Saturday, 18 May 2019

Nayanmars/Nayanars – an introduction

Nayanmars/Nayanars – an introduction

The Nayanars/Nayanmars were a group of 63 saints (also saint poets) in the 6th to 8th century who were devoted to the Hindu god Shiva in Tamil Nadu. They, along with Alwars, influenced the Bhakthi movement in Tamil Nadu. The collection of hymns by many devotees is called “Panniru Thirumurai”.

63 Nayanars
image source: google images

These Thirumurais were composed over a number of years by devotees who lived during different periods and there was no information about any palm scriptures of the same. Many hyms were sung in temples regularly and hearing one, King Raja Raja Cholan was ecstatic.

He wanted to find out more about such compositions and also if any written records were available. He requested Nambi Andar [his minister &priest] to help him find these who in turn requested the Polla Pillayar of Thirunaraiyur to let them know the location of these scriptures.

On hearing from Lord Ganapathi that the original palm scripts of the hymns were kept locked in a chamber in the Chidambaram temple. The King and Nambi Andar Nambi proceeded to Chidambaram. On opening the chamber, they were shocked to see that most of the palm leaves were eaten away by white ants and they could recover only some of it.

Chidambaram Temple
image source: Google images

The list of the Nayanars was initially compiled by Sundarar (Sundararmurthi). In his poem, Tiruthonda Thogai, he sings, in eleven verses, the names of the Nayanar saints up to Karaikkal Ammeiyar, and refers to himself as "the servant of servants". The list was expanded by Nambiyandar Nambi during his compilation of material by the poets for the “Thirumurai” collection [1-11], would include Sundarar himself and Sundarar's parents. 

Naalvar- Appar, Sundarar, Manikavasagar, Thirugnanasambandar
image courtesy: google images

Thirumurais 1, 2 and 3 are the verses sung by Thirugnana Sambandar called Thevaram. It is also called Thirkkadai kaapu.
Thirumurais 4, 5 and 6 are the hymns sung by Thirunavakarasar (Appar) called Thevaram.

Thirumurai 7 is by Sundaramurthy Nayanar also called Thevaram. It is also called Thiruppaatu.

Thirumurai 8 is the Thiruvasagam and Thirukkovaiyar by Manickavasagar.

Thirumurai 9 consists of the verses of Thiru Maligai Thevar  and eight others Senthanar , Karuvur Thevar ,  Poonthuruthi Kaadanambi, Kandaraathithar,    Venaatuadigal , Thiruvaaliamudhanaar , Purutothama Nambi , Sethirayar  and it is called Thirvisaippa and Thiruppallaandu.

Thirumurai 10 is the Thirumandiram by Thirumoolar.

Thirumurai 11  by Lord Thiru Aaalavaiudayar  (Lord Shiva) himself and eleven others Karaikal Ammaiyar, Iyadigal Kadavarkon, Seraman Perumal,  Nakeerar, Kalladar, Kabilar, Baranar, Ilamperuman Adigal , Athiraavadigal , Patinathu adigal. This Thirumurai also includes the hymns sung by Nambi Andar Nambi who compiled all of the above. This is also called Prabhandam.

Thirumurai 12 is the Periya Puranam  by Sekkizhar. This was written very much later compared to the compilation of the first eleven Thirumurais and documents the devotion and the life of 63 Nayanmars to their Lord.  This was initially called Thiruthondar Puranam and later came to be called as Periya Puranam and considered as the twelth Thirumurai.  


The Princess and the Frog

In a distant kingdom lived a king with three lovely daughters in a magnificent castle. The youngest princess loved to live a simple life, enjoying the beauty of Mother Nature. However, she had a golden ball in her possession which was her favourite. She would play with it to pass her time.

                                  image courtesy: Google images
Behind the castle, there is an abandoned well. No one goes there. The princess however loves to play there as she would be alone. One day, she was playing with her golden ball near the well. But it slipped and fell inside the well. The princess started crying. She had lost her favourite ball. Just then …

“I can help you get the ball.” Said a voice.

“Who was that?”, wondered the princess.

