In Srimad Bhagavatha Mahapurana as part of a discussion between King Nimi and sage Karabhajana the advent of the Srivaishnava Azhwars appearance in the Kali age is revealed .
” In the Kali age men devoted to Lord Sriman Narayana will be born in large numbers near the Dravida territory where in the rivers Tamaraparni, Vaigai , Paalaar the most sacred Kaaveri flows
.” True to the epic , both Swamy Namaazhwar and Madhurakavi Azhwar appeared on the banks of Tambaraparni river .
It is said that just after 40 years of the disappearance of Lord Krishna , Nammazhwar appeared . Periyazhwar and Sri Andal appeared in a place close to river Vaigai , the Mudal Azhwars and Thirumazhisai Azhwar appeared near Paalaar and Thodaradippodi Azhwar, Thiruppaanaazhwar and Thirumangai Azhwar appeared near river Kaaveri.
The most holy place Thirukurugur “Alwar Tirunagari” is about 30kms east of Tirunelveli on the Tirunelveli-Tiruchendur highway off the Southern banks of Tamaraparani .Check this post for more details :https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2015/06/14/the-glory-of-thirukkolur/Thirukurugur Vaishnava divyadesam is located on the banks of the river Tamaraparani and is one of the 108 divya desams in Pandiya Nadu. This was later known as Alwar thirunagari after the great Nammazhwar’s appearance . Legends reveal there lived a pious devotee Kaariyaar an advanced bhaktha who was serving the devotees from his agriculture earnings .
Udaiya Nankaiyar from Thiruvanparisaram was his wife who was equally pious and served the devotees with all dedication . They had no progeny for a long time .
Their prayers were answered by the mercy of Lord of Thirukurungudi . Udaiya Nankai gave birth to a male child on Vaikasi month in Visakam star( who is considered to be the incarnation of Senai Mudaliyar the commander in chief of Lord Sriman Narayana) . His parents named him Maran ( being different from others ) and he also had other names Parankusa and Satakopan .
The boy was not an ordinary kid nor did he have an ordinary life .
He displayed none of the usual characteristics of a baby, neither would he cry nor attempt to drink milk.
Looking at the strange behaviour of the divine child, the parents went to the temple for divine interference. All of a sudden the child crawled and went under a tamarind tree inside the temple where he remained almost for sixteen years in yogic trance under the trunk . The divine incident became the talk of the town.
After many years one day a elder Vaishnava who was on a pilgrimage to Ayodhya observed a shining light emanating from a far off place .He followed the light and reached Thurukurugoor. As he enquired around the place , he was directed into the temple . He was surprised looking at the divine aura being emitted from the young boy and attempted to go near him .
More details of Madhurakavi Azhwar can be read in this appended linked post
He approached the divine boy who was meditating deeply with his legs crossed and hands in chin mudrai pose. Madhurakavi thought that the boy could be deaf and dumb. To draw his attention ,he took a small stone and threw it in the lotus pond nearby.
Lo presto ! the boy opened his eyes and Madhurakavi could see the divinity in his eyes with golden hue.
Madhurakavi wanted to test the boy further whether he could reply.
Thus he asked a question
“Seththathin vayitril siru kutti pirandhaal etrai thindru enge kidakum?
A divine voice was heard with a smile
“Atrai thindru ange kidakum”.
The answer to his question made the madhurakavi ponder about the divine presence of the boy and the esoteric reply.
The peripheral meaning of the question…
“If a small one is born into a dead thing, what will it do ? and where will it be”?
The reply was “It will eat that and stay there”.
Nothing could be understood if not for our great achaaryas who had provided us with the inner meaning of this important quote
The inner meaning of the question:
“Seththadhu” – body,
“siru kutti” – soul.
“vayiru” – stomach.
The inner meaning mentions that when a soul enters a body, the body gets life and the soul forgets its true nature , thus thinks that the body is everything The soul enjoys and suffers everything through the body.
It eats and lives on whatever the body earns as sin and virtues . Once the body is dead, the soul departs. Till the time the soul is present, it has to suffer and enjoy all the feelings of the body.
But once the soul realizes its true nature that it is the servant of Lord Sriman Narayanan and surrenders , the soul gets liberated from the cycle of births and deaths.
