The Hymns of Sundarar- Patikam :Pittaa!


 Among the Saivite Triad who contributed to the growth of Saiva  Siddhanta as a powerful metaphysical system that displaced then prevailing Jainism Buddhism and Vedanta,  that is NOT  simply an arid intellectual exercise but rather something that illuminates existence itself, Sundarar comes the third and the last and he  is dated around the 8th cent A.D. He stands unique for unlike  Appar who lauded and led an ascetic life and Sambantar who,   though not opposed to married life but never enjoyed it (probably burnt to death before it in the religious clashes of the times) Sundarar was not just simply  married but married twice and to  TWO celestial-earthly women,  Paravai and then later Sangkili and hence someone very close to most of us ordinary mortals  who are caught up in the web of family life. He also earned the rights from Siva Himself to move around not in loin cloths but rather as the handsome bridegroom in which form he is known to this day. Thus it is  BEING who shows that the metaphysical life is NOT inconsistent with married life and that it does not mean  one must be attired in rags to show one's  metaphysical or spiritual inclinations. His verses too are profoundly human, disclose the wars he waged with his own sexuality to which he  lost several times and which constitute the essence of the  existential struggles of many mortals to this day. His greatest contribution was verses outlining briefly the hagioraphy of the Nayanmars and because of which Sundarar became the HERO of the PeriapuraNam of Cekkizar ( 12th cent)  that elaborates it to an epic level,  a honour that was denied even to Appar and Sambantar.

It is with great pleasure that I present  now his verses in English so that we can compare  our struggles  with his and where possible benefit from  them as well.


Sundarar 1-1

š 츢
측ǡ ɢ ġ

pittaa piRaicuudi  perumaaLee aruLaaLaa
ettaan maRavaatee ninaikkinReen manattunnai
vaittaay peNNait tenpaal veNNey nalluur aruTtuRaiyuL
attaa unakkaaLaay ini alleen enalaamee

ɡ âЦž âɡ !    ġ Ţ ! է š ǡǡ? ¡ š  츢. VĢЧ츢 Ǣ . ɡ  Ȣ  զ Ш Ţ  !    ɢ ? ¡ š.

How can I deny being in service to you Oh BEING the Uncanny
    and wearing the crescent moon is the Great One , a Person Full of Grace
And how can I ever become forgetful of this oh BEING who ahs  emplaced Thyself
    in Grace-Ground at the southern corner of TiruVeNNai Nalluur for
I think of You always deep in my heart not forgetting at all  no matter what

pittaa piRaicuudi  : Oh BEING the Uncanny and wearing the Crescent Moon

perumaaLee aruLaaLaa: the Great One and the Person Full of Grace

ettaan maRavaatee ninaikkinReen manattunnai: think of You always deep in my heart not forgetting at all  no matter what

vaittaay peNNait tenpaal veNNey nalluur aruTtuRaiyuL: have  emplced Thyself in Grace-Ground at the  the Southern corner of Tiru VeNNai Nalluur

attaa unakkaaLaay ini alleen enalaamee: How can I ever deny being in service to you?


The most crucial terms in whole corpus of the hymns of Sundarar is the term "Pittaa!" said to be the divinely inspired first word of this first Patikam of Sundarar. I have translated it as "being uncanny" but it has also such meanings as "unpredictable, supremely crazy, almost mad" and so forth. The enormous importance of this term will be lost unless we also recall that Sundarar was a RELUCTANT servant of BEING and who was forcibly DRAWN to divine service by an uncanny Play of BEING. Consistent with his youthful and manly desires he was about to get married but the marriage could NOT  be solemised because BEING interrupted it in the guise of Saivite Yogi who claimed that he was already bonded to serve him by his ancestors. Whatever the truth of this account , it is clear that his first attempt to get married and get into  the ordinary fmily was interrupted most unexpectedly and to the  utter bewilderment  and disappointment of Sundarar who protested bitterly at this divine interference. It is while in this angry mood that he calls BEING the Pittan, the Crazy meaning actually the Uncanny, the Unpredictable, the most Unscrutable

What is communicated by this description is that  the  workings of BEING are NOT rule-regulated but rather supremley psychical and hence not at all mechanical. We cannot wrest out from brute nature the RULES in accordance with which  BEING functions for plainly there are NO SUCH RULES. BEING is UNCANNY in this being outside any rule governed behaviour  and entirely spontaneous and hence supremely UNPREDICTABLE. For which reason HE is known as the PERSON full of Grace, the aruLlaaLan for this is how aruL, the GRACE functions in the world, BEYOND the reach of the nasty hands of the rationalist who would try their level best to catch BEING in the network of LAWS so that His behaviour bcomes PREDICTABLE , just like everything in the mechanical nature. No,  BEING is NOT a fish  to be caught in this net, HE transcends whatever such feeble human attmpts. It is the DAWN of this understanding that captivates the experience of BEING that became available for Sundarar and which he articulates most movingly and unfailingly in this and several other of  his verses.

Now having seen HIS uncanniness, he cannot forget it  ever no matter what and along with that the fact that his TRUE vocation is to be in service to  BEING to which he is ALREADY committed. Though the story of documented slavery as written by his ancestors is brought in to explain this and hence merge the metaphysical with historical, the TRUTH is that all anmas are already destined to be IN SERVICE to BEING and that we are forgetful of it only because we are drawn to earthly life which makes us forget it. Sudarar was rudely awakened to this TRUTH already in the UNCONCIOUS and hence made CONSCIOUS of it forever which makes him wonder how can he ever become forgetful of it again. No, he will not. It becomes now the most dominant element of his CONSCIOUS LIFE and hence that which would determine the nature of actions he would enjoy doing, here being a servant of Siva, the Radiant BEING.

