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The Puranam of Kaliya Nayanar

(kaliya nAyanAr purANam - Periyapuranam as English poetry)

        "I am a servitor of the servitors of Kaliyan" 
                        - The Tiru-th-Tonda-th-Tokai. 
1.     It is a beauteous city dear to the Lord Dancer 
    In whose matte hair the Ganga flows; it is in the great 
    Tondai Naadu renowned in this vast world; it is girt 
    With impregnable fort-like walls surrounded by cloud-capped 
    Flower-gardens; it is great Tiruvotriyoor, 
    In whose long streets the cars ply.                (4022) 
2.     Its glorious and vast streets with their rows 
    Of beauteous mansions from whose tops wafted fluttering 
    Flags covering the sky, suggested, 
    Like the Buddhists and the peacock-feather holding Jains 
    The non-existence of space; these resembled 
    The waving areca-gardens; the nearby sea was 
    Like unto beautiful gardens full of crops.            (4023) 
3.     In its mantapams, the divine hymns (in decades) were ever 
    Melodised; in the theatres, the lasses whose gait was 
    Swan-like, for ever danced; the crowed streets 
    Were always full of festivities linked to the orchestration 
    Of music; the sacred matams were ever full 
    Of hills of cooked samba rice.                    (4024) 
4.     There teemed kurukkatthis rich in blooms, punnais, 
    Branchy kunkuma trees, shanbaka trees whose rich 
    Buds lavishly burgeoned, cool ceruntis, and growing 
    Fragrant screw-pines; each of them perfumed the air 
    With the scent of its flowers; even the breeze from the main 
    Was loaded with incense; there the white stretches of sand looked 
    As though they were wrought of the dust of moon-rays.        (4025) 

                                                     Kaliya Nayanar - The Puranam of Kaliya Nayanar
5.     The rumble of the clouds nearing the great walls, 
    The roar of the billowy main and the melodious sound  
    Of the many musical instruments thither merged irretrievably; 
    The street of the oil-vendors who ply the oil-presses 
    Was bright with gems and things pure.                (4026) 
6.     He made his avatar by reason of the tapas wrought 
    By his clan; he was lofty with great wealth endowed; 
    He flourished in well-merited glory; he was called 
    Kaliyanaar who was ever poised in his servitorship 
    To The triple-eyed Lord.                    (4027) 
7.     He was the lord of manifold and countless wealth; 
    He knew how to put his wealth to its use; 
    Within and without the shrine of the Lord 
    Of Tiruvotriyoor whose mount is the young Bull, 
    During night and livelong day he arranged 
    To keep lit rows and rows of beauteous lamps.            (4028) 
8.     As for many a day he caused countless lamps to burn 
    Night and day, the Lord desired to make known 
    The act of the true and holy serviteur; 
    His grace caused him to quit his work through which 
    Ever-increasing wealth could be earned; even as his 
    Twyfold Karma, his wealth also perished.            (4029) 
9.     Even when his piled-up wealth grew thin and vanished, 
    The glorious servitor who would not swerve from his 
    Magnificent and divine servitorship, carried and sold 
    The oil of his clan-men and with the wages thus earned, 
    He plied himself in his divine service.                (4030) 
10.     When he could not carry and sell the oil of his rich kin 
    As they refused to supply him with oil any longer, the devotee 
    Whose mind languished, desired to ear wages by working 
    As a coolie where they plied the oil-presses.            (4031) 
11.     He filled the press to its capacity with sesame seeds 
    And plied it; when properly ground he toiled hard 
    To gather the oil-drenched cakes and squeeze 
    The oil out of it; he also plied the pulls that went 
    Round and round the press; with the wages that he earned 
    Thus, he caused innumerable lamps to be lit; 
    Lo, he caused pure servitorship to glow thus, 
    Even thus, in this world.                    (4032) 
12.    Even the income obtained from such work ceased to be, 
    As there were many competing coolies; so he languished 
    Sorely; he sold his peerless house and continued his service; 
    When the money thus derived came to an end, 
    He thought of selling his ineffably glorious wife.        (4033) 
13.     In joy he conducted his wife into the beautiful city 
    To sell her; but no one came forward to buy her; 
    He wilted; he who would not even dream of the cessation 
    Of his service of lighting lamps in the divine 
    Shrine of the Lord of the irate Bull, 
    Came to the temple, utterly undone.                (4034) 
14.     In the shrine of Patam Pakka Naathar whose servitor 
    He was, at the time when he was normally 
    To commence his service of lighting lamps, 
    He mused thus: “If the lighting of gem-bright lamps 
    Should cease, I too should cease to breath.” 
    Thus resolved, he commenced to do the deed.            (4035) 
15.     He placed the lamps in rows and set the wicks, 
    To fill them all with his blood instead 
    Of the unavailable oil; he began to saw away 
    With a weapon his throat; thereupon the Lord 
    Whose eyes are three, in increasing and great mercy 
    Materialised before him and caught hold of his hand.        (4036) 
16.     When the Lord appeared before him on His 
    Ever-young Bull, his wound healed and he  
    Glowed in splendour; as her stood folding 
    His hands above his head, the supreme Lord  
    Blessed him to reach the beauteous Siva-loka 
    To abide there in aeviternal resplendence.            (4037) 
17.     Adoring the feet him who, when his divine service 
    Of lighting lamps to the Lord of gods, came to an end, 
    Cut away his throat--an act of rare greatness--, 
    We proceed to indite the goodly glory of the divine 
    Servitorship of Satthiyaar that would, 
    In this vast world, slice away the tongues of those--  
    Whoever they be--, that slander the servitors of Hara.        (4038) 
Verse No. 
   1.    Tondai Naadu: The glory of Tondai Naadu is indeed unique. The Kanda Puranam, the Kaanchi  
    Puranam, the Puranam of Tirukkuripputthondar and the like contain a mine of information 
   3.    Samba rice: This is obtained from what is called ‘Sennel’.  Samba refers to Sambu who is Siva. 
    Kaar nel means dark paddy.  This has reference to the dark-hued god Vishnu. 
   7.    He knew how to put his wealth to use: Not many, even today, are able to handle properly their  
    income.  Much money is spent on unnecessary things.  Display of vanity is the rule of the day. 
   8.    Decrease caused by God’s grace is truly increase. 
  10.    Even when wealth is lost, a true servitor is not discouraged.  The servitor in this instance becomes a  
    mere coolie. “Yaathaanum thozhil ceyvaam, yaathum Aval thozhil” (Be engaged in any calling; every  
    calling is truly Hers) are the words of Mahakavi Bharati. 
  13.    Selling one’s wife into slavery was nothing new to India.  Reference to such sales can be gathered  
    from the Veda. Emperor Harischandra, growing destitute, sold his wife Chandramati as a slave. 
  14.    “If the lighting. . .  to breath”: This is the way that informed the life of every Naayanaar. 
  15.    At the hour of the self-chosen death of a servitor, it is prevented by the healing touch of Siva who helps the  
    servitor conquer death, and blesses him with eternal life. 
                Here ends the Puranam of Kaliya Naayanaar 

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. kaliya nAyanAr purANam in English prose 
2. கலிய நாயனார் புராணம் (தமிழ் மூலம்) 
3. thiruththoNDar purANam main page
4. 12 shaivite thirumuRais 

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