Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Thirumangai Alvar

Period: 8th C. AD

Place: Thirukurayalur
Month: Kaarthigai
Star (Natshatram): Krithikai (Kritthikaa)
Other Names: Kaliyan, Aalinaadan, NaaluKaviPerumaal,Arulmaari, Parakaalan, Mangaiyarkone

Chozha Empire, which is famous for its beauty, in wealth and has multiple small empires (small villages). In that Chozha Empire, a small town by named Thiruvaali Nadu is found. This place is also named as "Thiruvaali Thirunagari". Lots of lakes, small flowers surrounded partks, which can attract the attention of people who sees the villages are found.

In that, there was a small village by named "ThirukKuraiyaloor" is found where all Vishnu bhaktas lived and explained the speciality of Sriman Narayanan are found. Aalinaadaar who was the senai Thalaivar (Chief of the army) for Chozha Empire and had a wife by named "Vallitthiru". They both led their life very peacefully and had much bhakti towards Sriman Narayanan.

Due to their bhakti and the good life led by the couples, in Nala Varusham (year), Kaarthikai month, in Pournami Thursday - kaarthikai Natshatram (8th century) a child was born to them which is said to be the Hamsam of one of the panja Aayudham, the bow which is called as "The Saarangham". He was named as "Neelan".

From the childhood, Neelar was taught with proper education and some sanskrit languages too. Since, he was born in the generation of brave persons, he learnt the art of fighting learnt to use sword, bow and arrow. He also had the capability of leading the four different forces, the elephant, the horse, the chariot and the men forces. On hearing about the capability of both the intelligence in knowledge and the braveness, the chozha king, (the thirumangai Naadu) gave him the position as his head of the forces.

At that time, a great poet by the crowned name "Naarkavip perumal" lived. Since, he being a great poet defeated all the others with his poets and at that he heard about Neelan. (Thirumangai mannan). He wanted to test his intelligence, because of this, he asked Neelar to make victory over him. But at the same, Neelar was also equally qualified poet who can fight with the poet through various poems and finally the poet accepted his defeat and from then, Neelar was crowned with the name "Naarkavipperumal" by the Chozha king.

Neelar also fought and led the forces on behalf of Chozha Empire and defeated them. For his braveness, the chozha king made him as the king of Aali Nadu, having its capital as "Thirumangai". His fighting nature made all of the enemy kings to think him as "Kaalan" (time which takes all of our lives) and because of this, Neelar was also given the name "Parakaalan". Para kaalar means a person who cannot be reached by anyone and a person who is away from the Kaalan (the time). Inspite of having the name as "Neelar", he was known to the entire chozha naadu, when he became the king of Thirumangai. As a result of this, he was popularly called with the name "Thirumangai Mannan".

In that time, in Deva lokam, a deva kanni by named "Sumangali" lived and she is the head of the deva mangais. Once, she wanted to visit the bhoolokam. So, Sumangali along with other deva kanniyars came down to the bhoolokam and first visited to Himalayan Mountain. At that time, kapila munivar was explaining about the beauty and greatness of Sriman Narayanan. Lots of Munivars and people were found around Kapila Munivar. One among the munis, is found ugly and his face and body is found to be damaged. On seeing him, along the deva kanniyars and also Sumangalai commented on him and laughted at him. On seeing the bad character of all the kanniyars and specifically of Sumangali, Kapila munivar got angry on them and gave sumangali a sabham as to born as a normal human and to become the wife to a normal human in the earth.

On hearing this, the deva loka Kanniyar's head, sumangali was worried and realised her mistake. She asked Kapila muni to get back the sabham.

