Chennai: Pillai Tamizh is one of many kinds of religious literature in Tamil, where a deity is thought of as a child, and the poet composes verses for each stage of the child’s life. There are ten stages, and one of them is the ‘mutha paruvam.’ Here the poet craves a kiss from the child, and sings of the joy of receiving an affectionate kiss from his child, in this case the deity he is singing about. Kumaraguruparar, in his Meenakshi Pillai Tamizh, describes the kisses of the Goddess Meenakshi of Madurai, who is the one worshipped through this particular Pillai Tamizh composition. Kumaraguruparar says Meenakshi’s kisses are superior to any variety of pearl, said K. Sambandan, in a lecture.

The Tamil word for kiss and pearl is muthu. Punning on the word, Kumaraguruparar says Meenakshi’s kisses (muthu) are superior to the pearls (muthu) obtained from Kanyakumari, from the Pandya town of Korkai, from the banks of the Tamraparani and the Podhigai hills.

Pagazhi Koothar, who suffered from severe stomach ache, was cured by Lord Muruga of Tiruchendur, and he composed verses in praise of the Lord. In one of his verses, he too describes the kisses of the child Muruga as incomparable and priceless. He says there is a price for pearls. There is a price for elephant’s tusks. A price can be fixed for the pearly grains of rice we get from fields. Perhaps even raindrops that resemble pearls as they fall to the earth may be priced. But the kisses of the child Muruga cannot be assigned any value, for they are beyond compare.

In the Pillai Tamizh genre, the poet calls upon the moon to play with his child, and these verses come under the title of Ambuli Paruvam. These are considered to be among the most difficult to compose, among all Pillai Tamizh verses. The poet uses sama, dana, bheda and danda to get the moon to play with his child. Kumargurupararar too calls upon the moon to play with his child — the Goddess Meenakshi. He wonders if Meenakshi is calling the moon to be her playmate, because Her father, the Pandya King, is from the Lunar dynasty. He asks the Moon what greater blessing he can have than playing with Meenakshi.