This poem is based on the story of the supreme sacrifice by a tribal boy, Thimman who was a devotee of Lord Shiva. Such was his devotion that he didn’t even hesitate to give his eyes to the Lord and thus Lord Shiva declared him a saint. He came to be known as Kanappa Nayannar since he had sacrificed his eyes for the Lord (Kann is another word for eye).
Thimman was renowned far and wide
For being a reputed archer of his tribe.
Once while hunting, he lost his way
And wandered in forest throughout the day.
Coming across a small, secret shrine
Inexplicably attracted to Shiva, the divine
Filled with an innate desire to pray
Though he didn’t know the correct way.
Consumed with love for the deity divine
He made an offering of meat and some wine.
Touched by his love, the Lord so gracious
Accepted the humble offering so precious.
With a grateful heart, Thimman returned
After sometime arrived the Brahmin learned
For the fortnightly duty to clean and pray
And was shocked at the sight from faraway.
Assuming it to be the work of some creature wild
He asked for forgiveness from the Lord so kind
And thoroughly cleaned and sanctified the shrine
Thus left being satisfied of his duty sublime.
Thimman came again with meat the next day
And talked to the Lord not knowing how to pray
Overcome by bliss and transcendental pleasure
He started coming everyday during his leisure.
Feeling the Lord needed bath as He seemed dirty
Filling water in his mouth while holding a turkey
He poured the water on the deity so as to bathe
Ignorant of his folly, he continued with deep faith.
Next fortnight when the brahmin came
Repulsed by the sight, he was filled with shame
Meat all over the place and spittle too
Not the work of an animal but some human fool!
Crying aloud, the Brahmin addressed the Lord
“ O Shiva! You are the greatest of all Gods
Yet someone defiled you, not caring for your curse
How can you let this happen, O protector of the universe?”
Shiva appeared smiling to the core
“How could the offerings of a devotee ignore?
Hide in a corner and watch his sincere emotion
Ignorant of rituals yet full of love and devotion.”
Curious about this devotee, brahmin hid in a secluded corner
Soon Thimman came carrying meat and a mouthful of water
Spitting water on the deity and offering meat as usual
But the offerings weren’t accepted which was so unusual.
Something was oozing out of the Lord’s left eye
Applying some herbs, Thimman started to cry
As blood started oozing out making the wound worse
And no remedies worked to cure this curse.
Taking out his knife, he cut his left eye
Placing it on the Lord, he let out a sigh
As the blood stopped but other eye bled again
And his sacrifice seemed to go in vain.
The sacrifice of other eye too had to be made
But how would he then see where it should be laid?
Placing his leg on the deity where the Lord had right eye
Thimman took out his other eye, being willing to die.
Unable to bear, the Lord appeared to bestow mercy
Restoring Thimman’s sight as he was deemed worthy
And declared him Shiva’s great devotee Kannappa Nayanar
While the Brahmin and Thimman lay prostrate on the floor.
A lowly tribal boy gained Lord’s affection
Revealing the secret of that intimate connection
With mere rituals and prayers, we can’t flatter
True love and devotion to Lord is all that matter.
© 2017 Shaloo Walia All rights reserved