CHENNAI: Saivism, besides being responsible for the growth of spiritualism in Tamil Nadu, has aided not only in the flowering of Tamil language but also in fostering music, culture and the arts in south India. Sekkizhar’s Periyapuranam is an authentic account of the life and times of the the Nayanmars, whose devotion to Siva inspires many towards the path of Bhakti. Saint Sundaramurthy Nayanar figures in the Periyapuranam both at the beginning and towards the end and his unflinching devotion and humility are reflected in his Tiruthondar Thokai, sung in praise of the Nayanmars.

This saint is believed to be an aspect of Siva and was born to the devout couple Sadanayar and Isaijnani, who were steeped in Siva worship. The saint was named Aarooran who is described as a very charming child. His attractive and handsome appearance caught the attention of the king Narasinga Munaiyar who wanted to bring up the child in the palace. Though the father Sadayanar loved the child, he readily gave up the boy to the king.

Sadayanar, also one of the 63 saints, reflects both the virtues of a man of integrity and one who practises austerities in daily life, and exemplifies a way of life fit for emulation by all, pointed out Sengalipuram Sri B. Damodara Dikshitar in a lecture.

It is Sadayanar’s unselfishness that prompted him to give away the child for the welfare of humanity. Sadayanar’s mental make up is such that there is no trace of the sense of I and Mine with regard to people and possessions. It is a highly realised state when one is aware of God’s glory and accepts all aspects of creation as His. In this state there is nothing in this earth that belongs to anyone. Hence there is no joy or sorrow when changes such as gain or loss occur. This indifference to worldly occurences is rooted in the knowledge that God is the only owner and that all else is subject to him.

But when one reacts to worldly concerns, objects and experiences in a personal manner with a sense of possessiveness, one is bound to be affected with sorrow or fear. Realised souls, on the other hand, remain steady and unaffected at all times. They do not consider anything as belonging to them.