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Pugazh-thunai Nāyanār

Pugazh-thunai
Illustration courtesy of Ramalingar Pani Mandram.
Pugazh Thunaiyār was diligent in his worship. Each day he collected hundreds of pots of water, perfumed them with cardamom, cloves, rose water and sandal, chanted the prescribed litany of prayers and bathed the lingam of the Lord during abhishekam. Next he offered freshly picked flowers and vilva leaves concluding with arati in great reverence. The Lord took notice of the sincerity of his devotee and decided to test him. Warm months without rain and hot summer winds dried up the nearby rivers, tanks and wells while Thunaiyār’s wealth dissipated. Unable to procure even food for himself, the devotee became weak, sacrificing his remaining strength to make distant journeys in order to collect just a single vessel of water for abhishekam.

One day, dizzy from long walking, he arrived at the Lord’s shrine with the water-pot on his head. As he climbed up over the lingam, he tripped and the kalasa fell, but miraculously spilt over the lingam itself. Utterly spent, Thunaiyār fell unconscious to the ground. As if in a dream, he heard the Lord say, ‘So long as there is famine in the land, I will place a gold coin here for you each day’! Thinking he was delirious, he doubted the words. But when he raised his head, to his great surprise he glimpsed something shiny at the pedestal of the shrine. It was a bright golden coin. Even just the sight of it gave him strength, after all, it was not merely gold but prasad from the Lord. From that day on, Thunaiyār made long trips to neighboring regions to obtain food and supplies to support his devotions. When the land became prosperous again, Thunaiyār, unattached to everything apart from his service to Mahadeva, did not even notice that the gold coin was no longer offered each day but performed his abhishekams with untiring devotion. In due course, he reached the feet of the Lord.


Reproduced from the September 2014 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.

 
 
updated: Thu 22 Jun 2017 18:59:37 -0400