The Religion and Philosophy of Tevaram (Thevaram)

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

This page describes “thirukolakka or tirukkolakka (hymn 62)” 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 52 - Thirukolakka or Tirukkolakka (Hymn 62)

I

This is a hymn describing, according to Cekkilar, the vision our poet had at this holy place of Thirukolakka, probably because every verse herein ends with the words, “I have seen the Lord at Kolakka” even as our poet has described his vision of “.Kalumalam” or “Cikali” by stating “Kalumala valanakark kantukon-tene’ (H. 58). It is thus clear Cekkilar considers this hymn as of great importance. If it is a description of a vision, this hymn must be taken to be' expressing our poet’s experience of God as confirming the esoteric message of the Puranas.

“The Lord is the great prop to those who fall at His feet, this Lord of the elements (or, the souls), One who has become so easy of reach unto our poet; He is the Lord adorning Himself with the serpents of the anthills—so easy of reach to them, but He is impossible of approach to the rest as we see Him destroying the three cities”—This is the substance of the first verse showing us how the poet who feels his own subjective experience of the Lord confirms the truths of the Puranas. It is in these terms the other verses also have to be interpreted.

II

The Mother’s company (2), the crescent moon on the matlock (2), the shawl of an elephant’s skin (2), the garment of the tiger’s skin (3), the three eyes (3), the Lordship over the eternals (4), the great Devas (4), the fatherhood over Kumara (4), the hidden Ganges (4), the bull (6), the form of fire (6), the conquest of Death on behalf of Markandeya (6), the begging with the Brahma kapala (7), the konrai (7), the dance with the bhutas (8), the crushing down of Ravana and bestowing gifts because of his song (9), becoming invisible to Brahma and Visnu (9)—are all mentioned in this hymn.

“He is the Lord of the bhutas (1), the great and pure prop to His followers easy of reach unto me, as the great destroyer of sins, though impossible of approach to others” (1). “He is all knowledge of the books, the Vedas and the angas which are His forms” (2). “He is the music of poetry” (3). “He is sweet as the love of the heart of Bhaktas” (3). “He shines in the acts of the Devas of the world (Brahmins), our Lord, the Lord of mine, His servant” (3). “He is pleased to save me and accept me with confidence as His servant” (4). “The great Siva” (4), “the rich honey” (4), “He, who came that day in the presence of the people of this wide world to accept me as His servant after producing the deed of slavery, only to disappear all of a sudden at Thiruvennainallur” (5), “that great bunch of pearls” (5), “He who had decided to confer salvation” (5). “He stands as wind, the fire and water, the great transcendent principle, the meaning and significance of all perfect arts and knowledge” (6), “the great flame shining like a great light” (7), “the very idea of the mind” (8), “He, who has become the head, the eye, the mouth, the ear, the nose and the whole body to remove, as my Lord, all the cruel karmas” (9). “He is the Lord whose characteristic feature it is to sympathize with the song of Nana Campantar who spread Tamil every day through his sweet music and to bless him with the cymbal in the presence of the people of this world” (8)—That is how our poet is describing the Lord of the vision emphasizing thus the Lord’s Grace to the Bhaktas, His form of knowledge, His form of poetry and music, His omnipresence, all intended to cure us of our chronic karma and to confer salvation. Our poet’s experience as usual is thus expressed as a subjective fact and objective truth.

IV

Our poet again as usual emphazies the bliss of the Lord as his sweetest experience of honey (4), as something precious as the bunch of pearls (5). This holy place is full of the reminiscences of his leader Nana Campantar and our poet describes the incident of Campantar getting the talam (cymbal) (8). Our poet also describes how he had himself been saved by the Lord (4, 5). He is reminded of the Tillai dance (4), of the great temple of Kolili (8), where our poet prayed for the Lord’s help for transporting the grains (H. 20) and of Venneinallur where our poet was saved (5).

Siva is the name of the Lord which Saivites cherish in their heart and our poet mentions that word in this hymn (4). Above all, our poet describes the Lord as the most precious gem of a master or Guru (4).

V

Our poet suggests here as elsewhere the worship of Lord through Vedic mantras and rites (2), through music (3), through dance (3, 4, 8), through art (6) and through the realization of God everywhere in the universe (8, 9) and inside the temple (8). The Bhaktas are described by our poet as embodiments of truth, honour and poetry (10)—these belong to the beautiful community of Bhaktas—an idea which we often compared with what Periyalvar calls as ‘Tontakkulam’. Our poet speaks of the path he has followed in this hymn as that path which is already known to the people as the path of love wherein the whole world out of love stands with His heart melting in sympathy and love (10).

VI

In this hymn, the poet has emphazised the bliss, the precious beauty of light and love of the great divine dance (7). Having experienced the Lord thus, our poet assures his readers that they will reach the goal of the great Dancer of the forest (burning-ghat) as their own city. (10).

VII

The beauty of the place fits in with the harmony of divine Grace. It is a place where flock the people of this world and the other from the Heavens (2). It is Kalakka, the beautiful spot, sweet with the fragrance of the kura flower of the gardens where go in procession as it were the pollen dust (2). It is a place of rich fields full of water in the tanks (3)—this most beautiful place of fields where jump and frisk about the monkeys (9).

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