T.A. Akkāragni Srīnidhi      

         சக்தி விகடன் - 12 Jun, 2010

       சிறப்பு கட்டுரை

Posted Date : 06:00 (12/06/2010)

நம்முடைய ஆழ்வார்! 

Our Āzvār

Special article


T.A. Akkāragni Srīnidhi


There have been many great men who incarnated in this world to free us from the miseries of the world. By their instructions, they gave us good counsel.  If not for them, we would not have realized the greatness of the True Wisdom.

Paramātmani Yō rakta virakta aparamātmani

The god-loving person will entertain no love for anything else. Teaching us this tenet, they lived what they taught us. Vaishnavism’s most important stalwart Nammāzvār has earned a special place.

Āzvārs means the ones immersed in the auspicious qualities of the Inner Abider (God). Among the Āzvārs, Tiruvarangam’s Araṅga-celebrated ‘Our Own Āzvār’ was our praise-worthy Nammāzvār.

Nammāzvār incarnated on the auspicious day of Vaikāsi Viśāka. His birth, life and service to Vaiṣṇavism were noteworthy. He was born in Tirukkurukūr. The Vaiṣṇava world wonders whether ‘it was Nambi born in Tirukkurukūr.’ He was born spiritually enlightened at birth. His parents must have been blessed to have given birth to this extraordinary child.

நம்பி = Nambi = The elite among men, used as a term of respect

The nature of life of a human is to cry at birth and laugh episodically.  Contrarily, this child neither cried nor laughed. Since his behavior was contrary to human nature, his parents named him Māṛan (Contrarian).

This is the age of cruel Kaliyuga with a plethora of atheists, antitheists…  The elders celebrated the birth of Āzvār endowed with a plenitude of sacred knowledge of Vedas and a will to advance the cause of Tamil language.

When Māṛan was growing, the grief and sadness of his parents were mounting. What is the cause? He was not following the milestones of a normal child. Anxiety and despondency weighed the parents down and drove them to seek help from Tirukkūrur SrīĀdhināthan shrine for their son.

The parents left Māṛaṉ under a Tamarind tree in the temple unbeknown to anyone. Perumāl’s commander-in-chief Srī Viṣvaksēṉar met with Māṛaṉ, gave him instructions on True Wisdom (sacred knowledge) and impressed on his shoulders with burn marks of Conch and Discus.

Do you know what Māṛaṉ did after this encounter with Srī Viṣvaksēṉar?

He sat under the Tamarind tree in Tapas (austerity) for 16 years with no food and no sleep. Madurakavi Āzvār on a pilgrimage in the north saw a beam of light coming from the south. Ecstatic at the sight, he took his journey towards the Southern Light and arrived in the sacred city of Māṛaṉ.

The Beam of Light guided Madurakavi to Nammāzvār and entered the latter’s body. Nammāzvār was in deep meditation. Madurakavi threw a small stone at Nammāzvār and woke him up. Madurakavi posed questions to him and received apt answers. Moved by his answers, Madurakavi accepted him as his Guru. From then on, his duteous life purpose was to render service to Nammāzvār. (Here is an instance wherein an older person takes an younger person as his guru.)


Thinking of the Inner Abider and melting in his bliss, Nammāzvār composed floral verses in honey-sweet Tamil, which Madurakavi scribed on palm leaves earning the greatness of bringing the verses to the posterity.

As the essence of four Vedas, he gave us Tiruviruththam, Tiruvāsirium, Tiruvāymozi, and Tiruvanthāthi, part of Divya Prabhandam. People, despondent thinking, ‘God is difficult to attain,’ were helped to turn their mind towards God by the benevolent Nammāzvār.

God may lead the Vedas. Perumāṉ can go ahead of and transcend Brahma and other Devas incapable of attaining the spiritual knowledge of Perumāṉ. Kambar eulogizes Tiruvāymozi saying it was the cure for the malady of metempsychosis. Further, God is incapable of ahead of Nammāzvār’s one verse, one foot, one line, or one word.

Vedas became weak and fatigued because explications of Vedas by multiple pseudo-pandits reflect their wayward minds. The living Vedas did not want to manifest as perverse interpretations but as sacred texts. If the intent was revelation of true knowledge for the welfare of the people of the world, their determination was to settle on the tongue of Āzvār to reveal their true knowledge. With that intent, they abided on the tongue of Nammāzvār. Vedānta Dēsikar praises Nammāzvār saying, “I understood and realized the meaning of Vedas (by studying his verses).”

Maṇavāḷa Māmunikaḷ celebrates Nammāzvār as follows. Is there a day equal to Vaikāsi month and Visāka Star? Is there any one equal to Satagōpaṉ?  Is South Kurukai equal or measure up to Tiruvāymozi?  He talks about the greatness of the day Nammalvar took his birth: The auspicious day in Vaikāsi month and Visāka Nakṣatra. Is there a place greater than Tirukkūrur, the place of his birth? Is there a treatise greater than Tiruvāymozi? Is there anyone loftier than Nammāzvār?

Nammāzvār lived and breathed ‘Vāsudēvas Sarvaṁ’ (= All are Vāsudēva) purporting, ‘The rice that we eat, the water we drink, the pan we chew are all Kaṇṇaṉ.’

On this ‘Vaikāsi-Visāka auspicious day’ let us pay homage to Nammāzvār and let us prosper in life.