Tirumurukātṟuppatai (Tamil : திருமுருகாற்றுப்படை, meaning Guide to Lord Murugan) is an ancient intensely devotional Tamil poem in the Sangam literature genre entirely dedicated to the god Murugan. Murugan is described as the nephew of the god Vishnu, who is called Mayon or the ruler of the worlds. Authored by Nakkiranar, it is the first poem in the Ten Idylls (Pattuppāṭṭu) anthology. The poem is generally dated to the late classical period (2nd to 4th century CE), with some scholars suggesting it may have been composed a few centuries later.
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The anthologies and poems of the Sangam literature have numerous references and verses to Murugan – also known as Subrahmanya, Kumara, Skanda, Kartikeya in other parts of India.The Tirumurukarruppatai poem is exclusively about different manifestations and shrines of Murugan. It describes different major temples dedicated to him in the Tamil region, six locations, the natural scenes, worship practices and the culture of the people.
The Tirumurukarruppatai has 312 akaval meter verses, states Zvelebil.According to Francis, the critical editor has 317 verses. It describes the beauty and the warrior nature of Murugan, six sacred shrine regions of Murugan, legends such as the killing of Surapadma, his six faces and the twelve arms along with their functions. The Hindu god is described as a gentle erotic lover of goddesses as well as a gruesome bloody warrior on the battlefield. This elaboration includes 30 verses on the beauty of every body part of heavenly maidens. Metaphors refer to Indra, kantal flowers, emerald sea and others to paint "magnificent natural scenes", states Zvelebil. The poem highlights the peacock and his war banner flag. Both his consorts Devasena – the daughter of the Vedic god of rain, thunder and war Indra, and Valli – the Kuruvar Vedar girl, are included in the poem. It also mentions the Vedas and has numerous loanwords from the classical Sanskrit literature.
Murugan, as described in the Tirumurukarruppatai, has features that include those found in ancient north Indian descriptions of Skanda. According to Zvelebil, this may reflect that the Tirumurukarruppatai was composed after significant interactions between north and south India had already happened. Murugan's father Shiva and mother Korravai (Parvati, Durga) are also reverentially covered in the poem.
The Tirumurukāṟṟuppaṭai is not only a part of the Sangam literature, it is also part of another Tamil textual canon, as the eleventh of twelve Tirumuṟai . The twelve Tirumurais (books) are the devotional Tamil corpus in the Hindu Shaiva tradition in Tamil Nadu. The Tirumurukarruppatai was likely included in this corpus for god Shiva, because Murugan is one of his sons and the historic reverence for the text.The text is part of these two anthologies, but in some Tamil Hindu communities, the Tirumurukarruppatai manuscripts are found as a separate text, on its own, as a devotional guide.
Cilappatikāram, also referred to as Silappathikaram or Silappatikaram, is the earliest Tamil epic. It is a poem of 5,730 lines in almost entirely akaval (aciriyam) meter. The epic is a tragic love story of an ordinary couple, Kannaki and her husband Kovalan. The Cilappatikaram has more ancient roots in the Tamil bardic tradition, as Kannaki and other characters of the story are mentioned or alluded to in the Sangam literature such as in the Naṟṟiṇai and later texts such as the Kovalam Katai. It is attributed to a prince-turned-monk Iḷaṅkõ Aṭikaḷ, and was probably composed in the 5th or 6th century CE.
Tolkāppiyam, also romanised as Tholkaappiyam, is the most ancient extant Tamil grammar text and the oldest extant long work of Tamil literature. It is the earliest Tamil text mentioning Gods often identified as Hindu deities. Mayyon as (Vishnu), Seyyon as (Skanda), Vendhan as (Indra), Varuna as (Varuna) and Kotṟavai as are the gods mentioned. The surviving manuscripts of the Tolkappiyam consists of three books (atikaram), each with nine chapters (iyal), with a cumulative total of 1,610 (483+463+664) sutras in the nūṛpā meter. It is a comprehensive text on grammar, and includes sutras on orthography, phonology, etymology, morphology, semantics, prosody, sentence structure and the significance of context in language.
