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The Puranam of Eri-Pattha Nayanar


(eRipattha nAyanAr purANam - Periyapuranam as English poetry)

        "I am a servitor of Eri-Patthar, 
        the wielder of mazhu, shaped like a leaf." 
                    - The Tiru-th-Tonda-th-Tokai 
1.     In orbis terrarum, if any trouble were to beset 
    The devotees of the Lord who rides a young Bull, 
    He would hasten quick to their relief; 
    Endless is the fame of Eri-Patthar; 
    Though it is beyond me to narrate his glory, 
    I attempt it yet, impelled by sheer love.            (551) 
2.     From the time of (karikala) Chola who inscribed 
    His triumphant signum of tiger on the crest 
    Of Himavant, and who total blocked all the old passes, 
    Opening a new one which alone since serves  
    As a guarded pass, to the days of glorious Anapayan, 
    Thrives hoary Karur with beauteous streets bright 
    As a city where the Chola Kings were coronated.            (552) 
3.     With its fortressed walls cloud-capped, 
    Rows of mansions piercing the sky, 
    Pure-rayed gems paved on thresholds, 
    Gardens galore where fragrance wafts 
    And streets bright with moon-bright damsels 
    Sought by bees for their flowered coiffures 
    Karur is rich and doth excel the city of Indra.            (553) 
4.     In the fords gambol ichorous tuskers; in gardens 
    That lie beyond the city, dance in joy the peacocks; 
    In theatres with gems inlaid, danseuses dance, 
    And bees and beetles sport in their locks; 
    In the streets of spreading light, 
    Creepers play with the rays of lustre. 
    Thus is Karur unique, endowed with foison 
    Hailed on earth vast and great.                    (554) 
5.     In that great city of abiding wealth 
    The fortressed walls are wrought of gold 
    At which the celestials do marvel; 
    The Lord is enshrined firm in the minds 
    Of devotees true, poised in loving and ever-crescent service; 
    Even so, here too in “Anilai” the Lord’s temple, 
    Siva abides for ever.                        (555) 


