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Life of 63 nAyanmAr
Even if the five components of the world (pa.ncha bhUta) derail in their state, (devotees) do not forget the flower like feet of the Lord having female in His side. (They) Stand by the principle of praising with love. Like the hill of flawless good qualities.
Have the wealth which cannot be destroyed or created. Do not discriminate between tile and gold. Other than folding the hands out of rising love, do not even want to get mukthi.
n^AyanmAr refer to the 63 devotees (and 9 general devotees) of Lord Shiva who lived before or during the life time of chun^dhara mUrthi n^AyanAr.chun^dharar praised them all in the thiruththoNdath thokai, he sang at thiruvArUr. periya purANam talks in detail the life of these 63 devotees.
The services that these devotees did differ, but the common thing is the love for the Lord ornated by moon. They followed different ways of praying the God - chariyai, kiriyai, yOgam, nyAnam. They were in different kinds of life styles - brahmacharyam (chaNdEchar), gR^ihastam (n^IlakaNdar), vANaprastam (aiyadikaL kAdavarkOn), sanyAsam (thirumUlar). Their traditional work (or the so called caste) differ - champan^dhar (reciting vEdha), appar (farmer), n^IlakaNdar (making clay articles), thirun^ALaip pOvAr (making leather items) and so on. Both male and female (ichainyAniyAr, kAraikkAl ammaiyAr) devotees are there. (In fact the wives of many n^AyanmArs were equally devotional and got the place of Lord Shiva along with their husbands (thirun^IlakaNdar) ). Some of them had high degree of learning and nyAna (thirumUlar) while some others excelled with their simple devotion even though they didn't learn any spiritual teachings (kaNNappar). Some of them were kings (pukazch chOzar) and some others didn't even have a house to stay (thirumUlar). Irrespective of their background all of them anointed Lord Shiva with the perennial spring of love and enjoyed the bliss of His grace. It can be said that their histories show how true devotees will act under different circumstances. They excelled in their own way to be compared only to that individual devotee. Their lives are an indication to all of us that we should worship and will be able to get His grace whatever our status be.
One can find some important qualities in all the 63 saints' life. Most of them did not undertake a service that was away from their lifestyle. The weaver nEcar had taken the service of providing clothes to the devotees whereas the farmer mARar gave them food. The service to the Lord that they undertake may look simple, like throwing a stone on the shivaliN^gam everyday. But the thing is, they did the needful andthey did it with flowing love for the Lord. The other thing is their determination in doing the service even when huge hurdles were on their way. If a service is undertaken to do for the Lord it should be done at any cost. To explain their state we need no words other than chEkkizAr's own words which are on the top of this page.
Reading about the 63 devotees can be said to have attained the purpose only when it resides in our mind ever green and guide us in the path of love for the Almighty in day to day conditions of the life. Let us try to simulate the state of them in our mind. Then do you think the Thief, whom even vEdhAs struggle to describe, can escape without giving the treasure of His bliss ?
Here is that ocean of nectar; Come let us dwell in it.