1. Nampi Aaroorar, the author of the Tiru-th-Tonda-th-Tokai
Which is the original source (of our work),
Made his avatar for the deliverance of the world;
We now proceed to indite, as is known to us,
His ascension to the divine Kailaas of the Lord-Quaffer
Of poison with Kazharitru Arivaar the eyes of whom
Were like unto red lotuses that burgeon in the morn. (4229)
2. In this world, enduring love and devotion and the like
Reared by the water of grace, grew aloft in their strength;
Their form was splendorous like that of Nampi Aaroorar—
All roseate and golden; the cruel and violent tares
Of the twyfold Karma were weeded out; they rose up in resplendence;
The mellowing grains yielded
Abundant and aeviternal Siva Bhoga. (4230)
3. Van-tondar, the intimate servitor of the Lord, who wears
As garland the snake, during his stay at beauteous Aaroor
Girt with melliferous flower-gardens,
Thought of Ceramaan Perumaan, adored the feet of Lord Thiagaraja
And with His leave, proceeded to Malai Naadu endowed
With many a slope, in uncontrollable love. (4231)
4. He set his mind on the Lord who joyously abides
In many shrines of the divine country made rich
By the goodly river Ponni and adored Him on his way;
On he moved to the western Kongku realm of sylvan tracks
Where in the gardens, antelopes leaped and played
In joy; thus he reached the opulent
Tiru-p-Pukkoliyoor of the Lord in whose crest
Rest the pure crescent and the celestial Ganga. (4232)
5. As he came near the spacious street of the town
Where Brahmins abode, he beheld two mansions,
Fronting each other; from one were heard
Instruments, played during an auspicious ceremony;
From the other came loud lamenting; so he asked
Some of the Brahmins that resided there, thus:
"How is it that two contrary events are here
Taking place, simultaneously?" (4233)
6. The Brahmins adoring him, replied thus: "There were
Two excellent boys, each aged five; when they bathed
In the tank, one of them was devoured by a crocodile;
The boy that escaped death, is undergoing the ceremony
Of investiture with the sacred thread; the wailing
Comes from that house which lost the boy." (4234)
7. The Brahmin and his helpmeet who had already known
Of the greatness of Van-tondar, longed to adore him--
The wearer of a garland thick with flowers.
Van-tondar was moved as he listened to the event;
The parents, totally oblivious of the mental distress
Caused by the loss of their son, came there and fell at his feet.(4235)
8. With their sorrow gone, their countenances became bright;
Addressing them that adored him, Aaroorar spake thus:
"Are you the ones that lost your dear son?"
Thus questioned, they adored him and said: "That was
A thing of the past; we were for a long time,
Desiring to behold and adore you; our devotion has borne
Fruit; we have been blessed with your gracious advent."
This said, they adored him again. (4236)
9. "Forgetting even the misery caused by the loss of their son,
The Brahmin and his wife feel glad at heart
For my coming; I will call back to life the boy
From the very mouth of that crocodile, hand him
Over to them and then only adore the ankleted feet
Of my Lord-Father of Avinaasi." Thus he affirmed,
The queller of the distress of those that sought him. (4237)
10. After he thus spake graciously, he asked (the people):
"Where is the tank-- the abode of the cruel and fierce-mouthed
Crocodile that devoured the son of these?"
Then ascertaining its location, he came to the bank
Of that deep tank; to force the sharp and sabre-toothed
Crocodile to bring back the boy who was devoured
By it that day in the past, he began to hymn
A divine decad. (4238)
11. Before his divine hymn which opened with the words:
"Uraippaar urai" came to be concluded,
Yama, whose arms are tall and huge like a hill, brought
With him the boy, quick and endowed with due growth of body
Which he would have come by during the past (two) years
When he ceased to be, having been eaten by the crocodile
Of the wave-tossed waters, and caused him
Emerge out of the mouth of the crocodile. (4239)
12. When the big-mouthed crocodile came to the bank
And spat out the boy, his mother that stood melting
In love, ran toward him, lifted him up and with her
Holy husband fell at the roseate and salvific
Feet of Aaroorar, the Tiruvaalan and life-giver;
From the Empyrean the celestials showered
The fragrant flowers of the ethereal trees. (4240)
13. People on earth wondered; the Brahmins threw up their
Upper garments and felt ecstatic; the Vedas sounded;
Aaroorar, the great one, took with him the boy
Who was verily the rare Brahmin's pupil of the eye,
And hailed Lord Hara of Avinaasi. (4241)
14. He completed the divine decad, bowed before Him
And moved out; he had the beloved son of the devotee-Brahmin
Invested with the sacred thread in his presence,
And had, to the resounding of drums, the auspicious ceremony concluded.
