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Posts Tagged ‘Thevaram ’


Hi friends, i can hear you laughing, but it no joke, this is another priceless treasure from Darasuram, which denotes the life of Amarneethiyar, one of the 63 Nayanmaars.

Lets look at the location of this miniature panel to start with.

amarneethiyar location

The story is a lesson in how the Lord plays with his devotees, sometimes taking it to real extremes to test the sincerity of a devotee ( wish if they do similar before granting boons !!) . Thanks to http://www.nayanmar.com/abtus.htm and with some verse references from the 12th Tirumurai

Amarneethiyar of Pazhayarai was an honest merchant who used to offer food and clothes including inner-wears to the devotees of Shiva. He had also built a Mutt for pilgrims at Tirunallur.

Once Shiva came in the guise of a devotee and gave him a loin-cloth for safe-keeping till he returned after a bath in the river.

http://www.thevaaram.org/thirumurai_1/songview.php?thiru=12&Song_idField=1207&padhi=72&startLimit=13&limitPerPage=1&sortBy=&sortOrder=DESC

The Brahmin-lad consenting to what the devotee
Entreated of Him bowing, said: “I’ll bathe
In the divine river Cauvery and return;
In case it rains, keep this (dried) kovanam with you
And return it to me.” This said, He untied
From His staff a white and bright kovanam.

The visitor gave great importance to the loin cloth thus:
http://www.thevaaram.org/thirumurai_1/songview.php?thiru=12&Song_idField=1207&padhi=72&startLimit=14&limitPerPage=1&sortBy=&sortOrder=DESC

“I need not expatiate to you on the lofty excellence
Of this kovanam; receive it and keep it safe
With you till I return here; be not negligent;
Preserve it yonder and give it back to me.”
Thus He spake and handed it over to him.

Amarneethiyar understanding the importance of the loin cloth !!, did not keep it with the other clothes but in a safe place with adequate security

http://www.thevaaram.org/thirumurai_1/songview.php?thiru=12&Song_idField=1207&padhi=72&startLimit=16&limitPerPage=1&sortBy=&sortOrder=DESC

The peerless servitor who received the kovanam
Bearing in mind the Brahmin‘s instructions,
Did not keep it with his gift-articles
– Kantais, keells, garments and kovanams –.
He thought of a safe place and thither kept it safe.

When he came back, Amarneethiyar found that the lion cloth had vanished from the box.

He brought a new one in its stead but the visitor was full of fury and refused to accept it. He wanted his own “You call yourself a devotee of Shiva Just to rob other devotee’s! of their belonings” he shouted. When Amarneethiyar sought to pacify him, he agreed to receive clothes equal in weight to the spare loin-cloth he was having.

http://www.thevaaram.org/thirumurai_1/songview.php?thiru=12&Song_idField=1207&padhi=72&startLimit=31&limitPerPage=1&sortBy=&sortOrder=DESC

Then the Lord spake thus: “Apart from the kovanam
We now wear, the one we gave you and which
You allege as lost can be matched by this only.”
He untied the kovanam from his staff and said:
“Give me a kovanam equivalent to its weight.”

Notice how the sculptor has sculpted this little detail as well

stick with the loin cloth

The game started, the loin cloth was put on one side of a balance and Amarneethiyar’s cloths on the other. They could not weigh equal to the loin cloth. All the riches of Amarneethiyar proved inadequate to tilt the scales in his favour.

http://www.thevaaram.org/thirumurai_1/songview.php?thiru=12&Song_idField=1207&padhi=72&startLimit=36&limitPerPage=1&sortBy=&sortOrder=DESC
Beholding this, fear-stricken, the devotee spake
To the Brahmin thus: “Even when filled with
Boundless clothing, pure and good, and also varieties
Of innumerable threads, the pan stands thus;
Suffer me to freight it with my other wealth.”
Thus did he, Him beseech.

http://www.thevaaram.org/thirumurai_1/songview.php?thiru=12&Song_idField=1207&padhi=72&startLimit=39&limitPerPage=1&sortBy=&sortOrder=DESC

Its threads are the import of the Vedas four
Brimming with the puissance of askesis;
It is dear to Siva, the kovanam. So the encomium
– That all the wealth of Amar-Nitiyar in this world
And all the wealth of all the worlds cannot
Match it –, mirrors not its true glory.

It was only when Amarneethiyar ascended the scales along with his wife and son chanting the Panchakshara that the needle of balance became even.

the family entering the weighing scale

http://www.thevaaram.org/thirumurai_1/songview.php?thiru=12&Song_idField=1207&padhi=72&startLimit=40&limitPerPage=1&sortBy=&sortOrder=DESC

Having witnessed the happening, the peerless one
Standing before Him spake thus: “I have loaded
The pan with all my blemishless wealth; nothing now remains;
O Lord, may I be graced with leave to ascend
The pan with my wife and little child, if considered fit.

Such was the act of complete self-surrender that the Lord extracted from his devotee. Even as the youth vanished, Shiva appeared in the skies with his consort and blessed him. The scales acting as an airship, Amarneethiyar ascended to Shiva’s world along with his wife and child.

amaraneethiyar2

See how the Lord plays with his devotees and uses the barest of bare necessities - a loin cloth of all items to test and make them one with him.

verse english version translation are from the site ref and credits
Translation: T.N. Ramachandran

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Hi friends, we saw an interesting post but it ended with a comma ..”But then is there something else that was used to light a lamp by another naynaar, ” Today we are going to see his story, sculpted in stone in the same Darasuram temple complex. Kanampulla Nayanar.

The panel first

Kanampulla nayanar

Born into a family of village headmen in Velur, our Nayanar took great pleasure in serving the Lord by lighting up the temple. He spent much of his wealth on this act and slowly fell into poverty. He shifted to Chidambaram to be one with the Lord of dance. He had by then sold his lands, house etc and was in abject poverty. His holy service continued in spite of whatever hurdles he faced. He sold the household articles one by one and lit the lamps in the abode everyday with ghee. Then came the situation when there was nothing left in the house to sell, but too proud to beg, he went to toil in the fields. He cut the straw(kaNampul) in the fields, sold it in the market and with that money continued his service to the lord.

One day he could not sell the straws he brought in spite of all his efforts.Not losing heart, he went ahead to burnt the straw. First act of the sculpture

lighting grass

The straws being dry, burnt very fast and pretty soon he was left with nothing. Still wanting to light up the temple, what did he do??

offerring own hair as wick

Not able to get it, lets get closer and view the second act

his own hair as a wick

The Verse reference from thevaram as below:

http://www.thevaaram.org/thirumurai_1/songview.php?thiru=12&Song_idField=1248&padhi=72&startLimit=7&limitPerPage=1&sortBy=&sortOrder=DESC

He who caused the lamps to glow before the Lord
During the appointed hour, could not come by enough
Grass to render duly his service;
Thereupon he that served the Lord in true love
Burnt for a lamp the hair on his head;
He so burnt it that his very bones melted;
Thus, even thus, he burnt away the bondage
And nexus of the twyfold Karma.

He burnt his own hair as a wick. Such was his devotion to the Lord.

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