It is said that once Narada, though well-versed in the various arts and branches of learning, felt he lacked the awareness of the highest truth Atma Vidya and approached Sage Sanatkumara for instruction. Sanatkumara pointed out that the ultimate knowledge leaves one with the richest experience when one realises that there is nothing further to be seen, heard or known. This is the highest knowledge, and from the experience of realised souls, it is seen that it is revealed in one’s inner self through divine grace.
The life of Thirumazhisai Azhwar is symbolic of this quest of the ultimate truth, which he realises in his inner being without any doubt, said Sri Aravamudhachariar in a discourse. It is held that he was a contemporary of the first three Azhwars and that he was the son of sage Bharghava. As a child, he studied different schools of religion and philosophy. Initially he professed Saivism, and was later initiated into the truth of Narayana by Pei Azhwar. He affirms the supremacy of Narayana and the assurance of His grace to all beings and aspects of creation. The Lord is also the Maya that keeps us deluded. He explains the nature of the strong bond between him and the Lord by which he cannot be without the Lord and neither can the Lord be without him. He is fully aware that the Lord who dwells in his heart is also present in the hearts of the devout. His hymns reveal the rapport between him and the archa form of the Lord.
It is held that once when he and his disciple Kanikannan stayed in Kanchipuram, the king was dissatisfied with the latter and ordered him to leave the city. The Azhwar, too, decided to follow him and asked the deity at Tiruvekka in Kanchipuram to accompany them. The trio along with other devout people reached the outskirts of the city and stayed on the banks of Palar River for the night. The king realised that without the deity and the pious people, the city had lost its lustre, and withdrew his punishment for Kanikannan. When they returned, the deity also came with them with his serpent bed. Till date, this deity is known as Yathokthakari — one who does as bidden.