Tirumaṅkaiyāḻvār’s Maṭal Poems and Social History of Early Medieval South India
Keywords:Tirumaṅkaiyāḻvār, Śrīvaiṣṇavism, Tamil poetry, bhakti, prapatti, maṭal
Tirumaṅkaiyāḻvār (ca. 9th century A.D.), one of the South Indian medieval poet-saints, was an ardent and prolific exponent of early Tamil bhakti ideology, focusing on Viṣṇu as the Ultimate Being. In his two maṭal poems, he used the literary techniques known to classical Tamil poetry to express his devotion and love towards his favourite God. Although not adopted directly, the main theological concepts of later Śrīvaiṣṇavism seem to play an important role in his stanzas. In this paper I am trying to apply some of them (in the most general way) to analyze Tirumaṅkai’s stand and his probable influence on philosophical notions of the later Śrīvaiṣṇava doctrine.
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