Sri Thiruppan Azhwar
Paksham: Krishna Paksham
Tithi: Kaisika Ekadasi
Amsam (incarnation of): Srivatsam (mole on Lord’s chest)
Also known as: Munivahanar, Kavisvara
(Invocatory verse of glorification to an Acharya which is usually composed by a disciple)
ApAtha chUdam anubhUya harim chayAnam
madhyE kavEra hithur mudhithAnthrAthmA
adhrashtruthAm nayanayOr vishayAntharANAm
yO nischikAya manavai munivAhananm tham
We meditate on thiruppANAzhwAr who is named munivAhanar (one who was carried by lOka sAranga mahAmunivar on his shoulders), who acquired great bliss by enjoying srI ranganAthan who is resting in srIrangam that is covered by the two cauvery rivers (kAviri and koLLidam) and who proclaimed that his eyes would not see anything other than srI ranganAthan’s divine form.
Azhwar appeared as a baby in the fields of Uraiyoor. A Panan (a singer of low caste) found the baby and brought him up. Hence the name Thiruppan azhwar.
From a very young age Thiruppan azhwar used to sing glories of Sriranganatha to the delight of all around him. Considering himself not fit to enter Srirangam, with great humillity, azhwar used to stand on the banks of river Kaveri on the outskirts of Srirangam losing himself in the thought of Sriranganatha.
Once Thiruppan azhwar was immersed in singing the glories of Sriranganatha. Sri loka saranga mahamuni, the chief priest of Srirangam temple arrives at Kaveri river banks to fetch water for Lord Ranganatha.
As Thiruppan azhwar was blocking Sri loka saranga mahamuni’s way, mahamuni clapped to draw azhwar’s attention. But as ever azhwar was in a trance thinking about Sriranganatha. After a few attempts, Sri loka saranga mahamuni throws a small stone which hits azhwar’s head and starts bleeding. To this azhwar came out of his trance, realised what happened and with great humility apologised to mahamuni for being in the way.
Sri loka saranga mahamuni then fetched water from Kaveri and returned back to Srirangam temple for daily services. To mahamuni’s surprise, as he enters the sanctum sanctorum, he sees Lord Ranganatha bleeding from his head. Sri loka saranga mahamuni gets greatly disturbed and asks for forgiveness for any faults in his service. To this Lord Ranganatha comes in mahamuni’s dream and tells him that he has offended one of his great devotees Sri Thiruppan azhwar. Lord commands mahamuni to bring azhwar to the temple the next day.
The next morning Sri loka saranga mahamuni along with all the temple priests approach Thiruppan azhwar who was yet singing on the banks of Kaveri. Mahamuni immediately falls at azhwar’s feet and begs him for forgiveness and invites him to come into the temple. Thiruppan azhwar who considered himself from a lower caste was hesitant to step into the holy place. To please azhwar, Sri loka saranga mahamuni offered to carry the azhwar on his shoulders so that azhwar does not have to even step on the ground.
All the priests with great pomp accompanied this magnanimous duo into the temple. As they were walking into the temple Thiruppan azhwar started singing one of his greatest works Amalanadhipiran which comprises of ten verses. This composition describes Lord Sri Rananatha in detail from head to His lotus feet. Azhwar sang the tenth verse as he approached the sanctum santorum. After which he attained moksham at the feet of Sri Ranganatha inside the temple.
These are just a few of the glorious pastimes of Sri Thiruppan Azhwar.