Make your own free website on
8.3.4. Sivap pirakAsar (civpfpirkacrf) (17th century A.D.)

Like Kumara Kuruparar, Sivap pirakAsar also became an ascetic very early in his life. He belonged to the VIra Saivam (vIrAcvmf) sect, where the followers were staunch Saivaites. He hailed from the ThuRai Mangalam (TAbmgfklmf) mutt. Sivap pirakAsar gained fame, when, as a youngster, he displayed his literary talents by employing the difficult word format (ecalf `lgfkarmf) , known as n^IrOttaka yamaka an^thAthi (nIEradfdk ymk `nftati) . In this format the letters, (m, p, v) do not appear in the poems.

He is the author of 23 literary works which include n^anneRi (n[fe[bi) which deals with moral instructions and one section of Thiruk kALatthi PurANam (tiRkfkaqtftip<ra]mf) , in which the mythological legend of KALatthi (tiRkfkaqtfti) are described.

The other two sections of this work were written by his two brothers. He also wrote Pirapulinga lIlai (pirp<ligfklIAl), an epic containing the basic features of the VIra Saivam sect. The most well known work by Sivap pirakAsar is n^Alvar n^An maNi MAlai (nalfvrfna[fm]imaAl, an anthology of the four doyens of Saivaite faith (AcvcmykfKrvrfkqf).

In particular, the philosophy of MANickavAchakar (ma]ikfkvackrf) touched him deeply. This could be seen from one of his observations in n^Alvar n^An MaNi MAlai: "we have not heard of anyone shedding tears of joy or exhibiting physical expressions of devotion after reciting the VEdhAs; on the other hand, when one recites ThiruvAchakam (tiRvackmf) once, even the stone hearted gets deeply moved; tears roll down the eyes like a stream, the hairs stand erect with ecstasy; one cannot help become devoted".

Evtmf Oti[f vizinIrf epRkfki
enwfcmfenkfK uRki nibfpvrfkf ka]fkiElamf
tiRva ckmf;gfK oRkalf Oti[f
kRgfklf m[Mmf kArnfTkkf k]fkqf
etaDm]bf Ek]iyi[f CrnfTnIrf pay
emyfmfmyirf epaFpfp vitivitirfpfp< 'yfti
`[fprf ~Knrf `[fbi
m[fpAt ulkilf mbfAbyrf ;lEr

8.3.5. Siva GnAna Munivar (civwa[M[ivrf) (18th century A.D.)

He belonged to the ThiruvAvadu ThuRai mutt (tiRvavDTAr mdmf) and was proficient in Thamizh and Sanskrit. His literary contributions include the following:
1) commentaries on n^annUl (n[f{\lfuAr), an explanatory notes to some of TholkAppiar's works.
2) MApAdiyam (mapaFymf), a treatise on SivagnAna POdham (civwa[Epatmf), the authority on Saiva SitthAn^tham.
3) kAnchip purANam (kawfcipfp<ra]mf)
4) SOmEsar Muthumozhi veNpA (EcaEmcrfMTemaziev]fpa) in which ThirukkuraL is interpreted with simple anecdotes. Perhaps he was best known for his debating skill and his courage to stand up and discuss philosophical topics whenever he disagreed with the interpretations of others.
His other works include ilakkaNa SURAvaLi (;lkfk] YV$vqi), a contradictory report on ilakkaNa ViLakkam (;lkfk]viqkfkmf) and VairakkuppAyam (AvrkfKpfpaymf), a rebuttal to SivagnAna Sitthiar's (civwa[citftiyarf) interpretations.

8.3.6. Other Authors

Other authors hailing from the Saiva SitthAn^tham tradition are SAn^thalinga SwAmikaL (canftligfkCvamikqf) and Chithambara SwAmikaL (citmfprCvamikqf) both of whom belonged to the Thirup pOrur (tiRpfEpaYRrf) mutt.

Thatthuva rAyar (ttfTvrayrf) was famous for his ability to exploit the popularity of folk music and games to propagate the concepts of Saiva SitthAn^tham to ordinary people. He had employed practically every conceivable literary format (ula, T\T, klmfpkmf, pr]i, `nftati) in his work.

