Shivaratri

Story of Poosalaar Naayanaar


Naayanaars are saints of Tamil Nadu who are devoted to God Shiva. They are known for their steadfast devotion to Lord Shiva and have influenced the Bhakti movement.

Poosalaar Naayanaar of Tiruninravur near Chennai, was one such great saint who extolled the virtues of Smaranam. His lifelong desire was to construct a beautiful temple for his beloved Lord, Shiva. Alas! he was a poor man who did not have money to buy even bricks. His desire to build the temple was so overpowering that he decided to build one in his mind. Such was his devotion!

He began to study various spiritual texts to understand the protocols of building a temple. He then started building the temple in his mind. One doesn’t need money or manpower to build a temple in one’s mind. All that is needed is, single pointed devotion to one’s beloved Lord! One day he built a few walls, the next day the entrance, then the doors, the sanctum sanctorum and so on. This continued for many days until he finished building the beautiful temple…..all in his mind. The next step was to decide the inauguration day in order to perform the Kumbabhishekam. Of course, this also would be grandly performed in his mind! Poosalar decided upon an auspicious date for this ceremony.

Meanwhile, in Kancheepuram there was a pallava King named Rajasimha. He was a very wealthy king and had constructed a grand temple for Lord Kailasanatha. He too decided upon a date for performing the Kumbabhishekam which coincidentally was the same date as the date fixed by Poosalar for his imaginary temple! One night, King Rajasimha had a dream in which Lord Shiva appeared before him and expressed His inability to attend the inauguration ceremony of the King’s temple as the Lord had to attend the Kumbabhishekam of another devotee, Poosalar in Tiruninravur.

The King woke up the next day feeling very disappointed and heartbroken. He also wanted to go and see for himself the temple constructed by Poosalar. He thought that the temple must be more grand than his own as the Lord had decided to go there instead of coming to his temple. Without wasting anymore time, the King went to Tiruninravur. Upon reaching the village, the King made enquiries only to find out that Poosalar was a learned scholar but a very poor man. Out of curiosity he went to meet Poosalar to find out about his temple. Poosalar told the King that he had built the temple in his mind as he did not have any funds. And yes, he had decided to perform Kumbabhishekam as well, in his mind.

The King was stunned to see Poosalar’s bhakti and determination! He was a poor man yet determined to fulfil his dream. No wonder the Lord was drawn towards Poosalar’s invitation! The King ordered his men to build Poosalar’s temple right in the place imagined by Poosalar and to follow every plan and design decided by Poosalar.

Poosalar was too moved for words. With tears of joy he thanked Lord Shiva for making his dream come true. This temple stands tall even today on Tiruninravur and is called as the “Hridayaleeswarar” Temple which means the Lord of the heart! Lord Shiva is fondly addressed here as Hridayaleeswarar.

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The story of Poosalaar Naayanaar - Coloring Sheet

- Sketch by Ms.Hema Satagopan

The Story of Saakkya Naayanaar - Maze Activity

STORY OF Saakkya Naayanaar


Naayanaars are saints of Tamil Nadu who are devoted to God Shiva. They are known for their steadfast devotion to Lord Shiva and have influenced the Bhakti movement.

Saakkya Naayanaar was one such saint who was born in the rural village of Tiru Changa Mangai, Nagapattinam District, Tamil Nadu.At that time, the village was dominated by Buddhists and Sakkiya’s family too followed Buddhism in order to be safe. Saakkya went to Kanchipuram and studied at a monastery to become a Buddhist monk. However, his interest in Shaivism led him to become a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva. For him, Shiva was the embodiment of truth. He continued to wear the attire of a Buddhist monk as he felt that the external appearances did not matter much.

One day, Saakkya was lost in the thoughts of Lord Shiva and he absent mindedly threw a stone at Shiva’s Lingam. The next day Saakkya had a feeling that Lord Shiva wished him to worship the Lingam with a stone.

From then onwards, it was a regular practice for Saakkya to worship the Lingam with a stone. Only after this would he have his usual milk porridge. One day, Saakkya was about to have his meal when he remembered that he had done the unthinkable! He had totally forgotten to offer a stone to the Lingam.Leaving his food, he ran to the spot where the Lingam was and taking a small pebble offered it to the Lingam. He totally forgot about his hunger! Lord Shiva was very pleased with Sakkiya’s devotion and appeared before him. He blessed him and took him to Kailash, His abode in the Heaven.

