Sunday, March 28, 2010

Kannappa Nayanar-epitome of devotion

This story is in praise of one hunter who never learnt any holy scriptures and whose discipline was just to kill-hunt, who became an excellent example of devotion.

      Thinnanar was a very skilled hunter, who in his sixteenth year succeeded his father Nagan as the king of the Vyashas(hunters) in Uduppur in South India.

      One day Thinnanar led his men into the forest to hunt, the hunters made a lot of killings but suddenly a wild pig broke away from their nets and leaped away into the dense forest. Only three people were able to chase the wild pig to the end, they were Thinnanar, Nanan and Kadan. The chase had taken them a long way away from their men, they were hungry and tired. Thinnanar asked Kadan to cook the pig while he himself along with Nanan set out to bring water.

      As they cut across the dense forest they came to the foot of the kalahasti hill. Nanan told Thinnanar about the temple of Kudumithevar on top of the hill and that they can go and pray there. Even as Thinnanar took his first step towards the Lord he felt a huge wave of love and boundless joy surge inside him. 
As his eyes fell on the Shiva lingam he was transformed into an embodiment of  devotion .Tinnanar was merged in deep feeling of divine ecstasy.He wept, and shed tears of extreme joy.

      Nanan told Tinnanar that he had seen a priest bathe the Lord and ornate him with flowers. Thinnanar understood the worship that the God of Kalahasti likes, But his foremost concern was that the Lord was alone and unprotected in the forest surrounded by wild animals. Next it stuck him that the Lord must be hungry and  left to get meat for the Lord. He went to the foot of the hill where Kadan had cooked the wild pig, he tasted the meat of the cooked pig and took only those pieces he deemed tasty and worthy of the Lord on a leaf, he took some water from the river in his mouth and some beautiful wild flowers in his hair . He went up the hill, poured the water on the Lingam, ornated the Lingam with wild flowers and offered the meat to the Lord.He stood guard the whole night with bow and arrow in his  hand and left only in the morning to get food .

      The priest Shivakochariyar , as was his habit for years came to perform his daily prayers and to offer salutations to the Lingam. But today the bones and flesh strewn in front of the Lingam distressed him. He cleaned the altar carefully all the while blaming the hunters for the mischief. He brought fresh water from the river to bathe the Lingam and performed puja and prayers. He prostrated in front of the Lord and left to his hermit.

     Our adorable hunter came back with his offerings to the Lord , he forgot sleep at night guarding the Lord was his prime concern.This continued for days. Meanwhile Nanan and Kadan brought his father and others to persuade Thinnanar to return home, but none of their efforts were fruitful in getting back Thinnanar.

     By this time the sage Shivakochariyar was desperate ,he worshiped to the Lord to remove the person who was responsible for this misdeed. The Lord appeared in his dreams and said that the deeds of the person was a delight to him, the water he spit on him more sacred than the Ganges and the flowers he brought in his hair more holier than the offerings of God. He also asked Shivakochariyar to hide and see the true devotion of Thinnanar.

      Shivakochariyar hid behind a tree and saw Thinnanar returning with his offerings.Thinnanar came near the Shiva Lingam and saw with horror that his worst fears had come true ,he saw blood flowing from one eye of the Lingam, Thinnanar in his helplessness screamed out loud, he ran all around the forest to find the miscreant responsible for this, he brought herbs from the jungle to heal the wound. Finally desperate to stop the healing he took his arrow pierced his eye and plucked it out and placed it on the wound on the Shiva Lingam, the bleeding stopped at once, Thinnanar was ecstatic , he danced around in celebration not feeling his own pain. In another moment he saw blood flowing from the other eye of the Lord, this time around Thinnanar knew what's to be done,since he won't be able to see the wound with both his eyes gone he stuck his toe on the wound to mark its position and then  took his arrow to his other eye and was about to pluck it  , when the Lord himself, unable to bear such an act of devotion appeared shouting "Oh! halt Kannappa!!, halt Kannappa!!(kann=eye).Shivakochariyar saw the great love of this devotee and the grace he got for it. It was only mere love and intense devotion to the Lord that bestowed Kannappar the greatest boon from the Lord that is, self-realisation.

Great scholars including Thirunyana Sambandar,, Sundharar, Manikkavachakar,Nakkirar and a list which is too long to put ,have praised this great hunter as an unparalleled example of devotion.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The fruit of wisdom-Palani

      There is a legend that says that one day the sage Narada Muni, brought a golden mango to the home of Lord Shiva, and prayed that he eat it . The lord gave the fruit to his consort Goddess Parvathi and asked her to eat it. The fruit was a rare one and was the fruit of wisdom, Parvathi wanted her sons Lord Ganpathi and Lord Muruga to eat it. The problem was the fruit has to be eaten fully to gain its benefits and that meant only one of her children could have it.
      Lord Shiva came up with the idea of a contest between his two children and said that the child who goes round the world three times and comes back here first will truly deserve the fruit and so will be rewarded with it.
At once Lord Muruga got on his peacock and flew determined to win the fruit. Lord Ganesha whose vehicle is the mouse knew it was futile to try and beat his younger brother if he sets out on his mouse and tries to go around the world. He does beat his brother to the fruit ! He goes three times around his parents who were seated and declared that since his parents were his whole world he has gone around the world thrice, his amused father gave away the fruit to him.

