Many are familiar with the story of Ganapati serving as scribe for Veda Vyasa as he recited the Mahabharata. But what is less known is that Shiva Perumaan himself has served as scribe for a sage before.
That esteemed text was Thiruvasagam, and the composer , the exalted Sage Manickavasagar.
There is a popular maxim in Tamil, one whose heart does not melt reading the Thiruvasagam , wont melt reading anything else.
And considering the vast amount of spiritual literature there is in the land of the Tamils, from thirumanthiram , divya prabhandham , abhirami anthadhi, that is saying something.
A famous line in the text is
Tennadudeya Shivaney Potri, Ennaatavarkum Iraivaa Potri
He who is known as Shiva in the South, is God who is called by various other names elsewhere
Though Shiva belongs not just to the tamils, but the whole of Bharat (and all of creation), he holds special significance in Tamil Land due to his Thiruvillaiyadal , his divine past-times where he came down and played with his Disciples.
One such episode was coming as a coolie worker during an episode of flood in the land, playing around stopping the other coolies from working, angering the King who hit his back with a stick, resulting in everyone including the King himself feeling the brunt of that hit.
Another was marrying Devi, in the form of Meenakshi , the Queen of Madurai, and giving all of us the Darshan as Meenakshi Sundareshwarar in the spiritual heart of Madurai, The Madurai Meenakshi temple.
Many such stories are documented in the Periya Puranam of the 63 Nayanmars, Exalted Saints who hold special place in Tamil Saiva Siddhanta philosophy.
Coming back to Manickavasagar, he served as a Minister in the Court of a Madurai King. Tasked with buying a bunch of horses for war, he was diverted midway through the Will of Shiva and given Diksha.
He angered the King by using the money given by the King to build a Shiva temple instead, in what is now known as Tirupperunthurai Avudaiyal temple.
A messenger came to tell him if the horses were not delivered by the stated date, the King would punish him.
Shiva being the master prankster, turned a bunch of wolves from the jungles into horses, riding on the lead horse with such beauty he was given the name “ Parimelazhagar” the handsome one who rides a horse.
At night, the “horses” turned back into wolves and killed the King’s other horses, thereby punishing the King who wanted to punish Shiva’s own.
Manickavasagar went from town to town spreading the glories of Shiva, while explaining the intricacies of Shiva Siddhanta in his poetic works.
From his divine vision, he realized the uncountable births he had taken that were more than the grains of sand in a sea-shore and yearned for moksha, which he explains in one of his works
Grass was I, shrub was I, worm, tree,
Full many a kind of beast, bird, snake,
Stone, man, and the form of mighty asuras, ascetics, devas I bore.
Within these immobile and mobile forms of life,
In every species I was born, and weary I’ve grown, great Lord !
Finally coming to Chidambaram, he was approached by a Brahmana who asked to scribe his works so that others may benefit, for which Manickavasagar relented.
The Brahmana then disappeared, only for the writings to appear in the locked shrine of Shiva in Chidambaram signed off “ As spoken by Manickavasagar and scribed by Ambalavanan ( Shiva ) “.
Manickavasagar achieved Samadhi at Chidambaram, and merged with the Lord there.
Any Sincere Devotee of Shiva has to read the Thiruvasagam, visit the temple Manickvasagar built at Tirupperunthurai and where he achieved Samadhi at Chidambaram.
– Shivaya Namaha , Karuppar Thunai