Friday, February 2, 2007

Kulasekhara Azwar




Period 8th C. AD
Place Thirvanjikkolam
Other Names Kollikkaavalan, Koodal Naayagan, Koyikone, Villavar Kone, Cheyralar Kone
Month Maasee
Star (Natshatram) Punar Poosam (Punarvasu)
Hamsam Kaustubha (Gem Necklace)



Chera Nadu is otherwise called as "Malai Nadu", which is rich in wealth and is surrounded by big beautiful mountains and rivers. In this Chera Nadu, lots of Elephants are found as cows found in Thondai Nadu. All the people found in this empire are said to be great warriors. Not only in war, but also in education and the way they led the country and their life. Chera Nadu was ruled by Chera Kings, who ruled for more decades. They led the empire in peace and made the life of the people happy.

In that generation, a king by named "Thidaviradhan", ruled the Chera Empire, who had a great bhakti towards Sriman Narayanan. He gave proper respect and gave lots of valuable things to Vishnu bhaktas. As the kind of life by the king, as the Hamsam of Sri Vishnu's Sri Kousthu, a baby was born in Prabhava year, Maasi month, Sukla Dvadesi, friday in Punarpoosa Natshatram (Star). Since, the child was born as the result of Vishnu bhakti of the king, it look very bright and beautiful.

As the birth of child, the entire empire celebrated his birth and after 10 days, the child was kept the name "Kulasekaran". He did all the mischief things in the childhood days what a child does generally. But, at the same time, he learnt all the important issues and also learnt the Sanskrit language, which is said as the Veda Mozhi (Vedic language). He was not only taught with the studies, but also with various warfare skills like horse riding, Elephant ride, practiced the sword fight, Gadhai and Chariot riding. He was very well taught with studies and also with various fighting aspects for war.

After attaining the proper age, he was given the throne and led the Chera Nadu, better than his father led. He also gave the proper respect to the Vishnu bhaktas and made the people very happy. He fought with great speed in the war and defeated all the opposing kings. On seeing this, the Chozha kings and Pandiya kings got jealous on him and tried to defeat him in the war. But, Kulasekarar with his mighty soldiers and army defeated them and extended his empire towards Chozha Nadu.

On seeing the greatness and the masculine character of Kulasekarar, Pandiyan king married her daughter to Kulasekarar. After getting married, he led his life with his wife and along with the war and capturing the various empires. But, seeing all this, the Emperumaan who is on the Paambanai (Perumal found on the Aadhiseshan using him as his bed) wanted to make kulasekarar to get out from the Maayai and wanted him to lead an spiritual life.

But the life of Kulasekarar went on as this and one fine day, he got irritated for his leading of life and felt sorry for the lives he had killed in the war. This made him to think about Sriman Narayanan and thought that he should lead his life by being useful to others and at the same time he should spread the Vishnu Bhakti in the midst of human life.

He was really worried that he should have not born in a rich family, but instead he might have born in an unwealthy family, so that he could not lead a luxurious life. He even thought that he might have born as a fish in any of the Punniya theerthams, so that he might have a close relationship with the Perumal.

This thought didn't stop, it extended assuming him (Kulasekarar) as the mother (Devaki) of Sri Kannan, he explained the childhood leelas of Sri Krishnar. He explained his leelas as :

"Thann Am Thamaraik Kannane! Kanna
Thavazhtu Ezhundhu Thalarndhu Oar Nadayaal
Mannil Sempodi Aadivandhu Enthan
Maarbil Mannidam Petrilen! Andho!
Vanna Chemsiru Kaiviral Anaithum
Vaari Vaaikkonda Adisilin Micchil
Unnaip Petrilen oh! Keduvinaiyen
Ennai Enseip Petradhu Em Moyae"!

In this, Kulasekarar thinks Sri Kannan as his child and explains him about his childhood leelas. He started to love the God and it extended so well.

Because of his great bhakti, he did lots of Dhaanams to Vishnu bhaktas. He praised the Perumal by praising and satisfying his bhaktas.

Kulasekarar had a great attention towards hearing the purana stories. He called up lots of old persons and heard lots of old stories and the thathuvam in it. He gave lots of prizes to the old person. Likewise, one day an old yogi was called to say a story in the puranas.

The old yogi told the story of Ramayana and the way of life led by Sri Ramar. On hearing the story of Sri Ramar, Kulasekarar as he was deeply attracted by the life of Sri Ramar, his eyes started to release water and he was totally surrounded towards Sri Ramar.

The next day, the old yogi explained about the war scene that happened in Ramayana. In that he explained, that Lakshmanan was asking for the permission to fight with the Rakshasas who had come against them. But, at that time Sri Ramar stopped him not to go to fight with them, but asks him to stay as the protection for Seetha amd came out from the hut. On seeing Sri Ramar, Soorpanaka roared at all of the Rakshasas that Rama has come out and asked Rakshasas to surround him. They all surrounded Rama with sharp weapons in their hands.

On hearing the story of Sri Ramar and he was deeply attracted by this scene, Kulasekarar thought that there is something harm is going to happen for Sri Ramar and quickly went out from that place and ordered his army to get ready for the war.

But, the army was amazed and surprised that why and with whom they are going to raise the war, since the choza and Pandiya kings who are treated as their enemy are being quiet at that time. But, they have to obey the orders of their king and prepared all the horses and Elephants for the war.

But the Ministers understood the event. They realised that Kulasekhara got emotional and so they asked the Yogi to tell the subsequent events in the story so that Kulasekhara could get to know that the war with Rama was already over.

The yogi completed the story saying Sri Ramar, single handedly defeated all the Rakshasas. On hearing this and the greatness of Sri Ramar, he was very much pleased and ordered his army to get back to barracks. This explains about great bhakti of Kulasekarar towards the Emperumaan.

Days passed. Kulasekhara was continuing to be more devotional than ruling the country.

One day he found that some of the jewels adorning his Lord were missing. Kulasekarar was angered by seeing the ornaments having been stolen. He wanted to know who had done that. Since the Minisiters wanted to turn the Kings attention away from Vishnu and Vishnu Bhaktas, they said that the ornaments were stolen only by the Vishnu Bhaktas. But, kulasekarar refused to believe since he had a great faith in them. He ordered for a pot filled with snakes.

He told his Ministers that he is going to put his own hand inside the pot and if the Vishnubhaktas had stolen the jewels as was mentioned by the Ministers, then let the snakes bite his hand. And if not, they would not bite his hand.

God wanted the truth to come out. When Kulasekhara inserted his hand into the vessel, the snakes did not do any harm. The ministers then came out with truth. Kulasekhara wanted the Ministers to say sorry to Vishnubhaktas whom they defamed. This act of Kulasekarar explains how dedicated he is towards Vaishnavism and to the Vishnu bhaktas.

In honor of Sri Rama, Kulasekhara wrote "Perumal Thirumozhi", 105 Pasurams.


Perumal here means Sri Rama of whom Alvar was a great devotee. Thirumozhi is Alvar’s holy sayings.

Following are the titles under which he has composed the hymns with most of them with 10 hymns or pasurams under each title or group. Some have been sampled to show the meaning and richness of composition in imagination and bhakti.

1. Alvar is longing for darshan of Lord at Srirangam

He wants to join devotees and lose himself in Darshan of the Lord with tears of joy flowing in his eyes, his mind melting in devotion to the Lord etc. He says he wants to roll on the dust of holy devotees’ feet on the floor in temple.

