Belief is that those who undertake fast, and listen to the Kaisika Puranam, on Kaisika Ekadesi will attain Vaikunta Moksham. It was Kaisika Ekadesi day and the most important Utsavam of the year at the Azhagiya Nambi temple in the Vamana Kshetram of Thiru Kurungudi (a Divya Desam 40kms South West of Tirunelveli).
Parasara Bhattar’s Contribution:
Kaisika Puranam, which is a part of VarAha PurAnam, showcases Lord Narayana as the ultimate supreme force. Parasara Bhattar, son of KoorathAzhvAn, took the story of a complex Kaisika Puranam (in Sanskrit) and created the vyakyAnam, in Tamil, in a simple, easily understandable language that was hitherto non-existent.
Kaisika Puranam revolves around Nambaduvan, a person belonging to the Baanar family, his unflinching faith in Lord Nambi and how he was instrumental in liberating a Rakshasha from a curse and helping him attaining Vaikunta Moksham. The Kaisika Puranam is also a perfect case study on the values of life and how it is important to keep up one’s promise at the cost of anything, including one’s own life.
The Story of Nambaduvan:
Being an untouchable, Nambaduvan was embarrassed to enter the temple during the day (similar is the story of ThirupaanAzhvaar who, born into an untouchable family, would not enter the Srirangam Ranganatha temple and would sing praise of the Lord from the banks of the Cauvery). Every night, he would walk several miles to the Thiru Kurungudi Nambi temple, and for hours together would stand in front of the temple with a Veena in his hand and sing praise of Lord Nambi. And before dawn, he would leave the temple.
One night, as he was making his way to the temple, a Brahmma Rakshasha stopped him and wanted him for dinner. Undaunted by this sudden turn of events, Nambaduvan, who had the purest of devotion for Lord Nambi, requested the Rakshasha to allow him to go to the temple for a night, so he could keep up his Kaisika Ekadesi Vratha, with the assurance to come back the next morning after singing praise of Lord Nambi, one last time.
18 promises of Nambaduvan:
Unable to convince the Rakshasha, Nambaduvan talks about Sathya Sankalpam: “The world was created through ‘Promises’ and continues to exist as a result of trust in each other.”
Nambaduvan made 18 promises that night to the Rakshasha. Through these promises, narrated beautifully in the Kaisika Puranam as part of this lengthy discussion between Nambaduvan and Brahmma Rakshasha, one comes to know of the different sins we commit every day in our lives as a result of not adhering to some of the basic values in life. 17 promises later and not having got the nod from the Rakshasha, Nambaduvan requests the Rakshasha to let him go to the Nambi temple with this 18th promise:
ச்வர்வ சுவாமியும் மோக்ஷ பிரதான
ஸ்ரீமன் நாராயணனையும், தேவதை களையும்
சமமாக பாவிக்கிறேன் யாவரோருவன்
அவனை போலே நித்ய சம்சாரி ஆவேன்
“If I do not return, I would have committed the biggest sin that exists – that of comparing and equating Lord Narayana with others. And I will become a sinner who will never get Moksham from this cycle of births.”
This extraordinary promise moved the Rakshasha and he let him go. After having spent the entire night (possibly for the last time) in front of Kurungkudi Nambi, he made his way back to the Rakshasha as promised.
Nambaduvan showcases the way to live:
On his way back, Lord Nambi, disguised as an old Brahmin, sought the reason for his rushing back much in contrast to his usually slow and thoughtful walk, and on hearing him out condemned Nambaduvan as a fool and offered protection from the Rakshasha.
Nambaduvan rejected this offer, as fulfilling the promise was more important to him than his own life. “I will even give up my life, but I will never go back on my word. I have given him a promise and I have to fulfil it. Hence, I will have to go back to the Rakshasha and if he has to take me as his prey, so be it.”
On seeing Nambaduvan, the Rakshasha wondered as to how he could come back, despite being under the threat of being consumed. Even more to his surprise, Nambaduvan came close to the Rakshasha and offered himself as his prey.
Brahmma Rakshasha attains Moksham:
By now, the Rakshasha had changed his mind. He did not want Nambaduvan’s body anymore. He rather directed Nambaduvan to share the fruits of the entire songs that he had thus far sung in praise of Lord Nambi. After several exchanges, where Nambaduvan repeatedly offered himself as the prey and Rakshasha continued asking for the fruits of the songs, the Rakshasha explained the reason for his current Rakshasha status – He was a Brahmin by name Soma Sharma in his previous birth. His arrogance, as all knowing, led him to miss a mantra in a Yagna and he was cursed to this current Rakshasha form by the Devas. And that only the purest of the Nambi devotees had the power to relieve him from his curse - and why he wanted to listen to Nambaduvan’s praise of Lord Nambi.
Nambaduvan shared with him the ‘Kaisika’ verses, which he had sung that very night in front of Lord Nambi. Just listening to these verses helped the Rakshasha attain Vaikunta Moksham.
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