Post No.8005

Date uploaded in London – 19 May 2020   

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Music plays an important part in the life of many saints. Hinduism has the highest number of saints who used the path of music to reach the feet of the god. Tamil poet cum saint Sekkizar who composed  poems on 63 great Saivite saints of Tamil Nadu gives us detailed life stories of these saints. When we read about animal miracles we remember two of these Saivite saints , known as Nayanmars. Cheraman Perumal Nayanar , King of Kerala was well versed in animal language. The other one is Aanaya nayanar. Though his intention was not to talk to animals, they understood his devotion towards lord Shiva and flocked around him when he played on flute. That way he may be compared to Saint Francis of Assisi who was canonised after his death by Pope Gregory.

St. Francis of Assisi lived 1000 years ago in the Italian town of Assisi. He used to attract animals through  language of love. He even instructed wolves not to  attack town people. Aanaya Nayanar also lived 1000 years ago in Maza Nadu, now known as Tiruchirappalli district in Tamil Nadu.

St Francis, though born in a wealthy merchant family lived a life of austerity. But Aanaya Nayanar was already born in a poor cowherd’s family and led the life as a cowherd. He lived in a village called Tirumangalam.

He was not learned but he knew the Panchakshara – the great Five Letters of Lord Siva – na ma si va ya . he played it on the flute .The Mantra Panchakshara is in Sanskrit. But music is a universal language. From God to animals all understand. Thus he was more learned than the most learned people of his area.

One day he was sitting under a Kondrai Tree, a favourite flower of Lord Siva and started playing on the heavenly instrument. Then what happened?

The music captivated all the cows and calves.

Even the birds sat on the trees and silently heard the enrapturing music of the flute.

The peacocks danced in joy, keeping time with the music.

Hearing the music other animals stood motionless.

The music captivated the hearts of the deer, snakes, elephants ,tigers etc.

The snake and the peacock, the tiger and the elephant shed their enmity and lived together happily.

The waves in the sea called to hear the music of Aanayanar. 

Even the celestials – Vidhyadharas, Kinnaras and Devas came in their celestial cars to listen to him

The lord was immensely pleased with Anaya Nayanars devotion .

He came with Goddess Parvati and took him to Kailash.


G Vanmikanathan in his English translation of Periapuranam verses describes the scene in the following verses,

Herds of cows ceased to chew the cud,

Fell in to a trance and gathered around him

Calves with ring frothed mouths

Ceased to suckle at the teets of their mothers

Bands of bulls with spreading horns, deers and other forest fauna

All with hairs on their hides atingle

Gathered around.

Dancing flocks of peacocks ceased their strutting

and gathered around him

Coveys of birds, their hearts filled with the music

Which entered through their ears,

Roosted around him with roosted senses,

The hefty herdsmen

Working in the neighbourhood

gathered round him.

Denizens of the underworld of snakes

Debouched through underground passages

Mountain dwelling maids

Many many massed around

Mazed in their minds,

Vinjayars, Saranars, Kinnarars, Amarars,

Heaven dwellers of undiminishing luminance

All in daze, in the beautiful sky above

In their chariots in the clouds crowded they.

As the tormentors and the tormented

Enjoyed with the same emotions,

The snake of mouth full of pearly teeth

Swooned and fell on the peacock;

The lion of unflagging ferocity

And the massive elephant sat together

Beside the jaws of the tiger,

The delicate mouthed deer bedded

The blowing breeze forebode to blow

Trees their blossom laden branches

Ceased to sway

Falls of water failed to fall down the fells

Wild rivers from virgin forest

Ceased to roar as they rushed along;

Banks of bulging clouds

Their sailing stalled

With held their waters

Thunder ceased to thunder in the vast sky

The Seven oceans ceased to swell.

The music of the fluting

Of the hollow reed

Filling the world and capturing the heavens

Rose in volume vast enough

To reach the holy ears

Of the out of reach of deceitful devotion Sire

Who dances in the Golden Hall

On graciously hearing

the music of the flute of Aanayanar

The Creator of Music, the Lord

With an eye on the forehead

Accompanied by the willowy Dame of austerities

Whose heart was compassion incarnate

Mounted the bull

And appeared on the aerial highway

With his matted locks, the Nursery of the Moon,trailing behind him.

This is how Sekkilar described in Tamil.

Aanayanar was taken to the abode of Lord Siva.

We are reminded of what Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa says about jeevan muktas:–

When they see the ocean of bliss they immediately jump into it and try to find the bottom of the ocean. But before they dive a few feet they dissolve into it  like a salt doll in the water. Very few people come back to the world and cry loudly saying that they have found a very big treasure and appeal to the devotees to share it. Here Aanayanar simply dissolved in the ocean of bliss.



Periapuranam gives the life history of 63 Tamil Saivite saints. One of the 63 poets is Seraman Perumal Nayanar also known as Kazarirrarivar. He also knew animal language like Asvapati.

Periyapuranam verse 3760 says: “He was enabled to reign as king at the same time follow the path of loving worship. He was given the power of understanding the communication of all living creatures”

We must notice one thing here: Scriptures don’t attribute this rare talent to everyone. Only few of the ancient people had this knowledge. Christian saint St Francis of Assisi was an embodiment of love. Even fishes kissed his fingers. King Solomon also understood animal language.

Najmuddin Kubra was a Sufi Muslim saint who founded the Greater Brother order. His pictures show that he was always surrounded by birds. Sufi saints were said to have spoken to birds and animals. Ancient Hindu saints spoke to animals in the natural language. Probably Asvapati, Kazarrarivar and Vikramaditya used their thought power to communicate with them. Stories of Vikramaditya have several incidents of listening to birds’ talk.




Miracles of a Christian Saint: St Francis of Assisi “St. Francis was born at Assisi in Italy in 1182. After a care free youth, he turned his back on inherited wealth and committed himself to God. Like many early saints, he lived a very simple life of poverty, and in so doing, gained a reputation of being the friend of animals. He established the rule of St Francis, which exists today as the Order of St. Francis, or the Franciscans. He died in 1226, aged 44”.

Voltaire on St Francis: “A savage mad man who ran around naked, spoke to animals, gave religious instruction to a wolf and built himself a wife out of snow”, said Voltaire (1649- 1778)

St. Francis was able to control a wolf that troubled the people of a town in Italy. He spoke to the wolf and struck a deal with it. Half way through his sermons he went to the birds and spoke to them.

On the last day of his existence, the sky larks came to him to sing. He cured leprosy patients. In his presence the animals behaved. When he went to the lakes and ponds fishes kissed him.

Catholic Christians are like Hindus in their beliefs, particularly about miracles. Hindus believe that saints can exert great influence on animals and other natural forces.

A Tamil saint of Tiruvannamalai, Sri Seshadri Swamikal, brought hundreds of birds of different kinds, just to amuse one of his devotees. Tamil and Telugu films portray snakes that obey the divine commands.

Poem Attributed to St Francis: Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love.

Where there is injury, pardon.

Where there is doubt, faith.

Where there is despair, hope.

Where there is darkness, light.

Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;

To be understood, as to understand;

To be loved, as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive.

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.



Please read my earlier articles: 1.Mysterious Tamil Bird Man (posted 19 April 2012) 2. Mysterious Messengers for Ajanta, Angkor Wat, Sringeri (posted 3 Oct. 2011) 3.Animal Einsteins Part 1 and Part 2 4. When Animals worship God, Why not Men? 5.Can Birds Predict Your Future?

tags – Aanaya Nayanar, Flute, St Francis of Assisi,

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