ջɺThirunjana Sambantar

Dear Friends,

The Tamil sacred lore holds a unique place in world literature. They constitute the most moving literary expressions of the Hermeneutic journeys of the human mind into the metaphysical depths that abound with interesting and absorbing allusions to archetypes and mythologies. The human mind,  despite being rational,  is essentially mythical and metaphorical,  a dimension that we are losing in view of the mechanisation of the human  existence by the dominance of positive sciences and technolgical advances that they have brought about. We have to RECOVER the symbolical wherein  lies the spiritual without neglecting the benefits of   the technological, for the metaphysical is  the source of life regeneration as well the ground of a happy and healthy life.

I have started this series to bring to home to the modern mind this ancient wealth by way of contributing towards this recovery. I have already published a few on this-- the Upatesams  of Thirumular and the hymns of Appar. Now to this list I am happy to add that Sambantar , a young contemporary of Appar ( 6-7th A.D). I will follow the same style as for the earlier. Soon I will add others as well. I am encouraged to do so by the warm reception I am enjoying for this task.


Thirunjaana Sambantar 1-1

Ψ ͼ ⺢
Ψ á Өɿ

tooduyaiya ceviyen  vidaiyeeRi oor tuuveN maticuudik
kaadudaiya cudalaip podi puuciyen uLLangkavar kaLvan
eedudaiya malaraan munainaad paNinteetta aruL ceyta
piidudaiya piramaapuram meeviya pemmaan ivananRee

ú ɡ Ȩ Ţ¢ , Ţ , Ţ տ ⺢š Ȣ Ŧ . ŧ ç Ż ¡ â. 򾨸  Ψ Ţ , ¡ š.

This Great BEING who has made Himself manifest
Here in this magnificent temple of Piramapuram  where once
He graced the God of the lotus flowers with divine wisdom
When he implored with becoming humility uttering praises
Is also the ONE  who disclosed Himself as the
Androgynous BEING wearing round rings in one of  His ears only and
Having mounted the  BULL of infinite virility and wearing the crescent moon and
the sacred ashes of the burning grounds
stole my heart like a thieve unknown to my conscious self

tooduyaiya ceviyen :  The ONE wearings rings in only one of the ears( the feminine half)

vidaiyeeRi oor: having mounted the Pure BULL ( of  boundless virility)

tuuveN maticuudik:  wearing ( in his tuft) the crescent moon

kaadudaiya cudalaip podi puuci: having smeared Himself with the sacred ashes of the burning grounds

yen uLLangkavar kaLvan: has stolen my heart like a thief (unknown to my conscious self)

eedudaiya malaraan munainaad paNinteetta aruL ceyta: When once the God of the Lotus Flower (i.e Brahma) implored for divine wisdom in becoming humility and uttering praise , He graced Him (with what he wanted)

piidudaiya piramaapuram meeviya pemmaan ivananRee: is this Great BEING who has himslef manifest in this magnificent TEMPLE of Brahma Puram


Genuine metaphysical life where there is true  freedom, is an immesely symbolic life. There are many UNCONSCIOUS forces at work and when one allows the mind to be shaped and developed by BEING without letting any prejudices to thwart the pedagogic processes , the UNCONSCIOUS takes over the conscious mind stealthily, quite unknown to the individual. This is what  happened to young Sambantar and in this first and opening verses of the whole of ThirumuRais, Sambantar recounts here  his personal experiences bringing in the mythical and metaphorical to drive in the point.

BEING is Pem Maan, the Great One and HIS greatness is established by allusions to the  mythic account of how Brahma, the God of Vedas and other scriptural productions, unable to grasp the Absolute Illumination that is post-linguistic and beyond the reach of the scriptural utterances, accepted his defeat and implored BEING for the divine  wisdom that only HE can disclose. BEING is the Great One only because HE is the ONLY ONE who can disclose in the Language of Deep Silence the absolute illumination that is ahistorical and atemporal and hence BEYOND the reach of linguistic productions including the Vedas and such other sacred scriptures.

But nevertheless HE dos not remain the Wholly  Other, the Totally Beyond. He assumes many phenomenal forms to HELP out the struggling and suffering individuals  so that they would attain success in their metaphysical journey that is demanding in cognitive and psychic energy. He presents Himself along with the Pure BULL to show that HE is the source of all virility that provides the energy and courage to battle with the evil forces on the way . He also wears the Crescent Moon, that which symbolises the Ambroisia, the medicine that ensures a healthy body and mind. And he is NOT alone- He is always with the WOMAN having HER as  His equal half. For HE,  though formless on His own, but becomes the source of the biological differentiations of the earthlings by becoming the MAN and WOMAN, the Adam and Eve ,  the Ammai-appar, the androgynous BEING.

And above all HE discloses Himself as the primordial agent of Purifcation by presenting Himself as the ONE wearing the sacred ashes of the burning Grounds. The Burning Grounds is a supremely beautiful metaphor to indicate the singing to ashes the world ties and the Dark within that is the source of all physical attachments as opposed to the metaphysical. Only when the worldy ties are burnt to ashes is the soul freed to explore freely the  metaphysical where lie the mysteries of existence.

And finally the TEMPLE is seen as a  locale where all these elements of mythical and metaphorical thinking are resuscitated or regenerated! The Great One of the mythologies and directly experienced in numerous   archetypal forms pervades the TEMPLE and which means that all these experiences  can be REGENERATED in entering the Temple by allowing  the mind to be freely be formed by it.

