A gurupūjā Dedication to jñānasambandha nāyanār svāmi

With the moon passing through the mūla (मूल) nakṣatra in the tamiḻ month of vaikāsi (equivalent of saṃskṛta vaiśākha (वैशाख), today happens to be the glorious day of gurupūjā for śrī jñānasambandha nāyanār svāmi (श्री ज्ञानसम्बन्ध नायनार् स्वामि). In śaiva siddhānta, the day where the great bhakta leaves this world for śiva is commemorated as  gurupūjā. Among the sixty-three nāyanār-s (नायनार्-s) whose individual lives are richly and ornately memorialized in classical tamiḻ in the periyapurāṇam, the 12th and final book of the tamiḻ śaiva canon, the life and legacy of tiru-jñānasambandhar (तिरु-ज्ञानसम्बन्धर् – the -r at the end is to indicate respect in tamizh; the tiru/तिरु is tamiḻ for śrī) indeed stands out.

The author of the periyapurāṇam, śrī cēkkiḻār (चेक्किऴार्) gives us the life of jñānasambandhar in the 28th chapter of the book. What was the purpose of the birth of jñānasambandhar?

வேதநெறி தழைத் தோங்க vēdaneṟi taḻait tōṅka वेदनॆऱि तऴैत् तोङ्क
மிகுசைவத் துறைவிளங்கப் mikucaivat tuṟaiviḷaṅkap मिकुचैवत् तुऱैविळङ्कप्
பூதபரம்பரை பொலியப்  bhūtaparamparai poliyap भूतपरम्परै पॊलियप्
புனிதவாய் மலர்ந்தழுத puṉitavāy malarntaḻuta पुऩितवाय् मलर्न्तऴुत
சீதவள வயற்புகலித் sītavaḷa vayaṟpukalit सीतवळ वयऱ्पुकलित्
திருஞான சம்பந்தர் tiruñāṉacampantar तिरुञाऩचम्पन्तर्
பாதமலர் தலைக்கொண்டு pādamalar talaikkoṇṭu पादमलर् तलैक्कॊण्टु
திருத்தொண்டு பரவுவாம் tiruttoṇṭu paravuvām तिरुत्तॊण्टु परवुवाम्

Audio of Vocal Rendition by śrī saṟgurunātha: http://thevaaram.org/isai/122/12280001.mp3 (Click link)

The meaning:

For the dharma of the veda to thrive and prosper,

For the great śaiva path to shine,

For the lineages of living beings to flourish,

The one who cried with his flowery mouth;

[Hailing from the city] Of pukali of cool and fecund fields,

[This] tiru-jñānasambandhar;

His feet-flower; bearing them on our head

His divine service, we shall sing of!

 

What is this crying that the poet speaks of in the introductory verse? It is said that it is for sake of the veda, śaiva-dharma and living beings, that he cried! Why so? At the tender age of about three, on one fine morning, jñānasambandhar, born in the kauṇḍinya-gotra (कौण्डिन्य-गोत्र) to parents śivapādahṛdaya and bhagavatī (शिवपादहृदय and भगवती), followed his father to the brahmapurīśvara (ब्रह्मपुरीश्वर) temple of his birth-city of sīrkāḻi (सीर्काऴि), also known as pukali (पुकलि). When his father, after performing the morning ablutions, immersed in the waters of the temple pond to recite the sin-destroying aghamarṣaṇa-sūktam (अघमर्षण-सूक्तम्), the divine infant cried for his father had been long away from him. Looking at the grand gopura in front of him, remembering his real, non-earthly parents, he cried, “ammē appā” (अम्मे अप्पा – “Mother, Father!”).

