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The Puranam Of Eanati Nathar Nayanar


(eAnAthi nAthar nAyanAr purANam - Periyapuranam as English poetry)

        "I am a servitor of the servitors of Yenati Nathan"

                    - The Tiru-th-Tonda-th-Tokai

1.     The tiger-signum of the Cholas was inscribed
    On Himavant upto which their country extended;
    Their parasol white was decked with cool pearls;
    In the Chola land of garlanded kings
    Is ancient Yeyinanoor whose glory is borne by
    All the eight directions; it is girt with
    Cool fields and flowery gardens where bees hum.            (608)

2.     In its cool fields grow paddy crops lofty
    Which are taller than sugarcanes and sweet-canes;
    The people flourish thither well-endowed; 
    It was from this beauteous city Yenati Nayanar 
    Hailed from the clan of Yeezha-ch-chandrar.            (609)

3.     He was devoted to the hoary and hallowed holy ash;
    He always wore it and adored it;
    In its endless well-being he was stablished;
    He trained the king’s men in triumphant fencing
    In which he was the sole accredited master.            (610)

4.     All the wealth he derived from his art
    He daily expended in love on the devotees
    Of the Lord who rules even them that canst not
    Comprehend His crown or feet;
    He deemed this his fitting service.                (611)


Eanati Nathar Nayanar - The Puranam Of Eanati Nathar Nayanar


5.     He pursued his vocation, praised even by his foes;
    He flourished unflawed poised in virtue;
    He had an agnate Aticooran called
    Who too was entitled to pursue this art.            (612)

6.     Among the triumphant fencing masters
    He thought, none could him excel;
    In sheer hauteur he thrived on this vast earth;
    He was indeed full of himself.                    (613)

7.     His occupation gradually waned and his income
    As a master of fencing which he pursued
    As of right due to his family, decreased.
    As Yenati Nathar’s fortune increased
    He deemed him his foe, though but improperly.            (614)

8.     Like the paling of the moon of ineffectual light
    When at dawn the sun rises, he waned
    While his envy waxed great; Aticooran
    Enlisted his kin and other townsmen
    To give battle to 
    Enlisted his kin and other townsmen
    To give battle to Yenati Nathar,
    And was firm in his resolution.                    (615)

9.     With manly kin strong-shouldered and mercenaries
    He marched to the foresteps of the house
    Of Yenati Nathar and shouted thus:
    “The right to train men in fencing
    Is his who is the victor in the battle.”
    Thus in exceeding wrath he challenged him.            (616)

10.     Like the small-eyed fox coming to the dreaded den
    Of the fierce-eyed tiger and challenging it,
    He, seething in wrath, surrounded the house
    In armed strength, and straight challenged him;
    Yenati Nathar heard the call assailing his threshold.        (617)

11.     “Who is he that challenges me?” he asked:
    Up he rose like a lion, girded his loins tight,
    Decked his foot with heroic anklet,
    Took out his sword of steel and shield,
    And came out of the house ready for the battle.            (618)

12.     As he moved out, coming to know of the impending battle,
    Many lads trained by him in skilled warfare,
    Innumerable warriors, also trained by him and engaged
    In other places, and his kith and kin equipped with 
    Many dreadful weapons of war and swords
    Rushed to the rare hero invincible,
    And stood on either side of him in battle rank.            (619)

13.     The foe who called him to battle, stood facing
    Him -- the triumphant tiger --, and said:
    “The gains of our art of fencing we practise
    As of right, should go to him who is the victor;
    With our armies we’ll fight in the open field.”            (620)

14.     When the foe spake thus, Yenati Nathar said:
    “If that be your wish, I’ll meet you there.”
    He consented inly rejoicing, and fared forth
    To that field and stood triggered for the battle.
    The angry armies began their fight.                (621)

15.     Like rows of clouds winged with lightning,
    Like thunder against thunder on earth and sky,
    The warriors holding shields and wielding swords
    In opposing ranks charged in that battle-field
    Where gorcrows and ravens gathered galore.            (622)

