The Religion and Philosophy of Tevaram (Thevaram)

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

This page describes “tamil and religion” from the religion of the Thevaram: the conception of Paramanaiye Paduvar. 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

I - The universe: the Sabdaprapanca and the Arthaprapanca:

The Agamas speak of mantras. According to the Agamas and Tantras, the Sabda Brahman is in the form of the Kundalini Sakti in the Muladhara. The Para Vak resides there. This develops into mdtrikas which Woodrofje translates as ‘Little mothers’, the subtle forms of the gross letters (Varna). The letters represent certain subtle creative forces. The garland of bones is explained as this garland of subtle letters (Varnamala). The varnas (letters) make up the padas (words) and vakyas (sentences) which are the three of the six adhvds or ways of reaching Sakti, if they are experienced as pure forms of Citsakti (Adhva sodhana). The Para sound in the Muladhara becomes the pasyanfi (sabda of general movement) at the Manipuraka where it is connected with the mind. At Anahata or heart, it becomes Madhyama associated with Buddhitattva. The breath coming out through the throat and mouth gives us the final gross sound—Vaikhari— as heard by our ear. The mantras are combinations of the mdtrikas, the very forms of the God worshipped.

The whole Universe is divided into the Sabda prapanca, the world of words and the Artha prapanca, the world of matter. When Shiva so desires, the creation starts. A stress is formed in the Matrix or Maya in the citakasa. Vibrations mean some sound or other, heard or unheard, considering them independent of the effect it produces in its causal aspect. Sabda is any kind of motion, physical or mental, for one cosmic movement produces both the mind and its object which two may be termed the name or sabda on the one hand; form or object on the other hand. The varieties of forms in this Universe are due to a variety of vibrations. Therefore, every particular thing or form in the world has its own peculiar vibration and, therefore, a peculiar and innate sound of its own. This sound represents its proper name. Its physical form represents its matter. This proper name or its innate sound or mantra is heard only by yogis and rsis whose spiritual development gives them the capacity to realize and hear that mantra or proper name and the music of the spheres. All the other names in current usage are but the corruptions of these proper names; and sound can revivify even these corruptions. In this theory, the word or name is as important as the thing itself. The word gives us the control over the thing. The word as vibrations represents the very energy or the sakti of the thing. The whole Universe as representing the names and forms is the display of the divine dance of the Lord, a concrete externalization of His Grace. The Agamas speak of the word of the energy form and the material form as the indivisible divine pair of Shiva and Parvati, our divine parents. Kalidasa, in his famous epic Raghuvamsa, in his opening invocation to Shiva and Parvati indissolubly united as Vak and Artha, gives expression to this great Agamic truth.

Nampi Arurar also refers to these two kinds of Universe, of words and matter. The Vedas, as the embodiment of great truth, reveal themselves through these two forms. The inner truth of these two forms is realized by those who have attained realization at the feet of the Lord. The various arts and philosophies are in essence the display of these two kinds of Universe and in that sense the incarnation of the Lord. The great dance of Shiva reveals itself in the various forms of this Universe.

Nampi Arurar also speaks in terms of words and matter:

Collai Nampi Porulay ninra Nampi”—

‘O, Prince! You are the words; You are the Prince standing firm as the significance of the words or the things of the word’;

Corporulayc curunka marai nankinaiyum otiyan”

‘You have become the words and things expounded in the expanding four Vedas. (This may also be interpreted to mean that the Vedas are in the form of words and things).

“The loving Brahmins of Naraiyur realize completely the significance of words and things”—

Puriyum maraiyor niraicor porulkal teriyum Naraiyur”; “Colluvar corporulavai ni”

‘You are the words and the matter spoken of’;

Corpala porutpala curuti oru nankum tot-tiramum palacollit tutittiraitan tiratte karparum ketparumay enkurn nankar kalaipayil antanar vabim Kalayanallur kane”

‘The Brahmins living in Kalayanallur learn the various excellent arts everywhere, they learn and they listen to the various aspects of the Lord, praising Him and reciting various hymns and the four Vedas of words and matter’.

