Poigai Azhwar, Bhoodathazhwar and Peyazhwar are the three mudhal (first) Azhwars who were not only contemporary Azhwars; but were born on three consecutive days in SiddhArti year, Aippasi month on Thiruvonam, Avittam and Sadayam nakshathrams respectively. The babies appeared on flowers of different kind (and not were born like us actually!- They are ayonijars). Their period was estimated as 7th century AD. (Though we are not attaching any significant importance to it, it is better to have a datum). Poigai Azhwar, was born (made to appear by the Lord) in Kanchipuram (Thiruvekka), while Bhoodathazhwar in Mahabalipuram (Thirukadalmallai) and Peyazhwar in Thirumylai (present Mylapore).
This year, the first three Azhwars thirunaksharams fall on 10th, 11th and 12th of November 2013.
The following is a write in Tamil and English about Mudhal Azhwars in detail…
- PoigaiAr, an incarnation of MahAvishNu’s paanchjanyam (Divine conch, sanghu in Tamil) is also called Adhi kavi. poigaiAr appeared on the ThAmarai mottu (lotus bud) in a pond in tiruve:ka near kancheepuram.
- BhoodhaththAr appeared in a flower called “kurukkaththi”(?) in a garden at kadalmallai port of pallava rajyam (kingdom) in mahAbalipuram (south of madras). He was an incarnation of Divine mace (called kaumOdaki) of our Lord mahAvishNu.
- PEyazhwAr, (called pEyar later by people due to being crazy, mad, piththan, pEyar after the Lord and even used to roll down with ecstasy and bhakti- He even says” others look crazy to him for their being crazy after material pursuits; and sensual pleasures), as an incarnation of the sword of mahAvishNu (called nandaki), appeared in sevvalli (Red alli-lily) flower in a well of AdhikEsava perumAL koil at mylapore (in madras).
(now, some of us may not be able to digest fully these births (or appearances) on flowers due to the Lord’s grace; However, it may please be noticed that whatever you and I can understand and perceive is all transient and not permanent; The very fact that these creations of our Lord in such unique fashion and in such incarnations only goes to prove His ineffable qualities and attributes; They are BEYOND one’s comprehension. Do not do research on why the sweet tasty mango is of this shape, this colour, and this contour, etc., Let us not waste time anymore and let us go right ahead and taste it for we are blessed with an accessibility to reach the mangoes)
NammazhwAr, (our azhwAr), the greatest azwAr about whom we will see later, has addressed these three azhwArs as “innkavi pAdum parama kavigaL” meaning the greatest poets who sang the loveliest songs or the sweetest songs; All three azhwArs were blessed with tamizh gnAnam(knowledge) and bhakti uLLam; All of them, though were not known to each other, were singing the glories of sriman nArAyaNan, and were going from place to place visiting the PerumAL temples to get blessed with Lord’s Darshan. They had no other thoughts but for nArAyanan and lived like sanyAsis (recluses); The Lord, may be, wanted them to get together (like what He has done now through maNi) and liked to listen to their discussion about Him and His kalyANa guNAs.
Hence, He brought them to Thirukkovilur separately (at the same time) and what happened there; how they met and recognised each other’s bhakti; what all they talked. How ecstatic each one became, what were their outpourings?
So, they had come to Thirukkovilur and each of them had a separate Darshan of Trivikraman (the Lord who appeared as vAmanan, a small brahmachari boy, took viswaroopam and measured the entire universe in one step in vAmanAvatAram) called “UlagaLandha perumAL” and obtained His katAksham.
Due to heavy rain, poigaiAr had to take shelter in a small narrow koodam( hall/veranda) of a house nearby, and being exerted himself so much due to walking, lied down in that place; After some time, BhoodhaththAr knocked the house and requested if he can be accommodated due to heavy rain outside.
