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Yenādhi Nāyanār

Illustration courtesy of Ramalingar Pani Mandram.
Yenādhi was captain of the Eazhas tribe in the fortified city of Ainanoor. His service to devotees wearing the sacred ash magnified his reputation as a devotee of the Lord and a man of dharma, but his skill in swordsmanship caused him to be thronged by students, arousing the jealousy of Athisooran, another teacher of swordsmanship in the region.

One day the adversary came with his men to challenge Yenādhi, who hearing the taunts, emerged like a young lion from its den as his students and kinsmen gathered round. Combat could not be averted but within a few hours, Athisooran had retreated in defeat.

Athisooran strategized his next offensive. Deciding that he could only win by deceit, the following day, for the first time in his life, he smeared white bhasma (ash)—the signature of Siva devotees—on his forehead. Concealing his face with a metal shield, he challenged Yenādhi to one-on-one combat. Once accepted, the two set about to fight each other. But just when Yenādhi gained the upper hand, Adhisooran let down his shield to reveal his bhasma-smeared forehead. Yenādhi stood transfixed, admonishing himself for having almost killed a devotee of the Lord. Though he suspected affectation on the part of his adversary, he dared not fight him further as the sacred white ash should be honoured at all costs. The villain took advantage of the opportunity and plunged his sword deep into the heart of Yenādhi. As the saint lay dying, the Lord recognised his glory, gave him darshan and removed the last traces of bondage. He then bid the saint to come and dwell with Him at Kailās forever.

Reproduced from the October 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.

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