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Abirami Anthathi – Story Of Tamil Devotional Poem

Abirami Anthathi is a devotional poem in Tamil consisting of 101 verses. Abirami Anthathi is a tribute in verse of a great devotee to the Goddess Abhirami of Tirukkadavur of Tamil Nadu. The devotee was Subramania Iyer who got the title ‘Abhirami Pattar’ because of his composition. The word Anthathi in the title denotes a form of composition in which each verse begins with the word that forms the last word of the earlier verse (antam – end, adi or athi – first and hence anthathi. The date of composition is 1800 CE.

There is a story about the circumstances in which Abirami Pattar composed the devotional poem. The king of Thanjavur, Raja Serfoji (1798 – 1832 CE), wanted to test the faith of the poet in his chosen deity. One a new moon day, the king asked the poet the day’s tithi (day according to reckoning by the waxing and waning of the moon). The poet, deeply engrossed in his worship of the deity, answered absentmindedly that it was a full moon day. The king was furious over the false statement and wanted the poet either to confess that he was wrong or to face death. Instead, the poet started composing his poem in supplication to the Goddess. It is believed that when the poet was on the 72nd verse, the Goddess threw her ear-ornament (tatanka) into the sky, and the ornament shone on the sky as if it were the full moon.

To this day, this Tamil text is very popular for its poetic beauty and musical charm. Each verse is believed to have a miraculous power of solving any problem that a devotee of the Goddess submits to her.