Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Thirumaal in Irunthaiyur.

There are 11 verses of Paripaadal found as quotes in commentaries by persons like Nacchinaarkkiniyar.

One such verse quoted by நச்சினார்க்கினியர் in his commentary on செய்யுளியல் -121 of தொல்காப்பியம் is about Thirumaal in a place of called இருந்தையூர்

The location of this temple, the posture of Thirumaal and the surrounding city are described in this poem.

The most interesting description is that of a separate temple for Adhi seshan near this temple.

The people of all ages worshiped at the temple of Adhi seshan first and then worshiped Thirmaal by surrendering at His feet.

Upon enquiry, I could not locate a place called “Irunthaiyur” where Thirumaal is found seated and a temple for Adhi seshan nearby.

However we come across this name in the list of poets of the Second Sangam mentioned by Adiyaarkku nallaar.

There was a poet by name ‘Irunthaiyur KurunKozhi’ (இருந்தையூர் குறுங்கோழி ’) who adorned the இடைச் சங்கம் (2nd sangam) along with Tholkaapiyar.

Interestingly, Keeranthaiyaar, (கீரந்தையார் ) one of the Paripaadal writers (mentioned in the earlier post) also is featured in the list of poets of the 2nd Sangam,.

The 2nd sangam was attended by Thurvaik kOmaan (துவரைக் கோமான் ) also – the Lord of துவராவதி or Dwaraka – who is none other than Krishna!

Going by the 2 names - Irunthaiyur KurunKozhi and Keeranthaiyaar – we can say that Irunthaiyur was a living name during the period of 2nd Sangam and that the songs on Vishnu were composed during that period.

Tholkaapiyar featuring among these poets show that the compilation of Paripaadal as we have today with us, was a mix-up of literary tradition of pre and post Tholkaapiyar. That is why we see many poems of Paripaadal not complying with the grammar of Paripaadal of Tholkaapiyam.

இலக்கியம் இன்றி இலக்கணம் இன்றே
எள்ளின் றாகில் எண்ணையும் இன்றே
எள்ளினுள் எண்ணைய் எடுப்பது போல்
இலக்கியத்தினின்றும் எடுபடும் இலக்கணம்'

என்பதற்கொப்ப grammatic rules of Paripaadal evolved from the pre exiting poetry and musical tradition of Paripaadal.

In defining the nature of Paripaadal, Tholkaapiyar attributes his notion to his predecessor- poets.

“நாடக வழக்கினும் உலகியல் வழக்கினும்

பாடல் சான்ற புலனெறி வழக்கம்

கலியே பரிபாட்டு ஆயிரு பாவினும்

உரியதாகும் என்மனார் புலவர் ”

says he in the 56 sutra in அகத் திணை இயல் .

Thus we can arrive at the period of Paripaadal poems on Thirmaal to the 2nd sangam or prior to that.

When the 2nd Sangam was on, Kapaatapuram was the capital of the Pandyans.

The 2nd Sangam assembled at Kapaatapuram only.

This was before the deluge that swept away Kapaatapuram and defined the coast line of Tamil lands at the present day Kanya kumari.

According to Nakkeerar, the 2nd Sangam lasted for 3,700 years.

This was followed by the 3rd Sangam at Madurai (of today) which lasted for 1,850 years.

Assuming that the 3nd sangam ended about 1000 years ago, we can locate Keeranthaiyaar and Irunthaiyur at a time 2, 850 years ago from now.

Irunthaiyur was a famous shrine of Vishnu then.

Thirumaal was found in sitting posture.

His temple was at the foot hills which had waters flowed down.

The water from the hill was received by Naan Maadak koodal!! (நான் மாடக் கூடல் )

Naan maadak koodal is the olden name of Madurai.

But there is not mention of Madurai in this song.

It is only mentioned as (the song begins thus)

வான் ஆர் எழிலி மழை வளம் நந்த,
தேன் ஆர் சிமைய மலையின் இழிதந்து,
நான் மாடக் கூடல் எதிர்கொள்ள, ஆனா
மருந்து ஆகும் தீம் நீர் மலி துறை மேய
இருந்தையூர் அமர்ந்த செல்வ!

The clouds from the sky are pouring their ‘வளம்” - prosperity in the form of rainfall.

