Friday, February 2, 2007

Thirumazhisai Alwar



Period 7th C. AD
Place Thirumazhisai
Other Names Bhakthi-saarar, Bhaargavar, Magisaaraapuriswarar, Mazhisai-piraan
Month Thai
Star (Natshatram) Magam (Magha)
Hamsam Sudarshanam (Discus)



This Alwar was an incarnation of Sudarsana Chakra ( the divine discus of Lord Vishnu). He was born to Bargava Muni and Kanakangi at Tirumazhisai near Kanchipuram. Even though the foetus was in the mother's womb for an unusual 12 months, when delivered was without arms, legs etc. The parents left it at the foot of a bush of cane shrubs in the forest. Lord Vishnu and Lakshmi appeared and blessed the child which then became fully developed into a lovely baby.



A childless tribal couple called Tiruvaalan and Pankaya Chelvi engaged in cutting canes found the child and took it home. The child would not eat or drink anything nor did it show any signs of expelling waste material from its body. When an old agriculturist couple offered milk in a bowl, the child drank it with relish. One day, the couple drank of the milk left over by the child. They regained youth and in due course had a son born to them whom they named as 'Kanikannan'.



Thirumazhisai decided to learn about all other religions. So, he studied Buddhist, Jain and other literature. He became a staunch devotee of Siva assuming the name of Siva Vakya. One day, he saw an old man planting a plant upside down and then trying to water it with a broken pot using a tattered rope to lift water from a waterless well. Sivavakyar asked him why he was attempting such a foolish act. The old man was none other than Pey Alwar who replied that what he was doing was only less foolish than Sivavakya's allegiance to Saivism , knowing full well that the Vedas and Smritis proclaim Sri Narayana as the Supreme deity.



As a result of an argument with Pey Alwar, finally he got initiated into Vaishnavism by Pey Alwar assuming the name of Bhaktisarar. After visiting several temples, he reached Tiruvekka, the birthplace of Budat Alwar.



Impressed by the service rendered by an old spinster, he restored her youth with unsurpassed beauty as desired by her. She married the Pallava king who learned of the secret of her youth. He wanted to regain youth himself. She told him that he approach Kanikannan for the purpose. When Kanikannan was summoned to court, he refused to come; when asked to compose a verse on the king, he refused to compose one on a mere mortal; when told that the king was an aspect of the Lord, he composed a verse on the Lord and not on the king.



This enraged the king who banished him from his kingdom.



On hearing this, Bhaktisarar requested the Lord in his puja to leave the place. He sang:



Kanikannan Poginraan Kaamaru poong Kachi /

Manivannaa! Nee Kidakka Vendaaa/

Sennaap Pulavanum Poginren Neeyum Unran /

Pai Naagappaai Suruttik Koll /

" Kanikannan is going out of Kanchi O! Manivanna, You don't have to lie here

anymore. Since, as the fluent poet that I am also leaving with him, you also roll your serpent bed and follow me"

And, accordingly all of them left Kanchipuram.



When they left, Kanchi became desolate. The king realized his folly and requested Bhaktisarar and Kanikannan to forgive and return. Bhaktisarar prayed to the Lord that in view of the King's repentence, they might return. He sang again :

Kanikannan Pokkozhindaan Kamarupoong Kachi /

Manivanna ! Nee Kidakka Vendum - Thunivudaiya /

Sennap Pulavanum Pokkozhinden- Neeyum Unran / Kanchi regained Pain Nagap Paai

Paduthuk Koll /

" Kanikannan has changed his mind and rescinde his decision to leave Kanchi. Since, as the fluent poet that I am also returning with him, You may also return and lie down on your serpent bed as before"

All of them returned accordingly and Kanchipuram regained its lost glory.



Since the Lord did as he was told by the Alwar, he came to be called

'Yatotkari' and 'Sonna vannam Seitha Perumal'-meaning 'the Lord who acted as told'



One day, when on his way to Tirukkudantai, he stopped for a while for rest and he sat on a pial of a house in Perumpuliyur. A few brahmins were reciting Vedas. On seeing him, they stopped their recitation since Veda was not to be recited in the presence of a person belonging to the fourth caste. The Alwar understood and was about to leave when the Brahmins started their recitation. They did not remember at what point they had left the recitation. The Alwar broke open a paddy seed with his fingernail to indicate the exact context which had a reference to the paddy seed. The brahmins realized the greatness of the Alwar and begged to be excused.



When the Archaka ( priest) of the local temple wanted to honour him, some objected and spoke ill of the Alwar. Tha Alwar prayed to the Lord to show himself to these people. He sang :

Akkarangal Akkarangal Enrum Aavadhu En Kolo /

Ik Kurumbai Neekki Ennai Eesanaakkka Vallaiyel /

Sakkaram Koll Kaiyane Sadankar Vai Adangida /

Ut Kidantha Vanname Puram Posindhu Kaattide /

" What is the use of your having those resplendent hands if you cannot remove the idiosynchrosy of these ignorant folk and make me powerful

in their midst? O1 Lord with the divine discus in your hand ! Teach these fools a lesson by showing yourself appearing in my very body"

The Lord showed himself off in the body of Alwar and the onlookers were

astonished and begged forgiveness .