Eri-Pattha Nayanar - The Puranam of Eri-Pattha Nayanar


6.     The Holy One who is even beyond the Vedas 
    -- Full of rich meaning though --, 
    Was by him at this temple adored that he might 
    End the deluding cycle of birth and death. 
    Great was his servitude, poised in God’s own grace, 
    To the servitors of the Lord whose throat  
    Holds the dark venom; he was called Eri-Patthar.        (556) 
7.     For the thriving of the abiding Saivism in this world 
    Which thrives on rainwater, when devotees 
    Of the Lord whose hair blazes like fire, 
    Were beset with troubles, he would dart like a lion 
    From its den, and quell the hostile force; 
    For this he wielded a battle-axe hailed by the Vedas.        (557) 
8.     While he thus flourished, a holy saint named 
    Sivakami Andar served the Lord of Anilai 
    With intense love; he would gather flowers, 
    Weave them into garlands, and adore the Lord 
    With a mind brimming with devotion.                (558) 
9.     One day, when day broke, he woke up as usual 
    And bathed in cool water; he tied his mouth 
    With a piece of cloth, went into the fragrant garden 
    Rich with bunches of flowers and gathered 
    With his experienced hand such good flowers 
    As were about to bloom, for the adoration of the Lord.        (559) 
10.     With these he filled his flower-basket 
    And with love his mind; he held a staff; 
    Thus he hastened to the temple 
    To weave garlands for the Lord and be of help 
    During the morning service.                    (560) 
11.     As he was thus proceeding on that great Navami-Day 
    The royal elephant -- the puissant smasher of hostile hordes --, 
    Of Pukazh-ch-Chola who ruled 
    From the fecund city and who was 
    The illustrious ancestor of King Anapayan 
    (Was getting prepared for the festival).            (561) 
12.     Decorated for the festival, after its bath 
    In the river, the tusker moved fast in delight great, 
    Ichor streamed from its body; at the sight of the tusker 
    People scattered away in fright; its controllers 
    Ran racing with it; thus came the tusker 
    Dreadful like a mountain huge.                    (562) 
13.     The triumphant tusker with its mahouts 
    On its back, barged into a (different) street, 
    Eyed Sivakamiyar who was ahead it,  
    Chased him, plucked the flower-basket 
    That dangled from his staff and scattered the flowers.        (563) 
14.     This witnessing the mahouts drove the speeding tusker, 
    As though they conveyed a storm, and were gone. 
    The devotee -- the wearer of the triple sacred threads --, 
    Beheld this in agitated wrath; he chased 
    The musty elephant, to beat it with his staff.            (564) 
15.     The mammoth ran beyond his reach; 
    The true devotee great could not chase it; 
    He was too old to continue the chase; he fell down; 
    He struck the earth with his hand and rose up; 
    Indescribable was his grief; in anger he cried: ‘Sivata.’    (565) 
16.     “O the wearer of the hide of the musty mammoth, Sivata! 
    O, the puissance of humble ones, Sivata! 
    O, the guiding light of merciful devotees, Sivata! 
    O, the nectar of the clarified, Sivata, Sivata!            (566) 
17.     “Should an elephant spill away the blooms fit to 
    Deck the matted hair where abide the crescent and the Ganga? 
    O wielder of angry bow who burnt the cities 
    Of Asuras that harboured hostility, Sivata, Sivata!        (567) 
18.     “He took refuge in Your feet; 
    You resolved to rid him of his grief; 
    So when dark Yama came chasing him 
    You smote him with Your roseate foot, Sivata!            (568) 
19.     “ Stablished in the way unknown even to Vishnu, 
    The devotees as servitors serve the Lord; 
    What is my worth in this holy company 
    Meriting Your advent for my rescue? O Endless Ens!” 
    Thus he cried, and even thus he lamented.            (569) 
20.     Eri-Patthar who came thither, heard these words; 
    He blazed aloft like spiraling flame; 
    In overflowing wrath he thundered thus: 
    “In not the elephant the traditional enemy 
    Of the devotees of the Lord of the Ambalam? 
    I’ll smite it to death.” Thus he spake 
    And held aloft his battle-axe.                    (570) 
21.     He approached the summoning devotee and bowed; 
    He questioned him thus: “Where did it go, 
    The tusker that involved you in distress deep?” 
    Unto him he replied thus: “This is the street 
    Through which it passed, the sinfull one --, 
    After plucking from my hand the flowers 
    -- Meet for my Father --, and scattering them on earth.”    (571) 
22.     “It cannot survive hereafter!” said he and held 
    In his palm the fire-breathing battle-axe. 
    He with the axe looked life fire attended by wind; 
    He leaped on with terrible speed, resembling 
    A fiery-eyed lion of cruel claws; 
    In spiraling wrath he encountered the tusker.            (572) 
23.     When he eyed it he said: “This is sure like 
    The one whose hide was peeled by the Lord, of yore; 
    Even if men and gods too try to prevent me 
    I’ll ignore it; I’ll sure cut it and kill it.” 
    Then with a flourish of the dazzling axe 
    Held in his right hand, he pressed the earth 
    With his feet and sprang on.                    (573) 
24.     As he thus leaped, unmindful of the mahouts on its back, 
    The tusker whose eyes spat fire in sheer anger, 
    Readied itself to charge him; he dodged it 
    And leaped again and with the axe felled away 
    Its peerless trunk, so long and touching the earth. 
    Can ever dread intimate the supreme motherly love?        (574) 
25.     When he thus cut away the trunk, the tusker, 
    In size a black hill, roared like the sea, 
    Fell down on earth and rolled. 
    Then he smote the three puissant controllers 
