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Idangazhi Nāyanār

Illustration courtesy of Ramalingar Pani Mandram.
In Kodumbaloor, the capital of Koannadu, dwelt King Idangazhiyaar of the Velir clan. Loyal to the renowned Aadithan of the Solar dynasty who plated with gold the roof of the Chidambaram shrine of Lord Nataraja, Idangazhiyaar was devoted to Lord Siva. He offered hospitality to the Lord’s devotees and ensured that the required rituals were performed.

Among the subjects of his kingdom was one devotee who made it his daily duty to feed Siva bhaktas. He spent his weekly earnings procuring rice to make hot meals for pilgrims. Once, when he found himself with neither rice nor funds to purchase rice, he panicked and without weighing the consequences, broke into the royal granary to help himself to its paddy. In his careless haste, he was caught by the palace guards and promptly jailed. The following morning he was taken before the king. When asked to explain his deeds, he simply told the truth. Hearing it, King Idangazhiyaar addressed the assembly:

“This man, a devotee of the Lord, is not a thief but rather my true granary. Can there be punishment in such a case? Is it a crime to feed rice to pilgrims of the Lord’s temple?” Saying this, the king began to understand the true purpose of accumulated wealth—that it should be shared with those in need. The King added, “Let it be known that from now on, devotees of the Lord may freely help themselves to my grain stores.” From then on King Idangazhiyaar shared his possessions with devotees and in due course attained the lotus feet of Mahadeva.

Reproduced from the November 2013 issue of the Saranagati eNewsletter
published by Sri Ramanasramam. The above text has been freely adapted from editions
of Periapuranam, Siva Bhakta Vilāsam (published by Sri Ramanasramam) and other texts.

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