"I am also a serviteur of Yeyar Pakai who never said: 'No' "
- The Tiru-th-Tonda-th-Tokai
1. Famous it is by the abiding glory of the Chola kings,
-- Ancestors of the white parasolled Anapaya --;
It is maruda realm dight with watery fields;
Here flows the Cauvery bestowing foison, and as it merges
Into the main it purifies it making it goodly, vast and glorious;
Fronting this is fecund Pukar flourishing well. (404)
2. He was the first among the merchant-clan of the city;
He flourished well endowed with endless wealth;
Whatever was sought by the devotees -- whoever they be --,
Of the Lord’s feet decked with the anklets of the Vedas,
He would grant without ever saying ‘No’;
Thus he – Ulaku-Yeyar-Pakaiyar --, throve
Poised in ready munificence in this sea-girt earth. (405)
3. Unequalled is their true service to the Lord
Who sports on His matted hair the river Ganga;
Their hearts are ever filled with the endless grace of the Lord;
So he rendered for those devotees – the wearers of the holy ash --,
All types of service desired by their mind;
He also deemed it his glory to perform all that was
By the devotees commanded, and this, he thought
Was the beatitude of his life, as an unswerving householder;
Thus, even thus, he flourished. (406)
4. He is the subtle One to be meditated with Gnosis;
He is the One who dances visibly in the Ambalam.
Whether His disguise was known to the Goddess
Of the celestials or unknown even to Her who is
Ever inseparate from the Lord, we know not
He took the form of a base lecherous Brahmin
Decked with the holy ash on his golden frame;
Thus he came robed in deception to His devotee
To demonstrate his never-declining nature. (407)
5. He came to Pukar serene, passed through the street
Of merchants and arrived at the house of Yeyar-Pakaiyar
Who came to greet Him bowing reverentially,
Impelled by great love and deeming Him to be
The servitor of the Lord-Father; Him he adored
With flowers ritualistically and said:
“Is it as a result of my great askesis of yore that I am
Blessed with the advent of a great Muni?” (408)
6. The deceptive Brahmin that stood fronting Yeyar-Pakaiyar
Who bade him a warm welcome, spake:
“I’ve heard it said that whatever is sought from you
By the servitors of the Lord who wears konrai flowers
On His matted hair, you deem it your good duty
To grant it truly, never once expressing refusal;
I come this day seeking a thing from you;
If you consent (to my request) I’ll declare my intent.” (409)
7. Hearkening to His words, Yeyar-Pakaiyar said:
“If there be aught owned by me, that truly belongs
To my Lord’s servitors; it admits of no doubt.
Be pleased to grace me with your demand.”
When he spake thus, pat came His reply.
“I came here to secure for me your loving wife.”
Though the gracious One Spake thus, the joy
Of the pure devotee but doubled, and he
Addressed Him, bowing in reverence, thus: (410)
8. “This is indeed a boon granted to me, as what is
Sought of me is only what I already have.”
He then swiftly moved in and addressed his beloved wife,
A woman par excellence in chastity
And poised in the dharmic life of a housewife, thus:
“O woman nobly descended! Oh my duly wedded wife!
This day I gift you to this true tapaswi.”
The noble wife whose locks were decked with honied blooms
Stood dismayed; eftsoon she recovered and spake thus: (411)
9. “If this be your gracious hest to me this day
What though your command e, Oh lord of my dear life,
I should obey and perform it; option none I have.”
This said she paid obeisance to her husband unique.
The devotee Yeyar-Pakaiyar reciprocated it;
She moved away, adored the sacred feet
Of the tapaswi and stood all bewildered.
Oh the woman greater than even Lakshmi! (412)
10. The great tapaswi Yeyar-Pakaiyar who gifted away his wife
Felt greatly delighted and bloomed in happiness;
Bowing he said: “Is there any thing else I can do?”
Hearing him, the true Brahmin -- the Lord --, said:
“As I have to proceed singly with this woman
You should accompany and help me
Pass this town unmolested by your loving kin.” (413)
11. When thus He spake, Yayar-Pakaiyar thought:
“This is a service which I myself should have done
Unprompted; now that I have made him tell me
What I should do, I am become blame-worthy.”
