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AzhwArs glories and history

The glories and history of AzhwArs

poigaiyAr, bhUthathAr, pEyar, pugazh mazhisai aiyan, aruL mAri, chEralar kOn, thuyya bhattanAthan, anbar thAL thULi, naRpANan, narkaliyAn

madhurakavigaL, ANdAL, yathirAjar


AzhwArs glories and history

sri: srimathE rAmAnujAya nama: srimadh varavaramunayE nama: sri vAnAchala mahAmunayE nama: bhUtham sarascha mahathAvya bhattanAtha srI bhakthisAra kulasEkara yOgivAhAn bhAkthAngri rENu parakAla yathIndra misrAn srImath parAngusa munim praNathOsmi nithyam I constantly worship the lotus feet of bhUthathAzhwAr, poigai AzhwAr, pEyAzhwAr, periyAzhwAr, ANdAL, thirumazisai AzhwAr, kulasEkara AzhwAr, thiruppANAzhwAr, thoNdaradippodi AzhwAr, thirumangai AzhwAr, srI rAmAnujar, madhurakavi AzhwAr and nammAzhwAr. This divine slOkam was rendered by srI parAsara bhattar when he was in thirukkOttiyUr with nanjIyar. He left srIrangam due to the disturbances given by vIra sundhara brahma rAyan. At that time, out of the unbearable separation from srIranganAthan, bhattar wrote this slOkam and the thanians of thiruppAvai to immerse himself in bhagavath/bhAgavatha anubhavam. In this slOkam, in addition to identifying the 10 AzhwArs (poigaiyAr, bhUthAr, pEyar, thirumazhisai AzhwAr, nammAzhwAr, kulasEkara AzhwAr, periyAzhwAr, thoNdaradippodi AzhwAr, thiruppANAzhwAr and thirumangai AzhwAr), he also identifies ANdAL using the word srI, madhurakavi AzhwAr using the word misra (very learned/respected) and rAmAnujar using yathIndhrar. mAmunigaL follows similar pattern in his upadhEsa rathina mAlai, where he first identifies the thirunakshathrams (birth star) and the glories of the 10 AzhwArs and subsequently identifies the same of ANdAL, madhurakavi AzhwAr and emperumAnAr. In fact, mAmunigaL identifies the greatness of AzhwArs, AchAryas and their works in the 3rd pAsuram itself. AzhwArgaL vAzhi aruLicheyal vAzhi thAzhvAthumil kuravar thAm vAzhi EzhpArum uyya avargaL uraiththavaigaL thAm vAzhi cheyya maRai thannudanE chErNthu

AzhwArs glories and history Long live the AzhwArs, long live the AchAryas, Long live their srIsUkthis (works dhivya prabhandhams, sthOthrams, vyAkyAnams) which are for the upliftment of the entire world. Let them co-exist along with the divine and pure samskritha vEdhams. As nampiLLai shows in his eedu mahA grantham avathArikai, nammAzhwAr who is the leader of AzhwArs was hand picked by emperumAn from this samsAram and sarvEsvaran blesses him with divine blemishless knowledge for the purpose of propagating the divine message uninterrupted devotion to emperumAn. This is a humble effort from adiyen to bring out the glories and the history of AzhwArs as explained mainly in 6000padi guru paramparA prabhAvam (written by pinbazhAgiya perumAL jeeyar) and vyAkyAnams. adiyen is very grateful to all the grantha kAlakshEpa AchAryas who imparted this valuable sampradhAyam knowledge into adiyen. In addition to the AzhwArs, as shown by our pUrvAchAryas, emperumAnArs charithram and vaibhavam are also included. Meditating on the lotus feet of asmadhAchAryan srImath paramahamsa ithyAdhi pattarpirAn rAmAnuja jIyar (29th pattam, vAnamAmalai mutt), adiyen is submitting this small work at the thiruvadis of Srimath paramahamsa ithyAdhi kaliyan rAmAnuja jeeyar swAmy (30th pattam, varthamAna swAmy, vAnamAmalai mutt). adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan Email: Web: ,, mAsi uthrattAdhi (Feb 13th, 2013) second release

AzhwArs glories and history


Srimath paramhamsa ithyAdhi pattarbhirAn rAmAnuja jeeyar (29th pattam, vAnamAmalai mutt)

varthmAna swAmy

Srimath paramhamsa ithyAdhi kaliyan rAmAnuja jeeyar (30th pattam, vAnamAmalai mutt)

AzhwArs glories and history

mudhalAzhwArgaL............................................................................................................................................... 6 thirumazhisai AzhwAr.........................................................................................................................................13 nammAzhwAr.....................................................................................................................................................22 madhurakavi AzhwAr .........................................................................................................................................26 kulasEkara AzhwAr .............................................................................................................................................33 periyAzhwAr.......................................................................................................................................................40 ANdAL ................................................................................................................................................................49 thoNdaradippodi AzhwAr ...................................................................................................................................56 thiruppANAzhwAr ..............................................................................................................................................61 thirumangai AzhwAr ...........................................................................................................................................67 emperumAnAr....................................................................................................................................................79 dhivya prabhandha prAmANya samarthanam.....................................................................................................86

AzhwArs glories and history

In this article we will discuss the vaibhavam of mudhalAzhwArgaL (poigaiyAr, bhUthathAr, peyAr).

poigai AzhwAr
thirunakshathram: ippasi, thiruvONam avathAra sthalam: kAnchipuram AchAryan: sEnai mudhaliAr Works: mudhal thiruvanthAdhi

poigai AzhwAr was born in a pond near thiruvekhA yathOkthAkAri temple. He is also known as kAsAra yOgi and sarO munIndhrar. His thanian kAnchyAm sarasi hEmAbjEjAtham kAsAra yOginam kalayE ya: shriya:pathyU ravim dhIpam akalpayath

AzhwArs glories and history

thirunakshathram: ippasi, avittam avathAra sthalam: thirukkadalmallai AchAryan: sEnai mudhaliAr Works: irandAm thiruvanthAdhi

bhUthathAzhwAr was born in a pond near thirukkadalmallai sthalasayanap perumAL temple. He is also known as bhUthahvayar, mallApuravarAdhIshar. His thanian mallApura varAdhIsham mAdhavI kusumOdhbhavam bhUtham namAmi yO vishNOr jyAnadhIpam akalpayath

thirunakshathram: ippasi, sadhayam avathAra sthalam: thirumayilai AchAryan: sEnai mudhaliAr

AzhwArs glories and history Works: mUnRAm thiruvanthAdhi

pEyAzhwAr was born in a well near thirumayilai kEsava perumAL temple. He is also known as mahathAhvayar, mayilApurAdhIpar. His thanian dhrushtvA dhushtAva yO vishNum ramayA mayilAdhipam kUpE rakthOthpalE jAtham mahathAhvayam AshrayE

mudhalAzhwArgaL charithram/vaibhavam
All the 3 AzhwArs are usually glorified together because of the following reasons.

They were all born a day after each other in sequence poigaiyAr, bhuthathAr, pEyar. They were born in the time period between the end of dhvApara yugam and the beginning of kaliyugam (yuga sandhi transition period see in the bottom for details). They were all ayOnijars one who is not born from a human mother. They all appeared from flowers by the divine mercy of emperumAn. They were attached to emperumAn right from their birth they were fully/divinely blessed by emperumAn and were fully enjoying bhagavath anubhavam throughout their life. At some point in their life, they meet each other and from then onwards they stayed together and they travelled together to various dhivyadhEsams/kshEthrams. They are also called Odith thiriyum yOgigaL ( ) the yOgis who are always doing pilgrimage.

AzhwArs glories and history All the 3 AzhwArs were born in different locations and enjoying emperumAn thoroughly. emperumAn who considers his adiyArs as his life (gIthai jnAniI thva Athma Eva mE matham) wanted to see them all together. So he made a divine arrangement to bring all 3 of them to thirukkOvalUr in the night time.

AzhwArs glories and history It was raining heavily and one by one started arriving to a small shed. When they got in to the shed there was just enough space for the 3 of them to stand. Being completely situated in bhagavath bhAvam, they started inquiring about each other and found out the details about each other. When they were sharing their divine anubhavams, emperumAn with his thirumAmagaL suddenly entered the shed where it was very dark. Wanting to see who arrived,

poigai AzhwAr lit the place using the world as a lamp, the ocean as the oil and sun as the light. bhUthathAzhwAr lit the place using his love as lamp, his attachment as the oil and his mind as the light. pEyAzhwAr, being helped by the other two AzhwArs, sees the glowing beauty of emperumAn who is with his pirAtti, thiruvAzhi and thiruchchangu and performs mangaLAsAsanam for that sErthi.

Thus they enjoyed the thirukkOvalUr Ayan and many other archAvathAra emperumAns together during their time in the leelA vibhUthi. In the eedu vyAkyAnam, nampiLLai beautifully brings out the glories of mudhalAzhwArgaL wherever applicable. Let us see a few such examples:

pAlEy thamizhar (1.4.10) nampiLLai identifies aLavandhArs nirvAham (conclusion/statement) here. He says nammAzhwAr is glorifying mudhalAzhwArgaL here who were the first to bring out the glories of emperumAn in the sweet thamizh language. inkavi pAdum paramakavigal (7.9.6) Here, nampiLLai identifies that mudhalAzhwArgaL are also known as chendhamizh pAduvAr. He also identifies that AzhwArs were so expert in thamizh, when poigai AzhwAr and pEyAzhwAr asked bhUthathAzhwAr to glorify emperumAn he spontaneously sung the glories of emperumAn like how a male elephant fetched the honey for the female elephant immediately when asked by the female elephant (this elephants incident is explained by bhUthathAzhwAr in perugu madhavEzham iraNdAm thiruvanthAdhi 75th pAsuram). palaradiyAr munbhrauLiya (7.10.5) nampiLLai beautifully brings out the thiruvuLLam of nammAzhwAr here. nammAzhwAr says in this pAsuram that emperumAn blessed him to sing thiruvAimozhi instead of great rishis like sri vEdhavyAsar, sri vAlmiki, sri parAsarar and mudhalAzhwArgaL who were expert in thamizh. chenchorkavikAl (10.7.1) nampiLLai refers to mudhalAzhwArgaL as inkavi pAdum parama kavigaL, chendhamizh pAduvAr, etc and identifies that they are ananya prayOjanargaL (one who glorifies emperumAn without expecting anything in return).

mAmunigaL identifies how they became to be known as mudhalAzhwArgaL in his upadhEsa rathina mAlai pAsuram 7. maRRuLLa AzhwArgaLukku munnE vaNthuthiththu (

Nal thamizhAl NUl cheythu NAttaiyuyththa peRRimaiyOr (


AzhwArs glories and history

enRu mudhalAzhwArgaL ennum peyarivarkku (

NinRathulagaththE NigazhNthu ( ) Simple translation: These 3 AzhwArs appeared before the other 7 AzhwArs and benedicted the world with their divine thamizh pAsurams. It is because of this glorious act they became to be popularly known as mudhalAzhwArgaL. In the vyakyAnam, piLLai lOkAm jIyar brings out some beautiful aspects.

He identifies that mudhalAzhwArgaL are like praNavam which is always considered as the beginning. He also identifies that these AzhwArs were born during the dhvApara-kali yuga sandhi (transition period) and thirumazhisai AzhwAr appeared along the same time. Subsequently, in the beginning of the kaliyugam, other AzhwArs appeared one after the other. They laid the foundation for dhivya prabhandhams in the great dhrAvida bAshai (thamizh).

mAmunigaL also brings out the glories of ippasi thiruvONam, avittam and sathayam as these dates became so popular after the appearance of the mudhalAzhwArgaL on these days. As identified in the thirunedunthAndagam vyAkyAna avathArikai by periyavAchAn piLLai, mudhalAzhwArgaL are focussed on emperumAns parathvam. That is why, they are often glorifying thrivikramAvathAram. On the other hand, they also glorified many archAvathAra emperumAns since by nature all AzhwArs had great attachment to archAvathAra emperumAns. Their archAvathAra anubhavam is already discussed in here

yuga sandhi
yathIndra matha dhIpikai explains various technical concepts in our sampradhAyam and is considered as one of the most authentic sources for our sidhAntham. In this, kAla thathvam is explained in detail and we see the definition of the various yugams and their sandhi periods.

1 day of dhEvas (svargam) is 1 year for manushyas (bhUmi) 1 chathur yugam is made of 12000 dhEva years (krutha 4000, thrEthA 3000, dhvApara 2000, kali 1000) brahmAs day is made of 1000 chathur yugams. His night is of the same length but no creation during that time. brahmA lives for 100 years of 360 such days. sandhi period is fairly lengthy between each yugams. Here are the sandhi periods between each yugam:

AzhwArs glories and history between krutha yugam and thrEthA yugam, there is a sandhi period of 800 dhEva years. o between thrEtha yugam and dhvApara yugam, there is a sandhi period of 600 dhEva years. o between dhvApara yugam and kaliyugam, there is a sandhi period of 400 dhEva years. o between kaliyugam and the next krutha yugam, there is a sandhi period of 200 dhEva years. Also, in 1 day of brahmA, there is 14 manus, 14 indhrans and 14 saptha rishis (all of these are posts that are given to certain jIvAthmAs based on their karmA).


AzhwArs glories and history

thirumazhisai AzhwAr

thirunakshathram: thai, magam avathAra sthalam: thirumazhisai AchAryan: vishwaksEnar, pEyAzhwAr sishyas: kaNikaNNan, dhrudavrathan Works: nAnmugan thiruvanthAdhi, thiruchandha viruththam Place where he attained paramapadham: thirukkudanthai mAmunigaL glorifies AzhwAr as the one who has absolutely clear knowledge about the essence of sAsthtram i.e, only srIman nArAyaNan is worshippable and we should not even have a tinge of association with anya dhEvathas (other demi-gods). mAmunigaL uses the phrase thuyya mathi meaning pure mind for AzhwAr. piLLai lOkam jIyar explains the purity of AzhwAr hear means having no tinge of parathvam (supremacy) for dhEvathais other than

AzhwArs glories and history srIman nArAyaNan and removing any such doubts from our minds as well. In many pAsurams, AzhwAr identifies how srIvaishNavas conduct themselves in relation to anya dhEvathais. For example:

nAnmugan thiruvanthAdhi 53 - thiruvillAth thEvaraith thERElmin thEvu ( ) dont consider the one who is not related to srImahAlakshmi as worshippable dhEvathai. nAnumugan thiruvanthAdhi 68 thiruvadi than NAmam maRaNdhum puRaNthozhA mANdhar ( ) - even if they forget srIman nArAyaNan who is sarva swAmy, srIvaishNavas will not worship other dhEvathais.

In their introduction for their vyAkyAnams for nAnumgan thiruvanthAdhi, both periyavAchAn piLLai and nampiLLai beautifully explains thirumazhisai AzhwArs act of clearing the doubts in the minds of everyone on emperumAns supremacy and other dhEvathAs limitations. periyavAchAn piLLais explanation: mudhalAzhwArs establish that emperumAn is the only person to be perceived and enjoyed. thirumazhisai AzhwAr removes the weeds in that process. He explains to the samsAris who perceive other dhEvathAs as Ishvara (controller) that these other dhEvathAs are also kshEthragya (jIvAthma knower of the body) and they are also controlled. He explains that srIman nArAyaNan is the only controller of the entire universe. nampiLLais explanation: mudhalAzhwArs understood sarvEshvaran through the worldly vision, vision of sAsthram, through their bhakthi and ofcourse through emperumAns nirhEthuka krupai. thirumazhisai AzhwAr also understood and enjoyed emperumAn in the same way. But looking around in the world, he feels sad that most people have not understood that srIman nArAyaNan is the controller and everything else is controlled as explained in the sAsthram, out of his utmost mercy reveals the secrets of vEdham. He says Since brahmA (the first progenitor) himself is a jIvAthmA and is appointed by srIman nArAyaNan during srushti and since srIman nArAyaNan is the antharyAmi for all sentient and non-sentient entities, as clearly explained in vEdham, srIman nArAyaNan is the supreme person. Hold on to this principle clearly without losing it. Thus mAmunigaL, periyavAchAn piLLai and nampiLLai explain the unique speciality of thirumazhisai AzhwAr in their beautiful works. Beyond these, in the thanian for thiruchandha viruththam, it is beautifully explained that once when great sages wanted to do thapas in a nice secluded place, they compared the entire universe with thirumazhisai (which is the avathAra sthalam of AzhwAr), thirumazhisai was determined by them as greater. Such is the greatness of AzhwAr/AchAryas avathAra sthalams that they should be glorified even more than dhivyadhEsams since AzhwAr/AchAryas showed us who emperumAn is and without them we would not have acquired great these anubhavams on emperumAn.


AzhwArs glories and history With this in mind, let us enjoy the charithram of AzhwAr now. AzhwAr is like krishNan kaNNan emperumAn was born to vasudhEvar/dhEvaki and then raised by nandhagOpar/yasOdhai. Similarly, AzhwAr was born to bhArgava rishi/kanakAngi and was raised by thiruvALan/pangayachelvi (a wood cutter and his wife). He is also known as srI bhakthisArar, mahIsApirAdhIsar, bhArgavAthmajar, thirumazhisaiyAr and most importantly thirumazhisai pirAn. pirAn means one who has done a big favour and AzhwAr has done the biggest favour of establishing nArAyaNa parathvam. Once the maharishis such as athri, bhrugu, vasishta, bhArgava, AngIrasa, etc., went to brahmA (chathur mukan) and asked him We want to live in the best place in bhUlOkam. Please establish factually the best place. brahmA, with the help of viswakarmA, measured the whole universe in one side and thirumazhisai in another side and thirumazhisai wins the competition. It is also known as mahIsAra kshEthram. So, the maharishis go and live there for some time. At that time, When bhArgava maharishi was performing a yagyam named dhIrga sathra yAgam on srIman nArAyaNan, his wife becomes pregnant and after 12 months, she gives birth to a piNdam (lump of flesh early stage embryo) who is thirumazhisai AzhwAr. He appears as sudharsana amsam (looking at the glories of AzhwArs, some AchAryas have said that they are amsam of nithyasUris, but our pUrvAchAryas have firmly explained that AzhwArs were in samsAram time immemorial and blessed suddenly by emperumAn). bhArghava maharishi and his wife did not want to support that child which had no form yet and just left that under a bush. bhUdhEvi nAchiyAr, by the divine will of srIdhEvi nAchiyAr, took that piNdam and protects that and by her touch that piNdam becomes a beautiful child. Immediately, he starts crying out of hunger, and jagannAthan emperumAn (of thirumazhisai) appears in front of AzhwAr, shows him the divine form of thirukkudanthai ArAvamuthan, blessed him with full knowledge and soon enough, once emperumAn disapppeared from his vision, he started crying out of separation. At that time a wood cutter named thiruvALan who was passing by, notices the young and crying baby, and with great joy, picks him up and brings him to his wife. Since she did not have a child, she happily accepts that child and starts raising him. Out of motherly affection, she attempts to breast-feed AzwAr, but AzhwAr being fully engaged in bhagavath kalyANaguNa anubhavam does not show in eating, speaking, crying, etc., but still by the grace of bhagavAn continues to grow beautifully. Hearing about this astonishing news, an old man who is born in chathurtha varNam, along with his wife, one day, prepares nice warm milk, visits him early in the morning, looks at the childs magnificent thEjas, offers him the milk and requests him to kindly accept the same. Azhwar being greatly pleased with their devotion, accepts the milk, drinks some and gives them back some of the sEsham (remnants) of the milk. He tells them to consume that milk prasAdham and blesses them that they will have a sathputhan (good son) soon. At once, by the grace of AzhwAr, they regain their youth, and the woman becomes pregnant soon. After 10 months, she begets a child like srI vidhurar (who was extremely attached to kaNNan emperumAn). They name him kaNikaNNan and teach him everything about emperumAn. AzhwAr, after becoming 7 years old, since he is the son of bhArghava rishi and also blessed by emperumAn during his birth, wants to perform astAnga yOgam. To do that he first wants to

AzhwArs glories and history understand the parabhrammam properly and he searches through all different mathams (so he can firmly establish that they are defective) such as bhAhya mathams (sAkhya, ulUkya, akshapAdhat, kshapaNa, kapila, pathanjali) and kudhrushti mathams (saiva, mAyAvAdha, nyAya, vaisEshika, bhAtta, prabAkara, etc) and clearly analyses/establishes that all of these mathams dont lead to the ultimate truth. Finally, he becomes firmly situated in the srivaishNava sidhAntham which is the sanAthana dharmam.Thus 700 years pass by. sarvEsvaran then blesses him with divine blemishless knowledge, and shows him

his divine svarUpam, his most auspicious qualities, his divine forms (which showcases the svarUpam and qualities), the beautiful ornaments on those divine forms, his divine weapons which are also viewed like ornaments by anukUlars, his mahishIs (srIdhEvi, bhUdhEvi, neeLA dhEvi, etc) and nithyasUris who constantly enjoy emperumAn with all of the above (svarUpam, qualities, forms, ornaments, weapons, etc), parampadham their eternally beautiful residing place and finally samsAram which contains prakruthi, purusha, kAla thathvams and where there is continuous process of srushti, sthithi, samhAram is done by emperumAn both directly himself as well as indirectly through other dhEvathAs.

emperumAn with such great qualities, shows AzhwAr how he creates brahmA (his first son) from his nAbhi kamalam (lotus flower in his naval) according to svEthasvathAra upanishadh yO brahmANam vidhAdhAthi pUrvam meaning parabrahmam is one who creates brahmA and as per chAndhOgya brAmaNam brahmaNa: puthrAya jyEstAya srEshtAya rudhran, who is the first and best son of brahmA. AzhwAr seeing this immediately declares the same meanings in his nAnumgan thiruvanthAdhi as NAnmuganai NArAyanNan padaiththAn NAnmuganum thAn mugamAych chanGkaranaith thAn padaiththAn ( ) meaning nArAyaNan created brahmA and brahmA inturn created rudhran, and clearly removes any doubts in the minds of samsAris about the supremacy of emperumAn. AzhwAr himself declares that he learnt various mathams and finally by the mercy of emperumAn he attained the lotus feet of emperumAn. After that, he was constantly meditating on the most auspicious qualities of sriya:pathi (husband of srI mahAlakshmi) on the banks of kairvaiNi pushkariNi in thiruvallikkENi (brindhAraNya kshEthram). One day, rudhran along with his wife, was passing by on his rushabam on the sky. When their shadow was about to touch AzhwAr, AzhwAr moves away. Noticing this pArvathi tells rudhran that they should go and meet him. rudhran replies that he is a great soul and devotee of emperumAn and he will simply ignore them. She insists that she wants to go down and meet him and rudhran obliges. AzhwAr does not even bother to look at him. rudhran then asks AzhwAr How can you ignore us, when we are right next to you?. AzhwAr replies I have nothing to do with you. rudhran says We want to give you some benediction. AzhwAr says I dont want anything from you. rudhran say My visit will be wasted, you ask for whatever you desire. AzhwAr with a smile says Can you give me mOksham?. rudhran says I have not authority to give that. Only srIman nArAyaNan can give that. AzhwAr then asks Can you

AzhwArs glories and history postpone the death of some one? and rudhran replies That is based on the individuals karmA. I have no control over that. AzhwAr then shows his needle and thread and asks rudhran sarcastically Can you send this thread into the needle?. rudhran becomes very angry and declares that he will burn him down like he burnt kAma dhEvan. He opens his 3rd eye and fire starts flowing from there. AzhwAr also opens his 3rd eye from his right toe in retaliation and great fire flows from there too. rudhran unable to bear the heat of that fire from AzhwArs thiruvadi, at once surrenders to srIman nArAyaNan, and all the dhEvas, rishis, etc also approach emperumAn and request him to stop the chaos. emperumAn, immediately orders the praLaya clouds to bring a great rain and when they ask if they have the power to subside AzhwArs fire, emperumAn says he will give them the power. A great flood gets formed after subsiding the fire, and AzhwAr being fixed on emperumAn continues his meditation without any disturbance. rudhran being amazed at AzhwArs nishtai gives him the title bhakthisArar, glorifies him and explains to his wife that dhurvAsar was punished for his apachAram to ambarIshan. So, bhAgavathas cannot be defeated and leaves to his place. AzhwAr continues his meditation, and one kEcharan (an aerial being) was travelling in the sky on his tiger and on seeing AzhwAr, he is unable to cross him due to AzhwArs yOgic powers. He comes down and offers his praNAmams to AzhwAr. Magically, he creates a divine shawl and says to AzhwAr Please give up your torn shawl and please accept this beautiful one. AzhwAr easily creates a more beautiful shawl with gems and stones and he becomes embarassed. He then removes his hAram (necklace) and submits that to AzhwAr and AzhwAr removes his thuLasi mAlai and shows him like diamond necklace. kEcharan understands the yOga shakthi of AzhwAr, glorifies him, offers him praNAmams and takes leave from him. Hearing about AzhwArs glories, a magician named konkaNasidhan arrives to meet AzhwAr, offers his praNAmams and submits him an alchemy stone (that which will transform stone/metal to gold), AzhwAr disregards that. He then collects some dirt from his beautiful body (ear portion) and gives that to the magician and tells him that the piece of dirt will transform stone to gold. He tests that out and it works he becomes very happy, offers his praNAmams to AzhwAr and leaves. AzhwAr continues his meditation in a cave for some time. mudhalAzhwArs (poigai AzhwAr, bhUdhathAzhwAr, pEyAzhwAr) who are who are constantly travelling and glorifying emperumAn, oberves the divine thEjas from the cave where AzhwAr lives and comes to the cave. Immediately realizing thirumazhisai AzhwArs glories, they enquire about his well being. AzhwAr also understanding mudhalAzhwArs glories, enquire about them. They continue to share their bhagavath anubhavam together for some time. They all leave from there and reach thirumayilai (mylapore) which is the avathAra sthalam of pEyAzhwAr and stays on the banks of kairava thIrtham for some time. Subsequently, mudhalAzhwArs continue on their divine journey and AzhwAr returns to thirumazhisai, his avathAra sthalam. He searches for thirumaNkAppu but does not find that. He feels sad and thiruvEnkatamudaiyAn appears to AzhwAr in his svapnam and shows him the place where he can find thirumaN. He happily retrieves the same and applies dhvAdhasa Urdhva puNdram (12 thirumaNs on various parts of the body as instructed in sAsthram) and continues his bhagavath anubhavam. Desiring to go to poigai AzhwArs avathAra sthalam, he arrives at kAnchipuram-thiruvekkA which is glories as the best among puNya kshEthrams. He continues to stay there for 700 years worshipping the emperumAn who is lying down beautifully on