Then to call on the Cera King
He proceeded to Malai Naadu through the cool
Beautiful and fragrant gardens rich in kuraa flowers. (4242)
15. As he passed through the various towns where abode
The servitors of Siva in the western country,
He felt exceedingly happy; crossing the goodly towns,
Woods, jungle-rivers flowing with gems, and stony
Wildernesses, he that was pleased to enter into my heart
Entered into the fecund Malai Naadu. (4243)
16. "Nampi of southern Aaroor who retrieved the boy
Devoured by the crocodile in the past, is come!"
When the servitors of that country ran to the presence
Of the Cera King and announced thus, on them
He showered Porkizhis, jewels set with gems,
Coins of gold and garments. (4244)
17. In his exceeding ecstasy, he was happily confused;
Then by beat of joyous drums he had it proclaimed thus:
"Behold, my lord is come! The glorious one that rules me
Is come! The Saivite seer of Aaroor is come!
My friend and my lord is come! Behold him
Coming for the deliverance of the whole world!" (4245)
18. He sent for his ministers well-versed in wise works;
To receive the great one, he had the peerless city
Splendorously decorated; then he rode on the elephant
Whence cascaded ichor; to receive him came he
That was born for the deliverance of the Cera race,
Crossing the royal street. (4246)
19. When Van-tondar was about to en_er the bourne of Malai Naadu,
The lord of great armies-- Ceramaan perumaan
Of victorious flag, the signum of which was, of yore,
Inscribed on the Himavant--,
Went forth to receive him, and bowed at his feet--
Very like fresh-flown lotus flower,
At this Aaroorar the abode of nectarean scriptures
That do away with all flaws and blemishes--,
Reciprocated the obeisance. (4247)
20. Though the beauteous persons of the Cera King whose mind
Revelled in joy and Tiru Aaroorar were different,
They but appeared to be one and the same person;
Such indeed was the nature of their loving embrace
Born of great and swelling desire, after their
Mutual obeisance; then the Cera King par excellence
Listened with rapture to the narration by our father and lord
Touching the opulent greatnesses of Tiruvaaroor. (4248)
21. Beholding the harmony of the two lofty and loving friends
Who merged so blemishlessly into each other,
The retinues of each of them clamoured in joyous uproar;
Then Ceramaan Perumaan had the Perumaan of Tamil
Seated on the hill-like tusker and sat behind him
Holding the moon-bright state-umbrella over his head. (4249)
22. The huge Cera army roared like the resounding ocean;
The devotee throngs decked with white and bright
Holy ash made an uproar very like that of the swelling Ganga;
The clouds of dust raised
By the hooves of steeds ridden by the ministers who
Came to adore them, settled everywhere;
Thus, even thus, they reached the beauteous entrance
Of Tiruvanjaikkalam girt with ramparts
Over which the moon crawls and clouds rest. (4250)
23. To the chanting of the Vedas the Brahmins danced
The Kunalai dance; the elephants rained ichor;
Pots filled with holy water were seen everywhere;
Through the streets decked with festoons, as damsels
Showered flowers, the elephant that carried on its back
The two friends, marched on. (4251)
24. When the two friends descended from the mighty tusker,
Tinkling sounds rose aloft from all the anklets
Of the jewelled flower-feet of danseuses that danced
In the streets; sounds of huge drums soared aloft;
Whorled conches in serried rows blared. (4252)
25. Pure and fragrant flowers mixed with pearls
And puffed rice were strewn; before them on both sides
Munis versed in Vedas chanted benedictory verses;
Over their heads, the white parasol cast a cool shade;
Chamaras were whisked from the sides; thus the lord
Of Vaanavar and his friend moved into the palace. (4253)
26. On a throne damasked with flowers and buzzed by bees,
The monarch of Malai Naadu had Nampi Aaroorar
Who glowed like a young bull, enthroned, and adored him;
He performed unto him loving poojas the greatness
Of which was truly ineffable; this done, to the delectation
Of the retinues, he showered on them many types of gems. (4254)
27. During such days when the Prince of Thirumunaippaadi
Abode happily with the lord of the Ceras, dispelling
All (earthly) troubles, he, companied with the Cera king,
Adored at all the shrines in the immense stretch
Of Malai Naadu where the Lord who wears the serpent
For his jewel willingly abides; then Van-tondar came back
To Makotai girt with great walls adorned with gold. (4255)
28. When thus passed many a day, one day, when the Cera,
The first among the crowned kings, was having his holy bash,
His friend Van-tondar came to Tiruvanjaikkalam; his days
Of long separation which indeed formed a goodly
And distant path from the Supreme Lord whose crown
Of matted hair contains the flowing Ganga, were about to end. (4256)
29. As he made the sacred circuit of the shrine
Of the blue-throated Lord, great and spiraling love
Began to swell in Aaroorar's bosom; into the shrine
He moved, and adored the flower-soft feet of the Lord;
He fell down prostrate on the ground before Him
And rose up; this marked a rare act of renunciation;
At that very movent the trouble-tossed earthly life
Quit him; he hymned the Lord in a dec_d
Which oped thus: "Thalaikku-th-thalai Maalai." (4257)
30. The divine intimation of the decad was to have
