Thursday, September 27, 2012

Vamana & Bhoothana

Vamana & Bhoothana

Strange connection, isn’t it? We all know Bhoothana as the demoness in Krishanavathara who tried to kill Baby Krishna by feeding him poisoned milk.

This morning’s episode of Vijay TV Bhakthi Thiruvizha gave me a glimpse of an earlier janma of Bhoothana which I would like to share here.

Vijay TV has started telecasting the Bhakthi Thiruvizha which took place in Srirangam earlier this month. This morning was the first discourse in this series rendered by Jaya Srinivasan .

Bhoothana as we all know was one in the long list of demons deployed by Kamsa to kill Lord Krishna growing up in Gokulam.

In her earlier janma Bhoothana was born as Mahabali’s daughter by name Rathnamala.
Mahabali was performing the yagna and Guru Sukracharya noticed a very bright light at a distance. As he was wondering what the bright light was, it kept coming closer. He realised that the light was emanating from a 3 feet tall Brahmin boy holding an umbrella. As the boy came closer, all present at the yagna looked at him in awe. He was such a handsome boy, with intelligence radiating from him. Rathnamala felt so much of love for the boy that she wanted to make him sit on her lap and shower her love on him. Things happened in a flash and Mahabali was pressed into the netherworld by Vamana who had taken viswaroopam. All her love for Vamana turned into hatred and Rathnamala wanted to kill the boy. 

Rathnamala’s wish to first cuddle the boy and then to kill the boy was granted together in Krishnavathara by the episode of Bhoothana feeding Krishna and trying to kill him!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012



After a long hiatus due many different reasons, could not resist posting a photographs of a few pookalams I had the pleasure of seeing today on the occasion of Onam celebrations

Here are the Pookalams

This is right in front of our block in our colony. I saw the neighbours painstakingly arranging the flowers at 11 pm last night.

This is in block opposite to our ours.

I loved this lotus!

I thought this was a very colourful pookalam

This is at Indu/Anil's house where I had a great sadya today!
Thank you Indu!

The best is for the end,  neighours on the floor above mine make it a point to do a pookalam on the 2nd floor corridor every Onam. This year it was a beauty with the boat race in it!

Happy Onam!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Nayanmar 26 - Nesa Nayanar

Nesa Nayanar (நேச நாயனார்)

Birth place   : Kambili
Star             : Panguni Rohini

Born in a family of weavers, Nesa Nayanar weaved soft cotton cloth. As he weaved he uttered the mantra Om Namashivaya continuously. He never used to weave any lavish or decorative clothing, but just simple cotton ones. He then made loin clothes out of the cloths he weaved and presented those to the devotees of his Lord. This way he took care of the very basic need of the devotees. He reached Lord Shiva because of this bhakthi for His devotees.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Nayanmar 25 - Poosalar Nayanar

Poosalar Nayanar (பூசலார் நாயனார்) 

Birth place     : Thirunindravur
Star               : Aippasi Anusham

A great Shiva bhaktha, Poosalar built a temple for his Lord in his heart. Poosalar lived in Thirunindravur and his long time dream was to build a temple for Lord Shiva. Since he did not have the resources to construct a temple, he decided to build one within his heart. Once he decided to do this, he went about it meticulously thinking of a detailed building plan and constructed a full fledged temple in his heart. Once the construction was completed, Poosalar Nayanar chose an auspicious day and requested the Lord to enter the temple. It so happened that the Pallava King had built a Shiva temple during this time and he had also fixed the same day for the kumbabishekam of the temple built by him. On the previous night, Lord Shiva appeared in the King's dream and told him to change the date of the kumbabishekam as He would be entering the temple built by Poosalar on that day. The King woke up and was curious to see the temple built by a devotee wondering if it was greater than the one built by him.

He travelled to Thirunindravur and found that no temple had been built there recently. He went in search of Poosalar and enquired. Poosalar was in ecstasy to hear that the Lord had chosen to enter his heart temple that day. He explained about his heart temple to the King and the King was amazed at Poosalar Nayanar's devotion.  

The King then went back to his capital Kanchipuram and Poosalar Nayanar continued to conduct pujas in his heart temple for his Lord and attained His feet subsequently.

Here is a link to details on Hridayaleeswarar temple in Thirunindravur:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Nayanmar 24 - Saakiya Nayanar

Saakiya Nayanar (சாக்கிய நாயனார்) 

Birth place  : Thiruchangamangai
Star            : Margazhi Pooradam

A man from Thiruchangamangai near Kanchipuram was in search of God. He studied religions like Jainism and Buddhism. He had a liking of Buddhism and started following it. Buddhists were called Saakiyargal in Tamizh and this man also came to be called Saakiyar.

