49. Vayilar
(pronunciation = 'vaa-yi-laar')

By Swami Sivananda

Vayilar Nayanar was a Vellala by caste. He belonged to Mylapore. He was a devout Siva bhakta. He constructed temples mentally and did manasa puja (mental worship). Vayilar built the temple of non-forgetfulness, lit the shining lamp of self-illumination, bathed the Lord in the waters of immortal ananda (bliss) and worshipped Siva with the elixir of supreme love. Thus, Vayilar obtained salvation.

Here is the life of a para bhakta — a supreme devotee. He had transcended the stage of idol worship. He had attained great purity of heart and clarity of inner psychic vision so that, without the aid of a symbol and without the help of rituals, he could raise his mind to the sublime heights of the Abstract.

The inclusion of this wonderfully simple life of Vayilar Nayanar is to point out that devotion is of many types, to suit the taste and temperament of different individuals. Whatever be the path the devotee chooses, ultimately they reach the same goal — union with Lord Siva. The Hindu sages have always declared that the spiritual path is not a stereotyped one. The Hindu spiritual path is not the same drug for all diseases; it is not the same food for all people at all ages (from infancy to old age!), but rather, the Hindu path is spiritual life adapted (within broad limits) to the needs of each individual. Everyone pursues the path (or the combination of paths) suited to him and ultimately reaches the same goal.



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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