Swami Thiru-kachchi Nambi occupies a very unique position, both as an Acharyar, and as an advanced devotee in srivaishnava guru parampara .
Swamy Nambi is one of the very few devotees with whom the Lord Himself conversed regularly.
Swami Thirukkachchi nambi appeared in a place called poo irunda valli (currently called poonamallee, near Chennai) happens to be today Maasi Mrigasira Nakshatra.
Swamy moved to kAnchIpuram, and started performing devotional service to LORD Varadaraja at Kancheepuram temple.
His unique service was to fan the Lord of Kanchi, Swami Varadaraja, everyday in the late morning-early afternoon, and in the night before Lord takes rest .
While doing the service (called thiru-Ala-vatta Kainkaryam in tamil), Lord Varadaraja used to converse with Swami thiru-k-kachchi nambi about the happenings around the world.
The topics used to be anything from how the temple was being run, to the happenings in the city of Kanchipuram and esoteric topics about philosophy.
The Lord considered swami thiru-k- kachchi nambi as His closest friend, and talked to him just like any friend would.
All this was due to the great qualities of swami thiru-k- kachchi nambi – his supreme devotion to Lord Varadaraja, his being devoid of any ego, and his being a true servant of the Lord, wanting no other thing but service to the Lord.
One incident in his life is used to show how much Lord cared for him.
One morning, after the morning holy rituals were completed in the temple, everyone left as usual. Lord Varadaraja and Swami thiru-k- kachchi nambi were relaxing in the usual position, with Swami thiru-k-kachhci nambi performing the usual Kainkaryam of fanning the Lord. They were immersed on some interesting topic, and time passed without both of them noticing. Suddenly , It began to rain very heavily.
The time for thiru-k- kachchi nambi to go home for his afternoon prasadam arrived, and Lord seemed to be resting.
So, swami thiru-k-kachchi nambi took leave from Lord, and went outside the covered Mantapam.
It was raining very heavily, and hence he could not move out . He was getting concerned that if he is delayed now, then he will be delayed coming back to the temple for evening services.
Suddenly, an aged Sri Vaishnava person appeared with an umbrella, and told swami thiru-k-kachchi nambi that Lord Varadaraja had instructed him to accompany swami thiru-k-kachchi nambi to his home with the umbrella, and bring him back.
Swami thiru-k-kachchi nambi was very moved with this kindness, and thanked the Sri Vaishnava and the Lord for the great help …
Evening came, and swami thiru-k-kachchi nambi was delayed a little bit in starting for the temple.
The Sri Vaishnava who accompanied him to his house was still there, waiting for him, so that he could accompany him back to the temple.
Meanwhile, in the temple, the priests arrived to start performing the evening rituals.
When they entered the sanctum sanctorum, they were shocked and taken aback.
The Lord was not there in the temple!
They looked everywhere, and the Lord was not there!
They were much worried, and were waiting for swami thiru-k- kachchi nambi to come back so that they can ask him if he knew where the Lord went, or if the Lord was upset with some mistake that might have happened.
After sometime, Swami thiru-k-kachchi nambi came with the SriVaishnava.
The priests immediately went to him, and explained the situation, and asked him with great concern if he knew anything.
Swamithiru-k-kachchi nambi told them he had no idea about what might have happened, and immediately started shedding tears .
After all, Lord Varadaraja was not just the Supreme Being to him…
He was also his closest friend.
Swami thiru-k-kachchi nambi was anxious about the sudden happenings .Offering prayers silently he attempted to check all the places he was familiar inside the temple ,like how a father would search for his lovable child so as to get any clues from there.
He went to the usual place of the Lord, and lo and behold, the Lord was there,smiling and with a very satisfied look on His lotus face!
Immediately, swami thiru-k-kachci nambi rushed to the priests and conveyed the happy news about the great Lord arrving …
Everyone wanted to celebrate, and looked for the Sri Vaishnava who had accompanied swami thiru-k-kachchi nambi so that they could invite him to join the celebrations too.
They could not find him.
He had vanished.
When the priests went near the Lord to start performing the services ,they saw water droplets on Him!
Everyone now realized what had happened.
