“…To sum up, in short, the Tirumandiram is a work, whch deals with how one may live a divine life in the midst of the worldly one. It fulfills the meaning of the word “Tantra” a “web” which joins the spiritual and the material dimensions of life. It expresses the thread of unity, which exists behind the many differences of time, country, language, caste, religion, higher and lower, happiness and misery, wealth and poverty. It deals with all the aspects of life, which makes life worth-living by dealing with dharma, artha, kama, moksa, tapas, Yoga, jnana, siddhi, buddhi, mukti, planets, days, the art of breathing, mantra, tantra, yantra, cakras, meditation, medicine, et. In short, it is a Tamil encyclopedia of philosophical and spiritual wisdom rendered in verse form.”
Despite the many travels that characterized much of my childhood, I had never been on a trip quite like that of my first visit to South Africa. To me Africa existed through my father's journals, letters exchanged between my grandparents, an array of photographs and wonderful stories of what it was like having Africa as a home. However now for the first time, I was actually arriving at the small town on the eastern coast of South Africa where four generations of my paternal side had grown up. Driving through the town of Estcourt for the first time seemed somewhat like a dream. As we passed the small stone church where my grandparents were married, a small black- and-white picture rushed to my mind. The beautiful stained windows over my grandparents' heads were somehow familiar. Jacaranda trees stood proudly between houses and along sidewalks with little blue flowers seated delicately on the top of most branches, so fragile due to the heat that when a warm breeze ruffled the branches, the flowers would float slowly to the pavement.