Lord Shiva and the hungry Piglets
Lord Shiva and the hungry Piglets
At the southern border of the holy city called Madurai in South India, there was a small village called Kuruvaruntha-thurai, near the banks of the river Vaigai.
At a small distance from that village, there was a dense forest. A lot of animals lived in that forest. Along with cruel, man-eating wild animals such as fierce tigers, leopards, foxes, and wolves lived many herds of pigs in that forest.
Family of Pigs
There was a pig king to those herds of pigs. It was bigger in shape and had a commanding look. The pig king lived at a cave in the middle of the forest with his wife and their twelve newborn piglets (baby pigs).
Those twelve piglets looked beautiful with plumb body and cute little eyes. The parent pigs were very fond of their babies.
They were living peacefully and happily in that forest.
But all were about to change and as a result lives of those piglets is going to be affected pathetically.
As we all know that the pigs are very peaceful animals and they never harm anyone. But, the cruel animals such as tigers, leopards, foxes, and wolves always hunt them for their food. However, they were busy killing the domestic animals such as cows and goats and at times humans too by ambushing them in the village Kuruvaruntha-thurai .
This in a way helped the pigs to live in peace without troubles but the villagers were badly affected and so they complained to the officials.
Hunting of the King
The Pandiya dynasty king called Rajarajan who was ruling that country from the city of Madurai got that news and in order to protect his people and their properties, he began a massive hunt for cruel animals living in the forest.
During those days, hunting and killing cruel animals in the forest was also a duty of the kings. According to that custom, King Rajarajan set out to hunt wild animals with his faithful warlords and some brave soldiers. There were skillful hunters to show him the way in the dense forest and some fierce hunting dogs were going them with too.
After hunting and killing many such dangerous wild animals, the king’s team reached the dense forest. While the talented hunters showed them the ways to the hiding places of the wild animals, the king and his hunting team killed many wild animals which appeared before them with their swords, bows and arrows and other such weapons.
Further to that, some of the wild animals got caught in the nets and traps set by the hunters. Terrified wild animals ran here and there in the forest trying to escape from the deadly hunting force of the King.
One older pig saw all these and came running to its pig king.
He called louder, “Oh king, a great danger is nearing us. The Pandiya King and his big hunting team are nearing our place in this forest hunting and killing all animals which appeared in their eyes. They will reach our place within minutes. What can we do?”
The pig king replied boldly, “Do not be afraid we did not harm anyone to run like cowards and I will fight those hunters unto my last breath to protect you all”. The pig king made preparations for a big fight. The wife pig saw the arrangements and was much worried.
The Pig King in Battle
The pig king called his wife nearer and told, “Oh, Dear, do not worry. As the king of all these herds of peaceful pigs, it is my duty to fight with the cruel hunters and protect my subjects. I am not sure whether I will succeed or not in this fight to the death struggle. So, now, it is your duty to protect our babies and rear them even in my absence. You take them all to another place in the forest and take care of them”.
But, the wife pig strongly opposed its husband’s words. “No, my dear. I will never leave you. I shall come with you to fight with those cruel hunters. Your enemy is always my enemy and I will fight those enemies till my death if it is necessary” she told bravely.
The pig king who was worrying became much more worried about the fate of their newborn babies. “Oh my dear, look at the innocent and playful faces of our babies. If both of us get killed in the fight, who will look after our babies? Who will take care of them and feed them whenever they become hungry?
If both of us get killed, our children will have to live like orphans or they too will be mercilessly killed by those cruel hunters” the pig king expressed his deep worries to its wife, pleading it to stay back and take care of the babies.
“Oh dear, ‘Lord is there to help the helpless’. Lord Shiva is looking after all the worlds and all living beings on these worlds. He will not abandon our innocent babies. Do not worry about our babies. Leave them at the hands of Lord Shiva. We will go and fight with those devilish hunters to protect our subjects” it advised the husband and lead it out to fight the enemies.
When they saw their parents leaving, the twelve little piglets began to follow them crying. The babies ran behind the parents. But, they could not catch their parents’ speed. So, the tiny piglets sat together on a small mound and began to cry calling for their parents.
The Mountain of the Pigs
The pig king and its wife pig gathered a big army of pigs to fight with the enemies and went in search of the king’s hunting team. They did so because they did not want the fight to take place near their dwelling places.
They met the king and his violent hunting team with valor and fought fiercely. That war was very severe and in the meantime it looked very pathetic as the pigs fought against the king and his team of talented soldiers who had many powerful weapons and very violent hunting dogs with their sharp teeth and nails.
They did not have any weapon. So, one by one, the pigs got killed by the king and his soldiers. The pig king got killed by the sharp arrow shot by the Pandiya king. When the wife pig saw the death of its husband, it sprang towards the king and tried to fight him. But, alas, the wife pig was killed by the leader of the hunting team at the instructions of the Pandiya king.
