In his efforts to fulfill his vow to appease the devotees by feeding them, Thirumangai-alwar started to spend all the money that he had collected in the form of taxes and he even forgot to pay the annual tribute to the Chola emperor who had appointed him as king. As Thirumangai-alwar had not paid the annual tribute within the stipulated time, the Chola emperor sent his officials to recover the dues from Thirumangai-alwar besides deputing spies to gather information about the day-to-day activities of Thirumangai-alwar.
Thirumangai-alwar sent back the officials who had come to collect the tribute with a promise to remit it to the emperor’s treasury within a few days. The officials again and again returned to Thirumangai-alwar as he was unable to remit the money to the treasury within the date promised by him. As the emperor got to know about Thirumangai-alwar squandering money on feeding the devotees, the emperor directed the officials to be harsh on him while recovering the dues.
Thirumangai-alwar got provoked by the harsh words spoken by the officials and manhandled them and chased them out of his palace. The officials went back to the Chola emperor and informed him about their humiliation at the hands of Thirumangai-alwar. The Chola emperor got enraged and he summoned the newly appointed commander of his army and directed him to arrest Thirumangai-alwar immediately. The commander went to Thiruvali-nadu to arrest Thirumangai-alwar with a very big contingent of the mighty Chola army. Thirumangai-alwar and his men defeated the Chola commander and chased him out of Thiruvali-nadu and that infuriated the Chola emperor.
The Chola emperor himself marched towards Thiruvali-nadu with his entire army and surrounded it from all sides. Though Thirumangai-alwar had very few men with him he did not lose heart. He started to fight the king’s army and the battle turned very fierce. The Chola emperor started to lose hundreds of his men and became concerned. The Chola emperor walked up to Thirumangai-alwar, who was fighting with a sword in the battle field, and said, “Dear Nila I am gratified with the valor that you have displayed today and I do not want to fight with you. I am willing to retain you as the governor of Thiruvali-Nadu if you are willing to remit the dues to the treasury and I promise to stand by my word. Therefore, put down the weapons.”
Unsuspecting Thirumangai-alwar put down his sword and went to the emperor to speak to him. The emperor arrested Thirumangai-alwar and handed him over to the ministers and directed the ministers not to release him till all the dues were recovered from him. The ministers confined Thirumangai-alwar in a nearby temple. Three days elapsed and Thirumangai-alwar did not even consume a morsel as he was bound by his vow to eat only after feeding at least 1008 devotees every day and he began to spend his time in contemplating on the glories of the Lord. On the fourth day, Lord Varadaraja of Kanchipuram appeared in Thirumangai-alwar’s dream and asked him to remit his dues to the king’s treasury by unearthing a treasure at a particular place in Kanchi.
Thirumangai-alwar told the ministers that he would pay his dues if they can take him to Kanchi as he had deposited a huge amount of money in a secret place. The ministers accompanied Thirumangai-alwar along with a contingent of army to Kanchi with the permission of the emperor. Thirumangai-alwar asked the ministers to dig at a particular place thinking that he would find the treasure as told by Lord Varadaraja. However, Thirumangai-alwar got dejected as he did not find the treasure and had to offer an explanation to the ministers for not finding the treasure and, therefore, he had to reveal about his dream.
Let us know more about Thirumangai-alwar in the next post.