Friday, March 11, 2011


From Editor’s Desk

Dear Readers/Seekers,

I am glad to present the life history of the second among the 63 devout Naayanmars ( Devotees of Lord Shiva) as part of a Sacred Sixty Three Series of articles spanning Sixty Three divine lives of Shaivite Naayanmar. The life history of the Nayanmars, seen from our mundane blinkers, may appear unbelievable at worst or highly imaginary at best. If we read the Chola Minister Sekkizhar’s Periyapuranam, we will know to what extent each of the Naayanmars had gone to sacrifice anything and everything they had for the Lord - be it be their own life or even that of their family members.

Sometimes I used to wonder the reason they had gone to such an extreme level. Is it that God will respond only to those who are ready to sacrifice everything ? Being a skeptic, I was reluctant to write articles on incidents which seemed to be on the fringes of imagination exaggeration. However only after seeing the bottom line of the any Naayanmar, I realized that they had attained salvation only after being put to a severe test. Hence we should sink in the moral that God will descend to protect His devotees provided they are steadfast in their devotion.

In this article we shall see the life history of “Poosalaar Nayanaar”. When reading the divinity soaked Periyapuranam, I was pondering over the meaning and significance of the word “Poosalaar”. It turned out that he was so called because he used to smear the sacred ash all over his body (Neeru Poosudhal) hence “Poosalaar”. However I further realized that the word “Poosal” was also used in another context in Thirukkural (Anbudaimai – Kural 71) which goes like this,

அன்பிற்கும் உண்டோ அடைகுந்தாழ் ஆர்வலர்
புன்கணீர் பூசல் தரும்

meaning, “ One cannot hide the love which one entertains towards a person. So much so, when one saw the person undergoing even a small suffering, copious tears will flow automatically”. Here the word “Poosal” is used in the context of “Tears flowing” or rushing. Similarly I am of the firm opinion that Poosalaar would have always been in tears thinking about his beloved Lord and hence would have received the name. I am also reminded of Tirumoolar’s Tirumanthiram which says,

அன்பும் சிவமும் இரண்டென்பர் அறிவிலார்
அன்பே சிவமாவது யாரும் அறிகிலார்
அன்பே சிவமாவது யாரும் அறிந்தபின்
அன்பே சிவமாய் அமர்ந்து இருப்பாரே

The ignorant says Love and Shivam are different
The very Love itself is Shivam which nobody knows
If one gets to know that Love itself is Shivam
He sits like or becomes the Shivam which is love personified

Similary the Poosalar Sits like or becomes the Shivam himself. You will come to know more of this while reading his life history.

அன்பே சிவம்

Please do share your valuable feedback.

Happy chanting!
Warm Regards,

A.V. Devan

Built to Last or Built to Heart?

The divine history of “Poosalaar Nayanaar“

The Pallava King Rajasimhan or Narasimhavarman II who ruled over South India during 6th Century was a great devotee of Lord Shiva besides being a connoisseur and patron of arts. He was also a great military strategist and a mighty warrior. That the Pallavas were recognized as a major power during this period is testified by the fact that he exchanged ambassadors with China and other countries. Rajasimhan reveled in histrionics and was a skilled dramatist and a poet. He wrote many works in Sanskrit and Tamil. Given his multi dimensional personality, he is mainly remembered as a foremost devotee of Lord Shiva and a relentless warrior king who ensured that the Pallava armies remained dominant in the subcontinent.

Rajasimhan desired to bequeath a befitting legacy to the posterity in the name of the Lord of Kailash and commenced the construction of the famous Kailasanathar temple at Kancheepuram. Upon completion of the temple after years of hard work, he decided to have the consecration (Kumbabishekam) and fixed an auspicious date after consulting erudite Shivacharyas.

The Kumabhishekam day was nearing and the attendant arrangements were under progress. A day prior to the D Day, the King personally supervised the arrangements for the grand function and went to bed thoroughly satisfied. However the Lord of Kailash started His divine play (Thiruvilayadal) as usual and appeared in the dream of Rajasimhan and said the following words as quoted from Periyapuranam.

நின்ற ஊர்ப் பூசல் அன்பன் நெடிது நாள் நினைந்து செய்த
நன்று நீடு ஆலயத்து நாளை நாம் புகுவோம்
நீ இங்கு ஒன்றிய செயலை நாளை ஒழிந்து பின் கொள்வாய்
என்று கொன்றைவார்சடையர் தொண்டர்

கோயில் கொண்டு அருளப் போந்தார்

“My beloved Poosalaar has conceived for a long time and built a big, fine temple which I will enter tomorrow; post­pone your program to a later date, so said the Lord who wears Golden Shower Blossoms in his matted locks and departed to occupy his devotee’s temple.”

Let us stop here for a while and know the flashback!

Flash back at Thiruninravur

In the Thondai region (Thondai Nadu) there was a small town named “Thiruninravur”. Thiruninravur is a suburb in the north west of Chennai near Avadi (meaning dwelling of cows). Thiruninravur also hosts one of the 108 divya desam “Vaikunda Vasa Perumal”. Thiru means Lakshmi, Nindra means Standing Ooor means the town. We can see the legends of these temples later during our Temple Visit. Now let us come back to the flash back.

