Thillai vaal(z) andhaNartham adiyaarkkum adiyaen
Before Sundharamoortthi Naayanaar was born on earth as the son of Sadaiyanaar, a great devotee of Lord Siva, he was serving Lord Siva at Mount of Kailaasam; there he was known as Aalaala Sundharar.
Once Lord Siva wanted the blessed South (Tamil Nadu) to thrive well, and also wanted to give the souls the padhiham, which would help them to live without sorrow by introducing to them the exemplary lives of Lord’s ardent devotees. Lord Siva decided that Aalaala Sundharar would be the right choice to fulfill this mission. Nevertheless, the Lord should have a justification to demote someone to go back to live on earth, and it is not difficult for Lord Siva to come with a plan to execute His intention.
Due to Lord’s will, one day when Aalaala Sundharar was plucking flowers for Lord Siva, he happened to give a fond glance at the two ladies, Anindhadhai and Kamalini, who were also plucking flowers for Devi Uma. They also looked at Aalaala Sundharar with fondness. Having done this to Aalaala Sundharar and the two ladies, the Lord told Sundharar that, Mount Kailaasam was not a place for love inclinations and asked him to go down to earth to fulfill his desire; accordingly, the two ladies also had to be born on earth.
Kamaliniyaar was born as Paravaiyaar in Thiruvaaroor, while Aalaala Sundharar was born as Nambiyaaroorar in Thiru Naavaloor. According to what was already decided by Lord Siva, both Nambiryaaroorar and Paravaiyaar saw each other when the earlier came to pray to the Lord of Thiruvaaroor. The people of Thiruvaaroor, at the direction of Lord Himself, got the two of them married.
Nambiyaaroorar was always immersed in God consciousness, even when he was enjoying his married life with Paravaiyaar. One day when he went to the temple, he saw the big group of devotees present at Thaevaasiriyan Mandabam, and yearned when he would become a devotee of all those devotees. Having such a noble thought in his mind, Nambiyaaroorar proceeded to pray to Lord Thiyaahaesar.
Lord Siva, deciding to fulfill Sundharar’s (Nambiyaaroorar’s) desire to become a devotee of all those devotees thereat, appeared in front of him and asked him to sing a padhiham on His devotees. When Sundharar hesitated saying how was he to know about the greatness of God’s devotees and asked the Lord to give him the guidance as regards the singing of the padhiham. Lord Siva, having the intention to redeem the souls of their misery and ensure their well-being, gave Sundharar the opening line of the padhiham and asked him to go ahead and sing the greatness of the devotees. This is the padhiham with the opening line, Thillaivaal(z) andhaNartham adiyaarkkum adiyaen. This padhiham is called Thirutthonda thohai.
Having been blessed by Lord Siva, Sundharar went to Thaevaasiriyan Mandabam, prayed to the devotees who were gathered there and started singing the Thirutthonda thohai with tears rolling down his cheeks. This padhiham sings the praise of sixty individual devotees and nine group devotees; as Sundharar finishes this padhiham saying, “Those who rejoice and melt, on hearing the servitude of Aarooran, the chief of Thirunaavaloor and the beloved son of Isainyaaniyaar and Sadaiyanaar, who attained the holy feet of Aran (Lord Siva) Who is actually my Lord, will become the dear devotees of the Father of Aaroor”, both the parents of Sundharar were added to the sixty individual devotees of Lord Siva; on adding Sundharar to the list, the final number of Lord Siva’s individual devotees is sixty-three. All these individual and group devotees are the ones of whom we read in the treatise, Periya PuraaNam.
The first verse of the padhiham, Thirutthonda Thohai, is:
Thillaivaal(z) andhaNartham adiyaarkkum adiyaen
Thiruneela kaNdatthu kuyavanaarkk(u) adiyaen
Illaiyae ennaadha iyatpahaikkum adiyaen
ILaiyaanthan kudimaaRan adiyaarkkum adiyaen
Vellumaa mihavalla meypporuLukk(u) adiyaen
Viripol(z)il sool(z) kundraiyaar viRanmiNdarkk(u) adiyaen
Allimen mullaiyandhaar amarneedhikk(u) adiyaen
Aarooran aarooril ammaanukk(u) aaLae
The meaning of the verse is: ‘I, by the name of Aarooran, who is a humble slave of the Lord of Aaroor, is a humble slave of the following: the devotees of the Brahmins dwelling in Thillai; Thiruneelakandar, the potter; Iyatpahai who never says the word ‘no’ (to those who come to him with a request); the devotees of Maaran of Ilaiyaankudi; Meypporul who successfully adhered to his principle (even at the cost of his life); Viranmindar of Kundraiyaar which is surrounded by extensive gardens; Amarneedhi who wears a beautiful garland of Arabian jasmine (mullai) with soft petals’.
If we recite the entire padhiham known as Thirutthonda thohai, we would have saluted to all our Saivite saints whose life histories are reverentially spoken of in the book, Periya PuraaNam.