At Vathavur, atown on the banks of the Vaigai, a Brahmin had a son who displayed marks of superior talent; and Arrimartana, the king of Madura, hearing of him, sent for him; pleased him in the list of his ministers and at length at the head of them. In this capacity he conducted the affairs of the kingdom with great ability. But his own mind was alienated from worldly things; he considered them to be vain, and the love of them to be like the unhallowed attachment of an adulterous woman. It happened one day, while he was in the presence of the king, that the officers of the king's cavalry came and represented the great existing need of a remount, as there was no cavalry effective in case of need. The king directed his chief minister to take from the treasury what money was needful, and go to Perunturi, a sea-port, where horses were brought in ships for sale. The minister accordingly took the money; had it placed upon camels; and, on setting out, first went to pay homage in the temple. When there, he be sought the god to show him the means whereby he might appropriate this money to the use and splendour of his temple and servants; and after he had so prayed, one like a Pandaram came and put the sacred ashes on his forehead, at which distinction he felt joyful, and proceeded with the usual accompaniments of his rank as the king's chief minister. As he was going along he meditated on the importance of obtaining some competent guru, (or spiritual preceptor). The god had anticipated his desire by transforming himself into the appearance of a Brahmin, seated at the foot of a Kurinthai tree, surrounded by disciples; to whom he was occupied in explaining the Vedas, Puranas, and other books. The minister on seeing him considered his wish to be accomplished; and after bathing, visiting the temple, and paying homage to its god, he went and sat down near the Brahmin, who placed one foot on the head of the minister, and gave him instruction. The minister uttered some verses in praise of the preceptor,
so perfect in their kind, that he received the epithet of Manickavasagar, (or jewel of a composer). The minister was so delighted that he pointed out to the Brahmin the dilapidated state of the temple, and proposed to extend the money which he had brought in repairing and decorating it. The guru said, "Do according to your own mind;" and then disappeared, together with all his attendants. The minister was disconsolate, and with great lamentations threatened to destroy himself. In the end, he occupied himself in building and expended all the money on the temple. He them bid his followers return to Madura, and tell the king, that horses could not now be obtained; but that ships would arrive, and horses would be brought in the month of August. The people returned privately, but said nothing to the king, though fear. A letter came from the king to the minister, who was still at Perunturi, inquiring about the horses, at which the minister was greatly alarmed; when a celestial voice was heard, consoling him, praising him for his piety, and assuring him that horses should be brought. He wrote to the king to this latter purport, and in the night the god appeared in a dream and bid him return to Madura without anxiety, for that horses should be brought thither. The minister accordingly returned; and when in the presence of the king, assured him that horses would come on the morrow; on which assurance being given, the king graciously dismissed him. When at home, he was surrounded by his friends and relatives, with many expostulations on his conduct; but he simply replied, "It is nothing to me, I am become the servant of Siva; let them kill me with the sword, burn me in the fire, or do what they please it matters not; I shall endure the trial with fortitude."