II - The inner meaning of real education:

Nampi Arurar here explains the inner meaning of real education. The hymns as contrasted with the Vedas probably refer to the Tamil hymns. The spoken sound or speech is a manifestation of the naming or thought which is similar in all races of men. It is mental operation; it can be so intensified as to itself, be creative when the words born of them in the minds and mouths of the saints become divine (mantra caitanya). It becomes the art of divine poetry or divine music. Here, art becomes worship capable of creating the mantra caitanya—“Arccanai patte akuruk. Art is here related to the divine experience. And the Tamil hymns, if our interpretation is correct express equally with the Vedas the wide expanse of word and matter.

The inward nature of art is further emphasized by Nampi Arurar—

“Kalaikkelam Porulay utan kutip parkkinra uyirkkup parintank

‘He is the very meaning of all the arts; He becomes one with the soul and He is all love to the soul which sees and learns’.

The experience of art and life takes place within the framework of time, though in itself it is beyond limo; and this miracle is due to the fact that God Himself is day and night measuring time—“Pakalum kankulum aki ninran”. But these experiences are made possible through the sense organs. These sense organs are but matter whilst the experience realized is divine. This is indeed a miracle and it is made possible because these sense organs are but the forms of God. “He is the tasting tongue, the discriminating ear and the seeing eye and is the very taste experienced by all these and also the objects of these sensations, the roaming seas and mountains. It is all the work of His Grace. He is the rain that pours down from the too of the dark mountain”. Nampi Arurar thus explains the experience of art as the experience of God. The same idea is emphasized in another place—“Colluvar corporulavai riz enpan nan, nakkum ceviyum kannum ni enpan nan”

The theory underlying this conception of words and their meaning is hinted at by Appar in Kilvelur Tiruttantakam:

“Cor-pavum porul terintu tuymai nokkit tunkatar manattirulai vanka-tan” —

‘The word as sounds spread; through them the meaning is learnt; the pure (Tuymai is defined as the state of being without any desire or hankering.

This ‘tuymai’ is said to arise when the Truth is contemplated on and according to Tiruvalluvar, “Tuuymai enpatu ava inmai marratu vaaymai venta varum”—Tirukkural, 368) is seen and realized. There is then the calm of a sleep, a samadhi or mystic experience of calm bliss where the ego is completely lost. From the mind of such, the darkness is witharawn. That is how the Lord arranges these things’. The words (poetry) seem to have an incantation value. The conscious and unconscious become one and are transcended in the supra conscious when the darkness and dim vision disappear giving place for the clear mystic vision.

The truth is not a matter of propositions of dry logic and conflicting philosophies; as the real, it has to be experienced and realized. The distinction which the Catholics make between Animus and Anima is important as suggesting real value of poetry as anima or mystic realization of the Absolute as a finer kind of music as Socrates puts it, as distinguished from animus the logical understanding of the philosophical abstraction; animus is said to function in the sphere of clear abstract reasoning and anima in deeper and richer field of knowledge or rather intuitional awareness as for instance our poet.

III - Our poets philosophy of Art:

We had suggested in our study of the hymn on Onakantan tali that our poet was giving his philosophy of Art or ‘Kalai’ in one of the verses therein. We have interpreted that verse as referring to the six passions of man: Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Mada, Moha, and Matsara. They are referred to as having been established in the scheme of the Universe for ‘KaZaf or Art. These are the most powerful emotions and when they are sublimated they become poetic sentiments, rasas or ‘cuvai’ or ‘meyppatu’ which are said to form the very life of poetry or art. Art according to Aristotle’s theory of Catharsis or purging evokes these emotions but in such a way that the artist and critic become masters of these emotions rather than their slaves, with the result that their minds remain purified, being purged of all the riotous effects of these emotions. At the end there is a calmness or peace which is after all the real bliss. It is this sublimation of the passions which our poet speaks of as ‘Ulaiyamaittal’, i.e., preparing for their enjoyment even as the cook prepares for the feast of rice by starting the oven. The fire of the oven here reminds us of the tapas involved in the creation of art—the tapas which transforms these diabolical emotions into divine art. Art was looked upon by a few schools of Jains as something worldly. Music, for instance, was identified with erotic love; a great artist like Tiruttakka Tevar describes Kamam as ‘Vinaiccelvam’, ‘as the wealth of music or lyre’. But Campantar and Arurar have experienced God Himself as a form of Art and they identify God with Art. Music, thus spiritualized according to Campantar removes the emotions like anger or krddha —“E[u icaikkilaviyal vencinamolittavar”. Like Tyagaraja. and Purandara Das, Arurar also has realized the spiritual heights to which Art takes us.