On reaching Tirukkudantai ( Kumbakonam), he let the birchbark leaf containing his writings in the waters of river Kaveri. The leaf floated back to him holding his works viz.,'Tiruchanda Viruttam' ( a poem of beautiful verses)in which he sang the following beautiful verse:

Ninrathu Enthai Ooragathu Irundathu Enthai Paadagathu /

Anru Vekkanaik Kidandhathu Ennilaatha Munnelaam /

Anru Naan Pirandilen Pirandapin Marandilen /

Ninrathum Irundhathum Kidandhathum En Nenjule /

" Before I was born, He wasstanding in Ooragam, was sitting in Paadagam and was lying down in Tiruvekka.At that time I was not born with wisdom; When once I was born with this wisdom, I never forgot. Therefore, the Lord left all those places and has taken permanent abode in my heart". The idea is that the great Gnanis never considered themselves as born at all until they realized this ' Artha gnaanam'. And, once they realized this, they had no other avocation than being immersed in the thought of the Lord.This is how Mumukshup padi explains this sentiment.



The other work of the Alwar is ' Naanmugan Tiruvantadhi'- an Antadhi

commencing with the words 'Naanmugan' - a reference to the four faced Brahma.

He published them for the benefit of posterity.

The first stanza of the Antadhi categorically states

Naan Mugani Naraayanan Padaithaan- Naan Muganum /

Thaan Mugamaaai Sankaranaithaan Padaithaan /

Yaan Mugamaai Anthaadhi Melittu Arivithen - Aazh Porulai

Sinthaamal Konmin Neer Therndhu

"The four faced Brahma was born to Narayana and to this Brahma was born

Sankara. I am declaring this truth in this Antadhi. Resort to this without any doubt, if you desire to wipe out the pangs of birth" 1



He was so fearless , outspoken and frank to a fault in establishing his

staunch devotion to Narayana that he was known as ' the sword that was never sheathed in the cause of Vaishnavism'.



Thanian on Tirumazhisai Alwar

On Tiruchhanda Viruttam by Tiruk Kachi Nambigal

Taruchhandap Pozhil Thazhuvu Dhaaraniyin Thuyar Theera/

Tiruchhanda Viruttam Sei Tirumazhisai Paran Varum Oor /

Karuchhandung Kaar Akhilum Kamazh Kongu Mana Naarum /

Tiruchhandathudan Maruvu Tirumazhisai Valam Pathiye

The places of birth of Alwars are considered to be as sacred as the Alwars themselves. Hence, the Thanians praise the their birthplaces.

" This place is filled with the divine Kalpa tree, Sandalwood tree and other groves of fragrant flowers. Tirumazhisai is the holy place where was born the great Tirumazhisai Alwar who came to this world to relieve the populace of their misery. Mahalakshmi resides happily in this beautiful place."



Thanian on Naanmukhan Tiruvantaadhi

Naaraayanan Padaithaan Naanmuganai- Naan muganukku /

Eraar Sivan Pirandhaan Ennum Sol - /

Seeraar Seppi Vaazhalaam Nenjame ! Moi Poo /

Mazhisai Piraan Adiye Vaazhthu ?

" Naaraayana created Brahma and to this Brahma was born Siva who is known as the ' Mei Tavathone'- real penitant. If we read and understand this great psalm, we can redeem ourselves. The one who gave us this rare psalm is the great Tirumazhisai Alwar who was born in the flower - garden city of Mazhisai"




TIRUNAKSHATRAM OF TIRUMAZHISAI AZHWAR
This Azhwar was an incarnation of Sudarsana Chakra (the divine discus of
Lord Vishnu). He was born to Baargava Muni and Kanakaangi at Tirumazhisai near Kanchipuram. Even though the fetus was in the mother's womb for an unusual 12 months, when delivered was without arms, legs etc. The parents left it at the foot of a bush of cane shrubs in the forest. Lord Vishnu and Lakshmi appeared and blessed the child, which then became fully developed into a lovely baby.

A childless tribal couple called Tiruvaalan and Pankaya Chelvi engaged in cutting canes found the child and took it home. The child would not eat or drink anything nor did it show any signs of expelling waste material from its body. When an old agriculturist couple offered milk in a bowl, the child drank it with relish. One day, the couple drank of the milk left over by the child. They regained youth and in due course had a son born to them whom they named as 'Kanikannan'.

Tirumazhisai decided to learn about all other religions. So, he studied
Buddhist, Jain and other literature. He became a staunch devotee of Siva
assuming the name of Siva Vakya. One day, he saw an old man planting a
plant upside down and then trying to water it with a broken pot using a
tattered rope to lift water from a waterless well. Sivavakyar asked him why he was attempting such a foolish act. The old man was none other than Pey Azhwar who replied that what he was doing was only less foolish than Sivavakya's allegiance to Saivam, knowing full well that the Vedas and Smritis proclaim Sri Narayana as the Supreme deity.

As a result of an argument with Pey Azhwar, finally he got initiated into Vaishnavam by Pey Azhwar assuming the name of Bhaktisaarar. After visiting several temples, he reached Tiruvekka, the birthplace of Budat Azhwar.

Impressed by the service rendered by an old spinster, he restored her youth with unsurpassed beauty as desired by her. She married the Pallava king who learned of the secret of her youth. He wanted to regain youth himself. She told him that he approach Kanikannan for the purpose.

- When Kanikannan was summoned to court, he refused to come
- When asked to compose a verse on the king, he refused to compose one on a mere mortal
- When told that the king was an aspect of the Lord, he composed a verse on the Lord and not on the king.
This enraged the king who banished him from his kingdom.

On hearing this, Bhaktisaarar requested the Lord in his puja to leave the place. He sang:
Kanikannan Poginraan Kaamaru poong Kachi /
Manivannaa! Nee Kidakka Vendaaa/
Sennaap Pulavanum Poginren Neeyum Unran /
Pai Naagappaai Suruttik KoLL /
" Kanikannan is going out of Kanchi O! Manivanna, You don't have to lie here anymore. Since, as the fluent poet that I am also leaving with him, you also roll your serpent bed and follow me"
And, accordingly all of them left Kanchipuram.

