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Devotional classic by Sekkizhar

CHENNAI JUNE 4 . A rich agriculturist who became the Chief Minister of the Chola Kingdom (12th century) by virtue of his extraordinary scholarship and uncanny wisdom desired to present people with a corrective philosophy of life in a palatable form. He visited temples and places of interest connected with the Saivite saints, studied inscriptions, collected historical evidence and based on an original work then available and above all, inspired by Lord Nataraja of Chidambaram and with even the lead words of the first verse provided by Lord Siva Himself, left for posterity the richest treasury of his biography of the 63 Nayanmars, which by its quality, greatness and richness has become popular as "Periya Puranam" in Tamil. A rare honour was conferred on him for his contribution by making him seated on the royal elephant and taken in procession. The 63 Saivite apostles belonged to different castes and ages and profession but the one underlying current of unity and one common feature, binding all of them together is their life of selfless love of humanity and spirit of service. They were totally attached to Lord Siva and worshipped Him as the Supreme Deity and as one who comes in human form from time to time to "play" with devotees.

In a discourse on this devotional classic by Sekkizhar, Srimathi Sudha Seshayyan mentioned in particular the unbelievable task of one of the saints who made his daughter, whose marriage was to be solemnised, to cut her ravishing tresses on demand by a Saivite devotee to be used as "sacred thread". Nayanmars were reputed of not wanting even salvation but they prayed for admission to the galaxy of devotees which was tantamount to conferment of "Mukti". The Lord looked into their hearts and found divine love throbbing therein. Though there is no mention of the names of the wives (excepting those of very few) of these servitors, yet their support to them was unstinted and they acted as the small stick that kindles the wick in a lamp to burn brighter. The spouse of one mystic once "spat" at the idol but later it was found that she adopted an ancient method to wipe out the toxicity of the bite of a venomous being, as she saw a spider crawling on Him. The Lord showed that the portion on which she used the saliva was free from sores while other areas were full of them. By his prayers and applying sacred ash Jnanasambandar cured a king of his agony. These saints thus lit the torch of faith in our religion.

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