Inferable Link of Bhagavatpada Sankaracharya with Kumbhakonam – A.Kuppuswamy Iyer (1/3)

Sage Vyasa reduced the essence of the Upanishads into aphorisms, known as Brahmasutras. Sankara Bhagavatpada was the first to produce a superb gloss on the Vyasa-sutras.

It is quite common knowledge that Sankara was born at Kaladi, in Kerala. All biographical sketches about Sankara state that his father, Sivaguru, performed penance at the sacred Tiruchivaperur (modern Tiruchur) for an offspring.

About two miles and a half to the south east of Kumbhakonam there is a village called ‘Tiru- chivapuram’. Puranas as also Tevaram hymns record Sivapuram as a sacred spot where Vishnu in the form of a white boar (Varaha) has worshipped Siva. Tirunavukkarasar”, Jnanasambandar¹ and Arunagiri- nathar have extolled the shrine at Sivapuram.

A small sculptural representation of Varaha (boar) worshipping a Siva Lingam is seen on the Sivapuram southern wall (outside) of the sanctum sanctorum of the Sivapuram temple.

The outer Gopuram (tower on gateway) of this temple seems to be pretty old. There is an old Champaka tree in the front part of the temple, in accordance with one of the below mentioned lines (2), about this shrine, in Tevaram.

A stone plaque on the left side of the main entrance gives the name of the temple as “The Temple of Sivagurunathar.” And the name of the presiding Sivalingam in the temple is ‘Sivagurunatha’ according to the Sthalapurana and ancient tradition.

It is notable that the name of ‘Sivagurunatha’ and its curtailed form ‘Sivaguru’, are quite common and widespread among saivites in and around Kumbakonam.

And it is to be remembered that Sankaracharya’s father too bore the name ‘Sivaguru’. But this name is not quite so common around Tiruchur or Kaladi as in the Kumbhakonam area of the Kaveri Delta region.

(To Be Continued)

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