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
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.
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.