During his search, Saakiyar learned about Saivism. One day he saw a Shiva Lingam and he fell in love with Lord Shiva. He wanted to do puja for the Lingam at once but could not find any flowers nearby. There was only a brick lying there. He took the brick and threw it on the Lingam like archana with a flower. Saakiyar understood that it was the Lord’s will that he did archana with a brick. He decided to have darshan of the Lord everyday before eating food. He understood that the exterior appearance of the devotee does not matter to the Lord. So Saakiyar continued his Buddhist form. Everyday he went to the Shiva Lingam and religiously did archana with a brick. For the kind Lord, the brick puja was like a baby slapping the mother! Saakiyar continued this strange puja everyday. One day, by God’s will, Saakiyar forgot to visit the Shiva Lingam. As he was about to have his food, he remembered and rushed. As usual, he threw a brick at the Lord. Lord Shiva gave darshan to Saakiyar along with Goddess Parvathi and Saakiya Nayanar attained mukti.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Nayanmar 23 - Karaikkal Ammaiyar

Karaikkal Ammaiyar (காரைக்கால் அம்மையார்) 

Birth place  : Karaikkal
Mukti         : Thiruvalangaadu
Star            : Panguni Swathi

A devotee who the Lord himself called his Mother, was Karaikkal Ammaiyar!

Born in the town of Karaikkal to a rich merchant, Karaikkal Ammaiyar was originally named Punithavathi. Punithavathi was devoted to Lord Shiva right from her childhood. When she came of age, her father got her married to another merchant by name Paramadattan from Nagapattinam. But as she was his only child, her father did not want her to stay away. Hence he built a house near his place for his daughter and son-in-law and made them live close by.

Punithavathi and Paramadattan started their life in Karaikkal. One day when Paramadattan was at work, a visitor brought him two mangoes. He sent the mangoes home. Punithavathiyar was alone at home. A devotee of Lord Shiva came for food. Punithavathiyar offered him lunch and also one of the mangoes her husband had sent.

Later, when Paramadattan came home for lunch, he asked for a mango and ate it. He found the mango very sweet and wanted to eat the other mango too. Worried that Paramadattan may be angry if she said she had given it away, Punithavathi went inside and prayed to Lord Shiva. Miraculously, she got a mango in her hand and took it to her husband. Paramadattan found this mango extremely tasty and asked his wife about it. Punithavathi came out with the truth that the Lord had given it to her. Unable to believe this, Paramadattan asked Punithavathi to request the Lord for one more mango. She did this promptly and gave him the third mango (the second miraculous one). The mango vanished from Paramadattan’s hand.

Now Paramadattan understood that his wife was no ordinary woman and decided that he could not continue to live with her. He said he was going out of town on business and sailed out of the country. He came back and settled down in a town in Pandyanadu. He also married again and had a daughter. He named his daughter Punithavathi out of respect for his first wife.

Coming to know that Paramadattan was living in another town nearby, Punithavathi’s relatives took her to him. When they met, Paramadattan fell at Punithavathiyar’s feet along with his family members. The relatives were surprised to see the husband falling at his wife’s feet. Paramadattan then narrated the story of the mangoes to the relatives. Understanding that her husband would never live with her any more, Punithavathi wanted to give up her youth. She prayed to the Lord to change her form to a skeletal ghost (பேய் உருவம்). Her prayer was answered and she immediately transformed into a ghost. She proceeded to Kailasam in that form. Reaching Kailasam, she did not want to walk on her feet and hence started walking on her head. Goddess Parvathi enquired Lord Shiva about the ghost form walking upside down towards them. The Lord said, it was his “Mother” who was on her way to meet him. Punithavathiyar became Karaikkal Ammaiyar as the Lord himself called her His mother. She reached the Lord and fell at his feet, calling Him her father. She conveyed her wish to see His cosmic dance and the Lord asked her to reside in Thiruvalangaadu and see his dance there forever. Karaikkal Ammaiyar reached Thiruvalangaadu and once there, she could see only the Lord everywhere and hence continued to walk on her head. Here she sang the Lord’s praise and attained mukti.

