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Durable Link to this BlogSunday, March 16, 2008

Saints of Tamilnadu -- Manikkavachakar

Manika in Sanskrit means emerald. Vacha means words. The popular saint of Tamilnadu was deemed as having utterances equal to jewel. Hymns composed by him are called Tiruvachakam (holy words). There is a Tamil saying that nothing can melt the heart of the man whose heart does not melt at hearing hymns of Tiruvacakam.

Manikkavachakar was a Brahmin by birth and was in service of a Pandyan King. He thought of Siva all the time and worldly things had no meaning for him. He was once entrusted with the job of buying horses and huge amount was given by the king. It is told that he spent the entire amount on building a temple for Siva! He renounced the world thereafter and started preaching about Siva-realization. His book of Tiruvachakam is considered as having high literary merit, and for him God and knowledge were one.

One of his hymns runs:-

Beyond created time and space are thou,
Without beginning and end
Yet thou dost create the many worlds.
Oh! Preserver, Destroyer, Procreator,
Thou leadest by thy grace
to dedicated Service.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
Imperceptible as the fragrance,
Thou art afar and yet so near.
O unscrutable Mystery,
Who eludes speech and thought
Indissoluble as the sweet juice of cane
And cream in fresh pure milk,
Thy pure bliss spreads
In the hearts of Thy devotees
O mighty Lord, who cuts
The continuity of births.

No details of life of the great saint are forthcoming. He is believed to have died at the young age of thirty-two. His Tiruvachakam deals with mystery of creation, God's real nature and the soul's required attempts to attain the Divine. His preaching of God realization is called Satmarga or Sanmarga, path of knowledge.

See Also:
• Tamizhakam - Tamil Potpourri
• The Alvars
• Important Proponents of the Bhakti Movement

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Jyotsna Kamat Ph.D. lives in Bangalore.


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