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Periyavar Arul Uraigal
(In Tamil)

* 6 Mar 2022
Vyaghrapada is a great sage and an ardent devotee of God Shiva, who lived in the region of Chidambaram. He expressed his devotion to the great god by offering flowers daily which are even untouched by honeybees. During which his legs use to get injured by the thorns and rough surfaces of the trees. Seeing his devotion, Shiva granted the boon of tiger legs. Hence got the Vyaghrapada (Vyaghra means Tiger and pada means legs).
He belongs to the Nandinatha sampradaya sect in Shaivism and is one among the eight disciples of God Nandi and spread the teaching of Shaivism.
Vyaghrapada was the son of sage Madhyandina who use to live in the banks of river Ganga. The child acquired remarkable proficiency in Vedas and other religious scriptures during his early childhood.
Patanjali, a great Maharshi well known for his teachings on yoga sutras and Sanskrit grammar also came to Chidambaram to see the Anandatandava became a great friend of Vyaghrapada.
Later, God Shiva, one day gave his presence in Chidambaram and performed the divine dance of joy (Ananda Tandava) in the kanaka sabha and gave Moksha to Vyaghrapada, Patanjali and Jaimini.
Vyaghrpada also wrote his own book on the importance of Chidambaram(Sthalapurana).
In India, Vyaghrapada is normally depicted as a human with the legs of Tiger along with a tail, pointed beard and also having eyes in both the hands and feet. He is normally seen in a standing posture. However, sometimes he is also portrayed in a bent position like that of a tiger.
In the Statue present in eastern gopura of the Thillai Nataraja temple, Vyaghrapada is depicted with tiger legs and also carrying a stick with hook and flower basket on this right shoulder.

* 18 Oct 2021
Samaya  kuravargal nalvar (naalvar)
The four saiva poet saints Thirugnanasambandar, Thirunavukarasar, Sundarar and Manikavasagar are known as Samaya Kuravargal.

* 12 Sep 2021
Gotra is a concept of patrilineal classification, which identifies the families of a caste. Each gotra takes the name of a famous Rishi or sage.
List in Wikipedia

* 22 Aug 21
Karaikal Ammaiyar (Kaaraikaal Ammaiyaar)
In her earlier birth, Karaikal Ammaiyar (Punithavathi) was Sumathi, daughter of Thumburu (Gandharva or celestial musician playing the veena).  She was deep in prayer to Lord Shiva and failed to notice the presence of Dhurvasa Maharishi who cursed her to be born on earth. 
Punithavathi was born in a Vysya family and was a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva and respected Siva devotees from a very early age. She was married to Paramadatta Chettiyar. One day Pramadatta sent home two mangoes.  Punithavathi had served one of the mangoes to a saiva devotee.  During lunch Paramadatta found the mango to be very sweet and asked for the other. The worried Punithavathi prayed to Lord Shiva and miraculously a mango appeared in her hand which she served to her husband.  He noticed that the fruit was looking bigger and also tasted much better. Convinced that it was not the same fruit that he had sent home, he questioned his wife.  She told him the whole story.  He could not believe in such magic and asked her to prove it by praying and procuring another mango.  Punithavathiar prayed and a mango did appear but it vanished as soon as it was given to Paramadatta to eat.  Now utterly convinced, he felt he could not live with such a divine person.  He left her, married another woman in a neighbouring town and had a daughter.  In order to respect his first wife, he named the daughter Punithavathi.  Dejected Punithavathi, no longer wanted her pleasant form and prayed to the Lord to give her a skeletal ghostly body and that she may always serve the Lord with total devotion.
Now known as Karaikal Ammaiyar, she reached Mount Kailas and unwilling to place her feet on the sacred mountain, she walked upside down using her hands.  She was blessed to be addressed as Ammai (mother) by Lord Siva.  Asked to reside at Thiruvalangadu to witness his dance by Lord Siva, she lived singing his praise  - Arpudha Thiruvandhadhi and Irattai Mani malai.  Considered the first to have sung in the Andhadhi format, her songs are referred to as Thiruvalangattu Mooththa Thirupadhigams (oldest).
There is a small shrine dedicated to ammaiyar near the temple of Lord Somanathar and Somanayaki. The Mangani Thiruvizha (festival) is celebrated annually at Karaikal, Puducherry to commemorate the salvation attained by Karaikal Ammaiyar.

