The Religion and Philosophy of Tevaram (Thevaram)

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

This page describes “thiruvarur or tiruvarur (hymn 83)” 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

Chapter 72 - Thiruvarur or Tiruvarur (Hymn 83)


As soon as our poet got back his partial eyesight his mind naturally goes back to Thiruvarur and he exclaims, “When am I to approach my Lord after stepping into Thiruvarur?” “Enrukol eytuvate?”—‘When am I to reach Him?’ is the refrain of all these verses, these words forming the last half of every fourth line of every verse.

He speaks of certain obstacles to be removed at the methods of worshipping the Lord, at the same time describing the Lord in terms of Puranic stories and also expressing his own views about the precious nature of the Lord. Thiruvarur comes back to his mind—Thiruvarur of the South (1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9), where the zephyr casts its fragrance (2), the city of rich fields full of excellent paddy (3), rich and cool fields beautified by rich soil and water (4), the city surrounded by strong fortress walls (9).


“At sunrise and sunset and at mid-day reciting the Pancaksara and mentally cogitating about Him, when am I to reach my father and patron before the ancient chronic karma coming uppermost enshrouds me?” (1). “When shall I reach Him with all my mind getting cool and collected, without any agitation, showering on Him crowded flowers both day and night and going round Him in circumambulation so that the well established karmic cruelty may depart from me?” (2). “Because of the ancient ignorance in the previous births, the mind thought of, later on, so many things. For removing these thoughts and illusion or confusion of mind, when am I to reach Thiruvarur, to attain the sweetest nectar of my life?” (3). “Good thoughts were destroyed during those days—thoughts of killing the rare lives and other faults cropped up. When am I to enter Thiruvarur, stepping on to its frontiers, when am his slave, to reach Him for completely destroying all these thoughts and defects?” (4). These thoughts probably refer to his thoughts of war as a political leader.


In the rest of the hymn, he refers to the descriptions of the Lord according to the Purarias and philosophies concluding at the end of every verse. “When am I to reach or attain Him?” He expresses the great value he sets upon the Lord in his usual way calling Him, “Oppamardc cempon’ (7), ‘fine gold which has no equal’; Wonmanf (7) ‘the good gem’; he further speaks of Him, ‘En port, en mani’, ‘my gold and my gem’ (7) and ‘Emmirai’ (8) ‘my Lord’. He exclaims, “When shall I see the Lord, so that my eye which has been always remembering Him hankering after or burning as it were for His sight may become cool and happy?” (9).

The Lord is the light all round the five elements and the sun. (6). He is the sevenfold tunes of those who are experts in the munificent Tamil (6). He is the sound of the seven strings of the yal (6). He is the treasure for every soul (7).


He describes this hymn ‘the ten verses of flowers’ of many and high sounding words, uttered by Uran, the Lord of Navalur, out of his longstanding good love for Arur where resides the Lord (10).


The Poet has referred to the Puranic descriptions of the Lord as the father of Him, who had cut the mango tree in the sea (5), as that light which besmears its body with the sacred ash (5) and adorns itself with the garment of the tiger skin (5), as One who receives the alms offered (5), as the beginning of everything (5, 9), as One who is beautified by the bull (8), as One sharing His form with that of the Mother Goddess (7), as One who crowns Himself with the dancing serpent up and above the crown beautified by the Ganges (8), as One who goes about begging in the skull as the great One beyond the reach of Visnu and Brahma (9) and as One who has the lightning-like ruddy mat-lock (10).

It is clear that the poet looks upon Thiruvarur as a heaven on earth (10) and having experienced thus he assures the readers of this verse that those who had mastered the ten verses of this hymn will surely attain this bliss of the golden heaven (10).


As already pointed out the poet has also experienced a golden holiness within himself driving away the sense of guilt from which he was suffering. This experience of feeling himself a ‘Punniyan , inspires him to address his readers as Punniyar (10).

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