Category Archives: Tamil Nadu Saints

Nandanar: Devotee for whose sake Nandi moved!

Nandanar was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. He is considered as one among the 63 Nayanars (Shaivite Saints). Nandanar belonged to a small village known as Adhanur in Tamilnadu. He belonged to the community that made percussion instruments and in those days they were looked down by the upper community. After his daily work, he would spent most of his time singing the glories of the Lord.

Nandanar once visited Lord Shiva’s temple at Thiruppunkoor. Since he was not allowed to enter the temple, he stood outside and prayed fervently to the Lord. He longed to have darshan of the Lord from far, but the huge Nandi was right in front of the Lord and was obstructing his view. Nandanar prayed to Nandi to move a little so that he can have a glimpse of the Lord. His prayers were answered and Nandi moved a little so that Nandanar could have the darshan of Lord Shiva! Even to this day, Nandi is tilted slightly to one side in this temple!

Nandanar cherished a deep desire to go to Chidambaram and have the darshan of Lord Nataraja. Every day people would ask him when he planned to visit Chidambaram. But the thought of not being allowed to enter the temple made him postpone his visit and he would tell people that he will “go tomorrow”. Every day he would tell people, “I will go tomorrow”. All the people started mocking him. They concluded that he would never go to Chidambaram and started calling him “tirunalaipoovar” meaning “one who will go tomorrow!”

One fine day, having made up his mind, Nandanar asked his landlord for permission to go to Chidambaram. The landlord asked Nandanar to first plough his agricultural land and only then he would give him permission. It was a huge task which would take days. Nandanar prayed to the Lord and started ploughing the field. Late into the night, he was exhausted and fell off to sleep. When he woke up next morning the entire field had been ploughed and was ready for sowing. The landlord was surprised and realized the greatness of Nandanar and immediately allowed him to go to Chidambaram. 

Overwhelmed by the Lord’s grace, Nandanar happily proceeded to Chidambaram, but he was not allowed to enter the temple. Singing the glories of Lord Sankara, he went round the holy city a number of times. Lord Shiva decided that it was time the world realized the greatness of Nandanar and his supreme devotion. The Lord appeared in Nandanar’s dream and beckoned him to enter the temple. Next day, in the morning, Nandanar joyously started walking towards the temple. At the temple, the priests had lit up the huge Vedic fire for a yagna. With a mind soaked in single-pointed devotion to the Lord and oblivion of the surroundings, Nandanar walked straight into the fire-kund which was right in front of him. Everyone around were stunned at the sight of Nandanar entering the homa-kund. But nothing happened to him! He came out of the fire unscathed. Nandanar’s physical form was shining like burnished gold! The presence of an inexplicable divine aura around him was evident. The priests realized the greatness of the Lord’s devotee and respectfully escorted him into the sanctum of the Lord. In the presence of all those assembled, that very moment, Nandanar merged and disappeared to become one with Parameshwara: the Lord-of-his-heart! 

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Karaikal Ammaiyar

Punithavati was a great devotee of Lord Shiva belonging to the merchant community in Karaikal (Tamilnadu). She belonged to the 6th century AD, and is one of the 63 great Shaivite saints known as Nayanmars. She spent her time in glorifying the Lord and serving His devotees, especially those who came visiting the town. A wealthy businessman, Paramadattan from Nagapattinam married the beautiful Punithavati. She devoted herself to household chores as well as continued her religious duties. 

One day a relative of Paramadattan visited him at his shop and gave him two mangoes. Paramadattan sent them to his house through his servant. Punithavati received them and placed them at the altar of her Lord. A little later, a Shiva Bhakta came along seeking for alms. Since nothing had been cooked, Punithavati gave away one mango to the sadhu. 

Later, Paramadattan came home and sat down to have his meals. He asked for the mango. She brought the one which was at the Lord’s altar and gave it to him. He found it extremely sweet and asked for the second one. It was not there. She had given it away as bhiksha to the sadhu. Knowing her husband’s temper and not knowing what to do, she ran to the pooja altar. With eyes overflowing with tears, she prayed fervently to the Lord to save her from the situation. As she pleaded with the Lord, a mango appeared in her hands! Overwhelmed at the Lord’s grace, she quickly went and gave it to her husband. This mango was far more sweeter in taste than the first one!! How could two mangoes from the same tree differ so much in taste? Obviously this was not the same mango that he had sent home. Paramadattan asked her to tell him the truth. Slowly she narrated everything to him. He was stunned. With absolute disbelief, he told her to ask Lord Shiva for one more mango. She was reluctant, but he insisted. She again went to the Lord and prayed to Him. Another mango appeared in her hand. She gave it to Paramadattan. The moment he touched the mango, it disappeared. Paramadattan realized that his wife Punithavati was not an ordinary woman but one of the greatest devotees of Parameshwara. He was filled with awe and respect for Punithavati. He no more considered her as his mortal wife. To him she was his Guru who had opened his eyes. He silently left home and settled down in the neighbouring Pandiyan kingdom. He married a local merchant’s daughter and even named his daughter Punithavati!

