The Puranam of Peyar (Karaikkal Ammaiyar) Nayanar

(pEyar (kAraikkAl ammaiyAr) nAyanAr purANam - Periyapuranam as English poetry)

 
 
		"I am a servitor of Peyar" 
 
					- The Tiru-th-Tonda-th-Tokai. 
 
1. 	Whorled chanks are wafted by waves and deposited 
	Into adjacent backwaters; they roam there as growing wealth; 
	Such is Karaikkal the city of great merchants galore 
	Who are poised in honour and dharma, and are 
	Flawless, glorious and truthful.			(1717) 
 
2. 	By virtue of the tapas of Dhanadatthar who was 
	The chief of the mercantile clan of Karaikkal 
	Near whose sea-shore ply thick the merchant vessels, 
	Punithavathiyar of swelling pulchritude came to be 
	Born as his daughter even as an avatar of Lakshmi.	(1718) 
 
3. 	She was born that the mercantile clan might flourish 
	Resplendent; even as a child in the parva of toddling gait 
	When her soft feet were decked with lustrous jewels, 
	To attain valiancy in the servitorship of the Lord 
	Whose jewels are snakes, she cultivated words 
	That would cause her inly love boundless soar up.	(1718) 
 
4. 	Her opulent father duly performed all the sacred rites 
	Pertaining to the parvas of the growing child 
	To the great delight of his kith and kin, vast and great; 
	The child grew admired by all, like a shoot, comely 
	And lovely; she was linked in devotion deep 
	With the Lord whose mount is the Bull.			(1720) 
 
5. 	Even as she gamboled she would but articulate divinely 
	Words pleasing to the God of the celestials – the Wearer 
	Of the crescent on His matted hair --; she would adore 
	His servitors when they passed by; thus she grew 
	Extolled by her nurse; now came the parva when 
	Her willowy waist began to languish, unable 
	To bear the weight of her twin-breasts.			(1721) 