The Temple may be meaningless for those who close their mind towards its benign influnece of BEING but for those who  avoid that because of a well-earned mental freedom, it becomes a locale for regenerating and the enjoying again and again the flighty metaphysical and metaphorical experiences that are immensely meaningful

Sambantar 1-2

ǿ Ө
ȧġ ɡ Ģ
¡ â¡ ¡ ا

muRRal aamai iLa naakamodu eenam muLaikkombu avai puuNdu
vaRRaloodu kalanaap pali teerntu enatu uLLang kavar kaLvan
kaRRal keeddal udaiyaar periyaar kazal kaiyaal tozuteetta
peRRam uurnta piramaapuram meeviya pemmaan ivananRee

This BEING who pervades in the temple of Piramaapuram
Riding the majestic BULL,  is the thief who has stolen my heart (unknown to myself)
 Those who are really great, worship  HIS anklets  because
They want  to LEARN earnestly   and are willing to listen to the meanings
BEING discloses by wearing  the archetypal forms of the Old turtle, the young Snake, the Boar and the sharp Horns
And by  burning the dirt of ignorance by the FIRE of ILLUMINATION  that makes  them  lean in form
And taking all that as their alms to Him (so that they never assail them again)

Ƹ Ţ Ȣ š 째¢Ģ Ţ Ȣ¡ . ɢ Ӿ ¡, Ө ¡ ġ զ Ȣ զġ ¡ Ţâ Ш¢ɡ ا Ȣ ը Ǣ 쨸 ɢ ﻡ Ģ ¢, ɡ !

muRRal aamai iLa naakamodu eenam muLaikkombu avai puuNdu: Wearing the archetypal forms of old Turtle, young Snake, the Boar, and the sharp-horned Bull

vaRRaloodu kalanaap pali teerntu : causing one become lean by burning the ignorance by the fire of illumination and taking away all as the alms (so that they never return to assail them again)

enatu uLLang kavar kaLvan: is the THIEF  who has stolen my heart

kaRRal keeddal udaiyaar periyaar : the really great ones who want to LEARN earnstly and are willing to listen as to their meanings

kazal kaiyaal tozuteetta : worshipping the Anklets with hands raised

peRRam uurnta piramaapuram meeviya pemmaan ivananRee: the BEING who riding the majestic BULL  pervades the Temple of Piramapuram


Sambantar among all the Nayanmars is the one who fought most vigorously against the the Buddhists and Jains of the times who were sharp logicians but unfortunately very positivistic and hence inclined to make a mockery of the Symbolic Language that BEING choses to instruct the human beings on the secrets of the UNCONSCIOUS  which has its own logic but  very different from the positivistic logic the Buddhists and Jains cultivated. Sambantar criticised their pressumption that only perception and reasoning are reliable and NOT the mythological and metaphorical that provides another source of divine wisdom, the Agama PiramaaNam. In this verse Sambantar points out the Periyar , the Great Ones are NOT these dogmatic logicians  but rather people who are OPEN and are willing to LEARN and LISTEN to the meanings of these archetypal presentations and approach BEING in all humility to be instructed by  Himself. There is DISTRUST of human intellect for it is FINITE and hence DELIMITED in what it can understand, and furthermore BOUND to function within its own PREJUDICES that is so old difficult  to dislodge.

Thus we have a science of HERMENEUTIC SEMIOTICS, a science akin to dream interpretations but here  the mythical and metaphorical and in which is communicated UNIVERSAL TRUTHS of the psychic functioning of human beings that transcends the rational.

The Old turtle, one of the Avatars in Vaishnavism is BEING when he takes the anmas into a journey of the SEA OF UNCONSCIOUS rather safely so that such experiencing is under control and the person does not become abnormal with some kind of psychic malfunctioning which are always possible. The Young Snake is the Coiled Power, the Kundalini that underlies not only the sexual libido but the whole lot of psychic energy that allows one to function effectively even in intelletual matters. The Boar represents digging into ground, the anmas in self-isolation exploring  its own DEPTHS, moving  archeoductively into its own deep self. The bull with sharp horns represents the metaphysical heroism, the willingness to battle with all the evil forces WITHIN ONESELF as well as  outside  so that one emerges VICTORIOUS over the evil nature of oneself and that in the world.

BEING by taking such archtypal forms, forges METAPHYSICAL THINKING of a meaningful kind and NOT JUST SIMPLY arid logical thinking that discloses no truths about oneself at all.  And because of such illuminations, the dark chamber of the heart becomes  BRIGHT and  with intense   fire  burning there,  the person becomes LEAN or ASCETIC with NO MORE interest in sensual exultations.

And BEING most importantly takes all the dirt of ignorance as the Pali, the sacrificial offerings of the individuals so that they NEVER ASSAIL them  again . The purification BEING brings about is permanent and absolute and because of which the great ones desire to be instructed by BEING only  and not by any pompous priests  and other intermediaries of whatever kind.

Only BEING is the TRUE GURU and Sambantar brings out this most eloquently in this verse

Sambantar 1-3


Ţ Ũ æ
ĸ Ӿġ š âЦ
â Ţ

niirparanta nimirpuncadaimeel oor nilaaveNmati cuudi
eerparantavina veLvaLai cooraven uLLangkavar kaLvan
uurparanta ulakin mutalaakiya voor uurituvennap
peerparanta piramaapuri meeviya pemmaan ivananRee

The BEING , the thief who has stolen my heart unknown to myself
Wearing the crescent MOON on HIS plaited hair,  luxuriant because wet always  with water flowing and
Wearing brilliant bangles radiant with pure glow and sliding off the hands is also
HE who pervades the Piramapuri, the widely spoken Original HOME of
The world that is full of cities and villages (populated by all kinds of creatures)

Ȣ¡ ɡ Ǣ , ¡ ž š ɢ ¢ ġ Ƹ ŧ. ¢ Ħġ Ũ¢ ø Ǣ Ũ Ǣ Ţ¡ 񽡸 ȡ. ŧ ¢â   šظ Ţ ĸ â ¢ Ţ .

niirparanta nimirpunnjcadaimeel oor nilaaveNmati cuudi: wearing the crescent MOON on His plaited hair, luxuriant because wet  always with water flowing

eerparantavina veLvaLai cooraven uLLangkavar kaLvan: the thief who has stolen my heart wearing brilliant bangles radiant with pure glow and sliding off the hands

uurparanta ulakin mutalaakiya voor uurituvennap: the LOCALE which is the original Home of the world full of cities and villages( populated by all kinds of creatures)

peerparnta piramaapuri meeviya pemmaan ivananRee: is this widely spoken Piramapuri where pervades the BEING


The presence of WORLD as such and all the creatures enjoying abundance and FERTILITY both biological amd mental are all possible only because BEING stands as the MAN-WOMAN forever in intimate embrace. Just like children are born only when a man and a  woman come together and  embrace each other so is the case with this vast universe and the productive processes there both at the physical  biological and cognitive levels. BEING becomes MAN on being-one-with- Natham and WOMAN when being-one-with-Vintu. The Vintu in itself, though it contains all but is unable to RELEASE anything  until the NATHAM, in itself vacuous penetrates the ever reluctant Vintu. It is in the embrace of inseparable interpenetrations that  the world and everything in it is produced and made PRESENT as the world and as the varoius things in the world.

