The Religion and Philosophy of Tevaram (Thevaram)

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

This page describes “nayanar 44: kalikamba (kalikkampa)” 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 44th saint is Kalikkampa Nayanar (Kalikamba). Arurar’s words are, “Kaitatinta vari cilaiyan Kalikkampan (Kaliyan Kalarcatti Varincaiyarkon) atiyarkkum atiyen”—‘I am the servant of the servants of Kalikkampan, of the beautiful bow cutting away the hand (Kaliyan, Catti of the heroic anklets and the king of the citizens of Varincai) Kampan is the proper name of the Nayanar.

The epithet Kali may mean that he belongs to the family of Kaliyaracar. Accordingly, we find the Sanskrit and Kannada traditions speaking of him as a king; but, he is made therein a Cola king. Probably, the term does not mean anything more than a king of the Cola country. He is made the native of Penna-katam by Nampiyantar Nampi and Cekkilar. The description, ‘Kaitatinta vari cilaiyan’ seems to emphasize the fact of his being a ruler of a country or a chieftain. ‘Kaitatinta’ has however been taken to mean that he had cut away somebody’s hand.

The Sanskrit and Kannada traditions along with Nampiyantar speak of him as one who was wont to wash the feet of all the Shaivite guests, irrespective of castes and rank and entertain them, and who, when, one of his own servants of low caste appeared as a guest amongst others seeing his wife’s hesitation in washing his feet, the saint cut off her hands and washed his feet and entertained him with others.

Cekkilar makes him a member of the Vaisya community.

The Darasuram temple sculpture mentions Kalikkampantar katai. On the right hand half, we have three devotees on raised seats in front of one of whom in the midale the teapoy-like object with probably the food served thereon. Kalikkampa’s wife is probably serving them. In the centre, we have five vessels placed one above the other, all probably containing food. On the left half, we have another person who must be the erstwhile servant of Kalikkampar seated with one leg hanging down. The wife of Kalikkampar is hesitating to wash his leg and the saint with the beard is found raising up the sword in the act of cutting off the right hand of his wife. On the left extremity appear Parvati and Paramesvara on the sacred bull.

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