(Last Updated on : 30-01-2012)
Arunakiriyar was a Tamil
poet saint and is considered as the author of the religious poetic anthology series of Thiruppugazh
, also known as Tiruppukal. Arunakiriyar generously used Sanskrit
loan words in composing his verses. He distinguished himself as a poet like Villiputturar. Arunakiriyar was a talented and skilled Tamil poet who gained popularity for his extremely rhythmic poems and hymns. The three thousand devotional hymns and verses composed by him are collected and accumulated in an anthology of devotional Tamil poetic work known as Thiruppugazh or Tiruppukal or Tiruppukazh. The compiled work contains religious hymns that are devoted to Lord Murugan (Lord Kartikeya
As historical records about the poet are unavailable, no detailed information about the life of the poet saint Arunakiriyar can be ascertained. It is considered by scholars that Arunakiriyar belonged to the Isai Vellalar community. According to legends, Arunakiriyar lived a hedonistic life. But later, he was disgusted with his way of living and thus decided to commit suicide. Eventually, he was rescued by Lord Murugan, who converted him into a saint. Arunakiriyar decided to spend the rest of his life by composing hymns praising the glory of the Lord.
Thiruppugazh comprises of various rhythms and metres. The poetic work of Arunakiriyar is highly praised by musicologists as they consider it as an encyclopaedia of talas and ragas. The 15th century work is also considered a one of the significant contributions in Tamil literature due to its moral, philosophical and religious content and its poetic attributes. Even at the present age, various hymns from Thiruppugazh are recited at music performances in Tamil Nadu
In most of the hymns, the poet saint Arunakiriyar has narrated about the revolting nature of carnal pleasures in the initial part and in the second part, he has described about the various deeds and miracles of Lord Murugan, as mentioned in the Puranas. Arunakiriyar had also vividly described the greatness of the several shrines that are dedicated to the Lord.
Apart from composing the devotional work of Thiruppugazh, the Tamil poet saint Arunakiriyar has written several other devotional works in Tamil language. These include the works of Tiruvakuppu, Mayil Viruttam, Vel Viruttam, Kantarantati, Kantar Anuputi and Kantar Alahkaram.