The bondage-ridden life on earth snapped; when thus
The devotee sang in exceeding devotion, as the time
Apportioned by the Lord for his separation from the company
Of Siva Ganas at Kailaas came to an end,
Siva, whose throat glows with the hue of the dense venom,
Was pleased to bless him to reach His sacred feet. (4258)
31. The Lord who is concorporate with Himavant's Daughter,
Seated on the white and victorious Bull in flowery Kailaas
Thick with fragrant and stately trees, graciously bade
Brahma and other Devas thus: "Bring here Our Ooran,
Whose chintai is oned with Us, borne on the celestial tusker." (4259)
32. The Devas, Vishnu, Brahma and others adored the Lord
And took leave of Him; seeking Van-tondar they came
With the pure and white and bright tusker, to Tiruvanjaikkalam
In the city of Makotai girt with cool gardens and groves;
With their feet touching the ground they circumambulated
The temple, and came before the divinely-guarded entrance. (4260)
33. As the Prince of Tirunaavaloor (after his worship)
Moved through the entrance where the Devas stood thronging,
They duly received him and spake thus: "Behold the gracious
Act of the Lord of Kailaas whose matted hair is decked
With konrai flowers and the cool Ganga." This said, they hailed
Him, and subjoined thus: "This indeed is His mandate!"
Thus told, he had nought else to do; he bowed low
To the Lord's behest, rose up and humbly obeyed it. (4261)
34. The Devas circumambulated the devotee that humbly
Complied with the Lord's behest, and adored him; when they
Had him seated on the celestial white tusker,
The five ethereal tuntupis resounded very like
The four great oceans; the hailing celestial lords
Showered flowers; Aaroorar who proceeded on his jouney,
Then thought of his great friend who could con
All that was uttered by all living beings. (4262)
35. The moment the Cera Tampiraan came to know of the act
Of the Tampiran's Companion, he forthwith mounted
A peerless steed and proceeded to Tiruvanjaikkalam;
He beheld in the heavens the servitor of Truth that rode
The heroic white tusker in the sky; thereupon he would
No longer bear to abide on the earth; to his mind
Already with Aaroorar, he hitched his steed
And moved onward with great speed. (4263)
36. As in the ear of his beloved steed he chief among
The kings of earth, chanted as ordained, the Siva mantra
So dear to him, it rose up, darted into the sky, came
Near the tusker ridden by Van-tondar who wore a fresh
And fragrant garland, circumambulated it and marched ahead. (4264)
37. The warriors of the great army that accompanied
The Cera king beheld his flight on his speeding steed
Into the sky till he disappeared from their sight;
As they could no longer behold him, all of them
Out of exceeding love they bore for their king,
Took out their swords and slew themselves. (4265)
38. With heroic shookshma sariras the warriors reached
The Cera king to become again his servants;
The galloping horse marched ahead of the white tusker
That exuded the triple ichor and carried on its back
The unique servitor; thus, even thus, the heroic lord
Of the Ceras moved fast toward the direction
Of the sacred mountain of the Lord of Ambalam. (4266)
39. As he rode the tusker, the army of thronging celestial lords
Marched ahead of him; hymning the garland of Tamil verse
Beginning with the words: "Thaan enai mun pataitthaan."
Glorious Van-tondar came before the sacred southern entrance
Of the Holy Mountain of the Lord who in His matted hair wears
The cool and melliferous konrai blooms. (4267)
40. A universal effulgence like that of the flawless Holy Ash
Burgeoned; at the ornate entrance of the mountain-- beauteous
As the chinta of ever-truthful and flawless devotees--,
They descended from their respective mounts--
The radiant elephant and t_e horse--, and walked
A great distance; crossing many a place
In the Lord's argent mountain they arrived
At the beauteous and gemmy threshold. (4268)
41. At the Tiru Anukkan Tiru Vaayil the valiant Cera king
Was stopped; our Prince of Naavaloor who came there
Riding the white tusker whence cascaded black must,
Hailed by the encircling Devas, by the grace of the Lord
Moved to the divine presence of the Great One. (4269)
42. He moved in, adored the triple-eyed Lord, fell down
Prostrate before His divine presence and rose up;
Like the young calf that had for a long time suffered
Separation, rushing toward its mother-cow, he ran and reached
The Lord, and stood hailing Him; Siva concorporate
With bejewelled Uma and is ever to Her right side,
Said: "O Ooran, you have come back having assured
The world of its deliverance!" (4270)
43. "You have forgiven my sin; You have claimed me
As Your servitor; removing my flaw You have conferred
On me the aeviternal grace of bliss; can my smallness ever
Merit Your great mercy?" Thus he hailed the Lord,
And with an ever-obedient heart, Van-tondar fell down
Again and again in adoration and rose up reveling
In a sea of bliss whose form was like that of unending
And ever-flowing Aananda. (4271)
44. Van-tondar that stood there, moved near the flower-feet
Of the Lord whose matted hair is adorned with the Ganga,
And spake thus: "The Cera king is without the beauteous
And gemmy threshold." Thereupon the Lord whose bow is
The mountain, bade the Great Deva thus: "Fetch him here."
