The character of the Sangam Avaiyar sharply contrasts the Avaiyar of the 14th century whose occult leanings parody the benign, granny-like persona of her ancient predecessor. The 14th century Avaiyar was perhaps the third female poet to assume this name, but the distinctive character of her work, the Vinayagar Agaval, has forever immortalized this obscure figure as a poetical giant in Tamil literary history. Though the Vinayagar Agaval is recited in temples and homes at the shrines of the jovial elephant-headed god Ganesha the mystical Janus of the Hindu pantheon , the text is at the same time ridden with the occult imagery of the Tamil Siddhas. How this incomprehensible text became a mainstay of contemporary Hinduism in Tamil Nadu is a mystery; for its obscure references to kundalini yoga and tantrism is sure to mean very little to the average devotee of the portly god.

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Translation P. Ramachander Avaiyar meaning a very Old mother was one of the very great women poets of ancient Tamil Nadu. In Telugu even today mother is called Avva Apart from being a great poet, she played a very great role in the politics of those days; by making the great kings obey her.

There are many references to her being a great Devotee of Lord Subrahmanya. Historians are of the opinion that there were, more than one lady poet who called herself as Avaiyar. One such poet existed before the birth of Christ. This poet was a great story teller and social reformer.

The next Avaiyar lived in the fourteenth centaury. Her well known work is AthiChoodi, which was written foer easy learning by Tamil Children. It is interesting to note that even today; AthiChoodi shows the simple path to live well, for all children. Vinayagar Agaval is another one of her great works. Agaval means blank poetry and it is a song addressed to Lord Ganapathy. He is addressed as Vinayagar he who removes obstacles or Pillayar in Tamil. This prayer is an extremely popular one in Tamil Nadu.

It clearly brings out the mastery of Avaiyar in the Yoga, thathric practices and Saivism, possibly derived from the contribution of Sidhas in Tamil Nadu and the Tamil Nadu Saivism. I have taken the liberty of understanding this great work based on the English translation of Mr. Layne little.


Vinayagar Agaval



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