Thirumangai Alwar Thirunakshatram

Today is the Thirunakshatram of Thirumangai Alwar {also known as Neelan & Thirumangai Manan}, the youngest of all Alwars. Thirumangai Alwar was born in a small town by name Thiruvaali Thirunagari {Near Chidambharam}. Thirumangai Alwar’s Thirunakshatram is grandly celebrated as a 10 day Utsavam here. During the 10 days Utsavam, a Garuda Seva of 11 Perumals from nearby DivyaDesams takes place. This is the highest number of Perumals for any DivyaDesa Garuda Seva {Alwarthirunagari Visakam Garuda Seva has 9 Perumals}. This Garuda Seva has to be seen by every Sri Vaishnava.

Prior to becoming a Alwar, he was known as Thirumangai Mannan. He was a landlord under a Chola King. He was very brave and fought many wars and won them. His change from a Landlord to Alwar was due to his wife, Sri Kumudhavalli Devi. Thirumangai Mannan met Sri Kumudhavalli at Thirunangoor and immediately lost his heart. He requested Devi to marry him for which she put certain conditions. The conditions were that, he should become a Sri Vaishnava and daily feed Sri Vaishnavas. He accepted to this and became a Sri Vaishnava and began to feed devotees daily. Though he was a landlord under a Chola King he soon ran out of money to feed Vaishnavas. Left with no other way, he decided to loot the rich & wealthy and use the money to feed Vaishnavas and the poor. Perumal wanted to change his actions and played a small act. Perumal and his divine consort Lakshmi themselves came down as a newly wed couple, fully adorned with jewels. Thirumangai Mannan stopped them and asked them to give him all the jewels they had. Perumal and Sri Maha Lakshmi gave him the jewels and when Mannan checked for other Jewellery, he found a Kanaiyaazhi {ornament worn in legs} in Perumal’s leg. Perumal said that it was too tight for him to remove it and that Mannan can remove it if possible. He tried to remove it, but in vain. He decided to leave it and ordered his man to pick up the sack of Jewels they had taken from Perumal. Amazingly, neither his man nor Thirumangai Mannan himself could lift the bag. He was flabbergasted and got angry at the Bride {Perumal} and said that he had used some Magicial power to trick him. Perumal replied that he can tell him the Magic {Mantra} and asked him to come closer. Perumal said him the Ashtaakshara Mantram. Thirumangai Mannan at once realised that the Couple were none other than Sriman Narayana & Sri Maha Lakshmi themselves. With tears in his eyes he praised Perumal in 10 Pasurams.

After the 10 Pasurams, Perumal gave Alwar his Divine Darshan along with Sri Maha Lakshmi. He asked Alwar to go to various DivyaDesams and sing Pasurams in his praise, after which he would attain Moksha and come to Sri Vaikuntam. Hadn’t it been for Thirumangai Alwar, we wouldn’t have 108 DivyaDesams. Thirumangai Alwar travelled to the most number of DivyaDesams and he alone sang on nearly 60 DivyaDesams. Thirumanga Alwar also lived the longest amongst the Alwars.

Written with reference from – http://www.divyadesamonline.com/alwars/tmangai.asp

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