The Religion and Philosophy of Tevaram (Thevaram)

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

This page describes “nayanar 38: gananatha (kananata)” from the religion of the Thevaram: a comparative study of the Shaivite saints the Thiruthondathogai. 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

The 38th saint is Kananata Nayanar [Gananatha]. The words of Arurar are, “Katarkalik Kananatan atiyarkkum atiyen”— ‘I am the servant of the servants of Kananata of Kali, the coastal town’.

Nampiyantar Nampi suggests that this saint was so called because he became the head of the Sivaganas, having trained the ‘Tontars and made them do such acts as befitted them.

According to Cekkilar, this saint was a Brahmin, training the Shaivites in performing ‘tout us’ like gardening, picking up flowers, making garlands, arranging for the sacred bath of the Lord, cleaning the sacred ground, painting it with the cow-dung, lighting lamps in the temple, writing and reading Tirumurai. He was so much attached to the sacred feet of Campantar that brought him the leadership of Sivaganas. The worship of Campantar by Kananata is a new information which is given only by Cekkilar.

The Darasuram sculptures give us a representation of Kananata inscribed as Gananadandar kadai. We see on the left side of the sculpture of this saint, the ‘tontars or Shaivite followers being trained. One is in the act of plucking flowers; another is carrying materials for worship; next come two persons, one of whom sits and explains a book whilst the other standing listens to it with all humility and sincerity. Next comes a person with a broomstick and a pot probably of cow-dung. It is not certain what the person who comes after him does; probably he is lighting a lamp. Kananata stands next, supervising and directing their services. Then follows the final scene on the right half of this sculpture where God appears with Parvati on the bull in the presence of Kananata.

The Sanskrit and Kannada traditions speak of him as a devoted Shaivite who took pleasure in feeding and clothing all his Shaivite guests and it is curious to note that the traditions make him a contemporary of Campantar.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: