CHENNAI: Tirunelveli district saw the birth of many scholars and saints. It was also the birth place of Kumaraguruparar, a great 17th century poet.

Shanmukha Sikhamani Kavirayar and Sivagama Sundari Ammaiyar had no children, and the devout couple prayed for a child. They were then blessed with a son, whom they named Kumaraguruparar, who was born near Sri Vaikuntam.

Unfortunately, the child could not speak, even after it attained the age of five. The parents visited Tiruchendur and prayed that their child be blessed with the power of speech. And with the blessings of Lord Muruga, the child immediately broke into verse, and sang ‘Kandar Kalivenba,’ K. Sambandan said in a discourse.

Kumaraguruparar, in the course of his travels, came to Dharumapuram. Masilamani Desikar presided over the mutt there. Kumaragurparar wanted Masilamani Desikar to become his spiritual guru. Desikar said he would accede to Kumaraguruparar’s request if he visited Kasi. That would be a long and arduous journey, and so Kumaraguruparar asked whether Desikar could waive this condition.

Desikar said if he could not go to Kasi, he must at least go to Chidambaram and stay there for some time. Kumaraguruparar agreed. In Chidambaram, he composed ‘Chidhambara Mummanik Kovai,’ ‘Chidhambara Cheyyul Kovai’ and ‘Sivakami Ammai Irattai Mani Malai’ in praise of the God and Goddess of Chidambaram.

He then went back to Masilamani Desikar, but the latter told him to travel to Kasi to revitalise Saivism there. So, Kumaraguruparar went to Kasi. There he sang ‘Sakalakalavalli Maalai’ in praise of Saraswathi.

The Goddess of learning blessed him with the knowledge of Hindi, which came in handy when he had to spread the message of Saivism in the north. He renovated the Kedareshwar temple at Kasi, besides building a mutt there.

Kumaraguruparar was the author of many religious works, including ‘Muththu kkumaraswami Pillai Tamil,’ ‘Tiruvarur Nanmani Malai,’ ‘Maduraik Kalambakam,’ and ‘Meenakshi Pillai Tamil,’ which was listened to by Goddess Meenakshi of Madurai in person.