HISTORY OF LORD NARAYANA’S INCARNATE LORD VAIKUNDAR
History of Vaikunda Avatar
Lord Vaikunda Swamy (C.1833 – C.1851):
“Lord Narayana himself incarnated as vaikundar” – Holy Akilathirattu
Beloved devotees! As per Holy Akilathirattu, whenever Adharma (Evil) raised its ugly head, Lord manifest in some form as saviour of Dharma. In Kali Yuga too, when the evil forces threatened to destroy the fabric of Dharma, Lord Maha Vishnu incarnated as Lord Vaikundar to uphold rule of Dharma. While the Veda agama Akilathirattu, reverently mention mention him (Lord Vaikundar) as AYYA, Vaikunda Swamy, Vaikundar, Vaikunda Raja, Shri Pandaram, Aandavar, God, Karthan, Lord, Mayon, Lord Narayana, Lord Vishnu, Thirumal, Perumal, Ayya Narayana, Siva Narayana and Surya Narayana, the devotees reverently worship him in the names of ‘AYYA’, ’Lord Vaikundar’, ‘Lord Vaikunda Swami’ and ‘Lord Narayana Swami’. The temples of Lord Vaikunda Swami are known in various names such as ‘Pathi’, ‘Thiru Nizhal Thangal’, ‘Sreeman Narayanaswami Kovil’ and ‘Inai Thangal’.
As per Holy Akilathirattu, the Lord who created cosmic and pervades everywhere, incarnated in every one of the Yugas to destroy the evil forces to save mankind. Before dawn of Kaliyuga, in Nedu Yuga, Chatur Yuga, Dwapara Yuga, Kretha Yuga and Thretha Yuga, Lord Narayana incarnated in different forms and killed Asuric forces like Groni, Singa muga Sooran, Duryodhanan etc.
At the request of Celestials and Guru Muni, Lord Shiva created evil Kalian from the sixth flesh piece of evil Groni in Kaliyuga at the time as prophesied in Agama. Evil Kalian ruled the land for over several thousand years unleashing terror and tyranny. Unable to tolerate the sufferings of the suppressed and oppressed folks, Lord Maha Vishnu on learning from Veda Vyas that ripe time to destroy Kali had arisen as prophesied in the Veda agama, Lord Maha Vishnu immediately proceeded to Tiruchendur to confront Evil Kalian. At seashore the Lord was warmly welcomed by Maharishis Rishyasringa (Kalaimuni) and Pathanjali (Gnana Muni) who offered their salutation. Lord kept them with him. The act of Lord Maha Vishnu who descended on earth to save Sandroars is described in Akilathirattu as:
“pantavar tamakkayt tonntti pakaitannai mutittu mayon
vinnrriya kaliyann vanta vicannattal kayilai yeki
cantaavar tamakka yintat taraniyil vanta nayam
aantavar aruli ceyya ammannai ezutalutten” – Akilathirattu
When Lord Maha Vishnu was on way to meet evil Kalian to advice him to mend his ways, he expiated the curses of 55 Brahmarishies, Ekkaala durkai, wife of one of the Rishis and a Cow who were on penance. Lord Maha Vishnu also expiated the curse of seriously ill Sampoorana Devan alias Muthukutty who was waiting for the Lord at the seashore of Tiruchendur since Lord Maha Vishnu had earlier given him a promise that his curse would be redeemed when he (Lord) manifested in Bhoologa during Kaliyuga. On the way to the seashore of Tiruchendur to incarnate as Lord Vaikundar, to fulfil earlier promise given to one of the Devaganas, namely Sampoornadevan, that his sins would be redeemed whenever he incarnated in Kaliyuga, he removed the sins of seriously ill Sampoornadevan. The folks of the land affectionately called Sampoornadevan as Muthukutty.
