Sri Rama Anu Yathirai(PART 2 )- A Piligrim’s Diary


Mangalam Kosalendraya , mahaneeya gunabhdhaye,

Chakravarthi thanujaaya sarva bhoumaya Mangalam.

Vedavedantha vedhyaya , Megha Shyamala moorthaye,
Pumsaam mohana roopaya , punyaslokaya Mangalam.
Adiyen just can’t describe in words to share the experiences which we had in this trip. May the Lord bestow HIS cool and benevolent grace on all the jivatmas and always protect his children .

kazhiyur varadan's web blog

Part (1) has been published in below link

https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2011/01/26/piligrim-diary-to-sri-rama-holy-abodes/

SRI  RAMAJAYAM

Sriman Narayanaya Charanau Saranam Prapathye     Srimathey Narayanaya namahSrI SIta Lakshmana Bharatha Kshatrughna HanUmat sametha SrI  RAmachandra  Parabrahmane namah :

ramaaaaaaaa

Apadam-apahartAram dAtAram sarva sampadAm
lokAbhirAmam shrIramAm bhooyo bhooyo namAmyaham

Adiyen bows again and again to Sree Rama who removes (all) obstacles and grants
wealth and pleases all.

ArtAnAmArtihantAram bheetAnAm bheeti-nAshanam
dvishatAm kAladanDam tam rAmchandram namAmyaham
He who annihilates the pain of the distressed, He who destroys fear in the minds
of the fearful, He who is like the Weapon of Death to his enemies, that
Lord Raamachandra do I worship.

jjjjjjjj

Srimathey Ramanujaya namah

Sri Dasarathaya Namah

Sri Kooresaya namah

Sri Mudaliandan Swamy Thiruvadigaley Saranam

Prostrating at the  lotus feet of  LORD SITA RAM , Adiyen wishes to share travelogue  of   our second phase of our Sri Rama Anu Yatra which was a blissful experience

In the first phase of our yatra…

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Those who insult my devotees, are never excused by me even after the passage of millions of years


Once the revered Acharyar Nadathoor Azhwan was on the way to  a nearby temple . He met a learned srivaishnava friend who had  come to  accompany Azhwan upto the  temple . En route they were discussing  the  divine experiences of Azhwars and Poorvacharyas .

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Suddenly they  came across  another srivaishnava with Tilak but was belonging to a lower caste . As was the custom those days on seing the two revered Acharyas he moved to  another side of the road and waited obediently for them to leave .

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The learned vaishnava friend  who was accompanying Azhwan  looked at the passerby and started shouting at him for trespassing …….. and  was too harsh on him …..

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Nadadoor Azhwan who heard his  shouts , fell down in a swoon . He was brought back to consciousness  . The learned Vaishnava asked Azhwan If his health was fine and why did he swoon ?

Azhwan who was already in a deep shock explained ..

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My dear scholar .. Do you know , who  was that  srivaishnava  whom you misbehaved with ?  ……………….

————-The learned vaishnava put a blank face .

Azhwan continued….  That great soul belonged to the family of Thiruppan Azhwar who with his just 10 verses of  Nectarine Amalanadhipiran pasurams   merged  in  Lord’s lotus feet and got liberated .

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 My dear Swamin !! It has been repeatedly said and  proved  that If one indulges in a transgression involving a devotee ( Bhagavatha Apachara ) even the brahmavidya will be rendered ineffective in combating the effects of the karma.

Among   the different  types of transgressions for a devotee  the first arise out of disrespectful reference to another’s birth .It is a severe offence to brand a person for his low caste  as all vaishnavas , without reference to caste are worthy of worship .

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This vaishnava is also a great devotee who has qualities of abundant mercy and compassion  and that was the reason  he respected you and  just moved away . Do you know , He can recite all the 4000 Divya Prabhandams pasurams . He is so fortunate to be born between the two cauveries . You have misbehaved with a great soul just because of his appearance and caste …..

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Am I not a low caste person when I claim I am Independent ..  Azhwan listed out several pastimes from Poorvacharya’s works to drive his point  and   takes a verse from anthimOpAya nishtai………..

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madh bhaktham svapachamvApi nindhAm kurvanthi yE narA:  padhmakOti sathEnApi na kshamAmi kathAchana

Those men who insult  my devotees, even a chandala , are never  excused  by me even after the passage of  millions of years.

yA prIthirmayi samvruththA madhbhakthEshu sadhAsthu thE ……….                                   avamAnakriyA thEshAm samharathi akilam jagath

My love for My devotees is ever increasing, so much so that it would go to the extent of destroying the whole world if they are disrespected…..
engaaaal
 Azhwan   submitted , ………………..
Will Lord ever forgive us  for this great transgression for which he was a mute spectator…
 

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan …

Pics credits : Google images

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Whichever devotee desires to faithfully worship a particular form, I fortify his faith in exactly that (form).


A divine pastime happened few hundreds year ago   near the banks of Cauvery river. One sunny day few srivaishnava boys were playing on the banks of Cauvery  river . As they inherited their  parents daily rituals , the boys smartly erected a  small temple and installed an idol out of the Cauvery mud from the banks of the river . Each of them had some little contribution in bringing mud , pebbles , leaves , flowers etc .

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As a part of the religious code  as observed at their homes , they adorned themselves with the Urdhvapundra ( Tilak ) and were completely dissolved in devotion assuming it to be the real Periya Perumal Temple . Few began chanting  (glorification verses)  Thirupallandu pasuram verses innocently but it was divine feeling  for the crowd .  They offered Theertha prasada readily available from the banks of the river.

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JagathAcharyar Swamy Ramanuja happened to pass by the banks of the river . One curious boy noticed the  smiling swamin from a long distance . He informed the other kids  and all wished to have Acharyas appreciation .   They rushed towards Acharyar and invited him to their temple . Swamy , Please come to our  temple, all the boys pleaded in one voice … .

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Swamy Ramanuja was overjoyed with the boys dedication. He accompanied  the little boys and proceeded towards their temple  constructed just now  on the banks of the river . He offered obesiances to the temple and the deities inside and humbly accepted the theertha prasada given by the boys with all reverence .

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A  disciple who was watching  his Acharyar ,  humbly begged to know what was the reason for Swamy Ramanuja to offer obeisance’s and accept the  theertha prasada  in an inappropriate place and that too  from small kids ?

