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Thiruvalluvar is a celebrated Tamil saint and poet.
He is regarded as an incarnation of Shiva.
His work Thirukkural is highly cherished in Tamil culture and literature.
Here are some miracles associated with him.
As a newborn, he lay in a grove of Ilupay trees, at Mylapore, near Madras.
It was near Ekambareswarar Shiva temple.
He was subsisting on the honey that dropped from the flowers of the trees.
The wife of a high-ranking Vellalan used to come to the temple praying to be blessed with a child.
Parvathy Devi instructed her to adopt the child and name it Thiruvalluvar.
She brought the child home.
Even though her husband was happy about this, the other members of the community scorned them for having a child whose background was not known.
They felt intimidated.
The child was brought up in a cowshed under the care of a Paraiya family.
Still, they faced ridicule and contempt from the community.
When he became five years old, Thiruvalluvar told his foster parents -
I don’t want to cause you any more trouble.
I am going away.
Do not worry about me.
The parents said -
Don’t do that.
You are great for us.
You have put an end to the misery of our childlessness.
Thiruvalluvar said -
You think of me anytime, I will come to you.
Then he took shelter under a palm tree near the village.
Soon the villagers noticed that from sunrise to sunset the shadow of the tree never moved from its foot thus protecting the child.
They exclaimed -
This is no ordinary child.
He is either a sage or God himself.
Thiruvalluvar told them -
I am nobody.
There is nothing in me.
His peace was disturbed by the villagers and he left the place.
He went to the mountain where Tirumular, Bhogar, and other sages lived.
Tirumular welcomed him -
I know you are Shiva.
Have you taken avatara to bless the world?
Are you going to teach us virtues in a sweet language?
Thiruvalluvar learned all the scriptures under those sages.
Once a demon was continuously attacking Kaveripakkam.
A rich landlord offered a huge reward to anyone who would kill the demon.
Many tried and failed.
The landlord approached the sages in the mountain.
They said - ask Thiruvalluvar.
Thiruvalluvar took bhasma in his palm, wrote On Namah Shivaya on it, chanted the mantra a few times, and blew it into the air.
The demon was instantly killed wherever he was.
Many villages and their inhabitants were thus saved,
As a gesture of gratitude, the landlord offered to marry his daughter to Thiruvalluvar.
Her name was Vasugi.
Thiruvalluvar wanted to practically demonstrate the virtues of family life to the world.
So he was inclined to marry.
But still, he said - there is a test.
If your daughter passes the test, I shall marry her.
She has to take sand from me and cook a meal from it for me.
Vasugi took the sand from the sage and prepared a sumptuous meal for him out of it.
Thiruvalluvar married her.
Then he went back to Mylapore, built himself a house, and started living off his income from weaving.
He used to say that weaving was a sinless livelihood.
Elelasingan (ஏலேலசிங்கன்) was a disciple of Thiruvalluvar.
He used to supply thread to Thiruvalluvar.
Elelasingan approached Thiruvalluvar with a desire to become his disciple.
Thiruvalluvar took him to the forest along with a few other disciples.
Thiruvalluvar asked everyone to close their eyes and manifested a huge flood in front of them.
When they opened their eyes, everyone except Elelasingan trembled in fear.
Thiruvalluvar walked towards the flood.
Elelasingan followed him without any fear.
When they reached near the flood, it disappeared.
Then Thiruvalluvar asked him to climb on top of a tree.
Then Thiruvalluvar said - lift your legs from the branch you are standing on.
Now, let go of the branch you are holding on to.
Elelasingan fell down but nothing happened.
Thiruvalluvar became convinced about his faith and eligibility.
Then he taught him how to protect himself from charms.
Elelasingan did not have children.
Once the king mockingly told him - why don’t you ask your guru for a child?
Elelasingan went and asked Thiruvalluvar.
Elelasingan and his wife used to worship a cow every day.
The next day, when they went to worship the cow, there was a child lying by its side.
The couple happily took the child and showed it to the king.
King said - if your guru can give you a child, why can’t he give me one?
Within the second, there was a child on the king’s lap.
Once a ship that belonged to Elelasingan ran aground.
Even after trying a lot, it couldn’t be pulled out.
Thiruvalluvar touched it with his hand.
Then it could be easily pulled out.
Once there was a drought and famine.
Thiruvalluvar told Elelasingan to sell all the paddy he had at purchase price to people.
He should also give some quantity in excess.
