Thirupaanazhwar was born in a paddy field on a Wednesday in the month of Karthigai, theipirai, dvidiyai thithi, rohini star as Srivatsam amsam of Mahavishnu.
A bard (பாணர்) found the baby in the paddy field and brought it to his house. He and his wife brought up the child as their own as they did not have any. As he was brought up in a bard’s house, he was named Thirupaanar. True to his family tradition, he learnt singing and playing the instrument Yaazh (யாழ்) as well.
Thirupaanar was keen to serve the Lord of Srirangam by singing and playing the Yaazh for him, but as Baanar was considered a low caste in those days, he did not dare to enter Srirangam and stood on the opposite bank of The Cauvery singing in praise of the Lord. His singing and playing were very pleasing to one’s ears and made Perumal very happy. Everyday at dawn, Thirupaanar sang for the Lord with so much of Bhakti that he was unaware of what was happening around him.
One day Lokasaranga Rishi, a bhakta of Aranganathan, bathed in The Cauvery. He had also brought a golden pot to carry water for the Lord’s abhishekam. He saw Thirupaanar standing in his way, singing with his eyes closed. The Rishi clapped his hands and ordered him to move aside, but Thirupaanar, lost in his devotion, did not hear him. Angered by this, the Rishi threw a stone at Thirupaanar and it hit him on the forehead and blood started oozing out. Thirupaanar opened his eyes, noticed the Rishi, apologised to him and moved aside.
Lokasaranga Rishi collected water in the pot and proceeded to the temple. Once he went near the Lord, he noticed that blood was oozing out of the Lord’s forehead. Puzzled by this, he informed the temple Bhattars and other officers who in turn informed the King. Unable to understand the reason, the King requested the Lord for clarification. That night the Lord came in Lokasaranga Rishi’s dream and instructed him to bring Thirupaanar to the temple carrying him on his shoulders. Waking up, the Rishi was surprised by the dream but decided to follow the Lord’s instruction.
He reached Thirupaanar, with his hands above his head perambulated (pradakshinam) Thirupaanar thrice, fell at his feet and conveyed the Lord’s message that the Rishi had to bring Thirupaanar to the temple. Shocked by this, Thirupaanar refused saying that he belonged to a lower caste and cannot step inside the temple. To this the Rishi replied that Thirupaanar need not step inside and he will carry him on his shoulders. Thirupaanar objected to this but the Rishi insisted that it was the Lord’s orders and carried Thirupaanar on his shoulders upto Aranganathan’s sannidhi.
Once he reached the sannidhi, Thirupaanar studied the Lord in detail and sang ten songs in ecstasy. This collection is called Amalanaathipiran. (அமலனாதிபிரான்)
உண்ட வாயன் என்னுள்ளம் கவர்ந்தானை
அண்டர்கோன் அணிஅரங்கன் என் அமுதினைக்
கண்ட கண்கள் மற்றோன்றினைக் காணாவே
"After seeing the Lord whose colour is that of stormy clouds, who has butter smeared around his mouth, who has stolen my heart, also The Lord of The Devas, The Aranganathan, my love, my eyes refuse to see anything else."
In front of everybody’s eyes, Thirupaanaazhwar became one with the Lord. The Lord blessed Lokasaranga Rishi also for bringing Thirupaanazhwar on his shoulders.
Thirupaanazhwar has sung hymns on the following temples