“Over here”, said the voice. When the princess looked down, she saw a frog!

“How will you get the ball? You are a frog?” exclaimed the astonished princess.

The frog then said that he would get the ball back, only if the princess would take care of him, let him eat from her plate and sleep on her bed. The princess readily agreed, for she wanted the ball. Within a moment, the frog dived in the well, and was back with ball in his mouth. Without even thanking him, the princess ran away to the castle.

That evening, when the princess was having dinner with her family, the princess heard a scratching noise from the door. When she opened it, she found the frog.

“Oh no!” muttered the princess.

“Well princess, you forgot your promise and I am here to remind you of it .” said the frog.
The king was puzzled and asked for an explanation. The princess narrated the entire incident.

“Well dear, a promise can never be broken, so you will have to take care of your friend.” said the king.

The princess unwillingly agreed and fed the frog all evening. In the process, she lost her appetite. She got off from the table and went straight into her room, where she quickly undressed and got ready for bed. However, the frog was already on her bed.

                                 image source: Google images

“Get off the bed!” screamed the princess.

“Well, there is one way you could get rid of me” said the frog. “If you give me a kiss on my lips, I shall never disturb you again.”

“Disgusting,” thought the princess. However, she wanted to get rid of the frog so badly, she closed her eyes and quickly kissed the frog’s slimy lips.

Just that instant, there was a blinding flash in her room and in place of the frog stood a handsome young prince. He explained that a wicked witch had cast a spell on him and turned him into a frog and the only way the spell could be broken was the kiss of a young princess.

So the princess and the prince married and lived happily ever after.

The End.

Rewritten by my daughter
Harshini Anandakumar

Dot – The Little Princess

Once upon a time in an anthill lived a princess named Dot. Her sister Pink was the queen of the anthill. She was a good queen but worried a lot. Even though she tried not to, but the circumstance at the anthill made her worry a lot.

                                  image source: google images

There were big, mean grasshoppers, who would come to collect most of the grain they harvested every year leaving nothing for them to eat.

Dot had a friend name Flik. He was an inventor. He once made a telescope with water and a rolled up leaf.

                                    Source: google images

One day as the grasshoppers came, everyone ran inside the anthill. Flick was left outside. He accidently knocked over the entire offering of grain into the river. The grasshoppers were very angry. But the ants sent them away by telling they would give more grain next time.

Flik felt bad and hence went to find warrior bugs to protect the anthill. But he accidentally brought circus bugs. So, he made everyone make a bird with leaves and twigs. They thought they could scare the grasshoppers away and it worked. But suddenly the wind was strong and it blew the leaves away. The grasshoppers were very angry.

One of the circus bugs brought a real bird to scare the grasshoppers away. The anthill did not face any problems ever since.

The End.
Rewritten by my daughter
Ishanvi Anandakumar

Friday, 17 May 2019

Thiru Kungiliya Kalayar Nayanar

Thiru Kungiliya Kalayar was born in Thirukadavoor/Thirukayur located on the river banks of Cauvery.  It is one of the famous villages in the Chola Kingdom where the well-known temple of Lord Shiva – Sri Amritha Ghateshwarar and his consort Goddess Abirami is situated.

                                    Image source: Google images

Kungiliya Nayanar was a Brahmin and a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva.  His wife was also equally devoted to Lord and they lived a righteous life.  He carries a pot of sambrani/incense [Kungiliyam – is the gum from the kungiliyam tree which is a natural incence] – a substance burned for pleasant fragrance with him.   He made it a regular practice to keep burning incense for its fragrance before lord Shiva and treated it as a service.  He served the devotees of Lord with great passion.  He spent a large part of his wealth in the service to Lord.  Gradually, he found it difficult to meet the minimum daily expenses in the family.  He sold all his properties and nothing remained, still he continued his sincere service to Lord.

                                     Image source: Google images

One day, seeing the unending poverty at home Kungiliya Kalayar’s wife handed Kalayar with her Mangalya Sutra/Maangalyam (A sacred chain worn by married woman) which was only thing left with her.  Kungiliya Kalayar without any hesitation went to the market to sell the sacred chain of his wife, in order to get some rice, vegetables to wave off the hunger of their children.