2. In this group Alvar is proclaiming himself to be mad after Sri Azhagiya Manavala Perumal ( Another name of Sri Ranganatha) whose temple is found on opposite bank of Cauvery and Srirangam in place called Uraiyur, Near Trichy Tamilnadu.

In one of the Pasurams, Alvar says that he finds the worldly folk is like a spirit (Pey ) that is non-existent to him as he is a spirit to the common folk immersed in worldly matters . He does not wish to speak on this and calling O Ranga, O protector he has become a spirit immersed in Bhakti to the Lord.

4. Alvar says that it is satisfying for him to be born and live in holy Thiruvengadam ( Thirumala hills, Thirupathi.)

In one of the hymns ( Pasuram ), Alvar he likes to be born as the doorstep in Lord Venkateswara’s temple. The step crossed by devotees, celestials and nymphs like Rambha so alvar can constantly be looking at the red lips of the Lord, which resemble Red Coral Even today, the innermost step in front of The Lord Venkatesha of Tirumalai at the sanctum sanctorum is known as KULASHEKHARA PADI, after the Alvar.

5. In these pasurams Alvar prays to Lord at Vitthvakkodu in Kerala Alvar’s family deity. These are soaked in devotion and shows the utter helplessness of Alvar who is dependent on Divine Mercy for existence.

In one of the pasurams, Alvar compares himself to a sick patient who is totally dependent on his Apothecary (vaidyan ) The latter may by way of treatment cut by knife (operation ) burn diseased location patient does not lose his goodwill or faith in him. Similarly, even if God gives him difficulties / sorrow Alvar is looking forward to His Grace to alleviate his suffering.

6. This group is on Gopikas chastising the Lord for having deluded them.

7. This group is on lamentation of Mother Devaki on deprivation of the pleasure of the bringing up the child Krishna, which fell to the lot of Mother Yashoda.

8. This group is the famous Lullaby sung on Lord of Thirukkannapuram, whom Alvar sees as child Sri Rama.These are very popular and sung by many young mothers for their babes.

9. Dasharatha is lamenting the Lord Rama’s entering the Forest.

10. Alvar while worshipping Lord Govindaraja of Chidambaram , sees Lord Rama in him and sung the epic of Ramayana in these 11 pasurams.

These are titles of pasurams soaked in Devotion by Mahatma Sri Kulashekhara Alvar




KumbhE Punarvasubhavam KeraLE ChoLa PattaNE
KaustubhAmsham DharAdheesham KulashekaramAshrayE

Today Maasi punarvasu is Sri KulasEkara PerumAn
Thirunakshathram.

Ponpuraiyum kulasEkaranE MAASIP
Punarpoosatthezhil vanjik kaLatthut thOnRi
anbudanE num perumAL sempoRkOil
anaitthulagin peruvaazhvum, adiyaar thangaL
inbamigu perunkuzhuvunkaaNa maNmEl
iruLiriya venReduttha visaiyiR chonna
nunporuL sErthirumozhi nOORainthu (105) paattum
nunRaaga enakkaruL sey nulgi neeyE? [from Swamy
Desikan?s prabandha saaram- 8the verse]

GushyathEyasya nagarE rangayaathrA dhinE dhinE
Thamaham sirasaa vandhE rAjAnam kulasEkaram

[Sri KulasekarAzhwAr inherited the kingdom from his
father. Even while he was a king, ruling his kingdom,
he was deeply devoted to the Lord Sriya: Pathi Sriman
Narayanan; he was firm in the Supreme Lordship
[Parathvam] of Sriman Narayanan as the one and Only
One; intensely aspired for having a Bhagavath
anubhavam of the enjoyment of the Lord?s incarnations
as Sri Rama, Sri Krishna and the like and the Lord?s
dhivya mangaLa vigrahams at Divya Desams at Srirangam,
Thirumalai, VitthuvakkOdu etc..

His composition expresses the glories of the devotees
who had the good fortune to be residents of Srirangam,
under the shade of the lotuses of Sri Ranganatha?s
feet and expresses his longing to have the darshan of
the magnificent and glorious congregation of such
BhAgawathas at Srirangam. It is said that in Sri
KulasekarAzhwAr?s cicty there were always shouts
hailing the golden opportunity of a pilgrimage to
Srirangam.]

Translation of Prabandha saaram- 8th verse -extract
from Sri Srinivasa Varadan?s article]: Kulasekara
wielding a sharp spear shining like gold! Incarnating
in the month of Maasi, on the day of Punarvasu star,
in the beautiful Thiruvanjikkulam, with intense
devotion and longing for the great wealth of residing
in the red and golden sacred city known as Koil-
Srirangam divya desam- of our PerumAL (Num PerumAL),
with a deep desire to enjoy the darshan of and to look
at the blissful great congregation of those devotees
of Srirangam Ranganathan, in order to drive away the
darkness (of ignorance) on this earth, you gracefully
sang at the grand pitch of your voice the 105 verses
[devotional hymns] in chaste Tamizh known as PerumAL
Thirumozhi starting with the words IRULIRIYA, filled
with a good essence of greatest spiritual truths.

May You be pleased to grace us conferring on us well
(a perfect knowledge of such glorious) PerumAL
Thirumozhi.

Anjana maalai piRavi sindhippOn vaazhiyE
aruN maasip punarpoosath avaritthAn vaazhiyE
anchudarsoozh thirumaNatthooN adaintha piraan vaazhiyE
aNiarangan adiyaarkkE ATpattAn vaazhiyE
senjaalimiguvanji nagar vandhaan vaazhiyE
thirumozhi 105 seyyuL seppinaan vaazhiyE
vanjamaRa adiyaarkkaay sapathamittaan vaazhiyE
vanjiyarkOn malarp padhangaL maanilatthil vaazhiyE..


Perhaps, he is the only Alvar who has written a Sanskrit Shloka, MUKUNDAMALA, in praise of Lord Krishna. This shloka is a classic in itself showing Alvar’s devotion, ecstasy he feels in chanting Lord’s names.


It is adiyEn's delight and Bhagaym to post a slokam
from his Mukunda mala for our enjoyment and our
obeisance to the Great AzhwAr.

This is 33rd verse there:

krishNa tvadheeya padha pankaja pancharaantham
adhyaiva mE visathu maanasa raaja hamsa:/
praaNa prayaaNa samayE kapa vaadha pitthai:
kaNTavarOdhanavidhou smaraNam kuthasthE?//

Oh KrishnA! At this moment, at this spot of time, in my life, let the swan
of my manas (mind), enter the Lotus Feet of Yours..
How can I remember You at the dying moment when my
throat is choked with phlegm (and emotions), mucus,
bile and air (gasping..)




A Tribute to Kulasekara AzhwAr ( Masi - Punarvasu )

Kulasekara, an incarnation of Koustuba, (divine gem of Lord Vishnu) was born
to King Dridavrata at Tiru vanchi kalam. He was born in the year ParAbhava,
MAsi month, Sukla Paksha DwAdasi (a Friday) in the constellation of
Punarvasu. As a prince, he learned all the martial arts besides becoming
proficient in Sanskrit and Tamil. In due time, he ascended the throne after
his father. He married the PANDya princess. He was a great devotee of Sri
Rama. His other names are Kolli KAvalan, Koodal NAyakan and SEralar KOne.

Like Rama, he was born as a Kshatriya;
Like Rama, he was born in Punarvasu nakshatram;
Like Rama, his Archa moorthi was that of Lord Ranganatha;
Like Rama, he renounced royal pomp and preferred a simple ascetic life.

