Thirupaan Azhwar, the penultimate of 12 azhwars appeared on Kaisika Ekadasi Day in Karthigi Rohini star as an incarnation of Srivatsam (the mole on Sriman Nararyana’s chest). He was believed to be ayonijar and was brought up by two devotees from Urayoor (near Thiruchi & SriRangam) and belonged to Paanar Kulam same as Nampaaduvan. Paanars were known for sweetly singing songs in praise of Lord Sriman Narayana. Thus Azhwar grew up singing praise of The Lord and had great love and devotion towards SriRanganaathar . ThiruppaanAzhwar used to come to SriRangam daily and sang while playing Veena meditating on Sri Ranganaathar for hours together in trance. Hence our acharyas praise him as “veenayum kaiyumaana antharangar”. Since he was born in a lower caste he hesitated to enter the temple and instead stayed at the banks of the Cauvery River (like Nampaaduvan only went to the vicinity of Thirukurungudi temple and sang in praise of Nambi).
One day as the head priest Loka Saaranga Muni was returning to temple fetching Cauvery water came across ThiruppaanAzhwar standing in the middle of the road. Loka Saarnga muni asked Thirupaanawar to move, as Paanar was in trance he did not hear. So Loka Sarangar threw a stone near azhwar to wake him up (as Azhwar belonged to lower caste he did not want to touch him). Accidentally the stone fell on the forehead of azhwar and he started bleeding. Woken up by the stone azhwar apologised to the muni and ran away feeling remorseful that he had obstructed the priest. When Loka Saranga muni entered the temple he saw Lord Ranganaathar’s forehead bleeding but he did not realise it was due to the apachaaram he did towards azhwar. That night The Lord appeared in the priest’s dream and said he had offended ThiruppanAzhwar and as a praayachitam ordered him to carry azhwar to the temple. The next day Loka Saarnga muni narrated his dream to azhwar and begged him to be carried on his shoulders to the temple. Azhwar obliged to muni’s request as it was Perumal’s command.
Hence azhwar was called ‘muni vaaganar’ (carried by muni). On seeing the divya mangala roopam of Sri Ranganaathar, Thirupaanawar was enthralled and sang Ämalan Aadipiraan’ consisting of ten beautiful verses. In these ten verses Azhwar sang about all the avayavams of The Lord starting from His Lotus feet (Paada Kamalam) to His Lotus eyes (Kanngal) in sakramam (in ascending order). The order goes like this: Paada Kamalam (Lotus feet), Nal Aadai(dress), Undhi (naval), Utharapandham (hip), Thirumaarbu(chest), Kandam (throat), Sevvaai (lips) & Kangal (eyes) which forms his taniyan above. In the last verse azhwar sings “ën Amudhinai kanda kanagal matrondai kaanave” (The eyes that saw Sri Ranganaathar will not see anyone else) and entered the Lord & attained Moksham (the lotus feet of The Lord).
Amuthanar in his Ramanuja Nootranadhi extols Azhwar as the one who has given the quintessence of vedas in chaste Tamil. “sIRIya nAnmaRai chemporuL centhamizhAL aLittha pAriyalum puhazh pAN perumAL”
Swami Desikar had great affection for Thirupaan azhwar & his prabhandham. He wrote vyakyaanam for Amalanaadhipiran called Munivaagana Bogam and also composed Bagavat Dyana Sopaanam in Sanskrit which is a replica of Amalanaadhipiran. Swami Desikar affectionately calls azhwar as “Yen Paanan”(My Thiruppaan azhwar) and “Muni Vaagana Bhogar” (who rode on the back of Loka Saarnga Muni). Swami Desikar goes on to say azhwar has great love for SriRanganaathar “Kannanaye Kanduraitha Kadiya Kaathal Paan Perumaal” and azhwar’s prabhandham is the essence of the ancient Vedas,“Payazha Maraiyin Porul”.
Swami Desikar also gives the phala stuthui for Amalaanthipiran in Muni vaaganabhogam (as Thirpaan Azhwar did not give a phala stuthi). He says
“vEdiyar taam viritthuRaikkum viLaivukellAm vidhai aahum ithu yenRu viLampinOmE”, Amlanadhipiran is the seed of the all the fruits of Vedaantham.
The greatness of Thiruppaanahwar is
• He gave us the quintessence of all the four vedas in one shortest prabhandam consisting of only ten verses
• He did not even mention his own name or phala sthuthi in his prabhandham
• He had deep love (kadiya Kaathal) towards Sri Ranganaathar and only sang about Sri Ranganaathar (like Thondaradipodi azhwar)
• As soon as he had the divine vision of Sri Ranganaathar, he instantly went into Bagavat anubhavam and attained The Lotus Feet of the Lord (Moksham).
Today is his thiru nakshatram let us pray to ahzwar to give us kinchit love & devotion to Divya desa Perumal and kaimkaryam.
paaTTinaal kaNDu vaazhum paaNartaaL paravinOmE!
Article by : Smt. Gowri RaviGanesh