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64 Divine Plays, Leelas of Lord Sundareshwara

64 Divine Plays, Leelas of Lord Sundareshwara

Shiva Leela No. 1

INDRA, THE GOD OF HEAVEN OBSOLVED OF HIS SIN

During the Kretha Yuga, Devendran, the Lord of Heaven was engrossed in sensual delights of song, dance and dalliance with women in his paradise. Because of these engagements, he failed to respect Vyasa Bhagawan, the Devaguru (the Master of Gods). This neglect resulted in the Devaguru’s departure from the place. As a consequence of disrespecting the Master, the prosperity dwindled and famine threatened.
Indra could not find his Guru. He went to Brahma Deva, the Lord of Creation (one of the Holy Divine Trinities) who advised him to adopt Viswaroopan, son of the Asura Guru Thuvatta (the Master of demons, the unconscious negative energies). Indra requested Viswaroopan to perform a sacrifice (yaga) for his sake.

What Vishwaroopan uttered and what he willed inwardly were different. The utterance was voiced as “Let the Devas Prosper;” but inwardly his intended desire was Asuras to prosper and Devas to famish. Indra sensed this through his divine intuition. So he clipped three of his (Viswaroopan’s) heads which became the birds ‘Kadai’, ‘Kuruvi’, , ‘Sichili’ and flew off. This is a heinous act and a sin (hatti) to be expiated.

The Devas are said to have freed him from the sin by distributing it over trees, soil, water, and women. The news of the killing of Viswaroopan reached his father. He was seized with uncontrollable fury. He performed a yaga and created a huge heartless monster ‘Vridhra Sooran’ from the yaga. Guru Thuvattu commanded him to kill Indra. Indra was defeated in the battle. I ater, with the weapon made from the backbone given by Sage Thatheesi, he went to war with Vridhra Sooran who hid in the sea as though performing penance.
On Indra’s request Sage Agasthya drained the sea by drinking it off. Vridhra Sooran was exposed and was beheaded, and his blood filled the ocean. Again, Indra was seized by a sin of Brahmahatti.As advised by Vyazha Bagawan, he came to earth and went on pilgrimage to Thirukadavoor, Kaasi, Kanchi, and reached Kadamba forest (Kadambavanam i.e. Madurai) where he constructed a dome and worshiped Lord Somasundarar (Shiva) ecstatically and was released from
the sins.

Then he returned to heaven with Indrani, wife of Indra and ruled thereafter. Thus worshiping Lord Somasundaram at Madurai, he was absolved of all his sins.

Asura – Power-seeking mighty beings generally endowed with unconscious materialistic attributes. In the greatest vedic texts, Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna describes Asuric qualities are pride, arrogance, conceit, anger, harshness, and ignorance (Asuri Sampad) and the beings endowed with divine attributes are the “Devas” or “Sura” (Gods or Deities).

 

Shiva Leela No. 2

LIFTING THE CURSE OFF THE WHITE ELEPHANT

Sage Duruvasa once gifted a lotus to Indra who was going in a procession on his white elephant. The lotus was acquired by Duruvasa by his Shiva worship. It dropped from the head of Lord Shiva. Because of his arrogance of prosperity, Indra casually received it with one hand and placed it on the elephant’s head. It threw the lotus down and trampled on it.
Duruvasa cursed him that his head would be shattered by a Pandiyan, and the elephant would become wild. They both begged to be forgiven and released from the curse. So he relented and reduced the force of the curse: that the elephant would be restored to normalcy after hundred years and that what was meant for the head would be shifted to the roll of hair on the head.
The white elephant came down to earth to Kadambavanam (Madurai) where it worshiped Lord Somasundarar who granted it a boon. The elephant requested the Lord to accept it as the ninth elephant along with the inseparable eight elephants. He told the elephant to bear Indra who was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. Bearing Indra was equivalent of bearing the Lord. And so the elephant went westward, and created a sacred well in his own name.

Shiva Leela No. 3

THE FOUNDING OF MADURAI

Dhananjayan, a merchant living in Manavoor, the city of Kulaskara Pandiyan, one day worshiped Lord Chockalingam (Siva in the form of lingam) in Kadambavanam (Madurai). As he was worshiping, he had a vision of devas (celestial Gods) too worshiping there. He spoke of his vision to the Pandiyan King, who was brooding over it. That night Lord Somasundarar appeared in his dream as a Siddha and advised him to convert the forest into a city. The king gathered experts to construct a marvelous temple. While he performed the Shanti ceremony, Lord Sundarar allowed the nectar, Manna from the crescent moon to mingle with Ganga water in his crest to flow on. Because it was sweet (madhuram) the place acquired the name Madhurai. Before he died, Kulasekara Pandiyan king crowned his son, Malaya Thuvasa Pandiyan.

 

4. THADATHAGAI PIRATIYAAR

Malayathuvasan Kanchanamalai couple were without any issue. They performed Putra Kameshti Yagam. Goddess Uma as a three year old and three-breasted girl appeared from the yaga and rested on the lap of Kanchanamalai. The King was worried about the physical peculiarity of the girl. But, there was ‘asariri’ (unbodied voice) announcing that the one breast will disappear when she gets her destined husband.

She was named Thadathagai as ordered by Lord Shiva. She learnt military arts and use of various weapons. On one auspicious day, he performed a coronation ceremony for her. She ruled justly and without blemish after her father passed away. As the land was ruled by a virgin (Kanni) the Pandiyan land was called ‘Kanni Nadu’

 

5. WEDDING

When Kanchanamalai was worried about Thadathagai’s marriage, she replied that the marriage will take place in due time. In the due time, she wanted to establish her prowess in the eight directions of her land. She requested her mother not to worry about her marriage.

She conquered many lands with her four-fold army and went to Kailasha, the cosmic abode of Lord Shiva (Thirukailayam), fought and defeated Nandi, Shiva’s greatest devotee and His divine vehicle, the sacred bull, and Sivaganams, the associates of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva Himself confronted her, and at that moment one of her breast disappeared and she had over-come the shyness and returned to Madurai. And as the ’asariri’ had prophesied earlier it was clear that Lord Shiva himself was to be her husband; and they were married with great jubilation for all. Brahma, Vishnu and host of celestial beings and sages attended the marriage. There was no end to the joy of the people of Madurai.

Some wondered who was the gainer, the Lord, Thadagathai or the City. Brahma himself performed the ceremony and the Lord gave appropriate gifts to the guests. And the Lord Himself ruled graciously as a model King to the people.

6. THE DANCE AT THE SILVER CHAMBER

The heavenly hosts, kings and sages were invited for the festive feasts. Sage Patanjali and Sage Vyakarapadhar requested the Lord to replay his dance at the golden chamber once again at the silver chamber of Madurai. They said it would be most proper to partake of the feast after witnessing his dance. The Silver Dance chamber manifested at Madurai and the Lord danced signifying his relation with His Devi. The sages were in great ecstasy, and the Lord granted them many boons.

7. THE FEASTING OF GUNDOTHARAN

Even after the guests were feasted after the wedding, so much of the food remained unconsumed. Not even one thousandth was consumed. As Thadathagai mentioned this to the Lord, He smiled and created a fire in the stomach of Gundothara, who consumed not only the food, but also the vessels containing the food. Yet his hunger as not relieved. He consumed uncooked vegetables, milk, etc…

Now Thadathakai expressed her worried wonder at this to the Lord. Gundotharan despaired at the fire of hunger as if the fire that destroyed ‘muppuram’ had manifested in him. He was in great misery.

 

8. FOOD VESSEL AND VAIGAI

The Lord then thought of Annapoorani Devi, the Cosmic Mother who fulfills the food; instantly four food vessels full of curd rice appeared. Gundothara was filled with food and bloated like a hillock. But was filled with thirst and drank up all the water from the water resources, like wells, lakes, rivers of Madurai. Still his thirst was not quenched.

Then the Lord made the Ganga from his crest to flow into a river. Gundothara drank off it and was quenched of his thirst. Then the river assumed the name ‘Vaigai’, as the Lord commanded him in those words. Then the Lord Somasundara ruled the world with Thadathagai.

