Sunday, December 27, 2015

Meenakshi Amman Temple – Literary Mention

Meenakshi Amman Temple – Literary Mention 
Down the centuries, the temple has been a centre of education of Tamil culture, literature, art, music and dance. All three assemblies of Tamil language, the Tamil Sangam (about the 3rd century BCE to the 3rd century CE), were held at Madurai. 
Tamil poets of different epochs participated in these assemblies and their composition is called Sangam literature. During the third Tamil Sangam, the comparative merit of the poets was decided by letting the works float in the lotus tank of the temple.
It was believed that a divine force would cause the work of superior merit to float on the surface while the inferior literary work would sink. 
Thevaram, the 7th-8th century Tamil canonical work on Shiva, are works by the three prominent Nayanars (Shaivites) namely Appar, Sundarar and Tirugnanasambandar. The temple has been glorified by the hymns of Thevaram by all the three poets.
Different hymns of Sambandar on the temple mention the queen of Pandya Nadu, his desire to defeat Jains in debate, the miracles performed by him in curing the king's fever, the Jains' provocation of Sambandar by burning his house and challenging him to debate, and Sambandar's eventual victory over them. A poem from the Third Thirumurai by Sambandar is as under –
மானினேர்விழி மாதராய்வழு திக்குமாபெருந் தேவிகேள்
பானல்வாயொரு பாலனீங்கிவ னென்றுநீபரி வெய்திடேல்
ஆனைமாமலை யாதியாய இடங்களிற்பல அல்லல்சேர்
ஈனர்கட்கெளி யேனலேன்திரு வாலவாயர னிற்கவே.
maaninaervizhi maatharaayvazhu thikkumaaperu:n thaevikae'l
paanalvaayoru paalaneengkiva nen'ru:neepari veythidael
aanaimaamalai yaathiyaaya idangka'li'rpala allalsaer
eenarkadke'li yaenalaenthiru vaalavaayara ni'rkavae
"Lady who has eyes that is comparable to the startled eyes of the deer!
The great chief queen of the Valuti! Listen to what I say. Do not feel distressed that I am such a young boy from whose mouth milk is flowing. When the god in Tiruvalavay stands by my side as help, I cannot be easily defeated by the low people who inflict many sufferings on others and who live in hills beginning with great Anaimalai."
There are few poets in Tamil history who sang about goddess Parvati. The notable among them is Kumaraguruparar, a 17th-century Tamil poet, who composed Meenakshi Pillai Tamil on Meenakshi of this temple.
King Thirumalai Nayak's patronage of Kumaraguruparar has an important place in the history of pillaitamil (a genre of Tamil literature).
Kumaraguruparar visited a lot of temples and when he visited this temple, he composed Meenakshi pillaitamil on Meenakshi. Legend has it that goddess appeared in the dreams of Nayak directing him to arrange the recital of Kumaraguruparar before a learned assembly.
The king made elaborate arrangements for the event. Meenakshi impersonated herself in the form of a small girl and enjoyed the recital. As Kumaraguruparar was explaining the 61st verse, the goddess appreciated by garlanding the poet with a string of pearls and disappeared.

1 comment:

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