Waters flow down the ‘சிமையம் ’ – the lofty peak.

The city of Naan maadak koodal receives that water.

The waters act like medicine ‘மருந்து ஆகும் ’

On the banks of that waterway,

Selvan (செல்வன் ) (because He is திரு நிறை மார்பன் – having Sri or Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth residing in Him)

is seated in Irunthaiyur.

The puzzle about this Kshetra can be resolved as we read on the poem.

The poem says that there is a separate kshetra for Adhi seshan in a place called “KuLa vaai” (குள வாய் )

which is described as “Naagar nagar”(நாகர் நகர் )

The location is KuLa vaai – at a place near the Hill where the falling waters settle down as a KuLam – pond.

This description resembles the shrine of Thirumaal as Koodal Azhagar!

The lord at Koodal is “Koodal Azhagar” in sitting posture.

He was the presiding deity of Naan maadak koodal in those days – this is indicated by this verse.

It was not known as Madurai then.

It was Irunthaiyur – perhaps due to the reason that Thirumaal was in “இருந்த கோலம் ” – in sitting posture.

The posture of Thirumaal was a prime factor in the narrations in olden Tamil texts.

In a conversation found in மதுரைக் காண்டம் (காடுகாண் காதை), in Silappadhikaaram,

a pilgrim from a place called Maankaadu in Chera naadu, describes the deity at

Sriranmgam as “கிடந்த வண்ணம் ” and

the deity at Thirumalai as “ நின்ற வண்ணம் ”.

The posture is very important as it tells where the Lord and Adhiseshan are or what they are doing.

When He is seated – that happens in Vaikuntham – the Adhiseshan becomes His seat.

When He is standing, Adhiseshan becomes His base upon which He stands.

When He is walking, Adhiseshan becomes His umbrella.

And when he is lying down, Adhiseshan becomes His bed.

This is reflected by Poigai aazhwar as

“சென்றால் குடையாம் இருந்தால்சிங் காசனமாம் ,

நின்றால் மரவடியாம் நீள்கடலுள் - என்றும்

புணையாம் மணிவிளக்காம் பூம்பட்டாம் புல்கும்

அணையாம், திருமார் கரவு .”

In Irunthaiyur He is seated. That shows that kshetra was akin to Vaikuntham.

In the course of the song there comes a description of the shrine of Adhisesha as similar to துறக்கம் – Swargam or Heaven.

It is Heaven for Adhisesha whereas it is Vaikuntha for Thirumaal.

Irunthaiyur was how it was called when 2nd Sangam was in progress –

when the present day Madurai was not yet the capital city of the Pandyans.

But when the Pandyans were forced to move northward due to deluge,

they seemed to have taken up Irunthaiyur as Madurai

as a reminiscent of the Then Madurai (Then Madurai)

which they lost to seas more than 5000 years ago.

The supporting evidence for Irunthaiyur as Koodal azhagar Kovil of today is that

there is a tradition of Navagraha worship here which is unusual for a Vishnu shrine.

The worship of Adhisesha which is described in the Paripaadal perhaps changed into navagraha worship as time went by – bringing in the worship of the serpent gods (Rahu and Ketu) in the place of Adhi sesha.

Perhaps there may also be some shrine exclusively devoted to Naga worship some where near Koodal Azhagar temple.
The readers and locals will be able give some inputs in locating this shrine.

I analyzed the other Naga temples such as Thiurnageswaram and Nagar Kovil etc.

But the verse is very clear in mentioning the sitting deity, Thirumaal.

The name-cause also points to the posture of Thirumaal.

The verse is a prayer to this deity.

The worship method is to pray to Adhiseshan first and then worship Thirmaal.

The name- connection as Naanmaadak koodal, Koodal Azhagar and Irunthaiyur point out just one thing –

that Thirmaal or Vishnu worship was part and parcel of Tamil culture in Sangam times.

The poem and explanation of it will be covered in the next post.


Balaji said...

Madam, great post. But I have one thing to say regarding Poigai Azhwar's paasuram:-

I found two Sanskrit words there:- Singhasanam and Maram, aren't they both Sanskrit?

jayasree said...

Yes. There are many words common to Sanskrit and Tamil. There are rules in Tholkappiyam on how to spell / pronounce them.