ThANdava rAyar (ta]fdvrayrf) is unique in the line of Saiva SitthAn^tha authors, who was able to bridge the gap between VEdhAn^tham and Saiva SitthAn^tham. He was the author of Kaivalya n^vn^Itham (AkvlfynvnItmf) in which he explained the advaita (`tfTAvt) philosophy of Adhi Sankarar (~ticgfkrr)f in 310 poems in the viruttham style. It dealt with the characteristics of AnmA (~[fma) and presented the complex concepts and the essence of upanishads (upnidmf) in a condensed form as a cream. It is believed that he had succeeded in an effort which many thought could not be done.

8.4. aruNakiri n^Athar (`R]kirinatrf, `R]kiriyarf)

8.4.1. Introduction

aruNakiri n^Athar lived in the middle of the 14th or in the early part of the 15th century A.D. in ThiruvaNNAmalai (tiRv]f]amAl). Details regarding his personal life differ widely. According to some, during the early stage of his life, he enjoyed the company of unchaste women (epaTmkqirf) and suffered from some dreadful disease. After deep repentance he decided to end his life when he got the blessing of Lord Murugan. Other scholars (K.V.JagannAthan, (ki.v.jk[f[at[f) believed that the references to unchaste women represented a tradition, whereby poets projected themselves as undesirable elements which they wished to condemn. However, his devotional poems are extremely popular wherever Thamizh is spoken.

Unlike many other Thamizh scholars, aruNakiriyAr represents a remarkable blend of Thamizh literary genius, a high degree of devotion to Murugan and a musical expertise. His titles, Divine Poet (;Aby<]rfv<kfkvi) and Reverberating Poet (cnftkfkviwrf) fit him admirably. The following anonymous song rates aruNakiriyAr along with the four Saivaite doyens (AcvcmykfKrvrfkqf) in specific areas of expertise:

vakfkibfK `R]kiri vatv> rrfk[ivilf
takfkilf tiRwa[ cmfpnftrf - EnakfkibfK
nkfkIr Etvrf nytfTkfKcf Cnftr[arf
ecabfKBtikfK `pfper[cf ecalf

(aruNakiri for expressions, VAthavUrAr for heart rendering poems, Sampan^thar for debates, n^akkIrar for originality, Sun^tharar for sweetness and appar for convictions.)

ThAyumAnavar (tay<ma[vrf) paid a high tribute to aruNakiriyAr when he said that no one was more precise than aruNakiriyAr in expressing the truth:

_ya `R]kiri `pfpa uA[pfEpal
emyfyak Orfecalf viqmfpi[rfyarf - AvyktfEtarf
cabfbriet[f Ebcbf$rf t[f[A[yarf Mkfke]nfAt
nabfbiAckfKgf AkkadfF [a[f.

He had engaged in literary debates against stalwarts such as Villi puthUrAzhvAr (vilflip<tfT\razfvarf) and Sampan^thANdAn (cmfpnfta]fda[f). His literary works including the yAppu (yapfp<) he employed in the composition are as follows: Kan^thar anupUthi (knftrf`{p> ti, cnftkfkliviRtftmf). Thirup pukazh, Thiruvakuppu (tiRpfp<kzf, tiRvKpfp<, cnftpfpakffkqf), Kan^thar alankAram (knftrf`lgfkarmf) and Kan^thar an^thAthi (knftrf`nftati) both in kattaLaik kalit thuRai (kdfdAqkfklitfTAb), Mayil VEl SEval virutthankaL(myilf, Evlf, Ecvlf viRtftgfkqf, ~ciriy viRtftmf) and Thiru eZukURRirukkai (tiR 'ZPbfbiRkfAk) in (;A]kfKbqf~ciriymf).

8.4.2. Salient Features of aruNakiriyAr's poems

a) San^thak kavi (cnftkfkvi)

As in the case of many other Thamizh authors, whose works are of a religious nature, it is necessary to approach aruNakiriyAr's works without bias against his religious convictions in order to appreciate his literary genius. In Thamizh literature, four kinds of literary expertise are recognized:

1) spontaneity and originality (~Ckvi).
2) sweetness due to lyrics, similes (epaRdfeclfvmf, ecabfeclfvmf, uRvkmf) and musical nature (mTrkvi).
3) decorations with appropriate choice of words and contents (citftirkvi).
4) ability to compose poems in a variety of formats (maAl, klmfpkmf, ymkmf, tcagfkmf) (vitftarkvi).
Usually scholars become proficient in or more of these kinds. aruNakiriyAr is exceptional in demonstrating his expertise in all the four areas earning the title of (nabfkvi kviw[f).

