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The Impalement Of The Jains

After the cure of the king, his wife and minister, and Sambandar, went to the temple of Siva, and rendering him praise, besought his permission that the Jains and their faith might be destroyed. The god replied to Sambandar, "What you have is well pleasing to me; and therefore to what you agree, I agree" (playing on the name Sambandar, or agreement).


samanarai kazhuvERRal


The Jains were much chagrined and envenomed by what had occurred; and agreed upon an ordeal by fire, as the means of bringing about a change. But as they were about proceeding to the king on this errand, they met with great opposition from their wives. These represented the reverse already sustained; and stated, that in their dreams of the past night, they had seen a cow (emblematic of the Hindu faith) pushing with its horns in every direction; they had also seen bodies pierced through, and beasts and birds feeding on the dead carcasses; while the town appeared full of persons with ashes on their foreheads (denoting the Saiva religion). These remonstrance's were however unavailing. Like devoted men, they were angry with their wives; and these latter finding they could not prevail, became incensed in turn, and pronounced on them a curse, wishing that they might perish. The learned Jains proceeded to the king; represented that he had done them injustice; and requested that themselves, and the young Saiva, might be directed to write each one a chant on palm leaves, all of which should be subjected to the trial of fire; and the production that should remain unconsumed, should be considered as belonging to the true faith. To this proposal all parties assented; and on a set day they proceeded to some little distance, when the homa (or sacrifice by fire) was prepared The Jains depended on their employment of the Agni-kattu (or charm against fire); nevertheless, their writings were all consumed, amounting to eight thousand; and that of Sambandar alone remained uninjured. This ordeal did not give them satisfaction; and they proposed that the books should be written again, and the whole cast into the river Vaigai, when that one which should ascend against the stream should b declared to belong to the true faith. This challenge was also accepted; but the condition was now attached that whichever of the parties should be conquered, should abjure his or their faith, and embrace the opposite one, or else be impaled alive. The trial was fixed for the following day, and a public procession having gone forth to the banks of the river Vygai, the ordeal by water proceeded; when every book of the Jains was carried down with the stream, and that of the Saiva alone ascended. The trial being decisive, he now appealed to them exhorting them not to perish, but to embrace the Saiva faith. The eight thousand learned men who had written the palm leaves refused; and with obstinate prejudice put themselves on the impaling stakes. But the unlearned multitude, being afraid, snatched up the ashes emblematic of the Saiva faith, and rubbed them on their foreheads; and others, not being able to get ashes, smeared themselves with the unburnt cow-dung itself to escape death.

Afterwards, the king, with Sambandar, went westward ten miles in search of the book which had ascended the stream until they came to a place where the god was seated, in the form of an aged Brahmin, of whom they asked, 'If anything particular had occurred?" who replied," We know not." But on some stanzas being sung in his praise, he put some ashes on the forehead of Sambandar, and indicated the place where the book was to be found. The king built on that spot a pagoda, together with a town called Tiruyedagam (the place of the sacred-writing) and adoring Siva, remained there some time; by which means he cleared himself of the crime of having joined with the Jains; and then returned with Sambandamurti to Madura. He there brought the Saiva sect into open day. And subsequently, when Sambandar wished to go and visit other Siva temples, he out of great regard, accompanied him to some distance, and then returned. Since the time when his fever was cured, he had changed the name Kun Pandian to Savuntara Pandian (i.e., hump-back, to beautiful). He ruled according to the law of Manu; built temples with choultries, and instituted festivals to the Madura god; and in harmonious cooperation with his wife Mangayarkarasi, and his minister Kulachirai, ruled prosperously for a length of time.


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