The king of the pig and its wife fell dead at the same moment.
The place where the pig king’s body fell near a mountain and even today, it is called “the mountain of the Pigs” (“Panri Malai” in the Tamil language)
When the pig king and its wife got killed by the Pandiya king and his soldiers, other soldier pigs fled away in all directions with fear for their lives.
Without knowing that their parents had been killed at a fierce war, the innocent tiny piglets called for their parents, crying loudly. They walked here and there at the mound and the surrounding area searching for their mother as they had become hungry.
When they saw some other pigs, they ran behind them thinking that they were their parents. When time passed they became weak with severe hunger and unable to walk and joining together at one place, they all jointly cried loudly calling their parents.
The pitiful cry of those tiny piglets was heard up to the sky.
The Kindness of The Lord
The cry was heard by the Lord and Devi Uma, the divine mother to all living beings on the world began to weep hearing those pathetic cries.
Without any hesitation, the merciful Lord Shiva came down immediately to the place where the piglets were lying.
The Lord who Fed the Piglets as a Mother
In order to pacify their hunger, merciful Lord Shiva appeared before them in the form of their mother pig. In the form of their mother, Lord Shiva called upon the babies for feeding. The twelve baby pigs which were suffering from severe hunger ran towards their god-mother with love and eagerness.
According to their usual habit, they made small pet sounds towards the mother and the holy mother pig gave them motherly milk. The milk there were fed was not ordinary milk. The Lord fed the hungry piglets with his boundless divine wisdom as milk and the hungry piglets drank that milk till their stomachs full.
When the tiny piglets drank the milk of divine wisdom fed by Lord Shiva himself, they became very wise and got the divine wisdom to sort out good from bad, bodily and mental strength and enlightenment.
With the divine knowledge given to them by the Lord himself, they realized that the ‘pig mother’ who had fed them was none other than the merciful Lord Shiva himself and they worshiped him with love and devotion.
Lord Shiva blessed them and changed their forms to magnificent forms which had the heads of pigs and the bodies of men.
By doing this graceful act, Lord Shiva proved that he is the true divine mother and father (Ammaiappan’ in Tamil) to all living beings on the world.
After the disappearance of Lord Shiva, the twelve wise piglets joined together to praise Lord Shiva and spread his glory all over the area. They looked like suns with wisdom and discipline and had a godly appearance.
At the same time, Mother Uma Devi asked her doubts to Lord Shiva, “My dear Lord, pigs are considered to be the ugliest and foolish among all animals living in the world. But, you have shown your grace to them and given your divine knowledge as milk to them. What is the reason behind this act, my Lord?”.
Lord Shiva smiled with love and kindness. “Devi, all the Vedas, Puranas, and all other divine literature describe me as a merciful God who is kind towards man and animals alike. In my view, I never see any difference between the love of man, animals or birds; or beautiful or ugly.
When the innocent newborn babies cried in hunger, it has become my duty to protect them. So, I gave them pure divine wisdom and strength mixed with the motherly milk. Now, they have become bodily and mentally strong and wise with divine knowledge.
From now on, they will become the knowledgeable ministers to the King of Madurai and guide the king and people with their wisdom and after living glorious lives; they will come to my Sivaloga and serve as my faithful servants.” Lord Shiva explained.
Dream of the King
That same day, Lord Shiva appeared in the dream of Pandiya king and said, ” Pandiya king, in the area called ‘Mountain of the pig’, there are twelve pig brothers who have the heads of pigs and bodies of men. They have drunk the divine milk of wisdom and are blessed with godly knowledge.
They are suitable to work as ministers at your palace. Tomorrow morning, send your headmen and bring the twelve divine brothers to your palace and appoint them as your ministers. They will guide you and the people of your country well”.
Next morning, the Pandiya king called his headmen and told them about the dream and asked them to go to the forest and bring the twelve divine pig brothers. The king’s headmen went as instructed and found the twelve pig brothers living like suns of divine wisdom in that forest. They brought the brothers to the holy city of Madurai with much respect and celebrations.
Pandiya king welcomed them and heard their history and astonished to hear about the merciful act of Lord Shiva in protecting the twelve orphaned piglets and making them into twelve wise pig brothers.
He was very glad to find them very wise and intelligent in ministerial matters and appointed them as his ministers at his palace.
The twelve divine pig brothers behaved well with love, discipline and devotion on Lord Shiva. They performed their duties well by guiding the king and the people of Madurai in selecting good over bad and lived lives of pure love and devotion on Lord Shiva.
They served the king and the people honestly and at the end of their lives, reached Shivaloga (the adobe of Lord Shiva) and became the leaders to the Lord’s devoted army.