Arulmigu Thiyagarajaswamy Temple - Devotees

Devotees down the ages :

The following is an enumeration of the devotees who have worshipped Him down the ages, collated by Pulavar Ma Ki. Ramanan in his book ‘Oppilatalam Otriyur’.

• Shakthi, Shiva’s consort heard about the eminence of this town from Shiva and worshipped his manifest form in this temple.

• Brahma performed a severe penance and attained the blessings of Shiva, Brahma and beheld Shiva in the form of Agni and attained Satyaloka. Shiva is called Brahmeeswarar as he blessed Brahma accepting his benediction.

• Mahavishnu performed penance and attained Vaikunta at Thiruvottiyur. Shiva is called Thirumaaleeswarar as he blessed Thirumal Mahavishnu.

• Sri Rama’s son, Lava rode by horse back from Porur to receive a darshan of the Lord during Pradosham. He was blessed with a vision of Shiva in all his glory.

• Indra, the king of the Devas worshipped Shiva and was cured of a curse that had befallen him.

• Brahma or Vedapurusha placed all the Vedas before Padampakka Nathar and consecrated himself and his knowledge.

• Nandideva worshipped Shiva and had a vision of His cosmic dance.

• Chandran, the Moon God, worshipped Shiva with flowers and was purged of the curse that blighted him.

• Adisesha, Lord Vishnu’s vahana, performed puja with flowers and was blessed.

• Vasuki, the snake attained His blessing by his staunch devotion.

• Narada worshipped Thiagarajaswamy and received His blessings.

• Vanmiki (Valmiki), conjectured to have lived in 6000 B.C. could not receive the darshan of Shiva and was asked to visit the Marundeeswarar Temple at another part of Chennai. This place was called Thiruvanmiyur after his visit.

• Vyasa (c.3000 B.C.) extolled the virtues of this temple to Sage Sooda.

• Agastya had an astounding vision of Kailasa and Shiva’s wedding with Shakthi at this temple.

• Sage Kura elucidated the greatness of this temple to his disciples.

• Sage Upamanyu initiated Vasuki to visit the temple and get Shiva’s blessing and attained Shiva Dhiksha himself.

• Panini’s presented his explication or Vyakarana of grammar at this temple first.

• Sage Vakeesa worshipped Shiva and was blessed by Him.

• Thiruvottiyuran Adimai was an ardent devotee of Sri Thiagarajaswamy and Vadivudai Amman. He undertook the restoration of the temple and organized the kuta muzhukku of the temple in 1936. From 12 years, he visited the temple from his home in Choolaimedu without fail (even on the day of his son’s demise). Such was his devotion. He worked fervently and diligently for 14 years and completed the restoration work of the temple. He has also built a school and a hospital in honour of the reigning deity of Thiruvottiyur.

• Padagaccheri Ramalingar, an ascetic has incepted a madam by the Pattinathar shrine.

• King Mandata sanctioned tax exemption to the township of Otriyur as he felt that god himself had corrected the royal orders stating that Otriyur be exempted from tax payment.

• King Mugakunta immersed himself in the Adisesha Theerta and attained youth.

• Elelasingar was a student of Sri Tiruvalluvar and was a flourishing merchant. Shiva appeared in his dream and asked him to gift two Brahmins who had come all the way from Kasi with two precious rubies. After he had given them the rubies, Elelasingar got into trouble, when Shiva gave him two other rubies instead and blessed him for his generosity and benevolence.

• King Tondaiman restored the temple in 750 A.D. He attained Shiva Diksha through the guidance of Sage Vromasa and killed the demons Vannan and Onnan with the mazhu, a weapon gifted by God. He worked on the restoration of the temple and constructed the shrines of Vadivudai Amman, Gunalaya Vinayagar, Vattapparai Amman, Valarkali Amman, Arul Jothi Murugan, Akasalingam, Sahasralingam and the 27 Natchktras. He also constructed the gopuras and the temple walls. Besides this, he also procured 500 shivalingas and 500 austere Brahmins from Kasi and reinstated the temple according the agama texts. Moreover, he conducted the Thirukkadalattu a water festival on Masi Magam. He gave away several lands and towns to the temple.

• Around 11 A.D., Kulothunga Chola I took up various restoration works associated with the temple, all of which are described in great detail in the stone inscriptions of the temple.

• Kulothunga Chola II undertook the construction of the Vattapparai Amman shrine, the temple walls, the mandapas and the gopuras in 12 A.D., The royal patronage extended to this temple by Chola, Pandiya and Pallava kings have been inscribed in great detail through the stone inscriptions of this temple.

Sekkizhar’s Peria Purana says that six nayanmars have extolled the magnificence of this temple.

• Liyadigal Kadavarkon in 6 A.D. visited various temples in Tamil Nadu and composed a Vennba on the temple. His 22nd Kshetra Vennba is on the Thiruvottiyur temple.

• Deivakkuzhanthai Thirugnana Sambandar visited this temple in 7 A.D., and composed a patikam and 11 poems dedicated to Shiva. These poems describe the fertility of the lands and fields of Thiruvottiyur and the beauty of its shores.

• Thirunavukkarasar also known as Appar has composed 5 Patikams on this temple in 7 A.D., of which only 43 poems are extant.

• Sundaramoorthy Nayanar wedded Sangili Nachiar in 8 A.D., under the Magizha Maram of this temple on Masi Magam. Later, he deserted her Nemesis set in Divine retribution followed and he lost his eyesight. Following this, he composed several heart-rending songs pleading Shiva forgiveness and asking for cure from his miserable condition. He has composed 2 patikams and 20 poems on this temple.

• Sangili Nachiar, who was born in the town of Gnayiru, grew up in Thiruvottiyur and worshipped Shiva by adorning Him with flowers. Later she married Sundarar with some conditions imposed on her, and was separated from him for a while, then followed by a reunion.

