Query: Tamil Saints in South East Asia

nas_ng at lms420.jsc.nasa.gov nas_ng at lms420.jsc.nasa.gov
Sun Nov 20 23:48:58 UTC 1994

          Tamil Saiva Saints  in Cambodia?

Karaikkal Ammaiyar (5th cenury A.D.?) is represented sculpturally in several
Cambodian temples. She is one of the Tamil Saiva saints called Naayanmars.
Indira Peterson has translated some of Nayanmars poems. (Poems to Siva,
Princeton, 1989). Their legends appear later in Telugu (Siva's warriors, 
Velcheru Narayana Rao, Princeton University press) and in Kannada 
(Ragale poems of Haridasas). Also, their stories appear in Sanskrit as
Upamanyu Bhakta vilasam and Sri Puranam (on Saint Sundarar).  I have 
seen the references given at the end.

Are there any stories/folklore in Cambodian literature referring 
to Tamil or South Indian or Indian Saiva saints or Alvars (vaishnava saints)?
Is there any tradition in Cambodia and its literature or any South East
Asian literatures connected to South Indian/ Tamil Saiva saints?
I am posing this question because Karaikkal Ammaiyar is represented in so many
sculptures of Cambodia and so her story must be widely known there.
And, the literature must have traces of it.

If so, any western language articles on it. What period
do these literatures belong to? the age of great Khmer temples???

Any pointers welcome. Thanks a bunch.

N. Ganesan
nas_ng at lms461.jsc.nasa.gov

1) Benisti, Mireille
Notes d'iconographie Khmer, 7, Karaikkalammaiyar,
Bulletin de l'Ecole Francoise d'Extreme-Orient, Tome 55,
pp. 159-161, pls. 16, 17, 18 and 19.

2) Benisti, M.
Karaikkal ammaiyar in Cambodia.
Proceedings of the Second International Conference-Seminar
of Tamil studies, Madras, 1968, p. 398-404

3) Fickle, Dorothy H.
Karaikkalammaiyar, Saint and Poetess.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art bulletin, vol. 5, no. 8
July 1983, p. 19-37.

On Nayanmars:
4) G. Vanmikanathan
Periya Puranam, a Tamil classic on the great Saiva Saints of
South India.
Madras: Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1985, 578 p.

5) V. Dehejia
Slaves of the Lord: The path of the Tamil Saints.
Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1988 206 p. 48 p. of plates

6) D. Shulman,
Hungry God, Hindu tales of filicide and devotion.
University of Chicago press, 1993. 157 p.

7) R. Nagaswamy, Sivabhakti (On Saint Appar)
Delhi: Navrang, 1989. 292 p. + 49 p. of plates

8) Srinatha (1400-1440), Hara Vilasa Kavyamu
in Telugu.


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