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Swamy Ramanuja   smiled and said , My Child !! .. You must recollect the sloka in  Srimad Bhagavad Gita  where Lord Krishna says

yo yo yaam yaam tanum bhaktaha shraddhayaarchitumicchati |
tasya tasyaachalaam shraddhaam taameva vidadhaamyaham ||

Whichever devotee desires to faithfully worship a particular form,                                                      I  fortify his faith in exactly that (form).  

and as per poigai Azhwar  a verse from the Mudhal Thiruvandhaadee  says

thamar ugandhadhu evvuruvam avvuruvam thane thamar ugandhadhu eppEr maRRappEr – thamar ugandhu evvaNNam sindhiththu imaiyAdhu irupparE avvaNNam AzhiyAnAm

 which means ……

If the devotees wish to   perform service in any form ,  He  joyfully  accepts  that in this world (through archa form) by accepting   whatever form and name that they wish for Him.

Lord accepts whatsoever form the devotees create and offer worship .He lovingly  accepts   the  name the devotees lovingly call him and  whatever manner in which they offer worship to him .

Swamy Ramanuja had unwavering respect for the Lordships which was intended as a play toy and respect to the children . Any deity which is created out of sheer devotion is entitled for worship . It is big offence to look down upon them.

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The disciple was enlightened with the lesson ..

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

 

Pics credits  : Google images

 

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…You might feel offended if I say this. But, I cannot resist telling the truth for your own good……. Will you hear me?


Before the one omnipotent Lord , all the devas ( demigods) tremble and crouch . One such incident happened during the time of Pillay Uranga Villi dasar .

Long Shot of Main Gopuram

Pillai Uranga Villidasar  was  a favourite disciple to Swamy Ramanuja .He became very close to his Master so rare that was his piety  though belonged to a lower caste he had privileges conferred upon him . He was previously a wrestler who by grace of JagathAcharyar turned to become Swamy Ramanuj’s disciple .

His turning into disciple can be read in the appended blog post

https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2015/05/12/the-wrestler-and-the-most-beautiful-eyes/

https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/caste-verses-virtue-swamy-ramanujas-lesson-to-disciples/

  One of  Villidasar’s  land tenant was put into torture by the village deity called Aiyanar .   “Aiyyanar” shrines are  located at the peripheries or boundaries of rural villages, and the  village deity is seen with a sword riding a white horse who eternally ,fight against demons and evil spirits vigilantly who threaten the villagers .

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 The deity was asked by the villagers  to mention what measures would serve him to propitiate it and appease its wrath . The village deity replied , Serve me milk , fruits , smear me with sandal paste .Dress me nicely. Deck me  with jewellery  and  put  an umbrella    over me . Celebrate and offer me the best dishes .

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The Villagers consented and went to their master Villi dasar’s house , borrowed all the things listed above and offered to the village deity as directed and retired after the propitiation ceremonies . That night however the torments for the obsessed tenant multiplied . Aiyanar was pleaded by the villagers, reason  for the unexpected backlash …

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The Village deity replied ..You fools !! You have committed a great offence !!! You have brought the articles used by the great devotee and disciple of Swamy Ramanuja  . You have placed an umbrella and forced me to go under  which million suns were radiating .. I am able to feel the heat by your smearing  with the sandal paste . You have hung heavy irons over my shoulders by decking me with jewels .For all this grave act … I shall never forgive you …

The village deity was really ferocious ………

It continued   You fools !!!!   Villidasar is a great disciple of Swamy Ramanuja  . Now remove all these articles ….. Go and seek his refugee immediately  ……

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All the villagers rushed to Villidasar’s  place  who was meantime explaining to his wife Ponnachee  about the wonderful pasuram of Nammazhwar

Sonnaal virOdam ithu aagilum solvEn kENminO
Ennaavil in kaviyaan oruvarkkum koDukkillEn
Thennaa tenaavenru VaNDu mural tiruvEnkatathu
Ennaanai ennappan emperumaaLuLan aagavE

The above pasuram  meaning goes like this ……………..

 Azhwar addresses us ……. You might feel offended if I say this. But, I cannot resist telling the  truth for your own  good…….  Will you hear me? You folks are running after petty  pleasures and silly satisfactions, wasting your energies by singing  tons  of praise of unworthy entities…………………..

 I, for one, would never misuse my tongue in  such pursuits ..,  but would dedicate all my hymns at the  lotus feet of my father, the  Lord of TiruvEnkatam ( Tirumala )  who is majestic like the mighty elephant and in whose  place bees hum his glory?

mmmm

Villidasar continued , Our  Azhwaar  advises  us that we should use the faculties granted to us by the Lord……   ONLY for HIS purpose and  not  on others. He feels sorry for those who  use their literary talents to invent non-existent qualities in people and  suppressing their defects ? all for some small  favours and silly gains  from them.

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Azhwar asks them to give up this unholy habit and turn to sing about the Lord who has all the auspicious qualities , totally devoid of any blemishes who alone can grant more than what one  could wish for even in their wildest imagination. Seeing the apathy of  people to this appeal, he turns to himself and says at least for his part,  he would practice what he preaches.

pillai-uranga-villi-dasar

The villagers were convinced  that the only sovereign salve for God sick souls is

Lord himself and chanting HIS holy names .

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

Pics credits : Google images

 

 

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All knowledge does not make one a great devotee


The reclusive Uttang Rishi stayed  in the forests for most of his life  and  had  little contact with the rest of the world. It was during one such long stay away from civilization that the war between the Pandavas and Kauravas ripened to enmity and ended in the calamitous war at Kurukshetra  which  resulted in the decimation of all the Kauravas. Always in penance the Rishi moved places . Pleased with his sincere devotion , LORD appeared and  said, “I wish to grant you a boon, O most righteous sage! What would you ask of me?”

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Uttang  Rishi said, Oh Lord  “I need nothing ! The only thing that I, perhaps, may seek is that I may not lack for water wherever I am, since I travel in wild and inaccessible places.”

Lord replied ..“Granted!”

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Once , Uttang Rishi was traveling  through a desert and was afflicted by  severe thirst and could not find any water to drink. He remembered the boon of  LORD  and besought  some water.