When they left, Kanchi became desolate. The king realized his folly and
requested Bhaktisarar and Kanikannan to forgive and return. Bhaktisarar
prayed to the Lord that in view of the King's repentance, they might return.
He sang again:
Kanikannan Pokku ozhindaan Kamarupoong Kachi /
Manivanna! Nee Kidakka VEndum - Thunivudaiya /
Sennaap Pulavanum Pokku ozhindEn- Neeyum Unran /
Pain Nagap Paai Paduthuk KoLL /
" Kanikannan has changed his mind and rescind his decision to leave Kanchi. Since, as the fluent poet that I am also returning with him, You may also return and lie down on your serpent bed as before"
All of them returned accordingly and Kanchipuram regained its lost glory.

Since the Lord did as he was told by the Azhwar, he came to be called
'Yathokta kaari' and 'Sonna vannam Seitha Perumal'-meaning 'the Lord who acted as told'

One day, when on his way to Tirukkudantai, he stopped for a while for rest and he sat on a pial of a house in Perumpuliyur. A few Brahmins were reciting Vedas. On seeing him, they stopped their recitation since Veda was not to be recited in the presence of a person belonging to the fourth caste. The Azhwar understood and was about to leave when the Brahmins started their recitation.

They did not remember at what point they had left the recitation. The Azhwar broke open a paddy seed with his fingernail to indicate the exact context, which had a reference to the paddy seed. The Brahmins realized the greatness of the Azhwar and begged to be excused.

When the Archaka (priest) of the local temple wanted to honor him, some objected and spoke ill of the Azhwar. The Azhwar prayed to the Lord to show himself to these people. He sang:
Akkarangal Akkarangal Enrum Aavadhu En Kolo /
Ik Kurumbai Neekki Ennai Eesanaakkka Vallaiyel /
Sakkaram Koll Kaiyane Sadankar Vai Adangida /
Ut Kidantha Vanname Puram Posindhu Kaattide /
" What is the use of your having those resplendent hands if you cannot remove the idiosyncrasy of these ignorant folk and make me powerful
in their midst? O1 Lord with the divine discus in your hand! Teach these
fools a lesson by showing yourself appearing in my very body"

The Lord showed himself off in the body of Azhwar and the onlookers were astonished and begged forgiveness.

On reaching Tirukkudantai (Kumbakonam), he let the birchbark leaf containing his writings in the waters of river Kaveri. The leaf floated back to him holding his works viz.,'Tiruchanda Viruttam' (a poem of beautiful verses) in which he sang the following beautiful verse:
Ninrathu Enthai Ooragathu Irundathu Enthai Paadagathu /
Anru Vekkanaik Kidandhathu Ennilaatha Munnelaam /
Anru Naan Pirandilen Pirandapin Marandilen /
Ninrathum Irundhathum Kidandhathum En Nenjule /
" Before I was born, He was standing in Ooragam, was sitting in Paadagam and was lying down in Tiruvekka. At that time I was not born with wisdom; when once I was born with this wisdom, I never forgot. Therefore, the Lord left all those places and has taken permanent abode in my heart".

The idea is that the great Gnanis never considered themselves as born at all until they realized this ' Artha gnaanam'. And, once they realized this, they had no other avocation than being immersed in the thought of the Lord. This is how Mumukshup padi explains this sentiment.

The other work of the Azhwar is ' Naanmugan Tiruvantadhi'- an Antadhi
commencing with the words 'Naanmugan' - a reference to the four faced Brahma. He published them for the benefit of posterity.

The first stanza of the Antadhi categorically states
Naan Mugani Naraayanan Padaithaan- Naan Muganum /
Thaan Mugamaaai Sankaranaithaan Padaithaan /
Yaan Mugamaai Anthaadhi Melittu Arivithen - Aazh Porulai
Sinthaamal Konmin Neer Therndhu
"The four faced Brahma was born to Narayana and to this Brahma was born Sankara. I am declaring this truth in this Antadhi. Resort to this without any doubt, if you desire to wipe out the pangs of birth"

He was so fearless, outspoken and frank to a fault in establishing his
staunch devotion to Narayana that he was known as ' the sword that was never sheathed in the cause of Vaishnavam'.


Thanian on Tirumazhisai Azhwar
On Tiruchhanda Viruttam by Tiruk Kachi Nambigal
Taruchhandap Pozhil Thazhuvu Dhaaraniyin Thuyar Theera/
Tiruchhanda Viruttam Sei Tirumazhisai Paran Varum Oor /
Karuchhandung Kaar Akhilum Kamazh Kongu Mana Naarum /
Tiruchhandathudan Maruvu Tirumazhisai Valam Pathiye

The places of birth of Azhwars are considered to be as sacred as the Azhwars themselves. Hence, the Thanians praise the their birthplaces.
" This place is filled with the divine Kalpa tree, Sandalwood tree and other groves of fragrant flowers. Tirumazhisai is the holy place where was born the great Tirumazhisai Azhwar who came to this world to relieve the populace of their misery. Mahalakshmi resides happily in this beautiful place."

Thanian on Naanmukhan Tiruvantaadhi
Naaraayanan Padaithaan Naanmuganai- Naan muganukku /
Eraar Sivan Pirandhaan Ennum Sol - /
Seeraar Seppi Vaazhalaam Nenjame! Moi Poo /
Mazhisai Piraan Adiye Vaazhthu?
" Naaraayana created Brahma and to this Brahma was born Siva who is known as the ' Mei Tavathone'- real penitent. If we read and understand this great psalm, we can redeem ourselves. The one who gave us this rare psalm is the great Tirumazhisai Azhwar who was born in the flower - garden city of Mazhisai"
(This was featured in the Bhakti list on 23rd April 1996.)





