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Introduction to Periya Puranam

Ulakelām uṇarn tōtaṟ kariyavaṉ
nilavu lāviya nīrmali vēṇiyaṉ,
alakil cōtiyaṉ ampalattāṭuvāṉ
malar cilampaṭi vāḻtti vaṇaṅkuvām

                                    - Periya Puranam Verse 01.01

Periya Puranam is one of the foremost canonical texts of Shaivism. If one is curious to know what devotion is, what the actions and state of devotees are, Periya Puranam is the treasure trove. The text chronicles the lives before and after the flood of devotion overtakes each of the 63 Shaivite saints. To experience the great heights of true love for the Lord, who is Himself the pure form of love, one should read the Periya Puranam. Even for one who has never ever tasted the nectar of devotion, this text creates the attraction to devotion. 

To celebrate the contribution of Periya Puranam to the world, King Anapaaya Chozhan took Sekkizhar, its author, on the royal elephant in a big procession and himself waited on Sekkizhar with a white chamara. Sekkizhar had the true knowledge, the best of poetic expression, integrity of thoughts, devotion for the 63 Nayanmars, and above all true love for God. No greater praise is required for Periya Puranam than the honour that God Himself gave the starting word as ‘ulakelam’. In praise of the Periya Puranam the following analogies are often used -  

  • It is the nectar that will give you the immortal love, drink it!
  • It is a perennial river of love that will make the land of your mind fertile, soak in it!
  • It is an ocean that will get you heaps of high-quality pearls, dwell in it!
  • It is a sharp sword that will cut the bonds off to make you feel the bliss of freedom, hold it tight!
  • It is a teacher that teaches the morals of life, make yourself the pillar of discipline!
  • It is a source of historical information, use it to develop your knowledge!

This rendering is an effort to give a glimpse of the treasure called Periya Puranam. If it creates an interest in the reader to read the original text of Sekkizhar, then it has served the purpose. For the people who do not know Tamil,but would like to know about the peerless 63 saints, this rendering will serve as a good introduction. For people who have read the Periya Puranam, this rendering can be used as a reminder of the great glorious deeds of the 63 saints.

Please note that this is not a translation of the great text so only the themes will be maintained. As the next steps, one can try to note down the guru-pooja days of each Nayanmar and contemplate on the glorious deeds especially on that day. 
No effort can do full justice to the glory of the great Periya Puranam. Let the devotees of Lord Shiva out of their love bear the flaws in this effort.

Har Har Mahadev!

History of Sekkizhar, who gave this great epic.

The history of the 63 devotees

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