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Lord Shiva - The Savior & Servant Of The Devotee

Ranjani Saigal

Prof. R. Subrahmonia Ayyar retired  Dean of Academic Programs at the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, India (IIT Bombay) gave a discourse detailing the lives of  four great Nayanmars (Shiva Devotees) Thirunavukku Arasar, Thirugyanasambandhar, Manickya Vasagar & Sundarar and their contributions to Shaivism.  These four great “Samaya Kuravargal” (People who spread the religious faith) were able to firmly re-root Shaivism (Devotion to Lord Sadhashiva) in the Chera, Chozha & Pandiya Kingdoms in Southern part of India, by their sheer devotion to Lord Shiva,. The talk was held at the Hindu Temple of New Hampshire in Nashua NH on May 29, 2010.


The talk was very appropriate for the temple since the central Deity of the temple is Lord Sadashiva. “The Lord of this temple is very powerful and even though we have a very small place right now many a miracles have already been experienced by devotees who have visited the temples“ said Karthi Chandra one of the committed volunteers of the temple as she welcomed Prof Ayyar to the temple.


Ayyar started the discourse by detailing the glory of the various holy places dedicated to Lord Shiva and honed in on Madurai, (the home of the Tamil Sangam )which is dedicated not to Lord Shiva but to His Consort Meenakshi and described its significance in the revival of Shaivism. 


“It was a time when Jainism had taken deep roots in the South. Thiruvavukku Arasar originally converted to Jainism and was a leading Jain evangelist.  Later due to the blessing of Lord Shiva he not only converted back to Shaivism but was able to re-establish Shaivism in the Pallava kingdom. He worked on restoring many of the temples ” said Ayyar.  Later he described the contribution of Thirugyanasambandar , the young prodigy who through divine blessing was able to bring about miraculous cures.  His worked on serving the people and established public service as an important aspect of devotion.


“Sundaramurthy Nayanar is an interesting case.  He not only lived the life of great privilege but also lived the life of a married man. It seemed as though Lord Shiva often served as his servant.  His life shows us that despite living the life of privilege and that of a householder one can still serve the Lord.“,  said Ayyar


He concluded the talk detailing the life of  Manicakavsagar who composed the Thiruvempavai which is always sung along with Thirupavai during the month of Margazhi.


The talk was followed by animated discussions amongst the devotees the temple who wanted to learn more about Shaivism. “The talk was laced with such details that we felt we had been transported to India and were actually traveling with the Nayanmars” said Chandra.


It was an enlightening way to spend Memorial Day in New England.

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