The foremost devotee of LORD RANGANATHAR of Srirangam was Vipra Narayanan who later called himself Thondaradi podi Azhwar ( dust of the devotees of Lord Ranganathar) . He appeared in a holy dhaam “Thirumandangudi” in Tamilnadu.He cultivated a beautiful garden and offered the best variety of flowers to LORD RANGANATHA daily .This service was well liked by him and hence he wanted to live in Brahmacharyam ashram throughout his life and thus always be in service of LORD by offering pushpa kainkaryams .
However ,a divine play was enacted . Vipranaryana was known for his sincere devotion . In the same village a beautiful dancer lived who was very popular for her beauty .
One day she came into the garden where Vipranaryana was growing flowers that was to be offered to Lord daily. (Nandavanam in tamil) . While everyone around was attracted by her beauty, Vipra Narayanan remained engrossed in plucking the flowers, though she was standing next to him.
She was surprised to see a man living in the same village ,who would not even turn to look at a beautiful lady within his sight. Her friends informed her that he was committed in his devotional service and that she will not be able to attract him.
Taking it as a challenge, the beautiful lady Deva devi decided to be with him and help him in his service and later win the bet placed with her friends . One evening, the area where Vipranarayana lived was struck by lightening and thunder and thus heavy rains followed .
The lady who was helping him daily with some service decided this was the right opportunity to enslave the devotee . She innocently walked into the garden and asked for permitting her to stay in his place that night.
As a devotee , he felt sorry for her and allowed her to stay . That night, she wins over him with her innocent talk and looks and is delighted to have finally attracted him. Having won the challenge, she decides to leave him and claim her supremacy in attracting anyone including an ardent devotee . As time passed , Vipra Narayanan is unable to live without her and offers his karmic prayers to Lord Ranganatha to get her back.
All compassionate Lord Ranganatha goes to Deva devis place (incognito) as a small boy and hands over Golden Vattil ( vessel) and informs her that Vipra Narayanan asked him to hand it over to her.
The next day, in the temple the Priests are worried about the missing vessel in the temple .The news reaches the King . The search for the golden vessel inside the temple begins . A maid working at Deva Devi’s place informs the king that she saw the vessel (Vattil) in her place. Suspecting Vipra Narayanan’s role in this, the king locks him up in a Jail. It is here that Vipra Narayanan realises his folly of having fallen prey to the beauty of a woman.
He regrets the fact that he had lost thought of the Lord for a while and that what he is suffering now was the result of this weakness and giving over importance to his carnal temptations .
The divine play of LORD makes him realise the material influences that takes away from LORDs service . Later with Elders intervention Vipranarayana is released and remains in thought of the Lord . He composes 2 of the best known Paasurams of the Divya Prabhandham – 45 verses of Thiru Maalai (872-916) as well as 10 verses of ThiruPalli Yezhuchi (917-926).
Having gone through a traumatic experience with devadevi, he decides to remain a staunch bhakta serving LORD every breath .He called himself the dust at the feet of bhakas (ThoNdaradippodi AzhwAr).
Azhwar laments in one pasuram
“OorilEn kANiyillai; uRavu maRRu oruvar illai;/
pAril nin pAtha moolam paRRilEn parama moorthee;/
kAroLi vaNNanE (en) kaNNanE! kadharuginREn;/
AruLar kaLaikaN ammA! arngamA nagaruLAnE!/”
Meaning: I have no place; no properties; no relatives; none other than you; I know only your Lotus feet; O Lord of Blue hued sky colour! You only are my refuge. Can you not hear my cries? Is there any one else to save me except you?”……………………..
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