Thirumangai alwar was born to Aalinaadaar who was the senai Thalaivar (Chief of the army) for Chozha Empire and had Vallitthiru. They both led their life very peacefully and had much bhakti towards Lord SrimanNarayanan.
Because of their bhakti and the good life led by the couples, in Kaarthikai month, in Pournami Thursday – kaarthikai Natshatram (8th century) a child was born to the couple. And the child is incarnation of one of the panja Aayudham, the bow which is called as The Saarangham. He was named as Neelar
From the childhood days, Neelan was taught with proper education and some sanskrit languages and the art of fighting and learnt to use sword, bow and arrow. He also had the capability of leading the four different forces, the elephant, the horse, the chariot and the men forces. The chozha king, (the thirumangai Naadu) gave him the position as his head of the forces.
At that time, a great poet by the crowned name “Naarkavip perumal” lived. Since, he being a great poet defeated all the others with his poets and at that he heard about Neelan. (Thirumangai mannan). He wanted to test his intelligence, because of this, he asked Neelar to make victory over him. But at the same, Neelar was also equally qualified poet who can fight with the poet through various poems and finally the poet accepted his defeat and from then, Neelar was crowned with the name “Naarkavipperumal” by the Chozha king.
Inspite of having the name as “Neelar”, he was known to the entire chozha naadu, when he became the king of Thirumangai. As a result of this, he was popularly called with the name “Thirumangai Mannan”.
In that place, an excellent doctor was there, who doesn’t have a child. Accidentaly, he came along a pond and was happy to find a new born child there. He thought that the God has gifted him with this child and took her to his house. His wife was also happy to see the child and named her as “Kumudha valli” and they took care of her very much.
As the day passed, Thirumangai Mannan heard about the beauty of Kumudhavalli and thought of meeting her and getting married to her. Soon, he went along with his soldiers to Thirunaagoor on his horse, “Aadan Maa”. He sent a message to the father of Kumudhavalli that Thirumangai mannan had come to meet him regarding his daughter’s wedding towards him.
Kumudhavalli appeared before thirumangai mannan and both of them were attracted towards each other. Kumudhavalli put a condition to him that if he dedicates his life towards the Emperumaan and he should dedicate himself for doing the service to the bhaktaas of Sri Vishnu, he can marry her. For thisconditions and will act according to that. Thirumangai mannan changed himself from the king’s character to an ordinary devotee of Sriman Narayanan and smeared Thiruman, Thirunaraiyoor in front of Thriu Naraiyoor Nambi and went towards the Vaithiyar’s house.
Kumudhavalli also added another wish that she has and it is that she has to serve food for 1008 bhagavadas (bhaktas) of Sri Vishnu and their feet should be cleaned by water. And that water has to be taken and split over her head. If he agrees for his also, she has no objection of getting married to him. For this condition also, he agreed and, on a very good day, they both got married.
From then, Thirumangai Mannan as given the words that he will dedicate the food for 1008 bhaghavadas daily. As days passed, since he spent lots of money for the food, his wealth started to decrease. As a result of this, he could not pay the tax to the emperor.
The Chozha king got angry on him and sent some of his soldiers to ask for it. And then God appeared in the dream and told about the treasure near the river Vaigavati and the king got the money from there. But Thirumangai alwar didn’t enough money for the annadanam and finally, he thought that he can steal money and products from others and can spend that for satisfying the Vishnu Bhaktas. Sriman Narayanan Emperumaan was very much worried of his divertion of the mind and thought of changing it. As a result of it, Sriman Narayanan along with Nammpiratti, sri Lakshmi in wedding kolam went through the forest, where Thirumangai mannan stopped all the persons who are found wealthy and grabbed their ornaments and Money. Likewise, Sriman Vishnu and Sri Lakshmi who were in the form newly married couples were stopped by Thirumangai mannan and his soldiers. Thirumangai Mannan ordered all of them to give their ornaments and money they have with them.
Hearing this, all the persons and also the Maappillai (Maha Vishnu) and Manamagal (Maha Lakshmi) gave their ornaments. Thirumangai mannan checked whether all of theri ornaments are removed but found a Kanaiyaazhi (an ornament are that is weared on the legs) on the right hand of the Maappillai. Parakaalan asked that should be also removed for which the Maappillai said that he could not remove that and he can try if he can do that. Neelan tried to remove that but he could not do that and finally tried to remove it through his teeth, but also he could not do that.
Since he could not remove the Kanaiyaazhi from his legs, he left that and ordered his main soldier “Thoalavazhakkan” to tie – up all the ornaments and money and get them up. But, he could not lift that sack full of various precious products. Then, Thirumangai mannan tried and he too failed.
The perumal explained the Ashtaakshara Mantram, the light words on his right eye. He thanked perumal. From then, Thirumangai Mannan is popularly named as “Thirumangai alwar”. He finally identified that the maappillai and the Manamagan are none other than the Emperumaan and Sri Lakshmi piratti and enjoyed the meaning of the Mantram.
His eyes were flooded in tears and his hands were raised above his head and started to praisetheperumalas
“Vaadinen; vaadi varunthinen; Manathaar perunthuyar…. and ended with Naadinen; Naadi Naan Kandu konden Narayana Ennum Naamam”
and praised about Sriman Narayanan with 10 Paasurams. Finally, on hearing the paasurams, the perumal gave his seva as found along with Maha Lakshmi and on the Garudan and said him to praise about him in all the various sthalams and disappeared.
Right away Thirumangai Alwar went to Badhrinath and started singing Maha Vishnu and Mata Maha Lakshmi and started traveling towards south. So his pasurams start from Badrinath and comes all the way to down south.
Also Thirumangai Alwar always prayed God to come in the same form as he is in the temple and not in other forms as a person like him cannot recognize. In nut shell, he wanted the God to come in most familiar form as in temple so that we can also recognize Maha Vishnu and Jagan Mata. Also Thirumangai Alwar in his pasurams sang about the Brahmans and others serving the temple and God, highlighting the need for the selfless service.
Thirumangai Alwar’s story proves anyone, even a robber can become an alwar all he has to have is the will power, dedication and devotion to do so. Om Namo Narayana!!