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Lord summoned  Indira and instructs him to take the nectar ( Amrit ) and fullfill the Rishi’s thirst permanently making him immortal . Indira was surprised with Lord’s command as the Nectar was meant for devas and and not humans .However as instructed by LORD , Indira   changes his attire and proceeded .

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He dresses himself as an ugly looking chandala in dirtiest clothes  and arrives before the Rishi along with a stray dog .   The Rishi is in disguist looking at the person.  He follows the Rishi and pleads him to take the divine water he is carrying from his deerskin container.

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Uttang  Rishi is  aghast. ….How could he, a Brahmin, take water from this low-caste chandala ? Thrice the  chandala  offers water and thrice the Rishi refused. The Rishi declares that he would die of  thirst rather than drink the water given by him .  He insults him further and asks him to leave . The  chandala disappears in fraction of a second .

Uttang Rishi  is  surprised by this miraculous disappearance of the chandala .   He thought , clearly, he could not really be a  chandala  but some divinity sent by  LORD  as a test. Uttang felt dejected about the possibility of having failed the Lord, when  Lord Krishna appeared before him.

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Uttang  Rishi complained, ”Lord! You promised me water whenever I needed it. How could you send it in the hands of a  chandala ?”

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Lord Krishna  smiled  and said, “O Sage! I asked Indra to give you divine nectar and make you immortal. Indra  was hesitant  saying that Amrit was not for normal human beings. I  told  that you were a realised soul and deserved  immortality.

Indra  felt that  if you  were truly  a realised soul, you would know that all differentiation between people were only the creation of mortals and  that all people were the same in the eyes of a realised soul and, thus, if you accepted the nectar from Indra in the guise of  a chandala , you would deserve it. I agreed. You let me down………………

krishna-forest-boy-lila-shravani

The Rishi accepts that merely having all knowledge does not make one a great devotee but practicing a life in accordance with the knowledge was indeed what one has to follow for following True devotion

Merely knowing that LORD resides in everyone does not fulfill one’s status of being a devotee but practicing it in real life and treating everyone with respect and dignity is what is essential.

In the Purusha Sooktham one verse says padbhyAm Sudro aJayatha means all the sudras originated from the lotus feet of Lord ..And Its Lord’s feet all the devotees surrender and only HIS feet can redeem us . The great Azhwar Vipranarayana calls himself Thondar Adi podi Azhwar  ( dust from the feet of devotees ) . A true vaishnava  is always in a surrender mood and seeks LORDS company in all animate and inanimate species .For him LORD is everywhere ..

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

Credits : Google Images

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Hathi Raamapriya Govinda ………..THE DEVOTEE WHO PLAYED DICE WITH LORD VENKATESHWARA………..


venkaTAdri samam sthAnam brahmANDe nAsti kincana;

venkateSa samo devo na bhUto na bhaviSyati

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This sloka  taken from the Puranas  claims  …………There is no place in the entire universe that equals Venkatadri, the place where the Lord resides and there is no God, neither in the past nor in the future who equals  Lord Venkateswara.

TIRUMALA, the abode of Lord Srinivasar stands unique as an embodiment of mans eternal quest for the divine and His infinite grace. A piligrimage to the sacred Hills is a soul-stirring experience cherished by every devotee. The puranas say that soon after Dwaparayugam ended and Kaliyugam started, Lord Krishna, decided to stay back to protect one and all and chose TIRUMALA. The appearance of the Lord would be mentioned in detail later as a piligrim’s diary . Lord Thiruvengadamudaiyan is acknowledged as the most glorious and auspicious   avatar of Lord MahaVishnu in this Kali Yuga. Even atheists and rationalists admit a sense of humility and the presence of the Lord can be felt by one and all as soon as one approaches the sanctum sanctorum..

May be , this made Kulasekhara Azhwar in his Perumal Thirumozhi to burst into the pasuram PADIYAAYI KIDANDHU UNN PAVAZHA VAAI KAANBENEY.

The piligrims who seek his darshan enter the  serpentile queue  chanting the holy name and with deep devotion wait patiently to have the LORDs darshan .  And as one joins the queue along with  several devotees chanting LORDs names GOVINDA GOVINDA ..the feeling is  very special . Once we  understand we are reaching the temple  main door . we can  have darshan on our right side  Lord playing dice with a baba .(near the old Sreevari Sahsra Deepalankara seva stage) , This  huge models of LORD playing dice with a babaji makes one wonder what divine leela that would  this have been .  It may be noted , among several devotees , Few hundred years ago  Bahavaji   from  Northern India an advanced  devotee of Lord Sri Ram joined a group of sants in having darshanam of LORD VENKATESHWARA in Tirumala . Incidentally the day when Bhavaji  entered temple  for darshanam was   Puratasi Saturday ( the entire month of Purattasee ( September -October ) commemorating  LORDs Appearance month .

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Bhavajee  after having LORDs darshan was  in complete bliss  . The  divine place it was and the  HARI NAAM attracted him  a lot . He could experience inner peace multifold at this place .He decided that the search for  his LORDRAM has  ended and hence decided to remain there .He  was so fascinated by the majestic appearance of the Lord that he decided to  be there permanently  having darshan of the Lord all the time.  With the devotees and  mahants support he constructed a small  Ashram (a place where the saints live near the temples) and settled  near the temple permanently . Bhavaji  paid his obeisances to LORD as often as possible  and  he was slowly dissolving LORD in himself  Few occasions , He used to  swoon and fall and sometimes with tears used to have darshanam of  the lord unmoved for a long time . This continued for a few weeks and months in the temple  .  The Temple authorities being ordinary onlookers could not understand the devotion of him . They   became suspicious about his  long waiting  and hence  reported the matter to the Temple  Chief .  With the instructions received  from the higher ups  , Bhavaji  was not allowed the next day . He was given a  strict warning  not to come to the vicinities of the temple . They demonstrated their anger  by pushing him out .  Our Bhavajee  pleaded the staff  not to separate him from his Lord Ram . But all this went to deaf ears .  A sad and dejected Bhavaji returned to his Ashram with tears .

