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Thirupan Awlar

 

 

Period : 7 – 9th century

 

Kaveri River

Kaveri River

Shri Thirupan Alwar was born on Wednesday, Kaisika Ekadasi of Kartik month in the Rohini Nakshatra in a village named Uraiyoor. This place is near Shri Rangam on the either side of river Kaveri. According to the modern scholars, his lifetime is believed to be anytime between 7th to 9th centuries.

 

Lord Vishnu Canvas Painting

Lord Vishnu Canvas Painting

He is believed to be the incarnation of Shri Vatsa. The mark created on the chest of Lord Vishnu due to a blow by Maharshi Bhrigu is called Shri Vatsa.

 

Shri Thirupan Alwar was found lying in a paddy field by a couple of Panar caste who took him to their house. They nurtured him. People of Panar caste are considered untouchables but are supposed to be expert in singing and playing music.

 

He is believed to be the incarnation of Shri Vatsa. The mark created on the chest of Lord Vishnu due to a blow by Maharshi Bhrigu is called Shri Vatsa.

Thirupan Alwar Painting

Thirupan Alwar Painting

Child Thirupan Alwar was also good at music and used to very beautifully play Beena (musical instrument). He always sang praises for Sri Rangnath while playing Beena. He used to get so engrossed in glorification of lord that he would forget about everything around him.

 

He had a great desire to have a glimpse of Sri Rangnath but according to the rule, untouchables were not allowed to enter the temple and so he could not go for darshan. But for the love of lord, he left the inhabited place of untouchables where he lived and came to Sri Rangam area and started living on the Southern bank of river Kaveri.

Child Thirupan Alwar was also good at music and used to very beautifully play Beena (musical instrument). He always sang praises for Sri Rangnath while playing Beena. He used to get so engrossed in glorification of lord that he would forget about everything around him.

Lord Rangnath

Lord Rangnath

During festivals, whenever Sri Rangnath’s procession would pass by, he would take a glimpse of God from distance. Tears of joy used to roll out of his eyes after taking a glimpse of Sri Rangnath and his desire to enter the temple once and see lord Rangnath used to become stronger. Once, while reciting lord’s name in front of Shri Rangnath’s huge temple on the banks of river Kaveri he became so engrossed that he forgot about the outer world. Just then, Loksarang Muni, the Pujari of Shri Rangnath temple was returning after taking water from the river for bathing the idol. He saw that an untouchable was engrossed playing beena. He called out many times at him to get out from his way but engrossed in reciting lord’s name, Thirupan Alwar could not hear his voice. In the end, Loksarang Muni picked up a stone and throwing at Thirupan  Alwar got his attention. Thirupan Alwar got back to his conscious with the stroke of the stone and seeing the pujari of the temple in front of him, he was ashamed. He felt guilty that he was blocking the way of the one who serves Sri Rangnath. Disdaining himself for this he apologized to the Brahmin for this offence and shivering with fear quietly went away from there.

 

Sri Ranganatha Poster

Sri Ranganatha Poster

Here, after reaching the temple, Loksarang Muni saw that the main door of the temple was closed from inside. He called out for everyone’s name one by one to open the door but no one was there inside and so he did not get any reply. All the servers of Shri Rangnath were standing beside him and were wondering as to how come the door was closed from inside. After discussing for long, they could not come to a conclusive decision. The bathing time for lord was running away. Loksarang Muni felt that definitely he has made some mistake and that is why lord had closed the doors from inside.  With tears in his eyes, he started praying lord, “O lord! Please tell me what my offence was. Please let me know and give me a chance to rectify it.”

During festivals, whenever Sri Rangnath’s procession would pass by, he would take a glimpse of God from distance. Tears of joy used to roll out of his eyes after taking a glimpse of Sri Rangnath and his desire to enter the temple once and see lord Rangnath used to become stronger.

Lord Vishnu

Lord Vishnu

After praying for a long time, a voice came out from inside, “O Muni, today you hurt me by throwing a stone at me, now I will not allow you to come near me.”

 

Muni was shocked to hear this and questioned, “Lord, when did I throw a stone at you?” Once again a voice came, “My devotee was reciting prayers for me and you threw a stone at him, there is no difference between me and my devotee, they are a form of me only. Only if you lift him up on your shoulder and take a round of the temple, will I open the door otherwise it will not open.”

 

After praying for a long time, a voice came out from inside, “O Muni, today you hurt me by throwing a stone at me, now I will not allow you to come near me.”

Lord Ranganath Photos

Lord Ranganath Photos

Hearing this, like a fanatic, Loksarang Muni ran towards river Kaveri. Seeing Thirupan Alwar there, apologizing to him, he went ahead towards him. Thirupan Alwar ran away saying, “please don’t do this, I have committed an offence, please don’t touch me, your body will become polluted but before he could complete his sentence, Loksarang Muni carried him on his shoulders and circumnavigated the temple in that position only and then took him inside the temple. Seeing lord Rangnath in front of him Thiruppan could not believe his eyes. Tears rolled down his eyes and with love for god, he started singing songs. Then, admiring lord from his feet till face, describing his amazing beauty, he created ten padas (poems in praise of lord). In the end, describing the eyes of lord Rangnath and engrossed in his love, he became unconscious and fell down. Just then a divine light spread there and slowly and gradually Shri Thirupan Alwar’s body merged with that light. Just like Shri Andaal, Shri Thirupan Alwar also merged with the idol of Shri Rangnath. In his padas (poems sung in praise of God), he has said, “Lord is everything for us and the only goal of our life should be getting near to God and surrender ourselves totally at his footsteps.”

 

Thirupanna Alwar Idol

Thirupanna Alwar Idol

In spite of hailing from an untouchable family, with his dedicated devotion, he got a place in one of the twelve great Vaishnav Azhwars. Since he was carried on shoulder by Muni, he got the name “Munivahan”. People also call him “Paan Perumal”.

 

 

 

 

 

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