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"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."

- Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home > Unfolding Consciousness > Spirituality & the Tamil Nation > The Twelve Thirumurai - பன்னிரண்டு திருமுறைகள்

CONTENTS
OF THIS SECTION
Last updated
20/10/07


Siddhar Thirumulanathar
at Yoga Art Gallery

Prof. Kamil Zvelebil on 12 Thirumurai in Lexicon of Tamil Literature

The Twelve Thirumuraikal

Thiru GnAna Sampanthar thevaram
[see also Thiru GnAna Sampanthar in 63 Naynamar by Swami Sivananda]
1

verses 1- 721 tscii  - pdf  - unicode;

verses 722-1469 tscii - pdf - unicode

2

verses 1- 654 tscii  pdf  - unicode;

verses 655 - 1331 tscii - pdf - unicode

3

verses 1-713  tscii - pdf - unicode;

verses 714- 1347  & later additions 1-33 tscii - pdf - unicode

Thirun^Avuk karasar thEvAram
[see also Thirun^Avuk karasar in 63 Nayanmar by Swami Sivananda]
4 verses (1 - 487 )  tscii - pdf - unicode

verses (488-1070)  tscii - pdf - unicode

5 verses (1 - 509 )  tscii  - pdf - unicode;  

verses (520 - 1016 ) tscii - pdf - unicode

6 verses (1 - 508 ) tscii  - pdf - unicode;

verses (509-981 ) tscii  - pdf - unicode

 cuntaramUrti nAyanAr thEvAram
[see also cuntaramUrti nAyanAr in 63 Naynamr by Swami Sivananda]
7 verses (1-517) tscii - pdf - unicode
  verses (518-1026) tscii  - pdf - unicode
mANikka vAchakar
8  thiruvAchakam & thirukkOvaiyAr
thiruvichaippA, thiruppallANdu
9 tscii - pdf - unicode
thirumular
10  thiruman^dhiram
prabhantam (assorted works)
11 verses 1-825 works of kAraikkAL ammaiyar, kapilar, nakkiirar and 8 others tscii  - pdf  - unicode;

verses 826 - 1419  works of thiruAlavAyuDaiyAr, kAraikkAl ammaiyAr, aiyaDikaL kADavarkOn, chEramAn perumAL, nakkIrar, kallADar, kapilar, paraNar, iLamperumAn aDikal, adhirAvaDikaL, paTTinaththup piLLaiyAr, nambiyANDAr nambi tscii - pdf - unicode

chEkkizAr
12 periya purANam
கொற்றவன்குடி உமாபதி சிவாசாரியார்
  நம்பியாண்டார்நம்பி புராணம் என்னும் திருமுறைகண்ட புராணம் -   koRRavan2kuTi umApati civAcAriyAr's nampiyANTAr nampi purANam or tirumuRai kaNTa purANam [history of nampi ANTAr nampi and various episodes connected with compiling of "tirumuRai' anthology] unicode - pdf -tscii
பன்னிரு திருமுறை - பாட்டும் பொருளும்
காரைக்காலம்மையார் ஒரு பன்முகப்பார்வை - M.Thanapalasingham, 2006
Siva Bakthi - Dr.R.Nagaswamy, 1989  - a study the life and work of the Saiva Saint, Appar, also called Thirunavukkarasu, who lived in the 7th century A.D...
63 Nayanmars - Sri Swami Sivananda
Saiva Mystics in Studies in Tamil Literature & History, V.R.Ramachandra Dikshitar, 1930
Nayanmars Home Page "...contains selected thEvAram, thiruvAsagam, thiruppugazh, etc. songs and some vedic texts such as Rudram, purusha suktham, narayana suktam, durga suktham, manthra pushpam, sandhya vandanam, as well as some stotras / shlokas such as lalita sahasranamam, lingashtakam, etc. in Tamil, English, Telugu, Kannada and Sanskrit / Hindi. A detailed word by word translation in English is also available for several padhigams and a number of other songs from saiva thirumuRais..."