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Bhavajee expressed his grief  to LORD  with tears praying for HIS mercy  in having HIS darshan .  Whenever he used to make an attempt to enter the temple he was mercilessly pushed out .  Bhavajee was not sure how to pass his time without having the Lord’s darshanam.He  took up a dice board and started playing the dice himself assuming that he was playing with the Lord on the other side. He  switched the roles of LORD and himself while throwing the dice  and suddenly dozed of to sleep unknowingly

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Bhavajee was in deep sleep . Suddenly  he heard a pleasant voice calling, Bhavaji!   Bhavajee ..   Please Wake up! It’s me, Your Rama!  Bhavaji opened his eyes and  was amazed  to have darisanam of  LORD  standing in front of him. He  just couldn’t believe his eyes.  He pinched himself to cross check was it a normal dream ??  Amazed   Bhavaji fell at LORDS feet  with tears . LORD lifted him and said HE was keen to play dice with him . Bhavajee  a bit shy ,  expressed joy like a small child . A  jubilant Bhavaji laid a mat on the floor and  offered an asanam to  LORD  . Was it  true ?? LORD playing dice with his devotee ….  It was something strange . The game begun…and  LORD lost the game by making HIS devotee win .The innocent Bhavajee was feeling so elated .LORD kept loosing many games and was feeling pleased with HIS devotees win . Our compassionate  Lord wanted to gift HIS devotee VICTORY always ….  and hence  asked Bhavaji to seek any boon   . Bhavaji politely said,   Lord ..!! I  am  the most fortunate person to have  YOUR  darisanam and also play with you  . My humble prayer to you ..Oh  LORD please grace me with an audience on daily basis as the temple staff  are  not allowing him inside . To this LORD just smiled expressing his love to Bhavaje.

hh Next day  our Bhavaji  was eagerly waiting for LORDs arrival .He was feeling a strange excitement . He literally prayed the sun to leave the horizon as  soon as possible . He was very excited  recollecting LORDs bewitching smile and the fatherly love soothing him  . Finally the wait was over.  The Temple staff closed the  huge  doors of the temple  Even our  Lord  also was keen to meet HIS devotee . Lord made his move by coming out of the  “Ananda Nilayam”  and  went to Bhavajees ashram .  Bhavajee profusely fell at LORDs feet and offered asanam   . It became a regular practice for the Lord to visit the Mutt and spend time playing dice with Bhavaji at night when the temple doors were closed. One day Lord was playing dice with Bhavaji. Bhavaji  heard some noise in the ashram .He  had to go  out to   check  what  could be that noise , but there was nothing  special . It was a gentle breeze which disturbed the utensils to fall . When he returned to inform  the  same to Lord,  he  found that the Lord had already left the place . Disappointed he looked down   but was surprised  to see a diamond studded necklace of the Lord lying at the board. He picked up the necklace and kept it safe thinking that the Lord might have forgotten it and he would return when He comes back to play next time. The next morning  the Chief Priest attending LORD  noticed a missing necklace which he promptly reported to the Temple Authorities. The Temple Authority were worried about the theft of Lord’s necklace.  The search for the necklace began  All the employees were called up on and inquired about the missing necklace. The  Chief Priest  informed the management about  Bhavaji   and  raised suspicion over him. The Temple Authorities ordered to summon  Bhavaji for enquiry.

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Bhavaji  as usual was awaiting for Lord’s arrival to play the game of dice.  Sadly that day LORD did not join him . but he  could heard someone  calling his name . By the time he reached , the soldiers got in and started searching all over the place. Bhavaji was surprised to see them searching  the ashram all over. He   understood from them about the missing necklace . Bhavaji immediately  got the missing  necklace he held it safely to return the Lord when he visits again.  He innocently  submitted  to the guards… Was  this the necklace you were looking for?

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The soldiers  without any concession arrest Bhavaji for his theft . Bhavaji pleads  his innocence  to the security staff  , but it goes to deaf ears  Bhavajee expresses LORDS compassion and mercy over him .He tells them about the DICE game played with LORD daily and that particular day he saw LORD has forgotten the necklace and he was preparing to return the same the next time LORD comes .  This innocent  explanation  make all of them laugh and   fun of him .

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The next morning Bhavaji is reprimanded  in the courtyard of the Emperor Sri Krishnadevaraya . Sri Krishnadevaraya  listens  to  Bhavaji’s explanation and  feels  it would be unjust to punish him without sufficient proof and proper investigation. He therefore, decides  to put Bhavaji on test. Sri Krishnadevaraya  informs the devotee  Bhavaji that he will be given an opportunity to prove his innocence  provided  he succeeds in consuming the entire heaps of sugarcane kept in his jail cell  by the next day else he will be punished severely..

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Bhavaji  surrenders to the will of LORD .  Without any choice  he accepts  the Emperor’s decision.   In the prison cell , tons of sugarcane heaps   are dumped before him and the  cell doors are locked .  Bhavaje sits in a corner looking at the heaps of sugarcane .With tears he submits to LORD for his mercy .Our all compassionate LORD  never fails to rescue HIS devotee .

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A little later,  he finds a giant Elephant appearing from no where in the cell and by the wake of the dawn  all the heaps of sugarcane dumped there for Bhavaji  is  consumed by the divine elephant .   When  Bhavajee  saw the entire heaps of sugarcane being  finished, he realizes  that his  Lord Ram has arrived for his rescue and immediately  with tears  cries  Oh  Ram…! Oh Ram..! My Ram…! You have come up for my rescue. How lucky am I? The Elephant blesses  Bhavaji  and disappears   On hearing the Elephant’s  noise , the guards  are suprised to see both the sugarcane and the elephant have disappeared . The Emperor Sri Krishnadevaraya  understands the devotion of the saint after being briefed by his soldiers  and  relieves  him of all charges and appoints  Bhavaji as the Chief Priest of the temple of Tirumala.  Since this  Baba Bhavaji’s beloved Lord “Sri Ram” had personally come to  his rescue  in the form of a Hathi (an Elephant) he  is affectionately called as  Hathiram Baba.

As the Chief Priest  of the Temple, Bhavaji served the Lord for many years. He later entered into a Jeeva Samadhi. His  last years were spent near Sri  Venu Gopala Swamy Temple on the way to Papavinasam on the hills of Tirumala. A Samadhi of Hathiram Baba had been constructed there and daily pooja is being performed even today. People visiting  Sri Venu Gopala Swamy Temple pay their homage to this great devotee of Lord Venkateswara. The Hathiram Baba Mutt had been built on the top of southern side of the temple in his remembrance. LORD announces to the world that HIS devotee is always special  and always gives him the place over his Thirumudi  .