Thiruninravur was inhabited by disciplined people steeped in Vedic knowledge. “Poosalaar” was born and bred in the Vedic Chanting tradition of the village. Poosalaar had mastered the Vedas and excelled in devotion and wisdom. He was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva and had an intense ambition to build a temple to the Lord Shiva. Though he could not muster funds, he had a deep and overwhelming desire in his heart. Engulfed with the overpowering craving, Poosalaar reconciled to himself that he would not get any help from any quarters for building the temple OUTSIDE. Undaunted, he finally decided to build a temple for the Lord, WITHIN. Presto, within the confines of his HEART!.

He knew all the agama shastras, i.e. scriptural rules to build a temple. So he sat under a tree and started contemplating about the construction of the temple within his heart. The temple gradually started growing up in his mind.

The intensely sincere and well thought out work continued without any hitch and he gradually completed the inner and outer praharams, artha, vasantha and bhoga mandapams. He also erected a big tower and adorned it with various clay forms; Also dug a sumptuous pond for providing water for the daily anointments and raised gigantic walls all around the shrine.

Thus, the Lord’s abode was as complete like the completeness of his love for the Lord. Bear it in mind that he built the temple step by step, stone by stone and executed his masterly odyssey meticulously and with great reverential detail, all within his Heart!. Pooslaar thus built a grand temple for the Lord of Kailash with such micro level details by meditating on the Lord from within his heart, where the God was verily seated. Having consummated the sublime construction, he fixed an auspicious date for the consecration ceremony (Kumbhabishegam). He then implored the Lord of Kailash, to grace the consecration and offer His blessings.


The King got woken up from his reverie and realized that in his dream, the Lord had ordered him to postpone the consecration as He had to attend a similar function slated for the same day at Tiruninravur. The king felt that if the Lord Himself had chosen then it should really be a bigger temple and decided to see the great devotee and the great temple himself started proceeding towards Tiruninravur along with his retinue. Upon reaching Thiruninravur the King enquired the local people about the new Shiva Temple.

Nobody happened to know anything about the temple but however informed him that there is a person by name “Poosalaar” sitting under a tree in meditation. The King’s retinue said they will bring Pooslaar but the King stopped them and said he would himself will go to his place and meet him.

The King then reached the Iruppai tree where Poosalaar was mediating , waited for the Poosalaar to open his eyes. Later when Pooslaar came out of meditation, the King revealed his dream to Poosalaar. The King of the region was standing in front of a poor a rare sight to see indeed. With folded hands, the King then requested Pooslaar that he wanted to see the TEMPLE built by him as revealed by the Lord Himself. Tears of love and joy started flowing in torrents from the eyes of Poosalaar as he could not believe that the Lord whose form could not be seen even by Brahma and Vishnu had decided to sanctify the consecration of the temple which he had built in his HEART.

Poosalaar then told the King that he had been constructing the temple in his heart and had fixed the consecration ceremony on that very day and that he had reached there just before the consecration. Saying so, he gently drew the Kings hands and placed them on his heart. The King felt the divine chanting of Vedas and Mangala Vadyam (Divine Musical instruments) and witnessed the consecration ceremony which was taking place inside the heart of Poosalaar!

The great devotee that he was, King Rajasimhan was astounded to see the devotion and sincerity of Poosalaar. The king himself took all the specifications of the temple which Poosalaar had in mind and physically constructed a temple for the Lord at Thiruninravur. Since Poosalaar originally built the temple for the Lord in his Heart (Hridayam) the Lord here is known as Hridhayaaleeswarar. It is the belief of many that the heart related ailments will get cured by simply having the darshan of the Lord Hridhayaaleeswarar at Thiruninravur.

Poosalar lived like what was said by Saint Thaayumana Swamigal

நெஞ்சகமே கோவில்
நினைவே சுகந்தம்
அன்பே மஞ்சன நீர்
பூசை கொள்ள வாராய் பராபரமே

The heart itself is a temple
Thinking about the Lord itself is the fragrance
The Love is the purificatory water
Please come Oh my Lord and accept my offerings!

The above incident is encrypted in the Kailasanathar Temple at Kanchipuram by Rajasimhan himself is the proof that the King did realized what he dreamt was real.

Let us worship the divine feet of POOSALAAR and RAJASIMHAN and seek their blessings to make us purify our insides and have the Lord in our hearts too!

அன்பே சிவம்


[Major] Sri V. Venkat Narayanan – For making this article glitter by doing the much needed Chamki, Zari and Jigina, work.

Sri A.R. Rama Narayanan - Whose was instrumental in writing articles about the divine 63 Naayanmaar (Shaivite Devotees).


Periya Puranam – Sri Karthikeyan - Giri Trading Publications
Chitira Periya Puranam – A.Sa. Gnaana Sambandan / Sri S. Rajam/Dr. N. Mahalingam
Puchalar Nayanar –
God’s favorite abode –
Narasimhavarman II -
Thiruninravur Sri Hridhayaaleeswarar -

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent !!! I remember reading about Poosalar during school days as Mana Kovil Konda Nayanar. Every single post of yours is well written, every single word soaked in divinity. Such a blessing reading your blog !