Though music was an integral part of the ThEvAram (Etvarmf) hymns, aRuNakiriyAr was the the first to set all his compositions to reverberating music (cnftmf) and rhythm (taqmf). The words san^tham (cnftmf) and vaNNam (v]f]mf) mean literally beauty. Poetic beauty (ecyfy<qf v]f]mf refers more specifically to musical sounds of words which are associated with poetry. These terms have been in existence since the days of Thiru GnAna Sampan^thar (tiRwa[cmfpnftrf) as shown in the following phrases in ThEvAram: (cnftmarf eca[f[ ecnftmizf, cnftmaAltftmizf).

aruNakiriyAr was the first to make extensive use of the sounds of dancing ghosts and marching CUran (Vr[f) come alive before one's eyes in his Thiruppukazh (tiRpfp<kzf).

titftitfety otftpf prip<r
nirftftpfptmf AvtfTpf pyirvi
tikfekakfkn Fkfkkf kZekaD kZtad
tikfKpfpri `dfdpf pyirvrf
etakfKtf etaK
etakfKtf etaKetaK citfrpfpv< rikfKtf tiri kdk '[Evat
ekatfTpfpAb ekadfdk fkqmiAc
KkfKkfKK KkfKkf KKKK
KtftipfpAt p<kfKpf piFey[ MTPAk
ekadfp<bfebz ndfpbf bv<]Ar
evdfFpfpli yidfDkf Klkiri
KtfTpfpd otfTpf eparvl - epRmaEq.

(kZT = Epyfkqf, MTPAk = Mtirfnft Ekadfda[f)

MnfTtftmizf maAl EkaF......
tinftitimi Etati tItitf tIti
tnftt[ ta[ ta[tf ta[
ecwfec]K EcK taqtfEtaD - ndmaDmf

There are 20 different kinds of vaNNankaL (v]f]gfkqf) depending upon how the words (`Accfecabfkqf, t[, ta[a, ttft, tnft) etc. are put together. Just as the seven octaves, ( c, ri, k, m, p, t, ni) characterize the rAgam, the letters (t, ti, etamf, nmf, d, qagf, ti[f) are used to describe rhythm , thAlam, (taqmf). By combining the seven letters of the thALam with hard (vlfli[mf) or soft (emlfli[mf) consonants and long (enFlf) or short (Kbilf) vowels in different ways, hundreds of compound words (cnftgfkqf) can be produced. The examples are: (ttft, tatft, tnft, tanft, tyfy, t[f[, ta[, t[[, ttfta, tnfta, tyfya, t[f[a, t[t[, t[tft, t[nft, t[[a, ta[[, ta[a, t[tfta, t[tyfy, t[t[[, t[t[a, t[at[, ta[t[).

At the beginning of each Thiruppukazh (tiRpfp<kzf) song, the notations (cnftkfKzipfp<kqf) are usually given as follows:

Aktftl niAbk[i...... ttft[ t[t[ ttft[ t[t[
ttft[ t[t[ - t[ta[a

MtfAttftR ................... ttfttft[ ttfttf t[t[
ttfttft[ ttfttf t[t[
ttfttft[ ttfttf t[t[ t[ta[.

The second unique feature of Thiruppukazh poems is the placement of unattached words, thonkal, (etagfklf) ) at the end to give a musical adoration. The thonkals have a notation (cnftkfKzipfp<kqf) different from the section preceding them and may occur at every line, once in two, three, six, seven, nine or twelve lines. The following examples illustrate this feature:

t[t[[ ta[ttft t[t[[ ta[ttft
t[t[[ ta[ttft - t[ta[a

cr]km lalytfAt `Arnimix EnrmdfFlf
tvMAbti ya[mf Avkfk `biyat
cdkcd YMdmdfF pvviA[yi Elc[itft
tmiy[fmiF yalf mykfkmf uBEvE[a

