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Date : 31.07.2019
A detailed account of Saint Appar’s life is given by Sekkilar in his Thiruttonddarpuranam. Sekkilar sings the story in 428 verses under the chapter ‘Thiruninrasargam’. The chapter derives its name from the epithet given to Appar by Sundaramurti.
Appar was born and brought up at Thiruvamur, in Thirumunaipadinadu, on the banks of the river Pennai. He was born in a Velan family to Puhalanar and Madiniyar. After Srisaila, Appar is said to have crossed the borders of the Gelungu country and reached the Kannada and from there the Malaya country. Then crossing dense forests, he reached he Lata country, crossed several hills, forests and rivers and reached “Madhya paitiram”. Crossing this country, he reached the banks of the Ganges and came to Varanasi. Having worshipped Siva at Varanasi, he reached “Karcuram´i.e. the hilly tract. Having reached Kailasa mountain, he started climbing the hill by hand. As the hands got tired he made use of his chest and crawled. Later he rolled up to reach the summit. After reaching a certain height Appar could not climb further. At that place, a saivaite saint appeared wearing a bark of tree, jatamakuta, sacred thread and sacred ashes on his body. There was a lake nearby. Appar told the saint that he was going to the summit of Kailasa to behold Lord Siva seated with Parvati there. The saint advised Appar to turn back as Kailasa was beyond the reach of even Devas, and it was impossible for human beings to reach it. Appar stood firm and replied that he would not return with his body, without beholding Lord Siva on Kailasa. Thereupon, the sage, who was none other than Siva, appeared before Appar in his true form and blessed him. Appar prayed that he be given the sight of Lord Siva’s appearance on Kailasa. Siva asked Appar to take bath in the lake and at Thiruvaiyaru, he would behold the divine appearance. Appar bathed in the lake. When he emerged from the waters of the lake, he found himself in a lotus pond at Thiruvaiyaru in Tamilnadu. As he approached the temple he found everything in front as Siva and Sakti as if appearing in Kailasa. It was a vision of unsurpassed beauty with Lord Siva and Parvati seated, Nandikesvara standing in attendance, the mount Bull seated in front, and surrounded by ganas. Appar sang the hymn “Matar pirai Kanniyanai”. He stayed for some time at Thiruvaiyaru and later visited Thirumalapadi, Neytanam and Punturutti. At Punturutti he established a matha.
While residing at Thiruppunturutti, Appar composed “Palvahai Tandaka, Tanittandakam, Adaivu Thiruttandakam, Angamalai, and Panmaittohai. While there Thirujnanasambandar came to see him. Having learnt of his visit, Appar went to receive him, mingled with the crowd and without anyone’s notice, started carrying the palanquin of Sambandar. On reaching the village, Sambandar enquired about Appar. There emerged the saint as a bearer of the palanquin. Sambandar was surprised, immediately fell at the feet of Vagisa. Both the saints spent some time at Thiruppunturutti, where Sambandar narrated his visit to the Pandya country, the atrocities committed on him by the Jains, and finally the conversion of the Pandya.
Appar later visited the Madurai temple and met the Pandya king Nedumaran, his queen Mangaiyarkarasi and their minister. Kulaccirai. From there he went to. Thiruppuvanam and Rameswaram. From Rameswaram he visited Thirunelveli and Kanapper and finally reached Pumpuhalur. While at Puhalurr he sang “Ninra Thiruttandakam” “Tanittandakam” “Kshertrakkovaitandaka”, “Kurainta Thirunerisai” Taninerisai”, “Aruyir thiruviruttam” “Dasapuranattadaivu” “Papanasapadigam” “Panmurai”, and “Araikuvum Thiruppadigam”. On a Sadaya say in the month of Chittrai, he sang the hymn “Lord I am reaching your sacred feet” and passed away.