A study of the mysticism of service and morality in the Periya Purāṇam of Cēkkiḻār


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Fernando, Milroy Reginold (2015). A study of the mysticism of service and morality in the Periya Purāṇam of Cēkkiḻār. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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The thesis explores the mysticism of service and moral living of the nāyaṉmār through a comprehensive study of the Tamil literary and devotional masterpiece i.e. the Periya Purāṇam or the ‘Great Epic Narrative’. As a twelfth century poetical hagiography that reflects the lives of the nāyaṉmār or Tamil spiritual leaders, the mysticism of this sacred and canonical text of Tamil Śaivism is neither appreciated, as it deserves to be, nor has it been sufficiently studied in academia. The modest research is intended to fill a vacuum in the literature of Tamil Śaiva mysticism. Besides this primary purpose, the research aims to make an academic contribution by introducing this mysticism of service and moral living of the nāyaṉmār as narrated in the Periya Purāṇam to a wider academic community and to the Tamil Śaiva religious community at large.

The claim is that this mysticism that is embedded in the text has been largely overlooked. Through an integral approach of hagiographical and thematic exegesis, it is argued that Cēkkiḻār, the author, by imbuing himself in the mystical quest of the early Tamil literary, moral and devotional traditions, textured around these nāyaṉmār, initiates a way to Śiva that was foreign to the Tamil tradition of his milieu. Cēkkiḻār shapes his mystical theology and ideology in the form of two aims i.e. service and moral living. By his radical theology of Siva, he presents a theology of service and moral living which is ‘Person’ centred and a mystical thirst for Transcendence which is ‘Divine’ oriented. This interplay of cosmic and meta-cosmic levels of mystical experience provided a worldview, an alternative vision for political and social change in Tamil society.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion, Department of Theology and Religion
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
D History General and Old World > DS Asia
P Language and Literature > PL Languages and literatures of Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceania
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/5944


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