Bhakthi is not just a cult. It is a way of life. The sense of devotion is so dominant in Tamil literature and the ecstatic hymns of the Nayanmars, Azhwars and other saints are real treasures of this rich language. When a person loses himself for the Ultimate, his love and devotion need a vibrant tool to pass on that experience to others and Tamil is such a wonderful tool. In particular, there are three major works in Bhakthi literature, which fall well within the period defined to classify the period of renderings in classical Tamil. They are the hymns of Kaaraikaal Ammayaar, Thirumanthiram by Thirumoolar and Prabanthamby, the first three Azhwars, known as Mudhalaazhwargal.

According to mythology, Kaaraikaal Ammayar was referred as ‘mother' by Lord Shiva himself.

She was really a caring mother to him. Shiva's consort Parvathi is in the left part of his body and so Kaaraikaal Ammaiyar cautioned him not to take her in his body while going to dance in the graveyard as she might be afraid.

In many hymns, this motherliness is wonderfully depicted. She wonders if Shiva ‘s palm grew red by carrying fire, or fire became red by finding a place in his palm.

There are three such volumes by Kaaraikaal Ammaiyar, - Thiruvaalangatu mootha thirupathigangal, Thiru iratai manimaalai, Arputha Thiruvandhaathi.

Thirumanthiram by Thirumoolar is also a unique work, a combination of philosophy, spiritual sciences such as tantra, mantra, yantra, yoga and bhakthi. It is one of the very first works which equated God to love.

He also equates the body to a temple in his various hymns. He says the heart is the sanctum sanctorum, body is the temple and soul is the sivalinga. Similarly in Vaishnava literature the hymns of the Azhwars are spreading the divine fragrance of devotion.

Poikaiyaazhwar says, as the rivers flow towards the sea and a lotus looks up to the sun and the life looks for the end, the conscience always looks for Lord Vishnu Boothathaazhvar says the very name of Vishnu is the eternal guard and those who forget it cannot be considered as human. The mind is nothing but his abode and the duty of the tongue is to chant his name. The hymns of other Nayanmars and Azhwars are certainly on a par to the above mentioned ones. It's high time that The Centre of Excellence for Classical Tamil, established by the Government of India, included these works of splendour in the classical Tamil listing.

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