Being a bhakta, (a) bhaktA does not see who asks for; (b) He offers help as long and as much as he can even if it amounts to more inconvenience to him- (a lesson we all have to learn) he welcomed bhoodhaththAr lovingly saying “Inside, there is place for one man to lie down; but two can sit; please come in “(oruvar padukkalAm; iruvar amaralAm). After formal introduction, it took little time to realise that they are birds of the same feather; and they talked and discussed about emberumAn’s leelA’s and guNAs. There is yet another knock and there stands our pEyar asking for a favour to accommodate him due to heavy downpour. Not surprisingly, both bhaktAs said in chorus “Please come in; We can stand and accommodate you also” (oruvar padukkalAm; iruvar amaralAm; moover niRkalAm). It is in Giving that we receive;
All three joined themselves in discussing Glorious attributes of Trivikraman Sriman nArAyaNan and were deeply excited to describe what each one of them felt and feel towards their (our) Lord. They felt happy exchanging information of various sthalam(temples) visited by them and were getting more and more excited to know from one another their great anubhavangaL.
While they were standing all the time (in a space that is just sufficient for only three people to stand) discussing namperumAls’ nityakalyANa guNas, suddenly they found themselves cramped; and they could not even move about; It was real squeezing against each other; They were perplexed as to why all of a sudden, there is less space as if there are more than three persons; And there appeared (with the help of their Divine vision blessed by the Lord Sriman nArAyaNan), sakshAth sriman nArAyaNan (chathur bhujam, chandra roopam, sanghu, chakram, Bright ThirumaN and srichoorNam on His beautiful forehead; pattu peethAmbharam, karpoora vasam, etc….. )
Three AzhwArs were literally crying, tears rolling down their cheeks, Goose pimples all over their bodies; Chests expanded as if they are going to burst with full of happiness; Their palms were glued to each other; and they were feeling highly elated;
Each one of them (one by one) sang 100 poems(pasurams) flowing from their mouths as if they are clear “neerOdai“, stream of river; BhagavAn listened to them with His full concentration and satisfaction all their pasurams and after blessing them, disappeared.
They always went together to other temples, and On their way, the three azhwArs also were blessed with
- A darshan of sitapiratti, lakshmana, bharatha, sathrukna, hanumathsametha Sri Ramachandra at Ayodhdhi,
- A darshan of Lord ThiruvEnkadamudaiyAn down the hill (not at tirumala, but at tirupathi), when they hesitated to step on the Hill and turned back; such a place is called “AzhwAr theertham” even today.
- Offering a charkAyudhA to Vishnuvarthanan, a king at kanchipuram for winning a battle. and
- Later, joining with another azhwAr, by name Thirumazhisai azhwAr (on their way)
A glance at their marvellous compositions:
- 1. poigaiAzhwAr composed the first 100 pAsurams “mudhal thiruvandhAdhi” (andhAdhi means the first word of one verse will be last word of the previous verse )starting with the first one: vaiyam thagaliyA, vArkadlE neyyAga/ veyyakkadirOn viLakkAga/ sudarAzhiyAn adikkE soottinEn son mAlai/ Idar neenghugavE enRu/
Meaning:Lord nArAyaNa, who holds the Divine chakrAyudha, is the cause of this wonderful universe and the seas. I am singing these mAlai(Garland) of verses(pAsurams) and dedicating to Him, whose vision I had is the light of the lamp of the earth, and oil being the seas, the sun being the source of the light;
- 2. BhoodaththAzhwAr composed the second 100 pAsurams “irandAm thiruvandhAdhi” starting with the first one: anbE thagaliyA, ArvamE neyyAga/ inburugu sindhai idu thiriyA/ naNpurugi GnAna chudar viLakku EtrinEn/Gnana thamizh purindha nAn/
Meaning:Here, it is the love as the lamp and involvement as the oil and azhwAr says” I dedicate myself to the service of the lord, by singing this song that blesses wisdom(GnAna), with love as the lamp, endearing involvement as the oil(Ghee), and knowledge as the wick of the torch”.
- 3. PEyAzhwAr composed the third 100s called “moonRAm thiruvandhAdhi“, with the first one as follows: thirukkaNdEn, ponmEni kaNdEn- thigazhum/arukkan Ani niRamum kaNdEn-seruk kiLaRum/ ponAzhi kaNdEn puri sangham kai kaNdEn/ en Azhi vaNNan pAl inRu/
What a song! AzhwAr just says:” I found the Glorious, GOLDEN form of the Lord. I have seen the Glory of Sri and nArAyaNa and His beauty and His Sea colour, His brightness and brilliance like the Sun and His sanghu (Divine Conch) on one hand and chakrA (Discuss) on the other;”
English Write-up Source: Ramanuja tripod