This story highlights the Archanam form of devotion and tells us that anything offered to the Lord with love, will be readily accepted by Him. It is only the Bhakti or the devotion of the devotee that matters to the Lord and not what he is offering.

STORY OF Kannappa Naayanaar


Nayanars are saints of Tamil Nadu who are devoted to God Shiva. They are known for their steadfast devotion to Lord Shiva and have influenced the Bhakti movement.

One such saint was Kannappa Nayanar who belonged to the hunting tribe Nagan. He was born as Thinnan and His father was a chieftain.Thinnan means "strong" in Tamil and according to his name, he became a strong man by acquiring the skills of martial arts and archery from his father and other elders. Very soon he also became a skilled archer.Days, months and years flew by and Thinnan grew up to be a responsible young man and was appointed as the chieftain of his tribe.

Thinnan and his friends often went hunting as was the practice of his tribe. One such day, Thinnan started chasing a wild boar and he found himself to be amidst a dense forest. He killed the boar and while walking with the meat, suddenly to his astonishment, his eyes fell upon a beautiful Lingam, the form of Lord Shiva. He had never seen anything like this before and had the uncontrollable urge to stay back with the Lord. He told his friend to cook the boar and then he offered it to the Lord. He also requested his friend to inform his parents about his intention to stay in the forest for a while.

It became an everyday practice for Thinnan to go hunting and to offer the cooked meat to his beloved Lord, Shiva. Since he did not have any utensils to carry water, he carried it in his mouth. He bathed the idol with this water. He plucked wild flowers and kept them in his matted hair and decorated the Lord with these flowers.His devotion for his Lord was so pure that he did not think twice about doing all this. This became his routine and It was indeed a strange sight!

Shiva Kochariyar, a sage who was a great devotee of Lord Shiva also used to visit this very place to worship the Shiva Linga. To his horror, one day, he found the meat offering, near the Linga. He immediately cleaned the Linga thinking that some animal would have left it’s killed prey there.But when he found meat offering every day, he knew that something was going on. He prayed to Lord Shiva to help him solve this mysterious problem. The Lord came in his dream and told him that one of His devotee is responsible for all this and there was no need to get alarmed. The sage could hide behind the bush and keep a watch, to find out for himself.

The next day, the sage did as he was told and to his utter dismay, he found Thinnan bathing the Lord with the water from his mouth and decorating Him with flowers from his matted hair and offering meat. Then, he started praying to the Lord. Suddenly, blood started oozing from one of the eyes of the Lingam. Alarmed, Thinnan tried to wipe it with his own garment. When it did not help he ran into the forest and got some medicinal herbs. He tried to press it in the Lord’s eye hoping for it to heal. Still, nothing worked and blood continued gushing out. Without wasting a minute, Thinnan scooped out his own left eye with the help of his arrow and placed it in the depression of the Lord’s eye.The bleeding stopped!

Thinnan was happy that his Lord’s eye was healed. Suddenly, the Lord’s other eye started bleeding.Shiva Kochariyar’s heart now started pounding and he wondered what would happen next. If Thinnan thought of removing his right eye, how would he know where to keep it on the Lingam as he would be blind. To his amazement,Thinnan lifted his leg and kept it on the Lord’s eye and then proceeded to remove his right eye.Just then a divine voice was heard. “Stop! You are Kannappa now, as you have offered your eye to me!” It was the Lord Himself speaking!

Thinnan was overjoyed to hear this . His eyes also healed and he was blessed with the appearance of the Lord. The sage learnt a lesson about the deep love and devotion that Thinnan had for Lord Shiva. His love for Lord Shiva was so intense that, the Lord did not mind what was offered to Him, or how He was bathed or where the flowers came from. Only thing that mattered to the Lord was Thinnan’s pure mind with which he offered everything to the Lord. Truly, he exemplified the Archanam form of Bhakthi !

The Story of Kannappa Naayanaar (Questions)

  1. Who was Kannappa Nayanar? What was his name when he was a child?
  2. What skills did he learn from his father and other elders of his tribe?
  3. What beautiful object did he see in the middle of the dense forest?
  4. What did Thinnan offer everyday to his beloved Lord, in the forest?
  5. Where did Thinnan carry water and flowers for his worship?
  6. What did Thinnan do when he found blood coming out of the Linga’s eye, the first time?
  7. What was Thinnan about to do when he found blood coming out of the Linga’s second eye?
  8. What name did Lord Shiva give Thinnanan? Why?
  9. How did you feel when you listened to this story?
  10. Does the story remind you of anything in your life?
  11. What values did you learn from this story?
Shiva Naam Bholo
(Find the missing words in Shiva Bhajan lines and complete the given crossword puzzle)

Shivalinga
(Dot-to-Dot Activity)

- Sketch by Ms.Hema Satagopan

PICK AND SING
(Game)



Singing the glory of Lord is everybody’s favorite. In this activity, children will be given a name or a word related to Lord Shiva and asked to sing a bhajan containing that name or word. This helps the kids to quickly recollect the bhajans that they have learnt in the Balavikas class which in turn improves their memory power. This game will be very interesting to the kids like a Bhajan Anthakshari.

