Category Archives: Tamil Nadu Saints

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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Bharatiya Katha Vaibhava – Vol 1 [ Books for children] : Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.in/Bharatiya-Katha-Vaibhava-1-Shreedarshan/dp/9390011663/

Bharatiya Katha Vaibhava – Vol 2 [ Books for children] : Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.in/Bharatiya-Katha-Vaibhava-2-Shreedarshan/dp/9390640199/

Bharatiya Katha Vaibhava – Vol 3 [ Books for children] : Amazon Link:https://www.amazon.in/Bharatiya-Katha-Vaibhava-Shreedarshan-K/dp/9390640946/

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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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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..
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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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Peter Padukas of Goddess Meenakshi!

Madurai, the temple city was the capital of the Pandyan kings. Though they ruled the kingdom, they considered Lord Sundareswara and Goddess Meenakshi as the Divine Rulers of the kingdom and they were only their representatives. Once a year, symbolically, the sceptre of the Goddess was received by the kings, kept with them for a day and returned back to the temple the next day. In the present times, the temple administrators go through this procedure.

Rous Peter was the collector of the temple town of Madurai from 1812-1828. The famous Meenakshi temple also was under his administration. As one who respected other religions, he went about the temple administration also with great respect and sincerity. He treated the people of other faiths with love and respect. Every day, on his way to his office, he had to cross the temple. When he came to the temple, he would get down from the horse he was riding, remove his hat and boots, offer his salutations to Sri Meenakshi and carry the boots in his hands till he crossed the temple. The people of the town started addressing him as ‘Peter Pandian’. The title ‘Pandya’ is associated with the dynasty of the great kings who ruled in South India, with Madurai as their capital.

One night it rained very heavily. The river Vaigai was overflowing. Peter who was sleeping in his residence was woken up by the sound which was similar to the tinkling of anklets. He woke up and found a little girl, about three years old dressed in the typical silk pavada (silk long skirt or lehenga) and wearing beautiful ornaments in his room. She took hold of his hand and with the words: “Peter come, Peter come”, she almost dragged him out of his residence. The moment he came out, lightning struck his house and it collapsed. Peter was stunned. He looked back and saw the little girl running in the direction of the temple. He only heard the sound of the anklets and also noticed that she ran barefoot! 

Peter Stirrups

Peter was convinced that it was Devi Meenakshi herself who had come in the little girl’s form to save him. To express his gratitude to Goddess Meenakshi, he decided to offer something to her. Since she had come barefooted to his residence, he decided to offer to her,  a pair of golden stirrups to cover her feet. The stirrups were made of gold with rubies, emeralds, diamonds and other precious stones. The name ‘Peter’ was engraved behind the stirrups. Even to this day, during the Chithirai festival, on the panchami (fifth) day, when Goddess Meenakshi rides on her ashwa (horse) vahana, these stirrups adorn her feet. They are also known as “Peter Padukam”. 
After retirement, Peter refused to go back to England. He stayed in Madurai. His last wish was that he should be buried with his eyes facing Goddess Meenakshi. His wish was fulfilled and he was buried with his face towards the temple. 

[PS: I request all to please forward and share these value based stories rich in our culture and tradition to elders, youth and children]

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I Am delighted to inform you all that I have authored a books of stories for children titled: ” Bharatiya Katha Vaibhava -1 , 2 and 3″.

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Bharatiya Katha Vaibhava – Vol 2 [ Books for children] : Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.in/Bharatiya-Katha-Vaibhava-2-Shreedarshan/dp/9390640199/

Bharatiya Katha Vaibhava – Vol 3 [ Books for children] : Amazon Link:https://www.amazon.in/Bharatiya-Katha-Vaibhava-Shreedarshan-K/dp/9390640946/

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