The spiritualized music leads to God. What Prof. Srinivasachariar says about Tyagaraja applies to Arurar as well but unfortunately we know nothing about the music of his compositions or of his age. Arurar s age was an age of renaissance in music as is proved by Kutumiyamalai musical inscription of Mahendravarman and Tevaram is probably the product of this renaissance.

Prof. Srinivasachariar writes:

“Music aids mukti as Brahman is rasa or songs vibrating through the universe and it has its fruition in yoga and bhoga. The mind is spontaneously centred in Divine Love and joy wells up from within. The beauty of Tyagaraja’s (Arurar’s) music lies in the concretising of the rare ragas into klrtanas and lyric music and in the marvellous development of the sangatis or musical notes of scales with shades of sweetness swelling from within.

The rhythm of ragas is different from that of words, as the inner music vanishes the moment it is dissected by grammar and logic. Every raga has its specific mood and the ragas sung by him exhaust almost the whole gamut of emotions. In his songs he saw Rama (Shiva) face to face, spoke to Him heart to heart and passed through all bhavas and he felt it his mission to spread the spell of Ramanama (Sivanama).

The mystic would sometimes enter into the bridal mood like that of Sita (the lady love) and express his moods of separation, remorse and assault. When the mystic mood ripened he entered into sannyasa and soon after into the security of tanmaya and sayujya. He became a mellowed philosopher as age advanced and his bhakti for Rama (Shiva) transcended prayer and praise. In sweetness of diction, beauty of bhava, free flow of imagination, in the blending of music and musing and finally in the rich variety of mystic experience musically inspired, he stands in South India unmatched in the realm of (modern) musical mysticism”.

It is in this view, that we can understand our poet speaking of dance, music and poetry as modes of worship and as forms of the Lord. In this connection, we may remember Nanacampantar speaking of ‘Patal neri’ and ‘Atal neri’, ‘The path of Poetry or music’ and ‘the Path of Dance’ in the same way in which others speak of Karma marga, Jnana marga and Bhakti marga. Even the forms of the temples and the images as works of art are the various forms of beauty in which the Lord incarnates as it were, Beauty being the Absolute. Thus Art itself becomes purified and deified in our poet’s aesthetics. Temple cult thus receives a new interpretation in this theory of Art. It looks as though we can group all kinds of worship around this theory of Art divine.

IV - Bhakti or Anpu, the resultant experience of all arts:

In another place, Nampi Arurar speaks of Shiva as the significance of all arts:

Palkalaipporule”; “Nirampu palkalaiyin porulale porrit tankalal tohimavan’’ —

‘The Bhakta takes refuge in His feet realizing the truth of the various arts so full of His Grace praising Him with the words of these arts’.

Education is thus deified and he speaks of the Lord as one who is worshipped by the educated—“Karravar paravappatuvan”. The darkness of this Universe is cleared by that light which is no other than God. It is a pure light, the light of Grace, piercing through the darkness enshrouding the Universe of sound and the Universe of matter: “Corpatapporul irulanuttarulum tuya coti”.

This idea we explained with the help of Appar’s Tiritttantakam.

‘Those who realize God as the greatest Good, speak that the Lord resides in all their words’—

Narpatam enrunarvar corpatamar Civan”.

‘They read and realize the truth. They think of your greatness; their hearts melt. They give expression to the music of their hearts in poetry. There I realize you’—

Otalunarntatiyar unperu-maikku ninain tullurukd viracum ocaiyaip patalum ni atal unarntu.... atiyen”.