9. BECKONING THE SEVEN SEAS

Lord Shiva ruled the land as the Pandiyan King. At that time Kanchanamalai invited Sage Gauthaman to learn from him which austerity would release one from the misery of rebirth. He replied that ‘kaayigam’ austerity was the best others being ‘Manadham’ and ‘Vasigam’. Of these, pilgrimage to holy places and bathing in purificatory holy waters (theertha yathirai). Since it is received all the waters would be proper for purification. As Thadathagai informed the Lord of these, the Lord said “why one sea?, we will beckon all the seven seas”.  As He intended, the seven seas arrived at a tank east of Madurai.

10. MALAYATHUVASAN RECALLED

Lord Shiva as Soudara Pandiyan and Thadathagai with Kanchanamalai arrived at the tank. The priest there said it would be proper to bathe holding either the husband’s hand, the son’s hand or the tail of a calf. Immediately, Soundara Pandiyan contemplated on Malayathuvasan who was with Indra; he appeared before Kanchanamalai. Happily she took his hand and dipped into the water, then they both went up to Shiva loka, the sacred abode of Shiva in a celestial vehicle.

11. UGRAPANDIYAN’S BIRTH

Thadathagai desired that she should have a son to carry on the royal line. Lord Shiva made Murugan, who appeared from his third eye, to be born to Thadathagai. Accordingly, she became pregnant and had a child born to her. On a Monday, falling on Thiruvathirai asterism.

The child was named Ugrakumar. As he grew, he distinguished himself in all branches of learning with rare qualities and great prowess. He would one day bring the world under one rule, said the wise one. Soundara Pandiyan wanted to get him married and then perform the coronation. On this he consulted his ministers.

12. UGRAKUMAR RECEIVES THE SPEAR, THE WHEEL AND THE CHENDU (WEAPON)

Soundara Pandiyan desired that Kanthimathi, daughter of Soma Skaran of Manavoor should be married to Ugrakumar. That night, the Lord appeared in the dream of Somasekharan and asked him to take his daughter to Madurai and give her in marriage to Ugrakumar.

Somasekaran was mightily pleased when Pandiya arrived at Manavoor. He welcomed him graciously. The marriage took place on an auspicious day as fixed by the wise. The couple lived a virtuous life.

One day, Soundara Pandiyan told Ugrakumar that Indra and Varuna are his enemies, and Meru was arrogant. He gave his son a wheel to shatter the head of Indra, a spear to dry-up the seas and the Chendu to beat the arrogance out of Meru. Then Ugrakumar was enthroned; Soundara Pandiyan and Thadathagai then settled into the temple.

 

13. DRYING UP OF THE SEA BY THE SPEAR

Ugrakumar ruled in accordance with the Royal dhama. He performed 90 Aswametha yagas. Indra was jealous of him and asked Varuna to destroy the fertility of the land. “You will become the ocean that destroys the seven worlds at the end of time, and destroy Madurai. Varuna decided to obey. Accordingly Varuna rose in fury at midnight. But Lord Shiva appeared in the dream of Ugrakumar as a Siddha and asked him to dry the furious sea by throwing his spear at it.

Ugrakumar woke up and carried out the command. And the ocean reduced itself to ankle deep level. Then Lord Shiva and Uma appeared on the bull in the sky on bull mount and blessed him. Ugrakumar sang and worshiped him.

14. THE WHEEL THROWN AT INDRA’S HEAD

During the reign of Ugrakumar, the planetary movements where not in proper order. So rains failed. In all three tamil lands people suffered from famine. The three kings reported this famine to sage Agastiyar. He explained why it will not rain for twelve years: as the Sun was ahead of Mars and Venus behind it. They were asked to meet Indra. But how to reach Indra? They had to perform fasting on Mondays and get blessings of Lord Shiva. He gave them details of performing austerities correctly.

The three kings went to the golden lotus tank at Madurai, bathed in it and worshiped Lord Somasundara and performed the austerities. They earned the boon of traveling through the sky. To receive them Indra prepared three thrones for them. Chera and Chola rested on the thrones allotted to them; but Pandiyan sat on the throne of equal status to Indra, who felt upset. Indra gifted the other two kings generously. He then tried to make Pandiyan feel insulted. He offered the Pandiyan a very heavy pearl garland. Pandiyan wore it lightly without strain. Surprised at this, Indra praised him as “garland-bearing Pandiyan”. Ugrakumar returned to Madurai.

By Indra’s arrangement only the land of the Chera and Chola received rains. The Land of Pandiyan was deprived of rains. While hunting near ‘pothigai’, Pandiyan saw four rain clouds ‘Putkala varthagam, Sangarittam, Dronam, Kalamugi’ gracing on Podigai. The Pandiyan captured and imprisoned them.
Because of this, the Pandiyan and Indra were at war with each other. The Pandiyan threw the wheel at Indra’s head, who could not fight anymore; so he sent a message of peace saying, if the clouds were released, he would bless the land with rains. At first, Pandiyan did not trust him; but on receiving a hostage, he released the clouds. As promised, Indra arranged for rains, three times a month. And the land prospered.

15. The MERU beaten with Chendu (WEAPON)

Ugrakumar Pandiyan was performing Monday austerities regularly to Lord Somasundara and as instructed by Sage Agasthiyar and his wife Kanthimathi bore him a child, Veera Pandiyan. Again because of improper planetary movements, famine resulted and the people suffered greatly.

Lord Somasundara appeared in Pandiyan’s dream and said it was not possible to get the rains now. So he must go to the cave in the Maha Meru which contains inexhaustible wealth. He had to tame the arrogance of Meru by beating it with a Chendu.

Waking, Ugrapandiyan accordingly with the four branches of his army challenged Meru. Meru was lethargic. So he beat the Meru with Chendu. Meru trembled and its temples exploded. The Meru with eight shoulders and four heads and white umbrella bowed down to the king. He said to the king that he used to worship Lord Somasundara regularly. But because of attachment to a woman, he went late to worship. So he was punished with Chendu. How he would requite Pandian for having removed his sins by beating him with Chendu.

Ugrapandian told him that he had come for gold. He showed a gold chamber under the shade of a mango tree and asked him to take as much as he wanted. Ugrapandian took a great lot of gold and returned to Madurai. On his return, the kings of Madhyam, Viradam, Manavam, Telungam met him and lavishly honored and entertained him.

With wealth gained, Pandian helped restore happiness to his people. Soon planetary movements were orderly. Rains blessed the land which became prosperous. Ugrapandian then coronated his son as king and attained the lotus feed of God.

16. MEANING OF THE VEDAS

During the Kreta Yuga, the Pranavas sprang from the voice of Shiva; the Vedas sprang from Pranava. Sages like Kanva and Kakkar in the Naimasharanya forest were despaired about the meaning of the Vedas. Sage Arabattar guided them to go to Lord Somasundara of Madurai on the South of the temple seated as Dakshinamurti. He alone knew the substance of the Vedas.
All the sages reached Madurai and worshiped Dakshinamurti, who appeared like a youth of 16. He removed their doubts and explained the meaning of the Vedas. He took the sages to the Sivalingam and said that the Shivalinga form was the meaning of Vedas. Vedas were not different from Sivalingam. Then he expounded the origin of Pranavam, the Vedas and the Agamas, Jnana kaandam, Karma kaandam, Vaithegam, Vaithega Saivam. He then stroked their spines with his hand and disappeared into the Sivalinga.

17. THE SELLING OF RUBIES
Veerapandian’s concubines bore him many wicked children. After a long time, his wife bore him a child. On his hunting expedition, the king was killed by a tiger. And the children of the concubines swindled the wealth and hid them.
To make a crown for the son of Veerapandian, there were not enough gems for the crown. So they appealed to Lord Somasundara. When the young prince was taken to the temple, the Lord appeared in the guise of gem merchant.
He spread a black cloth and placed a red ruby in the middle and eight other gems on the eight direction; then facing north he worshiped and gave them to the prince, asking them to name the prince, Abhisheka Pandiyan and disappeared.

They then realized it was the Lord himself who came to them. Then they praised him worshipfully. Soon the stolen treasures were restored.

18. VARUNA’S OCEAN DRIES UP
Abisheka Pandian started special worship in the month of Chitirai, when the moon transited the star Chitirai. Because of this worship, the usual worship of Devendran was delayed. He was depressed at this, Varuna, who was suffering from unbearable stomach ailment asked if the Shivalingam had the power to cure his ailment.