PLAYERS:
  • Group I, II & III Children

VALUES INCULCATED:
  • To improve memory power
  • To create interest in Bhajan singing
  • Encourages team work

MATERIALS REQUIRED:
  1. A bowl
  2. Small paper chits with names of Lord Shiva or words related to Him written on them.
  3. A few sample words from Shiva Bhajans of Group I & II syllabus have been given below :
    1. Vishweshwara
    2. Girijaapati
    3. Kailaasa
    4. Gauri
    5. Gangaadhara
    6. Shambho
    7. Vibuthi sundara

PREPARATORY EFFORT:

The guru can explain the significance of singing bhajans and also recollect the bhajans taught in previous classes. Prepare small chits containing names of Shiva or words related to Lord Shiva.

GAME:
  1. The children can be divided into groups.
  2. One from each team has to come and pick a chit from the bowl.
  3. He or She can show it to her team mates and find the bhajan containing the word written in the chit. They should be given 30 seconds to start singing.
  4. If the team is able to sing within the given time, they will be given 10 points. If they fail, the same chit will be passed on to the next team. If the second team finds the bhajan, they will be awarded 5 points.
  5. The same should repeat to all the teams. This can be played as long as we exhaust all the chits.
  6. The same game can be played for Lord Krishna Bhajans, Lord Rama Bhajans, Sarva Dharma Bhajans, etc.
THE STORY OF THIRUGNANASAMBANDAR


This story about Thirugnanasambandar depicts the abundant love of Lord Shiva and Parvathi for their devotees.

Long long ago, there lived a pious couple, Shivapadahrudaya and Bhagavathi Ammal in the old city of Seerkali in Tamilnadu. They were staunch devotees of Lord Shiva. Everyday they would visit the nearby temple of Shiva where the Lord was addressed as Thoniyappar.

Soon a bonny boy was born to Bhagavathi Ammal and they named the child Sambandan. One day, the child all of three years was adamant to accompany his father to the temple. The father reluctantly allowed him to accompany him. Upon reaching the temple, Shivapadahrudaya decided to take dips in the holy pond of the temple Brahma Teertham. He instructed Sambandan to sit on the banks of the pond and the child agreed. Sambandan observed his father’s head diving into the pond and coming out. This kept happening and the child looked at this scene with childish glee!. Suddenly he couldn’t see his father’s head and the child got worried. Shivapadahrudaya had momentarily stayed for longer time under the water holding his breath. The child who did not know about this, started screaming, “ Amma, Appa”!

Meanwhile, Lord Shiva and His consort Parvathi were going on celestial rounds. They are the Mother and Father of this vast Universe and when they heard the cries of an infant, they were very moved. They rushed to the spot to find a child crying in anguish. Mother Parvathi’s heart melted and she started feeding the child milk, from a cup.She thought this would calm the child. And it did calm the child as who would not feel the bliss while receiving milk from the divine Mother herself? After this, Lord Shiva and Parvathi continued on their rounds.

Soon, Shivapadahrudaya returned after his bath. He was shocked to see milk dripping from the mouth of his son. He got very angry and asked his son as to who had given him the milk.The child smiled and this made Shivapadahrudaya even more angry. He took a stick and threatened to hit the child if he did not divulge who the person was. Just then, the dense clouds moved and Lord Shiva and Parvathi descended upon earth and appeared before Sambandan. Sambandan suddenly broke into a verse that meant “One who wears earrings, rides a bull and wears moon on his head”.

The boy continued to sing many more verses to the astonishment of his father. Soon people gathered around and they named him “Gnana Sambandan” which meant “Sambandan who is full of knowledge”. People also called him as “Thirugnanasambandar” with reverence. He later went on to sing many more songs called “Thevarams” which were about Lord’s glory. These hymns are devotional poetry on Lord Shiva and are sung in many Shiva temples even today.

