Siva Bhakti
R. Nagaswamy

Preface....
Introduction....
Life of Appar....
Development of the Story....
Date of Appar....
Appar as a Poet – An Eval....
Vedic Nature of Appar’s S....
Saiva Philosophy as Glean....
Siva Worship....
Music and Dance Gleaned f....
Festivals Gleaned from Te....
Other Sects....
Iconography....
Epigraphical References....
Appar in Art....
Festivals Connected with ....
Conclusion – Siva Bhakti....
Preface

This book is an attempt to study the life and work of the Saiva Saint, Appar, also called Thirunavukkarasu, who lived in the 7th century a.d. After spending some years as a Jaina ascetic, under the name Dharmasena, Appar returned to Saivism, his parent faith. Moving on foot from temple to temple, Appar sang the glories of Siva with intense devotion and met in his journey, Saint Jnanasambandar. Both together, spearheaded the great devotional movement, which is a landmark in the history of religious life of the people of India. The poems of the Saint, collected into three books, and known as Tevaram, reflect the great devotional path, followed and enunciated by Appar. Though rooted in Tamil soil, the hymns of Appar are truly Indian in essence and vividly picturise the Vedic and Agamic base of Tamil Saivism rightly known Vaidika Saivam. There is no hymn of the saint, in which the greatness of Vedas and Siva as the embodiment of Vedas, is not reflected. That the worship of Siva, in every aspect followed the Agamic system, is more than abundantly clear from every one of the hymns. References to almost every manifestation of Siva and other Gods, known to the classical Puranas, in the hymns of Appar, attest to the great popularity of the legends in Tamil Nad, as early as the 7th century A.D. The art of music and dance, philosophy and religion exemplified in the saint’s hymns, reveal the height to which the Tamil society has risen. The Saiva Siddhanta system is expressed in sublime poetry by Appar.
At the age of eighty, Appar visited with a spade in hand several temples, cleaning the approaches and surroundings making the path easy for the devotees. Appar symbolises the true ‘Siva Bhakti’. To read his poems is a process of becoming, experience an ever expanding consciousness, and knowledge and live in a state of bliss. To be a devotee of Siva, is to perceive a glimpse of the effulgent knowledge, beyond the narrow limits of ephemeral existence. I consider it a privilege to have had an opportunity to study the works of this great Saint, which I have tried to outline in this work.
I had the great good fortune of placing my write-up at the sacred feet of His Holiness Sri Chandrasekharendra Sarasvati Swamigal, the Sankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakotipitha. His Holiness told me with affection, that it is our duty to bring to the notice of the world the great life and works of Saint Appar. With the divine smile on his face, His Holiness blessed this publication.
Our revered Rashtrapatiji, Sri R. Venkatraman, the President of India, born and brought up in the land of Bhakti movement, embodies in himself, the culture and ethos of this great Nation. Inspite of the busy schedule of great responsibilities of this highest office of India, he was very kindly spared some time to read this book and blessed this publication with his appreciation. Words are inadequate for me to express my profound thanks. I sincerely and gratefully thank our Rashtrapatiji for his message of appreciation.
A maha rudrabhishaka was performed to Goddess Meenakshi and Sundaresvara at the great temple of Madurai, in the immediate presene of his Holiness Jayendra Sarasvati Swamigal, of Kanchi Kamakoti peetam. Blessed by His Holiness, I had the unique privilege of placing this book at the Holy of Holies of Lord Sundaresvara, immediately after the abhisheka, which I consider as a great event in my lie.
It is now my bounden duty to recall with thanks my friend M. N.S. Ramaswamy who evinced great interest in this work, went through the typescript and offered valuable suggestions, but, who is unfortunately not alive amidst us to see the book in print. I record my sincere thanks to Dr. F.Gros, Director General, Ecole Francaise Extreme Orient, and Madame Learnhault of Pondicherry for their interest and supply of some of the photographs illustrated in this work.
I record my heart felt appreciation and thank Sri Sushil Singal and Mr. Viramani, of Navrang for their enthusiasm and great interest and personal attention in bringing out this book in such a handsome from.
R. Nagaswamy.
Madras January 10, 1989
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