Thus bidden, he came there and said: "The Lord
In His grace, O victorious Cera, bids you come!"
Thus told, he rushed to adored the Lord's feet. (4272)
45. Even at a great distance from the divine presence
Of the Lord who is concroporate with His Consort
He adored Him, felt ecstatic and in soaring love
Hailed Him; the Lord in whose Ganga-bedecked matted hair
The crescent sails, casting a bright-rayed smile,
Graciously questioned him thus: "How is it
You have come here, unbidden by Us?" (4273)
46. Folding his hands above his head, the King said:
"Hailing the feet of Aaroorar, your servitor came
Ahead of him, all the way adoring him who rode
The tusker with a rope adorning its neck;
I was tossed to Your divine presence by the lucid waves
Of the flood of mercy poured by You;
Oh Lord of matted hair who wears a fragrant garland
Of konrai flowers! I have a submission to make. (4274)
47. "O Lord whose glory is ineffable even by the swelling
Vedas and Munis! Out of love, I have composed
On You a Puram verse, a Ulaa;
I should be blessed with Your audience, O Lord
Who had me companied with Van-tondar to rid me
Of the fettering paasa!" When thus he submitted,
The ever-blessing Lord said: "Recite it."
Thus, even thus, was the servitor blessed
With the Lord's audience. (4275)
48. The Partner of Uma was pleased to approve
The Puram verse of Tiru Ulaa which, by love,
The Cera king caused to be heard by the Lord;
In grace divine abounding in well-being,
The Lord blessed him thus: "Be companied
With Ooran who is Aalaala Sundaran, and may you both
Abide here as the Chiefs of Our Ganaas." (4276)
49. Thus blessed, the two bowed before the Lord,
Rose up and wore His grace, as it were, on their crowns;
Immortal Van-tondar became Aalaala Sundara and stood
Undeviatingly poised in his former servitorship
Of divine goodliness; the Cera king par excellence
Became Siva Gana Naathar and plied himself
In that dear-loved office. (4277)
50. Paravaiyaar and Sangkiliyaar of exceeding excellence
Who came to be born on earth, with the snapping
Of their mighty passm, by the grace of the Goddess Uma,
Became Kamalini the soles of whose feet were dyed red
With red silk-cotton, and Anintitai, and were again
Established in the service of the shrine
Of the peerless Himavant's Daughter. (4278)
51. The divine decad of sevenfold music sung on his way
By Aalaala Sundarar-- the great tapaswi
And c_nferrer of deliverance--, for getting propagated
In the world for its redemption, was handed over
To Varunan, the god of the billowy oceans; wearing
The gracious decad on his crown, as it were,
He submitted it to the Supreme Lord of Anjaikkalam
Who alone survives the Great Deluge. (4279)
52. The Puram verse of Tiru Ulaa sung by the Cera king
Was heard that day in the slope of the argent Kailaas
By the great Saasthaa; he bore it with him,
And at Tiruppitavoor-- the habitat of Brahmins--,
He openly published it and thus caused it
To flourish radiantly in all goodly splendour
In this sea-girt world. (4280)
53. Ever-crescent is the bliss of Siva; so the servitors
Love the One who alone should be loved;
Their souls soar up to the feet of that One;
The immense glory of the servitors of the Lord-Dancer
Of Ambalam pervades and abides aeviternally
Through all the worlds. (4281)
1. St. Sekkizhaar reminds us of the raison d'etre of St. Sundarar's avatar. Verse 35
of the Periya Puranam is as follows:
"For the great thriving of the South
That indeed has wrought immense tapas,
He who was to incarnate thither and hymn
The flawless Tiru-th-Thonda-th-Thokai,
Did set his mind on them both. . . . . ."
St. Sundarar took birth to bless us with the Tokai. The time for his ascension is
come. So, St. Sekkizhaar gives us the hint that speaks of the fulfillment of
St. Sundarar's mission.
2. Siva-Bhoga: The bliss of Siva-consciousness. The way to come by this stands
paved by the Takai.
3. Van-tondar. . . . Ceramaan Perumaan: It is Siva's grace which prompted him to
think on the Cera. These two are destined to gain their ascension on the
4. Tiruppukkoliyoor: This is Tiruppukkoiyoor Avinaasi. Now this place goes by
the name Avinaasi.
5. the spacious street: According to Sivakkavimani, this street is situate in the
south between Vanjippaalayam -- a railway station, and Avinaasi. It is said
that Pukkoliyoor was a city, south of the irrigation - tank which lay south of
the temple. This is now in a state of ruin. Here was once a matam called
Pukkoliyoor Matam. The road on which Nampi Aaroor travelled had
disappeared. At present the town is on the northern side of the temple.
Beyond the street is the tank (lake) where the Brahmin-boy was devoured by
the crocodile. Unless one has an idea of the old topography, one cannot
understand the verses of this Puranam in the proper perspective.
How is it.... simultaneously: The houses were similar in appearance.
However while one wore a festive appearance, the other was enveloped in
6. The boy. . . the boy: It is said that when paddy-seeds are thrown into a miry
field, some sprout and some perish.
7. This verse speaks of the glory and greatness of Van-tondar. The parents who
lost their boy were always wanting to offer their obeisance to St. Sundarar.
Kahlil Gibran says: "No longing remains unfulfilled." St. Appar affirms that
Siva blesses His seekers with that which they seek. So, when the parents
beheld before them St. Sundarar, they stood totally relieved of their misery.
Their prayer was answered.
8. When St. Sundarar enquired of their loss, they but said: "That was a thing of
the past." The past event which sorely grieved them, lost its sting thanks
to the presence of St. Sundarar.
9. St. Sundarar stood overwhelmed by the love and devotion that was so palpably
manifested by the Brhmin and his wife. St. Sundarar who was on his way to
the shrine resolved to visit it only after he resurrected the boy that died a
few years ago. This resolution, it should be known, was prompted by Siva's
grace. Lord Siva was pleased to proclaim unto the world the infinite
compassion of His Servitor.
Lord_Father of Avinaasi: (Avinaasi enthai): The word naasam means
destruction. Avinaasi means that which is indestructible. Not only that.
It also means that which can get back what is destroyed. In his decad
St. Sundarar addresses Siva as Pukkoliyoor Avinaasi. The lord of Avinaasi is
therefore hailed as the Queller of the distress of those that sought him.
10. St. Sundarar enquired of the whereabouts of the tank. Commentators are of the
opinion that the tank was filled up after the incident. This view is supported
by a verse of the Kanda Puranam. It is as follows:
"For the dry tank to regain its former state
For the crocodile to reappear thither
And for resurrecting the boy that should
Appear with the growth of the lost years,
He hymned a divine decad.
We hail the feet of such Sundarar."
The Avinaasi Tala Puranam also speaks of these. However
St. Sekkizhaar's version lends no support to these embellishments. This is
also the view of Sivakkavimani.
11. Uraippaar Urai: The fourth verse of St. Sundarar's decad opens thus. Through
his decad St. Sundarar appealed to Siva Thus: "How can I ever forget You! In
all my embodiments (that may materialize from time to time), O my Lord-God,
Your are my refuge. I ever think on You feeling Your presence in my soul. O
Avinaasi decked with the dancing serpent of the ant-hill, abiding at Pukkoliyoor,
You indeed, O Pasupati! O Supreme Ens! Are my Palladium. You, the great
Rudy, fare forth with them that proceed on their way. Does forsaking become
You? O lord of matted hair whose grace spirals up and up! The bachelor that
descended to bathe himself into the tank of Pukkoliyoor which is girt with
groves and gardens, (by his death) grieves me. Whatever be the place to which
I fare forth, if I think on Yu, even if it be the realm of Kongku, the highwaymen
will not loot my clothings belongings. O wearer of the serpent that is swollen
with wrath! O Avinaasi of Pukkoliyoor! O our King, I implore You to bless me
with birthlessness. You adorn the crown of them who are valiant to experience
in joy the import of the explicated wisdom. O Lord whose waist is cinctured
with a serpent! O One who is the Biginning and the End! O Avinaasi of
Pukkoliyoor which is girt with mighty, sylvan groves! Bid Yama cause the
crocodile to disgorge the boy on the bank of the tank." At this, the crocodile
disgorged the boy as bidden.
12. spat out the boy: The note appended to this verse by Sivakkavimani says that a
crocodile is capable of swallowing a huge prey. It also says that the crocodile,
on occasions, disgorges what it has eaten. He speaks of an incident where a
boy swallowed by a crocodile was disgorged. The boy, he says, escaped with
Tiruvaalan: It is Lord Siva who is Tiruvaalan.
