(pronunciation = 'kOt-puli-yar')
By Swami Sivananda
Kotpuliyar was a Vellala by caste. He was the Commander-in-Chief of a Chola king. Like other nayanars, Kotpuliyar was highly devoted to Lord Siva. He was very pious and virtuous. It was his practice to purchase paddy out of his income and give it to Siva temples for the Lord's food. He was doing this for a long time.
Once, Kotpuliyar had to go out on military duty. So, he stocked a sufficient quantity of paddy for the temple use, handed it over to his relatives, with clear instructions that it was meant only for the Lord and that they should not touch it for their own use.
During Kotpuliyar's absence, there was a famine and his relatives had to suffer for want of food. So, they laid their hands on the paddy meant for the Lord and appeased their hunger.
Kotpuliyar Nayanar returned from his duty and heard of his relatives' action. He was very annoyed with them. He called them to his house and killed them, including his parents, for this crime.
Kotpuliyar's supreme love for the Lord had so completely overshadowed his love for his own near and dear ones! The Lord appeared at once before Kotpuliyar and blessed him, and also all the relatives who had died at his hand, and took them all to Siva's abode.
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.