BOOK REVIEW

Religious history

TAMIL

R. GOPALAKRISHNAN

MANICKAVACHAKAR VARALARUM KALAMUM: Maraimalai Adikal;

Poompuhar Pathipagam, 127, Prakasam Salai, Broadway, Chennai- 600108. Rs. 300.

MARAIMALAI ADIKAL is known for his scholarship and erudition in Tamil, Sanskrit and English languages. As a staunch protagonist of Tamil language, literature and cultural heritage, he has spent several years in determining authentically the period during which Manickavachakar flourished. Writing a historical treatise about a saint who lived several centuries ago, especially in the absence of an autobiography, is really a tough task. Adikal has taken enormous efforts before conclusively establishing the saint's period as the 3rd Century A.D.

In the absence of reference to his life portrayal by Sundarar in his Thiruthondathogai, Nambiandar Nambi in his Thiruthondar Thiruvanthathi and by Sekkizhar in his Periyapuranam, Adikal must have been induced and enthused to establish the period of the saint beyond doubt. This work proceeds with the methods of `parapakkam' and `siddhantham' — presentation and refutation of rival views and then with appropriate and authentic argumentation establishing one's own view. Adikal logically and illustratively refutes the contention of other scholars in determining the date of Manickavachakar and finally resolves that the saint lived during the 3rd Century A.D.

Though so many scholars have attempted to repudiate this conclusion, none can ascertain the actual period during which the saint flourished. However, keeping the arguments and explanations and the conclusion of Adikal, further research may be conducted either to accept the date of the saint as envisaged by Adikal or to fix his period before or after this.

For such an endeavor will enrich the intellectual horizon of the Tamil literary tradition especially the religious history of the Tamils.

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