Karaikkal Ammaiyar has composed many hymns on the Lord like Arpudha Thiruvandhadhi and Irattai Mani Malai.  iHi 

Here is one of the compositions of Karaikkal Ammaiyar

இறவாத அன்பு வேண்டும்
இனிமேல் பிறவா வேண்டும்
 மறவாத பக்தி வேண்டும்
மறுபிறப்பும் அதுவே வேண்டும்
பிறழாத நடனம் வேண்டும்
என்பாடல் அதிலே வேண்டும்
உறவாக உன்தாள் கீழே
ஒன்றிட வேண்டும் வேண்டும் 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Nayanmar 22 - Somasimara Nayanar

Somasimara Nayanar (சோமாசிமாற நாயனார்)

Birthplace  : Ambarakathur
Star           : Vaikasi Ayilyam

A staunch devotee of Lord Shiva, Somasimara Nayanar’s service to his Lord was to serve His devotees irrespective of caste or creed. He used to recite the Panchakshara and performed Yagnas everyday without fail. He was not only devoted to Lord Shiva, but also to Sundaramurthy Nayanar. He went from his hometown of Ambarakathur to Thiruvaarur to meet Sundaramurthy Nayanar and finally attained mukti as a result of his service and devotion!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Nayanmar 21 - Moorka Nayanar

Moorka Nayanar

Birth place : Thiruverkaadu
Mukti        : Kumbakonam
Star           : Karthigai Moolam

A devotee of Lord Shiva lived in Thiruverkaadu. His service to the Lord was to offer food to all His Bhaktas every day. Years rolled on and the devotee lost all his wealth and became poor. He then moved to Kumbakonam. He still managed to continue feeding the devotees. The money he needed to do this service, he made by gambling. He gambled everyday and ensured he won. He did not use any of the earnings for himself but only to feed the devotees. While gambling, if anybody tried to cheat, he used to draw his sword and threaten them. He came to be called Moorka Nayanar because of his harshness. In due course he attained Lord Shiva’s feet. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Nayarnmar 20 - Thirumoola Nayanar

Thirumoola Nayanar (திருமூல நாயனார்)

Place were Sundaranathar became Thirumoolar : Thivaavaduthurai
Star   : Purattasi asvini

One of the disciples of Nandi by name Sundaranathar stayed in Kailasam. One day Sundaranathar wanted to visit Sage Agasthya in Podhigai malai. He travelled from Kailasam down south visiting various temples like Kedarnath, Pasupathinath, Kasi Viswanathar, Kalahasti and reached Thiruvaavaduthurai.

In the town of Thiruvaavaduthurai, he saw a strange sight. Many cows were in tears around their cowherd by name Moolan who had fallen dead bitten by a snake.

Sundaranathar felt sorry for the cows. He proceeded to a secluded place and lay down. He had decided to transfer his soul into the cowherd’s body to make the cows happy. He did so and the cows were pleased to see the cowherd waking up. In the evening after grazing, the cows went back home and Moolan followed them. When he reached home, his wife tried to touch him in welcome. As it was Sundaranathar who was in Moolan’s body, he refused to enter the house and stayed in a matam saying he had no wife. His relatives tried to take him back home but in vain. Moolan went back to the place were Sundaranathar’s body was hidden but could not find it. He then understood that it was ordained that Moolan sing Lord Shiva’s praise. He came back to the temple of Thirvaavaduthurai and sat in yogasanam there. He then composed the Thirumandhiram consisting of three thousand stanzas. It is said that he sat in meditation at the temple for three thousand years composing one stanza per year.

Thirumoolar’s Thirumandhiram is not only in praise of Lord Shiva but also explains the various aspects of a good life and guides us to lead one. Many parts of Thirumandiram sound simple when one reads it lightly, but it also has a deeper subtle meaning of philosophy if one delves into it!

Here is a stanza from Thirumandhiram

அன்பு சிவம் இரண்டு என்பர் அறிவிலார்
அன்பே சிவமாவது ஆரும்  அறிகிலார்
அன்பே சிவமாவது ஆரும் அறிந்தபின்
அன்பே சிவமாய் அமர்ந்திருந் தாரே! 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Nayanmar 19 - Chandeswara Nayanar

Chandeswara Nayanar (சண்டேஸ்வர நாயனார்) 

This is one Nayanar we see in all Shiva temples even today. We give attendance to him so that he can pass on the details of our visit to the Lord. Chandeswara Nayanar is the Chandikeswarar who is present in all Shiva temples.

Here is the story of how he attained the position of Chandikeswarar:

In the beautiful town of Cheinallur (சேய்ஞல்லூர்) (called Cheinallur because it was created by the universal Sei – Lord Muruga) (this place is now called Senganur) there lived a Brahmin couple by name Echadattan and Pavithirai who were devotees of Lord Shiva. They were blessed with a brilliant son who was well versed in the education of Vedas even without the help of a Guru. The couple named their son Visarasarumar.

