The history of this remarkable man is sufficiently known to every Tamilian.
Distinguished alike for the grace and beauty of the life he led and for the mighty and eloquent lines with which he enriched the Tamil Language, St. Tayumanavar is long cherished in the minds of men with pride and pleasure. Caught in religious cyclones of centuries, and set at the center of their revolutions, the Saint was singularly free from caste and sectarian bias. He saw his God, his Karunakaran, his Dejomayanandam, in all that is. In him genius and research were united with a deep religious sentiment and a disinterested love of truth. He lived most and most worthily, by his heart and intellect, by his brave and generous acts he worshipped most. He did not make the world his plaything in the pursuit of his own pleasure. He was the fellow-traveller of the stars. He called for his fellow-men to partake of many beautiful, sublime things of which the world so little dreams. Appeasing the storm of the lust and hate he was all joy in the Great Ocean of Peace-a sea without the wind and wave of "I" and "Mine". Born and brought up in a rich and learned family, St. Tayumanavar showed remarkable signs of genius even when he was yet a youth. His beautiful character, his intellectual powers and accomplishments, soon attracted the attention of the Rajah of the state in which he was born. He was given a commanding position in the realm. Like the great stoic emperor, Marcus Anulius, the saint was not for world's greatness. He sought to escape greatness. But Destiny willed otherwise. Greatness came to him. Ever in communion with the Grand Beautiful, worldly pleasures and pomp had no charm for him. When the Rajah died – the windowed Queen took a fancy for the young man distinguished no less for the beauty of his form than for the greatness of his talents. He spurned the offer made by the Queen – and left the king to avoid the Siren. But he was soon brought back by his elders, married to a beautiful maiden and had a son. But the burden of worldly cares was more than he could bear. He cut off ties that bound him to all that is petty and miserable. He went into homelessness. He became a wanderer on the face of the earth. Dead to all that the world holds dear and near, he stood always in the Presence of the Great Beyond. Generations have come and gone – since his flesh and blood mingled with the Elements. His luminous thoughts, his beautiful and splendid genius, his great and grand personality live yet to inspire and astonish our race. Fear and interest rule the world. A deep sadness comes over the soul. The original and powerful thoughts of this very original Poet-Philosopher dispel the gloom of sorrow. He sings songs that ravish the soul. His poetic thoughts are expressed in strains of music. From the depths and despondency of Pain – Hope peeps forth. Love and Joy make even the foulest breast a paradise of flowers where Peace builds her nest. Perfect happiness there can be only when all men are perfect. It is to make our sad, weak, erring humanity perfect, as our Father in Heaven is perfect, the Titans of our race, as the St. Tayumanavar, appear on the stage of life. They are our intellectual creditors. We shall redeem ourselves when we follow their beautiful and glorious word. Reduced to a state of brutal degradation, we stand sorely in need of the help offered unto us by the Great Masters. And one such master is St. Tayumanavar. They want us to share their happiness. Let us banquet with the Gods.
A. S. MUDALIAR.