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NammAzhwAr mOksha vaibhavam

From: Madhavakkannan V (
Date: Mon Oct 26 1998 - 20:00:12 PST


Dearest Sisters and Brothers,

Today is aippasi pooraadam, Sri VishvaksEnar Thirunakshthram. And our 
NammAzhwAr is an amsam of Senai mudhali (Sri VishvaksEnar).  

NammAzhwAr's parents, kAriAr (a veLLALa agriculturist) of Thirukkurugoor 
and udayanangai, the childless couple, after praying to the Lord 
AdhinAthA, (who Himself had announced through the archakA that his amsam 
will be born to them soon), were blessed with a male child with a divya 
tEjas in the year pramadhi, vaikAsi  tamil month and visAkam nakshatram 
on a Friday (an incarnation of VishvaksEnA, the Chief army general and 
an administrator of MahAvishNu). The parents' happiness was short-lived 
only as the baby did not even cry, move or open its eyes or mouth. Since 
the baby was different from others it was named "mARan" (later called 

Due to the grace of the Lord, and the puNyams (that we must have done 
sometime, somewhere), Our Kulapathi NammAzhwAr was born in our kulam. 
Before he was born as an amsam of Thirkkurungudi Emperumaan and of 
VishvaksEnar (Senai mudhali), in order to keep up the kaimkaryam of 
“senRaal kudaiyaam”, “irundhaal singaasanamaam”, it is told AdhisEshan 
appeared as the tamarind tree in Thirukkurugoor (to protect the AzhwAr 
from sunlight, rains, etc..).

It may be noted that this Divine baby AzhwAr did not breathe; drink milk 
nor did it move, like any other ordinary child; but did grow like other 
healthy kids. The grief-stricken parents, due to this unusual uncommon 
child went to Lord AdhinAthA, put the "immobile" tEjasvI / baby in an 
emerald cradle under this  tamarind tree besides the temple. This tree 
has flowers, which yield unripened "puLiyngAi" and not  a ripened one 
(puLiyampazham). This tree, unlike other tamarind tree does not fold its 
leaves in the nights; and it is still called uRangAp puLiyamaram (the 
tree which does not sleep), like LakshmaNa. (Even today one can witness 
this phenomenon at AzhwArthirunagari).The parents observed penance by 
putting the kid in the cradle at the temple daily. One day when they 
relaxed by closing their eyes and possibly fell into a short nap, the 
"little azhwAr" crawled towards the tree bottom and sat down 
cross-legged and closed its eyes. From then on, the divine child grew in 
the same state of meditation for 16 years. Needless to say, all sorts of 
people in that region from all walks of life; and from all religions 
came to see this marvel. The boy was a 16 year old divya tejas, Golden 
hued divine form. The parents, too did not consider the AzhwAr as their 
own child, and addressed him as “engaL kudikku arasE” (the King of our 
kulam). Then Emperumaan also sent VishvaksEnar to do upadEsam to 
SadagOpar. It is told that Lord RanganAthA called him as “NammAzhwAr” 
and since he wore the Magizha maalai given by Polindha ninRa piraan, 
NammAzhwAr is also called “magizha maalai maarbhinan” and 

Since he did not get any disciple to match his level of Bhakti/ jnAnam, 
he did not utter a single word for 16 years. The Elephant comes after; 
while the bell sound can be heard before. Like that the Graceful Lord 
had sent a Brahmin saint by name "Madhurakavi" (an incarnate of 
VainathEya) before this azhwAr's birth. This madhurakavi of Thirukkolur 
was on his pilgrimage tour (on foot, of course) to North India and was 
fascinated by the Beauty of ayOdhyA. He chose to stay there. Suddenly 
one night madhurakavi saw a very bright star (a new one which was not 
there before; nor was it seen by others even when madhurakavi saw it) in 
the southern direction. He was pulled by the lustre of this light and  
started his journey back to south following the course and guided only 
by THIS SOUTHERN STAR. He found himself at Lord AhinAthA temple and the 
star's brightness in NammAzhwAr's tEjas. He was simply excited and 
deeply attracted by the Divine figure and Golden hue of AzhwAr's face. 
Since he was a Sanskrit and Tamil scholar and a great philosopher, too 
he wanted to test the azhwAr, without knowing that the azhwAr does not 
talk or open his eyes. 

He just threw a small stone into a nearby pond and for that splash 
sound, our azhwAr opened his lotus eyes. Madhurakavi asked in tamil 
"Seththathin vayiRRil siRiyadhu piRandhAl yetthai thinRu engE kidakkum?" 
(meaning: If the small is born in a dead's body(or stomach), what will 
it eat and where
will it stay?). NammAzhwAr, the one who had not opened his mouth since 
his birth (not even
for food) opened his lips and answered "aththaith thinRu angE kidakkum" 
(meaning: It will eat that and stay there). The interpreation and 
discussion has been widely done among Bhakti group members; However, for 
the sake of completeness- a small explanation/interpretation is 

