43. Kaliyar
(pronunciation = 'kaliyar')

By Swami Sivananda

Kaliyar Nayanar was an oil monger of Thiruvotriyur. His adoration of the Lord took the form of lighting the temple lamps daily. Kaliyar was rich but, in order to reveal his greatness, the Lord made Kaliyar poor. Even Kaliyar's family people also refused help him on account of his poverty.

So, Kaliyar Nayanar began to work as a labourer to earn the oil. Even this became impossible. He wanted to sell his wife: but no one would buy.

At last, in despair, Kaliyar Nayanar wanted to cut his own throat and use the blood instead of oil, to burn the lamps. In that attempt, Lord Siva caught hold of Kaliyar's hand and blessed him.

What greatness and what intensity of devotion is portrayed in this simple life! Self-forgetfulness is the key-note in devotion. Remembering God always, the devotee is so thoroughly absorbed in Him, that nothing but God and His worship matters to him. By all means His worship must go on: no obstacle shall stand in the way. The devotee's heart and mind are always positive, never letting a negative thought enter them. He sees opportunities in difficulties and is never beaten by any obstacles which serve him as steps to God!



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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