Story of Kanappa Nayanar

Today, let’s recollect the story of Kanappa Nayanar, a hunter and one of the greatest devotees of Lord Shiva. Kanappa lived in a forest surrounding the famous Srikalahasti temple, which is dedicated to Vayu Linga. He used to visit the temple every evening after hunting all through the day. One day, he observed the temple priest conducting puja. On observing the rituals, he decided to offer something to the Linga every evening. As he did not have any pot to carry water, baskets to carry flowers and vessels to cook food, he would carry water from the Swarnamukhi river in his mouth and just spit the water on the Shivling. He carried flowers on his matted hair and offered raw meat of hunted animals to Lord Shiva. The priest would find the meat every morning and cleanse the temple thoroughly. The unhappy and perplexed priest then prayed to Lord Shiva to know who was committing the sacrilege of offering meat to the Linga.

One day, he had a vision of Lord Shiva who asked him to hide within the temple at night and watch all the events. As instructed, the priest hid himself and eagerly waited for the events to unfold. Kanappa duly arrived, conducted the Abhishekam and offered meat. While offering meat, Kanappa found that one of the eyes of the Linga started to bleed. Imagining that the Lord’s eye was injured he plucked out one of his eye with an arrow and placed it over the bleeding eye. The bleeding stopped. However, within no time another eye of the Linga started to bleed. Seeing this, Kanappa got ready to pluck out his other eye. He placed his toe on the bleeding eye to know where to place his eye and took out an arrow. Moved by his extreme devotion, Lord Shiva appeared before him and restored his vision. The Lord then praised Kanappa for his unconditional devotion. Thus, Kanappa became a Nayanar (a holy Saivite saint).

The saint is also known as Dheeran, Bhakta Kannappan, Kannan, Thinnan and Thinnappan.

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