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Periyalwar's Tirunakshatram
Date: Wed Jul 16 1997 - 08:36:57 PDT


Dear Bhagavatas,
I desired to pay my obeisance to this great Alwar on 14th itself but my
Computer was down and hence this belated submission.

Vishnuchitta was called " Periya Alwar" - the great Alwar  for very
many reasons :
1. It is the  greatness of  his love for the Lord that made him pour out
the Pallandu hymns.
2. Ordinarily. only elders would bless the young ones for a long life.
"Periya' means elder and therefore he was called Periyalwar.To the
objection that such an attitude was  ' unnatural' ( Swarupa Viruddham),
Pillai Lokacharya has argued that as it was a 'Mangala Aasaasanam',  it
was quite in order and because it was a strange case of knowledge
ripening into an ignorance of sorts due to love and affection. 
3. King Janaka laid a challenge through the Siva Dhanus in Sri Sita's
marriage; Kumbar, the Aayar Chief laid a challenge in the form of the7
bulls in the marriage of Nappinnai; But, Vishnuchitta laid no
challenges in the marriage of  his daughter, Andal because of his
obvious  conviction that in due time,  'The owner would claim what he
4. It is natural to honour anyone who brings relief from suffering. That
is how Rishyasringa was honoured when rains came to the parched
land of  Angadesa as he set foot there. Vishnuchitta also performed a
similar miracle. When a famine raged in the northern city of Kandam
Kadinagar on the banks of Ganges, he was invited to the city to solve
the crisis. As he set foot there, welcome rains showered and the place
was relieved of the famine. His greatness was honoured. Periyalwar
himself is said to  refer to this incident thus "Venkali Naliyaa
5. Parasara who wrote Vishnu Purana known as Purana Ratna deals
with the story of Sri Krishna only in the 5th Amsa of his work;
Sukhabrahmam who wrote Srimad Bhaagavatam has dealt with the
story of Krishna only in the 10 th Skaandam; But, Vishnuchitta fills
his entire Tirumozhi with the  story of Lord Krishna vividly portraying
every detail of the Lord's childhood ' leelas ' in his own inimitable
6.Another esoteric aspect concerning Periyalwar that really makes him
' Periya' is the fact that he is the incarnation of Garuda. Garuda 
reincarnated himself as Ajuna's chariot and as such he witnessed the
Lord delivering the Bhaghavad Gita -  especially the Charama Sloka to
Arjuna. Thus, apart from Arjuna, he was the one who was the direct
recipient of the Lord's message.  Andal refers to this when she says
"Meymei Peru Vaarthai Vittu Chittar Kettiruppaar".' Vaarthai' is
Moolamantram; ' Peru Vaarthai ' is the Mantra Ratna of Dwayam and
 ' Meymei Peru Vaarthai ' is the Charama sloka.
7. He was great also in a different way. He became the father- in- law
of Lord Vishnu when his daughter, Andal married the Lord. 
- - an honour none else could claim.
Periyalwar and Andal
This father and daughter duo seem, in a sense, to represent the psyche
of the masculine and feminine principles  that make up this universe.-
in their relation to the Lord
GODHA indeed stands out as the outstanding exponent of bridal
mysticism and in this is regarded as setting a model for the Alwars
themselves to emulate. Unlike the other Alwars who were all males
and had to simulate a ' Nayaki bhava' ( the role of a lady love), since
she was herself a woman,  the bhava came to her naturally. Her only
ambition was to marry Lord Ranganatha. When in due time, the Alwar
took steps to get her married to a suitable groom, she flatly refused
saying that she would not live to marry a mere mortal but that she
would marry only Lord Ranganatha.' Manidarkku Enru Pechup Padil
Vazhakillen' .This was a case of bridal mysticism unsurpassed in any
As for PERIYALWAR, I wonder whether  the "Koorvel Kodum
Thozhilan"- Nandagopan and "Deiva Nangai" -Yasodai as father and
mother, would have so much enjoyed the babysitting and watching the
Kidpranks of Krishna as  this Alwar did. He never seems to have taken
his eye off child Krishna.His entire Prabandham is devoted to how
watchfully he observed every single movement in the growth of this
divine child. Maybe, he had a very good reason. After all, was not
Krishna to be groomed as the bridegroom of his daughter?And, it
behoved him to make sure that he was the right choice for his 
daughter and a deserving son-in-law for himself !
Pillai Lokacharya observes:
Mangalaa Saasanathin Matrumulla Aazhwaargal 
Thungalaar Vathalavu Thaan Anri
Parivaale Villiputtur Bhattar Piraan Petraan
Periyazhwar Ennum Peyar
It is 'Gnana Dasai' in the case of other Alwars to feel the Lord as the
'Protector'  and themselves as the 'Protected'.In the case of this Alwar,
it is the other way about. In the outflow of 'Prema Dasai', he feels as if
he is the 'Protector' and the Lord is the one to be 'Protected' !.

