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Hounds of Shiva

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Back of the Book Hounds of Shiv a is a treasure house of tales with impassioned, heroic acts of sacrifice, devotion and service in the lives and times of the Nayanmars - the sixty-three Shaivite saints who were exemplars of bhakti. Kannappa gouges out his eye to heal Shiva's wound; Punitavati renounces her youth and beauty to follow the Lord as an emaciated ghoul; Siruthondar sacrifices his own son at Shiva's command; Iyarpahai gifts his beloved wife to another man; Samandhar rais...
Back of the Book

Hounds of Shiv a is a treasure house of tales with impassioned, heroic acts of sacrifice, devotion and service in the lives and times of the Nayanmars - the sixty-three Shaivite saints who were exemplars of bhakti. Kannappa gouges out his eye to heal Shiva's wound; Punitavati renounces her youth and beauty to follow the Lord as an emaciated ghoul; Siruthondar sacrifices his own son at Shiva's command; Iyarpahai gifts his beloved wife to another man; Samandhar raises a boy from the dead; Poosal builds an intricate Shiva temple in his heart.

But the book's hero is Lord Shiva, who assumes myriad disguises to sport with his devotees, blessing and testing them. Filled with astounding miracles, Hounds of Shivais an untold tale of the Blue- throated Lord and a feast for the mind and soul.

About the Author

Preetha Rajah Kannan is the author of Shiva in the City of Nectar, an enthralling collection of stories based on the revered Tamil text, Thiruvilayaadal Puranam and Son of Shiva, about the warrior-god Kartikeya, commander-in- chief of the heavens and epitome of wisdom and valour. She is also the editor of Navagraha Purana, a translation of the eponymous Telugu work on the mythology of the nine planets, by celebrated author V. S. Rao. Kannan has contributed extensively to newspapers and magazines, such as The New Indian Express and The Express School Magazine. A homemaker and a mother of two boys, she lives with her family in Madurai, Tamil Nadu.

Prologue

Sekkizhar stood spellbound at Chidambaram, the heart of the universe and the abode of Lord Shiva as the Cosmic Dancer. The poet breathed in the fragrance of the drooping yellow thillai blossoms that wafted in from the surrounding mangroves. Vedic chants resonated in the temple's Hall of Gold, melding with the music of celestial veenas, the trumpeting of elephants and the roar of the nearby waterfalls. Through a kaleidoscope of light and sound, Sekkizhar watched Lord Shiva's Ananda Tandava, the Dance of Bliss, weaving into one vibrant strand the universal rhythms of creation, preservation, destruction, illusion and liberation.

the holiest of Shiva's shrines. Shiva is worshipped here as the embodiment of the primal element, space. Chidambaram is located at the centre point of the earth's magnetic equator. It is, therefore, celebrated as the "lotus heart of the universe:' Chidambaram is also known as "Thillai," because it was surrounded by thillai mangroves in the past.

His dance concluded. Shiva stood poised on one leg, the other raised as a symbol of moksha or liberation. His serene gaze travelled over his spellbound audience, from the heavenly hosts led by Indra to the ecstatic bhutaganas with their cymbals and gongs. His eyes melted in tenderness as they came to rest on the group closest to his heart - his Hounds.

The Hounds of Shiva, or ayanmars, stood bare- chested in simple loincloths, holy ash blazing across their foreheads and strings of rudraksha beads adorning their necks and arms. These men and women, hailing from different classes, castes and trades, were united by their all-consuming love for Shiva. Exemplars of devotion, they had spent their lives spreading the message of service and renunciation through the land before reaching the Lord's lotus feet. Now, arms folded high above their heads, they gazed upon Shiva with adoration. Potsherd or gold, rain or sunshine, adversity or fortune - all were insignificant in their eyes. The Lord was their only reality. They paid homage to him, chanting in unceasing chorus:

'Namah Shivayah! Namah Shivayah! Namah Shivayah! His heart swamped by tidal waves of bhakti, Sekkizhar exclaimed, "I will weave a garland of poems for the Lord by singing the glory of his Hounds!" Seated in the Chidambaram temple's thousand- pillared hall, Sekkizhar contemplated the blank palm- leaf manuscript before him. Suddenly overwhelmed by the magnitude of his undertaking, he thought, I am unworthy ... I am just a greedy dog, foolishly trying to lap the vast ocean dry.

The poet folded his hands in reverence, lifted his eyes to Shiva and prayed, "Lord of Dance, be my muse." Shiva stood before him, a hand extended in blessing. The Lord smiled and dictated:

, Ulakellam unarnthu otharkku ariyavan ... ' 'The all-encompassing being who is beyond comprehension and expression ... '

Sekkizhar took up his stylus and commenced his magnum opus with Shiva's immortal words.

**Book's Contents and Sample Pages**











Item Code: NAP975 Author: Preetha Rajah Kannan Cover: PAPERBACK Edition: 2018 Publisher: Jaico Publishing House ISBN: 9789387944114 Language: English Size: 8.00 X 5.00 inch Pages: 321 Other Details: Weight of the Book: 0.2 Kg
Price: $20.00
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