THE SACRED SPORTS OF SIVA.
Those who read the title may reasonably raise the question: Is sporting reconcilable with the divine attributes of God?" It will not take long for us to solve it by merely saying "we cannot have an insight into the purpose of God." Such an answer is as easy to be given as it is sure to be slighted. If Divine actions cannot be understood, they should have no place on this earth. If by man, God's actions cannot be interpreted, to what purposes are those actions done ar all? Not capable of being interpreted God's actions would become purposeless and therefore vain. But it is man's actions that are so. Even the sports of God are purposive. They are useful. This is one of the main points of difference between man's sports and the sports of God. It may not be given to us to understand fully or to interpret thoroughly the actions done under divine influence but it is no reason why we should rush into the conclusion that the sport of God is the work of human fancy. Doubtless, the human mind has shaped it in its own way in describing it later on, but the main outlines which can necessarily fall within the creation of man are still discernible. Although the events described may seem to be commonplace, there is still running an undercurrent which course the human intelligence seeks in vain to retard, and whose purpose it vainly attempts to understand. To a careful thinker, however, many of such subtle ideas are on the surface. It is not at all desirable to prejudice the minds of our readers by presenting here any interpretations of our own and thus not to give them room to think. We choose therefore, simply to present the miracles or the divine sports as they were performed, and we reserve all our remarks to the close of the book.
It may not perhaps be out of place here to say a few words regarding the probable dates of the various performance of Siva. The sports of Siva at Madura are regarded to have been sixty-four in number but some of them are not properly speaking sports and some others have been performed by a great devotee of Siva, Jnana Sambantha. The majority of them, however, are of Siva and are ascribable to different ranging between the prehistoric era and the most recent days of the seventh century. The prominent Tamil work which contains a record of these sports is the Tiruvilyadapuranam composed about the sixteenth century by Paranjoti Munivar of Madura. There is a tradition that work was composed at the instance of Ativirarama Pandya, a Pandyan King whose time has been fixed to have been the sixteenth century. This Tamil work is professedly a translation from the Sanskrit Halasya Mahatmya. The Sanskrit work could assuredly not have been composed before the 8th or 9th century for it records events of the 7th century. The original for all kinds of works bearing on the Sacred sports is only the inscriptions at the temple of Madura and some manuscripts on the same subject. It is unnecessary as we have already said to waste much time over our introduction but let us straightway proceed to the narration of the holy stories.
THE SACRED AMUSEMENTS OF SIVA.
1. THE REMOVAL OF THE CRIME OF INDRA.
Indra the king of celestials was engaged in attending to the dancers of his paradise, when his guru (spiritual preceptor) Brahaspati came to see him; and Indra was so very absorbed in this pastime that he did not pay proper attention to the guru nor rise to salute him. Brahaspati departed in great anger; and in consequence of Indra's indifferent attitude to his guru, he had to lose all his prosperity and before that the sympathy of his guru. Having no longer his former preceptor, Indra took a three-headed giant, (asura) for his preceptor, but inducing him to make a sacrifice (yaga), he learned bitterly that the new guru purposed to destroy the gods and favour his clan. Therefore Indra killed him whereby he incurred the sin of Brahma-hatti (crime of killing a brahman). The father of the giant would not allow this act to go unrevenged. He made a yagam, from which Vridhrasura came forth, whom he ordered to kill Indra immediately: the latter struck the giant, but finding that he could not kill him, hid himself in a lotus flower. He them went to Brahma and enquired why he could not kill the asura; and was told that his weapon had become powerless; but he was directed to a place where an old Brahmin named Tatichi had long been performing penance, and was advised to take his shoulder-bone, which would suffice for the object in view; since it was moulded of a good number of powerful weapons that were entrusted to him. The old Brahmin gladly gave up his life and Indra, taking his shoulder-bone by its aid killed the asura, hereby the Brahmahatti was doubled; and in consequence of its burden, Indra again concealed himself in a lotus flower.
The celestials were now left without their king, and Nacushan, an earthly monarch, who in order to arrive at the dignity had performed a hundred yagas, became entitled to take the place of Indra. Accordingly he sent word to Indrani, the perpetual consort of the king of heaven, that he was coming, directing her to prepare to receive him. On this message being communicated, she went in consternation to the guru, Brahaspati, to ask his advice, who directed her to sanction the coming of Nacushan in the palanquin of Indra, according to custom borne by the seen rishis. While Nacushan was thus going, owing to his hurry, he exclaimed to the rishis, "Sarpa sarpa", which means both quick and a serpent. The rishis being displeased, put down the palanquin, and pronounced on him a curse "that he should become a serpent"; in which shape he fell down again to the earth. A Council being held of Brahaspati, Agastiyar, and other sages, it was recommended that Indra in order to the removal of his sin, should go down to the earth, visit the sacred places, and bathe in the rivers. This he did, without finding relief till he came to a certain forest of lili (Kadamba) trees, where suddenly he found his burden removed. Being surprised at this, he commanded search to be made around, when a lingam, the emblem of Siva was found under a lili tree, to which he made puja, and so great was his joy that even his speech became confused. As it was a forest, there were no flowers with which to make garlands; but on looking he saw a tank with lotus flowers of which he made garlands and from this use of its flowers the tank obtained the name of Pottamarai or the Golden lotus.
II. THE REMOVAL OF THE CURSE ON THE WHITE ELEPHANT.
Durvasa-rishi was once worshipping the said image in the Tilivanam, when he took lotus flowers, and after presenting it to the God, carried it with him to Indra's paradise, who was then riding on his white elephant, and going to encounter the giants. He respectfully gave it to Indra, who laid it on the head of the elephant between its tusks but the animal threw it down, and trampled it under foot. For doing so Durvasa pronounced on it a curse, to the effect, "That it should become a wild elephant of the woods"; but as the animal implored mercy, the period was limited to a hundred years. In consequence, while the elephant was in the tili forest, it one day poured water over the lingam, which on enquiry, learning the nature of the case, told the elephant to place as Indra-lingam at Airavatham. Having done so, a messenger came to recall it to Indra's abode, and the proposition being declined on the plea of worshipping at this place, another messenger was sent in obedience to which recall, the elephant went and again became the vahan, or vehicle, of Indra.
III. DISCOVERY OF THE GOD TO MORTALS; BUILDING THE TOWN OF MADURA; AND REIGN OF THE FIRST KING.
In the time of Kulasegara-Pandyan, who ruled in Manavur, a merchant named Tanan-shayen, in the course of his journeys on commercial business was benighted in a forest of Kadamba trees; and being unable to proceed further took up his abode at the foot of one of them. He was surprised at the sight of an unusual splandour; and going to look, was faoured by the God with the view, because he had been very virtuous in a former birth. As it was Monday, the gods were performing homage and anointing the image, as though it had been the night of Siva. The merchant bathed in the tank and worshipped; when the gods had disappeared, he saw the stone image only; and next day went and told the King aforesaid what he had seen. The God also appeared to the King the following night by a vision, in the form of a religious ascetic, and commanded him to build a temple in the aforesaid wilderness. The king finding the vision and the statement of the merchant to accord, went to the place and had the forest cleared. Being uncertain how to build the temple and town, he had another vision which the God appeared and gave instruction, in obedience to which, workmen were employed, having a king's street, Brahmin's street and also choultries, mandapams, tanks and the like. The whole being splendidly finished, with a palace also for the king on the North-East quarter, an embarrassment arose as to how these numerous buildings could all be purified preparatory to residence at once, so as to ensure an entrance on an auspicious day; the difficulty the God Siva was pleased to remove by causing Ganga, abiding in the hair on his head to pour forth copious streams on the whole place: and the god was pleased to give it the name of Mathura (or sweetness), and he then disappeared. The King placed guards at the four cardinal points of the city, who were all four of them deities. Afterwards a son was born to him, named Malaya-Dhwajan, who on the King's death succeeded to the throne.
IV. INCARNATION OF MINATCHI, THE GODDESS OF THE TEMPLE.
Malayadhwaja-Pandyan although he had many wives, the chief of them being Kanjana-malai, daughter of the Chola King, yet had no child. In consequence he offered ninety-nine aswamedha sacrifices, when Indra, becoming alarmed, (since another sacrifice, would entitle the King to the Indra's throne) appeared to him and said, "Why do you give yourself this trouble? Perform the appointed sacrifice for obtaining a child before the temple of the God Siva, and you will have your wish granted." While the King was making this sacrifice, a female of three years old, covered with ornaments, was born from the flame of the sacrifice. The King took up the child, and gave it into the hands of his Queen Kanjana-Malai. On her applying the infant to her breast immediately milk for its nourishment first manifested itself. While bringing up the child it was found that she had three breasts, on which the foster-parents being afflicted, the voice of the god was heard from heaven, bidding them give the child the same education as for a man, and adding, that when her appointed husband should come, then one of the breasts would disappear: when she was grown up they had her formally installed on the throne, and then Malaya-Dhwajan died.
Having performed, in becoming manner, the funeral rites for her foster parent, and worshipped in the temple, she afterwards ruled the kingdom in a proper manner.
V. MARRIAGE OF MINATCHI WITH SIVA BY THE NAME OF SUNDARESVARA.
When the above woman, Tadathakai (or Invincible) was ruling, her foster-mother represented to her the property of marriage, to which she replied, that she would assemble an army and go to fight with neighbouring Kings, in order to discover among them her destined husband. Accordingly her minister, named Sumathi, assembled assembled a very large army, with which she went and conquered all the neighbouring Kings. She next conquered Indra, and then proceeded to attack Kailasa (the abode of Siva) in front of which she was met by Narada, (the messenger of the God.) whom she forced to retreat. He went and reported the same to Siva who smiling a little, arose and went forth. As soon as he appeared, the before mentioned sign occurred, at which the amazon, being ashamed, dropped her weapons, and the minister said, "This is to be your husband." The god told her to return to Madura, where he dwelt, and on Monday he would come to marry her; desiring all preparations to be made. All was arranged accordingly; and the Gods, superior and inferior, came bringing presents. She was seated beside the god on the marriage - throne, when Vishnu joined their hands, and afterwards the marriage ceremony was performed, amidst the praises and adorations of the rishis and others present.
The God then had new stone image made for the pagoda, as became a King; and afterwards ruled over Madura by the name of Sundara-Pandyan.
VI. GOD'S DANCE IN THE SILVER HALL.
After the marriage, the Gods, rishis, and others who were assembled were about to be feasted, preparatory to which they all bathed in the Pottamarai-tank, (the tank of the Golden lotus) when certain of the rishis said, "Unless we see the God dance we will not eat." The God replied, "How can you expect to see one dance, whose form is that of the seven superior and seven inferior worlds, and whose members are the places most famous for their shrines and temples? But, as this place is chief of all, since you wish it, you shall see me dance." Accordingly the God danced in silver temple, while the Gods, rishis and the numerous other attendants, joined the chorus and chanted his praises.
VII. THE INSATIABLE DWARF KUNDOTHARAN.
After the marriage feast was over, the Mayor of the Palace came and said to the goddess, "Out of the vast quantity of food which you have prepared scarcely one part out of a thousand has been consumed: what are we to do with the rest?" The goddess went to enquire her husband, who said, "It is true, that being a queen, you have prepared so much food, but there are several of my retinue as yet unfed." Whereupon calling a dwarf, named Kundotharan, he directed food to be given; saying, that when he should be satisfied, others would follow. He then put within him Vadamugagni (a great fire said to govern the sea). A large pit was dug to receive the various eatables. The dwarf was emaciated with hunger and fasting; and consumed mountains of prepared food so rapidly, that the eye could not follow him. All being gone, he consumed the unprepared materials for food, and still complained of hunger. On this the goddess enquired of her husband what was to be done, saying. '"It is thus that you fulfil your character of the final destroyer of all things." At this the god smiled with complacency, only complaining that so many of his hungry followers were still left without food.
VIII. GANGA, AT THE COMMAND OF THE GOD, PRODUCED THE RIVER VAIGAI.
As the hunger of the dwarf was yet unappeased, the god commanded the Earth (a goddess) to supply him. Accordingly four holes or pits appeared, out of which food spontaneously arose; and the dwarf ate till his body was swollen. He then complained of thirst; and having drawn all the water contained in the wells and tanks, he still complained of thirst. On this the god commanded the goddess Ganga (in his hair) to supply water. She replied. 'You once called me before, and I will come again if you only grant the privilege that whatsoever bathes in my waters shall be purified from sin:" which being conceded, she brought a most plentiful supply of water in the shape of the river Vaigai and the dwarf took it all very easily. And now, both hunger and thirst being satisfied, he returned to his duty in the retinue of the god.
IX. THE GOD BROUGHT THE SEVEN SEAS TOGETHER INTO ONE PLACE.
Among the rishis who came to greet the god was Gauthama, who went to pay his respects to Kanjana-malai, queen dowager, she asked him which was the most excellent penance? He replied, "there were three: one consisting in silently contemplating the deity, one in repeating prayers, and one in going about and bathing in all the sacred rivers; of which three, the last was the most excellent: but that since it was attended with much trouble to visit all the rivers, and since all the rivers run into the sea, if she bathed in the sea, the effect would be the same." On this she announced to her adopted daughter her intention of bathing in the sea, and the daughter, unwilling to part with her foster-mother, told her own husband; who said, "To bathe in one sea is a trifle; I will bring all the seven seas together to one place, and she may bathe there." Accordingly, much to the astonishment of the people, the seven seas (of ghee, honey, milk, &c.) came rushing into one tank, still retaining their respective colours, and appearing distinct, or unmingled.
