The Lord whom the people following all the six religions associated with sanAthana dharma reach finally, that shiva had one of the 63 great devotees from one other religion, namely budhdhism (chAkkiyam). The people who seek the real truth, whatever be the religion they belong to if they do an impartial analysis of shaivism, explore that it is the path of worshipping shiva that is ultimate.
(Please note that this picture depicts as if this devotee was a jain, but he was actually a buddist.)
In the place thiruchchaN^ga maN^gai where people had the generous mind like the mother earth, n^AyanAr was born in a family which had agriculture as their profession. He learnt lots of philosaphy, not for useless debating or grazing to boast as a scholar, but to find out the truth. Hence he had love for all the creatures in this world. He was determined to come out of the birth-death cycle. (reincarnation). He reached the city kAnychi , which had lots of scholars and was synonymous with knowledge, out of his quest for the truth. He accepted the path of budhdhism. There he had the opertunity to explore the principles of budhdhism and other religions. He read the scriptures of his religion and other religions analysed them with unbiased thirst for truth. Our Lord always leads people in the correct way if they are truthful and have quest for Him. By His grace he established for himself that it is the path of shiva that is the ultimate truth.
He found out, "There are four basic elements. The deed, doer, its effect and the controller of the effect. Only shaivam has this excellent principle, and others don't. And shiva is the Truth". His conclusion was based on his analysis. It was beyond doubts. It was the fact explored. He was sure, "Whatever be one's state, whatever be the form and outside appearance the right thing to do is not forgetting the holy feet of shankara ." So he didn't change his appearance of a budhdhist monk, but was always enjoying the sweet feet of Lord shiva in his heart. It is only the people who do not realise or do not wish to realise that Omnipresent Almighty Isha is the God, blaspheme due to their dependance on other religions. But our n^AyanAr flowed in the path of love for the God whom he found out to be the right.
Common for the invisible formlessness and the visible different forms is the symbol of the Lord called shivaliN^gam (symbol of shiva). That stands for both form and formless. shivaliN^gam appeared when vishNu and four headed brahma tried to find out the head and feet of the God. It is the symbol of that unmeasurable unique unexplainable Almighty. Realising these concepts he everyday went to see the shivaliN^gam, and when seen he forgot the world, became the wax that saw the fire, his heart blossomed, eyes expanded in bliss, tears of joy appeared as pearls. He didn't know what to do. He took a stone and threw it on the Lord without the knowledge of what he is doing but with great devotion. The Lord was happy with the deed of His devotee, like the kid that feels good when the elders out of the love violantly embrace it. In his routine he arrived the next day as well. He then remembered that he had thrown a stone on the Lord. Thinking that that happened only as a blessing of the Lord he took that as his service to that Easily pleased. That day onwards everyday he throws a stone at the shivaliN^gam and worship the God in the saffron cloth of the budhdhist monks.
Is it right to throw stone on the Lord and worship ? Won't it lead to misinterpretations ? How did the Lord then accept such a worship ? It was not the stones themselves the Lord accepted. It was the devotion behind that deed he accepted. So one can not argue that, "I too will throw stones and call it worship". Whether it is the stone throwing of chAkkiya n^AyanAr or kaNNappa n^AyanAr's putting the footwear on the shivaliN^gam's head, it was not the actions but the unimaginable peaks of love that was accepted by the Lord as flawless. Others see only the stones, but the hara takes that as flower.
One day he forgot to do his duty of stone worship and went to have his food. That time he realised, "Oh! How did I forget my Love ? How can I go ahead with my food without worshipping Him ?". He rushed to the three eyed Lord's abode with flood like love and speed. He took a stone and offered it to the feet of God. To bless the devotee who forgot his food, rushed in anxiety to do the service he undertook without any break, the eight armed sugarcane - shambu - appeared in the horizon on the holy Bull with the Goddess who has the best knowledge of the AgamAs. The devotee prostrated, praised the Lord with the folded hands on his head. God offered him the covetted post of being His slave in the shivalOka. Let the quest for the Absolute and the love that is beyond explanation stay in the mind.
gurupUjai : mArkazi - pUrADam