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Re: Compilation of the Periya tirumozhi

From: Mani Varadarajan (
Date: Thu Feb 01 2001 - 11:57:47 PST

Your questions are intriguing. I have come to some conclusions
as to why the Prabandham was arranged in the way it was.

The first thousand or 'mudal Ayiram' appears to contain poems
of an easy to understand, popular nature, and those which can
be easily applied to daily worship.  Hence we have the tiruppallANDu
and periyazvar tirumozi, tiruppAvai, tiruppaLLiyezucci, etc., all of 
which are not very esoteric at first glance, which have immediate 
emotional appeal, and which can be used in daily household and temple

The second thousand contains the collected works of tirumangai AzvAr
set to music (isai). With respect to the arrangement of the patikams
themselves, there is the viewpoint that the AzvAr, after first declaring
the glory of the the nArAyaNa mantra wished to go to the place of 
origin of the mantra, i.e., northern India.  I have not studied 
the entire tirumozi in enough detail to conclude whether it is 
an artificial arrangement or not.  Even if compiled afterward, I
do not think it unreasonable that the AzvAr himself took his 
tirumozi patikams and rearranged them in a pradakshiNa manner.

Getting back to the arrangement of the Prabandham as a whole,
we know that nAthamunigaL separated the works into isai (music)
and iyal (chants).  This explains why random compositions of 
varous AzvArs are thrown together in the iyaRpa. The only conceivable
reason is that this was done to separate the musical from the non-musical
portions.  Logically then, the third thousand should contain the
tiruvAymozi, with the iyaRpa considered the fourth and final collection.

We see this order being followed in the adhyayanOtsavam as well, with
the first three thousand including the tiruvAymozi recited first, 
and the iyaRpa hurriedly chanted in a single day on the final day.

These days of course almost none of the original music of the
isai section survives, and even in Srirangam tiruvAymozi is essentially 
recited by the araiyars. Interestingly, the iyaRpa, which was originally
only prosaically recited, is chanted in much more musical tune than
the isai!


> While looking at the individual works within the Divya prabandham, 
> one questiojn comes to mind regarding the composition/compilation of 
> the periya tirumozhi and other works within the divya prabandham.
> While there is some evidence in the case of the tEvAram and paripATal 
> that they were organized around the the melodies in which they were 
> rendered (paNmuRai), similar data esp on how the Divyaprabandham was 
> compiled seems to be lacking in the traditional literature (6000 
> GPP). 
> While for tiruvAymozhi the antAdi structure does give some necessary 
> clues, the case of periya tirumozhi does not seem to be so self-
> evident. For example, the organization of the verses in the sequence 
> of approx north to south (of divyadesam's) appears elegant but 
> artificial. For example, why would a native of tiruvAli sing about 
> naimicAraNyam before so many decads on tirukkaNNapuram, evidently one 
> of the favorite stalams for the AzvAr, assuming the periyatirumozhi 
> was intended as a single poem. 
> In other words, is there any evidence within periyatirumozhi itself 
> that the currently available sequence is basically a product of the 
> compilation exercise?
> Thanks and Warm Regards,
> LS

           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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