Chapter 20. Sri Aalavandar TiruNaatiruku Ezhuntharulal (Demise of Sri Aalavandar)
During Periya Nambi’s absence, ALavandAr’s health deteriorated and he was soon beyond recovery in a human sense. On one occasion, he noted with great calmness that NamperumAL’s garland had fallen down during the recitation of the ‘SUzh Visumpanimugil’ pAsuram.
Having understood that this meant the end of his earthly sojourn, he met his intimate disciples Tirukkoshtiyur Nambi, TirumaalaiYandan and Periya Tirumalai Nambi, and apprised them of his plans for rAmAnujA. He sought forgiveness from his disciples for any mistakes that he may have committed in his lifetime. Not being privy to his state of mind, they responded by saying that they would accept his faults if any such things could be predicated of NamperumAL who is always devoid of any flaw/fault whatsoever. YAmunamuni consoled them and took Sri NAthamunigal’s Theertha Prasadams.
He then took Sri NAthamunigal’s Paduka on his chest and forehead. Remembering UyyaKondar and Manakkal Nambi, hearing ‘SUzh Visumpanumugil’ and Purusha Suktam, Sri Aalavandar attained eternal bliss on the 6th day of VaikAsi, in the year 1042 on a day marked by the SravaNam asterism.
His intimate disciples fainted, unable to withstand the gravity of the loss. They came to their senses in due course of time and were stricken by acute mind-numbing grief which is a defining characteristic of the human condition. ALavandAr’s son PillaiArasu Nambi performed the obsequies. Sri Aalavandar’s mortal remains were taken in a decorated chariot. Namperumal’s final homage was paid to Sri Aalavandar in the form of HIS dhoti and HIS garland. The funeral was to be performed on the northern banks of the holy Cauvery in Srirangam.
When Periya Nambi and ElaiAzhwar neared the northern Banks of the Cauvery, they noted that a huge crowd had gathered on the other side of the river. Upon finding out that the great patriarch if the family of all SriVaishNavAs had made his way to Vaikuntham the two men fainted. They were soon restored to normalcy but rAmAnujA could hardly restrain himself, and lamented loudly.
People around made them to come back to normalcy. ElaiAzhwar was not able to control himself and was crying loudly. Periya Nambi took him to the funeral site. Periya Nambi introduced ElaiAzhwar to the departed leader’s disciples and informed them that rAmAnujA was the one whom the saint had wanted to meet before his time on earth came to an end.