The Birth Of Tiruvachakam

Thiruvasagam, Manickavachakar
Manikkavachakar went from place to place worshiping the Lord of his heart, Shiva with heart rending verses in different places. He then set his feet in Chidambaram, where the Lord was engaged in a cosmic dance. Songs of adoration poured from the depth of his being on witnessing the the dance of Lord Nataraja (Lord Shiva)

Lord Nataraja touched by the piety of His chosen devotee resolved to expose the songs to the world of other devotees and more so to bring to light the speckless devotion of Manikkavachakar. Hence the Lord visited the house of Manikkavachakar in the guise of an old Brahmin. He was cordially invited by the devotee. The Lord with much familiarity said that he had heard of the heart rending songs that he sang in different temples on Lord Shiva which he is doing so in Chidambaram as well. He then requested the devotee to sing the songs if he could remember as they poured forth superfluously and spontaneously without the least effort. He said that He was wanting to visit him to listen to the songs but got delayed in the want of required leisure.

Manikkavachakar readily came forward to sing th songs. His voice broke forth into mellifluous numbers with devotion dripping. He lost himself totally in the adoration of the Lord, oblivious of the Brahmin taking down the numbers. Soon Manikkavachakar, engrossed in the thought of the Lord while singing, ultimately fell silent. The old Brahmin slipped away quietly.

At the break of dawn, the priest of the temple was puzzled to find a palm leaf book on the doorstep in front of the Nataraja idol. On opening it curiously, he found the book titled 'Thiruvachakam' with an explanation that the book took shape as dictated by Manikkavachakar. The description bore a signature below, 'Thiruchitrambalam' which means 'Chidambaram' along with the stamp of Lord Nataraja to testify its authenticity.

A group of priests swarmed Manikkavachakar. requesting him the genesis of the hymns. The great devotee led them to his heart's beholder, Lord Nataraja, and said that the Lord was the sole answer to the question. So saying he merged with the Lord.

Story first published: Tuesday, March 3, 2009, 15:08 [IST]
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