Today is the day of Kaisika Ekadashi. The message behind the day reinforces the fact that caste is not a hindrance in attaining Him and true Bhakthi alone is enough. This story happened in the beautiful Divyadesam of Thirukurungudi.
Nambaduvaan was born in low – chandala – kulam, but was a greatbhAgavatha, devotee of Sri Kurungudi Nambi. It was his usual that on every eka:dasi, he used to observe “jAkratha vratham” – without sleeping full night, singing the glory of Lord and thinking about him. On one karthigai eka:dasi, Nambaduvaan left to Kurungudi nambi temple to observe his fast and render some pAsuram using various paN’s on Sri Kurungudi Nambi.
But unfortunately, he was caught by a Brahmara:kshasu on the way to Nambi temple, and it threatened him that it is going to consume him as food. Nambaduvaan argued with Brahmarakshasu that, he would return back soon after his vratham and darshan of Kurungudi Nambi, then it can took him as food. But Brahmara:kshasu was not in a position to believe Nambaduvaan. Brahmara:kshasu argued that, no one in this world would come back as food. – Is there any possibility that a deer could escape after it was caught up by a lion?
Then Nampa:duva:n started promising Brahmarakshasu that, if he is not going to return back, he would get sin of those who treat their guests with difference in hospitality, etc.,.,etc.But for none of Nampa:duva:n’s promises, Brahmara:kshasu was not satisfied, and simply replied —The promise is like When a cow was caught up by a lion, the Cow promised Lion that it would return back after feeding it’s calf (offspring)! So I am not going to leave you!
At last Nambaduvaan promised that “Who ever thinks/say that Supreme Lord Sriman Narayanan is equivalent/on par with or inferior with other de:vatha:s, that pa:pam would catch me!” After hearing this Brahmara:kshasu was annoyed by saying that, “Oh Bhagavathare!, What a promise you made!, None would dare to say like that. Now I believe on you, and soon return back. I will wait for you till our return”
Nambaduvaan happily went to Sri Kurungudi temple, observed his jAkratha vratham, rendered pAsurams on Sri Vadivazhagiya Nambi using various pan’s. The last pAsuram that he rendered on Nambi was based on KAISIKA PAN.
After Nambaduvaan completed his eka:dasi vratham, while on the way to Brahmara:kshasu was interrupted by Sri Kurungudi Nambi Himself as an old man. He advised Nambaduvaan to take another path to escape from Brahmara:kshasu. But Nambaduvaan was not in a position to defer from his promise to Brahmara:kshasu. Hence Nambi said, “It’s usual in this lo:kam that, to save one’s own life from an enemy, you can promise on various things, but it’s not necessary to fulfill that vows”.
But Nambaduvaan argued that he would stand on Dharma and is going to fulfill the vow that he had made to Brahmara:kshasu. On hearing that, Nambi was happy and blessed Nambaduvaan! Nambaduvaan returned to Brahmarakshasu and requested to consume him as food. The Brahmarakshasu was stunned with Nambaduvaan’s truthfulness and requested Nambaduvaan to grant palan of the pAsurams that he rendered on Nambi using various pan’s.
Nambaduvaan – “As per the promise, I returned back to you. Now you should not defer from our deal “
Brahmarakshasu – “Oh Bhagavathare!, Please grant the palan of at least half of the pAsurams that you rendered on Sri Nambi“
Nambaduvaan – “ I didn’t praised Kurungudi Nambi based on any palan. Now you have to consume me and Don’t defer from your promise“
Brahmarakshasu – “Oh Bhagavathare!, Please grant the palan of the last pAsuram based on Kaisika Pan that you rendered on Sri Nambi“
Nambaduvaan – “Initially you seemed to be aggressive and threatened me that you are going to consume my flesh as food, but now you are requesting for the palan to rescue from your curse. Can you tell who are you? What is your Poorvikam? “
Brahmarakshasu – “Oh Bhagavathare! My name is Soma Sarma. I was a great vidwan in conducting Yagnams. Due to ahankaram, I made mistake while reciting the mantrams and was cursed by dEvars to became Brahmarakshasu. They also told that, I would be relieved from this curse after I met a devotee – from chandala kulam – of Sri Nambi at Thiru Kurungudi. Hence I request you to kindly grant me the phalan of the last pa:suram on Kaisika pan and relieve me“
Hearing the pleas of the Brahmarakshasu, Nambaduvan again says that he never sang for any palan. But still he will request Thirukurungudi Nambhi to releive the Brahmarakshasu of his sins. Nambhi gives the palan of the last paasuram and relieves Brahma Rakshasu of its sins. This story strongly reiterates that true Bhakthi is enough to attain Him and caste of a person is totally insignificant.
Article in Tamil by Srivilluputtur GovindaKrishnan Swami