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Friday, December 6, 2013

Thiru Mandangudi.... Avatharasthalam of Sri Thondaradipodi Azhwar

An ordinary sunny day – turned a great day of significance for I had the fortune of worshipping of some divyadesams and thence this temple of Sri Ranganayaki Sametha Sri Renganathar….. there are so many temples of Lord Ranganatha ~ almost all of them have the Lord in reclining posture….~ this was different and has the added significance too.  It is a place in Chozha Nadu nearer Thanjai / Kumbakonam.

After having darshan at Kabisthalam Sri Gajendra Varadhar, travelled via Umayalpuram took a left turn in around 2 kilometers – sugar of mill of Thiru Aarooran Sugars (around 10 kms from Kabisthalam) and less than than from Swami Malai – there are two other divyadesams of Thiru Adhanur and Thiru Pullam Poothamgudi nearer…….. it is known as Mandangudi…

“ “ – Sun is seen arriving atop the Eastern mountain and has dispelled the darkness of dreams ~ it is the beautiful early morning – honey is oozing out of the great fragrant flowers; those from Heaven – Devas, Kings have all lined up – the high and mighty of the land are lined up on opposite rows – there is the elephant, drums making pleasant sound – the sounds reverberate as if the mighty ocean is churning ” ”  ~ and all these for the Lord of Greatest Him at Thiruvarangam to wake up…..

We adore and love our Lord so much that we see Him the way the ordinary mortals do ~ though the Supreme is above everything and can never be estimated or understood – but is the lovely blind faith and love unto Him that made Azhwargal and Acharyars to initiate the Uthsavams and other rituals to the Supreme Lord – in the manner that we want Him to have.  We have the system of sending Lord to sleep and waking Him up with Suprabatham / Thiru Palli Ezhuchi.  ~ and this Mandangudi gave us the Azhwar who rendered the poems in praise of Lord Thiruvarangar and  waking  Him up every day

The great saint by name Vipra Narayanar was born at Thirumandankudi in Kettai Nakshathiram in the month of Margazhi – 218 years after the birth of Kali Yuga in a Brahmin household. His father ‘Veda Visaradhar’ belonged to "Kudumi Sozhiyap Brahmanar" community also called as "Vipra" people, whose routine work is to sing paeans in  praise of  Sriman Maha Vishnu. As per lore, Vishwaksena, the commander-in-chief of Sri Vishnu's troop, once descended to earth and revealed to Vipranarayanar,  the reason for his birth and what needs to be done to attain Mukti.

This Azhwar also known as Bhaktanghri renu later came to be hailed as  ‘Thondaradippodi Alvar’ due to his devotion to the devotees of Lord.   

சோழநாட்டில் திருமண்டங்குடி என்ற சிற்றூரில் மன்னிய சீர் மார்கழியில் கேட்டை திருநட்சத்திரம்,   பெருமானின் வைஜயந்தி வனமாலையின் அம்சமாகக் கருதப்படும்  தொண்டரடிப்பொடி ஆழ்வார்  அவதரித்த தினம்.

Azhwar in his early days started doing pushpa kainkaryam by maintaining a Nandavanam.  In between was attracted by worldly pleasures, started following a woman Devadevi by name – only to realize the lotus feet of Lord as nonpareil and surrendered himself to Him and to His service.  He was attached to the Lord that he found the soil at the feets of Srivaishnavas as the best one to be liked and hence regarded Bagavathas of Emperuman as serving to Thyself.  He preferred calling himself ‘Thondaradippodi’ – the loose soil at the feet of those serving the Lord.

At this place of Thondaradi Podi Azhvaar i.e., Mandangudi, Lord Ranganatha is seen in a rare standing posture.  Azhwar dedicated himself to serving the God at Thiruvarangam and sought darshan of the Supreme Lord Ranganatha – who yielded by providing him a special standing darshan.  It would appear that the same Lord Ranganatha of Sri Rangam has just stood up to provide darshan to His devotees here.  Here at Mandangudi, we have Lord Ranganatha in a standing posture alongwith Sridevi and Bhumadevi.  The Uthsavar is Azhagiya Manavalar. There is separate sannadhi for the Thayar also.

Just before the Perumal sannathi, there is the sannadhi of Azhwar.  Here Thondaradip Podiazhwar is seen alongside Thirupathi Balaji and Thirumalirumcholai Azhagar. 