When Punithavati came to know that her husband had settled down in Madurai, she completely and totally dedicated herself to the Lord. Realising that her beauty and youthfulness was the greatest impediment, she pleaded with Lord Sankara to take away her beauty and give her an ugly form. The Lord granted her wish! Suddenly she became old in appearance and frightfully ugly to look at. Her frightful look brought fear to some, but evoked respect from others. She was reverentially addressed as: KARAIKAL AMMAIYAR. Many beautiful and devotional compositions on Lord Shiva are attributed to her. Desiring to have a glimpse of her Lord, she proceeded to Kailasa. The moment she saw the divine mountain, the abode of the Lord, she was reluctant to place her feet on them. She placed her head down and started walking with the help of her hands! Pleased with her devotion, Lord Shiva and Parvati gave her darshan. She asked for mukti. And if at all she had to be born again, it should be as His devotee only. She expressed her desire to see His Urdhva Tandava, while she sang for Him. The Lord told her to go to Tiruvalangadu where she would be able to witness his divine Nritya. Ammaiyar proceeded to Tiruvalangadu where Lord Shiva is worshipped as Vataranyeswara. With a pair of cymbals in hand Ammaiyar sang ecstatically while the Lord danced. Of the five famous sabhas attributed to Lord Nataraja, Tiruvalangadu is known as Ratna Sabha – the Hall of Gems. Ammaiyar stayed here singing the Lord’s glories and continued her devoted services unto the Lord till she finally merged with Lord Shiva.

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Lord Venkateshwara and Karpura on His Chin!

Sri Ramanujacharya, the great exponent of Vishishtadvaita Philosophy entrusted Anantalwar, one of his disciples, with “pushpa kainkaryam” – offering of flowers as a seva daily to Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala. Anantalwar happily accepted and settled down in Tirumala along with his wife. Every day he would collect various types of flowers, make a beautiful garland and offer it to the Lord. Since it was not an easy task collecting the flowers in the hilly area, he decided to cultivate a flower garden. He first decided to dig a well as water-resource for the garden. Considering this as his seva to the Lord, Anantalwar took a vow that he and his wife alone would engage themselves in this task, and would not take the help of any other person. 
Anantalwar started digging the soil, loosening it and filling it into a basket. His wife carried the basket of soil a little distance downhill to empty it. She was pregnant and walking downhill and uphill was not easy for her. Nevertheless, she cheerfully participated in the seva. One day, as Anantalwar was digging the soil, a boy of about twelve years of age came along and offered his help. Alwar politely refused, but the boy insisted. Angrily, Anantalwar asked him to go away and not disturb him. 

The boy went away from there but approached Anantalwar’s wife. He offered his help to her. Not knowing her husband’s vow, she readily agreed. The boy made sure that Anantalwar did not see him helping the lady. After some time, strangely, Anantalwar noticed that his wife was coming back faster to collect the soil! Was she walking too fast? That was not possible. Was someone helping her? He decided to check. As she carried the basket of soil, Anantalwar followed her unnoticed. To his utter dismay, he saw the boy whom he had sent away helping his wife in carrying and disposing the soil.

Anantalwar was furious. This adamant boy had disrupted his tapas. Seeing the angry Anantalwar, the boy started running away. He kept turning back to see if Anantalwar was following him. Sure, Anantalwar ran behind him, but could not catch him. In a fit of rage, he hurled the crowbar which was in his hand at the boy. It struck the boy’s chin. Anantalwar tried to catch him, but he disappeared. 

Next day, when Anantalwar went to the temple, the priests pointed out the Lord’s idol to him. Anantalwar saw the chin of the Lord badly bruised and bleeding. He was shocked. He now realised that the boy who had come to help him and his wife was none other than the Lord himself. The bleeding had to be checked. He looked around and saw “pacha karpura” (edible camphor) in the sanctum. He took a handful of the karpura and applied it to the Lord’s chin. Miracle of miracles! The bleeding stopped. Anantalwar was overwhelmed at the Lord’s grace and compassion and prayed to Lord Venkateswara for forgiveness. The Lord appeared before him. Acknowledging the devotee’s love, the Lord declared that in future, every day, as a part of his alankara, His chin should be adorned with karpura and without it, His alankara would be incomplete!

Since then, Lord Venkateswara’s chin is daily adorned with karpura to remind everyone of His great devotee, Anantalwar. The karpura is later distributed as “prasad”. The crowbar which Anantalwar used can be seen displayed on the wall on the right side as one enters the main entrance of Lord Venkateswara’s temple at Tirumala.

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I Am delighted to inform you all that I have authored a book of stories for
children titled: ” Bharatiya Katha Vaibhava -1″.The book was released for Deepavali. This book features 25 unique and popular short Stories with beautiful illustrations from our Epics, and from the life of our Saints, Sages and Rulers… This is indeed a wonderful gift for
children especially to be given as a prize for competitions! You can order in
bulk too. Orders are welcome for libraries, schools etc..
Please note that Ebook kindle versions and paperback version [B&W
illustrations] can be bought online..Find the links..