AzhwArs glories and history AdhisEshan and being served by srIdhEvi and bhUdhEvi. He stays on the banks of the pond where poigai AzhwAr appeared and spent him time meditating on poigai AzhwAr.

yathOkthakAri with nAchiyArs, thiruvekkA At that time, kaNikaNNan arrives to him and takes shelter of his lotus feet. An old woman comes and serves AzhwAr everyday with great devotion. AzhwAr, being pleased with her devotion and service, asks her if she has any desires to be fulfilled. She says, she wants to regain her youth again and AzhwAr blesses her with the same and she thus becomes a beautiful young girl. The local king, pallavarAyan, becomes very much attracted with her and requests her to marry him. She agrees and they both marry and enjoy the married life together. One day, pallavarAyan, noticing that he ages by day while his wife (blessed by AzhwAr) stays young, asks her how she got her divine youth. She explains AzhwArs blessing and instructs the king to humbly request kaNikaNNan (who visits the king for materials for his kainkaryam) to recommend to AzhwAr to bless him also with the same divine youth. The king summons kaNikaNNan and requests him to bring AzhwAr over to the palace for him to worship. kaNikaNNan replies that AzhwAr does not go anywhere other than emperumAns temple. The king requests kaNikaNNan to glorify him and kaNikaNNan says he will not glorify anyone other

AzhwArs glories and history than srIman nArAyaNan and his devotees as per sistAchAram (by elders principles and acts). The king becomes angry and asks kaNikaNNan to leave his kingdom since he refused to glorify him. kaNikaNNan at once leaves the palace, reaches AzhwAr, explains him the incidents and takes leave from him. AzhwAr says If you are leaving, I am going to leave as well. If I am leaving, emperumAn will also leave. When emperumAn leaves, all dhEvathAs will also leave from here. He then says I will go to the temple and wake emperumAn up and bring him with me and goes to the temple. AzhwAr then sings in front of thiruvekkA emperumAn: kanNikanNnNan pOginRAn kAmarupUnGkachchi manNivanNnNA NI kidakka vEnNdA thunNivudaiya cheNNAppulavanum pOginREn NIyum unRan paiNNAgappAy churuttikkoL Oh! one with the beautiful form staying in thiruvekkA! kaNikaNNan is going, I am (the firmly situated poet) also going, you wind up your AdhisEshan and leave with us. emperumAn accepts AzhwArs words and at once follows him and kaNikaNNan. Thus he got the name yathOktha kAri (kAri one who performed, yathA as, utktha instructed). All the dhEvathas also follow emperumAn and thus kAnchIpuram becomes lifeless due to the absence of all auspiciousness. Due to that, the sun does not rise also, the king and his ministers understanding the problem, run behind the travelling party and falls at the lotus feet of kaNikaNNan and asks for pardon. kaNikaNNan then requests AzhwAr to return and AzhwAr prays to emperumAn to return to yathA sthAnam as per: kanNikanNnNan pOkkozhiNthAn kAmarupUnGkachchi manNivanNnNA NI kidakka vEnNdum thunNivudaiya cheNNAppulavanum pOkkozhiNthEn NIyum unRan paiNNAgappAy paduththukkoL Oh! one with the beautiful form staying in thiruvekkA! kaNikaNNan is returning, I am (the firmly situated poet) also returning, you open up your AdhisEshan and lie down as before. Such was emperumAns saulabhyam-NIrmai ( simplicity) and this is why AzhwAr was immersed on this quality of emperumAn and sung veHkanNaikkidaNthathenna NIrmaiyE

AzhwArs glories and history ( ) how merciful emperumAn is by lying down in thiruvekkA per my request. Subsequently, AzhwAr with great desire starts his travel to thirukkudanthai (kumbakONam) to perform mangaLAsAsanam to ArAvamudhAzhwAr (emperumAn). It is said in the thirukkudanthai mAhAthmyam that one who stays in kumbakONam for even a moment will be guaranteed a place in srIvaikuntam, what to speak about wealth in this world such is the greatness of this dhivyadhEsam. On his way, in a village named perumpuliyUr, he is resting on the veranda of a house. There were a few brAhmaNas who were doing vEdha adhyayanam at that time and looking at AzhwAr, they misunderstand him from his ragged looks and stops their recital. AzhwAr, out of great humility, understanding that, starts leaving the place. The brAhmaNas, wanting to resume their recital, but unable to do that since they forgot where they left. AzhwAr, immediately takes a grain of black rice and splits it using his nail and indicates the exact verse which is krishNAnAm vrIhiNAm nakanirbbinnam from yajur kANdam. The brAhmaNas immediately realise his greatness and offer their praNAmams and beg for forgiveness for their mis-conduct. When AzhwAr was looking for materials for his thiruvArAdhanam, the emperumAn in the village temple was constantly turning towards his direction. The archakas show this amazing incident to some brAhamaNas and in turn they go to perumpuliyUr adigaL who is performing a yagyam in that village and informs him about the incident and greatness of AzhwAr. perumpuliyUr adigaL, at once leaves the yAgasAlai (yagya bhUmi) and reaches out to AzhwAr and looking at his aprAkrutha (divine spiritual) thirumEni (body), offers his praNAmams and requests AzhwAr to visit his yAgasAlai. On his visit, adigaL performs the agra pUjai (foremost respects) to AzhwAr in his yagyam. Some of the priests object to that like sisupAlan and his friends objected to dharmaputhran giving agra pUjai to krishNan during their rAjasUja yAgam. adigaL feels sad and informs AzhwAr that he cannot bear their words. AzhwAr decides to reveal his great position sings a pAsuram towards the antharyAmi emperumAn requesting him to reveal his presence within AzhwArs heart to everyone. emperumAn, obliging at once, reveals his presence with his dhivya mahishIs, AdhisEshan, garudAzhwAr, etc., in AzhwArs heart. All the priests who opposed AzhwAr realise his greatness and falls flat at his feet and beg for his forgiveness. They then performed brahma ratham (carrying AzhwAr in a palanquin) and became the target of AzhwArs mercy. AzhwAr then explained them the essence of sAsthram in great detail. Then, he left to thirukkudanthai to meet ArAvamuthan emperumAn. After reaching thirukkudanthai, he then throws all his granthams (palm leaves) in to the river cauvery. By emperumAns thiruvuLLam, nAnmugan thiruvanthAdhi and thiruchchantha viruththam float against the tides and return to AzhwAr. He picks them up and goes to ArAvamuthan sannidhi and worships the most beautiful emperumAn from his thiruvadi (foot) to thirumudi (head). With great love, he instructs emperumAn kAvirikkaraik kudaNthaiyuL kidaNthavARezhuNthiruNthu pEchu ( ) meaning Oh the one who is lying down in thirukkudanthai which is on the banks of cauvery! stand up and speak to me. Hearing AzhwArs words, emperumAn literally tries to stand and AzhwAr becoming overwhelmed by emperumAns act performs mangaLAsAsanam to emperumAn in vAzhi kEchanE ( ) meaning Oh the one with beautiful hair! Long live. Meditating on this divine form, AzhwAr speent


AzhwArs glories and history another 2300 years in thirukkudanthai without accepting any food other than milk. Thus he spent 4700 years in this bhUlOkam and gave the most important essence of sAsthram through his prabhandhams for the upliftment of everyone in this samsAram out of his divine grace.

kOmaLavalli thAyar samEtha ArAvamuthan, thirukkudanthai He became to be known as thirumazhisai pirAn (since pirAn means one who does great favours and this word is usually indicated to glorify emperumAn) since he did the greatest favour in clarifying the supremacy of emperumAn AzhwAr became to be known as pirAn. In turn, thirukkudanthai ArAvamudhan emperumAn became to be known as AzhwAr (since AzhwAr means one who gets immersed in the name, form, qualities of emperumAn and this word is usually for the great devotees of emperumAn) since he got immersed in the name, form, qualities, etc., of thirumazhisai AzhwAr, ArAvamudhan emperumAn became to be known as ArAvamuthAzhwAr. Let us pray for AzhwArs divine mercy, so we can also develop the same attachment towards emperumAn and his adiyArs. His thanian shakthi panchamaya vigrahAthmanE shukthikArajatha chiththa hAriNEmukl mukthidhAyak murAri pAdhayOr bhakthisAra munayE namO nama: His archAvathAra anubhavam is already discussed in here


AzhwArs glories and history


thirunakshathram: vaigAsi, visAgam avathAra sthalam: AzhwAr thirunagari AchAryan: vishwaksEnar. Sishyas: madhurakavi AzhwAr, nAthamunigaL, etc He is also known as mARan, sataGopan, parAngusan, vakuLAbharaNan, vakuLAbhirAman, magizhmAran, satajith, kurgUr nambi, etc. NammAzhwAr was born in ThirukkurugUr (AzhwAr thirunagari) as the child of KAri and udayanangai. He was born days after the advent of kaliyugam. In bhagavad gIthA, krishnan declares that After many many birth one comes to the conclusion that everything belongs to vAsudevan (himself). And it is very rare to find such jnAnis. NammAzhwAr from his life and works proves that he was one such jnAni who is very dear to emperumAn. Throughout his life (which only lasted 32 years in this samsAram), he stayed under the tamarind tree (thirupuLiyAzhwAr) and was always in yOgam (meditation) thinking about emperumAn. It is said in our pUrvAchArya vyAkyAnams that, the moment we hear kurugUr (generally in thiruvAimozhi pAsurams, the last pAsuram of each padhigam will have nammAzhwArs name and will generally be prefixed with kurugUr which is his avathAra sthalam), we should do an anjali towards the south direction (which is where AzhwAr thirungari is).


AzhwArs glories and history NammAzhwAr is hailed as prapanna jana kUtasthar i.e., the first one in the prapanna gOshti. He is also hailed as vaishnava kula pathi the leader of the vaishnava fold by ALavandhAr. AlavandhAr in his sthOthra rathnam, 5th slOkam declares that he bows down at the lotus feet of vakUlAbhirAman who is everything (father, mother, child, wealth, etc) for him and his followers/descendants.

AzhwAr in sayana thirukkOlam and emperumAnAr at his lotus feet AzhwAr thirunagari emperumAnAr (who is himself an avathAram of AdhisEshan) is glorified as mARan adi panNiNthu uyNthavan ( ) meaning one who surrendered to nammAzhwAr and flourished. NampiLLai, based on pUrvAchArya works, in his eedu vyAkyAna avathArikai and thiruvirutham vyAkyAna avathArikai, establishes that NammAzhwAr was hand picked by emperumAn from leeLA vibhUthi to sing his glories and to bring in many baddha jIvAthmAs into the fold of srivaishnavam. NampiLLai establishes this based on the words of nammAzhwAr himself. emperumAn gives pure knowledge out of his own will to nammAzhwAr so that AzhwAr can see past, present and future right in front of him. In his works, he says in several places that he suffered in samsAram since time immemorial. He also says that he cannot stay in this samsAram even for a single moment living in this samsAram for him is like standing on redhot floor without shoes/chappals. Right in the first pAsurm of thiruvAimozhi he says that he was blessed with the divine knowledge by emperumAn. Based on this we can easily understand that he was a samsAri (baddha jIvAtmA) before and was blessed by emperumAn with divine knowledge. The same logic is applied for other AzhwArs also due to the following reasons:

Since nammAzhwAr is called the avayavi (whole) and all the other AzhwArs (except AndAL ofcourse) are avayavam (parts), and


AzhwArs glories and history

Other AzhwArs have also said the same thing in their works, that they were suffering in samsAram and are blessed by emperumAn with divine knowledge.

NammAzhwar has sung 4 divya prabhandhams namely,

thiruviruththam (rig vEdha sAram) thiruvAsiriyam (yajur vEdha sAram) periya thiruvandhAdhi (atharvaNa vEdha sAram) thiruvAimozhi (sAma vEdha sAram)

nammAzhwArs prabhandhams are equal to 4 vEdhas. He is also known as vEdham thamizh cheitha mAran one who gave the essence of samskrita vEdhas through his thamizh prabandhams. All the other AzhwArs prabhandhams are considered to be similar to the supplementary portion of vEdhas (like sIkshA, vyAkaraNam, etc). ThiruvAimozhi is glorified as the essence of all the 4000 divya prabandhams sung by AzhwArs. All our pUrvAchAryas works (vyAkyAnams and rahasya granthams) are based on the knowledge extracted from thiruvAimozhi. thiruvAimozhi itself has 5 vyAkyAnams and more detailed explanations in arumpadham. Our pUrvAchAryas establish that nammAzhwAr is considered to be having the qualities of many great personalities like srIdhEvi, bhUdhEvi, nILA dhEvi, goPikAs, lakshmaNan, bharathAzhwAn, sathrugnAzhwAn, dhasarathan, kousalyai, prahlAdhAzhwAn, vibhIshaNAzhwAn, hanuman, arjunan, etc. While nammAzhwAr has the qualities of every one of these personalities, they each only have some of the qualities of nammAzhwAr such is his glories. With this in mind, let us see his charithram: nammAzhwAr who is considered as the avayavi (the whole) and other AzhwArs are considered as avayam (parts of him), appears in thirukkurugUr, on the banks of river thAmirabharaNi which is considered to be greater than all other rivers like gangA, yamunA, sarasvathi, etc. He appears as the son of kAri who is part of the prappanna kulam for many generations. These great personalities would not worship any one other than srIman nArAyaNan as explained by thirumazhisai AzhwAr as maRaNthum puRam thozhA mANthar ( ). There was one thiruvaLuthi vaLa nAdar, whose son is aRanthAngiyAr, whose son is chakrapANiyAr, whose son is achyuthar, whose son is chenthAmaraik kaNNar, whose son is poRkAriyAr, whose son is kAriyAr and whose son is nammAzhwAr. In this great vaishNava family, poRkAriyAr decides to look for a vaishnava girl for his son kAri to establish him in gruhasthAshramam and create vaishnava children for the upliftment of the entire world. poRkAri goes to thiruvaNparisAram dhivyadhEsam and meet thiruvAzhmArbhar (who is seeking to get her daughter married to a vaishnava and get vaishnava offsprings) and requests him to give her daughter udaiya nangai in wedding to kAriyAr. thiruvAzhmArbhar accepts and a grand wedding ceremony is conducted between kAriyAr and udaiyanangai. Both kAriyAr and udayanangai worship thiruvAzhmArbhan emperumAn in thiruvaNparisAram and returns to thirukkurugur. On their return, everyone in thirukkurugUr welcomed them with a


AzhwArs glories and history great mood of devotion and celebration just like when srI rAman married sIthA pirAtti and brought her along to ayOdhyA from mithilA. After some time, kAriyAr and udayanangai visit thiruvaNparisAram and on their way back, they visit thirukkurungudi and worship nambi emperumAn. They pray to him to have a child and nambi promises them that he himself will appear as their child. They return to thirukkurugur happily and after some time udaya nangai becomes pregnant. On the 43rd day after the dawn of kaliyugam, as per the orders of emperumAn, nammAzhwAr as he himself declares in thirumAlAl aruLap peRRa chatagOpan ( ) meaning nammAzhwAr who was divinely blessed by srIman nArAyaNan, appears as an amsam of vishwaksEnar on bahudhAnya year (also said that it is pramAdhi year), vasantha ruthu (spring season), vaikAsi month, sukla paksham, paurNami thithi and thiruvisAka nakshathram. Similar to azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanArs declaration in his AchArya hrudhayam, here it is said that Adhithya rAmadhivAkara achyutha bANukkaLukku NInGgAtha uLLiruL NInGgi chOshiyAtha piRavikkadal chOshiththu vikasiyAtha pOthil kamalam malarumpadi vakuLabUshanNa bAskarOdhayam unNdAyththu udaiyaNanGgaiyAgiRa pUrvasaNdhyaiyilE (

) meaning the inner ignorance of samsAris

that was not removed by the appearance of the sun (Adhithya), srI rAman (rAma dhivAkara) who is glorified as a shining sun and krishNan (achyutha bAnu) who is also glorified as a shining sun, the ignorance was removed and the knowledge bloomed after the arrival of nammAzhwAr (vakuLA bhUshaNa bAskara) and this nammAzhwAr was conceived by udaiyanangai. AdhisEshan appears as the divine tamarind tree to protect AzhwAr (knowing that AzhwAr will take shelter in thirukkurugUr AthinAthan emperumAns temple). AzhwArs subsequent activities are described in madhurakavi AzhwArs charithram nammAzhwArs thanian mAthA pithA yuvadhayas thanayA vibhUthi sarvam ya dhEva niyamEna madh anvayAnAm Adhyasyana: kulapathEr vakuLAbhirAmam srimath thadhangri yugaLam praNamAmi mUrdhnA His archAvathAra anubhavam is discussed in


AzhwArs glories and history

madhurakavi AzhwAr

thirunakshathram: chithirai, chithirai avathAra sthalam: thirukkOLUr AchAryan: nammAzhwAr Works: kaNNinuN chiruthAmbu Place where he attained paramapadham: AzhwAr thirunagari nampiLLai, in the vyAkyAna avathArikai brings out the glories of madhurakavi AzhwAr beautifully. Let us see some glimpses of it. rishis are focussed on sAmAnya sAsthram which establishes ishvaryam, kaivalyam and bhagavath kainkaryam as purushArtham (goal to be attained by a soul). Azhwars are focussed on the uththama purushArtham (ultimate goal) that is loving service to srIman nArAyaNan. madhurakavi AzhwAr is focussed on the epitome (top most stage) of bhagavath kainkaryam that is bhAgavatha kainkaryam ofcourse bhagavAn appreciates service to his devotees more than service to him. We can see this in srI rAmAyaNam as well. Since srI rAmAyaNam is vEdha upabruhmmaNam (that which explains the intricate meanings of vEdham) it promptly establishes the main aspects of vEdham.

AzhwArs glories and history

perumAL (srI rAman) is an embodiment of dharmam so he established sAmAnya (ordinary/simple) dharmams of pithru vachana paripAlanam (following the orders of father/elders), etc. iLaya perumAL (lakshmaNan) established the visEsha (special) dharmam of sEshathvam that a sEshan (servant) should always follow and serve the sEshi (master). He said aham sarvam karishyAmi (I will do everything for you) to srI rAman and also put that in to practice. srI bharathAzhwAn (bharathan) established pArathanthriyam which is the real svarUpam of jIvAthmAs. pArathanthriyam means full following the desires of the master without any expectations on our own. Because perumAL wanted bharathAzhwAn to stay in ayOdhyA and take care of the rAjyam, he obliges and accepts that as his supreme command and stays outside ayOdhyA for 14 years with the same attire and anushtAnam of srI rAman. srI chathrugnAzhwAn (chathrugnan) established the epitome of our svarUpam which is bhAgavatha sEshathvam. He simply followed bharathAzhwAn and served him without any interest in anything else.

nampiLLai quotes srI bhAshyakArar (rAmAnujar) saying because of chathrugnans total surrender to srI bharathAzhwAn, he was more dear to srI rAman than the other 2 brothers iLaya perumAL and bharathAzhwAn. madhurakavi AzhwAr was like srI chathrugnAzhwAn who was fully established in bhAgavatha nishtai. madurakavi AzhwAr also was fully surrendered to nammAzhwAr and was fully serving him. For him, nammAzhwAr is both the goal and the process to attain that goal. That is what is established by madhurakavi AzhwAr in his dhivya prabhandham. piLLai lOkAchAryar in his magnum opus srIvachana bhUshaNam, in the last prakaraNam which fully reveals the glories of AchArya abhimAna nishtai (depending fully on AchAryans abhimAnam) establishes this principle by citing madhurakavi AzhwArs life and attachment towards nammAzhwAr as the example. In the 8th prakaraNam, bhagavan nirhEthuka krupai is explained. At the same time, bhagavAn is also bound to give results to jIvAthmA per their karmA. So, one may have a doubt that emperumAn may or may not accept us. In the 9th (and last) prakaraNam, piLLai lOkAchAryar establishes the greatness of charama upAyam (the final way) which is depending on AchAryan and how that will easily deliver the jIvAthmA. Let us see that now. In sUthram 407, it is shown that one may have a doubt in the mind that emperumAn being svathanthran, may accept us or reject us depending on him following sAsthram (which gives results based on ones own karmA) or his kAruNyam (mercy). mAmunigaL shows in the vyAkyAnam that the sUthram is completed by adding When we depend on AchAryan who is a parathanthran (fully dependent on emperumAn), there is no doubt, since he will ensure that we will get delivered, because AchAryan is embodiment of kAruNyam and will look for the upliftment of the jIvAthmA only. In sUthram 408, it is explained that, this cannot be proved by the pAsurams of the 10 AzhwArs who are fully surrendered to emperumAn. These AzhwArs were divinely blessed by emperumAn with blemishless knowledge. When they get immersed in bhagavath anubhavam they glorify the bhAgavathAs. But when the are in separation from emperumAn, they get upset with bhAgavathAs out of their desperate situation (many pAsurams are cited by mAmunigaL in

AzhwArs glories and history the vyAkyAnam). mAmunigaL summarizes in the end that we cannot determine the true glories of AchArya vaibhavam through the pAsurams of 10 AzhwArs but we have to do that using madhurakavi AzhwArs pAsurams. In sUthram 409, it is explained that madhurakavi AzhwAr is far greater than other AzhwArs since he is only focussed on AchArya (nammAzhwAr) vaibhavam unlike other AzhwArs who glorifies bhAgavathas some times and ignores them at other times. It is through the words of madhurakavi AzhwAr we can establish the glories of AchArya vaibhavam. mAmunigaL explains the glories of madhurakavi AzhwAr and his kaNNinuN chiruthAmbu in 25th and 26th pAsurams. In the 25th pAsuram, he says that madhurakavi AzhwArs thiruvavathAram (appearance) day chithirai/chithirai, is most suitable for prapannas svarUpam, even more than the appearance days of other AzhwArs. In the 26th pAsuram, he explains the glories of AzhwAr and his prabhandham wonderfully. vAyththa thirumaNthiraththin maththimamAm padham pOl chIrththa madhurakavi chey kalaiyai Arththa pugazh AriyargaL thAnGgaL aruLicheyal NaduvE chErviththAr thARpariyam thErNthu

piLLai lOkam jIyar gives beautiful explanation for this pAsuram. nama: padham in thirumanthram is taken as an example here for kaNNinuN chiruthAmbu. thirumanthram is gloried as the one which will relieve the reciter from bondage in this samsAram. In this thirumanthram, nama: padham is the most important word it clearly establishes that we have no involvement in protecting ourselves and we have to fully depend on our master (emperumAn) to protect us. This same principle is explained by madhurakavi AzhwAr (who himself is great because of his AchArya nishtai) in his prabhandham that we should fully depend on our AchAryan to protect us. It is because of this fact that it brings out the essence of sAsthram, our pUrvAchAryas included this prabhandham in to the collection of 4000 dhivya prabhandham. Just like madhurakavi AzhwAr is born in chithrai thirunakshathram which comes in the middle of the 27 nakshathrams, his prabhandham is also considered the center piece of the dhivya prabhandha rathan hAram (necklace). Thus, we can see how beautifully emperumAnAr, nampiLLai, piLLai lOkAchAryar, mAmunigaL and piLLai lOkam jIyar are explaining the same principle from different angles. With this understanding, let us now go through his charithram.


