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The Puranam Of Kungkuliya-k-Kalaya Nayanar

(kungkuliyakkalaya nAyanAr purANam - Periyapuranam as English poetry)

        “I am a servitor of the servitors of Kalayan of Kadavur” 
                        - The Tiru-th-Tonda-th-Tokai. 
1.     In the Chola land that thrives with foison enriched  
    By the waters of the Cauvery, there’s fortressed town 
    Where could abide Brahmins, great in Vedic glory; 
    It is prosperous Kadavur where is enshrined the Lord 
    Whose matted hair sports the billowy Ganga 
    And who, of yore, smote Yama with His roseate foot, 
    That came to take away the life of a devotee.            (831) 
2.     In fecund Thiru-k-Kadavur the fields are rich in paddy; 
    Their ridges are full of chanks and their pearls; 
    On all sides flourish halls of sacrifice; 
    Its waters are rich in clusters of red lilies; 
    On the tops of areca groves, clouds rest; 
    People tend them with loving care; there the Brahmins 
    Perform nought but their sextuple duty.                (832) 
3.     Songs in maruda tune are sung in the places 
    Where dance the farmwives whose eyes, broad as 
    The palm of hand, are touched with collyrium; 
    In all places where Brahmins -- the wearers 
    Of threefold sacred thread --, perform rituals 
    Hymns of the Sama Veda are chanted.                (833) 
4.     As milk that drips from the udders of huge, long-horned buffaloes 
    That lie immersed in the tanks, is splashed 
    By the ruddy carps that leap and dart thither, 
    Lotuses smell of milk sweet; the clouds 
    That move on, come near the towered halls 
    Of sacrifice; the showers that fall from them 
    Are tinct with the odour of sacrificial smoke.            (834) 
5.     In that wealthy town where abides Lakshmi, 
    A Brahmin versed in the Gospels -- the wearer 
    Of the threefold sacred thread --, by name Kalayar lived. 
    He would daily hail the ankleted feet of the Lord 
    Who sports on His matted hair the great river;  
    His heart ever melted in devotion, and he was virtuous.        (835) 


