Savvy Raj

Live Life Lovingly!

A heartfelt prayer.



An ever evolving knowledge
An evergreen life
An honest friendship
An everlasting prosperity
An ageless youth
A healthy body
An ever curious mind
An ever-loving spouse
A righteous child
A life brimming with laurels
A truthful word
An unhindered giving  of charity
An abundance of true wealth
An uncorrupt leader
A spotless life
An ever revering bow in  faith
A blessing of wise friends
A devotee’s prayer from the heart.

“Above verses are excerpts from Abhirami Padhigam that I have translated from Tamil to  English.”

Savvy Raj

Here is a share of a story of faith and prayer.

Abhirami Pattar (born Subramaniya Iyer) (late 18th century – early 19th century) was a semi-legendary Hindu saint from the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. He is famed as the author of a collection of hymns called Abhirami Anthadhi which is widely regarded as one of the foremost works of modern Tamil literatureSubramaniya Iyer was born to Amirthalinga Iyer in the village of Thirukadaiyur. Thirukkadaiyur has one of the elegant Brahmin quarters near the temple called as agraharams established by the Maratha ruler Serfoji I, a great admirer of Brahmin poets and bards, in the early part of the 18th century. The village was famous for its Shiva temple, called Amritaghateswarar-Abirami Temple, Thirukkadaiyur. Right from his childhood, Subramaniya Iyer was drawn to the temple and the Goddess.As he grew, Iyer developed a fanatical devotion to the goddess Abhirami. He would sit in a corner of the temple meditating upon the Goddess and singing her praises. As time passed, he was forever immersed in meditation upon the Goddess that he began to observe the supposed likeliness of the Goddess in the persona of the women around him and often showered them with flowers. According to sources, soon, a particular section of the populace began to regard him as a madman.

The story goes that one day, Raja Serfoji, the Maratha Raja of Thanjavur who ruled over the land, visited the temple to pay homage to Shiva. On noticing the peculiar behaviour of Iyer who was in deep meditation, he inquired the other priests about the individual. One of them remarked that he was a madman while another rejected this categorization explaining to the king that Iyer was only an ardent devotee of the Abhirami. Seeking to know the truth himself, Serfoji approached Subramaniya Iyer and asked him what day of the month it was i.e. whether it was a full-moon day or a new moon day. Iyer answered mistakenly that it was a Pournami (full moon day) who could see nothing else but the shining luminant form of the Goddess in his meditation. While in reality, the night was an Amavasya (new moon day).

After Subramanya Iyer’s meditation on Devi, other priest’s in the temple informed about the incident and the way he answered king. later Iyer realising his mistake, he supposedly lit a huge fire and erected a platform over it supported by a hundred ropes. He sat upon the platform and prayed to Devi. He cut off one rope after another in succession on completion of each verse of his prayer. These hymns form the Abhirami Anthadhi. On the verge of completing the 79th hymn, the goddess manifested herself before him and threw her thadanga (diamond earring ornament), over the sky such that it shined with bright light upon the horizon. Sri Abirami Devi bestowed him saying “Dear son, I changed your mad answer as truth”, overcome with ecstasy, Subramaniya Iyer composed 22 more verses in praise of her.

The king who witnessed it, bestowed upon the latter the title of “Abirami Pattar” or “One who worships Goddess Abhirami or The Priest of Goddess Abhirami” and supposedly awarded his successors the privilege of using the title “Bharathi”.

Story of Abirami Pattar Credits:



Author: Savvy Raj

Dance Educator, Writer, Artist, Designer, Wellness Mentor & Consultant

5 thoughts on “A heartfelt prayer.

  1. Savvy Raj. A very intersting article. A piece of history which is probably unknown to anyone. Thanks for doing an excellent research and digging out a poem so beautifully translated by you. Co-incidentally, I belong to the Thanjavur Marathi clan of the erstwhile Marata ruler Serfoji I. A very small community of people popularly known in Tamil Nadu as Thanjavur Maharshtrians. Very little is known about out community in Maharasthra, which is also believed to have a script of their own, namely ‘Modi Lipi”. Apparently there is a library in Thanjavur called ‘ Saraswati Mahal’ which was made by either Sarfoji I or II, with ancient scripts of Modi Lipi, It is in ruins and the scripts are in danger of being lost. Many years back Dr. Mohan Agashe, the veteran Marathi Film and Theatre Actor, who is aware of the Library wrote to both the governments of Maharshtra and Tamil Nadu to fund the library so that the scripts do not get lost. But Iguess no one bothered. We had met in Mumbai during an event and he requested me to do something about it, as the script actually belongs to our community. However, the community being very small and many have now even migrated abroad. it was not possible to gather funds. A detailed research would have to be done by visiting Thanjavur and visitng the Library. Possibly there could be tonnes of poetry, literature lying there, waiting to be discovered, translated and displayed to the world. I certainly plan to make a visit and at least obtain a first hand information. I hope I would be able to retain what I have supoosedly received in Inheritence. I am sure it would be a treasure much more wealthier and valuable than gold, silver and ornaments.

    Thanks Savvy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • How interesting! Thank you for taking the time to read through and leaving not only kind words but also an insight into what is not privy yet to the world at large. Thank you for your very relevant and additional inputs . Appreciate your interest in restoration of the yet unknown literature. Liked your mention of the real meaning of the true wealth of inheritance . As far as this translation goes
      my mother who often recites beautiful slokas from Tamil and Sanskrit was reciting this one day and on an intuitive impulse I started translating its gist in English .
      Have often felt that few verses of poetry can deeply impact the soul than the many pages a prose may need . And secondly and more importantly every generation can be a bridge in conscious awareness that can help link the past to the present to links of culture and heritage … links that may be otherwise be lost without translation. And if they have the resources and chose to do so, it can preserve that which makes us who we are . Thank you once again Ashok Subharao .


  2. Glad to see the translation of few lines from Abirami Anthathi and the story behind !

    Liked by 1 person

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