The words, (`biyat) and (uBEvE[a) are 'thonkal' and occur on alternate lines in this case. The thonkals have different notations and are indicated at the top of the poems. b) Any literary epic in Thamizh has 3 components:
i. delineation of the nature of the subject matter (epaR]fAmkfEkadfpaD)
ii. good literary format (vFvmf)
iii. expression (evqiyID) in the most appealing manner.
If the author is just a literary scholar (p<lv[f), he will be content to write on a topic he will be familiar with or one that he enjoys; if he is a music composer, he will enjoy doing so because he has the expertise to do so; if the author happens to be a Bhakthan (`Fyarf), he will focus on methods of seeking communion with God and methods of achieving salvation. aruNakiriyAr has taken it upon himself to combine all the three different roles into one and succeeded as well.

He had stated his objectives explicitly not only what he wanted to do but also what he did not wish to do. In the following poems he says that he will use all that his knowledge and all that he has learned from the divine grace only to sing the praise of Murugan (MRk[f) whom he considered as the Absolute Being:

yaEmatiy klfviy<mf 'mfmbiv<mf
taEmepb Evlvrf tnftti[alf
p> Emlf mylfEpayf `bemyfpf p<]rfvIrf
naEmlf ndvIrf ndvIrf ;[iEy
(knftr{p>ti 17)

..umfprfkqf sfvami nEma nm
'mfepRmaE[ nEma nm
o]fedaF Emaka nEma nm
u[fp<kEz paF na[i[i
`[fp<d[f ~car p>AcecyfT
uyfnftid vI]aqf pdatRqf p<rivaEy
(tiRpfp<kzf 66)

c) Secondly he did not wish to emulate so many poets of his time in writing the glory of patrons who had spent all their time leading an immoral life in the company of unchaste women. In fact he condemned such authors who have sacrificed their principles for money as follows:

tRvrf ;vrf ~Kem[fB epaRqfnAcyilf naFv]fD
tAq viDecalf T\T t]fdmf Mtla[
crc kvi maAl cinfT kli TAbkqf "clf ;[fp
tRMtlta[ ecwfecalf vAkpaF
mRv<Aky<mf Emati enanfT `Fkqf MFEy etrinfT
vri{mf ;vrfvItmf 'gfkqf ;dmak
vRmTeva EpaTem[fB evaR p]mf utaci[wfecalf
uRki mikvak evnfT kviAt ecaliEy tirinfT
(tiRpfp<kzf 217)

d) aruNakiriyAr then places himself in the capacity of an artist (kviw[f) and describes the kind of poems he will write. The poems will be very original and have the caliber of Asu Kavi (~Ckvi).

MFy vzivzi yFAm '{mf uriAm `FAmMZ
Tlkbiy mzAlemazi eyaDpaDmf ~Ckvi
Mtl emaziv[f nik] mTpMkrf ;tmv<[
Mkq primq nikil kvimaAl VDvTmf
(tiRvKpfp< 1)

He ascribed all his poetic gifts to Murugan, who is capable of writing in such beautiful Thamizh:

;lkf k]gfkQmf ;yliAckQ mik
virikfKmf `mfpl mTrit kvitA[
;ybfB ecnftmizf vitemaD p<ymiAc p<A[EvaE[
(tiRpfp<kzf 4)

e) The several epithets aruNakiriyAr used to describe Thamizh in its varied formats (Mtftmizf, ;Actftmizf, MnfTtftmizf, t]fdmizf, v]fdmizf, etqfQtmizf) show his profuse love and deep commitment to the language per se. Why else should he pray God for blessing him with more expertise in Thamizh but for the only purpose of singing His glory?

TqfQmt EvdfAkkf kA]yaEl
etalfAl enDnIlkf kdlaEl
emqfq vREcaAlkf KyilaEl
emyfy<RK maA[tf tZvaEt
etqfQtmizf padtf etqiEvaE[
ecyfy KmErctf tibElaE[
vqfqlf etaZ wa[kf kzElaE[
vqfqi m]vaqpf epRmaEq.

