Why would you pardon an assassin?

Hello readers, Today we return to Darasuram once more to study another Periapuranam sculpture. We have already seen the panel on the left – Marar of Ilayankudi. Today we are going to see a simply stunning sculpture fittingly sculpted to suit a fantastic storyline, which showcases the matchless chivalry and valor of a King, who even at the face of death through the hands of a conniving assassin, a dreaded foe who slays him by treachery, displays his noble birth and devotion to the Shiva, by forgiving him. But why did he do that ? Read on ( am going to use the thevaram hymns translations since they are almost like a running commentary /first person account of the events as they unfold)

Lets view the location of this amazing panel.

We are talking of Meiporul Nayanar, a pious king.who ruled over the hill tribes of Sethi and born into the noble clan of Malayamans. The brave king was unconquered in battles and a just ruler.


His capital was Tiru-k-Kovalur in goodly Sethi realm;
He hailed from Malayaman dynasty which served
Ammai-Appar from generation to generation;
He, the Prince was poised in the noble way true, of the Vedas
And served the Lord’s servitors divining their true wish.

The rich land was the target of a wicked enemy from his neighbouring country. King Muthanathan, many times he tried matching his large Army, with strutting elephants and hordes of soldiers, yet he could not find a way past the forces of Meiporular. He was repeatedly defeated.


Whilst thus he flourished, a hostile king
Fired by a desire to vanquish him,
Waged wars against him many a time, only to lose
His elephantry and cavalry and infantry,
Thus repeatedly defeated he was sunk in shame.


The worsted king who could not think of victory
In the field of battle, coming to know
Of the religious piety of Mei-p-Porul, desired
To ape his great habit of wearing the holy ash
And thus win by deception; his mind
Nurtured such unspeakable evil, and he
Prepared for his infiltration into Tiru-k-Kovalur.


He smeared all over his person the holy ash;
He had his hair matted and tied it into a crown;
He held a mega biblion which concealed a dagger;
Like a lamp thick with black at the wick, his mind
Harboured deception; thus in his false habit of tapas
Mutthanathan barged in.


The guards of the palace adored him with folded hands,
And said: “The Lord Himself is come! Be pleased to step in!”
He crossed many a threshold and arrived at the last one;
Thither stood Thatthan who beseeched him thus:
“Be pleased to regard the hour; the King slumbers.”


He commanded in love his consort, Lakshmi-like,
To hasten to the gynaeceum, and then had him,
— The one robed in the weeds of a tapaswi –,
Installed on a seat, while he himself sat on the ground.
Then he said: “Be pleased to grace me.”

Watch the words above. we will see its importance shortly!


He placed on his lap the treacherous scroll
And pretended to unwind the rope binding it.
When the king bowed low reverentially, he drew out
The dagger and did what he intended to do;
The king exclaimed, still adoring:
“The true habit of askesis is indeed the truth supreme.”
(Surely it is) the king
(who) triumphed!

Now, we come back to the sculpture, closeup of the whole panel first first

Now, lets study the panel from left to right. Act 1.

Do you notice the false sage seated on a seat and the king seated on the floor. Do you notice the left hand of the assassin holding a bag like contraption. In his right hand he is holding a dagger and about to decapitate the King. Such indepth knowledge of the storyline of the sculptor to go into such detailing is amazing.


Thatthan who kept surveillance over him,
Even when he who concealing himself in the garb
Of a tapaswi broke into the king’s chamber,
Now darted into the room, and was about to smite him

With his sword; the king who was to fall down
As blood profusely gushed forth from him,
Stretched out his long arm, prevented his deed
And exclaimed: “Thattha, he is our own.” Then he fell down.

Again we return to the sculpture. Act 2.

We see the body guard flying into action, his garments flayed, sword raised to protect his Lord. But at the moment the King stops him with his stretched out Long arm. All brilliantly captured in stone in such a miniature form.


Thatthan the servitor who was thus restrained
By the prince who suffered pain and fell down,
Bowed low, and said: “What should I do?”
The prince replied him thus: “Let none obstruct
The devotee of our Lord on his way back.
You go with him and see to his safe passage.”


With effort great, the prince still bore his ebbing life
Only to hear the news that the one of deceptious habit
Had been conveyed safe, unmolested by opposing hordes;
Before him came he who carried out the royal mandate.

Oh, what emotion and melodrama.


To the devotee-prince, the Lord of Himavan’s daughter
Granted darshan in the form in which
He contemplated Him for many a day.
The Lord graced him to attain the shade
Of His ankleted feet inaccessible to the celestials,
And also blessed him with the beatitude
To adore Him for ever.

Thus the sculpture ends his story as well with the final Act.

Truly masterclass.

credits: the verses are from the amazing site www.thevaaram.org
Eng Translation also from same ref: T.N. Ramachandran

13 thoughts on “Why would you pardon an assassin?

