Thondaradippodi Alvar also known as Vipra Narayana stands 10th in the line of the 12 alvars.
People call him as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu’s Garland.
He even wrote Tiruppalli Ezuchi which has 10 verses and the other work named Tirumaalai has 40 verses.
All these great works have contributed a lot to mankind.
Srirangam temple’s people honor him by celebrating a festival called the Vasantha Utsavam.
Even today, people celebrate this festival in the Srirangam garden, in his memory.
Initially, Thondaradippodi Alvar used to maintain the Srirangam garden.
Birth and Teenage of Thondaradippodi Alvar
The Chola empire has been rich in prosperity, justice and love for its subjects.
The Cauvery river surrounds the Kingdom which makes the place beautiful and vegetative.
This kingdom was rich in scenic beauty.
In this empire, there was a small village named “Thiru mandaggudi.
In this village the Brahmin Community explained the 4 Vedas.
There lived the Kudumi Sozhiyap Brahmanar or the Vipra community.
This community’s normal and daily work was only to praise Lord Vishnu.
In this community there lived a brahmin named Veda Visaradha.
Veda Visaradha was a staunch devotee of Lord Narayana who adored his deity with garlands as a daily routine.
In the Prabhava year, Margazhi month, Krishna Chaturthi, Tuesday in Kettai Natchathiram a beautiful boy child was born to him.
After the 12th day of his birth festival, his parents kept his name Vipra Naraynar.
Veda Visaradha raised his son with great affection and bhakti.
He performed all the duties of an ideal father.
He even concentrated on his son’s worldly education as well as inculcated bhakti in his son’s heart, for Narayana.
Vipra Naraynar grew up with all good qualities and education.
He was tall and beautiful and had great bhakti just like his father.
He respected everybody with respect, be it elder or younger than him.
So, he became very dear to everyone.
One day Seenai Mudaliyaar a great devotee and leader of Vishnu troops met Vipra Naraynar.
He revealed to him his reason of his birth.
He guideed him on necessary things he should follow to Attain Moksha.
After listening to the seer, Vipra Naraynar understood the mission of his birth.
From that day itself he changed his approach to Lord Narayana.
After that he became more devoted and affectionate to his deity.
Thondaradippodi Alvar’s Services at Srirangam
Vipra Naranayar did not understand how he could show his Bhakti towards the lord.
After great thinking he came to the conclusion of visiting all the Vishnu temples and serving the deity there.
He very well knew which temple he should visit first.
So, he visited the greatest of all, the Srirangam temple of Ranganatha Swamy.
This temple is understood as the head office of all the Vishnu temples.
When he entered the premises of the Srirangam temple, he forgot everything else.
The bewitching sight of the deity made him ecstatic.
He decided to spend his life in the feet of Rangantha.
As a service, he decided to offer garlands to Perumal every day so that he can express his feelings in a better way.
Soon, he also constructed a beautiful flower park by the name Nandavanam inside the premises of the Srirangam temple.
There various fragrant flowers blossomed.
He built a small hut in the park and started staying there.
Every day in the early morning as a routine he would collect fresh flowers and make beautiful garlands to offer them to Sri Rangantatha.
He was unaware of the changes of the world.
So, people around him formed an opinion that he was unconcerned about other people.
Devi Laxmi and Lord Vishnu were noticing everything that was happening on the Earth.
Laxmi devi was concerned for Vipra Narayanar.
His detachment should turn into attachment she thought.
She expressed her desire to Sri Narayana.
The Lord who knows everything smiled and asked Devi Laxmi to watch patiently the events that were to unfold.
The Change in Vipra Narayanar’s Life
Back in the Thirukkarambanoor region there lived two dancers, who would dance in front of kings and earn awards.
Their names were Devi and Devadevi.
These two dancers would sway with their dance moves and attract the attention of the common folk with their extraordinary beauty.
They had heard that the Chozha king was very generous and respected art.
So, they decided to dance before the king and receive some rewards.
Finally through their dance and skill, pleased the Chozha king.
As a result, the dancers received precious gifts from the king.
Both the dancers became satisfied, and decided to leave.
But, the youngest among them Deva Devi wanted to visit the Srirangam temple.
She desired to worship Rangantha for some time.
So, they left for Srirangam and visited the temple, where they heard about the beauty of the Nandavanam garden.
They learnt about its owner, Vipra Narayanar.
They immediately rushed to see the garden and became enchanted by its beauty.
At a distance they saw Vipra Naryanar collecting flowers.
Both of them became amazed to see him.
But, it felt like he was oblivious of their presence.
This irritated the sisters, and Deva Dasi, the most beautiful amongst them, decided to meet him.
However, the elder sister Devi disagreed.
A Twist in the Story
Yet, Deva Dasi went in the form of a lady muni.
She approached Vipra Naryanar and asked him whether she could serve him.
Vipra Naryanar agreed, on seeing her sincerity.
She served him with full faith.
However, no amount of service could allow seeds of attachment to grow in his heart.
Vipra Naryanar was very strict with his principles and did not allow her to enter his hut.
Some time passed, and one fine day it rained heavily.
Deva Dasi stayed outside his hut.
As a result, the rain water drenched her.
She was shivering with cold.
Looking at her state, Vipra Narayanar allowed her inside the hut.
Soon, she became successful in attracting him towards her.
As time passed, she enslaved him through her beauty.
Now, he Vipra Narayanar could not even stay for a moment without her.
He forgot his duties towards the lord and did not pay attention to his daily seva.
Meanwhile, Deva Dasi started missing her home, mother and sister living in Thirukkarambanoorand.
So to make her happy, Vipra Narayanar and Deva Dasi both set out on their journey to Thirukkarambanoor.
When they reached Deva Dasi’s home, her mother did not allow Vipra Narayanar inside till he gave her some money.
He became utterly sad as he was poor.
Moreover, he did not have money to pay Deva Dasi’s mother.
So, he went back home dejected.
Redemption of Vipra Narayanar
Sriman Narayana thought it is time now to bring back Vipra Narayanar to his path.
The Lord disguised himself.
He went to Deva Dasi’s home as the disciple of Vipra Narayanar.
The Lord in the form of a common man gave the Mother a golden vessel.
He told her that his guru had sent this present for her.
The Woman became very happy and told him that his guru could enter her house.
Lord Sriman Narayana in the form of the common man went to Vipra Narayanar and gave him the news.
He became very happy and went to the Deva Dasi’s house.
The next morning the Hindu priest of the Ranganath temple found that the Lord’s gold vessel was missing.
So, they informed the king.
The king ordered his soldiers to find the vessel.
Astonishingly, they found the vessel inside Deva Dasi’s house.
He did a trial on how the vessel reached Deva Dasi’s house.
The suspects informed that Vipra Narayanar’s disciple gave the vessel to them.
But, as he did not have any disciple, Vipra Narayanar became the only suspect.
So, he was put into jail.
Vipra Narayanar Becomes Thondaradipodi Alwar
Inside the jail, he cried out for the Lord and asked Forgiveness from him.
The Lord heard his devotees’ words in mind came in the dream of the king.
He explained to him what had happened.
The next day the king realized his mistake.
So, he freed Vipra Narayanar with full respect and honor as given to a Vishnu bhakta.
From that day Vipra Narayanar went to Ranganathaswamy’s temple and became his staunch follower.
He became such a mad devotee of the lord that he started applying the dust of the Lord’s devotees on his head.
He would praise the lord.
Eventually he became Thondaradippodi Alvar.
He got this name as he would apply podi (dust of devotees) on his forehead.
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