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Meypporul Nāyanār

Illustration courtesy of Ramalingar Pani Mandram.
The envious ruler Mutthanāthan often attacked the noble King Malād of Tirukkovillur, a great devotee of Siva, but was always repulsed. One day, however, he resolved to conquer his foe by trickery. Knowing the king’s love for scripture, Mutthanāthan smeared himself with sacred ash and dressed in the garb of one versed in the scriptures. But the satchel he carried in his right hand concealed a sharp dagger.

Reaching Tirukovillur palace, a perfect devotee in appearance, the guards welcomed him. The chief attendant of the inmost chamber— Dattan—was suspicious and stopped the intruder. But when the king saw his visitor he said, “May it please thee to tell me the purpose of this blessed visit?” The disguised enemy said, “I have come to instruct you in a scripture not found elsewhere on this earth.” The king responded, “Could there be anything more precious to me? Pray, bless me by instructing me in this unique scripture!”

Now seated on a platform, the ‘holy man’ stealthily took out his dagger and when the disciple-king inclined his head to better hear, the rogue lurched forth and wrought the deed for which he had come. The stabbed saint feebly sighed. Dattan, hearing the commotion, broke in and raised his sword to cut down the villain but the bleeding king intervened, whispering loudly, “No Dattan! He is one of us. His holy disguise speaks of the Truth Supreme (meypporul). Let no harm come to him.”

The servant now supported his dying master and listened as the latter conveyed his final wish: “Just ensure that this devotee of our Lord returns home safely.” Dattan, ever faithful to his master’s word, escorted the villain along the highway, preventing the enraged citizens from attacking him. Delivering the murderer to the boundary of his own domain, the guard rushed back to the dying saint, who had kept alive by force of will just to hear news of the man. “Sire, I have left the falsely-garbed victor safe in his place.” The saint, with a benign countenance exclaimed, “Sir, who else but you could have done me this great service?”

The saint then had a vision of the Lord dancing in the golden hall of Thillai and, his earthly duties completed, attained the Lord’s Feet.

Reproduced from the December 2011 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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