6. She was perfect in every limb as defined by the authors In their works on Anatomy; her queenly grace grew Day by beauteous day; she was now in the parva When she was not suffered to cross The threshold of her house; now came men belonging To the hoary tralatitious mercantile clan Broaching connubium. (1722) 7. To the well-endowed city of Karaikkal rich in mansions Were sent wise men by Nitipati -- a merchant Famous throughout the world and a native of Nakai -- A maritime city of renown --, seeking the hand Of the jeweled beauty of a matching clan For his son and scion. (1723) 8. The men of great wisdom entered the house to which They came to broach the subject of wedding, Called on Dhanadatthar, and said: “Be pleased to wed your daughter The one of lustrous jewels to Paramadhatthan, the son Of Nitipati, in keeping with the hoary tradition.” (1724) 9. He agreed to the marriage having due regard To all propriety and gave them leave to depart; Of his consent they apprised Nitipati who felt Happy as one blessed with an especial greatness; He engaged himself with his wealthy kin in the preparation For the grand wedding of his great and peerless son. (1725) 10. They duly dispatched the invitations for the wedding; As the wedding-day neared they made ready everything For the performance of wedding-rites; they decked The bridegroom -- the wearer of garlands wrought Of flowers that grew in bunches --, for the marriage; To the beat of wedding-drums they fared forth And entered the city of Karaikkal. (1726) 11. They moved into the beauteous mansion of Dhanadatthar Glowing with a garland buzzed over by bees; the rites Of wedding, as ordained in the lucid sastras, were performed; Thus they married her of flower-soft feet, Sweet-smile and peafowl-mien to him who was Verily a bull, to the approbation of the joyous kin. (1727) 12. The wedding rites were all over; as man and wife They lived there for sometime; she was the only child Of Dhanadatthar’s family; he would not suffer her To leave for Nakai, the littoral city of the roaring sea; To dwell happily with her husband he had A beautiful mansion built for her, nearby. (1728) 13. After the wedding he gave limitless wealth To paramadatthan who rejoiced exceedingly; The son of Nitipati who was of peerless greatness Took to business and ere-long grew lofty, and could Secure all prosperity for his family-life In keeping with the tradition of his clan. (1729) 14. She of perfumed locks who was his helpmeet rare, Soared in swelling devotion ceaseless for the feet Divine of the Rider of the martial Bull, and stood Unswerving, poised in the virtue of domestic life. (1730) 15. When servitors of the Lord came, she fed them With nectarean food, gave them in loving devotion Ruddy gold, gems ninefold, garments exquisite And the like divining their circumstance and need; Thus throve her soul in ever-growing devotion ardent For the feet of the Lord. (1731) 16. Some men who called on Paramadatthan who was thriving In his righteous business, gave him a pair of mangoes; He received them and fulfilled their desire; he then Bade (his servant) thus: “Take these to my house.” (1732) 17. She of fragrant koontal decked with flowers, received The pair of mangoes sent by her husband; she kept them Where they should be kept; now came a serviteur of the Lord Whose jewels are snakes, into the house prompted By a great desire to get fed. (1733) 18. Beholding the state of the servitor of the Lord-Author Of the Gospels, she thought: “I’ll appease the hunger Of the Lord’s devotee.” She offered him water to cleanse His feet, and spread the tender plantain-leaf For serving food; she knew him to be the guest that would Cure one, of sins. (1734) 19. She who was like Lakshmi throned on lotus fragrant, Had cooked rice, but not dishes of curry; she mused thus: “The servitor of the Lord-Rider of the Bull is come as a guest Who is not to be met with even by a longing quest; Can there be a boon greater than this?” Straight she proceeded with her duty to feed him. (1735) 20. Taking with her one of the goodly and fragrant mangoes Sent to her keeping by her husband, she hastened To serve the servitor; thus in delight great The queller of misery had the devotee well fed. (1736) 21. The divine servitor who came there befuddled, bent with age, And fatigued by fiery hunger that clamoured For immediate appeasement, ate the timely meal, Soft and toothsome, relishing it with the mango sweet; He admired the service of the wondrous woman of soft And perfumed locks, and went his way. (1737) 22. After he left, the merchant and lord of the house Entered the spacious mansion when the sun was In the meridian, and had his bath; he desired To have his meal; his chaste wife attended to that duty.(1738) 23. She provided him with tasty food and curried dishes; Then she of fragrant koontal secured and served On his leaf the sweet-smelling mango, one of the two That remained (uneaten) and sent to her That day by her ever-glorious husband. (1739) 24. The garlanded merchant that felt insatiate having Tasted the sweetness of the exceedingly delicious fruit Served by his wife, said: “There is one more of this kind; Get me that too.” She moved out as if to secure it. (1740) 25. She moved away dismayed; what could she do? How could she get at the unavailable fruit? Oblivious Of herself, with all her mind she meditated the feet Of the Lord who comes to the rescue when devoutly invoked. Behold the marvel! A delicious fruit par excellence came Into the palm of her of dangling plaited hair By the grace of grace. (1741) 26. She served it to him in joy; he ate it, found it to be More delicious than nectar, and said: “This is not The mango that I gave you; this rarity is not to be found In all the three worlds; whence did you get this?” Thus he queried the bangled beauty. (1742) 27. When thus confronted, she would not disclose it to him Thinking thus: “This grace of Grace should not be divulged.” Neither would she, poised in chastity, deem concealment From her husband the true way; she quaked in fear. (1743) 28. “My duty is to relate what I have done.” Thus she resolved Prompted by virtue; she adored the feet of the Lord Enshrining Him in her mind; to the husband’s question: “Who was it that gave you the fruit?” she of perfumed locks Decked with flowers, narrated how the fruit came to be. (1744) 29. The lord of the house who was told that it was by the grace Of the Lord, was not convinced; addressing her who was Like the goddess on lotus, he said: “If it be by the divine Grace of the effulgent Lord of matted hair, call forth, By His grace once again a flawless fruit and give it to me.” (1745) 30. The great wife moved away, adored the Lord whose jewels Are snakes and prayed thus: “If you deign not to grace me With it now, my words will be deemed false.” Lo, by His grace a mango reached her and she placed it Into his palm which he received, wonder-struck. (1746) 31. The merchant could no more behold the fruit that was Passed to his hand, after he received it; he was seized By an unappeasable fear and he stood confounded; He deemed her of beauteous locks to be a supernatural woman; He resolved to part from her but would not confide His intent to any one; he passed his days without consortium. (1747) 32. Determined to part from her for good, he applied himself To the set task; he declared his purpose thus: “I’ll sail The billowy sea in a bark and return with wealth immense.” His close kin and merchants -- glorious and flawless --, Had a merchantman built for him. (1748) 33. He fitted the vessel with crew; he filled her with merchandise Coveted by men living in the far shores; hailing the god Of sea, on an auspicious day, the leader of mercantile clan Embarked and sailed the cool billowy main. (1749) 34. He sailed the sea and disembarked in such ports as he had Already planned and came by endless wealth and goods; Thus he spent a few days, then boarded his barge And arrived at near a town in the Pandya realm girt with water. (1750) 35. He moved into the town, traded his various goods, came by Immense wealth eventually, and made safe investments. To the great joy of the dwellers of the truly glorious town He married the ineffably beautiful daughter Of a merchant of that town. (1751) 36. Having duly wedded that rare Lakshmi-like woman In all pomp and pageantry, with a mind concealing clean The deception he had played on his former wife, the one Of soft fragrant