 The most compassionate Lord wanted to test the devotion of Kungiliyar and spread his glories to this world.  Lord disguised in the form of an incense seller and appeared before Kungiliya Kalayar.  Seeing the incense with an exceptional fragrance, Kungiliya Kalayar totally forgot any of the requests his wife has made for the purchase of provision.  He instantly, gave the Mangalya Sutra to the incense seller and returned with sacks of sambrani/kungiliyam.  He marched towards the temple and started to burn the kungiliyam in front of lord Shiva.

                                     Image source: Google images

Kungiliya Kalayar’s wife patiently waited for her husband to return home with the provisions.  The whole day passed without any news of him.  She put the children to sleep and continued waiting for her husband. She continued to pray for her husband’s safe return.  On that night, Lord Shiva appeared in her dream and blessed her with all the prosperity for their sincere devotion to Lord.  She abruptly woke up from the sleep and was amazed to see all kinds of richness in their home.  The whole house was transformed into an expensive and attractive looks. Once again, she wholeheartedly sang praising the glory of Lord.  She rushed to cook an elaborate and delicious meal for the whole family and waited for her husband’s return.

Kungiliya Kalayar who was in the temple immersed at the devotion to Lord, suddenly heard a divine voice instructing Kungiliya Kalayar to return home and have an elaborate meal with his family.  Kungiliya Kalayar was not aware of the hours he had spent before the deity, started to follow the divine instruction.  When he reached home, he was astounded to see the splendid beauty and its grandeur with the grace of Lord.  Soon, the devotees of Lord assembled and sang praising the glory of Lord.  Kungiliya Kalayar and his wife served them with utmost respect and honour.  He continued his divine service to Lord with the enormous wealth.  He firmly believed that the wealth belongs to almighty Shiva and it should be utilized only to the service of Lord.

Kungiliya Kalayar made a visit to the temple of Lord Aruna Satesar, Thiruppanandal.  This is the temple where Thadaka - daughter of a demon worshipped Lord Shiva for an offspring.  Seeing her unparalleled devotion, Lord Aruna Satesar worshipped in the form of Lingam made a sharp bend for Thadaka so that she could decorate the Lingam with the flower garlands.   Many of the villagers tried to straighten up the Lingam with their mighty force; unfortunately none of them were successful. 

The King was deeply distressed at this and desired to set straight the Lingam.   Kungiliya Kalayar genuinely concerned about the King and wanted to eradicate his agony.  He tied a rope on his neck and the other end on the Lingam; he gently pulled out and straightened the curve of the Lingam.   Everyone was amazed at the devotion of Kungiliya Kalayar and deities showered flowers upon him.  Kungiliya Kalayar continued his divine service to Lord and finally attained the Abode of Lord Shiva.

Birthplace: Thirukadavoor/Thirukadaiyur

Star: Aavani Moolam


Thiru Poosalar Nayanar

Thiru Poosalar is the eight century Nayanar saint and is counted 58th in the list of 63 Nayanmars. Poosalar was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva and always desired to build a beautiful temple for the alimighty.

Thiru Poosalar hailed from a town called Thiruninravur. He was a great devotee of Lord Siva and longed to build a temple for his Lord, though he was a very poor man. He roamed far and wide to get the required funds, but his efforts were not fruitful. He was desperate and distressed beyond words.

Suddenly a thought struck him. "Why do I not attempt to build a temple for my Lord in my heart?" He determined to do so. He studied the Agama Sastras and consulted knowledgeable Sivacharyas. The thought got shape in his mind to build a grand temple for the lord almighty.

image source: google images

He gathered requisite materials in his mind. He approached rich donors and collected huge amounts from them-all in his mind. Expert architects were approached who formulated designs, plans and drawings. He collected artisans, renowned sculptors, labourers and tools. He did not even leave small details, however trivial it might appear on first sight! His thoughts were occupied only with the construction of a grand temple for the Lord and determined to complete the task with great devotion.

