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iLangO adikaL and dhasaavadhaaram

From: Parthasarati Dileepan (MFPD_at_UTCVM.UTC.EDU)
Date: Fri Mar 31 1995 - 22:01:46 PST

iLangO adikaL, the author of silappathikaaram
and said to be a Jain,  praises some of Lord
Vishnu's avathaarams through some of the characters
in his epic.  The devotional tone of these verses is
equal to aazhvaar paasurams.  In the section titled
aaychchiyar kuRavai iLangO praises in exquisite
sweetness the varaaha, vaamana, sri raama, and
krishNaavadhaarams.  But, I wish to share a different
verse.  This one about sri rangam and thiruvEngadam.
Here it is.

neela mEgam nedumpoR kunRaththup
paalviriththu agalaathu padinthathu pOla,
aayiram viriththu_ezhu thalai_udai arunthiRal
paayaR paLLip palarthozhuthu Eththa,
virithiraik kaaviri viyanperun^ thuruththith
thiruvamar maarban kidandha vaNNamum -
veengun^eer aruvi vEngadam ennum
Onguyar malaiyaththu uchchi meemisai,
virikathir NYaayirum thingaLum viLangi,
irumarungu Ongiya idain^ilaith thaanaththu
minnuk kOdi yuduththu, viLanguviR pooNdu,
nanniRa mEgam ninRathu pOlap,
pagaiyaNangu aazhiyum, paalveN sangamum,
thagaipeRu thaamaraik kaiyin Endhi,
nalangiLar aaram maarbiR pooNdu,
polam poo aadaiyin polindhu thOnRiya
sengaN nediyOn ninRa vaNNamum,
en_kaN kaattu enRu en_uLaNG kavaRRa
vandhEn kudamalai maangaattu uLLEn; -

     -- naadukaaN kaadhai 35-54


Here, a sri vaishnavaa traveller from the town
maangaadu meets kOvalan, kaNNagi, and
kavundhi adigaL near sri rangam.  The verse
describes how the traveller introduces himself to
kavudhi adikaL and her two travel companions.

"Lord Vishnu, like a great cluster of blue cloud
on a golden hill is slumbering upon the thousand
headed snake with  Lakshmi in His chest; my heart
is set to see this sight in the island in the middle
of the great river kaavEri.   Likewise, my heart is
yearning to behold the sight of the Lord; with the
sun and the moon on either side; cloud like dark
complexion; attired with lightening like new
clothing; donning colorful jewels like rainbow;
with chakkaram that enemies fear on one side and
white sangu on the other;  holding a lotus on one
hand; bearing Laksmi in His chest;  in standing
posture on top of the hill with beautiful falls,
called thiruvEngadam."

If the modern time estimates for aazhvaars is
correct iLangO adigaL is prior to aazhvaars,
perhaps 100 years before the first three aazhvaars.
Then, we may safely conclude that thiruvEngadam
has been a sri vaishnava temple even before the
aazhvaar times, let alone sri raamaanuja's time.
There is at least one other reference to
thiruvEngadam in silappathikaaram,

nediyOn kunRamum thodiyOL powvamum...

          --  vEniR kaathai  (5)

nediyOn kunRam = thiruvEngadam
thodiyOL powvam = kanyaakumari

With this iLango is describing the northern and
southern boundaries for Tamilnaadu.  I am sure
people of AP will not be persuaded by this :-), on
the northern side.  In fact some in TN (
??) argued, during the break up of the greater
Madras presidency, that thirvEngadam should be
part of TN citing this verse as the proof of title.

-- pd