kAraikkAl ,the cradle of ocean, is the town in the east coast of thamizakam (thamizn^Adu). It being one of the important ports those days it was florishing with the international traders bringing in lots of wealth. thanathaththanAr the leader in the trade at kAraikkAl, got a girl child – a boon out of his austerities. punithavathiyAr , that goddess of wealth like beautiful child, learnt to do slavery to the Lord even when she started learning to walk. She started talking opening her patel like lips to talk all the time about the dance of the Lord who transcedes the reach of words. Like the bud that blossoms she grew up. She was as beautiful as the flowers at the feet of the flawless God.
One day some people who came to paramadhaththan gave him two mango fruits. He asked his men to send it to his house. His wonderful wife received and kept them in the house. At that time a servant of the Lord wearing serpant came to the house with heavy hunger. To remove the hunger of the devotee she served him the food after welcoming. To compensate the absence of the side dish, she served one of the mangoes out of the two her husband had given to keep as she felt that serving the devotees could be the greatest boon. Blessing her for her service the devotee who had a nice food and mango to remove the fatigue because of his old age and peak hunger, went off. After some time in the noon her loving husband came for home. After taking bath he sat for lunch. She served him with her love the nice food she had prepared along with the remaining mango. The exotic taste of the fruit made him ask her to bring the other one also. She went away from that place as if she was getting the other one also.
She was anxious. What could she do ? She prayed to the Lord who helps His slaves whenever wherever they plead to Him. By His grace there appeared a mango marvelous in taste, in her hand. She brought it to her husband. Surprised by the taste of the mango that was delicious than the nector, he asked her where she got that mango from which was unthinkable to get in the world. She couldn’t tell because the grace of God is not explainable to understand, but felt it was not good to stand without answering husband’s words. Finally determined to tell the truth, she praying the pleasing feet of God in her heart told him evrything. Unable to accept that it was Almighty’s grace he asked her to prove it by getting one more fruit from the Lord. Pleading to the Lord who ponders in the cemetries that if He didn’t give again her words would be considered false. Immidiately a mango came to her hands. When the shivering paramadhaththan received it in his hands it disappeared. With fear and respect mixed in the emotions he didn’t touch her then on. He planned and left with the fellow traders saying that he wanted to earn a lot. He earned a lot in his voyage and settled in the pANdiya kingdom marrying a girl of the local merchant. With his thoughts always remembering with respect punithavathiyAr, he lived there without anybody else knowing about it. He considered her as the worshippable goddess and gave the kid whom he got with his new wife, her adorable name.
While he was living there, in kAraikkAl his chaste wife expecting his return continued the adorables deeds of serving the devotees. Then she came to know that her husband was living in pANdiya kingdom after making a lot of money. The relatives decided to take her to him. They went to the town where he lived and informed him in advance about their arrival. With the fear of reverance he along with his wife and kid rushed forward to salute her. They three prostrated at the feet of the young deer like punithavathiyAr and he told that the life he was living was her blessing and his kid had her praisable name. punithavathiyAr was shocked and moved away. To the relatives who were shocked by his deed he told that she was not an ordinary human being, she was adorable, worshippable, that is why he named his child after her, that is why he saluted her and asked all of them to worship her as well. While the relatives were petrified at his words, the beautiful young lady of excellent love prayed to the God who got a blue throat saving the universe from the poison that this being his decision, let thy grace give me the form of the ghost that praises you always changing my beauty of flesh.
With the mercy of the mR^ityu.njaya she lost her pretty body and got a skeletal body that is worshipped by the world and Heaven. The relatives who were present were frightened; they prostrated to kAraikkAl ammaiyAr and left. With the spring of knowledge that unifies the soul with shiva raising up she composed then the aRpudhath thiruvan^dhAthi , sang that she became one in the gaNas that praise the lotus patal like feet of the Lord. She sang the irattai maNi mAlai an^dhAdhi (100 songs with alternate songs being same type of poem) later. With the enthusiasm to enter the range of mount kailAsh where the Lord who endangered the three forts of pAcham reside, she proceeded. While the people scared looking at her skeletal form ran away, that great devotee said that if the Lord of lords blesses me why to bother what the people in the darkness of ignorance thin’ of this form. She reached at the surroundings of the holy peak. Unwilling to put her feet on that abode of the Almighty she climbed with her head.
The shakti, the mother of the Universe the devotee who never leaves the side of the Lord, saw with surprise and love her devotional deed and told to the great Lord of great slaves, “What a love it is, of that skeletal body that climbs the holy hill with its head!!” The Lord said, “She who comes is like the mother in taking care of Me. She worshipped and got this form of fame.”, came to the devotee and said with the lips that originated the holy vEdas, “ammaiyE !” (a word meaning mother, this word is used to refer to women folk in general) for the entire world to get blessed. kAraikkAl ammaiyAr fell down on His blooming feet praising, “Oh Lord ! my Father!!” The Lord asked her what she wanted. She asked for the immortal blissful love for Him, that is ultimate for the devotees. She further asked, “liberate from taking birth again. Even if there is a birth bless me with never forgetting Thee. Also I want to stay under your holy feet when you dance my Lord!” The Lord gave her the boon she asked and asked her to stay in the bliss by singing Him when He dances in the south town thiruvAlaN^kAdu . Taking His order ammaiyAr came to thiruvAlaN^kAdu walking with her head. When she saw the dance of the Lord transceding the Universe, she sang in bliss themUththa n^aRpadhikam starting, koN^gai thiraN^gi . The dance of shiva with the matted hair that is wet with the honey of fresh flowers put her in eternal happiness under His holy feet, she sang another thiruppadhikam etti ilavammIkai and resided in that most safe and superior place forever. Let the immortal blissful love of kAraikkAl ammaiyAr stay in the mind.
(This highly respected mother, lived before saint thirunyAnachamban^dhar. It is this lady who first sang in the construct called padhikam and put the signatural mark at the last hymn of the padhikam. This has been followed by many later. Hence the padhikams given by this devotee are called mUththa thiruppadhikam (elder thiruppadhikam).