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The History of Naminandhi Adikal

In the kingdom where the river Kaveri flows through delightfully, is the town of Emaperur. The houses in this town were decorated with mango leaves indicating auspiciousness. While the fumes of Vedic rites formed the clouds, the red lotuses in the pond appeared like flames in the fire ritual surrounded by offerings of clarified butter. The constant echo of the Vedas pervaded the air. In the tradition of Vedic brahmins who follow the unique Shaivite discipline, came the ardent devotee of Lord, who is adorned with snake ornaments, by the name of Naminandi Adikal. He was like the fire that is grown with truth of the Vedas. Firmly believing in the sacredness of the Holy Ash, he stood blissfully holding onto the lotus feet of Lord Nilakantha.

Naminandhi Adikal Nayanar - The History of Naminandhi Adikal Nayanar
When the Supreme Light kindles, even water turns into oil!

With great eagerness to salute the Lord of Tiruvarur, Adikal made his way there. He worshiped the sole refuge for devotees - the Lord of matted hair decorated with feathers and who had taken His abode in an ant-hill. He spent many days there saluting the Supreme who struck down the three cities into heaps of ash. He then went to serve the Lord at Araneri abode in the temple precincts. With his heart full of love, mind full of Mahesha, he prostrated many times to the Lord and served at the temple by lighting the lamps verily fanning the flame in his heart too. By then evening had set in, and he went to a nearby house to ask for some clarified butter for the lamps. The house he entered happened to be the house of a Jain. The people in that house taunted him that when his God Himself had fire in His hand what was the need to light lamps. In the darkness of their ignorance, they derided him saying that there was no clarified butter available so if he wanted, he could pour the water from the pond nearby to light the lamps. Nayanar felt bad, left the place and went straight to the temple, weeping to the Lord.

There arose a voice ordering Adikal to shed his sorrow and pour the water from the pond into the lamps and light them. Praising the Lord who has the Sun, Moon and fire as His Three eyes, he brought the water from the pond and put it on the cotton wick. With the blessings of the Lord besmeared with white ash, he lit the first lamp of water that stayed lit till dawn. He then lit the other lamps the same way to illuminate the shrine. When the Absolute Source of Energy is with you, could there be any hurdle in finding a material energy source? As he had the practice of worshiping the Lord Shiva at his house daily, he left for his town the same night. The next morning, he returned to Tiruvarur, performed all the services required inside and outside the temple, with the joy of working for the Greatest Master. In the evening he again illuminated the temple of Light with water lamps. This continued for many days. By then, the Jains lost face and left the area by the great deeds of Dandiyadigal. The Shaiva way of life prospered yet again. The Chozha king too donated towards the service of the Lord.

The festive town of Tiruvarur geared up for celebrating the auspicious Panguni Uthiram. The Dancing Lord with His inseparable Shakti seated on the victorious Bull came to bless devotees all the way to Tirumanali as part of the festivities. The crowd that had gathered there, transcended societal barriers and chanted Lord Pashupati’s fame who was indeed the Lord of all beings irrespective of the womb they were born in. Our Nayanar mingled in this diverse crowd and praised the Lord of Nature. He returned home in the darkness of the night and slept on the outside corridor of the house. His wife came out and enquired as to why he had not worshipped the Lord with the fire ritual that night and also missed his dinner. He replied that as he had mingled with the festival crowd where everybody was present, he did not have the physical purity to perform the fire ritual. He then asked his wife to bring water to bathe and start the ritual. As she left, by the wish of God or because of tiredness, unknown to him, he fell asleep immediately. The Lord appeared to him as He did daily during the fire ritual, and enlightened him that those who are born in Tiruvarur belong to His band. The devotee woke up shivering. He felt bad for not performing his night worship of the Ultimate Source. He then completed the ritual that night, narrated to his wife the incident and rushed to Tiruvarur at the break of dawn. As he entered Tiruvarur, he saw everybody living there had the luminous form of the Nilakantha Shiva. Trembling, he fell down on the ground and prostrated to them.

The next moment the entire scene changed and people were back in their normal form. He begged for forgiveness from the Lord, who is the Grace that illuminates everything. He stayed in that divine town serving God. He served the devotees of the Ash-smeared Lord in many ways that was praised in the Devaram of Tirunavukkarasu Nayanar. While the world was praising his service, he entered the realm of the Lord of Tiruvarur. Let the craving of Naminandhi Adikal Nayanar to serve Hara even under adverse circumstances stay in the mind.

Guru Pooja : Vaikasi / Poosam or Vrishabha / Pushya

Har Har Mahadev


See Also:
1. Dandiyadigal
2. Panguni Uthram
3. तिरुनावुक्करसु (वागीश) नायनार दिव्य चरित्र
4. Mention of Naminandhi Adikal in various Thevaram Thirumurais

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