Sundarar  1-2

¡ â ġ
¡ Ψ
¡ ǡ ġ

naayeen pala naaLum ninaippinRi manttunnaip
peeyaayt tirintu eytteen peRalaakaa aruL peRReen
veeyaar peNNait tenpaal veNNai nalluur aruttuRaiyuL
aayaa unakku aaLaay alleen enalaamee

How can I deny being in service to you BEING , the MOTHER of all
For having lead a doggish life without thinking of YOU at all in my heart and
Because of that suffered running around like a hungry ghost but today I have attained your blessings so difficult to get
Oh thou who hast blessed the Ground of Grace on the southern banks of VeNNai Nalluur
surrounded  by the tall bamboo groves.

¡ â § ǡ ? Ш ţȢ §, Ȣ ɡ Ģ ¡ â 󾢧. ¢ Ǣ  ġ  󧾧! ɡ?

naayeen pala naaLum ninaippinRi mantunnaip: I led a doggish life for so long  without thinking of you in my heart

peeyaayt tirintu eytteen : suffered running around like a hungry ghost

peRalaakaa aruL peRReen: (now)  have attained your blessings so difficult to get

veeyaar peNNait tenpaal veNNai nalluur aruttuRaiyuL: In the Grace Ground of VeNNai nNlluur, on the southern banks of PeNNai, full of bamboo groves

aayaa unakku aaLaay alleen enalaamee: How can I deny being in service to you, the MOTHER of all?


One of the things Saivism emphasized and highlighted is that the FEMININE is also BEING and here the UNCANNY BEING is also understood as the MOTHER of all. This contrasts sharply with NOT  only the  negligence but also the vehement SUPPRESSION of the feminine  by the Jains and Buddhists of the times . Saivism emphasizes throughout that BEING is both MAN and WOMAN and that BEING in itself is BEYOND these biological diffrentiations though it is primordial cause of it.

One aspect of BEING that makes Sundarar call Him MOTHER is the SUPREME LOVE He showers upon him. For  he does NOT deserve it at all for he lived a doggish life where he NEVER THOUGHT about BEING at all. Like all young men, he was HUNGRY possibly with sexual appetites running after females (which later he came to despise) and hence a  dog in being as such. Furthermore  he also claims that he lived like a ghost, probably with rapacious desires that pushed  him towards an inauthentic life. The ghost here is the SHADOW of the real and hence of falsities with unbecoming desire, desires that would make him forget his true vocation. But despite all these he WAS blessed with the disclosure of his true vocation,  BEING who  appeared UNCANNY now appears as supremely MAGNANIMOUS  the closest analogy for  which is the love of mother. The term MOTHER signifies here the ARUL, that of a predisposition to give and  give no matter whether the person deserves it or not. BEING is LOVE SUPREME complete in itself and hence in want of nothing but also because of that knows only to give and give without calculating whether the person deserve it not.

Notes: The term 'aayaay: has also been interpreted as 'one who has a flock" but which I take as the vocative of 'aay' meaning 'mother'

Sundarar 1-3

š 츢
ɡ Ψ
측ǡ ɢ ġ?

mannee maRavaatee ninaikkinReen manattunnai
ponnee maNi taanee vayiramee poruntunti
minnaar peNNait tenpaal veNNey nalluur aruttuRaiyuL
annee  unakkaaLaay ini alleen enalaamee

From now onwards how can I deny being in service to you oh BEING, A Mother unto me
My KING in my heart I always remember you without ever forgetting Oh Thou!
Who has come to be in the Grace Ground of  VeNNay Nallur located on the
South banks of the brilliantly sparkling PeNNai River that brings along with its waters
Gold diamonds and other precious stones in abundance!

ġ Ũ¢ á ɧ ,  ɢ ǡ ¡ ŧɡ? â ¢ ġ ǧ Ȣ Ţ Ψ¡ է¢Ģ 즸  ! š 츢 !

mannee maRavaatee ninaikkinReen manattunnai:  My KING! I think of you withour ever forgetting

ponnee maNi taanee vayiramee poruntunti  minnaar peNNait : the brilliant PeNNai  river that brings along with it gold diamonds and other precious stones

tenpaal veNNey nalluur aruttuRaiyuL: in the Grace Ground  of VeNNey Nalluur on the South of (PeNNai)

annee  unakkaaLaay ini alleen enalaamee: Oh Mother! Now, how can I deny being in service to you


We have already explained why Sundarar calls BEING a mother which is repeated here. However there is a NEW symbolic meaning emerging in the description of the RIVER on the Southern banks of which is located the TEMPLE described here very appropriately the AruL ThuRai, the Locale of the unfolding of the GRACE that is BEING which elucidates further the meaning implicit in the metaphor of MOTHER.