Even the agony of rebirths cycle which could not be cured by Brahma and Vishnu could be cured by Lord Shiva; then why should he doubt the Lords power to cure his ailments? He may test the Lords miraculous powers. To provoke the Lord to cure his stomach ailment he commanded the sea to destroy Madurai completely. The sea rose in fury as though the world was at an end. People went to Abhisheka Pandiyan seeking safety. As they appealed to the Lord, Lord Shiva sent four clouds from his crest to suck the seas; the sea was completely drained. Then all the people thankfully rejoiced and worshiped the Lord.

19. THE FOUR TOWERED KOODAL
Varunan was furious that his attempt had failed, he called the seven clouds and commanded them to suck all the water and pour them on Madurai with thunder.
As the thunder clouds roared the gems on the head of Adhiseshan spilled. The four elephants which guarded the direction trembled; rain drops fell in the size of pumpkin; darkness engulfed the earth. Abisheka Pandian went to the temple and appealed to the Lord. Lord Shiva sent four clouds from his braided crest to surround Madurai and cover it protectively to ward off the seven destructive clouds. They became the four towers of Madurai. Varuna was ashamed of his powerlessness and went to the tank of the golden lotus. Then his stomach ailment subsided.

After dipping into the tank he worshiped the Lord thanking him for curing his ailment. He also wanted to be cured of the ailment of cycle of birth due to karma and impurities.
Because of the four clouds from Lord Shiva’s crest becoming towers Madurai also became known as ‘Nan Mada Koodal’.

20. THE ALL POWERFUL SIDDHA
Lord Somasundara assumed the guise of a Siddha to shower them with blessings in this life and beyond.
With charming face and gentle perspiration the Lord wandered through the shopping areas, cross roads, porticos, art galleries, court yards. He would stay on the north side while appearing to be in the South; while appearing to be in the east, he would remain in the west. He would suddenly disappear. He would make a distant object appear near; the elderly as young; make males appear as females and females as males; the barren women as pregnant, make the dumb speak and the blind to see, the bitter yeti tree bear sweet fruit. The people of Madurai forgot their trades and jobs and their eyes and minds were enchanted by the miracles of this Siddha.
Hearing of these, Abisheka Pandian asked the Siddha to brought to him. The Siddha said he had nothing to do with the king. Then the king realized that the Siddha who was free from karma and its effect had no need to oblige the king or the Devas.

21. STONE ELEPHANT EATS SUGARCANE
Since the Siddha did not come to the king, the king decided to meet the Siddha. The Siddha placed himself on the north west of the dome. On the first day of the tamil month ‘Thai’ Pandian worshipped at the temple. He saw the Siddha seated arrogantly on the way. The people asked him to get away. The king asked him about his land, his name and what he wanted. The Siddha replied that he was a wanderer through all lands. However, he lived in Kashmir in the city of Kaasi. All those who lived the ‘great life’ of begging belonged to his class. He was an expert on Vedas and he had no expectation from anybody. But, he will perform miracles for the people and give them what they want.

On hearing his arrogant reply, the king showed him a sugarcane and asked him to make the stone elephant eat it; then he will know that he was an all powerful Siddha. The Siddha said he expected nothing of the king and looked at the stone elephant which became alive and started eating the sugarcane from the king’s hand. Again the Siddha looked at the elephant and it took away the pearl garland from the king’s neck.
The kings guards tried to attack the Siddha, but were made to stand like stone statues. The king prayed for forgiveness for his mistakes and the Siddha relented and offered him a boon. The king desired a son; his wish was granted. He again looked at the elephant which returned the pearl garland to the king.
The Siddha disappeared and the elephant again became a stone. Realizing that all these episodes were Lord’s miracle, the King went to the temple and worshiped the Lord. Later his son Vikrama Pandian was enthroned and then Abisheka Pandian attained to the feet of God.
22. KILLING THE WILD ELEPHANT
Vikrama Pandian made saivite religion flourish at the cost of other religions. At this time the Chola king of Kanchi was a follower of Jainism. He became the enemy of Pandian. He assembled eight thousand Jain monks living in eight hills ‘Anjanam, Crownjarn, Gowarthanam, Thirigoodam, Attiverpu, Saiyam, Yemakoodam, Vindham’. He asked them to perform an Abitchara yagam to kill the Pandian. As a reward he would give them half his land. Accordingly, the Jains performed the yaga. The forests and the gardens withered away; lakes, tanks and rivulets dried up. From the sacrificial structure a huge wild elephant appeared. The Jains intended it to kill Vikrama Pandian. Hearing of the destructive wild elephant, the Pandyian went to the temple and sought protection. The Lord instructed him to construct a platform in the East. So a Mandapam was constructed with 16 pillars for the platform.
Lord Somasundara appeared as a rigorous hunter youth and when the wild elephant arrived He twanged the bow and released the ‘Narasimha Banam’. The arrow thundered like clouds and killed the elephant tearing its head.
The Pandian soldiers attacked the Jains who came with the elephant insulted them and drove them. Vikrama Pandian touched the feet of the Hunter and requested him to stay there always. The Hunter agreed. The king worshiped him and soon had a son Rajasekaran, and was happy. The arrow aimed at the elephant appeared in the form of Narasingam. Sage Romosa and Pragalath worshpped the Narasingam and achieved liberation.

23. FROM THE AGED TO THE YOUTHFUL AND TO CHILDHOOD
During the reign of Vikrama Pandian, a Brahmin Viroopakhan and his wife Subhaviradhai were without issues for a long time. Due to grace of God, they had a female child called Gowri ~ She was continually chanting the Uma mantram from the fifth year onwards; it had the power of releasing from rebirth cycle. When she was eight, a Vaishnava bachelor came there for alms. Viroopakhan felt that he was the proper husband for Gowri and gave her to him in marriage without caring for his creed or sect. The mother and the relatives were distressed at the thoughtless decision.
The Vaishnava Brahmin went home with the bride. His parents were distressed by Gowri’s Saiva tradition and habits. She was kept apart from the family.
One day, they locked her up and went for a wedding in a neighboring city. Gowri was thinking of Lord Shiva all the time. Lord Shiva appeared as a pious old man. She paid him obeisance, and when she touched the lock, it opened marvelously. She went into the kitchen and prepared food for the guest. The old man then turned into a beautiful youth, at which she became shy and moved aside with modesty.
When the in-laws returned home, the youth turned into a baby. They angrily asked who was that child. She replied that Datta’s wife had left the child there. The angry in-laws said she had no place in the house as she showed affection for the Saivite child. She was driven out with the child. With compassion for the motherless child she stood in the street uttering the ‘uma mantra’. Immediately the child went up the sky and was found on the sacred bull. Then Lord Shiva changed her in the shape of Goddess Uma. The Devas showered flowers on them and they went up in the sky.

24.DANCING ON THE ALTERNATE FEET
Having crowned Rajasekaran, Vikrama Pandian attained to the feet of God. He (Rajasekaran) was a worshipper, of Lord Shiva and mastered 63 arts, with the exception of the dance. A poet of the Chola king Karikalan boasted to Rajasekaran that his king had mastered all the 64 arts, and that Pandian was ignorant of the art of dance. So, the Pandian earnestly studied and practiced dancing. While learning to dance. he found how painful it was to the body and thought of Lord Shiva. On a Shivarathri day, he went to the Silver Chamber of the temple arid with tears in his eyes, and requested the Lord to allow him to have the rare privilege of seeing the Lord change his feet in the dance. Accordingly, the Lord obliged and the king was ecstatic. He requested the Lord to remain in the same pose for all to see and wonder.
25. FEARING THE SIN OF INJUSTICE
Kulqthunga Pandian, son of Rajasekara Pandian was crowned, and the old king passed away. During his reign, a Brahmin with his wife and child left Tiruppattur for Madurai. He asked his wife to rest under a banyan tree and went in search of drinking water. At that time, an arrow which was struck up on the tree fell down on her, because of the breeze and killed her.
At the same time, a hunter came under the tree for shade. Seeing the wife dead, the Brahmin thought that the hunter was the killer and took him to the king along with the body of his wife and child to complain of murder. The hunter repeatedly denied any intention of killing and pleaded innocence.
The king prayed to the Lord Somasundara to know the truth; soon he heard a ‘asariri’ asking him to attend a marriage in the Chetti street on that night so that he could know the truth.
Accordingly, the king and the Brahmin went to the wedding and remained in a corner. At that time, Yama’s two men were discussing as to how to carry out Yama’s order to take away the life of the bride groom as he did not have any ailing. The other replied as to how they had snatched the life of the woman under the banyan tree by making the arrow fall on the woman. Similarly, he would make a frightened cow in the noisy crowd to gore the bride groom to death. The Brahmin said if this should happen then he would understand how his wife had died. As they were talking a mad cow rushed through the crowd and gored the bridegroom to death. Their doubts were cleared. The Brahmin regretted his action against the hunter. The king gave him enough wealth asking him to get married a second time. The hunter was released from the prison and requested him to forgive him. He gave the hunter enough money and sent him off. The king returned to the temple and praised the Lord for having prevented him from being unjust. Then he ruled in accord with royal justice.

