Recently I had completed the reading of condensed and translated version of Periya Puranam published by Ramakrishna Math. I happened to see the book at their stall in Chennai Central Station. Going through the pages of Periya Puranam , an epic that traces the legendary lives of the Sixty-three Nayanars, the canonical poets of Tamil Shaivism.
It was compiled during the 12th century (reign of Kullottonga Chola II) by Sri Sekkizhar, a poet and the chief minister in the court of the the Chola ruler.
I would like to state that the whole experience of reading the book has been divine and self realizing. It brings out to the forefront real essence and mode of devotion shown by people from different aspects of live to the lord Shiva.One thing to note is that the Characters in the Periya Puranam are real and not fictional. Ample evidence is provided in the verses of the true existence and the places they visted in their lifetime.
Sekkizhar brings to forefront the lives of 63 ardent Shiva devotees who lived in different timelines and brings them into one place.It is one of the masterpieces of Tamil Literature and stands out distinctly among the epics. The fervour with which characters in the epic stands out with their path of devotion is hair raising.
Periya Puranam stands is a testimony that real devotion is over and above the ritualistic manners of the society and is not property of particular caste or creed. It reiterates again and again that the lord is what one makes of him and the lord is the one who becomes the slave of his devotess after enslaving the devotees at first.We see the different Forms of devotion. At one place we see the devotion of Sundarar to Lord as a Companion and that of Sambandar as a son.
Going through the pages I got totally involved in the storyline and felt being an eyewitness to the happenings. By mere reading only one feel blessed and pure,Such is the way the great Sekkizhar has written this epic. It is very hard keep the book down once you start reading it.
It is very difficult for anyone to not have a pure sense of Devotion flowing in self (Bhakti) after reading Periya Puranam.Please do have a glimpse of this gem of a book, a masterpiece and dive into ocean of devotion.
As always , your feedback is appreciated ! .
Further Reading and Links:
Sekkilaar, and G. Vanmikanathan. Periya Puranam — A Tamil Classic On The Great Saiva Saints of South India. Ed. Dr. N. Mahalingam. Chennai: Sri Ramakrishna Math