koontal which was dark as black sand, he lived An otherwise virtuous life with a face beaming in joy. (1752) 37. He abode in that hoary town dight with fragrant groves Companied with eminent merchants; he prospered in Maritime commerce and his argosy skimmed the billowy main; He grew famous and was like Kubera; unto him was born A daughter, verily a lamp of growing lustre. (1753) 38. After the birth of the child he desired to perform The christening ceremony and made arrangements therefor; His beloved child he named after his peerless wife great From whom he parted affrighted deeming her An adorable deity, never entertaining any thought Of consortium thereafter. (1754) 39. As he abode there, at Karaikkal dight with Mansions girt with an impregnable fort, the daughter Of Dhanadatthan, the peerless merchant opulent --, Armoured in ever-during chastity and poised in Dharmic piety, abode at her house. (1755) 40. The kinsmen of the radiant beauty bejewelled, verily A twig of splendour, came by the report that Paramadattan Who sailed the sea to amass wealth immense, abode At a great city in the Pandya country of crowning glory; They heard that he had settled there for good Having made immeasurable wealth. (1756) 41. The moment they heard the news, the kinsfolk Of the heavenly woman sent there a few of their close kin And had the news confirmed; they were troubled in mind; They said: “It is our duty to take her of swelling breasts To him and leave her there.” (1757) 42. They carried the bashful beauty whose gait was Peafowl-like, in a magnificent litter beauteous Seating her therein like Lakshmi non-pareil on her seat Of lotus; they screened the litter; loving kinsmen And friendly women sweet of speech, encircling her Hied on their way for many a day. (1758) 43. Days passed and they reached the Pandya country; They came to the limits of the town where Paramadatthan Of burgeoning fame abode; they sent word to him, The husband of unforfeitable glory, that they had Thither arrived with his adorable wife, the scion That sanctified her clan. (1759) 44. When the merchant heard of their arrival, he was Fear-struck; with his bangled wife whom he took to Ash his second spouse and his daughter, he hied Towards the lady of fragrant locks, saying: “I would go to her even ere she would come to me.” (1760) 45. With his wife and tender child of toddling gait He bowed at the feet of the great wife who stood there Like a young roe, and said: “I thrive by your grace; The tender child, by your grace, bears your name.” This said, he prostrated flat before her in worship. (1761) 46. Beholding the adoring husband, she who was truly A beauteous liana, and the gathered kin moved away And stood stricken by fear; touched to the quick And bitten by shame, the relations said: “O Wearer Of a fragrant garland! What makes you worship Your beauteous wife?” (1762) 47. He addressed the perplexed kinnery thus: “She is not A mere human; she is indeed a deity great; aware of this I left her and have named this, my daughter after her; May ye too adore her golden feet and hail her.” (1763) 48. When thus he spake, the confounded kinsfolk exclaimed: “What may this be?” Hearkening to the merchant’s words, She of fragrant locks, hailed the feet of the Lord Of matted hair, decked with resounding anklets; Then, she spake from her inmost consciousness Welling up from her inner vision into which merged Her mind and all. (1764) 49. “So, this is his persuasion; oh Lord, rid me of this Burden of flesh poised in beauty and hitherto borne For his sake; fittingly bestow on me Your slave, The form of a ghost to hail You in Your world.” Thus she prayed And thus she hailed the feet of the Supreme One. (1765) 50. As she thus prayed, by the grace of the Lord-Dancer Upborne by a supernal consciousness, she who was to get What she prayed for, shook away all her flesh where Abode beauty, and stood a skeletal being --, The form of the hallowed ghost --, hailed by Heaven, earth and all. (1766) 51. It showered flowers everywhere; the music Of celestial tuntupis filled all the worlds and reverberated; Munis were delighted; Siva’s hosts danced Kunalai. The flawless kinsfolk that stood before her adored her; Struck with awe, they moved away. (1767) 52. By the integer of wisdom which welled up from within She hailed the Lord of Uma with Arputa-th-Tiruvantati Then and there; in love she sang thus: “Behold! I’ve Become now part of the goodly hosts of Siva that hail The beauteous and roseate feet of the Lord.” (1768) 53. She sang the glorious Erattai Mani Malai In choice anaphoretic verse; prompted by Spiralling transconsciousness she was on her Holy way to the argent Mount Kailas great, where abides The Lord who, of yore, burnt the triple cities. (1769) 54. Those that eyed her, fled away struck by her Awesome form; when she heard them utter words Scared by her form, she thought thus: If the Lord Of celestials be pleased to know who I am, of what avail Are these remarks by the men of earth, strangers to truth?”(1770) 55. With a speed exceeding that of the mind She traveled fast the realms in the north; She came near the Mount Kailas of pervasive radiance Where abides the Wielder of the Trident, decked with A garland of Konrai blooms burgeoning in serried order; She durst not tread with her feet the holy ascent But measured it with her head. (1771) 56. When with her head she ascended the argent mountain Of Sankara, devotion in her swelled up more and more; The daughter of Himavant of bow-like brow, Who is concorporate with Her brow-eyed Lord who sports As a chaplet the ever-young crescent on His head, Cast Her look of grace on her. (1772) 57. The divine heart of the Goddess wondering, She addressed Her Lord, in love thus: “O Lord! Behold the love of the skeletal being that measures The ascent with its head!” Unto our Goddess The Lord spake graciously thus: (1773) 58. “She that cometh, O Uma, is truly a Mater that fosters Us! She prayed for that glorious form and was blessed with it.” Then as she neared Him, He addressed Her with that One unique word “Mater” that all the worlds Might stand redeemed. (1774) 59. When He graciously addressed her as ‘Mother’ She hailed Him as ‘Father’, fell at His roseate feet Of lotus and rose up; the Lord who is decked With the ear-ring of white chank, graciously eyed her And asked her: “What may your prayer be?” The adoring servitor bowed and then spake. (1775) 60. She prayed for deathless devotion blissful and she Prayed again: “I seek birthlessness; should I be Born again, then let me never, never forget You; Also let me pray for the boon to hymn in delight, O Holy One, near beneath Your feet when You dance.” (1776) 61. Even thus He graced her and said: “In Alankadu Girt with fields and blazing in the south With sempiternal splendour you are blessed to witness The Great Dance; linked with joy, for ever may you Hymn us in songs and psalms.” Thus spake He, The prop of them that hail Him. (1777) 62. Thus blessed, the Mother took leave of the Lord Who is the import true of the Vedas, adored Him And moved away; borne by an ineffable love great She measured the away to Tiruvalankadu, Glorious and goodly, with her head. (1778) 63. In Alankadu she beheld the Dance of the Lord Whose uplifted foot divine straight swept The heavens; witnessing this marvel, she sang The goodly hoary decad which oped thus: “Breasts dried fleshless!” Thus she hailed Him Whose source is unknown; there she throve Hailing the dance lovingly hailed by the world. (1779) 64. Her loving devotion great swelled the more, when she Eyed before her the divine dance of the Lord who is Decked with Konrai blooms whose petals breaths fragrance; Struck by marvel she sang the hymn which oped thus: Etti, Elavam, Eekai.... and concluded thus: “Dances the beauteous One to the beat of drum.” (1780) 65. Who can ever essay to measure the glory of her Who was endearingly addressed as ‘Mother’ By the Lord who received and (still) retains on His crest The flood? She is the one who for ever abides Beneath the uplifted foot, roseate and redemptive, Of the Lord of the Cosmic Dance. (1781) 66. Having hailed the radiant and flower-soft feet Of the Mother who sings before the Lord who doth Dance in grace and who is beginningless and endless, I proceed to narrate the divine service of Appoothi, The divinely enlightened muni great of Tingaloor The town girt with fields of cool water. (1782) ---------------- Stanza Line