26. HOW A GREAT SlN WAS OBSOLVED
During the reign of Kulothunga Pandian in the city of Avanti, a Brahmin with a beautiful wife had a very wicked son. The son was so extremely lustful that he even made love to his mother. When the father noticed this the son killed his father with a pick-axe and took his mother into the forest. There thieves took away the money arid his mother. He was affected with ‘pithruhatti’ (siri of homicide). He was restlessly wandering without peace of mind. There was no end to his suffering.
He reached Madurai, where the Lord Somasundaram and Goddess Meenakshi appeared as hunters in the space near the Gopuram. He asked the Goddess to look at the unthinkable sinner of great lust.
The Lord’s look itself absolved part of the sin and he had a little self-knowledge. The Lord told him to beg for food and eat only once a day; he must serve the pious followers of Shiva; before dawn he must collect grass to feed the cows daily. He must bathe in the sacred tank thrice a day. Then he will be absolved of his sin completely.
Giving this advice the Lord and his consort disappeared. The Brahmin followed the advice faithfully and attained bliss.

27. AMPUTATING THE LIMBS
During the reign of Kulothunga Pandian, an old man f’rom the north earned his living by giving training in swordsmanship. One of his students, Siddhan mastered the art and set up a rival school and earned much wealth. He attracted the students from his master’s school and even tried to molest the master’s wife. The wife could not reveal this to her husband and felt very miserable, always thinking of the Lord Somasundara.
The Lord appeared in the guise of the old master’s swordsman and challenged Siddhan for a sword fight on the ‘next day on the outskirts of the city.
A huge crowd gathered. They fought for 20 nazhigai (l hour = 2 nazhigai). The old master said – now protect your heart that desired your guru’s wife, your tongue that slandered his wife, and hands that touched her and eyes that looked at her. He then cut them off and finally cut his head and then disappeared.
The disciples looked for the master and went to his home. Seeing him there they realized that the old swordsman was indeed Lord Somasundara and worshipped him. The king rewarded the old man with varied gifts.

28. DESTROYING THE SERPENT
After Kulothunga Pandian,. Anandha Guna Pandian came to power. The sacred ashes, the rudhratcham, and the panchatcharam were the only three realities for him. The Saiva customs and tradition were spread all over the Pandian land.
So, eight thousand Jains planned to kill the Pandian by performing a huge yaga. From the yaga arose a monster. The monster, was commanded to destroy Pandian and Madurai. The monster took the shape of a huge poisonous snake and came from the west of Madurai.
The king meditated on Lord Somasundara thinking that it was the work of the Jains. The king confronted the snake in the west. Keeping the Lord in his heart firmly he aimed an arrow at the snake and cut it off. The snake sprouted out huge amounts of poison which unsteadied the people making them giddy and unable to speak.
The king appealed to Lord Somasundara allowed a drop of ‘maria’ from the cresent moon of his crest. The drop spread over Madurai and saved it.

29. THE ILLUSORY COW
Seeing how the snake was destroyed, the Jains ran for life like the clouds. Thinking that the Pandian would not harm a cow, this time they performed an ‘abitchara yaga’ and a monster appeared in the form of a cow, roaring like thunder and it reached Madurai.
Lord Shiva sent his bull to help Pandian to destroy the fake cow. The bull approached with fiery eyes and the cow was charmed by the beauty of the bull, and lost its nerve to fight. it fell in the shape of a hill. The bull left its shape as a witness to the world in the shape of a hill and took its subtle body to the Lord.
And when Rama went to Lanka, Lakshman, Hanuman, Sukhreevan and others stayed at the hiliock of the bull and learnt of Madurai’s fame from Sage Agasthya. On return from the victory over Ravana, Rama established a Shivalingam at Sethu. Because of this, he was released of his ‘brahmaharti’. He worshipped Lord Somasundara and went to Ayodhya.

30. REVEALING HIMSELF
Anandha Guna Pandian crowned his son Kulapooshana Pandian. He had a military chief called Sundara Samandhan. He worshipped devotees of Shiva as Shiva Himself. Once a hunter chief Sethirayan tried to march on Madurai. So the Pandian o’rdered to expand his army by opening the treasury to Sundira Samandhan.
Sundara Samandhan spent the money on the devotees of Shiva and in the construction of Gopuram, and the thousand-pillared mandapam. He pretended to gather an army. For sometime no soldier arrived from any place.
The king called the Commander and ordered that by sunset the next day the armies must be assembled. The helpless commander prayed to Lord Somasundarar. An ‘asariri’ announced that the armies would arrive the next day. The ganas of Shiva, Gundodharar, and superrtatural spirits appeared like various branches of the army. The Lord’s bull appeared as a horse on which the Lord appeared as a soldier. It was a grand sight. Commander Sundara Samandhan pointed out with his cane the various armies from various lands, like Kannada, Ganga, Kuru land etc, The Pandian saw a horse rider at a distance and asked about his identity. The commander Sundara Samandhan said it was impossible to identify anybody in the great crowd. The Pandian sent for the horseman and rewarded him with ornaments and dress. He wore some of them and distributed the rest. Then he demonstrated the five types of horse manouvre and then disappeared into the crowd of soldiers. At that time a spy infored the king that the hunter chief Sethirayan was killed by a tiger. Pandian was happy and rewarded Sundara Samandhan amply. He asked Sundara Samandhan to send back the armies. The Lord instantly disappeared with His ganas. Then Pandian realized that it was Lord’s miracle. Thinking of the miracle, he was overwhelmed by love and piety.

31. THE INEXHAUSTIBLE MONEY BAG
Gunapoodana Pandian was perfect in following ‘Somavara’ fasting. In his arrogance he disrespected the Brahmins. Rains became rare and famine ravaged the country. Most of the people left for other places. The remaining suffered from great hunger. The Pandian appealed to Lord Somasundara to be freed from famine in the land. The Lord pointed out that he had neglected the yagas and disrespected vedic Brahmins. Because of this, rains seized and famine was on.

“Restore the old tradition, and I will give you a bag of inexhaustible gold”. With this bag of gold he may alleviate poverty. Saying so the Lord disappeared. The Pandian treated the bag itself as Lord Shiva. He spent the money on Brahmins, on the domes of Lord Somasundara and of Goddess Meenakshi. The Land became prosperous as before and learned men flocked to the kingdom. It was like ‘Azhagapuri’ of Guberan.

32. SELLING BANGLES
Once Lord Shiva wanted to show the limits of chastity of the wives of the sages of Tharugavanam. With sacred ashes smeared over and with just a loin cloth and in the guise of a mendicant he appeared at the vanam (forest). At the sounds of his anklets and of ‘dhamaruga’ (little drum) the wives came out to give alms. They were overwhelmed at the charm of the mendicant. With their bangles loosened, their hair-do down, their dress slipping down, they gazed at him in self-forgetfulness. The Lord left them in that state.
The sages saw this and cursed them, so they would be born as vaisya women in Madurai. When they asked how this curse would be lifted, they replied that when the Lord Somasundaram touched their hands, the curse would be lifted. The wives of the sages were born as vaisya females. When they were grown up, the Lord appeared as bangles seller in their street.

They were charmed by the beauty of the merchant. The Lord touched their hands and fitted the bangles and disappeared in the sight of everyone. He appeared as the inner light of the dome. Then they realized that the bangle merchant was none other than Lord Soma sundara.
Because of the touch of the Lord, all the vaisya women became pregnant, and gave birth to brave and dignified children.