Swami Madhurakavi azhwar was amazed by azhwar’s knowledge and fell at his feet and pleaded him to accept him as his disciple.
Azhwar agreed and asked him to help him in composing his divine works. Thus came out the fountain of divine out pouring of Lord’s kalyanagunas .
Madurakavi Azwar wrote all of them in Palm leaves which were called ‘ pattolai. The divine out pourings were
- Thiruviruttam (100 verses)
- Thiruvasiriyam (7 verses)
- Periya ThiruvandhAdhi (87 verses)
- Thiruvamozhi (1102 verses )
A grand festival is celebrated for ten days marking the appearance day of Azhwar at this holy place every year ending with a holy bath ( Abhishekam ) and ‘Theertha vari’ on Vaikasi Visakam day .
The Vaikasi Visakam celebrations are being held past 500 years or more .
The temple at Thirukkurugoor was under the direct administration of our revered Acharyar Swamy Manavala Mamunigal.
Adiyen is recollecting the wonderful darshan we had few years back at Azhwar Thirunagari
The most important day for Srivaishnavas is Swami Nammazhwars Thirunakshatram ( Apperance day ) which happens to be on Saturday 21 ,2016 this year .
Nava Tirupathi is a cluster of Nine temples of Lord Sriman Narayana.
Nava Tirupathi is part of the 108 Divya Desam temples .
Located around the banks of the River Thamarap arani, the 9 temples of Nava Tirupathi are Thiruvaikundam,
North & South temples of Thirutholaivillimangalam,
This otherwise a calm village is overcrowded with devotees for the 10 day grand festival.
Almost all the chathirams, Ramanujar koodams and houses were packed with devotees who come to witness the Nava garuda sevai from long distances .
A big mandapam in front of the main temple known as ‘PANDAL MANDAPAM” is decorated for the grand festival to happen .
This pandal was built by an ardent devotee Sri Pandala Ramaswamy Nayaakar during 1807 .He took initiative in starting this wonderful Nava garuda Sevai utsavam and made arrangements for the mandapam and other paraphernalia .
In honour of his devotional service the mandapam is named Pandal Mandapam.
All the Perumals ( Lordships ) of the Nava Tirupatis come to
Thirunagari to grace our most beloved Nammazhwar .
Swamy Nammazhwar had darshanam of all the 108 Divya
desam perumal staying in Azhwar Thirunagari itself .
In the pandal “ Abhishekam for Azhwar is done with due honours by the recitation of vedic hymns being watched by a large groups of devotees .
Meanwhile ,there was an alert by the bhagavathas that the Nava Tirupathigal Perumal have already started from their temples “ Thirukolams “and after crossing the beautiful Tambaraparani River are arriving at Pandal Mandapam.
We rejoiced to see Perumals coming from different directions with a troupe of Nadaswaram goshti and the recitation of pasurams by Elders.
All Perumal started arriving to Pandal Mandapam. Every Divyadesam Perumal arrive in a well decorated palanquin with full temple honours.
Here Azhwar receives the Perumal and does Pradakshinam to Perumal thrice. Azhwar is then blessed with satari, peedambaram and prasadam which were offered to the Perumal.
After this, managala haarathi is given to Perumal and Azhwar and Perumal enter the main temple. This procedure is followed for all the Perumals. This function takes place for about 2 to 3 hours.
All the Perumals alight inside a huge mandapam inside the temple. Parallel arrangements like decorating Peria Thiruvadi ( Garudazhwan ) for the evening function is done for the Garuda sevai.
The villagers share a wonderful hospitality inquiring about the details of stay, food etc of all the visitors . Most of the Thirumalagais are eager to serve the devotees with Prasadam.
The same evening around 5 P.M., Thirumanjanam ( Abhishekam ) would start for all the Perumals. Several groups of devotees coming from far off places assemble and chant azhwar pasurams with music. At 5 P.M the Vedic Pundits carrying silver kudams filled with holy water arrive . The water for Neeratam is brought from the river Thamparaparani with full honours (an umbrella, Nadaswaram)
The holy abhishekam “ Thirumanjanam” for all the Perumals are performed at the same time. Thirumanjanam is performed for all the Perumals inside the mandapam. It takes about 2 to 3 hours for the alankaranam to get completed.