But on seeing sumangali, as she realised her mistake, Kapila muni told her an alternate way since the given sabham cannot be taken back. Kapila muni explained that the Sabham given to her was due to the fate that's written and she will be got married to a great warrior and an intelligent person, who is said to be the Hamsam of Sriman Narayanan's bow, the Saarngham and he will be king of Thirumangai which is found in Chozha Empire. He also added that his (Thirumangai mannan's) mind is concentrated fully on war and fight and it has to be turned towards her and his mind should be diverted towards the bhakti of Sriman Narayanan. It is done like that, she will be led to the Vinnulagam, finally. On hearing this, Sumangali was so happy.

After this, Sumangali along with other kanniyar went to Thirunaangoor and were attracted by a pond covered with Alli flowers. Much attracted by the beauty of the flowers, they all got down into the pond and took bath in that. After realising the time, all the other deva Kanniyars left Sumangali. After for a while, Sumangali searched for her friends and thought the actions that are happening are happening according to her fate and finally she changed into a newborn baby and was found near the alli flowers in the pond.

In that place, an excellent doctor was found, who doesn't have a child. Accidentaly, he came along the pond and was happy to find a new born child in the pond. He thought that the God has gifted him with this child and took her to his house. His wife was also happy to see the child and named her as "Kumudha valli" and they took care of her very much.

Years past away and one fine day, his father said that Kumudhavalli has attained the age for marriage and asked her about the wish. At that time, she explained her birth secret and explained him that she will be getting married to the Thirumangai Mannan. That's her fate and he will approach her in getting married.

As the day passed, Thirumangai Mannan heard about the beauty of Kumudhavalli and thought of meeting her and getting married to her. Soon, he went along with his soldiers to Thirunaagoor on his horse, "Aadan Maa". He sent a message to the Vaithiyan (doctor), father of Kumudhavalli that Thirumangai mannan had come to meet him regarding his daughter's wedding towards him.
Kumudhavalli appeared before thirumangai mannan and both of them were attracted towards each other. Kumudhavalli put a condition that if he dedicates his life towards the Emperumaan and he should dedicate himself for doing the service to the bhaktaas of Sri Vishnu, she can marry him. For this conditions and will act according to that. Thirumangai mannan changed himself from the king's character to an ordinary devotee of Sriman Narayanan and smeared Thiruman, Thirunaraiyoor in front of Thriu Naraiyoor Nambi and went towards the Vaithiyar's house.

Kumudhavalli also added another wish (fasting) that she has and it is that she has to serve food for 100 bhagavadas (bhaktas) of Sri Vishnu and their feets should be cleaned by water. And that water has to be taken and split over her head. If he agrees for his also, she has no objection of getting married to him. For this condition also, he agreed and consulted proper prohits and fixed a date for their marriage. At last, on a very good day, they both got married.

From then, Thirumangai Mannan as given the words that he will dedicate the food for 1008 bhaghavadas daily. As days passed, since he spent lots of money for the food, his wealth started to decrease. As a result of this, he could not pay the Kappam (money that has to be paid by the small kings to the king of the Empire).

The Chozha king got angry on him and sent some of his soldiers to ask for it. But, since Parakaalan (Thirumangai mannan) spent lots of money for the Vishnu bhaktaas, he could pay the money to the Chozha Empire. But, at last, the chozha king sent a huge troop towards parakaalan for making a war. But, since he was a very brave man and had enough soldiers, he could not be defeated. But, the king questioned him that inspite of making lot of good thing and making him as a king, the return action performed by him seems to make his mind sorry and he don't want this to happen again. And finally, he warned parakaalan if he fails to pay it, he will be promised.

Finally, he thought that he can steal money and products from others and can spend that for satisfying the Vishnu Bhaktas. Sriman Narayanan Emperumaan was very much worried of his divertion of the mind and thought of changing it. As a result of it, Sriman Narayanan along with Nammpiratti, sri Lakshmi in wedding kolam went through the forest, where Thirumangai mannan stopped all the persons who are found wealthy and grabbed their ornaments and Money. Likewise, Sriman Vishnu and Sri Lakshmi who were in the form newly married couples were stopped by Thirumangai mannan and his soldiers. Thirumangai Mannan ordered all of them to give their ornaments and money they have with them.

