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Manikkavaasakar's history translation - 3rd and final part (continuation of previous posts 1and 2)

Continuation of part 1 and 2

Separation from the Guru

Vaathavooradigal rejoined his guru and was happy in the company of devotees. The Lord who came as the imparter (guru) of wisdom, informed them of his intention to move back to Kayilai and asked them to continue to be contented. The disciples were however very sad and could not bear to be separated from their guru. On seeing that, the Guru asked them to create an alter under the Kuruntha tree and invoke His feet and continue to perform worship. Out of grace He said ‘there will come a day when a fireball will appear in the temple tank (pond) and all of you can immerse in it and reach me’. To those who tried to follow Him, He restrained them and proceeded to Kayilai. Thiruvaathavoorar continued to follow him, after a while the Guru uttered thus ‘Please do not follow me, go to the blessed town of Utthara kosa mangai and acquire the eight siddis(power), worship at Thirukazhu kundram and other shrines alike and arrive at Thillai.’ So Manivaasakar established a shrine under the Kuruntha tree of Thirup perunthurai and he and the other devotees continued to worship the divine feet of the Lord there.

Pilgrimage

In the days Manivaasakar was soaking in the bliss of Shivam, he composed the following hymns in veneration, pouring forth divine utterances and continued to stay in Thirup perunthurai in the company of devotees 1. Sivapuraanam starting with Namacchivaaya vaazhga, 2. Atputhap patthu, 3. Adhisayap patthu, 4. Kuzhaittha patthu, 5. Sennip patthu, 6. Aasaip patthu, 7. Vaazhaap patthu, 8. Adaikkalap patthu, 9 Setthilaa patthu, 10. Punarchip patthu, 11.Arut patthu, 12. Thiruvaarthai, 13. Enaap pathigam, 14. Thiruvenbaa(inclusive of four Vedas?), 15. Thirup palliezhuchi, 16. Thiruvesaravu, 17. Aanandha maalai, 18. Uyirunnip patthu, 19. Pirarthanip patthu, 20. Thirup paandip pathigam.

As promised one day a flame appeared in the temple pond. All the devotees immersed in it chanting the sacred five letters of Shiva. The Lord appeared along with the universal mother on the vehicle of the sacred nandi granting grace to all. All the immersed devotees transformed into the ganas or attendants of Shiva. Manivaasakar was in deep yogic contemplation of Shiva under the shade of the Kondrai tree. Realising what happened through his yogic powers; he was saddened by the loss of the devotees and started crying at the shrine of the sacred feet. He prayed with the garland of poems he composed called 21.Thirucchathakam.

He then moved to Utthara kosa mangai as instructed by the grace of his guru and became worried since he could not find his guru and sang the 22. Neetthal vinnappam. The Lord then revealed his vision as the one seated under the Kuruntha tree at Thirup perunthurai. Manivaasakar was overjoyed by the vision then went on to acquire all the eight powers. He then went on a pilgrimage, crossed the Paandya kingdom and arrived at Thiruvidai maruthoor belonging to the Chozha kingdom. He venerated the Lord who is there as honey of bliss, imbibing his grace, he moved to Thiruvaaroor where he worshipped the Lord of the hill and sang 23. Thirup pulambbal. Then he travelled to Seekazhi and revered the Lord Thoniappar and sang 24. Pidittha patthu in praise. Onwards from Chozha naadu he venerated the Lord as the moved through Thirumuthu kundram, Thiruvennai nallur etc and arrived at Thiruvennaamalai. He was again blessed with the vision of the one seated under the Kuruntha tree at Thirup perunthurai. Manivaasakar prostrated at the vision and continued to stay in the holy town for many days.

In Thiruvennaamalai

While he stayed there it soon became Markazhi-December. Starting ten days before Thiruvaathirai the star of Shiva, he observed how young maidens were waking their friends up early in the morning to bath and leave for the temple for prayers, imagining himself in the role of a young maiden waking up her friends for worship, he composed 25. Thiruvempaavai and then sang the hymn 26. Thiruvammaanai in the role of the young maidens playing ammaanai.