As prophesied in the Veda agama, Lord Maha Vishnu descended on earth entered into the sea of Tiruchendur inside where his consort Goddess Lakshmi was waiting for him. He pushed the mind of Goddess Lakshmi into state of perturbation, merged with her feelings and came out of her body as a formless child on the 20th day of Tamil Month Maasi in the year of Kollam, 1008 corresponding to Friday, the 1st March 1833 CE. When the formless Lord reached the seashore, he disguised in the form of a mendicant (Lord Vaikundar) in human form which was the tenth incarnation of Lord Maha Vishnu and the said spot is named ‘Avathara Pathi’ (Avathara meaning the place of incarnation), one of the most sacred sites.
On reaching seashore, Lord Vaikundar appeared in the form of a mendicant dressed up in ochre robe, braided hair, sacred white mark on forehead, Rudraksha mala (garland) around the neck, Rishi’s Wand and a Kamandal (a water-vessel of a religious mendicant) in hands. The Celestials and Devaganas who awaited his arrival, prostrated at his feet and offered their salutations with lullabies and danced along the entire route in joy. After addressing the folks, Lord Vaikundar proceeded to a place called ‘Manavaipathi’ in Swamithoppu. On way he installed a Shiva Ling in a place called ‘Ambalapathi’, offered prayers to it, and took an oath that he would come back again to offer worship. The act of Lord Maha Vishnu who incarnated as Lord Vaikundar is described in Akilathirattu as:
“nallana rayanarum namamani vaikuntarayc
cellat tiruvulamayc cimaik kurrutiyumay
manitavata rametuttu vaikunta vacavanum
panitavazum pattiniyal palaruta vagkicattil” – Akilathirattu
In ‘Manavaipathi’ where Lord Maha Vishnu stayed for ten months, he not only briefed the folks on what happened in previous Yugas, but also enunciated several events due to usher in the Universe. On reaching ‘Manavaipathi’ in Swamithoppu, Lord Maha Vishnu instructed Kalaimuni (Rishyasringa) to send communique to the ruler of Kali the reasons for his incarnation. Immediately Maharishi spread the message that “Lord Narayana himself incarnated as Vaikundar”, since Lord Vaikundar had manifested in the southern end, in the month of Maasi, in the year 1008, no one should pay offerings, be a pole bearer, or feel fear of other divines, but at the same time remain god fearing, honest and free of corrupt practices’.
The folks in the Universe firmly believed that Lord Maha Vishnu had indeed incarnated in the form of a mendicant in the southern end of the land. Lord Vaikundar undertook severe penance for six years praying to Lord Shiva. The northern side of ‘Manavaipathi’ in Swamithoppu, the entry point (door) where Lord Vaikundar undertook the unique penance on Lord Shiva became one more sacred site in the life of Lord Vaikundar, hence called as ‘Thava Vasal’ (Thavam means penance and Vasal means the door).
During the entire period of penance, Lord Vaikundar partook only Porridge made out of raw rice (thick liquid formed from rice) and rarely spoke, but maintained absolute silence. Disguised as mendicant, he cured the dreaded diseases of not one, but several of the eighteen class folks who reached out to him by sprinkling water and sacred soil as prasad. The childless couples begot children, lost visions of folks restored, penniless folks enriched and sorrow and sufferings of folks who surrendered to him vanished. He advocated eradication of superstitious beliefs and ensured that the folks of entire eighteen caste folks showered love on each other and mingle with each other free of caste and creed.
The advocacy of Lord Vaikundar when spread across the land attracted several folks belonging to all the eighteen castes who flocked to him in belief that he had incarnated to uphold Dharma as prophesied in the Veda Agamas and a casteless society would emerge to be witnessed by pious folks. He appealed to the folks to surrender and serve him irrespective of their caste as he was the creator and protector of the Cosmic. His advocacy was directed not only to the folks, but also to the birds, animals and all other living beings in the world including plants, trees, reptiles, rough rocks and stones which too had life in them, invisible to humans as bestowed by the creator. The folks who reached out to the Lord complained that they were unable to bear the atrocities of evil Kalian. On their appeal, Lord Vaikundar analyzed the acts of evil forces and realized that as per Vedic Agama, the time to destroy their powers had indeed come and hence instantly destroyed those evil forces without waiting for the next second.
