Poosalar of Ninravoor was versed in the Vedas and devoted to Lord Siva. His life’s longing had been to build a temple to the Lord. He roamed far and wide in the effort to raise funds but, alas, all in vain. Finally he made up his mind that he would erect the sacred edifice in his own heart. He immediately gathered and stored in his mind all that was required: artisans, workers and the many specialised tools. After laying the foundation stone with the appropriate rites, he began the construction—in his mind. With love and care, unknown to anyone, he strove with all his might day and night to raise the temple little by little, by the power of his imagination. He carefully constructed the tower of stones carved with great skill, the rounded dome at the top, the ancillary pavilions, the holy tank, stucco on the sides of the vimanam and gopruam, high walls encompassing the site as prakarams. Finally when all was completed, he consulted the panchangam (almanac) for an auspicious day for mahakumbhabhishekam. Meanwhile, the king of the Pallavas had built a temple of brick and stone at Kanchipuram, lavish and splendid, the famous Kailasanatha Temple. Royal astrologers selected a muhurtham during which to install the Lord. The night before, however, the Lord spoke to the king in a dream: “Tomorrow, I intend to enter the shrine built by my devotee, Poosalar of Ninravoor. You had better fix another date for your kumbhabhishekam”. Waking from the dream, the king was eager to meet the devotee spoken of by the Lord and set out immediately for Ninravoor. Once there he inquired about a newly constructed temple, but no one seemed to know about it. When the king asked of Poosalar, they directed him to a little hut nearby, where the king fell prostrate to the ground: “Where is the great shrine you have built, so highly praised? The three-eyed Lord directed me here telling me that this is the day of mahakumbhabhishekam”. The blessed devotee then explained that the shrine which had evidently found favour with the Lord was raised only in his generous heart. At these words, the king discovered the secret of true devotion: all outward exertions must be complemented with an inward purity of intention.
Illustration courtesy of Ramalingar Pani Mandram.