The Religion and Philosophy of Tevaram (Thevaram)

by M. A. Dorai Rangaswamy | 1958 | 181,393 words

This page describes “thirukadaiyur or tirukkatavur (hymn 54)” from the part dealing with the Pilgrim’s progress (with Paravai), which represents the development of Arurar’s Mysticism as gleaned from his hymns. The Thevaram (or Tevaram) contains devotional poems from the 7th century sung in praise of Shiva. These hymns form an important part of the Tamil tradition of Shaivism

Chapter 45 - Thirukadaiyur or Tirukkatavur (Hymn 54)

I

In this hymn the poet becomes subjective. The same description of the Lord as the Kapali and Bhiksatana of the grave yard still continues to occupy the central place. But the world before him, the world of his political influence with chiefs and kings who claim him as their companion, stands contrasted with this divine bliss (10). He enjoys repeating these descriptions and exclaims after the experience of this joy, “Ah, My Lord, my Nectar, Who is there as my help or prop except yourself?”—This is the burden of this hymn. He has already explained God bestowing on Him His friendship. This is what our poet himself states in the last verse as the theme of this hymn, the interrogation being, “Can there be any other help or prop?” The bliss of the previous hymn and this hymn comes forth as the assertion, “Who is my companion except yourself?” The first two lines and a half in every verse describe the Lord; the second half of the third line ends in “Katavurtanul virattattu em” (1, 2, 5, 6, 7) or “Katavurttirumrattattul” (3, 8, 9, 10) or “Katvurtanul Virattanattu” (4). (As suggested by one reading all these endings must have been originally of one kind only, viz., “Katavur tanul virattattu em”). The fourth line ends with the words, “En Amute enakku dr tunai ni alate”? except in 3, 8 where instead of “En Amute” they begin with “Entdtaipperuman” (3), “Arar Cencataiyay” (8). The first word of these fourth lines mention the emphatic relationship of the Lord to himself. This is the pattern of the sentence in every verse.

II

The conception of Virattanam had been already referred to in our description of the Puranic mythology. The Puranic personality is described in this hymn in relation to the sacred ash (1), the trident (1), the Ganges (1), the konrai (1), the crescent moon (2), the beggar’s bowl of a Brahma Kapala (2), the blue throat (2, 4, 5), the exposition of Dharma (3), the destruction of Death (3), the deer (3), the elephant’s skin (4, 5), the gold form (4), the company of the Mother (4), the serpent (5), the graveyard (7), the ear ring (8), the tusk of the boar (8) and the invisibility of the Lord to Visnu and Brahma (9).

III

The poet gives expression to his subjective experience apart from the realization of these puranic truths. The Lord is “Sarva vida bandhu”—all kinds of relationships—the master (1), the Sovereign (2), his father (3), his brother (6), his Chief (5), the precious and rare one (7); the creator (9)—as mentioned through the emphatic beginning words of the 4th lines. In all the vterses except for the words, “En Amute”, are found words connoting a conception of the Lord as experienced by our poet coming more and more to the forefront as we stand elsewhere. Therefore, in the two other verses (3, 8) also these words must have a place. In the third verse a reading may be suggested “Entdy ennamute” and in the eighth verse, it might have been “Arar ennamute” (“The Lord of the River Ganges, my nectar or my nectar carrying the river).

He gives more of his experience, “You entered into my soul—no delusion is this—and you have not till now known leaving me (5). “I am your slave, O, my rich Light! O, Sival (8)”. I cannot decide and place my reliance on anybody other than yourself (8)”. You are unknown to Brahma and Vipnu but yet you are the sweet fruit of enjoyment for us (Payan—9)—Our Supreme Lord, the Supreme Light beyond everything (9)”. The transcendental and immanent principle as experienced by him is given expression to, “He is the earth, water, fire, space, air and all the elements evolving from these subtle categories (6). “He has further become the male and female and sexless beings and other forms of this world—the One who has thus assumed these forms (6). Yet He is (the gem) the apple of the eye (6). He is the beauty (Er) (10), and the all pervasive Lord (Irai 10) of the beautiful chief of Navalur.

IV

Thinking of the Beauty of the Lord, our poet himself feels he is beautiful—out of the feeling of communion. But he hastens to describe himself as the slave, the servant of His feet (10). Enjoying the divine bliss all through this hymn when describing the Lord and being in communion with Him and the divine bliss of the sphere of the Absolute beyond everything, he assures his readers of his Tamil verse of this world that they will all be undergoing the same experience of the bliss of Paraloka—being in that Paraloka itself (10).

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