Thirumazhisai Azwar was born to Bhargava rishi and his wife
Kanakangi, in the month of “Thai” under ,the Birth star “Magam”, in
Thirumazhisai near Chennai. He was a contemporary of the Mudhal (first) Azhwars
(Pey azhwar, Boodhath azhwar and Poigai azhwar). He is considered as the amsa
(incarnation) of the Sudarshana Chakra (Discus) of Vishnu. He apparently
was a great Yogi, being born of a sage, and took to the paths of Bhakti in
later years under the influence of Pey azhlwar. Only two of his works are now
available for us. One is Thiruchandha Virutham, and the other being Naanmugan
This azhwar is very special and unique in so many
respects compared to other azhwars. Lots of unusual things happened in his
life. He lived for about 4700 years. Now let’s look at some of the uniqueness
in his life.
Azhwar’s mother carried him in the womb for an
unusual term of 12 months and when he was born, he was born as just a lump of
flesh with no features or shape. His parents were so dejected and depressed and
not knowing what to do, they left him in a bamboo bush and continued their
Lord Sriman Narayana and His consort, Sridevi
appeared and blessed the ‘lump of flesh’. With Their Blessings, the lump of
flesh turned into a fully developed beautiful and cute baby and had lustre
shining through. This baby was later picked up affectionately by a tribe (Harijan)
named "ThiruvALan". He and his wife Pankaya chelvi, were very much
overwhelmed by the grace of God for this gift of golden like baby.
Another unusual occurring in azhwar’s life is that
the baby was growing well, but was not drinking or eating anything at all. The
tribal parents were very worried and were at a loss, and at the same time
surprised to see that the baby was growing like a normal child. This news
spread rapidly. Hearing this, many people came to see the baby. An old couple
from the farmer’s community also came with some cow’s milk and begged azhwar to
drink it. The baby drank the milk and thus made everyone happy. The azhwar as a
benediction to the old couple asked the couple to drink the left over milk.
When the couple drank the milk, they regained their youth. This couple were
later blessed with a baby boy and they named him, Kanikannan. (Who later became
an ardent disciple of Thirumazhaisai azhwar.
Azhwar had studied and tried many religions like,
Buddhism, Jainism, Adhvaita philosophy, and in fact, became a staunch Saivite, earning
a name Siva Vaakya. Peyazhwar argued with him, giving references from the
Vedas, Smrithis etc, which make a claim that ‘ The supreme Lord is none other
than Sriman Narayana’ and thus initiated him into the Sri Vaishnavite
Philosophy. He then developed such great
love for Sriman Narayana, that he was conferred the title “Bhakthisaarar” by
Lord Shiva himself. Azhwar later declares his struggles in his pasuram:
sAkkiyam kaRROm samaN kaRROm, sankaranAr /
Akkiya Agama nool arinthOm bhaktiyAl /
senkatkariyaAnai sErnthOm yAm theethilamE /
"After my futile efforts to know the supreme
principle through Jainism, Buddhism, and Saivic philosophies, I am blessed by
Sriman Narayana to take refuge at the His Lotus Divine feet and have escaped
all problems and misfortunes since then."
Now let’s look at more marvels by this Azhwar:
blessed an unmarried old lady who became an ardent disciple of him and was
doing immense kainkaryams at the Thiruvekka temple. She was sad and regretted that she could not
become his disciple earlier and thus could not do more service due to her advanced
age now. Azhwar was so overwhelmed by her sincerity and his kind heart melted.
His mercy immediately transformed her into a young, beautiful maiden. She ended
up getting married to the Pallava king. After some years the king found that
his queen did not seem to age at all and knowing that it was due to azhwar’s
mercy, summoned Kanikkannan to the court to get azhwar bestow the same mercy on
him. As this was a material request, Kanikkannan refused and was banished from
the kingdom. Kanikannan related all this to azhwar. Azhwar could not be
separated from his ardent disciple and decided to go with his disciple.
