas, we build up the body and soul to make it a suitable dwelling for the Lord. The Siddhas tell us to care for the body for it is only with this body that we can achieve realization of Erai. The Siddha Tirumoolar  mentions in his TIRUMANTHIRAM that he had regarded his body as dirt only to realize later that it is the abode and temple of the Lord. Since then he had taken extra care of it.
We refer further to Hans-Ulrich Rieker’s translation and commentary of the HATHA YOGA PRADIPIKA OF SVATMARAMA, The Aquarian Press 1992, (Rieker, Hatha Yoga Pradipika of Svatmarama, 1992)
“Not to cause suffering to any living being; to speak the truth; not to take what belongs to others; to practice continence; to develop compassion and fortitude; to be merciful to all and honest; to be moderate in eating and pure in heart. These are the first prerequisites of Yoga (the yama).”
“Self-limitation, austerities (Tapas), cheerfulness, religious faith, charity, contemplation, listening to sacred scriptures, modesty, a clean mind, recitation of Mantra (japa), and observance of rules, these are the second requirements of Yoga (the niyama). Thus equipped one can venture to take the first step into the wonderland of one’s own self.”
“Good deeds, kind words, noble thoughts, a pleasing personality, interest in lofty pursuits are the distinguishing marks of sattva.”
B K S Iyengar in the foreword to the same work writes, (Rieker, Hatha Yoga Pradipika Of Svatmarama, 1992)
“The HATHA YOGA PRADIPIKA is divided into four parts. The first explains yama (restraints on behavior), niyama (observances), asana (posture) and food. The second describes Pranayama (control or restraint of energy), and the shatkarmas (internal cleansing practices). The third deals with Mudras (seals), bandhas (locks), the Nadis (channels of energy through which Prana flows) and the kundalini power. The fourth expounds Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), Dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (absorption).”
“He does speak of non-violence, truthfulness, non-covetousness, continence, forbearance, fortitude, compassion, straightforwardness, moderation in food and cleanliness as yama, and zeal in Yoga, contentment, faith, charity, worship of God, study of spiritual scriptures, modesty, discriminative power of mind, prayers and rituals as niyama.
“When the nervous, circulatory, respiratory, digestive, endocrine and genito-excretory systems are cleansed through asana, Prana moves unobstructed to the remotest cells and feeds them with a copious supply of energy. Thus rejuvenated and revitalized, the body - the instrument of the self - moves towards the goal of self-realization.”
B.K.S. Iyengar in his book LIGHT ON THE YOGA SUTRAS OF PATANJALI, HarperCollins Publishers, 2005 (Iyengar, Light On The Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali, 2005) writes as follows:
“Patanjali’s 196 aphorisms or sutras cover all aspects of life, beginning with a prescribed code of conduct and ending with man’s vision of his true self. Pathanjali teaches the sadhaka to cultivate friendliness, compassion, to delight in the happiness of others and to remain indifferent to vice, and virtue so that he may maintain poise and tranquility. He advises the Sadhaka to follow the ethical disciplines of yama and niyama, the ten precepts which govern behavior and practice and form the foundation of spiritual evolution.”
The yama are:
“Intending no harm in word, thought or deed; being sincere, honest and faithful; being careful not to misappropriate another’s wealth; being chaste and not coveting the possessions of others or accepting gifts.”
The niyama are:
“Purity of thought and deed, contentment, Tapas, study of the self, surrender to God.”
Iyengar also adds that for one who lacks ethical discipline and perfect physical health, there can be no spiritual illumination.
“By practice and renunciation in the eight yogic disciplines which cover purification of the body, senses and mind, an intense discipline whereby the seeds are incinerated, impurities vanish, and the seeker reaches a state of serenity in which he merges with the seer.”
Leonard Orr observes in his book THE YOGA OF EVERLASTING LIFE (Orr) the common denominators of the practices of all the immortals he had met (eight of them),
“Notice the main points are not intellectually stimulating. They are practices. They are not something you can learn. They are something, which you do. They are like the water, which runs forever, the fire, which is always consuming. The wind, which always moves. The earth, always changing and nourishing. The immortal yogis who do these simple practices are always awake and alive. The basic practices described here naturally evolve the soul to this high state of body mastery.”
Just as a seed carries a tree in it and a child evolves into a man tomorrow, he is already divine in nature. He only needs to drop the veils that prevent him from realizing who he actually is. Ramalinga Adigal the last of the Siddhas to appear only 187 years ago in 1823 expounds this concept about there being seven veils and demonstrates them in the Sathya Gnana Sabai that he had envisioned and built in Vadalur for all to see. Adigal placed seven veils depicting Maya and which when pulled aside reveals the truth, Arutperunjhoti, the true self devoid of malas . Ramalinga Adigal defines these seven veils of spiritual ignorance as lust (kamam), anger (krodham), greed (lobham), infatuation (moham), pride (ynadha), malice (matsaryam) and killings (kolai). Ramalinga Adigal says we have to drop seven veils that cover us preventing us from seeing the truth and reaching it. Tavayogi Thangarasan Adigal demonstrates this concept too through the seven-tier granite structure that he was instructed to install at his ashram Kallar by Agathiyar. After dropping or overcoming these seven veils of ignorance or Maya one reaches the summit or peak symbolically represented by light as in Vadalur and Kallar respectively.
For one to attain spiritual illumination or Jnanam on the onset is a difficult task since we are dealing with mind-stuff that is not easily comprehended, the Siddhas take us through these four stages, from the elementary level to the attainment of gnosis (knowledge). The Siddhas devised these paths so that every individual could get on the bandwagon to Godhead and made sure no one was left out.