33. GRANTING 8 SIDDHIS
Lord Shiva was seated under a banyan tree in Kailas. Goddess Uma was giving him betel-areca nut packets to chew. The Lord was expounding some dharmas to sages and ganas. The six nymphs who were nursing Lord Muruga came there requesting Him to teach them ‘Ashta Siddhis’ (eight miraculous powers). He asked them to seek Goddess Parvathy’s grace and taught them the siddhis. But they had forgotten them due to previous karma.
Then Lord Shiva angrily cursed them to be stones under a banyan tree at ‘Pattamangai’ for a thousand years. After thousand years, the Lord took the shape of an Acharya and restored-their original forms. They thankfully worshipped him. He placed his hand on their heads and gave them the eight great siddhis.
The six nymphs then offered prayers to Goddess Uma and went to Kailas.
34. THE BULL INSIGNIA
The Chola who cleared the forest at Kanchi was a staunch adherent of Saiva conventions. He had heard about he miracles performed by Lord Somasundara, and wanted to worship him. The Lord appeared in his dream and asked him to go to Madurai alone and under disguise. Accordingly, the Cholan reached vaigai which was in floods. He was disheartened. The Lord appeared as a Siddha and drained the river. He then took the Chola King to the Lotus tank, made him bathe and accepted his worship with Goddess Meenakshi. The Siddha took him through the North gate, locked the
gate with the insignia of His bull and entered the temple. Next morning, the Pandya was puzzled at the bull insignia instead
of his ‘fish’ insignia. He did not eat and struggled to sleep. When he slept, the Lord appeared in his dream and explained everything.
The Pandian woke up and narrated everything to the people around. They were delighted. Before he died, he enthroned his son Rajendra Pandian.

35. DRINKING WATER POINT
The Chola King who cleared the forest wanted to worship Lord Somasundarar openly and without hindrance. So he befriended Rajendra Pandian, sending him gifts and expressing his willingness to give his daughter in marriage to him.

But Rajendran’s younger brother Rajasinghan plotted and married the princess intended for his brother. The Cholan intending to make the kingdom belong to his son-inlaw marched on the kingdom. Seeing his friend becoming his enemy, the Pandian prayed to the Lord. The ‘asariri’ announced victory for him, and asked him to confront the enemy. During the battle, the small army of the Pandian appeared to be in vast numbers. With the fierce battle in the hot sun, both armies were exhausted. Lord Somasundara arranged for water points amidst the Pandian forces and an ascetic distributed drinking water among the
Pandian soldiers. The Pandian defeated and captured the Cholan and his son-inlaw. But in his magnanimity he did not punish them. He gifted them
with jewellery, horses and elephants. Part of his wealth was allotted to his brother and ruled over all with compassion.

36. ALCHEMY
Thirupoovanam was a saivite center in which a temple dancer Ponanaiyal was distinguished for her piety and service to Shiva’s ardent worshippers. She decided to make an idol of Lord Shiva. Her daily earnings were just enough for Mahesh Pooja only. She despaired of this.
One day, the Lord appeared as a Siddha.before Ponanaiyal. She honoured the Siddha whole heartedly and told him of her desire to make an idol of Shiva. The Lord as Siddha told her to collect all her vessels, copper, bronze, and lead. The Siddha sprinkled sacred ashes over them and told her to keep them on fire; and they were turned to gold with which she could make the idol of Lord Shiva. She realized that the Siddha was the Lord Himself and was delighted. She made a bewitching idol of Shiva, kissed it and consecrated it and conducted festivals too. After some years, she
passed away.
37. CHOLAN DROWNED IN A DEEP POND
After Rajendra Pandian, His son Rajesa Pandian, and after him his son Raja Gambiran, and then his son Deepan and after him his son Purandhara Siddhu and after him his son Pandy vamsa Pathahan and then his son Sundaresa Padha Sekaran reigned the Kingdom.
Sundaresa Padha Sekaran’s army was small, because the king spent more wealth on Lord Somasundarar, for making jewelry for the Lord, constructing gopuram, decorating it lavishly.
Learning of the small army Cholan marched upon the kingdom. The Pandian prayed to God who asked him to confront the enemy. The small army appeared as a huge one to the enemy. The Lord Himself appeared as a Hunter with a spear in front of the Cholan like Yama.
The Cholan’s army fled, but when he looked back there was no hunter. So he renewed his attack. Now, the Pandian fled and fell into a deep pool on the west of Madurai. The Cholan also fell into the deep pool and died. The Pandian dedicated all his wealth to the Lord and lived in ecstacy.

38. THE INEXHAUSTIBLE GRANARY
‘Adiyarkku Nallaan of Vellala Sect and his wife Dharmaseelai were well known for their piety. Though, his financial position was deteriorating he had the largeness of heart continuing to performing pooja and other acts of piety, even by borrowing money.
The Lord tested him by making him unable to get loan. They both prayed to the Lord and decided to loose their lives if the Lord did not help them to get the loan.
The Lord blessed them with a miraculous granary which cannot be empty. With this he was able to entertain the pious happily. His fame spread and he lived like Guberan. Later he and his wife passed away peacefully.

39. THE LORD APPEARING AS AN UNCLE
A merchant Thylapathy and his wife Suseelai had no child for y long time. So, he adopted his sister’s son and brought him up. Because of his attachment to his wife,. his sister was jealous and quarreled with his wife almost daily endlessly.
One day his sister insulted him for not having a child of his own and told him that he was under a curse. It was because of her child that his life was redeemed.
Feeling very much insulted, he decided to give all his wealth to . his son-in-law (sister’s son) and do penance with his wife so that in the next birth he,might have a child. He and his wife went to the forest to do penance.
In the mean time, the relatives, through cunning legal action, took away the property given to the son-in-Iaw. Thalapathy’s sister was, in despair. She stood before the Lord and remonstrated and then slept. ln her dream the Lord appeared and advised her to complain before the village council promising her to help.
Accordingly, on the next day she complained before 5e council. The Lord appeared as Thaiapathy under penance complaining about the absence of proper justice in the world, neglect of vedhaagama tradition. He consoled his sister and son-in-law.
The council heard both sides and declared that the relatives have filed a fake case. In response, the relatives complained that Thalapathy was not the authentic person. So Thalapathy gave the details of the family, relatives and the case was crushed in favour of Thalapathy.
The relatives fearing Pandian’s punishment if he came to know about the fraudulent case left the place each with some excuse;
Then the Lord disappeared in the sight of all. King Sundaresa Pathasekara Pandian came to know of this and gifted Jhalapathy, and renewedfhe temple with gold plates.

40. VARAGUNAN GIVEN A VISION OF SIVALINGAM

Sundaresa Padhasekara Pandian’s son Varaguna Pandian succeeded him as King. On his hunt, his horse stumbled and killed a Brahmin. And so the king was affected. by the sin of Brahmahatti.,As per the command of Lord Somasundara when he fought with Qe Chota king chasing him upto Thiiuvidaimarudhur temple his sin was absolved. The king reached Madurai through the West gate.
Ha requested the Lord for a vision of Sivalingam, and prayed. Nandhi was asked to arrange for this by the Lord; Then Nandbi showed him the many rivers, streams, lotus tanks fortifications, Brahmapuram, Vishnupuram and pointed out the. pious devotees,af Shiva. Then he showed the Lord who was pansed by Vedas and Agmas on both sides. Naradha sang with his ‘thumburu’lyps. Celestial nymphs danced. Vinayagar, Subramaniar,:aAd. Veerabadhrar stood with pious respect. The devas were wijting with the requests. The sages chanted “Hara Hara Sankara Siva Siva”, and the Lord was seated on the throne with Goddess Uma.
Varaguna Pandian was greatly ecstatic and worshipped the Lord. Then he was shown Madurai and Himself and Goddess Uma as in Shivaloga. Madurai was known as the earthly Shivaloga and praised by the elders.

