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Story Of Birth Of Thirumoolar And Rishi Sundaranatha – Dead Cowherd Becomes A Siddha

Thirumular was a Tamil Shaivite mystic and writer, considered one of the sixty-three Nayanmars and one of the 18 Siddhars. His main work, the Tirumantiram, which consists of over 3000 verses, forms a part of the key text of the Tamil Shaiva Siddhanta, the Tirumurai. There is a interesting story of the birth of Thirumoolar And Rishi Sundaranatha.

According to legend, desiring to meet his old friend Sage Agastya, Rishi Sundaranatha as he was then known, walked the long journey from Kailasa to reach Podigai Hills in the Tamil country. He met Sage Agastya here and had a fruitful journey and got his mission accomplished. On the return journey to Mount Kailasa he spent time worshipping at various shrines among which was the sacred temple at Tiruvavaduthurai. The renowned temple at Tiruvavaduthurai stood on the banks of the perennial river Kaveri and after his holy dip, he entered the temple and prayed to Bhagavan seated there with all delight. As he moved out of the temple, his eyes fell on a sight, rare for the human eyes to come across.

He saw several milch cows stand surrounding the dead body of a man. One was trying to lick him back to life. Two others were affectionately butting him with their small horns attempting to wake him up. Several others were virtually in tears and belching out mow...mow, a language not too difficult to decipher.

He moved closer to the scene, only to find that the affectionate cows simply refused to find their way without their cowherd. And it was already the cow-dust hour.

Since his mission was to bring peace in every perturbed mind, be it human or animal or insect, he thought it was his bounden duty to bring the dead cowherd back to life all to wipe away the tears of the cows.

As a siddha who had attained ashtama siddhi, he decided to use one of the eight kinds of occult or supernatural powers achieved by hard penance and constant practice, called prakamyam (the power to disembody and enter into other bodies).

As per his decision, he moved to a secluded spot in the woods, left his own body and entered the body of Moolan, the cowherd. The weeping cows gamboled in joy at the very sight of the dead man awake. A few minutes ago they were lowing with grief, but now they lifted their tails and gently moaned in joy, all their grief gone. The resurrection of Moolan, the cowherd resulted in the birth of Thirumoolar. Strange was the combination. A siddha’s soul in a cowherd’s body.