Siddhesh Joshi (Editor)

Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai

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Titles/honours  Tamil Poet
Name  Meenakshi Pillai
Literary works  Sthalapurana
Philosophy  Saivism

Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai on the cover of the book.

Died  1 February 1876 (aged 60)

Born  6 April 1815 (age 60), Tiruchirapalli Tamil Nadu India

Thf mahavidvan meenakshi sundaram pillai

Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai or Mahavidhvan Meenakshisundaram Pillai (Tamil:மீனாட்சிசுந்தரம் பிள்ளை) was an eminent Tamil scholar and teacher of U. V. Swaminatha Iyer, a Tamil scholar and researcher who was instrumental in bringing many long-forgotten works of classical Tamil literature to light.


A younger Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai standing with a Bindi on the forehead and wearing religious robes.

Mahavithuvan meenakshi sundaram pillai and Tamil thatha U.Ve.Saminadha Iyer SHORTCUTS

Literary works

He began his career as a Tamil teacher in Mayiladuthurai, and went on to train many students in the craft of Tamil literature. One of his first publications under his own name was Akhilanda Nayaki Pillai Tamil, written in 1842. He is remembered for his contribution to Tamil studies as well as Saiva Agamas(Rules of Saivites). The celebrated Tamil scholar U. V. Swaminatha Iyer, known for his discovery of the Sangam classics, became his student at the age of 17. Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai, who left behind him a treasure of Tamil palm leaf manuscripts, died in poverty in 1876.

Along with the institution of Tamil literature came an increased specialization of roles. Whereas poetic and musical composition were often combined in the creation of dramatic and poetic works, the dual role of Kirthana(musical text) composer and erudite poet was becoming unusual in the 19th century. U. V. Swaminatha Iyer reports the contempt of his teacher, Pillai, for poets who composed musical works; music was thought to be a distraction from the more important aspects of grammar, poetics and mastery of traditional commentaries.

Sthala Puranas

Sthala Puranas constitute one of the 96 minor literary genres of Tamil, which gained prominence after the 16th century and came to be recognised as an important literary text for studying temples in the context of socio-economic milieu. Pillai is said to have composed 90 Sthalapuranas(history of ancient temples) about various temples and imparted puranams to his pupils.


A younger Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai standing with a Bindi on the forehead and wearing religious robes.

Mahamahopadhyaya Dr. U. V. Swaminatha Iyer compiled Pilla's biography in Tamil, which was translated into English by Sridharam K. Guruswamy. as "A Poet's Poet" (Maha Vidhwan Sri Meenakshisundaram Pillai of Tiruchrappalli). This book of 129 pages was first published in the year 1976 by Mahamahopadhyaya Dr. U. V. Swaminatha Iyer Library, Madras, now known as Chennai.

Notable works

Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai on a late 19th century portrait with body paintings and a necklace.
  • Prabada Tirattu
  • Kanthimathiammai Pillai Tamil
  • Sri Mangalambigai Pillai Tamil
  • Perunthipirattiyar Pillai Tamil
  • Thiruvidaikazhi Murugar Pillai Tamil
  • Prabada Tirattu - Paguthi 10 - Sri Ambalavanathesikar Pillai Tamil
  • Vaatpokki Kalambagam
  • Thiruvavauthurai Atheenathuk Guru Parambarai Agaval
  • Prabantha Thirattu - Paguthi 11 - Sri Ambalavana Thesigar Kalambagam
  • Thiruvidaimaruthur Ula
  • Prabantha Thirattu - Paguthi 13 - Seekazhi Kovai
  • Prabantha Thirattu - Paguthi 14 - Thirupanjeelithirupandathi
  • Prabantha Thirattu - Paguthi 15 - Thiruthillaiyamagavanthathi
  • Prabantha Thirattu - Paguthi 16 - Thuraisaiyamagavanthathi
  • Prabantha Thirattu - Paguthi 17 - Thirukudanthai Thiripandathi
  • Prabantha Thirattu - Paguthi 18 - Thiruvidaimaruthur Thiripanthathi
  • Prabantha Thirattu - Paguthi 19 - Palaivana Pathitranthathi
  • Prabantha Thirattu - Paguthi 20 - Thirvooraipathiranthathi
  • Prabantha Thirattu - Paguthi 26 - Thiruchiramalaiyamagavanthathi
  • Prabantha Thirattu - Paguthi 27 - Thirupanjeeli thiripanthathi
  • Prabantha Thirattu - Paguthi 28 - Kalaichaichidambareswarar Malai
  • Prabantha Thirattu - Paguthi 29 - Agilanda Nayagi Malai
  • Prabantha Thirattu - Paguthi 30 - Subramaniya Thesika Malai
  • Prabantha Thirattu - Paguthi 31 - Sri Sachithananda Thesikar Malai
  • Thiruvanaikka Agilandanayagi Pillai Tamil
  • Prabantha Thirattu - Paguthi 2
  • Seizhkizhar Pillai Tamil
  • Thirugnana Sambandar Aaanantha Kalippu, Thirukkarkudi malai
  • Prabantha Thirattu - Paguthi 32 - Thesikar Nenjuvidu Thoothu
  • Prabantha Thirattu - Paguthi 33
  • References

    Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai Wikipedia