On an auspicious day, the corner (foundation) stone was laid according to the rituals. With infinite love and meticulous care he had the temple built brick by brick, stone by stone, pillar by pillar, sculpture by sculpture, day and night, unseen by anyone.

Layer by layer, from the base to the top, the temple was nearing completion. He planned the huge Rajagopuram, other four towers, one each for the four directions, North, East, West and South. He supervised the construction devotedly. The rounded dome, the ancillary pillars, pavilions, shrines and the sacred kalasams were all made ready, worked on the wall sides and niches. Shrines for the Divine Mother, the Lord's Consort, Vinayaka, Muruga, main deity, Durga were completed. Walls and prakarams were laid. The temple tank was dug and filled with clean water fit for abihsekham (anointing)

At last, the temple was fully completed. It was grand, mighty and a rare sight to behold! He consulted the priests, discussed with them in great detail and fixed an auspicious date for the Mahakumbhabhishekam (consecration) of the temple. ..

The Kadava king of Kanchi who was also a great devotee of Lord Shiva had built a magnificent temple of granite, marble, red and black stones. The king decided to perform the Kalsabhishekam on the same date, on which Poosalar had mentally chosen for the installation of the Lord in his temple.

image source: google images

The Lord wanted to show the king the superiority of Poosalar’s great devotion. So, the Lord appeared in the king's dream the night before the sacred consecration date. The king was thrilled. But, the Lord asked him to postpone the installation ceremony in his temple. The Lord explained that He had to be present at the installation and consecration ceremony fixed by His dear devotee Poosalar of Thiruninravur on that same date! That was far more important!

The king woke up from sleep and was intensely eager to have the darshan of the devotee mentioned by the lord and also to have a look at the great temple built by Poosalar, which he considered to be more superior to the temple he built.
                                                       image source: google images

The King moved on to Thiruninravur in search of the temple. The king could not find any temple and so he enquired about the whereabouts of Poosalar. The King spotted Poosalar in the town and asked him about the temple. He also told him about the words of the Lord in his dream.

Poosalar was in tears. He was deeply touched by the grace of the Lord. He told the king that the temple he built was in his mind. The king was surprised to hear this. He admired Poosalar’s devotion and fell at his feet and started to worship him. Poosalar installed Lord Shiva in his heart/hridayam temple and continued to worship till he attained Lord Shiva’s abode.

The King later on built a temple in Thiruninravur – Hridayaleeswarar Temple( the lord who resides in heart) and made the dream of Poosalar Naayanar come true.

                                 Hridayaleeswarar Kovil - Thiruninravur
                                 image source: Google images


Thursday, 16 May 2019

Tiruneelanakka Nayanar

Tiruneelanakka Nayanar  was a Nayanar saint, venerated in the Hindu sect of Shaivism. The life of Tiruneelanakka Nayanar is described in the Periya Puranam by Sekkizhar (12th century), which is the Tamil account of the 63 Nayanars. Tiruneelanakka Nayanar is the twenty-eighth in the list of 63 Nayanars. 

                                image courtesy :google images
 Tiruneelanakka Nayanar was born in Sattamangai (Thirusathamangai/Satthamangkai), currently called Seeyathamangai, is in Nagapattinam district in Tamil Nadu. The Ayavantheeswarar temple dedicated to the god Shiva, stands in this town. Tiruneelanakka was born in a family of Brahmins whose duty was to recite the vedas and perform the rituals as per the text. As an expert in the Vedas, he was a staunch devotee of Shiva and served his devotees, by washing their feet and welcoming them to his home.

Once on the day of Poornima (the full moon day), Tiruneelanakka and his wife went to Ayavantheeswarar temple. While Tiruneelanakka was performing his daily ritual worship of the lingam (the aniconic form of Shiva worshipped as the central icon in temples), a spider fell from his web on the lingam. The wife blew away the spider, wherein some saliva could have fallen on the lingam. In some versions, she goes a step further and spits on the spot where the spider falls. This action was in accordance with the tradition of spitting on a part of a child where the spider fell so as the poison of the spider does not spread in the body.
     image courtesy: Google images
Tiruneelanakka considered her action as an insult and asked the wife what she had done. She replied she just blew away the spider as per tradition. The infuriated Brahmin said that she had contaminated the lingam by her saliva, as per Agamic scriptures and she should have removed the spider by some other means. The Brahmin offered rituals to purify the lingam and apologized to the god. Further, he abandoned his wife in fury.

