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The History of Manakkanychara Nayanar

It is the favourite abode of the Divine Father who has the Ganga on His head. It is the town in which the water in the canals become sweet due to the honey oozing out of the rich beehives on well grown trees, the smell of which attracts swarms of humming bees, peacocks that dance to their tunes and farm folks enjoying these sights and sounds grow grains and trees making the land fertile. This is the beautiful town Kancharur.                                                           

Manakkanychara Nayanar - The History of Manakkanychara Nayanar
Service to the devotee took priority than even the lifetime event for Manakanjarar!

Manakkancharar was born in that town and was the chief of the king's armed forces. His own arms were however mostly folded in paying obeisance to the Lord, who dances with his eight swinging arms and His devotees, who never depend on anyone other than the Lord Himself. Though he held a powerful position, he was humble. And although he had a lot of wealth, he led a simple life. He had a lot of men to serve him, but he himself served the devotees of the Lord obediently. While his orders led an entire army, he stood waiting all the time for orders from devotees. 

The Chief of army had been married long enough but had not been blessed with children. He prayed fervently to the Lord whose graceful feet were enshrined in his heart, those feet that could not be seen even by Brahma and Vishnu. By His grace, he was finally blessed with a beautiful girl child who went on to add to his fame by her great deeds. He brought up his daughter, the boon of his austerities, in a grand way admired by the entire town. She grew up in a wealthy household. While maids running behind her fed her sweet rice mixed with milk and honey, her doting father fed her with eternal sweet love for Shiva. He took care of every slightest of her needs and never allowed her to feel the want of affection. She was brought up like a goddess adorned with beautiful ornaments. As she approached the age of marriage, a suitor was found in another famous devotee of the Lord whose love for the Lord was so great that he did not approve of the Lord being used as a messenger for a devotee (Sundarar). Eyarkona Kalikkama Nayanar was this great groom. It would be worthy to note here that Manakkancharar had prayed for only one boon (his daughter) but he was blessed with two - the second boon of getting a marvellous devotee like Eyarkona Kalikkamar as an eligible groom for his only daughter.

Both the families were happy about this wedding and they found an auspicious day for the union of these two great devotees. Eyarkona Kalikkamar arrived in the town for the wedding like the bright Sun that rises in the east. Amidst the sounds of drums and other music instruments played at the wedding, that put to shame the sound of thunder, there arrived the Lord of unusual forms, this time in the form of a yogi. He was adorned with ball shaped ear rings that swung in the air, a holy thread decorating His chest and a pouch holding the holy ash that burns the source of sufferings into ashes. With His body smeared with holy ash He was shining white like a flame. He set foot in the house of the devotee, His luminous feet that even yogis struggle to know and once they do, there remains nothing else to see or know.

As soon as he saw the Shiva Yogi, Manakkancharar fell down at His feet. He was thrilled to heights.  It was a boon for him that a Shiva Yogi had graced such an important occasion in his life. For the giver of boons, it was an occasion to show to the world the excellent characters of His devotees. After receiving His blessings, Manakkanchar brought his daughter, whose tresses were like great black clouds, to get the blessing of the sage. The God, who obscures the illusion from the hearts of devotees, now in the form in which he had obscured Himself, remarked that the beautiful hair of his daughter would be useful to Him for making panchavadi (a sacred thread worn on the chest by yogis made of hair). The Nayanar took this remark as an order and as a boon. He took out his dagger immediately and cut off the dark pretty tresses of his daughter in a flash and presented them to the sage. As per tradition, cutting the hair of young women is not considered auspicious. But for the Nayanar, the wish of the devotee was of utmost importance and fulfilling it took precedence over everything else, even if he was in the middle of his only daughter’s wedding.

The Shiva Yogi stretched his hands out as if He was accepting the gift and suddenly disappeared. Now, He appeared on the holy Bull of justice with the mother of the universe to His left amidst the rain of flowers from the heavens. The Nayanar prostrated, cried out of joy at the sight of His graceful appearance, and praised the Lord with the best of words. The Lord said that it was a deed done to showcase Manakkancharar’s love for God to the entire world and blessed His servitor with unblemished love. Just at that moment the groom’s party arrived at the wedding venue and Eyarkon came to know of the great deed of Manakkancharar. His heart was filled with the emotions of reverence to Manakkancharar. Blessed were those eyes that witnessed the marriage of Eyarkon with that girl who got her pretty hair back by the grace of the God who removes the pains of those who bow to Him. Later Manakkanchar attained an eternal place under the stable feet of the Lord. Let the alacrity of Manakkanchara Nayanar to sacrifice anything for serving the devotees of the Lord even at the time of his only beloved daughter’s wedding stay in the mind forever.

Guru Pooja: Margazhi / Swathi or Dhanur / Swathi

Har Har Mahadev


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