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THE GOD GAVE INSTRUCTION TO THE LITTLE BLACK BIRD
(OR KING CROW)
While Suguna Pandian, the son of Rajaraja Pandian, was reigning, it happened that a certain person, who in a former birth had been very virtuous, on account of some small sin was born in the shape of the bird named caran-curuvi. In consequence of its attacking crows and other birds it had suffered severe wounds, and was seated on the branch of a flower-bearing tree in a forlorn state. A certain pilgrim Brahmin, holy internally and externally, journeying with an umbrella in his hand towards a sacred bathing place, came and stood under the shade of this tree, when some persons who were near asked, "Which of all sacred places is the most sacred?" To which he replied, "It is difficult to find a place where the temple, the tank, and the deity, are equally illustrious; but this union of virtue is found at Madura, which is named 'This world, and Siva's world." Hence, if any one worships there, the god will give whatever benefit is desired; and there is no place more sacred." The bird heard this statement, and believing it, proceeded with all speed to Madura; where it continued for three days to bathe in the golden lotus tank, to worship the goddess Minatchi, and to render homage of the mind to Siva's image. The goddess inquired into the case of this novel worshipper, which the god explained; and then taught the bird the mantram (or charm) by which he had conquered Yama.* (* The allusion is said to be to the case of Marcandeya, who is Siranjivi (or immortal). When Yama came to tie his life with a cord, and drag it away, the young Brahmin cleaved to the image of Siva, and Yama drew both along; at which the god, being indignant, burst from the lingam, kicked Yama with his feet, overcame him by the words in question, and gave to Marcandeya sixteen lives, pronouncing that these sixteen lives should amount to immorality.) The bird now, letting go its "little sense", acquired knowledge, and also power, by repaeting the trilateral charm, so that it conquered all birds, not even excepting Garudan (the vehicle of Vishnu) itself; hence it acquired its name of Valiyan (or strong one). The bird again be sought the god to give the like power to all of its species; which request was granted. Hence the song these birds now repeat is the charm which was taught them by the god. After some time the instructed bird was received into Kailasa (the paradise of Siva). Thus they who worship Siva are never unfortunate, like those who do not; a truth made manifest by the experience of the caran-curuvi.
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