The RIVER is an important archetypal symbol of life renewal that we find in all religions. It stands in direct constrast with the DESERT Landscape, which archetypally, stands for the BURNING to ashes all the DIRT and hence Tiikkai, the purification of the soul. BEING as Father does this but  as MOTHER he/she  does the opposite-- freshness of life renewal, regeneration. The RIVER in this verse carries this meaning for otherwise it will not be described as the one that carries Gold , Diamnond and other precious stones. This is NOT a natural description,  a geological account of the mineral wealth the muddy waters carry along with it but rather a metaphorical description of how the GRACEof BEING brings about different kinds HAPPINESS for the sufferings souls that have undergone the BURNING such as Sundarar in being prevented  the marriage that he so much wanted to be solemised. Such deprivations  disappoinments in life constitutes the Tiikkai, divine acts that push an individual into  remorse and thereby loosen  the hold of the DESIRES particularly the sexual.

But when the beastly sexual desries are TRANSMUTED thus, it does NOT mean the end of Happiness altogether. Every stage in life has its own happiness. The Gold diamonds and precious stones and so forth  stand for Metaphysical Happiness , the happiness that accrues to one through becoming PURE  that affords  enjoying now metaphysicl INSIGHTS that were beyond the reach before.

Sundarar 1-4

ʧ ɢ ȧ Ȣ
ʧ Ȣ
¡ Ψ
ʧ ǡ ġ

mudiyeen inip piRaveen peRin muuveen peRRam uurti
kodiyeen pala poyyee uraippeenaik kuRikoL nii
cediyaar peNNait tenpaal veNNey nalluur aruL tuRaiyuL
adikeeL unakku aaLaay alleen enalaamee

򾢨 ը 򾢨 â ʸ ġȢ Ш Ǣ ʧ, ǡŢ   ǡ ɡ ?  ɢ Ŧġ š, Ţ Ш . ɢ ɡ ¡. ġ ĸ š쨸¢ Ȣ , ʨ ơ ɢ Ȣ, .  Ţξ Ǣ !

My Lord who reigns over the temple in Nalluur on the southern banks of Vennai river that abounds in wide leaved plants,  How can I deny being in service to you now that you have reminded me that I am already bonded to be in service to you? However what I wish for now is that of ABSOLUTE LIBERATION from being caught in the cycle of births and deaths. If you do not grant it , and throw me again into this phenomenal circulation , I simply cannot SUFFER that again. Please take note of this despite the numerous falsities I utter because I carry your flag  of the BULL that is your vehicle.

mudiyeen : I cannot simply suffer again

inip piRaveen : I do not wish to be born again

peRin muuveen: but if I do then will suffer again growing and becoming old

peRRam uurti kodiyeen : I carry your flag of the BULL that is your vehicle

pala poyyee uraippeenaik kuRikoL nii : even though I utter many falsities, please take note of me

cediyaar peNNait tenpaal veNNey nalluur aruL tuRaiyuL adikeeL : my Lord who reigns over the temple in Nalluur on the southern banks of PeNNai that abounds with wide-leaved plants

unakku aaLaay alleen enalaamee : How can deny ever being in service to you?


Sundarar in this verse discloses the change in the psychodynamics that was brought about by the nonconsummation of his marriage by divine interruption. He was a man of worldly passions and who married TWICE despite  being pulled into metaphysical life and hence forced into it very much against his will. Throughtout his life he was TORN between the two and could  never free himself from the charms of beautiful females and hence sexuality. In many verses he gives vent to this dilemma in his life and the fact that he was a RELUCTANT  Nayanmar, a  mystic .

The true mystic is one who wants ABSOLUTE LIBERATION , here that of being FREED from historicality,  existential repetition , suffering ( or enjoying) endless births and deaths. While the survival instinct of ordinary life would seek IMMORTALITY , the LIVING forever and if possible in a  HEAVEN (if it exists), the metaphysically tuned individuals DO NOT seek this at all but rather FREEDOM from this kind of trap into historicity. They see the processes being born--  assuming a body  growing old and decaying--  as immensely PAINFUL and hence acquire a psychodynamics where they SEEK FREEDOM from this state of Being in the world. They  want a way of Being-in where  there is NO ASSUMING a physical body with its attendent processes of growth and decay.

This is what his AUTHENTIC NEED is,  as indicated by the fact he carries the BULL flag, the vehicle of BEING where he proclaims to the Lord and to the world at large  that he is RIPE for this kind of blessings. However his  weakness for Sexual enjoyments, his weakness for the charms of the earthly females interrupts with this and MAKE him say things FORGETFUL of the authentic desire , the desire to free himself from such passions and become truly AUTONOMOUS. But knowing his weaknesses  and unable to COVER IT UP he pleads that the Lord overlooks all these weaknesses and grant him nevertheless the metaphysical freedom that he truly seeks.


š ¡
¡ ǡ ȢŢ ǡǡ
ǡ ɢ ġ

paatam panivaarkaL peRu paNdammatu paNiyaa
yaatan poruLaaneen aRivilleen aruLaLaa
taataar peNNait tenpaal veNNey nalluur aruL tuRaiyuL
aatii unakku aaLaay ini alleen enalaamee

즸ġ š , ȡ ﻡ ɢ¡, ȢŢ ¢, Ȣ ¡Ȣ Ш, ¡ §, ɢ ڧ? .

