Devotion personified

Devotion personified

It seems Kannappa was born n’ bred amidst rustic tribal milieu, in the temple town of Sri Kalahasti, in the region of Andhra Pradesh. Kannappa was known by several other names too like Thinnan, Dheeran, Kannabeswara, Boya Tinnadu, Kannappa Nayanar, et al.

Once, it’s believed, through serendipity, he discovered the Shiv temple in the outskirts of a forest, where he hunted wild animals for their flesh. And on seeing the temple deity, he had gone into a sort of catatonic state, with his gaze fully transfixed on the Shiv Linga.

From then on, he had felt inexorably gravitated towards the Shiv linga, which he punctiliously tended with undiluted/undivided care. In fact, one could find in Kannappa, that mesmerizing mishmash of love and devotion towards the Lord, which he always nurtured in his heart.

Interestingly, Kannappa’s manners and method of worshipping the Lord was incredibly abrasive. Like, everyday, he’d wash the Shiv phallus with sups of water, contained in his mouth, collected from the nearby river Swarnamukhi.

Then he’d offer to the Lord, a big chunk of raw meat of the hunted animal, scooped in his hand; and he’d embellish the Shiv phallus with alpine flowers, crammed in the circlet, adorning his head. Apparently his singular, unremitting devotion transcended all barriers of fears/inhibitions, which people at times associate with the Supreme Power.

It seems once the Lord decided to conduct a litmus test, to check out the purity and intensity in Kannapa’s devotion. So, creating an optical illusion, He made the eyes of Shiv Linga to bleed. On witnessing this, while the priest, who had worshipped the Lord with incessant poojas, just vamoosed off from the scene; Kannappa, within a trice, had gouged out his own eyes to offer them to the Lord.

Deeply touched by this poignant gesture, the Lord restores back Kannapa’s eyesight, besides blessing him profusely. Apparently with his superlatively pure devotion, Kannappa emerged as the most bona-fide devotee, since his devotion wasn’t polluted by any fear or expectations from the Lord.

As a corollary, what delight the Lord are devotee’s purity of heart and mind, and those ‘moments of unadulterated devotion’ of the devotee, wherein the focus/concentration on God never gets deflected.

In other words, those hours of endless pooja rituals, (while the mind meanders in myriad directions!) perhaps never matter to the Lord!

To encapsulate, the ‘intention’ with which a devotee worships the Lord is what God considers, and certainly not the ‘method’ adopted in worshipping Him!   

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