X. RECALLING MALAYADHWAJA FROM THE DEAD, AND TRANSLATION OF KANJANA-MALAI.
On the banks of the said tank the god made a flower garden, and when there one day, said to his wife, "Why does not your foster-mother bathe?" On this being reported the elder lady enquired of learned men the most meritorious mode of bathing. They replied, "It must be either by taking hold of the hand of a husband, or a child, or of a cow's tail." On this reply being given she became greatly afflicted, having neither husband, nor child. Her foster-daughter reported this grief to the god, who, by an act of volition, brought back Malaya-dwaja-Pandian from the paradise of Indra, and the shade, on coming, presented his respects to the god. Kanjana-malai hearing the arrival of her former husband, came adorned with jewels, and both bathed in the tank; after which they saw the god, and a heavenly chariot appeared in which both husband and wife were together carried above the worlds and the paradise of Indra, safe into the heaven of Siva.
XI. THE INCARNATION OF SUBRAMANYAN IN THE FORM OF UKRAMA-PANDIAN.
One day the aforesaid Tadatha-kai came to her husband, and said, "You have assembled the seven seas, and have procured the beatification of my reputed parents; but now it occurs to me that it is not worthy after your reign that the Pandian race should become extinct through want of issue." The god, whose height and depth Brahma and Vishnu could not discover, reflecting that he had caused his wife (Parvati) to become incarnate in the person of Thadatha-kai, and had now himself reigned a long time as Sundereswarer, considered it was not right to leave the Pandian race without offspring; and by a simple volition he produced in due time the birth of his son Subramanyan, in the form of a child bearing the resemblance of Siva: which event occurred on Monday, in the Tiruvathirai-nakshatram, when the planet Jupiter was in the most fortunate station of a good house, (astrological term); while the four vedas were chanted, and musical instruments sounded, and the demi gods showered down flowers. On hearing the news all kings and people came and made congratulations on the event, gave presents to the town, and according to the Vedas, cast the child's nativity (horoscope), gave the child the name of Ukrama-Pandian, and the child was afterwards instructed in all suitable accomplishments by Vihala-bagavan (Brihaspati) the preceptor of the gods. When the son came to years of discretion, the father, hearing the fame of his great acquirements and excellent temper, told his ministers it was time to have him installed, or anointed as king, to which counsel they agreed and were very joyful.
XII. THE GOD SUNDARESVARAR GETS HIS SON MARRIED AND FURNISHES HIM WITH THREE WEAPONS.
The father besides gave orders to his ministers to procure his son a suitable wife of equal nobility; and Kantimathi, the daughter of a king named Soma-sekaran, of the race of the Sun, who ruled in the town of Manavur, was selected. The same night the god appeared in vision to Soma-sekaran, and commanded him to give his daughter in marriage to the son of the king ruling in Madura. Soma sekaran the next day, astonished and delighted, set out for Madura with his daughter and a great retinue; and was met on the road by the ministers of Sundaresvarar that were going towards Manavur, who demanded his daughter in marriage for the son of their king; to which he glad agreed and after coming to Madura, the ceremony was performed with great splendour; while the Sora and Sera kings, gods, demi-gods, and innumerable others were in attendance, with all usual accompaniments and great presents, extensive dower, and largesses were bestowed. After the marriage ceremony the father gave the son, the spear, the discus, the ball; and said, "Indran, Maha-meru, and the sea, are your foes: with the spear, you shall overcome the sea; with the ball, you shall conquer Maha meru; and with the discus, subdue Indran. He then charged the ministers to take care of his son as the apple of their eyes; and enjoined his son to follow the advice of his ministers, and to break no old custom. He then gave the new married pair his blessing; and mounting, with Tadathakai, an aerial car while his attendants became changed into the form of the celestials of Kailasa, he ascended to his own paradise. The son ruled according to the law of Manu afterwards.
XIII. VARUNAN IS COMPELLED TO RETIRE BY THE CASTING OF THE SPEAR (OR JAVELIN).
Ukrama Pandian made a great sacrifice of ninety-six aswamedha yagams, at which Indran becoming jealous, since his rule was endangered, went to the king of the sea, Varunan, and asked him to destroy that country. Accordingly the sea suddenly came with great noise in the middle of the night to the gates of Madura, when the king, Ukrama Pandian, was awakened by Siva, in the guise of a religious ascetic, informing him of the circumstance, and attendant dangers; the king, being astonished and without presence of mind, was urged by the vision to lose no time, but employ the vel, as he had been directed; and accordingly he went and cast the spear (or javelin) at the sea, which immediately lost its force, and retired, because Varunan recognised the weapon of his superior. The king then went to the temple, adoring the god, promised that as far as the sea had come, so much land would be given to the temple; and thus he righteously governed the kingdom.
XIV. UKRAMA-PANDIAN STRIKES OFF INDRAN'S CROWN.
While Ukrama Pandian reigned, it happened, by the evil influence of the nine planets, that there was no rain; and consequent by a great drought occurred in the Pandian, Sora, and Sera kingdoms. On which deficiency, these three kings went and consulted the sage Agastyar, residing on the great mountain called Pothiya, who told them of the evil influence of the planets, and advised them to go and worship Sundaresravarar on a Monday. Accordingly, the three kings came to Madura, and performed the prescribed fasting and ceremonies on Monday in the temple, when, by the favor of Siva, they were carried to Swarga logam (the paradise of Indran). The Sora and Sera kings took their seats at his footstool and asking for rain, were favourably answered and dismissed. But the Pandian took his seat on the same level with Indran, and made no request. Indran, displeased with a semblance of favour, put round his neck a very heavy necklace collar, such as five men could not lift, thinking its weight would crush his uncivil guest; but as the Pandian wore it without any emotion, Indran was astonished; and dismissed him, only saying, "You shall be called the bearer of the necklace." On the Pandian's return, he found that in his country only there was no rain; in consequence of which he went to Mahameru, and put some of the clouds round its summit in chains, and brought them to water his kingdom. Indran incensed at this violation of his proper power, declared war, and took the field at the head of large forces. There was much fighting on both sides, and many were slain, until Ukrama Pandian with his discus struck off Indran's crown. Indran, astonished, found he was not combating with a mere mortal, and sent ambassadors, promising to bestow rain. Ukrama would not believe him; in consequence Indran sent a man of the Vellala caste to become security for rain, (hence called காரைக்காத்தவெள்ளாளர், or waiters for rain). The king then released the clouds from confinement. Afterwards, by Indran's command, there was abundance of rain with consequent fertility and Ukrama Pandian ruled the kingdom with justice and liberality.
XV. UKRAMA-PANDIAN STRUCK MOUNT MERU AND THENCE OBTAINED WEALTH.
Ukrama Pandian was attentive to the instructions of Agastyar in the religious observance of Monday; and by that means his wife, Kantimathi, brought him a son, whom he named Vira Pandian. At this time the country was distressed by drought, and the god, on being besought appeared in a dream, and said, "Go to Mahameru, strike with the ball: there are riches inside; take them, and make charitable donations, and rain will come.' Rising in the morning, and going to pay his devotions to the god the king set out with a great retinue; thus leaving his own country and going to salute the Soren king: passing thence by Dundaga nada, the Telinga, Carnataca and Tondaga countries; crossing mountains and rivers; passing Malava, Virada and Motthiya countries; going as far as Casi (Benares); crossing the Ganges and a desert untrodden by human foot-steps, which is inhabited by yalis, lions &c., he arrived at Kumeri, which extends one thousand leagues (of ten miles each); passing by which, and also Barathi, eight times larger still, he arrived at the birth place of Parvati, (or mountain-born), named Mount Imaut. Next crossing Kimpurada province as also Arri-varadum and the Nisithi mountains, and arriving at Ilavu-vritha country, surrounded by the river Jemba, he obtained a view of Maha-meru, which is the support of the earth, having one thousand and eight peaks, which is also the pillar of the gods, and which besides was once a bow in the hands of Siva. As that was a sacred land, he halted his retinue at a distance, made by himself a circuit of the mountain, and standing on the South, addressed its king, saying "O Meru! surrounded by all planets, constellations, and demi-gods-O mountain king! attend!" Then, taking the ball in his hand, he struck the mountain with anger: the mountain reeled; the peaks trembled, and the king of the mountain, with one head and four umbrella-bearing arms, came forth ashamed; confessed a dereliction of attention and of duty for that one day from the service of Siva, and asked what was his business? The reply was, 'Riches are wanted." All that he desired was given him by opening a mine; and the cleft was closed with his own royal seal. He brought the load of precious metals on elephants to Madura. And as he there gave largely to the Brahmins, the Saivas, the temples &c., rain came down as formerly, so that the country was again fertile. He flourished forty thousand years of the gods; after which, crowning Vira-Pandian, and delivering to him the kingdom, Ukrama Pandian resumed the unchangeable form of Siva.
XVI. THE GOD EXPLAINED THE INNER MEANING OF THE VEDAS.
After the destruction of all things by the deluge, when the Vedas were produced by the (பிரணவம்) word of God, the rishis and Brahmins were embarassed to know their meaning. Hence they applied to Harra-pakthi (worshipper of Siva) who directed them to go to Madura, and learn from Sundaresvarer. Accordingly, after coming thither and bathing in the golden-lotus tank, they were met by the god, who told them that to worship the self-existing lingam, (or stone image) was the sum and substance of the Vedas. He then explained the issuing of the twenty-eight books of the Siva sect, from the centre mouth of Siva; and the Rig, Sama, Yajur and Atharvana Vedas, from the other four mouths. moreover, stating that the sense of the Vedas was difficult to be made out, and of no very great consequence, he told them the real secret was the duty of worshipping the lingam, a secret unknown to Brahma or Vishnu and charging on them due performance of his instructions, he gave them his blessing. The Rishis and Brahmis then sung praises to the god for condescending, by so brief a process, to instruct them in the true sense of the Vedas.
XVII. THE GOD PROVIDED JEWELS FOR THE CROWN.
While Vira-Pandian ruled, he had many inferior wives who had children, but the legitimate queen was without offspring; until, by performing penance to the god, the queen was delivered of a son, concerning whom all the customary astrological ceremonies were performed. Afterwards the king, while hunting, was slain by a tiger; when the eldest of the concubines, thinking this to be the favorable time, stole the crown and royal jewels. After the grief of the ministers for the death of the king had somewhat subsided, they found the crown missing, and considering this to be the stratagem of an enemy, they were embarrassed how to proceed. The god Sunderesvarer then came as a chetty (or merchant) and offered nine very valuable jewels for sale, explaining that they were once the body of Vala-asuren. This giant, by performing penance to Siva, had acquired power to conquer the inferior deities; and one day Indran offering to give him a gift, he jeered the king of demi-gods, as a conquered person offering gifts to the conquror, and himself offered a gift to Indran; who then besought him to burn himself, in the shape of a cow, in a sacrifice which Indran was making. He did so; when, according to a former promise of Siva, different parts of the cow's body became inestimable jewels of different kinds and colors. The properties of these jewels were explained by the chetty; who gave them into the hands of the ministers; said, "Thank the god Siva" and disappeared. They took the jewels, had a crown made, and with it crowned the young king, naming him Abhishegam (anointed). He recovered also the jewels which had been lost; and joyfully reigned over the kingdom.
XVIII. VARUNA SENDING THE SEA TO TRY THE GOD'S POWER; THE LATTER CALLED FOUR CLOUDS TO ABSORB THE SEA.
While Abishega-Pandian was performing puja, in the Chittra month, the camphor incense employed spread a great perfume. The god Indra was also desirous of performing homage; but was prevented by the Pandian's previous service. On returning Indra was met by Varuna; he enquired the reason of his looking sorrowful: and on being informed of the vexatious disappointment, the god of the sea again asked. "Is then this lingam so great a god?" To which question Indra replied, "That as it had removed his former sin, and taken the curse from his white elephant, it was a great god" Varuna asked, "Can it cure the pain in my bowels?" The other answered "To do that would be an easy thing." Varuna feeling doubtful sent a large accumulation of seas to try the god's power, which greatly alarmed the people of the kingdom. But the god commanded some clouds to descend from his head, which absorbed the seas; and the people now discerning that this was a sacred amusement of the god, rendered him praises.
XIX. VARUNA SENDING MUCH RAIN, THE GOD PROTECTED THE PLACE BY A COVERING OF CLOUDS.
Varuna being disappointed and angry, ordered seven clouds to go and pour down their contents for the destruction of Madura. Accordingly these clouds came, with threatening gloom, lightnings, and thunders, and produced a deluge by sending rain with drops as large as pumpkins. The god seeing these things, ordered the before-mentioned clouds to interpose; which they accordingly did; and by spreading a covering above the town and beneath Varuna's c;ouds, prevented any more rain from falling. Varuna, now discerning the intervention of the god, went and bathed in the golden lotus tank, when his inward pain immediately ceased; on which he besought pardon of the god for his aforesaid misdemeanours and thanking the god for the removal of his pain, he returned to his own city. From that time forward Madura acquired the title of "The assemblage of the four clouds."
XX. SUNDARESAR CONDESCENDED TO ASSUME THE FORM OF A RELIGIOUS ASCETIC.
It pleased the god to come to Madura in the form of a Sittar, with all the usual accompaniments of that order. he walked the royal and brahmin streets, and performed various wonders. He brought distant mountains near, and removed near ones far off. He made old females to become young children, and children to become old women. He changed the sexes; he made the barren fruitful; the hump-backed, the deaf, the dumb, the blind, the lame, he severally healed. He turned four metals into gold; he made the rich become poor; and made enemies to be friends. He caused the yetti (poisonous shrub) to produce mangoes; and brought a flood in the river Vaigai. He turned fresh water into salt water, and made salt water fresh. He threw a pilgrim's staff into the air, threaded a cotton through it, and then, resting his head on the cotton thread, performed the attitude of penance, (heels upward) the staff remaining in the air. He took clouds into his hands, and well wringing them, appeared to drink the water they contained. He caused things seen in the night (such as the stars) to be seen in the day, and things visible in the day to be seen at night. He taught the Vedas to things which could not understand them. He turned coconut trees into palmyra trees, and then the reverse; changed the species of other trees; and brought celestial things down to earth. While thus occupying the attention of the people, so that they neglected their employments, the Pandian, hearing of the circumstances sent his ministers to call the performer of these wonders; they did so respectfully; but the Sittar said, "What are kings to me?" and refused to go. The king on hearing of his refusal only replied, " What have the great (in a religious sense) to do with us?" and remained quiet.
