Sekkizhar’s Periyapuranam is a Tamil literary masterpiece, a strong spiritual guide and a narrative that sparks with the vitality of the culture and ethics of the people prevailing in those times. For instance, hospitality was practised as a means of serving God, as is seen in the case of Ilayankudi Marranar, Sri R. Selvaganapathy pointed out in a lecture.

This Siva devotee was munificent, and being a rich landlord, deemed it a great fortune to be able to serve food to Sivanadiyars, and spent his wealth (gained by toil) for this cause. Neither did he wither when such philanthropy reduced his earnings drastically and he was not sure of his own next meal.

Siva chose to make known to the world this devotee’s innate generosity and visited him one night in the rainy season. The devotee and his wife had gone to bed hungry, but were eager to serve food to the guest. With not a grain in the house, they decided to reclaim the sown paddy seeds and cook them to provide a simple repast. Such was the ethics of this couple to whom serving the adiyars was serving God Himself. Siva revealed Himself and granted liberation to him, narrates Sekkizhar.

In another instance, it is shown that pure love can win over enmity. Eripaththar was a devotee who served the Lord by protecting the servitors against those forces that stood in the way of their worship. Once, Eripaththar came to know that an elephant had trampled the flower garland meant for worship of Siva that had been strung by a devotee named Sivakamiyar. Apparently, the elephant had been attracted by the garland which Sivakamiyar had tied to the top of a long pole. Eripaththar killed the elephant, the mahout and others who belonged to a king from a neighbouring land. The king (also a Siva devotee) thought that this was an enemy attack and visited the spot. But he found an enraged Siva devotee ready for further fight. The king then knew that his elephant must have erred to provoke the adiyar. He offered his life as expiation for the elephant’s misdeed. Eripaththar’s anger now melted and gave way to self-reproach. The Lord intervened and explained that it was His divine will to establish the supremacy of love.

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