Sridhara Ayyaval

Sridhara Ayyaval

Sridhara Ayyaval, a revered Saint in South India, is known for leading the Naama-Prachaara Movement. He lived in Tiruvisaloor, a village situated on the banks of the Cauvery River near Kumbakonam, where he dedicated his life to spreading the message of devotion and spirituality. His teachings continue to inspire and guide many to this day. Sridhara Ayyaval, dedicated his life to contemplating upon the divine. He believed in the philosophy that God is omnipresent. 

Born in Mysore, his father Sri Lingaraya was a renowned scholar and a devout follower of Lord Shiva. Sridhara Ayyaval was a prodigy in his youth, mastering the Vedas and Shastras at a young age. His knowledge and wisdom were so respected that even King Shahaji, ruler of the Tanjore Kingdom, sought his counsel and advice on various matters. Ayyaval held the king in high regard as well, and even composed a biography of him titled 'Shahaji Raja Charitam'. 

Sridhara Ayyaval was known for his devotion to God. Despite being involved in Kingdom matters, Ayyaval eventually shifted his focus towards spreading devotion to God. He formed a partnership with Bodhendra Swamigal, who had an Ashram in Govindapuram, and the two spent a significant amount of time discussing various spiritual matters. 

Works of Ayyaval

Sridhara Ayyaval was a prolific writer, having penned several books and stotras. His books include Namamruta Rahasyam, Shivabhakti Kalpalata, Shiva Bhakta Lakshanam, Stuti Paddhati, Padamani Manjari, Shahaji Raja Charitam, and Bhagavannama Bhooshanam. In addition to these, he also wrote numerous stotras, such as Dayashatakam, Aakhyashasti, Matrubhootashatakam, Taravali Stotram, Kuleerashtakam, Aartihara Stotram, Doshapariharashtakam, Gangashtakam, Achyutashtakam, Jambunathashtakam, Krishna Dwadasa Manjari, and Dola Navaratna Malika. There are some famous and interesting stories of Ayyaval composing these Stotras.

Story of composing Krishna Dwadasa Manjari

Sridhara Ayyaval was famous as a devotee of Lord Shiva, also had a deep reverence for Lord Vishnu. However, some people spread rumors that Ayyaval had no interest in Lord Vishnu. Doubting Ayyaval's devotion, a Vaishnava King dressed a Krishna idol as Shiva and took it in front of Ayyaval's house. Ayyaval, who was performing his daily Anushthanam, immediately recognized the Lord Krishna idol and composed the Krishna Dwadasa Manjari on the spot. The King was impressed with Ayyaval's devotion towards Lord Vishnu and realized that he was a true devotee of both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. 

Story of composing Taravali Stotram

One of his most famous works is the Taravali Stotram, which consists of 28 verses. Legend has it that a couple who were unable to conceive a child for many years prayed to Lord Matrubhooteshwara and were blessed with a child. However, the child fell gravely ill and was on the verge of death. Ayyaval composed the Taravali Stotram and used the water infused with its verses to sprinkle on the child. Miraculously, the child recovered and the family was overjoyed. The Taravali Stotram is still recited by devotees seeking blessings and healing.

Story of composing Kuleerashtakam

Sridhara Ayyaval, composed the Kuleerashtakam, a prayer to Lord Shiva, which tells the story of a Gandharva who was cursed to be born as a crab and lived as a devoted follower of Shiva. The crab would pluck flowers every day and place them on the head of Lord Shiva. However, when priests began to doubt how the flowers were being placed on the deity's head, they discovered that the crab was entering the room through a hole where the Abhisheka water flowed out. One day, the King's guards chased the crab, and it hid in a hole in the Shivalinga's head. As a result, there were no rains for years until Ayyaval composed the Kuleerashtakam, which mentions that when the Moon and Crab are together in the Karka Month, rain comes. Ayyaval pointed out that there was a crab and a moon in Lord Shiva's head, so why had the rains not come yet? Suddenly, it started raining, and the people living there became happy. 

These are just some of the many inspiring events that occurred in Sridhara Ayyaval's life.

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