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Sampandar's glories to be continued.......


Thirugyanasambandar was born to serve God Shiva and spread His glory. Considered one among the most revered four

Samayakkuravarkal (dedicated servitors of Lord Shiva), Sambandhar was born as an avatar of Lord Subramanya in Seerkaazhi. He was born

in a Brahminical family, His father's name was SivapAdahraya - meaning 'the one with the Lord's Feet in his heart' and His mother was Bagavat

Situated between the perennial River Cauveri and the 'Golden Hall' Chidambaram, was a village by name Brahmapuram. It was variously referred to as Vrsadhvajapuram, Venupuram hallowed place was it, that it withstood cosmic dissolution under Shiva's protection.

Its dense vegetation included mango and jackfruit groves and areca palms, which formed a protective green girdle around the place. These plantations and the lush green meadows provided a serene and picturesque and the lush green meadow provided a serene and picturesque backdrop to the village. The vast paddy fields irrigated by the Cauveri waters formed an inexhaustible resources of food for all. White lotuses and blue lilies filled the lakes, supplying food day and night for the nocturnal and diurnal birds and insects. Animals, wild and gentle, lived in harmonious co-existence. 

In such a village, where everyone performed his ordained duties in joyous devotion, a Brahmana lived a life committed to the orthodox ways of Shiva worship. His name was Sivapadahrdaya, (the one with the Lord's feet in his heart). By his exemplary discipline be became an object of adoration for everyone and shone as a repository of peace, love and vedic knowledge. This scion of the Kaundinya lineage was married to the noble Bhagavari who was an embodiment of peace, piety and humility. Together they reveled in the loving service and worship of the loving Lord. Their house was a haven for everyone, be it ascetics, beggars or even strangers. The couple was content in almost every aspect. The lack of an issue prompted them to direct their so-far-selfless service and worship to the Lord for begetting a child. Those times were not propitious for the votaries of Shiva and the saiva-vaidika dharma suffered a total deluge caused by the delusive and stony alien faiths like Jainism and Buddhism. So, Shivapadahrdaya resolved to propitiate Shiva to grant him a son who would obliterate to wicked cults and firmly reestablish the hoary path of Shaivism. The couple undertook severe austerities and elaborate rituals to appease the Lord of Thonipuram. Shivapada himself worshipped the Shivalingam with three thousand Drona flowers and performed one hundred circumambulations to the temple everyday. Salt which promotes the wavering and dullness of the mind was completely omitted from the diet. Their already slimmed bodies - from frugal eating - were emaciated all the more.

Thus did they discipline their bodies and minds for three years, but to no avail. Then, the much-depressed Bhagavati undertook prayopavesha (fast unto death) in the Lord's presence. That very night Shiva, in a dream blessed her with a golden bowl of sweet rice dish, which she readily consumed with delight. The food of grace fulfilled her yearning. She soon became pregnant. The joy of couple was boundless. Their devotion to the Lord became all the more fortified.

Then on an Ardra day, when the Jupitar was conjoined with the moon, Bhagavati gave birth to a resplendent baby boy like mother Gauri to Subrahmanya, the vanquisher of non Vedic faiths. Many auspicious signs appeared to the Saivites while bad omens rained on the Pasandas (Jains and Buddhists.) It was a moment of celebration for mortals as well as celestials. Mother nature suddenly acquired new blues and fresh fragrance. Cows yielded milk in abundance. Cuckoos sang in chorus as though it were spring. Peacocks danced in mirth thinking that the boy was verily a manifestation of their master Skanda. Vedic pundits felt a surge of new vigor and ecstatic pride, as sama chants spontaneously sprang forth from their throats. Evidently, it was the dawn of a new era of resuscitation for the Vaidika dharma in general and Siva Sampradayam (tradition) in particular, and the Uttar rout of those spreading perverse doctrines.

Sivapadahrdaya gave away gifts of cows, gold and grain to pious Brahmanas and the needy. On an appropriate day he named the baby as Jnana Sambandha one related to knowledge in an elaborate ceremony. Multitudes partook of the feeding thereof. His gestures, however tiny, were symbolic of his life mission of flushing out and crushing the anti Vedic elements, and to solidly re-establish the timeless Saiva Sanatana Dharama. The boy grew up like the waxing moon, passing quickly through the preliminary stages of babyhood. While the father ceremoniously adorned his forehead with the three stripes of the sacred ash, the mainstay of Sivabhktas, the child avidly watched him with pleasure and concentration. Again while his mother nursed him and sang in devotion, he often seemed to be lost in his own thoughts, his mouth agape.

