Thirumangai Azhwar was born to Aalinaadudaiyaar and Vallithiru in the month of Karthigai, pournami thithi, krithigai star, Thursday. He was the Saarngam amsam of Mahavishnu. He was named Nilanirathar by his parents. He grew up and became a commander in the army of Chozha king. He brought about many victories for the Chozha kingdom and made the king very happy. The king gave him a small kingdom of Aalinaadu with its capital Thirumangai and also gave him the title “Parakalan”
Sumangalai, a damsel from the Devaloka when on rounds near the Himalayas saw Kabilar teaching his disciples. Sumangalai laughed at Kabilar’s ugly form. Angered, Kabilar cursed that Sumangalai be born on the Earth and get married to a human being. Repenting, Sumangalai asked the rishi for saabavimochanam and he told her that she will get married to Parakalar, serve the Lord along with him and reach Devaloka.
Sumangalai was born as a baby in a kumudam flower. A medical practitioner saw the baby and brought her up, naming her Kumudavalli as she was found in a kumudam flower.
Parakalar came to know of Kumudavalli and requested her father for her hand in marriage. Kumudavalli said that she will not look at a person who does not have the symbols of Vaishnavam on him. Immediately Parakalar burnt the Vaishnava symbols on his body and came back. She said that if he serves food to 1008 Vaishnavas every day for one year, she will get married to him. He did this also for a year and then Kumudhavalli married him. Thirumangai Azhwar continued the service of providing food for 1008 Vaishnavas everyday. The King heard about this and was surprised. When he checked, he realised that Thirumangai Azhwar was not paying his tax to the kingdom properly and sent his messenger to enquire on this. Thirumangai Azhwar sent back the messenger saying that he will arrange for the money shortly. Time passed and as no money came from Thirumangai Azhwar, the king sent a small army to fight with him. The army came back defeated by the Azhwar. The king again sent an army and again they were defeated. Pleased by the Azhwar’s bravery, the king said he will forgive him and asked him to come to his palace. In the palace the king told Azhwar to give part of the taxes and until the taxes were paid, he was imprisoned in a temple. Azhwar stayed in the temple without food for three days and on the third day Perumal came in his dream, promised to give the money due to the king and asked him to come to Kanchipuram to collect it. Azhwar requested the king to let him go to Kanchipuram saying that money is hidden there. The king sent the Azhwar to Kanchipuram with one of his ministers. Azhwar found the money near the Vegavathi river, gave the money due to the king, to his minister and kept the balance safe for feeding the vaishnavas.
The minister informed the king how the Lord provided the money to Azhwar and the king repented for imprisoning and starving the Azhwar for three days. He gave back the tax money also to Azhwar. Thirumangai Azhwar continued his service of feeding 1008 vaishnavas everyday and again his treasury was depleted. To further continue this service, he started robbery. He used to wait on the road and rob the passersby. One day he was hiding behind a tree and Mahavishnu and Mahalakshmi came as a newly wedded couple with a lot of jewellery. Thirumangai Azhwar robbed all their clothes and jewellery and tied them into bundles. When he tried to lift the bundles, they did not budge. He accused Mahavishnu that he had done magic and asked him to teach the mantra. Mahavishnu asked the Azhwar to come close and taught him the eight letter mantra of Mahavishnu. Thirumangai azhwar realised the Lord and had darshan of both the God and the Goddess there. He came to be called “Arulmaari” after this.
Thirumangai Azhwar started singing the Lord’s praise and travelled to various temples.
குலந்தருஞ் செல்வந் தந்திடு மடியார்
படுதுய ராயின வெல்லாம்
நிலந்தரஞ் செய்யும் நீள்விசும் பருளும்
அருளோடு பெருநில மளிக்கும்
வளந்தரும் மற்றுந் தந்திடும் பெற்ற
தாயினு மாயின செய்யும்
நலந்தருஞ் சொல்லை நான்கண்டு கொண்டேன்
நாராய ணாவென்னும் நாமம்
I understood that the Namam of Narayana gives one good birth, wealth, destroys all sorrows, gives heaven and earth with His blessings, does more than a mother does for a child!
He has sung hymns on the following temples* Thiruashtabuyagaram *Thiruarimeyavinnagaram * Thiru anbil * Thiru aadhanur *Thiru indhalur
* Uraiyur * Thiruvooragam * Thirukandiyur * Thirukkarambanur * Thirukkaragam * Thirukkarvanam
*Thirukkavalampaadi * Thirukaazhi seeramavinnagaram * Thirukoodalur * Thirusalakramam
* Thiruchingavelkundram * Thiruchitrakoodam *Thirusirupuliyur *Thirusemponseikoil *Thiruthanjai maamanikoil *Thiruthalai sanga naanmadhiyam * Mahabalipuram *Thirukkadigai *Thirukannakudi
*Thirukannapuram *Thirukannamangai *Thirukalvanur *Kumbakonam *Thirukurungudi *Thirukoodal
* Thirukotiyur *Thirukovilur * Thiruneermalai * Srirangam *Triplicane *Thiruvadavendhai
This completes the series on Azhwars. It was a dream come true and a great blessing to be able to write about the lives of the Azhwars even though my notes were not very long. No amount of writing will be enough to bring into words the grandeur of these great souls.
I am very grateful to all the readers who have called and commented on this series with a special mention about my sister Sundari thanks to whom I started blogging and Mr K Parathasarathi who has been not only commenting on the blogs, but also adding a paasuram of each of the azhwars. Thank you!