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Kachiappa Sivachariyar – Author Of Tamil Skanda Puranam

Author of Tamil Skanda Puranam, Kachiappa Sivachariyar was born in Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu. He lived during the early part of the 17th century CE., but the exact dates of his birth and death are not known. His father was Kalathiyappa Sivachariyar, a priest in the Kumara Kottam Temple in Kanchipuram.

Kachiappa Sivachariyar was well versed in the literature and Vedas in both Tamil and Sanskrit. He was a great devotee of Muruga of Kumara Kottam Temple.

Skanda Puranam (story of Muruga) by Kachiappa Sivachariyar closely follows poet Kamban’s poetic style. It is based on the Shiva Shankara Samhita in Sanskrit. Kachiappa Sivachariyar started the composition in the Kumarakottam Murugan Temple, where Muruga himself helped him by composing the first line with the words thikada cakkara semmugamainthulan. After Kachiappa finished writing for the day, he would leave behind the manuscripts in the temple, which were corrected by the Murugan every night.

Skanda Puranam consists of six sections – Urpattikasam, Asurakamsam, Mahendra Kamsam,Uttarakamsam, Devakamsam and Dakshakamsam. As the names of each section suggest, the work deals with the birth and childhood of the Lord, His war with asura Surapatman, and His marriage with Deivanai and Valli.

Although Skanda Puranam is based on a Sanskrit work, it is more of a transcreation than a mere translation. The proficiency of author in and command over the Tami language is commendable, and so he is able to describe the various incidents with dramatic imagery and a style to suit the Tami audience. His work highlights the salient features of Saiva Siddhanta philosophy and depicts Muruga as the presiding deity.

Kachiappa Sivachariyar wrote 10,400 verses and in 1625 CE, the first presentation of the composition was made in the Kumara Kottam temple itself, which lasted for a whole year.

There is no evidence of any other work of Kachiappa Sivachariyar.

Student of Kachiappa, Nanavarodaya Pandaram wrote a further 2,600 verses, which formed the seventh section, called Upadesha Kamsam. In total, the Tamil Skanda Puranam contains 13,000 verses.