He then moved into another apartment, decked himself
With golden vestments and tight breeches. (414)
12. Out he came armed with sword and shield
And bowed before Him; he looked a heroic lion;
He caused the tapaswi and the matron walk before him;
Them he followed close, ready to smite them all
Who would offer any resistance. (415)
13. The kin of the wife and also of the munificent lord,
Thus thought: “Whoever did act like this?
Yeyar-Pakai is sure demented; but does that mean
Some one else can walk away with his wife?
To cure them of the stigma, they rose to bar their way. (416)
14. Armed with javelins, bows, swords and daggers
They rose like a hurricane and reached
The guarded outskirts of the city and stood thronging
Encircling them; loud was the din and noise.
It looked as though the sea itself rose up in arms. (417)
15. Before the Lord-Guide who fared forth casting
Looks of lust on the woman, followed by him
Who came with them to protect them on their way,
They stood thick, and said: “O evil one! Stop!
Leave her, the gentle creeper – the paragon
Of our clan --, and go away freed of your sin.” (418)
16. As the Vedic Muni looked at her as if scared,
She said: “O lord, fear not; Yeyar-Pakai ‘ll triumph.”
Hearing this, Yeyar Pakai, the wearer of heroic anklet, said:
“I, your slave will fell them all to fall on earth;
Feel not depressed at all.” (419)
17. He looked at the host like an angered lion
And from his looks sputtered sparks of fire;
Addressing the hostile throng of kin that thither
Gathered feeling dishonoured and stigmatized,
He said: “Flee away, every one of you, and be saved;
Otherwise you will all be cut and quartered
By my sword blazing sharp.” (420)
18. “Sirrah! What have you done? How speak you like this?
The whole land will blame you; your foes ‘ll laugh
Derisively; but you are not a whit ashamed.
Having gifted your wife to the Brahmin, can you
This day, indulge in a panegyric of bravado?
We would rather perish, one and all
Than suffer your gift pass from you.” Thus they. (421)
19. As he heard them speak thus, bitter wrath
Soared in him and he thundered thus:
“I’ll cut you all and scatter the pieces everywhere;
I’ll dispatch your lives to the heavens and then only
Permit the tapaswi to proceed.” Thus the good one spake. (422)
20. When he rose up to give battle, the circling kin
Did not face him but rushed to obstruct
The Brahmin -- the One that ever rides the Bull --,
Who continued His journey with the matron;
In spiraling wrath, the opposing host
Came before Him and checked His progress. (423)
21. When they thus obstructed Him, Yeyar-Pakai raged in anger;
With his sword -- his sole help --, he fought the battle;
He was now on the right, now on the left;
He cut off the heads, shoulders and legs of those
Who durst face him; he was like a triumphant tiger;
He distinguished himself as one unique in warfare. (424)
22. Some came in throngs; some advanced singly;
Some came from such directions as suited them;
When thus they gave him battle, the hero emerged
Before them all and proved himself
Greater than their combined force;
Quick was his leap and sudden his slaughter. (425)
23. Intestines gushed out; bodies were cut to pieces;
Heads lay broken; vultures gathered everywhere;
Eyes blazed in anger; there was none left to oppose him;
He, the warrior who wore on his crown Siva’s feet,
Roamed victorious over the whole field. (426)
24. Blood bubbled and coursed in streams;
The field was littered with corpses; only those of the kin
Lived that fled away; all others perished;
Sole he stood on the field with his long sword. (427)
25. He that gifted away his wife to the Brahmin
And massacred al! his resenting kin
Now addressed the muni thus: “O great one!
I’ll accompany you that you may fearlessly cross
This wondrous garden.” This said, he joined Him. (428)
26. The woman walked after the one unique who was
Unknown to the Two; the hero of great skill
Fared forth following her; the muni
Was proceeding ahead of them both.