Such metaphysical notions are available in the Semiotics of the symbolism of the Androgynous presentation of BEING being sung here.  The tufted hair stands for desires brought under control for the wild hair that spreads out like snakes everywhere stands for UNCONTROLLABLE desires and a life full of restlessness. When there is CONTROL then comes to prevail waters that moistures and brings about LUXURIANCE, the presence of enormous number of things and hence FERTILITY as such. The crescent moon also comes always providing happiness in appropriate measures for which reason it never appears as the FULL MOON but only as the half moon or even something less than that.

The bangles represents the best of the FEMININE and the the sources of joy as well as productivity. These are the RINGS of Vintu (Yin) that allures the males and make  the females happy in thus being the sources of allurements.

And very importantly here emerges another meaning of Piramapuri , or a TEMPLE in general. It becomes a MODEL of the Tillai itself, the ORIGINAL GROUND where takes place the DANCE of Siva Sakthi, the dance that generates everything in the world. Every temple is in a way the ORIGINAL ground where takes place processes that give PRESENCE and SHAPE to the UNIVERSE as a whole.

Sambantar 1-4


Ţ Ȣ Ţ ħ¡
Ģ â
즸 Ģ Ũ
â Ţ

viN makiznta matil eytatuminRi viLangku talaiyoddil
uN makiznta pali teeriya vantenatu uLLang kavar kaLvan
maN makiznta aravam malarkkonRai malinta varai maarbiR
peN makiznta piramaapuri meeviya pemmaan ivananRee

ɸ Ţ âž ǡ ţ ơŨ 츨 츢 â âǡ Ǣ 𨼸 ġ츢 , Ǧġ Ģ 즸 𦼡 ħż â ɡ Ŧ, š쨸¡ ĸ š쨸 š , š쨸¢  â¡ Ţ ! ¡!

The BEING , the thief who has stolen my heart unknown to myself is the God who destroys the mental castles of Gold, Silver and Iron that forever blocks off divine WISDOM by preventing metaphysical freedom  is also the BEING who appears as the skull-wearing gruesome archetypal form but all to get as sacrifice from me all the karmic deposits of my evil deeds and thereby make me PURE. This same BEING pervades this temple of Pirmapuri but wearing now the snake of sexual libido that founds the earthly life for the creatures and konRai flower garlands to indicate that life also has its pleasures and most importantly showing Himself in the Androgynous Form  having the  WOMAN as an equal part of Himself.

viN makiznta matil eytatuminRi : above destroying the castles in the sky (that prevents the emergence of divine wisdom)

viLangku talaiyoddil uN makiznta pali teeriya   vantenatu uLLang kavar kaLvan: is the thief who stole my heart appearing with a skull to get as sacrifice the karmic deposits of my evil actions

maN makiznta aravam malarkkonRai malinta varai maarbiR: who wears as garlands both the SNAKE (of sexual libido) that founds the earthly  life and a happy one at that with  pleasures as indicated by the garland of KonRai flowers

peN makiznta piramaapuri meeviya pemmaan ivananRee: is the same BEING who pervades this Temple Piramaapuram having the WOMAN as  HIS equal half.


Saivism is NOT a religion that looked with distaste the family life founded upon sexual love between a man and woman. The family life is NOT simply for procreation, is NOT simply an institution for the continuation of the species. While it is so undeniably at one level,   it is NOT at another and deeper level. . The genuine family is an institution where TRUE metaphysical LEARNING takes place and the  AVOIDANCE of that , such as that promoted by the Buddhists and Jains of the times,  will only lead to an arid and dry metaphysics that are merely mental acrobatics rather than articulations of real depths that are existentially meaningful. The mental castles are such mental citadels woven by the logical and rational minds, more as defence mechanisms rather than as articulations of genuine explorations of the Depths.

BEING destroys these castles  precisely by using sexuality as his tool. The philosophical and ideological systems collapse and get destroyed  when sexual libido emerges and pushes the individuals  towards seeking a female if a male and a male if a female throwing away all the restrictions false metaphysics and ideologies  that have been  the constraining factors. The sexual libido  creates a PRESSURE within that automatically FREES the individuals from such pretences and makes them realise the TRUTH of the presence of sexuality and because of which they remain the earthlings, little creatures in the world craving for this and that. The symbolism of Golden Snake, the garland BEING wears,  is indicative of this. There is this beastly sexual libido and that genuine metaphysical life is NOT something that pretends that it does not exist but something that ACCOMODATES it and turns it  into a Garland of Flowers.

The taming of the beastly sexuality  and tranforming it  into SEXUAL LOVE, that kind of love that comes to prevail between a man and woman who establish a FAMILY,  is the kind of love that breeds guiltless happiness, pure kinds plesures, the garlands of KonRai flowers. The soul should   become ANDROGYNOUS -- absorb the MALE if female and the FEMALE if male. Only when the psyche becomes androgynous with having the MALE and FEMALE in EQUAL measures within itself that there will not be anymore sexual cravings and hence the suppression and repression of it.

Thus the FAMILY is an institution that helps the psychically incomplete individuals to become fully saturated in terms of the male and female essences and TRANSCEND the sexual nature itself by becoming psychically androgynous.

The symbolism of BEING seeking as sacrifice the karmic deposits ,  with using as plate the skull is NOT gruesome if you look at it s something like a dream image. For the skull discloses DEATH and sacrificing the karmic deposits on it is actually becoming PURE and thereby ESCAPING untimely death. Only when a person lives long with a healthy body can he benefit from the family life to the full. And BEING purifies all individuals and affords VRILITY provided they SACRIFICE their evil thoughts in the thought of BEING.