Like LakshmaNa, he desired to do service to Bhagavan;

Like Bharata, even while carrying out his duties as a King, he considered
himself a vassal of the Lord's pAdukA;

Like Satrugna, he valued BhAgavata seva above all.

Sri Rama is called PERUMAL;
Sri Ranganatha worshipped by him is known as PERIYAPERUMAL;
Periya Perumal's temple is known as PERIYA KOVIL;
Kulasekara who was so devoted to all these, came to be called as KULASEKARA
PERUMAL.
And, his work is naturally called PURUMAL TIRUMOZHI.

He was fond of listening to Srimad Ramayana. Once, when a lecturer was
narrating how Sri Rama had to fight single handedly the rAkshasa headed by
Kara and Dushana, he was so excited that he rose up from his throne and
gave orders to his troops to march to help Sri Rama. Immediately, the
lecturer switched over to saying that Sri Rama vanquished the rAkshasas and
returned triumphant. Then only, Kulasekara realized that the episode was not
contemporaneous and regained composure.

He was so much devoted to BhAgavatas that he would even cancel his tour
programs should any BhAgavata arrive to visit him. The ministers became
annoyed and on an occasion hid a costly pearl necklace that the king used to
adorn the ArchA moorthi idol and put the blame on the visiting BhAgavatas.
The king ordered a pot into which a live cobra was let in. He boldly put his
hand into the pot challenging that if any of the BhAgavatas had stolen the
jewel, the cobra would bite his hand. The cobra did not bite and thus he
vindicated the innocence of the BhAgavatas. The ministers apologized.
Disgusted with the royal pomp he anointed his son as king and left on a
pilgrimage of holy places.

SwAmi Desika praises him as ?Thuyya KulasEkaran? meaning ?one who had a pure
mind with regards BhAgavatas?

He composed a poem of 105 verses called " PerumAL Tirumozhi"- a classic
example of the yearning of a Bhakta to serve the Lord. Every single verse of
the 105 verses of this work is so filled with touching emotion and packed
with palpable sentiments that even a cursory reading is sure to bring tears
flowing from one's eyes and leave an indelible impression in one's mind.

Distributed in 10 decads, each one vividly portrays a different facet of
AzhwAr's experience of the Lord as shown below: -

DECAD 1: AzhwAr expresses his yearnings to do service to Lord Ranganatha and
the BhAgavatas. He asks-

" When ! Oh! When am I going to enjoy the sight of the Lord who reclines on
the serpent couch at Srirangam?
' Kanninaigal Enru kolo Kalikkum Naale?'
When! Oh! When am I going to offer mouthful of praise of the Lord?
' Vaayaara Enru kolo Vaazhthum Naale?'
When Oh! When would I be blessed with the company of Bhagavatas?
" Adiyavarodu Enru kolo Anugum Naale?'
When! Oh! When am I going to shower flowers at his feet?
"Kaikal Koi malar Thoo Enru kolo Kooppu Naale?'
When! Oh! When am I going to bow my head at the foot of the Lord?
" Malar Chenni Enru kolo Vanangum Naale?'
When Oh! When am I going to develop the amount of Bhakti that would melt my
heart?
'Ullam Miga Enru kolo Urugum Naale?'
When! Oh! When my eyes are going to shed tears of joy on seeing the form of
the Lord?
'Neer Malga Enru kolo Nirkum Naale?'
When! Oh! When am I, the worst sinner, going to redeem my life?
'Vul Vinaiyen Enru kolo Vaazhum Naale?'
When! Oh! When am I going to roll on the ground sanctified by the Lord's
presence?
'Bhoothalattil Enru kolo Puralum Naale?'
When! Oh! When am I going to reach the proximity of the great Adiyaars of
the Lord?
'Isaindu Udane Enru kolo Irukkum Naale?'

DECAD 2: He expresses his dedication to BhAgavatas. In verse 9, he declares
that those who are overwhelmed by the joy of serving the servants of the
Lord are not insane: It is only the others who are insane

moyththukkaNpani sOrameykaLsi
lirppaEngi yiLaiththun^inRu
eyththukkumpidu nattamittezhun^
thaadippaadiyi Rainci,en
aththanassa Nnaranganukkadi
yaar_kaLaaki avanukkE
pittharaamavar piththarallar_kaL
maRRaiyaarmuRRum piththarE 2.9

Decad 3: He avers that the act of shunning worldly pleasures and adhering to
the feet of the Lord is the ONLY REAL duty one has.
In Verse 8, he repeats the same sentiments as above. He says -
I may appear crazy for others but it is they who are really crazy. Yes! I am
madly in love with my Lord!'

675:
pEya rEyenak kiyaavarum yaanumOr
pEya NnEyevark kum_ithu pEsiyen
aaya NnEaraNG kaaenRa zhaikkinREn
pEya Nnaayozhin^ thEnempi raanukkE 3.8

DECAD 4: In this, he expresses his longing to be associated with
Tiruvenkadam- the abode of Lord Venkateswara in any capacity- whether as an
animate being or even as an inanimate object.
"Can I be born?" he asks as a kurugu bird in the forest, or as a fish in the
pond, or a temple vessel, or a flower at his feet, or even a pillar, or a
flowing rivulet, or as a rock or even as a stepping stone leading to the
innermost sanctum sanctorum in the temple of the Lord on which the Bhaktas
would place their holy feet- all in the sacred Tiruvenkadam? It can be seen
that such a step in every Vishnu temple is called as "KULASEKARAP PADI"- the
'KULASEKARA STEP'

DECAD 5: In this, he addresses the Lord of TiruVittuvakkodu saying that even
if the Lord were to forsake him, he will never ever leave him and he has no
other refuge. This he expresses drawing different parallels:
"Like a child that clings on to the feet of the mother even when she spurns
it indignantly;
Like a Pativrata who holds on to her husband steadfastly even if he is of a
despicable character;
Like the fish that stays even at the risk of death when the waters in the
tank becomes dried up (having nowhere to go);
Like a patient who loves the surgeon even though he cuts and
burns his flesh (during surgery);
Like the seagull that perches on the mast of a ship flies all over in the
mid ocean only to return to rest on it (having no other go);
Like the lotus flower that does not blossom by the heat of even fire but
blossoms only to Sunshine:
Like the fields that though parched always look up to the rain bearing
clouds for succor;
Like the torrential flowing rivers that ultimately merge only in the Ocean
and nowhere else and
Like fortune that favors only that person who is not after it - I will
forever resort ONLY to your feet"

DECAD 6: Here, he simulates the despair and disappointment experienced by
the GOpis when Lord KrishNa does not turn up as promised.

DECAD 7: This is one of the most heart- rending portions of the poem. Here
he imagines himself as DEvaki. DEvaki laments that even though she gave
birth to KrishNa she missed the joy of witnessing KrishNa's childhood
pranks.
" I am your mother only in name;
How unfortunate am I?
I did not put you in the cradle;
I did not sing any lullaby to you;
I did not enjoy seeing the various stages of your growth from babyhood to
childhood to boyhood;
I lost my pleasure of breast feeding you;
I am so unfortunate to have missed all these.
But, Lo! And, Behold! What was my loss became Yasoda's gain! How fortunate
she has been to see your pretending to be afraid of her?"

