Thirunavukkarachu Nayanar - Part- I (Rise of the Sage)
Who can explain perfectly the life full of limitless love and selfless service of deep determination of the great, adorable sage who was called "the king of the tongue" ( thirun^Avukkarachar ) by the Lord Himself who gave the holy vEdas, and who is saluted by the child prodigy thirunyAnachampan^dhar (1) as appar with great devotion.
With the flow of the river thenpeNNai the kingdom called thirumunaippAdi , situated in the central part of thamizakam, was fertile with lots of water and soil resources. Is there anymore words needed to portray the greatness of this kingdom when the sage of service thiru n^Avukkarachar and the superior slave of devotees sun^dharar (2) were born in that kingdom ! Among the prosperous towns of that kingdom, due to its spreading of the fragrance of shaivam the town called thiruvAmUr , is outstanding. In that land covered by green paddy clothing, there lived a couple of good hospitality pukazanAr and his wife mAdhiniyAr in the profession of removing the world's hunger - agriculture. That blessed couple gave birth to the wealth - a girl by name thilakavathiyAr (3). After a few years they got a son - a sun to drive away the ignorance from the hearts of people by his magic words of complete love - and named him maruNIkkiyAr (remover of illusion). He grew up with all the festivals like removing the hair of the kid done in a nice way. He started learning the arts in the right age and grew up like the growing moon without blackspots.
When thilakavathiyAr completed twelve, the colonel of the king by name kalippakaiyAr who had a lot of love for the Lord who has umA in His left part, wanted to get married to thilakavathiyAr. With the both sides accepting happily to the marriage the procedures started. At that time kalippakaiyAr had to go on the request of the king to the warfield to fight against a king of north. So he went before getting married. Meanwhile pukazanAr fell sick and reached heaven and mAdhiniyAr followed him unable to bear the shock. By the time the children thilakavathiyAr and maruNIkkaiyAr were consoled by the relatives they got the message that the valiant kalippakaiyAr became martyr in the battlefield. thilakavathiyAr felt that when her parents decided to get her married to him, then itself she had become one for him. So she did not want to live without him.
maruNikkiyAr held the feet of his sister and cried that he was still surviving after their parents' passing away only because he was able to salute her and live, if she also decided to leave him alone in the world then he would prefer to die first. That merciful soft-hearted lady made up her mind for her loving brother. She lived an austerous life away from all the lures of the world with pure love for all the lives. maruNikkiyAr trying to come out of the gloom involved himself in doing charities, set up inns, water shelters and hosted the hungered. He started thinking about the uncertainty in life and analyzed the religions. For realizing the Truth above all one should have His grace. For drinking water just thirst is not sufficient but there should be water source as well. As the Lord did not show him the truth then, he was attracted by the glitter of non-violence of Jainism while its philosophies were incomplete and impractical.
He went to a place called pAtalIpuththiram (kadalUr) which was famous for the Jain institutions. He learnt the scriptures of that religion with the real spirit and was praised for his knowledge by the Jains over there. He was given the title dharma sEnar by them. He won the Budhdhists in the debates on philosophy. The entire Jain groups were happy to have such a superior leader. During this period thilakavathiyAr stayed away from all the relations with the relation of all the lives - the Lord shiva in the holy place thiruvadhikai . She did all the services in all humbleness to the Lord who burnt three cities of impurities like a piece of straw. That woman of pure heart prayed to the God many times to rescue her younger from the ignorance and show him His grace. She was more than a mother for maruNIkkiyAr, she not only brought him up but also praying day and night for him to realize the truth in life - she became her guide and philosopher too. The Light of the Universe appeared in the dream of that sage and blessed her not to worry, He would bring maruNIkkiyAr to the right path, who was doing austerities in the previous births to reach Him, by giving the chUlai (a terrible stomach pain).
Like the mother who beats the kid not to punish but to correct the Lord gave the unbearable pain in his stomach. dharma sEnar rolled down and screamed unable to tolerate the terrible pain. No medicine was useful to mitigate it because it required a medicine called mahAdEva . Appalled by the severity of the disease the Jains who torture themselves in the name of attaining liberation, chanted all the mantras they knew and gave the water thus obtained to him. Instead of alleviating the pain it amplified. They touched throughout his body with the peacock feather. It did not stop him from screaming. Frightened and confused the Jains gave up their efforts. With raising pain and nobody to help, maruNIkkiyAr remembered his loving relation - the adorable sister. He sent a person to convey his pain to thilakavathiyAr. She though felt pity for her brother conveyed back to him out of her strong determination for seeking his permanent betterment and not just the curing of this illness that she would not come to the place of Jains.
There was the grace of God for maruNIkkiyAr to come to a decision that he would leave the company of Jains and submit himself to his sister. He left all the symbols of Jainism there itself and proceeded to thiruvadhikai. There was darkness outside in that night, but it was going to meet a bright morning. He clad himse'f in a white cloth and reached the hut of thilakavathiyAr. Like a rooted out tree he fell on her feet with the pain pricking his stomach. Praising the glory of Lord shiva she upraised him and told, "It is the grace of that matted haired Lord. Surrender yourself to Him who smashes down the painful bonds of His asylum seekers and serve Him". That sage gave him the Holy ash chanting His Holy five letters, before taking him to the abode in thiruvadhikai. Accepting humbly the Holy ash of the Lord who owns all the wealth, he thought he got the real prosperity in life.
With both the darkness inside and outside getting wiped out, in that blooming morning she took him to the temple with the service instruments for the thirupaLLIezuchchi (first worship in the temple). Prostrating to the Lord who never folds hands for worship, he got the feelings of singing that Mercy like a spring whose eye is just opened. He finally came to Him who is the king of all the medicines including for the illness of bonds and births. He sang the thEvAram " kURRAyinavARu vilakkakilIr", that should even melt a stone like heart. The God who is satisfied very easily when there is devotion immediately removed his illness. Thrilled with happiness he thanked the Lord who took him out of the ocean of suffering and darkness of ignorance. By the grace of the Lord there rose a voice, "As you sang the beautiful hymns enriched with nice words of excellent meaning, let your name be praised in the worlds as n^Avukkarachu " (the king of the tongue).
All the creatures surrounded by pAcham (Bond) are subjected to ignorance, illusion and the effects of the past deeds. There could be hardly few exceptions to this. It is the quality of the great that once they get a thread to come out of this situation they raise to the peaks of knowledge and not only that they stand like the full moon that reflects the light of the Sun - like that of the God, to the world that is in complete darkness. In one song if the God says to him that he is the king of words, what a great transformation in his mind would have achieved it. There needs no explanation of the excellence of his love and humbleness for the Lord for people who have read this peerless hymn "kURRAyinavARu". He is so great and a huge mass of devotees would be always expressing their gratitude to him for the unparalleled words of devotion he has expressed in his hymns. Great is the Lord who gave us the Holy vEdas. Great is His devotee thirun^Avukkarachar perumAn who brings Him to us once we sing his hymns with real feelings.