16.     In the hands of warriors -- decked with heroic anklets,
    Were shields screening their bodies, and swords;
    From opposing sides came they and fought.
    Spears encountered spears in that great battle.
    It looked like the projection of tongues
    Of Naga heroes issuing from their world.            (623)

17.     Bowmen against bowmen fought in a different part
    Of the field where arrows met arrows;
    Eyes of warriors were like pits of fire;
    When they knit their brows, smoke issued
    In steaming columns, the sped arrows
    Were verily the sparks of fire.                    (624)

18.     Severed hands still gripping their swords, trembled;
    Spears smote chests and were bathed in blood;
    Darts severing shoulders stuck to them and fell on earth;
    Shields were glued into flesh; feet and anklets broke;
    Thus they fought and little recked for their lives.        (625)

19.     Blood ran in rivers; acephalous bodies roamed;
    Slit bodies fell scattered; intestines lay a hill
    By the side of piled-up carcases;
    Dreadful vultures gathered; tudis fell
    Slit from their tethering leather;
    Thus they fought fierce in the field.                (626)

20.     In a long duel betwixt two warriors
    One cut away both the legs of the other;
    Ere he of the thighless body would fall
    He threw his dagger at the victor’s chest rending it
    Into two and thus killed the lion-like hero.
    Thus was the field filled with dead men’s bodies.        (627)

21.     When with sharp spears they were charged
    They defended themselves with their shields;
    The spears fiercely driven smote their shields and chests
    And transfixed them; in valour, the opposing ranks
    Weighed equal; such valiant warriors who defy number
    Lay dead on the field of battle.                (628)

22.     The bowmen bent their gold-ringed bows
    And fought fiercely; when the threads of their bows
    Were snapt by darts which came hissing like snakes
    From ant-hills, they were undismayed;
    They unleashed their swords and continued to fight.
    These fierce heroes were like unto patrons, who
    Maugre their loss of wealth continued their giving
    With whatever was still left with them.                (629)

23.     The broad faces of the fierce warriors dead
    Were considered to be with life animated
    By the black crows that winged in the sky;
    They would not go near them but passed them by
    And continued to wheel their flight.
    The bright eyes were like fire amidst the smoke
    Of the furnace of blacksmiths.                    (630)

24.     In the ruddy field where fell fierce warriors,
    Were many whose intestines gushed out
    From their ripped-open bodies; eagles and vultures
    Lifted the intestines and with them the heroes;
    Even then they continued to fight;
    Their flight in the heavens indeed excelled
    The kites flown by the celestial Vidyadara boys.        (631)

25.     In the battle fought by opposing hordes
    When many a warrior met with death
    Yenati Nathar forged his way ahead of
    The other fighters, and in wrath smote his foes.        (632)

26.     His wrathful blade spat fire; his heroic anklet
    Resounded; when thus the servitors of the Lord
    Whose throat holds in check the venom,
    Came to the forefront, he cut away the heads
    Of opposing men and did away with the strength
    Of their shoulders as well as feet.                (633)

27.     All those that opposed the peerless hero perished
    By his sword; those that would not fight
    This witnessing, became like “lust, wrath and delusion”
    When knowledge true did dawn.                    (634)

28.     Unable to stomach the loss and atimy
    Which ensued for him in the fierce field,
    Brandishing his sword, lightning-like,
    And gathering them that yet remained alive
    Aticooran fought his way to the presence
    Of him who is indeed a fierce tiger.                (635)

29.     He wielded his sword in such swift rounds
    That one could only behold the flash of steel;
    When he was about to smite Aticooran
    He dodged the thrust and escaped and fled in shame
    From him whose shoulders were decked with gold.            (636)

30.     Thus routed, dishonoured and driven away, Aticooran
    Fell on the floor, but would not sleep;
    He thought of his plight for a whole night
    And concluded thus: “It is by base guile
    I’ll vanquish him.”                        (637)

