You could also see Life of Manikavasgar enacted as drama
mANikka vAchakar, hearing this name the devotees just think of the love that is pure and no limits set, taking the human form with its expression of tears continuously budding on the lotus face expressing the softness of the heart, the words that were not coined but dragged out in the flood of love that emerges from a broken dam on seeing the Dancing Lord. He inspired the spirits of the people of the thamiz speaking land very deeply to experience by loving the sweetness of the Unexplorable Supreme. This great saint who developed the spiritual and religious upliftment is revered as one of the four samayak kuravar(religious guides).
In the pANdiya kingdom which was ruled by the great God Himself as rAja saundhara pANdiyan, near the capital madhurai is the townthiruvAdhavUr were this great one was born. By the time he was sixteen years old he had well learnt, mastering in the philosophies and the scriptures. He outstood in the love for Lord shiva and service to His devotees. The jasmine need no go and advertise its fragrance to all, admirers automatically turn up to wear it on their head. The pANdiya king arimardhanan realizing his talent and discipline made him the prime minister in his court giving him title thennavan biramarAyan. He guided the governance in the righteous path to the prosperity of the land, people and their minds. Still his mind was seeking an intellectual guide who would show in clear light the blissful path to the Truth.
The king heard that high quality horses were on sale in the coast of the chOza kingdom. He sent the prime minister thiruvAdhavUrar with lots of money to buy them. On the way vAdhvUrar reached thirup perunthuRai (AvudaiyAr kOvil). There he heard from a garden the sweet chantings hara hara. The mind that jumps to the corners of the world was lost in that. He forgot himself and like a piece of iron attracted by the magnet he went in that direction. There he saw the Lord sitting in the form of a shaivite sage under a tree elucidating the pupils, to see which Lord sages observe austerities for births ! His seeking mind was overwhelmed at the sight of the guru he was yearning for. He surrendered himself to the Holy guru's feet and pleaded him to accept him as a disciple. The God who comes voluntarily in the way of devotees to bless them enlightened him withshivenyAnam. vAdhvUrar who got the immense wealth of the Supreme knowledge outpoured the gems of hymns to the Glittering Feet of the Lord offering his body, belongings and soul. (He then sang the first thiruvAchakam song shivapurANam starting namachchivAya vAzka ). The Peerless guide heard the songs and blessed him with the name mANikka vAchakar (Gem speached). He ordered mANikka vAchakar to build an abode and disappeared.
With the money he had brought to buy horses that would fight, kill and die in the battlefields, the devotee built a marvelous temple for the Lord that would help growing the minds of the seekers in the bliss. Many days passed. The king sent people to find out what happened. His attendants reported to him the deeds of the devotee. The king was irked and sent the message to vAdhavUrar ordering him to come with the horses. mANikka vAchakar pleaded to the Playful Lord of thirupperunthuRai. The Lord assured him that He would bring the horses on the AvaNi mUlam day and passed through the gem worded saint, a gem to the king as a mark of assurance. The prime minister mANikka vAchakar told the king about the arrival of the horses. The king was happy.
The Lord probably wanted to show that patience and perseverance pays in His worship also, the horses did not arrive till day before the AvaNi mUlam day. The king got wild and arrested the prime minister. vAdhavUrar who had the mature vision that when the devotees surrendered themselves in wholeness to the God the Three eyed Lord is the center of all deeds they do. He appealed to the Lord singing anRE enRan. The God somasundara mUrthi who rides the bull of justice in His playful act made the foxes in the forest as horses, coming in the form of the lead man of the horses handed over them to the king explaining him the identification guidelines of good horses ! The Lord went off. The same night the horses again became foxes and ran all over the capital. The king lost his sense in the peak of his ire and ordered his men to torture mANikka vAchakar making him stand on the fry hot sand of the vaigai river loading him with a rock. The pained devotee with complete trust in the Lord who made the vaigai river into existence for quenching the thirst of His attendant, prayed to the Lord.
The Lord who stopped the furious river ga.nga in His matted hair and allowed it to flow down as a stream blessing the penance of bhagIrathan flooded the river vaigai to grace the true love hearted devotee. The flood entered the streets of the capital. The king ordered the people to sharedly stop the deluging water by raising the banks. There was a lonely old poor lady by name vandhi (1), who practices marvelous love for the Parentless God with her simple mind and activities. To save her from getting penalized for not undertaking the king's order, the Lord came as a laborer. But where is the end for His play ! Instead of raising the banks he spoilt the work going on there and slept innocently !! The king was annoyed and beat Him with a stick. But the pain was felt by all the creatures including the king. The flooding of the river subdued and the Lord disappeared. The king realized the act of God and the glory of the saint mANikka vAchakar. He begged for the saint's pardon. The loveful vAchakar forgave the king and left the prime ministership.
He went to many abodes of the Lord singing It at thirupperunthuRai, uththara kOsamaNgai, thiruvArUr, thiruvidaimarudhUr, chIrkAzi, thiruvaNNAmalai, thirukkazukkunRam. Finally he reached the holy abode thillaich chiRRambalam. He got what the vEdas proclaim, "One gets bliss (amRita) here, even when he/she is alive" on seeing the heart stealing Lord who dances there to the joy of the seeing eyes. He sang many hymns on the Lord there.
The budhdhist people who had come from Sri Lanka challenged to come for a debate on religions. With the Lord's order he took it and answered the blemishes they were trying to put on the Lord, making a dumb girl sing His Greatness and the opponents going dumb, he established the Shaivite glory. The opponents realized the truth of the spiritual science of shaivam and started worshipping the Outstanding Lord shankara. mANi vAchakars service to the Lord continued. The Lord was getting anointed with his honey like words and the pure wonderful love. The Lord wanted those gems of his hymns which could not be found a peer even the whole world is excavated to be glorified and passed to generations by generations to the world for our benefit of getting to praise the Lord in sweet loveful words easily and even the hardest of the minds getting nurtured in love reading his hymns. He oneday went to the blessed saint mANikka vAchakar, asked him to sing the complete thiruvAchakam he had composed and wrote them down. He further asked him to sing the songs of love keeping the Dancing Lord of thillai as the Hero the thirukkOvaiyAr. He wrote them also in the palm leaves book and put His seal as "As mANikka vAchakan told the Lord of thiruchchiRRambalam wrote this". He kept the script in the panychAkkara steps of the abode and vanished.
The next day the priests of thillai were surprised to find the scripture on the steps of the abode with the Lord's signature. They rushed to mANikka vAchakar and appraised him about it. They saluted and asked him to explain them the philosophical explanation of the compositions. He took them to the golden hall abode of the Lord and showed the blissfully Dancing Lord and said He is the meaning of it and immersed himself in the Supreme Luminance and became One in Lord shiva. (This day was the Ani magam day - his guru pUjai day)
The history of this great saint is told in thiruvAdhavUrp purANam(2) and thiruviLaiyAdal purANam.(3) His composistions are thiruvAchakam andthirukkOvaiyAr. These hymns are praised for their simplicity, deep sense of love without losing focus in the description of things.