One day, Visarasarumar saw some cowherds beating the cows. Very upset, Visarasarumar explained the greatness of the cow to the cowherds - how all the Devas are present in the different parts of the cow’s body; milk given by the cow is used for abhishekam of Shiva and the cow dung is used in the preparation of sacred ash. He also offered to take care of the cows thereafter.

From then onwards, Visarasarumar herded the cows everyday to graze and the quantity of milk given by the cows increased day by day.  An ardent devotee of Lord Shiva, Visarasarumar made a Shiva Linga in the sand and did puja and abhishekam with the cows’ milk every day.

Hearing from the people in town that Visarasarumar is pouring the milk in the sand everyday, Echadattan came in search of the son. Visarasarumar was praying to his Lord and the pot of milk was kept ready for abhishekam. Echadattan called his son and when he did not respond, he beat him with a stick. Even then Visarasarumar did not react and continued with his prayer. Very angry, Echadattan kicked the milk pot. Furious that the milk kept for the Lord’s abhishekam was wasted, Visarasarumar took in his hand the stick which his father had used to beat him. The moment Visarasarumar touched the stick, it turned into an axe and Visarasarumar cut his father’s legs which kicked the milk pot!

He then continued with his puja. Lord Shiva along with Goddess Parvathi gave darshan to Visarasarumar and said that Visarasarumar can consider the Lord as his father thereafter. The Lord made him the head of his devotees and gave him the position of Chandeswarar. The Lord further declared that the offerings made to Him will be offered to Chandeswarar also. He also removed a Kondrai flower from His head and placed it on Chandeswarar’s head. The Lord then took Chandeswarar with Him to Shiva Loka while Chandeeswarar’s parents also attained moksha. Thus, Visarasarumar became a son to Lord Shiva and became Chandikeswarar. He is always present in Shiva temples near the spout from where the milk offered as abhishekam to the Lord comes out!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Nayanmar 18 - Thirukuripputhonda Nayanar

Thirukuripputhondar (திருக்குறிப்புத்தொண்டர்)

Birth place : Kanchipuram
Star           : Chithirai Swathi

There lived a washer man in Kanchipuram who attended to the needs of the devotees of Lord Shiva noting their requirements. Hence he came to be called Thirukuripputhondar. For the world to know the devotion of Thirukuripputhondar, Lord Ekambaranathar of Kanchipuram came in the form of a devotee. In his usual style, Thirukuripputhondar took care of this devotee’s needs and offered to wash his clothes. The Lord said he needed his clothes back by evening as it would be cold in the night.

Thirukuripputhondar assured the devotee that the clothes will be delivered to him clean and dry by evening. Thirukuripputhondar was washing the clothes when it started raining heavily. The rain did not stop till evening and there was no way to dry the clothes. Not able to fulfil the wishes of the devotee, Thirukuripputhondar started banging his head on the washing stone trying to kill himself. Lord Shiva’s hand extended and stopped Thirukuripputhondar from hurting himself. The Lord gave darshan to Thirukuripputhonda Nayanar and blessed him with mukti!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Nayanmar 17 - Nandanar

Nandanar (நந்தனார்)

Birth place  : Aadhanur
Mukti         : Chidambaram
Star            : Purattasi Rohini

A Harijan by birth, Nandanar earned his livelihood by cultivating the small piece of land donated to him. An ardent devotee of Lord Shiva, he served the Lord by supplying leather and strings for the musical instruments used in the temple of Aadhanur. In his Bhakti towards Lord Shiva, he used to sing and dance in ecstasy in front of the temple.

Once, Nandanar went to the Shiva temple in Thirupungur. When he tried to see the Lord, he found the huge Nandi right in front of the Lord hindering the view. Nandanar requested Nandi to move aside and Nandi promptly moved to one side so that this great devotee could see his Lord!  

Nandanar visited many Shiva temples and was also very keen to visit the temple of Chidambaram, but kept postponing the trip. Being a harijan, he was not sure if he had the right to enter the temple at Chidambaram. Hence he postponed the journey saying “Naalai poven, Naalai poven” ( I will go tomorrow) Hence he came to be called Thirunaalaippovar. Finally one day, he did go to Chidambaram. He entered the town and saw smoke coming out of the Brahmins’ houses busy in their daily homam rituals. Nandanar felt quite awful about  his low caste and spent a few more days going around the town, without entering the temple.

