Siva's Demon Devotee
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: State University of New York Press
Sivaâs Demon Devotee
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First and foremost I want to thank Dr. R. Vijayalakshmy, Professor Emeritus at the International Institute of Tamil Studies, with whom I read KÄraikkÄl AmmaiyÄrâs poetry. Without her generosity of spirit and willingness to share her vast knowledge of Tamil literature with me,...
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KÄraikkÄl AmmaiyÄr, the âMother from KÄraikkÄl,â was probably the first poet to write hymns to the god Åiva in Tamil, in approximately the mid-sixth century, when the boundaries between Åvaâs devotees and competing groups were just starting to be articulated in a self-conscious way. Speaking to god in oneâs mother tongue, rather than ...
1. The Place of KÄraikkÄl AmmaiyÄr in South Indian History
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KÄraikkÄl AmmaiyÄrâs poetry bridges the classical Tamil world and the devotional milieu in which Sanskritic myths are localized in a Tamil landscape and infused with Tamil modes of relating to the divine. Although AmmaiyÄr does not directly praise the Tamil land or Tamil language as the later Åaiva poets do, her poetry is animated ...
2. KÄraikkÄl AmmaiyÄr Through Her Poetry
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The standard stories about KÄraikkÄl AmmaiyÄr stress that she is a beautiful and devoted wife before her husband renounces her and she is free to devote her life to Åiva. But in her poetry, AmmaiyÄr gives no personal history, other than to say to Åiva that she has worshiped him as soon as she could speak, in the first verse of her long poem ...
3. KÄraikkÄl AmmaiyÄr Through Her Stories
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The Åaiva saints or nÄyaá¹mÄrs were first listed by Cuntarar (in approximately the late eighth or early ninth century) in an eleven-stanza poem called Tiruttoá¹á¹attokai, âThe List of the Holy Devotees,â in which he names sixty-two saints. In this hymn KÄraikkÄl AmmaiyÄr is...
4. The Temples and Their Festivals
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There are two towns that are closely associated with KÄraikkÄl AmmaiyÄr and that contain temples that specifically honor her. KÄraikkÄl (or Karikal) is the medium-sized coastal town south of Puducherry (Pondicherry) in which KÄraikkÄl AmmaiyÄr was born. TiruvÄlaá¹ kÄá¹u is the small village approximately 50 kilometers west of Chennai in ...
5. The Poems
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pp. 187- 193
Page Count: 205
Illustrations: 7 b/w photographs
Publication Year: 2010