      Lord Muruga came back sure of his victory, and was greatly taken aback seeing the fruit in the hands of Lord Ganesha . In  a fit of anger he renounced his family and climbed up a hill and remained there. His loving parents Lord Shiva and Parvathi came to pacify him and said that he was the fruit of wisdom(Nyana pazlum)- Palani. The place thereon came to be called  Palani.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thirunyana Sambandar-the male palm trees

      Thirunyana Sambandar sings the Pathigam which makes the male palm trees bear fruits.

     Thirunyana Sambandar is one among the sixty three Nayanmars, who lived during the early fifth to tenth century A.D. Nayanmars were devotees of Lord Shiva and they brought about the revival of Saivism in a  period when other religions like Buddhism and Jainism were more wide spread in most parts of India.

     In his journey to various temples in the praise of the Lord , Thirunyana Sambandar came to place called Thiruvoththur. In this place lived a devotee  who grew palm trees for the Lord. Much to the disappointment of the devotee all the trees were male and did not bear fruits. 
     When Sambandar came to that place ,the devotee appealed to him with great love and faith .Sambandar sang a pathigam and much to everyone's surprise the male trees started to bear fruits. 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thirunyana Sambandar-the story of poompavai

Thirunyana Sambandar sings the pathigam to bring Poompavai to life from ashes in front of Lord Kapaleeswar in Thirumayilapur.

      Shivanechar was the name of the wealthy man, who lived with his beautiful daughter Poompavai in Thirumayilapur. He was a devotee of Lord Shiva.As the marvels performed by Thirunyana Sambandar reached him, his admiration for the young son of God grew out of bounds.

         Such was his devotion to the Lord that in his mind and heart he promised  his beautiful daughter Poompavai in marriage to Thirunyana Sambandar.

      One morning Poompavai in her seventh year goes with her friends to the garden to pluck flowers. In the garden the child gets bitten by a venomous snake and dies. Her grief stricken father does not lose faith in the Lord, he collects his child's bones and ashes in an earthern pot and awaits for Thirunyana Sambandar and to fulfill his promise he had made in his heart .

       In his sixteenth year Thirunyana Sambandar comes to Thirumayilapur.The overjoyed father with great reverence invites the young prodigy to his abode and speaks of his beautiful daughter and shows him the pot.

       Thirunyana Sambandar had the pot brought out and in front of Lord Kapali sang the Pathigam which brings poompavai back to life, the girl rose out of the pot now in her twelfth year, so beautiful that words could not describe her. The devotees who had gathered around were overjoyed and sang the praise of the Lord. 

       Shivanechar offered his daughter's hand in marriage to Thirunayana Sambandar, to which the God child politely replied that it would not be proper for him to marry his daughter as he had given her life.He consoled the father as best as he could and went on his travels with his devotees to sing the glory of the Lord.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Thirunyana Sambandar-the miracle child

      In the seventh century Chola kingdom is the town Sirkali. Shivapada Hridayar a great devotee of Lord Shiva lived with his wife Bhagavathiyar. The couple were blessed with a son whom they named Sambandhar.The child grew up happily in the tender care and nurture of his loving parents.

      One day when Sambandhar was about three years old he accompanied his father to the pond ,where his father was in the habit of taking bath before going into the temple for worship.

       Shivapada Hridayar made Sambandhar sit on the bank of the pond and went inside the pond and did all the rituals saluting the Lord Thoniappan. 
When he took a dip in the water the child could not see his father and started to cry. After a while the child stopped crying, when his father came out of the water and near the child, saw milk dripping from his mouth.The father took a stick and demanded the child to tell him who gave him milk. The child with infinite joy on his face pointed his finger to  Lord Shiva on the bull with his beautiful wife Parvati beside him and sang his first Pathigam(hymn)-"thodudaiya cheviyan". 

      Though the father could not see the lord he understood what had happened from the hymn the child sang- Lord Shiva and Parvati had descended on the bull on hearing the child cry and Parvati had fed milk to the child in a golden bowl-the milk of knowledge. Hearing his son singing such a beautiful hymn at the tender age of three filled Shivapada Hridayar with great joy he knew his child was truly blessed .When they started from the temple prostrating to the lord he took the child on his shoulders.There was a ocean of devotees who praised their boon Thirunyana Sambandar.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I have read the story of onake obavva as a kid in text books and the story has stuck on to me.

Hyder Ali planned to attack the fort of Chitradurga , during the reign of Madakari Nayaka. He found the fort impenetrable. But one day, one of Hyder Ali's men saw a woman going into a small hole in the rocks and enter the fort. 
Hyder Ali's army planned to enter the fort through that hole. The hole was always guarded from the inside. 

One day the guard who was on vigil left the hole and sat to have his lunch.His wife Obavva , a devoted wife went to get some water for her husband and on hearing a noise reached the hole. She saw Hyder Ali's men slowly crawling inside the hole trying to enter into the fort, She did not want to trouble her husband who has been on vigil for long hours and has only now sat down to eat. So she quietly reached the hole with a onake (wooden pestle used to pound grains) in her hand . As soon as the enemy soldier's head appeared out of the hole she hit it hard with her onake and dragged the body out of the hole. The next soldier now entered noiselessly without any suspicion and became a victim of Obavva's onake.Soon she had them in a heap around her.
Unknown to Obavva one man had already escaped into the fort before she came to the hole. That soldier came back in search of the other men and when he saw Obavva striking the soldiers, struck her from behind with a knife , Obavva fell, but not before raising the alarm and warning her husband  .By her brave efforts Obawa helped repel Hyder Ali's army.

Obavva is since a legend known for her pure heart and bravery, and occupies a special place in the hearts of the people and the history of Karnataka.