AzhwArs glories and history madhurakavi AzhwAr appeared in chaithra mAsam, chithrA nakshathram in thirukkOLUr. Just like suns rays appear before the sun itself, he appeared just before nammAzhwArs divine appearance. Looking at his greatness, in dhivya sUri charitham, garuda vAhana pandithar glorifies him as an amsam of kumudha gaNEshar or garudAzhwAr (though AzhwArs were handpicked from samsAram by emperumAn and divinely blessed by him). He was born in a family of pUrva shikai brAhmaNas who are part of sAma vEdham. At the appropriate ages, he undergoes jAtha karma, nAma karaNa, anna prAsana, chauLa, upanayanam, etc., and learns vEdham, vEdhAntham, purANa, ithihAsam, etc. He was completely detached from everything else other than emperumAn and goes on a thIrtha yAthrai to ayOdhyA, mathurA, etc. dhivyadhEsams/kshEthrams in the northern part of bhAratha dhEsam.

nammAzhwAr, madhurakavi AzhwAr, nAthamunigaL kAnchipuram nammAzhwAr who appeared after madhurakavi AzhwAr, was staying without any interest for even mothers milk and without uttering any sound (in complete silence). His parents kAri and udaya nangai, on the 12th day after his appearance, with great anxiety for the childs behaviour, brought him infront of polindhu ninRa pirAn emperumAn who is having his beautiful temple in the south side river thamirabharaNi, who is decorated beautifully with shankam (divine conch) and chakram (divine disc), who is having lotus like beautiful eyes, who is holding the abhaya hastham (a posture of the hand which declares he will protect us) and who is with his dhivya mahishIs srIdhEvi, bhUdhEvi and nILA dhEvi. In front of emperumAn, they give him the name mARan (one who is different from others) and leaves him under the divine tamarind tree and considers him as a divine personality and worships him there. paramapadhanAthan then instructs vishwaksEnar to go and perform panchasamskAram to nammAzhwAr and teach him dhrAvida vEdham (from this we can understand dhrAvida

AzhwArs glories and history vEdham is also eternal as declared by nAyanAr in AchArya hrudhayam) and all rahasya manthrams/meanings and vishwaksEnar obliged as such. nammAzhwAr then stayed for 16 years under the thiruppuLiyAzhwAr (divine tamarind tree). His parents understanding his greatness but unable to share the same since not many understood AzhwArs greatness, keeps praying to thirukkurungudi nambi emperumAn. madhurakavi AzhwAr also hears about this matter and once when he went to the river banks in the night and noticed there was a bright light shining in the south side. He first thinks that may be there is some village burning or a forest fire. But, subsequently he notices the same light for 2 or 3 nights consecutively. He decides to investigate what it is and so sleeps in the morning and starts following that light in the night. He checks many dhivya dhEsams on his way and reaches srIrangam. He still sees the light from further south and finally reaches thirukkurugUr (AzhwAr thirunagari). He no longer sees the light and concludes that it must be originating from here. He then enters the temple and under the thiruppuLiyAzhwAr, he sees nammAzhwAr who looks filled with complete/pure knowledge, who has beautiful eyes, who is just 16 years young and beautiful like the moon on a full moon day, who is seated on padhmAsanam, who has the upadhEsa mudhrai instructing about emperumAn and who is the AchAryan for all prapannas. Observing that he is fully immersed in bhagavath anubhavam, he takes a rock and throws in front of him. AzhwAr beautifully wakes up and looks at madhurakavi AzhwAr. Wanting to check if he can speak, madurakavi AzhwAr asks him cheththaththin vayiRRil chiRiyathu piRaNthAl eththaiththinRu enGgE kidakkum ( ) meaning if a chEthanan (jIvAthmA sentient) enters an achEthanam (insentient), what will he enjoy and where will he stay. AzhwAr replies aththaiththinRu anGgE kidakkum ( ) meaning He will keep enjoying the materialistic joy and sorrows and will stay permanently there. Hearing this madhurakavi AzhwAr realises that He is a sarvagyar (omniscient one who knows everything) and I should serve this great personality and be uplifted and falls flat at the lotus feet of nammAzhwAr. He then stays with AzhwAr permanently, serves him always and sings his glories. Subsequently, srIvaikunta nAthan (from paramapadham) who is the cause of all causes, who is the proprietor or everything, who is the controller of everyone, who is the in-dwelling supersoul of every one and every thing, who one who has a beautiful blackish/bluish thirumEni (body) wants to meet AzhwAr. periya thiruvadi (garudAzhwAn) at once arrives in front of emperumAn and emperumAn along with srI mahAlakshmi climbs on them and they reach thirukkurugUr at once and gives his divine dharshan to nammAzhwAr and blesses him divine blemishless knowledge. nammAzhwAr, being blessed by emperumAn, immerses in bhagavath anubhavam and as that anubhavam overflows beyond limits, they flow out as divine pAsurams in the form of thiruvirutham, thiruvAsiriyam, periya thiruvanthAdhi and thiruvAimozhi (which are the essence of 4 vEdhams) revealing emperumAns divine svarUpam, divine forms, divine qualities. nammAzhwAr then teaches the same to madhurakavi AzhwAr and others who were surrendered to him. All the dhivya dhEsa emperumAns arrive to thiruppuLiyAzhwAr to bless nammAzhwAr and sustain themselves by the mangaLAsAsanam of nammAzhwAr. nammAzhwAr then blesses everyone to become like him, to develop the same attachment towards emperumAn like him and nithya sUris (from paramapadham) and svEthadvIpa vAsis (residents of kshIrAbdhi) arrive to glorify nammAzhwAr and nammAzhwAr after seeing them

AzhwArs glories and history performs mangaLAsAsanam to them. nammAzhwAr being overwhelmed by the glories of nithya sUris and svEthadvIpa vAsis and them coming to see him, declares himself to be the greatest in the universe (sAthvika ahankAram arising out of emperumAns divine blessings), lives with unlimited glories, always sustaining himself by thinking about kaNNan emperumAn. He fully reveals artha panchakam (paramAthma svarUpam, jIvAthma svarUpam, upAya svarUpam, upEya svarUpam and virOdhi svarUpam) and the meanings of dhvaya mahA manthram through thiruvAimozhi which is divine nectar for the devotees of emperumAn. He finally leaves this samsAram at the age of 32 and reaches paramapadham by the divine desire of emperumAn. Subsequently, madhurakavi AzhwAr who is the main disciple of nammAzhwAr (who is the prapanna jana kUtasthar leader of the prapanna kulam), compiles kaNNinuN chiruthAmbu in glorification of his AchAryan and presents the same to mumukshus who are panchamOpAya nishtars (situated in 5th upAyam AchArya nishtai, the other 4 upAyams being karma, jnAna, bhakthi and prapathi). He establishes the archA vigraham in AzhwAr thirunagari and arranges for nithya (daily), paksha (fortnightly), mAsa (monthly), ayana (half-yearly) and samvathsara (yearly) uthsavams in a grand manner and performs the same. He glorifies nammAzhwAr as vEdham thamizh cheytha perumAL vaNthAr, thiruvAymozhip perumAL vaNthAr, thiruNagarip perumAL vaNthAr, thiruvazhuthivaLaNAdar vaNthAr, thirukkurugUrNagar Nambi vaNthAr, kArimARar vaNthAr, chatagOpar vaNthAr, parAnGguchar vaNthAr (

, , , , , , , ) meaning One who gave

the essence of vEdham arrived, the great author of thiruvAimozhi arrived, the leader of thirunagari arrived, son of kAri arrived, sadagOpar arrived, one who controlled everyone arrived, etc. At that time, the thamizh experts from (south) madhurai thamizh sangam arrive there and they object to these glories and say that unless nammAzhwArs greatness is proved and sanga palagai (the plank which measures the greatness of literature) accepts his literature, they will not accept that nammAzhwAr gave the essence of vEdham. madhurakavi AzhwAr says that nammAzhwAr will not travel anywhere and writes kanNnNan kazhalinNai ( ) which is the beginning of thiruvAimozhi 10.5.1 pAsuram on a small palm-leaf and hands it over to those poets from thamizh sangam. He tells them that if the sanga palagai accepts these 2 words of AzhwAr then his greatness will be proved. The poets agree to madhurakavi AzhwArs words and go to madhurai and explain the incidents to the leader of thamizh sangam. The leader agrees and they keep the palm-leaf with AzhwArs pAsuram along with 300 other great poets of those days. The magical plank retains AzhwArs words alone and pushes everyone else immediately proving AzhwArs greatness. The leader of the sangam at once compiles a poem glorifying AzhwAr as follows: IyAduvathO garudaRkethirE iravikkethir minminiyAduvathO NAyOduvathO uRumippulimun NarikEcharimun NadaiyAduvathO pEyaduvathO ezhilUrvachimun perumAnadi chEr vaguLAbharanNan OrAyiramAmaRaiyin thamizhil oru chol porumO ulagil kaviyE

AzhwArs glories and history

nammAzhwArs (who is surrendered to srIman nArAyaNan and have given the essence of vEdham in his 1000+ pAsurams) one word cannot be compared any number of these poems of these worldly poets just like there is no comparison between

flying skill of garudan and a house fly brightness of sun and a fire fly roaring of a tiger and barking of a dog the majestic walk of a lion and the ordinary walk of a fox the beautiful dance of Urvasi (a dhEva lOka dancer) and the dancing of a ghost

Seeing this, all the poets at once begged for their forgiveness from nammAzhwAr and glorified him. Thus madhurakavi AzhwAr spent his time glorifying his AchAryan as per gurum prakAchayEth dhImAN ( ) meaning ones AchAryan should be glorified in public and uplifted all beings. After some time he left this samsAram and reached his AchAryan thiruvadi to perform nithya kainkaryam to nammAzhwAr. His thanian avidhitha vishayAntharas chatArEr upanishdhAm upagAna mAthra bOga: api cha guNa vachAth thadhEka sEshi madhurakavir hrudhayE mamAvirasthu His archAvathAra anubhavam is already discussed in here


AzhwArs glories and history

kulasEkara AzhwAr

thirunakshathram: mAsi, punarpUsam avathAra sthalam: thiruvanjikkaLam AchAryan: vishwaksEnar Works: mukundha mAlai, perumAL thirumozhi Place where he attained paramapadham: mannAr kOyil (near thirunelvEli) kulasEkara AzhwArs greatness lies in the fact that he was born in kshathriya kulam (which is condusive for having great ego) but was still so humble in his attitude towards emperumAn and bhakthas. It is because of his great devotion and attachment towards perumAL (srI rAman) he came to be known as kulasEkara perumAL himself. In his perumAL thirumozhi, after performing mangaLAsAsanam to periya perumAL in the first padhigam (iruLiyach chudar manigaL), he immediately glorifies srIvaishNavas in the second padhigam (thEttarum thiral thEn). He is also popular to have been so attached to srIvaishnavas which we will see in his charithram in the subsequent sections.


AzhwArs glories and history He himself declares the real svarUpam of jIvAthmA as sEshathvam in his perumAL thirumozhi in the end (10.7) as thillaiNagar chiththirakUdam thannuL arachamarNthAn adichUdum arachai allAl arachAga enNnNEn maRRarachu thAnE (

) meaning I will not consider any thing as kingship other than holding the lotus feet of
the king of thiruchithrakUdam (gOvindharAjan emperumAn). He clearly eradicates any thought of dhEvathAnthara/vishayAnthara sambandham of jIvAthmA through these words. He also declares the ultimate svarUpam of jIvAthma svarUpam as achithvath pArathanthriyam in thiruvEnkata padhigam. In 4.9, he explains: chediyAya valvinaigaL thIrkkum thirumAlE NediyAnE vEnGkatavA! Nin kOyilin vAchal adiyArum vAnavarum arambaiyarum kidaNthiyanGgum padiyAyk kidaNthu un pavaLa vAyk kAnNbEnE

Oh srIvEnkatEsa! You are the one who can eradicated my strong karmAs. I want to be like the stepping stone at the entrance of your sannidhi where your great devotees, dhEvas who expect material benefits from you and their dependants are longing to take your dharshan. periyavAchAn piLLai explains that the jIvAthmA should be both like

(padiyAik kidanthu) achith (insentient) in the sense that emperumAn should have full control over the jIvAthmA. Just like chandhanam (sandal wood), kusumam (flower), etc which are only present for the pleasure of the consumer and have no personal interest at all. (un pavaLa vAyk kANbEnE) chit (sentient) in the sense that we should acknowledge that he is having pleasure by accepting our service. If we dont acknowledge and receiprocate then we will be no different than achith.

This principle is called achithvath pArathanthriyam meaning jIvAthmA being fully controlled by emperumAn and still reciprocating with emperumAn this is the highest principle of our srIvaishNava sidhAntham. We have already enjoyed how mAmunigaL glorifies kulasEkara AzhwAr in his archAvathAra anubhavam article nAyanAr in his magnum opus AchArya hrudhayam explains that one should discriminate between devotees based on their birth in a series of chUrNikais and establishes the greatness

AzhwArs glories and history of nammAzhwAr and other great personalities in the end. In that section, while explaining the greatness of the births which is condusive to bhagavath kainkaryam, nAyanAr cites the example of how various great personalities opted/desired for so-called low births only because of the reason that those births are very condusive for kainkaryam. Let us see the essence of 87th chUrNikai and how this relates to kulasEkara AzhwAr. anNaiya Ura punaiya adiyum podiyum padap parvatha bhavaNanGgaLilE EthEnumAga jaNikkap peRugiRa thiryak sthAvara jaNmanGgaLai perumakkaLum periyOrum parigrahiththup prArththippargaL.

The nithyasUris like ananthan, garudan, etc., opts to take birth as bed (AdhisEshan), a bird (garudAzhwAr), etc. nammAzhwAr identifies how thiruththuzhAi is so dear to emperumAn that he wears it everywhere (on his head, shoulders, chest, etc). Great sages like parAsara, vyAsa, sukha, etc., desired to be born as the dust of vrindhAvana which gets touched by the lotus feet of krishNan and gOpis. kulasEkara AzhwAr desired to be born as anything in thiruvEnkata hill. ALavandhAr desired to be born as a worm in the house of a srIvaishNava. Let us see kulasEkara AzhwArs desire in a little bit detail as explained by mAmunigaL in the vyAkyAnam of this chUrNikai. In perumAL thirumozhi 4th padhigam, AzhwAr desires to have some relationship with thiruvEnkata hill which lasts forever he wants to be eternally connected to thiruvEnkata hill.


AzhwArs glories and history He desires to be:

A bird in the pond on the hill A fish in the pond since the bird may fly away Some one who will hold the golden utensil which is used in emperumAns service, since the fish may swim away A flower on a tree, since holding the golden utensil may create ego in my mind and that will drive me away A useless tree since once the flower is used up, it will be thrown away A river on thiruvEkata hill, since the useless tree will be removed some day The stairs leading up to the sannidhi, since the river may dry up some day The stepping stone in front of the sannidhi (this is how it became to be known as kulasEkaran padi), since by being the stairs, route may be changed some day Anything on thiruvEnkatam that stays eternally periyvAchAn piLLai explains in the vyAkyAnam that AzhwAr would not even mind becoming thiruvEnkatamudaiyAn himself to be eternally connected to the hill. He also identifies bhattars quote Neither I need to know that I am there, nor thiruvEnkatamudaiyAn needs to know that I am there and no one need to glorify that I am there. I am just happy to be present there in some form eternally.

Such was the greatness of kulasEkara AzhwAr, he was fully craving for bhagavath/bhAgavatha sambandham without any personal expectation. With this in mind, let us see his charithram now. srI kulasEkara perumAL was born in the kingdom of kollinagar (thiruvanjikkALam) in the kshahriya vamsam an amsam of srIkausthubam as shown in dhivya sUri charitham by garuda vAhana pandithar (though AzhwArs were handpicked from samsAram by emperumAn and divinely blessed by him). He is also known as kolli kAvalan, kozhiyar kOn, kUdal nAyakan, etc. As explained in his thanian as mARRalarai, vIranGkeduththa chenGkOl kolli kAvalan villavarkOn, chEran kulachEkaran mudivENthar chikAmanNi (,

, ) meaning he is the destroyer of his enemies and the king of the

chEra kingdom, he had great strength of chariots, horses, elephants and foot soldiers and was able to drive out all his enemies. He ruled according to sAsthram and ensured that the strong did not trouble the weak and like srI rAman, he was most generous and most humble during his rule. Being a great king, he was thinking to be fully independent and the controller of his rAjyam. srIman nArAyaNan who is the supreme controller of both paramapadham and samsAram, out of his causeless mercy, blessed him blemishless divine knowledge, removed his rajO/thamO guNams and made him fully situated in sathva guNam and revealed his divine svarUpam (true nature), rUpam (form), guNam (qualities), vibhUthi (his wealth/controlling power) and chEshtithams (pastimes/leelais) in detail. Seeing that and understanding the same, AzhwAr became greatly anguished to be in the midst of samsAris who are fully indulged in bodily aspirations without any interest in bhagavath vishayam (spiritual matters). As nammAzhwAr

AzhwArs glories and history declares that great material wealth is like big fire which will destroy the owner himself by indulging him in just more and more material aspirations, kulasEkara AzhwAr had no attachment to his rAjyam (kingdom) and stayed aloof from everything like srI vibhIshaNAzhwAn gave up all his wealth and surrendered to srI rAman. He developed great attachment towards srIrangam and srI ranganAthan and more so towards the devotees of srI ranganAthan who are completely detached from worldly affairs and spend their time only singing the glories of srI ranganAthan. He wanted to live amidst such srIvaishNavas who are called sAdhus (vaishNava agrEsa: leader of vaishnavas) and the ones who are identified as anNiyaranGgan thirumuRRaththu adiyAr (

) meaning the devotees who spend all their life in srIranganAthans

temple. Understanding that srIranga yAthrai and the desire to go to srIrangam itself will give paramapadham what to speak of living in srIrangam, he lives everyday thinking about going to srIrangam. Also, he developed great attachment towards thiruvEnkatam (thirumalai) which has the swAmy pushkariNi that is glorified to be greater than the holy rivers gangA, yamunA, etc. As ANdaL also speaks about vEnGkataththaip pathiyAga vAzhvIrgAL (

) meaning we should live in thiruvEnkatam as our eternal residence where

great sages and mahAthmAs stay eternally, he also has the same desire. As we have already seen in the beginning, he desires to be a bird, a plant or even a stone on this dhivyadhEsam. Beyond this he also desires to live in many dhivyadhEsams serving the archAvathAra emperumAn and his devotees there. After analysing and observing the various purANams, ithihAsams, etc., he blesses with a great sanskrit slOka grantham named mukundha mAlai. As the greatness of srIrAmAyaNam is explained in the following slOkam: vEdha vEdhyE parE pumsi jAthE dhacharathAthmajE vEdha: prAchEthasAdhAsIth sAkshAth rAmAyanNathmaNA

Just like srIman nArAyaNan who can be understood through vEdham appeared as srI rAman (the son of dhasarathan), vEdham itself appeared as srI rAmAyaNam from srI vAlmIki.


AzhwArs glories and history

AzhwAr took up listening to srI rAmAyaNam and discoursing the same as his daily routine. He becomes immersed in srI rAmAyaNam that some times he forgets even who he is. Once when the lecturer explains the sequence were 14000 rAkshasas under kara/dhUshaNa prepare for a battle with srI rAman who leaves sItha dhEvi under the protection of iLaya perumAL (lakshmaNan) in a cave and all the rishis become very scared seeing at this situation where perumAL is single handedly taking on 14000 rAkshasas, AzhwAr being overwhelmed with emotions, at once orders his army to get ready for the battle and march towards the battle field to help srI rAman. Seeing this, some of his ministers, arrange for a few people to come from the opposite side and inform him that the battle is already won by srI rAman and sIthA dhEvi is nursing his injuries by tenderly attending him and he need not go any more. AzhwAr being satisfied, returns to his kingdom. His ministers then start thinking about AzhwArs behaviour and decide that this is an outcome of his association with the srIvaishnavas. They decide to drive the srivaishnavas out and devise a plan for that. They steal one of the diamond necklace from the thiruvArAdhanam room of AzhwAr and proclaim that his close confident srIvaishnavas must have stole it. At once, AzhwAr orders for a pot with a venomous snake placed in it and once it arrives, he puts his hand inside and declares that srIvaishnavas will not indulge in such acts the snake does


AzhwArs glories and history not bite him due to his honesty and the ministers feel ashamed, return the necklace and beg for forgiveness from AzhwAr and srIvaishnavas. Subsequently, AzhwAr starts feeling greatly anguished living amidst samsAris as stated in saunaka samhithai that For a prapanna, being with people who dont glorify bhagavAn is worse than being amidst a ball of fire. He then crowns his son as the king of the kingdom and hands over all the responsibilities and declares that AnAtha chelvaththu arambaiyargaL thaRchUzha vAnALum chelvamum manNnNarachum yAn vEnNdEn (

meaning He no longer desires to rule great wealth surrounded by many servants and entertainers. He then leaves to srIrangam with his close srIvaishnava friends and performs mangaLAsAsanam to srIranganAthan who looks like a diamond placed on golden plate (him lying down on AdhisEshan) and who is always looking out for the welfare of everyone. He glorifies emperumAn every moment and as a result of his outpouring emotions, he compiles perumAL thirumozhi and blesses that to every one and thus uplifted them. After some time he leaves this samsAram and reaches the divine abode of paramapadhanAthan and eternally serves him there. His thanian gushyathE yasya nagarE rangayAthrA dhinE dhinE thamaham sirasA vandhE rAjAnam kulasEkaram His archAvathAra anubhavam is already discussed in here


AzhwArs glories and history


thirunakshathram: Ani, swAthi avathAra sthalam: srIvilliputhUr AchAryan: vishwaksEnar Works: thiruppallANdu, periyAzhwAr thirumozhi Place where he attained paramapadham: thirumAlirunchOlai periyavAchAn piLLai wonderfully glorifies periyAzhwAr in the vyAkyAna avathArikai (introduction) of thiruppallANdu. He identifies the purpose of periyAzhwArs avathAram is to uplift the suffering jIvAthmAs from this samsAram. periyAzhwAr is decorated with sahaja dhAsyam (natural servitorship) towards emperumAn by the grace of emperumAn himself. He wanted to conduct his life by performing kainkaryam and studied the sAsthram to find out the best kainkaryam. srI krishNan himself enters into the house of mAlAkArar (the garland maker) in mathurA before going to the assembly of kamsan, requesting him for some garlands and when the mAlAkArar happily gives the best garland with great love and affection, kaNNan emperumAn becomes extremely pleased and wears it with great joy. Observing this, periyAzhwAr determines that making flower garlands is the most pleasing service for emperumAn, he starts making a garden where he plants fresh flower-giving seeds, nurtures the same and makes fresh garland every day to srIvilliputhur emperumAn with great love and affection.

AzhwArs glories and history There is a big difference between periyAzhwAr and other AzhwArs. Other AzhwArs want to get their desires (them serving emperumAn eternally) fulfilled. But periyAzhwAr is focussed on fulfilling emperumAns desires (bringing many suffering jIvAthmAs to be with him eternally in paramapadham) even at the cost of his own desires. Other AzhwArs think that Ishvaran is the protector and they are the protected and thus get rid of their fears. periyAzhwAr thinks that he is the protector and Ishvaran is to be protected. This point is further explained by piLLai lOkAchAryar and mAmunigaL beautifully which we will see in the subsequent sections. Similarly, thiruppallANdu is greatly glorified in comparison with other dhivya prabhandhams. While other prabhandhams discuss many vEdhAntham related complicated matters thiruppallANdu simply focusses on performing mangaLAsAsanam to emperumAn. While other prabhandhams are big in size, this prabhandham is crisp and small in just 12 pAsurams all the essential principles are explained. piLLai lOkAchAryar in srI vachana bhUshaNa dhivya sAsthram, explains the glories of mangaLAsAsanam as part of the sidhdhOpAya nishtars (one who is fully situated in bhagavAn as upAyam(process)/upEyam(goal)) dhinacharyai (daily activities). The srIvaishnava dhinacharyai is already discussed in and as part of the srIvaishnava lakshaNam series of articles mangaLAsAsanam means desiring/praying for the well being of some one. AzhwArs are always looking out for emperumAns well being. But piLLai lOkAchAryar shows that periyAzhwArs attachment towards emperumAn is far greater than others. This is already explained in detail in the introduction section of periyaAzhwArs archAvathAra anubhavam Let us just see 255th sUthram which nicely brings out the glories of periyAzhwAr and srI bhAshyakArar (rAmAnujar). allAthavargaLaip pOlE kEtkiRavargaLudaiyavum, chollukiRavargaLutaiyavum thanimaiyaith thavirkkaiyanRikkE ALumALAr engiRavanudaiya thanimaiyaith thavirkkaikkAgavAyiRRu bhAshyakArarum ivarum upathEchippathu.

, .
Unlike other AzhwArs/AchAryars, periyAzhwAr and bhAshyakArar instructs the meanings of sAsthram to reform jIvAthmAs and engage them in mangaLAsAsanam to emperumAn so emperumAns loneliness is removed (emperumAn wants naturally every one to serve him because every one belongs to him, just like a father or mother will not be happy even if one of their children is not with them, emperumAn will not be happy even if one jIvAthmA among many is not with him). The real focus is not removing the loneliness of the instructor, loneliness


AzhwArs glories and history of instructed and the upliftment of jIvAthmA but it is to fulfill emperumAns natural desire and having the jIvAthmA being situated in his natural position. mAmunigaL in his vyAkyAnam for this sUthram explains that AzhwAr understands the most tender/delicate nature of emperumAn and determines that such tender natured person cannot bear separation from the jIvAthmAs and thus wants to fully focus on that alone. He also brings out beautifully that piLLai lOkAchAryar said bhAshyakArar (instead of emperumAnAr, rAmAnujar, etc) to reveal that bhAshyakArar means one who established the essence of vEdhAntham through srIbhAshyam and thus his act of focussing on emperumAns pleasure alone is also in line with vEdhAntham. mAmunigaL in his upadhEsa rathina mAlai, glorifies periyAzhwAr in 5 pAsurams consecutively.

