Steeped in devotion


In the 18th century, Amritalinga Iyer of Thirukkadaiyur was blessed with a child who was named Subramaniam. Right from childhood, Subramaniam was a devotee of Goddess Abirami of the temple in that town. So steeped in devotion was he that his parents were afraid he might become an ascetic. So they got him married. But marriage did not diminish his bhakthi, said M.A. Manickavelu, in a discourse. One day, King Serfoji of Thanjavur visited the temple and an abhisheka was done for Amritakateswara, the presiding deity of the temple. When the king arrived at the shrine of Abirami, he asked Subramaniam who he was. But there was no reply from Subramaniam. The king was told that Subramaniam was a mad man and that was why he had ignored the king. The king then asked Subramaniam what day of the month it was. Still engaged in the worship of Abirami, Subramaniam said it was a full moon day. But it happened to be a new moon day! And the angry king said that if the moon did not appear that evening then Subramaniam would be punished.

As the day came to a close, a fire was lit, a wooden platform was erected above it, with hundred ropes tied to it. Subramaniam mounted the platform and began singing in praise of Abirami. At the completion of each verse, a rope was cut. Once all hundred ropes were cut, he would fall into the fire. But, when he finished singing the 78th verse, and began the 79th a miracle happened. Abirami appeared in the sky and flung her diamond earring which lit up the sky as a full moon! Subramaniam was saved! He sang more verses and stopped only when he had sung 100 verses. The world was shown what a great bhakta Subramaniam was. The king gave him the title Abirami Bhattar and gifted land to his family to be enjoyed by his descendants too.

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