Kulasekshara Azhwar wonders at the propensity of people to pass their time in this world casually , when there are so many numbers of the Lord’s Holy names to chant …


The  revered  Azhwars and Acharyars  take up upon themselves the burden of saving men who LORD gives up hopelessly for the reluctance in seeking HIM .

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Do Acharyars really possess these virtue ?

An example is quoted from scriptures

By a Rishi’s curse a saint was consigned to the nether region , the hellish planets   . The saint he was continued to follow his  devotional  practices with all sincerity .

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The demons  noting that the person could be a  faction from devas , harassed him with their weapons . But as he was a devotee of LORD Sriman Narayana he proved invulnerable to them .

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The worried demons approached their guru Shukra for a suggestion to wound the  arrived devotee .

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Shukra suggested ,

My dears !!

Begin by abstracting his love for Sri Hari  and rest is assured for him to be in your grip …

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The demons put on the disguise of devotees and making friendship  with the saint practically explained that Sri Hari had neglected him so far even down to his confinement in the nether regions  and hellish planets ,  and thus could certainly not be worthy of worship .

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They spoke ill about Sri Hari relating to his  deep misfortune .

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All the efforts to rob his love to Sri Hari  proved futile , but parallel y the saint exhibited a great compassion in his heart for the demons at sight  of the profundity of their sinfulness.

The saint  supplicated  LORD to exhibit his abundant mercy on these  sinful men  for their offenses . The saints prayers had instant effect .

The demons turned into friends and were anon taken to Lord’s abode of bliss .

Thus the power of salvation vested in LORD manifests itself with redoubled vigor in the members of HIS holy  abode …

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 Kulasekshara Azhwar wonders at the propensity of people to live lives steeped in sin, when there is any number of the Lord’s names, which one could chant and think about, capable of instantly cleansing of them of all sins.

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Why could one not say

“Ananta”,

“Vaikunta”,

“Mukunda”,

“Krishna”,

”Govinda”,

“Damodara”,

“Madhava”  and several holy names ……

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which are incredibly sweet on the tongue and also act as purifiers, wonders Azhwar in the verses of ” Mukunda mala”

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“ananta Vaikuntta Mukunda Krishna GOvinda DAmOdara MAdhava iti

vaktum samartthOpi na vakti kaschit ahO! JanAnAm vyasana abhimukhyam!”

We have seen how terrifying hell and  the demons  were in the episode ..

Azhwars speak of an occasion when the entire  hell was transformed into a heavenly abode.

How could this be possible ?

  Azhwar elaborates in the following  “TirumAlai ” pAsuram—

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namanum Murkalanum pEsa, narakil nindrArgaL kEtpa

narakamE Svargam Agum nAmangaL udaya nambi

 In a glowing tribute to the glory of the Lord’s holy names, Sri Tondarappodi Azhwar recounts the episode of a conversation between Mudgala and Yamadharma raja. Mudgala was a  wicked person, guilty of several sins.

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On one occasion,  unknowingly , he gifted a cow to a brahmin , accompanying it with the words,

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“Let this be for Krishna” (“KrishNAya nama:”) as he heard this verse many times from others .

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When he  left his mortal coils , and reached YamalOka,   Yamadharmaraja   received him with all respects and  honour .

Mudgala was surprised and  sought the reason for the unusual reception given to him .  Yamadharmaraja  replied ,  the single word “Krishna” uttered by  you  during the “GodAnam”  , had got  rid him of all  the evil.

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 The beneficial effects of the single utterance of the Krishna nAma did not stop with Mudgala.

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Those residing in the hell  who listened to the conversation between Yama and Mudgala, and heard  Krishna nAmA, were instantly absolved of their sins. What is more, the entire hell was immediately transformed into heaven, lock, stock and barrel.

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 Such indeed is the efficacy of the holy name of the Lord, which is capable of benefiting even those who utter or listen to it, by sheer accident, without any instinct of devotion or adulation.

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For those who are unable even to utter the short and sweet names of the Lord, Azhwar has another prescription for saving them from the fires of hell.

