The Religion and Philosophy of Tevaram (Thevaram)

by M. A. Dorai Rangaswamy | 1958 | 410,072 words

This page describes “(d) symbology of the yajnopavita as an ornament of shiva” from the part dealing with Nampi Arurar (Sundarar) and Mythology, viz. Puranic stories and philosophy. The 7th-century Thevaram (or Tevaram) contains devotional poems sung in praise of Shiva. These hymns form an important part of the Tamil tradition of Shaivism

Chapter 4.6 - (d) Symbology of the Yajnopavita as an ornament of Shiva

Shiva’s image shines with a ‘yajnopavita’. We have already seen the significance of Shiva being specially called ‘Yajnopavitin’ where He wears the yajnopavita leading on to the conception of order and rulership. When Brahminism took deeper root in this country, this yajnopavita came to signify its prevalence.

The use of ‘Pancavati’ as yanopavita has been referred to in our discussion of the Brahma sirascheda murti’.

The poet refers to yajnopavita as “Purinul” —‘the twisted thread’; He speaks of it as the white thread of embracing darnings —“Ilai taluvu ven mil” It is so characteristic that our poet speaks of it as that; it is on the body of the Lord—“Meyyatu puri

nul” He is the Lord of the sacred thread—“Purinulutai Nam-pi”. It is pure white—“Venpuri nul” ‘Ven nul” and it glistens “Vittilanku puri nul” Our author gives a poetic description of this beautiful sight of the sacred thread on the form of Shiva.

The Lord is red like the coral mountain and the sacred thread appears to him like a stream of crystal diving into this coral mountain:

Palkku-t tarai pavala verpil
Kulikkum pot nul

In one place the poet speaks of “Pun nan avator aravam” and if we compare the modern usage of “Pun nul” for the sacred thread, we have to assume that the poet is contemplating a case of the serpent itself being the sacred thread of the Lord.


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