And then, the divine parents manifested before them and the mother of the world nursed him with her divine milk, endowing him with the knowledge of the veda-s four and the āgama-s twenty-eight. His work on earth began with this magnificent hymn:

தோடுடைய செவியன் விடையேறி யோர் தூவெண்மதிசூடிக்

तोडुडैय चॆवियऩ् विडैयेऱि योर् तूवॆण्मतिचूडिक्

tōḍuḍaiya ceviyaṉ viḍaiyēṟi yōr tūveṇmaticūḍik

 

காடுடைய சுடலைப் பொடிபூசியென் உள்ளங்கவர்கள்வன்

काडुडैय चुडलैप् पॊदिपूसियॆऩ् उळ्ळङ्कवर्कळ्वऩ्

kāḍuḍaiya cuḍalaip podipūsiyeṉ uḷḷaṅkavarkaḷvaṉ

 

ஏடுடைய மலரான் முனை நாட் பணிந்தேத்த வருள் செய்த

एडुडैय मलराऩ् मुऩै नाट् पणिन्तेत्त वरुळ् चॆय्त

ēḍuḍaiya malarāṉ muṉai nāṭ paṇintētta varuḷ ceyta

 

பீடுடைய பிரமாபுர மேவிய பெம்மானிவனன்றே.

पीडुडैय पिरमापुर मेविय पॆम्माऩिवऩऩ्ऱे.

pīḍuḍaiya piramāpura mēviya pemmāṉivaṉaṉṟē.

 

Audio of vocal rendition (two renditions): http://thevaaram.org/isai/01/1001001.mp3 

Translation: Mounting the bull, the one whose ears are adorned with the [female] ear-ring; adorning a pure, white moon, smearing the charnel-ash of the [cremation-] forest, the thief who thieves [away] my mind!  Is he not that great lord [whom] the petaled-lotus-[seated]-one (brahma) had, in days of yore, worshiped, [who] did grace [to brahma]; [who] dwells in glory-possessing brahmāpura?

One could read the hidden import of this beautiful opening verse here: https://twitter.com/drAviDastotra/status/1095807012514996224

 

The greatness of jñānasambandhar is best illustrated by the words of those who are known to be equally exalted as him: The two other authors of the devāram (देवारम्): śrī vāgīśa (श्री वागीश), also known as tirunāvukkarasar (तिरुनावुक्करसर्), the king of speech, who was his contemporary and śrī sundaramūrti (श्री सुन्दरमूर्ति), who postdates both of them and is the first person to give us a poetic list of all the nāyanār-s (both individuals and groups).

When jñānasambandhar, after many of his travels and glorious deeds of holding the flag of dharma high against the nāstika-s who had abused the veda and śiva very much, went to the city of tiruppūnturutti (तिरुप्पून्तुरुत्ति) to meet tirunāvukkarasar who was of already advanced age, the latter, having heard of the arrival of the divine child, joined the crowd of devotees to bear the pearly palanquin of the prince of the city of pukali. At that time, jñānasambandhar felt in his divine buddhi (intellect) that something was amiss. I will let the divinely inspired cēkkiḻār to tell us the tale and post the translation, for convenience, as given by T. N. Ramachandran (which I find reliable/accurate for these three verses)

Verse 934: Audio: http://thevaaram.org/isai/123/12280934.mp3

வந்தணைந்த வாகீசர் vantaṇainta vākīcar वन्तणैन्त वाकीचर्
வண்புகலி வாழ்வேந்தர் vaṇpukali vāḻvēntar वण्पुकलि वाऴ्वेन्तर्
சந்தமணித் திருமுத்தின் cantamaṇit tirumuttiṉ चन्तमणित् तिरुमुत्तिऩ्
சிவிகையினைத் தாங்கியே civikaiyiṉait tāṅkiyē चिविकैयिऩैत् ताङ्किये
சிந்தைகளிப் புறவருவார் cintaikaḷip puṟavaruvār चिन्तैकळिप् पुऱवरुवार्
திருஞான சம்பந்தர் tiruñāṉa campantar तिरुञाऩ चम्पन्तर्
புந்தியினில் வேறொன்று puntiyiṉil vēṟoṉṟu पुन्तियिऩिल् वेऱॊऩ्ऱु
நிகழ்ந்திடமுன் புகல்கின்றார் nikaḻntiṭamuṉ pukalkiṉṟār निकऴ्न्तिटमुऩ् पुकल्किऩ्ऱार्

