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Tirumangai Alwar

From: Sampath Rengarajan (
Date: Mon Nov 25 1996 - 12:53:43 PST

The follwing is a posting made by Swamin Sri Anbil Ramaswami.
Since his current E-Mail ( is not registered in the
list, his posting has been returned and as requested by him I am forwarding
this to the bhakti list.

Sampath Rengarajan

Dear Sri SR,

I would appreciate if You could retransmit it to Bhakti list on my behalf.

Anbil Ramaswamy


Dear Bhagavatas,

Today is the Tirunakshatram of the great Tirumangai Mannan also called
As a token of dedication, I present below in brief the lifestory of the Alwar.

Parakala visited and consecrated ( Mangalaasaasanam) of as many as 86 out of
108 Divyadesams. It is esier to list those which he had not visited than
what Divyadesams he had visited.

We,  at the turn of the century, find it difficult to visit even a few of them
in spite of modern facilities and  conveniences for boarding and lodging and
comforts and luxuries of travel by car, train, plane and even chopper.

It is amzing how the Alwars managed to traverse (mostly on foot) sometimes by
narrow footpathsthrough dense forests ans steep mountains infested with wild
animals and insects, fording swelling waters of rivers and braving blistering
gales in an era when even creature comforts were a luxury. This is better
imagined than described to understand the depth of their Bhakti.

The significance of sentiments expressed in his outpourings will be attempted
the successive postings.

Anbil Ramaswamy

2. 12. Tiru Mangai Alwar ( Katigai - Krittigai )
The Alwar who was an incarnation of Saarangam ( the divine bow ) of Lord Vishnu
was born as 'Neelan' in the fourth caste  to Ali Nadu Udaiyar and Vallitiru at
Tiruk kuraiyalur in the year Nala, Kartigai month, full moon day ( a Thursday)
in the constellation of Krittigai.. The Chola king presented him Ali Nadu , a
tributary  with capital at Tirumangai and so, he was called 'Tiru Mangai
Mannan'. He was also conferred the title of  'Parakalan' meaning ' death to his
enemies'. He rode a horse called Aadal Maa'. He had several ministers of

Parakala desired to marry Kumudavalli, the beautiful daughter of a native
in Travancore. But, Kumudavalli laid a condition that she would marry only a
person initiated into Vaishnavism. This Parakala did but then she laid another
condition that he should agree to feed atleast a 1000 Vaishnavites daily for
year before  they could consummate the marriage. Parakala agreed. This proved
expensive exercise sapping the entire treasury of Parakala. By then, he had not
been through even half way to the target he had agreed to.

He could not remit the fief to the king and after a fight with the royal forces
he was captured and taken before the king who put him in jail. The Lord
to Parakala and told him about a secret place where he could find a treasure at
Kanchipuram. Parakala  went there with the permission of the king and under
heavy guard. He found the treasure and offered his tribute to the king. The
was amazed at the way he got the treasure and permitted Parakala  to retain it.

In due course, even this had been spent and Parakala  returned to square one.
With a view to keeping up his promise to his beloved wife, he resorted to
highway robbery and with the booty he continued to feed the guests.

One day, the Lord accompanied by  his consort Sri Maha Lakshmi took the form of
a ' just married' couple, bedecked with all the costly ornaments and were
passing through the hiding place of Parakala. Parakala was mighty happy on
sensing the windfall and immediately pounced on the couple and demanded them to
surrender all they had. This they did. Parakala could not lift the bundle
containing the booty and with his sword unsheathed threatened the couple what
Mantra they had uttered  for  disabling him in  lifting the bundle.

The Lord dragged him near and whispered the Tirumantra in his ear. Electrified
as he was on receiving the initiation from the Lord himself, Parakala realized
the purpose of his birth in this world and started pouring out devotional hymns
of unsurpassed beauty in praise of the Lord. His outpourings include -
 (i) Periya Tirumozhi (ii )  Tirukkurun Taandakam  (iii) Tiru Nedum Taandakam
(iv) Tiru vezhuk kurrirukkai (v) Siriya Tiru Madal and (vi) Periya Tiru Madal
employed four styles called  Aasu, Maduram, Chitram and Vittaram in his
compositions and hence he  was called Nalu Kavi Perumal.

When he was triumphantly returning, some of the disciples of the Saivaite saint
, 'Tiru Gnana Sambandar' intervened and objected to his honorifics. He argued
with Sambandar and finally poured out a hymn commencing with the words ' Oru
Kural Yiru Nilam'. On listening to the esoteric meaning of  this,  Sambandar
acknowledged that Parakala deserved the honorifics and let him go on his
triumphant march.Later, Tirumangai Alwar, built the ramparts of Srirangam
without affecting the portion occupied by the flower garden of Tondar Adip Podi

Will continue ...........
Anbil Ramaswamy