Sri Mathurakavi Azhvar Thirunakshtram (01.05.2007)
MadhuraKavi Alwar (Chitra – Chitrai )
Madhurakavi (Sweet poet), the incarnation of Vainatheya (the divine bird) was born in the year Easwara, Chitrai month, Sukla Paksha, Chaturdasi day (a Friday) in the constellation of Chitrai at Tirukkolur in the Pandya kingdom. He was well versed in Tamil and Sanskrit, was of excellent conduct and absolutely devoted to Lord Narayana.
Madhurakavi and Nammalwar:
During Madhurakavi’s pilgrimage to North India while he was bathing in the River Saraya, he found a bright start in the sky. He was dragged uncontrollably by the light / star all the way South until he reached Thirunagari. He heard about the child Nammalwar who didn’t open his eyes or ears for almost 16 years and couldn’t believe that a child could be in deep meditation for so long. He drew his attention with the profound question
“Senthin Vayitril Siriyadhu Pirandhal Eatthai Thindru Engae Kidakkum?” – “If the small is born in a dead’s body(or stomach), what will it eat and where will it stay?” meaning, if the subtle soul is embodied in the gross body, what are its actions and thoughts?
Nammalwar broke his lifelong silence and responded
“Atthai Thindru Angae Kidakkum” – “If the soul identifies with the body, it will be the body but if it merges with the divine, it will stay in vaikunta and eat (think) of God.
On hearing this, Madhurakavi realized that this was no ordinary boy and immediately accepted Nammalwar as his spiritual guru. Madhurakavi became the boy’s student and helped compile the outpourings of Nammalwar and set them to music.
He sang 11 andhadhi style pasurams starting with ‘Kanninun Siruthambu’ which do not have any parallel to any other pasuram/sloka for Acharya Bhakti. He emphasizes that Acharya Bhakti is more important than even Bhakti towards the Lord and claims that one can attain moksha merely by reciting these 11 pasurams. It is also said that Nathamuni, who compiled 4000 pasurams of alwars, was blessed with a darshan of nammalwar and was given a set of all 12 alwars’ pasurams (by Nammalwar himself) after he recited ‘Kanninum Siruthambu’ 12000 times.
It may be truly said that if there were no ‘Kanninun Siruthambu’, there would be no 4000 Divya Prabandhams at all. Thus, Madhurakavi was responsible for literally the rebirth and publicity of the Prabandhams. It is, therefore, customarily incumbent in ‘Anusanthaanam’ to first recite ‘Kanninun Siruthambu’ before beginning the other Pasurams, especially Nammalwar’s Tiruvoimozhi.
A question arose as to how this work exclusively devoted to the Alwar could be counted as part of the 4000 Divya Prabandham- the whole of which is claimed to be dedicated to the Lord. Manavaala Maamunigal has answered this question as follows:
Vaitha Thiru Manthirathin Maddhimam Padham Pol /
Seertha Madhura Kavi Sei Kalaiyai- Aartha Pugazh /
Aariyarkal Thangal Aruli Cheyal Naduve /
Servithaar Taathparyam Therindhu /
The greatness of its contents raises it to be the central gem that sheds luster on the other gems of the garland. That is why it was counted in the midst of the 4000 Divya Prabandhams.
Of the two verses dedicated to Alwars, Swami Sri Vedanta Desikan has grouped together all other Alwars in his first verse and has dedicated the whole of his second verse exclusively to Madhurakavi Alwar in Guruparampara Saaram of his Rahasya Traya Saaram.
Divya Desams consecrated by Madhurakavi Alwar are the ‘Punya Kshetras’ of Ayodhya, Mathura, Gaya, Kasi, Kanchi, Avanti and Dwaraka.
Sri Nadadur Ammal Thirunakshtram (Chitra-Chithirai)
(Shri Nadadur Ammal)