Verse 935: Audio: http://thevaaram.org/isai/123/12280935.mp3

அப்பர்தாம் எங்குற்றார் appartām eṅkuṟṟār अप्पर्ताम् ऎङ्कुऱ्ऱार्
இப்பொழுதென் றருள்செய்யச் ippoḻuteṉ ṟaruḷceyyac इप्पॊऴुतॆऩ् ऱरुळ्चॆय्यच्
செப்பரிய புகழ்த்திருநா ceppariya pukaḻttirunā चॆप्परिय पुकऴ्त्तिरुना
வுக்கரசர் செப்புவார் vukkaracar ceppuvār वुक्करचर् चॆप्पुवार्
ஒப்பரிய தவஞ்செய்தேன் oppariya tavañceytēṉ ऒप्परिय तवञ्चॆय्तेऩ्
ஆதலினால் உம்மடிகள் ātaliṉāl ummaṭikaḷ आतलिऩाल् उम्मटिकळ्
இப்பொழுது தாங்கிவரப் ippoḻutu tāṅkivarap इप्पॊऴुतु ताङ्किवरप्
பெற்றுய்ந்தேன் யான்என்றார் peṟṟuyntēṉ yāṉeṉṟār पॆऱ्ऱुय्न्तेऩ् याऩ्ऎऩ्ऱार्

Verse 936: http://thevaaram.org/isai/123/12280936.mp3

அவ்வார்த்தை கேட்டஞ்சி avvārttai kēṭṭañci अव्वार्त्तै केट्टञ्चि
அவனியின்மேல் இழிந்தருளி avaṉiyiṉmēl iḻintaruḷi अवऩियिऩ्मेल् इऴिन्तरुळि
இவ்வாறு செய்தருளிற் ivvāṟu ceytaruḷiṟ इव्वाऱु चॆय्तरुळिऱ्
றென்னாம்என் றிறைஞ்சுதலும் ṟeṉṉāmeṉ ṟiṟaiñcutalum ऱॆऩ्ऩाम्ऎऩ् ऱिऱैञ्चुतलुम्
செவ்வாறு மொழிநாவர் cevvāṟu moḻināvar चॆव्वाऱु मॊऴिनावर्
திருஞான சம்பந்தர்க் tiruñāṉa campantark तिरुञाऩ चम्पन्तर्क्
கெவ்வாறு செயத்தகுவ kevvāṟu ceyattakuva कॆव्वाऱु चॆयत्तकुव
தென்றெதிரே இறைஞ்சினார் teṉṟetirē iṟaiñciṉār तॆऩ्ऱॆतिरे इऱैञ्चिऩार्

Translation:

periyapuranam sambandhar appar

Such is the impeccable greatness of jñānasambandhar. We could continue narrating much much more about the glory of the child-prince of pukali. But we will end it today with one of his greatest verses. When the jaina-s of Madurai, having failed in their plot to assassinate the divine child and having failed to keep their parchment from burning in the flames (which dared not harm the writing of the glorious prince of pukali, called for their parchments to be placed in the ferocious waters of river vaigai, the parchment of the nāstika-s was scattered into oblivion by the ferocious current of vaigai, while the one by sambandhar marched against the current and established the eternal truth of the veda, that is śivadharma (शिवधर्म). He wrote ten verses on those blessed leaves. And this is the opening verse of that hymn he set against the vaigai current:

வாழ்க அந்தணர் வானவ ரானினம் vāḻka antaṇar vāṉava rāṉiṉam वाऴ्क अन्तणर् वाऩव राऩिऩम्
வீழ்க தண்புனல் வேந்தனு மோங்குக vīḻka taṇpuṉal vēntaṉu mōṅkuka वीऴ्क तण्पुऩल् वेन्तऩु मोङ्कुक
ஆழ்க தீயதெல் லாமர னாமமே āḻka tīyatel lāmara ṉāmamē आऴ्क तीयतॆल् लामर ऩाममे
சூழ்க வையக முந்துயர் தீர்கவே cūḻka vaiyaka muntuyar tīrkavē चूऴ्क वैयक मुन्तुयर् तीर्कवे

Let the brāhmaṇas, sky-dwelling devas and the race of cows live long!
Let cool water (rain) pour!
Let the king become exalted!
Let all the evils be subjugated!
Let the name of hara encompass all!
Let the world be free from sufferings!

May the blessings of jñānasambandhar, who was praised as skanda himself, be showered upon bhārata at this significant time!

 

Image Source: https://shaivam.org/gallery/image/devotees/sambandar.png

 

 

 

 

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