One day, Nandanar dreamt of a fire being lit in front of the temple and he entering the fire. The Brahmins of Chidambaram also had a dream in which their Lord asked them to light a fire and ask Thirunaalaippovar to walk in it. Realising this was a divine dream, the Brahmins lit the fire and requested Nandanar to enter it. Nandanar entered the fire and came out as a celestial Rishi. The moment Nandanar entered the sanctum, Lord Shiva gathered his devotee to his feet and Nandanar vanished.

Note – This story is quite different from the Nandanar story I have heard and the movie I have seen. But in the reference books, it is clearly mentioned that nowhere Nandanar was stopped from entering the temple because he was of low caste, but he himself was hesitant to enter the temple!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Nayanmar 16 - Rudra Pasupathi Nayanar

 Rudra Pasuapthi Nayanar (ருத்ர பசுபதி நாயனார்) 

Birth place  : Thiruthalaiyur
Star           : Purattasi Asvini

Pasupathi, a Brahmin in the village of Thiruthalaiyur was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva. Everyday early in the morning, he used to stand in neck deep water and do Rudra japam. This japam went on for hours at a time. Pleased by his japam, the Lord gathered Pasupathi to his feet. The everyday routine of  Rudra japam by this devotee earned him the name Rudra Pasupathi Nayanar.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Nayanmar 15 - Muruga Nayanar

Muruga Nayanar (முருக நாயனார்)

Birth place : Thirupugalur
Star           : Vaikasi Moolam

Muruga Nayanar’s service was to make garlands for Lord Shiva in the Thirupugalur everyday. He used to wake up early in the morning, have bath, pluck fresh flowers from the garden and make different types of garlands himself, take them to the temple and decorate the Lord with these garlands. Once Thirugnanasambandhar visited this town and stayed in Muruga Nayanar’s matam. Both the Shiva devotees became good friends. Other Nayanmars like Thirunavukkarasar, Siruthondar stayed in Muruga Nayanar’s matam when they visited Thirupugalur. During Thirugnanasambandar’s wedding, Lord Shiva gave jothi darshan to all present at the wedding and Muruga Nayanar became one with the jothi and attained Shiva Loka.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Nayanmar 14 - Moorthy Nayanar

Moorthy  Nayanar (மூர்த்தி நாயனார்)

Birth place : Thiru aalavai (Madurai)
Star           : Aadi Krithigai

In Madurai, Moorthy Nayanar was doing the service of grinding sandal paste for Lord Sundareswarar everyday. At the time, the Pandya king of Madurai was defeated by a king from Karnataka. This Karnataka king was a follower of Jainism. He was against Shaivism and was giving trouble to the Shiva bhakthas in Madurai. He was troubling Moorthy Nayanar by ensuring that he did not get sandalwood to make the paste for the Lord.
This did not stop Moorthy Nayanar. In the absence of sandalwood, he scraped his elbow on the grinding stone offering his skin to the Lord instead. As blood flowed from the elbow, Lord Shiva gave darshan to Moorthy Nayanar asking him what he wanted. Moorthy Nayanar promptly said he wanted sandalwood to serve the Lord everyday as the king had put a stop to this. The Lord granted his wish saying “you take care of the kingdom”

Next day the Karnataka king died and since he did not have any successor as per the usual norms, an elephant was allowed to roam around the town with a garland to choose the King. The elephant garlanded Moorthy Nayanar and made him the King of Madurai. Showing his devotion to his Lord, Moorthy Nayanar accepted only the sacred ash for abhishekam, rudraksha as jewels and the matted hair as the crown to become the King. He requested that all the people of Madurai become Saivaites. He then ruled the kingdom for a long time before attaining the feet of Lord Shiva.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Nayanmar 13 - Aanaya Nayanar

Aanaya Nayanar (ஆனாய நாயனார்)

Birthplace  : Thirumangalam
Star           : Karthigai Hastham

Aanayar was from a family of cowherds. His job was to herd the cattle everyday for grazing. A great devotee of Lord Shiva, Aanayar was used to playing the praise of his Lord in the flute he always had with him.  One day when he had taken the cattle for grazing he saw a Konrai tree. The huge Konrai tree with its flowers in full bloom reminded him of Lord Shiva. Aanayar took his flute out and divine music in praise of the Lord flowed. First the cattle stopped grazing, as though in a trance. Then even the trees were standing still and the whole world came to a stop mesmerized by the heavenly tune. Won’t the Lord, in praise of whom Aanayar was playing, be attracted by this music? Lord Shiva gave darshan to Aanayar and took him to Shiva loka so that Aanaya Nayanar always played the flute for the Him!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Nayanmar 12 - Arivattaya Nayanar

Arivattaya Nayanar (அரிவட்டாய நாயனார்)

