Own Hair as a wick to light a lamp – Kanampula Nayanar Darasuram

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

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

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??

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

The Verse reference from thevaram as below:


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.

7 thoughts on “Own Hair as a wick to light a lamp – Kanampula Nayanar Darasuram

  1. பக்தியின் உச்சக் கட்டங்கள் மூக்கறுத்தல், பிள்ளையை வெட்டி சமைத்தல், தன் கண்ணையே பிடுங்குதல்…இன்னும் எத்தனையோ!!! ஆனால் காதால் கேட்டதையும், எழுத்தாக படித்ததையும் கண்ணால் கண்டு களிக்கும் வகை செய்தனரே என்னவென்று வாழ்த்துவது அந்த கலா ரசிகர்களையும், கலைஞர்களையும்…

  2. Super Vijay!
    Among all the Naayanmaars, my favorite is Ilayaankudi Mara Naayanaar. Its because I read his story through a poem in my 12th std. I love his affection to God.
    Now this article makes tears on my eyes. Even an atheist would become a believer on reading such stories. 🙂

  3. Wonderful sculpture….wonderful post. Your blog enlightens everyone with the message that, no peice of work in any temple is just a decorative thing or just a peice without any message. Each and every inch of a temple tells some message or the other. Thanks for bringing it to limelight.

    Why is that, most of the sculptures, the stories are from right to left????

  4. thanks lakshmi, hope i can make it there!!

    satheesh – nicely put

    Shriram – yes, its a wonderful sculpture too

    Satish – yes, its a treasure trove. reg the stories going from right to left – a simple hypothesis would be that these sculptures are in the sight of viewers who are circumambulating the temple clockwise…so they get to view the story as they walk. how does it sound.


  5. on a lighter vein, women will be envious of his long hair (nedun koondhal) when there was no mira shikakai…:)

    as usual its an excellent, the way it goes u might be one of the nayanars who develops spirituality thru sculptors or the other way round !!!

  6. thank you for your website it give me great joy to read all about develops spirituality thru sculptors please send me some cd on thevaram.thank you lots of love maliga reddy south africa.

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