12 Azhwars !! Life of Thirumazhisai Alwar !!

Jai Sriman Narayana !!


Thirumazhisai Alwar was born to Bhargava Rishi and his chaste wife Kanakangi in a village Thirumazhisai in Kanchipuram.   After an unusual stay of twelve months in mother’s womb the fetus came out was a lifeless lump of flesh.  The couple was deeply depressed at their fate and abandoned the lump of flesh in a bamboo woods and proceeded for spiritual journey.    Lord Vishnu & Goddess Sri Mahalakshmi blessed the new born into a fully matured child.   Later, this baby was found by a poor planter couple, Thiruvalan and his wife Pankayachelvi.  They considered the child as a gift from God and named him Bakthisara.    


Thirumazhisai Alwar was born in the year Siddharthi with the birth star Makam in the Tamil month Thai on a Shukla Paksha Prathama Thithi.  He was an incarnation of discus/Sudarshana Chakram of Lord Vishnu, one of the Panchayudham.  From early childhood, Bakthisara was discarded worldly interests; he immersed in meditation and refused to have food for living for several years.   Thiruvalan and Pankayachelvi were deeply worried about the health of their son, eventually Pankayaselvi sought advice from a sage, he predicted that the child born to them was not an ordinary child and he would be known to the world for his devotion and dedication to Lord Vishnu.   


Thirumazhisai Alwar composed 216 enchanting verses praising the glories of Lord Vishnu in his famous composition Nanmughan Thiruvandhadhi (96) and Thiruchandha Virutham (120) respectively.    Once an old couple visited Bakthisara and offered him cow’s milk, after consuming a certain portion Bakthisara advised Pankayachelvi to have the remaining the milk.   In due course of time, Pankayachelvi conceived a child and gave birth to a son, Kanikannan.  Later, Kanikannan became favorite disciple of Bakthisara.


Bakthisara completely discarded material life and visited many holy places.  He practiced Yoga, attracted to the teachings and philosophies of Sankhya, Nyaya, Purva & Uthara Mimamsa, Ashtanga Yoga and other schools of philosophy and finally immersed in silence. 


Once, Bakthisara was immersed in meditation inside a cave, the brilliant rays emanating from the cave caught the attention of Muthal Alwar, they met a divine saint absorbed in the meditation surrounded by the hue of brilliant rays.  The very moment Muthalwars decided to initiate the trivia of Vaishnavism to the saint that would bring liberation to him.   Poigai Alwar planted a plant upside down on the path where Bakthisara would use to go for bath to the nearby tank and started watering the plant.   Bakthisara renounced the practice of silence and engaged in a rewarding conversation with Poigai Alwar.  Bakthisara was enlightened with the ultimate truth that the meditation without the knowledge of conviction in the existence of the Supreme Lord would be equivalent to planting a plant upside down and watering the same.   Muthal Alwars brought Bakthisara into the glorious path of Vaishnava Siddhantha and sanctified with the title Thirumazhisai Alwar, he engrossed in the study about the philosophy of Vaishnavism and became a staunch devotee of Lord Vishnu.  He performed many miracles with his divine powers.  It was the time Thirumazhisai Alwar tirelessly served the Lord at Thiruvetka with his disciple Kanikannan.  There was an old woman who was devoted her entire life in cleaning the temple premises, engrossed in the selfless service to Lord.  It was her earnest desire to serve the Lord like in her past days; it was her grief that she was not able to perform any of the services like previously as she was grown old.   Thirumazhisai Alwar felt empathy on her and transformed her into a young attractive maiden.  The Pallava King who was ruled this city fallen in love with the maiden and married her.  This couple lived wonderfully for several years and the King had the insatiable desire to remain young seeing his wife’s everlasting youth, he approached Kanikannan and demanded him to sing praising his glories, also revealed his yearning to remain young.   Kanikannan turned down the request of the King, hence he was ordered to exile from the city.  Thirumazhisai Alwar came to know about the happenings, eventually received the verdict of King to expel Kanikannan from Kanchipuram.  Thirumazhisai Alwar decided to leave the city with his dearest disciple.  He rushed to Lord Varadaraja/Sonnavannam Seitha Perumal/Yatothkari Perumal and revealed his choice and earnestly prayed to Lord to leave Kanchipuram with them. 


Kanikkannan Pokindran Kamarupoong Kachi

Manivanna ! Ni Kidakka Venda

Senna Pulavarum Pogindren Neeyum Unthan

Pai Naga Pai Suruttikkol



The compassionate Lord obeyed the request of his devotee and left Athigiri with Alwar and Kanikannan.  The people of Kanchi realized the absence of Lord in the sanctum sanctorum and rushed to the King.  The King realized his foolishness and requested Alwar to return to Kanchi, eventually Alwar and Kanikannan along with the Lord Varadaraja returned to Athigiri once again.


Thirumazhisai Alwar was on his way to Thirukkudanthai, stayed in Thiruperumpuliyur where he saw a group of Brahmins were reciting Veda; they put a sudden halt to chant after witnessing Thirumazhisai Alwar as he was born in a lower caste.  Alwar gracefully left the place without creating further impediments to their chant.  But the Brahmins were entirely forgotten the text where they left and where they have to begin.   Alwar realized the anxious state of the Brahmins; he took a grain of paddy and opened it and cut it into two pieces from this sign the Brahmins were realized the text where they had exactly left and recommenced.  Shortly, the Brahmins realized their folly and begged for forgiveness. 


Thirumazhisai Alwar composed Nanmugan Thiruvandadhi contains 96 verses and Thirucchandhavirutham contains 120 verses praising the eternal glories of Lord Vishnu.   He had visited twenty Divya Desam (Thiru Kapisthalam, Thiru Anbil, Thiruevvul, Thiru Ooragam, Thiruvallikkeni, Thiruppernagar, Thirukkurungudi, Thiruvekka, Thiruppadagam, Thirukoshitiyur, Thirukkudanthai, Thiruvengadam, Sri Rangam, Azhagarkovil, Koviladi, Thirupparkadal) and sung praising the glories of Lord.  There were many miraculous incidents happened throughout his life was added the glories to Thirumazhisai Alwar. 


Thirumazhisai Alwar arrived at Thirukkudanthai, he tossed the palm leaves containing the sacred text ‘Thiruchanddha Virutham’on the brimming river of Cauvery, but it drifted back to him.  At last, Thirumazhisai Alwar attained Samadhi at Thirukkudanthai.


Nindrathu Enthai Ooragathu Irunthathu Enthai Padagathu

Andru Vekkanai Kidanthu Yennillath Munnellam

Andru Nan Pirandilen Pirandapin Marandilen

Nindrathum Irunthathum Kidanthamun Yen Nenjulle
Jai Sriman Narayana !!


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