Taken from Kannappan
It was a thick forest with no civilized population. But even there by the Grace of Mahaadev, appeared a Shiv Ling, in the midst of the thickets. A hunter passing by that place once noticed it. He did not know what it was, but he had the gut feeling that it was the living symbol of the divine. As a realist, sufferings all the pangs of life, he knew it was very uncomfortable to live without a shelter, it was unbearable to go without water for bath and drink and that even the greatest of beings would die if he goes without food. So he did all that he could do to make the deity comfortable immediately.
He built a hut of dried leaves and twigs to house the Lord. He did not have any vessels. So he went to the nearby brook, cleaned his mouth and filled in with as much water as he could and brought it to the lot and spat it on the idol so that the Lord could be clean. He did this for three of four times as Abhishekam (he did not know the word) and again brought water in the same way for the deity to drink. He adorned the deity with wild flowers. The food he could offer was the raw meat of the beasts, so he killed an animal and softened it by chewing it by his own sharp teeth so that the great god could eat with relish. This routine continued for days. He never thought what he was doing. He was just looking after his guest in the forest.
The Lingam had three marks for its eyes and they used to shine brilliantly. One day the Lord could not contain himself. As is his wont he started giving heartburn to a true friend. One fine morning the hunter saw that one of the eyes of his friend had become lusterless and it was bleeding profusely. The hunter thought - "I have two eyes to see. This God has to see the entire world. So he will do better with one more eye. His eye should not be lost". So without hesitation, with the sharp edge of his bow, he extracted his own eyeball and placed it where the Lord's eye was bleeding . The bleeding stopped. The hunter was blissfully happy. But his only slight disappointment was that the loss of one eye would affect his capacity to bring food to the friend.
His travails did not stop there. On another morning he saw the second eye of the Lord was also bleeding. He was at his wits end. He could offer his second eye, but after that who will bring water and food to the God? However he made his final decision. With dexterity he extracted his own second eye and now without any capacity to see, he groped with his hands and found out the Lord's bleeding eye and placed his second eye there. Then he thought - "Now there is no way for me to bring water and food to the Lord. All I have is my own body now. Let me lie down before the Lord and offer myself as his final supper." Waiting for the god to receive his mortal body as food, the hunter just lay down before the Shiv Ling.
Even the hardened heart of the stone that the Shiv Ling was, this self-sacrifice was too much. The Lord appeared before the ignorant but faithful hunter in his Divine form and blessed him and gave him a place in the array of the 63 Nayanaar, who are considered as the foremost devotees of Shiv.. He was Kannappa Nayanaar.
Created by Sushma Gupta on 5/9/09
Updated on 10/02/13