13. Aroorar took with him the boy to the shrine and caused him adore Lord Siva.
14. He completed the divine decad: The decad was begun on the bank of the tank.
It was completed in the shrine. Then St. Sundarar came to the house of the boy
and saw to it that the boy was invested with the sacred thread that very day.
The reader should recall to his mind what St. Sambandhar did. He resurrected
the merchant-lad who died of snake-bite and also had his wedding conducted
in his presence.
He proceeded to Malai Naadu: St. Sundarar resumed his journey only after his
devotees were blessed with fulfillment. Lord Tennyson said: "More things are
wrought by prayer than this world dreams of."
15. he that was. . . Malai Naadu: This is Kavi-kootru. St. Sekkizhaar seizes the
opportunity to hail St. Sundarar. St. Sekkizhaar seems to say that he who met
with a royal reception wherever he went, also met with a similar reception when
he was pleased to enter his heart.
16. If a mere rumour can proceed to various directions in all celerity, a miracle can
pass through the various_parts of a nation with the speed of a lightning.
17. In his. . . confused: When joy overwhelms a person, he does not know what he does.
When Hanuman brought to Bharata tidings about Rama's arrival, Bharata was jostled out
of his senses. He adored everyone that was close by, including the servantmaids.
The drummers had never drummed out a truer message.
18. he that was. . . Cera race: Nampi Aaroorar is known as the companion of the Cera.
It is Siva who made them friends.
19. Aaroorar -- the abode of nectarean scriptures: By birth Aaroorar is a Sivaachaarya.
His Tevaaram hymns are Tamil Vedas.
20. our father and lord: This how St. Sekkizhaar hails St. Sundarar. When a bhakta
meets a bhakta their confabulation is always about their deity.
21. Holding . . . his head: The Cera is the King of Kerala. Nampi Aaroor is the King
of Siva's servitors. According to the Cera, Nampi Aaroorar is poised in a
22. Tiruvanjaikkalam: It is from this holy place, the friends are to gain their
ascension, ere long.
23. The advent of St. Sundarar was celebrated as a festival.
25. Vaanavar: The Ceras are called Vaanavarampar.
27. Shrines. . . of Malai Naadu: These are Tirucchivapperoor (Trichoor), Vaikkam,
Tiruccengkunroor and other shrines.
Mahotai: The capital of the Cera.
28. his days. . . . about to end: St. Sundarar dwelt on earth only for eighteen years.
Within this short span he achieved things which could not be accomplished in
29. Thalaikku-th-thalai maalai: This is how the decad opens: This verse says:
"O Father of Anjaikkalam girt with
Beauteous gardens that are on
Mahotai's beach where valampuri chanks
Are shored up by the puissant
And mountainous billows!
What may the reason be that You wear
A garland of skulls!
Why wear You Ganga on Your matter hair?
Why are Your loins covered by a tiger-skin?
Why indeed to You wear over it a serpent-sach?
Verse eight of this decad declares the state of St. Sundarar. He says:
"Verutthane mania vaazhkkaiyai vittu ozhitthane" (I abhor domestic life; I
have abandoned it). The word "vittu" is of vital significance. "Vittu anniyam
inmaiyin Aran kazhal selume" are the words of St. Meikandaar (Sivagnaanabhodam,
sutra 8). It is detachment -- total and absolute--, of the world that forges the
everlasting attachment to Siva. The delights of terrestrial existence pale, pall
and cloy. They are therefore to be abandoned for good.
30. The prayer of Nampi Aaroorar was heard and answered.
31. Our Ooran: This has reference to verse 9 of the decad beginning with the words:
"Tan enai mun pataitthan. . ." St. Sundarar says that when the munis well-versed
in mantras desired to know of him that came riding the white tusker, Siva said:
"Nam tamar Ooran" (He is Ooran dear to Us).
32. Such is the greatness of St. Sundarar that Vishnu, Brahma and other Devas came
down to the earth, bringing with them the white tusker as the mount for
St. Sundarar. In this context the reader should recall verses 23 to 39 of the
Seated on Himavant's divine slope, St. Upamanyu, for ever, meditates on Siva
in blissful ecstasy. As a child when this saint cried for milk, Siva bade the
ocean of milk move slowly to feed the child. It was Upamanyu who initiated
Sri Krishna into the mysteries of Saivisam. Vyasa's Maha Bharata makes this
plain. St. Sekkizhaar says that St. Upamanyu placed his feet on the crown of
Sri Krishna -- the King of the Yaadavas, and initiated him into the worship of
Lord Siva. St. Sundarar flew on the white tusker towards Kailaas. St. Upamanyu
beheld this. It looked as though a great brilliance of a thousand suns shot
through the heavens. He said: "By the grace of our Father, this marks the
return of Sund_rar to Kailaas." When the saint, folding his palms, adored
St. Sundarar, his disciples were surprised beyond measure. The implored
"You, our lord, never adore aught but the lotus-feet
Of Sambhu (Siva); what may this be?"