Only those who have vanquished arrogance and submitted themselves to BEING that they are graced with the blessings of deep illuminations. I have been the Athan, the false philosopher out of ignorance. But despite this Oh Thou the Graceful One! Residing in the Grace ground of Nallur on the Southern  banks of the river PeNNai where abound flowers with plenty of pollens, have graced me with the divine illuminations. As such Oh the Originating Ground of All! How can I ever deny being already in service to you?

paatam panivaarkaL peRu paNdammatu : Only those who submit to BEING get blessed with this matter (of divine wisdom)
paNiyaa yaatan poruLaaneen : I have become the false philosopher because of my defiance

aRivilleen : I am ignorant

aruLaaLaa : Oh thou who art grace itself

taataar peNNait tenpaal veNNey nalluur aruL tuRaiyuL:  who resides in the Grace Ground of Nallur , on the Southern banks of river PeNNai full of flowers  thick with pollens

aatii unakku aaLaay ini alleen enalaamee: Oh Thou the Originating Ground of All! How can I ever deny being already in service to you?


Here begins an account of BEING and Understanding that constitutes the essence of religious life. The Civanjanaam, the metaphysical insight that redeems the soul is  NOT to be had by the efforts of the mind, of the intellect.  The wisdom is NOT a matter of intelletual prowess. No matter how analytical and sharp a person is , the Illuminations that Light up the Meaning of Existence is never to be attained by such efforts. The philosophers given over to the logical and anlytical ways of thinking and where they seek wisdom through subjecting concepts to minute analysis are forever beyond it.  Such people are the Athen, the false philosophers , the sophists of a kind where  meaningless verbosity and analytical acumen are mistaken for genuine wisdom.

Sundarar,  claims by way of driving in this point,  that he was such a person and hence ignornat, aRivilleen.The Arivu here is the redeeming metaphysical illumination that lights of the meaning for existence  and hence a satiation of deep kind. The restlessness and the tendency to search forever and thus running hither and thither comes to still only at the point of attaining the genuine illumination.

And this becomes available only for the HUMBLE souls and who have conqured and vanquished their own EGO. The I-ness and My-ness stand OBSTRUCTING the shining forth resplendenttly the Civanjanaam ALREADY there . The redeeming understanding is ALREADY in the soul but the Ego prevents it from shining forth and take possession of the soul. The Ego, fear of its own death, battles valiantly to maintain itself even in philosophy by dictating the Grammar of what is Right Knowldege etc. It develops concepts after concepts,  categories after categories only to realise in the end that Abslute Illumination is BEYOND all such concepts and categories and to be won only by destroying the Ego and submitting  oneself humbly to be formed and informed by BEING.

The destruction of the Ego is  what that happened to Sundarar when the consummation of his marriage was prevented by divine intervention and which disruption also opened his eyes to the fact he was ALREADY destined to be in service to BEING and that this incidence was only a reminder, perhaps a bit violant. But nevertheless it opend up his eyes and for which he is immensely thankful and calls BEING, AruLaalan, Grace Itself.


  측ǡ  ɢ ġ

taNNaar mati cuudii  tazal  poolun tirumenii
eNNaar  puram muunRum eriyuNNa  nakai ceytaay
maNNaar  peNNait tenpaal veNNey  nalluur arud duRaiyuL
aNNaa unakaaLaay ini alleen enlaamee

쨸    ʧ!   쨸 էɢ ¡!  Ƣ ġ ơǢ ﻡ   Ǣ â ġ 츢ŧ!  Ǣ ġ Ȣ զ Ш¡ â Ţ̧š!   ɡ 񽡧!   ɢ   ? ¡ š

Ͼ: Ǣ

Or Thou  who  hast  disclosed  thyself as the ONE wearing the crescent  moon that cools the spirit! Oh though  who hast disclosed  thyself  as the ONE  with a body of FIRE that destroys every dirt! Oh Thou who singenth  to ashes the castles of IGNORANCE of those who do not understand that thou art the force of both destruction and regeneration!  Oh Thou who graceth the Temple of Nalluur, on  the southern banks of the river PeNNai that cleanses the soul of those  who bath in it, how can  I ever say that I am not already in service to you?

taNNaar mati cuudii  : t Oh Thou the ONE wearing the crescent moon

tazal  poolun tirumenii:  O Thou with the body like  that of fire

eNNaar  puram muunRum eriyuNNa  nakai ceytaay: thou hast singed to ashes  the three castles of those who are ignorant of Thy  presence  and essence

maNNaar  peNNait tenpaal veNNey  Nalluur arud duRaiyul :  pervading  the Temple  of Nallur, on the Southern banks of PeNNai,  the river that cleanses the soul of those  who bath in it

aNNaa : the loftiest of the lofty

unakaaLaay ini alleen enlaamee:  how can I ever deny being already in service to you.


In this verse  , a new theme, something that gets repeated  many times over in many other hymns,  is being introduced. BEING has been called as MOTHER so far because of the KINDNESS Siva had shown towards Sundarar. HE has been called also the Pitta!, the mysterious, the Crazy and so forth because of the  mysterious  ways in which he works and redeems the suffering and erring souls.

But here BEING is  articulated as the most POWERFUL, the ALMIGHTY, He who has no powers above  HIM, i.e ANNaa!. This term as ancient  as Tamil culture itself and goes back to the Sumerian times where BEING was called AN,   the most distant and the ONE who grants POWER (mey) to  all including Inanna, the Creatrix,  but who is NOT in need of  such blessings. Thirumular describes the same notion in terms of "taanee tanakkut talaivan", the leader unto Himself, ie. someone who does not have anyone above HIM.

