His original name was Thiruvengadar. He was born in Kavripoompattinam. He was very pious from his very early days. He was in search of a 'guru' or master. God appeared in his dream and directed him to go to a place, where he could meet a master.
He did the same and met the master as directed. The master advised him and gave him a linga for worship. He got married and begot a daughter. He was praying to God for a son. God himself lay near a tank in the form of a child. tow persons took up the child and gave it to Thiruvengadar. He gave them gold. He name the child as Marudhavanar. The child worked many wonders during his childhood.
The child wasted money on trade and the father chided him for his irrational gesture. The son taught him a lesson and disappeared. What he taught was that even a useless needle cannot accompany one in his final procession. The father got wisdom from this. He lost interest in material life. He gave his wealth to the poor and embraced strict asceticism.
As a sannyasin he worked many wonders. He begged on the streets. His sister was very much annoyed and she tried to poison him. But the sannyasin placed the poisoned food on the roof of her house and it got burned down The King Potharagiri mistook him for a robber and gave him capital punishment.
He ordered to pierce his body in a cross like thing called Kazhu. The Sannyasin stood before the Kaehu and recited songs in praise of God. The Kazhu was burned down at once. The King was shocked to witness his power and became his disciple at once. He went to many temples and sang in praise of Siva. He raised a person from his corpse near Thiruvaroor. At last he played hide and seek with small boys on the Marina beach. He steped into a pit and never turned up.
The boys looked to the pit and discovered a Sivalinga in his place. Thus he transformed himself as Sivalinga. A temple was constructed on the spot. The temple is there even now in Thiruvottiyoor in Madras.