Tirumangai Alzhwar


Sri Thirumangai Azhwar

Place: Kurayalur near Thiruvaali
Year: Nala
Month: Karthikai
Star: Karthikai
Tithi: Pournami
Amsam (incarnation of): Sarangam (divine bow of Supreme Lord)
Compilation: PeriyaThirumozhi, Thirukkurunthandakam, Thirunedunthandakam, Thiruvezhukulerkei, Siriya Thirumadal, Periya Thirumadal
Also known as: Kaliyan, Neelan, Parakalan, Alinadan

Thaniyan (Invocatory verse of glorification to an Acharya which is usually composed by a disciple)

Thirunakshatra tanian

vruschike: kruththika: ja:tham chathushkavi sikha:manim |
shatprabandha krutham sa:rnga mu:rthim kaliham a:sraye: ||

Punaha –

sudha: ga:na:bda:na:m kaliyuga bhava:na:m apagame:
nale: varshe: ma:se: saradi charame: daivathaguro:ho |
dine: tha:re: vanhe:he sisira kirane: pu:rnakirane:
kshitha:vavirbhu:thah kaliripur ame:ya:thma mahima: ||

Nithya tanian

kalaya:mi kalidhvamsam kavim lo:ka diva:karam |
yasya go:bhih praka:sa:bhihi a:vidyam nihatham thamaha ||

I meditate on thirumangai AzhwAr who is named kalikanRi, who is a radiant sun among poets and through whose radiant words the ignorance in the mind was dispelled completely.

Azhwar’s history

Thirumangai azhwar was born by the name Neelan in Thirukuraiyaloor near a Divya desam called Thiruvaali. The child grew up mastering the skills of weaponry and warfare became a strong man with great fighting abilities fit for joining King Chola Bhupathi’s army. The king, pleased by Neelan’s capabilities, eventually made him the commander and gave him lands to rule.

Meanwhile in Thiruvaali, heavenly nymphs descend to pray to the residing Lord but one of them got left behind and had to stay back. A local doctor and his wife who did not have any children found the young beautiful girl and decided to adopt her as their daughter. They named her as Kumudhavalli.

As Kumudhavalli grows up and comes to a marriageable age, Neelan come to know of her and wanted to get married to her. Kumudhavalli’s parents agreed but Kumudhavalli put forth a few conditions in front of Neelan for them to get married. She wanted him to adopt srivaishnava ways of living, taking panchasamkara (initiation from a bonafide guru) followed by feeding one thousand devotees everyday. Azhwar agreed to the conditions and married Kumudhavalli.

Henceforth, azhwar started feeding one thousand devotees everyday as a service, slowly  using up all the wealth in his treasury. In the meantime the king is told about azhwars activities and the king immediately  orders his soldiers to collect taxes from azhwar. This happens  several times and every time azhwar defeats the soldiers. Eventually King Chola himself cunningly arrests the azhwar and imprisons him. The supreme Lord appears several times in azhwar’s dreams and signposts him to treasures hidden at various places to be given to the king in return for his release. The king upon realising the greatness of the azhwar asks for forgiveness and gives him more wealth.

Azhwar continued his service of feeding the devotees and eventually all the remaining wealth too got exhausted. He then decides to start robbing wealthy people and continues with his service of feeding devotees. The supreme Lord and his consort decide to show mercy on azhwar. Dressed as a couple with heavy jewellery, they travel with a large wedding group getting azhwar’s attention. Azhwar starts robbing the group and also the divine couple. In his action, he bites the Supreme Lord’s toe to get His toe ring. This physical contact of the Lord’s feet along with the Lord blessing him with Thirumantram changed Azhwar’s life forever after which he started writing his works dedicated to the Supreme Lord and His Consort. He continued to feed devotees and also build temples including the corridors surrounding the Srirangam temple.

Of the 4000 Divya Prabhandams,  Thurmangai azhwar composed 1253 verses glorifying the Lord in Divya Desams. He has a unique distinction of visiting the maximum number of Divya Desams. Azhwar is credited to have started Adhyanothsavam comprising ten days of Pagal Pathhu and another ten days of Raa Pathhu. During these twenty days, devotees recite all the 4000 verses of the Divya Prabhandam, which shows azhwar’s concern for continuity of the verses left behind by all the other azhwars

Today you can have darshan of Thirumangai azhwar along with Kumudhavalli in Thirukuraiyaloor