THIRUKOLUR PEN PILLAI RAGASIYAM -33
Below is the translation to Veda Paati's story, narrated in tamil, available in below platforms:
Did I free one from sins like Nampaduvan?
“Swami, there are those who do Kainkaryam to Perumal despite all odds. Take Nampaduvan for example. He belonged to a lower caste, he was not allowed into the temple, yet his devotion was unparalleled to any! How do I achieve such devotion towards my Vaithamanidhi Perumal?”, the child of Thirukolur bemoaned but continued to narrate the story of Nampaduvan!
There is a beautiful Divya Desam Temple called Thirukurungudi. The Divya Dampati in this temple are known to be very beautiful. In a village near Thirukurungudi lived a great devotee called Nampaduvan. He was very fond of the presiding deity, Thirukurungudi Nambi. He would stand outside the temple everyday without fail and sing beautiful hymns on the names of the Lord. These soulful renditions could only be offered to the Lord from outside the temple as Nampaduvan belonged to a lower caste. He was not allowed into the temple. However, such restrictions did not bother Nampaduvan at all. All he wanted to do was to sing for the Lord.
It was Ekadasi day in the month of Karthigai. Nampaduvan fasted on the night of Ekadasi immersed in the thoughts of his Lord. At the break of dawn, he wanted to complete his fast by going to the temple and singing in praise of the Lord. It was very dark and he had to walk through the dense forest to reach the temple. Out of nowhere, suddenly, there appeared a Brahma Rakshasa!
“Where are you going! Halt! I am hungry and I want to eat you”, bellowed the Brahma Rakshasa. Shaking in fear, poor Nampaduvan replied “You are welcome to eat me! However, please let me complete my vow. I have the practice of spending the whole night singing the praises of the Lord on Ekadasi. If you allow me to complete it, you may do as you wish.” The Brahma Rakshasa laughed, “Dear human, how do you expect me to believe you? You are trying to escape me and hence are giving excuses!”.
The patient Paduvan tried to convince the Brahma Rakshasa that he would surely return, giving him 17 promises. The Brahma Rakshasa refused to believe any of these promises and was adamant on eating him right away. Paduvan’s final promise shook the Brahma Rakshasa in fear. Paduvan said, “If I were not to return, oh Brahma Rakshasa, may the sin befall me, that one would get if he were to offer prayers to gods other than Sriman Narayana thinking these gods to be superior to Him”. The Brahma Rakshasa, upon hearing this knew that no one would give such a promise and was then confident that Paduvan would return.
Paduvan was elated to be given this last chance. He ran to his Lord and stood outside the temple! His rendition to Nambi was even more emotional and deep in devotion compared to other Ekadasis. He fervently sang the names of Perumal as one would sing if he knew that his time on earth was up. Paduvan sang praises of the lord in Kaisika Ragam (Bhairavi). He made a fervent plea to Perumal , "Oh Father! Today is the last day of my life on earth. I cannot come and see you hereafter! I have never been given a chance to see you due to my low caste. The flag and the Bali Peedam are blocking my view of you from where I stand, at the entrance of the temple. I have never been able to see you. Please, can you give me Darshan, at least today?".
The Lord, who was so moved by the devotion of Paduvan instructed the flag erected in the centre of the temple and Bali Peedam to move so that Paduvan gets His full darshan. With a large thud, the flag and Balipeedam heeded to Perumal’s words. Paduvan could not believe his eyes. From the temple entrance, he was able to see his Lord in all his glory. The beautiful enchanting eyes and charming smile looked even more beautiful in the light of the lamp lit in the sanctum. PAduvAn cried with joy and prayed to his Lord for the last time with a full heart.
He set back towards the Brahmarakshasa to fulfil his promise. The Lord who could not bear the impending suffering of the devotee, appeared in front of Paduvan in the form of a Brahmin. “Oh Paduvan, do not go this way. There is a Brahmarakashasa who would devour you, if you go this way.”, exclaimed the Brahmin. The sincere Paduvan was not deterred and politely continued his way explaining to the Brahmin that he had a promise to keep up! He added that his heart was full as all his desires to see his Perumal have been met, and hence he had no regrets!
When the Brahmarakashasa saw Nampaduvan, he was surprised. There was a divine glow on his face. The Brahmarakshasa was moved by Paduvan’s honesty and devotion to the Lord. He said “Oh Paaduvan! I am inspired by your honesty. I am no longer hungry for you. However, please give me part of the Punya (benefits) that you earned by singing the names of the Lord so earnestly. That alone is enough!”. To this Nampaaduvaan said he did not sing Perumal's glory expecting anything in return, hence what is there to give?
The Brahmarakshasa then begged for the palan (merit) from the last song he sang to Perumal, on that Kaisika Ekadasi. Finally Nampaaduvan yielded and did as the Rakshasa had wished. The Brahma Rakshasa was finally relieved of his sinful birth and was promoted to his next life in a good family.