TIRUMAZHISAI AZHWAR AND SWAMI DESIKA
Anbil Ramaswamy
===================================================================================================================================
The month of "Thai" is specially sacred because with it dawns what=
is known as the UttarAyaNa punyakAlam- the northward movement of the
Sun.
 This time is considered so auspicious that the great PitAmaha
BhishmAchAriar waited on his bed of arrows for the arrival of this
season to shed his mortal coils.
 This is also the period of rejoicing like the Makara SankrAnthi
festival (Pongal). As the saying goes "Thai pirandhAl vazhi pirakkum"
meaning that when Thai arrives, problems automatically get resolved
(and marriages are celebrated)
 ANDAL who started to sing Margazhi was looking forward to the birth of
Thai month - saying-
"thai oru thingaL tharai maNDalamiTTU".
 It is in this month that the great Sishya of Bhagavad
RamAnuja, "Srivatsa Chinha Misrar" popularly known as KoorathAzhwAn
was born in the asterism of Hastham.
 It is in this month that the mahAn of our own very times who became a
legend in his lifetime viz. "Abhinava Desikar", Uttamur SwAmi was born in the
asterism of SwAthi.

It is also the month in which Bhagavad RAmAnuja's cousin "GOvindan" who
became "EmbAr" later, was born in the asterism of Punarvasu occuring on
6th February 2001.

 It is in this glorious month that our "Mazhisai vandha Sothi" viz
=Thirumazhisai AzhwAr was born in the asterism of Magham occuring on
9th February 2001.

Personally, I have great pride in celebrating this AzhwAr because, he
is the one who had sung about my native place in his
PAsuram "NagathaNaimel" where he combined the twin?cities of "Tiruppernagar"
(KOvilaDi) and "Tiruvanbil" in one breath, as "pEranbil".

Though NammAzhwAr did his Prapatti at the feet of "Tiru venga Dam
uDaiyAn" saying "Un aDikkeezh amarndhu pugunthEnE",the last DivyadEsam sungby
him in his Tiruvoimozhi is only on this "pERanbil" and therefore, he issaid to
have attained "Moksham" here.

Now, let us enjoy celebrating Tirumazhisai AzhwAr's Tirunakshatram
which falls on 9th February 2001 by recalling his life story and how
Swami Desikan celebrated this in his "PrabandhasAram".

LIFE STORY OF THE AZHWAR

This AzhwAr was an incarnation of Sudarsana Chakra (the divine
discus of Lord Vishnu). He was born to BArghava Muni and KanakAngi
at Tirumazhisai near KAnchipuram. Even though the fetus was in the
mother's womb for an unusual 12 months, when delivered it was without
arms, legs etc. The parents left it at the foot of a bush of cane
shrubs in the forest. Lord Vishnu and Lakshmi appeared and blessed
the child which then became fully developed into a lovely baby.

A childless tribal couple called Tiruvaalan and Pankaya Chelvi
engaged in cutting canes found the child and took it home. The child
would not eat or drink anything nor did it show any signs of
expelling waste material from its body. When an old agriculturist
couple offered milk in a bowl, the child drank it with relish. One
day, the couple drank of the milk left over by the child. They
regained youth and in due course had a son born to them whom they
named as 'KanikaNNan'.

Thirumazhisai decided to learn about all other religions. So, he
studied Buddhist, Jain and other literature. He became a staunch
devotee of Siva assuming the name of Siva VAkya. One day, he saw an
old man planting a plant upside down and then trying to water it with
a broken pot using a tattered rope to lift water from a waterless
well. SivavAkyar asked him why he was attempting such a foolish act.
The old man was none other than Pey AzhwAr who replied that what he
was doing was only less foolish than Sivavakya's allegiance to
Saivam, knowing full well that the Vedas and Smritis proclaim Sri
NArAyaNa as the Supreme deity.

As a result of an argument with Pey AzhwAr, he finally got initiated
into Srivaishnavam by Pey AzhwAr. After visiting several temples, he
reached Tiruvekka, the birthplace of Budat AzhwAr.
Tirumazhisai AzhwAr himself says-
"sAkkiyam katrOm, SamaNam katrOm, SankaranAr aakkiya Aagamanool
aarAindhOM; BhaggiyathAl venkaTkariyAnai SerndOm"
meaning
" We learned SAkkiyam (jainism) SamaNam (Buddhism) and did deep
research into the doctrine of Saivam; which were all totally
misleading. Luckily, we landed at the feet of TiruvengadathAN as a
SrIvaishNavan"

Impressed by the service rendered by an old spinster, he restored her
youth with unsurpassed beauty as desired by her. She married the
Pallava king who learned of the secret of her youth. He wanted to
regain youth himself. She told him to approach KanikaNNan for the
purpose.

- When KanikaNNan was summoned to court, he refused to come;
- When asked to compose a verse on the king, he refused to compose
one on a mere mortal;
- When told that the king was an aspect of the Lord, he composed a
verse on the Lord and not on the king. This enraged the king who
banished him from his kingdom.

On hearing this, Thirumazhisai requested the Lord in his puja to
leave the place. He sang:

KanikaNNan Poginraan Kaamaru poong Kachi /
ManivaNNaa! Nee Kidakka Vendaa/
Sennaap Pulavanum Poginren Neeyum Unran /
Pai Naagappaayai Suruttik KoLL /

" KanikaNNan is going out of kAnchi Oh! Manivanna!, You don't have to
lie here anymore. Since, as the fluent poet that I am also leaving
with him, you also roll your serpent bed and follow me"
And, accordingly all of them left KAnchipuram.