Hearing this, all the persons and also the Maappillai (Sri Vishnu) and Manamagal (Sri Lakshmi) gave their ornaments. Thirumangai mannan checked whether all of theri ornaments are removed but found a Kanaiyaazhi (an ornament are that is weared on the legs) on the right hand of the Maappillai. Parakaalan asked that should be also removed for which the Maappillai said that he could not remove that and he can try if he can do that. Neelan tried to remove that but he could not do that and finally tried to remove it through his teeth, but also he could not do that. He questioned himself that he might be also a brave and strong person like him and from then, he was named with the name "Kaliyan". Since, Kaliyan has a relationship with the thiruvadi of Sriman Narayanan, this action is performed and to explain this to the world only.

Since he could not remove the Kanaiyaazhi from his legs, he left that and ordered his main soldier "Thoalavazhakkan" to tie - up all the ornaments and money and get them up. But, he could not lift that sack full of various precious products. Then, Thirumangai mannan tried and he too failed.

He got angry of the Maapillai and said that he might have made some Mantram, so that they could not lift that. Sriman Narayanan, who has come in the Maappillai kolam asked Kaliyan to come close to him, so that he can explain the Mantram. The perumal explained the Ashtaakshara Mantram, the light words on his right eyes and thanked the perumal. From then, Thirumangai Mannan is popularly named as "Thirumangai alwar". He finally identified that the maappillai and the Manamagan are none other than the Emperumaan and Sri Lakshmi piratti and enjoyed the meaning of the Mantram.

His eyes were flooded in tears and his hands were raised above his head and started to praise the perumal as

"Kulam Tharum Selvam Thandhidum

Adiyaar Paduthuyar Aayinavellaam
Nilandharam Seyyum Neel Visumbarulum
Arulodu Perinilam Alikkum
Valam tharum mattrum thandhidum Petra
Thaayinum Aayina Seyyum
Nalam Tharum Sollai Naan
Kandukondaen Narayana Ennum Naamam"

meaning, It gives you status, wealth, eliminates sorrow by demolishing them to the ground. It bestows you with lengthy heaven along with lots of land. It blesses you with strength and all sorts of good things. It does more than what a mother would do to a child. And I found that all good bestowing name, Narayana. Here land means not only the materialistic property land, but grounds on which the person is recognised.

Kulam - status
Tharum, Thandhidum - provides
Selvam - Wealth
Adiyaar - devotees
Paduthuyar - sorrow
Aayinavellaam - all of the sorrows
Nilandharam - ground level
Seyyum - Does
Neel - Lengthy
Visumbu - Heaven
Arulum - Blesses
Arulodu - Along with the blessings
Perunilam - A huge piece of land
Alikkum - Provide
Valam - Strength
Mattrum - Others
Petra Thaai - Mother who begets a child
Nalam - Goodness
Soll - Word,
Kandukondaen - Found and realised
Narayana - Lord Vishnu's name
Naamam - Name

The next songs illustrate his meekness and great devotion. His acceptance of his mistakes at their face value without any justification, but all he requests was salvation.

"Vaadinaen Vaadi Varundhinaen Manaththaal

Perunthuyar Idumbaiyil Pirandhu
Koodinaen Koodi Ilayavar Thammodu
Avartharum Kalaviyae Karudhi
Odinaen Odi Uyivadhor Porulaal
Unarvenum Perum Padham Thirindhu
Naadinaen Naadi Naan Kandukondaen
Narayana Ennum Naamam"

meaning, I anguished, felt weak and sad in my heart just because I was born in this whole lot of sorrow and distress. I had friendship with the mean and cheap people, just for the mean pleasures they gave me. Then I ran and ran because of the Supreme Being changed my instincts and senses to search for the Supreme Being. Then I because of search I found the Supreme Being in the name of Lord Narayana.