Singapore Thirumurai Manram

"The foundational scriptures of Saivism or Saiva Siddhanta are Saivagamas. Apart from the Saivagamas, the literature of Saiva Siddhanta has been divided into two main categories: i) Devotional literature and ii) Doctrinal literature. The Panniru Thirumurai, or Twelve Thirumurais make up the devotional literature. They were written in praise of the Lord. The doctrinal literature consists of fourteen texts, termed as Meykanta Sastras. They are the philosophical treatises expounding Saiva Siddhantha. Thirumuraikal - G Bhaskaran
 

The Twelve Thirumurai - Books

** Panniru Tirumurai, Sri Kamakoti Ayvumaiyam,  1988

** Murukavel Panniru Tirumurai, Tirunelveli Tennintiya Caiva Cittanta Nurpatippuk Kalakam,  1965

** Panniru Tirumurai Varalaru: Mutar pakuti : mutal elu Tirumuraikal, Vellaivaranar, Annamalai Palkalaikkalakam,  1994

** Tirumurai kanta Celvan, Raja Syamala, Acokan,  1978

** Tiruppukalp parayanat tavanerit tirumurai, Satu Partta Sarati,  1970

** 1st Thirumurai Tiruņanacampanta cuvamikal aruliceyta Tevaram, Tamil Nilaiyam, 1995

** 2nd Thirumurai Tiruņanacampanta cuvamikal aruliceyta Tevaram, Tamil Nilaiyam, 1995

** 3rd Thirumurai Tiruņanacampanta cuvamikal aruliceyta Tevaram, Tamil Nilaiyam, 1995

** 4th, 5th, 6th Thirumurai - Thirunavukrasu (Appar) Tevarap patikankal, TTSS,  1972

** 6th Thirumurai St. Appar's Thaandaka hymns,  Dharmapuram Aadheenam, 1995

** 6th Thirumurai Tiruttantakam: Arant Tirumurai (Mutal pattup patikankal), TTSS , 1974

** 7th Thirumurai Cuntaramurtti cuvamikal aruliceyta Tevaram,  Tamil Nilaiyam,  1995

** 7th Thirumurai: Cuntaramurtti cuvamikal Tevaram : varalarru muraiyil mulamum uraiyum, P. R Nataracan, Ilatcumi Nilaiyam, 1996

** 8th Thirumurai Tiruvacakam, Caiva Cittanta Maka Camajam, 1968

** 8th Thirumurai Tiruvacakam, Caiva Cittanta Maka Camajam,  1968

** 8th Thirumurai Manikkavacaka Cuvamikal aruliya Tiruvacakam: Mulamum pala araycci akaratikalum , Kantalakam,  1992

** 8th Thirumurai Tiruvacakam, Tirukkovaiyar (Padmasri V. Subbaiya Pillai Endowment lecture publication), A Civalinkanar, Ulakat Tamilaraycci Niruvanam, 1992

** 9th Thirumurai Tirumalikaittevar mutalana onpatinmar aruliceyta Tiruvicaippa Tiruppallantu: mulamum telivuraiyum : urai aciriyar, M. Narayanaveluppillai,Tamil Nilaiyam,  1995

** 10th Thirumurai Tirumular aruliceyta Tirumantiram: mulamum telivuraiyum : telivurai aciriyar, M. Narayanaveluppillai, Tamil Nilaiyam,  1995

** 11th Thirumurai Panniru arulalarkal patiyaruliya: Narpatu nulkal atankiyatu TTSS, 1971

** 11th Thirumurai Panniru arulalarkal patiyaruliya: Narpatu nulkal atankiyatu, TTSS Kalakam, 1971

** 11th Thirumurai Patinoram tirumurai: Mulamum telivuraiyum, Tamil Nilaiyam,  1995

** 12th Thirumurai Periya puranattil uvamaikal, A Cankari, 1975

 

Spirituality & the Tamil Nation

The Twelve Thirumurai
பன்னிரண்டு திருமுறைகள்

[to read the Tamil text you may need to download & install a Tamil Unicode font from here - for detailed instructions please also see Tamil Fonts & Software]

