THIRUKOLUR PEN PILLAI RAGASIYAM -36


Below is the translation to Veda Paati's story, narrated in tamil, available in below platforms:

YOUTUBE:

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Did I present the lord with two garlands (one of flower and another of words) like thondar adi podi aazhvaar


“Oh Swami, let me tell you the story of yet another AzhvAr.”, began the child of Tirukolur, lost in deep thought. EmperumAnAr listened on, eagerly.


In Tirumandankudi, near Tirukudandhai (Kumbakonam), in Kettai Nakshatram and Shoizhiyar Clan, a child was born. He was none other than the incarnation of Sriman NArAyanA’s beautiful garland, VanamAlA. He was named Vipra NArAyanA. From a young age he had deep devotion towards PerumAL and he learnt shAstrAs and scriptures accordingly.


One day, he travelled to Srirangam to see RanganAtha PerumAL. Upon seeing Him, Vipra NArAyaNA fell in love with him and decided to stay in Srirangam itself. He had no heart to part from his lord.



He built a small cottage near the temple and created a garden around his cottage. He would pluck flowers and make garlands for the Lord every day.


In Srirangam lived a girl called Devadevi. She was a very beautiful dancer. She thought highly of her beauty and felt like she could attract anyone with it. One day she was walking with her friend, and happened to pass by the gardens of Vipra NArAyaNA. He was deep in prayer to the Lord. Devadevi was curious to find out who it was who had not noticed her! Her friend exclaimed, “Oh Devadevi! He wouldn’t even look at you!”. Devadevi retorted haughtily, “Oh Sakhi! I will make him look at me and get attracted to me! This is a bet!”.


Devadevi removed all her expensive jewellery and entered the gardens clad in the clothes of an Ascetic. She requested Vipra NArAyaNA to allow her to help him in his service to the Lord.

Since this was service to his Lord, Vipra NArAyaNA allowed Devadevi to join him. He showed her to a nearby cottage for her to stay. She started maintaining the gardens daily, watering the plants and cleaning the premises.

One day, there were heavy rains and Devadevi who was doing her chores got completely drenched. Feeling sorry for her, Vipra NArAyaNA asked her to come to his cottage for shelter. He gave her some dry clothes to change into. In the process he got attracted to her beauty. He eventually forgot all about his service to the Lord and only thought about Devadevi all the time.


However, Devadevi was only happy that she won her bet with her friend. She packed up her belongings and went back to her original way of life and her home. Vipra NArAyaNA could not bear to be separated from her and so followed her to her home. He waited and slept outside her house.


Watching all of this from their abode Sri Vaikuntam, PerumAL and ThAyAr did not want to see their ardent devotee so broken-hearted. ThAyAr asked, “Oh Lord, look at the state our devotee is in!

Can you please show Vipra NArAyaNA the proper path?”. PerumAL, upon His consort’s request to show mercy on Her child, took the form of Vipra NArAyaNA’s sishya.


He took his own golden pot from the RanganAthA temple and proceeded to Devadevi’s house. The sishya told Devadevi that this was a gift to her from Vipra NArAyaNA. Pleased by the gold, Devadevi asked Vipra NArAyaNA to come into the house and accepted him.


However, sentiments in the temple were different. There was a report made of the missing golden pot, and news reached the King. The King sent his police out to investigate. Soon enough, they tracked the missing golden pot to Devadevi who then pointed a finger at Vipra NArAyaNA. He was put in jail as punishment.


It was in jail that Vipra NArAyaNA realized his mistake and regretted it deeply. How could he forget his Lord and go down the wrong path? Surely, the Lord has taught him a lesson. The merciful divine couple only wanted Vipra NArAyaNA to realize his mistake and repent. Soon after, PerumAL appeared in the dream of the King and told him that it was his own divine lila. He ordered that the king release Vipra NArAyaNA.

The repentant Vipra NArAyaNA sought ways to overcome his actions. The elders around him advised him to take the powder (podi) of the dust of the feet (adi) of devotees of the Lord (Thondar), mix it in water and drink. Accordingly, Vipra NArAyaNA started washing the feet of devotees and consuming that water (srI pAda theertham). He changed for the better and started composing beautiful pAsurams in ecstasy of the Lord. He came to be known as Thondaradipodi AzhvAr.


He composed the celebrated works TirumAlai and Tirupalliezhuchi. These 2 great compositions came to be known as irumAlai (2 garlands). IrumAlai also referred to Thondaradipodi AzhvAr offering two types of garland to the lord, the flower garland and the garland of poems. Devadevi also eventually changed for the better and became a sishya of Thondaradipodi AzhvAr, doing all the service she could do.


The touched RAmAnujA upon hearing the story of the great AzhvAr exclaimed, “Oh dear child! One who does not know the TirumAlai composed by Thondaradipodi AzhvAr, does not truly know the lord TirumAl! AzhvAr has also included wise advice from his own life in TirumAlai! What story are you going to relate to us next, my child?”.



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