This understanding of BEING is consonant with the notion that He is the  AGENT  of the   FUNDAMENTAL processes of destruction and regeneration. The POWER that destroys HAS TO BE the POWER that regenerates. And as such,   this  POWER is the ABSOLUTE, there cannot be any other power in opposition   to it or even along with it.   HE is the ONLY ONE when seen as the POWER that destroys and regenerates, the fundamental understanding that distingushes Saivism from other metaphysical creeds.

Any metaphysical system that does not accomodate this and religion based on it has to be a FALSE religion, the religion of imaginative  citadels , the Mup Puram  , the castles the men of small minds build  to safegurad their pet  metaphysical notions. These citadels are "mummala kaariyam"  as described  by the perceptive Thirumular,  where the Mumalam are maaya malam, kanma malam and aNava malam.

The maya malam is born of attachments to the physical world and the castle built by such people are those that safeguard their materialism or physicalism. Through a twisted logic   of their own, they uphold that only the sensorial world is real,  and this   narrowness of thinking  is DESTROYED by BEING probably through a meaninglessness for existence that such a view is allowed to generate out of itself.  The spirit simply dries up without any joy in it.

The karma malam is that which makes them  persue selfish goals and hence continue being born again and again,  suffer unending existenttial repetitions. The castle they built  is a twisted sense of the heavenly, a imaginative life  in which the Paradise is seen as full of worldlypleasures  and  which they enjoy in  an everlasting manner in a life presumed to be available for the believers after death.

This  castle is desroyed by showing that death is real  and hence rebirth and hence suffering the worldly life  repeatedly , contiunosly.

The third castle is that which pertains to  the aaNava malam, that which  introduces BLINDNESS and hence INABILTY to see TRUTHS. It is also the source of human arrogance , the I-ness and My-ness .  And this castle is destroyed  by violance-- any arrogant individual will be combated  and fought with by someone else. For ARROGANCE invites combat and therefore violant  turn to existence.

We see this everywhere in the world, in the past as well as  now. Wars  battles disputes are endless and the most  devastating ones are the religious wars and which BEING appears as the  one who demands  SACRIFICE.

So Sundarar understands that BEING is  not only the MOTHER,  the benign  source of creativity and regeneration and which is  incorporated into the crescent moon, but also the FIRE that burns and destroys and hence the ONE who is also capable of VIOLANCE, the  Rudra taaNdavam

And the mentioning of a dib in the rivers that purifies also  has  a symbolic significance of a peculiar kind here.  It is certainly symbolic  but the signifance is that we must wash away these malams, the sources of false metaphysics that can distort our understanding of BEING,    that  BEING is the MOST POWERFUL  in view of the fact that HE is  the POWER behind the destructive-generative processes that constitute what the world is.


ɡ ¢á ġɡ ĸɡ
šɡ ɡ ġɡ ¡ɡ
ɡ   Ψ
ɡ 측ǡ ɢ ġ

uunaay uyiraay udalaanaay ulakanaay
vaanaay  nilanaay kadalnaay mailaiyaanaay
teenaar peNNait tenpaal veNNey nalluur  arud duRaiyuL
aanaay unakkaaLaay ini alleen enalaamee

ġ  ʧ   Ţ  ¢    ĸ ɡ. 򧾡 š  ¢ âҸ ǡ   š šɡ ɡ ġ  Ч ɡ.  򧾡 ġ  Һ ý   ɡ ¡Ȣ Ш  Ǣ ɡ. šȢ 째 ? ¡ š.

The anma in itself is nothing and  it lives as a creature only becuase BEING  blesses it with the flesh, with breathing and  the biological body along with a mental world  for to it live. BEING also provides the necessary ecological settings that enables LIVING by becoming the sky, the earth, the seas, the hills and all such elements.  And over and above this He also DISCLOSES Himself in the Temple of VeNNey Nallur girdled by the ever pleasant PeNNai River.  And Thus obligated how can I  ever deny being already  in service to  THEE ? Really cannot.

uunaay uyiraay udalaanaay ulakanaay:  Thou hast become the flesh,  the breath , the body and the mental world

vaanaay  nilanaay kadalnaay mailaiyaanaay: Thou hast  become the sky, the earth, the seas , the hills   and so forth

teenaar peNNait tenpaal veNNey nalluur  arud duRaiyuL : in the Temple of VeNNai Nalluur, on the Southern banks of PeNNai river   that is always with sweet waters.

aanaay unakkuaaLaay ini alleen enalaamee : thou hast BECOME VISIBLE and as such how  can I deny being already in service to Thee?


There is an evolution in understanding of BEING. Before we come to the final stage,  we interprete BEING as the Lord, the King, the Tyrant, the Magician, the Supremely Generous,  Lord of all the Wealth -- the Indra capable of granting all the riches in the world,  t he Kameshwaran capable of granting sexual happiness < The Bull of supreme Virilty, The Woman who enchants  with spells and what not.

Desires  after desires arise in the bosom with these desires  controlling our interpretive processes with which we UNDERSTAND BEING  in all these ways. These are NOT fictions of the mind for  human mind in itself is NOTHING if nor for the  provision of the various apparatus that makes possible the cognitive functioning : a physical body, breathing that enables LIVING  and a world of ideas that sets going the cognitive processes etc.  BEING presents Himself in innumerable archetypal forms to STIMULATE thinking and through that enble  the EVOLUTION of UNDERSTANDING  through the    purification of consciousness. The consciousness of BEING is absolutely PURE CONSCIOUSNESS, the Cutta Caitanyam and human consciousness is made to evolve in this direction.

