Who is Periyalwar?
Periyalvar was initially known as Vishnuchittar.
He is one of the 12 alvars mainly known for adopting the only female alvar and the incarnation of Bhudevi Andal.
Though, Nammalvar was the head of the Azhwars, Periyalwar seems to be the luckiest of all of them as he got the opportunity to adopt and raise Bhudevi.
Vishnuchittar got the name Periyalvar after the Pandiyan King Vallabhadeva awarded him for his knowledge.
Another reason for this name is his parental and elderly affection for Lord Krishna.
Other than this he was a great devotee on his own.
In his young age he had renounced all worldly activities including his education.
But, due to his unwavering devotion to his lord, Sri Narayana Himself granted Vishnuchittar all knowledge.
Lord Vishnu does beautiful pastimes to glorify his devotees and inspires them to do something remarkable which influences the common folk.
Due to the Lord’s grace Periyalvar became an influential devotional poet who wrote songs in honor of Lord Sri Hari.
We shall discuss the 2 main notable works of Periyalvar.
Thirupallandu is a notable and famous work of Periyalvar.
He composed the 12 beginning verses of the poem starting with the words Pallandu Pallandu which he had sung in the praise of Lord when King Vallabhadeva, first time honored him.
He was riding on an elephant when he saw the divine couple Sri Vishnu and Srimati Laxmi on top of Garuda.
Pallandu Pallandu means many many years back.
Thiru in this context signifies divinity, purity and respect.
The content of this poem features his concern, love, superiority and affection towards the Lord.
Periyalvar prays to Mahavishnu not for his welfare but for the protection and welfare of the Lord himself.
This is because he considers Lord Sri Vishnu to be younger than him.
Periyalvar must protect his Lord, this is his mood.
Such a devotion can only be found in a devotee who has given everything to his lord and who is not at all worried about himself.
Instead, he is only worried for his Lord.
Even though Thirupallandu has pure emotions of Bhakti for the lord, people deem it as the repository of Vedantic teachings.
Each verse of this divine poem has deep teachings of Vedanta.
Periyalwar also explains the power and divine reality of Sriman Narayana.
Scholars Review Thirupallandu
Big scholars describe Thirupallandu as Thirupavai, written by Andal (Periyalvar’s daughter).
They even state that the specific 12 beginning verses of Thirupallandu are the essence of Vedanta.
It is mentioned that Jatayu is considered as Pariya Udaiyar as he gave his blessings to Divinity personified, Sri Rama.
So, in the same way Periyalvar shares the same relations with his deity by showering his blessing on the lord.
Wise and elderly people fully respect and accept Thirupallandu, even though the author considers himself elder and more superior than the divine.
The Divine verses of Thirupallandu are still sung in the Holy Temple of Srirangam.
This work of Periyalwar describes the birth, childhood pranks and early youth pastimes of Lord Sri Krishna.
There are 43 stanzas each with 10 or 11 pasurams.
Each stanza equates to a sacred saying (Thirumozhi).
“Periyalwar Thirumozhi” contained 10 Thirumozhi.
Only fortunate people can read or listen to this great work, Periyalwar Thirumozhi, say many.
In this poem, Periyalwar’s affection for little Krishna is beyond description.
His work transcends all material identities to glorify the pastimes of the Lord.
Periyalwar’s work is difficult to explain as this work is a transaction of pure love towards little Krishna who is adored by mother Yashoda and the other gopikas.
When we even hear or read this poem we will not find it to be the work of Periyalwar the great scholar, but we simply behold the beautiful and sweet figures of Yashodha mai and little Krishna.
Parental affection towards the Lord, in Periyalwar’s view, was the topmost.
Even great seers say without the slightest doubt that even a drop of that joy attained by Yashoda Maiya cannot be thought of by the great celestial Devatas or Munis.
Scholars Review Periyalwar Thirumozhi
Great scholars note that Periyalwar’s works are results of great skill, emotion, and poetic expression.
Periyalwar describes the lord in such a poetic way that it feels that Kanan himself stands in front of us.
He describes the golden groves of Vrindavan etc.
It is difficult to find another book parallel to Periyalwar Thirumozhi.
Scholars also explain the verses to reflect Vedantic concepts and Srivaishnava philosophy.
This literature has a lot of Tamil words, difficult to translate.
So, the reviewers note that the influence of folk literature makes it a little difficult.
The ending pasuram displays the concept of Vishishtadvaita philosophy where Periyalwar places himself inside the lord who is inside him.
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