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Even one archanai thirunaamam   and Govinda namam    has

Hathi Raamapriya Govinda ……..…………………..

All glories to Hathiraam bhavaji …

Jai Jai Jai Sriman Narayana

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JagathAcharyar kataksham and Moksham to devotees


Once Lord Ranganathar  declared that all the riches of the Kingdom of Heaven as well as of earth were placed at Swamy Ramanuja’ disposal.

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Lord Srinivasa  also re confirmed this grant by His  divine  words .  And to prove that this was not mere flattery, it is written in our poorvacharyas works  that  one incident happened when JagathAcharyar  Swamy Ramanuja was in  Tirumala  .

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During those  few months stay , a milkmaid by name Tumbaiyur Kondi  used to  supply   milk  and curds to the deities of Swamy   Ramanuja in his ashram . When he was  about to take  leave  from  Tirupati, the woman appeared and presented her bill for payment.  Swamy Ramanuja  advised  Kidambi‐Acchan to give her   prasadam and settle her bill   in the Mutt . She was pleased with Acharyar’s  words . She proceeded to the Mutt and had her Prasadam . She  went to Swamy Ramanuja  and prostrated to him and submitted to him that she had a favour to ask.

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 She said, “Holy sire, I desire not payment in coins for my  milk and curds, but grant me Moksha instead!”  Swamy Ramanuja  replied , Mother !! that power I  do not possess ! Only  Lord Srinivasa alone can grant your prayer,

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Then !!  Swamy Kindly give me a written assurance that for the curds and milk supplied  this  woman  let her be given  Moksha !

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 Swamy Ramanuja, over‐come by her faith, gave her the written deed  . She forthwith ascended the Sacred Mount, but  had hardly reached the summit, the Lord Himself met her on the way, and receiving the permit gave her Moksha on the spot.

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Another similar  incident happened  during revered Swami Nampillais days .  Those were the days when Swami Nampillai was managing the affairs of srivaishnavas at Srirangam . Many disciples , scholars used to come to the Ashram for  Acharayar’s advise .  Next to the Ashram there was  a vacant space and another house which was owned by an old lady a nice devotee .  This  vacant space adjoining the Ashram could cater the additional guests arriving  frequently . Swami Nampillai informed his disciples to request the owner of the land to donate the same for a noble service . The request was placed before the old woman but ended up in ambiguity . Swami Nampillai then asked his disciples to call the old woman .

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The old woman  prostrated the Acharyar and said , Swamin !! I am fortunate to posseess  this vacant land at Srirangam because of my elders  and would not part it as long as  I am   alive . However as a faithful follower she could accept for accommodating the devotees under a small request . Swami Nampillai  allowed her to speak .

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The old woman continued , Acharyar kindly arrange to grant me an equal piece of land at  Srivaikuntam  .  Swamy Nampillai replied , Mother ! I shall submit my prayer for the same . Lord will grace you for sure .

Unsatisfied with the Seer’s words she said , Swamin , I am an old illiterate woman and wish to have an written assurance instead of an oral assurance.

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Swamy Nampillai happily agreed .   He got the deed drafted and  made his disciple  recite  before the old woman  which stated that she would be reaching the presence of Lordships on  a particular date and time and will be given the required space in the heaven honouring the deed  which was attested by Swamy Nampillai himself  .

The old lady with tears prostrated Acharyar and happily donated the land .

Few days later she passed away peacefully on the date and time as per the deed  and reached Sri vaikuntam  .

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

 Pics Credits :  Sriman Sree Krishna

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Swami Kurathazhwan Atmagunas


 

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The compassionate hearts of the saints deplore the fate of the men who are turned away from LORD. Such compassion was once expressed in the most tender heart of the greatest srivaishnava saint Sri Koorathazhwan . He renounced his  entire wealth and took asylum under the lotus feet of Swamy Ramanuja.  Kuresa lived by alms because he had given away all his wealth at Kuram a  village near Kancheepuram  and had come to Srirangam to live with  Swamy Ramanuja. He helped Swamy Ramanuja in writing Sri Bashya. He accompanied him  to Kashmir, got the manuscript of the Bodhayanavritti, retained it in his fabulous memory. Swamy  Ramanuja dictated his commentary Sri Bashya which was written down by Kuresa. It was Kuresa who along with Mahapurna went to  the tyrant king Krimanta Chola Palace to safeguard Sri Vaishnava darsanam. He blinded himself, unwilling to yield to the fanatic Chola King’s dictates.

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Elders advocate a Vaishnava has to practice  the eight atma gunas which take him to godhead quickly . The gunas include  Mercy, forbearance, kindness, shedding of ego, not to be proud of wealth and observance of patience.  Among these another  duty  of the Sri Vaisnavas, is  feeding the poor and helping all the Lord’s  creations in all the directions.  A true Vaisnava should have a tender heart and  feel the sufferings of the needy people and the suffering of all creatures as his own suffering. He should try to redress their grievances and difficulties face  by the utmost possible help. This great quality has been strongly advocated by our Poorvacharyas.

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  Koorathazhwan practiced all the above with  humility . There are many divinepastimes in his journey to godhead which inspires any human being . Few among them have been shared in several discourses .

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One day Koorathazhwan was walking along the bunds of river cauvery. He  suddenly heard a distress cry of a frog which was taken as a prey by a snake.  The little frog was in the jaws of the snake  croaking  most piteously in death agony .On hearing this sound  Koorathazhwan fell down and was telling others how can I act on the call of the frog to save its life. Such was the tender heart of Koorathazhwan.

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On another  day Koorathazhwan had his morning bath at the river cauvery. As he was returning he saw a lady  struggling to put the water pot on her head. Even though Koorathazhwan had his bath at not knowing to which caste the lady belongs he promptly  went and helped her to put the waterpot on her head. Orthodox men would not like to go near persons of other caste and help them as they have to again take a bath, and carryout certain samskaras. For Koorathazhwan showering of mercy  was  superior to the other activities.

