Here is the list of ‘Ancient Tamil Texts | Divine Hindu Scriptures in Tamil’. The list includes Thevaram, Thiruvasagam, Thiruvempavai, Thiruppavai, Thiruppugazh, Thirumurugatrupadai, Nalayira Divya Prabandham, Thiruvarutpa, Tirukkural, Silappatikaram and Manimekalai.
1. Thevaram contains portions of texts from the Tirumurai, a collection of Shaiva devotional poetry. The texts are dedicated to the Nayanmars – Sambandar, Tirunaavukkarasar and Sundarar. The singing of Thevaaram is continued in many Shiva temples in Tamil Nadu.In the tenth century, during the reign of Raaja Raaja Chola I, the songs were found in the Chidambaram temple, with the help of the divine saint Sri Nambiyaandar Nambi. The 276 temples revered by these verses are called paadal petrathalam. Thevaram was meant for Shaivism and Nalayira Divya Prabandham was meant for Vaishnavism. It contains songs in praise of Lord Shiva, and the divine songs are very pleasant to hear in our ears, as if the nectar of honey is poured in our ears.
2. Thiruvasagam is the important Tamil devotional poem which was composed by the great saint and poet Sir Manikkavasagar. It constitutes some portions of the Tirumurai, the great shaivite sacred text. Thiruvasagam is the only work which was signed by Lord Shiva himself. Manikkavasagar’s Thiruvasagam contain divine love and great bhakti on Lord Shiva. He is counted as one among the four Shaivite saints Appar, Sambandhar and Sundarar. He was born in a Brahman family in Tiruvatavur near Madurai. He became the king’s minister. After some time he resigned from his post in search of the divinity. Tirupperunturai, is a Shiva temple where Thiruvasagam is believed to have been originated. Manikkavasagar is said to have converted the king to Shaivism. Most of the portions in Thiruvasagam were sung in Nataraja Temple at Chidambaram. It is considered as one of the beautiful divine works of Tamil literature and it contains the way of moving to the spiritual path and ultimately deals with the freedom from rebirth.
3. Thiruvempavai is the early morning wake up songs sung for Lord Shiva on Tamil month Margazhi are part of Tiruvasakam. Tiruvempavai songs were composed in Annamalaiyar Temple.
4. Thiruppavai is a Tamil devotional poem attributed to the saint Andal. It consists of beautiful songs in praise of Lord Vishnu. It is a part of Divya Prabandham, a sacred collection of the works of the twelve Alvars. In Thiruppavai, Andal asks all the people to recite the name and glories of Lord Vishnu, in order to attain SALVATION.
5. Thiruppugazh is the 15th-century collection of songs written by the poet-saint Arunagirinathar. He composed these songs on Lord Muruga, since he was saved from the death by Lord Muruga. Once he got the divine appearance of Lord Muruga, and he got more spiritual powers through his blessings, and got great knowledge in all the subjects. Due to his great bhakti, he has written and sung the songs on Lord Muruga.
6. Thirumurugatrupadai is an ancient collection of Tamil poems on Lord Muruga,and it was written by the famous poet Nakkiranar. He was saved by Lord Muruga on several occasions, and he got the divine touch from Lord Muruga, and due to that he has written and sung a set of songs in praise of Lord Muruga, which is known as Thirumurugatrupadai. The Thirumurugatrupadai is a part of the Sangam literature, and also it is a part of Tamil text Tirumurai.
7. Nalayira Divya Prabandham is a collection of 4,000 Tamil verses composed by the 12 Alvars, and was compiled in its present form by Nathamuni during the 10th century AD. The sacred works marks an important contribution made by the Tamil Alvars, to the bhakti path and these hymns are still sung in most of the Vishnu temples even today. The works were collected and preserved by Nathamuni. The Divya Prabandham sings in praise of Narayana and his many forms. The Alvars sang these songs at various sacred shrines known as the Divya Desams. In Srirangam, the chanting of the Divya Prabhandham is considered as a part of the daily service.The most popular among its 4,000 verses are the over 1,100 verses known as the Thiruvaaymozhi, composed by Nammalvar and it receives a warm welcome among the Vaishnavites, and is regularly read by him.
8. Thiruvarutpa is a collection of more than 5000 songs sung by Vallalar. The songs, which are sung by the great saint, have been compiled into six collections. Though Vallalar was not interested to commercialize the songs,his volunteers got permission from him and recorded the songs and preserved it in safe custody.
9. Tirukkural is a classic Tamil language text consisting of 1,330 Kurals. The text contains teachings on virtue (aram, dharma), wealth (porul, artha) and love (inbam, kama). Considered as one of the greatest works,and it is known for its great meaningful contents, and it was written by Thiruvalluvar. It is believed that the text would have written before 2000 years. It was composed after the Sangam period.The Kural is praised and considered as “the Tamil Veda” and “the divine book”.It emphasizes not to commit any sins and to act in a good manner. It also highlights truthfulness, gratitude, hospitality, kindness, goodness of wife etc. The Kural has been widely admired by scholars, due to its simplistic nature.
10. Silappatikaram is the earliest Tamil epic. The epic tells the life incidents of the couple, Kannaki and her husband Kovalan. It is dated back to the sangam literature period and was composed by the saint SriIlanko Atikal, before thousands of years ago. Kannaki and Kovalan are the newly married couple, and living in a peaceful manner. Once, Kovalan meets Madhavi, and he fell in love with her, and left Kannaki and started living with Madhavi. He spent lot of money in order to attract her.His wife Kannaki was very worried, but being a pure and a good natured woman, she waits for him. After some time, Kovalan feels that Matavi is unfaithful to him, and left her, and joined with his wife Kannaki. She gives him one of her anklets to sell it, in order to get money for staring the new business. Kovalan sells it to a merchant, but the merchant falsely frames him as having stolen the anklet from the queen. The king arrests Kovalan and then executes him, without making proper verification. Kannagi came to know about the incidents, and proved the innocence of her husband, by breaking the remaining anklet in front of the king. Due to her great powers, she cursed the king and burnt the entire city of Madurai. Still now several temples are constructed and dedicated to her and she was worshipped by the people as “KANNAKI AMMAN”.
11. Manimekalai is a Tamil epic composed by Seethalai Satthanar during the 6th century. Manimekalai is the daughter of Kovalan and Madhavi, and she was a Buddhist nun.The Manimekalai is one of the Five Great Epics of Tamil Literature. The text Manimekalai is considered as an important text. Manimekalai lived a saintly and a noble life throughout her life.