My loincloth is priceless

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.

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 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.

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:

“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

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.

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

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.
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.

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.

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.

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

10 thoughts on “My loincloth is priceless

  1. விஜய்,
    மிகவும் அருமை, சிற்பங்களும் அதற்காண திருமுறை பாடல்களும் கண்முன்னே ஒரு திரைப்படத்தையே காட்டிவிட்டன. மிகவும் இரசிக்கும்படி உள்ளது இந்தப் பதிவு.. நன்றி

  2. திருநீலகண்டர் கதையின் கடைப்பாகமும் இப்படித்தான் வரும். இவருக்கு (அமர்நீதியாருக்கு) கோவணம் என்றால், நீலகண்ட நாயனாருக்கு மண் கை ஓடு. சிவன் செயலை யார் அறியமுடியும்..

    நாயனாரின் வாழ்க்கைக் கதைகளை சிற்பங்கள் மூலம் சிற்பி்கள் படைத்தது என்பது ஒரு புண்ணிய காரியம் என்றால் அதை வெளிப்படுத்தி வெளியே அனைவரும் அறியச் செய்வதை என்னவென்று சொல்வது?

    வாழ்க என நாமும் வாழ்த்துவோம்..


  3. ”எந்தத் துறைமுகனோ எந்தனது கோவணத்தை எடுத்துக் கொண்டோடிவிட்டான், பார், பார், பார்!” என்ற கிராமியப் பாடல் நினைவுக்கு வருகிறது! ‘அது’வும் சாஸ்வதமில்லை என்னும் உண்மையை விளக்கும் அற்புதமான கதை, சிலைகள்!

  4. திருக்குறிப்புத் தொண்டர்???ம்ம்ம்ம்ம்?? அப்படித் தான் படிச்ச நினைவு??? பார்க்கிறேன், எதுக்கும், தேர்ந்தெடுத்துக் கண்டுபிடிச்சுப் போடுகிறீர்கள். அற்புதமான உழைப்புக்கு வாழ்த்துகள்.

  5. pictures, articles and english trnaslation everything is superb, let Lord Shiva bless you for your good service

  6. This is beautiful!! we went to dharasuram last year, but were unaware of such beautiful sculptures… the next time i visit, i shall surely look at the details.. thanks and keep posting such interesting things

  7. dear anu madam

    Many thanks for visiting and your comments. I have followed many of your visit blogs. Please do share interesting sculpture snaps with us


  8. vâNàkkàm. Firstly, the Lord does not come to test His Devotees but rather to reveal their Greatness to the world. By attaining detachment from paasàm and surrender to the Lord’s Feet, and maintaining that, They have already passed all possible tests. Secondly, I’ve been searching for a long time for the significance of Lord sivàn’s kohvàNám. In this puraaNàm, Lord sivàn only tells thirú âmàrneedhi naayànaar that He should know Its importance but, I’m yet to find what Its importance is. Please help. Also, I’d appreciate it if whomever is interested in the propagation of saivà sithaandhàm to please join my fb group Siva and Tamil Hq, which I opened for the propagation of sithaandhàm among South African’s, and please contribute. sivà sivà.

  9. கட்டுரை, சிற்பப் படங்கள், செய்யுளோடு விளக்கம் அருமை. பராட்டத்தக்க முயற்சி.
    வாழ்க, வளர்க.

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