Think n Color
(Colour the pictures related to Lord Shiva)

Pick n Pose
(Dumb Charades on the Names of Lord Shiva)



Values inculcated :
  1. Children will be able to learn many names of Lord Shiva and remember their meanings.
  2. Will help to improve memory.
  3. Improve confidence

Materials required :
  1. Chits of names of Lord Shiva. (names without meaning)

Get ready :

The Guru can explain the meanings of the following names of Lord Shiva before commencing the game. This will help them to enact the meaning of the name.

  • Neelakanda : One who has blue throat. Shiva had consumed poison that came while churning the ocean during Vishnu’s Kurma Avatar. He held his throat tight to prevent the poison from entering his body.
  • Mrugadhara : One who holds a deer in one of his hands. The movement of a deer is compared to the restlessness of our mind. If we surrender our mind to the Lord He will hold it firmly.
  • Nataraja :Depicts Shiva as a cosmic dancer.
  • Gangadhara : Lord of Ganga. He had held her tightly in his matted hair.
  • Chandrashekara : One who holds the moon (Chandra) in his matted hair(Shekhar) on top of his head.
  • Ardhanareeshwara : Combined form of Shiva and Parvathi. Right half male Shiva and Left half female Shiva.
  • Tripurari : One who destroyed the cities of Mayasura, the King of Asuras. The cities were made of iron, silver and gold located on earth, sky and heaven.
  • Trinethra : One who has three eyes that represents the sun, moon and fire.
  • Bholenath : one who is kind hearted and loving towards all.
  • Bhasmabhutah : One whose body is smeared with ashes.
  • Umapathe : Consort of Uma who is Parvathi.
  • Lingodhbhava : Shiva who came in the form of Linga.
  • Trishuladhari : One who holds Trishul.
  • Hara : One who destroys evils.
  • Kailasanatha : One who lives in mount Kailash. Here He is in the form of a yogi. So kailash aslo is the abode of Light, Purity and Bliss.

How to play the Game :
  • Each child can pick up a chit and enact to explain the meaning of the name without talking. Others have to guess the name.
Think n Colour
(Reference)

  • Trishul : denotes that Lord Shiva is the Master of Time - past,present and future./ A weapon that can remove all the three gunas - Satva,Rajas and Tamas
  • Crescent Moon : This stands for mind. Lord Shiva is the controller of mind.
  • Snake : Symbolizes spiritual power.
  • Damroo : Symbolizes sound which is energy.
  • Nandi : Signifies Truth and righteousness. Alos though Nandi is found outside the temple, its gaze is firmly fixed upon the Lord. Swami tells us to fix our thoughts on the Divine.
  • Bilva leaves: Bilva leaves is a symbol of auspiciousness and is an important offering to Lord Shiva.
A Temple in Our Hearts
(A Guided Visualisation)


  • Relax your body children. Relax your shoulders, hands, legs, observe your breathing.
  • Let’s build a beautiful temple in our mind for our favourite God.
  • Let’s go to a village that has lots of green trees.
  • At the centre of this village ground, we shall keep lots of nice stones, bricks and fix them together.
  • Next, we shall build the walls. One wall to the left, one to the right and one at the back.
  • We shall now fix two large doors that have carvings of elephants.
  • We shall build a big Gopuram on the top of the temple so that the temple touches the blue sky.
  • Inside the temple, we shall build a small sanctum sanctorum. Here, the priest shall place the idol of our favourite God.
  • To the right side and left side of the deity, two lamps are kept.
  • We will hang small bells in front of this room that will make soft tinkling sounds.
  • Now, the temple is ready.
  • Let’s grow a garden around the temple with beautiful flowers like rose, hibiscus and lily.
  • Many beautiful birds and butterflies can visit this garden and be merry !
  • The birds can make happy chirping sounds !
  • There is a also a tiny pond with pink and white lotuses in this garden.
  • Let’s enter the temple.
  • We see that the lamps are lit !
  • Wow! God looks very bright and beautiful !
  • We shall fold our palms together and say a prayer.
  • We can hear devotees singing melodious bhajans.
  • Our mind feels calm and very happy.
  • Let’s also remember that our heart is like a temple and Swami resides there.
  • And…..He loves us very much.
  • Children, rub your palms together and gently place them over your eyes. Now, slowly open your eyes.
SHIVA NAAM BHOLO
(Find the missing words in Shiva Bhajan lines and complete the given crossword puzzle)

Young Architects
(Constructing Mount Kailash)


Making Mount Kailash which is the heavenly abode of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi.

