(pronunciation = 'viraN-miNdaar')
By Swami Sivananda
Viranmindar was born in Sengunru, a hilly place. He was a Vellala by caste. He was a staunch devotee of Lord Siva. Through Siva's grace, Viranmindar was free from 'I'-ness and 'mine'-ness. Viranmindar had equal vision. He served Siva's devotees and attained purity of mind. To him worship of Siva bhaktas was equal, if not even superior to the worship of Lord Siva Himself. He felt that no one could get Siva's grace without first worshipping Siva bhaktas, and that he who worships even the Sivalingam with all faith and devotion, would not attain salvation if he insults Siva bhaktas.
Daily Viranmindar used to visit the temple. Before worshipping the Lord, Viranmindar used to worship the Siva bhaktas who might be found there.
One day Viranmindar left Sengunru on a pilgrimage and came to Thiruvaaroor. While he was worshipping the Lord, Sundarar-Moorthi Nayanar came to the temple. Sundarar by-passed the bhaktas who were in temple and went into the sanctum sanctorum to worship the Lord. This upset Viranmindar, who was observing this. He could not tolerate this insult to Siva bhaktas. He said to Sundarar, "You have insulted the Siva bhaktas. By this act you have rendered yourself unfit to remain in the holy circle of Siva bhaktas. Hence, you are excommunicated from this circle."
He added further, "And, Siva, for having so thoughtlessly accepted such improper worship at your hands, He, too, shall be regarded as an outcaste from the divine fold."
So firm was Viranmindar in his conviction that he could thus "reprimand" God Himself! In fact, it was Siva Himself who spoke through Viranmindar to instruct His bhaktas in the proper attitude they should have towards other Siva devotees.
Sundarar immediately understood Viranmindar's inner bhava (feeling) towards the bhaktas as well as towards Lord Siva, and prostrated before him. Sundarar then sang a pathigam praising Viranmindar and other Siva Bhaktas (Thiru-Thondar-Thogai pathigam "Assembly of the sacred slaves at Thiruvaaroor").
The pathigam melted Viranmindar's heart so much that he greeted Sundarar and said, "Your mind is well established in the service of Siva bhaktas. You have got sincere devotion to them."
Lord Siva was greatly pleased with Viranmindar's great steadfastness in his devotion to Siva bhaktas. Thus, had the Lord revealed the great glory of the bhakta. Viranmindar was then elevated to the blessed plane of the Siva Ganas where the Lord made him leader of the Ganas. Glory to such bhaktas!
Sekkilaar, and G. Vanmikanathan. Periya Puranam A Tamil Classic On The Great Saiva Saints of South India. Ed. Dr. N. Mahalingam. Chennai: Sri Ramakrishna Math, 2000.
Sivananda, Swami. Sixty-Three Nayanar Saints. World Wide Web edition. India: Divine Life Society, 1999.