41. FIREWOOD SELLER
During the reign of Varaguna Pandian a musician from the north, Emanathan came to Madurai arid was well received by the King. However, in his arrogance the musician challenged the musicians in Madurai to contest with him in musical performance.
The king sent for state musician Banapathran to compete with the visitor. He replied that with the grace of God Somasundara, he would tame the pride of the visitor. Ernanathan’s disciples went around Madurai showing their skills in singing.
Banapathran wondered how much more powerful would be the masters performance if the disciples themselves performed so wonderfully; he sought the grace of Lord Somasundara.
Lord Somasundara appeared at Madurai as a fire-wood seller and appearing to rest at a Emanathan’s porch, He began to sing with his instrument. When asked who he was,  he related how he was rejected as unfit for training because of old age and he resorted to selling fire-wood for his livelihood. He was asked to sing by Emanathan, and the Lord sang movingly in ‘Saadaharipann’.
The song was so enchanting and magical that the trees stood still, water, springs, rivers and all lives appeared as painted pictures. The lotus-seated Brahma was at the feet of the Lord; the Vishnu on the ocean of milk felt he was in thh ocean of bliss; Indra wished that ail his eyes of his body were ears.
While Emanathan was charmed. and dazed, the Lord disappeared. Much discouraged at meeting Banapathrar the next day, he packed off from Madurai; his disciples also fled in all directions.
The Lord appeared in the dream of Banapathran and related the events. He felt sorry that the Lord had carried fire-wood for his sake. Then he informed the king of these events. He wondered and worshipped the Lord and rewarded Banapathran with jewelry and dress asking him to sing the praise of the Lord all his life.

42. THE EPISTLE
As desired by Varaguna Pandian, Banapathran’s whole life was devoted to singing the praise of the Lord and not earning his livelihood. He became poor. Then the Lord stole regularly little by little from the treasury and gave it to Banapathran.
After some time he stopped this and the musician suffered much because of poverty and hunger. Then the Lord appeared in his dream: if hereafter he continued the theft Pandian will come to know of it and the guards will be punished for it. So, he would give an epistle to Cheran who would give him great wealth.
Banapathran took the epistle to Cheran who was informed of this by the Lord in his dream. The Cheran was happy and received the musician, honoured him with jewelry dress, elephants and horses. The musician took leave of him and returned to Madurai, worshipped the Lord and distributed his wealth to poets, Brahmins and others and lived happily.

43. THE WOODEN PLANK
Banapathran used to sing to the Lord and prayed 3 times a day and sang often at mid-nights after acquiring wealth. One day it rained heavily and he was drenched in the rain on the way to the temple. His body trembled in the cold and his legs were muddy. The Lord was pleased and asked him to sing standing on a wooden board given to him by the Lord. When the rain stoppd Banapathran took home the wooden plank.
Hearing this the king declared the musician as the Lord of Madurai and rewarded him with fertile lands, jewelry and wealth. Banapathran continued to sing of the Lord four times a day. After sometime, Varaguna Pandian passed away.

44. MUSIC CONTEST BY WOMEN
Raja Raja Pandian son of Varaguna Pandian came to the throne. One’of his concubines was an expert musician. There was difference of opinion about music between her and Banapathran’s wife. To bring down the pride of Banapathran’s wife, she brought a singer from Lanka for a music contest. The king’s condition was that the defeated will be a slave to the victor in the contest.
The audience looking at the king;s appreciation of the Lankan singer praised her. On the second day too, noticing the king’ s appreciation declared that the Lankan singer was the best. On the next day, when the king was to discuss and announce the result, the Lord made him declare that the wife of Banapathran had won. The audience too agreed with him. So, Banapathran’s wife was lifted on to the shoulders of the Lankan singer.
The Lord appeared there as a poet praising the performance and suddenly disappeared. The king was frightened. The king rewarded the wife of Banapathran and praised her. Then he had a son Sugunan and lived happily thereafter.

45. FEEDING THE PIGLETS WITH BREAST MILK
On the south of Vaigai lived Sukalan and his wife Sukalai. They had twelve children when they died. The children joined the hunter tribe. Once they went to Brihaspathy’s place, created trouble and laughed. Brihaspathy cursed them to become piglets; he added that Lord Somasundara himself would become the mother of the piglets, breast feeding them. Then they would be liberated.
Accordingly, they were born as piglets. One day the king went out for hunting. The king of the pigs with other pigs confronted the king in battle. The wife of the pig king advised withdrawal. But the pig king boasted about the courage of the pigs: “One pig would drink, where two lions would drink; two lions would hesistate to drink where one pig drank” He was born in that line and he would win in the battle against Pandian.
The arrows of the Pandian were ineffective; and the pig killed the king’s elephant and broke to pieces his battle car. Finally, the king killed the pig with a blow on the head with an iron bar. Its spirit went to the realm of the brave. His wife too followed the brave pig and fought, fell down and became a hillock. It was known as ‘Pandrimalai’ from that time. Many siddhas and yogis had done penance there and achieved salvation.
The piglets that lost the mother were desperate without milk. The Lord became a mother pig and breast fed them. They became valiant and full of wisdom and gained other virtues.

46. FROM PIGLETS TO MINISTERS
After the Lord disappeared the pig-faced children distinguished in all the arts and stayed at Pandrimalai. Once Lord Somasundarar appeared in their dream of Pandian and.asked him to make the twelve as ministers in his court. Pandian obeyed and rewarded them and made them ministers. He also gave them in marriage to former minister’s daughter. The pig-faced ministers were twelve in body but one in soul and they lived happily. The understood the king’ s intention and acted accordingly. They did not collect anything except tax from the people. After some time, the twelve attained to heaven and became ‘Sivagana Nathars’. Raja Raja Pandian also went to heaven.

47. SPIRITUAL INSTRUCTION TO BLACK BIRD
Suguna Pandian, son of Raja Rajan, was ruling the land. A man who did charitable deeds in previous birth was born as black bird because of a little sin. Frightened of other birds like the crow and others the black bird left the city and lived in the forest.
At that time, a devotee of Shiva told the bird that he would enjoy all that he desired even in this birth itself if he went to Madurai and worshipped Lord Somasundarar. So the bird took the advise, went to Madurai, bathed in the tank and worshipped the Lord. The Lord taught the bird, ‘Mrithyunjaya’ mantra which he once taught to Markandeya. The mantra released one from death-fear and death itself. Then its ignorance vanished and wisdom dawned.
The bird then requested the Lord for strength so that other birds may not attack it. The Lord granted its wish. Then the bird made other birds of its kind acquire strength similarly. This bird acquired the name Valiyan. Later it reached the feet of God.

48. GRANTING LIBERATION TO THE CRANE
There was a lotus tank in the south of Pandiya Nadu. Because of the failure of rains the tank dried up. A crane that was living there
went to the forest and stayed at a lake. In that lake the crane saw fishes in the braided hair of the sages. When they dipped into the
water, the crane felt what austerity the fishes would have done to touch the body of the sages.
After bathing, the sages read out Madurai puranam, of the miracles performed by Lord Somasundara. The bird realized that the Lord was easily accessible to those who reached piously.
lt shed its ignorance and attained true wisdom, bathing daily in the Lotus tank and worshipping the Lord and meditating on him. After fifteen days the bird became very hungry and desired to eat the fish in the tank, but then it also regretted the desire to eat the fish in the sacred tank and prayed to the Lord. The Lord appeared before the crane in the shape it desired and asked what boons it wanted. The bird wanted to shed this birth and reach Sivaloga where the pious devotees lived. The bird requested that the tank must be free from fishes forever.
The Lord granted its wish. From that time onwards there were no aquatic creatures in the tank. Sugana Pandian removed the sinful deeds from his land and fostered virtues and reached the heavens.

49. THIRUVALAVOY
Chitra Ratan was enthroned after Suguan Pandian. After him twenty Pandians ruled upto Athulakeerthi. After Athulakeerthi, his son Keerthi Veedanan ruled when the ‘pralaya’ occurred. All the seven seas rose up and destroyed the world, but in Madurai Lord Somasundara’s dome Meenakshi temple, the bull hill and Yanamalai, Nagamalai, Pasumalai, and Pandrimalai were not destroyed. When the floods drained, the world was recreated by the Lord. The three tamil kings were created from the Sun, the Moon, and Agni.
Vangiya Sekara Pandian of Chandra dynasty established a city around Lord Somasundara’s temple and ruled without violation of justice. The land became prosperous, and population increased. So, he requested the Lord to show the cities old boundaries so that he may build a city for them.
The Lord appeared as a snake siddha; he took a snake which was his ring and asked it to show the cities boundaries. The snake requested the city to be named after it, and its wish was granted. The snake extended its tail to the east and went round the city and held its tail in its mouth to show the limits of the town. Then it became a ring in the Lords hand. The Siddha vanished into the temple. The city built as indicated by the snake was known as Thiruvalavoy city.

