Few hundred years ago , King Vallaba Deva the Pandyan king was going around his kingdom in a disguise . Somewhere near a temple he saw an old man sleeping on a pial (thinnai) in front of a house..
The King out of curiosity , woke him up and asked him who he was and why he was sleeping there in the open. The man answered that he was a temple priest and was supposed to leave in the early hours of the day to Sethu to complete his Thirtha yathra . Being new to the place , he took shelter near to the temple .
Out of devotion the king requested him to chant a good sloka. The Priest chanted a sanskrit sloka . Delighted , the King asked the priest to explain the meaning of the chants .
The Priest replied ,
1) a person must save for the rainy season in summer,
2) should save for old age when he is young
3) should save punya for the next birth during the present birth itself .
The king reflected on the verses . He assumed that he had already accomplished saving for the first two verses mentioned by the priest, but he never thought about the next birth.
Curious to know what the third verse inner meaning really meant , he summoned his Chief advisor Selvanambikal , a learned man in religious and philosophical matters .
The King asked him to enlighten him on
what was the saving one has to do for the next birth ??
Selvanambikal submitted to the King that there were several paths that lead to salvation but he was also not sure about the exact path to be followed aqnd what needs to be saved for gaining it .
He requested the King to allow him to call all the religious heads for a conference and prove which path could show the jeevatama to attain salvation .
The King was glad that such an assembly will enlighten him with deeper knowledge on the subject . The King also advised him to honour that Vedic priest who will give them a convincing reply .
Accordingly , the minister orders the assembly to tie a cloth bag that shall contain gold coins which is hung on to a pole . It is also informed to the Priests that the most convincing answer and the belief which shows the true path to salvation , would be honored .
The Royal announcement was made throughout the kingdom . Heads of different religions tried to prove that their faith was the one that could show the true path for salvation . However the outcome was incomplete . The King was keen to meet the great personality who would be able to show him the right path for salvation .
Far away in the same Kingdom there was a great devotee of Lord who was offering Pushpa kainkaryam ( Flower garland services ) to the Lordships . His name was Vishnuchittar ( Periazhwar) . His devotion to the LORD was ultimate .
The compassionate Lord Vadaperum Koil Udaiyan wanted the world to know about his sincere devotee . Lord appeared in Periyazhwar’s dream and advised him to participate in the mammoth conference . Periyazhwar was nervous and pleaded Lord that he was not capable to undertake such a difficult task amongst the Royal family . Lord convinces Azhwar to proceed with confidence , as other things would be taken care . Azhwar wakes up the next day .
Praying LORD mentally , he proceeds to Naanmadakudal obeying Lordships order. Looking at the huge gathering ,Azhwar decides this is the best place to glorify LORDSHIPS . The Vedic pundits and vidwans looking at the simple looking Azhwar ignore him .However the minister Selvanambikal observing the radiance of our Azhwar request him to go ahead and put forth his knowledge to test as he had already knew about Azhwar’s greatness.
Periyazwar humbly takes the discussions to the inner truths and presents examples from Vedas, Granthas and Srimad Bhagavad Gita to prove that Lord Sriman Narayan is the Supreme Lord who created all the worlds and living beings and everything came from HIM and would merge with HIM only. He further takes Srimad Bhagavatam texts and quotes several truths much to the astonishment of the gathering . Azhwars lucid answers make the pole containing the bag with gold coins tied already bends towards him thus proving the Azhwars words of wisdom.
King Vallaba Deva along with the royal family are surprised to see the miracle happening The king extremely pleased with Azhwar confirms him the title “ Bhatter Piran” . With respect , he orders his men to bring his Royal elephant . The King requests Azhwar to alight on his elephant as he wanted the great devotee to be honored . With much pomp and show and paraphernalia , the Elephant takes him in the huge procession.
The all compassionate LORD is so pleased that He along with HIS consorts come to give darshan to Azhwar on His Garuda Vahanam . Periyazhwar is overwhelmed to see the Lord in the sky.
( It was Lord Koodal Azhagar Perumal , along with the Goddess Mahalakshmee . who had arrived to witness their dear devotee on Garuda Vahanam.)
On having darshan of LORD ,
Periyazhwar worried that such a beautiful thirumeni ( form ) of Lord may attract ( evil eye ) Drushti , he immediately takes the bell from the elephant’s neck as symbol and starts his mangala shashanam to the Lord instantly , by chanting the introductory verses of Divya Prabhandam
“Thirup PallaNdu” .
Pala koti noor ayiram*Mallanda thin tholl manivanna*
Un sevadi seviithirukappu*
Adiyom odum ninodum*
Piru indri ayiram pallandu*
Vadivay nin vala marpinil *
vaghkindra mangayum Pallandu*
Vadivar sothi valtath urayum sudar azhiyum Pallandu*
Padai por pukku muzhangum ap panchasanniyamum Pallande.
Roughly translated in English
May for many hundreds, thousands and crores of years ,the Gem -Hued LORD with mighty wrestling shoulders, HIS bright red lotus feet be protected. This inseparable bond between us ,may it last many thousand years .To the GODDESS who ever adorns the Lord’s right chest many thousand years. To the fiery luminous sudharshan chakra on the right hand, many thousand years. To the Panchajanya ,the famous conch which stikes terror in the battle field ,many many thousand years………….
Periyazhwar composed hundreds of verses of praise including those that feature as the first 12 songs of the Divya Prabhandham called Thiru Pallaandu. As Garuda served Lord Ranganatha of Srirangam to reach Srivilliputhur for the marriage festivities faster than was expected, he was accorded a special status here and is seen alongside Lord Rangamannar and Andal.
The Lord himself conferred on him the title “Periyazwar.” Azhwar returned to Srivillipuththur with the prize he got and surrendered it to the Lord at the temple. He continued the pushpa kaimkaryam to the Lord and becomes a guiding force and father to Andal .
Apart from “ThiruppallaNdu containing 12 pasurams Azhwar gave us Periyazwar Thirumozi containing 461 pasurams .
Azhwars pasurams on LORD KRISHNA in matrubhavam is a must listen .
Azhwar has glorified LORD KRISHNAs pastimes in detail and the same is recited in all vaishnava temples particularly during Janmashtami
( Check the appended post below for more details)
Peria azhwar appeared during the month of June – July (Aaani Swathee) .
All srivaishnava temples celebrate the appearance day grandly .Lets pray Azhwar and LORD to give us unstinted devotion to HIS lotus feet .
Azhwar thiruadigale sharanam
Pictures and videos : Courtesy : Google pics and You tube ( Thanks to the devotees )
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan