Poikai Azhawar

Thondai-Nadu is located in the northern part of the Tamil Nadu of South India.

Kanchi-Puram is the Capital City of this Thondai-Nadu.

Long back, during the time when Kingdoms and Empires were existed, the spectacular city of Kanchi-Puram was the capital city of Chola dynasty first and then Palava dynasty later on.

The city is still vibrant there as a proof of the old Tamil cultural capital. The chroniclers suggest us that the city was under the influence of different religions as a result of changing hands between various dynasties.

It was once the capital of Hindu rulers and combine sub-sects of Saivaism and Vaishanvaism were flourishing. Then at another point it was the under the influence of Buddhism. Yet later it was under the influence of Jainism too.

As the saying goes that the ‘Subjects adhere to the path of the Kings’, when the rulers determined to abide by a new faith the citizens too needed to follow suit. Also when new external rulers captured area of Kanchi-Puram as well as the kingdom in wars, they required the residents to follow their faith also.

As a result the present city of Kanchi-Puram has several Saiva temples as well as of Vaishnava Temples and also famously known as ‘Temple City’. People of Kanchi-Puram visit both temples as ‘Hindu Temples’.

There is a village close to the city of Kanchi-Puram known as Thirup-Paruththik-Kunram where there is an amazing temple of ‘Jainism’ faith that can be seen as an evidence of the influence of the faith of ‘Jainism’ once there. There are some families of ‘Jainism’ faith live around this temple.

This temple is visited not just by Jains but also by Hindus of both Saivas and Vaisanavas.

Western part of the city of Kanchi-Puram has many Shiva temples and so it is known as ‘Shiva Kanchi’ and also similarly eastern part has many Vishnu temples and so it is known as ‘Vishnu Kanchi’.

Thiru-Vekka is an ancient Thirumal (Vishnu) temple situated in the Vishnu Kanchi. It was also known as ‘The Sanctum of Yadodkaari’ as well as ‘Sonna Vannam Seithaan’ (indicates; the one (Lord)that delivered as promised). There is an attractive pond attached to the temple.

Long before this pond (‘ Poikai’ is Tamil) had a great deal of lovely flowers such as lotus, lily and so on. The priests of the temple made use of these flowers to decorate the deity of the sanctum as well as used them for everyday poojas.

One day when the priests wading in the pond to collect flowers, they observed a little baby boy in the centre of the lotus flowers.

They picked up the little one and soon understood by the grace of the god that baby was an avatar of the conch known as ‘Pancha-Janjam’ that can be seen in the hand of Lord Maha Vishnu.

Since he was discovered in the Poikai (pond) he became known as ‘Poikai Azhwar’.

As per the historical note, the ‘Poikai Azhwar’ was born in the 7th century and in a Tamil month of ‘Aippasi’ (October– November) an under the star of Thiruvonam. The purpose of the avatar of the ‘Poikai Alwar’ was to glorify the Lord with devotional songs known as Thirup-paasuram.

Poikai Azhwar had a great deal of love for the Lord from his childhood years. He was an excellent student too and also learned deeply all that needs to be learned as he grew up.

As per his deep learning and understanding, he realized that the salvation in this life and also afterlife is just with the grace of the God and so he came to be uninterested in the worldly affairs around him as well as his surroundings.

He determined that his only job in this world was to glorify the Lord Maha Vishnu and also to serve his devotees. He went on trips to some other great temples of the Lord and also sang and glorified the deities of those temples.

The first one hundred of the devotional songs he vocalized known as Thirup-paasuram have been grouped as ‘First Thiruvanthathi’.

Here is among the best Thirup-paasuram of Poikai Alwar:

‘Nayaven PiRar PoruLai; NaLen KeeLvaarOdu
Uyiven UyaRnthavarOdu, AlLal Viyeven
ThiruMaa-lai Al-lathu Theivam Enru EenthThen;
Varuma EnMel Vinai?

Meaning:

I would not touch the possessions of others
I would not want to know those who have paltry thoughts and get along only with those high people that glorify Lord Thirumal. Would any harms come on me, given that I would certainly not pray anybody other than Lord Thirumal?

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