Materials required:
  • Books / cushions / bags

Values Inculcated :
  • Encourages body movements, creativity, team work,

Getting Ready:
  • Guru can narrate story of Lord Shiva.

Methods:

Children can make it as follows:
  1. Children can stand one on top of the other, to form a mountain
  2. Children can stack their school bags/lunch bags to form a mountain
  3. Children can stack their notebooks to form the mountain
  4. Children can each open one notebook and keep it inverted and the others can do the same and place it over the 1st open book. This forms a beautiful mountain.
  5. Children can stand up and lift their hands up over their head and this also forms a beautiful mountain.

While doing this activity, the children can chant the sloka Kailasarana or Vande Devam Umapathim or sing bhajan Shiva Shambho   Hara Hara Shambho

TUG OF WAR

On the auspicious and holy occasion of Mahashivaratri, let us remember Lord Shiva, and do namasmarana of that compassionate Lord, who saved the world from being poisoned and destroyed and who bore the brunt of the halahala poison in his throat.

Values inculcated:
  • Importance of having good values

Materials Required:
  • A thick rope / long thick bed sheet

Getting ready:

The Guru can explain the children, how Lord Shiva protected earth by consuming the deadly poison ‘Haalahaala’. Discuss other stories where good wins over evil. Also discuss about the Importance of being a good human being and what qualities and virtues make an individual good.

Method:

Children can play a game of tug of war, with two teams. The team that wins represents the victory of the good over the evil.

Variation:

Have a person in the centre of the two teams and like the churning of the mantara mountain by the gods and the asuras, let one person stand in the centre as Lord Shiva and let that child experience the difficulty faced by Lord Shiva and also remember the sacrifice done by Lord Shiva to protect the world.

Each child can take turns to be in the centre and experience this. All the other children can chant “Hara Hara Hara Hara Mahadev” or “Aum Namah Shivaya” or “Sambho Mahadeva”

Shivaratri Rangoli


The festival of Shivrathri is fast approaching !

Lord Maheshwara, as Shiva is also fondly addressed as, removes the bad qualities in us. Shivalinga symbolizes the creative and destructive power of Lord Shiva! From time immemorial, people worship Shivalinga and it is found in the sanctum sanctorum of all Shiva Temples.

Here is a video that depicts step by step drawing of a Shivalinga rangoli ! This Shivrathri, let us express our devotion and gratitude to Lord Shiva, by offering this vibrant and enchanting Rangoli !

Shivaratri HD wallpaper

Thevaram Chant


Thevarams are devotional poetry on Lord Shiva contributed by the three great Tamil poets of the 7th Century who were also Saints or Nayanars – Sambandar, Tirunavukkarasar and Sundarar.

It is said that when Thirugnanasambandar was just three years old, Goddess Parvathi fed him with the milk of wisdom, to quell his crying. To the amazement of all, when questioned by his father about the source of the milk, the divine child broke into Thevarams, singing the praise of Lord Shiva.

Tamil Nadu Balvikas is pleased to share a video of few Thevarams composed by Thirugnanasambandar. This soulful and melodious rendition is sure to touch your heart and these sacred verses can also be taught to Balvikas students as part of Shivrathri activity.

  • “Thōṭuṭaiya seviyaṉ viṭaiyēṟiyōr thūveṇmathi chūṭik
  • kāṭuṭaiyachuṭa laippoṭipūsi'eṉ uḷḷaṅkavar kaḷvaṉ
  • ēṭuṭaiyamala rāṉmuṉaināṭpaṇin thēththa'aruḷ seytha
  • pīṭuṭaiyapira māpuram'mēviya pem'māṉiva ṉaṉtṟē”.

  • “Mutṟalāmaiyiḷa nākamōṭēṉa muḷaikkompavai pūṇṭu
  • vatṟalōṭukala ṉāppalithērntheṉa thuḷḷaṅkavar kaḷvaṉ
  • katṟalkēṭṭaluṭai yārperiyārkazhal kaiyālthozhu thēththap
  • petṟamūrnthapira māpuram'mēviya pem'māṉiva ṉaṉtṟē”.

  • “Aruneṟiyamaṟai vallamuṉiyakaṉ poykaiyalar mēya
  • peruneṟiyapira māpuram'mēviya pem'māṉivaṉ tṟaṉṉai
  • oruneṟiyamaṉam vaiththuṇar gñāṉasam banthaṉurai seytha
  • thiruneṟiyathamizh vallavartholviṉai thīrthaleḷi thāmē”.