As the work received great response from Kulottunga Chola I and other Shaiva scholars, it was included as the 12th Tirumurai. Along with Saiva Agamas and the Vedas, Tirumurai forms the basis of Saiva Siddantha philosophy in Tamil Nadu.
History of Tirumurai
The reign of the Pallava dynasty in Tamil history marks the renewal of Shaivism by the Shaivite Nayanars. These Nayanaarscaptured the hearts of the people by their Bhakti hymns. Their songs in the praise of Lord Shiva composed in exciting devotional hymns created a wonderful impression on the people. Tirumurai in anthology surpasses Tamil literature of Sangam age, which was mainly secular in character. Tirumurai, in its entirety, is written in the viruttam meter that is in lines of four. The main feature of the head-rhyming is influenced by both moric and syllabic prosody.
Hymns of Tirumurai
There are 12 Shaiva Tirumurais, of which the initial seven Tirumurais are the hymns composed by the 3 great Shaivite poet saints, Tirunavukkaracar (Appar), Nanacampantar (Campantar) and Cuntarar (Sundarar). The hymns composed by them were the best musical compositions during that period. The first three Tirumurais are the improvised compositions of Campantar. The fourth, the fifth and the sixth Tirumurais are created by Tirunavukkaracar. The seventh Tirumurai consists of Cuntarar's verses. The eighth Tirumurai includes Tiruvacakam and Tirukovayar by Manikkavasagar, which contain visionary experience, divine love and imperative desire for truth. The ninth Tirumurai was created by Sundarar, Tirumalikaittever, Karuvurttevar, Gandaraditya, Nampikatava Nampi, Venattatikal, Purutottama Nampi, Tiruvaliyamutanar and Cetirayar. Amongst these poet saints, Gandaraditya was a Cholaking who became a Shaivite saint.
Tirumantiram by Tirumular reveals about attainment (siddantha) as a four fold path, internal worship, temple worship, moral living and union with Siva. Tirumandiram also provides details about agamic traditions, which were conducted along with the Bhakthi movement. The eleventh Tirumurai was composed by Karaikkal Ammeiyar, Pattinattu ppillaiyar, Cheraman Perumal, Nakkiratevar, Tiruvalavaiyudaiyar, Kapilateva, Nambiyandar Nambi, Kalladateva, Paranateva, Iyyadigal katavarkon, Athirava Adigal and Ellamperuman Adigal. Tirutottanar Tiruvanthathi by Nambi had an exclusive form of mincing Sanskrit and Tamil verses in anthati meter.
Karaikkal Ammaiyar was the oldest woman Shaivite poets. She introduced the kattalaikkalitturai meter, a complicated structural departure from the earlier traditional Tamil meters. The other meter used by her was venba and also antathi meter. Sekkizhar composed the twelfth Tirumurai.
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