While the wife spent her night in the temple, Tiruneelanakka went home and slept. Shiva appeared in Tiruneelanakka's dream. While a part of the body was normal, rest of it was swollen by the spider's poison. Shiva remarked that his normal area was where Tiruneelanakka's wife had blown/spat. Tiruneelanakka realized that devotion (love) was superior to rituals. In the dawn, he went dancing to the temple and worshipped Ayavantheeswarar. He returned with his wife. Tiruneelanakka continued to serve Shiva and his devotees with love.

Having heard of the child saint Sambandar's glories, Tiruneelanakka visited to meet him in person. Tiruneelanakka heard that the Nayanar Sambandar accompanied by another Nayanar Tiru Nilakanta Yazhpanar and an entourage of devotees were coming to Sattamangai. Tiruneelanakka decorated Sattamangai for welcoming Sambandar and hosted him at his home. He honoured Sambandar with due respect. Tiruneelanakka made numerous arrangements for Sambandar to spend the night at his house.

Sambandar also suggested that Yazhpanar and his wife - who were travelling minstrels and composed music to Sambandar's hymns - be given accommodation. The caste-conscious host was uneasy inviting the Shudra (low-caste) couple of Tiru Nilakanta Yazhpanar and his wife home. After insistence by Sambanar, the host gave them a place to sleep near the homa kunda, the fire altar used for sacrifices. The fire of homa kunda shone brightly in the night, giving testimony to the couple's devotion. Tiruneelanakka discerned that devotion is superior to caste barriers too.
image courtesy: google images

Sambandar accompanied Tiruneelanakka to the Ayavantheeswarar temple and composed a hymn in honour of the god and his host Tiruneelanakka Nayanar. Tiruneelanakka wanted to accompany Sambanar on his travels, but the child saint instructed Tiruneelanakka to stay in Sattamangai and serve Ayavantheeswarar and his devotees.

After few years, Sambandar invited Tiruneelanakka Nayanar to his wedding in Thirumana Nallur (presently known as Achalpuram). Tiruneelanakka officiated as the presiding priest of the wedding ceremony. After the wedding, Sambandar, his bride and the wedding party went the Shivaloka Thyagar temple of Shiva, in Thirumana Nallur. Sambandar prayed to Shiva, seeking salvation. Shiva appeared as a blazing flame and granted his wish. Then Sambandar, his bride and all the wedding guests, including Tiruneelanakka Nayanar merged in the Light of Shiva.



Markandeya – The one who conquered death/Endrendrum 16

Markandeya is an ancient rishi from the Hindu tradition, born in the clan of Bhrigu Rishi. He is celebrated as a great devotee of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva protected Markandeya in the form of Kaalasamhaara Moorthi from the clutch of death in Thirukadaiyur in Tamilnadu. Sri Amirthagateswarar kovil in Thirukadaiyur is dedicated to Lord Shiva in his manifestation as “Destroyer of Death” and his consort Parvathi as Abirami. The story of Markandeya is as follows.

image courtesy: Google images
Mrikandu,  a great rishi and his wife Marudavathi,  were great devotees of Lord Shiva. They were very happy singing the songs of the Lord and spreading his stories everywhere. However they were sad as they did not have any children. The sage and his wife decided to perform severe penances to win the favour of Lord Shiva. Finally pleased with their penances Lord Shiva appeared before them.

'Mrikandu, Marudavati, open your eyes!' said the three-eyed God.

Mrikandu and Marudavati opened their eyes and were stunned to see the handsome Lord Shiva before them.

'You have come...Lord!' Mrikandu whispered as both of them immediately fell on the Lord's feet unable to contain themselves.

Lord Shiva rejoiced on seeing the devotion in their eyes. He looked at them smiling, 'I am very pleased with your penance! I wish to grant you a boon. What do you desire, Mrikandu and Marudavati?'