XXI. THE SITTAR GAVE SUGARCANE TO THE STONE-ELEPHANT.
But still feeling a curiosity to see the Sittar, the king went, accompanied by his retinue, as though he would visit the temple, and there he met with the performer. In reply to enquiries from the king, the Sittar said, that he went about as he pleased, though more accustomed to be in Kasi; that he had displayed various feats in Chidambaram and other places, and here (at Madura) especially; that he wanted nothing from the king; for though such men as might perform a few feats would receive offered royal rewards, yet he who could perform all things desired nothing. At this time a villager brought a sugar-cane and the king, expressing doubt, said pointing to a stone elephant sculptured on the tower of the temple, "If you can make that elephant eat this sugar-cane, then I shall admit that you can do all things, and must be our god Sunderesvarer." On this request being made the Sittar glanced a side look at the elephant, which immediately gave signs of life; took the proffered sugar-cane from the hands of the king and ate it, and not being content with that, took the garland of pearls from the king's neck, and put it into his mouth. While the peons were busy in attempting to scare the elephant, the king fell at the feet of the Sittar, worshipping him; who then looked again at the elephant, which immediately restored the string of pearls to the king. The Pandian then received many gifts from the Sittar; and after causing his son,
Vicrama-Pandian, to be crowned, he (Abhishega-Pandian) attained the lotus-feet of the god; (that is, he died).
XXII. THE GOD KILLED THE ELEPHANT WHICH WAS BORN FROM THE FIRE OF A SACRIFICE MADE BY THE CHAMANALS (OR JAINS).
While Vicrama-Pandian reigned, he drove away all heterodox sects; confirmed the established religion; built a temple for the Sittar; and then ruled with justice and virtue. But a Chera king, who ruled in Kanchi-puri (Conjeeveram) and was of the Chamana faith, being resentful and treacherous and envious at the prosperity of the Pandian kingdom, assembled together eight thousand of the sect of the Chamunals from Anjanam and other lofty mountains; and commanded them to make a sacrifice with a view to effect the destruction of the Pandian king. Accordingly they made a sacrifice, the limits of which for the attendance of people extended over thirty Kadams, (or thirty miles), and the sacrificial pit itself occupied ten miles. Into this pit they poured margosa oil and gingelly oil, fruits of various kinds, and flesh of animals; and from the fire a monstrous black elephant was produced, which the king commanded to go and to destroy Madura. The elephant accordingly proceeded with great noise and rage, and the Chamunals followed. The Pandian hearing of its approach supplicated the god, who said, "Never mind, build me a mantapam and I will kill the elephant." Accordingly a mantapam, having sixteen pillars, was built; and the god came to it in the guise of a hunter. When the elephant approached, he directed against it a rocket, of the kind called Narasimma-astiram, which struck the elephant in the head and killed it; thereupon the Chamanals were dispersed by the troops of the Pandian; and such was the haste of the fugitives that their peacock-fans, their sleeping mats and drinking vessels, were broken to pieces. The spot became famous one named Pracalataren by worshipping the rocket that was left sticking in the elephant mountain, obtained a celestial gift; and one named Romasen by worshipping, and forming a tank bearing his own name, also received a like gift. The elephant mountain remains to this time, and Narasimma-swami resides there.
The Pandian, praising the hunter god, and receiving from him many gifts returned to Madura; had a son born to him, named Rajasekara Pandian; and prosperously continued his rule.
XXIII. THE GOD ON ACCOUNT OF GAURI, BECAME AN OLD MAN, A YOUNG MAN, AND A CHILD.
While Vicrama-Pandian was thus ruling, there was a Brahmin named Virupatchi, his wife's name being Subavrithai, who were childless; in consequence they worshipped the seven celestial females, (fabled to be in paradise, corresponding with the seven rishis) and obtained thereby the gift of a daughter. At five years old the child, named Gauri, asked to be taught a prayer for the speedy change of her mortal form and the Brahmin, being surprised at her early good sense, taught her the Parvati-mantram. While the father was waiting for a suitable husband, she passed the eighth year of her age without being betrothed, (which the Brahmins consider to be a disgrace); and one day a Vaishnava Brahmin coming to beg alms, the father, perceiving him to be learned in the Vedas, bestowed the daughter on him in marriage, with the usual ceremony of gift, and without saying anything on the subject to any one. The neighbours, on learning the circumstance, at first blamed him; but on further examination found no other fault than that the husband was a Vaishnava; and approved the marriage. When the Vaishnava Brahmin brought his wife to his own village, and to his parents, they disapproved of his marrying a Saiva woman; and the woman, seeing nothing but Vaishnavas aroung her, without any Brahmins, wearing ashes and beads, sighed for her own people. One day the parents shut her up alone, and, without calling her, went away to a distant marriage feast. In this interval an aged Saiva Brahmin, in appearance, came to her and asked for food; and on being admitted into the house and food being given by the woman, since he was too infirm to feed himself she assisted him to eat, when he suddenly changed to a young man, richly habited; and on surprise being expressed by the Brahmin, as also fear with reference to the return of the husband's parents, the young man suddenly became a child. The parents having returned, and finding her with a young Saiva child, turned both out of doors; and while she was in the street, sorrowing deeply for her misfortunes, she meditated the Parvati-mantiram, on which the child instantly disappeared, and the god himself approached towards her, seated on his bullock vahan, (or car), and taking her up with him, while the clouds rained flowers, and the town's people were astonished, he carried her through the air to Madura.
XXIV. NATARAJAR THE DANCING GOD ALTERED HIS ATTITUDE, IN THE SILVER TEMPLE, AT THE REQUEST OF THE KING.
After Vicrama-Pandian had crowned his son, Rajasekara-Pandian, and given him the kingdom, there came a learned man from Karikal, the Soren king, and said, "Our king knows the sixty-four Sastras, but you do not know the Baratha-Sastram," (art of dancing). To which objection the Pandian replied, "Having learned the other sixty-three, I consider it indecorons to learn the other, seeing that the god himself condescended to dance in the silver temple." Notwithstanding, disliking the reproach, he set about learning the art, and finding it very difficult, he went one day to the silver temple where the god was standing on one leg, and requested that the god would change the position of his feet by standing on the other leg; adding, while he struck his sword into the ground, that if this was not done, he would fall on his sword and kill himself. On this kingly request being made, the god put down the lifted leg and raised the other one, thus changing the leg on which he stood, at which the Pandian bathed in the sea of joy, (was greatly rejoiced), and entreated, that this changing of the leg might be made publicly to appear to the people; which request the god condescendingly granted.
XXV. THE GOD RELIEVED AN INNOCENT PERSON WHO FEARED THE AVENGER OF BLOOD.
After Rajasekara-Pandian had given up the kingdom to his son Kulothunga-Pandian, the latter married many wives, and had a great many children; among the eldest of which children, was Ananta-guna-Pandian, who was taught all needful accomplishments. About this time, a Brahmin coming with his wife from Tiruvatur, left her, being seated under a tree, in order to go and fetch water; and while he was away, an arrow which had long hung suspended in the tree, in consequence of the latter being shaken by the wind, descended and penetrated the body of the woman, who instantly died. At the same time a hunter came to repose, near at hand, under the shade of another tree. The Brahmin on returning, astonished to find his dead, looking round and discovering the hunter, charged him with the crime of murder, and took him along with him, together with the body of his wife, to the presence of the king. The hunter, on investigation, maintained his innocence, but by consent of the kings' ministers was put to severe torture, and all people admitted that his countenance was not that of a murderer. The king ordered him to be put in irons, and giving the Brahmin a present, bid him go bury his wife. The king prayed to God that his doubt might be cleared. At night the god appeared to the king and said, "Go along with the Brahmin to such a chetty's house, where there is a wedding and doubt will be explained." The king, in disguise, accompained the Brahmin to the place indicated, and while in the chetty's house, by Siva's favour, they overheard the conversation of two of Yama's angels. One said, "Our master has ordered us to kill this bridegroom, for whose death there is no apparent instrumental means." The other said, " Tush, don't you know how by the fall of the arrow from the tree we took the life of the Brahmin woman, and carried it to our master; so now, while the marriage procession returns. I will loose the bullocks from their ropes, and then do you, seated on the horns finish the business." The king asked the Brahmin what he thought of this? who said, "If the event correspond, I shall then hold the hunter to be innocent." Soon after, as the marriage procession came, the great noise which was made alarmed the bullocks, one of which broke its rope, and running furiously at the bridegroom, gored him, and caused his death; so that the marriage joyfulness was turned into funeral accompaniments, and triumph into mourning. On this development the king and Brahmin returned; and the king, setting the hunter at liberty, apologising for punishing him wrongfully, and giving the Brahmin presents, said, "Go, seek another wife, and submit to unavoidable evils."
XXVI. THE REMOVING OF THE GREAT CRME.
While Kulothunga-Pandian reigned, there was a Brahmin celebrated for his patience, whose wife was not virtuous, and his son was excessively vicious. The evil thought occurred to him of defiling his father's couch; and his mother, losing all self-restraint, tolerated the atrocity. The Brahmin, conjecturing the state of things, waited in the expectation of a full discovery; and the son, knowing such to be the case, cut off his father's head; then taking all the household property, he set off, together with his mother, to go to another place. While on the way, in a forest, they were attacked by robbers, who took away the woman and the property, and left him alone in the forest; where he became wretched to an extreme degree, both in mind and body, by a judgment from Brahma. One day when Sundaresvarer and Minatchi were gone out of the temple, in the guise of hunters, they agreed that the enormity of the crime could only be removed by themselves; and on the culprit meeting them, he was instructed to feed cows with grass, and to bathe daily in a certain tank. By following this direction he gradually resumed the appearance and nature of a Brahmin, according to his birth; and finally attained to the highest bliss. The Pandian hearing of the grace of his deity celebrated his praises; and the tank acquired the title of "Crime removing" to present time.
XXVII. THE GOD PUNISHED THE GUILTY DISCIPLE, BY KILLING HIM.
While Kulothunga-Pandian ruled, there came a learned man to the place, skilful in science. In consequence of his celebrity, a young man sought permission to become his disciple, and being accepted, became at last equal to his master. The evil thought entered his mind of killing his aged preceptor and carrying off the latter's wife. While the preceptor was absent he made some overtures, but was repulsed by the wife, she being a chaste one. In consequence he determined on violent proceedings, and the god, knowing his evil designs, resolved to punish him. Accordingly, assuming the shape of the aged preceptor, he came and challenged the disciple to fight; which the latter joyfully accepted, as promising an easy conquest and success in his designs. Accordingly both combatants met the next day, fully armed, and a contest began, which lasted for ten days, to the great surprise of the town's people. At length the aged combatant cut out the younger one's tongue, cut out his eyes, and cut off his head, and then disappeared. The people crying out. "Where is the aged conqueror?" ran to his house and were informed by his wife that he had gone to the temple. On finding him there, they asked how he could have passed unseen through their midst? He replied, it was not he who had fought, but Sundaresvarer. The king hearing of these circumstances gave valuable presents to the man and his wife; and after crowning his son Anantaguna-Pandian, he went to the presence of the god; (that is, he died).
XXVIII. THE DESTROYING OF THE STRIPED SERPENT SENT BY THE CHAMANALS (JAINS)
While Anantaguna-Pandian was reigning, the beads, ashes, and other tokens of the Saiva religion, were everywhere visible, by reason of his patronage. The Chamanals, being moved with envy, made a great sacrifice, out of the fire which an asuran, in the form of a striated serpent, proceeded, which they sent to devour and destroy the inhabitants of Madura. On its approach the king besought Siva, who gave him permission to kill it; and on its coming to the western gate the Pandian dispatched several arrows, which the serpent broke to pieces; but at length one arrow, shaped in the form of a crescent, penetrated the serpent, which vomited a great deal of poison, by the pestilential effects of which many people of the town died. On this evil occurring, the Pandian besought the god Siva to sprinkle a few drops of ambrosial water from his hair on the place, which request being granted, the pestilence disappeared; and the king reigned prosperously over his people.
XXIX. THE GOD'S NANDI CONQUERS THE COW SENT BY THE CHAMANALS.
When the Chamanals found that Anantaguna-Pandian had killed the serpent, they were very angry and consulting together said, "If we send a cow, they will be afraid to kill that." Wherefore making a sacrifice, an asuran in the shape of a cow came forth, which they went, saying, "Go and destroy Madura." There upon it proceeded, raising the dust, and in great rage; hearing which the Pandian went and besought the god, asking what he should do. The God, addressing Nandi, the bullock vehicle, said, "Go and conquer the cow." On which the bullock set out, richly caparisoned, and with great impetuosity; and on meeting the cow assaulted it with his horns, but the cow, becoming bewildered, was changed into a mountain, and the bullock, enlarging its size, became also a mountain alongside. But it afterwards, in a slender form, returned to the god? and was received with applauses, in which Parvati joined. Soon after, Rama (Rama-Chandren) came with Sugriven, Anuman, and his forces, to these mountains, on his progress towards Lanca. The sage Agastyar then came to him, and explained to him the legend of these mountains; whereon he went to Madura and worshipped the god. On his return from the conquest of Ravana, bringing his consort Sita with him, he again passed by this way, and after paying honors to the god went back to Ayodhya; and after a time returned with his consort to Vaicundam. Meantime, Anantaguna-Pandian having, by the favor of the god, received a son, named Kulopushana-Pandian, he had his son crowned, and he himself died.