• Manikkavasakar has sung about Thiruvottiyur in his Tiruvasakam.

• Kalianayanar was a merchant at the Chakrapadi Street in Thiruvottiyur. He worshipped Shiva by lighting an oil lamp every day. During the course of his life, he became very poor. In fact, he had to borrow money from various sources for a living. In spite of these financial problems, he somehow lighted the lamp at the temple by working hard and doing menial jobs. At a certain point of time, he did not have money even to light the lamp. Depressed and dejected, he decided to go away with his life, and light the lamp with his blood when Lord Shiva appeared before him and blessed him with eternal life.

• Sri Adi Sankara visited the Thiruvottiyur temple in 8 A.D. He put an end to the ritual of offering sacrifices at the Vattapparai Amman shrine and incepted a Sri Chakra. He also appointed a Kerala Namboodri to perform puja at this shrine. Sri Sankara composed the Thirupurasundari Ashtakam, comprising of 8 slokas.

• Pattinathar visited this temple in 9 A.D. He was promised Mukthi at the town where the sugar cane he held tasted sweet. When he reached Thiruvottiyur, the cane tasted sweet indicating that this was the place suitable to attain samadhi. He walked along the seashore by the temple. Fisher boys were playing by the shore. He called them to play a game. Pattinathar asked them to bury him and then call for him. After they had covered him completely, they called him and he appeared from the opposite direction and greeted them. They buried him in the sand again. He walked towards them from another direction. They buried him for the third time. They called and they called. He never came back. On digging up the place they had buried him they found nothing but shivalinga. He had attained Mukthi. Pattinathar has composed several poems on Otriyur’s God, Sri Thiagarajaswamy. His shrine called Pattinathar Samadhi still stands by the shores of Thiruvottiyur.

• In 12 A.D. Kambar learnt the Ramayana from Pandit Sathuranana all day and composed poems in Tamil by night. Pandit Sathuranana a Keralite was well versed in many languages. Stone inscriptions say that many disciples studied various scriptures at the Sathuranana madam. Kambar learnt Valmiki’s Ramayana from him. Legends say that Vattapparai Amman appeared before Kamban with a torch of fire and bade him to compose a poem on her.

• Kalamegha Pulavar, in 14 A.D. has composed two sladais on Thiagarajaswamy, His Grace and Benevolence.

• Umapathi Sivachariar has composed Kali Vannbas on Shiva and Otriyur.

• In 15 A.D. Arunagirinathar has sung two Thirupugazhs.

• In the second century A.D. the twins Elam Surian who had lost his sight and Mudhu Surian who had lost his legs, composed several verses on Sri Thiagarajaswamy.

• In 18 A.D. Sri Thyagaraja, the great music composer, the first among the Sangeetha Mummurthigal, composed a set of Pancharatna Keerthanas on Vadivudai Amman.

• Sri Muthuswamy Dikshitar, the second among the Sangeetha Mummurthigal composed a keerthana ‘Adipureeswaram’ on Otriyur and its reigning deity.

• In 16 A.D. Otri Gnanapragasar composed ‘Thiruvottiyur stalapurana’ in chaste Tamil verse.

• From 1835 to 1858, Sri Ramalinga Adigalar visited Otriyur everyday for 23 years and received the blessings of Sri Thiagarajaswamy. Sri Ramalinga Adigalar was living with his brother in Parrys’ Chennai. He visited the temple at Kanda Kottam and Thiruvottiyur everyday. From the age of 12, Adigalar walked all the way from home to Otriyur and back, until the age of 35, when he passed away. It is said that once when he was caught in the rains and reached Chennai late after a tiring walk from Otriyur he lay down hungry and fatigued in the thinnai, the frontal porch outside his house. He did not want to wake up his sister-in-law late in the night and ask her to serve food. Vadivudai Amman herself woke him from his sleep and served him food in the form of Adigalar’s sister-in-law. Adigalar slept appeased. After some time, his sister-in-law woke up realizing that Ramalingar would be hungry and had to be served food. She came out of the house and woke up Ramalingar to have dinner. In a surprised tone, he told her that only then she had awaken him and given him his dinner. His sister-in-law was puzzled. Only then did Adigalar realize that the goddess Herself had served him food. Adigalar sings in verse of this diving experience. Sri Ramalinga Adigalar has composed 31 verses on Shiva titled Ezhuttariyum Perumal Maalai’ and 102 verses on Shakthi titled ‘Vadivudai Manikka Maalai’.

• Pamban Swamigal in 1850 sang several verses on Otriyur, which he visited regularly.

• On June 27th 1898 Maraimalai Adigal was cured of his indecipherable abdominal malaise due to the grace of the Murugan in the ‘Arul Jothi Murugan’ shrine at the temple. He composed the ‘Thiruvottiyur Murugan Mummanikkovai’ in 30 verses.

• Sri Chidambaranatha Munivar has sung a Kshetrakkovai in Pillai Thamizhil eulogizing Thiruvottiyur’s Murugan.

• Sri Padampakka Natha Pulavar has composed 32 poems entitled ‘Thiruvottiyur Senguntha Vinayagar Maalai’.

• Vedarishi Kabali Sastrigal (1806 – 1853) visited the Vadivudai Amman shrine everyday and sat meditating there, chanting her name 1008 times. One day he had a vision of Her. He composed ‘Mahamanustavam’ 32 slokas in Sanskrit on Vadivudai Amman.

• Pulavar N. Natarajan has composed ‘Vadivudai Thiruppalli Ezhucchi’ in 80 verses.

• Arunkavi Sadhu Ram Swmigal has written ‘Vadivudai Amman Viruttam’ in 15 verses.