The Religion and Philosophy of Tevaram (Thevaram)

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

This page describes “tiruvekampam (hymn 61)” from the part dealing with the Pilgrim’s progress (away from Otriyur and Cankili), which represents the development of Arurar’s Mysticism as gleaned from his hymns. 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


“Ekampam” is considered to be the Tamil form of the Sanskrit word “Ekamram”, the unique mango tree, probably the old temple of Kanci receiving all worship, the Lord there being known as Ekamranatha, Ekampavanan or Kampan. The mango tree is even now within the temple premises. But by the time of Nampi Arurar, the temple has become of great importance to jSaivites. Mahendra Varma, in his Matta Vildsam, refers to the Kapali coming from the temple of Ekamranatha. The Kamakkottam or the temple of the Mother Goddess is important in this city. The name of the deity of this temple had assumed the Tamil form Kampan which has become the proper name of the people of the age like Kalikkampan, etc.


On reaching Kanci, on his way back to Thiruvarur, the poet is said to have got back the sight of one eye. At this partial recovery of the eyesight, the poet exclaims in joy, “Kanak kan atiyen perravare”—“Ah! how I, a slave, got the eye to see the Lord” (1-10). ‘

The last half of every fourth line of this verse ends with the refrain of an exclamation ‘Kanak kan atiyen perravare. The rest of the verses piles up the description of the Lord in the accusative case. In the last verse, the poet states that this hymn was sung by him—Navalaruran—in good Tamil expressing the idea that he as a slave has been blessed with an eye to see the Lord.


The Puranic descriptions which imply the Grace of God showered on His followers and removing at the same time the obstructions in the way are referred to—the Lord’s feast of the poison (li 5), the worship by the Mother Goddess, a worship which is repeated in every verse, His destruction of the Lord of Death (4), and the three cities (3, 9) and Kama (3) and Daksa (9), His bull (11), His eight arms (9), His flaying of the elephant (3), His mat-lock (2), His konrai flower (4), His ear with the Zcundala (4), His battle-axe (5), His crescent moon (6) and His Ganges (6).


The Lord is referred to as ‘Komivan’ (11)—the victorious, ‘Kampan’ (1-11) the term already explained, ‘Kuttan’ (11) the dancer, ‘Adi (1) the beginning of everything, ‘Vittakan’ (5), the wise or mysterious person, SSnia’ (8), the name so dear and sacred to the Shaivites, ‘Devadevan (6) the Lord of the Devas, ‘Nitkantakan (9) the One who is just and strict and ‘lean’ (10) the Lord.

The name ‘Kampan is found used with various significant adjectives ‘Periyakampan (3), ‘Nallakampan’ (5), ‘Kallakkam-pan’ (10): Kampa the Great; Kampa the Good; and Kam pa the Deceitful, deceitful because He remained latent till Parvati worshipping Him embraced Him out of fear of the flood which the Lord Himself engineered for bringing about this happy consummation. It will be seen in this hymn, that all these references are to the deity worshipped by the Mother Goddess—Kanci-p-puranam. However, some writers differentiate among these and other names by explaining them as referring to various deities worshipped by Visnu, Brahma, Rudra and Parvati respectively.


The hymn is important in showing the method of worship followed by Mother Goddess Atarittu (2, 8), Etti (3, 5, 6, 7, 9), Kelumi (4), Maruvi (6), Paravi (9), “Ullattu[ki yukantumai Nankai valipataccennu’ (10)—Coming near and taking refuge in Him and embracing Him in love, praising and worshipping Him, always contemplating on Him in joy or with an elevated feeling. The poet also refers to the Pancagavya, for he addresses the Lord as “Palotu anaincum dftukantanthe Lord who is fond of the Pancagavya (8) inclusive of milk.


The results following the worship also are hinted at. the Lord resides in the Hearts of His followers as their ally removing all miseries and fetters; “Cintippdr avar cintai ulan” (1)—‘He who is in the mind of those who contemplate on Him’; “Urravark-kutavum Peruman” (2)—“the Great One helping those taking refuge in Him”; Parrinarkkenrum parnavan” (2)—‘Ever the prop unto those who catch hold of Him or who is attached to Him’; “Pavippar wnam pavikkontan” (2)—‘One who completely occupies the mind of those who contemplate on Him (probably as identical with themselves)’; “Altai tirttarul ceyyavallan” (5)— One who is capable of removing all our miseries and blessing us’; “Nanninarkkenrum nallavan” (7)—‘He who is good unto those who approach Him,’ “Cintittenrum ninainteluvarkal cintaiyir rikalum civan” (8)—‘Shiva who shines in the mind of those who contemplate on Him and ever get up remembering Him’, “Pantitta vinaip parraruppan” (8)—‘One who cuts away the fettering karmic bond'. In one way these descriptions may be taken as referring to the blessings the poet himself has received from the Lord. ‘Emman’ (1,2,4, 6, 7,8,9) or ‘Enkal piran’ (3, 5, 10)—‘My father or the Lord, the Patron of ours’ occurs in every verse. He refers to the Lord as “Ndmukakkinra Piran” (7)—‘the Patron whom we are fond of’ and “Periya Emperuman” (11)—‘Our Great Lord of high rank’.


He refers to the worship of the Lord by the learned men and the Vedic scholars—“Periya Emperuman enru eppotum karravar paravappatuvan” (11)—‘Who is ever praised as the great Lord of high rank by the learned, the very form of the rare Lord Himself is considered as the most learned for He is spoken of as the expert in the Vedas and their auxiliary studies. He is greatly fond of the Samaveda (6). It was He who has expounded the Vedas.

Among His followers, as usual, our poet makes a distinction between Amarar (1) and Vinnavar (7), Amarar probably referring to those of His followers who had attained eternity. The Lord is possessed, in abundance, of that upright conduct so much praised and worshipped by the Amarar. In other places he speaks of the Lord as ‘Umpar Kon’ (2)—‘the King of those of the higher regions’. ‘Devadevan’ (6)—‘the Deva of the Devas’, ‘Imaiyavar Kon’ (10)—‘the King of those who do not wink, probably the Devas’.


The joy of the special Grace of the Lord he had received by receiving partial eyesight, thanks to this feeling of guilt slowly fading away as a result of his confidence in the Lord’s Grace and bliss, makes him feel that he has been saved so as to escape from the evil path. He feels that he has been safely transported to the sphere of upright path. He feels that those who are masters of these ten verses will feel the same experience of reaching His sphere of Good Path (11).

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