SRI TIRUPPANAZHVAR’S avatara took place in SURAIYUR, a small hamlet near SRIRANGAM. SURAIYUR has been an exquisite temple within which is a small shrine for SRI TIRUPPANAZHVAR, marking his avatara there. The Azhvar’s Tirunakshatram falls on Rohini star of KARTHIGAI month. He is the amsa of Lord’s Srivatsa. According to tradition, the Azhvar appeared in this world as an ayonija (not born of a mother‘s womb) like SITA and ANDAL.This child with the divine amsa was brought up in a community of minstrels (panar in Tamil) and was extremely well-versed in music.
He, from a very tender age, a great devotee. He used to stand on the banks of the cauvery and sing to the Lord. His verses bring into the mind’s eye, portraits of him adorned with TULASl MANI MALAI(garland made of TULASI base plants) singing to the accompaniment of VINA. He used to frequently go into a trance wile singing and was totally cut off from the external world.
The Azhvar always sang to the Lord on the banks of the Cauvery facing the temple but never entered the temple in deference to the tradition in those days. The Lord, an ocean of mercy decided to shower His on this humble musician(panar). He appeared in a dream to LOKA SARANGA MUNI, a temple priest of SRIRANGAM and ordered him to bring the Azhvar to the cernple with due honour. The very next morning the priest rushed to the river bank where he saw the him singing as usual. SARANGA MUNI conveyed the Lord’s message to the Azhvar. The Azhvar hesitated initialy but realised that the will of the Lord must be obeyed. SARANGA MUNI picked up the Azhwar on his back. He carried him through the temple prakara-s (circumambulating corridors) surrounded by all the other priests, right into the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. From then onwards, Sri Tiruppanzhvar was called as MUNI VAHANA as he rode on the muni’s (ascetic) shoulder.
The Azhvar was thrilled to the core to enter the temple and have a vision (darshan) of the Lord whom he had always visulaized within his mind. He was in a state of ecstasy wondering at the special grace of the Lord towards him. He spontaneously sang in ten verses, the beauty of the Lord, his eyes resting on each part of the Lord beginning from His feet, the grace of which brought him into the temple. He ends by saying that after having seen SRI RANGANATHA, his qves rehe to see anything else. These ten verses are known as AMALANADIPIRAN.
According to tradition, the Azhvar sang the initial nine verses of AMALANADIPIRAN while on his way into the huge temple complex and the last verse Kondal Vannanai… in the presene of the Lord. The Azhvar therefore mentions with particular emphasis that the Lords feet came of their own accord to fill his eyes. Symbolically it conveys the message that it is the grace of the Lord’s feet that draws us towards the path of bhakti and surrender (saranagati) to the Lord. The tiruvadi is the holy feet of SRI RANGANATHA – the archarupa (the Lord worshipped as a consecrated form) of SRIMAN NARAYANA.
Amalanadipiran adiyarkku ennai atpadutha
vimalan vinnavarkon viraiyar pozhil vengadavan
nimlan ninmalan needivanavan neelmadil arangathamman thirukkamala
padam vandu en kanninullana okkindrade
The Azhvar compares the tiruvadi to the lotus flower. All the attributes of a lotus in bloom are seen in the lotus feet like its fragrance, freshness, tenderness, fragile beauty and cool luster. But a lotus in full bloom lasts hardly for a few days and moreover blossoms only in the day. The feet of the Lord are eternal and everlasting. The lotus flower blossom’s as the first rays of the sun falls on it. The Lord’s tiruvadi blossoms as he sees His devotees like SRI TIRUPPANAZHVAR. The Azhvar is overwhelmed to have the grace of seeing the holy feet of the Lord worshipped constantly by the devata-s and the nityasuri’s.