Category Archives: Tamil Nadu Saints

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.

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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

King Kulashekara

Kulashekara Alwar and Lord Venkateshwara

King Kulashekara belonged to the Chera dynasty. Being a very powerful warrior he soon had the Pandya and Chola regions also under his control. He was a very virtuous and just king and endeared himself to his subjects. He was spiritually inclined and was a great devotee of Lord Rama. Lord Vishnu’s padukas adorned King Kulashekara’s crown known as Cheramudi. He longed to visit Srirangam and he also urged people of his kingdom to visit the holy city of Srirangam. As a reminder, every day there would be an announcement of a yatra to Srirangam on the streets of his kingdom. Knowing the king’s strong spiritual roots, the ministers used to arrange for kirtans and readings of the Ramayana in the palace and thus prevented the king from undertaking the pilgrimage to Srirangam. 

However, the king started spending more time with the Vaishnava saints and devotees. This irked the ministers and therefore they devised a plan to stop the holy men from coming to the palace. They hid some of the ornaments of the royal deity worshipped by the king and told him that the ornaments had been stolen. They charged the vaishnava devotees of theft. Kulashekar refused to believe that the Lord’s devotees had stolen the ornaments. He decided to go through a test on behalf of the vaishnavites and prove that there were innocent. He asked for a vessel with a poisonous cobra inside it. The king put his hand into the vessel and proclaimed to everyone present that if the vaishnavites were innocent, nothing would happen to him. Sure enough he retrieved his hand from the vessel safely. The poisonous cobra had not harmed him in the least. The ministers were stunned and shocked and revealed the truth to the king. 

King Kulashekar was very unhappy and disturbed that the Lord’s devotees had been falsely charged with theft. Already a renunciate within, he decided to hand over the kingdom to his son and leave for Srirangam. King Kulashekar was considered as one amongst the Alwars. He composed beautiful verses in praise of the Lord and it is said that the Lord himself used to come and listen to him. Kulashekar Alwar visited all the sacred vaishnava temples. His philosophy was of absolute surrender (saranagati) to the Lord. He never asked the Lord for mukti or liberation. He only longed to be a “servant of the servant of the servant of the Lord”. He was even ready to be born again and again but only as a devotee of the Lord. He was overwhelmed at the darshan of the Lord of Tirumala, Sri Venkateswara, and cried out to the Lord to make him a stone, a worm, a blade of grass, a fish in the pond of the sacred Tirumala hills! He entreated the Lord, “in Thy sweet remembrance, may the swan of my mind enter RIGHT NOW the cage of Thy lotus feet. At the time of death, which is riddled with pain, and when all the equipments are failing, is it possible for me to remember Thee?” And he prayed to the Lord, “make me a step (threshold) at your sanctum sanctorum so that I can joyously gaze on at your beautiful charming lotus face constantly.” The step or threshold of the sanctum in the Sri Venkateswara temple in Tirumala is known as “Kulashekara Padi” (Kulashekara Step) in honour of this glorious devotee of the Lord.

“I bow down my head to Raja Kulashekara in whose kingdom every day Ranga Yatra (pilgrimage to Srirangam) used to be announced (proclaimed)!”

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