Around 8 P.M. the much awaited garuda sevai starts
In the Nava Garuda Sevai, the lordships ( Perumals ) are seated on Garuda vaahanam. Azhwar is seated on a Hamsa vaahanam and his dearest devotee, Madurakavi Azhwar is seated on Pirangi Naarkaali (a chair)
Azhwar waits just outside the Maha dwaaram of the temple to receive the Perumals from all the Nine Divya desams . The temple doors are closed and Azhwar along with his favourite devotee Madurakavi Alwar wait for the Garudaseva Utsavam to happen.The Mahadwaram doors are opened amidst the mangala Nadaswarams .
Azhwar is the first to have darsanam of Perumal. Perumal is given Mangala karpoora aarthi and managalasaasanam done to the particular Perumal by the Azhwar . The recitation of the Mangalaasanams with the divyadesam pasurams by Elders drives one to spiritual ecstasy. Similar to Srirangam, Araiyar sevai is followed tradition here
The sevai is a special treat to the eyes and fill LORDs grace unlimited . And being among-st our Azhwars and the advanced srivaishnavas its sheer bliss
The order in which the Perumals appear in Garuda vaahanam along with the paasuram number is mentioned for devotees sung by Azhwar is given below:
PERUMAL PASURAM NOS.
1) Sri Adinatha Perumal of Thirukurugoor 3106,3116
2) Sri Vaikuntanatha Perumal of Srivaikuntam 3571,3575
3) Sri Vijayasanar Perumal of Natham (varagunamangai) 3571
4) Sri Kaichinavendan of Thirupulingudi 3473,3568-78
5) Sri Mayakoothan of Perungulam(Thiuukulandhai) 3561
6) Sri Devapiran of Irattai Tirupati }
7) Sri Aravinda Lochanan of Irattai Tirupati } 3271-3281
8) Sri Bhoomipalar of Then Thirupperai 3359-3369
9) Sri Vaithamanidhi of Thirukolur along with Madurakavi Azhwar 3293-3303,3473
After this, neivedyam is offered to Perumal, Azhwar and Madurakavi Azhwar and Perumal leaves the place . All the Perumals assemble at East Mada street and from here all the Nava tirupathi Perumal are taken in procession in the 4 mada streets of Thirunagari with the Nadaswaram troups for each perumal , Veda goshti .
The devotees burst crackers and lit the roads with dazzling light. The local residents receive Perumal by sweeping the roads and decorating the roads with kollams etc.The zeal in their offering fruits and karpooram at the time of Perumal’s oorvalam is a great blessing. Almost the entire village are well versed with Perumals arrival. This procedure of waiting near the entrance, offering karpoora aarthi and rendering mangalasaasanam on that particular Perumal is followed for all the Perumals.
By the time the ninth Perumal Sri Vaithamanidhi of Thirukolur leaves the place, Adinatha Perumal of Thirukurugoor who left first comes back to the temple. After all the nine Perumals assemble, Azhwar pays his deep respects to all the Perumals and all the Perumals get inside the mandapam. Madurakavi Azhwar who has organized this function, payshis respects to Nammazwar who is pleased with his disciple.
The function concludes around 4 A.M. The next day morning, all the Perumals leave to their respective temples gracing all the devotees and Nammazwar accompanies them till the entrance of the temple as a Royal guest . Nammazwar ‘s hamsa vaahanam is placed in such a manner that he looks at the proceedings until Perumal leaves the temple street
|Aadinatha Nayagi||5 KM|
The Perumals leave the Mandapam around 7.00 –7.30 AM . Only after the sight of Perumal completely disappears, Nammazhwar leaves inside a bit sad due to the departure of the perumals to their respective divyadesams.
All glories to the devotees who are at Thirukurogoor seeking the grace of Azhwar and Perumal ….
Prostrating vaishnavas ,Azhwar and Lordships for their abundant grace adiyen silently walk behind Azhwars Palanquin asking for forgiveness and his grace in attending many more Satsangs…
Adiyen Ramanuja dasanPics courtesy : Google images , web site ; heritagetown .orgVideos : Thanks to Sri Govindarajan