The Story of a Demoness and a Tamil Poet (Post No 2941)

nakkirar 1

Written by London swaminathan


Date: 4 July 2016

Post No. 2941

Time uploaded in London :– 6-07 AM

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Nakkeerar was a famous Tamil poet who lived two thousand years ago. He wrote several Tamil poems. His name was a household name because of his clash with Lord Siva. Dharumi, A poor Brahmin poet prayed to Lord Siva in Madurai temple to win a box of 1000 gold coins from the Pandya king who announced the prize. The king said that it would be given to the best poem with an answer to his query. Lord Siva decided to help him. The poor Brahmin poet Dharumi met Lord Siva who came in the guise of an old poet. He gave him a beautiful poem and asked him to present it to the king on the day of the poetry competition.


Nakkeerar was the royal poet at that time. When the poem was recited in the royal assembly the king was very happy and was about to give the gold coins. But Nakkeerar said that the poem had lot of mistakes. When he was asked to explain, Dharumi fumbled for answers. Nakkeerar sent him home and asked him to improve the poem. That evening he met lord Siva again in the guise of an old poet. He was furious when he heard that Nakkeerar found fault with his poem. Next day, Lord Siva himself disguised as a poet went to the royal assembly and challenged the royal poet Nakkeerar. Even when the old poet revealed his true identity as Lord Siva, Nakkeerar was so adamant and said, “I don’t care even if you open your Third Eye. A flaw is a flaw”. When Siva actually opened his Third Eye Nakkeerar couldn’t with stand the heat and apologised to him. But yet he was suffering from the burns caused by the fire emitted by the third eye. Siva advised him to do a penance to recover from it.


Nakkeerar’s problem did not stop there. Now he faced a new trouble. While he was doing the prayers on the banks of a river a leaf from a banyan tree fell in front of him. Half of the leaf was covered in water and the other half was on the banks. The portion inside the water became fish and the other half became a bird. He was wondering what it was. Because of this strange phenomenon he lost concentration in his prayer towards Siva.


A demoness who lived on the tree used to play this trick to see whether someone is focused in what one was doing. If someone loses concentration, then the demoness would catch that person and imprison in a cave. Nakkeerar also became a victim and was caught by the demoness and thrown into the cave prison. 999 prisoners were already there inside the prison and Nakkeerar was the thousandth person. Those 999 prisoners were very unhappy to see Nakkeerar because the demoness told them that all of them would be eaten on the day the 1000th person was caught. They all cried and told Nakkeerar the reason for their sadness. All of them did the same mistake of losing concentration and get distracted during Prayer to Shiva.


Nakkeerar pacified them and told that he would pray to Lord Skanda, son of Siva, and he would help them. The demoness name was Karkimuki. When she went to a tank nearby for a bath, Nakkeerar sang a long poem in praise of Lord Skanda. The long poem known as “Tiru Muruka Aatruppadai” is part of 2000 year old Sangam Tamil literature. Nakkeerar threw a leaf on the demoness when it returned to the cave. The leaf became a spear (Vel) and was about to attack the demoness but by the grace of Lord Skanda the demoness also got released from a curse which turned her into a demoness. Now that all the prisoner poets were released, Nakkeerar felt very happy and the Poem became a popular one.

This story was known to every Tamil 500 years ago and Arunagirinathar sang about this demoness Karkimuki in his Tiruppugaz verses. Otherwise we wouldn’t know this story at all.


Long Live Arunagiri and Nakkeerar!!