In the act of next, he renamed five evil warriors called Pancha Devas or Guardian deities -Sudalaimadan, Kattayeri, Palavesam, Masanam, and Kathavarayan- as Karudarasan, Similarasan, Thertagan, Tuttiveeran and as Therkudayon and replaced their original powers with modified powers as they had accepted animal sacrifices against the dictums of the Lord. Thereafter he kept them by his right side in the name of ‘Yeval Seevaai’ meaning the one who obeyed his command. Those developments were viewed by Akilathirattu as ‘transformation of the status of the demi gods’. Next, Lord Vaikundar snatched away the powers of evil magicians engaged in the act of black magic, sorcery with which they mentally and physically tortured the folks besides causing death to some. He also destroyed the powers of all those who were engaged in the acts of fraudulence and deceit. Further the mystical powers enjoined by the sinner sages were also clipped by the Lord.
Lord Vaikundar insisted on practicing principles of dharma and uplift the downtrodden folks. Lord Vaikundar advised that male should wear turban or a head gear and similarly the female covered their full body with cloth (Sari). In order to establish feeling of oneness, he enforced that irrespective of their caste, everyone should fetch water only from one well available in the place of his stay for use of daily chores. The well was called as ‘Muthiri Kinaru’ (Muthiri means Sign or seal of secularism and Kinaru meaning Well). He promoted the practice of inclusive prayer to win over evil Kali and clarion call to the Sandroars to live fearlessly with dignity of honor and self-respect to destroy the evil effect of Kali.
The ruler when realized Lord Vaikundar was drawing thousands of folks and a separate socialistic state of society was slowly and steadily emerging in Swamithoppu, ignoring the saner advice of Poovandar, the King got the Lord arrested and tortured him variously. However Lord Vaikundar displayed divinity of several nature during captivity to remain unharmed says Akilathirattu in the following manner. The saner advice of Poovandar who cautioned that there be no doubt whether Lord Maha Vishnu would incarnate in Sanar clan, and if need be he would incarnate in any clan is described in Akilathirattu as:
canennak kulattil mayan sarvaroenn renna ventam
pananayt tonri nirpar paraiyanayt tonri nirpar
tunenat tonri nirpar tolanayt tonri nirpar
anenat tonri nirpar avaruru ketti lIro – Akilathirattu
He gave milk mixed with poison to drink, made him seated over the lime kiln and poured water in to it, made him to sit on heaps of half burnt live fire sticks. However none of those tests caused any harm to Lord Vaikundar. The terrified King arranged to bring a tiger kept starved for three days, and pushed it into the cage where Lord Vaikundar was also made to sit to allow the tiger have her prey. When the folks loudly cried in fear ‘Swami, what shall we do now?’, Lord Vaikundar calmed them down to say that all of them may remain undaunted because the animal would recognise him as the one who is the creator of the cosmic including all creatures and animals.
The tiger too recognized the Lord, looked at him, without showing even slightest semblance to attack him, it went and sat near his feet as if it offered its salutation to him. This shocked the King and the armed forces to believe that he may have been the divine Lord incarnated to end Kali, and therefore released him from the prison.
