Lord Civa's Grace to Nandanar
In the paddy fields, Nandanar sat in a daze,
Soaking in the sun, the cattle grazed.
In the swaying husks of the golden field,
Images of Lord Civa, he did see.
In every grain, His eyes did shine,
Dancing, smiling, His face divine…
As a toddler, an infant, an innocent child,
Lord Civa’s name only, he knew.
‘Civa, Civa, Civa!’ as he grew, he chanted,
To see Lord Civa in every form he wished.
‘In a trance, he always seems,
Lord Civa is all he thinks of and dreams!’ his friends said exasperatedly!
“Blessed is he who sees Lord Civa’s light,
Spreading across the universe bright!” he replied exultantly!
“Of what use are the eyes if they cannot dwell,
On His limbs as they dance to the sound of bells?
Of what use the ears deaf to the echo of ‘ Om’,
The lips that chant not His name in every home?
Empty is our very existence,
If from Lord Civa we do not draw sustenance.
What is the meaning of this life, this birth?
It is but Lord Civa who makes it worth!” he declared ecstatically.
“Om Namah Civaya,
Civaya Namah Om.
…The gentle breeze his ears did caress,
Its musical notes seemed to suggest,
“Go to ‘Tirupungur’ at the Lord’s behest.
Lord Civa in a chariot with great fanfare,
Round the town will be carried , a sight so rare.
Blessings He will shower seated on His throne,
Go forth Nandanar!” sang the breeze in dulcet tones.
“I see Him! I hear Him!
He whispers! He Calls!
Through the labrynth of my mind,
Through the inner walls.
Come young, come old, come one, come all!
To witness God Civa, to witness the Lord!
Let us head to Tirupungur,
All the way from our village ‘Adhanur ‘!”
“Are you under the spell of ‘Maya’?
Do you not know we belong to the caste ‘Pariah’?
The precincts of the temple are banned for us,
The unwritten laws of the land say thus!”
“The mind has will, the heart yearns,
It tugs, it pulls, a longing it churns.
I hear His call, come along,
Does it matter to Him, the caste we belong?
The rules we will but not flout,
In His eyes we are equals without a doubt.
From any corner, from any space,
We will stand and obtain the Lord’s grace.
Blessed are we for we have eyes to see,
The Lord in all His glory will be.”
So eleven friends from the village Adhanur,
With Nandanar they went to the Shivalokanatha temple in the village of Tirupungur…
Outside the temple with great reverence,
They stood in a huddle at a great distance.
They craned their necks and stood on their toes,
They bent their knees and stooped low.
Nothing but nothing could be seen,
Only pitch darkness and Nandi, the bull in between…
“Where oh where is Civa our Lord?
Your words deceive Nandanar, you are a fraud!
Filled we are with utter despair,
Into nothingness as we stand and stare!”
“Am I not fit to glimpse for a moment,
Your overflowing grace, your love for an instant?
My ‘karma’, my sins tower as a mountain tall.
Hiding, blocking your view like a wall.
I entreat you oh Nandi, can you not move a bit ?
So we can steal a glance for a second split ?
Oh Lord! What would I give to see the compassion that pours,
Enough to last a lifetime and more!
Not enough is this one lifetime,
To praise, to adore your presence divine.”
Lord Civa felt a stirring in his heart,
A yearning in beings who of Him were a part.
A seering ache, a longing deep,
His entire being it did seep.
“Move aside dear Nandi,
With my devotees, their devotion, my heart is full.
How can I their pleas ignore?
Blessings like a fountain arise from my core.”
Nandi, the guardian was moved to tears,
The humble request of the Lord to hear.
“What was greater?” he wondered with elation,
“The devotee’s devotion or the Lord’s compassion?
Who was this to move the Lord so?
Blessed was this soul for evermore!”
Envy and wonder flowed in him,
A sense of awe rose within.
Moved he did to get a glimpse,
And thus he stayed ever since…
The temple bells began to toll,
The cymbals clanged, the drums rolled.
The lights from the lamps cast a beam,
Illuminating the ‘Lingam’ which shone and gleamed.
Nandanar and the eleven raised their hands,
‘Om Nama Civaya!’ they sang like in unison a band.
“What have we done to deserve this oh Lord?
Oh almighty Civa! Oh merciful God!”
On the Lingam their gaze lingered,
“On us compassion He showers!” they averred.
“To dwell on this formless-form of His,
Unending, eternal bliss it is!”
Such is the true story of Nandanar!
The simple devotee who knew only love, devotion and dedication to the Lord.
A wish to see the Blissful dance of Civa at 'Thillai' came often in his mind.
On arriving at Chidambaram, scared to enter the town that appeared very holy to him, he circumambulated the town many times and out of fatigue he fell-a-sleep on the way side.
Here was His sincere Loving devotee, who was longing to see his Cosmic dance, lying outside the town anxiously!
Lord Civa ensured His devotee, who was wanting to see Him in Chidambaram, taken him to His temple where he entered the Cosmic Dancers sanctum, and became one with Him into His Blissful state.
Such is devotion to Lord Civa of one human being who knew nothing, but his love and longing for Him.
Bakti is Devotion, attachment, faithfulness, or even loyalty.
It is Devotion to the Lord. In the spiritual sense bakti is intense love for the Lord, which eventually culminates in absorption in Him. A true Devotee is never lost in Him. He lives in His constant gaze and under His continuous protection. Pure devotion is the highest form of love to which He responds with unconditional love.
Purity of heart and devotion are supremely important in this path.