Tears of love

There are many kinds of tears — tears of relief, of joy, of
sorrow and tears of delight that are shed at another person’s misery. Clearly, the last mentioned is a despicable trait. Those who are devoted to God will never rejoice at another’s suffering. But they shed tears readily out of relief, joy or sorrow. Their sorrow is in being separated from God. Their relief is when He comes to their rescue. Their joy is in
worship. Tears that issue forth from a person’s eyes due to
love cannot be controlled. In the case of devotees like
Kannappa Nayanar and Manickavachagar, the tears poured
from their eyes due to their love for Lord Siva, said Sarala
Rajagopalan in a discourse.

Manickavachagar, in his Tiruvachagam, says that upon
Lord Siva’s touch, he danced and sang like one possessed,
and even as he did so, he also wept copiously. He didn’t care that others would mock at him. His tears could not be
controlled. Kannappa Nayanar was a hunter, whose heart
was full of love for Lord Siva. Everyday, he ofered meat to
the Siva Linga, after anointing the Linga with water fetched
in his mouth! But the Lord thought highly of this unusual
form of worship. When Kannappa saw one of the Lord’s eyes
missing and blood pouring from the socket, he wept. He at
once ofered his eye to the Lord.

No wonder his bhakti is celebrated by Tirugnanasambandar, Appar, Sundarar, Manickavachagar and also Adi Sankara in his Sivananda Lahari. In Kamba Ramayana, Rama sees Lakshmana return after having killed Indrajit. Rama has been worried about his brother and now tears flow from His eyes. Painting a pen picture, Kamban wonders if these are tears of relief, tears of joy or tears of love.