59. Senganar (Ko-Chengat Cholar)
(pronunciation = 'sEnganaar (kO-chengat chOlar)')
By Swami Sivananda
In Chandra Tirtha (in the Chola kingdom), there was a thick grove. In that grove under a Jambul tree there was a Sivalingam. A white elephant used to come there daily and prostrate before the Lingam. A spider which was also devoted to Lord Siva, noticed that dry leaves were falling on the Lingam and to prevent this wove a web above the Lingam.
The next day, when the elephant came to worship, he found the web and (thinking that someone had polluted the place) tore the web, offered his worship and went away.
The spider then came upon the scene, felt sorry that his web had been destroyed, wove another web and went away.
The next day, as the elephant was pulling the web away, the spider arrived. The spider then gave the elephant a sting the elephant died of the poison on the spot. The spider, too, was caught in the elephant's trunk and perished.
Due to God Siva's grace, this spider was born as the son of Suba Devan, the Chola king. He and his dutiful wife (Kamlavati) went to Chidambaram and eagerly prayed to the Lord Nataraja for a son. The Lord granted their wish.
Soon Kamalavati conceived the child. The day of delivery arrived. Astrologers foretold that if the child could be delivered a few minutes later, it would rule the three worlds! The queen agreed and asked that she be tied to the roof of the room upside down, with a tight bandage around her waist.
When the auspicious time came, the queen was released and the child was born. This was the spider reborn! The child had red eyes as he had remained in his mother's womb a little longer. The mother, looking into his eyes, said, "Kochekannano (the child with red eyes)," and expired. Hence, the baby was named Senganar (Ko-Chengat Cholar). When he reached the proper age, Senganar (Ko-Chengat Cholar)'s father enthroned him king, retired from the world and, after severe penance, reached the Lord's abode.
Senganar (Ko-Chengat Cholar) promoted Saivism. In Thiru Anai Ka, he built a beautiful temple and installed the Sivalingam under the same Jambul tree!
In Chola Nadu, Senganar (Ko-Chengat Cholar) built many shrines and mansions for the use of the three-thousand Brahmins of Thillai.
Senganar (Ko-Chengat Cholar) provided for regular worship at Chidambaram. Finally, he reached the Lord's abode. Senganar (Ko-Chengat Cholar)'s glories were sung by the poet Poygayar in his "Kalavali Narpathu."
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.