(22) A story from the Periyapuranam in which Sirutondar, to fulfil a vow made to Siva, kills his own son and offers him to a passing
sadhu to eat. The sadhu belonged to the Bhairava sect, which is noted for its wild ways. The
sadhu, who turned out to be Siva himself, had come to test Sirutondar. After the offering had been made, proving Sirutondar's faith and devotion, Siva restored the boy to life.
(23) Chidambaram, Benares, Tiruvarur, Madurai and Tirunelveli: all places where Siva has manifested and performed miraculous deeds.
(24) Parvati was the daughter of Himavat, meaning 'the mountain'. This is the story referred to in footnote eleven.
(25) Rajas, tamas and sattva, the interplay of which determines the quantity and quality of one's thoughts.
(26) Saivas make a point of stressing that Siva, unlike Vishnu, has never been born on earth. He manifests, rather than incarnates, whenever the need arises. The earlier reference to him not having a father and mother makes the same point.
(29) In ancient times there were three sangams or assemblies which examined the works of Tamil scholars and poets and passed judgement on them. In the first
sangam Siva himself appeared incognito and acted as one of the judges.
Robert Butler learned classical Tamil during a stay at Ramanasramam in the 1980s. He is currently
working on translations of Kuruntogai verses, Tamil love poetry written about 2,000 years ago. Samples of his work can be found at: