There are three qualities that distinguish a piece of writing and place it in a category above the ordinary. One of them is the nature of the author. The second is the matter it deals with. The third is the style. It is rare to find works which would qualify on all three grounds. The Thiruvaimozhi of Nammazhvar is one such work, Adur Asuri Madhavachari said in a discourse.
Nammazhvar had ‘atma gnana’ from the moment of his appearance on this earth. Unlike ordinary mortals, he knew no hunger or thirst. Only Nitya Suris are in this state of being without hunger and thirst, and the freedom from basic needs.
The uniqueness of Nammazhvar lies in the fact that although he graced this earth with his presence, he had the attributes of Nitya Suri. Nammazhvar is referred to as Prapannajana Kootasthar — the foremost among those who have surrendered. He is the only Azhvar to find a place in the Guru Paramparai. He is the incarnation of Viswaksena.
The Thiruvaimozhi says the service to Lord Narayana should be the focal point of every aspirant to liberation. Andal reminds us through her words ‘Unakke naam atcheivom’ that service to the Lord should be our only concern. Serving the Divya-Dampati is the Parama Purushartha. What is a Purushartha? That which is sought to be attained through human effort. None of the things we pursue in this world and work towards are worthy of being called Parama Purushartha.
Service to the Lord is the only thing that qualifies to be glorified as Parama Purushartha. What do those in Paramapada do, but serve the Lord? Nammazhvar shows us what being in Paramapada is like. As Thiruvaimozhi brings before our eyes the Paramapada experience, it is great.
As for the style of Nammazhvar’s works, he sums up in the very first verse what even the Vedas and the Upanishads found a daunting task.
He describes the Lord’s qualities through the choicest of Tamil words. In the first verse Nammazhvar shows us that He is a Saguna Brahman. Thus in terms of the author, the subject matter and the style, Nammazhvar’s Thiruvaimozhi bears the stamp of greatness.