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Once Kuresa  walked into a plantain groove  to take plantain leaves for feeding the  Prasada to the assembled devotees . He went with his disciple into the garden. The  plantain leaves were cut from the tree and water was oozing out from the edges of the plantain tree. Koorathazhvan  could not bear  this scene .He   swooned  and fainted . He regained his consciousness only after some time when his disciple attempted . The puzzled disciple  asked the reason for such an expression of pain. Kurattazhwan replied  My child !! I  could not bear to see the crying of the plantain tree while cutting the leaves. From these incidents, we have to appreciate the natural and deep tenderness which Koorathazhwan had towards others, whether it was men or animal or a tree

Kooresa’s resignation to Lord’s will was so full and unqualified that he had no will of his own even in the ordinary concerns of his household . One day his wife Andal remonstrated with him for having taken no thought about the weddings of their sons Sri Bhattar and Sri RamaPillai who were eligible for Gruhathashram.

Kuresa  replied , Oh ! Is that so !  Fine then …..  Adiyen shall submit to the Lord ….

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Kooresa  stood before the LORD and was in a deep thought consulting his will . Lord asked Kuresa what was he contemplating about . Kooresa begged  for his mercy .

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Lord replied .. OK ! Kooresa …  This affair is  now my own ..I shall see the boys are properly matched ..

The very next day some gentry brought the good news of the prospective brides for his sons .

That was Swamy Kuresa who submitted everything to the divine will ….

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Moliyaikkatakkum perumpukalan vancamukkurumpam

Kuliyaikkatakkum nam Koorathazhwan carankutiyapin

Paliyaikkatattum Iramanucan pukalpatialla

Valiyaikkatattal enakkini yatum varuttamanre.

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

Photos credits :  Sriman Shreekrishna and advanced devotees

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“Thirumazhisai AzhwAr ” incarnation of Sri. Sudarshana Chakra (the divine discus of Lord SrimanNarayana)


Thirumazhisai is a holy place located equidistant to Kancheepuram , Mahabalipuram and Mylapur in the present  chengelpet district ( Tamilnadu) . This place is very famous for  Lord Jagganatha Perumal temple .  The holy place  has  cool streams  fruit and flower grooves yielding abundant fruits.  The  blossoming flowers all through makes it  a  perfect place for a  nature  lover .

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Several seers , sages , nomadaic saints , bhikshukas relax and perform penance at  this place for eternal peace .

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In such an wonderful place , Thirumazhisai Azhwar appeared  much earlier than the advent of Kaliyuga .

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Azhwar lived for almost 300 years glorifying the Lordships .

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Thirumazhisai Azhwar was a junior contemporary of the foremost Azhwars Pogai , Pey and Bhudath Azhwar  who laid a solid foundation for vishistadvaita long long ago .

Azhwar was brought up by his foster parents at Thirumazhisai . It is believed Azhwar left them at a very young age  and practiced Ashtanga Yoga .

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With the main aim of seeking absolute truth  he performed severe austerities and penances . He studied and practiced  all religious ideas  existed during those days  Jainism , Buddhism , Carvaka etc one by one until he got disillusioned with each of them . Slowly he came into the fold of saivism through a siddar and  started practicing their faith .  He was given a name Sivavakyar . However his search to the absolute truth was not finished . It so happened  by divine will he happened to see the effulgence of  Pey Azhwar  at Kanchipuram.

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Peyazhwar was maintaining a garden and  Siva Vakyar used to pass that way. Keen to know the secrets of the divine knowledge , both used to discuss about the faith they followed and wanted to conclude  about the ultimate truth . Peyazhwar decided to practically demonstrate the absolute truth to his friend .

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One day Peyazhwar took a weak rope with knots and a pot with holes .He drew water from the well through this pot  and poured it to the  plants that he planted upside down.

Siva Vakyar  saw this  strange act and was surprised to see PeyAzhwar’s behaviour  . Peyazhwar asked him why  was he disturbed  . Thirumazhisai  replied   Holy Sire ! I am surprised with your strange act!  being so learned  ,  How will the purpose of watering the plants serve in this method , as the plant is planted upside down and the pot that contained  holes will water the plants?

Peyazhwar  was glad  that he had started pondering over the truth   .Peyazwar told him that the rope was the example for his Athma which is searching through different faiths  to find the Absolute truth ,  but  has not succeeded in its search for the truth and still going on searching wasting precious time .

  Peyazhwar further explained , My dear young man , Our ancestors had explained in the following verse“ Thirumaal is like the root of the plant and is  the only ParamporuL.

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From the root only , the  leaves, branches, flowers and fruits appear . Similarly all the demigods  took forms only from the root and so they might wither away at some time or other. Hence it is poor understanding  to think that the other parts of the plant are superior to the root, meaning without the root the plant cannot survive.  “Persons engaged in the worship of demigods are not  clear , although such worship is indirectly offered to Me.” For example, when water is poured  on the leaves and branches of a tree instead  on the root, he does so without sufficient knowledge or without observing regulative principles. The process of watering a tree is to pour water on the root. Similarly, the process of rendering service to different parts of the body is to supply food to the stomach. The demigods are, so to speak, different directors in the government of the Supreme Lord. One has to follow the laws made by the government only , not by the others . Similarly, everyone is to offer his worship to the Supreme Lord only. That will automatically satisfy the different  denigods who are working under the  the Lord.

Peyazwar’s explanation put Siva Vakyar in deep thought. He realized that he was still searching for the true knowledge , but couldn’t find it. He requested Peyazhwar to accept him as his disciple.  Peyazhwar  named  him Bhaktisaara . He started following vaishnavism and serving Peyazhwar  for more lessons  .

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Later he took leave of Peyazhwar and went on divya desa yathra. After visiting few divya desams he went  back to Thiruvekka ( Kancheepuram) and stayed there. Kanikannan  a devotee , requested  Bhaktisarar  to accept him as his disciple. Azhwar accepted him as his disciple.

 It so happened  at Thiruvekka in his ashram an old lady used to come and clean his place, and perform small service to him. One day she prayed him that being old she felt that she may not be able to serve him longer and regretted for joining this pious service after becoming old. Azhwar was touched with her devotion and sincerity and blessed her regain her youth .