* 24 Jul 21
“She was the daughter of a courtesan in the 15th century, who refused to follow her mother’s path of luxury. She remained a solitary woman to have treaded the path of enlightenment uninstructed. Kanhopatra’s matrilineal origin and her refusal to serve as an accessory to a male saintly figure, placed her at the periphery of our patriarchal society and she was habitually brushed off as insignificant by both scholars and laymen. An autonomous, solitary woman, unattested by androcentric norms, was a threat and hence ignored.”
- Divya Ravi during the program Kanhopatra featured in the online Geeva Arts Festival 2021
Source: Surrender to the Supreme, Dr. Utpal K Banerjee,

Kanhopatra is believed to have composed many abhangas, but most were not in written form: only thirty of her abhangas or ovis survive today. Twenty-three verses of her poems are included in the anthology of Varkari saints called Sakal sant-gatha. Most of these verses are autobiographical, with an element of pathos. Her style is described as unadorned by poetic devices, easy to understand, and with a simplicity of expression. According to Deshpande, Kanhopatra's poetry reflects the "awakening of the downtrodden" and the rise of female creative expression, ignited by the sense of gender equality enforced by the Varkari tradition.

July 2021
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (1836 - 1886)
Indian spiritual guru Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was born in the village of Kamarpukur, in the Hooghly district of West Bengal.
- He went to school till the age of 12, but stopped after that since he wasn't interested in a 'bread-winning education'
- Ramakrishna was influenced by several religious traditions, including devotion toward the goddess Kali, Tantra and Vaishnava bhakti and Advaita Vedanta
- He was well-versed in the Puranas, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Bhagavata Purana
- Ramakrishna was 23 when he got married to five-year-old Saradamani Mukhopadhyaya, later known as Sarada Devi. The age difference was typical for 19th century rural Bengal
- Ramakrishna became a very influential figure in Sarada's life and she became a strong follower of his teachings
- After the marriage, Sarada stayed at Jayrambati and joined Ramakrishna in Dakshineswar at the age of 18. By the time his bride joined him, Ramakrishna had already embraced the monastic life of a sannyasi. Ramakrishna returned to Calcutta after his marriage and resumed the charges of the temple again and continued his sadhana. According to his official biographers, he continued his sadhana under teachers of Tantra, Vedanta and Vaishnava.
- His chief disciple was Swami Vivekananda. Vivekananda established the Ramakrishna order, which eventually spread its mission posts throughout the world
References:, Feb 18, 2016

Sri Ramakrishna faithfully practiced the spiritual disciplines of different religions and came to the realization that all of them lead to the same goal. Thus he declared, "As many faiths, so many paths." The paths vary, but the goal remains the same. Harmony of religions is not uniformity; it is unity in diversity. It is not a fusion of religions, but a fellowship of religions based on their common goal - communion with God. This harmony is to be realized by deepening our individual God-consciousness.
References: Swami Adiswarananda,

* Jul 2021
The siddhars are believed to have had powers both major and other 'minor' powers. They are explained in detail in various yogic as well as religious texts;Thirumandiram 668:
1. To become tiny as the atom within the atom (Anima)
2. To become big in unshakeable proportions (Mahima)
3. To become as light as vapour in levitation (Laghima)
4. To become as heavy as the mountain (Garima)
5. To enter into other bodies in transmigration (Prapti)
6. To be in all things,omni-pervasive (Prakamya)
7. To be lord of all creation in omnipotence (Isatvam)
8. To be everywhere in omnipresence (Vasitvam)
These eight are the Great Siddhis.
Source: yogascience...

