We are now coming Sundaramoorthy Nayanar, the last of the 63
Siva Saints, and who listed the earlier 62 Saints in his famous Tiru Thondar Thokai in Tiruvarur. He is also the hero of Periya Puranam.
He is called Van Thondar, the tough devotee of Siva! His "bhava" with Siva is friendship, Sneha bhava. He is from Tirunavalur.
Sundaramoorthy was born in a Brahmin family in Tirunavalur, as the son of Sadaiyanar and Isaijnani. His child hood name was Nambi Arooran. When he was a handsome child and while he was playing on the streets, the ruler who had come there, saw Nambi Arooran and decided to adopt him into his royal family. Thus, the one who was a Brahmin by birth took up royal patronage. His wedding was arranged to the daughter of one Vedic scholar Shadangovi. All lavish arrangments had been made for the wedding. Just before the tying of mangala sutram, an old Brahmin appeared in the hall. He had a long beard and a unclean codpiece with vibhuti all over his body. He told the people to stop the wedding, as the bride was a lifetime bonded labourer for him, through generations! He took out an old palmyra leaf and showed to the people. The people were aghast. The parents of Nambi Arooran also got confused. Nambi Arooran took out the leaf and tore it to pieces and said: O old brahmin, go away from here. Are your mad? The old man was adamant and took the party to the local court. In the court, he showed one more palymra leaf which he said was the original! There it was written by the grandfather of the saint, that they as generation of people are bonded to the old brahmin! There were also three witnesses who had signed on the leaf. The elders agreed to the handwriting and signatures of the grandfather and the witnesses and confirmed that Nambi Arooran was the old brahmin's bonded labourer. The wedding was stopped. Nambi Arooran followed the old man with great anger, and they went into the temple of Tiruvennai Nallur, called Tiru Arul Thurai, where the brahmin disappeared and Nambi Arooran saw inside the sanctum sanctorum, with bright smile, vibhuti, and crescent moon and tiger's skin. Siva called him: O
Van Thonda! the tough devotee, come! Siva also called him Sundara.
The young man burst into tears, prostrated and sang a melodious song: O the madcap! the wearer of Crescent Moon! my Lord! the giver of boons! Pitha, pirai choodi, perumane, arualaa....
Siva was pleased and then told him: Go from here to places where I am residing in temples. Go upto Tiruvarur and wait what happens to you!"
Sundarar thereupon travelled from place to place. He first went to
Tiru Adigai, and then to Veerasthanam near Gadilam river. In Veerasthanam, he was sleeping in the temple precincts. He suddenly found an old man keeping his legs on his (Sundaramoorhty's) head. He pardoned him and took the legs away
and placed them on the floor. In a few minutes, the legs were again on Sundarar's head. Furious, he shouted at the old man.
"You are old, I agree. But have you also become blind?" The old
man smiled and said: "O Sundara! You are yet to cognize me!"
In a trice, Sundarar understood that it was Siva and what he gave
was "sparsa diksha." He then sang: I am only blind, not knowing your true nature! After adoring Siva, Sundarar went to Tirumanikuzhi, Thinai Nagar and Thillai, Chidambram. In Chidambram, he entered through northern gate and had the vision of the Dancing Nataraja on the Golden Hall. He knew that in his Heart
(Chitrambalam), there was already Siva dancing and he sang some songs with this meaning. After Chidambaram, he crossed Kaveri and its branch Kollidam river and reached Seerkazhi. In Seerkazhi, he decided not to tread the place where the son of Siva, Jnana Sambandha was born. So, he stayed in the outskirts and seeing the towers of Tirutoniappar and Dharmasamvardhini, he sang melodious hymns. He then passed through Mayiladuthurai, Tiurkolakka and then reached Tiruvarur.
(Source: Periya Puranam, Sekkizhar. Tamil Verses. Book XII of
Siva Canons. Translation and Prose rendering, my own.)