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Kanampulla Nāyanār

Illustration courtesy of Ramalingar Pani Mandram.
Once on the southern bank of Vellār, in the famed city of Pullirukkuveloor, an affluent man of noble character realised that the Lord’s feet were the only worthwhile things in the world and made up his mind to utilise his wealth in worship of the Lord. He made it his daily duty to keep lit the lamp in the Lord’s shrine. Lord Siva, wanting to demonstrate the devotion of his devotee to others, withdrew his devotee’s wealth and caused him to live by very meagre means. This did not dissuade the bhakta in any way and his holy service continued in spite of the economic burdens he faced. Soon he was compelled to sell his household possessions, and with the money, purchase ghee to refill the lamps each day. In time he became very poor and when he had sold everything, he went to Chidambaram to continue his worship there. When he used up the last of his funds, he began earning a living by physical labour rather than begging from others. He cut grass and sold the bundles in the market. With pure ghee bought from the proceeds, he kept the lamp burning at the shrine.

One day he found no purchasers for his grass bundles, so he used the grass itself for lighting the lamp. When this proved inadequate he had nothing left to offer but the long locks of his head, which he offered just as they were, unsheared! In so doing, he unwittingly burnt away all the effects of past karma. Lest the devotee immolate himself, the Lord appeared and took him to Sivaloka.

Reproduced from the December 2012 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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