The History of the Holy Servants of the Lord Siva

A Translation of the Periya Purāam of Cēkkiār
  • Also available as: Casebound Hardcover
  • Published: January 2009
  • Format: Perfect Bound Softcover(B/W)
  • Pages: 432
  • Size: 7x10
  • ISBN: 9781412079143
  • Overview
  • Free Preview
  • About The Author
  • Customer Review
  • Editorial Review

Note: This page contains symbols which are not viewable with Internet Explorer 6. Please use another browser to better view this page.

This work is a translation into modern English prose of the classical Tamil epic poem known as the Periya Purāṇam ("The Great History"), or the Tirut Toṇṭar Purāṇam ("The History of the Holy Servants", sc. of the Lord Siva). The original was composed in the second quarter of the twelfth century CE by Cēkkiḻār, a minister at the court of Kulottunga II, the reigning king of the Cōḻa dynasty in South India.

The epic contains the life stories of the sixty three Saivite saints, known as "Nāyaṉmār", most of whom lived during the sixth to eighth centuries CE. Their stories illustrate with great colour and vividness the lengths to which they were led by their fervent devotion to Siva. They were responsible for the conversion of the Tamil people from the prevailing Jain and Buddhist religions to Saivism. The struggle with those "alien faiths" forms the background to many of the most striking events recorded in the epic.

Of the sixty three Nāyaṉmār, the three saints whose lives are recorded at greatest length are Appar, Cuntarar and Campantar. These three composed the devotional hymns which form the collection of bhakti poetry known as the Tēvāram, which is used in worship in temples and private homes throughout the Tamil-speaking world to this day. Both the Periya Purāṇam, which recounts the lives of the authors of those hymns, and the Tēvāram collection are included in the canon of books held sacred by the Tamil Saivite community.

This Tamil bhakti literature constitutes the first Indian religious literature in a language other than Sanskrit. The Periya Purāṇam is a fundamental text for the study and understanding of this living tradition of spirituality. It has been described as "the national epic of the Tamils".

Buy This Book

Perfect Bound Softcover(B/W)
Price: $32.44
Casebound Hardcover(B/W)
Price: $51.50