42. Adipattha Nayanar
This saint was a fisherman born in Nulaipadi near Nagapattinam. It was his practice to let go one fish from his catch daily, as an offering unto the Lord. The Lord wanted to reveal his greatness to the world. Once it so happened that for many consecutive days he could catch only one fish. He let it go, in the name of Lord Siva, and went without food. One day he caught a golden fish, again only one for the day. And, he stuck to his vow and let it go, in the name of Lord Siva. The Lord appeared before him and blessed this illiterate, fisherman saint!
Not indeed by vast erudition, nor by breath-taking austerities, nor by hearing and talking a lot, but by unflinching devotion alone can God be realised. This humble, simple, fisherman saint has proved that beyond the least trace of doubt. But, look at his steadfastness, Nishta! It is not easy to acquire, unless you have living faith in God. Otherwise, the mind will bring up all sorts of reasons (lame excuses!) for breaking the vow. This supreme faith and devotion is itself the highest Jnana. Only an ignorant man studies books: what need is there for a great scholar to study an elementary book on grammar? What need is there for one to whom God is a living presence, to stuff himself with words? Intellect is a help, if it serves faith: it is a hindrance if it shakes it. Devotion is indispensable for attaining Him.