The Sangam literature historically known as 'the poetry of the noble ones' connotes the ancient Tamil literature and is the earliest known literature of South India. The Tamil tradition and legends link it to three literary gatherings around Madurai and Kapāṭapuram : the first over 4,440 years, the second over 3,700 years, and the third over 1,850 years before the start of the common era. Scholars consider this Tamil tradition-based chronology as ahistorical and mythical. Most scholars suggest the historical Sangam literature era spanned from c. 300 BCE to 300 CE, while others variously place this early classical Tamil literature period a bit later and more narrowly but all before 300 CE. According to Kamil Zvelebil, a Tamil literature and history scholar, the most acceptable range for the Sangam literature is 100 BCE to 250 CE, based on the linguistic, prosodic and quasi-historic allusions within the texts and the colophons.
The Eight Anthologies, known as Eṭṭuttokai or "Eight Collections" in the literature, is a classical Tamil poetic work that forms part of the Eighteen Greater Texts (Patiṉeṇmēlkaṇakku) anthology series of the Sangam Literature. The Eight Anthologies and its companion anthology, the Ten Idylls (Pattuppāṭṭu), is the oldest available Tamil literature. According to Kamil Zvelebil, a scholar of Tamil literature and history, dating these Eight Anthologies or their relative chronology is difficult, but the scholarship so far suggested that the earliest layers were composed sometime between the 1st century BCE and 2nd century CE, while the last layers were completed between 3rd and 5th century CE.
Ainkurunuru is a classical Tamil poetic work and traditionally the third of the Eight Anthologies (Ettuthokai) in the Sangam literature. It is divided into five groups of 100 short stanzas of 3 to 6 lines, each hundred subdivided into 10s, or pattu. The five groups are based on tinai (landscapes): riverine, sea coast, mountain, arid and pastoral. According to Martha Selby, the love poems in Ainkurunuru are generally dated from about the late-2nd-to-3rd-century-CE. According to Takanobu Takahashi – a Tamil literature scholar, these poems were likely composed between 300 and 350 CE based on the linguistic evidence, while Kamil Zvelebil – another Tamil literature scholar – suggests the Ainkurunuru poems were composed by 210 CE, with some of the poems dated to 100 BCE.
Kuṟuntokai is a classical Tamil poetic work and traditionally the second of the Eight Anthologies (Ettuthokai) in the Sangam literature. The collection belongs to the akam (love) category, and each poem consists of 4 to 8 lines each. The Sangam literature structure suggests that the original compilation had 400 poems, but the surviving Kuruntokai manuscripts have 402 poems. According to Takanobu Takahashi – a Tamil literature scholar, these poems were likely composed between 100 CE and 300 CE based on the linguistics, style and dating of the authors. Kamil Zvelebil, a Tamil literature and history scholar, states that the majority of the poems in the Kuruntokai were likely composed between the 1st century BCE and the 2nd century CE. The Kuruntokai manuscript colophon states that it was compiled by Purikko (உரை), however nothing is known about this compiler or the patron.
Natrinai, is a classical Tamil poetic work and traditionally the first of the Eight Anthologies (Ettuthokai) in the Sangam literature. The collection – sometimes spelled as Natrinai or Narrinai – contains both akam (love) and puram category of poems. The Naṟṟiṇai anthology contains 400 poems, mainly of 9 to 12 lines, but a few with 8 to 13 lines each. According to Takanobu Takahashi – a Tamil literature scholar, the Naṟṟiṇai poems were likely composed between 100–300 CE based on the linguistics, style and dating of the authors. While Kamil Zvelebil – a Tamil literature and history scholar, dates some poems to the 1st century BCE. The Naṟṟiṇai manuscript colophon states that it was compiled under the patronage of the Pandyan king named Pannatu Tanta Pantiyan Maran Valuti, but the compiler remained anonymous.