XXX. THE GOD CAME WITH A GREAT ARMY, ON ACCOUNT OF SAVUNDRA SAMUNTAN GENERAL OF THE PANDIAN.
The general, named Savundra Samuntan, was a great devotee of the god, and while carefully conducting the affairs of the kingdom, the king of a tribe of hunters, who was named Sethurayen, threatened the kingdom with an invasion. On which occurrence the Pandian said to his general. Take money from the treasury, and raise some more troops." He did so but instead of raising troops presented all the money to the god; expending it in temple ornaments, feasting the Brahmins, and supporting the followers of Siva; and from time to time put off his master with excuses, falsely pretending to write letters to neighbouring countries for aid. After a month the king became impatient, and said, "Tomorrow all the troops should be here, how is it that I see none arrived?" Urged by the necessity of the case, the general went and made known the matter to the god, who replied, "I will come tomorrow with plenty of troops." The general told the king that aid was at hand; and on the morrow a great army appeared. The general then said to the king. "Such a division comes from such a country; such a one from another"; and so on. The king asked, "Who is that seated on horseback in the midst of all?" The general said, "I do not know." But this was the god, mounted on his bullock, it being transformed to the appearance of a horse. The king now put himself at the head of his own troops; and while going forth they were met by a messenger bringing news that the king of the hunters, having gone to hunt in the forest, had been slain by a tiger. On this intelligence being received, the king gave orders for the different divisions to retire to different places. This order was so rapidly obeyed by the army of Siva's followers that the king greatly wondered; and discovering that it was a sacred amusement of the god, he rendered homage to his general, and lived without anxiety.
XXXI. THE GOD GAVE AN EXHAUSTLESS PURSE TO THE PANDIAN.
While the Brahmins were away in other provinces there was a deficiency of sacrifices, and by consequence no rain; but the king distributed money liberally among the poor who were sufferers, until there was at length no more money. On which deficiency occurring, the king went and applied to the god; but receiving no answer he became troubled and remained fasting and prostrate all night in the temple. During the night the god appeared in the form of a religious devotee and said, "You have neglected the Brahmins so that they have ceased to offer sacrifices, which is the cause of a want of rain; but for the future you must take care to honour the Brahmins; and if you want money, take this purse from which you may draw as much as you please." The Pandian, on receiving the gift placed it on his throne, and honoring it as the god's donation, drew from it large supplies of money without exhausting the contents. With this money he ornamented the temple, gave large presents to the Brahmins; and had sacrifices duly performed. After which there was abundance of rain, distress was removed, and public affairs were prosperous.
XXXII. THE GOD CAME AND SOLD BRACELETS TO WOMEN OF THE MERCHANT CASTE.
The wives of rishis to the amount of eight thousand, were condemned to be born at Madura, owing to the curse of their husbands for a previous fault, in which Siva was concerned. He at that time collected a large quantity of bracelets from them, which he now came to sell in the streets of Madura; and all the women crowded to get a pair of these arm-rings, which however immediately fell off again as they had done on a former occasion. Hence this traffic was discovered to be a sacred amusement of the god.
XXXIII. THE GOD TAUGHT THE EIGHT GREAT MEDITATIONS.
When Siva was seated under the shade of a banyan tree, in Kailasa, instructing the rishis the greatness of the six-headed son of Siva (Kartikeya, or Subramanya) called and implored to be taught the eight forms of prayer. Siva told them to reverence Parvati, and then they would learn the prayers well. But while he was teaching them they did no pay proper attention, in consequence of which the god, becoming angry, denounced, as a malediction, "That they should become large stones under banyan trees, (ficus religiosa) near Mandura, for a thousand years," On this they fell down before him and besought his mercy. He replied, " After a thousand years I will come to Madura and restore you to proper shape." Accordingly they suffered the punishment denounced, and after the thousand years were past, the god came in the shape of a religious devotee restored the petrifactions to the human form, and taught them the eight great meditations, or prayers, after which they prospered.
XXXII. THE GOD OPENED NORTH GATE, AND SHOWED THE TEMPLE TO THE CHERA KING, CLOSING THE GATE AFTERWARDS WITH THE BULLOCK SEAL.
A Chera king, who in consequence of clearing the forest for building the capital of Kanchi (Conjeeveram) obtained the name of Kadu-Vettiya-Cheran, being a devotee of Siva, and reading with pleasure the account of the sacred amusements, and other religious books of the Siva class, felt a great desire to see the temple at Madura; but not knowing how to accomplish this object, (from existing hostility) he pondered a long time over it. At length the god, in the form of a religious ascetic, appeared to him in a dream, and bid him go and visit Madura without any fear. On awaking, the king was both astonished and rejoiced. In obedience to the injunction he set out on horseback, unaccompanied, and after passing hills and forests, came to the north bank of the river Vygai, which river was then very full and impassable. While halting on the north bank the god appeared in the night, put on the Chera king's forehead the Saiva mark and carrying him over the river, opened the north gate and showed him every part of the temple. On returning, and dismissing the king, the god put on the gate a seal having the impression of the bullock, (the vahan of Siva) and left all carefully close. In the morning when the guards came they were astonished to find the seal changed during the night; and on going to the other gates found that there the seals which had been applioed were not altered. A report being made to the Pandian king, he came to examine into the circumstance; and with a view to discover how this wonder had been accomplished, he gave himself to fasting and prayer, with prostration on the ground in the temple. The god appeared to him in vision and explained to the king that he himself had admitted the Chera king, and sealed the gate with the bullock-seal. The king made this miracle known everywhere, and after living some time happily, he associated with himself his son, named Rajendra-Pandian, casuing him to be crowned; and he himself then obtained a place of note in the Swarga-logam, (or heaven of Indra); that is, he died.
XXXV. THE GOD PRESERVED THE PANDIAN'S ARMY BY THE MIRACULOUS APPEARANCE OF A BOOTH FOR GIVING AWAY WATER.
The before-mentioned Chera king was allowed to come occasionally to visit the temple; and some mutual regulations of peace and good faith were made by the two kings. The Chera king designed to give his daughter in marraige to the Pandians, which the younger brother of the latter, named Raji-Mamam, understanding, went to Kanchi and surreptitiously by craft effected that marriage for himself. In consequence the Chera king conceived an idea of installing his son-in-law on the Pandian's throne; and with this object snt, with his son-in-law, his own uncle and a large army. When the army had arrived within two yojana (or twenty miles) of Madura, the learned the object of the invasion, went to the temple, and said, "This Chera king, your devotee, with whom good faith was plighted, is now coming to dethrone me; what ought I to do?" While he thus prayed a celestial voice was heard saying, "Go out to-morrow with all your army and I will give you the victory." The next morning the king accordingly left the fort, with an army which resembled a continuous river running into the sea. The two armies joined battle, and there was a severe combat for the space of fifteen Indian (or six English) hours. The people of both armies were fainting for thirst, when in the midst of the Pandian's troops a water-booth became visible, and the god within, in the shape of a Brahmin, caused Ganga in his crown of hair to pour forth her streams, which he received in his hands, and however numerous were the people that came for water they were all instantly supplied. Thus the Pandian's troops were enabled with renewed strength to carry on a vigorous combat, ending in the capture both of the Chera general and of the king's younger brother. Both of these the Pandian King carried before the god, and presenting them, asked what was to be done? The reply was, "You are just and merciful, do according to the dictates of your mind." On receiving this oracle, the king gave Cheran the escort of a few troops, and sent him back disgraced to Kanchi. To his own brother, he appropriated some portion of that brothers' former revenues; and afterwards ruled the kingdom, even as a mother governs her family.
XXXVI. THE PERFORMANCE OF ALCHEMY BY THE GOD.
In a town on the stream of the Vygai, called Puvana-nagar, the god, named Puvana-naicker, appeared with much splendour under a fortunate conjunction of all the planets. A female dancer in the presence of this god named Punanial, who was devoted to Siva, and had other distinguished qualifications, was very anxious that an image of the god should be made of gold, and thought much how to accomplish this wish. She meditated on Siva, who before had given an exhaustless purse to the Pandian; and one day the god appeared to her under the form of a religious ascetic. On making various inquiries he learned what her wishes were as to the image, and directed her to bring all the metal vessels which she possessed. On her doing so, he bid her at night melt them all in the fire, assuring her that gold would come forth. She desired him to attend and direct the process, but he excused himself, saying he was the Sittar of Madura; on which avowal the woman discovered that this was an amusement of Sundaresvarer. Following his instructions, gold came forth from the melting pots, with which an image was made, that was afterwards consecrated by the Brahmins, and thereby made the residence of the god. This god is of a form adapted to this fourth age of the world. The woman lived long, and at last attained superior happiness in another world.
XXXVII. ON THE CHERA KING MAKING WAR, BOTH HE AND THE PANDIAN FELL INTO THE LOTUS TANK, FROM WHICH THE PANDIAN WAS RESCUED.
After Raja-purantara-Pandian had obtained beatification, his son was named Rajesa Pandian, whose son was Raja-kembira Pandian; his son was Pandian vamasadeva Pandian; his son was Purantara sitten; and his son was Pandia vamasapathagen; concerning whom nothing particular is recorded. The son of the latter was Suntaresvara-patha sekara Pandian, who while reigning manifested great regard for the Saivas, established an army, built pagoda-towers and choultries and the jewels to the god. At this time the Chera king, who was styled "Commander of a thousand horse," knowing the feebleness of the Pandian's army, set out on an invasion. The Pandian was informed of the circumstance, and was afterwards promised victory by a celestial voice. The Pandian set out with his troops, which, though few, by favour of the god appeared as though they were a great multitude; and the god on horseback, in the guise of a hunter, advanced with the vel (a kind of spear) in his hand, and said to Cheran, " You are styled commander of a thousand horse, now I am commander of an immense multitude of cavalry; find me out some equal for combat." On this challenge being given Cheran fled; but the god having disappeared, he turned, and losing fear, again advanced on Madura. The Pandian in turn became afraid and fled, but as there were numerous tanks filled with the lotus flowers concealing the water, to the west of the fort, the Pandian and his troops fell into these; and Cheran and his troops in pursuit also fell into the tanks. From this awkward situation the Pandian and his people were delivered by the favour of Siva; and Cheran with his people perished. The Pandian then took the spoils of the vanquished' returned to his city in triumph; and prospered for a long time.
XXXVIII. THE GOD GAVE A STOCK OF PADDY TO A VELLALAN.
There was a Vellalan, named Nallan, whose wife was very devout, and often insisted much on the property and reasonableness of feeding the followers of the god. But both were in considerable straits and difficulties even for their own support. After suffering hunger for some days, the man said, 'We shall never have sufficient for our own livelihood and preservation, unless we feed the servants of the god." At his suggestion both himself and wife went to the temple, where, with affection, they performed the usual ceremonies; and among other things ventured to say, "It is better that we should be released from the burden of this body than remain thus." On which prayer being offered, a celestial voice was heard, saying, " I have placed in your cottage a heap of rice, which you will find to be inexhaustible. Take from it what is necessary to your own support, and give what you please to my servants." They accordingly returned home; and seeing the rice continued very bountifully to feed the Brahmins, the temple servants, and other needy people; using also as much as they required for themselves; thus they lived on the earth long and happily; and afterwards joined the pure beings in the world of Siva.
XXXIX. THE GOD, COMING AS THE MATERNAL UNCLE OF A MERCHANT, SETTLED A DISPUTE.
At Madura, in the oil-monger's street, there lived a merchant, named Dhanapathi, and his wife's name was Saeili. They were prosperous, but childless; and consequently he brought up the son of his younger sister as his own son. At length, considering that to be without a child would be injurious to him, both in this world and the next, he delivered over all his property to his foster child, and himself with his wife set out on a pilgrimage to Casi (or Benares). But his relations forcibly deprived the child of the property, and its mother taking it to the temple there implored the compassion of Suntaresvarer, as the common father of manking. While sleeping in the temple, the god appeared in a dream, and assured her that he would come and effect a restoration of the property, and directed her to appeal to the king. She accordingly went to the relatives, and told them to come before the council; but they mocked her, beat her , and turned her out of doors. She went about the streets saying, "Is there no justice, no king, no god." When one like Dhanapathi (the merchant) came, took the child up in his lap, and inquired where were the different jewels and ornaments usually worn by the children of the wealthy; to which the reply was that the relations had taken them away. On this the apparent merchant effected an appeal to the king's council, but the relatives denied that this could possibly be Dhanapathi. However, on their specifying the marks of a personal kind by which he might be identified it was found by the council that he was not an impostor. In consequence the relations became afraid of punishment; and by various pleas, excused themselves from further appearance. Hence the council formally decreed to restore all the property to the child; and when the decree was completed the merchant disappeared. They now, with astonishment, recognised the interposition of the god, and informed the king, who restored all the goods as decreed. Besides, he did many good actions, and gave presents to the temple. Suntaresvara patha sekara Pandian thus rules some time, and after causing his son, Varaguna Pandian to be crowned, he fell at the feet of the god and enjoyed that beneficiation which knows no change.
XL. THE CURE OF VARAGUNA PANDIAN, AND SHOWING HIM THE WORLD OF SIVA.
While Varaguna Pandian was ruling in Madura, just as Indran rules in the heavenly world, he one day went out to hunt lions, tiger, &c., and returning home triumphantly on horseback, rode over and killed a Brahmin, who was lying asleep in the road through fatigue after a long journey. The king came to his palace unconscious of what had occurred but on some Brahmins bringing the dead body to the gate of the palace, and stating how the circumstance had happened, the king was afraid, gave them money, and bid them to whatever was necessary as to funeral obsequies. On these being performed, they learned that the king was afflicted with the Brahmahakhti, an incurable disease; to cure which resort was had to feeding the Brahmins, bathing, giving grass to cows, and the like things, usually had recourse to, but without effect, for the disorder rather increased. Thus the glory of the king became obscured, even as when the serpent Rahu lays hold of the moon in an eclipse. The Brahmins consulted the Vedas as desired by the king, but said, "The Brahmahakhti is incurable, what can we do?" At length, recollecting that every step of progress towards a sight of the Madura god is equal in merit to an Aswamedha yagam, (or sacrifice of a horse) a sight of the god was determined on, at which time a celestial voice was heard, saying, "O king, fear not! when you are pursuing the Chera king you shall come to a place where I am worshipped, named Tiruvadamaruthur, on the river Cauveri; there you shall lose your disease." While the king was rejoicing in this assurance, he heard of an invasion from the Chera king and going out to meet him, the Cheran was worsted, and fled. The Pandian pursued him till he came to the place mentioned and then, while standing under the porch of the temple, discovered that the disease had left him. He entered, and on paying homage to the deity of the place, heard a celestial voice, saying, "O king the disease which seized you waits in the porch of the eatern gate, do not return by that way, but go out of a western gate, and return to Madura." The king rendered homage and by aid of his people made a western porch, with a tower; and bestowing many other presents, returned with his retinue to Madura.
While there, he felt a strong desire to see the world of Siva in consequence of the many things said about it in the Vedas. Hence he besought the god, saying, "Show me the world where you with your followers dwell." While he was praying the god graciously replied. "I will cause you to see it, even in this place" and accordingly he said to Nandi, glowing with myriads of rays of rays of Siva's world. "Show to Varaguna Pandian the world of Siva." The sacred bullock in consequence presented to the Pandian's view a sight of that world, whereby he saw the tanks of nectar, the lotus flowers like gold, the jewel-like forts, towers, walls and streets, the celestial bands and attendants, with Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, beatified immortals, and his own ancestors besides; which, Nandi showed and explained to him many things and among them the throne of the god and goddess; the effect of all which was to fill the king with joy; he rendered praises unutterable by any tongue and fell down in adoration. The god knowing of this homage gave many tokens of special favour, which the Pandian received, and enjoyed happiness. From this time forwards Madura became reputed to be "both this world, and the world of Siva."
XLI. THE GOD SOLD WOOD, AND OVERCAME THE MINSTREL, NAMED YEMANATHEN IN SONG.
While Varaguna-Pandian was reigning there came a minstrel from the north, who exhibited his art before the king, and received rewards. But becoming over-elated with success, the king sent for a bard, named Pattiren, and inquired of him whether he could venture to compete with the other so as to overcome him? The minstrel replied, "That he would use his best efforts and do what he could" hoping to overcome. A trial of skill was accordingly appointed. But Pattiren on going forth, and witnessing the effects of the other's music on all classes, quite desponded. He therefore went to the temple of Sundaresvarer, and made known the state of the case, with favourable acceptance. The god changed himself into the form of a very emaciated old man, and entered the town, in appearance a common cooly, with a lute or guitar slung on his shoulders and a bundle of fire-wood on his head, which latter he hawked about several streets, and then came and deposited it in the other verandah of Yemanathen's house. He then strung his lute, and tried a few verses, which drew the attention of all within hearing. The minstrel inside hastily inquired, "Who is that playing?" and was told it was a cooly who sold fire-wood. He came out to see and inquired, "Who are thou?" To which question the god replied, " I am a slave of Pattiren the bard, and among many who listen to his inimitable song - I am one, who have heard, and by practice repeat what I can." "So -" said the minstrel, "well, chant yet once again." On this the god strung his lyre, and with an air of the greatest indifference, as if doing a very common thing, drew forth such strains that all persons left off work and forgot what they were about; while even inanimate things seemed endued with life, and the trees bowed their tops as if conscious of the minstrelsy. On its close, the minstrel Yemanathen said, "These are not such strains as I am accustomed to employ; but altogether superhuman or divine." Then reflecting, "if a slave of Pattiren can do this, what must Pattiren himself be?" he took measures for a hasty departure, and, with as little encumbrance as possible, set out in the night, to avoid the proposed trial of skill. The god now appeared in a dream to Pattiren, and said, "Your adversary has been defeated by me in the guise of a cooly selling wood, and is gone away." The next morning the king sent peons to call Yemanathen, who not finding him, returned and reported his departure; in consequence the king sent for Pattiren, who told him what the god had revealed to him. The king forthwith had him placed on an elephant, making a triumphal entry into the town; and loaded him with honours, saying, "Sundaresvarer called himself your slave, then we are all your slaves; and except singing before the god you shall be required henceforth in no other way to display your art." Pattiren returned to his house, and lived happily along with his family.
XLII. THE GOD GAVE TO HIS VOTARY, PATTIREN, A MANDATE, ADDRESSED TO THE CHERA KING, REQUIRING MONEY.
According to the order of Varaguna-Pandian, the minstrel Pattiren ceased to play in the presence of the king, and only did so in the temple before the god. While so engaged, Pattiren received certain gold fanams, vestments, and valuables, by the knowledge of the god and himself alone. Such being the case, the god appeared to him one night in a dream and said, "The king's property is locked up in a chest, should these things be missed, they will come and inquire from me who has taken them? I will therefore give you my mandate to the Chera king, who is devoted to myself." Accordingly Pattiren received royal letters, drawn out in due from and manner, and set out; passing woods and mountains, till he reached the Malayalam country, and came to Tiruvanchi, the capital, where he reposed in a booth erected for the purpose of giving away water. The god appeared to the king in the night and said, 'I am the Madura deity; one, who like yourself is my votary, waits with my mandate; give him what money he wants, and send him away." The king awoke joyful, made the matter known to his ministers, and sent out messengers everywhere to inquire where was Pattiren, the bearer of the mandate; who was at length found in the water-booth. Thither the king came; received the letter, read it, and put it upon his head. The purpot was : "We, Sivan, send our servant to thee, who art also our servant. As thou delighted to pour forth wealth upon poets, give to this one what he wants and dismiss him." The next day the king went forth in royal procession; Pattiren being placed first, mounted on a spirited elephant, together with the Tirumukum (or letter), and the king, with all the accompaniments of royalty, following after. In this way an entry of the city was made; after which they went to the palace, and Pattiren was placed on the throne; when the king ordered the royal treasury to be opened, and said, "This wealth is not mine, but yours, take what you please." Pattiren thus received considerable wealth, including jewels; and returning home, diffused charitable donations among his relations, and among other bards. He thus lived without care, and continued to discharge his service to the god in the temple.
XLIII. THE GOD GAVE TO THE MINSTREL PATTIREN, A GOLDEN BOARD TO SIT UPON.
The minstrel Pattiren was regularly accustomed, subsequent to receiving the Tirumukum, to attend to his duty in the temple three times a day, and always stood immediately behind the stone image of the bullock, (which always is in front of Siva temples,) whence he chanted the praises of the deity. It occurred to the god, in the course of his sacred diversions, to prove to everyone the steady devotedness of Pattiren, notwithstanding every possible impediment. To this end he sent a thick and dark rain, in the midst of which lightings flashed, and thunders were heard; and the rain itself was as if the sea were taken up and poured down in torrents. Pattiren, undismayed, and considering this rain to be as when the gods sprinkle flowers on the earth, went through it at the regular time, and taking his station behind the bullock image, applied his vina, or lute, to his shoulder, tuned the strings, and chanted as usual; nor did he cease, though the strings became wet and relaxed by the rain, and though he suffered in his own person from the water beneath, and rain from above. At length the god, compassionating his votary, extended a golden board, richly jewelled, and a celestial voice was heard saying, 'Take this board, and chant from it." Pattiren received the command with reverence, and getting up on the board, stood on it, and continued his strains of sweet and modulated melody until the rain had departed and the stars appeared. He then retired to his dwellings carrying the board with him.
When the circumstance became known to Varaguna-Pandian, he went to the minstrel, and said, 'You are Sundaresvarer;" and tendering to him homage, gave him money, houses, and lands. While Pattiren was attending to his accustomed occupation, the Pandian for some time continued to enjoy every happiness; and then, by the favour of Siva, was taken from earth to his own presence.
XLIV. THE GOD, IN THE GUISE OF A MUSICIAN, DECIDED A CONTEST IN SINGING BETWEEN TWO FEMALE PERFORMERS, IN THE PRESENCE OF THE KING.
After Varaguna-Pandian was beatified, his son, Rajaraja-Pandian, reigned. His favourite wife was accomplished in singing; but she bore an inward pique against the wife of the minstrel Pattiren, owing to conscious inferiority. Contriving how she might disgrace the latter, she persuaded the king to send for foreign performers, of the class trained to music for temple-service. Among those who came (by sea) from the country called Ira, she selected one, whom she regarded with confidence as adapted to her object. Dismissing this one for a time with presents, she sent for Pattiren's wife, and said to her, somewhat tauntingly, "Will you venture to compete with the singer from Ira?" The other, with humility, replied, "I will do my best." On which the king's wife said, 'Well, go now, and come to-morrow." The next day, through her influence, the king and his council assembled, in order to judge of the performance. In their presence the Ira performer proposed to Pattiren's wife some ensnaring questions, which the other discerning, replied by a few satirical compliments; but declined any dispute by words. On the challenge by music being accepted, and agreement made that the vanquished was to become the slave of the victrix, they proceeded to the trial of skill. First the Ira performer sang and played, in a very agreeable manner; and Pattiren's wife followed, also affording great delight to the audience, and being of the two superior; but the king was under secret influence, and reflecting on the proverb. 'To say as the king says is the way of the world, he affected to find some difficulty in forming a precise judgment, though with a leaning favourable towards the foreigner; and required another trail of skill the following day. On the dismissal of the assembly, the musician's wife went to the temple, imploring the god to guard her against undue influence, and to give her the victory; which a celestial voice assured her should be the case. The next day the god himself came to the assembly, in the guise of a rustic travelling minstrel. The trial of skill again took place, wonderful on both sides, but the king, still having the proverb in his mind, and being disposed to give a decision contrary to his mind, and being disposed to give a decision contrary to his real judgment, came to a resolve to hazard the false judgment, trusting to the complacency of his courtiers to confirm it by the their suffrages. The god, who from the outset had marked the proud bearing of the foreigner, and the humble piety of his votary, now interposed, and as the sentence, "The foreigner's song is best," was rising to the king's lips, caused him to forget it, and made him say, 'This one has conquered," alluding to the musician's wife; a decision which the assembly forthwith and joyfully confirmed. The king, seeing the alacrity of the assembly, and the Ira performer delivered over as a slave, was for a moment perplexed, but speedily said, 'This is no other than one of the diversions of the god himself" ; and, on this ground, honours were tendered to the wife of the musician by a public procession through the town, all the poets and minstrels following in the train; after which she returned to her own abode.
While Rajaraja-Pandian ruled, he had a son born to him, who was named Suguna-Pandian,
XLV. THE GOD NOURISHED CERTAIN MOTHERLESS YOUNG PIGS, AND ENDOWED THEM PARTIALLY WITH THE HUMAN FORM.
On the south bank of the river Vaigai, at some distance from Madura, there was an ancient place called Guruvirunthathurai, where Indran, with other immortals, and Vihalabagavan, (Brihaspati) had done penance. The great Vishnu also performed penance there; and a temple arose to him under the name of Sittiratera-valluver. In that town there was a Vellalan, named Sucilan, and his wife was called Sucili. They had twelve children, who, neglecting their father's and mother's instructions, joined themselves with hunters, imitated their cruel practices, and ran about in the woods. One day they came to a retreat where a holy man was going through retired austerities, at whom they laughed, and taking up stones and sand threw these upon him. Being thus disturbed in his devotions, he said, 'You shall be born as young pigs, and afterwards be without a mother." The urchins, trembling and afraid fell at his feet and implored mercy; by reason of which his anger was appeased, and he said, " The Mathurai-naicker shall come and nourish you, make you ministers of state, and afterwards give you beatitude." Thus it happened for the boys died in the woods, and their spirits entered into twelve young pigs while yet unborn. After their birth, it happened that the king of Madura went out on a large hunting party with a great retinue, and came to this forest. A fierce encounter followed; which, as a result, left the young pigs without father or mother; while the king's minister was also slain. The bodies of the two pigs in time became a hillock, where many rishis performed penance. Several disciples of the sage Agastyar asked him how this occrred? when, in reply, he stated the foregoing circumstances; and added, "that as the young animals were wandering about without food, and in danger of perishing, the god, who is the common mother of all living souls, took compassion on them, went out to the forest, and taking up the young animals, gave them milk in the form of a mother; by which they obtained strength and grew, endued with great wisdom and learning, having the human form only with the exception of pig's faces." The goddess, wondering at such an appearance, asked the god, 'Did you nourish these beings?" To which the god replied, "How was it possible that I could refuse compassion; is there anyone who can save such as have committed great sins except myself? Here I nourished them with milk, and endued them with learning and wisdom as you see." The goddess made no observation, but was much astonished.
XLVI. THE GOD MADE THE TWELVE PIGS MINISTERS OF STATE TO THE PANDIAN KING.
In consequence of the god having nourished the young pigs they grew up, while remaining at the before-mentioned hillock, endued with a splendour of learning like the brilliancy of the sun when it rises. The god now appeared in a dream to the Pandian king, and said, 'Near to the pig-mount there are twelve rare animals, take them and make them ministers of state." The king, being joyful, announced this intelligence to his ministers, and by their means called the ministers elect to his presence. When they were come, the king preferred them over the heads of the former ministers; and the new employees, by their great skill and sagacity, procured the king ample revenues, and made the kingdom illustrious; while they were also liberal in gifts and deeds of charity. After thus flourishing a while they were called to the presence of Siva, and made partakers of his happiness.
XLVII. THE GOD GAVE INSTRUCTION TO THE LITTLE BLACK BIRD
(OR KING CROW)
While Suguna Pandian, the son of Rajaraja Pandian, was reigning, it happened that a certain person, who in a former birth had been very virtuous, on account of some small sin was born in the shape of the bird named caran-curuvi. In consequence of its attacking crows and other birds it had suffered severe wounds, and was seated on the branch of a flower-bearing tree in a forlorn state. A certain pilgrim Brahmin, holy internally and externally, journeying with an umbrella in his hand towards a sacred bathing place, came and stood under the shade of this tree, when some persons who were near asked, "Which of all sacred places is the most sacred?" To which he replied, "It is difficult to find a place where the temple, the tank, and the deity, are equally illustrious; but this union of virtue is found at Madura, which is named 'This world, and Siva's world." Hence, if any one worships there, the god will give whatever benefit is desired; and there is no place more sacred." The bird heard this statement, and believing it, proceeded with all speed to Madura; where it continued for three days to bathe in the golden lotus tank, to worship the goddess Minatchi, and to render homage of the mind to Siva's image. The goddess inquired into the case of this novel worshipper, which the god explained; and then taught the bird the mantram (or charm) by which he had conquered Yama.* (* The allusion is said to be to the case of Marcandeya, who is Siranjivi (or immortal). When Yama came to tie his life with a cord, and drag it away, the young Brahmin cleaved to the image of Siva, and Yama drew both along; at which the god, being indignant, burst from the lingam, kicked Yama with his feet, overcame him by the words in question, and gave to Marcandeya sixteen lives, pronouncing that these sixteen lives should amount to immorality.) The bird now, letting go its "little sense", acquired knowledge, and also power, by repaeting the trilateral charm, so that it conquered all birds, not even excepting Garudan (the vehicle of Vishnu) itself; hence it acquired its name of Valiyan (or strong one). The bird again be sought the god to give the like power to all of its species; which request was granted. Hence the song these birds now repeat is the charm which was taught them by the god. After some time the instructed bird was received into Kailasa (the paradise of Siva). Thus they who worship Siva are never unfortunate, like those who do not; a truth made manifest by the experience of the caran-curuvi.
XLVIII. THE GOD GAVE PARADISE TO THE HERON, AND ORDAINED THAT THE LOTUS TANK SHOULD PRODUCE NO LIVING CREATURE.
There was a heron accustomed to live on the fish of some large lotus-filled tanks, near the south bank of the river Vaigai; but from want of rain the tanks became dry, and the bird flew to another place, where was a tank named Achcho, in which rishis were accustomed to bathe. While they were bathing small fishes fell down from their hair, and this circumstances indicating great abundance, the heron was at first inclined to feast on them; but on further thought, it reflected. "This is a holy place, it will be sinful to feed on these fishes." When the rishis had ended their bathing and worship, the heron heard them read from books to their disciples of the fame and excellence of Madura, and in consequence it resolved ongoing thither. Having arrived, the heron continued for one patsham (or fifteen days) to bathe in the tank; at the end of which a fish of its own accord leaped out on the bank, and strong instinct urged the heron to devour its prey; but it recollected that the place was holy, and considered that severe punishment would follow it therefore abstained; and Siva now visibly appeared, asking what gift it desired? The heron said, "Let me lay aside this body, and be received into your paradise." The god asked, "Is there anything else?"when the heron said, "In order that all my species may be kept from danger, let there be no fishes, frogs or anything that lives in water, produced in this tank." This request also was granted; and hence to this day the Pottamarai produces no living thing.
XLIX. THE GOD SHOWED THE BOUNDARIES OF THE TOWN AFTER THE PLACE HAD BEEN DESTROYED BY A FLOOD.
The son of Suguna Pandian was Sitteraviruthen, his son was Sitterapushanen, his son was Sitteradavasen, his son was Sitteravarunen, his son was Sitterasenen, his son was Sittera vieramen, his son was Rajamarthanden, his son was Raja sudamani, his son was Raja sarrtulen, his son was Raja kulotthamen, his son was Ayodhana piravinen, his son was Rajakunjaren, his son was Pararajakunjaren, his son was Pararaja bayangaren, his son was Ukrashenen, his son was Satthurujeyen, his son was Virabaskaren, his son was Piratabamartanden, his son wasVicrama kanjugen, his son was Somar kollakalem, his son was Athulavicramen, his son was Athulakirrthi. Thus, in regular descent from father to son there were twenty-two kings who succeeded each other. While Athulakirrthi Pandian was reigning, he caused his son, Kirrthipushana Pandian, to be crowned; and he himself went to the world of Siva. While Kirrthipushanen was reigning the flood came; when the seven seas, bursting their bounds, rushed foaming together, so as to destroy all things; the following only being excepted, that is to say - the shrine of Indran! the shrine of the goddess; the golden lotus tank; the bullock mountain, formed by the tiruvilliadel of the god; the elephant mountain; the snake mountain, the cow mountain; and the pig mountain. Afterwards, by the favour of Siva, the waters disappeared and Brahma caused all beings and things as before to reappear; when also the Sora, Sera adn Pandian kings were restored.
Vamashasegara Pandian, of the race of the Moon, was swaying the sceptre in some villages not far from the situation of the god, when as the number of mankind increased, the king besought the god to show the boundaries of a town which might receive these as inhabitants. In consequence the god came forth from the ancient lingam, in the form of a religious ascetic, with his usual ornaments and with serpents for jewels, and stood before the Pandian. To the serpent bound round the wrist of his front hand he said, "Show to the Pandian the boundaries of his town." The serpent, worshipping the god, said, "Let this town bear my name." Which request being granted, it fixed its head at the east, and evolving its tail, brought it round to its mouth; thus showing to the king the boundaries; and then again returned to the wrist of the god. The king now built a town, having four principal gates or entrances. And to the town was given the name of Alavayi, (or venom mouth). The king built a temple with all usual accompaniments, as also the king's streets and streets for the people; and ruled like Kulasegara Pandian, who first cleared the forest of Cadambu trees.
L. THE GOD CONQUERED THE SOREN KING, WHO CAME TO MAKE WAR AGAINST THE PANDIAN, WHICH WAS DONE BY ARROWS HAVING THE NAME OF SUNDARESVAREN WRITTEN ON THEM.
While Vamashasegara Pandian was reigning, the very warlike king of the rival country, who was named Vicrama Soren, desirous of invading the Pandian kingdom, colledted not only his own forces, but also the auxiliaries of three northern kings, named, Aswapathi (ruler of horses), Gejwapathi (ruler of elephants), and narapathi (ruler of men) and hostilely entered the Pandian country. When the Pandian heard of his having commenced hostilities, and committed various acts of violence, he went to the presence of the god, and said, "Vicrama Soren is come to assault me with great power "I have no forces at all equal to cope with him; what shall I do?" While thus supplicating, the god replied, by an unimbodied aerial voice, saying, "Go fight, I will give you the victory." The Pandian being encouraged and glad, collected his troops, and issuing out of the boundary wall of Tirualavayi (Madura), met the forces of the opponent, where they had been ravaging the country, and engaging them, maintained a warm combat. When many men on both sides had fallen, the god, in the guise of a hunter, and with the appearance of a general on horseback, approached to the Soren ranks, and discharged arrows from a bow; each arrow taking effect, overthrew and destroyed, a crore of chariots, a crore of elephants, a crore of horses, a crore of infantry. The Soren learning this circumstance, and doubting its import, ordered one of the arrows to be brought; on inspecting which, and seeing the name of Sundaresvaren written on it, he observed. "Since the god fights on the side of the Pandian, victory to us will be impossible;" and thereupon began a retreat. But the other northern kings arrested and restrained his flight; and exposing themselves to the arrows of the god, they, together with all their troops, fell, and the bodies became a prey to the budas, the evil spirits, vultures, dogs, and jackals; and the Soren only escaped. The hunter-god gently smiled on the Pandian, and then disappeared. The king returned in triumph, seated on an elephant, and going to the temple, there presented a bow and arrows studded with the nine * [* These are, Komethagam (cat's-eye); Nilam (sapphire); Pavalam (coral); Pushparagam (topaz); Maragatham (emerald); Manikam (ruby); Mutthu (pearl); Vaiduriyam (crystal); Vairam (diamond)] jewels; and afterwards prosperously ruled over the kingdom.
LI. THE GOD GAVE A BENCH TO THE COLLEGE OF POETS; AND MINGLING WITH THEM CONTRIBUTED TO THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE TAMIL LANGUAGE.
While Vamashasegara Pandian was ruling, the god Brahma, who in Casi had previously made ten aswamedha sacrifices, was intending to bathe in the Ganges, with Gayatri, Savittri and Saraswathi (his consort); but Saraswathi being occupied in attending to the strains of a Gandharva, (celestial musician), delayed her coming, and Brahma bathed without her; which creating a pique in the mind of Saraswathi, she reproached her husband; who recriminated, and pronounced his fiat that she should undergo on earth many human births. Saraswathi, alarmed, said, "I am the support of your life, and shall I thus be extinguished?" Brahma, somewhat softened, said, "The fifty-one letters which compose your body shall at once become forty-eight learned poets; and as for the three remaining differing and principal letters, Sundaresvarer shall be born together with you, and shall be your aid. In consequence the forty-eight letters were born from different persons in various places at the same time; and, as they grew up, they learned many books; studied the eighteen languages, and stringing beads of poesy, as votaries of Siva, they wandered in many countries, and overcame all the bards they met with; till at length the whole forty-eight persons met together on the banks of the Tambirabarani river (at Tinnrvelly) and felt a common desire to go and display their art before the Pandian; while on the road to Madura, they were met by Sundareswarer, in the appearance of a poet, who asked them, "Who, and whence are you?" They replied, "We are poets, who are subjects of a strong desire to go to Alavayi and see the god there. You appear to us as if you were Sundaresvarer; take us with you, and reveal yourself to us." He replied "Very good;" and, taking them with him, showed them the shrines of Sundaresvarer and Minatchi; and then disappeared. The poets now discovered that the god had really been their conductor; and wondering, rendered him praises. The Pandian heard of them; and, reflecting within himself that these appeared to be poets of no ordinary class, he determined on building a choultry expressly for their accommodation; which was done in the enclosure of the temple, on the north-west quarter. Many envious poets, of inferior powers, came to dispute with the forty-eight, seating themselves on the same level; at which the forty-eight, being annoyed, went into the temple and besought the god, that as formerly he had given a bench without being asked to a sorry minstrel, so that on being thus asked he would give them, who were poets, a bench to be elevated above the ground, on which none but themselves might be seated; or such only be elevated to a seat on the poetical bench as were their own equals in learning. The god himself appeared as a poet, and gave them a silver bench, resembling the appearance of the moon, and just one cubit long extending its length, so as to accommodate only such as were entitled to his honour), and said, "This will be sufficient to accommodate you all; and should one of you be wanting, it will diminish in proportion." The poets took the bench and offering incense, fixed it in its place; which they discovered with great joy, and then continued their learned labours. Afterwards, when other poets had come, and had been put to shame, the forty-eight began to dispute among themselves, in consequence of which discussion, the god came as a poet, and ascending the bench, which afforded him a place, he set their jarring sentiments in order, and explained the different meanings of their verses so as to re-produce concord and thus, while the god formed the forty-ninth, and they were all for a long time harmonious, it came to pass that Vameshasegara Pandian crowned his son Vamesha sudamani; and delivering the kingdom over to him, the father approached the feet of the god, (that is, he died).
LII. THE GOD GAVE TO TERAMI A PURSE OF GOLD.
While one named Terami was occupied in his usual office of preparing flowers, and putting them on the image of the god, it so happened that the king, Sudamani, went one day to one of his flower gardens, and a particular thought occurred to him while there, respecting which he resolved on a poetical contest; and hence he tied a sum of gold in a packet, and hung it suspended to the bench of the poets, saying, "Whichsoever of you shall succeed by a chant in telling me the thought that is in my mind, he shall be rewarded with this packet of gold." They all attempted, but failed. Terami hearing of this circumstance, paid homage to the god, and said, "I have long been performing this duty of preparing and robbing you with flowers, without establishing myself in life; I am poor, and cannot afford to pay the expense of marriage to enable me to win this purse of gold." The god condescended to his request, and put a chant into his hands, which he carried to the collegiate bench; when the poets all said, "We find no fault with the versification; if it suit the thought in the king's mind, and if he approve, you can then take the reward." The king admitted that the chant contained his thought, and ordered the reward to be given. While Terami was just about cutting the string, Narkiren, from Kailastri, said, "Hold! there is a fault in this chant, take it back." Terami, saddened at the disappointment, went to the shrine of the god, and said, "I am ignorant myself of versification, but they say you have given me a defective chant." The god, being moved, came forth, clothed with all the habiliments of a poet, and coming up to the bench, inquired who found fault with his stanzas? Narkiren replied, 'I do" 'What fault?" "It is not in the versification but in the subject." On this objection being proffered, a discussion arose; and on Narkiren manifesting obstinacy, the god opened a little the eye on his forehead, perceptible only to Narkiran; who being infatuated, said, "If even Indran were to open his thousand eyes, I would not yield", where on the god entirely opened his fiery eye, (which burns what it fixes on); and Narkiran, perceiving the commencement of combustion, ran away as fast as possible and plunged himself in the golden lotus tank, which removes all kind of sin, and there remained to cool at leisure.
LIII. THE GOD RESCUED NARIKIRAN FROM THE TANK.
While Narkiran was thus remaining in the tank, his associates were much afflicted and went in a body to the presence of the god, whom they implored to have mercy on the presumptuous critic. Moved by their supplications, the god, together with the goddess, was pleased to appear on the edge of the tank; and beholding Narikiran with a favourable eye, his body again became cool, and he came out of the tank, confessing his fault in having intimated a blasphemy against the goddess dwelling in the Siva temple at Kailastri, (there named Nayana Pungothai) and chanted a strain, to the effect, that the goddess of Kailastri and the goddess of Kailasa were one and the same; he added another chant of seven harmonies, and was dismissed, being fully pardoned. The packet of gold was given to Termi, and other gifts were added by the king, named Sembagamara Pandian, who continued a prosperous reign.
