Perumal Thirumozhi

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Sri Kulasekhara Azhvar once ruled the CheraKingdomwith all righteousness. But later, overwhelmed by his intense devotion towards Sri Ranganatha, he renounced his kingdom and dedicated himself to srivaishnava service. His devotional expressions are named as Perumal Tirumozhi. His hymns are simple, lucid and euphonic, soaked in the intensity of devotion and we find excellent poetry in his spiritual outpourings. Perumal Tirumozhi consists of ten decads, each with ten or eleven stanzas, the total hymns amounting to 105. The whole of Perumal Tirumozhi shall be seen under two different aspects, one based on the azhvar’s devotion to God in His archa form, and the other on Rama and Krishnavataras. In the fifty-one stanzas on divyadesa-s, thirty stanzas are on Sri Ranganatha, eleven hymns on Sri Venkatesa and the remaining ten on the God at Tiruvittuvakkodu.

The Azhvar has lost himself in Ramavatara and Krishnavatara wherein we find, twenty-one stanzas on Sri Rama and thirty-three hymns on Sri Krishna. Sri Kulasekharaazhvar adopts bridal mysticism when he refers to Sri Krishna-Leela and describes the pangs of Devaki in having lost the opportunity to bring up Sri Krishna as a child. When the Azhvar imagines himself as Dasaratha, he has brought out excellent poetry, in the heart-melting rendering of the Kings sorrow on Sri Rama’s leaving for the forest. His motherly feelings are well delineated when the azhvar sings a lullaby on SRI RAMA as a child, referring to the Deity at Tirukkannapuram.

In the first ten stanzas of the Perumal Tirumozhi, the azhvar gives expression to his intense longing to have the vision of Sri Ranganatha. The shrine of Srirangam is well described in these stanzas very vividly with high potency of the lilt of eternal poetry as also Sri Ranganatha. The azhvar also considers the dust of the devotee’s feet as more sacred than even a holy bath in the riverGanges. In the third decad, the azhvar announces to the world that he is entirely a different soul, in the nature of being a detached ascetic and devotee of Ranganatha. He says that he may be even seen by others as a lunatic in his devotion to Sri Ranganatha as he never bothers about the sayings of others.

His devotion to the God at Tiruvenkatam was so intense that he preferred to be a fish or bird on the hills of Tirumala. The limitless longing of the Azhvar for service (kaainkarya) in Tirumala was entirely based on the principle of absolute self-effacement. He desires to become a step-stone at the gateway to the sanctum sanctorum (garbbagriha) of Venkatesa to behold His beauty and to be trodden by all devotees. The step to the sanctum sanctorum of each vaishnava temple is called Kulasekharan Padi. the stanzas on the god at Tiruvittuvakkodu convey to us the surrender (prapatti) followed by Sri Kulasekhara Azhvar. The message of the whole of Perumal Tirumozhi is prapatti which is very well brought out in this decad on Tiruvittwakkodu.

Source: Nrisimhapriya 2004

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