In the 16th pAsuram, he tells to his own heart that Ani svAthi is to be greatly glorified since that is the day when pattarpirAn (periyAzhwAr) who brought us great auspiciousness by compiling thiruppallANdu appeared. In the 17th pAsuram, he instructs his own heart to always think that there is no one equal in this whole world to the gyAnis who become pleased on hearing the glories of Ani svAthis which is the appearance day of periyAzhwAr. In the 18th pAsuram, he explains that periyAzhwArs interest in performing mangaLAsAsanam is far greater than other AzhwArs and because of his overflowing affection towards emperumAn, he became to be famously known as periyAzhwAr. In the 19th pAsuram, among all the pAsurams (which are defectless here defect means discussing other matters than emperumAn) of AzhwArs (who are defectless here defect means having attachment to other upAyams like karma/gyAna/bhakthi and also not having great desire to reach emperumAn), thiruppallANdu is the foremost. Just like praNavam is the foremost and essence of samskritha vEdham, thiruppallANdu is the foremost and essence of dhrAvida vEdham since this discusses mangaLAsAsanam. In the 20th pAsuram, he asks his heart to observe all pramANams and see if there is a prabhandham better than thiruppallANdu and to observe all AzhwArs and see if there is another AzhwAr better than periyAzhwAr.

His unique speciality is that he is the father-in-law of periya perumAL by giving his daughter ANdAL in marriage to him. With this in mind, let us see his charithram now. periyAzhwAr was born in srIvilliputhUr where many great experts of vEdham lived. He was born on Ani svAthi and named vishNuchithar by his parents. Since he did parathathva nirUpaNam (establishing srIman nArAyaNans supremacy) like garudan who is called as vEdhAthmA (one who has vEdham as his body) and who always holds srIman nArAyaNans lotus feet (thus establishing srIman nArAyaNans parathvam), he was considered as an amsam of garudAzhwAr (though AzhwArs are hand-picked from samsAram and divinely blessed by emperumAn). He was blessed by vatapathrasAyI by his causeless mercy during his birth itself just like prahlAdhan was born with bhagavath bhakthi. It is said in sAsthram that Na


AzhwArs glories and history akinYchithkurvathach chEshathvam ( ) meaning when one does not perform atleast small service to emperumAn, his sEshathvam (servitorship) does not exist. Thinking that he should also engage in some kainkaryam purely for the pleasure of emperumAn, he started observing all the purANams, etc. He observes that sarvEshvaran appears as krishNan in mathurA as stated in: Esha NArAyanNa srImAN kshIrArnNava NikEthaNa: NAga paryanGkam uthsrujya hyAgathO madhurAm purIm

srIman nArAyaNan who was lying down in kshIrAbdhi gave up his AdhisEsha bed and descended to mathurA as krishNan. Also, nammAzhwAr says that manNnNin bhAram NIkkuthaRkE vadamathuraip piRaNthAn ( ) meaning kaNNan emperumAn appeared in mathurA to remove the pains of bhUdhEvi. It is also said in mahAbhArahtham that the eternal bhagavAn appears as kaNNan emperumAn and lives in dhvArakA to establish the dharmam, protect the sAdhus and to annihilate the miscreants. Such emperumAn was born as the son of the most beautiful dhEvaki and was raised by the most beautiful yasOdhai. Such beautiful krishNan who is decorated with beautiful garlands by nithyasUris, goes to mAlAkArar who works for kamsa and asks him to give him some garlands. mAlAkArar being very pleased with kaNNan emperumAn himself coming and requesting for garlands, offers him the best and most fresh garlands to him to please emperumAn. Seeing this, periyAzhwAr understands that offering garlands which are prepared with great love and affection is the most pleasing kainkaryam for emperumAn and starts performing that kainkaryam to vatapathrasAyi emperumAn of srIvilliputhUr. At that time one king named srI vallabha dhEvan who comes in the lineage of pAndiya king (who planted his fish flag on the divine mEru mountain) was ruling the pAndiya kingdom from (south) madhurai in a very virtuous manner. One night he was going on a walk in disguise to check the proper functioning of the kingdom, he noticed a brAhmaNa sitting outside someones house. The king asks him about his identity and whereabouts and the brAhmaNa tells him that he is a brAhmaNa and is returning from ganges after doing gangA snAnam. The king asks him to recite a slOkam if he knows and the brAhmaNa recites the following slOkam. varshArthamashtau prayathEtha mAsAN NichArththamarththam dhivasam yathEtha vArdhdhagyahEthOr vayasA NavENa parathra hEthOriha jaNmaNA cha

People work hard for 8 months to stay relaxed during the 4 months of rainy season; To be happy in the night they work hard in the day time; To live comfortably when they get old,


AzhwArs glories and history people work hard when they are young; People should thus work hard in this life to have a good after-life. Hearing this, the king starts contemplating that he is comfortable in this life from material wealth, comforts, etc, but he is not sure about the after-life and how to approach that. He then goes to his purOhith (pandit) and asks him how to establish the supreme god and how to attain him after this life. selva nambi who is a great devotee of srIman nArAyaNan at once says we must assemble all the vidhwAns (scholars) and establish the parathathvam based on vEdhAntham. He invites the scholars to establish the truth since the most important principle per Apasthambha dharma sUthram, dharmajnYasamaya: pramAnNam vEdhAchcha ( : ) meaning the acts of the knowers of vEdham is the primary source of knowledge and vEdham is the secondary source. The king prepares a pouch filled with great wealth as the prize for the one who establishes the truth and hangs that in a decorative ceiling. He invites the scholars from all over the region to assemble at his palace for a debate. vatapathrasAyi emperumAn (srIvilliputhUr) wants to uplift the samsAris by establishing his supremacy (as explained in vEdhAntham) through periyAzhwAr, appears in his dream and instructs him to go and fetch the prize. AzhwAr replies to emperumAn that the prize is for establishing the supremacy of emperumAn through vEdhAntham and out of humility says that How can I go and fetch that prize with my hands which have become rough due to working in the garden?. emperumAn insists to him that I will take care of everything since I am revealer of vEdham and its meanings as necessary. AzhwAr waking up early in the morning as per sAsthram which says brAhmE muhurththE cha uththAya (

) meaning one should wake up in the brahma muhurtham (around 4am) and realising
the divine dream, performs his nithyAnushtAnam and leaves to madhurai to the palace of the king. Arriving at the palace, the king and selva nambi welcome AzhwAr who is a brAhmaNOthama (top most brAhmaNa) and offer their obeisance to him. The local scholars informs the king that AzhwAr is not well learned but selva nambi and the king already knowing about AzhwArs dedication to vatapathrasAyi and his kainkaryam gave him great respect and asked him to establish the parathathvam based on vEdhAntham. By the divine grace of emperumAn, periyAzhwAr was able to visualize and understand the essence of vEdham, vEdhAntham, ithihAsam, purANam, etc. Just like srI vAlmIki bhagavAn was able to understand all the great principles by the grace of brahmA and prahlAdhAzhwAn became sarvagya (omniscient) immediately by the touch of emperumAns pAnchajanyam, periyAzhwAr by the causeless mercy of emperumAn, understood that the essence of sAsthram is srIman nArAyaNans parathvam (supremacy). This can be seen in the logical sequence of pramANams as follows: samastha chabhdha mUlathvAdh akArasya svabhAvatha: samastha vAchya mUlathvAth brahmanNOpi svabhAvatha: vAchyavAchaka sambhaNdhas thayOr arththAth pradhIyathE


AzhwArs glories and history

: :
All the sounds naturally originate from akAram; All the meanings (or the objects) of those sounds naturally originate from brahmmam. So, it can be understood that the relationship between akAram and brahmmam is natural as well. gIthAchAryan himself declares in bhagavath gIthai that aksharAnNamakArOsmi (), meaning I am akAram amongst letters. It is said that akArO vishnNuvAchaka: ( :) meaning akAram represents vishnNu establishing that srIman nArAyaNan is the supreme being. thaithriya upanishadh identifies the foremost qualities of such srIman nArAyaNan as follows: yathO vA imANi bhUthANi jAyanthE, yENa jAthANi jIvaNthi, yathprayaNthi abhisamvichaNthi, thath vijijnYAsasva, thath brahmEthi

, , , ,
That from which this whole universe and the beings are created, on which the whole universe is sustained, in which it merges during destruction, where the beings reach upon attaining mOksham, know that and know that to brahmam. Thus jagath kAraNathva (being the cause of the universe), mumukshu upAsyathva (being the object of the worship for the ones who desire to get mOksham) and mOksha pradhathva (having the ability to benedict mOksham to a jIvAthmA) are identified as the most important qualities of the supreme being. These qualities are fully seen in srIman nArAyaNan as explained in: vishnNOs sakAchAdhudhbhUtham jagath thathraiva cha sthitham sthithi samyamakarththAsau jagathOsya jagachcha sa:

As stated in vishNu purANam, this universe appears from vishNu; it subsides in vishNu during praLayam (when there is no creation); He is the one who sustains it and annihilates it; He also has the whole universe as his sarIram (body). NArAyanNAthparO dhEvO Na bhUthO Na bhavishyathi Ethath rahasyam vEdhANAm purAnNANAm cha sammatham


AzhwArs glories and history

As stated in varAha purANam, there has not been a higher being than nArAyaNan in the past or present, nor there will be on in the future. This is the most confidential message of vEdham and is accepted in purANams as well. sathyam sathyam puNassathyam udhdhruthya bhujamuchyathE vEdha chAsthrAth param NAsthi Na dhaivam kEchavAth param

As stated in nAradhIya purANam, I declare this 3 times (emphasis) with raised hands there is no god greater (or other) than kEsavan and there is no sAsthram greater (or other) than vEdham. periyAzhwAr, thus established the parathvam of srIman nArAyaNan using the above pramANams and many more from smruthi, ithihAsams, purANams, etc. At once, the pouch of wealth (prize for the winner) automatically comes down from the ceiling by the divine will, periyAzhwAr fetches the prize quickly. Seeing this, the scholars who rejected periyAzhwAr, the king and every one become extremely pleased and offers their obeisances to him. They declare that periyAzhwAr revealed the essence of vEdhAntham in pristine clarity and with great affection, arranges for a grand procession for AzhwAr on the ceremonial elephant. On the side, all the scholars carry chathram (umbrellA), chAmaram (soft fan), etc and proclaim that All glories to the most trustworthy person who shows the essence of vEdham has arrived. The king srI vallabha dhEvan honours him with the title pattarpirAn meaning one who has done great favours to bhattars (great scholars) by revealing the most valuable details of knowledge. The king also joins the procession and there is grand celebration everywhere.


AzhwArs glories and history paramapadhanAthan, seeing these, just like a mother/father will be very happy to participate in an event where their sons are glorified, he also wants to join the great celebration. Along with srI mahAlakshmI (sriyapathithvam being the husband of pirAtti is his main identity) climbs up on the magnificient garudAzhwAn, emperumAn having decorated with pAnchajanyam and sudharshanAzhwAn, arrives on the sky. To see him and AzhwAr together, all dhEvathais of this material world like brahman, rudhran, indhran, etc., arrive immediately along with their family and subordinates. periyAzhwAr being blessed by emperumAn and able to visualize the arrival of srIman nArAyaNan and the others, instead of being proud about the celebrations for him and their arrival for him, at once sees emperumAn and starts worrying about emperumAns presence in this material world. Being blessed with divine knowledge, even though he understands srIman nArAyaNan is sarvagya (onmiscient), sarvasaktha (omnipotent), etc., and is undefeatable by any one, out of great love towards emperumAn, he starts thinking about emperumAns tender, delicate nature. It is said in sAsthram that emperumAns dhivya mangaLa vigraham (divine auspicious body) is made of pancha upanishadh (spiritual components) and is constantly enjoyed by nithyasUris in paramapadam which is not reachable for even great sages or dhEvathais of this world like brahmA, rudhran, etc., what to speak of asuras/rAkshasas (demoniac people). But he has left that divine abode and entered into this material world which is full of ignorant and demoniac people and is ruled by kali in this yugam. AzhwAr starts thinking emperumAn has arrived here and may become the victim of dhrushti (inauspicious looks/thoughts) as well, so let us pray for his well being now and picks up the bell from the neck of the elephant which is carrying him and starts singing thiruppallANdu at once. Forgetting his own svarUpam as dependent and emperumAns svarUpam as fully independent and capable, AzhwAr out of great love, invites everyone (ishvaryArthi one who desires wealth, kaivalyArthi one who desires for AthmAnubhavam, bhagavath charaNArthi one who desires for eternal kainkaryam to emperumAn) along with him and sings thiruppallANdu. srIman nArAyaNan then returns to his abode happily after the celebrations. Subequently, periyAzhwAr blesses the king and he is well honoured by the king. Wanting to serve vatapathrasAyi again, AzhwAr returns to srIvilliputhUr and offers all the wealth that was given to him by the king to the emperumAn there. According to manu smrithi, it is said that: thraya EvAdhaNA rAjaN bhAryA dhAsas thathA sUtha: yaththE samadhigachchaNathi yasyaithE thasya thadhdhaNam

Wife, servant, son who does not own anything. All they earn will belong to their respective owners (husband, master and father). According to this periyAzhwAr also offered everything to his master vatapathrasAyi and tells him since these are earned by your grace these belong to you alone. Completing the additional task, he then goes back to his routine kanikaryam of preparing many fresh variety of garlands with great affection and continues offering them to vatapathrasAyi like srI mAlAkArar prepared and offered them to krishNan and glorified him. Becoming greatly attached with kaNNan emperumAns charithram starting from his birth through his divine pastimes, he takes

AzhwArs glories and history the bhAvam of yasOdhai and greatly relishes his sauseelyam (magnanimity) and saulabhyam (easy accessibility). Such overflowing emotions resulted in him revealing the divine prabhandham named periyAzhwAr thirumozhi. Contemplating on srIya:pathi allways, He nourished and uplifted his sishyas and abhimAnis who were surrendered to him and blessed everyone in the world. Its not over yet, his divine charithram is further explained in ANdALs charithram which can be read at His thanian gurumukam anadhIthya prAhavE thAn asEshAn narapathi parikluptham sulkamAdhAthu kAma: svasuram amara vandhyam ranganAthasya sAkshAth dhvija kula thilakam vishNuchiththam namAmi His archAvathAra anubhavam is already discussed in here


AzhwArs glories and history


thirunakshathram: thiruvAdi, pUram avathAra sthalam: srIvilliputhUr AchAryan: periyAzhwAr Works: thiruppAvai, nAchiAr thirumozhi In thiruppAvai 6000 padi vyAkyAnam, periyavAchAn piLLai first establishes the greatness of ANdAL over all other AzhwArs. He builds a beautiful layer of different categories of jIvAthmAs and shows the difference between each category.


AzhwArs glories and history

The difference between samsAris (dhEhAthma abhimAnis materialistic people) and the rishis who have realised the Athma svarUpam is similar to that of a small stone and a big mountain. Difference between such rishis (who attain the knowledge by their own effort and at times fall down from their positions) and AzhwArs (who are divinely blessed by emperumAn himself and are completely pure) is similar to that of a small stone and a big mountain. Difference between rest of the AzhwArs (who focus on svAnubhavam at times and mangaLAsAsanam at other times) and periyAzhwar (who is fully focussed on mangaLAsAsanam only) is similar to that of a small stone and a big mountain. Difference between periyAzhwAr and ANdAL is similar to that of a small stone and a big mountain. The reasons for this are: o all AzhwArs were first divinely blessed by emperumAn and then they woke the samsAris up from their sleep, i.e., gave them the knowledge about emperumAn. but ANdAL, being an avathAram of bhUmi pirAtti, she herself went and woke emperumAn up from his sleep, i.e., reminded him about his responsibilities of protecting every one. As it is established by nampiLLai in thiruvirutham and thiruvAimozhi vyAkyAnams, AzhwArs were originally samsAris who were blessed with divine knowledge by emperumAn, but ANdAL is bhUmi pirAtti herself who is already a nithyasUri and specifically she is one of the dhivya mahishis of emperumAn himself. periyavAchAn piLLai follows similar line here and establishes the same principle. o ANdAL being a woman, it is natural for her to engage in husband/wife relationship with emperumAn (unlike AzhwArs who had male thirumEnis) and it is shown that her love towards emperumAn is far greater than the love of AzhwArs.

piLLai lOkAchAriar brings out the divine glories of ANdAL in a few sUthrams in his srIvachana bhUshaNa dhivya sAsthram. Let us enjoy some of that here.

sUthram 238 brAhmanNOththamarAna periyAzhwArum thirumagaLArum gOpajaNmaththai AsthANam panNnNinArgaL (

). In this prakaranam, piLLai lOkAchAriar is explaining the greatness

of bhAgavathas (irrespective of their varNam birth, etc). Here, he gives many examples where great personalities desired to take different births which are condusive for bhagavath anubhavam/kainkaryam. In this sUthram, he explains that periyAzhwAr and ANdAL, even though born in great brAhmaNa families, they themselves desired to be the cowherd girls of vrindhAvan. ANdAL specifically showed that kainkaryam that pleases emperumAn is the most important goal and one must glorify and desire for such kainkaryam in whatever form. sUthram 285 koduththuk koLLAthE konNdaththukkuk kaikkUli kodukkavEnNum ( ). In this prakaraNam, piLLai lOkAchAriar is explaining how one should do kainkaryam. This is related to sUthram 238 in that sUthram piLLai lOkAchAryar shows one should desire for kainkaryam that pleases emperumAn. In the previous sUthram (284), piLLai lOkAchAriar explains that kainkaryam should done be with out any expectation in return,


AzhwArs glories and history i.e., we should not do kainkaryam to get something else. In this sUthram, he says that kainkaryam should be done and when emperumAn gets pleased we should do more kainkaryam to him. mAmunigaL explains this concept beautifully using ANdALs words. ANdAL says in NAchiar thirumozhi 9.7 inRu vaNthu iththanaiyum cheythidapperil, NAn onRu NURu AyiramAgak koduththu pinnum ALum cheyvan (

, ). In the previous pAsuram she says she wants to offer

100 plates of butter and 100 plates of sweet rice to thirumAlirunchOlai azhagar. In this pAsuram she says seeing emperumAn accepting her offerings, to show her gratitude towards emperumAn, she will offer more such offerings to please emperumAn further and keep doing it (without expecting anything other than his happiness from him ever). Thus she shows her the pinnacle of our sampradhAyam so easily in her pAsurams. Ay jananyAchAryar in his vyAkyAna avathArikai identifies the glories of thiruppAvai (and there by ANdAL nAchiAr) very beautifully. He has done 2 vyAkyAnams 2000 padi and 4000 padi. In the avathArikai, he shows an incident where emperumAnArs sishyas request him to perform an upanyAsam of thiruppAvai and explain the meanings of the same. emperumAnAr replies that You will find people (to explain and to hear) thiruppallANdu but not for thiruppAvai meaning thiruppaLLANdu is done by periyAzhwAr as mangaLAsAsanam to emperumAn (pratham parvam initial level) for which we will find more people, but thiruppAvai is done by ANdAL as mangaLAsAsanam to bhAgavathas (charama parvam ultimate level) for which there will be less people in that highest state. He also explains that Men are not qualified to explain and hear about thiruppAvai. meaning one should have full dependency on emperumAn like a woman is dependent on her husband to be able to understand the intricacies of thiruppAvai and the heart of ANdAL. He further explains that Even amongst women, not even emperumAns pirAttis who are constantly looking for anubhavam (and having the same) with emperumAn can explain/hear about the subject matter of thiruppAvai. ANdAL (who reflects the best aspects of all the AzhwArs put together) is the only person with qualification and bhAvam to explain and hear about the subject matter of thiruppAvai. Such is the greatness of ANdAL and her thiruppAvai. mAmunigaL also glorifies ANdALs greatness in upadhEsa rathina mAlai pAsurams 22, 23 and 24.

In the 22nd pAsuram, he becomes greatly emotional thinking about how ANdAL gave up her comforts in paramapadham and stepped down to samsAram to protect him (svAnubhavam) and took birth as the divine daughter of periyAzhwAr. Just like if a mother sees her child caught in a river, she also jumps into the river to save the child, ANdAL being the mother of all, she jumps into samsAram to save the samsAris.


AzhwArs glories and history

In the 23rd pAsuram, he says there is no equal to the birth day of ANdAL thiruvAdi pUram just like there is none equal to ANdAL. In the 24th pAsuram, he says ANdAL is the daughter of anju kudi and her activities are far greater than other AzhwArs and how she developed love for emperumAn right at a very young age. piLLai lOkam jIyar in his vyAkyAnam explains that anju kudi means: o descendant of the clan which contains all the AzhwArs just like parikshIth was the great descendant of the pancha pANdavas. o the descendant of AzhwArs who are part of the prapanna kulam o the descendant of periyAzhwAr who is always worried (achcham fear) about emperumAn and performing mangaLAsAsanam.

ANdAL is purely in AchArya nishtai. It is because of periyAzhwArs attachment towards emperumAn, ANdAL also developed attachment towards emperumAn and glorified him. This is seen from:

her own words in nAchiAr thirumozhi, pAsuram 10.10, ANdAL says villiputhuvai vittuchiththar thangaL dhEvarai valla parichu varuvipparEl athu kAnNdumE (

). She says, if periyAzhwAr can convince his dear emperumAn to

come here, she will worship him. mAmunigaL in his upadhEsa rathina mAlai, after explaining the 10 AzhwArs, introduces ANdAL, madhurakavi AzhwAr and emperumAnAr together since all 3 of them are AchArya nishtars.

With this in mind, let us enjoy the charithram of ANdAL now.


AzhwArs glories and history ANdAL was born in srIvilliputhUr (where nAchiAr temple is now seen) near a thuLasi mAdam. Just like sIthA pirAtti was born from the earth when janakarAjan was ploughing the field and was named sItha (named after the plough which means sIthA), periyAzhwAr found ANdAL who is an avathAram of bhUmi pirAtti near a thuLasi mAdam and named her kOdhai (which means a garland). As she was growing up, she was fed with emperumAns divine leelais by periyAzhwAr. periyAzhwAr was regularly making garlands and offering them to vatapathrasAyi emperumAn. She shows great attachment to emperumAn and want to marry him only. Once, in his absence, ANdAL took a garland which was ready to be offered for emperumAn, wore it and checked if it fits her and also checks if she looks like a good match for emperumAn. periyAzhwAr returns and he offers those garlands to emperumAn. This routine goes on for some time and one day periyAzhwAr notices that ANdAL is wearing the garland before it is offered to emperumAn. He becomes very anguished knowing about this and that particular day he does not offer the garland to emperumAn. That night, emperumAn appears in the dream of periyAzhwAr and asks him why he did not bring garlands that day. AzhwAr says since it was first worn by ANdAL it became unfit to be worn by emperumAn. emperumAn immediately tells him that he actually likes the garlands worn by ANdAL first as they have the special fragrance of bhakthi of ANdAL. AzhwAr becomes very pleased hearing this and then after develops great attachment and respect towards ANdAL. After that, he offers the garlands first to ANdAL and subsequently to emperumAn every day. ANdAL nAchiAr, was born with parama bhakthi towards emperumAn (since she is bhUmi pirAtti herself) who is naturally attached to emperumAn. Her attachment towards emperumAn is far greater than AzhwArs attachment. Unable to bear the separation of emperumAn she starts to look for ways to marry him. Following in the foot steps of gOpis (cowherd girls) who acted out the pastimes of kaNNan emperumAn during his sudden absence during rAsakrItai to sustain themselves, ANdAL pretends that vatapathrasAyi is kaNNan emperumAn, his temple is NandhagOpans thirumALigai, srIvilliputhur is thiruvAippAdi and her local friends are gOpis and starts singing thiruppAvai. In thiruppAvai, ANdAL beautifully explains the following details:

establishes that prApyam (goal) and prApakam (path) are emperumAn only. dos and donts for srivaishnavas and all of that fully based on pUrvAchArya anushtAnam (sistAchAram) bhagavath anubhavam should be done as a group instead of doing it individually (selfishly) she wakes up 10 gOpis to go along with her to meet kaNNan emperumAn we should take shelter of emperumAns close adiyArs like dhvAra pAlakas, balarAman, yasOdhai, nandhagOpan, etc., before going to emperumAn we should always take the help (purushakAram) of pirAtti before going to emperumAn we should always perform mangaLAsAsanam to him we should ask for kainkaryam to him kainkaryam should be prayed for as it is svarUpam for jIvAthmA to request emperumAn to accept his kainkaryam that he is the upAyam to get that kainkaryam and we should never think that our effort is the upAyam even a little bit kainkaryam should be done for his pleasure only and we should not look for anything in return

AzhwArs glories and history Even after that, emperumAn had still not appeared to emperumAn and accepted ANdAL. So, ANdAL out of unbearable sorrow, calls out to emperumAn in her nAchiAr thirumOzhi. Many great principles of our sampradhAyam are explained in nAchiAr thirumOzhi and it is generally explained that one has to be very matured to even start listening/reading nAchiAr thirumozhis meanings. In this she says that mAnidavarkkenRu pEchchuppadil vAzhagillEn ( ) meaning even if some one without my knowledge talks about marrying me to some one else other than emperumAn I will die. She dreams about her marriage with emperumAn in her vAraNam Ayiram padhigam (9.6). periyAzhwAr then explains to ANdAL the vaibhavam (greatness) of all the archAvathAra emperumAns and ANdAL becomes very attached to thiruvaranganAthan. AzhwAr becomes filled with anxiety thinking how he can fulfill ANdALs desire. One night, in his dream, thiruvaranganAthan appears and asks him to bring ANdAL over to srIrangam so that they can unite there. AzhwAr feels greatly satisfied with that and in the mean time srIranganAthan sends a beautiful palanquin, chAmaram, umbrella and his kainkaryaparars to srIvilliputhUr to bring ANdAL over. AzhwAr, after getting permission from vatapathrasAyi, leaves to srIrangam along with ANdAL in the closed palanquin with mELam (band music), etc in a grand procession. After entering srIrangam, ANdAL who was most beautifully decorated, stepped out of the palanquin, entered the temple and subsequently into the garbagruham of periya perumAL and touched the lotus feet of emperumAn. Immediately she vanished and reached the divine abode of paramapadham.

