Tiruñāṉa Campantar

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(c.7th century ce)

A Tamil Śaiva saint and bhakti poet, and among the most prominent of the 63 Nāyaṉmār, Campantar is regarded as one of the founders of the Śaiva Siddhānta tradition in southern India. His songs appear in the Tēvāram (‘Garland of God’) section of the Tirumuṟai, alongside the works of Cuntarar, and those of his close friend, Appar. Campantar is said to have reconverted the king of Madurai from Jainism; and, along with Appar, he was largely responsible for the disappearance of both Buddhism and Jainism from the region. In his ecstatic songs he variously addresses Śiva as master and lord, friend, lover, spouse, and bridegroom. He advocates worship of Śiva through a bhakti that is not only emotional but also intellectual, in so far as it requires inner contemplation of and meditation on the deity as the means to liberation. Ultimately, complete self-surrender is required, which will result in a state of loving union with the god. Iconographically, Campantar is represented amongst the Nāyaṉmār holding a cup, since, as a three year old, he is said to have been given an inspirational cup of divine milk by Śiva's consort, Pārvatī.

Subjects: Hinduism.

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