LIV. THE GOD BY MEANS OF AGASTYAR TAUGHT NARKIRAN PURITY OF GRAMMAR.
Narkiran, reflecting that his cure was obtained in the lotus tank, bathed in it afterwards three times every day, paying each time his homage to the god. The goddess one day suggested to her lord, that as this was a great devotee, it would be expedient to teach him the rules of elegant composition, of which he was yet ignorant; and that this might be done by means of the father of the Tamil language, the sage Agastyar, (whom the god at a former period had desired not to come from the southern mountain, called Potheiya, to Kailasa, in the north, because by doing so the inclination of the earth's surface would be altered and its balance destroyed; but to remain in the south, whither the god would come to be married in which place Agastyar might safely be present). The god consented to the suggestion of Minatchi; and calling Agastyar, bid him instruct Narkiran. In consequence of this instruction, Narkiran became very skilful; corrected his own rough spontaneous effusions, and those of others, making them elegant compositions; and taught his fellow-poets the like rules; by which means the Tamil language became well modelled. It occurred to the goddess afterwards to ask her lord, why he chose to instruct Narkiran by means of Agastyar, and not immediately himself, seeing he knew all the rules of grammar so well? The god replied, "That as there would have been an incongruity in his teaching a person who had once so grievously, though ignorantly, offended, he had preferred effecting the result through the medium of Agastyar." The goddess on receiving this information was satisfied.
LV. WHEN THE BENCH OF LEARNED BRAHMINS WERE DISAGREED CONCERNING THE MERITS OF DIFFERENT BOOKS, THE GOD, BY MEANS OF A DUMB CHILD, SETTLED THE DIFFERENCE.
The forty-eight members of the college of Brahmins had each one composed a book, and each one vaunting the merits of his own composition, a dispute arose among them as to superiority. To settle this dispute, they went to the presence of the god and implored his intervention. He replied, "There is the son of a very rich merchant, of handsome form, yet dumb; he shall settle your differences." The learned men again submitted to the god, how one who was dumb could possibly effect what was required. The god replied, "That when a chant was perfect, the hairs on the dumb man's head and arms should stand erect; and when a chant had merit, he should merely move his head with an expression of approval. The dumb person was accordingly taken to the college, where the authors severally recited their compostitions. In some, the language was good; and in others, the subject was good; and to these the dumb man assented by nodding his head. But the composition of Kavilen, Paranen, and Narkiran, were indicated to be perfect, both in language and in matter. Thus the doubts and difficulties of the college were adjusted; and the members went on harmoniously together.
LVI. THE PANDIAN HAVING TREATED IDEI-KADEN WITH NEGLECT, THE GOD WAS PLEASED TO REMOVE AND DWELL AT AVADA-MATHURAI.
After Sembagamara Pandian, who was a great devotee of Siva, had departed to dwell in his presence, there followed a succsssion of fifteen kings, down to Kulesan, who was so learned, that a place was accorded to him on the college bench of Brahmins; and poetical composition continued to be held in great esteem. One named Ideikaden, knowing these circumstances, composed some works greatly celebrating the king, which he recited before him. But the king took little notice, and gave no sign of approbation, and no reward. Stung with this neglect, the poet went to the presence of the god, and there be sought him to avenge the injury. The god favourably heard the request, and by an illusory act of will caused the image of himself and the goddess to disappear, and he removed, together with the college and Ideikaden, to Vada Mathurai, on the south bank of the Vaigai river. The next morning when the guardians of the temple went to open the doors of the shrines to their dismay, they found no images there; which circumstance they went and reported to the king, together with their fears about the future prosperity of the place. The king, greatly disconcerted, came down from his throne cast himself in the dust, and made piteous lamentation; when messengers came to announce to him that the god and goddess had been pleased to appear at Vada Mathurai, a circumstance never before known. The king on receiving this intelligence set out, without state, not even walking, but passing over the intervening distance by rolling over his body on the ground. When he arrived, he repeated his lamentations, eagerly inquired, if theft, the craft of trees or birds, the fault of learned men, or his own transgression of the law of Manu, had occasioned this heavy visitation? A celestial voice was heard, stating, that not for any such cause; but that partly as this was a place where the god's friend, Kuberan, (the god of riches), had performed worship, and partly because of the insult rendered to Ideikaden, the god had been pleased to descend and remain at this place for a time. The king, being now instructed, greatly honoured Ideikaden, by the gift of a young elephant, (a peculiar honour to poets), and by the donation of very fertile lands; Ideikaden, being satisfied, chanted the king's praises; and the former order of things being restored, the king received many gifts from the god, together with a son, named Arrimartana Pandian, whom he caused to be crowned; and delivering to him the kingdom, Kulesan himself received an unfading immortality.
LVII. THE GOD CAME WITH A NET AS A FISHERRMAN, AND REMOVED THE SENTENCE DENOUNCED ON PARVATI.
While Suntaresvaran was instructing the goddess in the meaning of the Vedas, she paid little attention, at which he, being angry, denounced on her as a punishment, that she should be born of the fishermen's tribe. The goddess humbling herself, and asking a mitigation of punishment, the god promised himself to come and take her for his wife. She was found at the foot of a Pinna tree, (Calophyllum Inophyllum) in the shape of a young infant, by the head of the tribe of Parawas, (or fishermen), who having been long childless, took the child to his wife; and both were attached to it, and reared it with care. Afterwards, when the child was grown up, the head of the tribe promised her in marriage to anyone who should catch a very troublesome fish, which broke the people's boats and destroyed the fishermen.
This fish was Nandi, the god's vehicle. When the god had denounced punishmetn against the goddess, the two children, Subramaniyan and Vinayagan, (Ganesa) said, "It is because of our father's books that this has happened; hence Subramaniyan snatched the book from his father's hand, and Vinayagan took up those on the floor, and both together cast the books into the sea. The god, angry at Nandi, the porter, for admitting the children, sentenced him to become a shark in the ocean; and condemned Vinayagan to the penalty of dumbness; but denounces nothing against Subramaniyan, because of the gift he had previously received, that is, that the curse pronounced against him should always recoil on the pronouncer.
In consequence of the reward offered from the head of the fishermen's tribe, the god came in the guise of a fisherman, saying the he came from Madura. On the first throw of the net the shark was caught and brought to land; and the head of the tribe publicly, before the people assembled, gave his daughter to the fisherman in marriage. The god now reassumed his form, and received the homage of the head man, saying, " I took pity on you, since you had been so long childless, and now, after remaining a certain time on earth, you shall be received into my paradise." The goddess proved able to understand the sense of the Vedas; and the god besides instructed sixty thousand disciples. Afterwards the god and goddess, mounted on the bullock Nandi, (restored to its own shape), were graciously pleased to return and dwell at Madura.
LVIII. THE GOD GAVE INSTRUCTION TO A PERSON BELONGING TO VATHAVUR.
At Vathavur, atown on the banks of the Vaigai, a Brahmin had a son who displayed marks of superior talent; and Arrimartana, the king of Madura, hearing of him, sent for him; pleased him in the list of his ministers and at length at the head of them. In this capacity he conducted the affairs of the kingdom with great ability. But his own mind was alienated from worldly things; he considered them to be vain, and the love of them to be like the unhallowed attachment of an adulterous woman. It happened one day, while he was in the presence of the king, that the officers of the king's cavalry came and represented the great existing need of a remount, as there was no cavalry effective in case of need. The king directed his chief minister to take from the treasury what money was needful, and go to Perunturi, a sea-port, where horses were brought in ships for sale. The minister accordingly took the money; had it placed upon camels; and, on setting out, first went to pay homage in the temple. When there, he be sought the god to show him the means whereby he might appropriate this money to the use and splendour of his temple and servants; and after he had so prayed, one like a Pandaram came and put the sacred ashes on his forehead, at which distinction he felt joyful, and proceeded with the usual accompaniments of his rank as the king's chief minister. As he was going along he meditated on the importance of obtaining some competent guru, (or spiritual preceptor). The god had anticipated his desire by transforming himself into the appearance of a Brahmin, seated at the foot of a Kurinthai tree, surrounded by disciples; to whom he was occupied in explaining the Vedas, Puranas, and other books. The minister on seeing him considered his wish to be accomplished; and after bathing, visiting the temple, and paying homage to its god, he went and sat down near the Brahmin, who placed one foot on the head of the minister, and gave him instruction. The minister uttered some verses in praise of the preceptor, so perfect in their kind, that he received the epithet of Manickavasagar, (or jewel of a composer). The minister was so delighted that he pointed out to the Brahmin the dilapidated state of the temple, and proposed to extend the money which he had brought in repairing and decorating it. The guru said, "Do according to your own mind;" and then disappeared, together with all his attendants. The minister was disconsolate, and with great lamentations threatened to destroy himself. In the end, he occupied himself in building and expended all the money on the temple. He them bid his followers return to Madura, and tell the king, that horses could not now be obtained; but that ships would arrive, and horses would be brought in the month of August. The people returned privately, but said nothing to the king, though fear. A letter came from the king to the minister, who was still at Perunturi, inquiring about the horses, at which the minister was greatly alarmed; when a celestial voice was heard, consoling him, praising him for his piety, and assuring him that horses should be brought. He wrote to the king to this latter purport, and in the night the god appeared in a dream and bid him return to Madura without anxiety, for that horses should be brought thither. The minister accordingly returned; and when in the presence of the king, assured him that horses would come on the morrow; on which assurance being given, the king graciously dismissed him. When at home, he was surrounded by his friends and relatives, with many expostulations on his conduct; but he simply replied, "It is nothing to me, I am become the servant of Siva; let them kill me with the sword, burn me in the fire, or do what they please it matters not; I shall endure the trial with fortitude."
LIX. THE GOD TURNED JACKELS INTO HORSES ON BEHALF OF MANICKAVASAGAR, WHO HAD BEEN INSTRUCTED BYTHE GURUMURTHI.
On the morrow, the king sent for the minister to inquire about the horses; when he assured the king that they would come within three days; but being numerous, it would be needful to mark out lines for them, to dig wells for supplying them with water, and to ornament the town. The king gave instructions to this effect; but on the third day, no horses appearing, he sent peons directing them to seize the rogue Vathavuran, punish him, and put him in prison. When they came, the minister placed himself in the attitude of a worshipper; that is prostrate on the ground, with his arms extended, and hands joined above his head; and , meditating on Siva, he bore the torture inflicted, which the peons increased in consequence of his patience. The next put him all night in an offensive prison to him like a flower garden. The next morning he listened to the instruments used in conducting the temple worship; and, addressing the god, called on him to witness and relieve the sufferings of his votary. The god, moved by his supplication, ordered Nandi, and others of his attendants, to go and turn jackals of the forest into horses, and bring them to the Pandian. The order was obeyed in time to save the minister from capital punishment. An amazing concourse of horses appeared, and the god himself came at the head of the other riders. When the king asked the grooms, "Who was the chief of them?" they pointed to the god; and the king, forgetting himself, made him a respectful salutation; at which, a moment after, he felt ashamed. The chief then proceeded to explain the qualities of horses; among which were, that they would leap the town walls, pass through windows, and if kept * (*This is stated to be a popular notion concerning the jackal). in any one's house would ensure prosperity. Their different kinds were stated, with the uses to which they severally were most applicable. While the description was being given, the horses raised a dust which ascended through the atmosphere to Swargalogam. The chief proceeded to state the different countries whence the different kinds of animals came, and the import and advantages of different colours among them, winding up the whole detail, as it had been begun, by stating, that these were purchased with the king's money, through the agency of his excellent minister Vathavuran. The chief then delivered one horse into the king's own hand; and had all the rest given up, excepting only the one on which he himself was seated, being Nandi in disguise; he then made his respects to the king, and, with all his subordinates, disappeared. The king commanded his minister to be released and honoured. The god returned to the Madura temple, and related his diversion to the goddess, who was much astonished.
LX. THE GOD TURNED THE HORSES INTO JACKALS, AND BEING DISPLEASED AT THE SUBSEQUENT TREATMENT OF MANICKAVASAGAN, MADE THE RIVER VAIGAI OVERFLOW.
The minister, on being released, came to his dwelling, attended by musical instruments and the like accompaniments, and there was waited upon by all classes. When these were gone, he retired to a private place, and addressing the god, said, "It is true that horses have been brought to the satisfaction of the Pandian; but that I may have no more trouble of this sort, change my mortal form." The day was now departed and the moon and stars appeared; when the god, by an exertion of his power, again changed the horses, who were tied in rows, into their own form of jackals. These now said one to another, "We, who delight in the sound of funeral instruments and wailings of mourners, have been all day made to bear burdens, and have been flogged with whips; we find not here the crabs nor shell-fish on which we are want to feast, nut gram and grass which we desire not; it is better to break our cords, and retire to our native woods, where we shall have none of these annoyances. They accordingly broke their fastenings, and proceeding to prey on the entrails of some dead horses of the old stud, they raised a great cry, which brought the keepers; on whose approach, some of the jackals clambered over the walls, some passed through the windows, and some out through the drains; while a few, being old and infirm, remained trembling at the approach of the keepers. There was now a barking of dogs, and cry of awakened birds the whole town became disturbed, and everywhere jackals were visible; which, by the morning, had escaped to the forest. The day following, the head keeper of the lines went to the king and reported what had occurred. The Pandian sent for the minister, and being very angry with him, ordered him to bring back the money which he had received; and delivered him over to peons till he should do so. The peons carried him into the open field, exposed him to the sun, and placed a stone on his head and a heavy one in each hand to keep him down,* (* This is said to be a customary mode in village of obtaining money from a refractory debtor) until he should restore the money. The god, being displeased at the treatment of his votary, threw a glance on the river Vaigai, which, understanding the signal given, came rushing down with great force and rising over its tanks, entered the streets and houses of the town. The people being alarmed collected their children and valuables, and debated what they should do; while the water rose, first to the waist and afterwards as high as the shoulders; they then ascended upper houses, and the water rose as high; when they uttered piteous lamentations, saying, "Is this for the injustice of the king? or is it a sacred amusement of the god? we know not. A thousand Kundotheras could not swallow up this inundation. What shall we do? In the meanwhile the peons who were torturing Manikkavasager, finding that their wives and children were in danger of being drowned, left him, and went to their rescue. He, being released, proceeded to the temple; and being unmoved, continued his meditation of the god, without sustaining any harm.
