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Regarding Thirumangai Alvar ...

From: Jai Simman s/o R. Rangasamy (
Date: Tue Oct 03 2000 - 06:52:15 PDT

Hare Krishna.

I recently read of Thirumangai Alvar's prior acts before he obtained the
darshanam of Lord Narayana.
A doubt came to my mind.

The narration is as follows :-

"TIRUMANGAI ACARYA: In  AD 1017 along with his disciples Tola Vazhakkan,
Taluduvan, Nizhalai Mithippan and Nirmal Naddapan he (Tirumangai acarya)
arrived at the temple of Lord Ranganatha. Seeing the temple to be in a
state of total disrepair, "dilapidated and full of bats" he decided to
build an opulent temple to Ranganathji, but there was no money. He
approached every rich man in the vicinity for help, not only did they
refuse to give him "even a small coin" but blasphemed him as well. Finally,
Tirumangai called his disciples to him, "Now then," he instructed, "let us
rob these rascals and use their money for building a temple and feeding the
poor." With the assistance of his disciples, Tirumangai soon became the
leader of a large gang of robbers. For sixty years he raided the
countryside in order to accomplish the building of Sri Rangam, After the
temple was built, the robbers approached Tirumangai acarya (who had managed
to stall them all that time) asking for their share of the loot. In
consultation with his disciple Nirmal Naddapan (who could walk on water),
they planned an assassination. Pretending to lead the robbers to a hidden
stash of wealth, the cunning Naddapan took the thieves out to sea and
drowned them all. Does the building of Sri Rangam, justify the activities
of Tirumangai acarya? Pilgrims to Sri Rangam and those who worship in the
Ramunajacarya line, think that the acarya's association/murder of the
thieves justified the means to an end."

How are we to understand these things ? that an acharya committed murder
prior to obtaining the mercy of the Lord ?
that in the pursuit of bhagavad kainkaryam these things maybe tolerated ? it
sounds difficult to understand. I hope that one of the Bhagavatas on the
list can enlighten this poor fool in the manner of understanding the
pastimes of a great Acharya.

Are we to compare the Alvar's experience to that of Valmiki's being a robber
before he wrote the Ramayanam, or of Mrgari's hunting cruelty before he met
Narada Muni, or of Ajamila's plight prior to his experience with the
Vishnudutas and Yamadutas ?

Vaishnava dasanudasan,
R. Jai Simman

           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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