Multiple Saints , Siddhars and Rishis have graced the land of the tamils. But one stand tall for praising the very embodiment of not only the language of tamil, but the God of the Land as well.
The Devata; The Six Faced One, The Fire of Shiva’s 3rd Eye, The Commander of Heaven’s armies , The Wielder of the Shakti Ayutha, The Skanda Moorthi , Muruga Perumaan.
The Saint, the unassailable Arunagiri Nathar, whose most famous holy work is termed Thiruppugal ( The Holy Praises).
Born in the region of Tiruvannamalai , Arunagiri Nathar grew up in the care of his elder sister. A brilliant man in his youth, he fell for the addiction of the flesh and frequented the brothels of the day.
Even a marriage could not stop him from his overwhelming lust, and he quickly lost his vigor and strength in that addiction and was said to have even contracted diseases from it.
Even then his need for the pleasures of the flesh could not stop him, and one day he approached his sister for money to fund his addiction. His sister who had already given him so much and had nothing left to give told him, sell me in the markets as a slave to fund your lust if you must.
Overcome by shame, Arunagirinathar decided to end his life. He climbed up the Gopuram of Arunachaleswarar temple and jumped down head first to ensure his death.
Fate intervened that day, and the holy arms of Sri Skanda Murti , Murugan Perumaan himself held him from the fall.
The Lord left him with one advice “Summa Iru” be still,
which has been interpreted as be silent, do not create any more new karma, be in tapas and be without thought (still the mind).
When Arunagirinathar reached the required stage, Muruga appeared in his blazing form and told him that he had been born to sing his praises.
Arunagirinathar replied he was not worthy nor did he have the required verbal ability, and the Lord wrote the Pranava on the tongue of the sage with his holy spear, the Shakti Vel.
The great Saint went all over the lands singing the praises of Muruga Perumaan and one famous verse from the Thirupugal is as below
Muth.thaith-tharu path.thith thirunakai ath.thik-kirai: saththi Saravana: Muth.thikkoru viththuk gurupara: enavothum
You are the Consort of Devayaanai with a beautiful smile and lovely teeth looking like pearls!
You are Saravana bhava holding the powerful spear called Sakthivel You are the foremost seed of Heaven so praises..
mukkat-para marku: suruthiyin murpat.tathu karpiththu: iruvarum
muppath.thumu varkkath thamararum adipena:
the 3 eyed one (Lord Siva) to whom you expounded the meaning of Om while Brahma , Vishnu, along with Devas, watched your preaching and worshipped your divine feet!
The Saint once had a poetic battle with another famous personality, Villi Putrar who wrote the Villi Bharatham , the famous retelling of the Mahabharatha in tamil.
Villi Putrar was proud of his poetic ability and would engage in contests with others where the loser had to cut off their ear. In the contest, Villi Putrar lost when he was unable to explain a verses by Arunagirinathar but he was forgiven and his ego brought down.
As his fame spread far and wide, it came to the attention of the King , Pravuda Devaraya in Arunachala who invited him to his court. In the court there was a famous Tantrika who challenged Arunagirinathar to make Subramaniaswamy (Skandar) appear in front of everyone.
When Arunagirinathar first sang, Murugan failed to appear. Using his eyes of Jyana he saw the vision of the boy form of Murugan being held tightly by his mother, Devi.
Realising that the Tantrika was using his siddhi of Devi to stop Murugan from appearing, he switched tactic and started praising Devi instead, who mesmerized by the beauty of the poem, loosened her grip.
Arunagirinathar them called forth Murugan using his favorite metre, the peacock metre and he burst forth with his peacock vahana from a nearby pillar with the blazing glory of a million Suns. It was too much for the King, who went blind from the vision of the Lord.
That pillar and shrine is still in Arunachala today , called the Kambatthu Ilaiyanar Sannidhi.
The story of this eminent Saint is a reminder that even one trapped in the depths of addiction and attachment to the senses can be cleansed of them and reach the dazzling heights of spirituality with the Kripa and Anugraha of the Lord.
– Aum Saravana Bhava – Sri Karuppar Thunai