Nakkeerar was a medieval Tamil poet from Madurai. He is renowned for his most famous work, the Tirumurukāṟṟuppaṭai. He was also the author of another work called Iraiyanar Akapporul. He should not be confused with the Sangam period writer Nakkirar (c. 250 CE), who composed anthologies like the Neṭunalvāṭai.
He is one of the prominent characters in the Thiruvilaiyadal Puranam. The Thiruvilaiyadal episodes of the confrontation of Sundareswarar (Shiva) with Nakkeerar are enacted as a part of the Meenakshi Amman Temple festival traditions of Madurai.
Nakkeerar is the author of an epic titled Sriharnipuram which he composed at the behest of Kulachirai Nayanar, the Prime Minister of the Pandya king Gunapandiyan. He is one of the prominent characters in the Thiruvilaiyadal Puranam. The Thiruvilaiyadal episodes of the confrontation of Sundareswarar (Shiva) with Nakkeerar are enacted as a part of the Meenakshi Amman Temple festival traditions of Madurai.
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The Tiruvilaiyadal Puranam relates an incident involving Nakkeerar's confrontation with Shiva. Once the Pandiyan king had a doubt as to whether the scent from a woman's hair was natural or artificial. He announced a prize of 1000 gold coins for anyone to resolve his doubt. A poor poet named Tharumi prayed to Lord Shiva to make him get the award. The Lord gave a poem to the poet and asked him to take it to the King. When this poem was read in the court, Poet Nakkeerar found fault with it and stopped the Pandiyan king from giving the prize. Tharumi's grief grew and he again appealed to the Lord. He said he was not worried for not receiving the prize but he could not bear anyone finding fault with the Lord's poems.
Thereupon, Shiva himself came to the court and challenged Nakkeerar. But Nakkeerar was not moved. Though Shiva asked him if the hair of Ganapoongodai, the consort of Kalathinathar, whom Nakkeerar worshipped,did not have a natural scent, Nakkeerar asserted that it was so. Shiva told that because of Nakkeerar's foolishness he had done so (Since Parvathy is the other part of the supreme god who dwells in everything including flowers, so it is understood that she can possess fragrance as well as other attributes of the universe) and opened the eye in his forehead (Netrikkan) which emitted fire and looked at Nakkeerar to show the poet who he was. Even then, Nakkeerar persisted in his statement. As he could not bear the scorching heat emanating from the divine eye he jumped into the water of the Golden Lotus Tank. Then at the request of the other poets, the Lord took Nakkeerar out of the tank, forgave him and made him study under 'Agasthiar', the Tamil Sage. Shiva said that there were mistakes in Nakkeerar's poetry. He asked Nakkeerar to correct his Tamil grammatical mistakes and misplaced words before writing poems again.
The episode involving Nakkeerar and the Hindu god Shiva was depicted in the Tamil film Thiruvilayadal which was based on the stories of the Thiruvilaiyadal Puranam. The role of Nakkeerar was played by the director of the movie, A. P. Nagarajan, himself.
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- Chitty, Simon Casie (1859). The Tamil Plutarch, containing a summary account of the lives of poets and poetesses of Southern India and Ceylon. Jaffna: Ripley & Strong.