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Paripadal – Tamil Songs Dedicated to Bhagvan Vishnu and Muruga

Paripadal is a Tamil text believed to have been written during the Sangam Age and is dedicated to Bhagvan Srihari Vishnu and Muruga. The text gets the name from the Paripaadal meter used to write the songs. There are 8 songs dedicated to Bhagvan Vishnu, 31 are dedicated to Muruga, one to Varuna, 26 to Vaigai and four to Madurai city.

Paripadal is not written by a single person. Numerous people composed the poems. At the end of each verse, the name of the poet who wrote the verse, the name of the person who set it to tune and the raga in which it has to be sung are mentioned.

The verses mainly glorify the deities. It also gives key information and relevance of the subject matter during the Sangam Era. 
The Hindu explains the verses dedicated to Vishnu here.
 The verses on Vishnu say that He is the heat of the fire; the fragrance of the flowers; the truth in words; the embodiment of love; the light in a flame; the coolness of the moon. Vishnu is all of these, says the Paripadal, elaborated Malayaman, in a discourse.
 The Paripadal also describes Vishnu’s appearance. It says that the thousand-hooded serpent Adisesha is Lord Mahavishnu’s umbrella. Lord Vishnu’s head is like a mountain, with a profusion of flowers on it. His feet, His hands, His eyes and His lips are like lotuses in full bloom.
 Paripadal also says that Adisesha serves Lord Mahavishnu in many other ways. The snake serves as His bed. The snake is His ornament. There is a verse of Poigai Azhvar which expresses a similar sentiment. It says that if the Lord is on the move, the serpent is His umbrella, sheltering His head; if He is seated, the serpent becomes His throne; if the Lord wishes to recline, the serpent becomes a soft bed for the Lord. The Paripadal also talks of His dance with the Gopikas in His Krishna avatara.
 The Paripadal says that Vishnu has no likes and dislikes. It touches upon the Narasimha avatara too, when it refers to Him as the One who blessed Prahlada. He forgives even those who are not well disposed towards Him. The Paripadal talks of the Lord’s incarnations as Tortoise (Kurma), Boar (Varaha), Man-Lion (Narasimha), Vamana and Krishna avataras.