When they left, KAnchi became desolate. The king realized his folly
and requested Thirumazhisai and KanikaNNan to forgive and return.
Thirumazhisai prayed to the Lord that in view of the King's
repentance, they might return. He sang again-

KanikaNNan Pokkozhindaan Kamarupoong Kachi /
ManivaNNa ! Nee Kidakka Vendum - Thunivudaiya /
Sennap Pulavanum Pokkozhinden- Neeyum Unran /
Pain NAgap Paayil Paduthuk KoLL /

" KanikaNNan has changed his mind and rescinded his decision to leave
Since, as I, the fluent poet am also returning with him, You may also
return and lie down on your serpent bed as before"
All of them returned accordingly and KAnchipuram regained its lost
glory.

Since the Lord did as He was told by the AzhwAr, he came to be
called 'YatOtkAri' and 'Sonna vaNNam Seitha PerumAL'- meaning 'the
Lord who acted as told'

How Thirumazhisai got the name of BhaktisArar?
There is an interesting story about this:

Once, when Thirumazhisai was steeped in BhaktiyOga,Lord Paramasivan
and his consort PArvati Devi wanted to grant him some boon. But, the
AzhwAr being a ParamaikAntin would have none from them. When they
insisted on his requesting some boon, he asked whether they could
grant him `MOKsham". Lord Siva replied that he was incapable of
granting this, as it was in the sole domain of Lord NarAyaNa only and
conferred on the AzhwAr the honorific of "BhatisArar". AzhwAr refers
to this incident saying "pENilum varam thara miDukillAtha dEvar"-
Deities who are incompetent to grant the boon he desired.

One day, when on his way to TirukkuDanthai, he stopped for a while
for rest and he sat on a pial of a house in Perumpuliyur. A few
Brahmins were reciting Vedas. On seeing him, they stopped their
recitation since Veda was not to be recited in the presence of a
stranger. The AzhwAr understood and was about to leave when the
Brahmins started their recitation. They did not remember at what
point they had left the recitation. The Alwar broke open a paddy seed
with his fingernail to indicate the exact context, which had a
reference to the paddy seed. The Brahmins realized the greatness of
the Alwar and begged to be excused.

An important point to be borne in mind in this connection is that as
the AzhwAr was the incarnation of "Sudarsana Chakram", his
brilliance was so powerful that it literally blinded the Brahmins who
became stupefied, nonplused and speechless. That is the reason why
they stopped the recitation, not exactly because the AzhwAr was a Non-
Brahmin.

This can be gleaned from Swami Desika calling him "Mazhisai Vandha
SOthi" meaning "the brilliant luster from Mazhisai".

Also, TiruppAvai PAsuram of ANDAL "ThoomaNi mAdathu Sutrum
ViLakkeriya" is said to refer to Thirumazhisai AzhwAr (who could have
spoken out the context but chose to indicate by sign language) when
she exclaimed - "OomaiyO anri SeviDO ananthalO" ?
"Is it that s(he) is mute, deaf etc"

When the Archaka (priest) of the local temple wanted to honor him,
some objected and spoke ill of the AzhwAr. The AzhwAr prayed to the
Lord to show himself to these people. He sang :

Akkarangal Akkarangal Enrum Aavadhu En Kolo /
Ik Kurumbai Neekki Ennai Eesanaakkka Vallaiyel /
Sakkaram Koll Kaiyane Sadankar Vai Adangida /
Ut Kidantha VaNName Puram Posindhu KaaTTidE /

" What is the use of your having those resplendent hands if you
cannot remove the idiosyncrasy of these ignorant folk and make me
powerful in their midst? O1 Lord with the divine discus in your
hand ! Teach these fools a lesson by showing yourself appearing in my
very body" The Lord showed himself off in the body of AzhwAr and the
onlookers were astonished and begged forgiveness.

On reaching TirukkuDanthai (Kumbakonam), he let the birchbark leaf
containing his writings in the waters of river Kaveri. The leaf
floated back to him holding his works viz.,'Tiruchanda Viruttam'
(a poem of beautiful verses) in which he sang the following
beautiful verse:

814:
nanRirundhu yOkan^eedhi
naNNuvaar_kaL sindhaiyuL,
senRirunthu theeviNnaikaL
theerththathEva thEvanE,
kunRiruntha maadan^eedu
paadakaththu moorakaththum,
ninRirunthu veqkaNaikki
danthathenna neermaiyE? (63)

" Before I was born, He was standing in Ooragam, was sitting in
Paadagam and was lying down in Tiruvekka. .At that time I was not
born with wisdom; When once I was born with this wisdom, I never
forgot. Therefore, the Lord left all those places and has taken
permanent abode in my heart".

The idea is that the great JnAnis never considered themselves as born
at all until they realized this 'Artha JnAnam'. And, once they
realized this, they had no other avocation than being immersed in the
thought of the Lord. This is how MumukshuppaDi explains this
sentiment.