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One day the king who ruled over Kanchi happened to see this lady who was so beautiful after Azhwars blessings , and instantly fell in love with her. He married her and took her to his palace. As years rolled by the king was becoming old, but his wife was as young as she was when he got her married. He asked her what was the secret and she  revealed about Azhwar’s blessings

.She suggested the King to ask KaNaikaNNan to request Azhwar to the palace and pray for the same. . The king sent for KaNIkaNNan and told him to summon  Azhwar and compose a verse in his praise and to restore his youth. KaNikaNNan told him that Azhwar would not compose verse praising mortals, but only in praise of  Lordships

 He orders  them  to leave the kingdom immediately. KaNikaNNan informs  Azhwar all that had happened.  Azhwar decided to leave the kingdom with his disciple and prays  Lord  to join along with them folding His couch ( AravaNai)

கணிகண்ணன் போகின்றான் காமரு பூங்கச்சி
மணிவண்ணா நீ கிடக்க வேண்டா -துணிவுடைய
செந்நாப் புலவனும் போகின்றேன் நீயுன் உன்றன்
பைந்நாகப் பாய் சுருட்டிக்கொள்.

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Lo presto! What a surprise! The Lord obeyed his true devotee’s order, He got up and followed his devotees out of the city, folding His snake-bed and sticking it under arm.
The next moment the whole city plunged into darkness and ill omens occurred. The king got frightened and called his ministers for quick remedy. They told him that he had committed a big blunder by expelling a true devotee of the Lord and so no other alternative, but to go and ask for his pardon and beseech him to come back. The king along with his courtiers reached the place where Azhwar and KaNikaNNan were staying for the night. He fell at their feet and begged them to return to the city. Azhwar again requested the Lord to return to his abode with His snake-bed and the Lord also was happy to return. From then onwards the Lord got the name Sonna VaNNAm Seytha Perumal and in Sanskrit Yathokthakari.  This divine incident had been glorified by Arunagirinatar and Kumaragurupanar both devotees of Paramasivan and Skandar in their works  .

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The place they stayed for the night got the name Oriravu Irukkai and at present is known as Orikkai where a Mani Mandapam is erected.A special feature of Thirumazhisai Azhwar at the Jagannatha Perumal temple in Kancheepuram is that he is seen with a third eye. Thirumazhisai Azhwar  later  moved to Thiru Kudanthai ( Kumbakonam ) and glorified the Lord there .

 

Thirumazhisai Azhwar’s contribution to the Nalayira Divya Prabhandham includes over 200 verses (Naanmugan Thiruvanthaathi and Thiruchandha Viruththam) of praise.  It is construed , Azhwar expresses after thoroughly convincing himself about the futility of all the other faiths of his first hand experience and affirms LORD  SRIMAN NARAYANA is the supreme and absolute reality .

The second composition “Thiruchandha Viruththam” has 120 pasurams which is included in the first thousand of the DivyaPrabhandam . The composition is so charming that the chanter is tempted to swoon himself to the lilting chants coming out naturally in the divine composition . The rhythm goes like tana tana tana tana tana tana Tanana… almost reminding the gallop of an horse .

This prabhandam is recited in Srirangam during the Ashwa vahanam festival when Nammperumal rides the Horse .

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Azhwar  expresses in his Prabhandam , Creation or Life emanated through creatures and vegetation around , on all four sides everywhere . This creation is rampant quickly spreading continuous and  is powerful . The divine fragnant LORD the Universal Lord created Brahma . Brahma in turn created Rudra  .  I the humble devotee of the Universal Lord submit these  in my prabhanda Naanmugam Thiruvandhaadhi . In his Prabhanda , Azhwar builds up by stages the total helplessness of the jivatmas and affirms that only LORD should shower his mercy and grace the helpless soul every stage for his upliftment and reach Godhead .

Makhayam makare mase     Chakramsam bhargavodbhavam

Mahisara puradhisam     bhakthisara maham bhaje

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Azhwar Thiru adigale sharanam
Sonna VaNNam Seytha PerumaL ThiruvadikaLe SaraNam!

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

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The Foremost Azhwars


 The term “Azhwar“ refers to the saintly souls who had  immersed  themselves in the exclusive devotion  to  Lord  Sriman Narayana  in  unconditional surrender.  The advanced  saints,  were the supreme devotees of Lord  propagating  Sri Vaishnavism among the masses through their poetical compositions glorified as  Divya Prabhandams   highlighting the beautiful effulgent form, auspicious attributes and divine deeds of the Supreme Lord in His various incarnations based on their personal mystic experiences.  They lived as  human beings and burst out bhakti laden great works for the  sake of humanity.  The direct result of the Lord’s divine grace  on Azhwars  made their outpourings  special and therefore  called ‘ Divyam’. It is  because of this that the works of Azhwars  are  called ‘ Divya Prabandham’  and are 4000  poems (pAsurams). 

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The Divya Prabhandams of the Azhwars are, therefore, held in as great veneration and reverence as the Vedas in Sanskrit. All the Azhwars held the view that Lord  Sriman Narayana is the Supreme Personality of Godhead  and  one’s  only  goal of life  was to attain Him. And, the path that each one of these Azhwars advocated was  chanting the Divine Name of the Lord!  which  is  the easiest path to  attain the lotus feet of  Lord. 

     Of the twelve Azhwars , the first three — Poigai Azhwar, Bhoodhatazhwar and Pey Azhwar were believed to be of mystic birth dating back to  Dwaapara Era. The fourth, Thirumazhisai Azhwar was said to have been brought up by a  couple who had the good luck to have his darshan in a  forest  . Kulashekara Azhwar was a Chera king. Periazhwar, Thondaradippodi Azhwar  and Madhurakavi Azhwar  were born into Brahmin families. Nammazhwar was born in a farmer’s home and Thiruppannazhwar belonged to the Pana community. The only female  among them was Godha (Andal)  well known for  “Thiruppaavai”  even to a common man and  celebrated  as an incarnation of Mother Earth (Bhoodevi).  Thirumangai Azhwar, the youngest of the Azhwars was a chieftain of a Chola king.

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The first three AzhvArs – Poigai AzvhAr, Bhudhath AzvhAr and Pey Azhvar  were  “ayOnijAs” – “ones who were not born from a womb”.

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They appeared on water-flowers  at  three different water sources. Poigai AzhvAr manifested on a lotus flower at Kancheepuram  Lord  YatthOkthakAri perumaL temple tank  on  the  ” sravanam” star during the month of “aippasi”  (November ) .

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The second Azhwar was Bhudhath AzhvAr who appeared on a nIlOthphala (kurukkaththi flower in tamil) near  the seaside at thiru-k-kadal-mallai (present day Mahabalipuram)  on the day subsequent to Poigai Azhvar (month of Aippasi, Avittam star ). 

