The Religion and Philosophy of Tevaram (Thevaram)

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

This page describes “thiruneedur or tirunitur (hymn 56)” 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 51 - Thiruneedur or Tirunitur (Hymn 56)

I

The subjective experience becomes objectified as a message pointing out the holy place of our refuge. This hymn continues it to the next stage of emphasizing the worship which is another name for taking refuge in the Lord, “Is it proper or possible to leave Him without falling at His feet?”— Paniyavitalame?”— this is the refrain of this hymn.

II

The poet himself states that this is a garland of a hymn of his loving cry to the Lord, a cry of his heart, loving to see the feet of his patron and fall at His feet (11). As usual, we can take the assurance he gives the readers of the hymn as an expression of his experience whilst singing this hymn (11). The Lord has become enshrined here for us all. Those who could bow down before Him enshrined in every city of this world are certain of becoming His Bhaktas and sure of attaining salvation (11).

Ill

In keeping with the progressive objectification pointed out, the poet describes the natural beauty of this holy place as well, unlike in the previous two hymns. The holy place offers a feast to our five senses—a divine feast inasmuch as the scenery is a divine vision leading us to the Lord and to His mercy objectified in that scenery instead of the five senses misleading us into the temptations of the world. The fertility of the place full of waters in the fields (promising a sweet feast of paddy) attracts our attention as much as the rich and fruitful Grace of the Lord (1). The fields circumambulate the place as it were. The sugarcanes, bringing to our memory the blocks of sugar-candy, grow tall and full of juice all round this place, a great feast for our taste and our tongues (7). In these fields of water—so tempting us all to bathe, a feast to our tactual senses—bathe and dance, glisten and jump the fish in all joy—ah! the waters themselves dance in this city of great Dance Master (3). There is a feast to the eyes and to the ears—a feast of art full of spiritual value to our imagination. The hall of dance and concert is the garden with the overhanging clouds. The keels sing and cry and by their side the glorious peacocks dance with the swans—all these movements of the dance ending slowly in the ripples of the water (4). Punnai and matavi shoot out their flowers (2). When all light ceases and it is all dark, then also shines the glory of the Lord (3); the jasmine blooms in the quiet of the night spreading out its all pervasive sweet fragrance all round the place a feast to a most primitive sense of the nose (10).

IV

The puranic stories also come in, harmonized with this colourful and rich nature—the white bull (1), the vertical eye in the forehead (1), the blue throat (1), the mat-lock with the crescent (2), the trident (3), the fire in the hand (7), the Katvanga (7), the sacred thread (7), the ear-ring (7), the skull (7), the elephant’s skin (10), the dance and the song of the forest (6), the Vedas (4), the conquest of Death (6), the game of hide and seek played with Visnu and Brahma (6) and the hunter coming to bless Arjuna (2) and the Lord of the Trinity (5).

V

Our poet gives expression to his own experience of the Lord. “He is the Supreme beyond everything” (5), “the Great Dancer” (6), “the King” (8), “the Beautiful” (10), “the All Powerful” (11). “He is the Lord whom even I love” (10). “He is our patron whom we every day honour and love” (3). “He is so happy with His followers” (10). “He makes us receive His Grace devoid of all miseries” (3). Our poet gives expression to his experience in the form of universal truth about the Lord. “The Lord is the purest” (11). “He is devoid of all blots or faults who has renounced completely the five sensations”, an idea which Kural also emphasizes (5), as “Porivayil aintavittan”. “He is so sweet to speak about, He with His thousands of names” (11). “He is sweeter than the education we have received” (5). “He is fond of Nitur [Needur], for blessing us all therein” (11). “He removes all our miseries and saves us all” (10). “He is the sweetest and the most blissful removing all our afflctions—the destroyer of all the chronic and ancient karmas” (8). “He is the Lord of indestructable great fame” (7). “He is the nectar unto those who take refuge in Him” (10). “He is near unto those who are good (or, an ornament to them)” (10), “indifferent unto those who are indifferent unto Him” (2). “He is difficult of approach to the egotists but easy of reach to those whose conscience is clear and to those who hanker after Him for a sight of His” (5). “He is the path of purity” (4), “He who shows us well the Path” (3). “If the followers become faultless He grants them a communion with Him” (5). “He is all in all and All Powerful bringing the diseases so that the egotists’ soul may through that experience of diseases fall down exhausted to take refuge in Him, when He at once will destroy their chronic Karmas (8). “Yes! He is the Creator of this body and all the illusions” (8). “He creates us all, not to become fettered” (8). “He is the Creation and Destruction” (4). “He becomes the Powerful wind and the Fire to destroy the world, to give it rest” (8). “It is again He, who destroys the delusions of the mind and who shines as the great intelligence within our mind”, (8) “removing all our attachments and our karmic relationships inspiring us to sing of this praise and dance in joy” (6).

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