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.