During his brief stay at Mahisara, Thirumazhisai-alwar’s thirumani, a mound of white mud that is used by Sri Vaishnavas to apply urdhva-pundram (a sacred mark indicating one’s subservience to the Lord) on different parts of the body, got exhausted.
Thirumazhisai-alwar was disturbed as all his efforts to procure thirumani went in vain (in those days, the Vaishnavas never did a thing without applying urdhva-pundrams). Thirumazhisai-alwar went to bed and Lord Srinivasa, of Tirumala, appeared in his dream and asked Thirumazhisai-alwar to dig at a particular place for thirumani. Thirumazhisai-alwar did as told by the Lord and found a lot of thirumani and became happy.
After sometime, Thirumazhisai-alwar decided to move to Kanchipuram, which is considered as the most sacred place on this planet by all the three cults – Vaishnavas, Shaivas and Shakteyas.
The Vaishnavas adore Lord Varadaraja and other Deities in Kanchipuram while the Shaivas adore Ekambareshwara, and the Shakteyas worship Goddess Kamakshi with utmost devotion. Kanchipuram is also considered to be one of the seven places in which people attain liberation just by staying there and the other six places are Ayodhya, Mathura, Haridwar, Kashi, Avanti and Dvaraka.
After having the darshan of all the Deity forms of Lord Vishnu at Kanchi, Thirumazhisai-alwar selected Thiru-vekha, which is surrounded by Sri Varadaraja Swami Temple, Sri Deepaprakasha Temple, Sri Azhagia Singar Temple, Ashtabuja Perumal Temple, Pandavadootha Perumal Temple, Ulaganda Perumal Temple and seven other very important Vaishnava shrines, to stay and continue his devotional service.
Kanni-kannan, who was born to an old couple due to the blessings of Thirumazhisai-alwar, got to know about the presence of the alwar in Kanchipuram and came to him having renounced everything.
Kanni-kannan fell at the lotus feet of the alwar and started to serve him with his permission. Thirumazhisai-alwar used to go into a trance while contemplating on the glories of the Lord and would never come out of it for months.
According to some people, Thirumazhisai-alwar used to see and experience the unlimited glories and beauty of the Lord and see different pastimes of the Lord within his mind whenever he used to go into a trance.
Thirumazhisai-alwar used to occasionally drink some milk that was supplied by Kanni-kannan whenever he used to come out of his trance and that was his only means of sustenance. Thirumazhisai-alwar, thus, spent a very long time undisturbed at Thiru-vekha.
The greatness of Thirumazhisai-alwar started to spread far and wide. Many people started coming to see the alwar and a very few could speak to him as he was always in a trance.
One old lady who was fed up of life decided to serve Thirumazhisai-alwar till her death and used to regularly clean his dwelling and decorate it with various drawings (Rangoli). After many years, Thirumazhisai-alwar woke up from his trance and was very pleased to see his surroundings clean. Thirumazhisai-alwar asked the old lady if she needed anything and, to that, the old lady replied, “This old body is making my life miserable. Could you make it young and beautiful?”
The saint mercifully glanced at the old lady and all of a sudden she was transformed into a beautiful young lady and looked like a celestial damsel. Pallava-raya, the king of the region that was then called Tonda-Nadu, happened to see her when he was going through the region and begged her to marry him.
(Before we proceed to narrate one of the most important pastimes of Thirumazhisai-alwar and the Lord’s Deity at Thiru-vekha, it is appropriate to very briefly narrate the sthala-purana of Kanchi as it is relevant to the pastime and as the proof of occurrence of that particular pastime can be seen even today.)
Let us briefly know about Kanchipuram in the next post.