30. Dandi Adigal
(pronunciation = 'dandi adigal')

By Swami Sivananda

In Thiruvaaroor, in the Chola kingdom, there was a pious Siva bhakta by name Dandi Adigal. He was born blind. But, he always repeated the Panchakshara Mantra and visualized the Lord with his inner eyes. He would daily go to the temple, do circumambulation, and worship the Lord.

There was a tank on the western side of the temple which was surrounded by Jain dwellings. Dandi Adigal wanted to extend the area of the tank. But, how could he — a man born blind — do it?

With sheer determination and complete faith in the Lord, Dandi Adigal decided to do it.

He erected a post inside the tank where it was to be dug and tied a rope to it. The other end of the rope was tied to the other post which was fixed on the bank. Then guided by a rope Dandi Adigal would go to where the digging had to be done. He would dig with a spade, collect the earth in a basket, and again with the help of the rope, he would go to the bank and throw the earth away.

The Jains were watching the blind man's miracle. They were jealous of his achievement. So, they wanted to disturb his faith. They put forward a cunning argument saying, "You are blind and you cannot see. While digging, you are killing many insects which is a great sin. So, give up this foolish act."

Dandi Adigal Nayanar explained to them the sacredness of the work, which was highly pleasing to the Lord, and also that by Siva's grace, he was sure no insect would be injured. Dandi Adigal went on with work.

The Jains were insulting in their behaviour now. They said, "You were born blind! But now you are deaf, too. Even though we are giving you good counsel, you are not listening."

Dandi Adigal Nayanar replied, "Oh ignorant people, what do you know of the Lord's glories? To me, Siva is the sole refuge. I live only to serve Him. Do not mock at His grace. By His grace, if I regained my eye-sight and you lost yours, what will you do?"

This reply greatly annoyed the Jains who snatched the spade and the basket from Dandi Adigal's hands.

With a broken heart, Dandi Adigal went to the temple and expressed his grievances to the Lord.

The Lord appeared in Dandi Adigal's dream that night and assured him of the Lord's help. Siva also appeared before the king in his dream and asked him to redress the grievances of Dandi Adigal Nayanar.

The following day, the king summoned the Jains. Dandi Adigal was also there. The king addressed Dandi, "Oh devotee, you said that by God's grace you could get your eye-sight back and the Jains would lose theirs. Prove this."

Dandi Adigal said, "Lord Siva is the real God. He is my sole refuge and prop. I am only His slave. If this is true, let me regain my eye-sight and let the Jains lose theirs."

Dandi Adigal then uttered the Panchakshara Mantra and went into the tank and immersed himself in the water. When he arose, his eye-sight had been restored and at the same time, the Jains lost their eye-sight. All were amazed at this.

The king banished the Jains from his kingdom and restored the people's faith in the Lord and in Saivism. Dandi Adigal attained God-realization.



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.


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