6 St. Sekkizhar says that Punitavatiyar was perfect in every limb hailed as auspicious in works on Auspicious Anatomy (Samudrika Lakshana) by knowledgeable authors. 6 3-5 When a girl becomes nubile, she stays indoors. 11 Bull : In Tamil literature a lad is described as a bull and a lass a peacock. 20 St. Sekkizhar coins a word (Illalan) thereby supplying a long-felt want in the Tamil tongue. The lady of the house is called illall. The word illan how-ever does not refer to one who is the lord of the house. It refers to one who owns nothing, a mere pauper. Both in Sanskrit and Tamil, the word ‘Home’ stands for the wife. “Home is but a synonym for wife” goes the Sanskrit adage which says “Grihini grhiham uchyate.” (Bharati.) The world of Tamil letters is ever indebted to St. Sekkizhar for his having coined three rich words (Illalan, Manaippati, ll Iraivan) whereby the masculine gender for the word illal can be indicated. 26 The husband was a merchant in the true sense of the word. He could assess the value of any material. 31 cf. The Lord’s admonition to Joseph, St. Matthew. 1-24-25. 43 cf. Janakanam kule kirtim - Valmiki. 49 The form of ghost, Animated skeletal self wrought of Suddha-Maya. Its form is of bones. It is endowed with awe-inspiring effulgence. It can travel anywhere at will, at a speed defying human calculation. It is endowed with organs, outer as well as inner, all divine. For further details see stanza 50. 64 Etti : Strychnos nuxvomica Elavam : Bombax pretandrum or Eriodendron anfractuosum. Eekai : Zizyphus Napeca (Soorai)

Sincere thanks to Sri. T N Ramachandran of thanjavur, for permitting his English rendering of the holy text periyapurANam be published here.

See Also:
1. kAraikkAl ammaiyAr purANam in English prose
2. காரைக்கால் அம்மையார் புராணம் (தமிழ் மூலம்)
3. thiruththoNDar purANam main page
4. 12 shaivite thirumuRais

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