Birthplace : Kanamangalam
Star          : Thai Thiruvathirai
Arivattaya Nayanar’s history shows the importance of Neivedhyam (offering) to the Lord.
Thayanar lived in Kanamangalam and had the habit of offering food to his Lord at Thandalacheri across the fields. The offerings weren’t ordinary, but first quality red rice, freshly cooked red greens and pickled baby mangoes (maavadu மாவடு). Without fail, every day Thayanar took this food cooked by his wife and offered it to Lord Shiva at Thandalacheri. To test Thayanar and to show his devotion to the world, Lord Shiva made Thayanar’s wealth reduce day by day. Despite this, Thayanar did not give up the habit of offering the best quality food to his Lord. At one stage, Thayanar did not have any rice and had to work in the fields to earn some rice. Even then, he and his wife offered their earnings of good quality rice to their Lord and they themselves ate poor quality rice. Days worsened that the couple could get only some greens to eat after offering the little rice to their Lord.

After that they could not anything to eat and they starved but still continued to offer the best possible food to Lord Shiva. After many days of starvation, Thayanar and his wife carried the offerings and were walking in the fields to reach the temple in Thandalacheri. Thayanar fainted in hunger and the offerings fell to the ground.

Shocked to see the offering strewn on the ground and nothing to offer his Lord, Thayanar took out his scytheand tried to cut his head. He then heard a crunchy noise of somebody biting the pickled mangoes and a left hand came out of the earth to stop Thayanar cutting himself! Lord Shiva gave darshan to Thayanar and his wife appreciating their bhakthi. Thayanar came to be called as Arivattaya Nayanar as he had tried to cut himself with a scythe (arivaal அரிவாள்). 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Nayanmar 11 - Maanakanjara Nayanar

Maanakanjara Nayanar (மானக்கஞ்சாற நாயனார்)

Birthplace  : Kanjaarur now known as Aananthandavapuram
Star           : Margazhi Swathi

In the village of Kanjaarur, there lived a devotee of Shiva by name Maanakanjara Nayanar who was known for giving away whatever the devotees of Shiva requested for. He was the commander-in-chief of the Chozha King. Maanakanjara Nayanar and his wife did not have any offspring and many years later by Lord Shiva’s grace, his wife conceived and they had a girl child. Manakanjara Nayanar brought up the girl child well and soon it was time for her to get married. Manakanjara Nayanar chose another Shiva devotee Eyarkon Kalikkama Nayanar as the groom and the wedding was to take place in the bride’s place.

Lord Shiva chose this moment to show Maankanjara Nayanar’s devotion to the world. He came in the disguise of an ascetic Shiva bhaktha to Maankanjara Nayanar’s house. As he usually did to all Shiva bhakthas, Nayanar greeted the ascetic inside and offered him food. The ascetic enquired about the pomp and splendour at the house and Maankanjara Nayanar replied that his daughter’s wedding was to take place. He also asked his daughter to fall at the feet of the ascetic to receive his blessing. The ascetic saw the girl and commented that she had such long hair and it could be useful for making the sacred thread “Panchavati” used by ascetics. Without hesitation, Maanakanjara Nayanar took out his sword, cut his daughter’s hair and offered it to the ascetic with great respect. The ascetic vanished and Lord Shiva appeared with Goddess Parvathi on Vrushabha vahanam and gave darshan to Manjankkara Nayanar blessing him and his family for their devotion.

When the groom Eeyarkon Kalikkama Nayanar - another great devotee and one of the 63 Nayanmars - wondered how to marry a girl whose hair has been cut off, Lord Shiva blessed that the girl’s hair grow immediately and the wedding took place as scheduled!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Nayanmar 10 - Kungiliyakalaya Nayanar

Kungiliyakalaya Nayanar (குங்கிலியகலய நாயனார்)

Birthplace  : Thirukkadaiyur
Star           : Aavani Moolam

In the town of Thirukkadaiyur there was a Brahmin named Kalayar who was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva. His service to his Lord was to burn incense (kungiliyam – sambrani) in the temple every day. He never failed in doing this that he came to be called Kungiliyakalaya Nayanar.

Years rolled on and Kungiliyakalaya Nayanar lost all his wealth and became very poor. Even in his poor state, he continued his service to Lord Shiva without fail.