Thondaradipodi rendered 55 verses in praise of Lord Ranganatha – 10 verses of Thiru Palli Yezhuchi and 45verses of Thiru Maalai. Thirupalli ezhuchi is recited in every temple to wake up the Lord and rendered during Kalasandhi in the morning.   Thondaradipodi Azhvaar courageously declares  that he does not desire another birth for:  in the 100years that one is granted, half the time is spent sleeping. The balance time is wasted away in Childhood and adolescence (when we are clueless on what we do), disease and hunger and later old age.

வேதநூல்  பிராயம் நூறு மனிசர்தாம் புகுவரேலும் *
பாதியும் உறங்கிப்போகும் நின்றதில்  பதினையாண்டு*
பேதைபாலகன் அதாகும்  பிணிபசி மூப்புத்துன்பம்*
ஆதலால் பிறவிவேண்டேன் அரங்கமா நகருளானே !

His clarion call to people spells -  none of us
 would do mistakes, if  one is humble and realize that ‘life on earth is short’ and can come to an end very suddenly.   புரளும்போது அறியமாட்டீர்- இந்த சரீரமானது எப்போது நிலத்தில் சாயும் என்ற சமயத்தை அறிந்தவர் அல்லீர் 

Azhwar describes himself as a person standing before the Lord with the flower container [pook koodai] in his shoulders and neatly strung ‘Thiruthuzhai maalai’ on his hands waiting for the benevolence of Lord Ranganathar and gives darshan in the same manner aptly described.

***தொடையொத்த துளவமும் கூடையும் பொலிந்து தோன்றிய தோள் தொண்டரடிப்பொடி என்னும் அடியனை அளியனென்றருளி உன்னடியார்க்கு ஆட்படுத்தாய் பள்ளி எழுந்தரு ளாயே!!

Here are some photos taken at Mandangudi.  The lineage of Azhwar – Swami Sampathkumar [Hereditary trustee] ripe in his nineties (or late 80s) so passionately described the Sthala puranam, took us to every sannadhi and made us : - have good darshan, realize the importance of bakthi and the greatness of Thondaradipodigal. The photos inside the Temple were taken with his permission.  A photo of this great kainkaryabarar is also in this post. There are still people like him – serving the Lord with passion.  Those who are doing yeoman service to the Lord and to our Sampradhayam needs to be reverred and supported in all possible means by us – who shirk all our responsibilities in the garb of work pressure and lack of time. Let us pray to all those great Sri Vaishnavaites and to Lord Himself to guide us in the right path and make us realize that Service to Lord and to His Bhagavathas are the only true things in life.

In the last century there were Cinemas based on puranas and in Dec 1938 came the film titled “Vipra Narayana” – directed by A. Narayanan; dialogue – Somayajulu; Songs – Narayanan Vathiyar; Actors : Kothamangalam Seenu, D Suryakumar, TV Rajasundari, Ds Krishnaveni and others.  One cannot think of such films in the era where they parody Gods and take films like ‘Navina Saraswathi sabatham’. Let us shun such people and never encourage such things.

Adiyen Srinivasa dhasan. 

Thayar sannadhi

 Uthsavar Azhagiya Manvalar with Ranganayaki thayar and Andal

Thondaradipodigal sannadhi
Azhwar moolavar with Thirumalirumsolainambi and Thiruvengadathan

 Thondaradipodigal flanked by Vishwaksenar and Udayavar

Thondaradipodigal above  (see the pook koodai in hand)
Azhwar with Udayavar and Mamunigal 

The great Kainkaryabarar Battacharyar taking care of 
the temple strong at heart and kind in disposition.


  1. Swamin, Great photos and grand write up.. liked the photo of battar so much - Nalini

  2. ***தொடையொத்த துளவமும் கூடையும் பொலிந்து தோன்றிய தோள் தொண்டரடிப்பொடி என்னும் அடியனை அளியனென்றருளி உன்னடியார்க்கு ஆட்படுத்தாய் பள்ளி எழுந்தரு ளாயே!!

    பக்தக்கோடிகள் தங்கள் பிறந்தநாள் மற்றும் விஶெஶ தினங்களில் ஒரு வேலை நித்திய ஆராதனைக்கு தங்களால் இயன்ற பொருள் உதவி ரங்கநாயகி சாமேத ரங்கநாததர் மற்றும் ஆழ்வாரின் கடாக்ஸம் பெற பிராத்திக்கிறோம்.
    பரம்பரைஅறங்காவலர்,சம்பத்குமார்,திருமண்டங்குடிPh:9715975661,0435 2441250 FB:

  3. Great is his endurance, skill dedication and his avowed desire to high light our heritage and treasure to posterity. Emperuman should bless him to dedicate like Thondaradi Azwar