He refers to the inseparable-ness of ParamAtma and JeevAtama when he
makes the powerful statement- " I cannot exist without you nor can
you exist without me"
"Naan unnaiyanri ilEn kaNDAi nAraNanE
nee ennaiyanri illai"

SwAmi Desikan echoes these sentiments thus-"yAnum neeyE ennuL
urathalin, enadhum neeyE unadanri inmaiyin"

Let us see how SwAmi Desika celebrates the AzhwAr in
his "PrabandhasAram"
"thai magathil varum mazhisai pirAnE matrai
samayangaL pala therindhu mAyOna allAl
deivam matrillai ena uraitha vEda
sezhum poruL nAnmughan thoNNutrAru pATTu
mei miguththa tiruchchandha viruthap pAdal
viLangiya nooterirupadunthap pAmal meyvEvaiyagathu maravAmal uraithu
vAzhum
vagai adiyEnukku aruL sei magizhndu neeyE"
meaning
"The AzhwAr was born in the maheesAra kshEtram called Thirumazhisai
in Magahm star. Having researched thoroughly all the other faiths; he
came to the conclusion that they were all without any substance. He
rediscovered the veracity of the Vedic dictum that ONLY Sriman
NArAyaNa is the Supreme deity and none can equal Him. This, he
declared unambiguously in his "Nanmughan TiruvanthAdi" and the other
work "Tiruchchnda Viruttam" containing the quintessence of Tattvams."

He prays to the AzhwAr to bestow on him the faculty never to forget
but always remember these works as the only means for emancipation

The other work of the AzhwAr is 'Naanmugan Tiruvantadhi'- an
AnthAdhi commencing with the words 'Naanmugan' - a reference to the
four faced Brahma. He published them for the benefit of posterity.
The first stanza of the AnthAdhi categorically states

2382:
nAnmuganai nArA yaNanpadaiththAn, nAnmuganum
thAnmugamAych Sankaranaith thAn padaiththAn, -
yAn mugamAy anthAthi mEliTTU ariviththEn Azh poruLai,
sinthAmal koNminIr thErnthu (2) 1

"The four faced Brahma was born to Narayana and to this Brahma was
born Sankara. I am declaring this truth in this AnthAdhi. Resort to
this without any doubt, if you desire to wipe out the pangs of birth".

He was so fearless, outspoken and frank to a fault in establishing
his staunch devotion to Narayana that he was known as 'the sword that
was never sheathed in the cause of Vaishnavam'.

Thanian on Tirumazhisai Alwar
On Tiruchhanda Viruttam by Tiruk Kachi Nambigal

tharuchchanthap pozhilthazhuvu thaaraNiyin thuyar_theera
thiruchchantha viruththam sey thirumazhisaip paran varum oor,
karuchchanthum kaarakilum kamazhkOnkum maNan^aaRum,
thiruchchanthath thudanmaruvu thirumazhisai vaLampathiyE.

The places of birth of AzhwArs are considered to be as sacred as the
AzhwArs themselves. Hence, the Thanians praise their birthplaces.

" This place is filled with the divine Kalpa tree, Sandalwood tree
and other groves of fragrant flowers. Tirumazhisai is the holy place
where was born the great Thirumazhisai AzhwAr who came to this world
to relieve the populace of their misery. MahAlakshmi resides happily
in this beautiful place."

Thanian on Naanmukhan Tiruvantaadhi

nArAyaNan padaiththAn nAnmuganai, nAnmuganuk
kErAr sivan piRandhAn ennum sol - sIrAr
mozhi seppi vAzhalAm nenjamE, moypU
mazhisaip paran adiyE vAzhththu

" NaarAyaNa created Brahma and to this Brahma was born Siva who is
known as the 'Mei Tavathone'- real penitent. If we read and
understand this great psalm, we can redeem ourselves. The one who
gave us this rare psalm is the great Thirumazhisai AzhwAr who was
born in the flower - garden city of Mazhisai"

Divya Desams consecrated by Thirumazhisai AzhwAr -

1. Tiruvarangam
2. Tiru Anbil
3. Tiruppernagar
4. TirukkuDanthai
5. Kapisthalam
6. Tiruk KOshTiyur
7. Tiruk Koodal
8. Tiruk Kurunkudi
9. Tirup Paadakam
10.Tiru Ooragam
11.Tiru Vekkaa
12.Tiruvevullur
13.Tiru VEnkaDam
14.Tirup Paar KaDal
15.DwAraka and
16.Paramapadam



MAAL UGANDHA AASIRIYAR ? LIFE AND WORKS OF AZHWARS
Part ? 4- THIRUMAZHISAI AZHWAAR
BY SRI MADHAVA KANNAN - CO-MODERATOR OF "SRI RANGA SRI"
---------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------

SrI:
SrImathE Gopaladesika mahadesikaya nama:
... This is a biography of the GREAT AzhwAr by name "Thirumazhisai
AzhwAr" (born at Thirumazhisai, to Bhargava rishi and his dharma
pathni kanakAngi after an unusual of 12 months stay in the womb). It
is told that the saptha Rishis including BhArgava Rishi asked
BrahmA about the most sacred place on the Earth that was fit for
the permanaent residence to do penance. Brahma told them that
Thirumazhisai KshEthram was the best and named it MahIsAra
KshEthram. The Rishis stayed there.

While being there, the wife of BhArgava Rishi KanakAngi gave birth
to a child on a Thai Makam. It was a lifeless one with no form or
parts. Seeing the foetus that came out as just a lifeless lump of
flesh with no arms, legs, etc., they were terribly depressed and
with hard heart and unwillingness left it at the "moongil" (bamboo)
bush and proceeded with their life.