When Lord Rama was in Sringiberapuram in the herimtage
constructed by Lakshmana, the latter stood guard with bow and arrow
in hand wondering  what harm might befall Lord Rama from Bharata
who, he believed, had used his mother to banish Rama.
But, Guha and other hunterfolk also stood guard but  kept a watchful
eye even on Lakshmana himself !. Such was the spell of enchantment
that Lord Rama cast on Guha and others who had seen him but for a
day only. The Alwar excelled them when he sang his Pallandu.

In the case of other Alwars, this ' Prema Dasai' is found to occur once
in a while but Periyalwar was never out of this mood. While other
Alwars were deeply engrossed in enjoying the bewitching beauty of
the Lord, It was Periyalwar who became anxious  as to what harm
might befall this unsurpassed beauty when subjected to the evil eyes !.

In the case of other Alwars, this beauty sometimes torments them so
much as to make them  exclaim 'Minnidai Madavargal" in
Tiruvoimozhi, "Kaadhil Kadippattu" in Periya Thirumozhi, "Yer
Malar Poonkuzhal" in Perumal Thirumozhi and the intolerance at the
delay in enjoying the beauty leading to use even harsh expressions like
"Ungalodu Engalidai Illai", "Venchiraippull" etc in Thiruvoimozhi
which seem to tarnish the Bhagavata Seshatvam. In the case of
Periyalwar, this beauty was never repugnant to either Bhaghavad
Seshatvam or Bhaagavata Seshatvam. He proceeds to exclaim" Unn
Sevadi Sevvi Tirukkaappu" to the Lord , "Mangaiyum Pallandu' to the
Thaayaar, " Sudar Aazhiyum Pallandu" ,"Paanchajanyamum Pallandu"
to the Bhagavatas and thus his Ubhaya Seshatvam really augments.

Remembering the Hiranya Samhaaram,  Ravana Vadham etc, he is
overcome by anxiety and beckons even the Nityasuris who know no
sleep in Paramapadam to keep awake saying "Uragal, Uragal, Uragal"
and proceeds to bless them also saying "Sooznthirunthu Yethuvar

The advice of other Alwars is to dispel the sense of their own
loneliness and the loneliness of Samsaris and in the process seeking
the company of the Lord. Periyalwar's concern was to assemble and
present a bulwark of company to relieve the Lord of HIS loneliness!
For he feels that the Lord is  carrying the heavy weight of the disc,
conch, bow, arrow etc ALL ALONE without anyone rushing to share
the burden and therefore issues a clarion call to one and  all to come
forward to do the needful."Aalum Aalar Aazhiyum Sankum
Sumappaarthaam, Vaalum Villum Kondu Pinn Selvaar Matrillai".

In the case of other Alwars, the darshan of the Lord is for their
sustenance and salvation. But, for Periyalwar, this darshan provokes
an empathy with the Lord and hence his Mangalaasaasanam.
Anbil Ramaswamy