The Religion and Philosophy of Tevaram (Thevaram)

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

This page describes “nayanar 39: kootruva (kurruva)” 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 39th saint is Kurruva Nayanar (Kootruva). The words of Arurar are, “Arkonta vel Kurran Kalantaikkon atiyen”— ‘I am the servant of Kurran, the Lord of Kalantai, of the spear which has captured or which is adorned with ‘atti (the Cola symbol)’.

Nampiyantar makes him a Kalappalar. One wonders whether he has taken the word Kalantaikkon in this sense. The Kalappalars are identified by Prof. M. Raghava Aiyangar with the Kalabhras. Tamil Navalar Caritai refers to Accuta Kalppalar, conquering the kings of the three Royal families (154-157) and he is also called ‘Tillai Accutanatan reminding us of Achuta, the Kalabhra referred to by Buddhadatta. The Tontamantala Catakam speaks of one Amur Kalappalar, sung by Kalamekam (V. 80). Nerkunravanar, the author of Thiruppugalur Antati is also referred to as Kalappalar. Meykantar’s father is also referred to. as Kalappalar. Kalantai is a shortened form of Kalattur.

It is not clear which Kalattur is referred to, as Cekkilar does not particularize. Pantikkovai, quoted in Iraiyanar Akapporul Urai, mentions the battle at Kalattur in which Netumaran was successful. We have a few chiefs of Kalantai: Kalantai Alakapperumal, Kalantaikkutitdnki, Kalan-taikkappa'nnan and Kalantai Vaccananti. We have certain scholars and poets like Jnanaprakasar, Patikkdcar and Puka-lenti referred to as belonging to Kalantai and in a few cases like that of Pukalenti, Ponvilainta Kalattur in the Chingleput District has been referred to as Kalantai. As Meykantar’s father who is considered to be a Vellala is spoken as a Kalappalar, probably all of them belong to the Velir group.

According to Dr. Krishna-swami Aiyangar who traces the word Kalabhra from Kalavar (whose chieftain is mentioned as Pulli in the Cankam Poetry) or Kalavara, through the Kannada Kalabaru— attributes this Kalabhra invasion to the expansion of the gatavahana Power driving the Kalavar further south. The invasion into Madura by the Vatuka Karunataka is probably by the Kalavars coming through the Kannada country.

Kalappalar, the protector of the ‘kalam’ might have become corrupted into Kalappalar. Anyway, we find a number of chiefs who do not belong to the ancient Royal family calling themselves Kaliyaracar or the kings of the Kali age, as opposed to the kings coming from the more ancient age, ruling the Tamil country during the Kalabhra interregnum and Kurruva Nayanar is one of those who reigned the whole of the Tamil country in that age.

Nampiyantar states that Kurruva Nayanar crowned himself with the feet of the Lord reminding us the Paduka pattabhisekam of Bharata. He also imprinted in his mind the Great Shiva, and Nampiyantar tells us that this made him the ruler of the world. Cekkilar continues the story. Kurruva Nayanar requested the Brahmins of Tillai to crown him king. They refused to crown anyone but the members of the Cola family and migrated to the Cera country afraid of his power, but leaving one member of the family for performing the worship at Tillai. Kurruva Nayanar was very sad and that night he was thinking of the feet of the Lord being given away by God as his crown and in his dream, the Lord did so. Carrying this on his head, he ruled the Southern land. He visited every temple and provided for worship therein.

The phrase ‘Arkonta’ has been probably interpreted ‘adorned with atti’ and this has led the Kannada and Sanskrit traditions to speak of Kurruva Nayanar as a Cola. He is spoken of as Kuttuva Nayanar or Kritantaka. These traditions continue the story a little more beyond Cekkilar. The Brahmins of Citamparam who migrated to the Kerala (Cera) country on hearing Lord Shiva blessing this Kurruva Nayanar with the crown of his feet returned and formally crowned him and placed him at the head of the Shaivites. The Darasuram sculptures represent him sitting on the seat whilst two are standing and three are sitting in front of him, all with their hands held in anjali pose probably his feudatories paying him the homage.

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