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Saint Manikkavasagar
Story from   Thiruvadavoor Adigal Puraan

Maanikk Vaachkar (whose speech is like gem) is the name by hearing which the devotees just think of the love that is pure and limitless. He inspired the spirits of the people of the thamiz speaking land very deeply to experience by loving the sweetness of the unexplorable Supreme. This great saint who developed the spiritual and religious upliftment is revered as one of the four religious guides.

In the Paandyaa kingdom, there was a Raajaa Saundhar Paandiyan, by the great God Himself, who was ruling from the capital Madurai (Tamilnaadu). Manikkavasagar was born in the town of Thiruvaadhavoor which was nearby the capital. By the time he was 16 years old he had well learnt, mastering in the philosophies and the scriptures. He outstood in the love for Shiv and service to His devotees. As the jasmine does not need the advertisement of its fragrance and admirers automatically turn up to admire it, the same was with him too. The Paandiyaa king Arimardan realizing his talent and discipline made him the Prime Minister in his court giving him the title Thennavan Biramaraayan. He guided the governance in the righteous path to the prosperity of the land, people and their minds. Still his mind was seeking an intellectual guide who would show in clear light the blissful path to the Truth.

Manikkavasagar Meets His Guru
One day the king heard that some high quality horses were on sale on the coast of the Chozaa kingdom. He sent his Prime Minister Thiruvaadhav Urar with lots of money to buy them. On the way Vaadhvoorar reached Thirup Perunthu Rai (Avudaiyaar Kovil). There he heard from a garden the sweet chanting "Har Har". His mind got lost in that chanting. He forgot himself and got attracted to it like a magnet. He went in that direction and there he saw Shiv sitting in the form of a Shaivite sage under a tree elucidating the pupils. His seeking mind was overwhelmed at the sight of the Guru he was yearning for. He surrendered himself to the Holy Guru's feet and pleaded him to accept him as a disciple. The God who comes voluntarily in the way of devotees to bless them enlightened him with Shivenyaanam. Vaadhvoorar who got the immense wealth of the Supreme knowledge outpoured the gems of hymns on the feet of his Guru offering his body, belongings and soul. (He then sang the first Thiruvaachakam song Shiv Puraan starting Namah Shivaaya Vaazka). The Peerless guide heard the song and blessed him with the name Manikka Vaachakar (Gem speeched). He ordered Manikka Vaachakar to build an abode and disappeared.

With the money he had brought to buy horses that would fight, kill and die in the battlefields, the devotee Manikka built a marvelous temple for Shiv. Many days passed. When the King's Prime Minister did not come back, he sent his people to find out what happened to him. His attendants reported to him the deeds of the devotee. The King was irked and sent the message to Vaadhavoorar ordering him to come with the horses. Maanikka Vaachakar pleaded to the playful Lord of Thirupperunthu Rai. The Lord assured him that he would bring the horses on the Avani Moolam day and passed a gem to the king through him as a mark of assurance. The Prime Minister Maanikka Vaachakar told the King about the arrival of the horses. The king was happy.

Endurance of Manivasagar in Trusting God
The Lord probably wanted to show that patience and perseverance pays in his worship, so the horses did not arrive till the day before the Avani Moolam day. The king got wild and arrested the Prime Minister. Vaadhavoorar who had the mature vision that when the devotees had surrendered themselves in wholeness to the Three Eyed Lord, they have faith in him. He appealed to the Lord singing anRE enRan. The God Somaasundar Moorti who rides the bull of justice in his playful act made the foxes of the forest as horses, and came in the form of the lead man of the horses handed over them to the King explaining him the identification guidelines of the good horses. After handing over those horses, the Lord went away. The same night the horses became foxes and ran all over the capital. The king lost his sense in the peak of his ire and ordered his men to torture Maanikka Vaachakar making him stand on the burning hot sand of the Vaigai river loading him with a rock. The pained devotee had complete trust in his Lord who made the Vaigai River prayed to the Lord.

Play of God for Manikka Vaachakar
The Lord who stopped the furious River Gangaa in his matted hair and allowed it to flow down as a stream blessing the penance of Bhageerath flooded the river Vaigai to grace his true devotee. The flood entered the streets of the capital. The King ordered the people to stop the deluging water by raising its banks. There was a lonely old poor lady by name Vandhi, who had lots love for the Parentless God with her simple mind and activities. To save her from getting penalized for not undertaking the King's order, the Lord came to her as a laborer. But where is the end for his play? Instead of raising the banks he spoilt the work going on there and slept innocently. The King was annoyed and beat him with a stick, but the pain was felt by all the creatures including the King. The flooding of the river subdued and the Lord disappeared. The King realized the act of God and the glory of the saint Maanikka Vaachakar. He begged for the saint's pardon. The loving Vaachakar forgave the king and left the position of Prime Minister.

Victory over Buddhists
The Budhdhist people who had come from Sri Lankaa challenged to come for a debate on religions. With the Lord's order he took the challenge. he invoked Saraswatee Devee to leave the Buddhist's tongue and after that he could not speak any lie. He answered the blemishes they were trying to put on the Lord, making a dumb girl sing his greatness and the opponents going dumb. He established the Shaivite glory. The opponents realized the truth of the spiritual science of Shaivam and started worshipping Lord Shankar. Maani Vaachakar's service to the Lord continued. The Lord was getting anointed with his honey like words and the pure wonderful love. The Lord wanted those gems of his hymns to be glorified and passed to generations by generations to the world for our benefit of getting to praise the Lord in sweet loving words easily. He then one day went to the saint Maanikka Vaachakar, asked him to sing the complete Thiruvaachak he had composed and wrote it down. He further asked him to sing the songs of love keeping the Dancing Lord of Thillai. He wrote them also in the palm leaves book and put his seal as "As Maanikka Vaachakar told the Lord of Thiruchchirrambalam wrote this". He kept the script in the Panychaakkar steps of the abode and vanished.

Manikkavasagar Becomes Shivam
Manikkavasagar went to many abodes of the Lord singing his hymns. Finally he reached the holy abode Thillaich Chidaaambaram. He got what the Ved proclaim, "One gets bliss (Amrit) here, even when he/she is alive" on seeing the heart stealing Lord who dances there to the joy of the seeing eyes. He sang many hymns there for the Lord. The next day the priests of Thillai were surprised to find the scripture on the steps of the abode with the Lord's signature. They rushed to Maanikka Vaachakar and appraised him about it. They saluted and asked him to explain them the philosophical explanation of the compositions. He took them to the golden hall abode of the Lord and showed the blissfully Dancing Lord. The history of this great saint is told in Thiruvaadhavoorp Puraan and Thiruvilaiyaadal Puraan.


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 11/09/12