Monday, 11 February 2013

Kannappan nayanar

This story is in praise of one hunter who never learnt any holy scriptures and whose discipline was just to kill-hunt, who became an excellent example of devotion.

Thinnanar birth:

                   Kanappan literally means, “father of the eye.” This is not Kanappan’s original name. The name his parents gave him was Thinnan. His parents were Nagan his father and Thaththai his mother. They were forest dwellers..Thinnan grew up to be a strong young man admired by his community. He had mastered the art of archery even at a young age and became the fastest runner in his village.

During a hunt:

                       One day Thinnanar  during a pig hunt, Thinnanar and some companions had to go deep into the forest. It was there that the youth saw the hill of Lord Siva. Kindled by an unexplainable emotion he went towards the hill. As his eyes fell on the Shiva lingam he was transformed into an embodiment of  devotion. 

 Thinnanar -divine ecstasy:

                      Thinnanar was merged in deep feeling of divine ecstasy.He wept, and shed tears of extreme joy.His  concern was that the Lord was alone and unprotected in the forest surrounded by wild animals. Next it stuck him that the Lord must be hungry and  left to get meat for the Lord. He went to the foot of the hill where Kadan had cooked the wild pig, he tasted the meat of the cooked pig and took only those pieces he deemed tasty and worthy of the Lord on a leaf, he took some water from the river in his mouth and some beautiful wild flowers in his hair . 

                      He went up the hill, poured the water on the Lingam, ornated the Lingam with wild flowers and offered the meat to the Lord.He stood guard the whole night with bow and arrow in his  hand and left only in the morning to get food. 

 Shivakochariyar's visit:

.                         The priest Shivakochariyar , as was his habit for years came to perform his daily prayers and to offer salutations to the Lingam. But this time when he came he was shocked at the sight of strewn bones and flesh in front of the Lord. After prostrating many times the sage cleaned the altar and performed his own puja before returning to his hermitage.
His form is full of my love:

                             This continued for many days. To explain the love of his huntsman devotee, God appeared to the sage and told him, that the deeds of the person was a delight to him His form is full of my love, his mind thinks of me only and his deeds are delightful for me. 
The water he spits on me is more sacred than Ganga, the flowers he offers taking from his head are holier than that are offered by Devas. It is all because of His love. You can see the excellence of his devotion tomorrow, if you hide and watch'. 

Flesh for flesh:

                         It was the seventh day of Thinnans worship. When he arrived at the Lingam he was shocked to see that one eye of the Diety was bleeding.Thinnanar in his helplessness screamed out loud, he ran all around the forest to find the miscreant responsible for this, he brought herbs from the jungle to heal the wound. While worrying about his inability to find a solution, he remembered an old saying flesh for flesh. So, immediately Thinnan plucked out one of his own eyes with a sharp arrow and placed it onto the bleeding eye of the Lords. Thinnan jumped up and down in excitement when the bleeding from the Dietys eye stopped. 
                                   Thinnanar was ecstatic , he danced around in celebration not feeling his own pain. In another moment he saw blood flowing from the other eye of the Lord, this time around Thinnanar knew what's to be done,since he won't be able to see the wound with both his eyes gone he held his foot on the wound to mark its position and then  took his arrow to his other eye and was about to pluck it  , when the Lord himself, unable to bear such an act of devotion appeared shouting,

'Oh halt Kann Appa, Kann Appa Since you gave your own eyes for me, you will be           called      Kannappan  
                  (the person who gave eyes to the Lord) hereafter.' )

Kannappa nayanar:

                   And with that contact the devotee's sight was fully restored and the Lord pleased with his devotion granted him eternal bliss.Shivakochariyar saw the great love of this devotee and the grace he got for it. It was only mere love and intense devotion to the Lord that bestowed Kannappar the greatest boon from the Lord that is, self-realisation.Although a hunter and meat-eater, Kannappar had such great devotion to Siva that he offered him his eyes. 

 Sri Kalahasti Temple:

              Today the Sri Kaalashasti hill is an important pilgrimage center for Saivites. The main temple of Sri Kaalahasti is situated at the base of the hill. The lingam here is dedicated to the element air and is part of the five elemental Shiva temples of South India.  From the temple devotees can walk to the summit of the hill where the incident of this story took place. There is only a small shrine on the summit of Sri Kalahasti and a small Shivalingam to mark the spot of the original Shivalingam that Kanappan had worshipped. According to some scholars this story happened about 2,000 years ago. 
                     If you go to the Sri Kaalahasti Temple, look for two oil lamps at either side of the Shivalingam in the main sanctum. These oil lamps continously flicker as if the lights are being blown by the wind. However the other oil lamps around it remain steady. Not far from the Sri Kaalahasti temple is Kannappan nayanar’s mahasamadhi shrine. This smaller shrine is a memorial to Kannappan nayanar.