Saturday, April 8, 2017

Know your Nayanmars - Part II (The Kings)

Ten Kings have been named by Sundaramurthy Nayanar as Nayanmars. This works out to 1/6th of the total number. These Kings ruled the land as representatives of the Lord, putting service to Him and his devotees, above everything else! The list below describes the life and devotion of these kings. The number allocated shows the order in which they were named by Sundaramurthy Nayanar in his Thiruthondathogai!

4.  Meiporul Nayanar
Birth &  Mukthi -  Tirukovilur 
Guru poojai – Karthigai Uthiram 
Temple - Tirukovilur Veeratam

Meiporul Nayanar was the King of Chedi Nadu and ruled from Tirukovilur. He was a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva and would treat all his devotees with great respect. Another King Muththinathan, had tried to win Meiporul Nayanar at war but had not been successful. After several attempts, he decided to take the route of deceit. Disguising himself as a devotee, he reached the palace of Meiporal late one night. The King’s personal bodyguard, Thathan stopped him, telling him the King was asleep. Muththinathan said that he wanted to meet him urgently. The Queen, on seeing the visitor, woke the king up. The King welcomed the visitor, and asked him what he wanted. The latter mentioned that he had brought a rare agama from the Himalayas and wished to discuss it with the King alone. Trusting him, the King asked his queen to go away. Once they were alone, Muththinathan took out the dagger hidden inside the book, and stabbed the King. As he fell, Thathan rushed inside. He drew his sword to kill the enemy. However, Meiporul Nayanar forebade him, as he was in the guise of a devotee and asked him to be escorted till the borders, so that no one would harm him. Such was the King’s devotion towards the Lord and his devotees!

36. Kazharitratrarivar Nayanar (Cheraman Peruman)
Birth & Mukthi – Kodungallur
Guru poojai – Aadi Swathi
Temple – Mahadevar Temple, Thiruvanjaikalam
Cheraman Peruman and Sundaramurthy Nayanar at the Thiruvanjaikalam Temple

Perumakkothaiyar was born in the royal family of Cheras but instead of taking up the throne, he spent his time in the worship of Lord Shiva. One day, the King Chenkorporaiyan gave up his throne to lead an austere life. So the ministers approached Perumakkothaiyar to accept the throne. He thought it would be a hindrance to his worship and sought guidance from the Lord. The Lord blessed him with the knowledge to know what others think and hence he came to be known as Kazharitrutrarivar. After his coronation as Cheraman Peruman, he was riding on his royal elephant, when he saw a washerman returning home. The wet sand from the river had dried on his body and it gave an appearance like holy ash smeared all over. To Cheraman Peruman, he appeared like a devotee of Shiva. So he jumped down from the elephant, and bowed before the washerman. Shocked, the washerman fell at the feet of the King, saying I, am your slave, a washerman for which the king responded I, your slave, am a Chera. Cheraman Peruman was a great devotee of Lord Nataraja. The Lord accepted the prayers by sounding the bells on his feet every day. In Madurai, there was a poet named Banabathirar. He was wallowed in poverty. So, Lord Shiva told him to take a message from him to Cheraman Peruman in return for which he would receive rich gifts. Banabathirar took the message to Cheraman who danced with ecstasy on seeing the message from the Lord himself. With tears of joy, he ordered for all the riches in the palace to be brought out for Banabathirar to take. He offered those along with the elephants, horses and the throne itself. The poet was taken aback at his generosity. He only chose those things he wanted, and humbly returned the rest to the King.

One day when Cheraman finished his prayers, he did not hear the sound of bells. He was hurt and upset that the Lord was not happy with his prayers. So he pulled out his sword and tried to kill himself. On seeing this, the Lord hurriedly sounded the bells on his feet. When Cheraman enquired the reason for delay, the Lord said that he had been distracted due to the sweetness and devotion in the song of Sundaramurthy Nayanar. On hearing this, Cheraman wanted to meet Sundaramurthy Nayanar. He met Sundarar at Tiruvarur and both divine souls embraced each other. They went around temples, singing hymns. Cheraman invited Sundarar to visit Kodungallur, which the latter accepted. The King placed him on the royal elephant, and fanned him and when he reached the palace, he put him on the throne and washed his feet. Sundarar on his second visit, sang to the Lord of Vanchaikalam that he wanted to attain his lotus feet. So the Lord, sent a white elephant to escort Sundarar to Kailash. On hearing this, Cheraman got onto his horse, and whispered the Panchakshara. The horse climbed up into the sky and caught up with Sundarar’s elephant. They reach Kailash where Sundarar was allowed entry but Cheraman Peruman was not. Sundarar explained to the Lord that Cheraman had come out of love for the divine almighty. He was then allowed entry and he sang the Thirukailaaya Gnana Ula. This was heard by Maasathanar (Ayyanar) who revealed it to the world at Thirupidavur.

