Bharathiayar Stories
Madurai Project. Article in Tamil
Translation: Veeraswamy Krishnaraj

1.    Thinnan the warrior's story. Addressing Rajakesari Vīravarman, Angiran the Eagle priest told the story to the Rajakesari king Vīravarman. Once upon a time, Thinnan was a warrior when Vikrama Pandiyan ruled Madurai.

2.    As Thinnan walked one day by the palace, he saw King Pandian's daughter Dharmalakshmi playing ball on the palace's upper floor. Struck by love, he desired to marry her.  

3.    Thinnan went to an astrologer and posed him a question, "If someone wants to marry a king's daughter, what kind of worship should he conduct?" 

4.    The astrologer asked Thinnan, "Who are you?

5.    What is your vocation?"

6.    "I am a foot soldier. My name is Thinnan."  

7.    The astrologer unceremoniously threw him out, saying, "Do not ask me. Get lost immediately." 

8.    Thinnan went to Minakshiamman temple and posed the same question to one of the officiating priests. The priest told him, "Appā! Ask me the question a year later.

9.    Then I will answer your question. Until then, I have no answer. You may leave now."    

10.                       Thinnan went to a Mantra-meister, who said, "Give me sixteen pieces of gold. I will conduct sacerdotal services and help fulfill your heart's desire." 

11.                       Thinnan went back home since he did not have sixteen pieces of silver coins. He was a poor boy.  

12.                       Thinnan wondered as to who to go to seeking help. A thought occurred that he should ask the Princess herself. He decided he would do it.  

13.                       The next-door neighbor, the daughter of the flower vendor, took flower garlands to the palace daily. She has known Thinnan for a long time. She was an obedient person. He wrote a letter to the Princess on a palm leaf.

14.                       "O Daughter of the king! I am a foot soldier. What should I do to marry you" 

15.                       He hid the palm leaf inside the garland and told the girl, "Shake the garland before the princess and hand over the garland to the princess."

16.                       The Flower girl went to the palace and shook the garland once, handed the garland to the Princess, and returned home.  

17.                       The Princess saw the palm leaf on the floor, picked it up, and read it. The message was: "Princess! I am a foot soldier. What should I do to marry you?" 

18.                       Angiran, the priestly bird, and the storyteller addressed king Vīravarman. "King! The Princess saw the palm leaf fall off the flower garland. The flower girl returned home. The foot soldier asked the flower girl whether he shook the garland and gave it to the Princess. For that, she said yes." The foot soldier, satisfied with the answer, left her.  

19.                       The next evening, the flower girl took the flowers as usual to the palace.

20.                       The Princess gave her a palm leaf to the flower carrier and said, Give this palm leaf to the foot soldier."  

21.                       The flower girl was astonished. The Princess: "Don't be afraid. Take this message."

22.                       The girl gave the message to the soldier. He read the message: "All depends on God." Another day, Thinnan was deep in thought.  

23.                       "The Princess does not mock me. He is showing me the right path: 'Trust God. Fruition assured.' "His mind-built castles: "Let me believe in it. In the olden days, elders said God rewarded the Tapasvins in person. I have not seen such an occurrence these days. Forget about the past and the present. God is for all times. Let me do Tapas thinking of God. A way will be my lot." Thinking thus, he went to a nearby forest, ate fruits and vegetables, drank water from streams, and sat down for meditation. Many days went by.   

24.                       A friendship developed between him and a hunter. Seeing the ardor at Tapas and the brilliance in his face, the hunter brought him sweet honey and choicest roots. The soldier taught the hunter devotion to God.  

25.                       The hunter gave him a herb and said, "Keep this secret herb safe. A pinch of it, when ground and applied even to a large wound, will heat in three hours. The soldier turned Tapasvin stored it safely.  

26.                       A snake lived in an anthill near his Barnasala (Hermitage). One day, the hunter went to kill it. Thinnan said to him, '' Ayyō! Mercy. Do not kill that old snake. It has been living here for a long time. It did not harm me. Do not go against it." He stopped the hunter from killing it.  

27.                       Later on, the snake lay dead with a diamond by its side, probably regurgitated by the dying snake. Thinking it was a snake diamond, he secreted it. That night, he had a dream. His Ishta Devata Mīnakshiamman appeared in his dream and said to him,' pleased by your Tapas, I gave you the diamond. Take I and live in comfort.' 

28.                       Thinnan did not believe the dream. He thought, "This dream is my own making. I came here to marry the Princess and expected the Goddess to tell me to give the diamond to the Princess. She did not say it. It is not the act of God. It is a play by my imagination." He continued to do Tapas.  

29.                       One day, king Vikrama Pandiyan came to the forest to hunt, saw the Tapasvin, and inquired who he was and how long he was in Tapas.

30.                       Thinnan said, "I am Pandiya kingdom's soldier. My name is Thinnan. I have been doing Tapas for many years and forget how long."

31.                       The king said to him, "Do you know me?" 

32.                       Seeing the warrior's beauty and radiant face,  the king said, "What is your idea in the performance of Tapas in this forest at this young age." 

33.                       Thinnan said, "I do Tapas with the intent to marry Madurai king's daughter." 

34.                       The king expressed surprise and said, "How could that become true?" 

35.                       Thinnan: "Mīnākshi will confer on me the boon I asked for." 

36.                       The king: "What gift would you offer to the princess?"  

37.                       Thinnan: "A herb that heals wounds and Snake Diamond." 

38.                       The king asked the Tapasvin to show both, to which he obliged. The minions ground the herb and applied it to the wounded deer. The wound healed immediately.   

39.                       Realizing the warrior's greatness of his Tapas and the brilliance in his face, eyes, speech, and deed, the Pandiya king gave his daughter in marriage to Thinnan, the Tapasvin-Soldier.

40.                       The wise Eagle, the palace minister, said, 'If anyone has to attain wonderful achievements, only devotion is the only path.' 

41.                       The chief of army Agnigopan's son Ranakumaran, the young tiger, Thandhirasenan's Upāya Vajran the fox, a tiger, and foxes dragged a wounded and bleeding male lion into the palace court after permission and due homage.  

42.                       That wounded lion under custody was none other than the king of Peykattu, king Thandhirajan. 

43.                       Vīravarman seeing this unbelievable spectacle, smiled as the Peykattu fox fainted and slumped on the floor. The priest and the chief of the army offered their felicitations to the king and eyed their satisfaction with each other at the prospect of the custody of the long-standing enemy.