Every one became astonished seeing these events and started glorifying periyAzhwAr. periya perumAL immediately declares that periyAzhwAr has also become his father-in-law just like samudhrarAjan and gives him special honors.and in returns to srIvilliputhUr to continue his kainkaryams to vatapathrasAyi emperumAn.


AzhwArs glories and history ANdALs unlimited glories are heard so many times (atleast once an year during mArgazhi month) but every time we hear/read about them, they always feel like new and there are so many divine principles that we find in her life and prabhandhams every time we read them. To have a glimpse of the true glories of ANdAL and thiruppAvai, we can end with bhattars divine words. bhattar says that one should recite the 30 pAsurams of thiruppAvai every day. If that is not possible at least one should recite the chiRRam chirukAlE pAsuram every day. Even if that is not possible, at least one should think that there was bhattar who had great attachment to thiruppAvai simply that thinking itself will please emperumAn. Just like when a mother cow starts giving milk even when she sees a fake calf (which is made of straws and covered with calfs skin), emperumAn will see us thinking about bhattars attachment towards thiruppAvai or us reciting 1 pAsuram or reciting 30 pAsurams as long as we have some connection with ANdAL emperumAn will shower us with his causeless mercy, since that is what ANdAL (as bhUmi pirAtti) requested varAhan emperumAn. Out of her causeless mercy, ANdAL took birth in this samsAram and sung thiruppAvai, so that we can also be blessed with the divine grace of emperumAn and be permanently relieved of the pains of this samsAram and enjoy bhagavath anubhavam/kainkaryam in paramapadham.

Her thanian nILa thunga sthanagiri thatI suptham uthpOdhya krishNam pArArthyam svam shruthi shatha shiras sidhdham adhyApayanthI svOchishtAyAm srajinikaLitham yAbalAth kruthya bhungthE gOdhA thasyai nama itham itham bhUya EvAsthu bhUya:


AzhwArs glories and history

thoNdaradippodi AzhwAr

thirunakshathram: mArgazhi, kEttai avathAra sthalam: thirumaNdangudi AchAryan: vishwaksEnar Works: thirumAlai, thiruppaLLiyeLuchi Place where he attained paramapadham: srIrangam


AzhwArs glories and history nanjIyar, in his vyAkyAna avathArikai for thiruppaLLiyeLuchi, identifies that AzhwAr was in samsAram as per anAdhi mAyayA suptha: (since time immemorial, he was sleeping (due to ignorance) in this samsAam) and emperumAn wakes him up (gives him blemishless knowledge). But periya perumAL is in yOga nidhrai after that, and AzhwAr takes his turn to awake him and request him to engage him in kainkaryam. periyavAchAn piLLai, in his vyAkyAna avathArikai for thiruppaLLiyeLuchi, brings out the glories of AzhwAr through AzhwArs own pAsurams. When AzhwAr was awakened by emperumAn, AzhwAr after realising his svarUpam, goes to periya perumAL only to find him lying down with his eyes closed instead of welcoming him, enquiring about his well being, etc. It cannot be said that periya perumAL is not interested in AzhwAr since AzhwAr is very dear to emperumAn and vice versa. It can also not be said that periya perumAL is lying down out of indigestion because these defects are only seen in material nature which is filled with thamO guNam but periya perumAL is fully spiritual so there is no question of that. The reason for periya perumALs lying down on meditation is because he is contemplating to how to reform everyone like he reformed AzhwAr who has the following great qualities:

He has full knowledge that this prakruthi sambandham (relationship with matter) is not appropriate for jIvAthmA as he says AthalAl piRavi vEnNdEn ( ) meaning I no longer want to be born in this samsAram. He has full knowledge of svarUpa yAthAthmya jnAnam (understanding the true nature of the soul) is bhAgavatha sEshathvam as he says pOnagam cheytha chEtam tharuvarEl punidham ( ) meaning if a srivaishnava gives the remnants of the food he/she consumed. He has clear understanding of material vs spiritual aspirations as he says ichchuvai thavira achchuvai peRinum vEnNdEn ( ) meaning I only want to enjoy periya perumAL and nothing more. He has full control of his own indhriyams (senses) as he says kAvalil pulanai vaiththu ( ) meaning I have controlled my senses. He has completely given up all other upAyams as he says kuLiththu mUnRu analai Ombum kuRikoL aNadhanNamai thannai oLiththittEn ( ) meaning I have given up the path of karma yOgam, etc. He has complete understanding of the upAya yAthAthma jnAnam (true upAyam) as he says un aruL ennum Achai thannAl poyyanEn vaNdhu NinREn ( ), I have come here fully depending on your krupai (mercy) as the upAyam.

Finally, periyavAchAn piLLai says, since AzhwAr has these great qualities he is very dear to periya perumAL as said in vAzhum chOmbarai ugaththi pOlum ( ) meaning those who fully surrender to emperumAn are very dear to him.


AzhwArs glories and history mAmunigaL glorifies AzhwAr as the one who is glorified by the ones who have mastered the vEdhams since they are the ones who truly understand the essence of vEdhams and observe/glorify AzhwArs activities which are fully in line with the essence of sAsthram. We have already seen this and archAvathAra anubhavam of AzhwAr in With this in mind, let us enjoy the charithram of AzhwAr now. With the divine blessings during his birth by namperumAL, AzhwAr was born as sudhdha sathva nishtar and was named vipranArAyaNar. He undergoes proper samskArams like chauLam, upanayanam, etc. at the proper age and learns all vEdhams with their angams and meanings. Developing great knowledge and detachment, he enters srIrangam and worships periya perumAL. periya perumAL, being pleased with his devotion, enhances his bhakthi further by showing his divine beauty and makes him stay in srIrangam forever. AzhwAr, established a beautiful nandhavanam (garden) and performed pushpa kainkaryam for periya perumAL every day following in the footsteps of puNdarIkar (who was a great mahAn), mAlAkArar (one who offered flower garlands in mathurA to kaNNan emperumAn and balarAman with great love and affection), gajEndhrAzhwAn who was a great kainkarya srImAn and our great periyAzhwAr who made beautiful garlands out of eight flowers. Once, a beautiful vEsyA (courtezan) named dhEva dhEvi from thirukkarambanUr was returning from uraiyUr, enters the garden of AzhwAr and gets amazed by the beauty of the garden, the flowers, the birds, etc. At that time they see vipranArAyaNar who looks very beautiful with long hairs on head and face, wearing pure vasthrams (clothes), thuLasi/lotus mAlais, urdhva puNdrams, etc with water and garden equipments in his hand. While they were looking at him, vipranArAyaNar was sincerely focussing on his kainkaryam without noticing them at all. dhEva dhEvi asks her sister and friends is he mad or unmanly, how come he is not looking at a beautiful girl like me standing in front of him?. Her friends inform her that he is vipranArAyaNar who is a kainkaryaparar of namperumAL and will not bother about her beauty. They say that they will give 6 months time to mesmerize him and change him to be mad at her and if she does so, they will agree that she is the most beautiful girl and will serve for 6 months as her maidservant. She agrees and gives her valuable jewels, etc to her friends and assume a sAthvika form/dress. She then goes and prostrates at AzhwAr and tells him that she wants to surrender to a bhAgavatha who is performing confidential service to emperumAn. She approaches AzhwAr and tells him, she can wait until AzhwAr comes back after his mAdhukaram (bhikshai). AzhwAr agrees and she goes on to serve for some time eating the sEsha prasAdham of AzhwAr. One day, when dhEva dhEvi was working in the garden, it rains heavily. So, she slowly enters the Ashramam of vipranArAyaNar. Seeing her fully drenched, vipranArAyaNar gives his upper cloth to her. After that vipranArAyAnar and dhEva dhEvi becomes intimate to each other like butter and fire. The next day, she brings back her jewels and attractive clothes and wears them and presents her beautiful form to him. He then becomes so attached to her and completely forgets and gives up his kainkaryam itself. She shows some affection towards him for some

AzhwArs glories and history time and he becomes fully surrendered to her. After taking all his wealth away, she pushes him out and asks him to leave her place. He then becomes very sad and stays at the entrance of her house waiting for her to accept him. At that time, periya perumAL and periya pirAtti happens to pass that street for their divine walk. pirAtti asks emperumAn who is that person waiting at the entrance of the prostitute? and emperumAn replies that he is vipranArAyaNar who was a kainkaryaparar for him and now has become mad on her and is suffering due to that. pirAtti then initiates her purushkAram and asks emperumAn How can you leave a confidential devotee even if he becomes attached to vishayAntharam? Please remove his mAyai and bless him again to become a close servant of us. emperumAn agrees and he picks up one of the gold utensils (part of the pancha pAthram used in thiruvArAdhanam) from his sannidhi and goes to dhEva dhEvis house (in a different identify/form not as his own self) and knocks at her door. When she opens the door and asks him who he was, he says, his name is azhagiya maNavALan who is a messenger of vipranArAyaNar and tells her that he gifted this gold utensil for her. She becomes very pleased and asks him to send vipranArAyaNar inside. He then goes to vipranArAyaNar and informs him that dhEva dhEvi invited him inside. Hearing these sweet words, he becomes very pleased and enters her house and they become immersed in material pleasures yet again. periya perumAL returns to his sannidhi and happily lies down on his AdhisEshan paryankam. The next day, when the sannidhi is opened by the kainkaryaparars, they notice that one of the utensils is missing and they inform that to the king. The king then becomes angry with the kainkaryaparars for their negligence. When one of the maid servants goes to bring water from the well, she hears one of her relatives being the target of the kings anger and so informs him that vipranArAyaNar gave a gold utensil to dhEva dhEvi and it is under her pillow. That kainkaryaparar informs that to the soldiers of the king and they Immediately go to dhEva dhEvis place, locate the gold utensil and arrest both vipranArAyaNar and dhEva dhEvi. When they are brought to the kings court, the king asks her Even if some one brings periya perumALs utensil, how can you accept it? and she replies I dont know that this is perumALs utensil; vipranArAyaNar sent this as his own utensil through his messenger named azhagiya maNavALan and I accepted it without doubting it. vipranArAyaNar says that neither he has a messenger nor he owns any gold utensil. Hearing these, the king slaps a fine on dhEva dhEvi and releases her. He then offers to utensil back to emperumAn and asks his soldiers to keep vipranArAyaNar in the jail until further investigation can be done in the robbery case. pirAtti, looking at the incidents, requests emperumAn to make vipranArAyaNar an object of his krupai instead of an object of his leelai. emperumAn at once agrees and appears in the dream of the king that night. He tells the king that vipranArAyaNar is his confidential servant and emperumAn enacted this leelai to remove his prArabdha karmam (for prapannas emperumAn removes the sanchitha karmam during surrender and lets prArabdha karmam to be exhausted by enjoying the results of it. sanchitha karmam means the whole baggage of piled of karmam; prArabdha karmam means that which has started bearing fruits now and is being enjoyed currently); Please release him and re-engage him in his previous kainkaryam of maintaining garden and making me garlands. The king wakes up and realises the greatness of vipranArAyaNar and at once orders his release and explains him the whole dream. He honours vipranArAyaNar with great respect and wealth and sends him home. vipranArAyaNar then realises the glories of emperumAn and his efforts to purify him, at once gives up all attachments to material pleasures and accepts srIpAdha thIrtham of bhAgavathas (which is considered as the prAyaschitham atonement for all sins).

AzhwArs glories and history After that, he becomes popularly known as thoNdaradippodi AzhwAr and bhakthAngri rENu which means thoNda/bhaktha (devotee), adi/angri (lotus feet), podi/rENu (dust) the dust of the lotus feet of emperumAns devotees. This is his unique greatness which is not seen in any other AzhwArs he is the only one who has a name which reflects bhAgavatha sEshathvam. Just like thiruvadi (hanumAn), iLaya perumAL (lakshmaNan) and nammAzhwAr (satagOpan) who said they will not consider anything other emperumAn as worthy, AzhwAr also said indhira lOkam ALum achchuvai perinum vENdEn ( ) meaning I dont even want to think about paramapadham I only want periya perumALs anubhavam in srIrangam. He also shows his upakAra smrithi (gratitude) towards periya perumAL constantly for reforming him and becomes fully attached to periya perumAL only unlike other AzhwArs who have travelled to and sung many archAvathAra emperumAns. Looking at his unflinching faith and attachment towars him, namperumAL also reciprocates such love towards him, blesses him with blemishless knowlege and shows his names, forms, divine activities etc., of parathvAdhi panchakam (the 5 different manifestations of emperumAn explained in in thiruvarangam itself. Also, looking at his devotion, dhEva dhEvi becomes purified and offers all her wealth to periya perumAL and constantly serves emperumAn. AzhwAr being fully situated in para bhakthi, para gyAna and parama bhakthi and fully understanding that periya perumAL is everything for him, enjoys periya perumAL constantly through thirumanthra anusandhAnam and nAma sankIrthanam. Understanding his divine position, he declares that srivaishnavas need not fear for yaman. He says the servants of yaman will look out for the thiruvadi of srivaishnavas while srivaishnavas will look out for the thiruvadi of other srivaishnavas as their object of worship. Thus he sings thirumAlai infront of periya perumAL just like saunaka rishi explained the glories of emperumAns divine names to sadhAnandhar. Just like nammAzhwAr identified the defects of achith (24 elements: mUla prakruthi; mahAn; ahankAram; manas; pancha jnAnEndhriyam, pancha karmEndhriyam, pancha thanmAthrai, pancha bhUtham), AzhwAr also identifies the achith thathvam clearly as puRam chuvar Ottai mAdam ( ) meaning this body is just the outside wall and the AthmA is the in-dweller and controller. He then declares the svarUpam of jIvAthmA as servant of emperumAns bhakthas in adiyarOrkku ( ) meaning this jIvAthmA is the servant of bhAgavathas. He, being a thirumanthra nishtar, reveals that emperumAn is the only upAyam in the mEmporuL () pAsuram which is the essence of thirumAlai prabhandham. Finally he declares that service to bhAgavathas is the ultimate goal of srivaishNavas in the pAsurams following mEmporuL pAsuram and in the last pAsuram of thiruppaLLiyeLuchi by requesting emperumAn as unnadiyArkkAtpaduththAy ( ) meaning make me subservient to your devotees. Thus, he revealed these high principles in two divine prabhandhams named thirumAlai and thirppaLLiyeLuchi for the upliftment of the whole world. His thanian thamEva mathvA paravAsudhEvam rangEchayam rAjavadharhaNiyam prAbhOdhikIm yOkrutha sUkthimAlAm bhakthAngrirENum bhagavanthamIdE


AzhwArs glories and history


thirunakshathram: kArthigai, rOhiNi avathAra sthalam: uraiyUr AchAryan: vishwaksEnar Works: amalanAdhipirAn Place where he attained paramapadham: srIrangam It is explained in pUrvAchArya charithram that ALavandhAr had special attachment towards thiruppANAzhwAr who is also known muni vAhanar. periyavAchAn piLLai, azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr and vEdhAnthAchAryar have written beautiful vyAkyAnams for AzhwArs amalanAdhipirAn prabhandham.


AzhwArs glories and history azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr wonderfully glorifies the greatness of thiruppANAzhwAr in his vyAkyAna avathArikai (introduction). Let us see that now. mudhalAzhwArs are focussed on srIman nArAyaNans parathvam (supremacy) and also touched upon his archAvathAram. kulasEkarAzhwAr is focussed on srIrAma anubhavam like srI vAlmIki bhagavAn and also engaged in archAvathAram. Like vEdha vyAsa bhagavAn, nammAzhwAr, periyAzhwAr and ANdAL are focussed on krishNa anubhavam and also enjoyed archAvathAram. thirumazhisai AzhwAr is focussed on dhEvathAnthara parathva nirasanam (removing any thought of attachment towards other dhEvathais as supreme) and also engaged in archAvathAram. thirumangai AzhwAr is focussed on all archAvathAram emperumAns by visiting each one of them and glorifying them. But he also constantly interexchanged vibhava avathArams (srI rAman, krishNan, etc) and archAvathArams at various places. thoNdaradippodi AzhwAr fully engaged in enjoying periya perumAL (srI ranganAthan) but at the same time, in his pAsurams, he showed his own limitations, engaged in upadhEsam for others, etc. thiruppANAzhwAr being in a totally different level than other AzhwArs, is fully focussed on enjoying archAvathAra emperumAn alone, that too periya perumAL. Since katavalli (upanishadh) declares archAvathAram is the complete manifestation of emperumAn, AzhwAr engaged in simply glorifying periya perumAL. Just like krishNan gave divine eyes to arjunan and showed him his viswarUpam and like he attracted akrUrar, mAlAkArar, etc by showing his beauty, magnanimity, etc., periya perumAL even though being in archA samAdhi (where he does not interact with ordinary people), he showed AzhwAr his beauty and AzhwAr at once enjoys it through out the divine form of periya perumAL. Since AzhwAr was born in panchama kulam, naichyam (humility) is janma sidhdham (natural by birth). So, he did not have to assume naichyam like other AzhwArs since he naturally had it. He himself considers himself as outside four varNams (as panchama) and periya perumAL also considers himself as outside four varNams (as nithyasUri). Just like thiruvadi (hanuman) declared to srI rAman that he wants to constantly be immersed in rAma anubhavam and did not want to even go to paramapadham, AzhwAr also only wanted to be immersed in periya perumALs anubhavam and nothing else. Because of his greatness, just like srI rAman sent sugrIva mahArAjar to bring srI vibhIshaNAzhwAn over to him, periya perumAL sends srI lOka sAranga mahAmuni to bring AzhwAr over to periya kOil. When srI lOka sAranga mahAmuni invites AzhwAr, AzhwAr out of humility refuses to enter the kshEthram. So, mahAmuni then insists him and carries him on his shoulders and brings him over to periya perumAL. AzhwAr sings 9 pAsurams of his dhivya prabhandham amalanAdhipirAn on the way and completes the 10th pAsuram inside the main sannidhi in srIrangam and at once reaches the divine abode of paramapadham to be with paramapadhanAthan and all the nithyas/mukthas eternally glorifying him. We have already seen mAmunigaLs glorification of AzhwAr in


AzhwArs glories and history With this in mind, let us see his charithram now. thiruppANAzhwArs charithram starts with uraiyUr kamala valli nAchiyAr charithram (since they both are born in this dhivyadhEsam). It is said that whoever breathes cauvEri rivers air, they will get mOksham what to speak about the ones who live on the banks of that river. nichuLApuri (uraiyUr) is one such kingdom on the banks of cauvEry which had great temples, palaces, etc. There was a king named chOLa bhUpathi coming in sUrya vamsam who was ruling very virtuously. Like srI mahAlakshmi appeared from samudhra rAjan (king of kShIrAbdhi), nILA dhEvi (consort of paramapadhanAthan) appears as uraiyUr nAchiyAr as the daughter of dharmavarmA who is very attached to namperumAL (srI ranganAthan). She grew up always contemplating on namperumAL and once she became matured, she went to a garden in the kingdom. At that time namperumAL arrives at the same place for hunting. Seeing him, uraiyUr nAchiyAr becomes greatly attached and informs her father that she would marry only namperumAL. dharmavarmA, greatly joyed hearing that, goes to namperumAL and informs that to him. namperumAL being very pleased to hear that, accepts that and orders him to arrange for the wedding. A grand wedding happens, where dharmavarmA gives uraiyUr nAchiyAr to namperumAL like janakarAjan gave sIthA pirAtti to srI rAman. The king gives great wealth to namperumAL as srIdhanam and continues ruling the kingdom. At that time, thiruppANAzhwAr appears on kArthigai, rOhiNi in panchama kulam as some one who has performed all his duties (and have no more obligations to any one). Looking at his glories, it is said by garuda vAhana pandithar in dhivya sUri charitham that he is like the srIvathsam (divine mole on srIman nArAyaNans chest) though all AzhwArs are hand-picked by emperumAn from samsAram and divinely blessed by him with blemishless knowledge. jAyamANam hi purusham yam pachyEN madhusUdhaNa: sAthvikassa thu vijnYEyas sa vai mOkshArththa chiNthaka:

: :
When madhusUdhanan emperumAn blesses a jIvAthmA during his birth, he will be born with pure sathva guNam. Such jIvAthmA will be fully focussed on mOksham only. As said in the above slOkam in mahAbhAratham, as emperumAn blesses AzhwAr during his birth, he was born with pure sathva guNam and was like nAradha bhagavAn (who had great attachment towards emperumAn and is constantly glorifying him) and like nampAduvAn (one who was engaged in singing and glorifying thirukkurungudi nambi) who relieved the brahma rakshas (brAhmaNa who became a rAkshasa) from all of his sins as explained in kaisika purANam. From his glories, it looked like a nithya sUri took birth to specifically sing and glorify emperumAn. Following varNAshrama dharmam, without stepping into srIrangam, everyday, he stays in the south side of the river and facing srI ranganAthan, as some one fully surrendered to srIman nArAyaNan who has sudharshana chakram on his right hand, constantly sings and glorifies periya perumAL with great natural emotions. periya perumAL also enjoys AzhwArs singing and glorification with great pleasure.

AzhwArs glories and history Once, srI lOka sAranga mahAmuni arrives to the place where AzhwAr is present to bring thIrtham (water) for kainkaryam. He sees AzhwAr being fully immersed in anubhavam, but considering his birth, he asks him to move away so that he can fetch water. AzhwAr being immersed in bhagavath anubhavam, does not hear/realize mahAmunis words. mahAmuni throws a stone towards AzhwAr which hits him on his forehead and blood starts oozing out. Realizing his action, AzhwAr at once feels very bad for interrupting mahAmunis kainkaryam, asks for forgiveness and moves away quickly. lOka sAranga mahAmuni then bathes, performance his nithya karmAnuushtAnams and brings water for periya perumAL kainkaryam also along with chathram (umbrella), chAmaram (fan), mELam (drum), thALam, etc (as it is customary do so while bring thIrtham for emperumAn). periya perumAL being distressed with lOka sAranga munis action, nAchiyAr asks perumAL How can we allow pAN perumAL (as AzhwAr is affectionately called) to be outside our sannidhi?, periya perumAL at once shuts his sannidhi doors and with anger asks lOka sAranga muni How can you do this to my dear devotee?. lOka sArangar realizes his mistake immediately and is upset with himself very much. He then asks periya perumAL I have done this great bhAgavatha apachAram (offense). How can I be saved from this great mistake?. periya perumAL replies out of great mercy towards pAN perumAL and his total independence (of not anyone being able to question him) that You now go and bring him her by carrying him on your shoulders with great devotion in his dream that night. lOka sArangar wakes up early in the morning and thinks that this day is a great day for him as akrUra thought adhyamE sapalam jaNma suprabhAthA cha mE NichA ( ) meaning Today my life became meaningful and it is a great dawn for me today when kamsan asked him to go and bring balarAman/krishNan to mathurA. He went to the cauvery river along with pure hearted devotees, took bathe and performed his nithyAnushtAnams. As said in sudhUramapi gaNdhavyam yathra bhAgavathas sthitha: (

:) meaning even if a bhAgavatha is staying in a far

away place, one should go to him (and serve him), lOka sAranga muni goes to thiruppANAzhwAr who is standing farther than srIrangam. AzhwAr is facing the direction of srIrangam which is covered with beautiful gardens, etc and glorifying srI ranganAthan. lOka sAranga muni falls at the lotus feet of AzhwAr and requests him to enter srIrangam as per the orders of namperumAL. AzhwAr refuses and says he is taken a very lowly birth, not being born in the chatur varNam and is unfit to place his lotus feet in srIrangam. srI lOkasAranga muni, at once says, Oh yes! You cannot keep your lotus feet on srI rangam, but you can certainly climb my shoulders and I can carry you directly to srI ranganAthan. I insist you do so according to periya perumALs orders. AzhwAr being totally surrendered to bhagavAn and bhAgavathAs, unable to refuse periya perumAL and lOka sArangars words, accepts those words and begins contemplating emperumAns most merciful favours for him and gives up all responsibilities and submits to lOka sAranga muni. srI lOka sAranga mahAmunI, being overjoyed, lifts AzhwAr up and places him on his shoulders and carries him towards srI rangam just like AdhivAhikars (the ones who lead jIvAthmA during their final journey towards paramapadham) bring the jIvAthmAs who are becoming mukthas to the thirumAmaNi mandapam (divine mandapam decorated with divine jewels where paramapadhanAthan is seated with his dhivya mahishIs and nithyasUris). Note: This charithram is shown beautifully by azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr in AchArya hrudhayam 85th chUrNikai.