Kungkuliya-k-Kalaya Nayanar - The Puranam Of Kungkuliya-k-Kalaya Nayanar


6.     When the Brahmin lad held fast to Him, He who is not 
    To be beheld by Vishnu and Brahma, 
    To annihilate the dread of the lad and grace him, 
    Took a form, and kicked Death to death; 
    To this Lord, Kalayar rendered the service 
    Of holy fumigation of kungkuliyam in abundant measure; 
    He was firm stablished in this service.                (836) 
7.     To the Lord in whose matted hair the Ganga courses gurgling 
    -- The Lord who sports an eye in His forehead --, 
    He rendered unfailingly the service of fumigation 
    And from his censer rose spiraling clouds of holy smoke. 
    Even when the Lord in His grace made him indigent 
    He failed not in this service to his Lord.            (837) 
8.     As he was thus poised in his service, acute became 
    His chill penury; he sold all his lands and also 
    All his serfs and slaves who willingly served him; 
    His manifold wealth was total lost; his kith and kin 
    And his children too were sunk in domestic misery.        (838) 
9.     There was nothing left in his house; two days 
    Passed without their having any food; 
    Grieving for the plight of the sorrowing children 
    And the great kin, his beloved wife removed 
    Her flawless tali from the auspicious cord and gave it 
    To her husband saying: “Get paddy for this.”            (839) 
10.     He received it and moved out to buy paddy; 
    On his way a vendor of Kungkuliyam came in front of him; 
    He asked him: “What do you carry in the bundle?” 
    The vendor truly told him what it contained; 
    Then the wearer of the threefold sacred thread 
    Spake thus with a beaming face:                    (840) 
11.     “If this be fragrant Kungkuliyam fit to be used 
    In the pooja of the Lord whose ruddy hair sports the river, 
    Can I bargain for a better boon? Having come by 
    The well-nigh impossible boon, what else is there 
    For me to secure?” Thus he mused in love.            (841) 
12.     “Give it to me; I’ll give you gold.” When he spake thus, 
    The hawker asked him: “What would you consent to give?” 
    Kalayanar gave him the tali; he received it 
    And passed on the bundle to him; he tarried not  
    But walked away swift with a heart full of delight.        (842) 
13.     To Veerattanam where abides the Rider of the Bull, 
    He fared forth in speed, and deposited the package 
    In the promptuary of the temple; in soaring love  
    Which was oblivious of all other things, he stood 
    Hailing the flower-feet of the One of matted hair.        (843) 
14.     While the devotee was at the temple, by the grace 
    Of the Lord, the Ruler of Alakapuri brought down 
    His wealth to the earth and filled his house 
    With heaps of gold, paddy and other grains also; 
    Interminable was the foison and ever-abiding.            (844) 
15.     His wife and children grieved in excessive hunger 
    And slumbered fast that night; unto the sleeping wife, 
    Verily a liana-like tapaswini, the Lord 
    Through her dream conveyed the happening; 
    She woke up and beheld the wealth, and her mind 
    Gratefully dwelt on the gift of the Lord.            (845) 
16.     As she who was in form a tender twig 
    Witnessed the endless heaps of beauteous gold, 
    Paddy, rice and the like, she lifted her hands 
    Above her head and folded them thinking of the Lord’s grace. 
    Then she went into the kitchen to cook food 
    For her husband great.                        (846) 
17.     The Lord who with His roseate foot kicked to death Yama, 
    Instructed Kalayanar, absorbed in devotion deep, 
    Thus: “You are very hungry; repair 
    To your great mansion and thither partake of 
    Toothsome rice mixed with milk, and be rid of your misery.”    (847) 
18.     As Kalayanar heard this, his hands folded folded in adoration; 
    He durst not disobey the gracious fiat of the Lord 
    Who sports on His matted hair the Ganga; 
    He wore it, as it were, on his head, and came out 
    Of the temple, passed through the street dight with 
    Hill-like mansions, and reached his house.            (848) 
19.     He entered his house and beheld the huge heaps 
    Of wealth; addressing his wife, he spoke thus: 
    “Dear one whose brow is a bow, how came these to be?” 
    She said: “By the grace of the Lord whose throat is 
    Dark as night, these are here.”                    (849) 
20.     When the lady of the house whose gait was a flash of lightning, 
    Spake thus, glorious Kalayanar looking at the splendour 
    Of the great riches – the wealth immense and ever-during --, 
    Said: “Even me He rules, my Father, my Lord, my God! 
    Behold the grace of Grace!” This said, he lifted his hands 
    Above his head and folded them in adoration.            (850) 
21.     She who is even greater than Sri enthroned on lotus 
    Made ready the plantain leaves to serve food; 
    Anon she invited her husband and the devotees of the Lord 
    Who sports an eye in His forehead; she duly 
    Hailed them all with dipa-worship, and fed them 
    Sumptuously; Kalayanar well-versed in the Gospels 
    Ate well, and was filled with joy.                (851) 
22.     By the grace of the Lord who goes from place to place 
    With a begging-bow, he was stablished on earth 
    In wealth immense; he feasted the devotees 
    Of the Lord with sumptuous food and healthy dishes 
    Of vegetables, curds, ghee and milk. Thus he throve.        (852) 
23.     The king of the realm impelled by love excessive 
    Desired to set right the slanting image of the Lord 
    -- The beauteous-eyed Rider of the angry-eyed, 
    White-hued Bull --, he fastened to the image 
    A team of tuskers to pull it into position; 
    Yet the image stood slanting as ever. 
    So was he sunk in sad despair at all times.            (853) 
24.     Kalayanar who is poised in the righteous path of piety, 
    Heard of the king’s misery who was burning with a penchant 
    To adore the Lord in his erect form; moved by his love 
    He set out to adore the Lord-Enchanter 
    Whose matted hair dazzles like clustered lightnings.        (854) 
25.     On his way he visited all the beauteous temples 
    Where abides the Lord whose roseate hand holds the mazhu, 
    And haild Him; thus he reached Tiruppanantal 
    -- Cinctured with fecund and flowery gardens --,  
    Where abide the hoary Brahmin clan versed in the Vedas, 
    Who swerve not from their path of piety 
