Kannappa Nayanar who is famous as 'Kannappa' was one of the 63 Nayanmars, saint poets during 6th to 8th century and the staunch devotee of Lord Shiva. He was born in a hunting family in Uduppoor near Sri Kalahasti, Andhra Pradesh. He was named Thinnan or Dheeran by his parents.
Kannappa was a dedicated devotee of the Vayu linga of SriKalahasti which he found in the forest while hunting. Being a hunter, he did not know how to worship Lord Shiva properly. It is said that he used to do abhishekam of water to the Shiva linga from his mouth which he brought from the nearby river Swarnamukhi. He would also offer the hunted animals to Lord including swine flesh. But lord Shiva accepted his offering since Kannappa was pure at heart and his worship was true.
Once, Lord Shiva wanted to test the resolute devotion of Kannappa. With his divine power, He created a tremble and the roof-tops of the temple began to fall. All the sages ran away from the scene except for Kannappa who sheltered the linga with his body to prevent it from any damage. Hence he was named thereafter as Dheeran.
Once, Kannappa noticed that one of the eyes of the Shiva linga was oozing blood and tears. Sensing that the Lord's eye had been harmed, Dheeran continued to plick his one eye out his arrow and set it in the spot of the bleeding eye of the Shiva linga. This halted the seeping in that eye of the linga. In any case, to muddle matters further, he saw that the other eye of the linga has likewise begun overflowing blood. So Kannappa suspected that if he somehow happened to cull his other eye as well, he would get to be oblivious to precisely know the spot where he needs to place his own particular second eye over the draining second eye of the lingam. So he set his extraordinary toe on the linga to check the spot of the draining second eye and continued to cull out his other and just eye. Moved by his compelling commitment, Lord Shiva appeared before Thinnan and reestablished both his eyes. He made Thinnan as one of the Nayanmars and he was called as Kannappan or Kannappa Nayanar.
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