Eripatha Nayanar was born in Karuvur, one of the main cities of the Chola Kingdom. It was
a very sacred place, situated on the bank of the river Ambiravati. On both the banks of this river
saints and sages were doing Tapas and were radiating spiritual vibrations. A famous temple was
there, too, dedicated to Lord Pasupatheesvarar Who was showering His grace on the king and the
people alike. They were all happy. Eripatha Nayanar was daily worshipping Lord Pasupatheesvarar
with great faith and devotion. His one aim in life was to serve Siva Bhaktas and to offer them every
kind of protection. He always carried a weapon, an axe, for this purpose. With the axe he would
punish anyone trying to harm Siva Bhaktas. He was doing by this the LordÂ’s own work!
In that city, there lived a Siva Bhakta by name Sivakami Andar. He was very regular in his
daily worship of Lord Siva. Early morning would find him in the garden after bath, collecting
flowers, making garlands for taking to the temple and offering to the Lord. This was his routine.
On a Maha Navami day when all the people were jubilant, Sivakami Andar was rushing to
the temple, as usual, with a basket of flowers. At the same time, the kingÂ’s pet elephant was
returning from the river, after its bath. On its back were two Mahouts, and three others were
escorting it. Suddenly, it went mad and was chasing the people. They were running here and there.
It ran towards Sivakami Andar. It caught hold of him, wrenched the basket of flowers from him,
threw it on the ground and ran away. The flowers were all scattered on the ground. Sivakami Andar
was greatly upset. The elephant had destroyed the flowers he had kept for the worship of the Lord.
He chased the elephant. He was very aged and soon fell down exhausted. He was weeping bitterly,
crying aloud: Â‘Sivada, SivadaÂ’ (a cry expressing agony). Eripatha Nayanar happened to pass that
way. He heard Sivakami AndarÂ’s pitiable cry and the cause of it. Â‘Where is that elephant?Â’ asked
Eripathar and began to run in the direction indicated by Sivakami Andar. Soon he overtook the
elephant and hurled his powerful axe, killing it with one stroke. Then he pounced on the Mahouts
and killed them, too.
The news of the elephantÂ’s fate reached the king who immediately reached the spot on his
horse, surrounded by his soldiers. He could not see who had killed the elephant, for, he could not
associate the Siva Yogi Eripathar with such an act. He began to shout: Â‘Who killed my elephant?Â’
When someone pointed to Eripathar, immediately the kingÂ’s wrath vanished, for he knew that if the
Siva Yogi had done so, there should have been a very valid reason for it. Â‘He must have killed it in
self-defence,Â’ thought the king and felt happy that the elephant had done no harm to the Siva Yogi.
He addressed Eripathar: Â‘Oh Swamin, I did not know that you killed the elephant. Definitely, the
elephant and the Mahouts must have done some harm to you and you rightly punished them.Â’
Eripathar narrated to the king all that had happened, and said: Â‘Since the elephant and the Mahouts
were guilty of Siva-Aparadham, I killed them.Â’ The moment the king heard the expression
Siva-Aparadhara (sin against Lord Siva) he suffered terrible mental agony. He fell at the feet of
Eripathar and said: Â‘O Swamin, for what they have done, the punishment awarded by you is not
enough. I have committed a great crime by keeping such an elephant and such Mahouts. Now, I do
not deserve a death through your holy weapon, the axe. Here is my own sword. Please be gracious
enough to cut off my head with it.Â’
Eripathar was stunned to hear these words. He himself was struck with remorse. Â‘What a
great pain have I inflicted on the king! What a noble king he is!Â’ he thought; and, lest the king
should execute the punishment on himself, he took the sword from the king. Eripathar felt that he
was the cause for the kingÂ’s affliction, and in self-punishment, he began to cut his own throat. The
king was alarmed. He thought that he would now be guilty of another offence and at once gripped
the sword and stopped Eripathar from cutting his own throat.
The LordÂ’s Lila was over. A voice was heard in the sky: Â‘Oh noble souls! This is Lord
PasupatheesvararÂ’s Lila. It is His wish that His BhaktaÂ’s sincere and faithful service to Him must be
recognised by the world.Â’ Immediately, the elephants and the Mahouts got up, as from sleep.
Sivakami AndarÂ’s flower basket was full. All were amazed and began to sing Lord
PasupatheesvararÂ’s glory. Eripathar placed the sword at the kingÂ’s feet and prostrated to him. The
king also fell at EripatharÂ’s feet. Both embraced each other and were in great joy. Eripathar wished
that the king should mount his pet elephant. The king did so. Eripathar returned to his place.
Sivakami Andar went to the temple with the flowers.
Eripathar continued to serve Siva Bhaktas. Finally he cast off his mortal coil and reached the
Abode of Lord Siva.