The remarks made in the introduction to VII will apply in Some degree to this poem also, which is traditionally said to have been composed at the same place and time by the bard, who seeing women in great numbers enjoying their favorite game of Ammanai and accompanying it a simple song, listened to their words, and then put the substance into these verses. In some of them He relates his own experiences: In others he puts words into their mouths In the play the women, generally six in number, sit in a circle and toss a number of little balls from one to another with great dexterity and very swiftly. It is a pretty sight. They accompany their game a simple song, the rhythm of which is suited to the action of the players. In this case there are twenty verses of six lines, each verse having but a single rhythm. The subject of such verse …. generally some heroic exploits, such as are popular among all classes; or the great acts of a deity. Here the title of ‘rapturous joy’ has been prefixed, as the editor seems to have conceived that as the main idea of the verses.
1) His advent as Guru. The Foot
Great Mal, the fiery-eyed, delved down, but failed to reach
His foot’s expanding flower! To earth that foot came down,
Our birth’ cut off, made those like us His own.-Lord of
The south-land is clustering cocoa-groves, and Perun-turrai’s shrine,
And Tillai’s sacred court,-a sage He came, call’d me in grace’
And gave release. SING we His foot whence mercy flows ! AMMANAY, SEE ! || 6 ||
1-6. Here there are four lending ideas:
1) Civan rising as the mountain Arunachalam passed above and below the roaring flight of BrahmA and the delvings of Vishnu;
2) this same Caiva graciously manifested Himself as a GURU to the humble, loving bard in order to release him from further metempsychosis;
3) He is also worshipped in the temple of Perun-turai, His great southern-shrine, where the saint first knew Him; and
4) in the sacred court of Tillai He dwells, a BrAhman, one of the 3000 saints, the mystic Dancer and Dispenser of grace. There the sage is to obtain his consummation.
These four ideas perpetually recur in these poems. This is un unfailing topic treated with inexhaustible variety.
To men on earth, to heavenly ones, to those beneath,
To those beyond, He’s scarce made known; to us accessible !
The Name revered, the South-King, Perun-turrai’s Lord
Entering our souls, with frenzy filled them, showed the final way.
Unsating Nectar, – in the billowy sea He cast His net;
The Sea of full desire SING we ! AMMAANAY, SEE ! || 12 ||
Civan cast His net, is a fisherman. This refers to a story in the fifty-seventh of the osacred sports’. PArvathi was one day inattentive while Civan was expounding to her the Vedic mysteries, for which she was condemned by her angry husband and preceptor to be born on earth as a wife of a fisherman. Accordingly one day she was discovered lying as a tender infant under a Pinnai tree || or Punnai, Calophyllam Inophyllam || by the headman of the Paravar, a great clan of fisherman found everywhere along the coasts of the Tamil lands. By him she was adopted, and grew up a maiden of surpassing beauty. At this time Nandi the Chamberlain of Civan, in order to bring about the accomplishment of the god’s purpose with regard to the banished Parvathi, assumed the form of a monstrous shark; and in various ways annoyed the poor fishermen, breaking their nets and wrecking their boats. On this the headman of the paravars issued a proclamation that whoever should catch the sea-monster should be rewarded with the hand of his beautiful adopted daughter. Civan forthwith made his appearance as a youth of noble aspect who had come from Madura, and at the first throw of his net caught the shark and brought it to land. He accordingly, having himself become a fisherman, received the fisherman’s daughter in marriage. The god now assumed his ancient form, and restored parvathi to hers, and with many gracious words took the foster father with Him to Kailacham, the paradise of Silver Hill.
3) The Initiation in Perun-turrai
Inthiran, MAl, all the other heavenly ones,
Stood round in upper air; – Civan in grace to earth came down,
Made those like us His own. His arm the sacred ashes shows;
All-glorious Perun-turrai’s Lord, who comes our hearts to thrill;
To loose our bonds He on a charger rode, and gave
Unending raptures; SING the bliss ! AMMAANAY, SEE! || 18 ||
4) He chose not the ascetics, but me !
The gods who filled the heavens, – MAl, Ayan, Indra too,
Sore penance did, like anthills stood, yet know Him not !
To me a cur He came, with mother-love He lent His aid;
In flesh He came, with trembling rapture thrilled me through –
Honied ambrosia’s Essence pure; the jewell’d foot
That trends the skies in gleaming light SING we ! AMMAANAY, SEE ! || 24 ||
5) His grace to me all unworthy.
The Mighty One, the South-King, Perun-turrai’s Lord,
Me vilest cur, of mind untaught, with frenzy filled;
Kneaded the stone, made it sweet fruit; plunged in the flood
Of mercy; all my sin destroyed. To Him, the Sage,
Who Tillai’s city entering, in the sacred court abides,
The ancient Rider of the Bull, SING we ! AMMAANAY, SEE ! || 30 ||
6) Civan, a ‘false’ mendicant
And hast thou heard, my friend, how-one with falsehood came?
The Lord of Perun-turrai’s southern shrine begirt
With storied walls, showed things ne’er shown before, showed bliss,
Showed us His lotus foot, and honey of His grace; –
While rustics laughed, – that we the heavenly home might gain,
He made us His; SING we this grace ! AMMAANAY, SEE ! || 36 ||
7) Civan’s ten epithets.
Indweller in the heart of those who ceaseless ponder Him;
The Faroff-One; the Warrior; ever-loving habitant
Of Perun-turrai’s southern shrine; the Sage; half of Whose form
The Lady shares; the Love’d-One Who made me, mere cur, His own;
With mother-love Who visits men; the sevenfold world
Whose essence is; Ruler of souls; SING we ! AMMAANAY, SEE ! || 42 ||
8) Seven aspects of Civan.
