Sri Nammazhwar was born 5117 years ago, at the beginning of Kali Yuga on Vaikasi Vishakham Day. I have come here today to Alwarthirunagari, his birthplace to witness the Annual Festival (Utsavam) in his honour – a visual treat indeed!
In the Bhagawad Geetha, Lord Krishna says “I love my devotees. They love me too – so much so, I am unable to match the devotees’ love and affection towards me!” (He, the Uththaman, does not say that “My love for devotees far exceeds their love for me”!)
The Presiding deities from all nine Divyadesams, in and around Alwarthirunagari, known as Nava Tirupathi, congregate here for this Vaikasi Utsavam on Visakam day to give darshan to Nammazhwar. Cymbals in hand, Arayar swami sings the Divya Prabandha pasurams pertaining to the Lord of each of the Divya Desams, one after another. At around 5 pm water is fetched from River Tamaraparani by each of the archakas for their respective Lord’s thirumanjanam (abhishekham). After completing the rituals, the convoy of 9 Divya Desa deities, each of them on Garuda Vahana, Nammazhwar on Hamsa (Golden Swan) vahana and his disciple Madhurakavi Azhwar seated on an ivory palanquin (Paranki chair) emerge around 11 pm from the Grand Gate and is taken on the procession. All the deities go around the eight roads all through the night and it takes more than an hour for the convoy to cross any one point.
After the procession and pooja rituals are completed, the Lords take leave of Nammazhwar who bids them a tearful farewell (pirayavidai) and return to their respective Divyadesams. Nammazhwar and Polinduninrapiran (Utsavar of Azhwarthirunagari) return to their respective sanctum sanatorums. One must go over and witness the grandeur of this Utsavam to fully appreciate it.
The moral (or take-away) of this utsavam is that the Lord showers his love and affection on his devotees without expecting reciprocation. Nammazhwar’s love for the Lord is overwhelming. This is an intimate ‘give-and-take’ relationship between a great Bhakta (devotee) and his Swami.
Audio – En Pani 5: