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Kochengat-chozha Nāyanār

Illustration courtesy of Ramalingar Pani Mandram.
In the Chola country under the shade of a white jumbu tree, the Lord manifested as a lingam. A great white elephant, devoted to the Lord, came daily to worship the lingam and by drawing water into his trunk from the nearby Chandrateertha, performed regular abhishekam. Nearby a spider likewise devoted, noticed that leaves from the overhanging trees were falling on the lingam. As a way of protecting the lingam from any pollution, the spider spun a web over the lingam to protect it. The following morning when the elephant came to do abhishekam, he noticed the web, and duly washed it away during his abhishekam. When the spider returned, he lamented the dry leaves laying once again atop the lingam and discovered that his sheltering web had been destroyed. He immediately got to work and spun another where the former had been.

The next day when the elephant performed abhishekam, he invariably washed away the web. The spider observed what was happening and in his anger resolved to put an end to the matter once for all. Crawling up the elephant’s trunk, he gave the offender a lethal bite. Within a matter of minutes, the immense creature lay prostrate on the ground and soon died of the poisonous sting. But the spider, caught in the elephant’s trunk, also died. The elephant merged with the Lord but the spider was destined to take another birth.

Meanwhile Suba Devan, the Chola king, and his wife Kamalavati, prayed for a son to Lord Nataraja at Chidambaram. The Lord ordained that the the devoted spider be reborn as the king’s son. When the day of delivery arrived, the court astrologers calculated that if delivery could be delayed by a mere 24 minutes, the boy would come to rule the world. The queen asked her attendants to suspend her upside down from the roof of her chambers. She then had them bind her fast with a tourniquet around her lower waist. She struggled hard to delay the birth. But when the auspicious moment arrived, she bid the servants release her and in short order a child carrying the soul of the spider was born. The youngster, having been compelled to remain in the womb such a long time, had red eyes and so was named ‘Kochekannano’ (the boy with red eyes). But overstrained by her exertions during the ordeal, the boy’s mother fell faint and died.

When the boy reached the proper age, just as the prophecy had foretold, he was enthroned king and ruled long and


Reproduced from the April 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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