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The Puranam of Tiru Nalai-p-povar


(tirunAlaippOvAr nAyanAr purANam - Periyapuranam as English poetry)

        “I am a servitor of Tiru-Nalai-p-povar the upright” 
                        - The Tiru-th-Tonda-th-Tokai. 
1.     It is a fecund and hoary town admired by the world 
    For its glory; it is Aatanoor of Melkanadu 
    In the Chola realm; here the lotuses of vast fields 
    Situate on both sides of the pure-watered Kollidam,  
    Receive with their flowery hands, the gold and the gems 
    Borne aloft by the billowy hands of the river.            (1041) 
2.     In that town glows the great lustre of the holy ash; 
    In its ridged fields rich in sweetcane-juice 
    When ploughing is done with buffaloes, finned varals 
    Leap aloft; crabs that thrive in mire slowly move out 
    Through the furrows and ascend the lotuses thither to litter; 
    Witnessing this, lotuses spill their fragrant pollen.        (1042) 
3.    The branches of trees rich in buds and fragrant shoots 
    Wave on high as if touching the surya-manala; 
    Such is the growth of the dense tree cloud-capped; 
    The nimbi move and bees wheel their flights; 
    So in those flower gardens, it for ever pours, 
    Now a shower of rain; anon a shower of honey.            (1043) 
4.     Valais which leap from the depths of water, 
    Hit the trunks of coco-palms rich in fragrant spathes 
    And strong bunches of green coconuts; the trees wave 
    And shed their ripe coconuts which get buried (in the mire) 
    With the fish that attacked them; 
    Jack-fruit burst and with honey inundate them; 
    Then float the coconuts and the retrieved fish play about.    (1044) 
5.     The riches of fields and gardens green, 
    Yielded by manual labour fill everywhere 
    The spacious town; the lofty and innumerable mansions 
    Rich with such foison, pierce the clouds with their tops; 
    Dwelling places for ever increase and the town 
    Flourishes with good many extensions.                (1045) 
6.     Outside the town, on the other side of the ridges 
    Of fields which form a belt of marudam 
    Is the habitation of the Pulaiyas who are 
    Farmhands that dwelt with their loving kith and kin. 
    Over their crowded old huts roofed of dried grass 
    Green creepers of bottle-gourds grew luxuriant.            (1046) 
7.     In their courtyards were drying straps of leather; 
    There roamed chicks with their mother-hen 
    Whose claws were sharp and whose feet were small; 
    When dark-hued urchins decked with iron-bracelets 
    Made away with young pups, the tiny bells in their girdles 
    Drowned the small and soft barking of the pups.            (1047) 
8.     Under shady maruda trees the farmwives lulled 
    Their babes asleep on cured hides, strong and small; 
    Under shady vanchi trees of soft twigs, were sunk 
    Huge pots in which rested incubating hens; 
    On mango trees were hung leather-strapped drums; 
    Under coco-palms rested the tiny-headed pups; 
    The slum was full of such trees.                (1048) 
9.    Over the cool and ramiferous kanchi trees, rested 
    Roosters of ruddy crests, and just before dawn, 
    They summoned the farmers, able and firm-fibred, 
    To bestir and ply themselves in their agricultural work; 
    Under the shade of these trees, the curly-haired 
    Farmwives pounded paddy singing aloud ‘pestle-songs’.        (1049) 
10.     On all the sides of pools, water-fowls would chirp; 
    As they walked toddling, lilies on their koontals blowed 
    And showered honey; the farmwives decked their hair 
    With sheaves of paddy, quaffed toddy and danced for joy; 
    Drums then resounded keeping time.                (1050) 