Thus BEING becomes  everything that is biological and also all that will be necessary to function as living entity  -- the necessary ecological settings to EXIST as such . It is out of our IGNORANCE and  metaphysical immaturity that we remain ignorant  of the fact that BEING provides  and has provoded all  long long before even  we were ready to ASK anything at all.  The asking imploring beseeching   and sometimes even demanding this and that  in terms of prayers is totally misplaced.  HE blesses and continues to bless whether we ask or not. HE gives even if fail to knock at the doors and ask.

 When this UNDERSTADING emerges, then we STOP demanding asking and supremely delighted with all that is already given  just simply PRAISE HIM thankful for all that He has already granted.  And Sundarar, to whom this comes as life tranforming insight goes a bit further. On the realization of this TRUTH, he choses to serve HIM  without any courage to deny it.

Sundarar 1-8

ȡ â 
ȡ Ģ  âŧɡ š
ȡ Ш
ȡ   ǡ ɢ ġ

eeRRaar puram muunRum eriyuNNaic cilai  toddaay
teeRRaatana collit tiriveennoo cekkar vaan niir
eeRRaay peNNait tenpaal veNNey nalluur aruL tuRaiyuL
aaRRaay unakku aaLaay ini alleen enalaamee

Ƣ ¡        ġȡ! Ƣ   ̽Ǣ ﻡ     ¢Ģ âŧ! š    ɾ Ţŧ!  ġ ɡ ɡ  񨽦 Ш  Ǣ §!  ġ     ھ ¡? ¡ š.

Oh Thou of the righteous path!  Thou who singes to ashes the fortresses of those who defy Thee with the bow of Fire! On knowing this will I continue   wandering around saying things  that are    nothing else but false?   Oh Thou who hast  as yours the red sky of anger as well as the cool waters  of pacification  and who pervades  this Grace of Ground  of Nalluur on the Southern banks of the River Pennai, how can I ever say that I am NOT already in service to you?

eeRRaar puram muunRum eriyuNNaic cilai  toddaay:   Thou who singsd to ashes the fortresses of those who are opposed to your righteous Way;

teeRRaatana collit tiriveennoo : knowing this will I ever wander  around saying things that  are nothing but false?

cekkar vaan niir eeRRaay : Thou who hast taken both the red sky  (of anger) and the cool waters (of pacification)

peNNait tenpaal veNNey nalluur aruL tuRaiyuL:   in the Grace Ground of Nalluur on the Southern banks of  the River PeNNai;

aaRRaay : Thou art the Most Powerful!

unakku aaLaay ini alleen enalaamee: how can I deny being already in service to you?


Here Sundarar touches upon the important  social issue of why there are conflicts ,battles and wars  among people that seems to be endless. It is one thing to lament  and get worked up emotionally and shed tears and another to GAIN an UNDERSTANDING about the root causes of it.

There is the WAY as the way of BEING, the Way that was called  TiruneRi by Sambantar and Samayam by Tirumukar  as something already there as a part of the fabrique   of existence. The TRUE RELIGION is  NOT an invention of man, it has NO FOUNDER  and hence not at all something historical.  It remains  TRANSHISTORICAL, always ABOVE history hence  something  that  men  comprehend differently   at different times but out of ignorance  claim finality to their own understanding and FORCE it upon others.

This is how the religions of men , the religions of Books come to be . Each such a religion  DISTRACTS the people from the TRUE religion  of which they have only partial insights but the pratiality of which they are ignorant .  They pronounce their understanding as the  FINAL by way of understanding what religion is   and institute NOT reason but preaching and conversion  for   "saving " people.

Sundarar claims that these are the kind of  people  who  are  eRRaar, those who  raise themselves to the position of God,  who claim that they  are either God incarnate  or someone specialy  privileged in the eyes of BEING.

The root cause of religious conflicts is  the arrogance  of such indivduals, individuals who out of their Ego, usurp the place of God for themselves. And there certainly will be conflicts for BEING supremely angry with such individuals will aim the arrow of FIRE   amidst them and which results in wars of distruction.  The false religions ,  the religions of  those who want to  usurp the place of BEINFG will be enemies of REASON, for if REASON is cultivated  propagandist method of communication will cease and educative  method of instruction will come prevail and along with  it  NO AUTHORITY at all.   Pedagogy insists on learning and thinking and hence will NOT accept propogandist   rhetorics that  arrest thinking and  may  even kill it.

BEING throws the FIRE which issues forth  in various kinds of conflicts because it is only in the thick of conflicts  that preaching ceases and man pauses to REFLECT and THINK meaningfully! With some humility!

But BEING is not only  He who discloses Himself as the burning Sky but also  the cool waters that PACIFY! Existence alternates dialectically between conflicts and compromises; after   killings and bloodshed there will emerge  voices of moderation and  which will also bring about  a new level  of culture where man is likely to be LESS arrogant than he was before.


