The story of how Appar witnessed Mount Kailash at Thiruvaiyaaru

Thirunaavukarasar one of the 4 saints of South India (570 to 670 CE) travelled by foot to many holy shrines in Tamilnadu as well as North India. After having darshan of the Lord Shiva at Varanasi he yearned to move further North and visit the holy abode of Mount Kailash. He told his followers who were travelling with him to go back as he wished to travel alone. Already 80 years old and walking for miles together for several days made him so weary that Appar was unable to walk anymore. He started crawling with his hands and knees and soon he was bleeding profusely. Still he was determined to have a darshan of Lord Shiva at Mount Kailash. He started rolling on the ground and soon he was covered with bruises. Seeing his determination Lord Shiva appeared before him in the guise of a sage and asked him why he was suffering so much to see Lord Shiva. He tried to convince him that at Kashi itself he had witnessed the Lord and what more he wanted. But Appar replied that he will not rest till he reached Mt Kailash. The Lord disappeared from the place but instructed Appar through his voice to take a dip in the nearby lake. This lake is said to be Lake Manasvarovar.  Appar took a dip and much to his wonder, he emerged out of the water (with no bruises) not in North India in the foothills of the Himalayas but in South India in the holy town of Thiruvaiyaaru also called Dakshin Kailasam.

Thirunaavukarasar walked out of the water and saw the Shiva Shakthi union in whatever he saw-Male and female elephants, walking towards the Lord with great love and devotion. He also saw  several Shiva ganas and Bootha ganas dancing in gay abandon, devas, sages and commoners praying to the Lord Shiva/ Shakthi in their unique ways. A few were doing abhishekam to the Lord, a few were dancing in Bhakthi, few were singing with the accompaniments of several musical instruments and the holy rivers like Ganga and Yamuna were also seen praying to the Supreme Lord.

Lord Shiva and the Goddess Uma Devi were seated as they would be seated in Mount Kailash. This event took place in the month of Aadi on Amavaasai.

This was when he sang the Pathigam Madhar Pirai Kanni Yaanai…describing the joyful sight he witnessed.

மாதர் பிறை கண்ணியானை மலையான் மகளொடும் பாடி
போதொடு நீர்சுமந்தேத்திபுகுவார் அவர் பின்புகு வேன்
யாதும் சுவடுபடாமல் ஐயாறு அடைகின்ற போது
காதல் மடப்பிடியோடு களிறு வருவன கண்டேன்.

கண்டேன் அவர் திருப்பாதம் கண்டறியாதன கண்டேன்.


Also Read: Chevvai Pillayar Nombu. Done at midnight only by women. 

Also Read: The Kolaru Padhigam, The story behind this powerful set of verses

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