Tuesday, 10 July, 2007

Mother’s Blessings

SAMBANDHA WAS BORN in an orthodox brahmin family in the town of Sirkali, to Sivapada Hridayar and his wife Bhagavatiyar.

One day, when the boy was three years old, the father took him to Thirutonni Appar Koil. The father while immersed in the tank for a bath, began repeating the aghamarshana mantram. The child could not see his father in the tank, and looked around in fear and grief. There was no trace of the father. Not able to contain its grief the child wept aloud looking at the temple tower saying, “Mother! Father!” Parvati and Lord Siva appeared in the sky, seated on the sacred bull, and gave darsan to the little child. As desired by Siva, Parvati gave the child a golden cup full of milk from her breast – the sacred milk containing Siva Jnana (Knowledge of Siva). The child drank the milk, became free from sorrow, and the divine couple disappeared. The child was transformed into an inspired sage, wholly and solely dedicated to Siva. Consequently he received the epithet of Aludaiya Pillaiyar (‘the God’s own child’) and Thiru Jnana Sambandhar (‘he who is conjoined with divine wisdom’). Having drunk the milk of jnana, and feeling quite satisfied and happy, Sambandha sat on the tank bund with milk dribbling from the corners of his mouth. When the father came out from his bath, he saw the boy’s condition and angrily asked, flourishing a cane, “Who gave you milk? Can you drink milk given by strangers? Tell me who that person is or I will beat you.” Sambandha immediately replied by singing ten Tamil verses. The gist of the first verse is:

The man with kundalas (sacred earrings),
the Man who rides the sacred bull, the Man who has the white moon on his head,
the Man whose body is smeared with the ashes of the burning ghat,
the thief who has stolen my heart.
He came to bless Brahma, the Creator, when Brahma, with the Vedas in his hand did penance.
He who occupies the sacred seat of Brahmapuri,
He, my Father, is there,
and She, my Mother who gave me milk, is there!


So saying he described the forms of Siva and Parvathi who had given him milk, and also pointed out the temple chariot.

It was clear from the verses, that those who gave milk to the child were no other than Parvathi and Lord Siva. A large gathering of people witnessed this unique scene. From that day onwards, the boy’s poetic flow continued unimpeded.

Related: Letters

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