Thirumuruga Kripanandha Variyar
Kripanandha Variyar was an Indian spiritual leader who was popularly called as Variyar Swamigal. He was born on 25th August 1906 in Kangeyanallur near Vellore in Tamil Nadu. His parents were Siva Thiru Mallayadasa Bhagavathar and Madhu Shri. Kanagavalli Ammaiyar. His father was a great scholar and has established Thiruppugazh Sabhas (platform for singers and students to learn Thiruppugazh). His knowledge and wisdom in Purana, ethics and literature were unlimited. Hence, he was conferred with the title "Puranethikasa Paarangathar".
Madhu Shri. Kanagavalli Ammaiyar, mother of Swamigal was a noble, highly disciplined, calm, and affectionate holy woman. Her kindness and helping tendency towards mankind particularly towards the poor, was endless. Kripanandha Variyar had 10 siblings and he was the fourth among them. He did not get any formal education at school. He learned education, literature, music, and grammar from his father.
The Orator, par excellence:
Mallaya Dasar was acclaimed as a luminary in the art of musical discourses. Invitations came to him from different places and temples to perform devotional discourse. One day, due to some obligation, Mallaya Dasar could not visit a particular place as promised, so he sent his son Kripanandhar to perform the task.
On seeing the young Kripanandhar, the organizers wondered how Mallaya Dasar, having agreed to come and give the discourse, has deputed his young boy in his place. They doubted whether this boy could fulfil the high expectations of the audience. But the moment the audience started listening, they were spellbound. ‘What a great knowledge at such a young age!” they wondered.
Variyar was eighteen at that time and in keeping with his age, the discourse he delivered was so simple and clear that even the illiterates could understand it. Thereafter, wherever Variyar rendered, people came in large number because they knew Variyar could give them all they wanted: devotion, doctrines, and divine messages, combined with humour.
When he was 21 years old, his father took Variyar to the Navaratri festival held at Mysore. At that time, his father got the veena instrument from the luminary Veena Seshanna and gave it to his son, Kripanandha Variyar. When Variyar was 23 years old, he received training on Veena from Thenmadom Brahmasri Varadachariyar in Chennai for about four years.
Later, while rendering discourses, he started reciting Thiruppugazh, Thevaram and Thiruvachakam. He evinced great interest in music and even done some research on it. He said Lord Siva was the source from which music originated and was later developed by Muruga.
Respect for women:
When Variyar spoke, invariably the hall was packed to capacity and a sizable section of the audience was women. Variyar held woman in high respect. If anyone spoke ill of women, Variyar would explain with reason why a woman should be treated with respect, dignity, love and understanding. “If a wife sheds tear, that home would never prosper” he used to say.
It was Variyar who first brought out the idea of putting mother’s name as the initial for the child. Since many cases of harassment of women were reported in Tamil Nadu, Variyar emphasized the need to give woman a high position in the society. When there are visitors to the house, the husband should publicly acknowledge the importance of his wife and praise her qualities to all others.
His boundless devotion to Lord Muruga:
His devotion to Lord Muruga is reflected in all his words and deeds. He once said: “From time immemorial we have been adopting the practice of naming the child after the father. There is no history of man delivering a baby. It was only Lord Shiva who created from his third eye a baby who has come to be known as Muruga.”
“There are certain characteristic qualities for God,” he used to express. “Firstly, a god has no birth or death. He knows what our needs and aspirations are. I am stating this after undergoing many experiences and reading scriptures. He who is born, and dies cannot be called as a god. He is also an Atman just as we are all. There is no birth or death for Lord Siva. Muruga is the manifestation of Siva and Sakti. Therefore, there is no birth for Muruga also.”
Variyar Swamigal had studied the doctrine of Saiva Siddhanta in detail and lived like a Saivite saint. He was an erudite scholar and an eloquent speaker. When he spoke, words flowed freely like river Ganga and people appreciated the pearls of wisdom that emanated from his discourse. People from all walks of life used to turn up to the venue to listen to his scholarly speech.
Thiru Muruga Kripananda Variyar carved a niche for himself in the field of literature and devotion. He was the embodiment of devotion. He identified himself with Lord Muruga so deeply that it is difficult to think of one without the other.
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