In the Chozha kingdom is the town of Tiruchathamangai. In that town, in the tradition of singing Vedas was born the votary of Lord Nilkantha by the name Nila Nakkanar. He gleaned that the essence of the Vedas lay in the service of the Lord, who wore for a crown the Holy River, and His devotees. He followed this path of service with a loving heart and in all humility daily offered worship to Lord Shiva. He would host a feast for the devotees and do all the needful for them. Following this as a discipline, he walked on the path of devotion.
One day on the auspicious star of Ardra, after his daily worship at home, as enjoined in the scriptures, he went along with his loving wife, with all the articles of worship in abundance to the temple of the Lord of Ayavanthi. He offered the Lord the flowers along with the other holy articles he had brought and prostrated in front of Him. Completing the worship with a heart brimming with love, he circumambulated the abode while meditating on the Holy Five Syllables. At that time a spider slipped and fell on to the form of the Lord. The Nayanar's wife who was standing nearby blew to drive the insect away like a mother who blows off the spider on a young child. Her love for the Lord was so spontaneous that she did it quite instantly. The Nayanar was appalled by his wife's deed and with a quivering voice asked her what she had done. Without guile, she simply replied that as the spider fell on the Lord, she had to blow it off. Nilanakkar said it was against the Agamic teachings to blow such that the dribble from the mouth falls on the form of the Lord. She should have used some other means. He went ahead to perform a repentance worship to plead for forgiveness for her deed. He then abandoned his wife there in anger.
The Sun went down on the western horizon. The Nayanar fell asleep in his house. His wife though, who had performed the act purely out of love for the Supreme, unable to disobey her husband’s order, stayed back at the temple. That night, the Lord, who is pleased more with pure love than dreary rituals, appeared in his dream. That Lord showed His form and said, " Look! This is where she blew and this part is quite alright whereas the other side is swollen because of the spider". Who can know the strange acts of God, who is beyond body or form, but yet shows up with a swelling in order to help His loving devotee! Though Tirunilanakkar was shocked by what the Lord said, he quickly managed to gather himself to praise Him. He danced and cheered. The next dawn he rushed to the abode of the Lord of Ayavanthi, fell at the Lord’s feet, adored Him and brought his loving wife back home. He continued his service to the Lord and His devotees with pure love and dedication.
Hearing the marvellous songs of Tirugnana Sambandhar and his miracles, Nilanakkar developed a great wish to see and serve him. He got information that Sambandhar along with Tirunillakantha Yazhpanar and a group of devotees were coming towards Tiruchathamangai worshiping many shrines on the way. Hearing that news, he decorated the entire path with flowers and leaves. He went forward dancing and singing the Lord’s praise in welcome of the young saint. He hosted the devotees in his house. At sunset, Tirugnana Sambandhar requested Tirunilanakkar to provide room for Yazhpanar and his wife. To that devotional couple, our great Nayanar readily offered the very place where the sacred fire was kept aflame for Vedic worship. It was clear that Tirunilanakkar had transcended the societal differences brought about by birth. That night, the ritual fire at that central hall where Yazhpanar along with his wife stayed, glowed brighter.
The great devotee Tirunilanakkar found place in one of Tirugnana Sambandhar devaram hymns. Later, unable to disobey his order, when Sambandhar left the town, Nayanar stayed back. He lived his life praising the Lord’s grace and the marvels of Sambandhar. At the time of Sambandhar’s wedding he played a major role in the rituals (pouring the rice that is fried in the ritual fire). Saluting the Lord's name, he merged in the Shiva-jyoti (vortex of light) that appeared at the wedding celebration and attained the Feet that is praised by holy scriptures. Let the service and unprejudiced vision of this great Tirunilanakkar Nayanar stay in our mind.
Guru Pooja: Vaikasi / Moolam or Vrishabha / Moola
Har Har Mahadev