Published:28 Oct 2013 8 PMUpdated:28 Oct 2013 8 PM  Sakthi Vikatan
Author: Wordsmith Balakumaran  Painting: Padmavasan
Naradar on a mission to Siva on behalf of King Vallalan.
1. Tiruvannamalai is a famous town of Dravida Bhumi in the south of the Bharata Continent. Its popularity with festivals made the city thrive and become a prominent place.
2. People worshipped as deities not only the temple but also the nearby mountain as Siva's form by circumambulating the temple and the hill.
3. Drawn by the mountain, the yogis, Tapasvins, Sadhus, and Siddha Purushars surrendered at all times. The town flourished as the capital of philanthropy, justifying the saying: Taking birth in Tiruvannamalai guarantees liberation. People desired to live in the city.
4. Vallala Maharajan was the king of the town with capabilities: a virtuous ruler, a strong army, sharp intellect, compassion, beauty, good physique, sound morality, and humility. He regretted that he had no progeny to continue his legacy. To compensate for that want, he raised a swan flag of charity and gave away whatever his subjects asked. He celebrated Sadhus and Siva devotees.
5. He took good care of pilgrims from the north on their way to Rameswaram, who conducted Siva Pujai in Tiruvannamalai. He was so despondent that he wished someone would cast a look of grace on him to have a child.
6. Because of his competent reign, the people's delight helped spectacularly conduct Siva Pujai. The place looked shining so much that the celestials descended on the town, making it purer than before. That shining city drew the attention of Narada Muni.
7. Narada Muni descended on the city, saying, "What a shining city! It has good ambiance, good smells, and terrific vibrations. No other city has such a panache." He understood that the Tiruvannamalai ruler Vallala Maharajan was responsible for its splendor. He took the guise of a mere Sadhu and spoke to him.
8. Naradar showered accolades on the king, his city, and its subjects. "There is no other king who raised the Swan flag, making charitable work. The town is increasingly shining day by day. The celestials arrive in droves and stay here. Because of the above, there is no unhappiness, diseases, poverty, anger, jealousy, and niggardliness. People do charitable work with joy, seeing your philanthropy. Because of it, the Sadhus and Tapasvins bless this sacred city, which lacks nothing and wherein Mahalakshmi lives, and which Kamadhenu regards as her green pasture."
9. Drawn by the Sadhu's personage with gleaming eyes, sharp nose, tall and lean habitus, the king opposed his palms in homage and circumambulated him.
10. King Vallalan: "Your words are honey-sweet to my ears. I am not responsible for all these. My kingdom is Siva's abode, and there is none other than Siva here who conducts all things. I remain his servant and rule this town. All your accolades do not belong to me but to Sivaperuman to whom you must offer your praises.
11. Naradar looked at the king keenly and mused, "His tone was not commensurate with his statement that God was responsible for all good things in his kingdom. Haughtiness intertwined with his words. The theme he could do it was dominant. Such boasting, not so modest he knew, mellowed his speech, and he pretended to be humble. He is yet a good man, but the subtle inner arrogance underlies all that happens efficiently. A gentle lesson will take him to loftier heights and make him known all over the world till it exists."
12. His name and fame will remain stable, and he will live in history till the sun and the moon exist. Naradar thought of annihilating his residual arrogance, celebrating his greatness, and leaving the premises after blessing him.
13. Naradar went posthaste to Kailas, the abode of Siva, and greeted him. He sang panegyric songs about Narayana. Siva's ears turned deaf when his heart, mind, and soul were about to blossom (to hear words of adoration from Naradar).
14. Siva: "Come in. What can I do for you?"
15. Naradar: "Vallala Maharaja performs continuous charity reciting your name under the Swan banner in Tiruvannamalai. His celebrated charity, inclusive of food distribution to anyone in need, and resting places to the pilgrims, treated as gods, takes precedence to the performance of Yagas, doing Puja is with idols and building temples. What he does is better than the Yagas, and his Puja makes the city shine. The king as a deficiency: He has no progeny to continue his legacy. He desires to have a child to reign the city-state in the continued tradition. Please bless him with a child. Hearing these words from Naradar, Siva closed his eyes, and his face shone brilliantly laced with a smile.
16. Why a progeny? Why should a man think of having a child? Is it not for the continuation of his legacy at his old age or after death? What does it matter if Vallala Maharaj does not have a child? His subjects made charity a habit in Tiruvannamalai and reserved a part of their income for the same. The want of royal offspring will not affect charity, which will become the responsibility king's subjects. Why then an offspring? To look after the relatives? Even that, the townspeople will do. Could it be because an offspring would do the posthumous rites and rituals? The rituals, the townspeople can do. Could it be because the offspring must make the ritual offering of water, and Tarpana will offer soul pacification of the king? Could it be for these reasons that the king looks for a son? Thinking likewise, Siva smiled.
17. Siva extended his blessings to the king and understood that Naradar discovered a character flaw in the king. That is not a fault, a mere faint stain of no consequence, which I can burn off. Siva thinking thus told Naradar he was ready to leave for Tiruvannamalai. Naradar opposed his palms joyously in reverence.
18. Siva came down to Tiruvannamalai with his Bhutaganas (attendants).