One day, there was no rice to cook at home and Kungiliyakalaya Nayanar, his wife and children were hungry. Kalayar’s wife removed her mangalsutra, gave it to him and asked him to buy some rice with the same. In the market, Kalayar came across a vendor with a sack full of incense. Without hesitation, he exchanged the incense for the mangalsutra and proceeded to the temple to do his daily service of burning incense and spreading the fragrance in the temple. He forgot all about his family and stayed in the temple with his Lord. The kind Lord did not forget his family and filled Kalayar’s house with wealth and plenty of food grains. He also advised Kalayar in the form of a divine voice to go home and eat well. Knowing well that there was not a grain of rice at home, Kungiliyakalaya Nayanar went home and was stunned to see the riches! His wife explained to him that all this was the grace of Lord Shiva. Delighted by the Lord’s grace, Kungiliyakalaya Nayanar continued to serve the Lord and his devotees!

During this time, the Shiva Linga at the temple of Thirupanandhal was leaning to one side and was not straight. The King tried to straighten the Linga with the help of his soldiers, horses and even elephants by tying the Linga to these, but nothing worked. When he went to Thirupanandhal, Kungiliyakalaya Nayanar put the noose around his neck and pulled the Linga. The Linga became erect right away! Kungiliyakalaya Nayanar did not do this to show that he was superior to others, but only wanted to be part of the devotees trying to serve the Lord. But his humility and bhakthi for Lord Shiva brought instant results!

All present were surprised and fell at the feet of Kungiliyakalaya Nayanar.

Kungiliyakalaya Nayanar belonged to the same period of Thirunaavukarasar and Thirugnanasambandhar and had to opportunity to serve them food at his place.

After many years of service to Lord Shiva, Kungiliyakalaya Nayanar reached the feet of his Lord.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Nayanmar 9 - Kannappa Nayanar

Kannappa Nayanar ( கண்ணப்ப நாயனார் )

Birthplace : Uduppur
Mukti       : Kalahasti
Star          :Thai Mrigaseerisham

This is one of my most favourite Nayanmar story having heard it many times from my Thatha

Naakan was head of a tribe in Uduppur. He and his wife Thathai did not have any children. Praying to Lord Muruga, they begot a son many years later. The named the child Thinnan. Thinnan grew up to be a handsome young man and he took over the responsibility of hunting when his father  became old. During one of his hunting trips with his friends Naanan and Kaadan, they felt very thirsty after chasing a wild pig and killing it.  Thinnan and Naanan went to the hillock nearby from where River Swarnamukhi (பொன்முகலி ஆறு) flowed. Atop the hill, they saw a lone Shivalinga. The moment Thinnan saw the Linga, he fell in love with the Lord. The Linga was decorated with some flowers. Naanan explained to Thinnan that a Brahmin came daily in the morning to do abhishekam and alankaram to the Lord.

In love with the Lord, Thinnan did not have the heart to leave the place. He wondered what the Lord will eat. He came back down the hill where Kaadan had started cooking the pig they had hunted. Thinnan took over the cooking, ensured perfection and selected the choicest meat. He then plucked some wild flowers and leaves from nearby, inserted it in his hair, held the meat in his hand, collected some water from the river in his mouth and reached the Shiva Linga. With great love, he cleared the flowers placed by the Brahmin with his shod feet, poured the water from his mouth on the Linga as abhishekam, offered the meat to the Lord and placed the wild flowers and leaves decoratively on the Linga. Thinnan continued to sit near his Lord the whole day and night. He wasn’t even aware that his friends had left him. 

When it dawned, Thinnan went in search of fresh offerings for the God. The Brahmin came to do his daily duty to the Lord and was shocked to see meat and wild flowers. He cleared the place, went to have bath again in the river as he had touched the meat and came back again to do abhishekam and alankaram for the Lord. Meanwhile Thinnan again hunted, cooked the meat and brought it along with wild flowers on his head and water for abhishekam in his mouth. This went on for some days. Thinnan’s friends had reported his strange behaviour to Thinnan’s parents and Naakan’s attempt to bring Thinnan back to their place was in vain.

The Brahmin was very upset that the Lord was being offered meat every day and prayed to the Lord for a solution. After five days of Thinnan’s offerings to the Lord, on the fifth night, Lord Shiva came in the Brahmin‘s dream and told him that Thinnan’s shod feet on the Lord’s head was more sweet to Him than the feet of Lord Muruga, the water poured from Thinnan’s mouth was purer than river Ganga, the wild flowers offered were greater than the offerings by Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma and the meat offered by Thinnan was superior than the offerings made to the Lord during yagnas. Lord Shiva finally advised the Brahmin to hide behind a tree next day and watch Thinnan.

Next day morning as usual the Brahmin completed his ritual of abhishekam and alankaram and hid behind a tree waiting for Thinnan. 

