(Last Updated on : 09-03-2019)
Sekkizhar was one of the greatest poets of Tamil literature
. He was a 12th century poet, whom King Kulothunga Chola
II of the Chola kingdom appointed 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. Sekkizhar himself was later canonized and Periyapuranam became the twelfth and final book of the sacred Saiva canon. Sekkizhar anniversary festival
is celebrated every year in the month of Vaigasi. He was honoured with the title of Uttama-Chozha-Pallavan by the king.
Life of Sekkizhar
Sekkizhar was born as Arulmozhithevan in the village of Kundrathur
, a sub-division of Puliyur
-kottam in Thondaimandalam. Sekkizhar was a child of precious genius, whom King Anapaya appointed as his Prime Minister
on account of his talents. His life is celebrated by Umapati Sivacharya in his 14th century work called Sekkizhar Nayanar Puranam.
Composition of Periyapuranam
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 should 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 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 72 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.
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. The anthology titled 'Panniru Tirumurai
', was ranked on the 12th 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.