Thiruvasagam is a set of divine poems written in praise of Lord Shiva, and it was composed by the famous saint poet Manikkavacakar (MaanikkaVaasagar) during the ninth century AD, and Thiruvasagam was accepted by Lord Shiva himself, by giving his darshan to Manikkavasagar, and by touching his holy text Thiruvasagam in his lotus hands. It also contains some portions from the Tirumurai, the sacred text of Lord Shiva.
According to Legend, Manikkavasakar served as a minister under the king Arimarttanar and when he was ordered by the king to purchase horses from other country, he spent the money given by the king towards building a Shiva temple in Tirupperunturai. Manikavasagar’s Thiruvasagam is appreciated for its divinity, simplicity and for its spirituality. He is considered as a famous Shiva devotee similar to Appar, Sambandhar and Sundarar. He was born in a pious Brahmin family in Tiruvatavur near Madurai, and his father served in the court of kings,and he was also a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva.
In Tirupperunturai Shiva temple, Thiruvasagam was written by Manikkavasagar, and through his holy work, he spread the “SHIVA BHAKTI” among the masses, and the songs of Thiruvasagam is sung in the Nataraja Temple at Chidambaram. It is considered as one of the popular Tamil Works, since it tells the greatness of Lord Shiva.
“Tiruvempavai” is also a divine poem, and it forms part of Thiruvasagam, which is considered as the Shiva Suprabhatham, and the songs would be sung in the Shiva Temples, in the early morning hours, especially during the Tamil month of Margazhi Masam, and Tiruvempavai songs were composed in the Annamalaiyar Temple, Thiruvannamalai.
Due to the efforts of the famous king Raja RajaChola, and also through the great help of Nambiyndar Nambi, a famous Shiva devotee, major portion of the Thiruvasagam songs, which were written in palm leaf manuscripts were recovered from the Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram.
Still lot of Shiva devotees are regularly singing songs from Thiruvasagam in the Shiva temples.