Mayuram Vedanayakam Pillai – Called a “Varakavi” in Tamil, this poet wrote philosophical, thought-provoking poems said to be divinely inspired. He was said to be a gentleman and one who worked for his country, a scholar of Tamil, devoting his life to embellishing Tamil literature. Born in Kulatur close to Tirucirapalli to Savarimutu PiLLai and ArokiamariammaaL on October 11, 1826, he was a prodigy in school and early had a taste for Tamil literature. He became proficient in Tamil, English, French, Sanskrit and Latin, and as a young boy wrote beautiful Tamil poems.
At 22, he was appointed Record Keeper in the Principal Court at Tirucirapalli and 2 years later was given the job of Translator in the Southern Provincial Court there, a job which his English teacher Tiyaga PiLLai (when VEdanaayakam PiLLai was 11 years old) had done before. In this job, he was doing well when others began to accuse him falsely, but the truth triumphed, and in the process, he developed a great friendship with Meenakshisundaram PiLLai. In 1857 he was appointed District Munsiff of Tarangampadi after getting the highest percentage in the exam. Along with him T.Mutuswaami Aiyyar (later a judge of the Madras High Court) and Raghunaata Rao (later Diwan of Travancore) were selected.
In 1858, he wrote a famous book “Needhi Nool” – published 1859, it contained 400 verses and is considered a great work in ethics. In 1859 he was transferred to Seerkazhi, and in 1860 moved to Mayuram where he was the District Munsiff 13 years. In 1863 he gave up his job and in the 1976 famine of Tamil NaaDu that persisted 3 years he relieved the hunger of many by organizing relief centers and feeding thousands of poor. GOpaalakrishna Bhaaratiyaar, his contemporary (not his teacher, only his great friend), praised him highly in a song of his. VEdanaayakam PiLLai wrote no less than 16 works, and over 1000 of his keertanais are printed. He, his wife and children were all proficient at playing the veena and singing his Tamil songs, full of noble ideas. He died July 21, 1889.