Once released from Prison, Lord Vaikundar was carried to the southern end of the land called Tamaraiyur Pathi (Swamithoppu) in a cradle like Palanquin by Sandroars. In order to strengthen the mental power and appearance of Sandroars, Lord Vaikundar commenced a unique penance called Thuvayal Thavasu in both ‘Vagai Pathi’ and ‘Muttapathi’, two places near Swamithoppu. After successful completion of the mission, Lord Maha Vishnu sent all of them back to their respective homes. It is described in Akilathirattu as:
“nara yanakkuruvai nalu maravamal
peraka veyiruntal perungkaluk kekitaikkum
anna malakkum atit tirunetumal
munanavan tanperal muttirika littatinal
centra itamellam cirappatika mugkalukku” – Akilathirattu
In addition, Lord Vaikundar enacted several divine plays and married seven maidens who had taken birth as Saasthirakanni, Kamalakanni, Mogakkanni, Moolakkanni, Kadungsakthi, Deivakkanni and Arimadavai. ‘Tamaraiyur Pathi‘ also called as ‘Swamithoppu Pathi‘ is the place where Lord Vaikundar married Saptha Kannigas. The place where those seven maidens lived was known as ‘Thottil Pathi’. In the form of Trinities, he also married Goddess Lakshmi ,Goddess Bhagavathi (an aspect of Goddess Parvati), Mandaikattal (an aspect of Goddess Saraswathi), Poomadanthai (an aspect of Goddess Bhumadevi), followed by Goddess Valli and Goddess Devyani.
“tutiyitaik kanni marait tirumanan tirumal ceytu
kutipukazc cantoor makkal kuravaikal muzakkat totu
titirenat terukkal currit teviyu manna rakap
patimicaip patiyi nulle patintuvan tirunta rantae” – Akilathirattu
Bhumadevi got birth and lived in the name of Poomadanthai in a place called Soorakkudi. Lord Vaikundar married her in the same place in full public purview. On way after marriage, as he was returning back, the Celestials showered flower petals from the air. The place where it happened is called ‘Poo Pathi’. The place where Lord Vaikundar took feast with all the maidens he married is called ‘Virunthetra Pathi’, also called ‘Thenthamaraikulam Pathi’.
The five Pancha Pandava’s took rebirth and became disciples of Lord Vaikundar in the name of Shri. Sivanandi, Shri. MukundanPandaram, Shri. Alagesan, Shri. Subbaiah and Shri. Arigopalan. One amongst the five disciples Shri. Arigopalan scripted Holy Akilathirattu the so called Veda Agama and the place where it was written is called ‘Thenthamaraikulam Pathi’. Pathi is primary congregational centers of worship for Ayya Vazhi devotees. The Pathis, are treated similar to the temples of others.
Lord Maha Vishnu in his avatar as Lord Vaikundar proclaimed that ‘the boons enjoyed by Kalineesan would get destroyed, wrong doers sent to hell and the doors of hell would be locked to prevent their escape, pious folks would be awakened, bestowed with powerful boons to rule the land, new Dharma Yuga would usher, and everyone with their families would live under one umbrella of rule, while I shall be ruling the Dwarayam Pathi’. Thus after enacting several plays, at 12 noon on Monday, the 21st Vaikasi in the year Kollam 1026, (corresponding to 2nd June C.1851), Lord Maha Vishnu who had manifested as Lord Vaikundar for protecting and uplifting the life of oppressed Sandroars, ended his incarnation and returned back to Vaikunda.
The Celestial from Deva Loga showered flower petals over Lord Vaikundar, while other divine forces sang hymns called Tirupattu (Thiru meaning venerable and Pattu meaning song) praising him. Deva Loga dancers called Rambais (dancers) danced to the tunes of deafening drum beats played by the Sages and Rishis welcoming the Lord Vaikundar. They contended that Lord Vaikundar had indeed incarnated in deference to the proclamations of Agama texts written several thousand years back. They placed a crown over his head, garlanded him and made him seated on a Lion faced Simhasan (Throne). Seated on the throne of dharma, the Lord Vaikundar in the universe would be examining the state of affairs amongst the folks, by keeping away the falsehoods, and grace those who walk the path of dharmic practices as laid out in Veda agamas.
Lord Maha Vishnu who incarnated in every one of the Yugas will come again to rule in Dharma Yuga. Therefore, we too should tread the path of Dharma and walk in the way the Lord Ayya alias Vaikundar showed us to attain success in our life in the Dharma Yug.