He then requested the
presiding Deity of the Thriuvekka temple to go with them. Azhwar says;
pOginRAn kAmaru poon kacchi /
maNivaNNA1 nee kidakka vEndA /
sennAppulavanum pOginrEn neeyum unRan /
painnAgappAi suruttikkoL /
is going out of kanchi Manivanna, I am also leaving with him. You don't have to lie down here anymore; You also roll
your "nAgam" (serpent bed) and follow me.
The Lord very obediently
tucked His Serpent bed under His arm and followed our Azhwar and Kanikannan.
Without the presiding
deity, the whole town became desolate and was dark everywhere. When the king
came to know that the Deity of the temple also left the place, he immediately went
to azhwar and Kanikannan and begged them to return. They both then decided to
return to Thruvekka. Now azwar, commanded the deity once again to come back
along with them.
Kanikkannan pOkkozhindAn kAmaru
poon kacchi /
maNivaNNA1 nee kidakka vEndum /
sennAppulavanum pOkkozhindEn neeyum unRan /
The Lord returned into the
temple as He was bid and took His position, but this time He kept His head to
the left. The Deity in this temple is called ‘Yathothkaari’ or in Tamil ‘Sonna
Vannam Saidha Perumal (The Lord who does as He was bid)
Azhwar was on his way to Thirukudanthai, he stopped to take rest outside a
house on a ‘thinnai’ (sort of a concrete bench in the front of a house, attached
to the external walls for people to sit). Inside the house there were some
Brahmins reciting the Vedas, but on seeing this azhwar, they stopped reciting
as this azhwar belonged to a lower caste community. Seeing this, our azhwar
decided to leave this place. The Brahmins then decided to continue from where
they left off, but none of them could remember the next line. They immediately
knew that they had committed Bhaagavatha apachaaram (wrongdoing against a
devotee) and begged pardon from him. Azhwar helped them by cracking a ‘nellu’
(paddy seed) with his finger nails, reminding the Brahmins that the next line
had reference to the nellu. Such was azhwar’s knowledge and compassion.
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Kooratazwan - An Exemplary Disciple
Azwhaan Avadhaara Vishayam (Birth
born: Tamil year "Sowmya", English year 1010 A.D
born: Tamil Month "THAI"
The ever liberated and liberated souls
enjoy the association of Sriman Narayana always in Sri Vaikundam without any
interruptions. However, for the people in the material world, The Lord undertook
several incarnations out of compassion to correct them. When He realised that this
did not always work, He thought that instead of correcting them from the
position of being their preceptor, it would be easier to correct them by
becoming a disciple and practically implementing His own teachings.
Accordingly, Sri Thiru Anantazhvan
(Adisesha) manifested as Sri Ramanuja, while the Lord manifested Himself as Sri
Koorathazhwan was born as ‘Kuresan’ and was the ruler of the kingdom of Kooram
Nagar, near Kanchipuram. One night, he heard someone crying from a house.
He overheard the cause of the grief thereof and understood that the girl
of the house had an indication in her horoscope, of her husband’s death, on
marriage. Kuresan, melted by the
family’s sorrow, summoned the parents of the girl to his court and offered
to marry her. As this might endanger the life of the king, the parents hesitated.
But Koorathazhwan comforted them by saying that nothing
untoward would happen as he would not lead a conjugal life. Andal,
his wife, was equally bestowed with jnana and supported her husband in all
his pursuits of leading a simple spiritual life.
the disciple of Swami Ramanuja
During this time
Kuresan became a disciple of Swami Ramanuja in Kanchipuram. They developed a
very close relationship and had great regard for each other. But soon Sri
Ramanuja decided that he had to move to Sri Rangam to further spread Sri
Vaishnavam and left Kanchipuram.
Kuresan and his
wife continued their daily life of charity of feeding the poor. One such day,
as they closed the doors of their home after the daily alms, the sound was so
loud that it was heard by Lord Vardaraja and His divine consort, Perundevi
Thayar in Kanchipuram. Thayar asked the Lord as to the cause of the gong
reverberating through the night air. The Lord turned to his chief priest,
Thirukachi Nambhi, who answered that it was Kuresan closing his doors after the
daily alms. The Lord, very pleased to know of Kuresan and his piety and charity, commanded that Kuresan
be brought to Their presence. Thirukachi Nambhi hastened to Kooram to bring Kuresan.
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