Marudavati looked at the Lord with a smile in her face. 'Lord, all I want is a child...' She looked at her husband, who looked at her encouragingly, 'Lord...' she continued, 'I wish for a child who is blessed by you...'

Lord Shiva remained silent for a few minutes considering something. He then looked at the two of them, 'What sort of a child do you want?'

Mrikandu and Marudavati looked at each other confused. What sort of a question was that? They both turned and looked at the Lord waiting for him to explain.

Lord Shiva continued, 'What I meant was that, do you wish for a gifted child or a foolish child?'

Mrikandu and Marudavati still did not speak. They were confused. What sort of a person would choose a foolish child. Realising that there was a catch somewhere, Mrikandu spoke slowly, 'I do not understand, my Lord.'

Lord Shiva said plainly. 'Do you wish for a gifted child who will live only for 16 years or a foolish child who would live a very long life?'

Mrikandu and Marudavati looked at each other with troubled eyes. They realised that this was some sort of a test for them and that they had to choose one of them. Marudavati looked at her husband and remembered how they had prayed for a child. She turned at looked at the Lord.

'Lord, I wish for a gifted child with a short life span.' She said looking straight at Lord Shiva. She then turned to her husband, who was looking at her alarmed. She nodded her head, 'It is ok. We will be happy with him for as long as he is with us...After that, we will still have his memories...'

Mrikandu realised the truth in her words and also looked at Lord Shiva and nodded his head. The two of them then fell at Lord Shiva's feet. Lord Shiva then blessed them and without another word went back to his home in Kailash.

Marudavati then gave birth to a boy. They named the child Markandeya.

Markandeya was a very gifted child. He learnt all the Vedas and the scriptures very fast. He also loved his parents very much. Looking at them from his childhood, Markandeya also became a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva. He loved singing bhajans for Lord Shiva. He would lose himself singing and thinking about the Lord.

However being a very intelligent child, Markandeya sensed that his parents were unhappy about something. No matter how hard he tried, his parents remained unhappy. They seemed to put on a happy face when he was around, but deep inside he could sense their sorrow.

Finally the day before his sixteenth birthday, Markandeya talked to his parents, 'Father, why do you always look so sad? I mean...have I done something to make you so unhappy?'

Hearing these words Marudavati broke down crying, 'NO...No...How could you even think we are unhappy with you?'

Mrikandu and Marudavati looked at each other each wanting the other to tell Markandeya. Finally Marudavati broke the silence.

'...It is...just..that...we got you as a boon from Lord Shiva...' Slowly Marudavati with the help of Mrikandu told the entire story to Markandeya.

Markandeya was a patient listener and did not interrupt until both his parents had finished. He felt sorry for his parents. They had loved and nourished him with a burden knowing that they were going to lose him. He looked at them proudly. They were the bravest people he knew.

Markandeya was not however bothered about himself. His parents had changed their destiny and had got him from the Lord. Changing destiny was nothing new to their family. He smiled. He looked at his parents lovingly.

'Father, Mother...Please do not be worried. I will pray to the Lord...' Markandeya said with steely determination. 'I am sure the Lord will not let anything happen to me...'

His parents could not help but feel optimistic when they heard the words of the boy. Mrikandu hugged his son and blessed him. 'Go on son! I am sure you will overcome... whatever comes in your way.'

Marudavati also blessed her son. Markandeya with the blessings of his parents immediately set out. He came at the sea and felt peace seeping into him.

If I am to meet my end, I want it to be here...He thought and went to the sea shore and with the mud there, lovingly built a shiva linga there.

image courtesy: Google images

He sat down there and started his prayers. He sang bhajans for some time and later he was deep in meditation.

In Hindu mythology, Yama is the God of Death. He along with his soldiers collected the souls of the dead people. Yama realised that Markandeya's time on earth was up. He sent his two servants to collect Markandeya's soul.

However by this time Markandeya was so deep in meditation that a strange fierce light emerged from him. The light from him was burning so bright that the servants of Yama could not go close to him. Try as they might, they could not approach him.

