(pronunciation = 'thiru-kuRippu-thoNdar')
By Swami Sivananda
Thondamandalam was a prosperous land. Its capital was Kanchipuram. Here, Parvathi worshipped Lord Siva, according to the Agamas. The Lord here is called Ekambaranathar.
Thiru-kurippu-thondar was born here. He was a washerman. He was a staunch devotee of Lord Siva. He served Siva bhaktas, understanding their need by watching for the signs on their face, and hence he had earned the name Thiru-kurippu-thondar Nayanar. His service consisted mainly of washing the clothes of Siva bhaktas. Lord Siva wanted to bless this devotee and, as usual, it had to be preceded by a severe test.
The Lord disguised Himself as a poor man, with rudraksham on his neck and sacred ashes over the body, and appeared before Thiru-kurippu-thondar wearing a dirty rag. The very sight of the Siva bhakta put Thiru-kurippu-thondar Nayanar in a trance, as he worshipped the poor man. Thiru-kurippu-thondar then asked the poor man, "You have purified my house by your visit. How is it you are so emaciated? Your rag also needs washing. Kindly allow me to do this service for you."
The Siva bhakta agreed to let him do so on one condition the rag should be washed, dried and returned to him before sunset, otherwise his emaciated body would perish in the cold.
When Thiru-kurippu-thondar accepted the work, there was brilliant sunlight. He had washed the rag and as soon as he had done this task, immediately, it began to rain heavily. It was nearing sunset time. There was no hope of getting the rag dried. Thiru-kurippu-thondar was greatly upset. Instead of serving the Siva bhakta, Thiru-kurippu-thondar felt he was going to put the bhakta to great hardship. Thinking of this as a sin, Thondar, dashed his head, prayerfully, on the washing stone and began to weep.
Lord Siva appeared before him, held his head and said, "Oh noble soul, I am highly pleased with your sincere devotion. You will soon come to my abode and live happily there forever."
Thiru-kurippu-thondar Nayanar fell at the Lord's Feet and sang His glory.
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.