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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Kaisika Dwadasi Mahatmiyam - the story of Nam Paduvaan

Today [25th Nov 2012]   is an all important day for Srivaishnavaites– ‘shukla paksha’ dwadasi of the month of Karthigai.  [shukla paksham is the waxing phase of Moon and dwadasi is the 12th day – the day following Ekadasi].  Today is “Kaisika Dwadasi”.  In Divyadesams, most importantly at Thirukurungudi, Thiruvarangam and in Thiruvallikkeni – ‘Kaisika puranam’ is read before the Lord.  Today, evening there will be veedhi purappadu of Sri Parthasarathi at Triplicane.

The World exists on promises and fulfillment of them and the story of Nam Paduvaan only describes the greatest virtues of those devoted and commited to Lord.  The ardent devotees of Sriman Narayana will never err or sin in life.   There cannot be a better example than that of ‘Nampaduvaan’.  The story of Num Paduvaan can be best summarised as “the fight between ‘Padi Ilaithavan and Pasiyale Ilaithavan’ [one who leaned by fasting in the vratha of Singing paeans and one who was starved off food].  Legend has it  that on every Kaisika Ekadasi day, Nampaduvaan, an ardent devotee of the Lord Maha Vishnu  used to do Namasankeerthanam for Emperuman at Thirukurungudi.  This Nampaduvan Charithram was narrated by Sri Varaha Perumal to Bhoomi Pirarttiyar in Varaha puranam.

The gist of the story as heard from Sampradhaya Periyarvargal is given here :

Nampaduvaan, a great bhagavatha at Thirukurungudi used to observe ‘jakratha vratham’ without sleeping full night singing the glory of the Lord and thinking only about Him. ‘Ninainthu nainthu ul karainthu urugi’ ena he keeps singing the glory of Lord Sriman Narayana.  This went on for many more years…..

One year while on the way to the temple of  Thirukurungudi, perhaps Malai Nambi sannathi, which is situate on the hills in dense forestry; where even today ordinary mortals find it somewhat difficult to access, Nampaduvan was confronted by a Brahma Rakshas. This Rakshas who has been starved off food, tells Nampaaduvaan that he would devour him. Nampaduvan humbly requests that he has the duty of nama sankeerthanam. Nampaduvan pleads with the rakshas that he would return back after his vratham and darshan of Kurungudi Nambi. The rakshas naturally was not prepared to believe  and states that none in this material would  come back as food ‘when death is certain’  and asks : is there any possibility that a deer could escape after it was caught up by a lion ? 

Nampaduvan has nothing else in life but his sincere devotion to Lord Nambi. He  promises that he would indeed return; he mentions of the various sins that he would get, if he were not to return.  He tells the Rakshas that the World revolves on Sathya, the truth and if he were to act against his dharma, he would be getting the results of worst sins; some of which are stated to be : ‘taking food without taking bath on important days such as Sashti, Amasvayai, Chathurthasi’;  ‘reclaiming the land donated’; ‘to differentiate between self and the visitor when eating food’; ‘chasing away the herd of group when they are thirsty’ ~~.. and the like

When he says that he has been rendering this for 10 years, the brahmarakshas says that it had been without food for 10 days and is so hungry that it immediately wants to devour the flesh and blood of the devotee.  Nampaduvaan finally convinces the rakshas to release him for a while.  With intent will, he goes straight  to Thirukurungudi temple renders pasurams on Sri Vadivazhagiya Nambi; Kaisikam is a kind of music composition (called pan in tamil); the last pasuram rendered was Kaisika pan.

Completing his determined wish, he returns as stated back to Brahmarakshas.   While returning Nampaduvan is interrupted by Thiruk Kurungudi Nambi Himself in the disguise of an old man advising him to take alternate route escaping the rakshas.  Nampaduvan firmly tells that he will keep his promise, would stand by his dharma and would go back to the rakshas.  He even says that if the rakshas is not found in the appointed place, he would further go in search of the rakshas.  Such is his commitment that he indeed fulfills his vow and presents himself  before the Brahma rakshas.

The Brahma rakshas is startled by the return of Nampaduvaan and offers to free him, if he were to transfer the fruits of his dharma;  Nampaduvaan retaliates saying that he had agreed to offer himself and is for the taking.  Awe struck the rakshas asked for the palan(fruit) of the pasurams Nampaduvan had rendered; then least the fruits of song rendered during one yamam [a measure of time]  and in the series of discussions that went on rakshas wanted atleast the palan of the last kaisika pan.

It gets  revealed that the Brahmarakshas was a vidwan by name Soma Sharma who was cursed by Devas arising out of his ahankaram.  He also incurs soola dosham as he dies without completing a yagna. Despite all this, the palan of pan (the song) relieves him of the curse. 

This occurred thousands of years ago and few hundred years ago,  on Kaisika Dwadasi day, Sri Parasara Bhattar chanted kaisika puranam before Lord Ranganatha; even today the descendants of Bhattar chant the puranam on kaisika dwadasi day at Srirangam.

This morning it was read out in characteristic manner by Sri U.Ve M. A. Venkadakrishnan Swami at Sri Parthasarathi Swami temple.   It is stated that the story of Nampaduvaan is in the 48th chapter of Sri Varaha Puranam,;  explains and emphasizes the importance of singing the glory of Lord Sriman Narayana.     Sri Varaha Purana is considered one of the major eighteen Mahapuranas. 

As an extra information, would like to add that  Thirukurungudi divyadesam is in Tirunelveli District, nearer Nanguneri – the greatest place for Thennacharya Sri Vaishanavas, better known as Vanamaamalai.    Apart from the big temple looking like a Fort,   there is another temple atop the hill known as ‘Malai Nambi Kovil’.

It is believed that those who go to temple on this holy Kaisika Dwadasi day and read ‘kaisika purana’ will be showered with  munificence of Lord ; those who hear ‘kaisika purana’ will also get His choicest blessings and perhaps all of us who read and think of Nampaduvaan and Lord would also be getting the bountiful blessings of Lord Sriman Narayana

Azhwar Emperumanaar Jeeyar Thiruvadigale Saranam.  Here are some photos of Lord Parthasarathi taken on Kaisika Ekadasi Purappadu at Thiruvallikkeni, yesterday i.e., 24th Nov. 2012.

Adiyen Srinivasadhasan.


  1. swamy, nice, simple, clear writeup and the pictures are great too.
    adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

  2. Swamin, really great post. Thanks for letting us know the significance - Malliga dasi

  3. Great language skill - complete style of writing ~ great matter conveyed - I liked it - Karpagam

  4. Swamin, I learnt much from this - Adiyen Ramanujam