Māl and the god who is seated in the cool lotus.
having as their objects feet and forehead to find out who was the chief between them Māl going down a long distance as a pig and Piramaṉ going a long distance in the sky as a swan
the thief who captivated my mind.
this person is truly the Lord who resides in Piramāpuram gladly, which was desired intensely to be worshiped by the people of this world beginning with the ladies with bright forehead.
Translation: V.M.Subramanya Aiyar – Courtesy: French Institute of Pondichery / EFEO (2006)
There was a dispute between Maal (Vishnu) and Ayan (Brahma) as to who among them was superior. They went to Siva for adjudication. Siva gave them a test. He asked them to find His feet or crown. Whoever comes first would be the superior. Siva stood like huge column of fire, the top of which went beyond the skies and the bottom went beyond the netherworld. Maal became a pig and went on dredging the earth to find the feet of Siva. Ayan became a swan and flew up to see the crown. Both were exhausted but were not successful in their missions. They realized that Siva was superior to both of them.
This anecdote is repeated by Sambandar in the ninth stanza of every decad.
Notes: Su. Kothandaraman, Mambalam, Chennai(2008)
Boar-Maal and swan-chill Lotus-ee probed in vain
To ken the feet and crest of Him, the Hill unclimbed,
The snatcher of my heart, like lurid templed charmer
Of women and the world to serve,at Brahmapuram whose Lord alone is He.
Translation: S. A. Sankaranarayanan, Kumbakonam, 2013