God is, therefore, knowledge, the resultant experience of all education and art. He is, therefore, addressed as ‘Arive’. Usually this knowledge or Jhanam is considered under two heads: (1) the Parajnana, the supreme direct knowledge or divine experience; (2) the Aparajnana, the lower knowledge or the indirect knowledge about the Lord and the direct knowledge of other things. Cekkilar speaks of them as, “Civananam” and “Kalainanam”Nampi Arurar shows the way to sublimate even the lower knowledge into the supreme knowledge. As the Upanisads often say, “When the mud, the root cause is known, all the mud vessels are known; when God is known, everything also is known”. Knowledge at that stage ceases to be mere knowledge but experience ‘Arivu’; there is blissful ‘Anpu’. The great Advaitist Madhusudana Sarasvati identifies both Bhakti and Brahmavidya in his Bhaktirasdyana. That is Prabhakti or Sadhya Bhakti, Bhakti as the end and goal and not Bhakti as the means to that goal. It is from this point of view that Tiruinantiram identifies ‘Anpu’ with Sivam". Kannppar, the hunter saint, who never went to any school for education, is praised by Nampi Arurar as “Kalai malinta clr Nampi Kannappar’' —“the prince of that greatness full of arts”. Now this greatness can only be the greatness of this Bhakti or Love which according to Nampi Arurar is equivalent to the resultant of all arts.

V - Bhavana:

The distinction between the world of sound and the world of matter, the sabda prapanca and the artha prapanca, was already referred to. God is sometimes contemplated as Sabdabrahma. All the sounds of words are ultimately from Paranada, becoming grosser and grosser through Pa sy anti, Madhyama and Vaikhari stages. The yogis are said to hear and experience these various stages of this evolution. Arurar speaks of the Lord as He who has become the sound through the Nada becoming evolved more and more: ‘Natamikuttu ocaiyatanavan”.

Arurar makes more direct reference to this yoga path in his hymn No. 45, verse No. 9:

Tetuvan tetuvan cemmalarp patankal natorum
Natuvan natuvan napikku meleyor nalviral
Matuvan matuvan vankai pitittu makilntule
Atuvan atuvan Amatturem atikatke

But Arurar’s approach is really Jnanayoga. The Upanisads speak of the Brahmabhavana or the contemplation on the self as the Brahman. One need not at this stage go into the complicated question whether this Advaitic relationship is monism or nondualism. Shaivites also speak of the ‘Sivoham bhavana’. According to Parimelalakar, it is the ‘vaymai’ referred to in Tirukkural by Tiruvalluvar in his famous couplet, “Tuuymai enpatu avavinmai marratu vaaymai venta varum”. Arurar speaks of God as ‘Nanaya paran’ ‘The Lord who is I’ but there are moments when he is not so sure of this firm grasp of the Lord when he feels the miseries of the world—“Valittalaip patuvan muyalkinren unnaippol ennaip pavikka matt en” —‘I attempt to follow the path but I cannot contemplate on the self as Yourself’. This refers to the ‘Brahmaivaham Bhavana’ or the ‘Sivoham Bhavana’—the subjective experience of the teaching contained in the Mahavdkya—‘Tattvamasi’.

VI - Pranavopasana:

Mantras like Gayatri may be in the form of prayers and the poems of saints are such mantras. There are two other mantras, which are referred to by Arurar. Of them, one is the Pranava or the ‘Om’, These mantras, unlike prayers, are the mantra caitanya forms of God worshipped. By uttering them, the worshipper attempts at becoming one with the energy of mantra caitanya. Supernatural powers are thus developed but our saints are concerned with Brahmanubhava, becoming one with the Absolute. It is this higher or Paracaitanya that becomes the meaning, significance and reality of these mantras. The Pranavopasand is one of the well known methods of contemplation of God. The various meanings of Pranava are collected in the book, Tevaram Vedasaram, at page 76. Pranavam is said to represent the Brahman and the Soul. It is explained as a mantra representing the all pervasive form of the Lord and His various emanations. It is also explained as a ‘yantra’ in the form of Sivalinga. It again signifies the Pancabrahma mantras, which form the five faces of the Lord: Isana, Tatpurusa, Aghara, Vamadeva and Sadyojata. Pranava signifies this Universe as the Taittiriya Upanisad says, “Om iti idam sarvam” Pranava is also said to be the form of the master or guru whilst the sisya becomes the body of the guru. Nampi Arurar refers to the sacred bull on which Shiva rides, being in the form of this Pranava—a concrete representation of that truth God is Pasupati: ‘Ovanamel erutu’ Nampi Arurar also sings thus: “Unankat tuyirppay ulakellam Onkarat turuvaki ninnan” —‘He became the life inside all bodies and all over the world. He stood in the form dm’. This may refer to the statement of the Taittiriya Upanisad: “Om iti idam sarvam Sivam” or the other statement of the Upanisad that the Brahmam as Pra'nava represents both the inner and the outer principles.