    And who tend the triple fire for the world to thrive.        (855) 
26.     He beheld the love-bred sorrow of the monarch; 
    Maugre the great effort of the tuskers 
    And the flawless army, their labour divine 
    Bore no fruit; fatigued, the monarch 
    Fell on earth and languished sore; 
    Kalayar, the great tapaswi, was pained at heart.        (856) 
27.     Witnessing the fallen tuskers and the army 
    That could not rise up, he thought thus: 
    “I too must share their service and languishment.” 
    He fastened to his neck the strong and flowery rope 
    Tethered to the frame divine of the Lord 
    Who wears on His crest melliferous konrai, 
    And began to tug with effort great.                (857) 
28.     Can the image stand slanting, defying his wish 
    Even after the firm-fibred servitor tugged it 
    With the rope wrought of the threads of integral love? 
    The very moment the Lord beheld the integer 
    Of Kalayanar’s resolute love, He stood straight. 
    The celestials clamoured in the heaven, for joy.        (858) 
29.     The earth was thick with the showered Karpaka flowers; 
    The king’s army, heroes that plied the cars and the tuskers 
    Were happy like thirsty gardens at the advent of rain; 
    The king that wore the heroic anklet folded his hands 
    And adored the servitor; he fell at his feet 
    And his crown rested on his flower-feet.            (859) 
30.     “You made it possible for me to hail the erect form 
    Of the Lord who riding His car of the Vedas and holding 
    The hill of Meru bent into a bow fierce 
    Gutted with fire the triple cities that winged in the sky. 
    Who but devotees poised in piety and love, can ever 
    Behold the flower-feet twain of the Lord, invisible 
    Even to him who burrowed deep the earth?            (860) 
31.     Thus hailed the king the true servitor; 
    He rendered many a fitting service to the Lord 
    And then, he of the abiding white parasol 
    To his city fared forth; the peerless devotee 
    Hailed the ankleted flower-feet of the Lord 
    That dance in the Ambalam, and thither sojourned.        (861) 
32.     A few day passed and he left for Tiruk-k-Kadavur 
    And there was he poised in his abiding service hallowed; 
    Thither came the peerless Lord of Seerkazhi non-pareil 
    -- The Godly Son --, together with the wondrous Bard 
    Of Thandaka hymns – Tirunavukkarasar 
    Of universal renown.                        (862) 
33.     In joy unique welling up in him, them he welcomed 
    And into his mansion divine, received. 
    He feasted them with food of sextuple taste 
    And received not only their grace divine, but that of 
    The Lord who wears fragrant and beauteous Konrai, also.        (863) 
34.     In Tiru-k-Kadavur where is enshrined the Lord, who 
    Smote the wielder of the sugarcane-bow and Yama, 
    In devotion fed by love -- ever-swelling and willing --, 
    And with his soul that had gained at-one-ment, 
    He rendered manifold service divine 
    And reached the shade of Lord Siva’s feet.            (864) 
35.     He gave away the auspicious tali of her, 
    -- The wearer of honey-laden wreath --, 
    And secured kungkuliya that his service 
    To the Lord who wears a curved crescent 
    Might suffer no break; he is Kalayanar 
    Of well-established character; I hail him; 
    And with his grace, I begin to hail 
    Manakkancharar of renowned munificence.                (865) 
Stanza     Line 
   1        Yama        :    God of death. 
   1     7    A devotee    :     Markandeya. 
   2     2    Kazhuneer    :     Red-lilies, Nymphaea rubra. 
   2     7    Sextuble duty    :     Learning, instructing, performing sacrifice or  
                    cause the performance of such sacrifice, receiving  
                    and gifting. 
   6        The Brahmin lad    :     Markandeya. 
   6        Fumigation    :     Pukaikaattal, Narumpukai oottuthal, Thupavarkkam  
                        - Winslow’s English-Tamil Dictionary. 
        Kungkuliyam    :    Resinous gum used as  
                    holy incense. 
  13        Veerattanam    :    The place where the Lord enacted a heroic deed. They  
                    are eight in number and Kadavur is one of them. 
  14        The Ruler of  
        Alakapuri    :     Kubera, the God of wealth. He is also hailed as the  
                    Companion of the Lord. 
  17        The instruction was by “asariri”, the unbodied voice. 
  21     1    Sri-Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth and Beauty. 
     5    Dipa-worship    :     Part of Maheswara Pooja. Maheswaras are devotees  
                    who had received initiation (diksha).  Feasting them  
                    is the chief part of Maheswara-Pooja. Before feeding  
                    them, the host adores them almost in the same way in  
                    which Lord Siva is hailed. Unto them are done the  
                    rites of twirling the platter which holds the lighted  
                    lamp, holy fumigation etc., in utmost devotion. 
                    Sivakkavi says that the uninitiated are not to be  
                    called Maheswaras. Such devotees also should be fed.  
                    The feeding here is known as ‘Anna-dhana’. This will  
                    earn for the performer ‘pasu-punya’. Maheswara-Pooja  
                    rewards the doer with ‘pati-punya’. 
 22    1 & 2    The Lord is a great mendicant. He holds in His hand a skull as a begging-bowl.  
        We are expected to fill His bowl with our love and devotion. 
 24     4    He set out    :     Sivakkavi says that with a view to adore the Lord of  
                    Tiruppanantal, Kalayanar came to the shrine of Kadavur  
                    to take leave of the presiding deity of Kadavur. 
 27     4    The strong and 
        flowery rope    :     So as not to cause harm in the least, the strong rope  
                    was dressed with flowers and soft silken cloth. 
 34     6    P. Jothimuthu rightly says: “The expression: ‘The shade of the feet’ means the  
        grace of God”.  Ainkurunuru, C.L.S. (1984) page 1. cf.”  Avan arulale Avan  
        thaall vanangki”. 
                    - The Tiruvachakam. 

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.  kuNgiliyak kalayanAyanAr purANam in English prose 

  2. குங்குலியக் கலய நாயனார் புராணம் (தமிழ் மூலம்) 

  3.  thiruththoNDar purANam main page

  4.  12 shaivite thirumuRais 





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