dakSiNAmUrti stotra, and Tamil and Kashmir zaivisms

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Tue Jun 1 05:55:41 UTC 1999

Many thanks to Vidyasankar and Ramakrishnan.

In a message dated 5/30/99 4:48:39 PM Central Daylight Time,
vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM writes:

> Could you tell us about the significant features of the Tamil dakshiNAmUrti
>  devotional cult? Was Siva-dakshiNAmUrti primarily viewed as a guru, rather
>  than as the creator? Was there a great emphasis on Siva's teaching through
>  silence (mauna-vyAkhyA), and on Siva as a youth teaching old disciples
>  (vRddhAH zishyAH, gurur yuva)? What do the Tamil sources say? Finally, had
>  the dakshiNAmUrti conception entered Chera land in early times, or did it
>  remain confined to Madurai and the pANDyan kingdom?

Clearly, post-zankara texts mention dakSiNAmUrti's silence. To see, if that
was the case even in pre-zankara days, we have to look at CT, cilappatikAram,
maNimEkalai, tEvAram, and tirumantiram.

We find instances where teaching is meant by the use of the verb col or urai
which if taken literally would mean that he spoke. See below.

an2Ru Alin2 kIz iruntu agku aRam con2n2An2ai... (tev.6.50.3)

But, we also find instances where he "bestowed" without telling us that he

Alin2 kIz aRagkaL ellAm an2Ru avarkku aruLicceytu  (tev.4.36.6)

So, did the use of "col" or "urai" constitute a literal usage or metaphorical
usage? You may know about the expression "collAmal con2n2avarai.." used by
paraJcOti mun2ivar. An explanation of how he instructed the sages is given

Alattu Ar nizalil aRam nAlvarkkuk
kOlattAl uraiceytavan2 ................(tev. 5.59.2)

Here it is clear that he did not speak, but he instructed by his kOlam or

All three verses are by appar.

As far as the pre-zankaran texts I have checked, there is no explicit
description of the age of the teacher vs. the age of the students. But I
think, it probably was to be expected. One does not find Hindu gods depicted
as old men except in some specific episodes of stories as in murukan2's

Coming to the prevalence of dakSiNAmUrti on the west coast of Tamil country,
there is a mention in the CT text ciRupANARRuppaTai about dakSiNAmUrti as

Al amar celvaRku amarntan2an2 koTutta
cAvam tAgkiya cAntu pular tiNi tOL
Arvam nal mozi Ayum....                        (ciRu. 96-99)

Here the chieftain Ay of potiyil region is described as giving a fine cloth
to dakSiNAmUrti (Al amar celvan2). The jurisdiction of Ays extended from
Nagarkoil in the south to Tiruvalla  in the north according to Sreedhara

As for his nature of teacher or creator, CT texts call him "kaTavuL" and even
"ton2mutu kaTavuL". Moreover, we have the following tEvAram of campantar:

paNTu nAlvarukku aRam uraittu aruLip pal ulakin2il uyir vAzkkai
kaNTa nAtan2Ar ................................................
(tEv. 2.107.7)

So he is definitely god-creator too.

The importance of dakSiNAmUrti (who teaches without speaking) for the Tamil
tradition can be seen in the story of ziva teaching Tamil grammar to agastya
as given in nampi's tiruviLaiyATal (18.8)

"...akattiya mAmun2iyE nalla pOtamuRak kIran2ukku ivvupatEcattaic cintaiyuRa
nAmuraittapaTiyE nIyum ceppuken2at *tirunOkkAl upatEcittAn2*"

nampi also calls ziva "tentamizkkuru" or southern Tamil teacher.

That dakSiNAmUrti was worshipped by brahmins can be inferred from a story in
cilappatikaram where a brahmin boy from taGkAl (near villiputtUr) who is said
to have the name of "Al amar celvan2" is also called 'takkiNan2" (Skt.
dakSiNa). This kid is described as picking up vedic recitation very quickly.

S. Palaniappan

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list