Siddhas have treaded the path to Erai. By holding on to them, we too can see and experience all that was seen and experienced by them. We need to get their attention, sincerely adhere to their instructions and guidance, and pray that they show solace and shower their grace onto us.
The true path is extremely simple where we need to care for this body to receive Erai in us and eventually merged with him. One needs to prepare this body, which then evolves into a temple so that Erai is received into this body. One needs to take steps to prepare it to unite with him while still alive in this very body. Erai then resides in this body, in every cell and atom and brings changes to this body. The changes take place internally, which slowly influences one’s outer appearances, thoughts, and the way one sees things.
The Siddha Margam is the simplest path to Erai. When we call out the names of these Siddhas, their attention falls on us. Through their teachings and guidance, we build up the body and soul to make it a suitable dwelling for the Lord. Once Erai and the Siddhas shower their grace we are assured of their blessing and we then shall have the strength to undertake our mission with an assurance of success. The results are seen immediately. Devotees of the Siddhas can attest to this truth.
 Sambandar, also called Thirugyana Sambandar, Tirugnana Sambanthar, Campantar, Champantar, Jnanasambandar, Gnanasambandar) was a young Saiva poet-saint of Tamil Nadu who lived around the 7th century CE.He is one of the most prominent of the sixty-three Nayanars, Tamil Saiva bhakti saints who lived between the sixth and the tenth centuries CE. Sambandar's hymns to Shiva were later collected to form the first three volumes of the Tirumurai, the religious canon of Tamil Saiva Siddhanta. He was a contemporary of Appar, another Saiva saint. (Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
 Tirunavukkarasar, also known as Appar was a seventh century Saivite Tamil poet-saint, one of the most prominent of the sixty-three Nayanars. He was an older contemporary of Sambandar. His birth-name was Marulneekkiyar: he was called "father" by Sambandhar, hence the name Appar.Sundarar states in his Tiruttondartokai that Appar composed 4900 hymns of ten or eleven verses each, this is repeated byNambiyandar Nambi and Sekkizhar, but only 3130 are available today.These are collected into the Tirumurai along with the compositions of Sundarar and Sambandar, Appar having his own volumes, called Tevaram. (Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
 Sundarar or Cuntarar or Sundaramurthi, 8th C.C.E.), also known as Cuntaramūrti, and affectionately Tampiran Tozhan was one of the most prominent among the Nayanars, the Shaiva bhakti (devotional) poets of Tamil Nadu. He was a contemporary of Cheraman Perumal and Kotpuli Nayanar who also figure in the 63 Nayanmars. The songs of praise are called Thiruthondathogai and is the original nucleus around which the Periyapuranam is based. The Periya Puranam, which collects the legends of the Nayanars, starts and ends with him. The hymns of seventh volume of the Tirumurai, the twelve-volume compendium of the poetry of Tamil Shaiva Siddhanta, were composed by him. (Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
 Thiruvalluvar was a celebrated Tamil poet and philosopher whose contribution to Tamil literature is the Thirukkural, a work on ethics. Thiruvalluvar is thought to have lived sometime between the 2nd century BC and the 8th century AD. This estimate is based on linguistic analysis of his writings, as there is no archaeological evidence for when he lived. He is sometimes also called Theiva Pulavar ("Divine Poet"), Valluvar, Poyyamozhi Pulavar, Senna Pothar,Gnana Vettiyan or Ayyan. (Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
 Patanjali, 150 BCE or 2nd c. BCE) is the compiler of the Yoga, an important collection of aphorisms on Yoga practice. According to tradition, the same Patanjali was also the author of theMahabhasya, a commentary on Katyayana's varttikas (short comments) on Panini’s Astadhyayi and of an unspecified work of medicine (ayurveda). Patanjali's place of birth is held to be "Gonarda" (Thiru-Gona-Malai), a "country in the east" and he described himself as a "Gonardiya" throughout his life. This corroborates Tirumular's Tirumandhiram, which describes him as hailing from Then Kailasam (Koneswaram temple, Trincomalee), and he famously visited the Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram, where he wrote the Charana Shrungarahita Stotram on Nataraja. In recent decades,] the Yoga Sutra has become quite popular worldwide for the precepts regarding practice of Raja Yoga and its philosophical basis. "Yoga" in traditional Hinduism involves inner contemplation, a system of meditation practice and ethics. (Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
 Gautama Buddha or Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha) was aspiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. The word Buddha is a title for the first awakened being in an era, "Buddha" meaning "awakened one" or "the enlightened one." Gautama Buddha may also be referred to as Sakyamuni.Gautama taught a Middle Way compared to the severe asceticism found in the Sramana (renunciation) movement common in his region. He later taught throughout regions of eastern India such as Magadha and Kośala. Gautama is the primary figure in Buddhism, and accounts of his life, discourses, and monastic rules are believed by Buddhists to have been summarized after his death and memorized by his followers. Various collections of teachings attributed to him were passed down by oral tradition, and first committed to writing about 400 years later. (Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
 Tirumular (also spelt Thirumoolar etc., originally known as Sundaranātha) was a Tamil Shaivite mystic and writer, considered one of the sixty-three Nayanars and one of the 18 Siddhars. His main work, the Tirumantiram (also sometimes written Tirumanthiram,Tirumandhiram, etc.), which consists of over 3000 verses, forms a part of the key text of the Tamil Shaiva Siddhanta, the Tirumurai. (Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
 Malas are, in Indian religions, the three bondages (anava, karma, and maya) which limit the soul in earthly incarnation (Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)