Faith

In the name of the Lord

Thiruneelakantar was a potter who made begging bowls for Saivite mendicants. He was known to keep repeating the name of the Lord Neelakantam. The name is one used to refer to Lord Siva because He acquired a blue tinted throat due to His swallowing Halahala poison. Both Thiruneelakantar and his wife were deeply devoted to Lord Siva, said K. Sambandan, in a discourse.

But Thiruneelakantar fell prey to temptation. He fell for the charms of another woman and had a liaison with her. His wife was hurt by his betrayal of her trust. One day when he approached her, she asked him to keep his distance. She quoted the name of ‘Neelakantam’ and said he was never to touch her. But she used the plural, instead of the singular and said, “Don’t touch us,” instead of saying, “Don’t touch me.” Thiruneelakantar immediately said that since she had used the plural and sworn on his beloved God, he would henceforth never touch any woman.

The husband and wife lived under the same roof, but did not live as husband and wife, and they grew old, even as the arrangement between them continued to be in place. No one knew of the arrangement between the two. Lord Siva tested them further, before He finally decided to put an end to their suffering. He told them to take a dip in a pond, while holding hands. But they would not break their vow. So they each held one end of a stick and took a dip in the pond. Immediately, they became youthful again! Thiruneelakantar had not violated his wife’s oath taken in the name of the Lord, and for this strict adherence to their vow, the couple were finally rewarded.


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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 8:18:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/religion/in-the-name-of-the-lord/article6630508.ece

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