Campatar


Campatar
(seventh century)
   Campatar is one of the three “masters” or “saintlords” of the bhakti religion popular in the Tamilspeaking region of southern India. Bhakti was a sect of Hinduism particularly devoted to the god ´Siva and emphasizing personal spiritual experience above priestly ritual.
   With APPAR and CUNTARAR, Campatar is the author of the Tamil Tevaram (Garland to God), a collection of hymns for worship that are considered sacred texts by devotees of ´Siva. The poems are all composed in a traditional musical form called a patikam (or “decad”), a lyric of generally 10 verses, though occasionally there are 11. The songs relate to the mythological deeds of ´ Siva, or to sacred places where ´Siva dwells—most of them refer to specific temples, and tradition says that the three masters traveled from temple to temple composing these hymns. They continued to be sung at shrines devoted to ´Siva or in private worship. Characteristic of the hymns is their emphasis on a personal relationship with the god. Campatar’s poems form books I-III of the seven books of the Tevaram.
   We know only legends about Campatar. One such legend says that the goddess Parvati, consort of ´Siva, suckled the baby Campatar, and in response he sang his first hymn. A more likely tradition says that the Pandya queen Mankaiyarkkaraci sent Campatar into southern India to save it from the Jainist “heresy.”He is said to have reconverted the king Arikesari Maravarman to Saivism (the worship of ´Siva). The zealous young saint is also reputed to have encouraged the slaughter of thousands of Jains who would not be reconverted.
   Campatar’s emphasis on the personal relationship with ´Siva is captured in these lines from a hymn dedicated to the temple in Pulamankai:
   Pure gold, first being,
   living in grove encircled Pulamankai
   he is my own.
   (Peterson 1989, no. 18; ll. 3–5)
   Bibliography
   ■ Peterson, Indira Viswanathan. Poems to ´Siva: The Hymns of the Tamil Saints. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1989.

Encyclopedia of medieval literature. 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cuntarar — (ninth century)    Cuntarar, with APPAR and CAMPATAR, is one of the three major poet saints of the bhakti sect from the Tamil language area of southern India. The bhakti were a reformist sect of ´Saivism, the religion devoted to ´Siva, one of the …   Encyclopedia of medieval literature

  • Appar — (Tirunavukkaracar) (seventh century)    With CAMPATAR and the later CUNTARAR, Appar is one of the three major poet saints of the Saivist (devotees of ´Siva) bhakti sect of the Tamil language region of southern India. The bhaktis emphasized a… …   Encyclopedia of medieval literature


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