Thyagaraja Temple, Thiruvarur – Literary Mention
Great Saivite Saints Gnana Sambandar, Thirunavukkarasar, Sundarar, Manickavasagar had sung the glory of Lord of the temple in their celebrated Thevaram and Tiruvasagam hymns. Of the Shiva temples on the southern bank of Cauvery, this is the 87th praised in Thevaram hymns. Sundarar, an 8th-century Saivite saint, mentions "I am the slave of all those born in Thiruvarur" in his works in Thevaram. Two of the 63 Nayanmars of Saivite tradition namely, Kalarsinga Nayanar and Tandiyadigal Nayanar were born in Thiruvarur.
The Periyapuranam, a 12th-century Saiva canonical by Sekkizhar, dedicates a chapter to those born in Thiruvarur, including these two saints. The seventh century Tamizh saint, Marul Neekiyaar the poet saint popularly known as Thirunaavukarasar (Thiru Navukku Arrasar - literally “King of the Sacred Tongue” a title said to have been bestowed on the great poet by Shiva himself in appreciation of his command over the spoken word), or more lovingly, Appar, sang beautiful songs in this temple during Mahendra Pallava's time. In his monumental work, Thevaram, composed in the 6th Century AD, he lovingly recalls the feats of Siva and asks the Lord of Thiruvarur, Thyagesa,
“Was it the day you stood as the Primeval One?
Or was it the day you emerged as the Trinity?
Or perchance the day you overwhelmed the God of Death
Or burnt the God of Love with Your eye of fire
Could it be the day the Earth and Heaven appeared?
Or the day you captured the Deer betwixt your fingers
And shared your form with The Woman of Divine beauty?
Was it before or was it after all this
You enshrined yourself at Tiruvaroor?
Ambalathu Mannikoothai Aaduvan Puguvadarkku Munno Pinno
Anniyarur Koyilak Konday Naalay
Koolam Nee Kollvatharku Munno Pinno
Kunithaadum Koyilak Konday Naalay
Vedathai Vidhipadharku Munno Pinno
Vizhavarur Koyilak Konday Naalay
In this verse, the Saint wonders when the Deity chose to ensconce himself at Thiruvarur. He asks if Thyagarajaswami graced Thiruvarur with his Divine energy before or after Shiva's cosmic dance at Ambalam (modern Chidambaram)? Was it before or after Shiva decided to manifest Himself? Or was it before or after Shiva gave the world the four Vedas?