VII - Pancaksara:

The other mantra is the Pancaksara, sacred for the Shaivites. It consists of five letters: Na, Ma, Si, Va, Ya. The famous Pandikodumudi hymn gives expression to Nampi Arurar’s experience of the contemplation of this mantra. This contemplation, or rather the experience has become a habit with our saint, “Unai nan marakkinum collum na Namaccivayave” — ‘I may forget you, but my tongue will utter this mantra Namaccwaya’. He assures the Lord that he has no other attachment but the feet of the Lord which he always contemplates on. The very thought of this Pancaksara, he asserts, has brought him the birthless state. The day when he leaves off this contemplation is looked upon by him as the day of his death.

The mantra ‘Namassivaya’ means, ‘I am not mine; I am Shiva’s’. It may, to start with, represent a prayer but it becomes the very name and form of the spiritual realization as the aspirant reaches higher and higher spiritual spheres. It expresses Complete selfsurrender unto the Lord and it is this feeling of loving effacement of ego that is important. The five letters signify the five great principles, Si, the Lord; Va, His Grace; Ya, the Soul; Na, the Divine power of illusion and Ma, the Mala or impurities. The soul gets rid of the Mala, when by the Grace of God, illusion disappears and the soul turns heavenward. Then follows the stage of complete self-surrender when egotism vanishes and the soul is lost in the Grace of the Lord. When this experience develops, even the distinction between the Grace and the Lord disappears and the undivided divine experience alone remains, the very breath of the follower and its sound resembling ‘Si’ and ‘dm’ reminding him at every stage of this great experience. Taken thus representing these five principles, Pancaksara may be looked upon as five words and Arurar looks upon this mantra as ‘Ancripatam’ which is thought of thrice a day, at dawn, at dusk and at mid-day. It is true that Indian grammars will justify calling a letter, a word.

It is not clear whether the ‘Ancupatam’ may not be interpreted as the Pancabrahma mantras. But the tradition interprets this Ancupatam as ‘Pancaksara’. The givagamas lay the great emphasis on the Pancabrahma mantras and the Sadangamantras. Mantras are said to end in seven different ways: Namah, Vasat, Vousat, Svaha, Svatah, Hum and Pat. Arurar speaks of the Lord as the one who is found of the seven letters and these are interpreted as referring to these seven suffixes or endings of the mantras—“Ettukantar ticai; elukantar eluttu”: It is also possible to interpret these seven letters as referring to the seven symbols of the seven Srtis—Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma, Pa, Da and Ni.

VIII - Mantras, the music of the loving Soul, independent of the language differences:

According to some, the mantras which represent the correct sound of the vibrations can only be Sanskrit mantras, and on this score worship is often insisted and being carried on in the Sanskrit language; but as already pointed out, Nampi Arurar contemplates the worship with the Vedic hymns as well as ‘Tottiram’ or Tamil hymns. But the subtle mantras or ‘Bijas’ belong to no particular language and, therefore, may be taken to belong to all the languages. The saints by their mantra caitanya can deify any sound or series of sounds which they utter or express into the truth of their spiritual experience; their verses form the vibrations of their process of spiritual experience. The mantras and hymns are not lhe vibrations of matter or matrix but the music of the loving soul: “Ulluruka viracum ocai” something spiritual and significant in our approach to the Lord. The Tamilian heart sings the Tamil music and the Tamil poetry and when it is born of true love and knowledge, Tamil poetry is equally divine. This is indeed a new and original way of discussing the great problem. The Laliti Sahasranama mentions our divine Mother as Bhasa Rupini (She who is in the form of Bhasa, the spoken language).

But Tamilians have always been looking upon their language as equally divine; they went a step further in identifying it with God.

