Muttollayiram is an encomium, an elaborate praise and a eulogy of nine hundred quatrains in Tamil literature
dedicated as a tribute to the Chera
, the Chola
and the Pandya
kings of the Tamil nation. The poems in Muttollayiram are predominated by the themes of two main emotions, love and heroism. Only one hundred and eight quatrains are now extant, out of the nine hundred poems that the title of the literary work suggests. Even though the names of the royal dynasties are clearly indicated in the book, but the names of the individual kings are not mentioned. Thus the poetic work of Muttollayiram extols the Chera, the Chola and the Pandya kings in general terms. The heroism of the rulers and the importance of elephant corps in their armies are eulogized in Muttollayiram.
Few poems in the renowned poetic work narrate the love of women for the rulers. But there are no references in the book about the author. However, in Muttollayiram, the poems convey profound feelings in a fascinating manner. Some of the poems are exceedingly imaginative in recounting the anxiety and concern of lovelorn women. The summary of a poem in Muttollayiram provides evidence to this fact. A poem states that the harbour city of the Pandya kings, Korkai is not the sole location where shining pearls originate from oysters. It could even originate from the eyes of women who languish for the sandal paste-smeared chest of the Pandya king. In the poem, the tears of the women pining for the love and sympathy of the Pandya king are compared to pearls by the poet.
When the poet desires to explain the valour of the Pandyan king, the poet, with an ingenious touch, narrates that his enemies tremble to think of the king even in their dreams, which become nightmare. Thunder will terrify the fatal hooded-cobra to its burrow. Similarly the enemies of the Pandya king will hide themselves even if they dream about the much dreaded lance of the ruler. As the rivals of the king are so scared of him, since they fear the Pandya king so much, they close and shut down their forts by expecting the arrival of the king`s royal army. They keep their elephant corps, cavalry, chariots prepared for battle at all times.
Then the birthday of the Pandya king appears and it incidentally signifies a day free from battles and combat. To honor and congratulate the ruler on his birthday, the poet addresses the rivals of the king in a lighter streak. The poet requests the king`s enemies to open the gates to their forts and disband the elephant corps, chariots and cavalry. He tells them not to fear the king on his auspicious birthday as he will not fight on the day of Uttiratam his birth-star.
Muttollayiram is a panegyric, in which the poet praises Pandya king`s courage and bravery and declaims against his rivals. At the same time, the poet explains that only on Pandya king`s birthday, the enemies stay in peace.