Nayanars of the Periya Puranam
In the early years, not long after hearing about Arunachala, young Bhagavan chanced upon the first religious book he would ever read, the poet-saint Sekkizhar’s Periapuranam , a collection of life stories of the 63 Tamil Saints composed during the rule of Kullottonga Chola II (1133-1150).
A copy had been given to his uncle by a swami. Discovering and perusing its pages, the young boy was transported, learning for the first time that the 63 saints were not merely images in the temple but were real life devotees who gave their entire lives to praising Mahadev. Young Venkataraman was filled with wonder and eventually found himself at Meenakshi Temple, shedding tears of devotion before the images of the 63 saints: “I would feel the waves of emotion overcome me..... I would stand before Isvara, the Controller of the universe and the destinies of all, the Omniscient and Omnipotent, and occasionally pray for the descent of his grace upon me so that my devotion would increase and become perpetual like that of the 63 saints...” 
 'Periapuranam' is published by the Divine Life Society and by Sri Ramanasramam.
Divine Life Society makes Periapuranam and other publications available as a web page
and as a pdf file for download.
 Reproduced from the Aug, 2001 issue (v.05, n.08) of the Saranagati newsletter
published by Sri Ramanasramam.