By Swami Harshananda
Out of the sixty-three Nāyanmārs or Nāyanārs, the great Śaiva saints of Tamil Nadu, four are considered to be the most important. Sundaramurti is one of them. He lived in the eighth century A. D. He was the son of Saḍaiyanār and Iśaijñāniyār. He was born in a small town, Tirunāvalur. He was given the name Nambi Āruran. He however came to be known as Sundaramurti.
In his young age, he was adopted by Narasiṅga Munaiyaraiyar, the local king. Under his loving care, the boy grew into a fine young man, well-educated and cultured. Just at the time of his marriage, Lord Śiva came disguised as an old brāhmaṇa and claimed that this youth was his slave as per the agreement between him and the grandfather of the youth. The marriage was abandoned. Sundaramurti got the vision of Śiva in that brāhmaṇa and became his ardent devotee. He sang a wonderfully poetic and melodious song inspired by the Lord Himself.
He then started on a long pilgrimage of all the sacred places connected with Śiva. He was blessed with many divine visions and spiritual experiences and also performed several miracles to help the needy persons. He had two wives, Paravaiyār and Saṅgiliyār both of whom were also great devotees of Śiva and loyal to their husband. He is said to have departed for the world of Śiva in the Śiva temple at a place called Tiruvañjaikkalam.
Sundaramurti’s compositions are part of the Tevāram and are sung in Śiva temples even today in Tamil Nadu. Only a hundred songs are available now though he is said to have composed thousands.
- Both of them are supposed to be divine damsels born on earth.
- Tevāram is the part of the seven books of collection known as Tirumurai.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore