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The Puranam of Anaya Nayanar


(AnAya nAyanAr purANam - Periyapuranam as English poetry)

        "I am a servitor of Anayar of Mangkai 
        On the banks of the billowy river" 
                        - The Tiru-th-Tonda-th-Tokai 
1.     Upper Mazhanadu is a land rich in water; 
    Over its girding gardens fragrant, floats the moon; 
    From fields where buffaloes are plied in circles 
    Over threshed sheaves of paddy, bees crawl to ridges; 
    Over piled-up hay-ricks clouds ascend fatigued; 
    The land is blessed with enduring wealth.            (926) 
2.     On the dark well-oiled locks of the fair-hipped farmwives 
    Who are garmented in folds of tucked sarees, 
    The soft-winged bees and beetles slumber; 
    On the petalled lotuses fragrant, long carps sleep; 
    In the fragrant shades of the cool mango-groves 
    Sleep dark buffaloes.                        (927) 
3.     Noise issues when farmers circling ply 
    The pair of rods of the sugarcane-press; 
    As smoke from ovens where cane juice is heated, 
    Spreads near the cool fields where swans teem, 
    As coom, the wine-presses cause cloud-formations.        (928) 
4.    The chanks shored up by long billowy river 
    Crawl and ascend the clusters of long-leaved plantains; 
    They move along the creepers circling the green leaves 
    Of plantains, and reach the tops of areca trees; 
    Thence they pour their pearls which fall down 
    Like flowers from spathes.                    (929) 
5.     Near fields where thrive petalled flowers, is a stretch 
    Of Mullai land; thither a new-born calf 
    Of a young cow romps and jumps midst trees and plants, 
    And anon joins the herd of deer in the nearby garden 
    And there in joy jumps and leaps with them. 
    Such commodious tracks mark this land.                (930) 

