Even as Thirumangai-alwar and his associates reached a place called Agrahara, the sun began to rise and they had to hide the golden idol to conceal their tracks. Thirumangai-alwar noticed a field that was neatly ploughed and prepared for planting paddy and hid the idol in the field. To their misfortune, the owner of the field came with his men to plant paddy saplings in the field.
Thirumangai-alwar sensing that the owner of the field might find out the hidden idol, he started a fight with the owner along with his associates claiming that the field belonged to him. The owner started to say that he had records to prove that the land belonged to him and it was inherited from his ancestors and the argument continued for a long time.
Thirumangai-alwar suggested that the dispute be settled in the village council on the following day and requested the owner to come with the necessary papers to stake his claim over the field. The owner of the field agreed to Thirumangai-alwar’s proposal and went back to the village to summon the council. Thirumangai-alwar and his associates loitered around the village till nightfall and fled from the scene along with the idol leaving the field to its owner.
Thirumangai-alwar reached Uttamar Kovil and hid the idol in a safe place before proceeding to Sri-Rangam. Thirumangai-alwar summoned the architects and started to plan the construction work. By then, the people of Nagapattinam noticed the burglary and were shocked. They formed a few teams to track the thieves and set out to accomplish their task.
In their efforts to trace the thieves, one of the teams reached Agrahara to see if they could find any clues about the thieves. The owner of the field in which Thirumangai-alwar had hid the idol told the team about the gang which claimed the ownership of his field and vanished without even attending the village council to stake their claim. The team picked up that clue and traced Thirumangai-alwar.
They accused him of committing the burglary and Thirumangai-alwar denied it out rightly. The people of Nagapattinam asked Thirumangai-alwar to promise in the name of Lord Ranganatha to prove his innocence. Thirumangai-alwar was not willing to promise in the name of the Lord and he said, “We cannot invoke the name of the Lord for such petty things. We do not want the idol, come back after one year and we will return even the small finger and if you want we will give this in writing.”
As the people of Nagapattinam did not have any other option they left taking the promissory note given by Thirumangai-alwar. Thirumangai-alwar melted the golden idol and sold it to generate funds for the construction of the temple. He started the construction work with the help of many architects and artisans.
As the alignment of one of the proposed ramparts was passing through the flower garden from which Thondar-adi-podi-alwar was supplying flower garlands to the Lord, Thirumangai-alwar changed the alignment as a mark of respect to the alwar. Thondar-adi-podi-alwar appeared in Thirumangai-alwar’s dream and thanked him for changing the alignment and presented him the sickle that was used by him to prepare garlands for the Lord. The sickle is called “arul mari.”
Thirumangai-alwar was so engrossed in the construction work that he did not notice the year ending. The people of Nagapattinam came in large numbers to take the idol expecting Thirumangai-alwar to keep his promise. Thirumangai-alwar cut his little finger and threw it before them and asked them to carry it. Thirumangai-alwar said, “I had promised to give you even the little finger and I have given it. Now don’t disturb me and allow me to complete the temple work.” The people of Nagapattinam had no choice but to leave the scene without uttering a word.
We will reveal more about Thirumangai-alwar in the next post.