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Re: ThirunaraiYur Araiyar and Thirunarayanapuram

From: R. Srivenkatesan (rsriven_at_bom2.vsnl.net.in)
Date: Tue Jun 20 2000 - 09:07:30 PDT

Dear BhAgavatOttamas
This is my first effort to post a message in this holy digest. Many of
the subjects being discussed in the digest are very involved philosophic
issues and often difficult to appreciate, still I believe that this
(bhakthi) association is more important than my understanding.

I wish to share the information about a DivyadEsam called
Tirunarayanapuram - not the Melakottai KshEthram dear to Udaiyavar. But
according to legends he had a small association with this KshEtram.

This village is on the bank of AkhaNdakAveri, about 40 KM from Srirangam
on the Tiruchy-Salem route, about 5 km from Thottiyam. A beautiful and
calm village amidst greenery of paddy fields, banana and betel leaf
plantations (vetrilai kodikkAl)  criss-crossed by a number of small and
big irrigation canals.

The presiding deity of the temple is Sri VEda NArAyaNa Perumal and VEda
NAyaki is the thirunAmam of the Goddess. The Moolavar is reclining on
the AdhisEshan having the four VEdams as His pillows! The Utsavar has
one of the most beautiful TirumukhamaNdalam - the divine smile cannot be
described by ordinary persons like  adiyEn.

This is an AchArya AbhiMana KshEthram. In the Srivachana bhUshanam,
first prakaranam, 84-th Choornai, the great Pillai LokhAchAryAr, writes
"PeryavudaiyArum pillai thirunaraiyoor araiyarum udambai upEkshittarkaL
...". Srimad MAmunigal gives the following explanation -  I am just
giving a summary here (kindly pardon me if there are any mistakes):
Peria Udaiyar is Jatayu who sacrificed his life for Sri Rama. Similarly
Thirunaraiyoor Araiyar when he was visiting this temple with his family,
some miscreants (parasamyikaL) set the temple on fire. He made all
others to vacate the temple and died with his family while trying to
save the PerumaL The local Archakhas say that he and his family
literally covered the perumal with their bodies and saved him. Just like
Sri Jatayu, araiyar also gave his body in the cause of PerumaL.
(Ref: Sri Vachana Bhushana Vyakhyanam of Srimad ManavAla MAmunigal, in
Sr Vara Vara MunIndra Grantha MAlai, published by Sri P.B.
ANNangarAchAryar, 1966).  The temple pamphlet mentions that one of
ThirukkOLUr PeNN PiLLai's questions (No 73) is 'udambai verutthEnO
thirunaraiyUr araiyaraippOlE ?' (Shri Jagathrakshakan of Azhwar Aaivu
Maiam, in his book ThirukkOLUr PeNN PiLLai Rhasyam writes that this
happened at ThirunaraiyUr itself, but I would believe in our
ParamAchAryan)

Pillai thirunaraiyUr araiyar is a great AchArya and pioneered the
araiyar tradition. It is said that he is referred to in Eedu a dozen
times. (Ref: 'Srirangam AdhyayanOthsavam', published by Sri Vaishnava
Sri, Srirangam, December 98;; there is a very interesting article in
this publication about Araiyar Sevai during the RAppatthu-Pahalpatthu
Utsavam, its origin etc.). As per one of the references in Nampillai's
Eedu mentioned in the above reference, Nanjeeyar had learnt ThiruvAi
Mozhi from ThirunaraiyYr araiyar.

Thus the above KshEthram is associated with this great AchArya. The
temple was very prosperous about forty years back. It has (had?!) nearly
100 acres of fertile land which was carefully leased to local farmers in
those days. But these days apparently PerumaL is willing to forego such
earnings - politico-economic situations in Tamil Nadu is such that many
temples are in dire straits. Now the temple is being renovated and the
very ThirumEni for which Araiyar sacrificed his body, is being
"repaired". Even though PerumaL along with SeshA's coil have
'Kal(stone)thirumEni's, the hood of SeshA is made of 'sudhai' (lime and
mortar) and had become precarious. The SamprOkshNam is scheduled to be
held on 7-7-2000, 23 rd Aani. BhakthAs desirous of adding their mite may
send them to Executive Officer, Arulmigu VEda NArAyanap PerumAL
Thirukkoil, ThirunArAyana Puram, Pin 621 203, Thottiyam Taluk, Trich
Dt., (tel. 04326 54338).

EmberumAnAr ThiruvadigaLE Charanam
Pillai Lokacharyar ThiruvadigaLE Charanam
ManavALa MAmunigal ThiruvadigaLE Charanam

Adiyen,
Srivenkatesan
Mumbai

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