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The Puranam of Appoothi Adikal Nayanar


(appUthi adikaL nAyanAr purANam - Periyapuranam as English poetry)

        "I am a servitor of the servitors of 
        Appoothi the unique." 
                        - The Tiru-th-Tonda-th-Toka. 
1.     He was a devotee of the Lord-Dance; fitting glory was his; 
    Lofty was he, by reason of his boundless tapas; 
    He took refuge in the feet of Vakeesar glorious; 
    Even ere Arasu had known of him, impelled by a love 
    To behold him, he melted in loving devotion for him.        (1783) 
2.     He had quelled larceny, falsity, lust, wrath 
    And such other flaws; he was a prosperous householder; 
    Weights and measures and scales too, children, 
    Kine and buffaloes and all possessions in his house 
    He named after Vakeesar and such was his way of life.        (1784) 
3.     Thought he had not beheld Vakeesar’s person, 
    Hearkening to his ever-during servitorship glorious 
    And the grace of the Lord bestowed on him, he set up 
    Holy matams, water-booths and other ever-during 
    Charitable endowments in his name and throve thus  
    Poised in piety.                        (1785) 
4.     Tirunavukkarasar adored Lord Siva-verily a tusker -, 
    Enshrined at Tiruppazhanam with His consort, the daughter 
    Of Himavant-a lovely she-elephant-, and there 
    Rendered service; impelled by a unitive devotion to hail 
    The Lord in his various other shrines he moved on, and was 
    On the way that lay near unto Tingaloor.            (1786) 
5.     He reached an umbrageous water-booth of foison -- 
    Cool like a well filled pool that could do away with 
    All aestival distress, very like the merciful heart serene 
    Of the gracious One --, situate on the marge of the road 
    Frequented by innumerable people.                (1787) 

Appoothi Adikal Nayanar - The Puranam of Appoothi Adikal Nayanar
6.     Vakeesar graciously eyed the booth of coolth where wafted 
    Gently the southerly, and also the ambrosial water; 
    His chinta was filled with marvel; he beheld everywhere 
    The name ‘Tirunavukkarasu’ beautifully inscribed.        (1788) 
7.     To him that queried: “Who is it that hath this pandal 
    Here set up, giving it this name?” they that knew of it 
    Answered thus: “In the name of Tirunavukkarasar, 
    The servitor ruled by the Lord, saintly Appoothi 
    Of ineffable glory has wrought this; similar flawless 
    Endowments, pools and parks are also everywhere.”        (1789) 
8.     Vakeesar who heard them, thought: “What may this mean?” 
    He then addressed them standing there, thus: “Where is he?” 
    Him they replied thus: “He of the sacred thread, hails from 
    This hoary town; he has just left for his house; 
    That isn’t far away; it is only nearby.”            (1790) 
9.     The muni left the place and reached the door-steps 
    Of the house of saintly Appoothi; the chief of the Brahmins 
    Of Tingaloor who was in the house, hearing of the arrival 
    Of one dear to the Lord, to the hallowed threshold came out.    (1791) 
10.     Swift he came and adored the feet of Vakeesar who was always 
    The first to hail before anyone would salute him; 
    The great Brahmin addressed him thus: “Have I  
    Indeed wrought askesis endless? To what else do I owe 
    Your advent, oh incarnation of overflowing mercy?”        (1792) 
11.     “We came here after worshipping the Lord whose bow 
    Is the peerless mountain, at Tiruppazhanam; on the way 
    We beheld your cool and umbrageous water-booth of foison; 
    We also heard of your charitable endowments; 
    So are we here.” Thus he spake.                    (1793) 
12.     The flawless sovereign of speech then added: 
    “Unto the servitors of the Lord whose matted hair 
    Sports the river you have set up a great and ever-during 
    Water-booth; without inscribing your name thereon 
    Wherefore have you inscribed a different name?”            (1794) 
13.     When the Brahmin that stood there heard this, he was 
    Jostled out of his sense; in wrath he burst out thus: 
    “You haven’t spoken becomingly; is the hallowed name 
    Of him who by the sole puissance of his servitorship divine 
    Vanquished the intriguery of the king who colluded with 
    The shameless Samanas base, an alien name?            (1795) 
14.     “By service divine rendered unto the sacred feet of our Lord, 
    Deliverance can be attained even in this life; this is made 
    Clear to men even like me by Tirunavukkarasar; I have 
    Inscribed his holy name; woe is me! I have heard you 
    Utter blasphemous words!” Thus he.                (1796) 
15.     He added: “Who is there in this world of the merciful Lord 
    With soul so dead that does not know the glory of him 
    Who reached ashore in a stone for his float 
    On the swelling main? With all your auspicious and holy 
    Habit, you have spoken thus, even thus; whence are you? 
