"I am a servitor of the servitors
Of the Brahmins who dwell at Tillai."
- The Tiru-th-Tonda-th-Tokai
1. It is the beginning, the middle and the end; it is
Immeasurable by logic, and cognizable only by Gnosis;
It is light animating consciousness; it pervades all
In their manifestation as the One non-separate;
It is the male and the female; it is the illuminating Dance
Enacted in Tillai’s Court! Praise be! (350)
2. It is beyond the ken of Imagination; its form is Mercy;
It is poised in wondrous Beauty; it abides at Tiru-ch-chitrambalam
As the Ether of Gnosis – the great peak of the Vedas rare;
This is the Grand Dance enacted by the feet,
Ankleted and flowery! Praise be! (351)
3. Hailing (the feet of the Dancer) I’ll narrate
The glories of the Brahmins of Tillai eternal.
They are blessed with the beatific right to serve
The beauteous Dancer, the Wearer of the Holy Ash;
All glory is contained by them; they are firm-rooted
In the service of worship; with ever-increasing love
For the Lord’s feet, they flourish as tapaswis great. (352)
4. With beauteous ornaments rich beyond reckoning
They deck the Lord and perform the auspicious rites;
They hail the Lord with the words of the Gospels;
They render gloriously all other service, befitting them;
Service within the Lord’s temple and shrine is theirs. (353)
5. Poised in dharma, they cultivate and master the four Vedas
And their sextuple components of radiant truths;
They trend the Triple Fire that lives may thrive in grace;
They are rich in their servitude divine
Of the great Lord of the Grand Dance. (354)
6. They descend of a flawless race and are impeccable;
By their sovereign acts sixfold, they have chased Kali away;
They deem as wealth true, only the Holy Ash;
Love of Siva is all that they seek after; thus they thrive. (355)
7. Flawless is their mastery of Charya, Kriya, Yoga and Gnana;
They are great in munificence and ascesis;
They are ever-poised in righteousness;
They lack nothing; poised in patience and honour
They live as householders hailed by the whole world. (356)
8. They are the divine Brahmins whose intellect
Hath been by Siva clarified; they are
Three thousand strong who have in this very life
Gained the Lord-God for their adoration.
What other beatitude are they in need of?
They alone are their equals; unique is their glory. (357)
9. Is it in our power to inscribe the limits of their glory?
Did not the Lord of Aroor who commanded Van-tondar
To compose the Tiru-th-Tonda-th-Tokai – the fruit and fruition
Of the Tamil tongue that reigns in the south --,
Grace him with words divine to commence his hymn,
And these, the very subject of His words? (358)
10. May the glorious Brahmins divine of sublime Tillai
Hailed by all the world, flourish well in this wide word;
Hailing the gracious dance of our Father in Tillai’s Court
We now narrate the tapaswic life
Of the glorious potter Tirunilakantar,
The truthful devotee of loving-kindness. (359)
1 1 In Hopkins’ phrase it is “home-of-all, womb-of-all”.
2 cf. Siva Gnana Botham, Sutra the sixth.
3 cf. Siva Gnana Botham, sutra the eleventh.
4 The One : The One in advaitic relationship (with all).
5 The male and the female:
cf. “This whole wide world is only he and she.”
- Sri Aurobindo, Savitri.
5-6 The illumining Dance …… Court:
cf. How can we know the dancer from the dance?”
- W.B. Yeats.
6 Tillai’s Court : Chith-Ambalam.
2 1 Imagination : cf. Pasu and Pasa knowledge.
Mercy : Grace.
5 2 Sextuple
components : They are the treatises on Siksha, Kalpa-Sutra,
Vyakarana, Nirukta, Chandovicity, and Jyothisha.
3 Triple-Fire : Agavaniya, Dhakshinagni and Garhapatya.
Sincere thanks to Sri. T N Ramachandran of thanjavur, for permitting his English rendering of the holy text periyapurANam be published here.