AzhwArs glories and history

lOka sAranga mahAmuni, thiruppANAzhwAr, namperumAL periya perumAL manifests his divine form which is shown to nithyasUris in front of AzhwAr and AzhwAr starts reciting amalanAdhipirAn with beautiful music from his divine vINai and sings 9 pAsurams outside the sannidhi. Once he enters the sannidhi of periya perumAL, periya perumAL manifests in front of him beautifully as explained in srIranga mAhAthmiyam as follows: brahmA worshipped srI ranganAthan who is beautifully decorated with a crown, shoulder bangles, beautiful ear rings made of diamonds and precious routines, wearing beautiful necklace and garlands made of pure pearls, his broad chest which is shining with srI kausthuba jewel, his greatly masculine chest which is the eternal dwelling place of srImahAlakshmi, wearing a beautiful yellow garment which shines like molten gold, wearing a beautiful waist belt, wearing beautiful anklets in his lotus feet, wearing beautiful and soft yagyOpavItham, gracefully having one hand as support for his head and stretching the other hand towards his lotus feet, having slightly bent and raised lotus feet, having beautiful and long form, having raised shoulders and beautifully decorated, and lying down on thiruvananthAzhwAn (AdhisEshan). AzhwAr after entering the sannidhi of such magnificent emperumAn who is worshipped by everyone starting from brahmA, just like an infant will only look for the breast of the mother which sustains the infant, AzhwAr looks for the lotus feet because the surrendered ones always sustain by meditating and praying at the lotus feet of the master. This is why AzhwAr also stated in his first pAsuram itself that aranGgaththammAn thirukkamalapAdham vaNdhu


AzhwArs glories and history en kanNnNinuLLana okkinRathE (

) meaning my master srI ranganAthans lotus feet reaches

out and enters into my eyes. arangaththammAn indicates sEshithvam (emperumAn being master), kamalam (lotus) indicates bhOgyathvam (enjoyable) and pAdham indicates upAyathvam (way to attain the goal). periyAzhwAr also glorified emperumAn from his lotus feet to head in his periyAzhwAr thirumozhi 2nd padhigam in 20 pAsurams. Like wise, thiruppANAzhwAr being brought over by lOka sAranga mahAmuni by the divine orders of periya perumAL, enjoyed periya perumALs lotus feet to head fully and the overflowing emotions resulted in the dhivya prabhandham named amalanAdhipirAn which gives the essence of our sampradhAyam thirumanthra artham the detailed explanation of thirumanthram. periya perumAL accepted thiruppANAzhwAr at once with the same thirumEni and in front of every one AzhwAr ascended to parampadham through the lotus feet of periya perumAL. His thanian ApAtha chUdam anubhUya harim chayAnam madhyE kavEra hithur mudhithAnthrAthmA adhrahtruthAm nayanayOr vishayANtharANAm yO nischikAya manavai munivAhananm tham His archAvathAra anubhavam is already discussed in here


AzhwArs glories and history

thirumangai AzhwAr

thirunakshathram: kArthigai, kArthigai avathAra sthalam: thirukkuraiyalUr AchAryan: vishwaksEnar, thirunaRaiyUr nambi, thriukkaNNapuram sauri perumAL Sishyas: His brother-in-law iLayAzhwAr, parakAla sishyar, nIrmEl nadappAn, thALUthuvAn, thOrA vazhakkan, nizhalil maRaivAn, uyarath thonguvAn, Works: periya thirumozhi, thirukkuRunthANdagam, thiruvezhukkURRirukkai, siriya thirumadal, periya thirumadal, thiruneduNthANdagam Place where he attained paramapadham: thirukkuRungudi

AzhwArs glories and history periyavAchAn piLLais introduction to thirumangai AzhwAr brings out the essence sAsthram, i.e., emperumAn out of his causeless mercy reforms AzhwAr and thereby uplifts many jIvAthmAs through him. Let us see that now. thirumangai AzhwAr had kept his AthmA (himself) in the hot sun and the body in the pleasing shadow. Keeping AthmA in hot sun means not engaging in bhagavath vishayam (spiritual matters) and keeping body in pleasing shadow means being attached to materialistic aspirations since time immemorial and having that as the goal in life. The real shadow is bhagavath vishayam only as it is said in vAsudhEva tharuch chAyA (

) meaning vAsudhEvan (krishNan) is the real shadow giving tree. He is the

original/only pleasing tree which gives shadow that pleases us everywhere and all the time, This shadow can destroy any thApam (anguish) and is neither too hot nor too cold. Because thirumangai AzhwAr was very attached to vishyAntharam (material aspirations) which were pleasing to the eyes, emperumAn diverts his attachment from vishayAntharam to the many dhivyadhEsams and archAvathAra emperumAns who are most pleasing to the eyes and makes his mind fully fixed on archAvathAra emperumAns and gives him full anubhavam that AzhwAr cannot sustain himself without seeing emperumAn even for a moment. Further more, emperumAn converts him to be at the stage of nithyas/mukthas while he is here in this samsAram, develops his urge to reach paramapadham and ultimately benedicts him with paramapadha prApthi also. AzhwAr understands that emperumAn only looked for AzwArs adhvEsham (that is bhagavAn is trying to help jIvAthmA every moment and jIvAthmA is rejecting his help since time immemorial, the moment jIvAthmA stops rejecting, that is enough for emperumAn to uplift the jIvAthmA this adhvEsham is explained as adhikAri visEshaNam meaning a natural attribute of the jIvAthmA) and the limitations of material aspirations to reform AzhwAr, AzhwArs taste for material aspirations as the key (and diverted that taste towards emperumAn) and AzhwArs sins from time immemorial as the target of emperumAns mercy and blessed AzhwAr by first revealing the thirumanthram and emperumAns svarUpa (true nature), rUpa (forms), guNa (divine qualities) and vibhUthi (wealth). AzhwAr being overwhelmed by these favours of emperumAn, at once starts glorifying thirumanthram in his periya thirumozhi out of gratitude. It is the svarUpam of chith (sentient beings) to manifest the knowledge and insentient being devoid of knowledge cannot appreciate anything. Thus to demonstrate his gratitude and glorify emperumAns archAvathArams, AzhwAr sings these many divine prabhanahdams. Thus periyavAchAn piLLai establishes the nirhEthuka krupai (causeless mercy) of emperumAn and upAya sUnyathvam (devoid of performing any positive act to get the mercy of emperumAn) of AzhwAr in this vyAkyAna avathArikai. But once AzhwAr was divinely blessed by emperumAn, his attachment towards emperumAn becomes unparallel as he himself declares in periya thirumozhi 4.9.6 NummadiyArOdum okka enNnNiyiruththIr adiyEnai ( ) dont consider me like other adiyArs. We have already seen more of periyavAchAn piLLais glorification of AzhwAr and mAmunigaLs glorification of AzhwAr in


AzhwArs glories and history emperumAnAr (srI rAmAnujar) was declared by amudhanAr in rAmAnuja nURRanthAdhi, 2nd pAsuram as kuraiyal pirAnadikkIzh viLLAtha anban ( ) meaning one who had unflinching attachment on thirumangai AzhwArs thiruvadi. mAmunigaL, while visiting thiruvAli-thirunagari dhivyadhEsams, was so attracted to the enchanting beauty of AzhwArs divine thiumEni saundharyam (beauty of the form) and at once submitted a pAsuram which most beautifully brings out the graceful form in front of our eyes. Let us enjoy that now:

anNaiththa vElum, thozhukaiyum, azhuNthiya thiruNAmamum, OmenRa vAyum, uyarNtha mUkkum, kuLirNtha mukamum, paraNtha vizhiyum, irunNda kuzhalum, churunNda vaLaiyamum, vadiththa kAthum, malarNtha kAthu kAppum, thAzhNtha cheviyum, cheRiNtha kazhuththum, aganRa mArbum, thiranNda thOLum, NeLiththa muthugum, kuviNtha idaiyum, allikkayiRum, azhuNdhiya chIrAvum, thUkkiya karunGkOvaiyum, thonGgalum, thani mAlaiyum, chAththiya thiruththanNdaiyum, chathirAna vIrakkazhalum, kuNthiyitta kanNaikkAlum,


AzhwArs glories and history kuLira vaiththa thiruvadi malarum, maruvalartham udal thunNiya vALvIchum parakAlan manGgaimannarAna vadivE enRum

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
parakAlan/mangai mannans divine form is always in my heart. This form is narrated as the one with the spear that is supported by the shoulder, the hands which are worshipping emperumAn, the beautiful Urdhva puNdram, the mouth which is saying Om, Sharp/slightly raised nose, cooling face, broad eyes, blackish hairs which are beautifully curled, ears which are perfectly built and which are slightly bent (to hear ashtAkshara mahAmanthram from emperumAn), well rounded neck, broad chest, strong shoulders, well shaped upper back, narrow waist, beautiful garlands, wonderful anklets, knees which reflect AzhwArs valour, slightly slanting divine lotus feet and the sword which will destroy all enemies. We can easily declare that kaliyans archA vigraham in thiruvAli-thirunagari is the most beautiful one in the entire creation. AzhwAr is also known as parakAlan, kaliyan, neelan, kalidhvamsan, kavilOka dhivAkaran, chathushkavi sikAmaNi, shat prabhandha kavi, kalivairi, nAlukavip perumAL, thiruvAvIrudaiya perumAn, mangaiyar kOn, aruL mAri, mangai vEndhan, AlinAdan, arattmukki, adaiyAr sIyam, kongu malark kuzhaliyarvEL, koRRa vEndhan, koRRavEl mangai vEndhan. With this in mind, let us see his charithram now. AzhwAr takes birth in thirukkuraiyalUr (near thiruvAli-thirunagari) as an amsam of kArmuka in chathurtha varNam and was named as neelan (dark complexioned) as identified in dhivya sUri charitham of garuda vAhana pandithar. While he grew up in his child hood without any attachment to bhagavath vishayam, once he became a youth he became very materialistic. He had a strong body and great fighting skills with knowledge in handling many weapons and thus went to the chOla bhUpathi (the king of the region) and requests him to include him in his army. The king being pleased with neelans abilities appoints him as a commander of his army and gives a small region to rule.


AzhwArs glories and history In the mean time, in thiruvAli dhivya dhEsam, in a beautiful pond, some apsaras sthrIs (dancing gilrs from dhEva lOkam, etc) comes to play in the water. One such girl named thirumAmagaL (kumudhavalli) goes to fetch some flowers and her friends leave the place forgetting about her. She accepts a manushya sarIram (human form) and looks for some help. A srIvaishnava vaidhyan (doctor) comes by that side and enquires about him and she informs that her friends left her alone and the whole incident. Since he did not have any children, he happily brings her home and introduces her to his wife and they both happily accept her as their daughter and starts raising her. Seeing her beauty, some people go and inform about her to neelan and becoming very attached to her beauty, at once he goes to the bhAgavatha vaidhyar and starts a conversation. At that time, kumudhavalli goes by and the vaidhyar tells neelan that he is worried about marrying this girl to a proper man since he does not know her kulam, gOthram, etc. neelan at once tells the vaidhyar that he wants to marry her and offers him great wealth. The vaidhyar and his wife agrees to marry her to him but kumudhavalli puts forth a condition saying she will only marry a srivaishnava who has had pancha samskAram from an AchAryan. As it is said that an intelligent person will perform good things immediately, neelan at once runs to thirunariyUr and goes in front of thirunariyUr nambi and asks him to bless with panca samskAram. emperumAn out of his divine grace performs him sanka chakra lAnchanam and thirumanthra upadhEsam. It is said in padhma purANam that sarvaich chvEthamruthA dhAryam UrdhvapunNdram yathAvidhi rujuNi sANtharALANi hyanGgEshu dhvAdhachasvapi

Urdhva puNdram must be applied in 12 parts of the body, facing upwards with proper gaps in between and using white colored sand from dhivya dhEsams. Thus AzhwAr returned to kumudhavalli, wearing dvAdhasa urdhva puNdram and asks kumudhavalli to marry him. kumudhavalli says that she will marry him, but will accept him as husband only when AzhwAr performs thadhiyArAdhanam for one full year for 1008 srIvaishnavas every day without fail. AzhwAr agrees for the condition out of his attachment towards kumudhavalli and they both are married in a grand ceremony. It is said in padhma purANam that: ArAdhaNANAm sarvEshAm vishnNOr ArAdhaNam param thasmAth paratharam prOktham thadhIyArAdhaNam NrUpa

Oh King! Worshipping vishNu is considered to be greater than worshipping any one else. Worshipping vishNu bhakthas is considered even greater than vishNu himself.

AzhwArs glories and history As per the above pramANam, AzhwAr started performing thadhIyArAdhanam (feeding srivaishnavas with sumptuous prasAdham everyday) using all his wealth. Looking at that, some people go and complain to the king that parakAlan (AzhwAr) is spending all the wealth of the kingdom by just feeding the srIvaishnavas. The king sends his soldiers to bring AzhwAr to his court, but AzhwAr just speaks pleasantly to them and keeps them waiting. The soldiers insist that AzhwAr should pay his tax for the king, and AzhwAr becomes angry and pushes them out. The soldiers return to the king and inform him about the incidents. The king orders the commander-in-chief to go with the full army and arrest him. The commander brings a big army with him and attacks AzhwAr. AzhwAr being most powerful and brave responds back and drives the commander and his army out of their region. The commander returns to the king and informs AzhwArs victory. The strong king himself decides to fight with AzhwAr and brings his big army with him and attacks AzhwAr. AzhwAr again demonstrates his bravery and easily destroys the kings army. The king becomes very pleased with AzhwArs bravery, declares peace and hails his glories. Trusting the king, AzhwAr goes near him, but the king cunningly arrests him through his minister and asks him to pay the pending tax. The minister brings AzhwAr and jails him inside a temple of emperumAn and AzhwAr fasts without taking any food for 3 days. It is said that, at that time, nAchiyAr of thirunaraiyUr tells thirunaraiyUr nambi that she cannot witness AzhwAr starving and brings some prasAdham to him. AzhwAr just stays fully surrendered to periya perumAL and thiruvEnkatamudaiyAn and keeps meditating on them. dhEva perumAL of kAnchipuram appears in the dream of AzhwAr at that time and informs him that there is a great treasure in kAnchipuram which will be given to him if he comes there. AzhwAr informs this to the king and king arranges AzhwAr to visit kAnchipuram along with great security. AzhwAr reaching kAnchipuram, does not find the wealth and dhEva perumAL being the one who gives everything to his devotees, appears in AzhwArs dream again and shows him the location of treasure on the banks of river vEgavathI. AzhwAr locates the treasure, gives the kings share and returns back to thirukkuraiyalUr to continue with his thadhIyArAdhanam. Again after some time, the king sends his soldiers to collect tax, and again AzhwAr becomes filled with sorrow and again dhEva perumAL appears in his dream and instructs him to gather the sand from vEgavathi river and present that to the soldiers. When the soldiers receive the sand, it appears like invaluable grains to them. They happily carry that to the king and explains him all the details. The king then understands the greatness of AzhwAr, invites him to his court again, begs for forgiveness and submits great wealth to him. To atone for the offenses he committed to AzhwAr, the king spends his wealth by doing charities to dhEvas and brAhmaNas. AzhwAr continued his thadhIyArAdhanam and his wealth eventually became exhausted. He then decides to continue the kainkaryam even by robbing wealthy people who pass by his region. He robs the wealth people and performs thadhIyArAdhanam with great devotion. sarvEsvaran, thinking that, even if he is robbing the wealthy people, atleast he is spending the money in feeding srIvaishnavas thus being situated in charama purushArtham (ultimate goal), decides to uplift him from samsAram by blessing him with divine blemishless knowledge. As it is said that srIman nArAyaNan takes a human form (as AchAryan) and with the help of sAsthram uplifts the jIvAthmA who suffers in the samsAram, emperumAn starts going towards AzhwArs place along with nAchiyAr with wedding costumes as vayalAli maNavALan with beautiful ornaments and with a big wedding party. AzhwAr, being excited at the opportunity of getting a big bounty, surrounds the emperumAn with his wedding party and robs them of

AzhwArs glories and history everything. Finally, AzhwAr bites off the toe ring from emperumAns lotus feet and emperumAn being greatly amazed at AzhwArs valour proclaims Nam kaliyanO ( ) meaning Are you my kaliyan? (kaliyan means one who is great in valour).

After that, AzhwAr prepares a big bundle of ornaments and wealth and tries to lift them up but is unable to do so. He looks at the bridegroom (emperumAn) and tells him that you have recited some manthram which is stopping me from lifting this. emperumAn agrees that there is a manthram and says that he can reveal it to AzhwAr if we wants to hear that. AzhwAr shows his sword and says that he wants to hear it immediately. emperumAn reveals the thirumanthram to AzhwAr which is most pleasing to hear, which is full in all meanings, which establishes the ultimate goal to be attained, which is the essence of all vEdhams, which can uplift one from this samsAram which is full of sorrows, which can benedict the reciter with ishvaryam (happiness in this world), kaivalyam (enjoying ones own self) and bhagavath kainkaryam. This thirumanthram is glorified in sAsthram as follows: vruttha hArItha sruthi ruchO yajumshi sAmANi thathaiva atharvanNANi cha sarvam ashtAksharANthasththam yachchANyadhapi vAnGmayam


AzhwArs glories and history All the meanings of rg, yajur, sAma, atharvaNa vEdhams and their upabruhmaNams are contained in ashtaksharam itself. nAradhIya purANam sarvavEdhANtha sArArththas samsArArnNava thAraka: gathir ashtAksharO NrunNAm apuNarbhavakAnGkshinNAm

For the one who desires to attain salvation, ashtAksharam which is the essence of all vEdhAntham and one that can help cross the ocean of samsAram is the only refuge. nArAyaNa upanishadh OmithyagrE vyAharEth, Nama ithi pachchAth, NArAyanNAyEthyuparishtAth, OmithyEkAksharam, Nama ithi dhvE aksharE, NArAyanNAyEthi panYchAksharAnNi

, , , , ,
Om should be recited first, followed by Nama: and NArAyaNAya; Om has one letter, nama: is made of two letters and NArAyaNAya is made of 5 letters (thus this manthram contains 8 letters and called ashtAksharam). Thus sAsthram gives the exact structure of ashtAksharam and how it should be recited without any doubt. nAradhIya purANam maNthrAnNAm paramO maNthrO guhyANAm guhyamuththamam pavithranYcha pavithrAnNAm mUlamaNthras saNAthaNa:

ashtAkshara mahA manthram is the greatest manthram among all manthrams, most confidential one amongst the confidential manthrams, the purest one among the pure manthrams and is the eternal/ancient one. Beyond all of these, this ashtAkshara mahA manthram is the one which is accepted by pUrvAchAryas who are great intellectuals as said in thirumozhi 7.4.4 as pErALan pErOdhum periyOr ( ) meaning the great personalities who recite the names of emperumAn. Also, AzhwAr himself reveals in the first padhigam of periya thirumozhi itself as peRRa thAyinum Ayina cheyyum Nalamtharum chollai NAn kanNdu konNdEn


AzhwArs glories and history ( ) meaning I found the manthram that will do me good even better than ones own mother. After hearing the thirumanthram from emperumAn, emperumAn then shows him his divine form along with srImahAlakshmi who is mercy personified on the divine garudAzhwAr whose body shines like beautiful gold. He also blesses AzhwAr with divine blemishless knowledge out of his nirhEthuka krupai (causeless mercy). AzhwAr, after seeing all of those and understanding the blessing of emperumAn, which was triggered by srImahAlakshmi thAyArs purushakAram, blesses everyone with 6 prabhandhams periya thirumozhi, thirukkuRunthANdakam, thiruvezhukkURRirukkai, siriya thirumadal, periya thirumadal and thirunedunthANdakam which are considered as 6 angams for nammAzhwArs four dhivya prabhandhams. His prabhandhams are made of different forms of poetry Asu, madhuram, chitham and vistharam and thus became to be famously known as nAlu kavip perumAL. emperumAn finally orders AzhwAr to go to various dhivyadhEsams along with his sishyas and perform mangaLAsAsanam to various dhivya dhEsa archAvathAra emperumAns and disappears. AzhwAr along with his ministers and sishyas, starts his dhivyadhEsa yAthrai, takes bathe in many divine rivers and performs mangaLAsAsanam at srI bhadhrAchalam, simhAchalam, srI kUrmam, srI purushOththamam (puri jagannAth), gayA, gOkulam, vrndhAvanam, mathurA, dhvArakA, ayOdhyA, badhrikAshram, kAnchipuram, thiruvEnkatam, etc. He arrives at chOLa mandalam, his sishyas exclaim his glories chathush kavi has arrived, kaliyan has arrived, parakAlan has arrived, One who won over all other mathams have arrived, etc. A saiva scholar/bhakthar named thirugyAna sambandhar was living there at that time and his sishyas object to the glories of AzhwAr. AzhwAr at once says he will debate with sambandhar and establish nArAyaNa parathvam (supremacy). They bring him over to sambandhars residence and informs him about the same and he agrees to debate with AzhwAr. Since, the whole place/town was filled with avaishnavas and since there is no vigraham (form) of emperumAn, AzhwAr is unable to start speaking and starts worrying about the situation. At that time, he notices a srivaishnava lady and asks her to bring her thiruvArAdhana perumAL (vigraham). She brings her emperumAn who is krishNan and brings him over to sambandhars place and starts the debate. sambandhar recites a poem and AzhwAr finds fault in that. sambandhar then challenges AzhwAr to recite a poem and AzhwAr recites oru kuraLAi padhigam (periya thirumozhi 7.4) on thAdALan emperumAn (kAzhi chIrAma viNNagaram sIrgAzhi). sambandhar unable to respond back for that great padhigam which is perfectly and beautifully composed wonders about the greatness of AzhwAr and accepts his glories and worships him. AzhwAr desires to visit srIrangam and perform mangaLAsAsanam and kainkaryam to srIranganAthan. It is said in bhrahmAnda purANam that: vimANam pranNavAkAram vEdhachrunGgam mahAdhbhutham srIranGgachAyI bhagavAN pranNavArththa prakAchaka: :

AzhwArs glories and history The most marvelous srIrangavimAnam is a manifestation of OmkAram; Its peak is vEdham itself. bhagavAn srIranganAthan is manifesting himself as the ultimate meaning of praNavam (which is the essence of thirumanthram). AzhwAr wanting to build a fort around the temple, discusses with his sishyas about getting the wealth to build the same. They reply that there is a vigraham of an avaidhiha matham in nAgapattinam which is fully made of gold and if we can acquire that we can do a lot of kainkaryam using that. AzhwAr at once leaves to nAgappattinam and finds a lady and asks her if there is any secret information in that town. She says that her mother-in-law use to say that there is a golden vigraham (deity) and the architect who made that vigraham and the most protective vimAnam where the vigraham is kept, lives in a different dvIpam (island/region of bhUlOkam). AzhwAr at once leaves to that place along with his sishyas and enquire about the architect who is comparable to vishwakarmA (the chief architect of dhEvas). The people direct AzhwAr to the palace which is huge and beautiful and AzhwAr reaches the palace. Along with his sishyas he started discussing about various things outside the palace and at that time the architect steps outside after finishing his bathing and meal. Seeing him, AzhwAr strategically says with great sorrow that Oh! Some invaders came and destroyed the temple in nAgappattinam and took away the golden vigraham. Why are we still living in this world?. Hearing this, the architect feels great pain, starts crying out loud and says It must be one of the mischievous sculptors who revealed the secret to open the peak of the vimAnam through which any one can enter there. I made the most complicated key a twisted iron chain inside a stone and kept that under the slab where the water falls and how did they break that? thus revealing the actual secret unknowingly. AzhwAr along with his sishyas, at once leaves the place happily since the secret is known, and reached the seashore to return to nAgappattinam. He sees a virtuous merchant who is boarding his ship with a huge shipment of nuts (pAkku) and blesses him and requests him to leave them in the other side of the sea. He agrees and they all board the ship and begin the journey. On the way, AzhwAr picks up a nut, cuts it into half and gives it to the merchant and tells him that he will accept it back at the end of the journey and asks him to give a small chit with his signature saying that I owe AzhwAr half the nut of my ship. The merchant does so and after reaching nAgappattinam, AzhwAr asks him to give half the load of the expensive nuts in the ship (to use that in kainkaryam for srIrangam temple). The merchant is shocked and refuse to do so. They both argue and decide to go bring all the merchants together to get a neutral judgement and all the merchants declare that the merchant should give half the shipment to AzhwAr. The merchant without any choice gives the money for half the shipment to AzhwAr and leaves. AzhwAr and his sishyas then go to the temple and hide there until the night. In the night they break open the slab, retrieve the key, go to top of the vimAnam and opens the entrance by rotating it both sides and see the most shining vigraham. Seeing AzhwAr, the vigraham says IyaththAl AgAthO irumbinAl AgAthO, bhUyaththAl mikkathoru bhUthaththAl AgAthO, thEyathEy piththaLai NaRchembugaLAlAgAthO, mAyappon vEnNumO mathiththennaip panNnNugaikkE ( ,

, , ) meaning Could you

not just use iron, copper, bronze, etc? You needed me to be made of divine gold so that you

AzhwArs glories and history can come and use me in kainkaryam for bhagavAn. AzhwAr then gets his brother-in-law to fetch the vigraham and leaves the place with all of them. In the next morning, they reach a small town, where in a small farm land which was just ploughed, AzhwAr buries the virgaham for safety and rests there. When the farmers arrive there and start ploughing the field, they find the vigraham and declare that it was theirs. AzhwAr says it was his forefathers who buried it under the field. A debate follows and AzhwAr finally says that he will show a document in the next morning proving his ownership and the farmers agree and leave the place. AzhwAr and his sishyas, after sunset, leave the place with the vigraham, reaches uththamar kOil dhivya dhEsam and store the vigraham safely there. In the meantime, the temple incharge in nAgappattinam along with the local leaders come to know about the stealing of the vigraham and traces it upto the farm land where it was buried and finally reaches uththamar kOil. When they ask AzhwAr for the vigraham, he first says he does not know anything about the vigraham but subsequently says that he will restore the vigraham fully upto the finger to them in panguni month after the rainy season. He writes a document to that effect, signs that and gives that to them with his signature and they accept that and leave. AzhwAr immediately melts the vigraham, sells it to get money and starts building the fort around srIrangam temple. He runs into the nandhavanam (garden) which was setup by thoNdaradippodi AzhwAr and he carefully leaves that area un-disturbed with great reverence and builds the fort around the area. Being very pleased with thirumangai AzhwArs act, thoNdaradippodi AzhwAr names his gardening tool (shear/fork) as aruLmAri (one of the names of thirumangai AzhwAr) with great affection. Thus AzhwAr performed many such kainkaryams and showed his gratitude to emperumAn. After the rainy season, they come back looking for the vigraham. He asks them to read the document and as written in the document he returns a small finger. A debate rages and they go to the mediators and the mediators give their judgement that according to the agreement in the document, they can accept the finger and leave. They understand AzhwArs smartness and leave without even accepting anything. AzhwAr subsequently invites the architects of that temple and tells them that he wants to give some wealth to them and that wealth is in a nearby island. He gets them all boarded on a boat and after going some distance in the water, he signals to boatman, who jumps into a smaller boat along with AzhwAr and tilts the boat that carries all the architects and drowns them. AzhwAr returns to his place and the grand children of the architects arrive there and enquire about their grandfathers. AzhwAr tells them that he showed them great wealth in the island and they are packing them to bring them along over here. The grandchildren suspecting AzhwAr, tells him that they would not leave unless their grandfathers are brought back to life and returned to them. AzhwAr becomes very worried and srIranganAthan appears in his dream and tells him Do not worry anymore. He then asks all of them to go to Cauvery river, take a bath there, apply Urdhva pundrams and arrive at my main mandapam and invite each of their grandfathers by their names. They accept emperumAns orders and starts inviting their grandfathers one by one. To their astonishment, every one arrive from behind srIranganAthan and appear in front of them and tells them By the divine grace of AzhwAr, we have now reached periya perumALs lotus feet. You also take shelter of him, be here in this samsAram happily for some time and get yourselves uplifted. Following their grandfathers orders every one of them accept AzhwAr as their AchAryan and return to their place eventually.