When the muni came near Saikkadu
He turned to the valiant and said: “Now return.” (429)
27. When thus the tapaswi-muni gave him leave,
He prostrasted at His feet and as it were
Wore them on his crown; he praised Him
Whose advent was redemptive unto the triple worlds,
And felt happy that he was blessed to receive
His grace divine; Yeyar Pakai then departed. (430)
28. When the goodly servitor -- the performer
Of the deed well-nigh impossible to perform --,
Departed, the Lord, blue-throated and eight-shouldered,
-- The Brahmin true --, eyed him in delight;
Thus He thought: “Lo, his heart knows no falsity;
He started recalling him whose heart was truth’s abode. (431)
29. “O Yeyar Pakai Muni, save me! Come back to save me!
O the unforgetting one, save me! Dear one, save me!
O hero that performed the rarest deed, save me!
Thus cried He whom the Vedas that cure befuddlement,
And Vishnu and Brahma searched in vain. (432)
30. As he heard the summoning voice, he answered aloud:
“I have come, I have come, your servitor;
If there be any still to oppose you, my strong hand
Will wield the mighty sword whose prey they are.”
Thus he cried and came running thither;
The Lord, the wearer of ear-ring, by then vanished
To reappear before him in His form of Grace. (433)
31. Yeyar Pakai saw not the muni, he but saw the woman;
He beheld his Lord and His Consort mounted on the Bull
And it looked as though an auric hill stood beauteous
On an argentine hill; he no longer stood on the ground;
He fell on earth and prostrated; he rose up to hail Him. (434)
32. “I know not how to articulate, praise be!
O the form that for me manifested, praise be!
You hastened to grace me and made me
Your sempiternal servitor, praise be!
O grantor of endless bliss to me, praise be!
O the feet that dance in Tillai Ambalam, praise be!” (435)
33. When thus he hailed Him that was enthroned
On the white Bull poised in the skyey expanse,
Spake the Lord thus: “We feel happy, having witnessed
On earth your act of devoted love for Us; O flawless one!
Come and abide with Us with your fair wife.” (436)
34. Unto the divine devotee stablished in grace
And his divinely chaste wife poised in clarity,
The Lord granted fittingly bliss eternal,
And caused the celestials hail them;
Then the Lord – the Rider of the Bull --,
Took to His form invisible in the Ether of Gnosis. (437)
35. The celestials showered flowers, the Vedas great resounded;
Munis of great wisdom sang their praise;
Thus were the flawless devotees with beatitude blessed
To dwell and adore the Lord in the ever-blessed Siva-Loka;
The kin that perished in the skirmish gained Valhalla. (438)
36. Having humbly hailed the glory of the servitor
Who gifted his sweet spouse willingly
To one who was a devotee of the Lord
I now proceed to hail the glory of Ilasai Maran
A loving servitor of the Lord’s devotees. (439)
1 Maruda : The region of arable tracts.
2 6 Ulaku-yeyar-
Pakayar : This name suggests that he was
hostile to the nature of the World
(i.e.) to the worldly. We must in
this context think of the name
Maran by which Nammazhwar was
known in his childhood. Maran
means, one who is contrary to the
nature of the world(ly).
4 The acts of the Lord appear to be inconsistent. He who
is invisible (without form) dances in Tillai visibly (with
form). He who has no form whatever assumes a disguise.
He comes as a libidinous debauchee. But His body is
bright with the pure stripes of the holy ash. Now the
question is this. Is His coming known to His Consort?
If it is known to her, She will not suffer Him to seek
the wife of some one else. If it is said that it is
unknown to Her, that will be impossible, for She
shares for ever His very frame. Therefore it is,
our saint says: “We do not know.”
26 2 the Two : Brahma and Vishnu.
29 2 The unforgetting
one : One who never forgets the Lord.
30 6-7 The Lord who came to put his devotee to test, in the guise
of a Brahmin, cast away His disguise. To the true devotee
the Lord now reveals His true form.
33 The great commentator Siva-k-Kavi says that the wife had
come to abide with Him already. The husband was only
bidden to join her.
Sincere thanks to Sri. T N Ramachandran of thanjavur, for permitting his English rendering of the holy text periyapurANam be published here.