715:
muzhuthum veNNe yaLainthuthot tuNNum
mukizhi LanchiRuth thaamaraik kaiyum
ezhilkoL thaampukoN tatippathaR keLkum
nilaiyum veNthayir thOynthasev vaayum
azhukai yumanchi nOkkuman^ nOkkum
aNikoL senchiRu vaayn^eLip pathuvum
thozhukai yumivai kaNta asOthai
thollai yinpath thiRuthikaN taaLE 7.8

He calls YasOda "Deiva Nangai" - the divine damsel.
He pleads to the Lord on behalf of DEvaki tearfully
"If possible, can you reenact all these for my sake?"

DECAD 8: Here, the AzhwAr simulates Kausalya and describes the joy she
experienced in rearing Sri Rama in his childhood. The cradle- song to baby
Rama " Mannu pugazh Kauasalai thun" is very touching. and is being sung
almost in all households as a lullaby.

DECAD 9: Here is another heart- rending episode. Here, the AzhwAr simulates
the grief of Dasaratha on his banishing Sri Rama to exile. As Dasaratha,
he visualizes how Sri Rama had unjustly been subjected to the hard and harsh
life of a wandering ascetic when he should have been ruling AyOdhya in the
cozy comfort in all his royal regalia. He curses himself bitterly, curses
Kaikeyi who induced him and finally he curses Kooni who influenced Kaikeyi -
setting forth the chain of misfortunes and finally says
"O! Rama! I will also leave the AyOdhya which you left; Nay, I will even
quit this world and go to the other world never to return"

DECAD 10: Sage VAlmiki elaborately dwelt with the story of Sri Rama in his
Srimad Ramayana. Here, the AzhwAr addresses the Lord in the Tiruchitrakoodam
( Chidambaram) and gives a condensed version of the entire epic in just 11
verses.

SwAmi Desika pays a glorious tribute to him in his PrabandhasAram:
Pon puraiyum vEl kulasEkaranE mAsip
Punarpoosathu ezhil vanjikkaLathu thOnri
AnbuDanE nam perumAL sempor kOil
Anaithulagin peruvAzhvum aDiyAr thangaL
Inbamigu perum kuzhuvum kANa maN mEl
IruLiya venreDutha isaiyir sonna
Nan poruL sEr Tirumozhi nootraindhu pATTu
NanrAga yenakkaruL nalgi neeyE.
Meaning
Kulasekara wields a spear of shining gold; He was born at TiruvanjikkuLam in
the month of mAsi in the asterism of Punarvasu; He composed a work
consisting of 105 verses out of an outpouring of love and devotion towards
the Lord of Sri Rangam and the devotees of that Lord who had the good
fortune to stay at the holy place to render service to the Lord; May he
grant me the understanding of these 105 verses for my emancipation?

The Thritheeya Brahma Tantra Swatantra ParakAla SwAmi in his 3000 PaDI- Guru
ParamparA prabhAvam has composed the following on Kulasekara:
KumbE punarvasu jAtham kEralE kOLapaTTaNE/
KousthubhAmsam dharAdeesam kulasekaramAsrayE//
Meaning
I resort to KulaseEkara, an AvatAra of Lord?s Kousthubam, was born in Masi
month-punarvasu nakshtram at KOLapaTTaNam (VanjikkuLam) in KeralA?
(Quoted in Hayagriva Priya, February 1999 issue p.11)

THANIANS ON PERUMAAL TIRUMOZHI

1. Composed by Emperumaanaar

innamutham oottukEn ingEvaa paingiLiyE
thennarangam paadavalla seerpperumaaL ponnaNY
silaisEr nuthaliyarvEL sEralar_kOn engaL
kulasE karanenRE kooRu

" O! Green hued parrot! Come hither ! I will give you some sweet nectar! You
should always mutter the name of Kulasekara-
who composed the sweet poem on the auspicious qualities of Lord Ranganatha
lying in the South direction at Srirangam; who is the darling of beautiful
damsels with bow - like eyebrows; who is the King of Chera kingdom; who is a
great Prapanna and who is our crown jewel"

2 Composed by MaNakkAl Nambi
aaram ketappara Nnanpar_koL LaarenRu avar_kaLukkE
vaaraNG kodukutap paambilkai yittavan maaRRalarai
veeraNG keduththaseNG kOlkolli kaavalan villavar_kOn
sEran kulasE karanmudi vEnthar sikaamaNiyE

"Kulasekara is the one who put his hand boldly into the pot containing the
deadly King Cobra in order to vindicate the innocence of the Srivaishnavas
when they were accused (by his ministers) of stealing the precious pearl
necklace;
Kulasekara is the one who vanquished the valor of his enemies; He was the
king of Kola;
Kulasekara was the Emperor of other kings: the very gem of the Chera
dynasty; the very crown of the crowned monarchs"

Divya Desams consecrated by Kulasekara AzhwAr
1.Tiruvarangam
2.Tiruk Kanna Puram
3.Tiru Chitra Koodam
4.Tiru Vittuvak Kodu
5.Tiru Venkadam
6.Tiru Ayodhya
7.Tirup Paar Kadal.

Excerpts from: Srirangasri




MAAL UGANDHA AASIRIYAR ? LIFE OF KULASEKARA PERUMAN
BY SRI V. Madhavakkannan, Singapore

SrI:
SrImathE Gopaladesika mahadesikaya nama:
Dearest all,
Kushyate Yasya NagarE Ranga YAtra Dine Dine
TAmaham ShirasAm VandE RajanAm Kulashekaram.

KumbhE PunarvasuBhavam KeraLE ChoLa PattaNE
Kaustubhamsham DharAdeesham KulashekaramAshrayE

Continuing on AzhwAr life and works series under "MAAL UGANDHA
AASIRIYAR", let us enjoy Sri Kulasekara PerumAn in this journal.

KulasEkarAzhwar was born as a prince to ChEra king Dhidavradhan and
nAdhanAyagi during 8 th century(?) in the month of mAsi and the
nakshatram of punarpoosam(same as that of Lord Rama). The child
looked divine and made everyone who saw it happier and cheerful. The
entire kingdom was in a jubilant mood. The kid was named kulasEkaran
and when he grew he was taught all sAstrAs, epics, arts, Tamil and
Sanskrit and was also given training on fighting, Horse riding,
Elephant riding, etc. In each endeavour, he excelled and came out in
flying colours. When Dhidavradhan became old, kulasEkaram ascended
the throne and since then he was ruling like Lord Sri Rama and
brought in RamaRajyam to his kingdom. People were very happy and
there was rich harvest throughout the year; there were regular rains
and there was only subheeksham. Hence the citizens had great amount
of love and respect for their king kulasEkarA.

Once without knowing kulasEkarA's strengths, the neighbouring kings
(Chola and pAndyA) came to fight and during the battle kulasEkaran
won with no difficulty. Impressed PandyA king gave his daughter to
kulasEkarA for marrying her. kulasEkarA was blessed with a son (whom
he named dhidavradhan) and a daughter ILai.

One night, The Lord wished to divert kulasEkarA's attention to Him
and he appeared as Lord Tirupati Venkatachalapathi in the king's
dream and blessed him. The king was overwhelmed with the Lord's love
and became silent and was only thinking of the Lord at all times. He
became totally like water in Lotus leaf (Water never wets the Lotus
leaf) and was ruling the kingdom without any attachment; He was
spending his time more and more on Thiru vArAdhnam and Bhajans and
listening to stories of Rama and KrishNa. He even started disliking
the battles since he did not like to see more loss of lives in the
battle. He started singing in Tamil and sanskrit with full of love
and Bhakti in praise of the Lord. He spent his most of the time only
on religious activities and attending discourses. Once when the
UpanyAsakar was narrating Rama RavaNa yuddham where the battle was
going on for a long time and RavaNa was giving a tough fight,
kulasEkara was so much attached to the story and it the discourse he
ordered his Army General to immediately organize to send the
soldiers, elephants and horses and the king was also making himself
ready for the battle to give a helping hand to Sri Rama.