  1. you have taken more pain than this sculptor to narrate the story in style !!!

    like “padam paarthu kadhai solga” urs is more intensive and intriguing

    here is the 64th nayanar in this kalyug in the name of vijay 🙂

  2. தத்தனே! அவர் நம்மவர்

    வஞ்சகரும் நம்மவரே.. மெய்ப்பொருள் நாயனார் புராணம் பல பாடங்களை உணர்த்தும் விஜய்! சிற்பங்கள் பெரிய புராணத்தை அப்படியே கலைவடிவாக தந்திருக்கிறது. இவையெல்லாம் காலாகாலத்துக்கும் அழியாமல் இருக்கவேண்டுமே என்ற கவலையும் கூடவே வந்துவிடுகிறது.


  3. சிற்பங்களை இவ்வளவு கருத்தூன்றிப் பார்க்கவேண்டும் என்பதைச் சொல்லிக் கொடுக்கிறீர்கள். மிக்க நன்றி. நானும்தான் இவற்றையெல்லாம் படித்திருக்கிறேன். ஆனாலும் இப்படியெல்லாம் சிந்திக்க எனக்கும் தோன்றுமா! தெரியவில்லை. அடுத்தமுறை தலங்களுக்குச் செல்லும்போது முயன்று பார்கக்கிறேன். உங்கள் சேவைக்கு என் வணக்கங்கள்.

  4. மதிப்பிற்குரியவர்க்கு,
    என்ன ஒரு அருமையான தளம். இத்தனை நாள் இதை தெரியாமல் இருந்துந்தததை நினைத்து வருந்துகிறேன். திரு. ராமகிருஷ்ணன் அவர்களின் பதிவை பார்த்து தான் இங்கு வந்தேன். மிக மிக அருமையான பணி. மெய்பொருள் நாயனாரின் இடுகை ஒன்றே படித்துள்ளேன். ஒரு சோறு பதம். சிற்ப கலையை பற்றிய எனது சிறிய ஆவலை பெரிய புரிதலுடன் இன்னும் நிறைய ரசிக்க வைக்க உங்கள் பணி உதவும் என முழுமையாக நம்புகிறேன்.

    மிக்க நன்றி,


  5. நண்பர் ஆனந்த்

    வருக வருக. நான் திரு. ராமகிருஷ்ணன் அவர்களுக்கு மிகவும் கடமை பட்டுள்ளேன். அவர்களது தலத்தில் இருந்து புதிய விருந்தாளிகள் வந்துக்கொண்டே இருக்கிறார்கள். இந்த வாரம் மட்டுமே 400 பேர்!!

    மெதுவாக எல்லா பழைய இடுகைகளையும் படியுங்கள். உங்கள் நண்பர்களுடனும் பகிருங்கள்.


  6. ஹரி அண்ணா ,

    நீங்கள் எல்லாம் மிகவும் பெரியவர்கள். எனினும் இந்த சிறுவன் செய்யும் நல்ல செயலை போற்றும் குணம் உங்கள் உயர் பண்பை காட்டுகிறது

    மிக்க நன்றி

  7. விடையேறு செல்வனும், தேவியும், வீறுகொண்டெழும் வீரனும், வஞ்சனையால் வீழும் மன்னவனும், வஞ்சித்த கொடியவனும்…அடடா ஆறே ஆறு உருவங்களைக் கொண்டு அழகான கதையை வடித்த சிற்பியின் திறம் வியக்க வைக்கிறது!

  8. அன்பின் சதீஷ் , உங்கள் தமிழ் கரும்பென இனிக்கிறது


  9. naan arumuga navalar padaitha periyapuraana vilka noolil plala varudngul mun padithathai indru padam pidithu kaatineer. intha koil engu ulathu. ariya ava

  10. அன்பின் ராஜ் , இந்த சிற்பங்கள் புகழ் பெற்ற தாராசுரம் ஐராவதேஸ்வர ஆலயத்து பெரியபுராணம் புடைப்புச் சிற்பங்கள் .. ஒவ்வொன்றாக இங்கே இட்டு வருகிறேன்.


  11. Hi Vijay, Amazing… I got nothing more to say… need to surf thru’ all your works here… I have been to these places and have seen these… Have wondered on the workmanship of our ancestors… but never tried to share with the rest of the world….. that’s amazing to see you sharing them on the web…..Vaazhvaangu Vaazhka….

  12. Dear Thiru. Vijay:
    Thank you very much for this wonderful seva. I read this story when I was in 9th grade- story for the KuraL தொழுத கையுள்ளும். I enjoyed reading the story again in a poetic form. Thank you for pointing to the sculptures.
    Will visit your site often to read your other works.
    May Lord Siva bless you with long life to render more service.

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