Ulagalantha Perumal Temple (Trivikrama Temple), Tirukoyilur – Literary Mention
As per Hindu legend, Vishnu appeared to the mudhal Azhwars (first three Azhwars) at Thirukkoilur. It was day time, but it darkened and started raining heavily. The wandering Poigai Alvar found out a small hide out, which has a space for one person to lie down. Boodhathazhwar arrived there looking for a hiding place and Poigai accommodated him, with both sitting together. In the meanwhile, Pey also came to the same place as all the three preferred to stand because of lack of space. The darkness became dense and inside the small room, they were not able to see each other.
In the meanwhile, they felt a fourth person also forced his way among them. The three Azhwars realised from the light of the lightning that the fourth one had a charming face that was sublime and divine. The trio could immediately realize that it was Vishnu who was huddling among them. Poigai wished to see Vishnu's face continuously but could view only from the simmering light of the lightening. With a view to maintain the continuity of light, he instantly composed hundred songs wishing the earth to be a big pot full of ghee like an ocean where the Sun could be the burning wick.
The song is also interpreted as the azhwar praying to god to remove the darkness and ask for his unlimited knowledge and power.
Bhoothathazhwar sang 100 songs imagining to light the lamp constantly through ardent love for him. Peyazhwar sang another 100 songs where he described the enchanting charm of the divine face and the association of Narayana equipped with chakra and sankha, and his divine consort goddess Lakshmi.
The temple plays a special part in Vaishnavism as it is where the first three Azhwars sang the first three Thiruvandadhis compiled in Nalayira Divya Prabandham, the Vaishnava canon. Thirumangai Azhwar, another Azhwar saint also revered the deity in his verses compiled in Nalayira Divya Prabandham.
The temple finds mention in Sangam literature in Tamil from 3rd BC to 3rd centuries CE. Agananuru, Purananuru, Natrinai and Kurunthogai have mention about the temple. Malayaman Tirumudikari, the ruler of Thirukovilur, was lavished praise in the texts for his charitable disposition to the institutions. It is believed that Avvayar, the celebrated Sangam period poetess arranged marriage for two chieftains at this place. Poet Kapilar is believed to have found suitable grooms for king Pari's daughter Angavai and Sangavai at this place and set himself up in fire. The event is commemorated every year in a huge rock called Kapilar Kundru, where a small shrine exists even in modern times.
Nammaalvar describes the beautiful place Thirukkovilur and the Supreme Lord in his work Thiruvaimozhi. Detailed explanations of his verses are given below. Alwar takes the position of a mother whose daughter is madly in love with the Supreme Lord.
This girl who looks like a young beautiful deer says that everything is Krishna for me. The food that is being eaten, the drinking water and the betel leaves from chewing – are all Krishna. She keeps uttering such statements and melts with tear-filled eyes. His beauty and qualities (most auspicious attributes) are the only wealth for her. Listening to his glories and thinking of his beauty, she is proceeding towards Thirukkovilur.
Oh Girls! My girl has made the entire place; village and this earth utter his names, charms and qualities. Everyone is also as mad after him like my daughter. My girl has gone beyond all disciplines/norms of the society.
“Will she ultimately reach Thirukkovilur? Will she come back to me, who is the greatest sinner? (Sinner because even after giving birth to such a gifted, saintly person, I am asking all of you to tell me her present state.) Am I not a sinner? I should have followed her.
My girl has ignored all her playful objects and a pet, namely, the parrot, the ball, the small wooden toy, the flower basket, etc., and has gone towards Thirukkovilur, considering that the enjoyment that she can derive from Lord Vishnu is much more than all these play things. She utters only His names now! She has gone already! Would she have reached? Alas! Would she be crying ceaselessly with tears rolling down her soft cheeks and bimbha fruit like lips that quiver, thinking of the Lord?
Will other people talk bad about her character because she has gone to Thirukkovilur alone? They are so notorious in gossiping! Or perhaps will they say that my girl is doing what is suited to her nature and bhakti? Will she exert herself and let her legs and hip weaken by walking so long towards Thirukkovilur, where the Lord (who has none above or equal to Him and who has no better wealth than himself) is having His yoganidra? Only due to her bold and determined action is she able to perform this.
Even in my old age, this young deer-like girl of mine is not here to help me (in day-to-day chores in the kitchen). Instead, she has left me and gone towards the South to reach Thirukkovilur. She sees the Lord Vishnu (who is most gracefully at that Divya Desam with his large beautiful lotus-like eyes and round red- lipped mouth. With tears of great joy from her eyes rolling down her soft cheeks, she quivers with her heart melting.
My girl has lost her mind, thinking of Bhagavan only. With a desire to see Him, and with that longing, she cries for Him. Tears blind her vision. The heart is choked with emotion. The external eyes are covered with tears and she cannot see. The internal eyes in the heart are also choked. How will she reach is the mother’s anguish and concern.
Day and night, she has been calling out Him and she has proceeded to Thirukkovilur. He is staying there with a pride in His face that He is the Greatest of Greatest wealth of all worlds. How will she be able to endure the journey with her heart melting, thin legs suffering and tear, rolling down the cheeks uninterruptedly? (She should expect Him to come and stay here; On the contrary, with her tender body, weak heart, she walks and He is staying there waiting for her).
My girl, has fallen in love with The Supreme Personality of Godhead at Thirukkovilur and is proceeding towards that place. She is melting with love for Him. She is walking with her hands on her weakening hips (due to her exertion from emotions and physical strain as well). When the Supreme Personality of Godhead is staying at that Divya Sthalam, with Sri Mahalakshmi, (whose waist is also weakened due to her ecstasy for being with the Lord), she is suffering on her way to Thirukkovilur, leaving me all alone.
My girl is offering all good things that she comes across to Krishna, saying that everything is for Krishna only. She has got so much adoration and tremendous love for Him. When such is the case, the people talk so much ill about my girl. But she is also not bothered about all those talks.
Kulasekara Alwar says: For me all these people (who talk about me) are all mad – and I am also mad to them; I have become mad after My Supreme Personality of Godhead. She is also not bothered about me and has left me to proceed towards Thirukkovilur.
Oh Gods! I am simply NOT able to comprehend the nature of my daughter. My beautiful deer-like girl has left me and gone towards Thirukkovilur.
She has gone to Thirukkovilur to the Supreme Personality of Godhead Aravinda Lochana (lotus eyed Lord) and is unable to be away from him even for a micro-second. She is simply not worried about her mother and the family and also the bad name that she has earned for us.