Near Seerkazhee in Tamilnadu , few hundred years ago there lived a patriotic Army General of Chozha king who earned the king’s goodwill and respect with his devoted work. He was blessed with a handsome male child, whom the parents named Neelan , due to his dark (neela mEga) colour.
Neelan appeared during the auspicious karthiga month ( November-December ) on kritigai nakshathram, a full moon day. Legend reveal the child was an incarnation of the Lord’s Sarngam (Divine bow).
Neelan grew up as a shrewd boy, learning tamil and sanskrit . Well versed in sword fight, horse and elephant riding, as required for protecting the kingdom which made people like him very much. As Neelan’s father was not able to continue his services due to his old age , the Chozha king, having heard about Neelan, appointed him as the Army General . Neelan being dynamic captured the neighboring states with tact and impressed the King with his valor .
The king , immensely pleased with him presented a small portion of his kingdom, a place named Thirumangai, as a tribute and made him a TERRITORY KING! (Thus he came to be known as “Thirumangai mannan”.
That was his first success as a army general . The royal life that he enjoyed made him slip from devotional practices and as normally seen , pride went on to his head. He took to all vices due to the position and caught in seeking sensual pleasures. The sudden change in his behavior made his parents wonder. They were helpless and could do nothing except to pray Lord to correct their dear kaliyan .
All compassionate Lord Sriman Narayana did listen to their prayers . A divine pastime was about to happen …
In the same kingdom Tirumangai , a gandharva who was previously cursed by kapila muni appeared as the most beautiful daughter of a local doctor named Kumudhavalli . It was the divine will for her to play a role of mending Neelan ( Kaliyan ) .
Being an incarnate of devalokam , she was exquisitely pretty and could attract even a recluse. Thirumangai mannan heard of her alluringly feminine beauty and wished to see her immediately. He went on a ride to her place and was captivated by her darting glance at him and fell head over heels for her. As a King , he proposed to marry her.
Kumudhavalli pleased with his proposal , stipulated two prerequisites to qualify for marrying her.
She wished her husband should become a srivaishnava and feed 1000 bhagavathas daily . Kaliyan , being intoxicated by her looks, agreed after listening to her conditions immediately. They got married.
With a bright Thirumankaapu , thulasi maalai , he paid obeisance’s to LORD and started serving Mahaprasada for bhagavathas daily as promised .
Slowly the infection to serve bhagavathas day by day got charged up and Kaliyan was turning into a true, sincere devotee of the Lord. He was getting tremendous satisfaction from serving the devotees daily.
While this divine kainkaryam was going on, as expected , the entire treasury was invisibly being spent for AnnadhAnam kainkaryam. As a territorial King he could not even send the “tax” which was supposed to reach the Chozha king every year.
The Chozha King sent a message to Kaliyan asking him pay the taxes that was collected at the earliest which he has been ignoring . As there was no proper response the king got wild and sent his soldiers to rough him up .
Kaliyan sent them back effortlessly with his fighting skills. Amused , the king himself came with a heavy army and attacked Thirumangai mannan. Even though Thirumangai mannan’s army was small, he fought and won the battle.
With gratitude to the King , Thirumangai Mannan went to the royal highness and submitted !
Your highness ! I accept my fault in overlooking your command and utilised the funds to perform this special service . But , please accept that the tax money was spent for a bhagavatha kainkaryam which is a essential rajadharma . When this noble service was rebuted by your men .. How can I remain mute and allow them to imprison me?” That was the reason I was forced to retaliate .
The Chozha king replied……
dear Kaliyan !!!
“I made you a king of this territory that gave you all these luxuries. You have overstepped the royal command and fought with me, too” and become ungrateful . I feel really very very sad …
Kaliyan was upset with the Kings remark calling him “ungrateful” . Without loosing any time , Kaliyan threw away his sword and bowed down before the king and submits …..
Oh Highness !! Am I ungrateful? was not these kingdoms I captured for you.
OK ! Now I am standing in front of you as the same Neelan . Go ahead and do what you wish to do with me”.
Seeing Kaliyan’s obedience , the king melted and was moved with his behavior .
He hugged Kaliyan and said dear kaliyan ….. I am convinced ……
But ! the royal commandments cannot be overlooked . Hence please arrange to send all the tax money in a period of three days And till then, you will be imprisoned in this temple.
Kaliyan was sad . There was no way he could get any money and hence, he surrendered to the Lord to help him. The all compassionate Lord was kind to his services . The Lord appeared in his dream and suggested him to go to the banks of river vedhavathi near kanchipuram where he could find a big treasure .
Overjoyed , He narrates the divine dream to the king. Kaliyan is released and he along with few ministers travel up to kanchi, and find a BIG TREASURE near the vedhavathi river banks .
Having heard this news, the king personally meets Kaliyan and bows to him for his devotion . My dear Kaliyan ” I have done a great mistake of taxing a great devotee like you . Please take all this treasure and let me send you back with full Royal honors for you to carry out the divine service which pleases you .
The residents of Thirumangai are thrilled . Kaliyan revives the service for 1000 bhagavthas more aggressively as usual. Over a period of time they find themselves left with no wealth for continuing the service .
With a view to keeping his promise to his beloved wife, Kaliyan resorts to highway robbery from rich people who seldom care about bhagavathas.
With the booty, he continues the services once again .
To enlighten Kaliyan , Lord out of abundant mercy appear on the highway as a”just married” couple with lots of jewels adorned on them. Kaliyan is overjoyed to loot this new wedded couple Looking at them with so many jewels he thanks LORD for the booty to be robbed .
Kaliyan marches before them on his horse demands them to surrender all they have . Lord pretends and do precisely what is instructed to them . They put all their ornaments on a piece of cloth as commanded. When Kaliyan tries to lift the bundle of ornaments he is not able to move it a bit!
He was shocked and perplexed as to why it was so difficult to move it! The bridegroom has a mischievous smile . Kaliyan with a fierce look into the bridegrooms eyes , asks him
Hey You !!!!! Tell me …..
What is the spell …that manthram you have for lifting this bundle?.
Tell me, else………………………………..”
He draws the sword near him . The divine parents have a gentle smile .They ask Kaliyan to purify himself in the nearby kaveri tributary flowing there .
Kaliyan purifies himself and gets attracted to the divine couple who are full of opulence ..He comes near the Lordships .
Lord all compassionate and all merciful whispers near his right year the nectarian Ashtaakshari mantra .
Having heard those EIGHT SYALLABLES (AshtAksharam) MANTRA right from none other than LORD ( SRIYA: PATHI HIMSELF ) himself…..
his mind, his heart became PURE! instantly .
All his material dirt disappears ! He prostrates fully at their Lotus feet with eyes full of tears at their mercy to bless him despite his shortcomings and negative qualities.
Kaliyan realises the purpose of his birth and pours out tamizh pAsurams on the Lord as if it comes from just opened dam (“madai thirandha veLLam pOl”). He looked at the sky and kept on crying ceaselessly for their dayA on his lowly self. His hands and the legs were shivering with tremendous amount of bhakti and love for the Lord.
He came back galloping on his horse named ADALMAA to narrate the ENTIRE EXCITING INCIDENT to his beloved kumudhavalli. Kumudhavalli, before he started even, asked him as to why his face looked so bright, serene, divine and beaming .