Nanacampantar, it is from this point of view, speaks of worshippers praising the Lord in all the languages:

Kallal nilalmeya karaicer kantavenru
Ella moliyalum imaiyor tolutu etta”

The importance is that Campantar speaks of the Devas praising the Lord in all the languages. As already pointed out, Nampi Arurar was interested in Tamilizing the onward march of the new culture of the Pallava age. He is, therefore, identifying the Tamil language itself with God. The distinction between the Sabda Prapanca and the Artha Prapanca should be held in our mind when we read some of his verses. “The Lord is the eye of the world; He is the very idea of the seven worlds and He has become all of these Artha Prapanca”—“Kannay el ulakum karuttaya aruttamumay” The question arises what is the form of the 8abda Prapanca in this divine display. It is very significant that Nampi Arurar should identify this with sweet Tamil full of music: “Pannar in Tamilay” — continues our saint. Of course the Lord is beyond the Sabda and Artha Prapanca:. “Paramay a parancutare”,

The great saints Appar and Nanacampantar are great in the eyes of Nampi Arurar because they popularized and spread that Tamil language and its culture: “Nalum innicaiyal Tamil parappum Nanacampantan”' “Iruntu nvr Tamildticai ketkum iccaiyal kacu nittam nalkimr” — Theirs was a divine service. God was so fond of their Tamil poems that according to Nampi Arurar, He gave gold to those two saints. Hence Arurar says, “Nallicai Nanacampantanum Navinukkaracarum patiya narramil malai colliyave colli ettukappan” that he is pleased to repeat the same garland of good Tamil sung by Nanacampantan of good music and Navinukkaracar.

The attributes of Tamil show Nampi Arurar’s great reverence for Tamil'. “Vantamil” — Munificent Tamil; “Narramil — The good Tamil; “Tantamil” The cool refreshing Tamil; “Poyyattamil” — The never lying Tamil; “Centamil”— The upright Tamil; “Aruntamil” — The rare Tamil; “Nalattamil” —The Tamil of quality, beauty, bliss or excellence; “Pavanattamil” — The Tamil of the form of Poetry; ‘Tntamil” —The sweet Tamil; “Uru Tamil” The abundant Tamil. Nampi Arurar refers to the contemplation on the Lord as the Tamilian as something unique and important: “Tamilan enru pavikka valla enkalur”. It is the music of this language, as the very music of the loving heart which makes the Bhaktas dance that appeals to our saint. “Pannitait tamil oppay” — ‘You are like the Tamil in music’; “Vantamil vallavarkal elicai elnarampin ocai” — ‘You are the very music of the seven strings of the harp or ydl oi those experts in munificent Tamil’.

IX - God, the Patron of Tamil scholars, music and dance:

The Lord is not only the Tamilian but the father of Tamil scholars—“Tantamil nurpulavanarkkor arnman” The Lord is the music inside the song—‘Pattakatticai aki ninran”. These scholars of the South are full of knowledge of the arts. The Lord removes their miseries: “Kalaimalinta tenpulavar karrortam itar tirkkum.... ilai malinta maluvan”

They praise Him with the ever new garland of words—“Viruntaya colmalai kontetti”It is because poetry is the music of the heart that the Lord sympathized even that cruel Ravana and blessed him when he began to sing out of his heart: “Pdttukku anru irankiya venriyinan”, One wonders whether Ravana sang in Tamil.

This sympathy is what probably Appar will call ‘Dayamula danmam’ and this resonance to music and song Arurar sings and describes as the great victory of the Lord—

Patalin icai muralap pannalum pavittup patiyatik kantartam kankuli-rum”

‘The loving heart of the Bhaktas contemplate on his beautiful form for many days and express the music of the heart in songs and in dance whilst the musical instruments slowly hum and resound. They see the vision of the Lord as they had contemplated and their eyes are happy with this sight. How sweet is he when we think of Him?’

X - God, the great Musician, Poet and Dancer:

The Lord Himself is a great musician, poet and dancer, and the damsels of Darukavana, when He comes a-begging at their doors as the great beauty of the forest, playfully enquire of Him whether;He is an adept in dance and music and song. One may wonder which language is referred to. But we must remember that this is a repetition of a question which they had put to Him in a previous verse They are complaining of the Lord stealing away their heart and their bangles: “Kuravam nariya kulalinar valai kolvate tolilaki nir iravum immanai aritire”? “Centamilttiram vallird cenkan aravam munkaiyil atave vantu nirkum itenkold?” He comes to them singing Tamil and they ask him, “Are you an expert in chaste Tamil music”?

