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Tiruvilayadal Purana is reputed to be one of the 18 Thalapuranas. Yet, it is also revered as one of the Mahapuranas (Periyapurana - the right eye of God Shiva, Tiruvilayadal Purana - the left eye and Kanda Purana - the third eye). It was authored by Saint Paranjothi about 300 years ago. It narrates the 64 Tiruvilayadals (Leelas in Sanskrit) roughly translated into English as playful miracles of God himself - in this case, Lord Shiva the presiding deity of Madurai. It incorporates the legends and stories already prevalent in the Pandyan Kingdom in South India and covers a period of more than 500 years during the reign of 52 Pandya Kings and 6 other Kings. Lord Shiva and his consort Meenakshi guided, supported, punished, vindicated, blessed and finally gave salvation to the Kings and commoners alike in these 64 episodes. Many of these events find a mention in the earlier great Tamil works like Silappadhikararn, Kalladam, Thevaram, Tiruvasagam and some puranic poetry.

While some of these episodes appear to be understandable and believable, many do not. One explanation for this is in that these episodes are the result of the fertile imagination of great devotees, mostly interesting stories narrated in a highly evolved poetic form by the great poet devotee. Another is that, this is basically a historical narrative of many Pandyan Kings who were all devotees of Lord Shiva described with some poetic license resulting in exaggeration and hyperbole. Another is that there is a mystic element present in these stories, which can be explained and interpreted only by enlightened persons. Yet another is that, these are moral stories built around a grain of truth; each episode teaches indirectly a moral for the humanity with the coating of a story.

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