A mere mention of the hallowed abodes of Emperuman would, by itself, ensure that none goes to  Hell , indeed, if everyone were to just say the name of a divyadesam once, it would render the hellish worlds uninhabited and desolate, says Azhwar in the following pasuram—

“arivilA manisar ellAm arangam endru azhaippar Agil

poriyil vAzh narakam ellAm pullezhundu ozhiyum andrE”

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

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Pics : Credits Google images

Video Credits : manumithra and singer sri Udayalur kalyanaraman

Kulasekhara Azhwar and Lord Venkateshwara


Kulasekhara Azhwar  the  ardent devotee of Lord Ranganatha  appeared  in  the royal family of the kingdom of Travancore  near a place called  thiruvanjiikalam‏ .

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 The Majesty was undoubtedly our LORD who was  worshipped by the King and the people   LORD  “Ananta-Padmanabha Swami “. All the royal family were servants 

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The Kings of Travancore would  offer obeisance’s   to the Lord  twice a day and   be there inside the temple of LORD serving HIM . The King would  present  his reports to the Lord on daily basis and communicate about the  daily administration .

wp-1488936391269.jpgHe was but  just a  trustee. (This tradition of the Maharaja of Travancore visiting Lord Ananta-Padmanabha Swami goes on to the present day.) Such was the pious and saintly quality of the ancient line of Vedic kings among whom Maharaja Kulasekhara appeared.

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  King Kulasekara ruled his kingdom in the most  vedic manner. It is said that his rule was so good , that people compared it to the rule of Lord Rama in Ayodhya. In due course,  King Kulasekara invited  learned people from all over the world.  Slowly by mercy of LORD   understood   Lord Sriman Narayana is   everything, and the highest purpose in life is to perform service to HIM  and HIS devotees. The Lord also blessed Kulasekara with the knowledge and mindset of being a true devotee.

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 Kulasekara visited many holy places, and spent his time listening to the great  opulence qualities of the Lord as told in the great epics SrimadRamayana, Mahabharatha and Srimad bhagavatham. He took special liking to Lord  Sri Rama, Sri Krishna, and the Lord of thiru-viththuva-k-kOdu (in present day Kerala).

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One day, when he was listening to a lecture on Ramayana by a  vedic pandit, he  became very  involved (it was his normal habit for the king  to be so moved by the Lord, as to worry about His well-being, just like another Azhvar like  Periyazhvar had done).

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The pandit was emotionally  narrating the part where the army of demons, on the command of the demoness  Surpanaka , assembled to fight  Lord Rama. There were 14000 demons of the biggest variety, and on the other  side there was just  Lord Rama and Lakshmana.

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On hearing this, King Kulasekara immediately got up, and commanded his commander in chief to get his army to help  Lord Rama in  fighting  the 14000 demons!

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On seeing the King so involved , the pundit  immediately said “the great Rama, single-handedly defeated the 14000 strong demon army and retired safely to the cottage where  mother sita was  composed and relaxed ”.

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This continuity  made  king Kulasekara calm.  This single incident was a lesson to all the pundits to speak always about the safety of Lord  . As he was learning and listening to these holy scriptures and concepts,  Kulasekara came to understand the special place that the holy town of SriRangam holds for devotees. He yearned to go there, live there, and perform service the Lord of Srirangam – Lord Ranganatha.

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It is said that every morning, Kulasekara would proceed to SriRangam, abandoning  all his duties as the king. On seeing this, his ministers, and prominent people in his kingdom would  bring some vaishnavas  enroute . On seeing them , the king would  pay obeisance’s and  invite them to his palace, and serve them all day .

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At his palace, all the  srivaishnavas  had free reign. They could go from any room, and could be present everywhere. On seeing such free reign , some of his ministers became jealous, and hatched a plot to change the  king’s  opinion on them .

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They decided to execute a plan on the appearance day of Lord Rama (Sri Rama Navami). The ministers stole a very valuable necklace  adorned to the deity of Lord Rama and pointed it was the devotees who were worshipping and they may be held responsible for the theft   .

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King Kulasekara asserted that there was no way that the devotees would do such a thing. To rebuke  that, he had his ministers bring him a pot containing a poisonous snake  and declared that he will put his hand into the pot to prove their innocence.  Miraculously, the serpent did not  harm  the king, and  thus everyone was convinced that the devotees had not stolen the necklace.

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On seeing the miracle , the ministers  apologized for their  mistake and returned the necklace to the king. Kulasekhar understood that his position came in  the way of his desire to serve the Lord and His devotees. 

