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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.

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