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Part I Alwars- Section 2.7 Kulasekara Alwar

VVijay1068_at_aol.com
Date: Sun May 05 1996 - 10:09:11 PDT

Dear Bhagavatas,
Please find enclosed Part I Alwars- Section 2.7

2.7  Kulasekara Alwar ( Masi - Punarvasu )
Kulasekara, an incarnation of Koustuba, (divine gem of Lord Vishnu) was born
to King Dridavrata at Tiru vanchi kalam. He was born in the year Paraabhava,
Maasi month, Sukla Paksha Dwadasi ( a Friday) in the constellation of
Punarvasu. As a prince, he learned all the  martial arts besides becoming
proficient in Sanskrit and Tamil. In due time, he  ascended the throne after
his father. He married the Pandya princess. He was a great  devotee of Sri
Rama. His other names are Kolli Kaavalan, Koodal Naayakan and Seralar Kone.

Like Rama, he was born as a Kshatriya; Like Rama, he was born in Punarvasu
Nakshatra; Like Rama, his Archa moorthi was that of Lord Ranganatha; Like
Rama, he renounced royal pomp and preferred a simple ascetic life. Like
Lakshmana, he desired to do service to Bhagavaan; Like Bharata, even while
carrying out his duties as a King, he considered himself a vassal of the
Lord's Paaduka; Like Satrugna, he valued Bhaagavata seva above all.

Sri Rama is called  PERUMAL; Sri Ranganatha worshipped by him is known as
 PERIYA PERUMAL; Periya Perumal's temple is known as PERIYA KOVIL; Kulasekara
who was so devoted to all these, came to be called  as KULASEKARA PERUMAL.
And, his work is naturally  called PURUMAL TIRUMOZHI.

He was fond of listening to Srimad Ramayana. Once, when a lecturer was
narrating how Sri Rama had to  fightsingle handedly  the Rakshasas headed by
Kara and Dushana, he was so excited that he rose up from his throne and  gave
  orders to his troops  to march to help Sri Rama. Immediately, the lecturer
switched over to saying that Sri Rama vanquished the Rakshasas and returned
triumphant. Then only, Kulasekara realized that the episode was not
contemporaneous and regained composure.

He was so much devoted to Bhagavatas that he would even cancel his tour
programmes should any Bhagavata arrive to visit him.The ministers became
annoyed and on an occasion hid a costly pearl necklace that the king used to
adorn  the  Archa moorthi idol and put the blame on the visiting Bhagavatas.
The king ordered a pot  into which a live cobra was was let in. He  boldly
put his hand into the pot challenging  that if any of the Bhagavatas had
stolen  the jewel, the cobra would bite his hand.  The cobra did not bite and
thus he vindicated the innocence of the Bhagavatas. The ministers apologised.
Disgusted with the royal pomp he anointed his son as king and left on a
pilgrimage of holy  places. 

He composed a poem of 105 verses called " Perumal Tirumozhi"- a classic
 example of the yearning of a Bhakta to serve the Lord. Every single verse of
the 105 verses of this work is so filled with touching emotion and packed
with palpable sentiments that even a cursory reading is sure to bring tears
flowing from one's eyes and leave an indelible impression in one's mind.

Distributed in 10 decads, each one vividly portrays a different facet of
Alwar's experience of the Lord as shown below : -

DECAD 1 : Alwar expresses his yearnings to do service to Lord Ranganatha and
the Bhaagavatas. He asks-

" When ! O! When am I going to enjoy the sight of the Lord who reclines on
the serpent couch at Srirangam?
' Kanninaigal Enru kolo Kalikkum Naale?'
When! O! When  am I going to offer mouthful of praise of the Lord?
' Vaayaara Enru kolo Vaazhthum Naale?'
When O! When would I be blessed with the company of Bhagavatas? 
" Adiyavarodu Enru kolo Anugum Naale?'
When!O!Whenam I going to shower flowers at his feet?
"Kaikal Koi malar Thoo Enru kolo Kooppu Naale?'
When! O! When am I going to bow my head at the foot of the Lord? 
" Malar Chenni Enru kolo Vanangum Naale?'
When O! When am  I going to develop the amount of Bhakti that would melt my
heart? 'Ullam Miga Enru kolo Urugum Naale?'
When ! O! When my eyes are going to shed tears of joy on seeing the form of
the Lord? 'Neer Malga Enru kolo Nirkum Naale?'
When! O! When am I, the worst sinner, going to redeem my life? 
' Vul Vinaiyen Enru kolo Vaazhum Naale?'
When! O! When am I going to roll on the ground sanctified by the Lord's
presence?' Bhoothalattil Enru kolo Puralum Naale?'
When! O! When am I going to reach the proximity of the great Adiyaars of the
Lord? ' Isaindu Udane Enru kolo Irukkum Naale?'

DECAD 2 : He expresses his dedication to Bhagavatas. In verse 9, he declares
that those who are overwhelmed by the joy of serving the servants of the Lord
are not insane: It is only the others who are insane.
' Pitharaam Avar Pithar Allarkal / Matraiyar Mutrum Pithare /

Decad 3 : He avers that the act of shunning worldly pleasures and adhering to
the feet of the Lord is the ONLY REAL duty one has.
In Verse 8, he repeats the same sentiments as above . He says -

I may appear crazy for others but it is they who are really crazy. Yes! I am
madly in love with my Lord!' 

Peyare Yenakku Yaavarum - Yaanum Oru Peyane /
Evarkkum Idhu Pesi Yen? - Aayane! Arangaa! /
Enru Azhaikkinren ! - Peyanaai Ozhinden /
Empiraanukke /

DECAD 4 : In this,  he expresses his longing to be associated with
Tiruvenkadam- the abode of Lord Venkateswara  in any capacity- whether as an
animate being or even as  an inanimate object.