50. HELPING PANDIAN
Vikrama Cholan marched on the kingdom Vankiya Sekara Pandian. The Pandian complained to the Lord that his army was a small one. Through ‘asariri’ the Lord promised to help him.
The armies of the North Indian Kings joined Vikrama Cholan and he proudly blew the conch of victory. Lord Somasundara in guise of a hunter fought with the Chola. Each of his arrows killed hundred soldiers. The Chola found in one arrow the name Sundaresar. Seeing that the Lord Himself is helping the Pandian, he withdrew. The North Indian kings did not allow the Chola to withdraw and fired arrows on Pandian’s army. But the Lord destroyed them all, smiled and vanished. The Pandian struck the victory drum and ruled his kingdom justly.

51. THE SANGAM BOARD
Brahma Devar performed ten ‘aswametha’ yagas and went to bathe in the ganges with his three wives Saraswathi, Savithri, Gayathri. On the way Saraswathi was attracted and absorbed by the music of a maid.
Brahma Deva bathed along with the other two wives. Later, Saraswathi asked him, how could he bathe without her. Since the mistake was hers, she should not blame him, said Brahma Deva. So, she was cursed to take endless human births.
She was frightened and asked should Brahma Deva’s wife take human form. Of the 51 letters constituting her body, 48 from ‘aharam’ ‘hagaram’ will become poets. Aharam is the Lord Somasundara Himself who will appear as a poet and remain on the Board of Poets. He would remain in their hearts and cause poetic creation.
These 48 poets became all languages, went to many countries and earned fame and returned to Madurai. Lord Somasundara who became a poet and lead the other poets to Madurai and made them worship the Lord Somasundarar and disappeared.
The Pandian gifted them and constructed a ‘Sanga Mandapam’. The poets from other countries debated, discussed and went back. One day, the poets requested Lord Somasundarar to provide them a Board to evaluate creativity in the poems. The Lord appeared as a poet and constituted a Board. Kapilar, Paranar, and other poets were on the Board. Each one had one cubit space of it. The Lord was impartial and the poets created many rare works. Vankya Sekara Pandian crowned his son and Vankya Soodamani and reached the feet of the Lord.

52. GOLD BAG TO DHARUMI
Vankya Soodamani Pandian created a Shenbaga garden and worshipped the Lord Soma Sundarar with Shenbaga garland, and so the Lord was known as Shenbaga Sundarar, and the King as Shenbaga Pandian. One day when the Pandian went to his garden he perceived a different fragrance; following it he knew that it was from the hair of his queen. He had a doubt as to whether it was natural or artificial fragrance.
He wanted an opinion on this question. One thousand gold coins would be offered to any poet who could enlighten him on the subject. He hung a bag with gold coins in the mandapam.
Lord Somasundara helped a poverty-stricken saiva priest Dharumi by ghost writing for him a poem. The king was pleased about the poem and was about to offer the gold bag, when Nakkeerar objected to the blemish in the poem.
Even a virtuous woman’s hair would have artificial fragrance, not natural fragrance. This was his stand. Dharumi made a complaint to the Lord who appeared as a poet and asked Nakkeerar if virtuous woman did not have fragrant hair, what about the Devamathars? What about Gnanapoongothai whom Nakkeerar worshipped? Nakkeerar replied, in all cases the fragrance was artificial. The Lord became angry and showed his third eye. Despite the third eye, Nakkeerar said the error was an error. Unable to bear the heat from the third eye of the Lord, Nakkeerar dipped into the Lotus tank and the Lord vanished.

53. HELPING KEERAN FROM OUT OF THE TANK
All the poets were very sorry, that Nakkeerar had fallen into the Lotus tank unable to bear the heat. Nakkeerar also felt sorry. On their request for forgiveness, the Lord who was very compassionate relented and appeared with Goddess Meenakshi at the Lotus tank and glanced at Nakkeeran with compassion. Then Nakkeeran composed the poem ‘Kailai Paathi, Kaalathi Paathi’. The lord was pleased and helped him out of the tank. As before, he was asked to be on the poet’s board. The Pandian gave the golden bag to Dharumi.

54. KEERAN, GIVEN INSTRUCTION IN GRAMMAR.
Keeran bathed in the Lotus tank daily and worhsipped Lord Somasundara. The Lord was pleased arId asked Agasthyar to teach him more of the grammar of words that changed and those that do not change. Agasthyar taught him primary work through synthesis and analysis technique, and commentary on Kaandigai and Virudhi commentary.
The Lord who authored the primary text gifted Agasthyar with many boons. Nakkeerar then taught the other poets of what he learnt and was endeared to Lord Shiva.

55. RESOLVING THE DlSPUTS OF THE BOARD MEMBERS
The 48 poets of the last Sangam composed poems flattering themselves arrogantly. They requested the Lord to evaluate their works. From the Moola lingam the Lord appeared as a poet and told them that their was a 5 year old dumb boy Rudhra Sanman, son of a rich man Guna Salini. Through him they might evaluate the poems. Though dumb he could respond to poems through tears, through thrilled nodding of his head; and their doubts maybe cleared.
Rudhra Sanman was invited to take a seat on the Board. He reacted to the beauty of diction of some poems, consistency and content of other poems and condemned the lack of both in some poems. But on hearing Nakkeerar, Kapilar and Baranar he was in tears and was nodding his head blissfully. The poets then no longer quarreled. And these three poets received as the best.

58. EDAIKAADAN
After Shenbaga Pandian upto Kulesa Pandian 15 kings ruled respectively. Kapilar’s friend Edaikkadar, on hearing that Kulesa Pandian was learned; composed a poem and read it out to the king. The King was jealous and did not react to the poem.
Edaikkaadan complained of this to Lord Soma Sundara. Lord Shiva hid his linga shape in the temple and came out with Goddess Uma and in the North, of the temple and South of Vaigai created a temple and remained there. The Sangam poets followed him and stayed there.
The king felt disturbed, went to the Lord and asked what mistake he had committed. The Lord in ‘asariri’ told him about the injustice
done to Edaikkaadar. The Pandian earnestly prayed to the Lord to forgive him Lord . Soma Sundara with Goddess Meenakshi returned to the temple.
EdaIkkaadar was invited to the court and given many honors and rewards and requested the poets fo forgive his lapse. The poets were reconciled, and returned blessing him.

57. THROWING THE NET
Once when the Lord Soma Sundarar expounded the meaning of Vedas, Goddess Uma listened to each rather indifferently. So, the Lord cursed that she would be born among the fisher folk. But when she grew up as the daughter of the king of Fisher folk, he would marry her.
Knowing the misfortune that had happened to their mother, Vinayagar and Muruga threw the Vedic books of their father into the sea. Because Nandi had allowed get inside, Nandi was cursed to become a shark and Murugan to be born as the son of a merchant. He did not curse Vinayaga because it would effect him, also.
Uma appeared as a weeping child near the shore of the ocean on the eastern side of Pandia Nadu. The king of the fisher folk took the child and brought it up.
Nandi as shark was giving much trouble to the fishermen and boatmen. The king of the fisherfolk announced that he would marry off his daughter to anyone who would catch the shark. Lord Soma sundara took the shape of a fisherman, caught the shark and threw it on the shore. In return king of fisher folk gave his daughter in marriage to this fisherman. The married couple appeared as Lord Somasundara and Goddess Meenakshi in the sky. The shark seienpgds original shape as Nandi.: The king of the fisherman was overwhelmed at the truth and worshiped the Lord. Lord SomaSundara and Goddess Meenakshi returned to Madurai.

