Appar Tirunavukarasar
Marul Neekkiyar

6th-7th century
Tiruvamur, Chola Empire (present Thiruvaamur,
Tamil Nadu, India)
PhilosophyShaivism Bhakti
Religious career
Literary worksTevaram
HonorsNayanar saint, Moovar

Appar Tirunavukkarasar Nayanar (Tamil: திருநாவுக்கரசர் Tirunāvukkaracar "King of the Tongue, Lord of Language"), also known as Navukkarasar and Appar "Father", was a seventh-century Śaiva Tamil poet-saint, one of the most prominent of the sixty-three Nayanars. He was an older contemporary of Thirugnana Sambandar. His birth-name was Marulneekkiyar. He was called "father" by Sambandar, hence the name Appar.[1]

Sundarar states in his Tiruttondartokai that Appar composed 4900 hymns of ten or eleven verses each. This statement is repeated by Nambiyandar Nambi and Sekkizhar, but only 313 hymns are known today.[2] These hymns are collected into the Tirumurai. Within the Tirumurai, the compositions of Appar, Sundarar and Thirugnana Sambandar are collected within their own volumes, called Tevaram.

Early life

Appar (Wooden Image), ASI Museum, Vellore

Details of Appar's life are found in his own hymns and in Sekkizhar's Periya Puranam (the last book of the Tirumurai). Appar was born in the middle of 7th century in Tiruvamur, Tamil Nadu, to a Vellala family. His childhood name for Marulneekiar. His sister, Thilagavathiar was betrothed to a military commander who died in action. When his sister was about to end her life, he pleaded with her not to leave him alone in the world.[3] She decided to lead an ascetic life and bring up her only brother. He is regarded as a divine arrival of saint Vageesar who was a great devotee and a saint at lord Sivan's Kailasam. When the demon king Ravana out of arrogance attempts to uproot Kailasam that was on his way back to Lanka, Lord Siva gently presses down the mountain with his right toe, that by itself has such a profound effect on Ravana that he nearly dies. at this point of time saint Vageesar prays to lord Siva to spare the demon so that he may be accounted for and taken to his abode by lord Vishnu to whom the demon was a servitor.