Anaya Nayanar - The Puranam of Anaya Nayanar
6.     The bees that rest on cool blooms of jasmine 
    White as teeth, are about to pass on to dark lilies 
    Which are like eyes; the storks that had perched on 
    The beauteous and rich branches of Kaya tree 
    Are about to dark at the carps that leap from 
    The fields thick with huge paddy crops.                (931) 
7.     There the bees wing through the clefts of trees in gardens; 
    Upper Mazhanadu is warmed y the rays of sun; 
    It is like a rare jewel unto this earth; 
    Thither flourishes the hoary town Tirumangkalam 
    As an auspicious town of foison.                (932) 
8.     Thither thrive from the hoary past peerless clans 
    Thanks to which righteous wealth manifold abides 
    There forever; lofty and exemplary is its greatness; 
    From that glorious town hailed Anayar 
    From the ever-glorious clan of neatherds.            (933) 
9.    He made his avatar to make resplendent 
    The clan of cowherds; he was a great servitor 
    Of the pure-rayed holy ash; by word, 
    Thought poised in truth, and deed, he would hail 
    Nought but the Lord’s feet, who dances with 
    His host of ghosts.                        (934) 
10.     He drove the herds of kine afield to Mullai tract; 
    Them he always protected from wild beasts and maladies; 
    He grazed them in pure, toothsome and soft pasture 
    And caused them drink avidly sweet potable water; 
    Thus he tended them in love, and caused them 
    To increase and multiply flawlessly.                (935) 
11.     Calves and young cows which have ceased to lactate, 
    Milch cows, gravid cows whose heads have 
    Soft, silken and sparse growth of hair, 
    Cows which have recently brought forth their young 
    And victorious bulls: these were all reared 
    In their respective mangers innumerable.            (936) 
12.     Anayar the great protector of the clan of cowherds 
    Fostered the cattle thus, that they might increase; 
    The neatherds obeyed him and honoured his words. 
    As he thus throve, he took to the playing of flute 
    Whose music was linked in love 
    To the divine feet of his Lord.                    (937) 
13.     Removing two parts on top and four at bottom 
    A stem of bamboo had to be prepared; it should be 
    From out of a live bamboo that hath all the marks 
    Pronounced in the scriptures of Music; 
    The hole for blowing wind must first be made; 
    Then the holes for the seven notes will have to be carved 
    With an interspace of one inch between two holes.        (938) 
14.     In the flute thus wrought, he played the Panchakshara 
    Of the Lord in tuneful melody married to  
    The harmony of the seven notes of music; 
    Entia animate and inanimate were ineluctably 
    Riveted to his nectarean flow of music, 
    Meltingly merciful and all-absorbing; 
    Thus, even thus, he flourished.                    (939) 
15.     One day, he decked himself (as usual) with 
    A wreath of fragrant flowers; his shiny hair 
    Was brushed neatly and gathered on his right crest 
    And was tied into a knot; on this he wore a chaplet; 
    A cord of soft-leaved and green creeper decked with 
    Naruvili flowers ran binding it; a cord 
    Dight with coins of gold was fastened on his tuft of hair.    (940) 
16.     He rolled the white kantal into which the petals 
    Of green-leaved and fragrant red kantal were inserted, 
    And these he wore on his dangling ear-lobes dazzling; 
    On his beauteous and firm-set forehead he wore 
    The holy ashes whose lustre enchanted the beholders; 
    His body too was with them richly besmeared.            (941) 
17.     On his chest fully smeared with the holy ash 
    A garland thick with the flowers of mullai, dangled; 
    From the blooms of garlands worn on his shoulders strong 
    Bees buzzed causing the buds to burgeon sweet. 
    He wore on his waist a garment of the bark of trees 
    Over which an upper garment, silk-soft, 
    And woven of leaves, fluttered.                    (942) 
18.     He wore slippers of leather on his rubicund feet; 
    His roseate hand held a white staff and a flute 
    Of melodic harmony; he was encircled by 
    Strong cow-herds -- watchers of the folds --, 
    And herds of cows and calves; thus Anayar, 
    The protector of kine, fared forth, wearing wreaths 
    Whence burgeoned blooms woven into them.            (943) 
19.     To the calling of peacocks, to the singing of mullai-p-pann 
    By bees on the serried rows of creepers, to the inviting smile 
    Of white mullai buds from lips of ruddy kopa, 
    And the swaying of the lightning-like waist 
    And the breasts that are like unto the encircling eventide, 
    Came Time, the Danseuse, to the grand theatre of vast earth, 
    To dance.                            (944) 
20.     To the hailing of neatherds who held their crooks 
    And drove afield the cows on all sides, came Anayar 
    The chief of cowherds, to the coo. Pasture land; 
    The bees that had in joy sipped nectar from the flowers 
    Of the low branches thither, wheeled their flights 
    Round and round the rich konrai tree; he came near unto it.    (945) 
21.     Anayar who came thither cast his eyes straight 
    On the konrai tree whose clustered flowers looked like 
    Fragrant garlands woven of hand; the sweet bunches 
    Of blooms swayed in the wind; it was like the Lord 
    With His flowing matted hair; his mind melted; 
    With his chinta oned with the Lord, he unbarred 
    The flood gates of his love.                    (946) 
22.    It has its being in love; anon it spirals, and nectarean 
    Gushes f_rth; such is the music of the melodic flute; 
    With this he hailed the Panchakshara of the Lord 
    Of the Bhoota-hosts; even as is his wont he played 
    The flute, the one that could melt the very bones 
    Of every being that breathes.                    (947) 
23.     He took the musical vangkiyam in which the interspace 
    Between the mudra and the first of the eight holes 
    Measures seven fingers’ breadth; 
    Like bees that buzz over flowers to gather pollen, 
    His flute hummed, rose accelerando and stood 
    Still or caesural; to the pure manga cavum the great one, 