The upanyAsakar and all others were totally perplexed and could not
say anything. The upanyAsaker at last came to the king and said" O,
mighty king, We need not go. The Lord Rama has already killed ravaNa
and is on his way back to AyOdhyA for his pattAbhishEkam". That made
the king silent and he came to normal; Such was kulasEkarA's bhakti
for Rama. It is told Lord Rama appeared in his dream that night and
said" kulasEkarA, I am deeply moved by your readiness to offer me
help in the battle. I Since you are having blind affection and live
for me , you did not realize my Strength and parAkramam. We can win
asurAs with no effort; You are acting just like LakshmaNA, who is
also attached to me deeply. From today you will be called kulasEkara
perumAL like ILayaperumAL LakshmaNA. Even today he is reverred as
kulasEkara perumAL. The pAsurams he sang were compiled
under "perumAL thirumozhi". One can see his feeling of deep regret
for not being born during RamA's time in his pAsurams.

As he was getting more and more involved in Bhagavadh Bhakti and
Bhagavadha Bhakti and was spending all his time in such activities,
the ministers were not clear as to how to bring the king back to his
administration. The king had even consecrated a Golden statute of
Sri Rama in the palace where he was spending most of the time with
other pundits and upanyAsakALs. Once during a Ramanavami day (the
birthday of Sri Rama), the king was astonished to see a big nice
Navaratna mAlai which had adorned Sri Rama missing. He was confused
as to how somoen can come inside the palace with so much security
and so many people around. The ministers were asked; One of them
(may be the chief minister) hesitantly stammered to say" May
be ..O .king........one of upanyAsakALs, or
pundits...could..........have.....take...."

He did not even finish his statment. The king was shivering and was
literally shocked to hear that statement as if he has stepped on a
Red hot burnt iron; He could not believe his ears as to how these
minister can even think of these GREAT BHAKTAAS as ones who could
have flicked; "What are you saying? Are you talking about these
adiyArs of Sriman NARAYANA. Are you not ashamed to say that? Is your
tougue still alive? How dare you think them as thieves when their
love is only for th Lord and they consider the Gold and dust the
same; Those UTTHAMARGAL - Do you think they have stolen the
MAALAI? . He did not stop with that. He called somone to bring a pot
wherein he had arranged to place a poisonous snake; Bewildered
ministers obeyed. He showed them the pot with the snake inside. He
said and prayed to the Lord" If the mAlai has been taken by one of
the BhaktALs, let the snake bite me; If not, I will come out
unscathed.". He put his hand inside the pot. The snake NEVER TOUCHED
his hand. The minister came out openly saying "we are very sorry and
we beg your pardon. We are the ones who removed the MALAI and put
the blame on BhaktA so that you will start disliking them and will
concentrate on administrative matters. Please forgive us for this
irresponsible act." KulasEkarA thought silently after listening to
all this and understood the underlining concern of his ministers for
the kingdom and the rule. He immediately decided to bring his son
into the pictute and trained him for some time before he started off
his kshEtrAdanam throughout India singing Lord's Glories and GuNAs.

He visited almost all the temples and he lost his heart for Sri
Rama. He has sung lullabies for Sri Rama as "RaghavanE ThAlElO!". He
has even sung pAsurams on Devaki's misfortune of not able to enjoy
kaNNan's leelA's and " thollai inbam" which yasOdhA was blessed
with. One can greatly be moved by his pAsurams where in he longs for
being born as a step in Tirupathi Lord's temple or a fish in the
Holy pushkaraNi or a seNbhaga tree in Tirupathi(standing in front of
the temple) or a Big stone which can not be removed so easily; He
even wished to be born as a servant holding the Golden Bowl in front
of Sriman nArAyaNan to spit the water after washing, girgling and
cleaning His mouth in the morning. Such was his desire to serve the
Lord ceaslessly and that too from a king!.( One can imagine our
plight with so little(or no) material possessions and for that we
walk with so much pride with even a very little achievement(which
too is possible only with His grace)).

He lived till 67 years and then reached His abode and it is also
told that his daughter ILai followed her father kulasEkara perumAn
and was also blessed with the Lord's ThiruvaruL.

A sample pAsuram to taste the sweetness and longing deaire of AzhwAr
before we conclude this post.
AnAtha selvatthu arambaiyargaL thaRsoozha
vAnALum selvamum; maNNarasum yAn vENdEn |
thEnAr poonchOlai thiruvEngadatthu chunaiyil
meenAi piRakkum vidhiyudaiyOnAvEnE ||

Such a wonderful pAsuram. He says" I do not want to be a king even
if it is to rule this earth and the "vAn lOkam" [Devendra loka]
where there is great wealth, and where there are beautiful damsels
dancing around; I do not wish that; All that I want is to be born as
a mere fish in the pond (PushkaraNi) in Thirupathi (as mentioned
earlier, or a tree standing in front of Thirupathi or a big rock [or
at least as a tall building.. to be in the vicinity of
ThiruvEnkatamudaiyaan.

AzhwAr ThiruvaDigaLE SaraNam



A Tribute to Kulasekara AzhwAr ( Masi - Punarvasu )

Kulasekara, an incarnation of Koustuba, (divine gem of Lord Vishnu) was born to King Dridavrata at Tiru vanchi kalam. He was born in the year ParAbhava, MAsi month, Sukla Paksha DwAdasi (a Friday) in the constellation of Punarvasu. As a prince, he learned all the martial arts besides becoming proficient in Sanskrit and Tamil. In due time, he ascended the throne after his father. He married the PANDya princess. He was a great devotee of Sri Rama. His other names are Kolli KAvalan, Koodal NAyakan and SEralar KOne.


Like Rama, he was born as a Kshatriya;
Like Rama, he was born in Punarvasu nakshatram;
Like Rama, his Archa moorthi was that of Lord Ranganatha;
Like Rama, he renounced royal pomp and preferred a simple ascetic life.

Like LakshmaNa, he desired to do service to Bhagavan;

Like Bharata, even while carrying out his duties as a King, he considered himself a vassal of the Lord's pAdukA;

Like Satrugna, he valued BhAgavata seva above all.

Sri Rama is called PERUMAL;
Sri Ranganatha worshipped by him is known as PERIYAPERUMAL;
Periya Perumal's temple is known as PERIYA KOVIL;
Kulasekara who was so devoted to all these, came to be called as KULASEKARA PERUMAL.
And, his work is naturally called PURUMAL TIRUMOZHI.

He was fond of listening to Srimad Ramayana. Once, when a lecturer was narrating how Sri Rama had to fight single handedly the rAkshasa headed by Kara and Dushana, he was so excited that he rose up from his throne and gave orders to his troops to march to help Sri Rama. Immediately, the lecturer switched over to saying that Sri Rama vanquished the rAkshasas and returned triumphant. Then only, Kulasekara realized that the episode was not contemporaneous and regained composure.

He was so much devoted to BhAgavatas that he would even cancel his tour programs should any BhAgavata arrive to visit him. The ministers became annoyed and on an occasion hid a costly pearl necklace that the king used to adorn the ArchA moorthi idol and put the blame on the visiting BhAgavatas. The king ordered a pot into which a live cobra was let in. He boldly put his hand into the pot challenging that if any of the BhAgavatas had stolen the jewel, the cobra would bite his hand. The cobra did not bite and thus he vindicated the innocence of the BhAgavatas. The ministers apologized. Disgusted with the royal pomp he anointed his son as king and left on a pilgrimage of holy places.