Tiru Nalai-p-povar Nayanar - The Puranam of Tiru Nalai-p-povar Nayanar
11.     He came to be  born with the continuum of consciousness 
    Of true love for the ankleted feet of the Lord; 
    He, the peerless one, called Nandanar, flourished 
    In that slum of Pulaiyas; he was entitled 
    To the hereditary rights of his clan.                (1051) 
12.     Ever since his age of awareness, unto the Great One  
    That wears the crescent as a chaplet, he fostered 
    A great and immense love in his pious heart; 
    He would render such dharma as would befit his race; 
    He was firm established in the service to the Lord’s feet.    (1052) 
13.     He satisfied his need for food from the income 
    Of his vocation as a “Proclaimer by beat of tom-tom”; 
    He pursued the craft permitted to his race; 
    He stood poised in servitorship; to all the temples 
    Where abides the Great one of the sharp trident, 
    For the use of drums and such other instruments.        (1053) 
14.     He supplied covering leather and binding straps 
    And similar materials; for melodious veenas 
    And yazhs he provided the various guts for strings; 
    For the pooja of the Lord of gods, he supplied 
    Gorochana and the like.                        (1054) 
15.     Thus he served in keeping with his vocation 
    In all possible ways and by all possible means; 
    He would stand away from the entrance to the temple 
    And in devotion, true and abundant, 
    Dance and sing in love; 
    Thus, even thus, he flourished.                    (1055) 
16.     In love he contemplated the hallowed feet 
    Of the Lord Sivalokanatan enshrined in Tiru-p-punkoor 
    And desired to render willingly such service as he could; 
    So with his mind oned with the Lord, he left Aatanoor 
    In longing love, and reached its outskirts.            (1056) 
17.     The divine servitor sang glorious songs and desired 
    To adore the Lord by directly beholding Him, even as 
    He stood in front of the entrance to the Temple; 
    To grant him his wish, the brow-eyed Lord 
    Of Punkoor girt with cloud-capped forted walls, 
    Commanded His martial Bull to step aside, and thus 
    He blessed him with His darshan, unobstructed.            (1057) 
18.     Nandanar who was poised in the godly way which would 
    Help one cross the cycle of birth and death, 
    Stood before the temple-entrance, and adored 
    The Lord Sivalokanatan; having hailed Him 
    He bowed again and rose up; he moved away 
    With his straps of leather waving on his back; 
    He eyed behind the temple a great depression 
    Which he excavated into a tank.                    (1058) 
19.     Having dug a spacious tank by the grace of the Lord 
    Who wears on His crown a wreath of golden konrai, 
    He circumambulated the Lord’s temple, 
    Bowed, rose up, danced in joy and then 
    Took leave of Him and reached his town.                (1059) 
20.     In this way he visited and adored all the shrines 
    Where the Lord abides in delight, and performed 
    True service; he was constantly goaded 
    By a great love to adore the Lord’s Tillai Chitrambalam; 
    Greater and greater grew this passionate love.            (1060) 
21.     He would not sleep during night; when day broke 
    He would think thus: “My low and inferior birth 
    Will not suffer my adoring at that holy shrine; 
    Even this thought comes to me by my Lord’s fiat.” 
    Thus thinking he would smother all attempts of visit; 
    Yet when nobly-bred love increasingly importuned him 
    He would say: “I’ll go to-morrow.”                (1061) 
22.     Having spent many days saying, “I’ll go to-morrow” 
    He reached a stage when he could no longer endure it; 
    To end his embodiment, fragile as poolai-flower, 
    He left his hoary town rich in spathaceous areca-trees 
    And came near to the outskirts of Tillai, girt with fields 
    Where valai fish leap and play about.                (1062) 
23.     He prostrated at Tillai’s bourne and rose up; 
    He beheld the smoke issuing dense 
    From the upsurging fire in the sacrificial pits; he heard 
    The chorus-chanting of the students of the Vedas 
    And knew that the sacred matams were nearby; 
    He thought of his base birth, felt scared, 
    Refused to move further and stood transfixed.            (1063) 
24.     Standing thus he contemplated its glorious inaccessibility, 
    Thus he mused: “If one could proceed further, 
    Cross and pass into the entrance of the city 
    Girt with forted walls, one could behold there. 
    In every one of the hill-like mansions vetikais 
    Fronting akutis, in all numbering three thousand; 
    Thus it is said.”                        (1064) 
25.     “As it is thus, I canst not go there.” So he thought. 
    Fear-besieged he would not dare proceed further; 
    Outside the forted walls of the city, 
    With great and insatiate love swelling within, 
    And with a heart that melted and hands that adored, 
    He went round and round the ineffably great limits 
    Of the city; thus, even thus, he spent his days.        (1065) 
26.     He circumambulated day and night, 
    Pondered over the inaccessibility of the shrine, 
    And the mind of the servitor devoted to the Lord’s feet, wilted; 
    The thought, “When will I ever adore the divine dance 
    Of the blue-throated Lord beauteous?” 
    Saddened him and he closed his eyes in slumber.            (1066) 
27.     “This (my wretched birth) is sure the clog.” 