    -- May he flourish for ever --, applied his beauteous lips.    (948) 
24.     He examined the centers of music, beginning with 
    The Mudra; his fingers played on the seven holds 
    Carved into the flute in accordance with works 
    On music, gradually; he found it properly tuned; 
    He played duly from shadja to nishada 
    In arohana and avarohana.                    (949) 
25.     After kurinchi-p-pann of varying notations, he played 
    The mullai-p-pann in a crescendo; then he played 
    The tunes of Taram and Uzhai of Palai-Yazh 
    Through which he melodiously hailed the Panchakshara 
    Of the Lord in whose matted hair the Ganga flows, 
    And then moved onto kodi-p-palai whose tune is ili.        (950) 
26.     Of the fourfold classification of music, he chose that 
    Which was fitting to the tune of kodi-p-palai he played; 
    His fingers played on the stops dexterously 
    Now covering, now uncovering the holes in due order; 
    His flute blazed with the crimson lustre, music’s own; 
    He played the Panchakshara of the Lord, 
    -- The Ruler and Bestower of all wealth and foison --, 
    In the flawless music quintuple.                (951) 
27.     He covered the triple holes whence issued the pitches 
    Of mantaram, matthimam and taram, 
    Slightly, semi-lightly and tightly, and played 
    On the other holes with a fitting movement of fingers; 
    His ruddy lips of fruitage and the magna cavum 
    Merged in a marriage of melody.                    (952) 
28.     Beauteous variations of music, such as 
    Peruvannam, idaivannam and vanappu which are 
    Esteemed great by works on music, he breathed 
    Through his flute in unison with the sweet sound 
    Of time and tune; in various movements rose the melody 
    And he caused the sound of music to spread everywhere.        (953) 
29.     The inner message of the fluten music, played 
    On the beauteous holes, by the great patron, was truly 
    The Panckakshara; the melody gushed and spread 
    Everywhere and poured full into the ears, as in the mouths, 
    Of all living beings, pure ambrosia mixed with 
    The honey of the celestial karpaka blooms.            (954) 
30.     Herds of kine that had grazed on aruku grass 
    Would not chew their cuds; they came near unto him 
    And stood, oblivious of all else; the calves that were 
    Sucking milk from their mothers’ udders, would no more 
    Suck; they but stood still with their milk-frothy mouths; 
    Herds of strong-horned bulls, antelopes and other beasts 
    Of forest, stood thrilled, with hair erect on their bodies.    (955) 
31.     Dancing peacocks ceased their dance and came 
    Near unto him; they stood still, enthralled; 
    As the wafting melody streamed through the ears 
    And filled their bosoms, the feathered race 
    Flew to him and stood lost in rapturous music; 
    The strong neatherds who were working nearby 
    Abandoned their chores and stood in mute wonder.        (956) 
32.     The denizens of the Polis of Ophidia issued out of 
    Their familiar apertures to this place; 
    The divine nymphs that dwelt on the beauteous hills, 
    By music enchanted, thither came in throngs; 
    Fadeless Vidhyatara, Charanas, Kinnaras 
    And gods on high, left their abodes and thither came 
    Drawn by music, borne by their mounts.                (957) 
33.    With their soft parakeets still holding in their bills 
    The fruit fed to them by their flowery hands, 
    The ethereal damsels of the celestial regions, from the edens 
    Of Karpaka flew swiftly on their carriers 
    Whilst their fragrant locks were tossed by the wind, 
    And came thither and drank with their ears 
    The ambrosial music sevenfold.                    (958) 
34.     As the teasers and the teased shared alike the harmony 
    The white-fanged adder, bewitched by music 
    Fell on the peacock; the tireless lion and the tusker huge 
    Moved together; the fawn with grass in mouth 
    Passed by the open-mouthed tiger.                (959) 
35.     Wind would not move, branches would not sway; 
    Cascades from dark hill would not fall down; 
    Jungle rivers would neither gurgle nor flow; 
    Heavens would not rumble and the seven seas stood still.    (960) 
36.     As the playing of the flute by the roseate lips 
    Of the servitor of the Lord’s feet whose crest is decked 
    With beauteous and incense-breathing konrai blooms, 
    Did melt all, lives – moving and stationary --, 
    Lay oned with music; their life and limb 
    And their inner sensorium too partook 
    Of one common musicality.                    (961) 
37.     The flute’s music which emerged from the loving mind 
    Of the true devotee filled the earth, brought under 
    Its spell the celestial world and wafted near 
    The divine ears of the Supreme One who is not to be 
    Gained by pseudo-love, and who doth enact 
    The dance divine in the Golden Ambalam.                (962) 
38.     It pleased the Lord to hearken to the music 
    Of Anayar’s flute; with His Consort -- a liana of tapas --, 
    Whose heart is grace and compassion divine, 
    The brow-eyed Lord -- the Cause and Source of Music --, 
    Through heaven’s highway, with His matted hair  
    Bright with the crescent, thither appeared.            (963) 
39.     When from all directions came the hosts of Gananatas 
    And stood before the celestial lords, no alien sound 
    Was breathed to mar the flute’s marvel; 
    The Lord-Dancer who was pleased to listen to the music 
    Which in vibrant ripples of flute’s own melody 
    Hailed the Lord’s Panchakshara, 
    Graced him with a darshan of His presence.            (964) 
40.     The First One that on His Young Bull appeared before him 
    Desiring to hear for ever the flute’s melody 
    Of the great one of righteous and pious mind, 
    Spake thus: “May you abide with Us even as you are now here.” 
    Thus, even thus, was he translated to the Lord’s divine presence.(965) 
41.     Gods showered flowers of karpaka thick on earth; 
    Innumerable munis great chanting the Vedic hymns 
    Hailed; the glorious one played on the flute 
    And walked beside Him; thus the Lord, the One of pure Punya, 
    Entered into His Golden Ambalam.                (966) 
In Praise Of St. Sundarar

