61. Tiru Neelakanta Yazhpanar
In Tiru Erukattanpuliyur, in the Chola kingdom, there lived an ardent devotee of Lord Siva by name Tiru Neelakanta Yazhpanar. He was an expert in playing the Yazh (Veena, a musical instrument). It was his habit to visit many sacred shrines and sing His glories on the Yazh. He once went to Madura. He was standing at the entrance and singing. The Lord wanted to hear him at close quarters and so asked the devotees in their dream, to bring Yazhpanar into the inner shrine the next day. When the Brahmins took him inside the shrine, Yazhpanar was surprised, but understood it was His Lila and that He wanted to hear him play on the Yazh. As he was singing, a voice was heard in the heaven: ‘If the instrument rests on the wet floor, it will be spoilt: give him a golden seat to occupy.’ At once a golden seat was offered to him. Yazhpanar prostrated to the Lord and sang of His supreme compassion, standing on the golden seat.
Yazhpanar then went to Tiruvarur and, here, too, he remained outside the shrine and sang. And here, too, the Lord wanted him to sing in His immediate presence. So, He created another opening on the northern side of the temple. Yazhpanar understood the Lord’s will and entered through the gate and sang in His Presence. How he joined Sambandar and got Liberation, has been told in Sambandar’s life.