Faith

The chosen friend of Siva

The Periyapuranam throws light on the intense state of devotion of the Nayanmars against the backdrop of the life and times in which they lived. Much depends on the mental attitude and faith of the reader when approaching these stories of devotion to imbibe and practise the compassion, love and humanitarian values embedded in them, pointed out Sri K. Kalaivanan in a discourse.

For instance, in describing the life of Sundarar, it is first indicated that Sundarar, Paravaiyar and Sangiliayar have come from Kailasa to live on earth for a brief period on the Lord’s command. Though not aware of their past state, they feel the power and force of Siva’s boundless grace that guides their life. The Lord intervenes to turn Sundarar into the path of devotion. He enacts an episode to draw him into His fold. Sundarar refuses and then finally accepts the Lord’s claim to be His slave. Siva gives him the name Vanthondar because of his harsh reaction. Sundarar had even called Him ‘Pitha,’ meaning the mad one. Siva then confers on him the gift of poesy and inspires him to sing hymns in His praise. Seeing Sundarar hesitating, Siva suggests the very word Pitha to begin the hymn.

Of all the endless names of Siva, this name is unique as it indicates the way devotion to God can lead one to an ecstatic state. In the case of Sundarar, Siva chooses to give Himself as a friend to this devotee and makes known this fact when He speaks in His divine voice thus; “Sundara, I give myself to you as a friend. Henceforth you shall always appear in the bridegroom’s attire that you were in when I enslaved you.” Since then, Sundarar is known as Tambiran Thozhan, the chosen friend of Siva. As promised, Siva is always present to guide and help him cope with the ups and downs in his life.

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Printable version | Mar 4, 2021 12:26:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/the-chosen-friend-of-siva/article33637020.ece

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