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.