The Religion and Philosophy of Tevaram (Thevaram)

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

This page describes “nayanar 65: pusalar (pucalar)” 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 eleventh verse in Thiruthondathogai begins with the phrase, “Manniya cir” which is the name of the Charukkam or canto in Periyapuranam describing all the personalities mentioned in this verse. The first saint in this verse and the 65th in the list from the beginning is Pucalar Nayanar (Pusalar). He belonged to Tiruninravur which Cekkilar identifies with the city of that name in the Tontai-natu a place sung by Tirumankai Alvar — none other than the place Tinnanur in the Madras-Arakkonam line.

The words of Arurar are,

Manniya cir marainavan Ninravurp Pucal (vari valaiyal Manikkum Necanukkum) atiyen”—

‘I am the servant of (Necan and Mani of the beautiful bangles and of) Pucal of Ninra-vur of well established greatness, the great reciter of the Vedas.

Cekkilar, therefore, calls him a Brahmin. Probably it is this saint who is praised by Arurar in one of the two Nindravur hymns which we had suggested to be a Ninravur hymn.

The name Pucal has come from the root ‘Pucu’ to besmear with sacred ash.—“Niru Pucattinar” are the words of Arurar. The story of the saint has become well known to the historians of the Pallava age. He began building a mental temple and fixed a date for its consecration. The contemporary Pallava king also fixed the same date for the stone temple he had constructed at Kanci. Shiva preferred Pucalar” s temple of the mind and requested the Pallava to fix another date for his temple, the temple of stone. Mr. Gopalan thinks that there is a reference to this in the inscription of Raja-simha where the latter is said to have heard the voice of heavens.

Nampiyantar states that Pucalar was desirous of constructing a temple and spent sleepless nights in laying out the details of that temple.

Cekkilar gives a more detailed story. The saint came to the conclusion that he must construct a temple but he failed to get any money. He, however, gathered the wealth and the architects in his own imagination and began the construction in his own mind. The day for consecration was also fixed. The Pallava was told to fix another date in his dream by Shiva. The Pallava king was so surprized that he went to Tiruninravur to have a sight of the temple preferred by God. No temple could be seen but he met Pucalar from whom he learnt that it was aS a temple of the mind. It is probably this that Arurar refers to: “Vayar manattal ninaikkum avarukku aruntavattil tuyar”, and ‘Pukalttontar’ will become one of the names of Pucalar.

The Sanskrit and Kannada traditions speak of this saint as Bhosala, a Brahmin who pleased Shiva by his mental worship in a mental temple of his own. The temple in Tinnanur is of ‘Hrdalayesvarar’ or ‘Manakkoyil kontar, probably built after this great incident. An inscription of Dantivarman and Pucalar’s image are found there. The lions of Rajasimhas pillars are also found and one of the statues found there is pointed out as that of a Rajasrthha himself. Therefore, following Mr. Gopalan’s conclusion, we may take that Pucalar was a contemporary of Rajasimha and that Kalarcinkan as described by Cekkilar was a contemporary of Pucalar.

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