"The following works of art and literature are among the most remarkable contributions of the Tamil creative of the Tamil creative genius to the world's cultural treasure and should be familiar to the whole world and admired and beloved by all in the same way  as the poems of Homer, the dramas of Shakespeare, the pictures of Rembrandt, the cathedrals of France and the sculptures of Greece:....The school of Bhakti ... Saiva, which is one of those most sincere and passionate efforts of man to grasp the Absolute; and its supreme literary expression in the works of  Manikkavasagar, Tirugnana Sambandar.... The philosophical system of Saiva Sidhdhantha, a system, which may be ranked among the most perfect and cleverest systems of human thought.." (Tamil Contribution to World Civilisation - Czech Professor Dr. Kamil Zvelebil in Tamil Culture - Vol. V, No. 4. October, 1956)

audio by Sudha Ragunathan
" எப்படிப் பாடினரோ—அடியார்
அப்படிப் பாட நான் ஆசை கொண்டேன் சிவனே (எப்படிப்)
அப்பரும், சுந்தரரும் ஆளுடைப் பிள்ளையும்,
அருள் மணி வாசகரும் பொருள் உணரந்தே உன்னையே (எப்படிப்) 
குருமணி சங்கரரும் அருமைத் தாயுமானாரும்,
அருணகிரினாதரும் அருட்ஜோதி வள்ளலும்
கருணைக் கடலில் பெருகி காதலினால் உருகி
கனித் தமிழ் சொல்லினால் இனிதுனை அனுதினம் (எப்படிப்)  "
Suddhananda Bharathy


Professor C.R.Krishnamurthy in Thamizh Literature Through the Ages -

ThirumuRaikaL (திருமுறைகள்)

The Saiva canonical poems composed by 63 leading saints scanning approximately 600 years were classified into 12 books, ThirumuRaikaL (திருமுறைகள்)  by n^ampi AndAr n^ampi (நம்பி ஆண்டார் நம்பி) (11th century A.D.) according to the wishes of ChOzha King abaya KulasEkaran (அபயகுலசேகரன், குலோத்துங்க சோழன்.)

The first, second and third ThirumuRaikaL were composed by Thiru GnAna Sampan^thar (திருஞானசம்பந்தர்). Born in SIrkAzhi (சீர்காழி) in the seventh century A.D. he is said to have been nursed by umAdhEvi (உமாதேவி), the sakthi (சக்தி) counterpart of Sivan. In a short life span of 16 years he was one of the architects of the Bhakthi movement. In addition to his delightful songs, he defeated the Jain monks in debate and succeeded in bringing the hunch backed PAndya King back into the Hindu fold. He has composed 1600 pathikams (பதிகங்கள்), out of which only 384 are now available.

The fourth, fifth and sixth ThirumuRaikaL were authored by Thirun^Avuk karasar (திருநாவுக்கரசர்).He is also known as appar (அப்பர்) , the other architect of the Bhakthi movement. He was born in ThiruvAmUr (திருவாமூர்) and was a contemporary of Thiru GnAna Sampan^thar. He joined the Jain movement for a while and after an attack of a severe abdominal ailment, he came back into the Hindu fold and spent his long span of 80 years in social service. Out of the 4800 pathikams (group of 10 stanzas) he wrote, only 312 are available.

Sun^tharar (சுந்தரர்), the author of the seventh ThirumuRai was born in ThirumunaipAdi (திருமுனைப்பாடி) . In addition to his devotion to Lord Sivan he was instrumental in organizing the followers into a cohesive group. Only 100 pathikams of Sun^tharar are available The first 7 ThirumuRaikaL are collectively known as ThEvAram (தேவாரம்), garland of gods.

Manicka vAchakar (மாணிக்கவாசகர்), one whose words are like gems wrote the eighth ThirumuRai consisting of ThiruvAchakam (திருவாசகம்) , ThiruvempAvai (திருவெம்பாவை)  and ThirukkOvaiyAr, (திருக்கோவையார்). He was born in ThiruvAthavUr (திருவாதவூர்) in the late 8th or early 9th century A.D. He was a minister in the PAndya Kingdom but when he was sent to purchase horses for the army, he spent all the money in religious pursuits. Lord Sivan is supposed to have blessed him with his grace and saved him from the wrath of the King. It is said that one who does not get moved by ThiruvAchakam will not be moved by anything else. (திருவாசகத்துக்கு உருகாதார் ஒரு வாசகத்துக்கும் உருகார்).

 ThiruvAchakam has 51 poems wherein all the four classes of meters (அகவல், வெண்பா, கலிப்பா, விருத்தம்) have been employed.

The ninth ThirumuRai is named ThiruvisaippA (திருவிசைப்பா), a collection of poems by nine saints.

The tenth ThirumuRai, Thiruman^thiram (திருமந்திரம்) was written by a Saiva mystic (சித்தர்), ThirumUlar (திருமூலர்) who was a philosopher-poet of the late 6th century A.D. His poems are supposed to have the simplicity of veNpA (வெண்பா) and the music of the viruttham. Thiruman^thiram   (திருமந்திரம்) is noted for its profound philosophical messages and reformatory principles. As one who stood for the eclectic school of mysticism, ThirumUlar had made references in his book to tantra (தந்திரம்), mantram (மந்திரம்)and yOga (யோகம்) practices.

In an apparent condemnation of the practice of self mortification, he states that there is no use of even frying one's own flesh in the fire till it becomes like gold; one cannot attain salvation unless one becomes deeply devoted whole heartedly to the divine.

என்பே விறகாய் இறைச்சி அறுத்திட்டுப்
பொன்போல் கனலில் பொரிய வார்ப்பினும்
அன்போடு உருகி அகம்குழை வார்க்கன்றி
என்போல் மணியினை எய்தஒண் ணாதே.

ThirumUlar's most profound contribution to Saiva SitthAn^tham, which was followed later by ThAyumAnavar (தாயுமானவர்) and rAmalingar (இராமலிங்கர்), was his emphasis on the oneness of God and oneness of all creeds in the whole world. The following poem represents his philosophy nicely :

ஒன்றுகண் டீர்உல குக்கொரு தெய்வமும்
ஒன்றுகண் டீர்உல குக்குயி ராவது
நன்றுகண் டீர்இனி நமசிவா யப்பழந்
தின்றுகண் டேற்கிது தித்தித்த வாறே.
(திருமந்திரம் 2962)

The eleventh ThirumuRai consists of poems composed by a heterogenous group of 12 Saivaite scholars and devotees including KAraikkAl ammaiyAr, n^akkIra ThEvar (நக்கீர தேவர், கைலைபாதி காளத்தி பாதி அந்தாதி), KallAdat ThEvar (கல்லாடத்தேவர்), Kapila ThEvar (கபிலதேவர்), cEramAn PerumAL (சேரமான்பெருமாள்), n^ampi AndAr n^ampi (நம்பியாண்டார்நம்பி), and Patttinat thatikaL (பட்டினத்தடிகள்)

In Thamizh literature there were two poets with the name PattinatthAr (பட்டினத்தார்). Part of the confusion is because both hailed from KavirippUm pattinam (காவிரிப்பூம் பட்டினம்)and both followed the Saivaite faith. Their similarities end there.

One of them lived in the 11th century A.D. while the other belonged to the 14-15th century. Generally referred to as PattinatthatikaL (பட்டினத்தடிகள்), the 11th century poet contributed the following works which form part of the 11th ThirumuRai (திருமுறை): KOil n^AnmaNi MAlai (கோயில்நான்மணிமாலை), Thirukkzhumala mummaNik kOvai  (திருக்கழுமல மும்மணிக்கோவை), Thiruvidai maruthUr mummaNik kOvai (திருவிடைமருதூர் மும்மணிக்கோவை), ThiruvEkampamutayAr Thiruvan^thAthi (திருவேகம்பமுடையார் திருவந்தாதி) and ThiruvoRRiyUr orupA orupathu (திருவொற்றியூர் ஒருபா ஒருபது) . Though he was a staunch Saivaite, PattinatthatikaL followed a philosophy in which he advocated that people should remain inside the traditional family system but lead a virtuous life coupled with devotion to Sivan. This was diametrically opposite to the total renunciation preached by PattinatthAr who lived later.

