Celebrating the Azhwars and the Divya Desams of Lord Sriman Narayana!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

ThiruvanjikkaLam (avathAra sthalam of Sri kulasEkara AzhwAr)

ThiruvanjikkaLam is the birthplace of Sri kulasEkara AzhwAr. There is a small, beautiful temple here (not a divya dEsam). Sri vElukkudi Krishnan has done a lot of work towards the development and upkeep of this temple.

A video of this Divya Desam including theerthavAri for SrI kulasEkara AzhwAr:

History of Sri kulasEkara AzhwAr:

Sri KulasEkara AzhwAr was a very powerful monarch in his time. Unlike many other saint-kings, he was not a weakling. In fact, he was the founder of the Later Chera Dynasty. He was also known as Kulasekara varman and rAmarAjasEkaran. He ruled between 800-820 AD. His daughter iLai was also a staunch devotee of the Lord. Like SrI ANDAL, iLai merged with Lord Sri Ranganatha at SriRangam. She is celebrated as ChErakulavaLLi thAyAr. Once a year, the sErthi sEvai of this ThAyAr with Sri namperumAL (uthsavar at SriRangam) is celebrated.

Click here for information on the regnal history of Sri kulasEkara AzhwAr and the Later ChEra dynasty.

Sri kulasEkara spent his final years in the town of mannAr koil in Tamil nadu.

Sri kulasEkara AzhwAr’s pAsurams:

In the 4000 verses that constitute the Divya Prabandham, the pAsurams of Sri kulasEkara AzhwAr stand out for their sweetness – like the icing on a cake. In fact, his pAsurams are hailed as perumAL thirumozhi (Word of God). As a poet, Sri kulasEkara AzhwAr is outstanding; as a devotee, he has no parallel. Some of the similes and analogies that he employs are peerless. Here is a sample pAsuram:

வெண்கண்திண் களிறடர்த்தாய்! விற்றுவக்கோட்டம்மானே!
என்கு போய் உய்கேன் ? உன் இணையடியே யடையலல்லால்
என்கும்போய்க் கரைகாணா தெரிகடல்வாய் மீண்டேயும்
வங்கத்தின் கூம்பேறும் மாப்பறவை போன்றேனே

In this pAsuram, AzhwAr says he has no refuge other than the Lord's feet. To illustrate this, AzhwAr employs a fantastic simile. A ship loaded with foodgrains was anchored in a harbour. A bird used to pass its time eating the grains from the ship. In course of time, the ship set sail. The bird, without realizing that the ship was sailing, continued to pass its time feeding on the grains. Gradually, the ship reached mid-sea. One day, the bird got bored and decided to leave the ship. So it flew off. But alas! Land was nowhere in sight. The bird had no choice but to return to the ship. The next day the bird tried to fly in search of land in a different direction. Again, finding no land, the bird had to return to the ship. In the same manner, AzhwAr says, even he were to try to find some other refuge, he would ultimately have to return to the feet of the Lord.

Sri kulasEkara AzhwAr’s devotion:

There are a couple of events that bear testimony to the depth of Sri kulasEkara AzhwAr’s devotion.

Once, AzhwAr was listening to a discourse on the rAmayaNa. When the narration came to the point where rAmA sets off with the vAnarA army to rescue sIta from rAvanA, Sri kulasEkara immediately ordered to his generals to get his army to rush to rAmA’s support. Such was his involvement with the Lord. It was only after the narrator explained that rAmA had already killed rAvaNa and re-united with sIta that AzhwAr was pacified.

On another occasion, the ministers of Sri kulasEkara AzhwAr were concerned that the king was neglecting his royal administrative duties in favour of his spiritual activites. They wanted to wean the king away from his spiritual pursuits. To this end, they decided on a stratagem to alienate the king from Sri Vaishnava devotees, with whom he was spending a lot of his time. The ministers hid one of the royal jewels and imputed the “theft” to the Sri Vaishnavas. However, their conspiracy backfired in a spec tacular fashion. AzhwAr was completely convinced of the innocence of the Sri Vaishnavas. To prove his point, he inserted his hand into a vessel filled with venomous snakes, saying, “If it is indeed true that the Sri Vaishnavas are blemishless, may the snakes refrain from biting me.” Needless to say, the AzhwAr emerged unscathed from the ordeal, and the innocence of the Sri Vaishnavas was established.

SrI kulasEkara AzhwAr thiruvadigaLae saraNam