    Who attended the elephant from either side 
    And also the two riders; thus he of hill-like shoulders 
    Killed all the five, and thither stood.                (575) 
26.     Barring the felled ones, others rushed to the guards 
    Of the palace whose king wears a fragrant garland, 
    And addressed them thus: “Dead is the royal tusker 
    To apprise the king of this.”                    (576) 
27.     When the ostiaries of the gemmy threshold heard them 
    They hied to the monarch and bowed 
    At his ankleted feet, and said: “O foeless king, 
    Your royal elephant has been killed by some; 
    Thus averred mahouts.”                        (577) 
28.     When the king who rules the realm 
    With none to oppose him, heard this, 
    His shoulders decked with bright gems, shook; 
    The bees that lay cradled in his garland 
    Winged out buzzing; his wrath knew no bounds; 
    He didn’t even tarry to ask: “Who did this?” 
    Like a lion young he darted through the palace-gate.        (578) 
29.    Privy-councillors who came to know of the king’s state 
    Gathered quick the army by beat of drums; 
    Anon martial banners filled the heavens; 
    Chariots fitted with cunning contraptions, 
    Horses and elephants mingled and marched.            (579) 
30.     The innumerable warriors girding their loins tight 
    Twilrled and jumped and rose up everywhere 
    With countless bows, spears, swords, rods, pindipalams, 
    Pestles strong, discs, axes, tridents and the like.        (580) 
31.     Conches, tarais, ekkalams, huge drums 
    High sounding, pampais of terrific sound, 
    Kandai, tudi big, jallari and tattai 
    Blared martially; with these sounds merged 
    The loud strains of cinnams too; 
    Thus resounded the martial orchestra 
    Drowning the noise of rumbling clouds.                (581) 
32.    The noise of organs, the sound of clashing weapons, 
    The tintinnabulation of bells tied round 
    The necks of steeds, the trumpeting of tuskers, 
    The din of chariots and the uproar of warriors: 
    These into one immense noise blended; it looked 
    As though, the sea at the end of the Yuga roared 
    With the mighty clouds of destruction.                (582) 
33.     The army fourfold, vast and great, moved 
    On and on like the whirlwind that would blow 
    At the time of the dissolution of the cosmos; 
    Ahead of them on a glorious steed rode he, 
    The king of the white parasol, cool and merciful, 
    Through the royal highway.                    (583) 
34.     In great speed he reached the place 
    Where lay the tusker and mahouts, all dead. 
    He didn’t eye there any one hostile, 
    But only a devotee with a dazzling battle-axe 
    With a pair of long arms, trunk-like, 
    Standing thither like a destructive tusker.            (584) 
35.     The one standing before the tusker, very like a hill 
    Whence cascades water with particles of gold, 
    Is sure a servitor of the Lord of the Ambalam, 
    Who is the God of the silver hill; 
    He can’t be the killer; so he thought 
    And thundered thus! “Who indeed is the conqueror?”        (585) 
36.     When the king spake thus, mahouts neared him 
    And said: “O wearer of fragrant garlands 
    And chain with brilliant gems inlaid! 
    Which king in this sea-girt earth can dare 
    Face your tusker of great puissance? 
    The one that did the evil deed is none but him 
    Who stands with the axe.” Thus they spake bowing.        (586) 
37.     “He is the devotee of the Lord, the wearer of an ear-ring; 
    He is a paragon of virtues; he wouldn’t kill 
    Unless wronged; something wrong has happened.” 
    Thus he mused; he stopped the march 
    Of ichorous elephants and the army; 
    Down he descended, the Lord of the world, 
    From his royal horse.                        (587) 
38.     “I am indeed blessed with the fruit of tapas 
    Inasmuch as nothing untoward had happened 
    To this true tapaswi when he came before 
    The musty mammoth, verily a dark hill. 
    But then the servitor of the Lord of the Ambalam 
    Had been incensed this much; alas, I'm undone; 
    What mote the wrong be?" Thus he thought 
    And felt overpowered by fear.                    (588) 
39.     The king bade them that neared him move away; 
    He walked toward the devotee bowing, and said: 
    “I did not know of this; I hear there 
    A different version; be that as it may. 
    For the fault of the tusker, the tusker 
    And its mahouts have been killed. 
    Will this suffice? Be pleased to grace me.” 
    Thus he spake and remained standing.                (589) 
40.     The servitor of the God of gods addressed the king thus: 
    “Chenni, this huge tusker plucked the basket of flowers 
    From Sivakami Andar who gathered them 
    To deck the Lord whose jewels are serpents, 
    And spilled them; so I smote it down.”                (590) 
41.     “When the tusker committed the evil 
    Its controllers, and mahouts riding on its back, 
    Would not prevent it; so with their dear lives 
    They paid for their fault; this is all that 
    Happened here.” When thus he spake, the king 
    Whose shoulders are mighty as a mountain, 
    Stricken with fear, fell at his feet and duly hailed him.    (591) 
42.     “This would not suffice for the blasphemy committed; 
    The Lord and His devotees had been wronged; 
    I too must be killed; neither should you 
    Kill me with your auspicious battle-axe; 
    This is fit for the deed.” Thus spake he  
    Who solicited expiation, and drew out 
    His sword and handed it over to him.                (592) 
43.     When he eyed the king who drew out 
    His bright sword dazzling like wild fire, 
    He cried thus: “Woe’s me! I have now witnessed 
    The boundlessness of the king’s love, 
    The sovereign of infinite glory.” 