Sambantar 1-5

ը Ԩ Ţ
ըȸ 󾧾 Ц
ը â Ţ

orumaipeNmai yudaiyan cadaiyan vidaiyuurum ivan enna
arumaiyaakavurai ceyyavamarntu enatuLLam kavar kaLvan
karumaipeRRa kadal koLLa mitantavoor kaalam ituvennap
perumaipeRRa piramaapuri meeviya pemmaan ivananRee

¡ ¡ ġ   ը , ţâ ȡ Ȣ ¡ šġ ը¡ Ҿ 򾢧 šȡ Ǣ , ħ ǡ   Ƣ., ƢŢ ƢŢġ 󾧾 Ц Ƣ측 Ƣ¡ Ţ Ȣ.


The BEING who stole my heart unknown to myself  did so by emerging in my depths as the ONE who is also the FEMALE and hence  having no dissensions with the FEMININE  whatsoever and with long tuft of hair flying about , riding the BULL of immense Virility and allowing thereby the rare gift of linguisticalisations in these terms. Now,  that SAME BEING is also the ONE who pervades this Piramapuri, the boat that survived floating in the dark seas at the time of primordial DELUGE  when DARKNESS enveloped the whole cosmos

orumaipeNmai yudaiyan : BEING who  has NO  dissensions with the Feminine

cadaiyan vidaiyuurum ivan enna: He gives Himself to be understood as the ONE with long tuft of hair and as the ONE who ride the BULL

arumaiyaakavurai ceyyavamarntu enatuLLam kavar kaLvan: stole my heart allowing myself to linguisticalise HIM so beautifully  thus

karumaipeRRa kadal koLLa mitantavoor kaalam ituvennap: the boat that floated in the sea during the primordial deluge

kaalam = kalam: boat

perumaipeRRa piramaapuri meeviya pemmaan ivananRee: The BEING who pervades Primapuri reknowned thus


Here again we find Sambantar weaving very skillfully an assembly of archetypal motifs  and mythical themes to disclose that BEING  remains INDESTRUCTIBLE and the SOURCE of everything.

The theme of  DELUGE and for which the presiding deity of Piramapuram is also known as ThooNi Appar, the great person of the Boat, takes us to the Sumerian times  , to the story of the Flood and how Ziu Sudra  escaped drawning by building a boat completely sealed from all sides like an elongated ball. This theme became also something central in Christianity  Islam and in many other Semitic faiths all having their roots in the Sumerian Agamism

In Dravidiaan thinking it gave rise to the notion of PraLayas, catastrophic destruction of the world and finally the Maha PraLaya, the total destruction of the entire Universe. But Piramapuram is special for it survived this Maka PraLaya , described as the DELUGE in which ALL LIGHT is WITHDRAWN and hence only DARKNESS prevails and which in the metaphysical thinking of the Tamils became the condition of the victory of aaNavam, that primordial but real stuff that forever struggles to SWALLOW everything and make them disappear and because of which it is the CAUSE of DEATH.

Death of the person and the whole  universe ceases to be mystery as it was for  Nacikethu during the times of the Upanisads. It is NO MORE a mystery -- there is this DARK  STUFF just as anati or uncreated as the souls and BEING but always in COMBAT with BEING. The DARK which is this aNavam SWALLOWS everything produced trying in its own blind way to spread UTTER DARKNESS  or objective NOTHINGNESS everywhere, to cause the DELUGE that swallows everything.

But despite all these the world IS and EXISTENCE continues. But how?

It is here that Sambantar gets the metaphysical insights that enables him to SING BEING in terms of certain archetypes that EXPLAIN the continuous PRESENCE of the World and EXISTENCE as such for the creatures.

For BEING can become the FEMALE,  the source of all productivity with infinite and untiring FECUNDITY so that every death and disappearance of something can immediately be REPLENISHED. But for this there must be a MALE with infinite virility and that too  as the RIDER OF THE BULL, the bull standing for the masculine virility, unaging youthfulness. And He must be everywhere for the destruction goes on everywhere. And certainly HE is ALL PERVASIVE as shown by HIS long  tuft of hair that spreads out completely so that HIS presence IS everywhere.

Thus we see an  assembly of archetypal descriptions and  recollections of mythical and cosmic themes ,  woven together in a way that is supremely illuminating, a rare burst of an insight that makes Sambantar himself exult in terms of being blessed with this rare UNDERSTANDING

Sambantar 1-6

šĢ ġ á ا
ȸ ɦŨǧ
ȸ ¡ Ƣ 츾
ȸ Ţ

maRai kalantavoli paadaloodu aadalaaraaki mazuveenti
iRaikalanta inaveLvaLaicoora en uLLang kavar kaLvan
kaRaikalanta kadiyaar niiduyar coolaik katir cintap
piRaikalantap piramaapuram meeviya pemmaan ivananRee

Ǣ Ǣ Ũ¢ ġ ¢ Ȼ   ġá ¢ Ƣ ﻡ ţ ا ¢ ̾¡ Ũ Ţ ŢŨ¢ Ţ Ȣ ,  Ţ Ƣ ʸ Ţ ը Ȣ ġ Ȣ¢ 񸾢 Ȣ Ȩ ¢ Ţ , !

The BEING who discloses himself through songs and dances that CONCEAL DEEP TRUTHS and WHO through that also shows Himself as the ONE having the axe that chops off the ignorant heads   and who appears also as the MAN-WOMAN by wearing the very feminine white bangles in thick arrays in one of the hands  is the ONE who stole of my heart unknown to  myself. That same BEING pervades this Temple at Piramaapuram wearing the crescent moon yondar that sends gentle rays  over the garden with tall plants carrying fresh blossoms amidst dark patches in between

maRai kalantavoli paadaloodu aadalaaraaki : BEING becoming the  music and dance that carry CONCEALMENT

mazuveenti : carrying the axe

iRaikalanta inaveLvaLaicoora en uLLang kavar kaLvan: wearing an array of white bangles in one of the hands and who stole my heart like a thief

kaRaikalanta kadiyaar niiduyar coolaik katir cintap piRaikalantap piramaapuram : The Primapuram that has a garden with  tall plants carrying blossoms amidst dark patches and above which arise the Crescent Moon that sends gentle rays

meeviya pemmaan ivananRee : The Great One who pervades this (Piramapuram)


This is another beautiful verse that touches upon a central theme of AGAMISM where Music and Dance have been developed as the most important Sadhanas or vehicles of DIRECT spiritual experience and for which AGAMISM stands .  Of course - NOT all kinds of dance and music.  For the ordinary ones are for ENTERTAINMENT and as such mostly  for the stimulation of the senses and the sexual appetite. The  songs and dances as the media of mundane culture touch the RAW stuff for they are easy to stimulate and also to  EXCITE the people through it. However the HIGHER kinds dance and music contain as their constituent parts 'maRai kalanta oli", sounds that CONCEAL important metaphysical insights and hence mantra-like. The songs and dances composed in terms of these are peculiar in that  BEING is there as the Deep Structure-- BEING is there as the CONCEALED PRESENCE and peculiar in that. The songs and dances POINT ABOVE THEIR SHOULDERS to something BEYOND and in that elevate and uplift those who witness it or participate actively in it. Thus they become the vehicles of existential ascendance, of pulling oneself UP in the existential ladder-- perhaps through a trance-like experience.