Facing failure for the first time, the servants returned crestfallen to their master.

'Master, we could not approach him. There was something coming from him. Something very bright....' The servants shook their head, 'It was so bright that it almost burnt us...'

Yama nodded, 'It is ok. I will take care of this..' Yama then picked up his noose and sat on his buffalo vehicle and came up near Markandeya. Yama realised that Markandeya was pure and had lived a good life. That was protecting him. That was what had driven out the servants.

But Yama was the God of Death. Good man or not, nobody escaped from him. However as Markandeya was a noble child, Yama made himself visible.

'Markandeya' Yama spoke deeply, 'Your time on earth is up...'

Markandeya opened his eyes and looked at Yama. However Markandeya did not get afraid. He looked at Yama in the eye. 'I will not go with you...My Lord will protect me...'

Yama repeated, 'Your time on earth is up. I have come to take you...'

Markandeya smiled shook his head and hugged the shiva lingam tightly. Realising that he had no choice, Yama threw his noose around Markandeya's neck to pull out his soul. Unfortunately Yama's noose fell around both Markandeya and the linga. Markandeya closed his eyes tightly Save me my Lord...

image courtesy: Google images

Markandeya was surprised when he felt the linga move with his closed eyes. He opened his eyes with astonishment.

Markandeya was thrilled to see the three-eyed Lord before him. His wish had been fulfilled. He had seen Lord Shiva now...

Markandeya suddenly felt like as if he was inside a protective shield. Nothing could hurt him now...Markandeya looked at Yama and smiled...Not even death

However there was nothing calm about Shiva at that time. Every line of Shiva's face was fierce with anger. And Shiva's trident was raised and pointing at Yama, who had dropped the noose and backed away in fright.

'YOU DARE DISTURB HIM!' Lord Shiva yelled angrily, threatening to open his third eye.

'My Lord...' Yama said afraid, 'His time on earth is up. I have come...'

'HE WILL LIVE FOREVER!...HOW DARE YOU...' Shiva picked up his trident and pierced Yama. Yama tried dodging the trident, but Yama caught the weapon straight in his chest. He fell down dead. The Lord of the Dead was dead!

                                            image courtesy: Google images

Immediately Lord Indra and the other Devas appeared before Lord Shiva, who was still looking at Yama angrily.

Lord Indra looked at peaceful face of Markandeya with astonishment. The boy had done what no one had done before.

Indra turned and bowed to Lord Shiva, 'Lord Shiva...We need to have a Lord of the Dead... Without death, there would be no balance on earth...People would continue to be born and never die. That is not the way of life. Life is not meant to be this way. Please Lord...Give Yama his life back. So that the balance of life can be restored...' Indra said pointing at the dead form of Yama.

Hearing to Indra's words, Lord Shiva was pacified. He nodded slowly, 'Yes...Yes...Yama shall have his life back...if...' Lord Shiva looked at Markandeya who was still looking at Lord Shiva as if he had found the biggest treasure on earth. Lord Shiva smiled at Markandeya, '..if Markandeya is spared...Markandeya will live forever. He will be the one who has conquered death...'

The Devas realised that this was a fair deal and accepted the condition.

Yama opened his eyes as the wound in his chest healed. Yama looked at Markandeya, smiled and disappeared from there. The other Devas also went back to the heavens.

Markandeya then fell at the feet of Lord Shiva, 'Lord I want nothing more, I have seen you...'

Lord Shiva smiled, 'Go back to your parents Markandeya, and have a peaceful life.  You have my blessings. You will remain sixteen years for all eternity. You will always have my blessings...'

image courtesy: Google images

Markandeya went back to his parents who were overjoyed on hearing his story. Markandeya was a good son and looked very well after his parents. He never aged more than sixteen.... [Endrendrum 16]

The form which Lord Shiva's assumed to kill Yama is called as 'Kalasamhara Murti' ['Kala' is Death, 'Samhara' is ender, 'Murti' is idol]

In Hindu Mythology it is believed that Markandeya is still alive and roaming the earth and continues to do good to all. He is a chiranjeevi [one who lives for ever].