5 Temples & 5 Nambhis of Thirukurungudi

Thirukurungudi is a holy Divyadesam of 5 temples. Apart from the spiritual sense, every temple is an interesting place to visit & see. There are 5 temples & 5 nambhis in Thirukurungudi. While 5 Nambhis are in 3 temples (Thirukurungudi, ThiruParkadal Nambhi, Malaimel Nambhi temple), the other 2 temples are also very significant. These 2 temples are Thiruvattaparai and Thirumangai Alwar Thiruvarasu.

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WHY MY companions do you blame me? It’s not my fault that I am in love with him! On seeing my Lord of Thirukurungudi, I think only of His discus, His conch, His lotus eyes and pair of coral hued lips. My heart is mine no longer!
– Thiruvaimozhi 5.5.1

Thirukurungudi Azhagiya Nambhi (Nindra Nambhi) was the one born as Swamy Nammalwar. Amarnda Nambi and Kidantha Nambi are the other Nambhis of the temple. It is also the place where the famous Kaisika Ekadashi Utsavam takes place. Everything about the temple is beautiful. Needless to say, the deity, Azhgaiya Nambhi is simply stunning. It is difficult to take one’s eyes off the deity. Swamy Velukkudi Krishnan’s wonderful words on Thirukurundi Nambhi & the temple can be found below.

The story of Thiruvattaparai is very engaging & interesting.It was a time when Sri Ramanuja was in Kerala region and his fame was spreading far and wide. Lot of people there became disciples of Sri Ramanuja (amongst whom VadugaNambhi was close to Ramanuja), which couldn’t be tolerated by the Nambhoodhiris there. So the Namboodhiris with their black magic, move Ramanuja to Thiruvattaparai overnight (just a hill separates this place from Kerala). The next day, the unsuspecting Ramanuja, thinking he is in Kerala, wakes up calling his disciple, “Vaduga.. Vaduga..“. The Nambhi of Thirukurungudi, moved by poignancy of the moment, immediately appears before Sri Ramnuja as Vaduga Nambhi and renders service to His favourite Acharya. Ramanuja had the habit of keeping his remnant Thirumaan to Vaduga Nambhi. On the eventful day too, Ramanuja keeps Thiruman, but for the Supreme Lord himself.  The both then go to the main temple to worship the moolavar. The Perumal in the guise of Vaduga carried the pookkudalai and thiruthuzhai in the baskets and went past the dwaja sthambam,entered the garbha griham, placed them there and went further inside and vanished. Later when Ramanuja goes to temple, he sees the Thiruman on the deity’s still fresh & exactly as he had kept for Vaduga Nambhi. Sri Ramanuja begged His pardon, but the Lord told him that He was not satisfied with His own Avataras and that he wanted to act as a sishya to a great Acharyan and to get upadesam from him. He requested the Acharyan to preach Him the Thirumanthiram or Mahamanthiram. Accordingly Ramanuja sat on a pedastal befitting his dignity and the Lord seated himself at a lower level in an obedient posture with his right ear just below the face or mouth of Sri Ramanuja. Even to-day we can see the great teacher and the Lord in this position in the Ramanujaa’s temple at Thiruvattapaarai.

Thiruparkadal Nambhi temple is around a 15 minutes drive from here. Malaimel Nambhi Temple is located amidst forests and a stream in a hill. The very place reverberates calmness and devotion. In this picturesque location, resides Malaimel Nambhi. Thirumangai Alwar Thiruvarasu is the place where Thirumangai Alwar after rendering service to various Divyadesams attained moksha. The small temple is located amidst dense fields and is a very tranquil place. Unlike in other temples where Alwar is seen with sword & weapons, here he is seen weaponless and with folded hands, since he was leaving this materialistic world.

Getting There Thirukurungudi is situated 47 km from Tirunelveli past Nanguneri. Valliyoor is the nearest Railway Station. Jeeps are available from Thirukurungudi to Malaimel Nambhi temple (Even if you have your own vehicle, hiring one of the many jeeps available in Thirukurungudi is recommended due to poor rood conditions and the hilly terrain). Visiting other temples (Thiruvattaparai, Thirupaarkadal Nambhi, Thirumangai Alwar Thiruvarasu) is easier when you have a vehicle. You can ask the local people / priests to take you to the these temples.


Sriman Narayana in Everything : Article from The Hindu

Another beautiful article from The Hindu…

Sriman Narayana Everywhere

Hiranyakasipu is alarmed at the direction his son’s education is taking. Prahlada is a Vishnu bhakta and, because of that, a pacifist, said V.S. Karaunakarachariar in a discourse.

When Hiranyakasipu asks him how he will slay his enemies, Prahlada wonders how one can think of anyone as an enemy. Lord Narayana resides in every one of us. So how can anyone be thought of as an enemy.

When Hiranyakasipu sends his men to slay Prahlada , Prahlada says the swords have left him unharmed, because Narayana resides in him. Narayana resides in Hiranyakasipu’s henchmen and also in their swords. Can Narayana hurt Narayana?

Thirumangai Azhvar, in one of his verses, describes himself as the God who resides in Thirumala and also in Thirukkannapuram. This verse too shows that those with true devotion know that the Lord resides in us. Nammazhvar, in his ‘Kadal gnyaalam’ verse, expresses the same thought.

The only difference is that Thirumangai Azhvar, as is his wont, refers to the Archa form of the Lord, even when he talks of His form as an Antaryamin. The greatness of the Narasimha avatara is that it revealed to the world the devotion and comprehension of Prahlada. His appearance in man-lion form is one of His beautiful forms. The lion’s majesty is one that pleases. The combined beauty of the human and lion forms is also a uniqueness of the avatara.

When Prahlada is cast into the sea, he contemplates on Narayana, who resides in him, and the bonds that fetter him break. The Vishnu Purana ends with a brief mention of the Narasimha avatara.

It says Prahlada and Hiranyakasipu live happily, and that later Narasimha kills Hiranyakasipu. It is in the Bhagavata Purana that we have all the details about the Narasimha avatara. The Vishnu Purana touches upon the philosophical angles. It was left to the Bhagavata Purana to fill in the details of the story of Narasimha. It is because the Vishnu Purana gives us such an insight into philosophy that it was referred to as Purana Ratna by Alavandar.

The Vishnu Purana highlights Prahlada’s devotion.

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