Nayanar # 2 — Iyarppagai Nayanar Sept 8, 2013 8:10:14 GMT 5.5
Post by Amritha Varshini on Sept 8, 2013 8:10:14 GMT 5.5
Nayanar # 2 — Iyarppagai Nayanar
The town Puhar, Poompuhar also known as ‘Kaveri Puhum Pattinam” was once a flourishing port city and was the capital of early Chola Kings. In that town lived “Iyarp-Pagai”. The word ‘Iyar” in Tamil means “nature” and “pagai” means “antagonize” i.e. one whose behaviour contradicts with the natural way. Iyarppagai was a Vaishya by caste. To him Shiva Bhaktas were the living manifestations of Lord Shiva.
The Holy Thirukkural says, [Kural-Verse-223]
Illanenum Evvam Uraiyaamai Eethal
Kulanudaiyaan Kanne Ula
meaning “men of good birth graciously give, never uttering the wretched excuse, "I have nothing."
Among such venerable souls, “Iyarppagai Nayanar” stands high. Charity was deep rooted and ingrained in him. It was his practice to invite the devotees of Lord Shiva to his house, worship them with faith and devotion and give them all they wanted. He had taken a vow never to say ‘no’ to what a Shiva Bhakta wanted. The Lord was so pleased with his devotee that He wanted to reveal the Nayanar's true greatness to the world. So, the Lord in the guise of a Brahmin with sacred ashes smeared all over his body came to Iyarppagai’s house. Iyarppagai welcomed the Brahmin with great joy as the very sight of the Holy Man thrilled him.
The Brahmin said, “Oh noble soul, you are far famed for your charitable nature, learning that none returns empty handed from your house, I have come to get a gift from you. I shall disclose only if you promise to give it.”. Iyyarpagai readily agreed saying “provided I have it with me". The Brahmin at once conveyed what he wanted, “It is the gift of your wife”.
Iyarppagai had no difficulty at all in granting this. The supreme devotee of the Lord that he was, he did not stop to doubt the credentials of the Brahmin who, though he appeared to be a Shiva Bhakta, had such an undesirable desire for Nayanar, worship of the guest was a greater law than all the moral codes. Iyarppagai went inside the house and informed his wife of all that had happened. She was shocked at first, but quickly regained her composure. To a chaste wife, the Husband is God and whatever he commands is law and dharma. She readily agreed to follow the Brahmin guest as his wife. Nayanar came out with his wife and asked the Brahmin to accept the gift.
The Brahmin however feared the wrath of the wife’s relatives and asked Iyarppagai to accompany them till they were safely out of the town and out of danger. Iyarppagai agreed to do so and armed himself to protect the Brahmin. They then proceeded to go. In the meantime the relatives of Iyarppagai’s wife came to know of the whole incident and were furious. They followed the Nayanar and threatened the Brahmin with death unless he abandoned his impious desire. The Brahmin pretended to be scared. Iyarppagai’s wife however assured him that Nayanar was capable of defeating them all. Nayanar was ready to fight them.
The relatives endeavoured to convince Nayanar of the unrighteousness of the whole thing and when they found that they could not, they preferred to die at his hands than submit to the shame. Iyarppagai at once pounced upon them and chopped off their heads. All of them died and Nayanar was happy that through the grace of Lord Shiva, he had succeeded in keeping his vow of worshipping his devotee, proceeded further with the Brahmin and the wife. When they reached the Temple of Tiruchaikadu, the Brahmin asked Nayanar to leave them and return. Iyarppagai Nayanar prostrated to the Brahmin and turned his steps homeward.
As soon as he started he heard the voice of the Brahmin calling “Iyarppagai” aloud. Thinking that there might have been another attack on the party, Nayanar hastened to where the Brahmin was but to his amazement, found that the Brahmin had disappeared and that his wife was standing alone there. He searched here and there for the Brahmin and was worried when he could not be found. Lo and behold, Lord Shiva and Mother Parvathi appeared in the sky and blessed Iyarppagai Nayanar and his wife, “Oh noble souls, I am immensely pleased with your devotion to my bhaktas. Both of you will very soon reach my abode”, with these words, the Lords disappeared. Iyarppagai and his wife reached God Siva’s abode and rejoiced there. Nayanar’s relatives who died at his hands also attained the lotus feet of the Lord.
Thus the Lord revealed the truth that such unquestioning devotion does not result in violation of Dharma. All glories to the Lord and Nayanmars.