For a complete article on the Thiruvanjaikalam temple on Aalayam Kanden, click here

38. Kootruva Nayanar

Birth & Mukthi – Kalappaal
Guru poojai – Adi Thiruvadhirai
Temple – Adhiteshwarar Temple, Kalappaal

Kootruva Nayanar was a devout Shaivaite who spent hours lingering in the thoughts and service of Lord Shiva. He was a chieftain of a small area. Over time, he acquired different battalions and expanded his territory, by winning over enemies. He approached the Dikshithars of Thillai to crown him as King. They refused saying they would only do it for the Chola Kings. Disappointed, Kootruva Nayanar wept in front of the Lord of Thillai asking him to place his lotus feet on his head as crown. Delighted with his devotion, the Lord placed his feet on his head that night which was his crown for the rest of his life.

39. Pugazh Chola Nayanar
Birth – Uraiyur Mukthi – Karuvur
Guru poojai – Adi Karthigai
Temple – Panchavarneswarar Temple, Uraiyur

Pugazh Cholar was the great devotee who had asked Eripaththa Nayanar to kill him when his royal elephant had scattered the flowers meant for the Lord’s worship. He once went to Karuvur, to collect the taxes payable by the Kings of Kongu and Kudagu. There he asked his ministers if there was any one who was unwilling to pay, The ministers reported that Adhigan had not paid yet. Angered, Pugazh Cholar ordered his forces to attack Adhigan’s kingdom. Adigan was no match to the Chola army and he soon ran away into the forest. The soldiers collected gems, jewels, money and horses of Adhigan and also took the heads of those killed as souvenirs. When Pugazh Cholar came to inspect the heads, he found there was one among them of a devotee of Lord Shiva. Feeling he had sinned in killing a devotee of Shiva, Pugazh Cholar held the head of the devotee in a plate above his head, and entered the fire.

40. Narasinga Munaiyaraya Nayanar

Birth & Mukthi – Thirunavalur
Guru poojai – Purataasi Sadhayam
Temple – Bhakthajaneswarar Temple, Thirunavalur
Narasinga Munaiyaraiyar with Sundarar's parents in Thirunavalur
Narasinga Munaiyarayar was the King of Thirumunaipadi. He was a staunch Shaivaite and gave several grants to conduct daily worship in temples. On every Tiruvadhirai day, he would provide food and a hundred gold coins to the devotees of the Lord. Once when he was doing so, a man ailing with leprosy, came wearing the Holy Ash. While the others turned their face with aversion, Narasinga Munaiyaraiyar welcomed him warmly, treated him with respect and offered him food and twice the quantity of gold. Such was his love for the devotees of God!

For a complete article on the Bhakthajaneswara temple at Thirunavalur on Aalayam Kanden, click here

45. Aiyadigal Kadavarkon Nayanar
Birth – Thirukachiyegambam  Mukthi – Kanchipuram
Guru poojai – Aipasi Moolam
Temple – Ekambareswarar Temple, Kanchipuram

Aiyadigal Kadavarkon was a Pallava ruler (believed to be Simhavarman - 550 to 575 CE) who ruled from Kanchipuram. After ruling over his subjects fairly and peacefully, he decided to spend the rest of his life in the worship of the Lord. So he crowned his son as the King, and set travel to different temples of the Lord, worshipping him and offering his services till he reached the lotus feet of the Lord. The hymns rendered by him on twenty four temples have been found and are called Kshetra Thiruvenba. They have been classified under the 11th Thirumurai. 

48. Ninra Seer Nedumara Nayanar
Birth & Mukthi – Madurai
Guru poojai – Aipasi Bharani
Temple – Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai

Nedumaran was the Pandya King. He was a Jain and hence did not encourage Shaivaite worship. His wife Mangayarkarasiyar and minister Kulachiraiyar, requested Thirugnanasambandar to come to Madurai and provide wisdom about Shaivism to him. The king was called Koon pandiyan because he had a hunch. Gnanasambandar, cured him of his stomach ulcer and through the grace of the Lord, he also got rid of his hunch, and came to be called Ninra Seer Nedumaran. The King became a staunch Shaivaite and spread the glory of the Lord for many years, before gaining a place in His abode.

51. Kazharchinga Nayanar
Birth – Thirukachchi Ekambam
Guru poojai – Vaikasi Bharani
Temple – Ekambareswarar Temple, Kanchipuram

Kazharchinga Nayanar was a Pallava King. Desirous of worshipping the Lord at Tiruvarur, he set off with his wife. The King was joyous of seeing the Lord, and spent several minutes in meditation. The queen in the meantime, wandered around the temple. There were baskets of sweetly smelling flowers being tied into garlands. Seeing a flower fallen off the dais, she picked it up and smelled it. Cheruthunai Nayanar, who saw the queen smelling a flower intended for the worship of the Lord, immediately pulled off his sword and cut her nose. The queen rolled on the floor, in pain. On hearing her wails, Kazharchingar came looking for her and when he saw her,  roared in anger, as to who had the audacity to perform such an act. When Cheruthunai Nayanar explained what had happened, Kazharchingar was furious. He said that the punishment given was not adequate and chopped off the hand that smelled the flower too. There was a rain of flowers from heaven, in praise of his act. 

52. Idankazhi Nayanar
Birth & Mukthi – Kodumbalur
Guru poojai – Aipasi Karthigai
Temple – Mukundeeswarar Temple, Kodumbalur

Idankazhi Nayanar was the King of Konadu. Once, a devotee who was in the habit of feeding other devotees every day, stole grain from the King’s storage. The soldiers caught him and produced him before the King. When he came to know that the devotee had stolen grain, only to feed the devotees of Shiva, the King immediately set him free, asking him to take as much grain as he wanted. He also made an announcement that the devotees of Lord Shiva could take as much grain as they wanted from the King’s storage at any time.

59. Kochengatchola Nayanar
Birth – Thiruvaanaikka Mukthi – Chidambaram
Guru poojai – Masi Sadhayam
Temple – Jambukeswarar Temple, Thiruvanaikka
Thirumarugal - one of the Madakovils built by Kochengatcholan
A white elephant was worshipping the Lord manifested under a white Jamun tree near Chandra Theertham in Chola country. Because of this, the place came to be called Thiruvanaikka. A spider that resided on the tree above, spun a web over the head of the Lord, protecting him from falling leaves. When the elephant brought water to bathe the Lord, it found the spider’s web and thinking of it to be unholy, broke it with its trunk. The spider was upset and built a web again. The next day, the elephant broke the web again. This time, the spider wanted to teach the elephant a lesson. It got into its trunk and started biting hard. The elephant could not remove the spider and unable to bear the pain, it beat its trunk on the ground, and died. In the process, the spider also lost its life.

Subadevan, was a Chola king. He and his wife Kamalavathy longed for a child, and prayed to Lord Shiva. With his grace, Kamalavathy soon conceived and when she went into labour, an astrologer predicted that if the child was delivered an hour later, he would grow up to be a great king. So Kamalavathy asked her maids to tie her upside down so that the child birth was delayed. When the child was born, his eyes were blood shot. Kamalavathy called out to her child as “En Sengannano!” before breathing her last. This child was none other than the spider that had died inside the trunk of the elephant. Chengatcholan became a great King as prophesied, and served God with the thoughts of his previous birth. He built a huge temple for Lord Shiva at Thiruvanaikka and several other temples as Madakovils – temples that cannot be climbed by elephants. He then went to Chidambaram where he built houses for the Dikshitars and spent the remainder of his life, in His holy presence.

Check out other posts about the Nayanmars on Aalayam Kanden:

The Ladies :

The Warriors:
For a free download of an e-book on the lives of the Nayamars, click here:

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