The twelfth ThirumuRai was written by SEkkizAr (சேக்கிலார்). His work is called Periya purANam (பெரிய புராணம் அல்லது திருத்தொண்டர் புராணம்) . The former terminology means the Great purANam and the latter refers to the fact that the work deals with the glory of the Saivaite saints. He lived in the twelfth century A.D. during the reign of the ChOzha King KulOthunga III (முன்றாம் குலோத்துங்க சோழன்)


Salient features of 12 ThirumuRaikaL

Formless Supreme

Despite the multiplicity of godheads one encounters in Hindu mythology, a closer study of the ThEvAram poems would indicate that, in fact, the reverse was true. All the saints were stressing the oneness of the Supreme in no uncertain terms. MANikkavAchakar's pleads in his ThirutheLLENam (திருத்தெள்ளேணம்) , "For One who does not have any name or any form, why not we give thousand different names and hail His greatness"?(ஒருநாமம் ஓருருவம் இல்லார்க்கு ஆயிரம் திருநாமம் பாடிநாம் தெள்ளேணங் கொட்டாமோ).

ThirumUlar has stated unequivocally in his Thiruman^thiram "one caste and one God only".

ஒன்றே குலமும் ஒருவனே தேவனும்
நன்றே நினைமின் நமனில்லை நாணாமே
சென்மே பகுங்கதி யில்லைநுஞ் சித்தத்து
நின்றே நிலைபெற நீர்நினைந் துய்மினே.
(திருமந்திரம் 2104.)

Similarly, ThirumUlar says in his thought provoking Thiruman^thiram that the omnipotent One cannot be transcribed in a single place nor can be measured, nor has any names but can only be experienced:

அந்தமில்லானுக் ககலிடந்தான் இல்லை
அந்தமில்லானை அளப்பவர்தாமில்லை
அந்தமில்லானுக்கு அடுத்தசொல்தான் இல்லை
அந்தமில்லானை அறிந்துகொள்பத்தே

The fact that the Divine has no beginning, middle or end and is also timeless has been mentioned in numerous places:

ஆதியும் அந்தமும் இல்லா அரும்பெருஞ் சோதியை,
கேட்டறியோம் உனைக் கண்டறிவாரை,
 முந்திய முதல் நடு இறுதியும் ஆனாய் -
 மாணிக்கவாசகர்.

ஆதியும் அந்தமும் ஆன ஐயாரன் அடித்தலமே), (ஆதியும் அந்தமும் ஆனான் கண்டாய -
திருநாவுக்கரசர்.

ஆதியும்ஈறும் ஆய எம் அடிகள் - சுந்தரர்.

Others in their moments of their spiritual ecstasy have personified the Divine as music.

ஏழிசையாய் இசைப்பயனாய்), (இறைகளோடு இசைந்த இன்பம், இன்பத்தோடு இசைந்த வாழ்வு -சுந்தரர்.

எழுநரம்பின் இன்இசை கேட்டானை இன்புற்னை), பண்ணின் இசையாகி நின்ய் போற்றி - திருநாவுக்கரசர்.

Thirun^Avuk karasar has employed the following 10 tunes (இராகம், பண்) in the first 21 pathikam (பதிகங்கள்) of the fourth ThirumuRai: kAn^thAram (காந்தாரம்), sAthAri (சாதாரி), kAn^thAra panchamam (காந்தார பஞ்சமம்), kolli (கொல்லி), pazan^ takkam (பழந்தக்கம்), pazam pachuram (பழம்பஞ்காரம்), indhaLam (இந்தளம்), sIkAmaram (சிகாமரம்), kuRinji (குறிஞ்சி), piyanthaik kAnthAram (பியந்தைக்காந்தாரம்) .