"Maanei Kann Madavaar Mayakkir Pattu Maanilathu

Naane Naanavidha Naragam Pugum Paavam Seidhaen
Thaenei Poompozhilsuzh Thiruvenkatamaa Malai Enn
Aanai Vandhadainthaen Adiyaenai Aatkondarulae"

meaning, I fell for the attractive deer like eyes of women and committed sins that will take me to all the four kinds of hell. The Lord, Lord Venkatachalapathy, of the Thiru Venkata mountains, that have flowers bearing nectar; I have come to surrender at your feet, please accept me and bless your devotee.

"Theriyaen Paalaganai Palatheemaigal Seithumittaen
Periyaen Aayinapin Pirarkae Uzhaithu Yaezhaiyaanaen
Karisaer Poompozhilsuzh Kanamaamalai Venkatava
Ariyae Vandhadainthaen Adiyaenai Aatkondarulae"

meaning, As a young child that commits mistakes, I have committed a lot of sins. And when I grew up (mental maturity), I became a poor fellow just by working for others (Feeding 1000 people daily as per Kumudhavalli's request). The Lord Venkatachalapathy, of the great mountains that have majestic elephants. Lord Hari, I have come to Tirupathi to fall at your feel, grant me an asylum in your heart and bless me.

"Kondraen Palluyirai Kurikkole Ondrillamayinaal
Endranum Irandhaarkku Inidhaga Uraiththariyaen
Kundraei Megamadhir Kulirmaamalai Venkatavaa
Andrae Vandhadaidhaen Adiyaenai Aatkondarulae"

meaning, I killed many lives aimlessly, I never spoke benignly to those who came for help. Lord Venkatachalapathy, the lord of the mountains covered with misty chill clouds, I have come then to surrender at your feet and take asylum in your heart, bless me.

And praised about Sriman Narayanan with 10 Paasurams. Finally, on hearing the paasurams, the perumal gave his seva as found along with Sri Lakshmi and on the Garudan and said him to praise about him in all the various sthalams and disappeared.

From then, he visited almost to all the 108 Divyadesams and praised and sung various paasurams on him. He wrote 6 prabhandham (ie) Periya Thriumozhi, Thirukkurunthandagam, Thirunedunthandagam, Thiru vezhukootirukkai, Siriya Thrumadal, Periya Thirumadal, which includes total of 1137 paasurams.

He also helped in raising the Madhil Suvar (big walls around the temple) of Sri Rangam, Sri Ranganathar temple. He brought the Nammalwar statue (Iympon silai - Statue made up of 5 different kinds of precious ornaments like Gold, Diamonds, etc.) from Azhwar Thirunagari to SriRangam in Maargazhi Month and a 10 day festival is done and after that he is returned back to Azhwar Thirunagari.

After Thirumangai Alwar's time the paasurams of other Alwars is done the paarayanam (sung and explained as pagal patthu and Raa patthu utsavam.)

As already told, the greatness of Thirumangai Azhwar was his simplicity and the attitude to accept his mistakes at their face value, and most of all his endurance and the devotion to Lord Vishnu and his incarnations. His poetic eloquence has bestowed us great songs that have to be remembered for days to come and indeed sung in all the Bramhotsavam's celebrated in Tirupathi and various other Dhivyadesams. One such eloquence is the Thiruvelukootrarikkai covered in the earlier post about Chithira Thaer in the Saarangapani temple of Kumbakonam. Thirumangai Azhwar stands as an example of how a devotion to the their God should be, whatever religion be it. Like this, an ordinary person who became a king and turned finally into alwar is best explained through the various aspects in the life of Thirumangai Alwar. Knowing the greatness of Thirumangai Alwar, we can praise him and worship him.

ஆழ்வார் எம்பெருமானார் திருமங்கை ஆழ்வார் திருவடிகளே சரணம்...!!!

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