 " Can I be born ?" he asks as a kurugu bird in the forest , or as a fish in
the pond, or a temple vessel, or a flower at his feet, or even a pillar, or a
flowing rivulet, or as a rock or  even as a stepping stone leading to the
innermost sanctum sanctorum in the temple of the Lord  on which the Bhaktas
would place their holy feet- all in the sacred Tiruvenkadam? It can be seen
that such a step in every Vishnu  temple is called as "KULASEKARAP PADI"- the
' KULASEKARA STEP' 

DECAD 5 : In this, he addresses the Lord of TiruVittuvakkodu saying that even
if the Lord were to forsake him, he will never ever leave him and he has no
other refuge. This he expresses  drawing different parallels:- 

"Like a child that clings on to the feet of the mother even when she spurns
it indignantly; 
Like a Pativrata who holds on to her husband steadfastly even if he is of a
despicable character;
Like the fish that stays even at the risk of death when the waters in the
tank gets dried up  (having nowhere to go); 
Like a patient who loves the surgeon even though he cuts and 
burns his flesh (during surgery); 
Like the seagull that perches on the mast of a ship flies all over in the mid
ocean  only to return to rest on it (having no other go);
Like the lotus flower that does not blossom by the heat of even fire but
blosssoms only to Sunshine: 
Like the fields that though parched always look up to the rain bearing clouds
for succour;
Like the torrential  flowing rivers  that ultimately merge only in the Ocean
 and nowhere else and
Like fortune that favours only that person who is not after it - I will
forever resort ONLY to your feet"

DECAD 6 : Here, he simulates the despair and disappointment experienced by
the Gopis when Lord Krishna does not turn up as promised.

DECAD 7 : This is one of the most heart rending portions of the poem. Here he
imagines himself as Devaki. Devaki laments that even though she gave birth to
Krishna she missed the joy of witnessing Krishna's childhood pranks. 
" I am your mother only in name; How unfortunate am I ? I did not put you in
the cradle;
I did not sing any lullaby to you; I did not enjoy seeing the various stages
of your growth from babyhood  to childhood to boyhood; I lost my pleasure of
breast feeding you; I am so unfortunate to have missed all these. But, Lo!
and Behold! What was my loss became Yasoda's gain!. How fortunate she has
been to see your pretending to be afraid of her?"

Azhugaiyum Anji Nokkum An Nokkum /
Ani kol Sen siru Vai Nelippaduvum /
Thozhugaiyum Ivai Kanda Yasodai / 
Tollai Inbatthu Irudhi Kandaale"

He calls Yasoda ' Deiva Nangai" - the divine damsel. He pleads  to the Lord
on behalf of Devaki tearfully 
" If possible, can you reenact all these for my sake?"

DECAD 8 : Here,  the Alwar simulates Kausalya and describes the joy she
experienced in rearing Sri Rama in his childhood. The cradle song to baby
Rama " Mannu pugazh Kauasalai thun" is very touching. and is being sung
 almost in all households as a lullaby.

DECAD 9 : Here is another heart rending episode. Here, the Alwar simulates
the grief of Dasaratha on his banishing Sri Rama to exile.   As  Dasaratha,
he  visualizes how Sri Rama had unjustly been subjected to the hard and harsh
life of a wandering ascetic when he should have been ruling Ayodhya in the
cosy comfort in all his  royal regalia. He curses himself bitterly, curses
Kaikeyi who induced him and finally he curses Kooni who influenced Kaikeyi -
setting forth the chain of misfortunes and finally says
" O! Rama! I will also leave the Ayodhya which you left; Nay, I will even
quit this world and go to the other world never to return"

DECAD 10 : Sage Valmiki elaborately dwelt with the story of Sri Rama in his
Srimad Ramayana. Here, the Alwar addresses the Lord in the Tiruchitrakoodam (
Chidambaram) and gives a condensed version of the entire epic  in just 11
verses.

THANIANS ON PERUMAAL TIRUMOZHI

1. Composed by Emperumaanaar

Innamudham Oottugen Inge Vaa Pain Kiliye /
Tenn Arangam Paada vulla Seer Perumaal - Ponnan /
Silai Ser Nudhaliar vel Seralar Kone - Engal /
Kulasekaran Enre Kooru /

" O! Green hued parrot! Come hither ! I will give you some sweet nectar!. You
should always mutter the name of Kulasekara- who composed the sweet poem on
the auspicious qualities of Lord Ranganatha lying in the South direction at
Srirangam; who is the darling of beautiful damsels with bow - like eyebrows;
who is the King of Chera kingdom; who is a great Prapanna and who is our
crown jewel"

2  Composed by Manakkaal Nambi

Aaram Kedap Paran Anbar Kollaar Enru - Avargalukke /
Vaaran Kodu Kudap Paambir Kai Ittavan - Maatralarai /
Veeram Kedutha Senkol Kolli Kaavalan Villavar Kone /
Seran Kulasekaran Mudi Vendhar Sikaamaniye /

"Kulasekara is the one who put his hand boldly into the pot containing the
deadly King Cobra in order to vindicate the innocence of the Srivaishnavas
when they were accused (by his ministers) of stealing the precious pearl
necklace; Kulasekara is the one who vanquished the valour of his enemies; He
was the king of Kolli; he was the Emperor of other kings: the very gem of the
Chera dynasty; the very crown of the crowned monarchs"

DIVYA DESAMS CONSECRATED BY KULASEKARA ALWAR
1.Tiruvarangam
2.Tiruk Kanna Puram
3.Tiru Chitra Koodam
4.Tiru Vittuvak Kodu
5.Tiru Venkadam
6.Tiru Ayodhya
7.Tirup Paar Kadal.