    Who indeed are you? Answer me.”                    (1797) 
16.     When thus spake the one versed in the sacred Vedas, 
    Vakeesar answered him, well-aware of his greatness: 
    “I am the little one uninformed by clarity 
    That was redeemed by the Lord from the alien fold 
    Through His gracious affliction of a dire ache of stomach.”    (1798) 
17.     When thus Vakeesar announced himself explicitly 
    Saintly Appoothi folded his flower-hands over his head; 
    Tears cascaded from his eyes; his speech became 
    Incoherent; the hair on his thrilled body stood erect; 
    Down he fell on the ground and wore on his crown 
    His lotus-feet, the long awaited sanctuary.            (1799) 
18.     Him Vakeesar adored with equal fervour and him 
    He lifted up; the Brahmin rare swam in delight 
    Like an indigent one blessed with rare wealth; 
    He danced before him for joy; in love and longing 
    He ran round him and sang.                    (1800) 
19.     By reason of the great joy that swelled in him 
    He knew not what it was he should do first; 
    He hastened into the house and announced the joyous news 
    Of the arrival of the kingly servitor ruled by God, 
    And emerged out with his great kith and kin, 
    Borne by great fervour.                        (1801) 
20.     He adored him; so too his wife, children 
    And other kin; in unabated love he received 
    The saintly leader into his house, washed his feet 
    With water soaked with flowers; he sprinkled 
    The holy water on himself and others 
    And they drank it also.                        (1802) 
21.     He had him duly seated and in love performed 
    Unto him the pooja and all the attendant rites; 
    He held before him the fragrant vessel of the holy ash 
    And his mind reveled in joy. 
    Then, impelled by a longing to feast him – 
    The redeemer of the world --, he beseeched him 
    And he too signified his assent.                (1803) 
22.     When the holy tapaswi gave his assent, 
    Addressing his righteous wife he said: 
    “Behold the beatitude with which we are blessed!’ 
    Knowing this to be a gift of the Lord 
    Whose throat sports the venom, 
    He felt happy and made 
    The preparations for the holy feast.                (1804) 
23.     He had pure and unsullied dishes prepared  
    Rich in sextuple flavour; 
    To secure a lea whereon to serve the meal 
    For the holy one, 
    He bade his eldest son ‘Moottha Tirunavukkarasu’ thus: 
    “Secure a goodly plantain-leaf, tender and golden!” 
    He made him get it in all celerity.                (1805) 
24.     “Behold my boon! I have been plied in this 
    Holy task by my goodly and righteous parents!” 
    Thus he thought and ran to the garden. 
    As he cut a broad and tender plantain-leaf 
    A dazzling snake bit him on his palm 
    Causing him to fall down in pain and giddiness.            (1806) 
25.     He shook himself free of the snake of venomous sacs 
    Which having stung him, coiled round his hand 
    And stared with eyes whence issued sparks of fire. 
    Sorely agitated he thought: “Before I fall down 
    For ever by reason of the spreading poison, 
    I will run in all speed and hand over this tender leaf.” 
    Thus resolved he came running.                    (1807) 
26.     He ran faster than the speed with which the poison 
    Invaded his body and as he thus sped 
    In pain and haste, to reach the house, he thought: 
    “I will not disclose to others the adder-bite, as it will  
    Delay the feasting of the rare tapaswi,” 
    Thus resolved, he entered the house of foison.            (1808) 
27.     The destructive venom spiralled and up in him 
    And finishing its seventh circuit reached his head; 
    His teeth, eyes and body stood singed; 
    His speech became incoherent and life was 
    About to quit his body; somehow he still bore it; 
    The son that had grown giddy, placed before his mother 
    The tender leaf and fell down on earth.                (1809) 
28.     The parents beheld the son that dropped down; 
    Sorely agitated they discerned his plight; 
    They observed his bleeding, his exhausted body 
    And other symptoms and concluded: “He is killed by poison.” 
    Yet they languished not but pursued the means 
    For feeding the servitor.                    (1810) 
29.     They covered their rare son by rolling him into a mat 
    And kept him hid in the courtyard of the house. 
    “We will feed him screening this from his knowledge.” 
    Thus resolved, they desired to hasten to the presence 
    Of the servitor of great prowess.                (1811) 
30.     They hastened to their duty (well aware of the delay 
    Caused in feasting him;) 
    They arranged the dishes in due order; 
    Then they came to the presence of the peerless servitor, 
    Fell prostrate before him, rose up and said: 
    “Be pleased to partake of the meal 
    And redeem our whole clan.” 
    When they addressed him thus.                    (1812) 
31.     The rare tapaswi rose up, washed his feet 
    And sat on a different seat; before the leaf 
    And the place whereon it was to be laid were duly cleansed 
    He applied to himself the holy ash and as he 
    Began to distribute the ash to the parents and children.    (1813) 
32.     Addressing truthful Appothi versed in the hoary fourfold Vedas 
    He said: “I must apply the holy ash to him who is 
    Elder than these children; get him here in all love.” 