Revelation of Chidambaram

Moving from Annamalai he went to Kanchipuram venerated the Lord there and arrived at Thiruk kazhukundram and sang the 27. Thiruk kazhukundrap pathigam. He was again blessed with the vision of the Guru seated under the Kuruntha tree. He then moved to Thiruthillai and as he entered the town limit he venerated the God therein. Thillai seemed like Shivalokam the land of Shiva. Manivaasakar walked into the town and entered the Holy temple through the northern entrance. He bathed in the shivaganga and proceeded to pay salutations to the dancing God of bliss Nadarajah in the chitsaba-hall. He was overcome with emotion and shed tears in deep devotion and prayed in boundless love. Seeing the Lord who came as the guru, now in the chitt ambalam, in boundless joy he sang 28. Kanda patthu in praise. He continued to stay in a pilgrim’s rest house to the south of Thillai and continued to gaze at the dance of bliss of Ambalavaanan with reverence. He also went to worship at the temples of Thiruppuleecchuram and Thirunaagecchuram and returned to Thillai. He composed further hymns in Thillai such as 29. Kulaap patthu, 30.Koyil Thiruppathikam, 31. Koyil Mootha Thiruppathikam, 32. Keerthi thiruagaval, 33. Thiruvandap paguthi, 34. Pottri thiruagaval, 35.Thiruch potrchunnam, 36. Thirutthellenam, 37. Thiruvunthiyaar, 38. Thirutthol nokkam, 39. Thirupoovalli, 40. Thirupponoosal, 41. Annaippathu, 42. Thirukkothumbi, 43. Kuyil patthu, 44. Thirutthasaangam, 45. Acchappathu.

Debate with the Buddists

When Manivaasakar was residing in Thillai, a devotee of Shiva visited the land of Eezham(SriLanka called thus then). That devotee was in the habit of repeating the holy names Sembonnambalam, Thiruvambalam and Thirucchitrambalam incessantly. Buddism was on the rise in Eezham. People reported the behaviour of the Shiva devotee to the King upon which the king summoned him to court. The devotee arrived at court repeating the holy names and sat in court. In surprise the king asked him about the meaning of the holy names and the devotee explained the significance of the hallowed names and that even if the wicked uttered it once with true devotion straight from the heart, it will provide the benefit of chanting the five syllables of Shiva 21600 times and went further to explain the greatness of the Lord of Thillai. The Buddist monk got annoyed on hearing this and questioned, Is there a God other than Budda who gave us the Thiripedagam ? He vowed to win over Saivaism and establish that Budda is the true God and left for Thillai. The King along with his mute daughter decided to visit Thillai too. On arrival at the Temple in Thillai, the king and others sat in a hall in the temple precinct. One guard approached them to let them know that non Hindus were not allowed to sit there. The Buddist guru replied ‘we have come to win over your religion and establish ours here’. This reached the ears of the Brahmins of Thillai, who in turn let the king know of this disturbing situation. That night the brahmins of Thillai fretted as to how to win over the Buddists and went to sleep after worshipping the Lord of Thillai with a heavy heart. The cosmic dancer, Natarajah appeared in their dreams, letting them know that his devotee Vaathavooran who is present south of Thillai soaked in devotion to Shiva, would win any debate thus to cease worrying and to enlist his help to defeat the buddists. The next morning the Brahmins started narrating their dreams to each other and found that they all had the same dream. They marveled at the divine grace and together went to the holy place that Manivaasakar was staying and explained that the Eezha king and clergy have come to defeat the Saiva tradition and establish the Budda religion and requested him to win the debate against the Buddists and make Saivaism secure.

