The Religion and Philosophy of Tevaram (Thevaram)

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

This page describes “nayanar 42: narasinga muniyaraiyar (naracinkamunaiyaraiya)” 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

Nayanar 42: Narasinga Muniyaraiyar (Naracinkamunaiyaraiya)

The 42nd saint is Naracinkamunaiyaraiya Nayanar (Narasinga Muniyaraiyar), The words of Arurar, are, “Meyyatiyan Naracinka munaiyaraiyar-katiyen”— ‘I am the servant of the true servant of the lord Naracinkamunaiyaraiyan’. In some editions of this hymn the honorific plural suffix ‘ar’ is found used but terms like Meyyatiyan and Empiran prove conclusively that Arurar used only the ordinary singular and, therefore, the reading must give not the liquid ‘r but the explosive ‘r’. This saint used to give gold coins to Shaivite Tapasvins but to one who saw the feminine form everywhere he gave twice the gold—this is the greatness of Naracinkamunaiyaraiyan according to Nampiyantar Nampi.

Cekkilar explains this further. This saint was the ruler of Tirumunaippatinatu. He always wore in his mind the greatness of the sacred ashes. On the Atirai day he would honour the Shaivites, feed them and give one hunared gold coins each. One Atirai day, a pronounced libertine expressing his lust in every act of his, came besmeared with the sacred ashes. When others slighted him, Naracinkamunaiyaraiyan, because of the sacred ashes the libertine wore, welcomed him with all humility and gave him twice the gold he usually gave.

The Sanskrit and Kannada traditions speak of him as Narasimhamuni, a Shaivite king who adopted Sundara Nambi as his son. Arurar mentions this saint in another hymn on Thirunavalur which he describes as the city of the Lord, his own city and the city where Naracinkamunaiyaraiyan served the Lord with all love and honour. In the Tatuttatkonta Puranam, Cekkilar refers to this Naracinkamunaiyaraiyan bringing up Arurar, the child.

Whilst Cekkilar speaks of Somaci Marar and others as contemporaries of Arurar in their respective puranams, neither he noij Nampiyantar Nampi mentions contemporaneity of Nampi Arurar in this story of Naracinkamunaiyaraiyan. Similarly they do not mention that Kalarcinkan was the contemporary of Nampi Arurar.

Munaippati Natu is the frontier of the Cola country. Therefore, this frontier chief was called Munaiyaraiyan. Probably Naracinkamunaiyaraiyan was a feudatory of the Pallava king Narasimha I or Narasimha II, but this name continued to remind the family for many centuries as we find a Malaiyaman Narasimhavarman spoken of in the inscriptions of Kulottunka III. These chieftains probably belong to the Malaiyaman family calling themselves Mildtutaiyar and Cetirayas. Some were ruling from Kiliyur, others from Navalur, still others from Kovalur. Some of them are named after Shiva of Siddhanta, whilst others were called Naracinka. Some claimed descent from Ori and others from Kari; at the same time as already pointed out, they claimed their descent from the Puranic Royal families as Ceti.

Cetis formed an offshoot of ‘Yatus’ according to Puranas. The Yatus extended their authority northward over the Haihayas probably after the maritime power under Karttaviriya disappeared. The Cetis were first ruling between Jamuna and Vindhyas. After the fall of the Maury as, one of the members of the Ceti Royal family came to rule over the Kalinga, and Karavela the Great was a Ceti ruler. Probably the Ceti rulers of the Tamil land traced their relationship with this family.

The Darasuram temple contains a sculpture on its western wall with an inscription, Naracinkamunaiyaraiyar underneath. This saint with a beard is sitting probably on a ‘simhasana’ (chair) in the act of giving probably gold. The person who is receiving it first must be the libertine. There are five other ‘Shaivite Bhaktas to his right. There is somebody standing behind the king. The M.A.R. mentioned above states that his queen is behind the king though it is not clear in the plate.

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