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The third Azhwar “Pey Azhvar”  appeared on a sengazhuneer flower in a well in thiru-mayilai (present day Mylapore,  the temple of Lord  Adikesava perumal  on the day after Bhudath Azhvar appeared (aippasi month, sathayam star).

All the three Azhwars were blessed by the Lord with supreme knowledge, and as a result, they lived a life focused on divinity, worshipping the Supreme Lord at different temples, and living a  life of ascetics.  

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To them the entire cosmos , all sentient  and the insentient entities in it were alive and vibrating  with the underlying divinity of Lord represented  by HIS body and HE being the inner controller of  the soul .

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Azhwars point out very clearly in their outpourings the most important attribute of Lord is HIS immense compassion represented by HIS divine consort Sri: the divine mother forever residing in HIS heart and most easily accessible and who helps in the ultimate redemption of the embodied souls .

  Since the appearance of such great souls is invariably tied to a reason of divine intent, the three Azhvars had to meet to fulfill the purpose of their appearance, to wit, give the world the esoteric truths  in a manner accessible to  common man  .

The stage was set at Thirukovilur and the divine plan was already about to reveal . And   Lord Sriman Narayana achieved  this by making the Azhvars meet and become the harbingers in the effort towards the composition of the holy  Dravida Vedas. The Lord  arranged a divine plan and  made each of them go to the town  Thirukovilur  which   is  located 75 kms from Cuddalore and about 200 kms from Chennai.

                        The rain clouds had overcast the sky and cover of darkness spread all around in the holy town of Thirukovalur . The torrential rain began  pouring  generously .  It was as if the sky will tear open to give its opulence .

Proceeding  the temple streets ,  Poigai Azhwar  found out a small  front  passage ( dehali or rayzhi , thinnai  in tamil )   in front of Mrikanda  Ashrams hut  ( the present Thirukovalur  temple sanctum sanctorum )  which was fit for one person to lie down.  Thanking Lord for his mercy , Poigai Azhwar   moved in and  occupied the space to lie down .  Meanwhile , Bhoodath Azhwar  coincidently arrived there looking for a shelter.

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Poigai Azhvar welcomed him and said , Holy Sire ! Please come !!  “we have enough space for one to be supine, two to sit ,…  please  come in”. Both the Azhwars were now seated , and were indulging in bhagavad guna anubhavam (recounting the innumerable auspicious qualities of the Lord) .   Meanwhile  pEy Azhvar  also came at the same time to the same Ashrama. The two Azhvars already present in that little room said,  Swamin !! “in this place, one can lie down, two can sit, and three can stand …. please come in”. PEy AzvhAr joined them, and the three Azhvars continued their joy filled discussion of the Lord’s auspicious qualities and  divyaanubhutee which was one of the most auspicious moment to be remembered in the history of Thirukovalur.  Lord pleased with the divine outcome now decided to be amongst HIS favourite devotees .

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The darkness became denser and inside the small room they were not able to see each other. In the  thunders and  lightning that flashed across, the trio could see a  fourth person  exquisitely charming  entering the room  and they felt as if  they were overpowered with a sublime, divine feeling.

The trio could immediately realize that the fourth person was none other than Lord  Sriman Narayana Himself huddling among them.  Poigai Azhwar , wishing to witness the charming divine effulgence of the Supreme Lord  again and again, instantly   lit a spiritual lamp to the Lord of the lords and the outpourings  

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vaiyam thagaliyA, vArkadlE neyyAga
veyyakkadirOn viLakkAga
sudarAzhiyAn adikkE soottinEn son mAlai
Idar neenghugavE enRu

which means “using the earth as the physical lamp structure, the sea of ether as the ghee for the flame, and the lit flame being verily the Sun himself!.”

 thus   the first Azhwar composed hundred  verses glorifying the Lordships …. now glorified as “Mudhal thiruvandhAdhi (first poem of the type andhAdi, meaning the last word becomes the progenitor of the thought for the following verse) which is among the Naalayiram Divya Prabhandam …………….

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 Bhudaththu Azhvar, in turn offered a lamp using his yogic powers too, yet  in a little different  fashion

 – “anbE thagaliyA, ArvamE neyyAga 
inburugu sindhai idu thiriyA
naNpurugi GnAna chudar viLakku EtrinEn
Gnana thamizh purindha nAn 

using his immense love for the Lord as the lamp structure, and his longing for union with the Lord as the energy engendering the flame. He composed a  beautiful set of 100 divine  verses known as “iraNdaam thiruvandhAdhi” (second poem of the type andhAdhi)….

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The two sacred  lamps of spiritual love, lit by Poigai Azhvar and Bhudhath Azhvar, allowed  all the three Azvhars to  experience the Lord in  opulence  proximity. That ambrosia  filled experience inspired the third , Pey  AzhvAr to  glorify the Supreme Lord instantaneously …

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“thiru-k-kaNdEn, pon mEni kaNdEn .

thigazhum aruKKan aNi niramum kaNdEn..

seRukkiLarum ponnAzhi kaNdEn

purisangam kai-k-kaNdEn……..

en Azhi vaNNan pAl inRu”


meaning, “I had the darshan  the divine consort of the Lord – Maha Lakshmi I  had the darshan of  the divine body of the Lord ,  the beautiful complexion of the Lord and the auspicious discus (chakra) verily the remover of obstacles that prevent us reaching the Lord, and the beautiful  white, divine conch in the hands of the Lord”.

This becomes  the first verse of ” Munraam  Thiruvandhadhi (third poem of the type andhadi), which is a set of 100 verses too  counted among the Naalayiram Divya Prabhandam . This uplifting divine experience bound them into a state of togetherness. They traveled across various parts of  India spreading the  divine message of the Lord for attaining HIS abode and  remaining in that bliss  through there divine pasurams   (The  three thiruvandhadhis).

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The one hundredth verse in turn hooks up to the first verse forming a lovely garland of verses maintaining the eternal thread of continuity .

To all the Azhwars LORD was a living presence experienced in the totality of HIS being and manifestation in HIS myriad creation . 

HE lived in them and they lived in HIM  ..

Video Credits : Sri Sunder rajan Parthasarathy

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

 

 

 

 

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