The Legend of Thaayumaanavar

- July 13, 2020

In the town of Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, is a Shiva temple dedicated to Thaayumaanavar or ‘He who became the mother’. Here is the legend behind the temple

Ratnavathi, a young woman, was pregnant with her first child. As per the custom, her mother was to come and be with her till the baby was born. Between the two towns flowed the river Cauvery. On the day the mother was to arrive, there were heavy rains and the river began to flood.

Illustration: ACK Design Team

Ratnavathi prayed to Shiva, asking him to help her mother cross the river safely. As she waited anxiously, her mother appeared at the door. Ratnavathi was relieved to see her. Soon, she went into labour and gave birth to the baby. The rain continued and Ratnavathi was looked after by her mother. The days passed and, when the river water had finally abated, there was a knock on the door. To Ratnavathi’s surprise, a woman who looked just like her mother stood there. She said,

“I am so sorry, daughter. I was not able to cross the river and be with you on time.”

Ratnavathi turned to look at the woman who had been caring for her all along and, in a flash, realised she was Shiva himself. He had taken on the guise of her mother to come and look after her! Shiva then revealed his true form, blessed the two women and vanished.

From then on, he came to be known as ‘Thaayumaanavar’ or ‘He who became the mother’.

Read more stories of Shiva on the ACK Comics app, including our latest release, ‘Mahadeva – Stories from the Shiva Purana’


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