> My friend:
> That is a great reproduction of even greater philosophical thoughts; untill
> we are enlightened enough to understand the gobbledygook[wordy jargon];
> kindly tell us in "your own plain words" how to live and how does hinduism,
> if it is even a religion, helps; this is not an effrontry I come in earnest
> seeking answers for the labyrinth of life; I am not a troubled soul by any
> means.
> Jagte Raho!
> Satish
> atlanta,usa
> 404 373 1707

Dear Satish,

I am still searching on how  to live  in a way that is satisfactory to me. All
my studies in philosophies  are directed at finding the RIGHT WAY if there is
one.  One thing that I learned from Hinduism which is a labyrinth  by itself is
that I must think deeply and metaphysically and no matter what. My seeking must
be along the lines of Mey KaaNal, TRUTH Seeing. It does matter at all whether I
call myself Hindu or do not. Seeking TRUTH and living in TRUTH transcends
whatever religious and cultural prejudices with which I  function. Hinduism or
at least Agamism that I see as the core of it, is peculiar in that it promotes
becoming PURE, becoming an individual without any labels

This TRUTH seeking , I have noticed , is also PURIFYING in the sense of becoming
prejudice FREE and which shows itself in seeing everything in true objectivity
-- NOT in terms of Aryan  or Dravidian, NOT in terms of Muslim or Hindu NOT in
terms European or Indian. I begin to see everything as simply human, different
human beings trying in their own way to come to terms with TRUTH. And I study
them just to LEARN how their struggles went on.

I must also admit that I find the Scriptural Corpus in Tamil that I am now
trying to translate into English by way of penetrating into their inner depths
something gratifying in the sense that here I find the kind of thinking that
reinforces my personal search and provides the necessay illuminations to
sustain my journey, my  yatra in that direction.

I do not want to preach but simply want to communicate my understanding in the
hope that someone else too may find it interesting.

I concur here with Sundarar: there is a WAY and as long we are along that way
there is a kind  of  inner peace, as a kind of feedback from within.  But when we
deviate from  it, there are mechanisms in the world already there to set us
along the right path. The sources of social and personal conflicts are
ultimately to be traced here.

For this reason, I  believe that conflicts, personal social and political,  are
unavoidable and that in the face of them  , we must sit back and seek to
UNDERSTAND the root causes of such problems. We should NOT run away from them
or close the doors so that they become invisible to us and hence something that
do not concern us any more. This is the kind of thing the weak minds  do, minds
that FEAR change --personal and social, minds that fear tearing away from the
pet prejudices and becoming FREE of them

Thinking in the midst of conflicts and seeking out the real causes --  this
consists the genuinely  THINKING life  and we should be  thinkers of this sort;
cease to concern ourselves with  how to be a Hindu or a Muslim or a Christian and what
not. UNDERSTANDING through this kind of Deep Thinking (that I call metaphysical
thinking, tattuva njanam)  is MORE important than  religious affliliations -
being a good Hindu, Muslim ,Christian and what not. And this is simply being a
human being which  becomes something so easily  forgotten especially when we
are more concerned with labels as to what our identity is. This concern with
identity is a  kind EGOTISM and when we succumb to it , we become the eeRRaar,
that Sundarar mentions here.


Sundarar 1-9

š ȧ¡
š ᢠɦƢ
š Ш
Ƹ ǡ ɢ   ġ

mazuvaaL valan eentii maRaiyootii mangkaipangkaa
tozuvaar avar tuyaraayina tiirttal unatozilee
cezuvaar peNnait tenpaal veNNey  nalluur aruL tuRaiyuL
azakaa unakku aaLaay alleen enalaamee

Ǣ 򾨼 ţ š , ¡ ǢЧš!   ¡ â¡ !   Ǣ Ǧġ ħ Ƣġ ! ĸ ب  Ţ즸 ¡Ȣ Ш, θ 츢¾  Ʀġ ɡ Ƹ!  ǡ ɢ ? ¡ š

Oh Thou who wieldest   the axe that severes the inner resistances in the mind of the creatures,  on your right side! And Thou who illuminates   by instructing on  the concealed TRUTHS  for such individuals!  Thou who hast as thy function the relieving of the pains for those who approach you in becoming humility! Oh Thou the most Handsome! who  pervades the Grace Ground of  VeNNai  Nalluur, on the Southern banks of  the luxuriance -abounding river PeNNi!  How can   I deny now that I am already in service to you?

mazuvaaL valan eentii : weilding the axe on your right

maRaiyootii : He who instructs on the concealed  wisdom

mangkaipangkaa: He who has the WOMAN as His one-half

tozuvaar avar tuyaraayina tiirttal unatozilee: You have as your job the relieving of pains of  those who pray unto you

cezuvaar peNnait tenpaal veNNey  nalluur aruL tuRaiyuL: pervading the Grace Ground of VeNNai Nalluur on the Southern banks of luxuriance-abounding PeNNai river

azakaa unakku aaLaay alleen enalaamee : Oh Thou  the Most  Handsome! How can I deny now  being already in service to you?


The most arresting term in this verse is  'azakan", BEING-as-BEAUTIFUL which is also a standrad term for BEING-as-VISHNU, or BEING-as-the Manifest. This is a term in aesthetics and normally also used in conjunction with the WOMAN and so a bit strange  in connection  with the MAN, the source of the Masculine  in nature.  However as progress in metaphysical understandingis made ,  the bifurcation  and polarisation of creatures into MALE and FEMALE collapses and  it reaches a position   where every soul is  seen BOTH male and female, the androgynous., and which is indicated here by noting BEING as mangkaipangkan,  as ONE having the WOMAN as His own half.

The evolution of man into the higher species belongs to  both illuminations and aesthetics.   For a person to evolve into the higher of kiond  being it is NOT sufficient to grow intellectually , acquire knowledge  in as many domains as possible-- it is also necessary to grow aesthetically, to evolve as someone who is BEAUTIFUL, someone who CAPTIVATES by disclosing charms  of a kind that draws people unto him naturally. But the sourece of all these  higher charms, the vacittuvam - the nannayam,  is BEING Hiself and for which reason Sundarar addresses Him as the Most Handsome -- the azakan!

But He is also the weilder of the AXE and who keeps it always on his RIGHT side and hence ever ready to use it. For there are forces that makes a person UGLY-- dirty, filthy , despicable, evil etc--   and in order to make a person aesthelicaaly appealing these  forces of ugliness must be chopped off , cut off from being present  in the soul.  The weapons of War of BEING are in fact  as Pillai Lokacariya describes  --Nittya Cuuri --  permanant illuminators--  that function for the GOOD of the person. The weapons of destruction  of BEING destroy not that which is GOOD which but only that which make a person UGLY-- agressive, ferocious beastly violent despicable brutish and supremely immoral and unethical.

Individual and social productivity as symbolised by the luxuriance-abounding river,  is possible only when the BEAUTUFUL in a person is RELEASED from their captivity and the  weapons of War of BEING are there precisely for this purpose.

The greedy and ugly man appropriates these weapons ALREADY there and in the light of which he fashions many murderous weapons just to kill others opposed to his ways. And the ignorant and unthingking individuals then gaze at the Weapons of War  of BEING and project  their   own  miserable HUMAN intentions to BEING!

The shallowness of such individuals is surprising and perhaps Sundarar is praying here for the AXE of BEING to  fall on their neck!

Sundarar 1-10

øĢ ¡

kaaruur punal    eytik karai kallit tirai kaiyaal
paaruur pukaz eytit tikaz pan maamaNi untic
ciiruur peNNait tenpaal veNNey  nalluur aruL tuRaiyuL
aaruuran em perumaaRku aaL alleen enalaamee

ը 󾢸   ¡ , 츢 ¢   æ    â ɢ Ҹ ŧ , Ũ¡ â 츢    š о ¡Ȣ Ш,  š Ţ   š ڧ? ¡ š.

The rains pour from the dark clouds and the waters swelling into a flood   erode the the banks and branching into many tributaries  runs into the lands and thus gets praised by the people.  And over and above  all  this PeNNai river also carries along with it precious stones of various kinds and gets praised again for this munificence. And how can I say that I  am not already in service to  BEING who like this river  flows with   all kinds  of  blessings for the people  and who pervades thus in the Grace Ground of  VeNNai Nalluur , on the Southern banks of this River?

kaaruur punal    eytik: the rains pouring from the dark clouds

karai kallit  : eroding the banks

tirai kaiyaal paaruur pukaz eytit : like waving hands spreading out into the lands  and gets praised because of this

tikaz panmaamaNi untic: forwarding  many kinds of precious stones

ciiruur peNNait : the PeNNai river  that is thus glorious

tenpaal veNNey  nalluur aruL tuRaiyuL: pervading in the Grace Ground of  VeNNey Nalluur, on the Southern banks( of  PeNNai)

aaruuran em perumaaRku aaL alleen enalaamee:  how can I say that  I am NOT in service to the BEING full of such surprises?


BEING is  a benevolent RIVER -- that's the metaphor that Sundarar  brings to articulate his understanding of  how BEING fuctions and why , having undserstood this, he cannot but be in service to Him.

The GRACE of ARUL flows like the river PeNNai where the waters  are dark clouds in the sky.  The darkness here could  indicate the MYSTERY, the CONCEALMENT within which BEING functions.  It can also be taken as that primordial  condition of the universe where it was eneveloped in DARKNESS, the dartkness created by the Dominance of ANavam, that which  swallows everything from existence  and breeds only an emptiness.  It can also be taken as the initial DARKNESS  in the understanding of the creatures, that which  introduces a BLINDNESS and ignorance as a constitution of understanding.

Out of immense LOVE for the creatures, BEING  violates this darkness at all levels and pours out as the rain waters his GRACE-- that which nourishes the understanding and fertilises it. And as  one stands to gain more and more of this Grace , it swells  as a flood that erodes away  the earthly attachments, tha banks that continuosly impose CONSTRAINTS  and hence makes the person function as the FINITE individual,  an individual with  many prejudices. tha binds him with an narrow identity.

When the prejudices are  weakned and slowly destroyed the understanding FLOWS FREELY, unhampered by any narrow patriotisms -- political, religious, linguistic , national, ethnic and what not. The understanding breaks out  from its confines  and flows freely into new new worlds and therby LEARNS  about  so many  things that were BEYOND its reach before.

And the understanding thus expanded and made to flow freely , interestingly enough discovers the PRECIOUS STONES -- deep and awe inspiring ILLUMINATIONS that bring about SUPREME BLISS for it is such deep insights that finally settle the ever restless human mind, that which is always in search for something or other  and always wanting this and that and   diseased with a restlessness.  The deep illuminations that river of Grace brings for  the individuals caught in flood is that which finally cures them  of this  disease and  enables them to enjoy a kind of Happiness impossible otherwise.

BEING becomes on this account, the  aar- uuran, HE  who flows with SURPRISES for HE is there to BLESS all provided they allow themselves  to be caught in this Flood, in this  DELUGE of Grace.