SwAmi Desika praises him as ?Thuyya KulasEkaran? meaning ?one who had a pure mind with regards BhAgavatas?

He composed a poem of 105 verses called " PerumAL Tirumozhi"- a classic example of the yearning of a Bhakta to serve the Lord. Every single verse of the 105 verses of this work is so filled with touching emotion and packed with palpable sentiments that even a cursory reading is sure to bring tears flowing from one's eyes and leave an indelible impression in one's mind.

Distributed in 10 decads, each one vividly portrays a different facet of AzhwAr's experience of the Lord as shown below: -

DECAD 1: AzhwAr expresses his yearnings to do service to Lord Ranganatha and the BhAgavatas. He asks-

" When ! Oh! When am I going to enjoy the sight of the Lord who reclines on the serpent couch at Srirangam?
' Kanninaigal Enru kolo Kalikkum Naale?'
When! Oh! When am I going to offer mouthful of praise of the Lord?
' Vaayaara Enru kolo Vaazhthum Naale?'
When Oh! When would I be blessed with the company of Bhagavatas?
" Adiyavarodu Enru kolo Anugum Naale?'
When! Oh! When am I going to shower flowers at his feet?
"Kaikal Koi malar Thoo Enru kolo Kooppu Naale?'
When! Oh! When am I going to bow my head at the foot of the Lord?
" Malar Chenni Enru kolo Vanangum Naale?'
When Oh! When am I going to develop the amount of Bhakti that would melt my heart?
'Ullam Miga Enru kolo Urugum Naale?'
When! Oh! When my eyes are going to shed tears of joy on seeing the form of the Lord?
'Neer Malga Enru kolo Nirkum Naale?'
When! Oh! When am I, the worst sinner, going to redeem my life?
'Vul Vinaiyen Enru kolo Vaazhum Naale?'
When! Oh! When am I going to roll on the ground sanctified by the Lord's presence?
'Bhoothalattil Enru kolo Puralum Naale?'
When! Oh! When am I going to reach the proximity of the great Adiyaars of the Lord?
'Isaindu Udane Enru kolo Irukkum Naale?'

DECAD 2: He expresses his dedication to BhAgavatas. In verse 9, he declares that those who are overwhelmed by the joy of serving the servants of the Lord are not insane: It is only the others who are insane


moyththukkaNpani sOrameykaLsi
lirppaEngi yiLaiththun^inRu
eyththukkumpidu nattamittezhun^
thaadippaadiyi Rainci,en
aththanassa Nnaranganukkadi
yaar_kaLaaki avanukkE
pittharaamavar piththarallar_kaL
maRRaiyaarmuRRum piththarE 2.9

Decad 3: He avers that the act of shunning worldly pleasures and adhering to the feet of the Lord is the ONLY REAL duty one has.
In Verse 8, he repeats the same sentiments as above. He says -
I may appear crazy for others but it is they who are really crazy. Yes! I am madly in love with my Lord!'


675:
pEya rEyenak kiyaavarum yaanumOr
pEya NnEyevark kum_ithu pEsiyen
aaya NnEaraNG kaaenRa zhaikkinREn
pEya Nnaayozhin^ thEnempi raanukkE 3.8

DECAD 4: In this, he expresses his longing to be associated with Tiruvenkadam- the abode of Lord Venkateswara in any capacity- whether as an animate being or even as an inanimate object.
"Can I be born?" he asks as a kurugu bird in the forest, or as a fish in the pond, or a temple vessel, or a flower at his feet, or even a pillar, or a flowing rivulet, or as a rock or even as a stepping stone leading to the innermost sanctum sanctorum in the temple of the Lord on which the Bhaktas would place their holy feet- all in the sacred Tiruvenkadam? It can be seen that such a step in every Vishnu temple is called as "KULASEKARAP PADI"- the 'KULASEKARA STEP'

DECAD 5: In this, he addresses the Lord of TiruVittuvakkodu saying that even if the Lord were to forsake him, he will never ever leave him and he has no other refuge. This he expresses drawing different parallels:
"Like a child that clings on to the feet of the mother even when she spurns it indignantly;
Like a Pativrata who holds on to her husband steadfastly even if he is of a despicable character;
Like the fish that stays even at the risk of death when the waters in the tank becomes dried up (having nowhere to go);
Like a patient who loves the surgeon even though he cuts and
burns his flesh (during surgery);
Like the seagull that perches on the mast of a ship flies all over in the mid ocean only to return to rest on it (having no other go);
Like the lotus flower that does not blossom by the heat of even fire but blossoms only to Sunshine:
Like the fields that though parched always look up to the rain bearing clouds for succor;
Like the torrential flowing rivers that ultimately merge only in the Ocean and nowhere else and
Like fortune that favors only that person who is not after it - I will forever resort ONLY to your feet"

DECAD 6: Here, he simulates the despair and disappointment experienced by the GOpis when Lord KrishNa does not turn up as promised.

DECAD 7: This is one of the most heart- rending portions of the poem. Here he imagines himself as DEvaki. DEvaki laments that even though she gave birth to KrishNa she missed the joy of witnessing KrishNa's childhood pranks.
" I am your mother only in name;
How unfortunate am I?
I did not put you in the cradle;
I did not sing any lullaby to you;
I did not enjoy seeing the various stages of your growth from babyhood to childhood to boyhood;
I lost my pleasure of breast feeding you;
I am so unfortunate to have missed all these.
But, Lo! And, Behold! What was my loss became Yasoda's gain! How fortunate she has been to see your pretending to be afraid of her?"


715:
muzhuthum veNNe yaLainthuthot tuNNum
mukizhi LanchiRuth thaamaraik kaiyum
ezhilkoL thaampukoN tatippathaR keLkum
nilaiyum veNthayir thOynthasev vaayum
azhukai yumanchi nOkkuman^ nOkkum
aNikoL senchiRu vaayn^eLip pathuvum
thozhukai yumivai kaNta asOthai
thollai yinpath thiRuthikaN taaLE 7.8


He calls YasOda "Deiva Nangai" - the divine damsel.
He pleads to the Lord on behalf of DEvaki tearfully
"If possible, can you reenact all these for my sake?"

DECAD 8: Here, the AzhwAr simulates Kausalya and describes the joy she experienced in rearing Sri Rama in his childhood. The cradle- song to baby Rama " Mannu pugazh Kauasalai thun" is very touching. and is being sung almost in all households as a lullaby.

DECAD 9: Here is another heart- rending episode. Here, the AzhwAr simulates the grief of Dasaratha on his banishing Sri Rama to exile. As Dasaratha, he visualizes how Sri Rama had unjustly been subjected to the hard and harsh life of a wandering ascetic when he should have been ruling AyOdhya in the cozy comfort in all his royal regalia. He curses himself bitterly, curses Kaikeyi who induced him and finally he curses Kooni who influenced Kaikeyi - setting forth the chain of misfortunes and finally says
"O! Rama! I will also leave the AyOdhya which you left; Nay, I will even quit this world and go to the other world never to return"

DECAD 10: Sage VAlmiki elaborately dwelt with the story of Sri Rama in his Srimad Ramayana. Here, the AzhwAr addresses the Lord in the Tiruchitrakoodam ( Chidambaram) and gives a condensed version of the entire epic in just 11 verses.

