Amalān Ādi Pirāṉ | Tiruppānāḷvar
Amalān Ādi Pirāṉ. - Tiruppānāḷvar
Tiruppānāḷvar is considered the eleventh in the line of the twelve Āḻvārs. The story of Tiruppānāḷvar is most simple and yet profound and touching to the heart:
He was born and raised among the Pānars who were considered of low class and were not allowed to dwell with the so called high class people of the town.
Āḻvār on the other hand was completely immersed in divine love all his life with his mind fixed on the Arcā mūrti, Lord Śrī Raṅganātha.
And eventually the Lord received him with great honours into his sanctum being carried literally on the shoulders by the high priest of the temple. The story tells it the following way:
A sage by name Loka-Sāranga came to the river Kāverī for drawing water for the temple.
Pānar was in deep devotion and was unaware of his surroundings that he missed the voice of Sāranga asking him to leave way.
The sage threw a small stone in his direction to wake him, but the stone accidentally hit the forehead of Pānar and he started to bleed. Pānar realised what did happen and quietly retired.
Unaware of the injury caused to Pānar, the sage returned to the temple. He was taken aback on seeing blood oozing out from the forehead of the image of Raṅganātha.
That very night, Vishnu appeared in the dream of Loka Sāranga and commanded him to fetch Pānar to the temple the next morning in his shoulders.
Accordingly, Loka-Sāranga requested Pānar to come to the temple. But, Pānar, referring to his lowly birth, declined to enter the holy place. When he was told of Vishnu's commandment, Pānar was beside himself and was lost in a deep trance.
Loka-Sāranga said that if that were his objection, he could carry him on his shoulders to the temple.
When they reached the sanctum, Pānar experienced the bliss of Raṅganātha and composed the Amalān Ādi Pirāṉ, a poem describing the beauty from head to foot of Vishnu in ten verses and ultimately laid his life at the feet of the deity.
Tiruppānāḷvar himself later merged completely with the Lord in His sanctum similar to Śrī Āṇḍāḷ.
The life of Thiru Tiruppānāḷvar should teach us to rise above all caste distinctions and give up all ego arising out of one's status in life. Furthermore, the status in life is neither an impediment nor important in spiritual quest and fulfilment.
In South-Indian Vishnu temples, Tiruppānāḷvar has images and festivals associated with him. The Tiruppānāḷvar Avatāra Utsavam is celebrated in Śrī Raṅgam and for ten days in Aḻakiya Maṇavāḷa Perumāḷ Temple in Urayur.
The verses of Tiruppānāḷvar and other Āḻvārs are recited as a part of daily prayers and during festive occasions in most Vishnu temples in South India.
Although Amalān Ādi Pirāṉ consists of only 10 verses, it is extremely beautiful and profoundly philosophic.
He is the faultless god.
He gives us his grace and makes us his devotees.
He is pure, the king of the gods in the sky.
He is the god of Tiruvēṅkaṭam hills
surrounded with fragrant groves.
He is the god of justice in the sky.
He is the dear one who stays in Srirangam
surrounded by tall walls.
His lotus feet came and entered my eyes.
He is pleasant and joyful.
He measured the world,
growing so tall that his crown touched the sky.
As Rāma he killed the Rākṣasas with his cruel arrows.
He belongs to the Kākutstha dynasty
and he is the god of Srirangam surrounded by fragrant groves.
My thoughts are immersed in the red garment
that he wears on his waist.
The female monkeys jump everywhere
in the Tiruvēṅkaṭam hills in the north
where the gods in the sky come to worship
the lord who sleeps on the snake bed.
He is decorated with a red garment
that is like the colour of the evening sky.
This devotee’s heart thinks only of the navel
decorated with a red garment and the beauty of the god
who created Nāṉmukaṉ from his navel.
The god who has the colour of the ocean
shot sharp arrows, conquering and killing
ten-headed Rāvaṇa, the king of Lanka,
surrounded by great walls on all four sides.
The beautiful ornament tied on the divine waist
of the god of Srirangam
where bees that drink honey sing
and beautiful peacocks dance
entered my heart and stayed there.
He removed all the bad karma
that has burdened me all my life.
The god made me his dear devotee and entered my heart.
I don’t know what hard penance
I could have done for this to happen.
The ornamented divine chest of the god of Srirangam
made me his slave and protects me.
He removed the suffering of Shiva
who has the white crescent moon in his jata.
He, our father, stays in Srirangam
surrounded with groves where bees live.
See, the throat of the god that swallowed all the earth,
sky and the seven mountains
gave its grace to me.
He holds a curling conch in one hand
and a discus like fire in the other.
His body is like a tall mountain.
His long hair is decorated with a fragrant Tulasī garland.
He is the god of beautiful Srirangam
and he, Māyaṉār, sleeps on a snake bed.
His red mouth captivates my heart.
He came as a man-lion
and split open the body of Hiraṇya.
He is the ancient god of the gods in the sky.
The large, red-lined divine eyes on his dark face,
shining and touching his ears,
make me crazy.
As a baby he slept on a banyan leaf.
He swallowed all the seven worlds.
He sleeps on a snake bed on the ocean.
His dark body, endlessly beautiful,
is decorated with pearl garlands
and precious, lovely diamond chains.
Oh, his blue body steals my heart!
He has the colour of a cloud.
He is a cowherd.
His mouth is filled with butter.
He captivates my heart.
He is the king of the gods in the sky.
He is Raṅgam, the beautiful god.
Once they have seen him who is nectar,
my eyes do not wish to see anything else.