Introduction to the Life of Poigai Alvar
Poigai alvar is one of the 12 alvar’s.
However, he is also one of the 3 principle Alvars.
These 3 principal Alvar’s include Bhoothnath Alvar, Peyalvar and Poigai Alvar.
These 3 principal alvar’s are widely called the Mudal Alavars.
Some Tamil accounts say that these 3 Alvars belonged to the ending years of the Dvapara age.
The clear purpose of his advent was to preach and guide the world towards the Supreme Lord.
People even call him by names such as Ayonigi, Saro-yogi, Kasara-yogi, Poigai-piraan, Saravora Munindra, and Padma-muni.
All the alvars are the incarnations of the Lord’s favourite companions.
It is also considered that Poigai alvar is the incarnation of Lord Sri Vishnu’s Conch (Panchajanya).
Lord Vishnu sends his people on Earth to guide the common man, and save the world from darkness.
The earth was becoming dark day by day as Kali was spreading.
So, the Lord sent his favourite conch to the earth as Poigai alvar
Pogai Alvar composed the Muthal Tiruvandadhi which consists of 100 verses.
His devotional poems are still sung in the temple of Srirangam.
In the Srirangam temple, people worship and respect Poigai Alvar as his contributions to the Sri Sampradaya are priceless.
The devotees celebrate the Alvar Utsavam which comes annually according to the Tamil calendar, in his honor.
People celebrate this festival in the Yadhothakaari Sannadhi temple.
There is a separate shrine in the Yadhothakaari Sannadhi temple, dedicated to Poigai Alvar.
There is little information about Poigai Alvar’s youthful days and his days of compositions.
Birth and Early Life of Poigai Alvar
Poigai Alvar was born as an enlightened devotee.
Born in the Siddhartha year, Iyppasi Month, Suklashtami, Tuesday in Thiruvona Nakshatram Poigai Alvar was found near a small pond.
The small pond was in the Yadhothakaari Sannadhi temple in the beautiful city of Kanchipuram, Thiruvekka.
In Tamil Poigai means small pond.
Hence, people call him as Poigai Alvar.
In his young age itself he had made up his mind that he will follow the path to Sriman Narayana and always think about Him.
He studied the life of a perfect Vaishnava and started living the life of one.
He was an ideal man of his time.
Many people used to consider him as their guru and he would also solve their problems.
He guided them towards the path to Sriman Naranaya.
As a result his name and fame spread amoungst the masses.
He went to many Divyadesams and sang the glories of Sriman Narayana to the common public.
His teachings guided the common man to worship the Supreme.
By nature he was kind, generous, knowledgeable and treated the devotees of the lord with full respect and care.
There is an interesting anecdote revolving around these 3 alvars (Poigai alvar, Bhoothnath alvar, Peyalvar).
The Meeting of the Mudal Alvars
One day at the Thirukovilur temple it started raining very heavily.
It was day time but still it became very dark.
Poigai Alvar started wandering from here to there finding a suitable place to take shelter.
At last he found a small place where only one person could lie down.
Soon, Bhoothnath alvar came at that same spot, seeking shelter.
So, both the Alvars sat at that place hoping that the rain would soon abate.
After some time passed Peyalvar also came there.
Now, as three of them tried to find space in the small corner, the three had to stand up and wait for the rain to end.
The three were packed in one corner and there was no space left.
After waiting for some time, they felt as if another person was trying to fit inside their space.
As every minute passed it became difficult for each one to see the other as darkness pervaded.
At this point, they could not even see each other’s face.
Inspiration for Poigai Alvar’s First Composition
Poigai alvar was trying to see the face of the 4th person but he failed.
He could only see streaks of lightning emanating from the body of 4th person.
The 3 Alvar’s realised, that the unknown 4th entity, was none other than the supreme lord.
He had a calm and divine face.
After realising this Poigai alvar eagerly wished to see the face of Lord.
He desired to glorify the Lord’s beauty and form.
But, again was unable to see the face.
Yet, Poigai alvar composed 100 verses of the Muthal Tiruvandadhi.
The Muthal Tiruvandadhi is a composition where he prays to the lord to remove the dark layers of ignorance.
He seeks the blessing of limitless knowledge and devotion.
The 2 remaining alvars, Bhoothnath alvar and Peyalvar also composed 100 verses each.
They too praised and described the Lord from their perspectives.
Muthal Tiruvandadhi was Poigai Alvar’s first composed song.
After this incident he became a renowned Bhakti poet.
Muthal Tiruvandadhi of Poigai Alvar
Poigai Alvar’s Muthal Tiruvandadhi’s writing style was unique and beautiful.
People call this writing style the Andhadhi style of writing.
This beautiful style of writing was first found by a staunch Shaiva Devotee named Karaikal Ammaiyar.
She is also one of the Nayanars.
Actually this writing style represents a garland or a loop, because of its unique structure and formation.
In this style, the last word of the series of verses becomes the very first verse, forming a loop.
Thus, it represents a garland.
In the Honor of Poigai Alvar
After all the achievements of his life, at the end he reached the lotus feet of Lord Sriman Narayana.
People remember and revere him in the Southern part of India.
But who made this treasure accessible to the common man.
It was Sri Ramanujacharya, the Shesha Avatar.
Sri Ramanujacharya is a great south Indian scholar and a big devotee of Perumal.
He has done the great work of reviving the greatness of the alvars and their prestigious works.
The main hub of Ramanuja Sampradaya is the Srirangam temple of Ranganthaswamy.
Here all the alvars are remembered and worshipped.
As a result of Ramanujacharaya’s great effort of preserving this great treasure of the alvars, today, we the common man have access to these spiritual gifts.
Poigai alvar always remains as a inspiration for people in the Srirangam temple.
Thanks for reading!