Madhurakavi Alwar Thirunakshatram

Today is the Thirunakshatram of Swami Madhurakavi Alwar, the devout disciple of Swami Nammalwar. Though it was Nammalwar who said the Thiruvaimozhi, it was due to Madhurakavi Alwar that the world came to know of it. Here is a short story of Swami Madhurakavi Alwar.

Madhurakavi Alwar was born in Thirukolur, a small village near Alwarthirunagari. Alwar was born into a devout Sri Vaishnava family and eventually grew up into a learned and devout Sri Vaishnava. Once he undertook an pilgrimage to North India and visited many Kshetrams and finally to Ayodhya. He was very moved by the beauty of Deities of Sri Rama, Sita Devi, Lakshmana & Hanuman and put stay in Ayodhya for sometime.

During his stay, one night he saw a bright light coming from South. He didn’t know what it was. He couldn’t comprehend if it was a bright star, a forest fire or anything else. Regardless he decided to follow the light and see it for himself. After days of voyage, he finally reached Alwarthirunagari and the light disappeared. He was surprised at the phenomenon. He enquired the villagers if there was any festival or anything strange happening in their village. The villagers replied in negative, but added that a boy had been sitting under a Tamarind tree for past 16 years without drinking, eating or even opening the eyes. He had crawled to the tree as a baby 16 years back and remained in the tree thereafter. Madhurakavi Alwar was amazed and decided to see the child for himself.

Madurakavi Alwar reaches the tree and finds the child, with its eyes closed as if meditating. Alwar wanted to see if the child was healthy and if it reacted to the external world, and so he dropped a huge stone on the ground to make a noise. The child slowly opened its eyes and saw Alwar. Alwar next wanted to see if the child  was knowledgable, and so asked a question,

“Sethathin Vayitril Siriyadhu Pirandhal; Eatthai Thindru Engae Kidakkum?”

to which the child replied,

“Atthai Thindru Angae Kidakkum”

Madurakavi Alwar immediately realised that the child, Nammalwar was a hamsam of Sriman Narayana and possessed infinite knowledge. Madhurakavi Alwar fell at Nammalwar’s feet and became his disciple. After this, Nammalwar said the Thiruvaimozhi which is the fine nectar of the Vedas themselves {Thiruvaimozhi is known as the Tamil Vedam}.

Madhurakavi Alwar wrote Kanninun Siruththambu on Nammalwar’s advice. The pasurams and meanings of Kanninun Siruththambu can be read here.


5 thoughts on “Madhurakavi Alwar Thirunakshatram

  1. This website is really very nice and the translation of Kanninun Siruthambu is excellent. Always while contemplating on Sri Madurakavi Alwar, I am invariably reminded of Sri Appudi Adigal, a Saivite Saint (Nayanmar) and a contemporary of Sri Appar (Saint Tirunavukkarasar) Swamighal. The parallels between Sri Madurakavi and Sri Appudi Adigal are striking. Further, they exemplify that it is enough to catch hold of the holy feet of the Guru who is none other than the Lord Himself.
    May your services continue to thrive by the Grace of the Lord of Vaikunta.

    Thanks for your kind words. The translation is done by Sri TCA Venkatesan, a descendant of Swami Ananthalwan. More such translations can be found in Swami’s site – Your observation is indeed very interesting. I would even like to know the similarities between the two.

    But please do remember that only a Sri Vaishnava Acharya can take us to Vaikunta & Moksha.


  2. Sir, This blog is so nice and informations are really beautiful and valuable. Since chathur masamtarts this month, I’ve a doubt that is that compulsory for all. If you have any articles related to the chathur masam please publish it. I pray sri rangnatha to continue your work without any disturb. Thanks

    Thank You for visiting & commenting in the blog regularly. Unfortuntely, I am not able to understand your question properly. I request you to kindly reframe it. With the little I know, I guess Chathur is the name of a month in Sanskrit, like Dhanur for the month of Marghazhi. Please mention the name of the month in Tamil, so it would be useful for me to find information on it.


  3. Dear Sir, 4 July 2009.
    Thank you very much for your remark on my comments about Sri Madura Kavi Alwar. I will definitely go through the website you have indicated.
    Since you have asked me about the parallels between Sri Appudi Adigal and Sri Madura Kavi Alwar, I am listing out a few below:
    1- Both of them saw their Acharyas as the Divine itself. In fact, Sri Tirumular says in his Tirumantiram, ‘Countless celestials worshipped Lord Siva, Nothing will be achieved by worshipping him, What is to be truly known will be learnt by worshipping one’s Guru’ [Sivanai vazhipattaar ennila thevar, avanai vazhipattu angu aamaru onru illai, avanai vazhipattu angu aamaaru kaatum guruvai vazhipadin koodalum aame].
    2- Both of them belonged to the first varuna but took as their acharya persons belonging to the fourth varuna – amply proving some of the modern critics of Hinduism wrong.
    3- Sri Madura Kavi is hailed as the rays of the sun during dawn, the sun itself being Nammalwar. In the same way, Sri Appudi Adigal can be considered as the pendant of the necklace called Appar Swamighal worn by Lord Siva,

    One can think of many more similarities this way. However, the point we have to remember in this modern era is that since we ourselves are not mature enough to perceive God directly, we should totally surrender ourselves at our Guru’s Feet, who is none other than the Lord Himself.

    Ekam sat; vipra bahudha vadanti. The Lord knows whom to take through which path and through which manifestation of His, He should give us our salvation.

    My sincere prayers to the Lord for your yeoman services to continue.

    Sri Ramanathan,

    Thank you very much for your interesting observation. I also appreciate you for taking time and writing it here. As you have said we should surrender at our Acharya’s feet, who will then take us to the Lord. But I would very humbly like to add that, under God’s grace everyone can understand and thereby surrender to Him. We just need to believe in Him…


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