    Thus thinking he slept; the gracious Lord 
    Of the Ambalam sensed his distress and to end 
    All the miseries of the aeviternal servitor, 
    He appeared in his dream with a gracious smile.            (1067) 
28.     “To end this embodiment, I bid you enter 
    The flame; this done, come to Us along 
    With the wearers of the sacred thread.” Thus He spake 
    To him and also to the Tillai-Brahmins 
    Bidding them prepare the fire for immolation; 
    Then the Lord, the True Ens, (went) to His Ambalam.        (1068) 
29.     All the Tillai-Brahmin-tapaswi true 
    Heard their Lord and were struck with fear; 
    They gathered before the Perambalam and said: 
    “We’ll do as graciously commanded by the Lord.” 
    Then with spiraling love they came to the servitor.        (1069) 
30.     “O lord, we come to you at the bidding of the Lord 
    Of Ambalam to rear for you fire fierce.” 
    When they spake thus, the melting servitor said: 
    “I stand redeemed!” and hailed them all; 
    the munis of the divine Gospels reared the flame 
    and duly apprised the servitor.                    (1070) 
31.     Thus informed by the Brahmins, before the tower 
    Cloud-capped and situate in the southern forted wall, 
    Panoplied in the perfect grace of the Lord-God, 
    He came unto the fire-pit prepared by the Brahmins, 
    Invoked the feet of the Lord and went round 
    The fire-pit in pious adoration.                (1071) 
32.     He adored with his folded hands, and with his mind 
    Set on the Dancing Feet, entered the fire-pit; 
    Gone was the unreal form of Asuddha-Maya, and now 
    He blazed with the true and pious form of a Muni; 
    With the sacred thread dangling on his chest 
    And the matted hair on his crest, 
    Up he rose from out of the pit of fire.                (1072) 
33.     When thus he rose up from ruddy fire, verily 
    He was like unto Brahma enthroned on red lotus; 
    Celestial tuntupis resounded from on high; 
    The immortal heavenly Lords rejoiced uproariously; 
    They rained fresh-petalled mandara flowers cool.        (1073) 
34.     The (spiritually) rich Tillai-Brahmins, folding 
    Their hands, adored him; great and worthy servitors 
    Bowed before him and felt supremely delighted. 
    Thus, even thus, the sainted Brahmin, Tiru-Nalai-p-povar 
    Emerged forth to hail the Ankleted Feet that dance 
    In Tiruchitrambalam, the cynosure of the Gospels rare.        (1074) 
35.     With the Brahmins of Tillai, he entered the city 
    And reached the tower of the Lord, whose hand sports 
    A sylvan fawn; adoring this he moved in swiftly 
    And came unto the proscenium near which the Lord 
    Doth dance to mantle the cosmos with redemptive grace. 
    None saw him thereafter.                    (1075) 
36.     Brahmins marvelled; munis rare adored; 
    The great Dancer of infinite bliss, did away 
    With the flawed Karma of the servitor that reached Him, 
    And blessed him to hail for ever His beauteous lotus-feet.    (1076) 
37.     Having cast away by purificatory immolation 
    His flawed embodiment and transformed into a blemishless muni, 
    He reached the hallowed feet of the Lord of Ambalam; 
    We hail his lustrous feet sacred, and proceed 
    To narrate the divine service of Tiru-k-Kurippu-th-Tondar 
    Whose toil did away with pasam.                    (1077) 
Stanza    Line 
   6     6    Bottle-ground    :    Cucurbita legearia 
   8     1    Maruda        :    Arjuna tree. 
     3    Vanchi        :    A tree.  Glabrous mahua of the Malabar coast. 
  14     5    Gorochana    :    Cow’s bezoar. 
  17        The Lord is enshrined in the adytum and He faces straight the entrance  
        to the temple.  Between the adytum and the entrance is enshrined Nandi.  
        If the icon of Nandi is of the normal size, normally no difficulty will be  
        encountered in having a darshan of the Lord even from the entrance-tower.  
        At Tiru-p-punkoor, the icon of Nandi is unusually of a large size  
        obstructing such vision. 
        Agamas have it that a worshipper should not straight proceed near to the  
        sanctum sanctorum.  He should humbly stand behind Nandi, hail him, and  
        then with his leave, proceed to adore the Lord.  Nandi is known as Aadi-Guru  
        (The Primal Preceptor) and Campu the second.  Campu is a name of Siva.   
        Siva is also called Nandi.  “Nandi Namam Nama Sivayave” are the words of  
        St. Sambandhar. 
        An unexampled exception in the mode of worship was made by the Lord in  
        the case of Nandanar, the untouchable.  Yes, he was an untouchable and no  
        evil or pollution could ever touch him.  The Lord demonstrated to the world  
        the fact that he was even greater than the Tillai Brahmins. 
  24     5    Vetikai        :    The small platform before the sacrificial pit  
                    where holy vessels etc., are kept for worship. 
        Akuti        :    The homa-kunda; sacrificial-pit. 
  32     3    Asuddha Maaya    :    The causa materials of the cosmos. 
  33     5    Mandara        :     A celestial tree. 

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. thirunALaippOvAr nAyanAr (nandhanAr) nAyanAr purANam in English prose 

  2. திருநாளைப் போவார் நாயனார் புராணம் (தமிழ் மூலம்) 

  3. thiruththoNDar purANam main page

  4. 12 shaivite thirumuRais 


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