* Jul 2021
The 18 Siddhars
Sri SIva Vaakiya Siddhar
Sri Kayilaaya Kambali Sattai Muni Siddhar
Sri Mahaa Bhogar Siddhar
Sri Kaaga Bujandar Siddhar
Sri Pulipaani Siddhar
Sri Sattaimuni Swami
Sri Agappei Siddhar
Sri Azhugani Siddhar
Sri Kudhambai Siddhar
Sri Vallalaar Swamigal
Sri Idaikaadar Siddhar
Sri Pattinathadigalaar Siddhar
Sri Kaduveli Siddhar
Sri Kanjamalai Siddhar
Sri Chennimalai Siddhar
Sri Kabilar Siddhar
Sri Karuvooraar Siddhar
Sri Paambaati Siddhar (Sri Marudhamalai Siddhar)

* Jul 2021
Adi Sankarar established Maths in four locations - Sringeri in the south, Badri in the north, Dwaraka in the west and Jagannath Puri in the east. His disciples were made heads of these Matts - Sri Sureswaracharya in Sringeri, Sri Padmapada in Dwaraka, Sri Totaka in Badri and Sri Hastamalaka in Puri.

* Jul 2021
The Devara Moovar went to get the darshan of Poovana Naathar (Lord Siva) at Thirupoovanam near Madurai, the entire sands on the banks of the river Vaigai seemed to take the form of the Lingam & hence the saints had to have darshan of the Lord from across the river, not wanting to step on the sand. Nandi Deva is said to have moved aside slightly, in order to afford them good darshan of the Lord. As witness of this story, the idol of the Nandi in front of the Lord is seen slanting to one side.

* Jul 2021
Naradhar is known as Thiriloga Sanchari, for he is travelling the three worlds.

* Jul 2021
The 12 Alwars - Vaishnava saints
Thondaradi Podialwar

* Jul 2021
The 63 Naayanmars - Saiva saints
1. Thiruneelakandar
2. Iyarpagaiyar
3. Maarar
4. Meyporular
5. Viranmindar
6. Amarneethiyar
7. Eripathar
8. Enadinathar
9. Kannappar
10. Kungiliya Kalayanar
11. Manakkanjarar
12. Arivattayar
13. Anayar
14. Moorthiyar
15. Murugar
16. Rudrapasupatiyar
17. Tirunalaippovar
18. Tirukkurippu Thondar
19. Sandeswarar
20. Tirunavukkarasar
21. Kulachirayar
22. Kurumbar
23. Kaaraikaal Ammaiyar
24. Apputhi Adigal
25. Tiruneelakandar
26. Naminandi Adigal
27. Tirugnansambandar
28. Kalikkaamar
29. Tirumoolar
30. Dandi Adigal
31. Moorkar
32. Somasimaarar
33. Chakkiyar
34. Chirappuliyar
35. Chiruthondar
36. Kazharitrarivar
37. Gananathar
38. Kutruvar
39. Pugazh Chola
40. Narasingamunayarayar
41. Atipathar
42. Kalikkambar
43. Kaliyar
44. Sathiyar
45. Ayyadigal
46. Kanampullar
47. Kariyar
48. Ninraseer Nedumaarar
49. Vayilar
50. Munayaduvar
51. Kazharsingar
52. Idankazhiyar
53. Cheruthunayar
54. Pugazhthunayar
55. Kotpuliyar
56. Pusalar
57. Mangayarkkarasiyar
58. Nesar
59. Kochengatchola
60. Tirunelakanda Yazhpanaar
61. Sadayanar
62. Isaignaniyar
63. Sundarar

- Kaaraikaal Ammaiyar, Mangayarkkarasiyar and Isaignaniyar are the three women nayanmars.
- Appar, Sambandar, Sundarar and Manikkavasagar were the 4 great  revered saiva saints (Samayakkuravar Nalvar)
- Appar, Sambandar and Sundarar (composers of Thevaram hymns)

* July 2021
The word Rishis itself means 'Mantra-drashta', seer of a mantra
References - Excerpt from All About Hinduism by Sri Swami Sivananda,