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THE GOD CAME TO CARRY MUD AS A COOLY,
AND THE SACRED BODY WAS STRUCK WITH A CANE
The king hearing of the distress caused by the inundation, sent for his ministers, and commanded them to use means in order to stay the water of the river. This command the ministers received with reverence, and set about its fulfilment, by assembling all the householders and people of the town, and appointing to each person so much of the bank of the river to be raised into a dike. There was one poor old woman, named Vanthi, without relatives or family, who lived by making a sort of flour cakes, and by offering ghee to the god, which she afterwards sold. Being infirm and unable to labour, and having no means of obtaining help, she appealed to the god in her extremity, and be sought His assistance. Shortly after, a cooly, clothed in a very dirty garment, with the appearance of being half famished, came, inquiring if anyone was willing to employ him; at which the old woman was glad, and engaged to pay him for his work by her flour cakes. He entreated here forthwith to give him some of the imperfectly prepared material; and eating this, received some more cakes properly prepared, which he tied up in his girdle, and then went to work. But instead of doing the appointed portion, he roved about, and did a little work here and there for other people, receiving cakes from them, and then slept for a time under a tree. After receiving more cakes, he again went to work, but did little, and hindered others by his practical jokes; among which, one was the falling with his burden of mud into the river and scambling out again, after the spectators had thought him in danger of being drowned. His behaviour at length, attracted the notice of the ministers who were superintending the work; and inquiring into his indolence, they found that while the water of the river was overcome, it continued to pour in only at his appointed portion. His appearance being very beautiful, and like that of a king's son rather than a cooly, the ministers reported the case to the king, adding, that from his appearance they were afraid to flog him, as they would do others. The king himself went out to inspect the work; and coming to the idle cooly, demanded who he was? but received no answer. Offended at this deportment, the king raised a rattan, or cane, which he held in his hand, and struck him with it over the shoulder; on which the apparent cooly deposited the load of mud on his head, basket and all, and disappeared; while by means of this single basket full of earth the dike became completed at once. The blow which was struck was felt by all the inmates of the king's palace, both human beings and animals, not only so, but it was felt by all the sun, the moon, the planets, and stars; even Brahma in the paradise was disturbed, and Vishnu was awakened from his slumbers. The king stood astonished, and now the god, seated on his bullock vehicle, appeared in the air, while a celestial voice was heard, to this purport. 'That the king had done wrong in ill-using Manikkavasagar, who had employed the money he had received for the service of the god, of whom he was a distinguished follower, that the king should call Manikkavasagar, ask his pardon, and dismiss him satisfied." All this the king promised to do, and performed. Manikkavasagar gave the king his forgiveness and announced his intetntion of going to reside at Chidambaram. The king evinced a desire of accompanying him, which the minister imperatively forbad. The latter then retired to the forest of Tili trees near Chidambaram and remained there performing austere devotion; arriving also at the full knowledge of the worldly and spiritual systems. He also overcame in argument the Baudhas, who dwelt there in considerable numbers. At length his life was merged in the celestial splendour.
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