AzhwArs glories and history periya perumAL then asks AzhwAr if he has any desires. AzhwAr tells periya perumAL that he wants to worship emperumAns dhasAvathAram. periya perumAL tells him If that is your desire, you can install my archAvathAra vigrahams of dhasAvathAram and at once AzhwAr builds the sannidhi for dhasAvathAra emperumAns in srIrangam. Subsequently, periya perumAL invites AzhwArs brother-in-law and orders him to make an archA vigraham for AzhwAr (since AzhwAr is his brother-in-laws AchAryan) and install the same in thirukkuraiyalUr, build a beautiful temple there and celebrate AzhwArs uthsavams in a grand manner. His brother-in-law, immediately gets archA vigrahams made for both AzhwAr and his wife kumudhavalli nAchiyAr, goes to thirukkuraiyalUr with everyone and installs the archA vigrahams there and performs grand uthsavams there. AzhwAr continued to uplift all his sishyas and others and spent his life constantly meditating on periya perumAL as both upAyam and upEyam. His thanian kalayAmi kalidhvamsam kavim lOka dhivAkAram yasya gObi: prakAshAbir Avidhyam nihatham thama: His archAvathAra anubhavam is already discussed in here


AzhwArs glories and history


thAnAna thirumEni (srirangam)

thAnugantha thirumEni (sriperumpUdhUr)

thamarugantha thirumEni (thirunArayaNapuram)

Thirunakshathram: chithirai, thiruvAdhirai avathAra sthalam: sriperumpudhUr AchAryan: periya nambi Sishyas: kUrathAzhwAn, mudhaliAndAn, embAr, aruLaLa perumAL emperumAnAr, ananthAzhwAn, 74 simhAsanAdhipathis, many thousands of sishyas. It is said that he had 12000 srivaishnavas, 74 simhAsAnadhipathis, 700 sanyAsis, and many many srivaishnavas from different caste/creed were his disciples. Place where he attained paramapadham: thiruvarangam Works: He has done nine granthams which are considered as nava rathnams namely sri bhAshyam, gItha bhAshya, vEdhArtha sangraham, vEdhAntha dhIpam, vEdhAntha sAram, sharaNAgathi gadhyam, sriranga gadhyam, srivaikunta gadhyam and nithya grantham. iLayAzhwAr was born in sriperumbudhUr to kEsava dhIkshithar and kAnthimathi ammangAr as an avathAram of AdhisEshan and is also known by many other names. Let us see his many names and who gave them to him.

iLayAzhwAr given by his parents.


AzhwArs glories and history

sri rAmAnujar given by periya nambi during his pancha samskAram. yathirAjarar given by dhEva perumAL during sanyAsAshrama svIkAram. udayavar given by namperumAL lakshmaNa muni given by thiruvaranga peumAL arayar emperumAnAr given by thirukkOshtiyUr nambi when emperumAnAr gave charamaslOka artham to the ones who surrendered to him in thirukkOshtiyUr. satagOpan ponnadi given by thirumAlaiAndAn. kOil ANNan given by AndAL after emperumAnAr offered 100 plates of akkAra adisil and 100 plates of butter to thirumAlirunchOlai azhagar. sri bhAshyakArar given by sarasvathi in kashmir. bhUthapurIsar given by Adhi kEsava perumAL of sriperumputhUr. dhEsikEndhrar given by thiruvEnkatamudayAn.

Brief life history

Born in srIperumputhUr by the grace of thiruvallikkENi pArthasArathy emperumAn as his amsAvathAram.

pArthasArathy with ubaya nAchiArs and udayavar thiruvallikkENi

Marries thanjammAl (rakshkAmbAL). Goes to kAnchipuram and learns sAmAnya sAstram and pUrva paksham from yAdhava prakAsar. When yAdhava prakAsar gives crooked interpretations to sAstra vAkyams, iLayAzhwAr corrects them. On a pilgrimage towards vAraNAsi, some disciples of yAdhava prakAsar plans to kill iLayAzhwAr. Govindhar (embAr in the future), a cousin of iLayAzhwAr thwarts the plan and sends iLayAzhwAr towards kAnchipuram. iLayAzhwAr feeling lost in the forest is helped by dhEva perumAL and perundhEvi thAyar and comes back to kAnchipuram.

AzhwArs glories and history

On his return, based on his mothers advice, he serves dhEva perumAL under the guidance of thirukkachi nambi. iLayAzhwAr travels with periya nambi to srirangam to meet ALavandhAr but only sees ALavandhArs charama thirumEni. He vows that he will fulfill ALavandhArs 3 wishes. iLayAzhwAr considers thirukkachi nambi to be his AchAryan and asks him to do pancha samskAram, but nambi refuses to do that citing pramANams from sAstram. iLayAzhwAr wants to have sEsha prasAdham of thirukkachi nambi but his desire is not fulfilled. dhEva perumAL gives Aru vArthaigaL (6 words) to iLayAzhwAr through thirukkachi nambi. iLayAzhwAr and periya nambi meet at madhurAnthagam. periya nambi does pancha samskAram to iLayAzhwAr and gives rAmAnujan as dhAsya nAmam. periya nambi stays at rAmAnujars thirumALigai and teaches him all sampradhAya arthams. Eventually periya nambi leaves to srirangam. rAmAnujar accepts sanyAsAshramam from dhEva perumAL. AzhwAn and AndAn becomes sishyas of rAmAnujar. yAdhava prakAsar becomes a sishya of rAmAnujar and becomes gOvindha jeeyar. He writes yathi dharma samuchayam which is used as guidelines for srivaishnava yathis. periya perumAL sends thiruvaranga perumAL to dhEva perumAL to bring rAmAnujar to srirangam. dhEva perumAL agrees and rAmAnujar becomes srirangavAsi. rAmAnujar gets periya thirumalai nambi to bring gOvindha bhattar (embAr) back into the srivaishnava dharmam. rAmAnujar travels to thirukkOshtiyur to learn charama slOkam from thirukkOshtiyUr nambi. He teaches the meaning to every one who came with the desire to learn that and was named emperumAnAr by thirukkOsthiyUr nambi. emperumAnAr listens thiruvAimozhi kAlakshEpam from thirumAlai AndAn. emperumAnAr learns panchamOpAya (AchArya) nishtai from thiruvaranga perumAL arayar. emperumAnAr out of his parama krupai, performs sharaNAgathi in front of namperumAL and sriranga nAchiAr on a panguni uthram day for the benefit of all of his followers. emperumAnAr is given poisoned food. ThirukkOshtiyUr nambi visits srirangam and orders kidAmbi AchAn to take care of emperumAnArs bikshai. emperumAnAr defeats yagya mUrthy in debate. yagya mUrthy becomes aruLaLa perumAL emperumAnAr and is given thiruvArAdhana kainkaryam for emperumAnArs thiruvArAdhana emperumAn. emperumAnAr instructs ananthAzhwan, etc to become aruLALa perumAL emperumAnArs sishyas. emperumAnAr sends ananthAzhwAn to thirumalai to perform nithya kainkaryam to thiruvEnkatamudayAn. emperumAnAr goes on pilgrimage and finally visits thirumalai. emperumAnAr establishes that thiruvEnkatamudayAn is a vishnu mUrthy (vigraham) and defeat the kudhrustis who claimed otherwise. He is glorified as the AchAryan of thiruvEnkatamudayAn and can be seen with a jnAna mudhrai in thirumalai.


AzhwArs glories and history

emperumAnAr thirumalai

There he hears sri rAmAyaNa kAlakshEpam from periya thirumalai nambi. emperumAnAr gives sanyAsAshramam for govindha bhattar and names him embAr. emperumAnAr visits kashmIr along with kUrathAzhwAn to bring bOdhAyana vruthi grantham. They get the grantham but the wicked pandits send their soldiers to take it away from empermAnAr. When it was lost, AzhwAn says he memorized everything. emperumAnAr with the help of AzhwAn writes sribhAshyam fulling ALavandhArs first wish. emperumAnAr visits thirukkurungudi and empeumAn becomes a sishya of emperumAnAr and gets the name srivaishnava nambi.


AzhwArs glories and history

AzhWan and AndAL, by the grace of prasAdham from namperumAL gets 2 children. emperumAnAr names them parAsAra and vEdha vyAsa fulfilling ALavandhArs second wish. embArs brother siriya gOvindha perumAL gets a child and emperumAnAr names him parAngusa nambi fulfilling ALavandhArs third wish. It is also said that emperumAnAr instructed thirukkurugai pirAn piLLAn to write a commentary for thiruvAimozhi to fulfill ALavandhArs third wish. emperumAnAr travels to thirunArAyaNa puram, establishes the temple worship there and initiates many into our sampradhAyam. emperumAnAr takes the form of 1000 headed AdhisEshan and defeats 1000 jain scholars simulataneously. emperumAnAr retrieves selvapiLLai utsava mUrthy from muslim kings daughter and performs the marriage of the muslim kings daughter and selva piLLai. emperumAnAr returns to srirangam after the saiva kings death. He instructs AzhwAn to get his eyes back by glorifying dhEva perumAL. emperumAnAr travels to thirumAlirunchOlai and offers 100 plates of akkAra adisil and 100 plates of butter as per ANdALs wish. emperumAnAr shows the greatness of piLLai urangA villi dhAsar to other srivaishnavas. emperumAnAr gives many final instructions to his sishyas. He instructs his sishyas to treat parAsara bhattar as himself. Also, He instructs parAsara bhattar to bring nanjeeyar into our sampradhAyam. Finally, meditating on ALavandhArs thirumEni, emperumAnAr completes his leelai in leelA vibhUthi and returns paramapadham to continue his leelai in nithya vibhUthi. Just like AzhwArs charama thirumEni was preserved inside the AdhinAthan temple in AzhwAr thiunagari, emperumAnArs charama thirumEni is also preserved inside the ranganAthan temple in srirangam (under the mUlavar thirumEni in emperumAnAr sannidhi). All his charama kainkaryams were done in a grand manner just like the brahmOtsavam of thiruvaranganAthan himself.

emperumAnArs unique position in our sampradhAyam

In our AchArya rathna hAram emperumAnAr is considered as the nAyaka maNi (the center piece). In charamOpAya nirNayam, nAyanAr AchAn piLLai (son of periyavAchAn piLLai) brings out the full glories of emperumAnAr. Let us see some glimpses of this magnificient grantham:

Through the words of many AchAryas (before and after emperumAnAr), emperumAnAr is proven to be the charamOpAyam for all srivaishnavas. Even though our pUrvAchAryas were fully dependent on their own AchAryas, because everyones AchAryas showed that we have to fully dependent on emperumAnAr only, emperumAnArs uththArakathvam was fully established. periyavAchAn piLLai also says in mAnikka mAlai that AchArya sthAnam is special and only emperumAnAr fully qualifies for that sthAnam. AchAryas before empeumAnAr were anuvruthi prasannAchAryas, i.e., they had to be served continuously before they will be pleased and give valuable instructions and accept sishyas. But emperumAnAr, looking at the difficulties in this kaliyugam, identified that AchAryas should be krupA mAthra prasannAchAryas, i.e., they should be full of mercy and accept sishyas purely based on the desire in the heart of the sishya.

AzhwArs glories and history

It is also explained that just like when pithrus in pithru lOkam get benefited by sath santhAnam (good offsprings) in their families and ofcourse the subsequent generations will also benefit by such persons, AchAryas before and after emperumAnAr benefit from the appearance of emperumAnAr in the srivaishnava kulam. Just like vadudhEvan/dhEvaki, nandhagOpan/yasOdhA and dhasarathan/kausalyA were blessed by giving birth to kannan emperumAn and perumAL, AchAryas before emperumAnAr were blessed by the appearance of emperumAnAr in the prapanna kulam. nammAzhwAr glorifies the appearance of emperumAnAr in poliga poliga poliga padhigam and presents the bhavishyadhAchAryan (emperumAnAr) vigraham to him even before the appearance of emperumAnAr.

bhavishyadhAchAryan AzhwArthirungari

From nAthamunigaL this thirumEni was preserved and worshipped by uyyakkondAr, maNakkAl nambi, ALavandhAr, thirukkOhstiyUr nambi, etc and finally by thiruvAimozhi piLLai and manavALa mAmunigaL in AzhwAr thiunagari bhavishyadhAchAryan sannidhi. periya nambi says that just like perumAL appeared in raghu kulam and made that kulam famous, emperumAnAr appeared in prapanna kulam and made this kulam famous. periya thirumalai nambi says to embAr that you should think that emperumAnAr thirvadigaLE thanjam and think about emperumAnAr more than myself. thirukkOshtiyUr nambi during his final days says that he was fortunate to have the relationship with emperumAnAr. Also when there is misunderstanding by thirumAlaiAndAn, thirukkOshtiyUr nambi says that you are not instructing anything new to emperumAnAr, he is sarvajnar already. Just like kannan emperumAn learnt from sAndIpani and perumAL learnt from vasishtan, emperumAnAr is learning from us.


AzhwArs glories and history

peraruLALan, periya perumAL, thiruvEnkatamudayAn, thirumAlirunchOlai azhagar, thirkkurungudi nambi, etc also highlighted the importance/glories of emperumAnAr and instructed everyone to completely depend on emperumAnAr. aruLaLa perumAL emperumAnAr, AzhwAn, ANdAn, embAr, vaduga nambi, vangi purathu nambi, bhattar, nadAthUr ammAL, nanjeeyar, nampiLLai and many other AchAryas show to their sishyas that we should always think that emperumAnAr thiruvadigaLE thanjam. It is explained that by our pUrvAchAryas that we have to think emperumAnAr as the upAyam and upEyam. This is called charamOpAya nishtai or anthimOpAya nishtai. thiruvarangathamudhanAr after being reformed by kUrathAzhwAn, developed great attachment towards emperumAnAr. He poured out his emotions in his prabhandham rAmAnusa nURRanthAdhi. A fitting glorification of emperumAnAr, this prabhandham was composed when emperumAnAr was living in srirangam and was ordered by namperumAL to be recited in front of him during his purappAdu without any other disturbances like vAdhyam, etc (which are usually present in front of any purappAdu). This prabhandham was also included as part of 4000 divya prabhandham by our pUrvAchAryas considering the glories of emperumAnAr and his contribution towards our sampradhAyam. Not only that this became to be known as prapanna gAyathri that which should be recited fully by every srivaishnava at least once a day.

manavALa mAmunigaL in upadhEsa rathina mAlai shows that our dharisanam is named as emperumAnAr dharisanam by namperumAl himself. He also says that AchAryas before emperumAnAr, were anuvruthi prasannAchAryas and were only instructing to few sishyas who served them with utmost dedication for long durations. But emperumAnAr changed the trend and showed that in this kaliyugam AchAryas should be filled with mercy. Looking at the sorrows and difficulties in the samsAram, the AchAryas should look out for individuals who simply have the desire to leave samsAram and give them the valuable meanings on the process to leave samsAram. Not only emperumAnAr himself did that, he also established 74 simhAsanAdhipathis who will propagate our sanAthana dharmam everywhere and give the mercy to every one. It is easy to speak about and summarize emperumAns vaibhavam but emperumAnArs vaibhavam is unlimited. Even he himself with his thousand tongues (as AdhisEshan) cannot speak his glories, so how can we do that to our full satisfaction. We just have to satisfy ourselves saying that some how we benefited immensely by speaking (and reading) about him today. empermAnArs thanian yOnithyam achyutha padhAmbuja yugma rukma vyAmOthas thathitharANi thrunAya mEnE asmadhgurOr bhagavathOsya dhayaikasindhO: rAmAnujasya charaNou sharaNam prapadhyE


AzhwArs glories and history

dhivya prabhandha prAmANya samarthanam

This article is based on the section that is available in 6000 padi guru paramparA prabhAvam immediately after AzhwArs' charithram, where the following principles are established:

srIman nArAyaNan's supremacy and his relationship with other dhEvathas Validtity of dhivya prabhandhams based on their glorification of srIman nArAyaNan AzhwArs' greatness and supremacy over other dhEvathas Glories of AzhwArs' irrespective of their varNam and glories of dhivya prabhandhams irrespective of their language the glories of one who fully depends on AzhwArs and their dhivya prabhandhams

The publisher of 6000 padi guru paramparA prabhAvam identifies that this section is not consistently found in the various original manuscripts and concludes that this section might have been added by later day AchAryas to firmly establish the truth in some of these matters. Let us proceed with the article now. While dhivya prabhandhams of AzhwArs who appeared as thathva dharsis (one who fully understands the truth) are considered as the most important pramANam (valid source of knowledge), they present


AzhwArs glories and history

various aspects of srIman nArAyaNan and dhEvathAntharams (other dhEvathas). Establishing that other dhEvathas are created by srIman nArAyaNan In many pAsurams, it is established by AzhwArs that all dhEvathas are created by srIman nArAyaNan. Let us see some pramANams for that here:

thiruvAimozhi - 2.2.4 - pUvil NAnmuganaip padaiththa dhEvan (

) - the god who created brahmA from his naval lotus

thiruvAimozhi - 4.10.1 - NAnmugan thannodu dhEvar ulagOduyir padaiththAn (

) - srIman nArAyaNan created brahmA,

dhEvas, all beings and the material world thiruvAimozhi - 10.10.3 - biraman chivan iNdhiranAdhikkellAm NAbikkamala mudhaRkizhanGgu ( ) - one whose naval is the root of brahmA, shiva, indhra, etc nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi - 1 - NAnmuganai NArAyanNan padaiththAn (

) - nArAyaNan created brahmA

and more Establishing that srIman nArAyaNan has given a place in his body for all dhEvathas In many pAsurams, is established by AzhwArs that bhagavAn, just like giving his chest as the residing 87

AzhwArs glories and history

place for srI mahAlakshmi who is hailed as vishNOsrIranapAyinI" (One who is the wealth of vishNu and who never separates from him), who is eternally most auspicious and is the main consort of bhagavAn, he gives place to brahmA, rudhran, etc who are situated in the mode of rajas (passon) and thamas (ignorance).

thiruvAimozhi - 1.3.9 - valaththanan thiripurameriththavan idam peRaththuNthith thalaththezhu thichaimugan (

) - srIman nArAyaNan has rudhran (the one who destroyed the 3 towns) on his

right side, in his naval he has brahmA who has 4 heads (one head per direction). thiruvAimozhi - 2.2.3 - ERanaip pUvanaip pUmagaL thannai, vERinRi vinN thozhath thannuL vaiththu ( ,

) - One who keeps rudran (rishaba vAhanan), brahmA (one who is on a flower) and
srImahA lakshmi (who residing in a flower) and is most worshippable by everyone because of this. thiruvAimohi - 4.8.1 - ERALum iRaiyOnum thichaimuganum thirumagaLum kURALum thani udamban (

) - rudhran (one who controls the rishabam), brahmA and srImahAlakshmi have their

own parts in srIman nArAyaNan' divine form and more

Establishing that all other dhEvathas worship srIman nArAyaNan In many pAsurams, it is established by AzhwArs that brahmA, rudhran, etc approach bhagavAn, offer their obeisances and glorify him.


AzhwArs glories and history

thiruvAimozhi - 2.2.10 - kaLvA emmaiyum Ezhulagum NinnuLLE thORRiya, veLLERan NAnumugan iNdhiran vAnavar puLLUrthi kazhal panNiNthu Eththuvar (

, ) - rudhran, brahmA, indhra and the dhEvas worship the

lotus feet of srIman nArAyaNan (the garuda vAhanan) and glorify him as "Oh thief! you are the one who created me and all the 7 worlds from you". thiruvAimozhi - 10.10.3 - mEvith thozhum biraman chivan iNdhiran (

) - brahmA, rudhran, indhra who fully worships srIman nArAyaNan.

irandAm thiruvanthAdhi - 12 - avar ivar enRillai aravanNaiyAn pAdham, evar vanNanGki EththAdhAr enNnNil, pavarum chezhunGkadhirOn onNmalarOn kanNnNudhalOn anRE? thozhuNthagaiyAr NALum thodarNdhu (

, , ? ) If we enquire who are all the worshippers of the lotus feet of the sEsha sAyi srIman nArAyaNan, the most popular dhEvathas like Adhithyan, brahmA, rudhran worships him and glorifies him every day. and more

Establishing that other dhEvathas are not qualified enough to glorify srIman nArAyaNan While sathvam arises in the minds of other dhEvathas, they start glorifying bhagavAn. But since bhagavAn wants to be glorified by persons who are constantly in the mode of sathvam, when other dhEvathas (who are in mixed modes of sathvam, rajas and thamas), bhagavAn does not prefer that. This is shown in the following pAsurams:

thiruvAimozhi - 3.1.7 - kEzhththa chIr aran mudhalAk kiLar dheyvamAyk kiLarNdhu chUzhththamarar thudhiththAl un tholpugazh mAchUnNAdhE (

- if brahmA, rudhran, etc (who are well knowledgable) with their capable words, glorify you, that will only minimize your natural greatness. thiruvAimozhi - 1.5.2 - NinaiNdhu NaiNdhu uLkaraiNdhu urugi imaiyOr palarum munivarum punaiNdha kanNnNi NIr chANdham pugaiyOdu ENdhi vanNanGkinAl ... un perumai mAchUnNAdhO? mAyOnE! (

... ? !) - Even if dhEvas starting

with brahmA, rudhran, etc and sanakAdhi munis meditate upon you, complete melt upon thinking your glories, worship you with flowers, water, etc., considering your glories, their worship can never be a match. thiruvAimozhi - 3.1.10 - piRaiyERu chadaiyAnum NAnmuganum iNdhiranum iRaiyAdhal aRiNdhEththa vIRRiruththal idhu viyappE? (

?) - Since rudhran
who has a crescent in his matted hair, brahmA, indhran are created by srIman nArAyaNan himself, even if they understand emperumAn's supremacy and glorify him, that will not add any new glories to him (since their knowledge is limited and bhagavAn's glories are unlimited). But you accept their glories out of your kindness since they have taken shelter of you. 89

AzhwArs glories and history

Establishing that other dhEvathas are sarIram of srIman nArAyaNan

thiruvAimozhi - 3.5.8 - NaLirmadhich chadaiyan engO? NAnmugak kadavuL engO? ( ? ?) - Can I say you are the one with the cool crescent on the matted hair (rudhran)? Can I say you are the one who is the father of rudhran (brahmA)? thiruvAimozhi 6.9.1 - chivanAy ayanAnAy ( ) - You became shivan and brahmA. thiruvAimozhi - 7.6.7 - en thirumArban thannai, en malaimagaL kURan thannai, enRum en NAmagaLai agampAl konNda NAnmuganai ( ,

, ) - One
how has srI mahAlakshmi in his chest, One who has pArvathi as his better half (of the body) and one who is the husband of saraswathi. thiruvAimozhi - 10.10.1 - muniyE NAnmuganE mukkanNnNappA (

) - Oh the one who is constantly meditating for the upliftment of jIvAthmAs!

Oh the four faced brahmA! Oh the 3 eyed rudhrA! Thus AzhwArs have presented many different ideas about srIman nArAyaNan in relation to other dhEvathas right from the beginning, in the middle and in the end. Can we trust such dhivya prabhandhams as the most important pramANam for us? Yes. We can trust their words. Let us see how. Trustworthy nature of AzhwArs' words due to their affiliation to vEdham/vEdhAntham AzhwArs right upfront establish their vairAgyam (detachment) towards other dhEvathas in many pAsurams.

thiruvAsiriyam - 6 - OO! ulaginadhu iyalvE! InROL irukka manNai NIrAtti, padaiththidaNdhu unNdumizhNdhaLaNdhu thErNdhu ulagaLikkum muthaRperum kadavuL NiRpa, pudaip pala thAn aRi dheyvam pEnNudhal, thanAdhu pullaRivu AnNmai poruNdhak kAtti (!

