(Last Updated on : 28-01-2009)
Tayumanavar was a great Saiva saint and scholar in both Sanskrit and Tamil. He was a minister to the King in Trichinopoly of South India in the 17th century AD. He was born in 1705 AD at Vedaranyam in Tamil Nadu. His father's name was Kedilippa Pillai and his mother was Gajavalli, who belonged to the vellala (agricultural) community.
Tayumanavar was named after the name of the deity of the Rockfort Temple at Trichinopoly in Tamil Nadu. At a very young age, he became very well versed in Sanskrit, Telugu, Tamil and also in many schools of philosophy, which were then prevalent. His father used to work in one of the palaces in Tanjavur so after the death Tayumanavar was appointed in his position. But as he was a Siva bhakta, he later left his job and went to Ramnad. It was a peaceful area and spent his time in meditation there. He then started roaming in various places like Chidambaram and Rameshwaram. He went on giving lectures on Shaiva siddhanta philosophy and Shiva worship wherever he visited.
The songs composed by Tayumanavar were full of the divine bliss, which he enjoyed and used to pass on others. The base of these songs was the theme of the Atman craving for the union with the Supreme. These songs were well known for their authenticity, simplicity and easily remembered language. He wanted to unite people of all religions to reach to the God, especially the Vedanta and Shaiva Siddhanta groups.
There is an interesting and miraculous story in connection with his visit to Rameshwaram. It is said that this place had been plagued by drought and on the request of the people to this Saiva saint to help them. So, he recited a verse in the Venba metre and immediately it began to rain.
Tayumanavar got married to a pious lady, who left him and this earth after delivering a son. His son was named Kanakasabhai after the name of the deity at Chidambaram. Tayumanavar's brother Arulayya took care of his son and he devoted himself wholly to the spiritual matters. Tayumanavar used to mediate in silence for days under a tamarind tree in Ramnad. He used to say that we should meditate by feeling ourselves without any blemish, without any ignorance, without support, ever-full, undecayingly pure, far as well as near, like the light beyond the three luminaries (Sun, Moon and Fire) and enjoying the one charm that includes all, overflowing with bliss.
Tayumanavar was not in support of different schools of thought and when he attained great spiritual heights he tried to bring together the varying schools of thought. He admired the Siddhas (the perfect ones), who were able to make their minds and bodies perfect by practicing the Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali. According to Tayumanavar, the best method of salvation was the service to saints.
Tayumanavar had a strong belief in the greatness of the doctrines of the Upanishads, which had helped many people to attain salvation. He was also attracted by the Advaita philosophy. The content of his songs were mainly emotional and reveal closeness with God. The primary belief of Tayumanavar was that man should never forget the Supreme God. According to one his disciple known as Kodikkarai Jnani, he died in January 1742 AD.