The Lord Himself, unable to bear the thought of swami thiru-k-kachchi nambi getting wet by the rain, had accompanied him to his home.
Not only that, He waited there so that He could accompany swami thiru-k-kachchi nambi back to the temple!
Such was the greatness of the revered Acharyar Swami thiru-k-kachchi nambi…
Later during his last days , once Swamy Thirukachi nambhigal while continuing his fanning service to Lord Sri Varadaraja Perumal his aalavattam (fan) slipped and fell down….
Very disturbed he realizes his body was not supporting his most blessed kainkaryam ….
Thirukachi Nambh was sad .. He realized that the time for him to leave this materialistic world had come as the body was not serving its purpose of serving the Supreme Lord
Nambhi offers obeisances and submits to LORD and requests Perumal to grant him liberation as he is not able to be of any use to Lord with the body .
Lord Varadaraja Perumal smiles and replies
My dear Nambee !!… granting Moksham needs “Bhaagavatha Sambhandham”.
Your fanning made me speak to you ..
“Neer Veesiner, Naan Pessinen”.
Thirukachi Nambhigal understands that devotees association is paramount in the process of Moksha. He decides to “earn” some Bhaagavatha Abhimaanam by serving the pure devotees .
He takes permission from Lord Varadaraja and then proceeds to the home of the great Acharya Thirukostiyur Nambhi at Thirukoshtiyur a place near to Madurai
He realises that Thirukostiyur Nambhi (Swami Ramanuja’s acharya) would not accept as a domestic help someone whom Lord Varadaraja himself had conversed with.
So Thirukachi Nambhigal under the guise of a common peasant meets some of his disciples and introduces himself as Gajendra Dasan (his Birth name) and requests for some small work at their ashram …
Unaware that he was the great devotee , Thirukostiyur Nambhigal asks his disciples to engage him to take care of his cows and bullocks in the Goshala .
Always in the mood of serving Lord Varadaraja he takes up the new service of go seva
Thirukachi Nambhigal was relieved and happy that he has had got an opportunity to serve a great Acharya.
Days pass …
The routine service in the Goshala , grazing the cows , fetching fodder , milking the cows , farming with bullock by the disciples was supervised by Nambhigal ..
One rainy day the Goshala boys come to Thirukostiyur Nambhigal and informs about few cows missing in the cow shed . Acharyar asks for Thirukachinambi as he doesn’t want the boys to get drenched in the heavy rains and blowing winds.
Thirukostiyur Nambhi decides to look for the cows by himself . Thirukachi Nambhigal very eager to serve Acharyar , instantly replies ..
your servant is awaiting for your instructions ….
Thirukostiyur Nambhi is surprised as the voice is unique …and looks in the direction of the voice.
To his wonder, Thirukachi Nambhigal had already brought the cows home and covered them with his own clothes .
Thirukoshtiyur Nambhi is instantly pleased at Thirukachi nambhigal’s devotion . He calls his wife and advises her to honor the disciple with prasad….
Since his Master had called him as his own disciple he is overjoyed that signifies a relationship ….and hence Bhagavatha Sambandham Nambhi is overjoyed ….
Thirukoshtiyur Nambi is shocked to see Nambigal real identity . He honours him and discuss esoteric truths.
He reveals his identity and narrates the sequence of incidents that led him to coming as Gajandra dasan to Thirukostiyur Nambhigal.
Thanking his Acharyar for the association he takes leave to Kancheepuram.
Lord Varadaraja is happy to see his dear devotee friend .
Like an eager mother expecting her child back, Lord Varadaraja with open arms welcomes Nambhigal right at the steps and praises Thirukachi Nambhigal’s steadfast devotion and affection.
The emotional outpour “Devaraja Ashtakam”, glorifying the Lord’s boundless love for His Bakthas is revealed ……and the pains of this materialistic world!
Swamy Nambhigal attains moksham to serve Sriman Narayana in Sri Vaikuntam permanently .
Today 24-2-2018 ..being
Swamy Thirukachi Nambi 1009th appearance day ( Thirunakshatram) ….
lets pray for steadfast devotion from our revered Acharyar …
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
Pics : Courtesy Google images and several advanced devotees
Videos : Sri Devanathan & Sri Padmanabhan..