The Paripādal is a classical Tamil poetic work and traditionally the fifth of the Eight Anthologies (Ettuthokai) in the Sangam literature. According to Tolkappiyam, Paripadal is a kind of verse dealing only with love (akapporul) and does not fall under the general classification of verses. It has a minimum of 25 lines and a maximum of 400 lines. It is an "akam genre", odd and hybrid collection which expresses love in the form of religious devotion (Bhakti) to gods and goddesses predominently to Maha Vishnu and Murugan. According to Kamil Zvelebil, a Tamil literature and history scholar. This is the only anthology in the Eight Anthologies collection that is predominantly religious, though the other seven anthologies do contain occasional mentions and allusions to gods, goddesses and legends.
The Patiṟṟuppattu is a classical Tamil poetic work and one of the Eight Anthologies (Ettuthokai) in Sangam literature. A panegyric collection, it contains puram poems. The Chera kings, known as the Cheramal, are the centre of the work. Its invocatory poem is about Mayon, or Perumal (Vishnu).
The Ten Idylls, known as Pattuppāṭṭu or Ten Lays, is an anthology of ten longer poems in the Sangam literature – the earliest known Tamil literature. They range between about 100 and 800 lines, and the collection includes the celebrated Nakkīrar's Tirumurukāṟṟuppaṭai. The collection was termed as "Ten Idylls" during the colonial era, though this title is considered "very incorrect" by Kamil Zvelebil – a scholar of Tamil literature and history. He suggests "Ten Lays" as the more apt title. Five of these ten ancient poems are lyrical, narrative bardic guides (arruppatai) by which poets directed other bards to the patrons of arts such as kings and chieftains. The others are guides to religious devotion (Murugan) and to major towns, sometimes mixed with akam- or puram-genre poetry.
Porunarāṟṟuppaṭai is an ancient Tamil poem and the second lay of the Pattuppattu anthology in the Sangam literature. It contains 248 lines, mostly in the akaval meter. It is one of five arruppatai genre poems, possibly the oldest one, aimed as a guide to other bards seeking a patron for their art. Set in the early Chola kingdom, describes about Uraiyur, the capital of Cholas and the Powerful King of early cholas Karikala Cholan, his early life and how he brought up the King of Chola Kingdom. It was composed by Mutattamakkanniyar sometime around 180–190 CE, states Kamil Zvelebil – a Tamil literature scholar.
Kuṟiñcippāṭṭu, also called the Kurinchipattu or Perumkurinchi, is an ancient Tamil poem in the Sangam literature genre. It is a story about premarital love. Authored by Kapilar, it is the eighth poem in the Pattuppāṭṭu anthology. The poem is generally dated to the classical period.
Malaipaṭukaṭām is an ancient Tamil poem in the Pattuppāṭṭu anthology of the Sangam literature. Authored by Perunkunrur Perunkausikanar who is considered as a Brahmin due to his name Kausikanar which denotes the Vedic Rishi Kaushika, it consists of 583 lines according to Kamil Zvelebil lines that describe the nature scenes, the people and the culture of mountain countryside under king Nannan. The poem is dated approximately to 210 CE by Kamil Zvelebil – a Tamil literature scholar. The lengthy poem mentions the Hindu god Maha Vishnu primarily. Maha Vishnu was considered as the "Supreme Deity" in the poem and worshiped by many saints and kings. It also mentions the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi in lines 463–464 and the "goddess who sits enthroned on Maha Vishnus chest". There are also mentions where the king is looking similar to the god Murugan – the god of war.
Maduraikanchi, is an ancient Tamil poem in the Sangam literature. It is a didactic poem and its title connotes the "poetic counsel addressed to the king of Madurai". Composed by Mankuti Marutanar – probably the chief court poet of the Pandya king Nedunjeliyan II, the Maduraikkāñci is the sixth poem in the Pattuppāṭṭu anthology. The poem is generally dated to the late classical period.
