There are four ways to attain God, according to Saiva Siddhanta. Saint Tirunavukkarasar embodies the spirit of service to God and His devotees known as Dasa Marga. Saint Gnanasambandar’s way of seeking God is termed as Sat Putra Marga — a path which fosters a relationship between a child and a parent. Saint Manikkavachagar seeks God through the path of jnana, popularly known as Jnana Marga. But to seek God as a friend and to find in Him an unfailing friend and companion is possible only if God Himself chooses to grace a devotee into this wonderful relationship, said Dr. Sarada Nambi Arooran in a discourse.

The unique companionship between Siva and Sundaramurthy Nayanar is celebrated as the path of Saha Marga. Not all can aspire to become a friend of Siva. Sundarar, also known as Nambi Arooran, is fortunate to enjoy this rare privilege, and in return his love assumes a wholesomeness not to be found in any manifestation of devotion. The Periyapuranam highlights the way Sundarar was brought into the fold of devotion by Siva. Known as Alalasundarar in Kailasa, he had enjoyed the status of a close devotee of Siva. But because he experienced a fleeting desire for the celestial maids of Parvati, Kamalini and Anindithai, and they also had felt a similar desire for him, all three of them had to be born as human beings to fulfil their desires. Like all human beings caught in the web of forgetfulness of their true nature and past, Sundarar, born as Nambi Arooran, is reminded of the purpose of his birth by Siva Himself when he is about to get married to the bride fixed by his parents. Sundarar’s brief sojourn on earth becomes colourful with Siva’s integral presence as his dear friend. Siva leads him through the travails of domestic concerns, material aspirations and worldly longings so that he does not lose sight of his inherent enlightened state.

Sundarar is thus able to renounce every aspect of worldly life when the time comes for him to leave for his celestial abode. Inspired by the glory of the Lord and His devotees, Sundarar’s songs capture the soul’s ultimate longing for salvation and affirm that mukti is gained through love for God and His creation.

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