42.     To conciliate here who indulged in bouderie 
    He caused the Dancer of ruddy hair to ply twice 
    As a messenger at night when His dazzling ear-rings 
    Chased murk away; such was he who had enslaved us; 
    We would not henceforth the path of evil tread 
    (That leads to the cycle of birth and death).            (967) 
Stanza     Line 
   2     5-6    cf. Kamban.     :    “Nizhalitai urangkum methi” 
   6      4    Kaya        :     Memecylon tinctorium. 
   9      6    The ghosts are as sacred as they are holy. 
  13        The scriptures of 
        Music        :    Gandharva Vedam.  Making of the flute: 
                    If the stick is divided into eighteen  
                    parts, the stick will be 30 fingers’  
                    breadth in length. Its circumference  
                    should be of 4 1/2 fingers’ breadth.  
                    With (2 + 4) six parts gone, it will  
                    measure 20 fingers’ breadth in length. 
  15        Naruvili        :     Cordia obliqua. 
  19        Kopa        :     Indra-kopa.  (Cochineal insect) 
        Time        :     The Danseuse. 
        Call of peacocks:    (Mayuradhwani, Antholika) -- the  
                    ragas played during the concert. 
        Kopa        :     The lips. 
        Mullai-buds    :     The smile of white teeth. 
        Lightning    :    The waist. 
        Eventide        :     The breasts. 
        Vast earth    :    The theatre. 
        Vangkiyam is a wind-instrument.  It refers to the flute and  
        / or the pipe. Flute is made out of bamboo stem, sandal  
        wood, bell-metal, senkali and karunkali which are varieties  
        of mahogany. 
        Pull is  grass and bamboo is a grass. 
        The flute measures twenty fingers breadth in length and  
        its circumference is 4 1/2 fingers’ breadth.  The left end  
        of the flute is closed and the right end of left open. The  
        hole into which wind is blown by the lips is called perum  
        thanitthulai (the grand hole).  In the context of the stanza,  
        we translated it as a magna cavum.  It is called mudra. 
        Apart from the big or the grand hole, eight holes are  
        made in the flute, from about its middle to the right end. 
        The last hole is not used when the instrument is played.  
        The other seven represent yezhisai (sapta swaras). 
Sincere thanks to Sri. T N Ramachandran of thanjavur, for permitting his English rendering of the holy text periyapurANam be published here.

See Also: 

  1.  AnAya nAyanAr purANam in English prose 

  2.  ஆனாய நாயனார் புராணம் (தமிழ் மூலம்) 

  3.  thiruththoNDar purANam main page

  4.  12 shaivite thirumuRais 




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