Ciṟupāṇāṟṟuppaṭai is an ancient Tamil poem, likely the last composed in the Pattuppattu anthology of the Sangam literature. It contains 296 lines in the akaval meter. It is one of five arruppatai genre poems and was a guide to other bards seeking a patron for their art. The main hero honored in the poem is Nalliyakkotan, but the poem reverentially mentions an additional seven minor chieftains and three kings. The poem is dated to sometime between the late 3rd century CE and 5th century CE by Kamil Zvelebil – a Tamil literature scholar.
Mullaippāṭṭu is an ancient Tamil poem in the Sangam literature. Authored by Napputanar, it is the shortest poem in the Ten Idylls (Pattuppāṭṭu) anthology, consisting of 103 lines in akaval meter. It is largely an akam-genre (love) poem about a wife in grief when her husband does not return from the war front, when he promised he will. The Mullaippattu weaves her sorrow with her attempts at patience and self-control. The poem was likely composed about 230 CE or slightly later, according to Kamil Zvelebil – a Tamil literature scholar.
Paṭṭiṉappālai is a Tamil poem in the ancient Sangam literature. It contains 301 lines, of which 296 lines are about the port city of Kaveripoompattinam, the early Chola kingdom and the Chola king Karikalan. The remaining 5 lines are on the proposed separation by a man who wants to move there and the separation pain of his wife who would miss her husband's love. Of the 301 lines, 153 are in the vanci meter and the rest are in akaval. It is sometimes referred to as Vancinetumpattu, or the "long song in the vanci meter". The poem was composed by Katiyalur Uruttirankannanar, sometime around 1st century and 2nd century CE, states Kamil Zvelebil – a Tamil literature scholar. There are mentions of Mahalakshmi painted on walls and considered her as the goddess of fortune and wealth. The poem explains that the high and strong walls of the city secure the king where Mahalakshmi sits enthroned. There are mentions in Paṭṭiṉappālai that many Tamilians worshiped tall pillars or posts as Mayon (Vishnu). There are Many mentions of Maha Vishnu throughout the poem. There are temples present even now, where Maha Vishnu is worshiped in a pillar form. A well known example is the Kaliyuga Varadaraja Perumal Temple. It mentions the worship of Maha Vishnu, Mahalakshmi and Murugan. Muruga was worshiped as the red god and the god of war.
Neṭunalvāṭai is an ancient Tamil poem in the Sangam literature. Also referred to as Nedunalvadai, it is a blend of a love and war story, highlighting the pains of separation of a queen waiting for her lover to return from the distant war. Authored by Nakkirar, it is the seventh poem in the Pattuppāṭṭu anthology. The poem is generally dated to the late classical period.
Nakkīraṉãr, sometimes spelled Nakkirar or Nakkiranar, was a post-Sangam era Tamil poet. He is credited with the devotional poem to the Hindu god Murugan in the Pattuppāṭṭu anthology, titled Tirumurukāṟṟuppaṭai. In the historic Tamil tradition, he is believed to have also authored a second poem in the Sangam collection titled Neṭunalvāṭai, as well as a detailed commentary on Iraiyanar Akapporul. However, according to the Tamil literature scholar Kamil Zvelebil, the Tirumurukāṟṟuppaṭai and the Neṭunalvāṭai were likely authored by two different Nakkirar, and Nakkīraṉãr and the older Nakkīrar were different individual. It is uncertain as to which century Nakkiranar lived, much like the chronology of the Sangam literature. Scholars variously place his works between 3rd and 8th century CE, with Zvelebil suggesting late classical.
Kartikeya, also known as Skanda, Subrahmanya, Shanmukha and Murugan, is the Hindu god of war. He is the son of Shiva and Parvati and the brother of Ganesha.