Short Notes on Tamil Literature in Pallava Period


The second phase of Tamil literature was that of the Pallava period, the first being the Sangam literature. During the Kalabhra interregnum literary forms, turns of phrases even imageries and allusions assumed new forms heavily influenced by Sanskrit. Since literature and religion were both influenced by Sanskrit, the literature of the Pallava times became dominantly devotional literature.

At least half the literature produced during the sixth to the tenth centuries was religious-devotional. The Nalayiram of the Vaishnavas and the Tevarom of the Saivas works like the Chintamani and the Chulamani of the Jainas, etc. were pure religion-devotional. Of the rest, the Bharatam by Perundevanar was a translated epic and it had its own religious bias.

The Nandikkalatnbakam, the Muttollayiram and the Perungathai-\he second and the third belonging to the earliest phase of Pallava literature which coincided with the last phase of late Sangam period-constituted the only secular literature apart from grammatical works like the commentary on the Iraiyanar Kalaviyal and the Dandialankaram. The Adi Ula by the Chera king Perumal Nayanar had also a religious theme.


Among the great contributors to the devotional literature, the twelve Alvars of the Vaishnavite tradition, the three Nayanmars-Appar, Sambandar and Sundarar-as well as some others belonging to the Saiva canon like Karaikkal Ammai and Aiyadigal Kadavarkon were significant contributors.

The thousand verses of Nammalvar known as the Tiruvaimoli and the devotional songs of Andale are rightly reputed among Vaishnavite literature. Manicka Vachakar a contemporary of Veraguna II capped Saivite devotional literature with his Tiruvachakam though he wrote another work called Tirukkovaiyar which deals with conventional Aham. This type of literature has an earlier example in the Pandikkovai verses from which are used to illustrate the grammatical principles enunciated in the Iraiyanar Kalaviyal.

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