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Tamilnadu is a spiritual land. Saints from all communities have emerged and guided the people. Let us remember today, the life history of a revered Shiva Bhakta who worshipped Bhagwan by enlarging and cleaning Temple-tanks, as a dedicated Sewa, on his birth anniversary. He was the thirty-first of the sixty-three hallowed Nayanmars or Jivanmukta Shiva Bhaktas of Tamilnadu.
Thiruvarur is an ancient city located in Tamil Nadu. There is no parallel for this holy city. “Salvation to be born in Aroor (Thiruvarur)” is a common belief among Hindus in Tamilnadu. Thandiyadigal lived in this spiritual paradise called Thiruvarur. He was unfortunately born blind. Undeterred, he constantly worshipped Thiruvarur Tiyakesapperuman with his inner eyes. As they say, the inner eyes are more powerful than the physical one. He would daily very religiously circumambulate the local Shiva Temple chanting the ‘Panchaakshara’.
Anti-Vedic elements encroached on the western banks of the Temple-tank or Kamalaalaya making it shallow. The blind Bhaktha by the grace of Bhagwan, wanting to restore the depth and cleanness of the Temple-tank started cleaning it up and digging it by tying a rope across the pond to guide him using shovels and spades.
He excavated the tank and threw out the mud using earthenware baskets. The perturbed anti-Vedic elements approached Thandiyadigal and said, “If you dig like this, all the living beings in this pool will die. Your deeds are unrighteous.”
Thandiyadigal replied, “Lord Siva, who gives good sense to the toad in the stone and life in the uterus, knows how to protect these creatures.” “There can be nothing wrong in the service of the Lord”.
His opponents mocked him and said, he was not only blind but also deaf. They went on relentlessly jeering him, which made him angrily retort, “What will you do if by grace of the Lord, I regain my eyesight and you lose your eyesight?”. The enraged opponents rudely replied that in such a case, they will leave Thiruvarur and snatched his spade, basket, and plants. The desperate and desolate Thandiyadigal was forced to go back to the Math and cried all day imploring the Lord to help him save the tank.
That night when he fell asleep crying, the Lord came to the Nayanar in his dream and said, “Beloved, don’t fear, those harsh words affected me too, you should do the Service continuously, without minding it.” The Lord assured him that he would be vindicated.
Lord appeared in the dream of the Chola King and enjoined him to do justice to Thandiyadigal. The next morning the King went to the tank following the Lord’s order. Thandiyadigal told the King about his harassment from the anti-Vedic people.
The Chola King then summoned the Anti-Vedic elements and held an inquiry on the issue . They told the King they would leave the place if Thandiyadigal gets his eyesight. The King consulted his councillors and ordered Thandiyadigal, “Get your sight from Lord Siva as you have told us!”
Thandiyadigal went down to Tirukulam (tank) and immersed himself in the water reciting the Shiva Panchaakshara mantra, praying to the Lord, “Trisadayana, grant me the grace to make the world know that I am your slave.” Saying this he submerged into the water and rose up. Lo, Behold! He shed tears of joy when he emerged from the water and could now see the Temple tower clearly. He raised his hand and prayed. He then bowed to the King.
The stunned King in turn bowed down and worshipped the Nayanar. The King then ordered the Anti-Vedic people to leave Thiruvarur. They lost their eyesight as challenged by Nayanar and became blind.
Determined, Thandiyadigal built a large Tirukulam. The King and the people of Thiruvarur proudly celebrated the charity of the Nayanar’s selfless service to society.
The Nayanar lived in this world for a long time rendering his invaluable service to society and completely immersing himself in Shiva Bhakti till he attained Moksha.
The Jivanmukta Thandiyadigal Nayanar lived a life of worship to Bhagwan Shiva dedicating himself to charitable activities with emphasis on protecting water bodies. Preserving water sources and water bodies is serving all living beings and leading a non-exploitative lifestyle in sync with Prakruti, thus serving the very Paramatma.
Article authored by Mrs. Rajeshwari, edited by Gayatri N.
Book Source :- அருள்பெற்ற நாயன்மார்கள்.
Image Source: thandiyadigal nayanar images – Search (bing.com)