Nayanar Manikkavachakar hails from Vadhavur, born into a priest’s family in the 9th century CE, served in the Army before being what he is today! When he’s entrusted in buying an additional cavalry, the King gave him gold for that. So he travelled with some soldiers to look for warhorses, but in the way, encountered a Yogi who traveled with him for some time. During that, he enlightens Manikavachakar about the Shiva within. Moved by this knowledge, Manikavachakar established a temple of Shiva with the amount given by the king.

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After knowing this act of his army general, he too moved a lot and learned that knowledge from Manikkavacakar. The Nayanar used to live the knowledge directly to see! As he travelled across the southern subcontinent, he taught many people and composed many writings and settled in Chidambaram. There he won several intellectual debates with the Budddhists of Ceylon. However, many of his notable works were intentionally kept away from the light. Works such as Vadhavoorar Puranam, Tiruvilayadal Puranam were not available to read.  

Sri Ramana reaffirmed that when Nayanar Manikkavachakar attained Mukti, he dissolved his body into a blinding light, without leaving it behind. British Explorers Francis Kingsbury and GE Philips and Fred Goodwill, another British Explorer, edited their works, he also researched this saint. The Hymns of Manikkavacakar has been published in English by Oxford University Press in 1921.

-Viswanath Venkat Dasari