The recognition of music for devotional purposes is, however, not unique to the Thamizh community. People belonging to different religious faiths all over the world have resorted to music for holy communion with the Absolute. The nature of music and the tune (இராகம், பண்) employed may vary but music did provide the liaison between the worshipper and the Absolute. It is true that the Saivaite saints used the name, Sivan to denote the Absolute Reality. But this is a matter of semantics which is inevitable when one tries to describe the divine in human terms.


Love as God

The concept of the Divine as Love is another example of human perception of the Absolute. This point has also been stressed in several passages in the ThirumuRaikaL. In the following Thiruman^thiram poem, ThirumUlar states that only the ignorant will think that love and Sivan are two different things; only few really understand that Sivan is nothing but love; once everyone understands that Sivan is nothing but love, everyone will become saintly.

அன்பும் சிவமும் இரண்டென்பர் அறிவிலார்
அன்பேசிவமாவது யாரும் அறிகிலார்
அன்பே சிவமாவது யாரும் அறிந்தபின்
அன்பேசிவமாய் அமர்ந்திருந்தாரே


Portrayal of the Divine as friend

An imaginary concept unique in the ThirumuRaikaL is the portrayal of the Divine as the hero (பதி)and the individual (பசு) as the heroine or friend and the involvement of messengers who will transmit the love to the Lord. This is perhaps a carry over of the akam (அகம்) concept from the Sangam period. A sincere devotee always longs for the Lord; sighs heavily thinking about him; derives pleasure in listening to the Lord's names and grace; suffers from the pangs of separation; gets obsessed about joining the Lord. (தன்னை மறந்து தன்னாமங்கெட்டு, தலைவன் தாளையே தலைப்படுதல்)  These reactions are the same encountered in love torn heroines separated from their heroes.


Absolute faith and surrender

According to Saiva SitthAn^tham, the prerequisite to attain salvation is absolute faith and complete surrender of the individual to the Divine. By doing so, one gets a psychological boost and confidence to face up to any complex worldly situation. When the PAndya King asked Thirun^Avuk karasar to call on him, the latter refused by saying that "we do not believe in servitude, we do not fear even death":

"நாம் யார்க்கும் குடிஅல்லோம் நமனை அஞ்சோம்"

When he was tied to rocks and thrown into the sea, Thirun^Avuk karasar escapes miraculously through divine grace and says that even if heaven drops into earth and the oceans engulf everything, even if the galaxies lose their way and the sun and moon fall from their orbits we shall not fear:

மண்பாதலம்புக்கு மால்கடல்முடி மற்றுஏழ்உலகம் விண்பால் திசைகெட்டு இருசுடர் வீழினும் அஞ்சல் நெஞ்சே.

The absolute surrender to the Divine is expressed in the following passage by Thirun^Avuk karasar wherein he addresses the Lord and says " On the very day you have graced me, you have taken away my soul, body and wealth; I am therefore not concerned about any hardship I may encounter; whether good or bad comes to me I am not responsible".

அன்றேஎன்றன் ஆவியும்
உடலும் உடமை எல்லாமும்
குன்றேஅனையாய் என்னை ஆட்
கொண்டபோதே கொண்டிலையோ
இன்றோர் இடையூறு எனக்குண்டோ
எண்தோள் முக்கண் எம்மானே
நன்றேசெய்வாய் பிழை செய்வாய்
நானோஇதற்கு நாயகமே.

MANicka vAchakar's sense of absolute surrender is expressed in the following poem where he states that "he does not want family, place, fame or the company of the learned ; thanks to you everything will come to me; all that I want is to cry like a calf yearning for its dam":

உற்றாரை யான்வேண்டேன்
ஊர்வேண்டேன் பேர் வேண்டேன்
கற்றாரை யான்வேண்டேன்
கற்பனவும் இனி அமையும்
குற்லத்து அமர்ந்துறையும்
கூத்தா உன் குரைகழற்கே
கற்வின் மனம்போலக்
கசிந்துருக வேண்டுவனே


Devotional experience (மெய்ப்பாடுகள்)

The final outcome of all the penances mentioned above leads to a devotional experience which defies description. Thiru GnAna Sampan^thar says " if one utters your name with deep love and sing your praise with tears rolling down, you will show the right path; the name n^machivAya, which is The Absolute beyond the four vEdhAs".

காதலாகிக்கசிந்து கண்ணீர் மல்கி
ஓதுவார் தமை நன்னெறிக்கு உய்ப்பது
வேதம் நான்கினும் மெய்ப்பொருளாவது
நாதன் நாமம் நமச்சிவாயவே.

ThirumUlar brings in the akam principle again to emphasize "how can anyone visualize the Lord through the normal eyes? one can only see the Divine through the mind ; for example, how can the mother explain to the daughter the pleasure she and her husband had?"

முகத்திற்கண் கொண்டு பார்க்கின்ற முடர்காள்
அகத்திற்கண் கொண்டு காண்பதே ஆனந்தம்
மகட்குத்தாய்தன் மணாளனோடு ஆடிய
சுகத்தைச் சொல்என்ல் சொல்லுமாறு எங்கனே.

In conclusion, the Saivaite doyens (சைவசமயக்குரவர்கள்.)  launched the Bhakthi movement to counteract the Jain and Buddhist propaganda. By combining their musical expertise with heart rendering lyrics they were able to inculcate the devotional trait into the minds of the Thamizh people which seems to have sustained till today.

உலகெலாம் உணர்ந்து ஓதற் கரியவன்
நிலவு லாவிய நிர்மலி வேணியன்
அலகிற் சோதியன் அம்பலத் தாடுவான்
மலர்ச் சிலம்படி வாழ்த்தி வணங்குவோம்


Prof. Kamil Zvelebil in Lexicon of Tamil Literature (EJ Brill, Leiden/New york, 1995),  p. 626

"Saiva canon, termed "tirumuRai" represents enormous body of heterogeneous literature covering ca. 600 years of religious, philosophic and literary developments, its earliest texts being probably songs of kAraikkAl ammaiyAr (ca. 550 AD) and its final text being the epic narrative of the saints "cEkkizAr's periya purANam"  (early 12th C).

It consists of 12 books (terms also tirmuRai) among which the first seven were probably included and classified before 1100 AD. These 7 books became much later (16-17th C) known as "tEvAram" (including hymns by Campantar/books 1-3; appar /books 4-6 and cuntarar/book 7, mANikkavAcakar's (9th C?) two poems were added as book 8. The 9th book consists of songs probably sung in Chola temples as "icaippA" (10-11th C). The 10th book consists of tirumUlar's "tirumantiram" (6-7th C). The 11th book is uneven compilation containing texts covering the long period from 6th to 11th C. The 12th book is cEkkizAr's periya purANam (ca. 1135).
...
According to legend, Chola King ApayakulacEkarA (most probably KulOttungkA I, 1070-1122) asked Nampi to reveal to the world the Tamil Veda, that is, the sacred tEvAram and the story of the saints. Nampi worshipped PollAppiLLaiyAr who revealed to him the secret that the text was concealed in sealed room in Citamparam temple and also told him the story of the saiva saints. The King and Nampi arrived in Citamparam, the sealed door was opened, the holy books hidden under ant-nests, many palmleaves destroyed, were unearthed. Nampi arranged the hymns in 7 books (797 hymns of tEvAram), added the 2 works of mANikkavAcakar, then 28 hymns of 9 other poet-saints, then tirumantiram of tirumUlar, then 40 poems by 12 poets as the 11th book and after having finished this anthologization, described the holy labours of the 63 saints, added his own story and sang his own hymns.

The King had the 11 books engraved in copper plates, while melodies (paN) were provided by a temple maiden who belong to the family of temple musicians. Various dates were suggested for Nampi's anthologization activity, but the best date seems to be ca. 1080-1100 AD. Nampi's story is contained in tirumuRaiknatapurANam, medieval book attributed (wrongly) to umApati civam (1313)."

 

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