This uplifting effect of  the spiritual songs and dances ,  is linked with the archetypal presentation of BEING as the holder of  the AXE that chops of the ignorant heads. For such upliftings are TRANSFORMATIONAL, self-conversions. personality metamophorses and which cannot be realised unless the existing head or psychological nature  is SACRIFICED.  Metaphorically speaking BEING disposes off the existing head using the AXE so that a new one can grow.

Now what is the link between this METAPHYSICAL assertions and  the description of the pond in the way he does.?

Sambantar here uses a literary strategy so common in Sangam poetry, the use of CONCRETE metaphors to EXPLAIN something abstract and  here something metaphysical.

The garden with dark patches is the MIND with patches of ignorance or in ignorance itself.  The blossoms are the songs and dances that  carry ILLUMINATIONS that spoil the surrounding darkness. The crescent moon is the CLARIFICATION that one attains when one looks UP or get lifted up  or get into the Deep Structure and become transformaed by destroying themetaphysical  ignorance.  BEING wears this Crescent Moon to Disclose that unless he WILLS one cannot RISE above in the existential  ladder, that we cannot pull ourselves up by pulling our own hair. Someone has to do the PULLING , someone who  is ALWAYS ABOVE for only such a BEING can pull us up.

Sambantar 1-7

çš Ƣ
ƢǢ ȸ

cadaimuyangku punalan analan eriviicic catirveyta
udaimuyangkum aravoodu uzitantu enatu uLLangkavar kaLvan
kadalmuyangku kazisuuz kuLir kaanalam ponnanj siRakannam
pedaimuyangku piramaapuram meeviya pemmaan ivananRee

Ţâ ¢  Ƣ š ɨ즸 ɡ  â 񼡾 Ƣ ɡ  Ƣ ɡ á ɡ ¢Ǣ Ţ š Ģ¢ ¡ ǢЧ츢 š Ǣ   ¡ɢ, Ƣ Ǣ ţ Ƣ ¢ Ţâ ȨŸ Ţ Ȣ ¡ š Ţ Ţ , ¡.

The BEING who discloses Himself from the Depths as the One with refreshing Waters on his tuft and destrucive Fire  on his hands and Playing the game of production and destruction and for which purpose also wears  the SNAKE of sexual libido as one of HIS ornaments is the the ONE who stole my heart like a thief. This SAME BEING prevades the Temple of Piramaapuram, where in the groves of cool breeze around salt pans next to  the sea  the male swans conjugate with females  without any hindrance.

cadaimuyangku punalan : BEING with waters flowing in the tuft

analan eriviicic cathirveyta: also destroying by  throwing Fire and thus playing the game of production and destruction

udaimuyangkum aravoodu : with wearing the Snake ( of sexual libido)  as an ornament

uzitantu enatu uLLangkavar kaLvan: disclosing thus and stealing my heart  like a thief

kadalmuyangku kazisuuz kuLir kaanalam :  in the groves of cool breeze surrounding the salt pans  next to the sea

ponnanj siRakannam pedaimuyangku : where the male swans conjugate with the females without any hindrance

piramaapuram meeviya pemmaan ivananRee : the Piramapuram where the Great One  who pervades as such.


Here again Sambantar handles through  the use of concrete metaphors a topic that is highly sensitive and which was suppressed by the Buddhists and Jains of the times for fear of the  Female against which they fought a battle to maintain an ascetic and monastic way of life free from the hindrances of sexual wants.  The Saivites having learned about the enormous importance of Aham or domestic life from the Sangam epoch and further nurtured by ThirukkuRaL and so forth could NOT, of course, agree to such a devaluation of the FEMINE. Sambantar , more than others waged a fierce battle to rescue the FEMALE as also BEING and in  this verse he attends to another aspect of it.

The species has to go on and hence the processes of death and rebirth. The  historical life where the reproduction of the species is central provides the souls an opportunity to assume a bodily  existence and from which one can ASCEND and ESCAPE the karma that throws one to this historicity and hence to  a cycle of births and deaths. One can REDEEM oneself from this only if one gets INTO  it first and for which purpose the reproduction of the species is necessary.

BEING as one who wears the Ganga in the tuft is BEING who facilitates the generative reproductive processes. BEING as the FIRE-WIELDER is BEING who destroys i.e who allows the destructive and death-bringing processes. There CANNOT be the reproduction  unless the ongoing is destroyed. And this a PLAY ,  a catur for it is only a transformation and NOT utter destruction and production from a nothingness.  For what  IS cannot be reduced to NOTHINGNESS and what IS NOT cannot be made to be  PRESENT in the world i.e made to  EXIST. This the CatkaaRiya vaatam, the most general notion of the conservation of Energy as such.

Now the sexual libido is that which makes a male and female seek each other and embrace in sexual union and which is the BASIC process underlying the species regeneration. BEING is not only who grants liberation and hence freedom from being enmeshed in historicality but also who regulates and ensures the CONTINUITY of the species by implanting the sexual libido and controlling it and for which  reason He is also called Kameshwaran.

In this way the dry asceticism of Budhists and Jains of the times was refuted  and the importance of the FEMALE reinstituted.

Sambantar 1-8

ĸ Ƣ ئġ

viyar ilangku varai untiya tooLkaLai viiram viLaivitta
uyar ilangkai araiyan vali ceRRu enatu uLLangkavar kaLvan
tuyar ilangkum ulakiR palavuuzikaL toonRum pozutellaam
peyar ilangku piramaapuram meeviya pemmaan ivananRee

Ψ¡ Ŧ ž¡ ţȢ 򨾧 Ƣ   § â ţм  ɡ ᎠĢ 츢ƨ ý ,    Ũ ĸ Ƣ Ƣ ئġ Ц  á Ţ   ¡, ¡ š.

