Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sacred 63 - Thiruneelakandanayanar

Once there lived a devotee of Lord Shiva in Chidambaram and due to his constant chanting of “Thiruneelakandam” he came to be known in this name itself. He was a Potter by profession and as a service to Lord Shiva he used to provide free clay bowls to the devotees of Lord Shiva. He was gifted with an exceedingly beautiful wife, whose physical beauty was only exceeded by her kindness and her love for Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva forever abided in her heart and her mind forever dwelled on the feet of the Lord. The potter devotee lived a happy life with his wife. Something extraordinary things needs to happen in everyone’s life to realize the God.

Fate made him to lead once to a lady whose work is to give bodily pleasure. When his wife came to know about this she was unhappy with him for his deed. She did all the responsibilities of the wife but didn't allow him to be with her. To bring down her resentment he went with sweet words and tried to hug her. She said immediately, “Thiruneelakandam aanai emmai thodatheer” meaning Thiruneelakandam please don’t touch me. Generally the word “emmai” in tamizh is used in plural and when his wife told “emmai” he took the word seriously. It is told even a single word can change a person. Thus this utterance from his wife changed him completely and he took a vow that henceforth he will not touch any women in his life including his wife!

The couple of wonderful determination and self control did the duties of the married life, but abstained from the base feeling of sex. They also never revealed it to others - the ideal couple. It could be easier to conquer the world, but it is more difficult to conquer the senses and the toughest in presence of the charming spouse. Given that the person had a great amount of desire for that in the past that led him even outside, how difficult it would be to conquer! He did conquer that for the Name of God and there he stands grand for even the sages, who conquered the senses by practice, to look up to!

Play by the Great Potter

Years rolled down their beauty and charm disappearing they became old but held strongly the feet of the Lord in their heart. The great potter who created this Universe now decided to reveal their devotion to the entire world. He came in the garb of a sage to Nayanar’s house. Welcoming and worshipping the sage, nayanaar asked in humble words what order the sage had for him. The shankara who came stealthily as sage gave the clay begging bowl to the nayanar and requested him to take care of the bowl till he returns. Nayanaar not suspecting anything took the bowl and promised that he would keep it safe. The mystic Lord removed the bowl from that place and returned the next day as if he doesn’t know anything and asked for the bowl back.

The truthful devotee shocked to find out that the bowl disappeared from the specified place, searched the entire place with shivering heart, but couldn't get it. The sage shouted as if He was impatient to make it fast. The devotee begged for pardon to forgive the loss of the bowl and was ready to give a real nice new bowl instead of that old one. But the sage insisted on the same bowl that he had given and refused to accept even if he would give a golden bowl. As he was not able to give, the sage charged him to be cheating. That devotee pleaded Him to trust his honesty. The sage said if he takes a dip in the pond holding the hand of his son He would believe. naayanar told him that he did not have any offspring.

The Sage replied that if he doesn’t have a son let him have a dip holding his wife's hand. For that neelakantam replied that he cannot do that due to a pledge. Acting as if angered the Graceful went to the court of the priests of Thillai "It was true that the sage gave the bowl but I am really ignorant of where it disappeared", said the man of immense integrity. The court upheld the argument of the sage that naayanar should have a dip in the pond holding his wife's hand.
The old couple came to the temple pond. The couple were holding one end of the bamboo stick since they cannot touch each other. Nayaanar told the reason for not touching his wife to the entire audience who have gathered there and holding the bamboo stick both took the dip. When they arose out of the water the miraculous event took place yes to the astonishment of everyone their old age was vanished and emerged as a young couple. At the same time the Lord who came in the form of Sage disappeared.

There appeared the Lord in the horizon on the holy bull with the consort to bless the hailing devotee, "You both are very great due to your victory over the five senses. You be with me in bliss without an end to this youth".

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