Author Topic: Kannappa Nayanar (One of the 63 Siva Saints)  (Read 1846 times)


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Kannappa Nayanar (One of the 63 Siva Saints)
« on: December 06, 2008, 02:29:22 PM »
Hunter Kannappa, (later Kannappa Nayanar) is the most adored
Siva Saint.  His glory has been sung by many other Siva Saints,
right from Jnana Sambandha, Manikkavachagar, Nakkira Deva
Nayanar and others.  He is from Kalahasti and Siva who granted
him liberation, is Kudimiya Devar or Kalahasti Natha.  Kannappa's
real name was Thinnan, the stout one.

There was a tribe of hill-men in the forests near Kalahasti.  Naaga was
their Chief and Thathai was his wife.  They had no issue for quite sometime
and they prayed Tiruttani Muruga for a child.  Kannapa was born due to
the grace of Muruga.  The parents reared him, with great care and pomp.
At the age of 16, Kannappa was crowned as the Chief.  Kannappa and his
two friends used to go into the forests and hunted wild boars, deer,
tigers and other animals.  One day, they hunted a wild boar, and while
the friends were roasting the dead animal, Kannappa went alone to fetch
fresh spring water from a stream nearby.  As he was walking the uphills
towards the stream, he suddenly 'felt' that his body had become light.
He therefore concluded that there must be on top of hills, which had
made him to have this strange feeling!  He reached the summit and found
a temple, where there was a Sivalinga, with some flowers strewn over the
linga.  Kannappa felt that Siva had not been cared by anyone and the
flowers on him were not suitable adornment.  He decided to fetch some
flowers and eats and water for Siva.  He came down, took a portion of the roasted flesh, telling his friends that he would come back soon and left
again for the temple.  He went there, cleaned up the 'mess', threw the
water from his mouth as abulations to Siva and placed the roasted flesh
as offering to Siva.  He also decided to stay back and serve as a guard
for Siva!  He stayed overnight as guard and in the morning, he came down
to fetch again, roasted flesh, vetchi flowers and water for Siva.  Siva-
kosari, the brahmin priest had come in between and found Sivalinga
desecrated by someone.  He cleaned up the whole premises, placed fresh
flowers and offerings and went back.  Kannppa did the same type of
'pooja' for the second day also and stayed as guard.  This was happening
for about 5 days.  On the sixth day, Sivakosari was telling Siva: "What
is all this, O Master! What is happening?"  Siva told that a devotee more
ardent than him, had been coming everyday and He asked the priest
to wait and see that day."  Sivakosari waited behind Siva.  On the sixth
day, Kannappa came as usual.  He cleaned up the 'mess' and spat
the water from his mouth on Siva.  Then, he suddently found that blood
was oozing out from one of the eyes of Siva.  He quickly went and fetched
some herbal leaves and applied.  The bleeding did not stop.  He decided
that in his tribal customs, an eye for an eye was a correct procedure.
He plucked one of his eyes and placed it on Siva.  In a few seconds, another eye started bleeding.  Kannappa became very sad.  He decided
that he had to fix his other eye on Siva to stop bleeding.  But before plucking, he thought how he could find the bleeding eye of Siva, when
his own second eye was plucked.  So he decided to raise his foot and
with the sandals, he fixed the place of Siva's bleeding eye, and he
took his arrow and was about to pluck his own second eye!  Siva
appeared and said: "Please stop Kannappa, please stop.  Enough is
my testing and enough is your devotion!"  He took him into His Effulgence in a few seconds.  Sivakosari stood dumbfounded, with tears gushing out from his eyes!

Periodwise, Kannappa is one of the earliest of 63 Siva Saints.  He realized Siva in six days!  Manikkavavhagar in Tiruvachakam, sings his glory.

"Even after seeing devotion of Kannappa, which is matchless, you have
also taken hold of me, and ruled over me!, O My Father!..."
                                    (Tiru Kothumbi, Verse 4. Song of King Bee.)

(Source: Periya Puranam,  Sekkizhar. Tamil Verses. Book XII of Siva Canons. Saiva Siddhanta Book Publishing House, Chennai.
Translation and prose rendering, my own.)

Arunachala Siva.