Peyalvar stands the 3rd among the 12 Alvars, and also holds a high pedestal in the Srivaishnavism sect.
His teachings and life values are so valuable that it is still preached and taught amongst the people in Srivaishnavism.
People consider him to be the direct incarnation of Nandaka (Nandaka is the favourite sword of lord Sri Vishnu).
Pey is a Tamil word which means highly possessed.
In some terms Pey also means a Ghost.
But Pey literally it means possessed, or possessed by something.
Pey alvar is the devotee of Lord Vishnu, who is possessed by the lord himself.
Hence he got the name Pey.
he even has other names like Mahadahvaya and Mylapuradapadhi.
There is actually a very little information about Pey Alvar’s birth and stories about his youth days.
But some sources mention, about his birth.
It is said that Pey alvar was found near a lily flower pond, in thy Adi keshava temple in Mylapore (A place in Chennai).
Pey alvar was a perfect role model in his time, and he believed in doing charity along with his devotion towards the lord.
There are notes that say that he even used to cure the most fatal diseases of his followers by just chanting the Hari nama.
He was firmly against the caste system, which was very high in his time.
His attitude towards everybody was equal, nobody was small or big in his eyes.
He used to remove all miseries and sorrows from the lives of the people, and instead induce bhakti in them.
People say that only fortunate people took birth in Pey Alvar’s time.
The 2 main Alvar’s excluding Pey alvar were Bhoothnath alvar and Poigai alvar.
These 3 Alvars form the Mudal (which means first alvar’s) Alvar’s.
These 2 Alvar’s also lived in the era of Pey alvar, in the early Kali Yuga or the ending Dwapara Yuga.
There is an interesting story where these 3 Alvar’s meet each other by the grace of lord Vishnu.
Pastime of Peyalvar with Poigai alvar and Bhoothnath Alvar
Once in the temple of Thirukkoilur it rained very heavily.
It was daytime but it became so dark that it looked like it was night.
Poigai alvar came running to a safe spot saving himself from the rain.
Soon even Bhoothnath alvar came at the same very spot, then both the Alvar’s sat waiting for the rain to end.
After some time Peyalvar came there, due to lack of space all the 3 stood up and started waiting.
Some time past and it became so dark that they could see each other’s face.
they could see or feel nothing other than harsh lightening, which covered the whole sky.
Suddenly they realised a fourth person intruding into there small space.
All the 3 wanted to somehow wanted to see the face of the 4th entity.
The Alvar’s were enlightened they soon understood that the 4th person was none other than lord Vishnu himself.
They could see nothing more than harsh lightening, which was emanating from the Lord’s face.
Pey alvar, Bhoothnath alvar and Poigai alvar became ecstatic with joy.
With happiness in their hearts they immediately composed 100 verses each in the praise of the lord.
Describing and praising the lord in their own perspectives.
In these 100 verses of Peyalvar, he describes the lord’s enchanting charm and his association with Shanka and Chakra.
Pey alvar became the Guru of Thirumalisai Alvar
There is another interesting anecdote where Peyalvar met Thirumalisai Alvar, and initiated him into Srivaishnavism.
Thirumalisai Alvar who is another great alvar and is the incarnation of the Sudarshana Chakra.
He once got astray from the path of Vaishnavism for which he was born, and adopted Shaivism.
He became so committed as a Shaivite, that people started calling him Sivavakyar.
This was against the purpose of his incarnation as Thirumalisai Alvar.
He had come to direct the world towards lord Vishnu and set examples as a Vaishnava.
In this story Peyalvar played the role as a perfect guru.
One day Thirumalisai Alvar who became Sivavakyar was walking when he saw and old many planting a plant upside down.
Sivavakyar laughed and asked the reason for this foolishness.
The old man said that his act is less foolish than Sivavakyar’s commitment to Shaivism.
The old man was Peyalvar himself who had come to initiate Sivavakyar back to Srivaishnavism.
These words of Peyalvar shook Sivavakyar faith systems.
He opened up his heart and put forth his views and faiths
This talk took a form of a heart to heart discussion (debate).
Peyalvar said that all the scriptures behold lord Sriman Narayana.
But still after knowing this fact, if one still disbelieves the lord then that person is foolish.
This debate changed the mindset of Sivavakyar.
Thirumalisai Alvar realised his mistake and his purpose of birth.
So he took initiation into Vaishnavism by Peyalvar.
In this story Peyalvar plays the important role of a ideal guru or a guide.
Compositions of Peyalvar
All the alvar’s being great devotees, were also great poets of their times.
Their compositions are share great emotions towards the supreme lord Sri Vishnu.
Sri Ramanujacharya saved all the great works of all the 12 Alvar’s.
Sri Peyalvar had written many beautiful and devotional poems, clearly depicting pure love towards the Lord.
That are regarded to be the highest of all, by great scholars and spiritual teachers.
He who resides in every bodies heart and soul.
Out of all his works Moondraam Thiruvandaadhi is the most important and notable work.
This work consists 100 verses, in which he describes the divine and magnificent form of the lord.
The writing style of this work is the Andhadhi style.
This style is simple, yet creative and well structured.
It follows a garland or a loop pattern, which makes this a beautiful style.
Andhadhi style was first found by a Shaiva devotee named Karaikal Ammaiyar.
He continues to describe all that he has realised and the knowledge that he has been blessed with.
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