    He would not receive the sword; but he knew 
    That the king would kill himself, if he did not; 
    So to avert that mishap, he received it in fear.        (593) 
44.     The king stood bowing before the devotee 
    Who received the sword from him, and said: 
    “He’ll kill me with the sword and rid me 
    Of my sin; with this beatitude I am to be 
    By him blessed!” He felt exceedingly happy. 
    Yeri-Patthar stood fear-stricken.                (594) 
45.     The devotee thought thus: “I’ve caused the death 
    Of his mighty mammoth and its mahouts; 
    Yet would he give me his sword to kill him 
    In expiation of his sin; oh, I’ve thought of causing evil 
    To him -- a devotee great; it is but meet  
    That I put an end to my life; 
    That indeed is the fitting solution.”                (595) 
46.     Thus thinking he set the sword on his neck 
    And was about to saw it away; the king then 
    Burst out thus! “Behold the deed of the great one! 
    Alas I am lost!” He rushed to him quick 
    And with his long arms held the devotee’s hand and sword.    (596) 
47.     Tight was the grip of the Chola king, and great 
    Was the grief of the tapaswi great; 
    To avert the catastrophe that sprang 
    From boundless love, there arose from 
    The bright skyey expanse, by the grace of 
    The blue-throated Lord, an unbodied voice 
    Which could be heard by many:                    (597) 
48.     “O ye servitors of exceeding devotion 
    (Fit to be adored by all), 
    To demonstrate the greatness of loving service 
    To God, unto men on earth, 
    The grace of the Lord, 
    The wearer of the crescent on His crest, 
    Hath this day caused the spilling of goodly flowers 
    By the incensed elephant.” (Behold the wonder). 
    The elephant and the mahouts stood resurrected.            (598) 
49.     The devotee unhanded the sword with which 
    He was to saw away his neck, and fell at the feet 
    Of the Chola king – the Lord of Neri. 
    The king too threw away the sword -- a fit weapon of war --, 
    And hailed the feet of the devotee and fell on earth 
    Prostrating before him; the celestials showered cool flowers.    (599) 
50.     The king and the devotee then rose up and hailed 
    The celestial voice; the Lord who indeed 
    Is the import of the rare Vedas 
    Caused the basket to be filled with the self-same flowers 
    By His grace at which Sivakamiyar marveled, 
    And felt happily blessed.                    (600) 
51.     The mahouts rose up as if from slumber; 
    The royal tusker ichorous trumpeted uproariously 
    Like rumbling clouds; this they drove rejoicing 
    Before the triumphant king of fragrant garland.            (601) 
52.     The devotee paid obeisance to the king and said: 
    “I beseech you to ride the great and mighty tusker 
    That I may feel delighted.” The king who came 
    Thither riding a steed rode the elephant 
    Under the shade of his white parasol 
    To honour the command of the servitor.                (602) 
53.     It looked as though the seven oceans merged 
    And roared as a single main 
    When the King’s armies raised a jubilant uproar; 
    All the worlds rejoiced and blessed the monarch; 
    The king wearing as it were the golden feet 
    Of the Ambalam’s Dancer, entered his palace.            (603) 
54.     Sivakamiyar proceeded to the temple 
    To perform his service; Yeri-Patthar, our Lord’s servitor, 
    Thought thus: “Ha, it is impossible to comprehend 
    The servitors of the Lord of the Ambalam!” 
    Contemplating the glory of the Chola king 
    He too set out to perform his service.                (604) 
55.     He continued his service of helping servitors 
    At their hour of need and spent his days thus; 
    He pursued his ideal of goodly askesis 
    And came to be blessed with the stewardship 
    Of the Lord’s hosts in hallowed Mt. Kailas.            (605) 
56.     Only the Lord who for ever blesses them 
    Can gauge the manliness of the servitor of servitors 
    And the glory of the Chola who offered to be 
    Beheaded with his own sword; who else 
    Can dare measure their glory and grace 
    Extending and expanding for ever and ever.            (606) 
57.     I wear on my crown the divine feet 
    Of Yeri-Patthar devoted in boundless love 
    To the golden feet of Lord Siva who wears 
    On his ruddy matted hair honied konrai, 
    And proceed to chronicle the service 
    Of Yenati Nathar, the adorer of the Holy Ash 
    Of the Lord of the Ambalam, hailed by 
    The rulers of the celestial regions.                (607) 
Stanza     Line 
  2     5    Anapayan    :     This patron of St. Sekkizhar is referred  
                    to in the Periyapuranam, eleven times.  
     7    Coronated    :    The Chola king was crowned in one of  
                    the five cities (viz) Pukar, Tiruvaroor,  
                    Uraiyoor, Seignaloor and Karur. 
   7     6    cf. “Parasu hastaya namaha!” 
        (The Hand wield a battle-axe, praise be!) is one of the 108  
        mantras with which Lord Siva is hailed. 
  15     5    Sivata        :    A word (uttered in lamentation) invoking  
                    the aid of Siva. 
  22     2    cf.  .... “his brandished steel, 
             Which smoked with bloody execution” 
                        - Macbeth, 1,2,17-18. 
  30        Pindipalam    :     A javelin-like instrument decked decked  
                    with peacock feathers 
        Neri        :    The mountain of the Cholas.  
        Yeri-Patthar is the same as Eri-Patthar. 
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.  eRipaththa nAyanAr purANam in English prose 

  2.  எறிபத்த நாயனார் புராணம் (தமிழ் மூலம்) 

  3.  thiruththoNDar purANam main page

  4.  12 shaivite thirumuRais 




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