On his first birthday he saw the sumptuous feeding of friends and relatives. The father now started taking him to a stream nearby to bathe. The father now started taking him to a stream nearby to bathe. He would chant from the Vedas and worship the Lings, with proper pace and articulation, so that the boy could appreciate them. Thus, in the constant intimacy with his noble and wise father, Jnana Sambandha silently assimilated many points relating to the traditional ways of worship and communion.

Soon, the boy grew up into a three - year-old toddler, tottering about the house with his anklets tinkiling synchrony with the Vedic chants. His earrings shining, he seemed like an avatara of Subrahmanya condescended to fulfill his father's mission.

It was dawn in Dhanurmasam (December-Januray) Sivapadahrdaya set out early to the nearby temple of Brahmapurisvara for performing his morning ablutions in the Pushkarini (temple tank). Was this to be the role of the Lord's grace to be bestowed on the child Sambandha? he sprang up from the bed and followed his father. Unable to dissuade him, Sivapada carried him along. He seated the boy on the upper steps and entrusting him to the Lord's care, he descended into neck deep waters for performing the ordained rites. First, he bathed chanting the Aghamarshana suktam. Then while mentally reciting the 'Purusha Suktam, he performed pranayama by completely immersing himself in the water. The boy Sambandha had all along been watching his father's actions with a keen eye and a heart fill of devotion. Now, unable to see his father for a while he looked around for him in fear. Then crying aloud 'O father, O mother, 'he cast all his attention on the nearby temple tower. Could it have been an inadvertent act?. Was it not but the sportive design of the Lord, whose ways were inscrutable? it was as though the Lords had been anxiously waiting on hi toes for this lobbing 'call' from His son.


No sooner the boy cried thus, than the Lord Siva, the one who is readily pleased - Austosha - appeared along with the Universal Mother seaterd on Nandi, the sacred bull.

All the quarters were filled with etheral brilliance in which the sunlight was derowned.Pointing to the crying lad, Shiva said to His lady. "Gauri! Look at our baby, with eyes as pretty as lotuses. He seems to be lost and needs to be comforted. You can please me by blessing him with a taste of your breast milk, which is but amrutam and the sole privilege of Skanda and Vinayaka. "was not the Mother eager to flood the boy's heart with her love, and only waiting for the Lord's world? Had She not Herself, of yore won the Lord's heart thus? Yes! Her heart brimmed with tender love and her breasts with milk. She lifted the boy, wiped his tears, kissed his forehead and laid him on her lap. In a trice, She produced a gold cup and filled it with her milk. Was it not this milk that had given rare wisdom and devotion to Ganesha and Guha? As she logingly offered the cup, Sambadha eagerly held it to his rosy lips and imbibed the milk to the last drop. The food of Grace unavailable even to celestials, was the bestower of true knowledge and rare wisdom, and would put to flight the fear of the vicious cycle of birth and death.

What is birth? ' I am the body' thought
What is death? ' I am the doer' notion
What is true knowledge? the knowledge of one's Self
What is rare wisdom? That the Lord is the beginning, middle and end of all, and their cause. - so say the sages!

Sambandha beamed with content and his heart overflowed with love for the divine parents. Lord Shiva and Parvathi returned to their abode towards the tower and beyond as their mission was complete. Sivapadhyrdaya who had been in a different mode and mood of worship was unaware of this wondrous spectacle. His ritual drawn to a close, he emerged from the tank and saw his son's face radiating bliss par excellence. There were streaks of milk around his rosy lips and his hands clasped the golden receptacle in sweet gratitude. The father wondered at this sight and questioned in a harsh tone: "Darling! Who gave you the milk, the traces of which I see on your cheeks? Tell me now".

This sharp query evoked, in reply, a perennial spring of sweet and chaste Tamil poetry to gush forth like the surging Ganga from the boy's mouth, originating from deep within his heart. It was to flow spontaneously and un-intermittently all through his life, inspiring the multitudes ever after. As a response to this father's enquiry he pointed to the temple tower where the Universal Parents had disappeared after blessing him with the milk of knowledge. The father was unable to find anything other than the tower. In a soul stirring decad, Sambandha described the various insignia and embellishments of the Divine Parents, starting with the dangling earring of the Lord. (thodudaiya cheviyan as described in the beginning). He made it clear that it was the gracious act of the Lord and His Lady that put an end to his dark nescience and the cycle of fearful and painful births.

Flowers showered on the boy from the heavens and the quarters thundered in approval. The father feared that it was all the workings wrought by some evil spirit. He smeared the sacred tripundra bhasma on the boy's forehead and pressed him for the truth. Sambandha continued to reply in the same strain - to the wonderment of not only his father but also many others who had by now gathered around.


