poigai alwar
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Poigai Alwar
Poigai Alwar  
Period 7th C. AD
Place Kanchipuram
Other Names Saro-yogi, Kaasaara-yogi, Poigai-piraan, Padma-muni, Kavinyarporeyeru
Month Iyppasi
Star (Natshatram) Thiruvonam (Sravana)
Hamsam Panchajanya (Conch)

 Poigai Alwar,  Budat Alwar and  Pey Alwar

 are the first three Alwars ( Mudal Alwars)


They were contemporaries who were born in the same Siddharti year and in the same Aippasi month of Aippasi  in the same Suklapaksha on successive Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, in the constellations of Tiruvonam, Avittam and Sadhayam, on the Ashtami, Navami   respectively.


Poigai Alwar , an incarnation of Panchajanyam, the divine conch of Lord

Vishnu appeared on the lotus bud in a pond in Tiruvekka near Kanchipuram.


Budat Alwar , an incarnation of Kaumodhaki, the divine mace of Lord Vishnu appeared in a Kurukkatti flower in Mahabalipuram, also near Kanchipuram where the Lord instead of reclining on his divine couch of Adisesha, reclines onthe floor and hence is called ' Stala Sayana Perumal'.. Pey Alwar, an incarnation of Nandaki, the divine sword of  Lord Vishnu appeared in a red lily in the well of the temple of Adhikesava Perumal at Mylapore, Madras.


Nammalwar calls them ' In Kavi Paadum Parama Kavigal'- the greatest poets who sang the sweetest songs'. Tirumangai Alwar hails them as  ' Senthamizh Paaduvaar'- ' Those who sang in chaste Tamizh'. Periyavaachan Pillai known as the 'Vyaakhyaana Chakravarti'- Emperor among commentators says  Poigai Alwar established the ' Paratvam' of Lord Narayana and thus has declared the 'Tattva Gnana ' and represented ' Para Gnana' '; Budat Alwar explains how this  ' Gnana' blosssoms into 'Para Bhakti' and Pey Alwar demonstrated how these lead to the ultimate ' Parama  Bhakti' or   ' Saakshaat kaaram'- the very realization of the Supreme Lord. Thus they represented the three stages of spiritual unfoldment. Therefore, the works of all the three Alwars are considered together as a single  ' Prabandha' known as 'Iyar Paa'.


All the three were so much devoted to the Lord that they had no other

thoughts and lived as recluses in the forests. They were  constantly

meditating and moving from place to place like mendicants offering obeisance at various temples consecrated to Lord Narayana but they had not known each other nor  had ever met with each other and hence were ' perfect strangers'.


Once, they chanced to meet at 'Tirukkoyilur' accidentally. Feeling sleepy at nightfall, Poigai Alwar found a small pial at the entrance of a house just enough for a single person to lie down and sleep. After a while, there came Budat Alwar who  requested permission to stay with him. Poigai Alwar permitted him saying that the pial was sufficient for two people to just sit down and spend the night. No sooner had they seated themselves, than came there Pey Alwar also seeking a place to rest. It had by then started to rain.


The two earlier occupants accommodated the newcomer  saying that  the

threesome could stand  for the space was just enough for that and spend the night. And, indeed  'three was company'


As they started to share their experiences in their itineraries, they found that an invisible fourth person was  trying to turn the company into a crowd by pressing them hard together in an obvious attempt to accommodate himself in the already cramped space. The three Alwars found out in their divine vision that the fourth person was none other than Lord Vishnu, who had brought them together.


Poigai Alwar composed the first 100 verses starting with the words ' Vaiyam Tagaliya, Varkadale Neyyaaga' ( the universe being the lamp and the oceans being the lubricant).

Vaiyam Thagaliyaa Vaar Kadale Neyyaaga / Veyyak Kadirone Vilakkaaaga / Sudar Aazhiyaan Adikke Soottinen Son Malai / Idar Aaazhi Neengukave Enru /


" Lord Narayana is the cause of this wonderful universe and the seas; He holds the divine discus; As a means to cross the miserable ocean of

'Samsara', I am dedicating this garland of verses. I had His vision in the light of the lamp of earth, the lubricant ghee being the waters of the ocean.


The bright Sun is the one that sheds light on this."

Vaiyam : Universe, VaarKadal : The sea surrounding it, Thagazhi : Lamp,

Veyyak Kadirone : The hot Sun, Seyya : Beautiful, Sudar Aazhi : Lustrous discus, SonMalai : Garland of words (verses), Idar Aazhi : ocean of misery (Samsara)

Thanian on Poigai Alwar is as follows:

Kaidai Ser Poompozhil Soozh Kachi Nagar Vanduditha / Poigai Piraan Kavignar Per eru- / Vaiyathu Adiyaarkal Vaazha Arum Tamizh Nootrantaadhi / Paadi Vilanga seidhan Parindu/

"The foremost among poets- Poigai Alwar was born in the Garden city of

Kanchipuram. With utmost compassion to redeem the devotees on the earth and take them to the feet of the Lord, he composed the rare composition of 100 psalms in the Antaaadhi style" Por Eru : Like a great bull, Padi Vilanga : To redeem the earth(ly beings), Parindu : Being compassionate


The Divya Desams consecrated by tPoigai Alwar : ( 7) Tiruvarangam, Tiruvinnagar, Tirukkovilur, Tiruvekka, Tiuvenkadam, Tirupparkadal and Paramapadam 

athAto "brahma" zignAsA - Then thereafter be inquisitive to enquire about "the Absolute"