SwAmi Desika pays a glorious tribute to him in his PrabandhasAram:
Pon puraiyum vEl kulasEkaranE mAsip
Punarpoosathu ezhil vanjikkaLathu thOnri
AnbuDanE nam perumAL sempor kOil
Anaithulagin peruvAzhvum aDiyAr thangaL
Inbamigu perum kuzhuvum kANa maN mEl
IruLiya venreDutha isaiyir sonna
Nan poruL sEr Tirumozhi nootraindhu pATTu
NanrAga yenakkaruL nalgi neeyE.
Meaning
Kulasekara wields a spear of shining gold; He was born at TiruvanjikkuLam in the month of mAsi in the asterism of Punarvasu; He composed a work consisting of 105 verses out of an outpouring of love and devotion towards the Lord of Sri Rangam and the devotees of that Lord who had the good fortune to stay at the holy place to render service to the Lord; May he grant me the understanding of these 105 verses for my emancipation?

The Thritheeya Brahma Tantra Swatantra ParakAla SwAmi in his 3000 PaDI- Guru ParamparA prabhAvam has composed the following on Kulasekara:
KumbE punarvasu jAtham kEralE kOLapaTTaNE/
KousthubhAmsam dharAdeesam kulasekaramAsrayE//
Meaning
I resort to KulaseEkara, an AvatAra of Lord?s Kousthubam, was born in Masi month-punarvasu nakshtram at KOLapaTTaNam (VanjikkuLam) in KeralA?
(Quoted in Hayagriva Priya, February 1999 issue p.11)

THANIANS ON PERUMAAL TIRUMOZHI

1. Composed by Emperumaanaar


innamutham oottukEn ingEvaa paingiLiyE
thennarangam paadavalla seerpperumaaL ponnaNY
silaisEr nuthaliyarvEL sEralar_kOn engaL
kulasE karanenRE kooRu

" O! Green hued parrot! Come hither ! I will give you some sweet nectar! You should always mutter the name of Kulasekara-
who composed the sweet poem on the auspicious qualities of Lord Ranganatha lying in the South direction at Srirangam; who is the darling of beautiful damsels with bow - like eyebrows; who is the King of Chera kingdom; who is a great Prapanna and who is our crown jewel"


2 Composed by MaNakkAl Nambi
aaram ketappara Nnanpar_koL LaarenRu avar_kaLukkE
vaaraNG kodukutap paambilkai yittavan maaRRalarai
veeraNG keduththaseNG kOlkolli kaavalan villavar_kOn
sEran kulasE karanmudi vEnthar sikaamaNiyE

"Kulasekara is the one who put his hand boldly into the pot containing the deadly King Cobra in order to vindicate the innocence of the Srivaishnavas when they were accused (by his ministers) of stealing the precious pearl necklace;
Kulasekara is the one who vanquished the valor of his enemies; He was the king of Kola;
Kulasekara was the Emperor of other kings: the very gem of the Chera dynasty; the very crown of the crowned monarchs"


Divya Desams consecrated by Kulasekara AzhwAr
1.Tiruvarangam
2.Tiruk Kanna Puram
3.Tiru Chitra Koodam
4.Tiru Vittuvak Kodu
5.Tiru Venkadam
6.Tiru Ayodhya
7.Tirup Paar Kadal.



SrI:
SrImathE Gopaladesika mahadesikaya namah:
Dearest Srivaishnavas,

KulasEkarAzhwar was born as a prince to ChEra king
Dhidavrathan and nAdhanAyagi in the month of mAsi and
the nakshatram of punarpoosam (same as that of Lord
Rama). Today is this AzhwAr?s Thirunakshathram. The
child when born looked divine and made everyone
happier and cheerful. The entire kingdom was in a
jubilant mood. The child was named kulasEkaran and
when he grew he was taught all sAstrAs, epics, arts,
Tamil and Sanskrit and was
also given training on fighting, Horse riding,
Elephant riding, etc. In each
endeavour, he excelled and came out in flying colours.
When Dhidavrathan
became old, kulasEkaram ascended the throne and since
then he was ruling like Lord Sri Rama and brought in
RamaRajyam to his kingdom. People were very happy and
here was rich harvest throughout the year; there were
regular rains and there was only subheeksham. Hence
the citizens had great amount of love and respect for
their king kulasEkarA.

Once without knowing kulasEkarA's strengths, the
neighbouring kings (Chola and pAndyA) came to fight
and during the battle kulasEkaran won with no
difficulty. Impressed PandyA king gave his daughter to
kulasEkarA for marrying her. kulasEkarA was blessed
with a son (whom he named dhidavradhan) and a daughter
ILai.

One night, The Lord wished to divert kulasEkarA's
attention to Him and he appeared as Lord Tirupati
Venkatachalapathi in the king's dream and blessed him.
The king was overwhelmed with the Lord's love and
became silent and was only thinking of the Lord at all
times. He became totally like water in Lotus leaf
(Water never wets the Lotus leaf) and was ruling the
kingdom without any attachment; He was spending his
time more and more on ThiruvArAdhnam and Bhajans and
listening to stories of Rama and KrishNa. He even
started disliking the battles since he did not like to
see more loss of lives in the battle. He started
singing in Tamil and sanskrit with full of love and
Bhakti in praise of the Lord.

He spent his most of the time only on religious
activities and attending discourses. Once when the
UpanyAsakar was narrating Rama RavaNa yuddham where
the battle was going on for a long time and RavaNa was
giving a tough fight, kulasEkara was so much attached
to the story and it the discourse he ordered his Army
General to immediately organise to send the soldiers,
elephants and horses and the king was also making
himself ready for the battle to give a helping hand to
Sri Rama. The upanyAsakar and all others were totally
perplexed and could not say anything. The upanyAsaker
at last came to the king and said" O, mighty king, We
need not go. The Lord Rama has already killed rAvaNa
and is on his way back to AyOdhyA for his
pattAbhishEkam" . That made the king silent and he came
to normalcy; Such was kulasEkarA's bhakti for Rama. It
is told Lord Rama appeared in his dream that night and
said" kulasEkarA, I am deeply moved by your readiness
to offer me help in the battle. Since you are having
blind affection and live for me , you did not realise
my Strength and parAkramam. We can win asurAs with no
effort; You are acting just like LakshmaNA, who is
also attached to me deeply. From today you will be
called kulasEkara perumAL like ILayaperumAL LakshmaNA.
Even today he is revered as kulasEkara perumAL. The
pAsurams he sang were compiled under "perumAL
thirumozhi". One can see his feeling of deep regret
for not being born during RamA's time in his pAsurams.

As he was getting more and more involved in Bhagavadh
Bhakti and Bhagavadha Bhakti and was spending all his
time in such activities, the ministers were not clear
as to how to bring the king back to his
administration. The king had even consecrated a Golden
statute of Sri Rama in the palace where he was
spending most of the time with other pundits and
upanyAsakALs.

