By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Jnanasambandhar, JJAnasambandhar, Jyaanasambandhar
Nāyanmārs or Nāyanārs are the great Śaiva saints of Tamil Nadu who revived Śaivism when Jainism was in full swing. Out of 63 listed Nāyanārs, four have been very famous. The most well-known among them was Jñānasambandhar. He was also known as Tirujñānasambandhar, Sambandhar, Pillai Nāyanār - child devotee of Śiva.
He is believed to have lived in the 7th-8th century CE. His 4168 number of songs are all musical compositions set to various tunes of music and available even today.
Marvels in Jñānasambandhar's life
It is said that when he was a baby, his parents Śivapādahṛdayar and Bhagavatiyār left him on the bank of a Kalyāṇī (temple-tank) to take bath. He started crying and was breast-fed by the Goddess Pārvatī. Since then he developed the power of composing devotional poems of exquisite literary grace, on Lord Śiva.
Jñānasambandhar was married to the daughter of Nambāṇḍar Nambi. The most exclusive miracle happened in his wedding. Lord Śiva not only appeared before them but also all the people attending the wedding. All the couples present there were absorbed into the divine light that emerged from Lord Śiva .
He traveled extensively all over the Tamil Nadu with other well-known saints like Nīlakaṇṭhayāl Pānār, an accomplished player of the Vīṇā (lute) and Appar, a great saint and a senior contemporary. He is credited to have performed many miracles at the request of the distressed people. Some of them include:
- Curing the daughter of the king Mālava of her serious incurable disease
- Dispelling the severe cold wave which hit the village Sañgunrur
- Getting gold coins through divine intervention for his father who wanted to perform a great sacrifice
- Reviving a dead merchant at a place called Tirumarugāl
- Converting the king of Madurai to Śaivism by exhibiting divine miracles and also curing him of a fell disease
- Converting many Jains and Buddhists back to Śaivism
- Reviving Pumpāvai, the daughter of Sivaneśar to life from her ashes
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore