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Swami Nammazhwar

Swami Nammazhwar, one among the ten Azhwars, is well known for his hymns on Lord Vishnu. He was born to the couple named Kariyar and Udayanangai at Azhwar Tirunagari. When he was born, he wasn’t like an ordinary child. He did not cry or even drink milk. Hence his parents named him “Maran”.  Swami Nammazhwar drove away with anger the Vayu “Sata” that came to envelop him and hence he was named “Satakopan”.

 They placed him in a cradle under the auspicious tamarind tree (a.k.a Thiruppuliazhwar) at Alwar Thirunagari. It is said that Vishvaksenar, Sriman Narayana’s army general came to him and performed Panchasamskaram and gave Manthropadesam.

 

For 16 years, Swami Nammazhwar stayed there with his eyes closed and without any food. In the mean time,  Madhurakavi Azhwar of Thirukkolur noticed a bright light moving south in the sky, when he went on a pilgrimage to Ayodhya.  The bright light took him to the divine tree Thiruppuliazhwar where swami Nammazhwar was sitting. Madhurakavi Azhwar threw a stone to catch the attention of the motionless Nammazhawar. When he opened his eyes hearing the sound, Madhurakavi Azhwar asked him “Sethathin vayitril siriyadhu pirandhaal eththai thindru enge kidakkum?”. Nammazhwar replied “Aththai thindru ange kidakkum”. Madhurakavi Azhwar understood the deep wisdom of Nammazhwar and bowed down to him requesting to accept him as his sishya. Nammazhwar initiated Madhurakavi azhwar and instructed him to note down the hymns he recited on his experience with the Lord Sriman Narayana.

His compositions were namely : Thiruviruththam (essence of Rig veda), Thiruvaasiriyam  (essence of Yajur veda), Periya Thiru andhaadhi (essence of Atharvana Veda) and Thiruvaaimozhi (essence of Sama veda). Madhurakavi Azhwar formed a sannidhi for Nammazhwar in Alwar Thirunagari (which is near Tirunelveli).

Sri Elayavilli lineage has been doing kainkaryam in Alwar Thirunagari Temple for many centuries now.