‘Paṉṉirunāmappāṭṭu’ of Nammāḻvār Dvādaśa-mūrti in Tamil Tradition


  • Jeyapriya Rajarajan




Dvādaśa is an iconographical concept adumbrated in the Ahirbhudhnya-saṃhitā of the Pāñcarātrāgama. The thought had an impact on the hymns of Nammāḻvār, who deals with the theme in the seventh tirumoḻi of the second ten in Tiruvāymoḻi, known as ‘Paṉṉirunāmappāṭṭu’. The article examines the parallels and discordances in Tamil and Sanskrit. The concordance is that both the versions are unanimous in arranging the twelve epithets of Viṣṇu in sequential order. The varṇa (colour pattern) and emblems carried by the Mūrtis present a case for comparison. Dvādaśa seems to have had an impact on the art of Tamilnadu by about the eighth century CE. To explain the impact of literature and philosophy on art, the Nārttāmalai rockcut images are examined. The article is illustrated with photographic evidence to enhance the notion how literary propositions and philosophical speculations are consummate when compared with art historical evidences. A study of literature vis-à-vis art is emphasized. The “Attachment” attempts the Roman transcription of Tamil hymns, and summary in English.