Half of the Queen, whose grace accepts our melodies,
The mighty Lord, the King of Perun-turrai’s shrine; –
He rules the expanded sphere of renowned of upper heaven;
The Godwith eye in midmost of His brow; in Madura
Distreat, He carried earth for hire; was smitten by the King, –
SING we His golden form that bore the wounds ! AMMAANAY, SEE ! || 48 ||
9) Ten mythic ideas of Civan
His the crescent; His the mystic word; Perun-turrai’s King;
He wears the twisted thread; He rides the glorious bull;
Black is His throat; His body red; He smears the ashes white;
First in all worlds is He, the rapture without end
As in the days of yore to ancient saints in grace He gives !
That all the worlds may wonder, SING ! AMMAANAY, SEE ! || 54 ||
10) Various praises, six topics.
The Sage above the gods that rule the heavens; Who stands
In majesty above the kings that rule this earth;
The pleasant PAndi-land, whose gift is Tamir’s pleasant speech, is His;
The Bridegroom of the Queen; in Perun-turrai, His delight,
He showed His gracious feet, made me, a dog, His own;
AnnAmalai’s His shrine, SINE we ! AMMAANAY, SEE ! || 60 ||
The fair Queen’s Half; of southern Perun-turrai Lord;
Whose Nature thrills the souls that cling around His feet;
The Sire who made that Paandi-land the Civa-world;
Adown Whose braided lock the waters flow; Whose blissful jewell’d foot
Abides within their souls, who rightly render them to Him;
Beyond the furthest limits praise uplift ! AMMAANAY, SEE ! || 66 ||
12) The Supreme and Absolute.
Listen, O damsel with the jet-black eyes ! MAl, Ayan, IndrA too,
Through every ‘birth’ sought Him, me, with sweet grace, in this one births
He made His own; guards me that I may suffer ‘births’ no more;
In all that’s real, manifest; the true His biding-place;
The Self in all that is, is He; of everything the Home;
Our Civan, Who that essence is, SING we ! AMMAANAY, SEE ! || 72 ||
13) Praises, six epithets.
While bracelets tinkling around, – while ear-rings wave – while jetty locks
Disheveled fall, – while honey flows, and beetles hum;
The Ruddy-One Who wears the ashes white, Whose home
None reach or know, who dwells in every place, – to loving ones
The True, the Sage Whom hearts untrue still deem untrue,
Who in Ai-Aru dwells, SING we and praise ! AMMAANAY, SEE ! || 78 ||
14) The story of his conversion
As elephant, as worm, in human shapes, in forms divine,
In other births diverse, – I lived and died, – was wearied sore;
He stood in flesh revealed, melted my soul; and joyous drove
My sin away; with every sweetness filled; and as a king
In grace appearing, in His service me received;
That Heavenly One’s foot-flower SING we, AMMAANAY, SEE ! || 84 ||
15) Civan’s triumph at Dakshan’s sacrifice.
He made the moon grow dim in Dakshan’s sacrifice;
He Indra’s shoulder crushed; cut off the ‘Ecchan’s head;
Teet of the bright-beamed sun, that rides the sky, He broke;
Dispersed the gods, and drove away to every point;
Lord of South Perun-turrai’s shrine with flow’ry groves
Begirt; the Fragrant-garlanded, SING we, AMMANAAY, SEE! || 90 ||
16) The sweetness of His Presence.
His Presence mingled in my body, and thought;
As honey, rare ambrosia, every choicest sweet
He gave His grace, in ways the heavenly ones know not;
The Warrior crowned with cassia’s honied flowers; as glorious light
Of wisdom known, with souls in number infinite,
Their King He dwells, this tell we out! AMMAANAY, SEE ! || 96 ||
17) Ectasy of adoration.
I’ll wear the flow’ry ‘cassia’ wreath, and wearing join myself
To Civan’s mighty arm; and joining cling in rapture lost;
Then shrinking shall I melt with love of His red lip;
I’ll seek Him,- seeking I’ll ponder Civan’s jewell’d foot;
I’ll faint and droop, and yet again revive. The ruddy foot
Of Him who dances there ‘mid fire SING we! AMMANAAY, SEE ! || 102 ||
18) Civan appeared as a Brahman
In light He gleams, Her Half whose words as Parrot’s note are soft,
The Sage whom MAl and Ayan coming forth could not discern;
In glorious Perun-turrai’s grove with honied fragrance filled,
In mercy affable, and sweetest grace transcending thought,
In light He came, caused light within my soul to shine;
The BrAhman full of tenderness SING we! AMMANAAY, SEE ! || 108 ||
19) Praise with eleven epithets.
The Primal One, End of the Three, beyond the End
The After One, with braided lock, of Perun-turrai which He guards
The King, the Heavenly-One, the Partner of the Queen;
Who dwells in southern Anai-kA, the southern PAndi-land
Who owns, Ambrosia sweet to those who call Him theirs,
To such as one, the Father, SING we praise ! AMMANAAY, SEE ! || 114 ||
20) Clinging to the Guru.
The mighty Lord whose nature others know not, – Perun-turrai’s King
In grace upon victorious charger riding came;
His servant’s faults removed; gave virtue, cleansed from stain;
Severed the clinging cords of earthly ties ! His praises old
We cling to, – so may earthly bonds be loosed; the mighty bliss
Of Him to whom we cling, SING we !, AMMAANAY, SEE ! || 120 ||