Content of Thiruppugazh
Due to lack of adequate historical records, no information regarding the life of the poet saint Arunakiriyar is available at present. Whatever information is available about the composition of the religious poetic work of Thiruppugazh is mainly derived from spoken accounts and verbal traditions and legends recorded in commentaries on the popular work of Tamil literature. According to the commentaries, the poet Arunakiriyar lived a rather self-indulgent and self-gratifying life during his youth. Eventually his revulsion and disgust at his own demeanor led Arunakiriyar to attempt suicide by falling off the tower at the temple of Tiruvannamalai. According to legend, the poet saint was rescued by a stranger, who, by local beliefs, was Lord Murugan himself.
Therefore, Arunakiriyar was altered from inside and started an extended pilgrimage. He visited the Arupadai, the six temples most sacred to Lord Murugan. He also went to two hundred other sacred shrines located in India and even in Sri Lanka. While his visit to each of these shrines, the Tamil poet saint Arunakiriyar composed hymns and verses in eulogy of Lord Murugan that were collected and compiled collected together in the anthology of Thiruppugazh or Tiruppukazh. Most of the hymns and songs are dedicated to the Lord, but some of the verses in the work vividly narrate about the miracles and deeds of Lord Shiva, the various incarnations of Lord Vishnu and about the power of Goddess Parvati. Every hymn finishes by addressing Lord Murugan as Perumal (Lord Vishnu), a word that conventionally had strong links with Vaishnavism in the Tamil country.
Lord Murugan is narrated as a deity who is full of compassion and love. Arunakiriyar states in his work the Thiruppugazh that the devotional hymns will convey the pearls of knowledge and devotion by the grace of the Lord. The hymns and verses comprises of philosophical thoughts on God that are portrayed in simple and basic terms, particularly putting emphasis on the role of Murugan's mercy and grace in helping a person to deal with the various problems and troubles that upset and affects humanity in an adverse manner.
The religious hymns in the Tamil work of Thiruppugazh also deal with subject matters of morality and living a righteous and honourable life with many encouraging people to search for actual happiness in God.