It is His leelA. He has different mission and purpose on each and
every one of His creation. Our most merciful Lord Sriya: patih
appeared with His consort and blessed the "flesh" with Their
katAksham and it turned into an alive, Divya tEjas, cute little
bundle of joy; a fully developed and lovely baby which was later
picked up affectionately by a tribe(Harijan) named "ThiruvALan". A
really blessed couple ThiruvALan and pankaya chelvi, was very much
overwhelmed by the grace of God for this Gift of swarNa vigraham-
like most charming baby boy. This Boy was Thirumazhisai AzhwAr, who
is the amsam of the Lord's Sudarsana chakram

Again an unusual [very interesting incidents have happened in this
AzhwAr's life) phenomenon of not drinking or eating any thing nor any
expelling of any waste by this baby saddened them. They really
longed to see the baby drink or eat something; It was happening for
quite some time and this unusualness news spread everywhere and
attracted lots of people to see and be blessed with the darshan of
this divine child, who was also growing and developing like any
other normal child in spite of no intake. When a simple, devoted
agriculturist old couple paid their visit, they brought some cow's
milk with them and the old lady lovingly placed the baby on her lap
and offered the milk saying "Oh our beloved boy, the one who came
amidst us by the grace of sriman nArAyaNa, please take this milk and
remove our worries, dear" and IT
STARTED DRINKING..

(one can imagine the tears of joy that must have flowed in the hall
and the excitement!) And they were coming everyday to offer the milk
to the baby since then; one such day the baby AzhwAr showed and
signaled the left over milk to be drunk by the old couple; The
moment they partook the left over milk, they regained their youth;
yet another marvel by the Divine AzhwAr, who was none other than
chakrAyudhA (the Discuss of mahA vishNu).

The "young" old couple, later were blessed with a male child whom
they named "kaNikaNNan" who at a later stage became a close
friend/ardent disciple of ThirumazhisaiAzhwAr.

Meanwhile, The BhArgava Rishi puthran( Thirumazhisai AzhwAr)
controlled his Indhriyams and practised AshtAnga Yogam. He studied
all kinds of religions (Saaktham , Saivam et al) and rejected them
all in favor of VaishNavam and recognized that Sriman NaarAyaNn is
the Aadhara Moorthy and Jagath KaaraNa Vasthu (ParamAthmA). Azhwar
stayed at Thiru AllikkENi worshipping GeethAchAryan and met there
with the Mudhal AzhwArs. Few years later, Thirumazhisai AzhwAr
settled at ThiruvehhA , where Poygai AzhwAr was born. KaNikaNNan
served Thirumazhisai as his disciple The AzhwAr, actually had learnt
tried all other religions/doctrines., namely., Buddhism, jainism,
advaitA and in fact became a staunch devotee of SivA (with a name
siva vAkyA). pEyAzhwAr argued with him, showed him evidences from
vEdAs ans smrithis to claim sriman nArAyaNA as the supreme deity,
and finally initiated him into vaishNavic philosophy and named him
bhaktisArar.

AzhwAr later declares his struggles in his pAsuram:

sAkkiyam kaRROm samaN kaRROm, sankaranAr/
Akkiya Agama nool aRinthOm bhaktiyAl/
senkatkariyaAnai sErnthOm yAm theethilamE/
yenkatkariyathOnRil/

"After my futile efforts to know the supreme principle through
jainism, Buddhism philosophies and saivite religion. I am blessed by
sriman nArAyaNa to take refuge at the Lotus feet of Sriya: Pathi and
have escaped all problems and misfortunes since then."

1) BhaktisArar visited various sthalams (temples) and came to
Thiruve:ka (bhoodhathAzhwAr's birthplace) and was allured by the
beauty of the Lord and the scenic beauties and decided to stay there
for some time. Our Kanikkannan, too joined bhaktisArar and served
him as an ardent disciple (sishyA) to AzhwAr.

2)There was also an old lady (unmarried) who devotedly, whole
heartedly served AzhwAr by cleaning, mopping, drawing "kOlams" etc..
AzwAr was greatly impressed by her indefatigable service and
devotion towards AzhwAr and appreciated her openly; The old lady was
moved and regretted that she joined him at this age only and not
when she was able so that she could have continued to serve for more
years. Hearing that, azhwAr's kind heart melted and showered his
graceful look (katAksham) on the lady, who was immediately
transformed into an extremely beautiful young lady. (This AzhwAr's
miracles are really great, dear vaishNavALs) Later, during
a "nagarvalam", the pallava king saw her in azhwAr's place and
married her.

3) After some years, when the king actually noticed that his queen
is not ageing and has got the same youthful look while he was
getting old, he found out that it was AzhwAr's divine katAksham that
did the magic. He asked Kanikkannan who was summoned to the court to
make a request to AzhwAr on behalf of the king, Kanikkannan refused
saying he and the AzhwAr will not yield and sing for a mortal. That
enraged the king and he ordered to banish Kanikkannan from his
kingdom. Kanikkannan said "this is not the only sthalam for me; The
entire world is His" and walked off.

He went to azhwAr and narrated the incident which forced him to
leave that place and begged for his pardon for leaving him; AzhwAr
felt very sad that his dearest friend/devoted disciple is leaving
him. He did not feel like staying there without kanikannan. Hence,
AzhwAr, too decided to push off from Thiruve:ka. AzhwAr went
straight to the temple and prayed wholeheartedly with tears in his
eyes and requested the Lord also to come along with them, as he can
not think of living without the Lord.

Kanikkannan pOginRAn kAmaru poon kacchi
maNivaNNA1 nee kidakka vEndA
sennAppulavanum pOginrEn neeyum unRan
painnAgappAi suruttikkoL

" Kanikkannan is going out of kanchi Manivanna, I am also leaving
with him. You don't have to lie down here any more; You also roll
your "nAgam" (serpent bed) and follow me" and FRIENDS, OUR LORD
FOLLOWED THE AZHWAR WITH THE SNAKE ROLLED AND TUCKED UNDER HIS ARMS.
The king next day got the news that the temple is desolated and the
entire city looks dark and lifeless, he understood his folly and
rushed immediately to chase the trio. He caught them on the way and
prostrated on the ground, repenting for what he had done; requested
them to forgive him for his mistake and to come back to kanchi.
AzhwAr and Kanikkannan, understanding the sincerity of his regret
and repentance requested the Lord again to return and stay at
kanchi. Needless to say, the Lord obeyed.

