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Puttukku Man Sumantha Peruman: His compassion is unconditional

என்பணிந்த தென்கமலை ஈசனார் பூங்கோவில் முன்பணிந்த தெய்வ முனிவோர்கள் – அன்புஎன்னாம் புண்சுமந்தோம் நந்தி புடைத்தென்னார் புண்ணியனார் மண்சுமந்தார் என்றுருகு வார். – குமரகுருபரர்


Kumaragu­ru­parar, a 17th cen­tu­ry poet wrote in praise of Lord Shi­va. What was he refer­ring to when he said “they melt­ed when he car­ried sand”?


Arap­palayam is small yet busy local­i­ty in Madu­rai. The thiruvi­laiyadal men­tions that Lord Shi­va helped an old woman named Vand­hi at this place. It so hap­pened that the Vaigai riv­er in Madu­rai was flood­ed. The then Pandiya king ordered that each fam­i­ly should depute a per­son to fill sand on the banks of the riv­er. Vand­hi, an old lady sell­ing put­tu (steamed rice pow­der dish), was sad and scared as she had none at home to be deput­ed for this work.

Vand­hi was an ardent devo­tee of Shi­va. Dis­guised as a young boy, Shi­va approached Vand­hi with a deal. “If you offer put­tu every­day, I shall car­ry the sand to the riv­er banks”. He added that she need not give him the good ones but just the left over bad ones would do. Over­joyed with this deal, Van­thi made put­tu every­day. It so hap­pened that every bit of put­tu she made turned bad and use­less and Shi­va had it all. He would go to the banks, just lie down with­out doing any work. Angered by his behav­ior, the super­vi­sors brought up the mat­ter to the king. The king sum­moned the young boy and asked him to start fill­ing the banks imme­di­ate­ly. When the boy refused, the King took a cane and start­ed beat­ing the boy. The moment he hit the boy, every­one includ­ing the king felt the pain. That is when the king realised his mis­take and bowed down to Shi­va.

For hav­ing car­ried sand in exchange for put­tu, he got the name name “put­tukku man suman­thana peru­man”.


It would also be inter­est­ing to know the his­to­ry of this praise wor­thy poet. Born in Sri­vaikun­tam, Kumaragu­ru­parar start­ed speak­ing only at the age of 5 after vis­it­ing the Thiruchen­dur Muru­gan tem­ple. He wrote the Kan­dar Kalivem­ba in praise of Thiruchen­dur Muru­gan.

He left his home in search of a Guru. At Thiruchen­dur, a divine voice guid­ed him say­ing “The per­son before whom you will be unable to speak will be your Guru”.

He spent some time in Madu­rai, singing the praise of Meenakshi Amman. So divine were his com­po­si­tions that She her­self blessed him with a pearl gar­land. He then pro­ceed­ed to the the town of Thiru­va­roor and sang the praise of the deity Thi­a­gra­ja Swamy. From thiru­va­roor, the saint trav­eled to Dharma­pu­ram. With a deep desire to find a Guru, the saint trav­eled from street to street. He arrived at the Thirukailaya Paramparai Atheenam. The head of the mutt, Masil­a­mani Desikar, asked Kumaragu­ru­parar to explain the mean­ing of the com­po­si­tion “ainthu per­arivum kan­nale kol­la”. This song from the periya puranam, refers to the descrip­tion of Shiv­a’s dance at Chi­dambaram by Sun­dara­mur­ti naya­nar.

As Kumaragu­ru­parar was about to explain, he was shocked by the fact that he was unable to utter a word. He real­ized that the per­son in front of him was his Guru and fell at his feet. Desikar was a Guru par excel­lence and ini­ti­at­ed Kumaragu­ru­parar. On the orders of his Guru to revi­tal­ize shaivism in the north (which was declin­ing due to Mogul rule), Kumaragu­ru­parar trav­eled to Kashi.

Learn­ing the lan­guage of the North with Saraswathi’s grace, Kumaragu­ru­parar crossed many hur­dles to meet the Mogul King Dara Shikoh. He rode a lion to the King’s dar­bar. Stunned by his val­or, the king agreed to offer land to the saint. The saint said that he want­ed to revive the Kedareswar Tem­ple at the Kedar Ghat in Varanasi. He also men­tioned that the cir­cu­lar path tak­en by an eagle that would fly will be allot­ted as the land for ren­o­va­tion. Kumaragu­ru­parar’s pre­dic­tions came true and he was allot­ted land for ren­o­va­tion. The Saint is said of lived in Kashi for 30 years and played a vital role in revival of Saivism.

One can nev­er fath­om what Shi­va has in mind for his Bhak­tas.


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