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He  politely  handed over the kingdom to  his son  and left on a pilgrimage to holy places and  settled in  Srirangam.  Having the  LORD’S darshanam he composed a divine poem compilation called “ PerumaL thirumozhi ”. At Srirangam he built the corridor around the temple that to this day  called as  “kulasEkaran thiru-suRRu” (the Kulasekara passage).

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Kulashekara Azhwar  submits to  LORD  VENKATESHWARA   in his pasurams   regarding having association in some form at Tirumala .


He begins with Oh  Lord !!! may he become a bird near to the pond at Seven Hills ( TIRUMALAI ) for association … but realises being a FISH is better as the bird may fly away due to any disturbances .

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Proceeding his divine out pours he prays LORD  may be,   becoming that person who holds that golden vessel which is being used for LORDS service as the fish in the pond may swim away and miss that divine chance to come near to the LORD..

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Now ,  Azhwar realises holding the golden utensil may create ego in his mind and that may drive him out away from HIS service. With more  introspection , Azhwar prays May he become a flower on a tree that will be offered to HIS holy feet ,but understands that after the flower fades up , the same is thrown out  and so the tree too ..

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He goes to next state  and  pleads to become a river on thiruvekata hill so that it remains permanent . But doubts with the law of nature If the river dries up ??

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Now Azhwar submits unconditionally  Oh ..Lord ….may adiyen become that slab of stone where the stairs leading up to your sannidhi  since the river may dry up some day.The stepping stone in front of the sannidhi shall always remain watching uninterruptedly LORDS lotus feet ..

with sheer bliss as any other object has an end BUT being just a stepping stone before HIM will always ensure HIS cool grace always ( as a mark of Azhwars love the temple first  entry slab  is referred as kulasEkaran padi).

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chediyAyavalvinaigaLthIrkkumthirumAlE
NediyAnE vEnGkatavA! Nin kOyilin vAchal
adiyArum vAnavarum arambaiyarum kidaNthiyanGgum
padiyAyk kidaNthu un pavaLa vAyk kAnNbEnE

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Oh LORD SRI VENKATESHA! YOU are the  only one who can eradicate my  karmas. Adiyen  want to be like the stepping stone at the entrance of your sannidhi where your great devotees, dhevas , gandharvas and  humans long  to seek  your darshan.

Adiyen wish to  remain as your door step where devotees,celestials and heavenly dancers wait in order to see your coral lips constantly..

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   Kulasekara Azhwar  a ardent   devotee  of Lord  SriRama, sang   a  beautiful decade In Naalayira Divya Prabhandam  “ Perumal tirumozhi “ in Gopika bhaavam and Devaki bhaavam .   Azhwars  Mukundamaala has so much poignant cries surrendering at Krishna’s lotus  feet (KrishnO rakshatu jagat guruh!.). 

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Kulasekhara Azhwar  knotted  out the  priceless pearls of wisdom and strung them into a garland (mala) of poems  in  the Mukundamala, where he surrenders

 krsna tvadiya-pada-pankaja-panjarantam    

 adyaiva me visatu manasa-raja-hamsah

prana-prayana-samaye kapha-vata-pittaih      

kanthavarodhana-vidhau smaranam kutas te

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 “O Lord Krsna, at this moment let the royal swan of my mind enter the tangled stems of the lotus of Your feet. How will it be possible for me to remember You at the time of death, when my throat will be choked up with mucus bile and air?
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“Azhwar prays the Lord to keep him in the company of bhaktas, who relish the constant thought of the Lord’s lotus feet.

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Such devotees are characterised by palms folded in supplication, heads bowed in devotion, hair ends of the body standing upright in joy, tones shaky with emotion, and eyes filled with tears- all tell tale signs of their boundless bhakti brimming over.

Here is the beautiful sloka from Sri Mukunda MalA:

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“BaddhEna anjalinA natEna sirasA gAtraischa rOmOdgamai:
kaNttEna svara gadgadEna nayanEna utkeerNa bAshpAmbunA
nityam tvat charaNAravinda yugaLa dhyAnamrita AsvAdinAm
asmAkam SarasIruhAksha satatam sampadyatAm jeevitam”.

All glories to the great devotee king Kulashekhara Azhwar .

ALWAR


Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

Pics credits : Google images ( Thanks to all the devotees )

Video credits : ammaskrishna