58. INSTRUCTING VAADHA VOORAR
When Arimardhana Pandian ruled over Madurai, a Brahmin named Thiruvadha Voorar was his minister. His thoughts were always god-centered. He was waiting for a Guru to release him from worldly bondage.
The Pandian king once gave him a large sum of money to buy good horses. The minister prayed to the Lord Soma Sundarar and went near the shore where the horses were brought for sale. The time arrived for the balancing of his karmas and the ripening of his soul for liberation. So the Lord appeared as a Guru at Thiruperundurai, under a ‘kuruntha’ tree. The guru gave him spiritual instruction on the subtle ‘panchatcharm’. Because he composed sweet songs, the Lord named him ‘Manickavasagar’. He was made to remain Thiruperundurai for some time, by the guru. To the wonder of Manickavasagar, he disappeared. Then Manickavasagar built a temple for the Lord with the money meant for the horses. When the messengers from the king arrived, he sent word that the horses would arrive in the tamil month of ‘Aadi’ the expected the horses in time. He had spent all the money for the temple, temple service and on pious people lavishly. Coming to know of this the king sent him a letter about the horses. The Lord appeared in Manickavasakar’s dream and said that He would Himself bring very attractive horses to the King, and asked him to go the king in advance. As there was no sign of horses people were harsh with him, when he was chatting with the king.

59. FOXES TURN TO HORSES
Next day, when the king asked about the horses, he replied that the horses would arrive in three days. And still the horses did not come. So, Manickavasagar was imprisoned and punished. In Aavani, when the moon transisted the star moolam, the Lord transformed the foxes into horses. He and His ganas became horsemen. Seeing the special quality of the horses, the king admired them very much. The Lord made the horses which were Vedas demonstrated the five types of paces and 18 styles of riding. Except his horse, He handed the reins of all other horses to king and that after handing over the reins He will no longer will be responsible for whatever happens. and His ganas disappeared. And he narrated all these to Goddess Meenakshi. The Pandian released Manickavasagar from the prison. And rewarded him lavishly.

60. HORSES TURN TO FOXES
On that midnight, because of the Lords playfulness, the horses assumed their original shapes as foxes, broke the chains, ran here and there, biting and injuring the king’s other horses. The next morning, the angry king punished Manickavasagar and made him bear stones on his hands and his fore-head. Manickavasagar prayed to the Lord and wept.
Then the Lord created a furious flood in Vaigai. In order to help Vandhi and teach the king a lesson, he appeared as a labourer. The flood reached the walls of the town destructively. The people were worried and thought that the king must have failed justice. Some said that it may be divine playfulness; some said that the Lord’s braided hair alone could contain the flood and control it. A thousand gundotharas would be unable to drink up the floods. The torturers left Manickavasagar and went away. Manickavasagar was thinking about Lord with joy and prayerfulness.

61. CARRYING THE SAND

The king ordered to make arrangements so that the flood may not destroy the city.All people were involved in a project of building a bund in the shores of vaigai. Each one had one’s allotted area to work.

An old woman called vandhi was also allotted her work.She was a great devotee of the lord and she was too old to work. When she prayed to the lord, he appeared before her as a laborer. She made her living by making and selling a confectionary made out of cereals. The lord said he would work on her behalf just for her confectionary.
Instead of building a bund, he was destroying other bunds. The angry king caned him. He threw down the basket and his tools and vanished. The pain of caning was felt by his queen, his ministers, soldiers, horses and elephants in fact on all things in nature, trees, mountains, Sun and Stars. Then the Lord Soma Sundarar spoke in ‘asariri’: ‘All your wealth were earned righteously; therefore, they were given to us and the devotees by Thiruvathavoorar’. Because the king tortured him the Lord turned the foxes into horses, and the horses into foxes in the night. He told how he carried sand as a laborer to Vandhi and liberated her. All these were performed for the sake of Thiruvathavoorar. So, he asked the king to leave him alone and rule the land justly according to the scriptures.
This was heard by all the people. Then Manickavasagar was released. He went on pilgrimage and sang many devout songs. The collection of those songs are called Thiruvasagam. Finally, he arrived at Chidambaram and in ecstasy sang and danced and performed Sivayogam.
Later, he won in the debates with the Buddhists from Lanka. He made the Chola’s dumb daughter to speak. He went on singing of the Lord and reached the feet of Lord Shiva.

62. PANDIAN’S FEVER
Many kings ruled after Arimardhana Pandian. Among these Goon Pandian was a great king conquering Cheran and Cholan. He married Mangaiyarkarasi, daughter of Cholan, who sent Kulachirayar to Pandian as his minister.
Pandian was deeply involved in Jain religion and spoke low of Saiva traditions. Only Mangaiyarkarasi and Kulachirayar were saivites. They worshipped Thiru Gnana Sambandhar who was an incarnation of saivisim, and requested him to uproot Jainism and make the king wear the sacred ashes and redeem the country. So Gnana Sambandhar went to Madurai.
The Jains tried to hinder him from reaching the Pandian Kingdom. But Thiru Gnana Sambandar over came all these hindarances and reached Madurai. There he worshipped Lord Soma Sundarar and Goddess Meenakshi and stayed in the mandapam of Sage Vageesar. The Jains set fire to the mandapam. Thiru Gnana Sambandar sang and directed the fire to Pandian who had severe fever.
The Jains could not cure the King. As per advice of Mangayarkarasi and Kulachirayar he invited Gnana Sambandar who sang a ‘pathigam’ and with sacred ashes smeared on his body, he cured the king of his fever. His hunch back was also cured and he converted to Saivism.

63. JAINS IMPALED

Mangayarkarasi and Kulachirayar requested Gnana Sambandhar to challenge and defeat the Jains and establish Saivism throughout Tamilnadu. Thiru Gnana Sambandhar went to the temple and prayed to Lord Soma Sundarar. The Lord informed through asariri that what was fit for them was also acceptable for Him; the Jains will be defeated in the debate and would be impaled. Then, Thiru Gnana Sambandhar returned to his mandapam.
Kulachirayar and Mangayarkarasi, returned to the Palace. On the next day, the Jains challenged Thiru Gnana Sambandhar for a contest. Now, both will write down the mantras (magical formula) on the palm leaves and throw it into the fire. The palm leaves that is not destroyed will be declared the victorious. On the East of Madurai, the Jains dug a pit and made a huge fire. The Jains’ green palm leaves were burned to ashes, whereas the palm leaves on which Thiru Gnana Sambandhar wrote his poem remained fresh without burning.

The Jains challenged Thiru Gnana Sambandhar for another contest involving water. Both parties threw their palm leaves manuscript into the Vaigai. The Jain manuscript went along with the water, but Thiru Gnana Sambandhar’s palm leaves wentagainst the flood and was restored in a place now called “Thiruvedagam”. Everyone was happy.
Most of the defeated Jains voluntarily impaled themselves. Some of them wore sacred ashes. Thus Thiru Gnana Sambandhar established throughout Pandian Kingdom. After pilgrimage to sacred places, Thou Gnana Sambandhar reached Chola Nadu.

64. VANNI TREE, WELL AND LINGAM AS WITNESSES

In a city near the sea-shore a merchant had a girl child after a long time pining without an issue. He announced to everyone that he would marry off his daughter to his son-in-law himself. But he died and his wife also died. The relatives performed the ceremonies and sent a letter to the son-in-law who was in Madurai. He came and stayed in his Father-in-law’ s house with his relatives.

After some days, he said he would marry her in the presence of his relatives and took her to Madurai. On the way at Purambayam, he bathed in the well near a temple;-took food under the Vanni tree and slept with his head on the temple steps. At that time a poisonous snake bit him and he died. The relatives were crying. The girl also wept profusely. Thiru Gnana Sarnbandhar, who was on his pilgrimage heard the news, took pity, on tne girl, meditated to make the poisoned body pervaded with ‘amrith’. The dead man rose as if from sleep. The young pair were mamed there itself with Vanni tree, the Well, and the Siva Lingam as witnesses. Then they reached Madurai where he earned great wealth and lived like Kuberan.

He already had a wife earlier. Her children were very mischievous and wicked. They beat the younger wife’s child and scolded it. The older wife quarreled with the younger wife calling her a mere concubine and demanded if there is any proof of their marriage. The younger wife was broken hearted at this treatment. On the qext day, she bathed inde Lotus tank, worshipped Lord Soma Sundara and requested Him to bring the tree, the well and the Lingam as witnesses to her marriage, or else she would die. The Lord made the three appear at the North east comer. The older wife felt ashamed. The people praised the younger wife’ s chastity and her piety.

The merchant wanted to-set aside his elder wife. But the younger wife pleaded on her behalf saying that only though her,her chastity was known to the world, and that she had the status of her mother. The wish was.granteci’and they lived many years peacefully and happily.