Ālavandhār 's sishya, Daivāri Āndān, was an icon of Āchārya Bhakti.
As we saw in the last episode, King Ālavandhār, the grandson of Sriman Nāthamunigal, was brought into Sri Vaishnava Sampradāyam by Manakkāl Nambi to propagate the Vaishnava tradition. An ardent devotee of Lord Ranganātha, Sri Ālavandhār took charge of the Āchārya pītham as Yāmuna Munigal and preserved our Vaishnava Sampradāyam very sincerely.
Once, in Sri Ranganātha temple, there was an utsavam known as 'Araiyar sevai' in which Āzhwār's pasurams were expressed through song and dance with thālam and abhinayam. When Ālavandhār listened to those Pāsurams chanted in praise of Lord Ananthapadmanābha of Thiruvananthapuram, he was overcome with longing to see Ananthapadmanābha Swāmi. He asked his devotees to arrange for the trip to Ananthapuram after obtaining permission from Lord Ranganātha of Srirangam. Who would then look after Ranganātha kainkaryam at Srirangam? In his absence, Ālavandhār advised Daivāri Āndān to look after the mutt and temple affairs.
Because of his immeasurable respect and love to his guru Ālavandhār, Daivāri had never parted with his guru so far! Unable to bear the pangs of separation, he turned pale and thin. The other devotees took him to the doctor. After verifying his pulse etc., the doctor declared that Daivāri Āndān had no bodily condition but was badly affected mentally. When asked, Daivāri lamented, "Āchāryanai vittu pirivanō?"
The doctor agreed that the cause of his ill health was his separation from his Āchārya and advised them to take Daivāri to his Āchārya immediately or else it may affect his life. The other sishyas carried him to Thiruvananthapuram on his sickbed.
The moment he realized he was going to meet his guru, Daivāri's fever reduced! As they got closer to Trivandrum, he became normal. Daivāri rose from the bed and started walking. When Daivāri reached Ālavandhār's place, the sishyas were wonderstruck as to whether or not Daivāri was ill. He had completely recovered.
When Ālavandhār came out after the darshan of Lord Ananthapadmanābha, Daivāri finally
came to face with him. As he was longing for the darshan of Āchārya, he went running and prostrated before him. But Ālavandhār got angry with Daivāri as he failed to remain at Srirangam, as he was instructed. Ālavandhār said, "in Rāmāyana, Bharatha took the responsibility of looking after Ayodhya for fourteen years to respect Lord Rāma's wishes, whereas by your presence here at Ananthapuram you are disrespecting my words."
Daivāri Āndān was extremely sorry upon hearing his Āchārya's sharp words, even though he had carried out his guru's instructions meticulously. He further lamented that he came in search of his guru but angered him and was not fit to be his sishya. Due to mental shock Daivāri Āndān remained prostrated at his Āchāryas feet for a long time. Ālavandhār asked him, "Are you still not able to get up?” All the sishyas then conveyed to Ālavandhār, “From the moment he departed Srirangam, Daivāri's health worsened to the extent of being fatal to his life, and it was the doctor who advised that Daivāri's life could only be saved if he is brought to you without delay. That’s why we brought him to you by lifting him on shoulders with the cot - to save his life.
As we arrived closer to Ananthapuram, Daivāri miraculously began to recovering and he is now standing hale and hearty before you, Āchārya deva.”
Ālavandhār melted. He embraced Daivāri and asked him to take darshan of Lord Ananthapadmanābha. Daivāri replied that Lord Ananthapadmanābha was right in front of him, in the form of his Āchārya and thus there was no need to go anywhere for his darshan. All the sishyas and people around marvelled at Daivāri's Āchārya Bhakthi. Then Ālavandhār himself took Daivāri to Ananthapadmanābha sannidhi for divya darshanam.
Thirukolur Penpillai told Bhagavad Rāmānujar that she has no such Āchārya like Ālavandhār nor Āchārya Bhakthi like Daivāri, such that Āchārya was one’s life itself. On hearing this, Rāmānujar told Penpillai that there are always some exemplary sishyas like Daivāri. There was Madhurakavi who worshipped his Āchārya Nammāzhvār alone and no other deity in his life. So also Vaduga Nambi considered his Āchārya Rāmānujar to be his everything.
These saints have shown us the path that only with Āchārya’s blessings one can attain God. Daivāri is one such sishya. Lord Ramanuja commended, “Well said, Pillai! Whom you are going to tell us about next?"
“Andhādhi sonneno Amudhanāraip pola?"