By Swami Harshananda
If orthodoxy and social hierarchy divided the society often causing great discontent among the lower classes and alienating them from the aristocrats, the Bhakti Movement started by the great mystics and saints of the country united all, irrespective of caste and class, into one family of devotees of God.
One such great saint hailing from the Tamil country was Nandanār. He belonged to the untouchable group of castes. Being an ardent devotee of Lord Śiva, he often longed to go to the holy city of Cidambaram and have a darśan of the Lord there. After months of hesitation he reached the place. But after recalling the greatness of the city and his own low-birth status, he considered himself unworthy to enter it. Though he remained outside its walls, his yearning for the Lord became so intense that the brāhmaṇa priests were commanded by the Lord Śiva to bring his devotee into the temple. When this was done, Nandanār is said to have fallen into an ecstatic state. Very little is known of his life and times.
- Darśan means seeing the image.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math,