A sculpture of Bhujanga-sayana Perumal

The old lady, who was transformed into a beautiful damsel due to the mercy of Thirumazhisai-alwar, married Pallava Raya, the king of Tonda-Nadu, and became the queen of the region and the alwar continued his loving contemplation on the Supreme Lord peacefully.

Pallava Raya was so enchanted with the beauty of his new-found queen that he forgot everything and spent many years happily with her. After a long time the King noticed his body becoming old but, to his surprise, his queen seemed to be as young as he had found her. After thinking over the matter for some days he finally asked his queen about the secret of her everlasting youth. The queen narrated how she was transformed into a beautiful damsel by Thirumazhisai-alwar, and the greatness of the alwar.

Pallava Raya wanted to become young and beautiful like his queen and, being blinded by power, He decided to summon Thirumazhisai-alwar to his court. His queen intervened and asked Pallava-Raya to respectfully invite the alwar through Kanni-kannan, who used to visit the palace to seek alms often, and not to treat the alwar like he treated the normal people.

Unaware of the king’s intentions, Kanni-kannan came to the palace singing the glories of the Supreme Lord to seek alms as usual. Wily Pallava Raya invited Kanni-kannan inside and after exchanging pleasantries with Kanni-kannan, the king requested him to bring his master, Thirumazhisai-alwar, to his palace without revealing the purpose for which he wanted the alwar to come.

Kanni-kannan told the king that his master was a very advanced yogi and never goes to anybody’s house and that he is always engrossed in contemplating on the pastimes of the Supreme Lord. Pallava-Raya tried every possible method to convince Kanni-kannan to bring Thirumazhisai-alwar to the palace but he refused even to make an effort to invite Thirumazhisai-alwar to the palace.

Pallava Raya was disappointed and he asked Kanni-kannan, who was a very good singer, to at least sing about him. Kanni-kannan refused to sing about the king and told him that he would never sing the glories of ordinary mortals as he had dedicated his life only to sing the glories of the Lord.

That enraged the king further and, in a fit of rage, he banished Kanni-kannan from the kingdom. Kanni-kannan had to go away and he decided to pay one last visit to his master to tell him about everything before going away. Thirumazhisai-alwar was very fond of Kanni-kannan as he was a very good devotee and was shocked to know about his banishment. Thirumazhisai-alwar also decided not to stay in the kingdom that had banished a great devotee like Kanni-kannan.

Before leaving the kingdom, Thirumazhisai-alwar informed Bhujanga-sayana Perumal at Thiru-vekha that he would go away from the kingdom along with his disciple. Bhujanga-sayana Perumal, who was very fond of Thirumazhisai-alwar, said, “I do not dwell in the places where my devotees are not respected,” and decided to follow Thirumazhisai-alwar, shedding His Deity form. It is said that the Lord accompanied Thirumazhisai-alwar and Kanni-kannan along with His serpent, Anantha. As all the four started leaving the kingdom, a strange sort of uneasiness and gloom started to prevail and darkness enveloped the city. Even as the Lord, Anantha and His two devotees reached the outskirts of the city, night approached and they decided to rest in the open at a particular place.

By then the news of banishment and that of the Lord leaving the kingdom started to spread like wild fire and everyone in the kingdom started blaming the king for everything. Many people approached the king and asked him to realize his mistake and told him that the Lord would not return to his kingdom unless Thirumazhisai-alwar returns. Pallava Raya, who was stunned by the turn of events, rushed to the place where the Lord had camped along with His devotees.

Pallava Raya fell at the feet of Thirumazhisai-alwar and said, “O great saint please forgive me if I have committed any mistake and return to Kanchipuram as the Lord will not return without you and my kingdom would be ruined without the Lord.”

Thirumazhisai-alwar said, “I cannot stay without my disciple Kanni-kannan and you have banished him from your kingdom.”

The king realized his mistake and fell at Kanni-kannan’s feet and sought his forgiveness and revoked the banishment. Thirumazhisai-alwar asked the Lord to return to Kanchipuram along with them and the Lord immediately followed Thirumazhisai-alwar along with His serpent, Anantha and His paraphernalia. As the Lord in the form of Bhujanga-sayana Perumal did as told by the alwar, He is fondly called Sonna-vannam-seyda Perumal or Yadhoktha-kari.

After returning to His temple at Thiru-vekha (Kanchipuram) the Lord who was reclining on His right hand side till then decided to sleep on His left hand side to remind the future generations of this pastime. Therefore, the Lord had to place His head towards the Deity of river Vegavati personified, which was originally installed near the feet of the Lord. The place where the Lord spent one night in the open along with His devotees is called Oru-iravu-irrukai and some rituals are performed to commemorate this pastime once every year. One can see the Lord sleeping to His left at Thiru-vekha even today.

Let us know more about Thirumazhisai-alwar in the next post.

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