! , , , ) The nature of this samsAram (material world) is very pathetic. When ones own mother is present, ignoring her, the less intelligent people will be decorating and worshipping a woodenplank. The same way, when srIman nArAyaNan who first created the universe, rescued it from the ocean, protected the universe by keeping it in his stomach safely, etc., is present, the less intelligent people reveal their lack of intelligence by worshipping/glorifiying other dhEvathas who themselves were created.. thiruvAsiriyam - 7 - em perumA mAyanai allathu orumA dheyvam maRRudaiyamO yAmE (

) - Do I have

any other dheivam other than the great srIman nArAyaNan). nAnumugan thiruvanthAdhi - 84 - pidhirum manamilEn pinYchagan thannOdu ethirvan avan enakku NErAn ( 90

AzhwArs glories and history

) - I am firmly confident that rudhran who sings emperumAn's glories (when his sathva

guNam arises) is not an equal to me since I am constantly situated in sathva guNam. periya thirumozhi - 8.10.3 - maRRumOr dheyvam uLadhenRu iruppArOdu uRRilEn ( ) - I will not associate with the ones who accept other dhEvathas. thiruvAimozhi - 1.1.7 - uLan chudarmigu churuthiyuL ( ) - shining brightly in vEdham which is both nithyam (eternal) and apaurushEyam (authorless/defectless). thiruvAimozhi - 2.8.6 - thIrththan ulagaLaNdha chEvadimEl pUNthAmam chErththi avaiyE chivan mudimEl thAn kanNdu pArththan theLiNdhozhiNdha paiNthuzhAyAn perumai pErththum oruvarAl pEchak kidaNdhadhE? ( ?) - When arjunan wanted to blessed by shiva with some weapons in the battle field, he asks krishNan what to do. krishNan simply asks him to worship his most pure and auspicious lotus feet (that measured the universe) with some flowers and in the night shivan appears in arjunan's dream and shows him carrying those same flowers in his head and blessed him the weapons. Thus it is shown that srIman nArAyaNan's supremacy is well established. and many more.

Thus AzhwArs established through various words from vEdham and various incidents that srIman nArAyaNan is the supreme god and all other dhEvathas are subservient to him. This is established in varAha purANam in the following slOkam: yadhEtha paramam brahma lOkE vEdhEshu patyathE sa dhEva: punNdarikAkshas svayam nArAyanNa: para:

: : :
srIman nArAyaNan (puNdarikAkshan - the lotus eyed) is the supreme god who is seen in the vEdham and in the entire universe. periyAzhwAr also established that srIman nArAyaNan's supremacy in the king's court in front of many great scholars and got the reward from the madhurai king. He established that using verses from vEdham and great sages.

periyAzhwAr being honoured by the king after establishing vishNu parathvam 91

AzhwArs glories and history

vishNu purANam para: parAnNAm purushO yasya thushtO jaNArthdhaNa: sa prApNOthyakshayam sthANamEthath sathyam mayOdhitham

: :
If janArdhanan who is greatest amongst everyone and who is known as purusha gets pleased with anyone, he achieves the eternal spiritual planet. I am confidently declaring this. mahAbhAratham NAsthi NArAyanNa samO Na bhUthO Na bhavishyathi EthENa sathya vAkyENa sarvArththAN sAdhayAmyaham

There never was some one equal to NArAyaNan, there never is and there never will be. I can accomplish everything using these most truthful words. Thus based on the above pramANams, we can see that, AzhwArs are fully following what is said in vEdham and are never bound to the any defects. We can also understand that they would not display any inconsistency in their words. The reason why we see the various pAsurams on the relationship between srIman nArAyaNan and other dhEvathas is due to the nature and activities of these other dhEvathas. Let us see that now. The nature of other dhEvathas brahmA, shiva are subjected to karmA (repeated birth/death cycle based on ones own actions). They achieve their position by great penances and are rewarded their posts by srIman nArAyaNan for their efforts. This is explained in the following 2 slOkams: mahAbhAratham yuga kOti sahasrAnNi vishnNum ArAdhya padhmabhU: puNas thrailOkya dhAthruthvam prApthavAN ithi chusruma

It is heard that brahmA who was born from the lotus flower of srI mahAvishNu worships vishNu for 1000 crore yugams and again becomes the main progenitor and heads the material creation.


AzhwArs glories and history

mahAbhAratham mahAdhEvas sarvamEdhE mahAthmA huthvASSthmANam dhEvadhEvO bhabhUva

shiva who is a mahAthmA offers himself in the sarvamEdha yAgam and becomes the lord of lords. Thus, the various relationships between srIman nArAyaNan and other dhEvathas, as presented by AzhwArs are perfectly valid based on the following:

these dhEvathas worship srIman nArAyaNan and are given their great positions to enjoy the result of their penances by bhagavAn, their value of existence will diminish when they ignore bhagavAn when their sathva guNam arises they will be qualified to glorify bhagavAn since they act against bhagavAn when their rajO/thamO guNam arises their glorification of bhagavAn is not much preferred by bhagavAn, and since their svarUpam, sustenance, action and inaction are fully dependent on bhagavAn as the sarIram (body) fully depends on the jIvAthma/sarIri (soul).

srIman nArAyaNan himself declares: Eka Eva jagathsvAmI chakthimAN achyutha: prabhu: thadham chAchchakthimaNthOSNyE brahmEchANAdhayOSmarA:

: : S S:
Achyuthan is the only master/controller of the whole creation and is fully capable. brahmA, shiva, etc have certain powers/capabilities (which are a miniscule fraction of bhagavAn) and are bhagavAn's amsams (forms). Thus, we can conclude that AzhwArs' dhivya prabhandhams are the most important pramANams based on the above explanations. There are many slOkams from shruthi, smrithi, purANams, ithihAsams, etc that establish that srIman nArAyaNan's antharyAmithvam for all other dhEvathas. Let us see them now: vishNu purANam sa Eva srujyas sa cha sargga karththA sa Eva pAthyaththi cha pAlyathE cha brahmAdhyavasthApir achEshamUrththir vishnNur varishtO varadhO varEnNya:


AzhwArs glories and history

The created beings are also him (his own forms); The creators like brahmA, etc are also him; He is the one who sustains the universe; He is the one who swallows the universe; He is the one who is being sustained. vishNu, the one who has everything as his body is the most supreme; the one who can benedict; the one who is fit enough to be worshipped. kalpANthE rudhrarUpI yOgrasathE sakalam jagath thamAdhyam purusham vishnNum pranNathOSsmi jaNArthdhaNam

I surrender unto janArdhanan/vishNu who is the primordial being who takes the form of rudhran at the end of the kalpam (during praLayam) and destroys everything. vishNu purANam srushti sthithi aNthakaranNIm brahma vishnNu chivAthmakAm sa samjnYAm yAthi bhagavANEka Eva jaNArthdhaNa:

janArdhanan (srIman nArAyaNan) gets the names brahmA, vishNu, shiva while performing the duties of creation, sustenance and destruction respectively. thiruvAimozhi 2.7.12 dhAmOdharan uruvAgiya chivaRkum thichaimugaRkum

shiva, brahma who are various forms of dhAmOdharan (one who was bound by yasOdhai on his waist). thiruvAimozhi 1.1.8 aran ayan ena ulagazhiththu amaiththuLanE

When bhagavAn is paramAthmA and these other dhEvathas are his sarIram (body), sometimes they themselves are directly indicated as him because when something is mentioned about the body it leads up to the soul (its actually intertwined). When a person says "I am fat, I am thin" himself and others say "You have become fat, You have lost weight" - I and You refers to the AthmA (soul) and fat and thin refers to the body. Similarly, if these dhEvathas are explained/glorified some times it goes all the way to


AzhwArs glories and history

the paramAthmA (super soul) who controls these dhEvathas. AzhwArs present bhagavAn as chEthanams (sentients) and achEthanams (insentients) in many pAsurams.

thiruvAimozhi - 10.4.1 - NIr vAnam manN eri kAlAy NinRa NEmiyAn (

) - srIman nArAyaNan who is the holder of chakram manifests

himself as the panch bhUthams (five gross elements - water, sky, earth, fire and air) thiruvAimozhi - 10.10.10 - chUzhNdhaganRAzhNdhuyarNdha mudivil perum pAzhEyO! chUzhNdhadhanil periya para Nanmalarch chOdhIyO! chUzhNdhadhanil periya chudar jnYAna inbamEyO! ( !

! !) - You are the one who is manifesting yourself as this great prakruthi (matter);
You are the one who is manifesting as this innumerable number of jIvAthmAs! You are the paramAthmA who is the benedictor of the ultimate bliss mudhal thiruvanthAdhi - 15 - mudhalAvAr mUvarE; ammUvaruLLum mudhalAvAn mUri NIr vanNnNan ( ;

) - brahmA, vishNu, shiva are the main deities; of those 3, srIman nArAyaNan - the one who looks like a beautiful cloud (both for the color and the generosity) is the controller of the other two.
AzhwArs present srIman nArAyaNan as everything based on the following: shruthi (vEdha) vAkyam - bruhadhAraNyaka upanishadh yasya AthmA charIram; yasya pruthivI charIram

Supreme god is the one who has all sentients as his body and all insentients as his body. bhagavAn's own words in varAha charama slOkam: vichvarUpanYcha mAmajam

I am the one who has the whole world as my body and I am the unborn AzhwArs also establish srIman nArAyaNan's parathvam (supremacy) and sarva antharyAmithvam (him being the super soul of everyone/everything) based on his showing of vishwarUpam for arjunan in the kurukshEthra battle field.


AzhwArs glories and history

hari vamsam ka ithi brahmanNO NAma IchOSham sarva dhEhiNAm AvAm thavAnGgE sambhUthau thasmAth kEchavaNAmavAN S rudhran's words - ka represents brahmA; I am the master of the ones who are focussed on their bodies. We are born from you - so you are called kEsava (the master/controller of brahmA and Isa). pAdhENa kamalAbhENa brahma rudhrArchchithENa cha pasparcha punNdarIkAksha: chichOrApAdhamasthakam

puNdarikAkshan (krishNan) touched parIkshith's head to foot with his lotus feet that was worshipped by brahmA and rudhran. Thus, we can see that sruthi, smruthi, ithihAsa, purANas establish that all the dhEvathas are


AzhwArs glories and history

subservient to srIman nArAyaNan, they worship him and their everything depend on his will. paramAthmA parO yOSsau NArAyanNa samAhvaya: thasyANapAyiNI chakthir dhEvI thadhdharma dharminNI

S :
srI mahAlakshmi never separates from srIman nArAyaNan who is the most supreme; she is his dear consort, his power potency and has the same qualities like him. It is shown in the sAsthram that these other dhEvathas also exist on bhagavAn's divine form. Do they reside on his form always like srI mahAlakshmi as explained in the previous slOkam? They will stay on bhagavAn's divine form for their sustenance. This is one of the greatest qualities sauseelyam (magnanimity) of bhagavAn and contemplating this great quality, AzhwArs praise him often for this act of him. This is explained by AzhwArs in the following pAsurams: thiruvAimozhi - 9.3.10 thALa thAmaraiyAn unadhuNdhiyAn vALkoL NILmazhuvALi unnAgaththAn ALarAyth thozhuvArum amarargaL NALum en pugazhgO una chIlamE?

How can I glorify your magnanimity? You are presenting yourselves to brahmA (who is in the lotus flower and has taken up your naval as his residence), rudhran (who holds an axe and has taken up your right side as his residence), nithya sUris who contantly serve you and dhEvas who are always looking some material benediction from you. Even if I constantly glorify you, I will not be satisfied. periya thirumozhi - 9.6.1 akkum puliyin adhaLum udaiyAr avar oruvar pakkam NiRka NinRa panNbar


AzhwArs glories and history

The most auspicious one who is filled with good qualities due to him allowing rudhran to stand next to him in thirukkurungudi. This principle of bhagavAn giving his form as the residence for other dhEvathas is explained using an example. bhattar explains to NanjIyar that "During kalahams (floods or disturbance from invaders), every one (irrespective of their nature) will come and stay inside the adayavaLaindhAn layer/fort in srIrangam. Once normality returns, every one will return to their residences outside, but even in their absence, the place where they resided will be identified as their past residence. Similarly, even though bhagavAn gives his body as the residence for these dhEvathas at times, even when they are not there, that place is identified as the residence place of those dhEvathas". So far, we have seen that AzhwArs presented the core principles of vEdham/vEdhAntham, i.e., srIman nArAyaNan is the supreme god and all other dhEvathas are subservient to him.

AzhwArs identify that whatever explained previously in case of other dhEvathas is also applicable for evey one of us. Let us see how:

thiruvAimozhi - 1.4.9 - vAdAtha malaradikkIzh vaikkavE vagukkinRu (

) - Our true nature is to serve emperumAn by

offering fresh flowers to his fresh lotus feet thiruvAimozhi - 2.7.11 - ennaiyAkkikkonNdu () - after creating me and accepting me thiruvAimozhi - 3.2.1 - aNNAL NI thaNdha Akkaiyin vazhi uzhalvEn (

) - I become subservient to the body that was given

to me by you


AzhwArs glories and history

thiruvAimozhi - 8.7.1 - ennaith than ponnadik kIzh iruththi (

) - Keeping me at his golden feet

thiruvAimozhi - 6.10.1 - kulathol adiyEn ( ) - I am born in a family in which served you for many many generations thiruvAimozhi - 9.2.1 - kudikudi vazhi vaNdhu Atcheyyum thonNdar (

) - Servitor in family which served emperumAn for

many many generations thiruvAimozhi - 1.5.1 - aruvinaiyEn kaLavEzh venNnNey thoduvunNda kaLvA enban ( ) - I (who is unqualified to glorify him) will pretend to be his mother yasOdhai and chastise him for stealing butter and more

Through the above pAsurams, we can understand that AzhwArs (all pAsurams happens to be from nammAzhwAr) have stated that he is also given his body by bhagavAn, he is also given a place in bhagavAn's sarIram, he also worships srIman nArAyaNan, he is also not qualified to glorify bhagavAn, etc - i.e., the qualities that were explained for other dhEvathas are not unique to them and are common for all jIvAthmAs. But, are AzhwArs the same as dhEvathas? Ofcourse not. AzhwArs are far greater than other dhEvathas. Let us see how:

dhEvathas (brahmA, rudhran, etc) are given their position based on their karmam. AzhwArs were personally hand-picked from samsAram by emperumAn out of his desire to reform many jIvAthmAs. dhEvathas reside in bhagavAn's form during praLayam for protection. AzhwArs are glorified as "NIkkamillAvadiyAr" ( ) - those who are never separated from bhagavAn. dhEvathas are called servitors of bhagavAn only because they glorify him when sathva guNam (mode of goodness) arises in them. AzhwArs are fully situated in sudhdha sathvam (pure goodness) and are constantly engaged in kainkaryam without any break. When dhEvathas become affected with rajO/thamO guNam they sometimes ask "Who is that vishNu?" and at times even fight with bhagavaN like it happened during bANAsura charithram where rudhran fought against krishna bhagavAn.

Thinking about all of these, thirumazhisai AzhwAr sung "pidhirum manamilEn pinYchagan thannOdu ethirvan avan enakku NErAn" where he himself says he is greater than rudhran because he is constantly thinking about srIman nArAyaNan. Thus, we can understand that AzhwArs are far greater than other dhEvathas. Establishing that AzhwArs' varNam and the language of dhivya prabhandhams does not minimize the glories of dhivya prabhandhams But, How can we understand that dhivya prabhandhams to be equivalent to samskritha vEdham (which is nithyam - eternal, apuarushEyam - not compiled by any one and

AzhwArs glories and history nirdhOsham - no defects). dhivya prabhandhams are in thamizh language (instead of the dhEva bhAshai samskritham) and that are sung (some) AzhwArs who are not born in brAmaNa varNam. It can be compared easily - let us see how. If the dhivya prabhandhams were sung by brAhamaNa AzhwArs only, only brAhmaNas will be able to understand that and attain salvation and the others may not be able to relate to that and benefit. Also, since prapathi is sarvAdhikAram (any one can perform prapathi) and dhivya prabandhams fully focus on prapathi, emperumAn facilitated AzhwArs to be born in different varNams for the upliftment of samsAris who are immersed in this ocean of samsAram. Even though dhivya prabhandhams are in thamizh which is not hailed as dhEva bhAshai as in the case of samskritham, they are great due to the following aspects:

mathsya purANam - harikIrththim viNaivANyath brAhmanNENa NarOththama; bhAshAgANam Na gAthavyam thasmAth pApam thvayA krutham (

; ) - Oh best of men! Except while glorifying lord

vishNu, poems/songs in other languages cannot be uttered; But since you punished the ones who were glorifying Lord vishNu (in other languages) you have acquired sins for that. Since, nammAzhwAr said "vadamozhi maRai" ( ) in thiruvAimozhi 8.9.7 - northern language (samkritha) vEdham, it is clear that there is southern language (dhrAvida) vEdham (which is thiruvAimozhi and other 3 prabhandhams of nammAzhwAr). Since nammAzhwAr says "poyyil pAdal" ( ) in thiruvAimozhi 4.3.11 which means his pAsurams are fully truth and not mixed with any lies. As azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr identifies in AchArya hrudhayam "Agasthiyamum aNAdhi" ( ) - thamizh language which was taught by agasthya muni is also beginningless (similar to samskritham)

apaurushEyathvam (not created by any one) is one of the unique qualities of vEdham. When something is created by some one it will be bound by the limitations of the creator. Even if bhagavAn himself creates some scripture, some one could say it will have his own personal influence (which is actually good). But since vEdham is not created by any one (including bhagavAn), it has free from all defects (nirdhOsham). Here it is established that AzhwArs dhivya prabhandhams are also free from all defects.

As nammAzhwAr himself says in thiruvAimozhi - 10.7.5 - "yAnAyththannaith thAn pAdith thennAvennum ammAn" ( ) - srIman nArAyaNan sung on himself through the mouth of nammAzhwAr and gets blissful. Since bhagavAn is called sthava priya (in vishNu sahasranAmam), he likes to be glorified and he glorifies himself through AzhwArs. As thirumangai AzhwAr says in periya thirumozhi - 5.7.3 - "annamAy anRanGku arumaRai payaNdhAn" ( ) 100

AzhwArs glories and history bhagavAn appears as a divine swan and reveals the vEdham to brahmA and as bhagavAn appears as vyAsar (shakthi AvEsha avathAram) and explains the vEdham in detail, he reveals the dhrAvida vEdham through AzhwArs. Thus it is explained that dhivya prabhandham is also apaurushEyam and defectless. Just like samskritha vEdham, dhivya prabhandhams are also nithyam (eternal). Let us see how:

As per suptha prabhudhdha ( ) nyAyam, when a teacher teaches to his students every day after awakening the students from sleep - their teaching is considered as continuous, bhagavAn periodically wakes up jIvAthmAs through AzhwArs with the eternal dhivya prabhandham. Just like bhagavAn preserves vEdham in his heart during praLayam and reveals them it brahmA, etc., dhivya prabhandhams are also revealed in every chatur yugam through AzhwArs.

Thus dhivya prabhandhams also are as valid as vEdham itself with respect to apuarushEyathvam, nithyathvam and nirdhOshathvam. Now, Let us see that dhivya prabhandhams are in fact much greater than samskritha vEdham. In bhagavath gIthai, kaNNan emperumAn declares that "thraigunNya vishayA vEdhA:" ( :) meaning samskritha vEdham is meant for people of all modes (sathvam, rajas and thamas). But dhivya prabhandhams are presented by AzhwArs who were divinely blessed with blemishless knowledge by bhagavAn himself for the whole purpose of uplifting jIvAthmAs from this samsAram and leading them in to the path of emancipation through prapathi (surrender). So, it is fully meant for people who want to be fully situated sudhdha sathvam (pure goodness). Thus dhivya prabhandhams are far greater than samskritha vEdham. archAvathAra upAdhANa vaishNava uthpaththi chiNthaNam mAthruyONi parIkshayAs thulyamAhur maNIshinNa:

The learned people state that "analysing archAvathAra emperumAn based on the raw material (metal, wood, stone, etc) and the qualities of a vaishnava based on his birth are considered as doubting the chastity of ones own mother (which is very cruel)". The same principle is explained by azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr beautifully in his AchArya hrudhayam 75th chUrNikai as: vIttinbha inbhappAkkaLil dhravya bhAshA NirUpanNa samam inbha mAriyil ArAychchi


AzhwArs glories and history

(mAmunigaL beautifully explains this in his vyAkyAnam as follows. emperumAn out of his causeless mercy descend into the temples and homes of his most dear devotees who melt by simply hearing about him. He takes the form that is desired by his devotees. AzhwArs are most dear to bhagavAn because they were hand picked by bhagavAn from this samsAram and blessed by him and thus became so attached to him. Their dhivya prabhandhams are glorified by great intellects like srIman nAthamunigaL, srI yAmunAchAryar, srI rAmAnujar, etc. Thus having any misconception in archAvathAra emperumAns based on the raw material that is used to make the divine vigraham, AzhwArs because of their varNam and their dhivya prabhandhams based on their language is considered very cruel.) Thus it is fully established that dhivya prabhandhams are most glories and are the most valid pramANams for us to accept and follow. AzhwArs' bhagavath dharshanam Did AzhwArs see emperumAn in prathyaksham (directly) or in mAnasa/jnAna sAkshAthkAram? It is jnAna sAkshAthkAram only and not direct vision. But sometimes we see AzhwArs saying in thiruvAimozhi 1.9.9"kamalak kanNnNan en kanNnNinuLLAn kAnNban" ( ) - puNdarikAkshan is within my eyes and I am seeing him, thiruvAimozhi 5.5.1 "Nambiyai NAn kanNdapin" (

) - After seeing thirukkuRungudi nambi, etc. Those are all jnAna sAkshAthkAram
(vision in mind) which is equivalent to direct vision. In many pAsurams AzhwArs crave for a direct vision of emperumAn. In thiruvAimozhi 4.7.10 nammAzhwAr says "pakkam NOkki NinRalaNdhEn pAviyEn kAnNginRilEn" (

) - I was looking for your arrival and being

very unfortunate, unable to see you. He shows great desire to see emperumAn directly. In thiruvAimozhi 4.7.4 "kAnNa vaNdhu en kanN mugappE" ( ) pAsuram he says that even brahmA, rudhran, etc cannot directly see emperumAn and him desiring to have that dharshan is not reasonable. But in the next pAsuram "appanE adalAzhiyAnE" ( ) itself he cries out "Because of your glorious generosity and since you are capable of removing any hurdles, please present your beautiful form in front of me". Finally in 4.7.10 he first says "kAnNginRilEn" () saying he still does not see emperumAn directly and finishes the pAsuram saying "thakka jnYAnak kanNgaLAlE kanNdu thazhuvuvanE" (

) - I will see him with my inner eyes and embrace him. Thus we can understand
that AzhwArs saw emperumAn through their inner eyes and not external eyes. This is what is explained by azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr in AchArya hrudhayam chUrNikai 230


AzhwArs glories and history "kanNdEn enRa paththum utkanNnNAlE" ( ) meaning 10 places where AzhwAr identifies that he saw emperumAn relates to mAnasa sAkshAthkAram (inner vision only). (mAmunigaL in his vyAkyAnam, most beautifully brings out the 10 places where AzhwAr says he saw emperumAn). This is the principle of sudhdha sampradhAyam as taught by our pUrvAchAryas. nammAzhwAr, thirumangai AzhwAr, mudhalAzhwArs, etc., identified in their pAsurams that they saw emperumAn only through their inner eyes. Now, archAvathAra emperumAns is the only place where prathyaksha dharshanam (direct vision) is possible.

Thus, the ones who are fully faithful towards AzhwArs (who are most glorious, who are the leaders of prapanna kulam, who appeared for the upliftment of everyone and who blessed us with their dhrAvida vEdham which can be easily understood by everyone) are called jIvan mukthars (Note: this is to highlight the glories of srIvaishnavas as it is explained by AzhwArs themselves as nilath thEvar/bhUsurar - sUris of this world - this is not the same jIvan mukthar concept of advaitham). Those srIvaishNavas who have given up any interest in heretical doctrines and materialistic aspirations, who are so fixed in sAsthram that they do not give up their AchAram/anushtAnam even when their life is under threat, being subservient to bhagavAn vishNu instead of their own senses, always contemplating on the true knowledge about the jIvAthmA, giving up violence fully and being situated in full control over their senses, being merciful towards all living beings, giving up all attachment towards lust and wealth, being full realised, being content, having good control over the prasAdham (food) they consume, not being coward and at the same time not being angry, not having mamakAram towards wife and children, etc are considered to be jIvan mukthars as nammAzhwAr said in thiruvAimozhi 5.5.11 "aRiyakkaRRuvallAr AzhkadalnYAlaththuLLE vaittanNavar" (

) - the one who knows the core principles of

thiruvAimozhi and lives by that are great vaishNavas in this world itself.


AzhwArs glories and history Thus, AzhwArs, out of their mercy, blessed us these dhivya prabhandhams for the upliftment of everyone in this world and then ascended to paramapadham. Thus ends this beautiful section named dhivya prabhandha prAmANya samarthanam in 6000 padi guru paramparA prabhAvam.