Special programme on Arunagirinathar at Marundheeswarar temple

Updated by admin on Saturday, July 07, 2018 11:16 AM IST

Chennai: Chennai 2000 Plus Trust presented a special programme on Arunagirinathar at Marundheeswarar Temple, Thiruvanmiyur on December 23, 2015.

A special discourse on Arunagirinathar and a musical programme on Thiruppugazh was rendered by Thiru Varshaji and party at the Tyagarajar Kalai Arangam at the Marundheeswarar Temple on Pradosham day, Wednesday. .

 Chennai 2000 Plus Trust organizes programmes to create awareness about the cultural, historical, archaeological, literary and social importance, and antiquity of Chennai city, which is over 2,000 years old.

15th century Tamil savant Arunagirinathar had also visited Thiruvanmiyur and the Marundheeswarar temple.

Among the places that Arunagirinathar visited in Chennai were Mayilapur, Thiruvanmiyur, Tiruvottriyur, Thirumullaivoyal, and Tiruverkadu.


Arunagirinathar was a renowned Tamil poet who lived during the 15th century in Tamil Nadu, India. He was the creator of Tiruppugazh, a book of poems in Tamil in praise of the Hindu God, Murugan.

The Thiruppugazh composed by him, consisted of 16,000 songs, of which only about 1,324 are said to have been located. His poems are known for their lyricism coupled with complex rhymes and rhythmic structures. Thiruppugazh witnesses the excellent blend of literature and devotion.

Thiruppugazh, known for its poetical and musical qualities, is regarded as one of the major works of medieval Tamil literature. It is also widely appreciated for its religious, moral and philosophical content. For Muruga devotees, Thiruppugazh is equivalent to Thevaram,
Kandar Alankaram is equivalent to Thiruvasagam and Kandar Anubhuti is equivalent to Thirumandiram.

Early life of debauchery

Arunagiri was born in Thiruvannamalai, a town in Tamil Nadu. His father died soon after his birth and his mother and sister instilled in him their cultural and religious traditions. Legend has it that Arunagiri spent a lot of time on pleasures of the flesh. and spent his youth in pursuing a life of debauchery. His sister always gave whatever she earned to make her brother happy, and he frequented devadasis. It was said since he was enjoying life luxuriously he suffered from leprosy due to which people avoided him. There came a time when his sister had no money to meet his demands. She said that he should sell her in order to have some money, upon hearing which Arunagirinathar realised how selfish he had been. He decided to end his life, went to a temple and hit his head against the pillars and steps, begging for forgiveness. Then he leapt from the temple tower. He was, however, miraculously saved from the death by Lord Muruga who transformed him into a saint.

Arunagiri sang his first devotional song and thereafter decided to spend the rest of his life writing poems  and singing in praise of God. An ardent devotee of Muruga and worshipped him at Vedapureeswarar temple at the sacred place known as Cheyyar.

His fame drew the jealousy of the chief minister of the Kingdom. He accused Arunagirinathar of spreading false beliefs. The king arranged a gathering of thousands at a public place and ordered Arunagiri to prove the existence of Muruga to others. In the Tamil Hindu tradition, it is recorded that Arunagiri began performing devotional songs for Muruga and soon after, Muruga appeared as a child before the gathering, and saved his life.

Arunagiri, rendered his first song Muthai Tharu after the miraculous escape at Thiruvannamalai. Arunagiri visited temples all over South India, composing 16,000 songs of which less than 2,000 of them were available. The songs reflect on the values of virtues and righteousness. It set the format for a new form of worship – musical worship.

Arunagirinathar's other works included Thiruvaguppu, Kandar Alankaram, Kandar Anubhuti, Kandar Andhadi, Vel Viruttam, Mayil Viruttam and Seval Viruttam.


The Thiruppugazh songs remained in manuscript form for a number of years and were forgotten. V.T. Subramania Pillai and his son V.S. Chengalvaraya Pillai of Tiruthani, recognising their worth, retrieved and published them.

In 1871, Subramania Pillai, a District Munsif, had the opportunity to hear a rendering of a Tiruppugazh song while he was on a tour of Chidambaram. Captivated by the song, he decided to set out on a mission to search for the entire collection of Tiruppugazh songs. He travelled all over south India, collected the manuscripts, including palm leaves, and published the texts in two volumes. The first volume was released in 1894 and the second in 1901. After his death, his son
Chengalvaraya Pillai brought out a new edition of the songs.

He also went to many shrines such as Shiva temples and Muruga temples.
The programme was sponsored by Sri Krishna Sweets among others.


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