BEING  as Siva and Parvati stole my heart like a thief  when  He   squashed Ravana , the valiant King of  Sri Lanka, when
out of his immense arrogance tried to shift and displace with his mighty shoulders ,    and made him powerless. This
same BEING is present in this Piramapuram which stands out as the most  reknown  each time the world, full of untold
miseries,  is  destroyed and re-issued  for the benefit of the souls.

viyar ilangku varai untiya tooLkaLai viiram viLaivitta:   showing immense courage by toiling  to shift and displace  the

uyar ilangkai araiyan vali ceRRu enatu uLLangkavar kaLvan :  squashing and making powerless the RavaNa, King Sri
Lanka, and thereby stealing my heart like a thief;

tuyar ilangkum ulakiR palavuuzikaL toonRum pozutellaam : each time the world  full of miseries is destroyed and

peyar ilangku piramaapuram meeviya pemmaan ivananRee:   is the  same  BEING  who pervades Piramapuram that shines
forth each time the world is reissued


The theme still remains the  the Androgynous reality BEING where  HE shows  Himself as MALE-FEMALE and hence
the GROUND of the generative and destructive processes. But now  the focus becomes another kind of ENEMY to the
JOINT presence of MALE and FEMALE and they being TOGETHER inseparably  in Kailash, the mythological abode of Siva and Parvathi. What BINDS them  together is the MOST PURE LOVE , more refined even than between Rama and Sitha for here SEPARATION is unthinkable. Ravana represents the archetypal force that DISRUPTS pure love, a kind of HATRED and INTOLERANCE towards PURE LOVE as such. We must understand this as  a force within each one of us for  we in union with the malas inherent in our psychic constitution normally DO NOT hold LOVE between man and woman as  PURE and SACRED and defile it with carnal thoughts. Ravana represents this side of our own psychic nature and something that would FIGHT against the prevalence and dominance of PURE LOVE . Shaking the Kailash and trying to displace it is a valiant battle like the ones so many brave ascetics   wage to denigrate  PURE LOVE  because it makes  them LIVE with a male or female in life and PRACTICE LOVE as such

BEING , as the POWER of LOVE itself would certainly defeat such tyrannical attempts to disrupt LOVE as such being
present  in the world and in the heart of every creature. For it is that which gives MEANING for existence itself. A
loveless life is a  life in the desert landscape , a life full of miseries and what's worse, a life without a  MEANING for

What is the connection between this and the fact the fact the universe as whole is repeatedly dissolved and re-issued?
Here   we have cosmological views brought in to explain certain TRUTHS underlying the  mythical figure of Ravana and which depth psychologically quite revealing.   Ravana is  the AntiChrist, the force OPPOSED to pure divinity or Christ.
And each time  this Anti Christ becomes dominant, and hence the world full of MISERIES,  it is DISSOLVED totally but
re-issued  for the benefit of the numerous souls still in the laps of ignorance.  This process of destruction and regeneration continues untiringly and BEING shows Himself  as the POWER behind it all.

When the WORLD becomes the world of Ravana, or the AntiChrist, it will be destroyed only to be  re-issued  , something
beyond the capabilities of powers  like Ravana. And this constitues the WAY   a   Ravana or the AntiChrist is defeated and
made Powerless.

Sambantar 1-9

Ѿ    ġ ¡
Ѿ Ƣ   Ƣ      
š Ѿ   ǣ  Ӿġ  
Ͼ   Ţ

taaL  nutal  ceytu  iRai  kaaNiya  maalodu taNdaamaraiyaanum
niiL nutal ceytozil oziyan nimirntaan enatu uLLang    kavar kaLvan
vaaL nutal cey makaLiir mutalaakiya vaiyattavar eettap
peeNutal cey piramaapuram meeviya pemmaan ivananRee

Ǣ  ʦ   Ȣ ¢ á ž     ̨    Ȩŧ šɡ츢    Ȣ Ũ پ   ȧ ;  ŧ š Ƹ Ǣ 򾢦, ϸ Ǣ á Ţ , ¡ š

The BEING who stole my heart like a thief is the  one who defeated by  showing HIMSELF as the Unfathomable Flame, when with the presuppositon that BEING has upper and lower limits, Brahma ventured riding on his Swan to reach the upper limits and  Vishnu becoming the boar  tried to reach the bottom limits through  digging the grounds.  This same BEING is the Great One pervading this Piramapuram,  being extolled earnestly by  young women with lashing eyes and people  like that of the world.

taaL  nutal  ceytu  iRai  kaaNiya  maalodu taNdaamaraiyaanum:  Thirumaal and Brahma who ventured to see BEING, assuming there are upper and       lower limits;

niiL nutal ceytozil oziyan nimirntaan enatu uLLang    kavar kaLvan: the thief who stole  my heart  by defeating them by showing Himself as the Boundless Flame

vaaL nutal cey makaLiir mutalaakiya vaiyattavar: the people of the world like the  young women with lashing eyes

eettap peeNutal cey piramaapuram meeviya pemmaan ivananRee: The Great One who pervades Piramapuram , blessing all who praise Him  honestly


Sambantar, who in this Patikam shows himself to be a profound semiotician, atttends here  to one of meanings implicit in the  mythology where BEING discloses Himself as the Boundless Flame and defeats the earnest metaphysical desires of Brahma and Vishnu who presupposed that there are LIMITS, the upper and lower to  BEING. This Mythology  has also given rise to  certain festivals such as aNNamali Tiibam etc just to institute this deep metaphysical understanding in the social consciousness of the people.

Does Sambantar become sectarian here and extol the glories of Saivism vis a vis VaishNavism? Certainly NOT for elsewhere he notes that it is the same BEING who is  also Brahma,  Vishnu , the Boundless Flame etc. Sambantar as an astute metaphysician and hermeneutic semiotician tries to communicate a Deep Metaphysical Truth and it is after that we should enquire.