31.     When the long night ended and day broke
    The evil one sent a message to him,
    The wearer of garlands, which said:
    “Let not others perish in our fight;
    To decide our right we two will fight
    In the appointed place.”                    (638)

32.     When thus informed, Yenati Nathar said:
    “It suits me ideally.” He accepted the challenge.
    He added: “Let him come to the field armed
    With his fierce sword for the duel.”                (639)

33.     He fared forth to the field armed with
    His bright sword and bejewelled shield;
    None of his kin knew of this engagement;
    He arrived thither and awaited his foe.                (640)

34.     The evil one who contemplated nought but evil
    Knew that the great devotee would never harm one
    Whose forehead bore stripes of the holy ash;
    Never before had he worn the holy ash.                (641)

35.     He then wore stripes of the holy ash on his forehead
    While his heart concealed the murk of evil;
    With his bright sword and bejewelled shield
    He came to the field where he was to fight
    With the holy soldier of God.                    (642)

36.     He saw the hero who stood there
    Like a triumphant lion awaiting its prey;
    He neared him screening his forehead
    With his shield, and thus the deceiver
    Stood before the peerless hero, for the duel.            (643)

37.     Yenati Nathar advanced like a puissant bull
    And gained the strategic position to kill his foe.
    When he moved his feet, to smite him, he too moved
    And removed his shield; it was then the devotee eyed
    The holy ash on the forehead of the base one.            (644)

38.     As he beheld the holy ash, he cried:
    “Woe is me! I now behold on him
    The blazing beauty of the holy ash which I haven’t
    Hitherto seen; what else can I do now?
    He has become the glorious servitor of the Lord of gods!
    Let me so act that he may his wish fulfil.”            (645)

39.     His first thought was to throw away his sword and shield;
    He would not do it as he later thought thus: 
    “The stigma of killing an unarmed warrior
    Should not attach him.” So he held
    His powerful shield and shining sword, as though
    He would fight, but stood fully exposing himself.        (646)

40.     Who can ever divine the heart of the servitor
    Who stood thus? The base one achieved his purpose;
    The Lord whose ruddy matted hair is like lightning
    Knew well his servitor divine, and appeared before him
    To bestow grace on him.                        (647)

41.     How can we ever hail the grace of the God of gods?
    He had the ‘Pasa’ of his servitor snapt
    By the foeman’s sword, and graced him with eternal life
    Linked to His very presence.
    Then the Lord concorporate with his golden consort vanished.    (648)

42.     I adore the feet of our deity -- Yenathi Nathar --, 
    Whose sole support was nought but the holy ash,
    And proceed to narrate the service of our Lord Kannappar
    Unto the noble Lord of Kalatthi
    As it lies within my humble knowledge.                (649)


Stanza    Line

  2        Ezham means toddy.  Candrar are tree-tappers.  They are 
        known as Sanars in modern times.

        Ezham is the name of Sri Lanka.  It is said that co-conuts 
        were originally imported only from Ceylon and that Tamil Nadu 
        took to its cultivation only after its contact with Sri Lanka.
        It is therefore, possible to conclude that some of the co-conut 
        growers cum tree-tappers of Sri Lanka settled in Tamil Nadu 
        even in the dim distant past.

  5        cf. “noble foe”
                - Tennyson.

 16        Naga heroes (Heroes of the Serpent world) like Ananta 
        and karkotaka had long and dreadful tongues with which 
        they could strike, squeeze and impale.

 27    3-4    At the dawn of wisdom true, lust, wrath and delusion 
        fritter away.

 41        Pasa        :    Literally a rope; here it means 
                    ‘the bond’.

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.  Eanathinatha Nayanar puranam in English prose 

  2.  ஏனாதிநாதர் நாயனார் புராணம் (தமிழ் மூலம்) 

  3.  ஏனாதிநாத நாயனார் புராணம் (உரைநடை)

  4.  thiruththoNDar purANam main page

  5.  12 shaivite thirumuRais 


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