(Last Updated on : 21/01/2013)
Sekkizhar was one of the greatest poets of Tamil literature
. He was a 12th century poet and King Kulothunga Chola II of the Chola kingdom appointed him as the chief minister in his court.
Sekkizhar wrote the 'Perya Puranam', the life history of 63 famous saivite Nayanmars, i, e, the followers of Shiva in Tamil poetic form. It is said that 'Ullagellam' the first word of Perya Puranam' boomed from space when Sekkizhar sought divine guidance at Tillai, before the commencement of his commissioned work. As the king Anapaaya showed deep interest in Jainism and the Jain literary work, Jivaka Chintamani, the chief minister suggested that the king divert his attention to Sivakatha for eternal benefits. So, Sekkizhar was requested by the king to chronicle the stories in the form of a puranam for the benefit of mankind. Sekkizhar was provided with both men and material. Sekkizhar then proceeded to Chidambaram (Tillai) and there the great 'Perya Puranam' took birth.
The origin of the Periyapuranam was however can be found in much other literary work of just eleven verses, sung in the 11th century. In the 'Perya Puranam', the work of 4,253 verses is divided into two cantos and is actually a conglomeration of seventy-two puranas. It was launched at the Chidambaram temple's thousand-pillared hall. It took exactly one year from the starting date to complete Sekkizhar's exposition. People from all over came to listen to that.
Sekkizhar was honoured with the title of Uttama-Chozha-Pallavan by the king. The 'Perya Puranam' opens and ends with the same word 'Ullagellam'. Each word of the 'Perya Puranam' comes out with great devotion. This puranam has earned a lot of literary worth for itself. In the anthology titled 'Panniru Tirumurai', it is ranked on the twelfth position. The poetic worth of this text was explored by many literary savants for its facile style, the composer's judicious and apt use of words, lucid description of nature, clarity and discreetness of expression.