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Dedication is just a basic emotional equation with the Lord


In today's environment, it is hard to complete the same levels of dedication and devotion for God as our forefathers did. Dedication is just a basic emotional equation with the Lord. This is the narrative of Kannappa Nayanar, one of the sixty-three Nayanars who showed immense devotion towards Lord Shiva and won his heart. Nagan was a tribal leader in the Potthapi forest. He and his wife Thaththai had been trying for a child for a long time and were praying to Lord Karttikeya and soon they were blessed with a son, Thinnan. Thinnan grew up to be a well-known archer in his tribe, frequently leading his people on hunting trips. Thinnan became separated from his buddies while hunting a wild boar on one such hunt and found himself in an unfamiliar section of the forest. In his search for a way out, he stumbled across a shrine devoted to Lord Shiva.

He decided to stay and worship the Lord because of his love for the Shiva and the holiness of the spot. Thinnan had no clue of the proper rituals for performing the Lord's ceremonies. Even though he would bathe and gather water in his mouth to bathe the Lord, he would chew the meat and offer the best bits to the Lord. He would also decorate the Linga with flowers that he tucked on his head and carried back to the temple. He would remain at the shrine chamber's door after abhishekam and protect it.

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This ancient temple, known as Thirukalahasti, was looked after by a brahman who resided many kilometers away in the nearest town. The impoverished brahman was a passionate Shiva devotee who couldn't make the long trek every day, so he came to the shrine once every two weeks, taking the worship materials with him. Before going home, he cleaned, prayed to the Lord, and gave offerings.

The brahman came to the temple the next day after Thinnan had made his offerings and was taken aback when he discovered flesh next to the Linga. He suspected that the meat had been left there by some animals. Before continuing with his practice, he thoroughly washed it with fresh water from a nearby creek. That day, the brahman went happy that he had fulfilled his obligation.

Thinnan came the next day with more meat. He talked to the Lord for a while, emptying his heart. This brought him so much joy that he began to come every day, bringing the catch of the day with him. One day as he headed towards the shrine, he spotted a little brook nearby and thought to himself, "How wonderful it would be to give the Lord a bath!" He then knelt and poured water into his mouth, then walked to the shrine and spat the water on the Linga, washing the Lord.

Shiv ling Lord Shiva blessed and commended each of them for their devotion, which they both gave in their own unique wayPixabay

When the brahman came to the temple after this, he was appalled by what he saw. There was meat all over the room once more, and the Shiva Linga was smeared in spittle this time. "This was not an animal's labor, but a human's!" How could anybody pollute the Lord in this way?" Before chanting the mantras, cleaning the Linga, and making his gifts, he meticulously tidied up the shrine. While chanting the mantras, cleaning the Linga, and making his offerings, he gently cleaned up the shrine.

But every time he returned, Shivling was in the same filthy state. He was overcome with emotion one day and begged Shiva, "O God of gods, how can you suffer such humiliation?" Shiva said, "What you regard as an insult is actually a sacrifice to another devotee. I am bound by his affection and will accept anything he has to offer. If you want to witness the depth of his devotion, just hide somewhere close and wait for it."

The brahman was intrigued by this devotee who had been honored by the Lord himself. The brahman crept behind some bushes. Thinnan arrived quickly, as usual, with meat in his hands and water in his mouth. Thinnan began his ritual of washing the Shiva Linga and offering everything he brought to the Lord. Suddenly, he observed something seeping from the Lord's left eye. Fearful, he hurried off to get herbs and apply them to his eye, hoping to treat the condition. It just made matters worse since blood began to drip. He tried a few more treatments, but none of them helped.

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He finally chose to offer his eye. He drew one of his knives, removed his right eye, and put it on the Shivling. Thinnan exhaled a sigh of relief as the blood stopped flowing. But then he observed that blood was also oozing from the Shivling's left eye. He quickly pulled out the knife to remove his other eye, but he realized he wouldn't be able to see where to store that eye if he did. So he stepped on the Shivling and ripped out his eye. Shiva appeared to Thinnan after witnessing his great devotion. His vision restored, and he bowed before Shiva.

Lord Shiva blessed and commended each of them for their devotion, which they both gave in their own unique way. He praised Thinnan in particular, proclaiming him a saint - a Nayanar, as the best of Shiva's worshippers were known. He would be known as Kannappa Nayanar from now on since he had given up his eyes ("Kann" means "eye" in Tamil) for the Lord.


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