And we have to relate this to the MAN-WOMAN presentation of BEING that constitutes the  theme  of this pathikam.

BEING as the androygynous reality is MAN-WOMAN but when this is fragmented or filtered  by our prejudiced mind it can  become BEING-as-MAN, the Father God and BEING-as-WOMEN, the Mother Goddess.  Brahma is archetypal presentation of this Father God while Thirumal the Mother Goddess   . While Brahma as such would seek , in his masculine arrogance the LIMITS of BEING as lying in the sky  i.e graspable within scriptural exegetics, the  intellectual efforts spend in studying the scriptures and so forth  ,  Thirumal, here as a variant of the Women would  seek the BEING as lying in the world of the UNCONSCIOUS, the Mystic, the realm of the WOMEN. Thus in the framentation of the intellectual efforts one tendecy seeks  a FULL understanding of BEING in the scriptural studies and such other intellectual efforts , the Natham dominated processes,  and another , fascinated by the MYSTICAL and Mysterious would  seek full comprehension of BEING in the exploration of the Unconscious, the hidden and subterraneon.

And here BOUNDLESS FLAME  comes along to   disclose that BEING is inexhaustible in  both these tendencies, that  shows Himself  as having neither Upper or Lowers bounds, in fact as having NO BOUNDS at all. Neither the swan nor the boar can ever reach the limits.

But how is this possible?

Sambantar does not fail to think about it. He asks the question: why such frgamentation and franctionalisation of our hermeneutic  efforts?  And he says : it is all because of our desires which institute prejudices of a kind.

All of us are like the young  women with lashing and flashing eyes i.e people who see things with a heart full of DESRIES. This is the case even in the metaphysical journeys. Sometimes our desires  are for the mysterious and mystical and sometimes  for the clarity of intellectual grasping.  BEING as Thirumal promotes the  first and as Brahma the second. And this is NECESSARY for  only in the course of such efforts we LEARN that BEING cannot  known fully , that HE is forever BEYOND though always with us in some form or other. The Limitless Flame is also a presentation of BEING which is revealed just to humiliate the arrogant mind and subdue it.

The fact is no matter how hard we try  we CANNOT grasp BEING in itself and that  we are forever at HIS MERCY to understand anything at all of Him, and that we have  to evoke  His ARUL or GRACE even for an understanding of Him.

Sambantar 1-10

á  Ȣ¢  Ȣġ
ĸ Ģ   
¡           â򾧾  Ц

puttaroodu   poRiyil camaNum puRangkuuRa  neRi nillaa
otta colla ulakam paliteerntu enatu uLLang kavar kaLvan
mattayaanai maRuku avvuripoortta maayam ituvennap
pittar poolum piramaapuram meeviya pemmaan ivananRee

Ƣ ¢   ȡ Ƣ Ţ ,  ȢŢ Ȣ  ġŨ  ,   Ţ  ﻡ Ģ񼡧ɡ ŧ ɡ.   , ¡ɨ ﺢ   ɡ á â  Ţ , ¡ š.

The BEING who stole my heart is one who  caused the sacrifice of the IGNORANCE of the Buddhdists and Jains of the times who degenerated into an unthinking lot who could never advance  reasonable arguments. This  BEING who appears as the crazy archetypal being who challenged  a mad elephant , vanquished it and wore it's skin  as a symbol of  victory    is also the SAME who pervades this temple of Piramapuram.

puttaroodu   poRiyil camaNum : the degenerate Buddhists and Jains of the times

puRangkuuRa  neRi nillaa otta colla :  because both alike advanced irrational arguments   without any consistency

ulakam paliteerntu enatu uLLang kavar kaLvan: the BEING who stole my heart by causing the sacrifice of their ignorance

mattayaanai maRuku avvuripoortta maayam ituvennap:  this is like magic where BEING  defeated the mad elephant and who wore it's skin

pittar poolum piramaapuram meeviya pemmaan ivananRee: BEING as Mad  but is the same BEING who pervades in this temple of Piramapuram.


Sambantar  shows  his polemical side in this verse but with an understanding of  religious bigotry and how BEING destroys it, by allowing for violance even here. Buddhism and Jainism came to  S. India  from the North and ushered in profound changes in the cultural life and sustained itself for more than a millennium. There were notable Tamil Buddhists and Jains who enriched Tamil culture with their   humanism , deep scholarship and so forth.  However in course of time they degenerated into irrational systems closed within with arid loveless intellectualism holding sway. They became positivistic in outlook developed  logical systems of various kinds believing that through logical argumentations alone TRUTH can be established.

But their Logic was also NOT an open one for they did not allow the mythical as  reliable sources of wisdom and understanding.  They did not allow Hermeneutic Semiotics as  a reliable source of Wisdom or metaphysical understanding.  When arguments were advanced , they were just pushed down or thrown out  unceremoniously, an attitude that we can see in the Buddhist Manimekalai and to a certain extent in the Jain Nilakesi which are fortunately still extent.

The point is religions can degenerate and become  CLOSED systems, congealed  and hardened so that GROWTH and further development is continuosly resisted even with violence.  The people who  are metaphysically frozen are  like mad elephants, powerful but at the same very destructive.

The only way to correct the situation  is that  of "pali koLLutal" , the drama of SACRIFICE in the  world that has become degenerate.   This may be an allusion to VIOLANCE  with consequent blood bath or intelectual tournaments where  debates are conducted  vigorously. Sambantar opted for the intellectual warfare and for  which  reason he was known as Vaatu Venra Sambantar, the one who defeated his opponents in verbal disputations. Fortunately in Tamil culture verbal disputation was fostered throughout its history, a history that goes back to the Sumerian times  and because of which  blood bath out of religious  quarrels  were avoided.

The mythology of  BEING emerging as the Power that defeats the mad elephant and wears its skin as the symbol of victory just shows that violance is also instituted by BEING when the culture becomes  degenerate and where  vibrant intellectual life and hence LEARNING as such is NOT there anymore. A culture that does not remain  continously OPEN becomes that which ought to be SACRIFICED and religious disputes and sometimes even violence has this function.