LXI. THE GOD CAME TO CARRY MUD AS A COOLY, AND THE SACRED BODY WAS STRUCK WITH A CANE.
The king hearing of the distress caused by the inundation, sent for his ministers, and commanded them to use means in order to stay the water of the river. This command the ministers received with reverence, and set about its fulfilment, by assembling all the householders and people of the town, and appointing to each person so much of the bank of the river to be raised into a dike. There was one poor old woman, named Vanthi, without relatives or family, who lived by making a sort of flour cakes, and by offering ghee to the god, which she afterwards sold. Being infirm and unable to labour, and having no means of obtaining help, she appealed to the god in her extremity, and be sought His assistance. Shortly after, a cooly, clothed in a very dirty garment, with the appearance of being half famished, came, inquiring if anyone was willing to employ him; at which the old woman was glad, and engaged to pay him for his work by her flour cakes. He entreated here forthwith to give him some of the imperfectly prepared material; and eating this, received some more cakes properly prepared, which he tied up in his girdle, and then went to work. But instead of doing the appointed portion, he roved about, and did a little work here and there for other people, receiving cakes from them, and then slept for a time under a tree. After receiving more cakes, he again went to work, but did little, and hindered others by his practical jokes; among which, one was the falling with his burden of mud into the river and scambling out again, after the spectators had thought him in danger of being drowned. His behaviour at length, attracted the notice of the ministers who were superintending the work; and inquiring into his indolence, they found that while the water of the river was overcome, it continued to pour in only at his appointed portion. His appearance being very beautiful, and like that of a king's son rather than a cooly, the ministers reported the case to the king, adding, that from his appearance they were afraid to flog him, as they would do others. The king himself went out to inspect the work; and coming to the idle cooly, demanded who he was? but received no answer. Offended at this deportment, the king raised a rattan, or cane, which he held in his hand, and struck him with it over the shoulder; on which the apparent cooly deposited the load of mud on his head, basket and all, and disappeared; while by means of this single basket full of earth the dike became completed at once. The blow which was struck was felt by all the inmates of the king's palace, both human beings and animals, not only so, but it was felt by all the sun, the moon, the planets, and stars; even Brahma in the paradise was disturbed, and Vishnu was awakened from his slumbers. The king stood astonished, and now the god, seated on his bullock vehicle, appeared in the air, while a celestial voice was heard, to this purport. 'That the king had done wrong in ill-using Manikkavasagar, who had employed the money he had received for the service of the god, of whom he was a distinguished follower, that the king should call Manikkavasagar, ask his pardon, and dismiss him satisfied." All this the king promised to do, and performed. Manikkavasagar gave the king his forgiveness and announced his intetntion of going to reside at Chidambaram. The king evinced a desire of accompanying him, which the minister imperatively forbad. The latter then retired to the forest of Tili trees near Chidambaram and remained there performing austere devotion; arriving also at the full knowledge of the worldly and spiritual systems. He also overcame in argument the Baudhas, who dwelt there in considerable numbers. At length his life was merged in the celestial splendour.
XLII. SAMBANTAR, CURED KUN PANDIAN OF HIS FEVER.
From Jaganatha Pandian, down to Kun Pandian, there were nine other kings. Kun Pandian, being warlike and powerful, went and conquered both the Sora and Soren kings, and took possession of their countries. But they humbling themselves, redeemed their countries; the first, by large numbers of elephants, horses and other gifts; and the latter, by giving his daughter, named Mangayarkarasi, to the Pandian in marriage. One of the Soren king's subjects, named Kulachirai, gave large gifts to the Pandian in lieu of the usual marriage portion; and the king, being pleased with his conduct, took him to be his minister.
It so happened that, as the king was deformed, he was persuaded to embrace the Jaina faith; and the Brahmins were in consequence distressed; their religion was depreciated; and the bare head, rolled up mat, drinking vessel suspended from the wrist by a cord, peacock-fans, and other emblems of the Jainas, their disgusting poverty, and the more disgusting recitations of their books, were everywhere perceptible. Notwithstanding, the queen and minister secretly preserved the Saiva faith; and not daring to put the Vibuthi (or ashes), on their forehead, they put it on the crown of their heads. They also went by stealth to worship in the Saiva temple; when there one day, a Pandaram, of the Saiva sect, approached and saluted them; who, in reply to inquiries, said he came from Chidambaram, and that a prodigy had recently appeared there in the person of the son of a Brahmin, who, when only three years of age, had displayed extraordinary precocity, and had since confounded persons of maturer years; adding, that he had spoken about coming to Madura. On receiving this intelligence, the queen and the minister wrote on a palm leaf a short epistle, inviting the Brahmin to come, and sent it by the Pandaram. When the young man was about to set forward, his elders and friends came round him to represent the great danger of one so young going among a hostile sect, adding also, that it was a bad time. He replied, that he cared not about good or bad times or days, the Supreme Being protecting him; and setting out on his journey, when he came near to Madura, he blew the trumpet usually indicating conquest. Some of the Jaina sect encountering him, asked, scornfully, "How one so young could assume such airs of superiority or defiance?" but he went tranquilly on till he came to Madura; and then took up his abode in the house of a Brahmin. While there the adverse party, by means of their ceremonies, sent a flame to destroy him; but as he contained unhurt, they came and set fire to the house in which he sojourned. On learning that this was the work of the Jains he said, 'Let the flame go and seize the king who protects these miscreants." In consequence of this malediction, Kun Pandian was seized with a burning fever from which he sought relief in vain. His queen and minister now took the opportunity of recommending the young Saiva to his notice; but the king objected on the ground of impropriety, owing to a difference of faith, which objection was, in the end, overruled. The Jains however interposed; and though they could not prevent the king from seeking a cure; yet, to interpose as much difficulty as possible, they proposed, that they themselves should try to cure the king on one side of his body, while the Saiva did the same with the other side; to which arrangement consent was given. They now tried their utmost efforts; but the king instead of being benefitted, only became worse. It next came to the Saiva's turn, who exhibited some of the sacred ashes; on which the Jains exclaimed that this was unfair, as the ashed might conceal some medicine. The Brahmin then said, "Let me have some of the ashes from the kitchen of the god's temple brought to me;" and on this request being granted he proceeded to rub one side of the king's body entirely with these ashes, and left that side cured. The king begged him to cure the other side also; and since the adverse party could not oppose the young Brahmin cured the other side also in like manner. At the same time the hump on the king's shoulders became reduced; and in place of Kun Pandian (hump-backed), he acquired the name if Savuntiran (beautiful). Gratefully acknowledging his obligations to Sambandar, he embraced the Saiva faith, received instruction, and became a holy man.
LXIII. THE IMPALEMENT OF THE JAINS.
After the cure of the king, his wife and minister, and Sambandar, went to the temple of Siva, and rendering him praise, besought his permission that the Jains and their faith might be destroyed. The god replied to Sambandar, "What you have is well pleasing to me; and therefore to what you agree, I agree" (playing on the name Sambandar, or agreement).
The Jains were much chagrined and envenomed by what had occurred; and agreed upon an ordeal by fire, as the means of bringing about a change. But as they were about proceeding to the king on this errand, they met with great opposition from their wives. These represented the reverse already sustained; and stated, that in their dreams of the past night, they had seen a cow (emblematic of the Hindu faith) pushing with its horns in every direction; they had also seen bodies pierced through, and beasts and birds feeding on the dead carcasses; while the town appeared full of persons with ashes on their foreheads (denoting the Saiva religion). These remonstrance's were however unavailing. Like devoted men, they were angry with their wives; and these latter finding they could not prevail, became incensed in turn, and pronounced on them a curse, wishing that they might perish. The learned Jains proceeded to the king; represented that he had done them injustice; and requested that themselves, and the young Saiva, might be directed to write each one a chant on palm leaves, all of which should be subjected to the trial of fire; and the production that should remain unconsumed, should be considered as belonging to the true faith. To this proposal all parties assented; and on a set day they proceeded to some little distance, when the homa (or sacrifice by fire) was prepared The Jains depended on their employment of the Agni-kattu (or charm against fire); nevertheless, their writings were all consumed, amounting to eight thousand; and that of Sambandar alone remained uninjured. This ordeal did not give them satisfaction; and they proposed that the books should be written again, and the whole cast into the river Vaigai, when that one which should ascend against the stream should b declared to belong to the true faith. This challenge was also accepted; but the condition was now attached that whichever of the parties should be conquered, should abjure his or their faith, and embrace the opposite one, or else be impaled alive. The trial was fixed for the following day, and a public procession having gone forth to the banks of the river Vygai, the ordeal by water proceeded; when every book of the Jains was carried down with the stream, and that of the Saiva alone ascended. The trial being decisive, he now appealed to them exhorting them not to perish, but to embrace the Saiva faith. The eight thousand learned men who had written the palm leaves refused; and with obstinate prejudice put themselves on the impaling stakes. But the unlearned multitude, being afraid, snatched up the ashes emblematic of the Saiva faith, and rubbed them on their foreheads; and others, not being able to get ashes, smeared themselves with the unburnt cow-dung itself to escape death.
Afterwards, the king, with Sambandar, went westward ten miles in search of the book which had ascended the stream until they came to a place where the god was seated, in the form of an aged Brahmin, of whom they asked, 'If anything particular had occurred?" who replied," We know not." But on some stanzas being sung in his praise, he put some ashes on the forehead of Sambandar, and indicated the place where the book was to be found. The king built on that spot a pagoda, together with a town called Tiruyedagam (the place of the sacred-writing) and adoring Siva, remained there some time; by which means he cleared himself of the crime of having joined with the Jains; and then returned with Sambandamurti to Madura. He there brought the Saiva sect into open day. And subsequently, when Sambandar wished to go and visit other Siva temples, he out of great regard, accompanied him to some distance, and then returned. Since the time when his fever was cured, he had changed the name Kun Pandian to Savuntara Pandian (i.e., hump-back, to beautiful). He ruled according to the law of Manu; built temples with choultries, and instituted festivals to the Madura god; and in harmonious cooperation with his wife Mangayarkarasi, and his minister Kulachirai, ruled prosperously for a length of time.
LXIV. THE GOD CALLED A VANNI TREE, A LINGAM, AND A WELL, FROM TIRUPURAMBIYAM TO BEAR WITNESS TO A MARRIAGE.
In a town on the sea-coast in the Soren kingdom, there was a merchant who was very wealthy, but had no child. He, with his wife, performed many religious services, and at length were favoured with only the gift of a female infant. The merchant at the birth of his daughter, intimated his intention that she should be married to the son of his elder sister, who was then at Madura. Shortly after the merchant died; and his wife was burned together with the dead body of her husband, leaving the child an orphan. After the usual lamentations were passed, the relatives sent to call the merchant's nephew, and mentioned his uncle's intentions as to the marriage: but he preferred that the marriage ceremonies should take place at Madura, among his relations; and after some time, set out on his return thither, taking with him, the young woman her attendants, and property. On the road they came to the town named Tirupurambiyan, where the young man bathed in the tank; and the tank; and the food of the party was cooked under a vanni tree, (prosopia spicigera). After their meal the young man slept, with his head resting on the step of the temple for a pillow. In this situation a serpent came and bit him, so that he died. While other relatives wept, and fell on the body of the deceased according to custom, the young woman sat apart sorrowful. It so fell out Sambandar (of the foregoing tale) was then visiting this temple; on hearing the outcry, he went near, and inquired what was the matter. The young woman fell at his feet; and , with all the high appellations employed to the holiest of men, stated the circumstances, and the occurrence that had taken place. He noticed in a particular manner the becoming deportment of the betrothed; and interesting himself in the case, thought on the god, and chanted certain verses in his praise. As a consequence the young man that was dead, became revivified, opened his eyes, and arose, unconscious to himself of anything more than having arisen from sleep. The person instrumental in this result strongly recommended the two persons to marry at that very place. But the young woman objected the distance from kindred and want of witnesses. Sambandat said, that the vanni tree, the lingam, and the well, would be sufficient witnesses, and the marriage ceremony was performed.
After their arrival at Madura, the woman brought forth a son, who was accustomed to play with two children which the same husband had received by a former wife, still living. Some disagreement took place between the children, which brought on a quarrel between the mothers; and the elder wife employed disrespectful language regarding the younger, asking, among other things, "Where were the witnesses to her marriage?" These being mentioned the elder jeered her asking "If such witnesses would come and give testimony?" The younger wife, feeling herself hurt, went and bathed in the golden lotus tank, and be sought the god; when a celestial voice was heard, saying, "I will bring the witnesses to this place, go and call your kindred." She accordingly went, and brought the elder wife, together with many other friends, to the temple, where in the Isani choultry, the god presented to their view the vanni tree, the lingam, and the well. The elder wife, being confounded, only nodded her head, in token of favour extended towards the younger wife, rendered her many honours.
The husband, on learning these circumstances, greatly blamed the elder wife, and repudiated her; but, at the intercession of the younger wife, who pleaded the honour she had received through the malice of her opponent, the husband took back the elder wife, and restored her privileges. These witnesses remain to the present day.