Thus questioned, the saint said: "Nampi Aarooran is worthy of our adoration.
"Such is the greatness of Sundarar.
33. he had nought else to do: The words in the original are "ceythal ondru ilaathavar".
When the mandate comes from Lord Siva, it calls for implicit implementation. This
has a veiled reference to Sundarar's first encounter with Siva, during his wedding.
He chose to cross swords with Siva, then. Again when Sundarar abode at
Siddhavatam, Siva confronted Sundarar in the guise of an old Brahmin. On this
occasion too, unable to know who the old Brahmin was, Sundarar asked him: "Who
are You?" To this the Brahmin said: "Don't you know?" This said, He disappeared.
The tohu-bohu that prevailed, on occasions in the past, no stands annulled.
Obedience is a virtues. Disobedience is an evil. It is about the catastrophic
consequences of disobedience, Mahamuni Milton sang his epic -- the Paradise Lost.
34. great friend: The words in the original are "Perum thunaivar". When a man breathes
his last, no friend accompanies him. However even when Sundarar departed from the
world, the Cera accompanied him. Sundarar could not inform his friend in person,
of his ascension. However he thought on him. His friend was one who could
understand all that was uttered by all living beings. In this instance he
exhibited a valiance to con what was merely mentally uttered. This is the message
of the following verse.
35. the Cera Tambiran: Here Tambiran refers to the King. Tampiran's Companion: Here
Tampiran refers to Siva.
. . . . . he would no longer bear to abide on earth: The point to be remembered is
that he hand not received any explicit call from Lord Siva -- which is why, on his
arrival at Kailaas, Lord Siva questioned him thus: "How is it, you have come here,
unbidden by Us?" The answer submitted by the Cera bespeaks the glory of the
kingly servitor. Addressing Siva he said: "I was tossed to Your divine presence by
the lucid waves of the flood of mercy poured by You." This therefore makes it plain
that though the call from Siva was not explicit, yet it was the will of Siva which
upbore him through the heavens and landed him in Kailaas. It is therefore plain that
his inability to abide on earth any longer, was engendered by Siva's will.
36. This verse speaks of the infinite puissance with which the Siva-mantra is packed.
According to Sivakkavimani, Sivappirakaasa Gurukkall had identified this mantra.
It is known as Asvamanogati Panchaakshara. The forms of the Panchaakshara
are legion. Asvamanogati is one of them. Asvam is horse; manam is inner
sensorium; gati is travel. This Panchaakshara forms part of Mruga Ucchaadana
Panchaakshara. Mruga means animal; ucchaadana refers to chanting. In this
instance the mantra was chanted into the ear of the horse. Details of this mantra
are to be gleaned from Ucchaadana Karma which itself is a division of Ashta
Such is the puissance of the mantra that the steed -- a late starter --, overtook
the white tusker which winged through the buxom air. Not only that. It also
circumambulated the white tusker and marched ahead. This circumambulation
calls for a word of explanation. The Cera king was convinced that it was by the
grace of Sundarar he could gain his ascension. So, he did not forget to
circumambulate Sundarar and his mount. Indeed the first part of his answer to
Siva's question affirms this. Verse 46 makes this explicit.
"Folding his hands above his head, the King said:
Hailing the feet of Aaroorar, Your servitor came
Ahead of him, all the way adoring him who rode
The tusker. . ."
37. "As they . . . . slew them_elves": The Cera king could not suffer the separation
of his friend. The subjects could not suffer the separation of their Sovereign.
The general rule says that suicide is sin. However there are a few
exceptions to this rule. A wife can commit suttee. Vadakkirutthal (to sit facing
north taking a vow to starve unto death) is permitted. Self-murder prompted by
loyalty is considered noble. St. Sekkizhaar says that the loyal warriors, out of
exceeding devotion for their sovereign, slew themselves.
38. With heroic. . . . servants: This is poetically true. The message is the warriors
39. Tan enai mun pataitthaan: Taan means God. See Introduction in which is included
a translation of the entire decad.
40. A universal effulgence: The words in the original are "peroli ulakelaam". The
Puranam opens with the phrase ulakelaam. This phrase is met with fourteen times
in the Puranam. Wherever this phrase occurs, the reader should know, that it has
a special message to convey. This verse opens thus: "A universal effulgence like
that of the flawless Holy Ash burgeoned." Nothing is holier or greater than the
holy ash. It is holy, holy; holy.
