The Tamil language has a rich and varied corpus of bhakthi poetry. Great saints and composers in Tamilnadu have used this most ancient and lyrical language to describe the qualities of the Devine, to narrate the tales of his interplay with devotees, and to engage in happy monologue with Lord. A Significant part of his compositions were bequeathed by the Tamil Nalvar, or the great four Manikkavachagar (14th c), Gnanasambandar, Thirunavukkarasar and Sundarar ( all three 7th c), who sang in praise of Lord Siva. The Compositions of the last three are collectively known as Thevaram and form a part of the huge corpus of Saiva Siddhantha worship to the extent of being called Tamil Vedas.
This recording presents an introductory Thiruvachagam followed by a few of Thevarams.
Vinnag dhevarum – Manickkavachagar,Thirupalliyezhuchi – Bowli :Vinnaga Dhevarum is an invocation to the Lord, sung in the early hours. We worship you, the Lord of Thirupperundurai, the one who is delight to the eye; sweet nectar to our thoughtsand fulfils all our desires. Arise! It is in Thirupperundurai near Madurai that Manikkavachagar – the Pandya minister turned saint – received his first intimate blessing from Lord Siva.
Vaasi theerave - Gnanasambandar,Pann - Kurinji – Adi : Gnanasambandar and Thirunavukkarasar(Appar) shared great respect for each other. Once when there was a famine in Thiruveezhimalai, Lord Siva summoned Sambandar and Appar to take up public service on their either side if the temple. He blessed them with a gold coin each, every day to carry out the task. The coin given to Appar fetched more exchange than Sambandar’s. A baffled Sambandar questioned the Lord who replyed that Appar had more kainkarya balam. Appar had over time taken up the mission of clearing the temple precincts of grass and weeds. This endowed him with kainkarya balam. Unable to bear his inadequacy, Sambandar burst into song pleading, “release me from this vaasi”. Vaasi is the reverse pronounciation of Siva. Siva means prosperity and Vaasi means something ‘ rationed and inadequate’.
Thalai nee vanangai – Thirunavukkarasar, Pann Sadari – Rupakam: A Song that bids each part of the body to offer itself to the Lord and rejoices at seeking and finding him within.
Yella ulagamum –Thirunavukkarasar, Pann Kurinji: Appar describes the Lord of the five rivers (Thiruvaiyar) as the one who is omniscient, radiates as supreme Knowledge, and shower benign Grace on those who surrender unto him.
Perugalam – Thirunavukkarasar, Pann Indhalam – Tisra Triputa: At Thirumarugal, Appar pleaded to the Lord for wealth. He awoke from sleep to find that the sand bricks on which he had rested his head had turned into gold! This song celebrates this miracle and Lord of Thirumarugal.
Veedalala – Gnanasambadar – Pann Kowsikam – Rupakam: Gnanasambandar visits Madhurai to describe Somasundareshwarar as the noble deity joyfully listening to his devotee singing his praise.
Azhukku mei kodum – Sundarar – Pann Thekesi – Adi: “You must pardon and accept me, O Lord !- even as milk is accepted after being cleared of the dust and durt that have fallen in to it. I have clung to you through all my worldly pursuits. Now tell me, what medicine can win back mu vision?” Sundarar pleased to the lord on losing his eyesight, and the Lord restored it.
Madhar pirai kanniyanai – Thurunavukkarasar – Pann Gandharam – Rupakam:Appar trudged his way up the Himalayas at the ripe old age of eighty, seeking Kailasam-the adode of the Lord. Bruised and bent,he encountered an old man who asked him to jump in to a nearby pond to reach Kailasam! Appar obeyed, and when he rose from the pond,he founf himself at Tiruvaiyar,without a scar!Ahead,he saw a rage of beasts and menall walk with their mates to offer themselves to the Lord.The spirit and essence of Kailasam as the abode of Siva and Shakthi,were unraveled to him through these sights. Appar describes his unique experience in this song.
Neeru servadhor – Gnanasambandar – Pann Megaragakurinji – Adi: The Lord of Thirupparaithurai is described in this song.
Thammayye pugazhndu – Sundarar – Pann Kolli – Misra chapu: Beware of those who claim to be your slave and those who talk endlessly aboput themselves. Fall not a prey to them,but sing the praise of the Lord of Thiruppugalur.It is HE who fulfills your material desires and ensures your salvation.
Perayiram paravi – Thirunavukkarasar – Ragamalika: The one whose thousand names are chanted by the celestials, the one who bestows rarest of wealth on his unflinching devotees, the one who is both powerfull mantram and tactful ploys,the one who can cure incurable ailments,the one who destroyed the three worlds…Appar regrets the days vasted in not singing the praise of the Lord of Vaideeswarankovil.
1. Vinnag dhevarum – Bowli – Adi - Manickkavachagar,Thirupalliyezhuchi
2. Vaasi theerave – Kurinji – Adi - Gnanasambandar,Pann