|Shiva as Dakshinamurti, teaching the Sanatkumaras after crushing the Ego under his foot.|
If the scriptures share the same root and same message, why do they exist in different forms? Why must there be Puranas if there are already Vedas? If Vedas are revelation of non-human origin, why must there be another scripture of non-human origin known as the Agamas ? Isn't it redundant to have too many scriptures?
To answer these questions, I will summarise it according to contemporary perspective.
We know 1 + 1 = 2, 5 x 9 = 45 or 9/3 = 3. This is basic Maths. It can be further expanded into equations such as the ones we see in Trigonometry, Tan A = Opposite/Adjacent = a/b = a/c X c/b = (a/c)/(b/c) = Sin A/Cos A. This can get even more complicated. We also know that fire burns. We then notice that fire requires oxygen, fuel and heat. Fire can be used to cook food and warm our bodies. This is basic Mathematics and Science.
This basic knowledge can be developed into specialized knowledge i.e Engineering. Say you want to build a rocket, you need to first understand how fire and explosion works. You also need to develop the right fuel. Proper materials need to be used to construct the body. The trajectory of the rocket have to be calculated using Physics and Advanced Mathematics. A computerized system must be placed in order to navigate the rocket. All these must be put together so that your rocket can take off and reach its destination without any failure.
The layman may not have the time or convenience to study your Science, Mathematics or anything advanced that came from it. But you need to tell him about this technology which you have. You need to share the knowledge. Although he may not understand how it was made, he needs to at least understand that it exist. He needs to know the good and bad of it. So you develop Science Fiction movies like Star Wars. In this movie, you tell the story of a rocket which was launched from Earth by a race of Humans. The rocket travels to a star far away. Many things happen during its journey and the viewer sees it through your movie. He feels happy, sad, angry, puzzled, awed when he watches it. He does not know how you made it. He does not understand the technical aspects of its creation. He may even have his own interpretation of the story. But he will learn something from what you have showed him. He will benefit from it and apply it accordingly.
If Vedas are like Mathematics and Science, then the Agamas are like Engineering and the Puranas are like Science Fictions.
All these can then be further summarised into simplified methods. This methods have the essence of Vedas, Agamas and Puranas. Since it is simplified, it will be much more easier to be understood by the common people. Method is known as Murai in Tamil. Since this methods shown by great sages is sacred (Thiru) to the Tamil people, it is known as Thirumurai.
Therefore, for the Tamil speaking Siva devotees, the Thirumurai is a conclusion and summary of our sacred scriptures. The Thirumurai has the breath of the Vedas, the spirit of the Agamas and the wisdom of the Puranas.
May this article of mine open your mind on this Maha Shivarathri day!
Hara Hara Mahadeva!