...`R]tq patptfmmf `{ti[MEm Ttikfk
`riy tmizf ta[qitft myilf vIra......

f) As far as the Thamizh format (vFvmf) is concerned, the different yAppus (yapfp<) used by aruNakiriyAr have already been mentioned. His profound knowledge of different Thamizh literary formats is expressed skillfully in the following Thiruppukazh. The last line indicates his humility in his request that his own 'I-ness' (`kgfkarmf) should be removed.

pdrf p<viyi[f mIT mIbi vwfcrfkqf
viy[i{Ar pa{vayf viynfTAr
pZtilf epRcIl N\lfkQnf etri cgfk padlf
p{vlf kAt kavfyma em]]fkAl
tiRvQv Etvrf vayfAm ey[fkib
pzemaziAy EyatiEy y<]rfnfT plfcnftmaAl
mdlf pr]i EkaAvyarf klmfpk
MtLqT EkaF Ekaqf pfrpnftMmf
vAkvAkyilf ~CEcrf epRgfkvi c]fdvay<
mTrkvi raj[a[f '[f ev]fKAd
viRTekaF taqEmq t]fFAk
vriAceyaD ulav< malf `knfAt tvirfnftidaEta

g) Expression (evqiyID). The par excellence of poets is best displayed in their capacity to express their thoughts in the most appealing manner using different adoration technics. The body is compared to a house using the following simile:

Etalalf CvrfAvtfT nalaBkalibf CmtftiyiR
kala elZpfpi vAqMT EkadfFkf Ak nabfbinrmf
palarf AkyidfDtf tAceka]fD Emyfnft `kmf

The following poem is an example of aruNakiriyAr's style of describing the changes one undergoes from childhood onwards:

`BKN[i p[iyA[y cibiyTqi epriyetaR
~k makiEyarf palYRpmayf
~yi taAtyarf may Emakmayf
`RAmyi[i lRAmyid emaQemaeq[ udlf vqr
~Q Emqmayf val YRpmayf `veraR
(tiRpfp<kzf 862)

The changes that take place when health fails and death approaches could not be described more explicitly than in the following poem by 'mutthamizh vitthakar' (Mtftmizfvitftkrf), aruNakiriyAr:

MA[ yzinftT, EmdfF KAlnftT
vyT ec[fbT, vayfpfplf utirfnftT
MTK evwfciAl kadfF vAqnftT , pfrApya[
Mkmf ;zinftT, EnakfK ;R]fdT ,
;Rmlf vnftT, T\kfkmf ozinftT
emazi tqrfnftT, nakfKmf viZnftT...
(tiRpfp<kzf 1193)

h) In the last poem of Kan^thar anupUthi (knftrf`{p> ti), aruNakiriyAr crystallizes all the principles enunciated in the VEdhAs and upanishads succinctly by portraying the nature of the Absolute Being (YMlpfepaRqfttfTvmf). The confusion surrounding the concept of the Divine Spirit is clarified in four short lines. The multiplicity of personal gods, meant only to describe the indescribable and enable comprehension by the human mind becomes untenable and remains as a tool. The divisions due to the differences in semantics in referring to the Absolute Being within and between religions become unwarranted.

uRvayf `Rvayf uqtayf ;ltayf
mRvayf mlrayf m]iyayf oqiyayfkf
kRvayf uyirayfkf ktiyayf vitiyayfkf
KRvayf vRvayf `Rqfvayf KkE[
(knftrf `{p> ti)
(`Rvayf = uRvmf `bfbvrayf)

People who preach universal peace in the name of religion will do well to appreciate the profoundness of this verse and abstain from claiming any inherent superiority of one religion over another. After all, it is better to unite the divided instead of dividing the united Supreme Being !

i) In spite of his Thamizh literary genius and extreme devotion to Lord Murugan, aruNakiruyAr, in his own characteristic modesty, prays that he should not rot and die without being able to meditate on the glorious feet of God whole heartedly at least for half a minute:

cr] kmlalytfAt `Arnimix EnrmdfFlf
tvMAb tiya[mf Avkfk `biyat
cdkcd YMdmdfF pvviA[yiEl c[itft
tmiyi[f miFyalf mykfkmf uBEvE[a...

8.4.3. Conclusion

In the high technology age we are living in, when everyone is complaining about tension and associated health problems, it may be appropriate to reiterate the above aruNakiriyAr's poem on whole hearted meditation on the Eternal at least for a few minutes daily. This may be a more pragmatic approach than worrying about the correctness or limitations of different religious dogmas.