The story: Sambandar as a child of three years was left unattended by his father as he went to take bath in a temple tank. Feeling hungry Sambandar started crying. Siva and Parvati appeared before him and gave him a bowl of milk. On his return, Sambandar’s father wanted to know how Sambandar got the milk. Sambandar pointed up indicating the direction from which Siva and Parvati appeared. Hence the mirth and the dance with right-hand index finger pointing upwards.
Sambandar is one of the sixty three Nayanmars. The Saivite Bakthi movement in the Tamil speaking area is attributed to the Nayanmars. Among the sixty three Nayanmars, Appar, Sundarar, Sambandar and Manikkavachakar are more better known.
Here Sambandar is dancing , standing on his right leg and with his left leg lifted to his knee’s height. The right hand index finger is pointing up, that is the tell-tale sign of Sambandar. As usual he is fully ornamented, including a girdle that covers his nakedness.
One of the popular images of Krishna is dancing Krishna the right hand in Abhaya mudra and the left hand raised to shoulder level. Very similar to the Sambandar, suggesting some influence of one on the other. The difference is the finger pointing upwards Vs Abhaya mudra. One such Krishna (our right) in my collection is shown above, along with Sambandar, for comparison.
This Vigraha is from Tamil Nadu and it is about 10 cm in height. There is some age to it and it may be dated prior to the eighteenth century.
Below are some of the other Sambandar vigrahas in my collection.