This was the situation of Buddhism and Jainism of the times of Sambantar. And it may very well apply to  Saivism and Viashnavism of the present times where  LEARNING has become suffocated and many false individuals parade the religious world as Njanies, individuals philosophically   wise. The cult of Guru Worship holds  sway and the ordinary individuals are made to FALL at their feet in total intellectual  submission. If Sambantar  were to be  alive today, probably his main targets would be the degenerate  Saivites and  Vaishnavites who have  become hardened hearts with NO LOVE at all , frozen in their own heritage busy singing its glories without any earnest desire for  LEARNING and developing  the UNDERSTANDING.

Sambantar- 1-11

զȢ    ɢ
զȢ  Ţ
զȢ ɺ
զȢ Ţ Ǣ

aruneRiya maRaivalla muni akan poykai alar meeya
peruneRiya piramaapuram meeviya pemmaan ivan tannai
oruneRiya manam vaittu uNar njaanasambantan urai  ceyta
tiruneRiyat tamiz vallavar tolvinai  tiirtal eLitaamee

ΦǢ ⧚ Ȣ¢ øǡ ɢ¡ , 츢 Ģɢ 쾢  ¡  Ũ¢ ,  â Ȣ Ţ    ,  ɨ տ   Ũ š ν  žȢ Ţ ɢ ġ  ɺ զȢ    ġ, ¢ ý  Ţɸ Ǣ ȡŢ.

This   Temple of Pirampuram where pervades BEING , contains within itself the GREAT WAY  where BEING as resplendent Principle     but which Form  HE hides  and thus making it difficult and rare but which is however  possible once the heart becomes the Divine Lotus of the Pure Pond.  I , Njanasambatan have comtemplated with a singe mindedness on this BEING and have articulated the insights I have gained in these hymns,  the Tamil of the Sacred Way. Anyone who is capable of singing and understanding these verses  can easily overcome the innate prejudices that chain their mind and make it move in narrow grooves.

aruneRiya maRaivalla muni : BEING the resplendent and  who by concealing Himself is capable of  making an understanding Him rather difficult;

akan poykai alar meeya : but who discloses Himself when the heart becomes the Divine Lotus of the Pure Pond

peruneRiya piramaapuram meeviya pemmaan ivan tannai:    this Temple of Piramapuram contains within itself  the magnificent  WAY   of disclosing this BEING, and thinking of this BEING

oruneRiya manam vaittu uNar njaanasamabantan : I, Njanasambantan , with a single mindedness  have discovered these profound truths , and

urai  ceyta tiruneRiyat tamiz : have articulated these in  the  Sacred  Tamiz I have composed

vallavar tolvinai  tiirtal eLitaamee : and it is easy to overcome the innate prejudices of the mind  if one becomes  capable of singing and understanding them


This verse and verses similar to that will appear repeatedly as stylislic  feature , as a refrain in practically all the hymns of Sambantar,  a stylistic innovation that was first introduced by  Karaikkaal Ammaiyaar in her Muutta Tiruppatikam. However here we have the occurence of the    very  descriptive  term   of immense historical significance -- that of TiruneRiyat Tamiz, a kind of Tamil  that was being forged as  an INNOVATION during the bakti period that they shaped and which recovered the Tamil Language for the Tamils against the onslaughts of Sanskrit , which under the patronage of the Jains and Budhhists of the degenerate period   tended to uproot and displace it.  We must also recall that Sambantar was born a Vedic Brahmin of the Kaundinya Gotra but which he abandoned  by  composing these   verses in Tamil and through that uplifting the status of Tamil as sa acred language  that contains within itself, an understanding of the TRUE WAY, the WAY that genuinely spirutualises individuals.

But why so ?

For he has discovered through the exercise of metaphysical violance against the ignorance within himself  that BEING is MUNI, a resplendent LIGHT, a Radiance but   the vision  and understanding of which is immensely DIFFICULT and supremely rare. The WAY to a true understanding of BEING is NOT an easy one, it is an  aruneRi. And this is BECAUSE BEING can conceal Himself, He is capable of maRai, hiding himself and which makes it extremely difficult to understand Him,  extremely mysterious and uncanny. However He is  NOT without kindeness, He does NOT remain  totally aloof and above. He comes available for SEEING but only for those whose heart has become  a PURE  POND, a heart where  lives PURE LOVE and where egoistic arrogance is completely wiped out.   For only in such hearts the Kundalini emerges as the Lotus Flower  and only within this  that BEING manifests Himself in a form a person can see and understand. BEING is difficult to witness  and understand only because it is so notoriously difficult to  become EGOLESS and metaphysical violance Samabantar exercised was against this  Ego arrogance an which made him dissociate himself from the Vedic tradition into he was born and become completey  subservient  to the LIVING of presence of BEING-as-SIVA.

And for the same reason the TEMPLE of Piramapuram or in general the Temple Culture as opposed the Yajna centered Vedic culture also becomes the Peru neRi, the Great Way. For it is  the Temple,      through  the metaphysical experiences  it makes possible,  that  allowed insights that Sambantar was privileged to enjoy . The BEING who is witnessed in such  an arduous way, a way in which the EGO has to be vanguished through  exercising violance against oneself,   is forever FOSTERED by the Temple.   In  other words the Temple experience is such that it  helps and encourages the DESTRUCTION of the EGO, the arrogance of self that causes BEING to hide Himself.

Now Samabantar also talks about  having been single-minded in his quest for BEING.  This single-mindedness is seen in vigorous battles   he waged with all those who OPPOSED the destruction of EGO  and exulted in the  proliferation of the egoistic tendencies of the mind. The Buddhists and Jains of the times given over to Logical Positivism of a kind NEVER allowed the  mythical  as valid sources of understanding for if they did  they have to admit also that our mind is shaped by forces that remain for the most part Unconscious.  The promotion of rationality at the esxpence of neglecting the Unconscious was  that which was battled with by Sambantar, a battle in which he won  as the subsequent history would amply show.

Thus his verses are  NOT ordinary-- the embody insights gained through a vigorous battle agains  EGOTISM, against all  kinds of INNATE PREJUDICES, the  tolvinai, the chains  that imprison the mind making it move in very narrow grooves and hence closed  and unadventurous. Thus it is needless to emphasize that singing  the hymns and understanding their  meanings in their true profundity would induce EGOLESSNESS and develop the mind  in the direction of making it PURE and the soul   HUMBLE,  and which is the TRUE function of religious life.

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