. . . . . at the ornate entrance of the mountain: This leads to the holy of
holies. No vehicle should pass into the entrance. The reader should remember that
when St. Sambandhar came to the bourne of the town to adore at its shrine, he
would get down from his God-given palanquin. He would circumambulate the town
and then move into the shrine.
Till recently, all vehicles bound for Dharmapuram would stop near the
Pillaiyaar Koyil, Devotees would get down there and leg the distance to the matam.
41. At the grand entrance leading to Siva's presence, the Cera was stopped. He would
eventually be blessed with the leave to enter. This was to be gained through the
intercession of Sundarar. Intercession plays a vital role in the Periya Puranam.
Vide the Puranam of the Lord's Intercession.
42. "O Ooran. . . . deliverance!" Nampi Aaroorar, by the grace of Grace, has blessed
the world with the Tiru-th-Thonda-th-Thokai. This Hymn is salvific. Salvation is
theirs who cultivate it in absolute sincerity. It will teach its disciple to travel
on life's common way in cheerful Godliness. So it is that Lord Siva greeted
Van-tondar thus: "O Ooran, you have come back having assured the world of
43. can my smallness. . . mercy? Infinite indeed is the mercy of the Lord. We gain His
grace, not by our merit, but by His Grace.
Aananda: In Tamil it is called Perinbam. This is truly Antamil Prinbam
(Unending Bliss). Inbam is joy / delight. It is multifoliate. It is ephemeral,
It is something which is enjoyed with the help of manam. Aananda transcends
manam. It is enjoyed thanks to the Siva-Karana with which the soul is blessed.
Ananda is one and indivisible.
44. This verse speaks of Sundarar's intercession on behalf of his friend, the Cera.
"Fetch him here": This makes it plain that it was through Sundarar, the
Cera was to gain the beatitude sought for. The Great Deva (Nandi) is bidden to
fetch the Cera.
45. No doubt the Lord questioned the unbidden presence of the Cera. However, before
He would question it, He cast on him a bright-rayed smile. In one sense the Cera
arrived there only as bidden by Siva. Did not Siva command Nandi to fetch the
Cera to His presence?
46. The Cera's answer is in two parts. The first part relates to the glory of Sundarar
and the second to the grace of Siva.
47. A Puram verse, a Ulaa: Of the twelve genres of Puram, this Ulaa comes under the
category of Paatan Tinai. Its turai is Kadavull maattu maanita-p-pendir nayanta
pakkam (the section dealing with the love of women for the Lord-God). This
Ulaa is the first of Ulaas known to religious literature. It is therefore called
Aadi Ul_a. It forms part of the Eleventh Tirumurai. As its subject-matter is
GNOSIS, it is also called Tirukkayilaaya Gnaana Ulaa. This was composed in
the holy mountain. It is therefore hailed as Deiva Ulaa. The unique greatness
of this Ulaa is this. This was recited in the divine presence of Lord Siva.
48. Siva was pleased to listen to the Ulaa. The Lord approved it and blessed the kingly
bard with the boon he sought.
49. Van-tondar became Aalaala Sundara: "His name was Aalaala Sundarar." - Verse 32.
Siva Gana Naathar: The ruler Cera becomes a ruler in Siva-loka too.
50. Paravaiyaar and Sangkiliyaar once again become the serving maids of the
51. The decad beginning with the words "Taan enai" and sung in the heavens, was
entrusted to Varuna, who wore the decad as it were on his crown and submitted it
to the Lord of Anjaikkalam.
The role that Varuna played, not once but twice, is of supreme importance.
Tirunaavukkarasar was fastened to a stone and thrown into the deep sea. The stone
became natable. The tethering rope snapped. Then Varuna with his billowy hands
upbore Tirunaavukkarasar. He converted the black stone into a palanquin and bore
the lord of language to the shore. St. Sekkizhaar says: "Great indeed is the tapas
wrought by Varuna, of yore, to bear on his crown the holy servitor!" Vide
The same Varuna is now entrusted with the holy task of carrying the sacred decad
to the presence of the Lord of Anjaikkalam. Sundarar's command is thus recorded
by St. Sekkizhaar: "Aazhi Kadal Araiyaa Anjai Apparkku Arivippathe!" (O Lord of
ocean-streams, submit this to Anjaiappar!)
52. The Cera's Ulaa got propagated through Saasta. Saasta is hailed as Ayyappan.
All His five famous shrines are in the Cera country.
53. Ulakelaam: It is with this phrase the Puranam begins and it is with this phrase the
Puranam ends. The message of the Puranam is this: "Ever-crescent is the bliss of
Siva; so the servitors love the One who alone should be loved."
Sincere thanks to Sri. T N Ramachandran of thanjavur, for permitting his English rendering of the holy text periyapurANam be published here.