"Your body is adored by the Lady (Ardhanarishwara) and Your Lotus Feet
are an object of adoration for those who are proficient in Samskrutam, such 
as Brahma and Ohters. He that has the Ganga arrested in His matted locks, 
the presiding Lord of Dronipura (Thonipuram) I submit my adoration" 

O Lord of Gods! The Supreme One! I, the sone of Gauri, supplicate You
who are omnipresent and omnicient. Hence, whatever is said of You
can at best be incomplete, if not untrue. Pray forgive this vocal offence
of mine, Ocean of compassion that You are!

O Lord of Gods! The Supreme One! I, the sone of Gauri, supplicate You
who are omnipresent and omnicient. Hence, whatever is said of You
can at best be incomplete, if not untrue. Pray forgive this vocal offence
of mine, Ocean of compassion that You are!

You are famed as and supreme by the virtue of the art of liberation;
the taintless; ever-revelling in the subjects of Vedas and Agamas; the
uplifter of all the worlds; the best and the foremost; the one whom one's
all the worlds; the best and the foremost; the one in whom one's trust 
can be moored in peace; the protector of Venupuram.

You are proclaimed by the Vedic scriptures; the subduer of Tripurasuras;
bestower of boons; above the qualities of sattva, etc. the one Lord
that became the trinity - Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra; the ordainer of the
triad - meditator, meditation and the object of medication; the king of 
the three worlds - earth, heaven and the nether world.


The three year old lad thus sand extempore in sweet adoration of the Lord. The morning that followed unfolded a new and lasting era in Sambandar's life of pilgrimage, poetry and purification. Early before dawn, the boy perched on his father's back and went to visit the neighbouring Badarivanam. Keeping time by clapping his tender palms, he sang about the presiding deity in Tamil. Touched by his piety, Shiva and Parvati blessed him with a pair of golden cymbals, lest is rosy palms should become sore. The cymbals, with a panchakshari etched on them, produced deep reverberations in consonance with his devotional fervour.

Sambandha visited many sacred shrines of Lord Shiva and sand in His Praise and songs gushed forth like the celestial Ganga from the mated locks of Parama Shiva. Shivapada arranged a 'choulam' ceremony for Sambandha in which he had Sambandha's ears pierced with a pair of golden earrings. Later, he set out to visit Vyaghrapuram. There he sang eloquently in praise of the Lord who grans liberation. At Chidambaram he was blessed with the vision of Shiva's celestial dance. There he enabled his companion Nilakanta to visualise the assembleage of priests as the Lord's servitors from Kailsasam. 

Wherever he visited, he was carried in a palanquin, equal to that of a king, and other royal insignia, like umbrella and musical instruments. Coming back to Seerkazhi after visiting many holy places and singing the beloved Lord's fames, Sambandha was invested with the sacred thread. He learnt the four Vedas from the Guru and sixty-four arts without much effort. He met Vagisa (Thirunavukkarasar) who was knowledgeable and learned in Sastras and Vedas accorded warm welcome to Sambandha. Sambandha treated the King's daughter who was in a comatose state in Silashramanam. Sambandha undertook his journey in all Chola desa and proceeded to Sri Pandya Shikhara, worshipped Indushekara, presiding over Nilapuram. Later, he covered a wide area in Kaveri delta dotted thick by the shrines of Shiva, Matrubhuteshwara, Jambukeshwara, Pipilikeshvara and Khareshwara that sanctified the Chola country.

Later, the prince of devotees set off to Sonapuram in the company of Dabhra Bhakta. There he praised the Lord of matted locks in a song of ten Tamil stanzas. Even as he was singing, Parameshwara appeared seated on the bull mount. His body overcame by horripilation, Sambandha feasted on the Lord's dazzling form and felt his mission of life fulfilled. There, upon the entreaties of saint Skandanatha, he visited his house in Sri Stutyapuram. After partaking a sumptuous feast there, he proceed to the local Shiva shring and sang to his hear's content. As he stayed there, soaked in the love of the Lord, Vagisa who had arrived there from Kamalalayam, related the glories of the temple and the sportive deeds of the deity. By this thrilling naration of Vagisa, Sambandha greatly yearned to reach that place. "Pray remain here until I return from Kamalalayam", saying thus to Vagisa, he sped to that place, which was a replica of heaven on earth. There he worshipped Thyagaraja with the lotus garlands of sweet hymns, spreading unearthly fragrance

Tearing himself away from that place in pain, Sambandha returned to Sri Stutypauram where Vagisa waited his return. Joyous at their reunion, the two saintly friends resumed their pilgrimage.



GLORIES OF SAMPANDA MOORTHY NAYANAR (Part I) - The Great Servitor of Lord Shiva and one among the 63 Canonised Saints