Thirumalisai Alvar is one of the 12 Alvars, who is known and respected in Srivaishnavism belief.
He is an incarnation of Lord Sri Vishnu’s Sudarshana Chakra.
The Sudarshana Chakra is the weapon of the Supreme Lord, protecting His near and dear devotees.
The Sudarshan Chakra protected the Life of King Ambarisha from Sage Durvasa.
The spiritual significance is that if we read and worship the Lord, he shall always protects us.
There are unusual and astonishing events in the life of Thirumalisai Alvar.
So, as he is the Sudarshan Chakra his life is also unique.
Only through devotion and surrender can we understand the Lord and his devotees’ pastimes.
Thirumalisai Alvar himself said that he is not Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, or Shudra.
So people call him Avarna (Beyond Cast), beyond the caste system.
The Strange Birth Of Thirumalisai Alvar
People believe that Thirumalisai Alvar was born in Thirumazhisai and from there he got his name.
The birth of Thirumalisai Alvar was strange and unusual.
Lord Vishnu became worried and disturbed at the advent of Kali Yuga on earth.
He feared to send his dear ones on earth, where the dark age of Kali had begun.
Lord Vishnu did not want to send his dear weapon Sudarshan.
But the situation on the earth was worsening, and the Lord was in a fix.
He did not know how his people would spend their life on the earth.
So, Sudarshana Chakra assured the Lord about himself.
He left for earth, leaving behind the Lord in tears.
Thirumalisai Alvar was born to Bhargava Rishi and to his wife Kanakangi.
Usually, a child remains in the mother’s womb for just 9 months.
But Thirumalisai Alvar remained in his mother’s womb for 12 unusual months.
The condition of Thirumalisai Alvar’s birth was horrifying to his parents.
As the child was born without arms and legs.
Saddened by this his parents left him in the Forest.
The baby was crying as it was drenched in blood and was infected with worms and mosquitoes.
Lord Vishnu became worried and appeared there with mother Laxmi.
The Lord touched the child and Mother Laxmi fed the baby and returned back.
The touch and milk of lord Vishnu and mother Laxmi turned the baby into a beautiful boy.
Which made him devoid of all illness and became well protected from harsh climates.
Life after Being Adopted
One day a childless tribal couple came there in the forest for some work and became happy to see the boy.
So to satisfy their want for a child they adopted the child and took the boy to their home.
After being adopted Thirumalisai Alvar never ate or drank anything.
Because after being fed by mother Laxmi he had lost interest in anything.
This behaviour concerned his tribal parents.
One day an old agriculturist couple came to the house of the tribal couple.
They had some milk with them, so they offered it to the child.
And the child drank and relished the milk.
This made his parents happy and told the old couple to come every day and give some milk to their child.
The old couple started coming every day to give the child some milk.
But Thirumalisai Alvar noticed that the old couple had a worry and a sadness on their face
So he asked the couple about their worry.
The couple told Thirumalisai Alvar that they yearned for a child, but they are old and cannot beget any child.
After hearing to them fully Thirumalisai Alvar told them to drink the leftover milk left by him.
When the couple did so they regained their youth and begot a son.
The baby got the name Kanikannan.
Kanikannan later became the disciple of Thirumalisai Alvar.
Shift from Shaivisim to Vaishnavism
At the age of 8, Thirumalisai Alvar renounced the world and became a hermit.
He studied all the scriptures including Buddhist and Jain Scriptures.
After a thorough study of scriptures, he became a staunch Shiva devotee and earned the name of Siva Vakya.
One day he saw an old man planting a plant upside down.
So Sivavakyar asked the old man, that why he is attempting such a foolish task.
The old man was none other than Pey Alvar, who had come to teach a lesson to Sivavakyar.
Pey Alvar told him that this act is less foolish than Sivavakyar’s commitment to Shaivism.
Even after knowing that the Vedas and scriptures proclaim Sriman Narayana as the Supreme Lord.
After a set of arguments, Sivavakyar initiated himself from Pey Alvar into Vaisnvisim.
After being initiated Thirumalisai Alvar and Kanikannan moved to Thiruvekka.
It is the birth place of Poigai Alvar, which falls in the district of Kanchipuram.
The Pastime of Displeasing the Pallava King
Once in Kanchipuram an old spinster came to Kanikannan and served him for some time.
Pleased by her service Kanikannan asked her a boon, and so the old lady desired for youth and beauty.
After hearing her desire Kanikannan restored her youth, with unsurpassed beauty.
This news of this wonder reached the Pallava King of Kanchipuram.
And he married the same woman who newly received her youth and beauty.
But the king was not happy because his new wife was day by day growing young and he was growing old.
So the king asked his wife for a solution for his growing age.
The new queen gave him the idea of asking his youth from Kanikannan.
So the king send some of his people to Kanikannan to bring him to his court.
But Kanikannan refused to come to the king’s court.
So the king asked him to compose some verses on him.
And yet again Kanikannan refused and said that he will only compose or sing for the lord.
Thirumalisai Alvar’s Influence on Lord Vishnu
Now the Pallava king used some logic and told Kanikannan that he is also the part and parcel of the lord.
Therefore, he must compose some verses in his honour.
After hearing this Kanikannan composed some verses, but not in the praise of the king but in the praise of the lord.
This act of Kanikannan enraged the Pallava king so much that he ordered him to leave Kanchipuram immediately.
When this news reached Thirumalisai Alvar, he became angry and complained to the lord while singing.
Thirumalisai Alvar told the lord
“Kanikannan is going out of Kanchi O! Manivanna, You don’t have to lie here anymore.
Since, as the fluent poet that I am also leaving with him.
You also roll your serpent bed and follow me”.
After hearing these words, the lord of Thiruvekka folded Adishesha as a mat and followed him
When the Lord, Alvar and his disciple left Kanchipuram even the peace, prosperity and glory left the place.
The king realised his mistake and asked forgiveness for his folly.
He begged to them to return back to Kanchipuram.
Thirumalisai Alvar again sang to the lord and told him
“Kanikannan has changed his mind and rescind his decision to leave Kanchi.
Since, as the fluent poet that I am also returning with him.
You may also return and lie down on your serpent bed as before”.
Thus the lord did as Alvar said and unfolded Adishesha and reclined on him once again.
Kanchipuram regained its lost glory.
And from that day the lord of Thiruvekka was also called “Sonna vannam Seitha Perumal” (Meaning ‘the Lord who acted as told’).
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