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A timely salutation to Thirumazhisai AzhwAr

From: V. Sadagopan (
Date: Sat Jan 25 1997 - 08:59:52 PST

Dear members of the Prapatthi group :

Tomorrow is the day when Maka Nakshtram is 
in ascendance during this Thai  month ; this is the day ,
when Thirumazhisai AzhwAr was born as the son of 
Bhargava Rishi at the end of his Dheerga Satra Yaagam .
There was no rupam  at the time of birth and the new born " baby"` 
had only pindAkruthi . The worried Rishi and his pathni placed
the "baby " without features in a bush of cane reeds and left .
With the anugraham of Sri Devi , Bhumi Devi protected the 
"formless "mass of flesh that was the amsam of Sudarsanam
of the Lord . Thanks to the affectionate nurturing of the "Pindam " ,
perfect  limbs  took shape and a beautiful child came to be . 

The child awakened to life was overcome by the experience of hunger , 
thirst and cold and cried . Sriman NarAyaNA appeared before the child 
and blessed the child with the darsanam of His AarAvamudha Svavigraham 
( archA svarupam of insatiable nectar like experience ). The child drank that
nectar to its heart's content . When  the Lord disapepared , the child 
screamed with pain over the loss of that most delectable anubhavam . 
Vislesham from the Lord was too much even at that  tender age and stage 
of the AzhwAr . Nearby was a cane cutter by the name of ThiruvALan along 
with his dear wife of the name PankayacchelviyAr busy with his occupation.
He heard the cry of  a child and discovered the resplendent child lying 
under the bush of canes. He lifted it up and gave it to his wife and they
took it home and raised the child as their own. 

The child like NammAzhwAr did not partake of food 
or water and was growing with  its own yogic power.
A childless , older couple saw this wonder and offered well-boiled , 
sweet milk with cardamom and saffron petals to the child 
in the early morning for many days. AzhwAr partook that milk 
presented with great affection and suggested the couple to drink
the  left over milk . The older couple drank the milk blessed by the AzhwAr's
use. They  got younger and were blessed with a child .
The happy parents named the child born out of the grace of The AzhwAr
as KaNI KaNNan , who became the famous disciple of the AzhwAr later and
is associated with the happenings at the YathokthakAri Sannadhi at Kanchi.

The AzhwAr engaged in AshtAnga Yogam to learn about the Jagadh KaaraNa
Vasthu and investigated the truths offered by Saivism , Jainism et al  and 
dismissed  them as unsatisfactory and chose SaraNAgathi at the lotus feet of 
Sriman NaarAyaNan , the Jagadh KaaraNa vasthu , as the sole means of his
salvation . Lord Rurdan recognized the superiority of the AzhwAr's bhakthi
to Sriman NaarAyaNan and named him as " Bhakthi Saarar ". 

In one of his journeys from ThiruvehhA to Thirukkudanthai to have
the MangaLAsAsanam of AarAvamudhan , who blessed him 
during his pindAkruthi , the AzhwAr stopped at a village called 
Perumpuliyoor and the incident discussed quite a bit  recently amongst us
took place . He received Agra PujA from the Soma Yajee , Perumpuliyur
adigaL after the chastised reciters of Vedam saw the miracle of 
the Archa murthy of the  local temple turning His head in the direction 
of the AzhwAr as he went around the  veedhis  bordering the temple. 
It appeared that the  The Archa Murthy would not stop following the azhwAr
with his benovolent gaze . When the AdigaL of Perumpuliyur offered 
Agra Puja , some of the arrogant ones in the Vedasaalai objected still
to the honor being accordeed to AzhwAr .The amused AzhwAr prayed to 
the Lord to stop the bickering of the Vedic scholars and requested 
the Lord to appear in his body ( AkkarangaL akkarangaL yenru maavathen kolO , 
ikkurumbhai neeki yennai Eesanaaka VallayEl , ChakkarmkoL kaiyanE saDankar
vaai adangiDa , utkiDantha vaNNamE purmposindhu kAttiDE ). The Lord
being YathokthakAri obeyed the command of His BhakthA and 
became visible on the body of the AzhwAr in the form of AarAvamudhan 
resting on Adiseshan along with Bhumi and Sri Devis pressing his lotus feet . 
The erstwhile offensive ones as well as the rest fell at the feet of
AzhwAr and received his blessings. The AzhwAr continued his 
journey to Thirukkudanthai and lived there rest of his life. 

One day during his stay at Thirukkudanthai ,
he took his prabhandhams (Thirucchandha Viruttham and Naanmukhan 
ThiruvandhAdhi ) and placed them in the floods of Cauveri river to show 
his detatchment and to imply that the days of his kaimkarym to the Lord on 
this earth were coming to a close and that he was readying himself to join
the Lord in His parama Padham . Lo and Behold ! The two prabhandhams
travelled upward against the direction of flow of Cauveri and landed at the 
feet of the AzhwAr. The daughter of Sahya mountains , Cauveri mAthA 
carried the holy prabhandhams upstream and placed them at the sacred 
feet of Thirumazhisai . He then took the Prabhandhams in his hand and 
carried them to the sannidhi of Aaravanmudhan and placed them at 
the lotus feet of Hema Rangan . It is then he commanded the Lord to lift himself
from his reclining pose and speak to him ( KudanthaiuL
pesu ). The Lord responded with alacrity and became UtthAna Sayee and
even today he has chosen Udhyoga sayanam for his ArchA from at Thirukkudanthai .
The grateful AzhwAr performed MangaLAsaasanam for the sowlabhya ,
aasritha Vaatsalyam of the Lord and offered long life to the Lord 
(Vaazhi KesanE ) . The AzhwAr shook his mortal coils here at Thirukkudanthai
and joined the lotus feet of Sri KomaLavalli sametha Saaranga PaaNi .

Some of the excerpts from this famous AzhwAr who is the 
first exponent of the VyuhA theory of PaancharAtra AgamA 
are included below .
In his Prabhandham , Naanmukhan ThiruvandhAdhi , he 
established that Sriman NaarAyaNA as the original
cause of all the worlds and the primal causality of 
all the worlds to be NaarAyaNA . He is considerd as an
integral seer (BhakthisArA ) in whom knowledge
about the divine being has blossomed forth into
devotion and culminated in the divine vision . It has been
pointed out that the vision and anubhavam of Sriman NaarAyaNA
by this AzhwAr was "  a completion of the paraJ~nana (transcendental
knowledge ) , Parabhakthi ( Transcendental devotion ) 
and Parama Bhakthi ( Supreme Devotion ) of the first three 
AzhwArs . " The AzhwAr celebrated Sriman NaarAyaNA as
"sarva-vaachaka -sabdhan ( every word ultimately connotes 
Him  only  ) ."

The AzhwAr celebrates the DayA of Sri RanganAthA in one
of his verses this way : " O Lord of Ranga! Thou who art
difficult to obtain through one's own efforts , Thou art 
running after Thy devotees ". He offers the means for 
our salvation this way elsewhere in one of his Paasurams :
" Let thy mouth praise , let thy eye adore , let thy ears hear 
me! (O Intelligent Ones ! ) . Do thou offer cool , fresh
flowers , bend thy head low and with hands crossed 
in anjali mudrA , think of the Lord adorned with TuLasi garland
and Nedu Mudi (high crown ) , who is attached to me 
from beginningless time ". He proclaims loud that 
he has made devotion to the Lord his vocation in the 
81st verse of Naanmukhan ThiruvandhAdhi . 

In his more erudite , philosophical composition,
Thirucchandaviruttham , he reveals his Upanshadhic
and Aagamic wisdom . Here he asks the question 
" Should not the mind (of humans ) seek out that
happiness of being united to Thee alone ? ". He 
laments the bad faith of  men , who ought to know 
the accessibilty of Sriman NarAyaNA ( Thirucchandha
Viruttham ) :

" Milk -white ( in krutha YugA ) , Copper-red
( in TretA yugA ) , moss-green ( in DvApara YugA ) and of 
the hue of blue lotus enjoyed by the bees( in Kali YugA ) ,
are the hues taken by Thee in the four ages. 
what color is the hue of the man on earth , who
does not enjoy the accessibility of YOU (Sriman NarAyaNA) 
in all of these four ages ? ". 

I will conclude this posting on Thirumazhisai with the Dhayana slokams
used by him for the divya Dampathis at Thirukkudanthai  ,
 which is recited even today :

***Sri KomaLavalli ThAyAr

sakala BhuvanamAthA sagarAdheesajAthA
pranamth avana kaamA Bhaskara kshethradhAmA I
sakalithabhayamoolA SaarngadhanvAnukoolA 
pravimala mukhabimbhA paathu maam KomaLAmbhA II

*** Sri SarangapANi ( AarAvamudhan )

thrimsathkoti vasurudradivAkarAdhi
devaathi devagaNa santhatha sevyamAnam I
Ambhoja sambhava chathurnmukha geeyamAnam
VandhE sayAnamigaboghini SaarngapANim II

Sri KomaLa Valli Naayikyai Nama: 

Sri AparyApthAmrutha Para BrahmaNE Nama :

Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan