The Azhwars from Tamizh Nadu are among those who inspired Swami Vivekananda to quote ” While in the rest of the world, people fall in love; in India, people rise in love“.
These mystic poets are known for their madenning love for their Lordship and profound knowledge of the Vedas and Shastras, supreme control over the Tamizh language and the prolific genius to say the most complicated Vedic postulates in Sanskrit, in the simplest of Tamizh words.
While each of the 12 Azhwars are above caste, creed, genders and society; every one of these twelve deeply devout (hence Azhwar : Azham in Tamizh is deep) saints has touched me in distinguished modes and today being Thirumangai Azhwar’s Thirunakshatram : I dedicate this writing to his very lotus feet.
This is not the biography of the Azhwar; but a very personal outlook. Thirumangai Azhwar was a feudal Chief of the city of Thirumangai : which went on to become his identity. We know from many works that it was his consort,Sri Kumudavalli Nachiyar who initiated the Azhwar into SriVaishnavism.
Such was his dedicated act of charity that he wasn’t left with any treasure to account taxes to the King. With nothing left, the Azhwar indulged in robbery : he stole from the rich to perform Thadiyaradhanai to the poor. By divine intervention, the Azhwar was born out of the stealing feudal chief .
The Six masterly works of the Azhwar are considered the very 6 angas of the Vedas. The tone of his thoughts continues to amaze me to this day. He has sung to His Lordship as a beloved, as the beloved’s mother and friend, as a devotee, as a Kinkara (servant), and much more.
Thirumangai Azhwar can easily paint a picture of words of beauty of each DivyaDesam :be it the majestic Kaveri of Srirangam, be it the canopied Thiruvallikeni, the lush green Singavelkundram, the crescendoed Kanchi, the snow capped Salagramam : nothing escapes Azhwar’s skill. One cannot miss the number game Azhwar plays in his Pasurams : that earns him the title of Chitrakavi.
Coming to the very distinguishing impact left behind by Thirumangai Azhwar, it is his demanding debonair; which is very arresting. He can start off by pleading with the Lord, a little of coaxing follows, a plane request and eventually the Lord is held at the end of a dashing knife, if not the razor sharp words of the Azhwar himself – in fact his oneness with the Lord, is a joy to read, listen and learn. He has enjoyed the privilege of biting the divine toes of the Lord of Thirukannapuram, in one of the transcendental ploys.
While the feudal chief put the soul in the scorching sun and body in the shade, Azhwar put the soul in the shade and body in the scorching sun – so goes a lovely saying in Tamizh.
The third prakaram of the Srirangam temple complex will continue to remind one and all of this great saint : who could put his all to stake for His Lordship. His heroism will remind me forever, that whilst all earthly belongings are transient, the Lord belongs to one and to all.
Thirumangai Azhwar thiruvadigale Sharanam!