Love seems to be the very life of Cankam poetry. In another passage Nampi Arurar refers to the parrots understanding the Tamil language great for its fivefold divisions of erotic poetry almost willing to fly and carry the message of the love sick one—“Tinai-kol centamil painkili teriyum”.

“Tamil seems to make even the cruel serpent dance in love in the hand of the Lord. Therefore, these damsels exclaim, “Are you an adept in the musical tunes of pure Tamil?”

“Centamilittiram valllro cenkan aravam munkaiyil atave vantu nirkum itenkold?

Therefore, Nampi Arurar thinks of the Lord as great Tamil dancer and Tamil poet. Was not the Lord, one of the poets of the Cankam age as Appar significantly points out—“Nanpattup pulavanayccankam eri” No wonder Arurar sings of the praises of the Lord in Tamil—“Tiruppukal viruppal pannalam Tamilal patuver karulay” — “Bless me who sings your praises with all love in the Tamil language of many beauties”, and the Lord is there as the very nugget of gold to such scholars—“Ponnane pulavarkku” In another place he asks, “Patum pula-varkkarulum porulen?” — ‘What is that you will give unto the scholars who sing of you?’ One wonders whether Arurar is not including himself amongst the pulavars. Even at the distant Keta-ram in the north, far away from the Tamil land, he hears the Tamil sound and music. Through the old bamboos, rushes the wind and it looks as though the mrdangam (drum) is played on; it reminds him of the musical Tamil songs sung in Tamil tunes” and he is there reminded of the two great saints Navukkaracar and ftana-campantar.

XI - Tamil identified with the form of the Lord:

Our poet identifies Tamil itself with the form of the Lord. The divisions of the Tamil grammatical studies are the study of letters, study of words and the study of the subject matter. This is something peculiar to Tamil and it is very significant that Arurar thinks upon these different branches of study as the three great eyes of Shiva,—“Eluttotu corporul ellam un kantane”; “You are the great thought”—“Entane”— thus Arurar begins and goes to explain thereafter how this thought takes the verbal form. He thinks of the Tamil language alone and it is because of this he thinks of ‘eluttu’, ‘coV, ‘porul’ as the eyes of the Lord. We had seen him referring to Tamil as “Tinai koi centamil” the ‘tinai’ being the very subject-matter of the study of Porul.

"Ilaikkum eluttukku uyire ottiyal” — ‘You are that vowel unto the letters written’. He sings in another place about ‘eluttu : “Akaram mutalin eluttaki ninray”. This description is somewhat perplexing. Possibly, it is expressing the idea conveyed by the first couplet of Tirukkural: “Akara mutala eluttellam”— ‘The vowel referred to is ‘A’ which as mere nada involved in the very opening of the mouth lies at the basis of every letter or sound’ as is explained by Parimelalakar and Naccinarkkiniyar. It is true ‘eluttu’ may even mean a picture or painting as is proved by the existence of the phrase, “Eluttunilai mantapam” meaning the hall of painting; and in that case Nampi Arurar must be thinking of the Lord as the breath which will vivify a work of fine art.

XII - Nampi Arurar, a Paramanaiye Paduvar, a Mystic Poet:

All these songs are the outpourings of the hearts of Bhaktas the expression of their mystic experience, therefore it is divine poetry expressing the finest blossom of Jnanamarga—“Poyya navatanal pukalvarkal manattinulle meyye ninreriyum vilakke yotta tevar piran”—‘Their tongues never utter any falsehood and they praise you. In the inner recess of their mind you stand firm and shine like a great lamp of truth’. “Otalvinarntatiyar un perumaikku ninain tullurukd viracum ocaiyaip patlum ni’ may also be referred to.

All these make it clear that when Nampi Arurar sings of Tamil songs, he is having in mind the songs of those whom he had described in Thiruthondathogai—Paramanaiye Paduvar. Therefore, Arurar himself has to be looked upon as a Paramanaiye Paduvar— a mystic poet. This part of our study has really revealed Arurar s worship and religion as Art-mysticism. Has not Cekkilar said that the Lord Himself told Arurar, ‘Arccanai patte akum ? We have already seen Prof. Srinivasachariyar speaking Nampi Arurar as a mystic poet and we have quoted his version fully about our poet.

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