EdhEnum enREnO kulasEkarar pOlE
Below is the translation to Veda Paati's story, narrated in tamil, available in below platforms:
THIRUKOLUR PEN PILLAI RAGASIYAM - 15
Was I like Kulasekara who asked to be born as anything in Thirumala ?
“My child, are you going to tell us the story of yet another Azhwar? Please do go on!”, questioned Illayazwhar Ramanuja with eagerness. “Yes, Swami. I can neither be like Thirumazhisai azhwar who researched and understood the Supreme, nor like Nammazhwar who was filled with humility! But how about Kulasekar Azhwar?”, and then she went on to narrate the story of the next Azhwar, taking us all to the state of Kerala.
Thiruvanchikulam in Kerala which was then part of the famous Chera dynasty, was ruled by a King called Dridhavrata. In the tamil month of Maasi, on Punarvaasu Nakshatra the King was blessed with a son, who was none other than the reincarnation of Perumal’s Kaustuba Mala. From a young age this child was very interested in hearing the stories from Ramayana. He could hear the same stories multiple times and he would never get bored! As he grew older, his fondness towards Ramayana increased multifold and ensured there would always be someone coming to the palace repeating the Ramayana day after day!
When the child, Kulasekarazhwar grew to the appropriate age, King Dridhavrata handed over the throne to his son and retired. Although Kulasekarazhwar ascended the throne as King, he hardly focussed on ruling the kingdom, rather all his attention was constantly on listening to the Ramayana. He would invite Vaishnava scholars, poets and story tellers to share perspective on Ramayana. The whole palace and the kingdom reverberated with the stories of Ramayana and praises of Rama.
There was once a great Vaishnava Pundit who was narrating the stories with so much emotion. When he was talking about the episode where Rama fought Khara Dushana and their army of 14 thousand rakshasas single handedly, Kulasekarazhwar became overwhelmed with devotion. He stood up furiously brandishing his sword and shouted, “Rama is fighting single handedly. Let us go and help him wage this war against those Rakshasas” and summoned his army. It took many worried ministers to calm down the King and bring him back to reality! Seeing the devotion of their child, Rama Lakshmana and Sita appeared in the sky only for the eyes of the elated Kulasekarazhwar and blessed him!
The ministers grew jealous of the Vaishnava scholars who were given importance by the King. They were also worried about the ways of the King who seemed oblivious about worldly matters involving the ruling of the Kingdom. The ministers got together and schemed a plan to teach the King a lesson. They hid a very expensive necklace and then complained to the King of the loss. They suggested that the necklace was possibly stolen by the Vaishnava pundits who keep coming to the palace. Upon hearing this the King was heartbroken.
“Oh ministers! The devotees of Lord Sriman Narayana would never commit to such mistake. Your words are very hurtful to me. I will prove to you the worthiness of the Vaishnavas”, with this the King summoned for a very poisonous snake to be brought in a pot. He challenged his ministers that if he were to put his hand into this pot and the snake were to not bite him, then the Vaishnava Pundits visiting the palace were innocent. He bravely let his hand into the pot, and as anticipated by him, the snake did not bite him. The ministers were shocked but also very guilty of their actions. They repented to the King but also expressed their worry that the Kingdom cannot be ruled well if the King were only involved in the thoughts of Ramayana.
It was then that the King realized it was time for him to relinquish his duties as a King and seek his Lord to his heart’s content. He handed over the throne to his son and he went on pilgrimage to several temples composing beautiful songs and poems on the Lord. Finally he was in the great Thirumala hills enjoying the grandeur and beauty of Tirupathi Srinivasa Perumal. Relishing the exquisite Lord and His consorts, Azhwar sang many songs in praise of Them! The lush beauty of the 7 hills of Tirumala, stole his heart. He wondered what it would be like to be part of the environment where Tirupati Perumal resided. Could he be a stork, or maybe fish in the beautiful lakes? What if he could live in the altar of the Lord as one of His vessels? What if he could become the beautiful flowers in the garden that would eventually end up in the Lord’s feet, or the lakes and rivers in the mountains?
Finally he thought it would have been best if he were the step that led to the Lord’s altar! He would be able to see the Lord and His Consorts all the time, and be the step where all devotees stepped before going to worship Him! He poured out several songs admiring the beauty of the Lord and His residence and also his deep desire to be some part of this environment of the Lord. Such was his great devotion and love towards the Lord!
Thirukolur Pen Pillai who snapped back from the Kerala state and the beauty of Tirumala hills, lamented “Why Swami? Why is it that my heart does not desire to be with the Lord all the time the way Kulasekarazhwar yearned? Why then should I remain here?”