    Appoothi who would not disclose the happenings, then said: 
    “He is not to be of any service now, here!”            (1814) 
33.     When he heard this, by the grace of the Lord 
    The divine and noble mind of the loving servitor 
    Felt agitated; addressing Appoothi re said: 
    “My heart is unable to bear these words; 
    What is it he has done? Unto this there is “One’; 
    Tell me the whole truth.” 
    Thus bidden Appoothi shook in fear.                (1815) 
34.     Though he did not so far divulge the happenings 
    Afraid of losing the boon of feasting the great one, 
    Questioned thus by the great tapaswi 
    And impelled by a glorious sense of duty 
    To disclose everything when thus bidden, 
    With a broken heart, bowing before him 
    He narrated all that happened to his son.            (1816) 
35.     When Navukkarasar heard this, he exclaimed: 
    “Great indeed is that you have wrought! 
    Whoever had done like unto you?” 
    Then he rose up and walked to the moribund. 
    He hymned a musical decad which in its wake 
    Caused the flow of the grace of Lord; 
    Thus he chased the venom away.                    (1817) 
36.     The son of the holy Brahmin who was freed of venom 
    Rose up like one who gets up quick from his slumber. 
    On him that fell adoringly at the flower-feet 
    Of Tirunavukkarasu --, 
    The servitor of the Lord whose flag sports the Bull --, 
    He applied the holy ash.                    (1818) 
37.     They that beheld the resurrected boy 
    Hailed the glory of the way of divine service. 
    His parents that stood there were distressed 
    As he had slightly hindered the feeding 
    Of the 1oving servitor whose glory is beyond reckoning.        (1819) 
38.     Divining their distress the lord of language 
    Went with them all into their house 
    And sat on his seat ready to have his meal. 
    The wearer of the sacred thread was filled with joy 
    And busied himself in the acts of service.            (1820) 
39.     The floor was cleansed bright 
    With glorious cow-dung mixed in water; 
    White Kolam was drawn thereon; 
    Beauteous lamps were lit; 
    The historic plantain-leaf was unfolded (unfurled) 
    And was washed in love with water; 
    The sliced end of the leaf faced the right side 
    In keeping with the tradition.                    (1821) 
40.     The great tapaswi who was washing his hand 
    With the fragrant water offered to him, cast his look 
    On the Brahmin and his children, and said: 
    “May you and your children rare also eat with me.” 
    Thus told, they obeyed him in love.                (1822) 
41.     Appoothi and his sons were seated beside him; 
    The food was joyously served by the lady of the house; 
    With the devotee of the Lord who wears konrai blooms 
    On his matted hair, the servitor – 
    Verily the lion of beauteous Tamil --, 
    Partook of the food graciously.                    (1823) 
42.     In the rich and divine house of the great tapaswi-Brahmin, 
    He took his food and conferred on him loving friendship; 
    Thus in endearing love did he spend many a day. 
    Then the glorious lord of language came 
    To the ancient town of Tiruppazhanam 
    And at the hallowed feet of the Lord enshrined there, 
    Hymned goodly decades of Tamil.                    (1824) 
43.     He sang he glory of Appoothi’s servitorship 
    In the decad beginning with the words: “Son Maalai” 
    Which attested his love for the Lord 
    Who wears the holy ash on His person. 
    Thus blessed, the goodly one always hailed  
    Tirunavukkarasar and flourished 
    With the conviction that the feet 
    Of Tirunavukkarasar are Truth incarnate.            (1825) 
44.     Thus for ever he hailed the name 
    Of Tirunavukkarasar; he was convinced 
    That his golden feet alone were to be attained 
    To gain deliverance; he was resolved to attain them. 
    That indeed was the righteous path 
    He pursued steadfast and in the end 
    Gained the feet of the Lord-Dancer of Tillai 
    Whose frame is shared by Her 
    Whose eyes are like that of an antelope’s.            (1826) 
45.     Hailing the feet of the lofty Brahmin Appoothi 
    Who through Tirunavukkarasar gained the golden feet 
    Of the Lord whose hand sports the young one of a deer, 
    Let me proceed to historicise the servitorship 
    Of Tiruneelanakka versed in the four Vedas 
    And who hailed from Satthamangkai girt with 
    Fields and ponds where burgeon a forest 
    Of lotus flowers.                        (1827) 
Stanza     Line 
  17     6    is but an elaboration of the one significant term in the  
        original viz., saranakamalam. 
  20        cf.  The ritual in Virasaivam. 
  32        The word ingku in the context means ‘to me’. 
  39        The sliced end of the leaf is broader and it must face  
        the right hand of the eater. 
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. appUdhi adikaL nAyanAr purANam in English prose 
2. அப்பூதி அடிகள் நாயனார் புராணம் (தமிழ் மூலம்) 
3. thiruththoNDar purANam main page
4. 12 shaivite thirumuRais 

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