19. Thiru Kurippu Thonda Nayanar
Thondamandalam was a prosperous land. Its capital was Kanchipuram. Here, Parvathi worshipped the Lord, according to the Agamas. The Lord here is called Ekambaranathar.
Tiruthondar was born here. He was a washerman. He was a staunch devotee of Lord Siva. He served Siva Bhaktas, understanding their need by watching for the signs on their face, and hence he had earned the name Tiru Kurippu Thonda Nayanar. His service consisted mainly of washing the clothes of Siva Bhaktas. Lord Siva wanted to bless this devotee: and, as usual, it had to be preceded by a severe test.
The Lord disguised Himself as a poor man, with Rudraksham on his neck and sacred ashes over the body, and appeared before Tiruthondar wearing a dirty rag. The very sight of the Siva Bhakta put Nayanar in a trance. He worshipped him. Thondar then asked him: ‘You have purified my house by your visit. How is it you are so emaciated? And, your rag needs washing. Kindly allow me to do this service for you.’ The Siva Bhakta agreed to let him do so on one condition: the rag should be washed, dried and returned to him before sunset, otherwise his emaciated body would perish in the cold.
When Thondar accepted the work, there was brilliant sunlight. He had washed the rag and immediately, it began to rain heavily. It was nearing sunset time. There was no hope of getting the rag dried. Thondar was greatly upset. Instead of serving the Siva Bhakta, he was going to put him to great hardship. Thinking of this sin, Thondar, dashed his head, prayerfully, on the washing stone, and began to weep.
Lord Siva appeared before him, held his hand and said: ‘Oh noble soul, I am highly pleased with your sincere devotion. You will soon come to My Abode and live happily there forever.’
Tiru Kurippu Thondar fell at the Lord’s Feet and sang His glory.