The small one refers to the individual soul and the dead one refers to 
the gross matter, the body. When the soul enters the body, the body 
comes into life; and when it leaves, it becomes a corpse. The soul 
experiences the pleasures and pains through the body and its senses and 
reaps only what it has sown quite unaware and unconscious of its true 
nature of its being part of the Almighty, as His body. So the soul will 
eat that and stay there; When the soul realises it true nature and does 
prapatti to Him Sriman
nArAyaNan (realising the body/mind and intellect as not attached to its 
nature), it will eat His thoughts. verses and pAsurams as his "annam" 
and will stay there( at His abode as His servant rendering service to 

Madhurakavi was greatly impressed at AzhwAr's depth of answer and his 
philosophy. He prostrated at the feet of AzhwAr and with tears in his 
eyes said " O, southern sun! Please take me as your disciple: Please 
make me cross the ocean of Births and deaths. Please protect me". Seeing 
him at his
feet, nammAzhwAr said " Stay with me and write my pAsurams on 
Sriya:patih". From then on nammAzhwAr sang with utmost Bhakti, pAsurams 
on Sriman nArAyaNan and The Lord along with MahAlakshmi on His Garuda 
appeared before nammAzhwAr and blessed him. Not only that, my dear 
brothers. It is also told that all perumALs from various Divya Desams 
appeared one by one before him and got their quota of pAsurams. Such is 
the Greatness of "our AzhwAr". nammAzhwAr stayed under that tamarind 
tree for 35 years. His pasurams are compared to essence of all four 

NammAzhwAr is also considered as the Chief of all AzhwArs and is also 
reported as the One constituted by other AzhwArs as the parts of his 
form. BhUthathAzhwAr as siras (head), Poigai and pEyAzhwAr as his eyes, 
PeriyAzhwAr as his Thirumukham (face), Thirumazhisai vandha jOthi as his 
neck, KulasEkara PerumAL and ThiruppANan as His two hands, 
ThirumangaiAzhwAr as his chest and Thondaradippodi as his navel. 
Madhurakavi as his Thiruvadi (Lotus Feet) and Emperumaanaar Sri 
RamanujAchArya as Divya pAdukAs of NammAzwAr.  Swami Desikan has equated 
Lord Sri RanganAtha PadukA to NammAzhwAr Sri SadagOpar in toto. Hence, 
all Sri vaishNava temples, the Emperumaan’s Divya PadukA is called 
“sadaari” or “sadagOpam”. 

Such Greatest AzhwAr, by being away and separated from the Lord, born in 
this earthly world, longed to have a darshan of Emperumaan Sriya: 
pathih. He suffered with terrible pangs of love and languishing with a 
nAyikA bhAvam, as Paraangusa nAyaki. Due to the grace of Divya Dampatis, 
He was blessed with growing Para bhakti, ParajnAnam and Parama bhakthi, 
and was shown the arcchiraadhi maargam too (refer 10.9), welcomed by 
Nithya sUris. 

After living for 35 years he wished to reach His abode (and so did the 
Lord, too).  Madhrakavi's eyes were welled with tears and was immensely  
pleased and excited when he saw his AchAryA became one with the Lord and 
united with Him. Simultaneously, he was also blessed with a swarNa 
(Golden statute) of nammazhwAr which he consecrated at the Tamarind 
tree. He performed daily ArAdhanA to his AzhwAr and even ignored the 
Lord Sriman nArAyaNana since then. (He composed KaNNinun chiRutthaambhu” 
ten verses on NammAzhwAr.)

Our NammAzhwAr has always the most favourite for Sri RamAnujA , Sri 
vEdAntha dEsikA, Sri PiLLai lOkAchAryA, Periyavaacchaan PiLLai, Sri 
MaNavaaLa maamunigaL and all Great seers of visishtAdvaita, till the 
AchAryAs of present times.

NammAzhwAr composed the following: 

1.Thiruviruttam as the essence of Rg vEdA
2.ThiruvAsiriyam as the essence of yajur vEdA
3.Periya ThiruvandhAdhi as the essence of atharvaNa vEdA
4.ThiruvAimozhi as the essence of sAma vEdA

NammAzhwAr, on the 21st  day of adhyayana uthsavam, was blessed with the 
“kaitthala sEvai” of Emperumaan Lord RanganAthA and was taken to His 
Feet, at ThirumaamaNimaNdapam for eternal, permanent Nithya vaasam at 
Sri Vaikunatm at His Feet, for performing eternal kaimkaryam to Divya 
Dampathis. Even today, this NammAzhwAr mOksha vaibhava uthsavam is 
celebrated at Sri Rangam temple. The AzhwAr’s DivyamangaLa vigraham is 
taken to Emperumaan NamperumAL, and is gently placed (in prostrating 
form) at His Feet,. ThuLasi leaves are offered to AzhwAr at the Lord’s 
FEET until the AzhwAr Vigraham is completely immersed in Thirutthuzhaay 
at Emperumaan’s Feet.  It is a Great Feeling to have a darshan of this 
mahOthsavam and soul stirring to witness this NammAzhwAr mOksha 
vaibhavam at Sri Rangam. 


AzhwAr Emperumannar AchAryan ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam

(Dearest Sisters and Brothers, Thanks a lot for your 
appreciation/encouraging words on the last ten, also.)

Narayana Narayana

Narayana dAsan Madhavakkannan

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