The mute girl speaks

Vaathavooradigal and the three thousand of Thillai (*) worshipped the Lord of the dance of bliss and with his blessings arrived at the hall where the buddist monks had gathered. Deeming it unwise to gaze at the wicked, he ordered that a curtain be hung between them and sat on the other side. The Chozha king, the keepers of scriptures and poets gathered in the hall. The king bid Vaathavoorar to perform his duty which is to win the buddists in debate and restore his religion so that the king can perform his duty which is to bring the defeated buddists to order. Manivaasakar addressed the buddists and started the debate. Whatever truths Manivaasakar revealed to the buddists fell on deaf ears. Unable to effectively counteract Manivaasakar’s arguments, the buddist resorted to cursing Lord Shiva. Manivaasakar then appealed to the goddess of fine arts Saraswati, asking her whether it is befitting of her to reside on the tongues which were being blasphemous to Lord Shiva. He commanded her to leave such a place. Miraculously the buddist monk and all his companions became mute. Astounded at the happenings, the king implored Manivaasakar to help his daughter to speak since she has been mute since birth, promising to become his servant if he did so. Manivaasakar agreed to his request and asked the mute girl to answer the buddist’s questions. To the pleasure and amazement of all, the daughter replied to the questions of the buddist rephrased by Manivaasakar. Those questions and answers formed the hymn 46. Thiruchaazhal. The king was pleased and prostrated at the feet of Manivaasakar and converted to Saivaism. All those assembled venerated Manivaasakar. The King of Lanka adorned with Holy ash and rudraksha beads humbly requested Manivaasakar to restore the power of speech of the buddists. The holy countenance of Manivaasakar was enough to restore speech to all. The buddist and his companions, asked for forgiveness and converted to Saivaism. Manivaasakar then entered the holy Temple and worshipped the Lord of dance and returned to his monastery. During his stay at the monastery he sang more hymns. 47.Thiruppadaiaatchi. 48.Thiruppadaiezhucchi. 49.Acchoppathu. 50. Yaathiraippathu.

The Lord as the scribe for Thiruvasakam

During the days that Manivaasakar lived in Chidambaram, a Brahmin came claiming to be from the Pandya Kingdom, he said people world over, were talking of Manivaasakar on whom the Lord had showered grace, he expressed the desire to hear his hymns.

Manivaasakar repeated all his holy hymns, the Thiruvasakam in its entirety. The Brahmin listened and wrote down all the songs and on completion said, ‘Let the mouth which sang the Paavai, sing a Kovai’. Manivaasakar acceded to the request and sang the sweet Thirukkovaiyaar which has as its essence, the blessing haven of the Holy feet. The Brahmin continued to write that too. Then the Brahmin none other than the Lord himself disappeared. Manivaasakar realised that Lord Shiva himself had come as scribe and was overcome by the grace of the Lord and shed tears of bliss.

The quintessence of Thiruvasagam

The Lord wrote the ‘Thiruvasagam and Thirukkovai’ of Thiruvaathavoorar with his divine hand and to make sure that this treasure is accessible to all humanity , placed the heavenly insignia ‘handwritten by Thiruchitrambalamudaiyaan (the dweller of Chitrambalam)’ at the conclusion of the book and placed the book at the entrance of the Chitrambalam of the Thillai Temple.

When the priest arrived early to conduct puja, he noticed the book on the step and picked it up. Enveloped with a warm feeling that this was God given, started reading it. He was overcome with devotion and felt goose bumps when he saw the insignia that declared that the scribe was the Lord himself. He pronounced this as the principal book to obtain god’s grace and venerated Vaathvoorar. Vaathavoorar was also overcome, thinking of god’s endless grace. All the Brahmins of Thillai gathered around and asked him to explain the book to them. Manivaasakar agreed to do so in the sanctum sanctorum(Chitrambalam) and they all moved towards the chitsabai. On arrival Manivaasakar declared that the quintessence of Thiruvaasakam is nothing but the “Lord of the dance of eternal bliss’ and pointed to the dancing Shiva and disappeared into him. All the people gathered were left standing in the rapture of this miracle and worshiped in wonder and awe. Natarajah the dancing Lord, had given Manivaasakar refuge at his lotus feet.

The Period of the saint

Researchers are divided in their opinion of his period. They also have shown various supporting arguments to establish the period. All research shows that his period must be after the period of kadai-sangam (ie last of the sangam period in tamil history) anywhere upto the 11th century. Thiru.S.Thandapani Desigar has placed all this research together and determined Manivaasakar’s period to be third century A.D and made that announcement at the Thiruvaasakam book release of the Dharumai Adheenam.

His research in a nutshell as follows; It is reasonable to believe that Manivaasakar precedes the thevaara trinity(moovar)*. The only external religion during Manivaasakar’s period is Buddism. However, during the period of the thevara trinity, Jainism was also on the rise. There is no mention of Jainism in Manivaasakar’s scripts. There is no mention of Vinayakar in Thiruvaasakam. Due to these reasons, we can safely conclude that the period of Manivaasakar predates the period of the Thevara trinity.

Thevaara trinity - Thirugnanasamabanthar, Thirunaavukkarasar, Suntharmurthy Naayanar.
along with Manivasakar they are known as Naalwar - awesome foursome


 

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