karuvUr was one of the important capitals of chOzA kings. It is a town where beauty of nature shakes hand with man-made wonders. It has the ancient Anilai temple of Lord pashupatIshwarar, Who never leaves the mind of loving devotees.
To add to the fame of the city there lived the devotee eRipaththar. He appeared with his axe to cut down the troubles put to the devotees, whenever such an atrocity appears. There was a saint, shivakAmiyANdAr who engaged his body and mind in the service of submitting sandal-smelling garlands to the Lord pashupatIshwarar. In his routine he filled his basket with fresh flowers on one fine morning with the mind filled with the thoughts of God. He rushed to the temple to be in time for the service. That day was the day before the great n^avami celebrations and hence the decorated royal elephant of the emperor pukazch chOzar(1) was going around the town. It saw shivakAmiyANdAr who was rushing to the temple with the basket full of flowers and walking fast in a hurry. The impudent elephant grabbed the basket and strew the flowers onto the ground thus straying his heart into pieces. The guard controlled the elephant realizing the sin it did and whisked it away, but the stalled shivakAmiyANdAr ran behind the elephant to hit it in despair, but couldn't owing to his old age. He rolled on the ground cried, wept with tears quenching the ground. He screamed, " Oh shivA ! You ripped the roaring elephant and wore its skin ! You are the strength for the strengthless ! What can I do now ? The elephant strewed off the flowers I brought for your scented head !! Oh my shiva! Oh my shiva !!"
eRipaththar who came that way, saluted shivakAmiyANdAr and became a burning fire as he came to know about the misdeed of the elephant. He went like a storm, like the god of death, to slaughter the elephant. He sprang and cut off its trunk with the dreadful axe in his hand and killed the guards who failed in their duty, but tried to stop him from his deed. The other guards who escaped ran to the guard of the kingdom to tell, "Somebody killed the royal elephant and the guards". The king who was a nightmare for enemies, reached the spot as a roaring lion - eyes red in anger, with his rich armed forces. Contrary to his expectation, he didn't see any enemy army but saw a sage standing in front of the elephant, which was rolling in the sea of blood. "Where is the enemy who dared to do this", he roared. The guards said it was eRipaththar, the devotee who was standing in front of him. He got surprised and said, "If the devotees who are the form of love get irked, then there should be strong reason behind it. What a worst sin I could have done for the devotee to become dreadful". He climbed down from his horse, bowed to the devotee who was in the form of fury, and asked humbly, "What was the crime the elephant and the guards did to get this piteous condition ?". eRipaththar told him the brutal act of the beast. The superior king pukazch chOzar felt the mistake was in his part too, as it was his royal elephant that committed misdeed against the service of the Lord. He fell on eRipaththar's feet and appealed to him, "Killing just the elephant and the guards is not sufficient punishment for the sin done. Kill me too! Killing with the holy axe is not the custom. Kill me with this sword", and submitted his sword to eRipaththar.
The love of the king for the Lord and his respect to devotees made eRipaththar think, "Oh I did a bad thing by harming the forces of the king who asks in the greatness of his devotion to kill him too and gives his own sword for none of his direct misdeed. I should kill myself as a penance for having made him suffer". The peerless king thought, "I owe to this great sage, because he is going to nullify my sin by killing me". eRipaththar instead of killing the king, raised the sword to cut off his own head like cutting his source of birth. The king shocked at his act, stopped him with his stone like arms while eRipaththar continued to try to cut his head off. In that troublesome situation of two great hearts clashing out of their love and respect for each other, God raised His voice, "Oh ! people of exceeding love ! To show the greatness of your devotion this happened. Don't worry". Both of them prostrated to the Lord. The elephant and the guards came back to life. The flowers came to shivakAmiyANdAr's basket with freshness and fragrance. The king took eRipaththar around the town on the royal elephant, holding the royal umbrella over his head. They went to the temple to pray the Lord who is the lust killer. eRipaththar continued his service to the Lord and became the head of shiva gaNa on reaching kailAsham. Let the valor of eRipaththar who raised his sword against the elephant without bothering about it being the royal elephant because of the sin it did and the fame of pukazch chOzar who gave his sword to kill himself for the sin of his possession stay in the mind.
gurupUjai : mAchi - hastham
1. pukazch chOza nAyanAr