Elelasingan kept on selling until everyone had sufficient grains.
But the quantity in his storehouse remained undiminished.
After a few years, there was heavy rain and flooding.
It was feared that all the paddy in Elelasingan’s storehouse would be damaged.
Thiruvalluvar told him to sell everything at the purchase price.
But he should give less quantity than actual this time.
By evening all his paddy was sold out.
Then Thiruvalluvar told him to melt all the money (coins in those days) that he had earned selling paddy and throw it into the sea.
When he threw it into the sea, he could see a huge fish coming and swallowing it.
After a few days, some fishermen brought him a slab of black stone.
They told him that they had discovered it when they had cut open a fish.
Elelasingan took it casually and kept it at the place where he took bath.
He would stand upon it and take bath every day.
After some wearing off of the surface of the stone, Elelasingan could clearly see his name engraved on the stone.
Through this, Thiruvalluvar taught Elalasingan not to attach over-importance to money.
Arlyakananthar was Elelasingan’s son.
He only requested Thiruvalluvar to compose Thirukkural.
Thiruvalluvar composed 1330 verses gathering wisdom from the Vedas.
Thirukkural contains advice pertaining to virtue, pleasure, and wealth.
He was told by his friends to take it to the court of the Pandyan king at Madurai.
On the way, he met Idaykadanar and Avvaiyar.
Idaykadanar told Thiruvalluvar that Shiva had cursed the orthodox scholars of Madurai that they would be defeated by people from low caste.
Idaykadanar and Avvaiyar accompanied him to witness this.
Thiruvalluvar presented Thirukkural in front of the Pandya king and scholars of his court.
They were 49 in number and sat on a bench near a lotus pond.
They scorned him and found hundreds of mistakes in his work.
They even told Shiva in contempt - he may be your favorite, but a mistake is a mistake.
Thiruvalluvar debated with the scholars and proved his point in every mistake that they pointed out.
Like a lion in a herd of elephants, he destroyed their egos.
The scholars said - if your Kural is so good, it can find a place on the bench upon which we are sitting.
Thiruvalluvar placed the book on the bench.
The bench shrank to the size of the book.
The 49 scholars who were sitting on the bench fell into the pond.
Each one of the scholars sang a verse from Thirukkural as a token of their acceptance of Thiruvalluvar.
Idaykadanar said - Thirukkural is such a work as if the seven seas have been contained in a mustard seed.
Avvaiyar said -not even a mustard seed, inside an atom.
Thiruvalluvar had ingenious ways of demonstrating his principles.
Once a man approached Thiruvalluvar and asked - which is better, family life or sanyasa.
Thiruvalluvar did not reply and asked him to stay for a few days.
One day, Vasugi was drawing water from the well using a rope and a bucket.
Thiruvalluvar called out to her.
She dropped the bucket midway and came.
The bucket remained suspended midway in the air till she returned.
On another occasion, Thiruvalluvar was weaving.
His shuttle missed and fell on the ground.
It could be clearly seen lying on the ground by everyone.
Thiruvalluvar called out to Vasugi to get a lamp to look for it.
She brought the lamp.
One morning, Thiruvalluvar was taking cold rice porridge made with leftover rice from the previous day.
Thiruvalluvar said - this is so hot, it is burning me.
Vasugi brought a hand fan and started fanning him.
Thiruvalluvar told the man - if you can get such a wife, it is good to marry; otherwise, it is better to take up sanyasa.
Just before she passed away, Vasugi asked Thiruvalluvar - every day before taking food you have asked me to bring a needle and a vessel of water.
But I have never seen you use them.
What was that for?
Thiruvalluvar said - the needle is to pick up a grain if it ever accidentally fell down while having food.
Water was to wash it before taking it again.
Great lessons about the mindful use of resources and hygiene!
Vasugi passed away first.
After a few years, one day Thiruvalluvar called Elelasingan and said - my work on earth is over.
When I die, throw my body into the bushes.
When Thiruvalluvar died, Elelasingan made arrangements to place his body inside a golden casket and perform his samadhi.
Thiruvalluvar woke up from the dead and reprimanded Elelasingan - do as I have told you.
The body was thrown into the bushes.
A temple was built at that place.
Yes. His wife was Vasugi.
Thirukkural was transmitted down generations orally from the time of its composition. Its first paper print was in 1812 CE done by Nanapirakachar. Malayalam translation of Thirukkural dates back to 1595 CE.
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