Once during a Ramanavami day (the birthday of Sri
Rama), the king was astonished to see a big nice
Navaratna mAlai which had adorned Sri Rama missing. He
was confused as to how someone can come inside the
palace with so much security and so many people
around. The ministers were asked;

One of them (may be the chief minister) hesitantly
stammered to say" May be ..O .king....... .one of
upanyAsakALs, or these scholars
...could.... ......have. ....taken. ..." He did not even
finish his statement. The king was shivering and was
literally shocked to hear that statement as if he has
stepped on a Red hot burnt iron; He could not believe
his ears as to how these minister can even think of
these GREAT BHAKTAAS as ones who could have flicked;
"What are you saying? Are you talking about these
adiyArs of Sriman NARAYANA. Are you not ashamed to say
that? Is your tongue still alive? How dare you think
them as thieves when their love is only for the Lord
and they consider the Gold and dust the same; Those
UTTHAMARGAL - Do you think they have stolen the
MAALAI? . He did not stop with that. He called someone
to bring a pot wherein he had arranged to place a
poisonous snake; Bewildered ministers obeyed. He
showed them the pot with the snake inside. He said and
prayed to the Lord" If the mAlai has been taken by one
of the BhaktALs, let the snake bite me; If not, I will
come out unscathed." He put his hand inside the pot.
The snake NEVER TOUCHED his hand. The minister came
out openly saying "we are very sorry and we beg your
pardon. We are the ones who removed the MALAI and put
the blame on BhaktA so that you will start disliking
them and will concentrate on administrative matters.
Please forgive us for this irresponsible act."

Such was his love and reverence on Bhagawathas. He has
written special ten for Bhagawatha sEshathvam in His
perumAl Thirumozhi.

In one of his paasurams , he revealed to us that those
, who wear the dust from the feet ( Thondar adippodi)
on their heads do not need GangA snAnam to wash away
their sins :

aadip paadi arangavO yenrazhaikkum
ThondaradippodiyAda naam peRil ,
Gangai neer kudainthAdum vEtkai yennAvathE ?

In another paasuram, Azhwar states that his hairs
stand on end over the thought of those BhagavathAs ,
who enjoy Sri Ranganaathan as the SaarnghaPaaNi and
get goose pimples:

..tiNNa maamathiL TennaranganAm meysilaik
karumEhamonRu tamm nenjil ninru thihazhap pOy mey
silippavar tammayE
ninainthu yenn manam mey silirkkumE

In another paasuram of PerumAL THirumozhi, AzhwAr
expressed his deep desire. He revealed that his prayer
was to lose his mind in devotion to the BhagavathAs,
who sing and dance with aanandha paravasam about the
glories of the Lord of Sri Rangam with the beautiful
eyes reminding one of the beauty of the soft, red
lotus flower. He wanted to become one of the
BhagavathAs to get closer to the Lord of Sri Rangam
(Thondar vAzhvukku maalayuRRathen nenjamE ).

Let us get back to his history. Sorry for the
digression. We were lured by the Bhagawatha sEshathvam
of AzhwAr.

KulasEkarA thought silently after listening to all
this and understood the underlining concern of his
ministers for the kingdom and the rule. He immediately
decided to bring his son into the picture and trained
him for some time before he started off his Divya
Desam pilgrimage throughout India singing Lord's
Glories and GuNAs.

He visited almost all the temples and he lost his
heart for Sri Rama. He has sung lullabies for Sri Rama
as "RaghavanE ThAlElO!". He has even sung pAsurams on
Devaki's misfortune of not able to enjoy kaNNan's
leelA's and "thollai inbam" (naughty Kannan?s divya
chEstithangaL) which yasOdhA was blessed with.

One can greatly be moved by his pAsurams where in he
longs for being born as a step in Tirupathi Lord's
temple or a fish in the Holy pushkaraNi or a seNbhaga
tree in Tirupathi(standing in front of the temple) or
a Big stone which can not be removed so easily; He
even wished to be born as a servant holding the Golden
Bowl in front of Sriman nArAyaNan to spit the water
after washing, gargling and cleaning His mouth in the
morning. Such was his desire to serve the Lord
ceaselessly and that too from a king!. [One can
imagine our plight with so little(or no) material
possessions and with that few pennies in our wallet we
walk with so much pride, with arrogance with even a
very little achievement in our lives (which too is
possible only with His grace).]

He lived till 67 years and then reached His abode and
it is also told that his daughter ILai followed her
father kulasEkara perumAn and was also blessed with
the Lord's ThiruvaruL.

As mentioned earlier, this AzhwAr had dreamt about
pilgrimage to Srirangam every day from his kingdom. He
gave up his kingdom finally and moved to Srirangam and
reached the Lord's sacred feet there. He blessed us
105 marvellous pAsurams in his PerumAL Thirumozhi
known for their depth of Bhakthi. The first three of
his ten decads are about Azhagiya MaNavALan Sri
RanganAthan.

In the first decad, KulasEkarA longs for the day, when
he would be able to stand in the courtyard of Sri
RanganAthan hugging the two ThirumaNatthUNNkal (huge
pillars in His sannidhi)- that one can see even today
in Srirangam. These two pillars are known as the
marriage pillars. They are recognized as a pair
representing the fragrance of Sri RanganAthan. The
BhakthAs overcome by the Lord's beauty hold on to them
to maintain their balance, when the flood of the
Lord's beauty hits them as they stand in the
ThirumuRRam of the Lord :

KadiarangattharavaN ayil paLLIk koLLUM MaayOnai, maNat
thUNE paRRi ninru yenn vaayAra yenru kolO vAzhtthum
nALE

(when will that day arrive, when I can stand holding
the two marriage pillars in the sannidhi of Sri
RanganAthan and praise Him with all the power
of my tongue?).

In the third decad , AzhwAr explains the
transformation in him as his mind fell in love with
the BhaagavathAs of Lord RanganAthan . He says that he
developed VairAghyam [detachment] and lost interest in
pomp and circumstance and discarded all perishable
pleasures that are fleeting. He says that he avoided
from then on all those who confuse their body with
their AthmA and equate the perishable worldly
pleasures with the divine Bliss of relating to the
Lord. In the sixth paasuram of this
decad , Azhwar states with conviction:

yemparatthar allArodum kUdalan
umbar vAzhvai onRak karuthalan
TampirAn amararkku , Aranganahar
EmpirAnukku Yezhumaiyum pitthanE

(Meaning ) : I will not associate with those, who have
are not the servants of the Lord like me. I will
always stay intoxicated with the love for my Lord of
Nithya Sooris, who is at His Periya Koil
at Srirangam .

A sample pAsuram to taste the sweetness and longing
desire of AzhwAr for ThiruvEnkatamudaiya an and be
there in Tirumala in any form whatsoever.

AznAtha selvatthu arambaiyargaL thaRsoozha/
vAnALum selvamum; maNNarasum yAn vENdEn/
thEnAr poonchOlai thiruvEngadatthu chunaiyil/
meenAi piRakkum vidhiyudaiyOnAvEnE/

Such a wonderful pAsuram. adiyEn requests all those
who can read Tamil to read these 105 pAsurams of
PerumAl Thirumozhi today and it takes only about 30
minutes at a maximum. adiyEn?s daring and rash desire
to start the anubhavams of these verses as next
kaimkaryam.

May AzhwAr bless the kaimkaryam and grant me strength
to take up his divine verses for sharing with you all
soonest

kulasEkara perumAn thiruvadigaLE saraNam

Regards
Namo narayana
dAsan
Reference: Sri Satakopan Swami write up and Sri SMS
Chari's book on Alwars.

3 comments:

vijayvasu said...

the page is superb.enlightens ignorant souls about adiyarku adiyar bakthi

R A Padmanabha Rao said...

Very great exposition of kulasekara's greatness. I am deeply moved by his devotion
Padmanabharao
Hyderabad
9866586805

ISKCON Kanpur - Sri Sri Radha Madhav Mandir said...

please can you tell me what all books he has written and their names thank you