As usual, Thinnan came with the best meat in his hand, flowers for the Lord in his hair and water for abhishekam in his mouth. When Thinnan came nearby, he saw blood trickling down the right eye of the Lord. Shocked by this, Thinnan tried to stop the blood flow with his hand; he also tried to use some herbs from the hill. Nothing worked. Finally, he decided that only his eye can stop the blood. The moment he realized this, without hesitation, he took out an arrow, plucked his right eye as though he would pluck a flower and placed it on the Lord’s eye. The blood flow instantly stopped. Thinnan was very happy and smiled for a moment. Next moment the blood started gushing from the left eye of the Lord. This time Thinnan did not try any alternate methods. He right away put his foot on the bleeding left eye of the Lord to mark the position to place his eye, as he would be totally blind the moment he plucked his left eye. He then brought the arrow near his eye to pluck it out. Lo and behold, a hand came out of the Linga and stopped him, and a voice endearingly called him “Kannappa”

Lord Shiva appeared before Thinnan and appreciated his bhakthi. The Lord also blessed Thinnan with both eyes intact and called him Kannappa Nayanar as he was ready to sacrifice both his eyes for his Lord!  The Devas showered Kannappa Nayanar with flowers. The Brahmin came out of his hiding and fell at the feet of Kannappa Nayanar. Lord Shiva took Kannappa Nayanar with him as he could not bear to be separated from him.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Nayanmar 8 - Enathinatha Nayanar

Enathinatha Nayanar (ஏனாதிநாத  நாயனார்)

Birthplace : Einanoor (Yenaanallur)
Star           : Purattasi Uthiradam

In the Chozha kingdom, Enathinatha Nayanar was an expert in swordfight. He ran a school where he taught the martial arts. Enathinatha Nayanar was a great Shiva bhaktha and helped the devotees of the Lord with his income. Due to Lord Shiva’s grace, the popularity of his teachings grew and students thronged his school.

Another sword fighter by name Athisooran was jealous of Enathinatha Nayanar. He challenged Enathinatha Nayanar to a sword fight and declared that the winner will continue to run Enathinathar’s school. Enathinathar accepted the challenge. There was a terrible fight and Enathinathar defeated Athisooran.

Even more resentful, Athisooran planned another attack on Enathinathar.

This time, knowing fully well that Enathinathar respected Shiva bhakthas, Athisooran smeared himself with the holy ash and stood in front of Enathinathar for the battle. Looking at Athisooran in the form of a Shiva bhaktha, Enathinatha Nayanar’s only thought was that a devotee of his Lord should not be attacked and he was about to throw his sword and shield away. But he also knew that Athisooran will definitely kill him and he did not want a Shiva bhaktha, though it was only a disguise, to commit the sin of killing an unarmed man. Hence he held his sword and shield as though in defense but let Athisooran attack and kill him.

Lord Shiva appeared in front of Enathinatha Nayanar and took him to heaven.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Nayanmar 7 - Eripatha Nayanar

Eripatha Nayanar (எறிபத்த நாயனார்)

Birthplace  : Karur
Star           : Maasi Hastham

In the town of Karur, Eripatha Nayanar walked around carrying an axe to give protection to the Shiva bhakthas. In this town there was also an old Brahmin by name Sivakamiaandar who had the habit of getting up early morning, plucking flowers from the garden personally and take it to the local Shiva temple.

One day, when Sivakamiaandar was on his way to the temple with a basket full of fresh flowers, the king’s elephant pushed him down and the flowers fell on the ground. Seeing this, Eripatha Nayanar angrily took out his axe and killed the elephant. He also killed the mahout who tried to stop him. He then helped Sivakamiaandar up.

The news that the elephant and mahout been killed spread like wildfire as it was the king’s elephant and the king Pughazhchozha mannan came to the scene. The moment he saw Eripatha Nayanar, the King said “this man is a Shiva bhaktha. How could he have killed the elephant and the mahout?” When he understood what had happened, the king stood humbly before Eripatha Nayanar giving his sword to the Nayanar stating that the elephant belonged to him and hence he also has to be killed. Understanding the king’s humility and bhakthi towards his Lord, Eripatha Nayanar apologized to the king for his hasty action and asked the King to kill him.

All present heard a divine voice saying that all the above happened for the world to know Eripatha Nayanar’s bhakthi and the elephant as well as the mahout got up alive! The flowers strewn on the ground were back in the basket fresh as newly plucked ones!

Eripatha Nayanar requested the king to mount the elephant to go to his palace and Sivakaamiaandar to the temple with the fresh flowers.

Eripatha Nayanar continued his job of protecting the Shiva bhakthas for many years and later reached Shiva Loka!