Zorba Store:- https://www.zorbabooks.com/store/children/bharatiya-katha-vaibhava-1-stories-for-children/

Amazon:- https://www.amazon.in/dp/9390011663?ref=myi_title_dp

Amazon (outside India) : https://www.amazon.com/Bharatiya-Katha-Vaibhava-SHREEDARSHAN-K-ebook/dp/B08N53PM3B/

Note: To buy the full colour version book (paperback with colour
illustrations) please contact the author , as they are only being printed on
author’s request .Those who wish to avail of this offer, please contact/message
me.(Especially if you want a full color version book, please inform at the
earliest..)

For bulk orders and discounts on B&W version and for colour version
books you can contact For orders please whatsapp : 9739003467.  Email: naadopaasana18@gmail.com

Sri Rama Natakam by Arunachalakavi!

Arunachalakavi was born in a small village in Tanjore district of Tamilnadu. He was very intelligent, bright and sattvic by nature. He was sent to the Dharmapuram Mutt for education. He very easily mastered the religious texts both in Sanskrit and Tamil languages. He was greatly influenced by Thiruvalluvar’s Thirukural and Kamban’s Ramayana. He was so proficient and scholarly that the head of the Dharmapuram Mutt wished to initiate him into the monastic order so that he could take over the reins of the Mutt. However he politely declined the offer, got married and settled down as a grihastha.

He set up a jewelry shop for his livelihood. Once he went to Pondicherry on a business trip. On the way he reached Sirkazhi and met once of his classmates Chidambaram Pillai who was the head of the Dharmapuram Mutt at Sirkazhi. At his friend’s request Arunachalakavi composed few verses which were greatly appreciated by all. Knowing Arunachalakavi’s proficiency and talent his friend requested him to permanently stay in Sirkazhi and made all the arrangements to get his friend’s family also there. He became well known as “Sirkazhi Arunachalakavi”. In time Arunachalakavi met two renowned musicians Venkataramayyar and Kodandaramayyar who came to study the Kamba Ramayana from him. They asked Arunachalakavi to compose keerthans on Lord Rama based on Ramayana written by the great poet Kamban. They helped him with the raga and tala. These compositions were sung by his disciples on the music platforms in Chennai and were greatly appreciated by one and all.

Encouraged by the response, the musicians asked Arunachalakavi to compose a full length integrated musical opera and thus the famous “Sri Rama Natakam” which includes all the important incidents that are there in Ramayana came into being. After composing the great work, Arunachalakavi wanted the arrangetram or the first stage performance of his great musical drama in the auspicious presence of Sri Ranganathaswamy in Srirangam just like Kamban had presented his Ramayana first time in the same temple. The priests did not agreed to this. They wanted divine sanction for it. Arunachalakavi then sang his famous keerthan in mohana raga: “En pallikondeeraiyaa….” on Lord Ranganatha, wherein he describes the exploits of Sri Rama and Sri Krishna and at the end seeks the Lord’s grace and blessings upon himself. This keerthan is even to this day an all time favourite amongst Bharatnatyam dancers. The Lord was very pleased and appeared in the dream of the priest and gave his consent for the “Sri Rama Natakam” rendering.

Subsequently, “Sri Rama Natakam” was presented in front of Maharaja Tulaja, the King of Thanjavur and other great patrons of art. He was honoured for his great works. Arunachalakavi’s musical opera was highly appreciated and accepted by everyone for its sheer beauty. The musical drama is in simple Tamil language, the incidents are arresting, the bhava or mood captivating and the music enchanting! The compositions endear themselves to one and all – to the performer (music or dance) and to the onlooker.

For updates of posts on Telegram join the group : https://t.me/BharateeyaSamskruti

On whatsapp: https://chat.whatsapp.com/Ce7yZ5yAAq3C3k9pYHsA7T

For Talks on Significance of Ramayana — Check the Youtube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLa-mk1aBgQPRxonV9TqFdxgHrJqtZnOr0

I Am delighted to inform you all that I have authored a book of stories for children titled: ” Bharatiya Katha Vaibhava -1″.

The book was released for Deepavali. This book features 25 unique and popular short Stories with beautiful illustrations from our Epics, and from the life of our Saints, Sages and Rulers… This is indeed a wonderful gift for children especially to be given as a prize for competitions! You can order in bulk too. Orders are welcome for libraries, schools etc..
Please note that Ebook kindle versions and paperback version [B&W illustrations] can be bought online..Find the links..

Zorba Store:- https://www.zorbabooks.com/…/bharatiya-katha-vaibhava…/

Amazon:- https://www.amazon.in/dp/9390011663?ref=myi_title_dp

Amazon (outside India) : https://www.amazon.com/Bharatiya-Katha-Vaibhava-SHREEDARSHAN-K-ebook/dp/B08N53PM3B/

Note: To buy the full colour version book (paperback with colour illustrations) please contact the author , as they are only being printed on author’s request .Those who wish to avail of this offer, please contact/message me.(Especially if you want a full color version book, please inform at the earliest..)

For bulk orders and discounts on B&W version and for colour version books you can contact For orders please whatsapp : 9739003467 Email: naadopaasana18@gmail.com