Kanikkannan pOkkozhindAn kAmaru poon kacchi
maNivaNNA1 nee kidakka vEndum
sennAppulavanum pOkkozhindEn neeyum unRan
painnAgappAi viritthukkoL

4)Once on his way to Tirukkudantai, he stopped for a while to take
rest and he sat on the "ThiNNai" ( a sort of bench-pial) in front of
a house in Perumpuliyur. A few brahmins were reciting vedas inside
that house. On seeing the "harijan" (our AzhwAr), they stopped their
recitation since, as per tradition and shAstrAs, Veda was not to be
recited in the presence of a person belonging to the fourth caste
and our AzhwAr immediately understood and was about to leave when
the Brahmins started their recitation.

They forgot the next line and at what point they had left the
recitation. The AzhwAr broke open a paddy seed that was lying there
with his fingernail to indicate the exact context which had a
reference to the paddy seed. The brahmins were simply flabbergasted
and astonished and realized the greatness of the AzhwAr and asked
for his pardon.

5)When the Archaka ( priest) of the local temple wanted to honor the
AzhwAr, knowing fully well his bhakti and GnAna, some people
objected and spoke ill of the AzhwAr. Tha AzhwAr felt hurt and
prayed to the Lord to show himself to these people in his physical
body to prove that the antaryAmi is the same Narayanan in all living
beings, irrespective of the jAti, caste,creed colour, etc.,

Akkarangal Akkarangal Enrum Aavadhu En Kolo
Ik Kurumbai Neekki Ennai Eesanaakkka Vallaiyel
Sakkaram Koll Kaiyane Sadankar Vai Adangida
Ut Kidantha Vanname Puram Posindhu Kaattide

Meaning:" What is the use of your having those resplendent hands if
you cannot remove the idiosyncrasy of these ignorant folk and make
me powerful in their midst? Lord, with the divine discus in your
hand ! Teach these fools a lesson by showing yourself appearing in
my very physical body" Again, The Lord obeyed the AzhwAr and showed
himself off in the body of AzhwAr and the protestors were simply
astonished and prostrated and begged for his pardon. (It only again
goes to prove that no one is superior or inferior by birth; it is
just bhakti and love for Him which will make us dearer to Him- No
one chooses his kulam, parents, life; It is all His mercy)

'TIRUCHANDA VIRUTTAM'

On reaching Tirukkudantai ( Kumbakonam), he let the birch bark leaf
containing his writings in the waters of river Kaveri. The leaf
floated back to him holding his works viz.,'Tiruchanda Viruttam' ( a
poem of beautiful verses) in which he sang the following beautiful
verse:

NinRadhu Enthai Ooragathu Irundathu Enthai Paadagathu
AnRu Vekkanaik Kidandhathu EnnilAtha MunnelAm
AnRu NAn PiRandilEn PiRandhapin MaRandilEn
NinRadhum Irundhadhum Kidandhathum En NenjuLe

" Before I was born, He was standing in Ooragam, was sitting in
Paadagam and was lying down in Tiruvekka.At that time I was not born
with wisdom; When once I was born with this wisdom, I never forgot.
Therefore, the Lord left all those places and has taken permanent
abode in my heart". The idea is that the great Gnanis never
considered themselves as born at all until they realized this '
Artha gnAnam'. And, once they realized this, they had no other
avocation than being immersed in the thought of the Lord. This is
how Mumukshup padi explains this sentiment.

'NAANMUGAN TIRUVANTADHI'

The other work of the AzhwAr is 'Naanmugan Tiruvantadhi'- an Antadhi
commencing with the words 'Naanmugan' - a reference to the four
faced Brahma. The first stanza of the Antadhi categorically states

Naan Muganai Naraayanan Padaithaan- Naan Muganum
Thaan Mugamaaai Sankaranaithaan Padaithaan
Yaan Mugamaai Anthaadhi Melittu Arivithen - Aazh Porulai
Sinthaamal Konmin Neer Therndhu

"The four faced Brahma was born to Narayana and to this Brahma was
born Sankara. I am declaring this truth in this Antadhi. Resort to
this without any doubt, if you desire to wipe out the pangs of
birth"

The AzhwAr was so straight forwarded, outspoken, fearless and
established the oneness and supremacy of Sriman Narayanan and
srivaishnavam. He became an exemplary Sri vaishnava AcharyA and it
is told that he spent about 700 years meditating on Tiruvallikkeni
perumAL Sri Venkata krishnan.
AzhwAr EmperumAnAr Desikan ThiruvaDigaLE saraNam
Regards
Namo narayana
dAsan

7 comments:

Usha said...

Awesome, I was looking to know the alwars' puranas and landed here. Glad I found it :) Can you also put the verses in tamil, I can't make out how to transliterate the english words to tamil..

Sridhar Vasudevan said...

http://www.google.co.in/transliterate/indic/Tamil For translation you can use the above site. Paste the english script, but be patient to keep the cursor on the last letter and hit the space bar. The tamizh verse will appear. It may be a great experience to walk through each and every word of Azhwar's Aruluicheyal.

sudharsana said...

Really its too nice.By this azhwar's story i can understand that Sriman Narayanan is the supreme lord.thanks for this wonderful charitham.

krishnan prasant said...

The power full god of lord vishnu

kathir said...

SUPERB

Vatsala S N said...

Is it this Azhwar who has a third eye in his right toe? If so, please let us know the significance.

Sandhya V said...

Thiruvekka was the place where Poigai Azhwar born, not Bhudat Azhwar. Please correct it..