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The Alwars (also spelled Azhwars) are a group of 12 ancient Vaishnava saints who lived in Tamil Nadu and are famous for their devotional poetry in praise of Vishnu. The collection of their 4000 poems, known as the Naalayira Divya Prabhandam, is considered by many to be the "Dravida Veda", or South Indian Veda. The Alwars are crucially important figures in the history of Vaishnavism; it's the beliefs and principles embodied in the Alwars' poems that ultimately gave rise to the Sri Vaishnava sect (of which I'm a member).

One of the Alwars was a Brahmana priest called Perialwar. He was in charge of the Srivilliputtur Vishnu Temple and the father of Andal, the famous female Alwar who fell in love with Vishnu. In any case, here is one of Perialwar's poems concerning the birth of Krishna, which occurs near the beginning of the Naalayira Divya Prabhandam (see this PDF):

  1. Kaṇṇan, Kesavan, the lovely child, was born in Thirukkoṭṭiyur filled with beautiful palaces. When the cowherds sprinkled oil and turmeric powder mixed with fragrance on each other in front of Kaṇṇan’s house they made the front yards of the houses muddy

  2. When cowherds heard that the divine child was born, they ran, fell and shouted in joy. They searched for the baby and asked everyone, “Where is our dear one?” They beat the drums, sang, danced and joy spread everywhere in their village.

  3. When the glorious child was born the cowherds entered with love into Yashoda’s house, saw him and praised him, saying, “See! Among all men there is no equal to this child. He was born under the Thiruvoṇam star and will rule the world.”
  4. The women of the cowherd village took the pots from the uri, rolled them in front of their houses and danced. The fragrant ghee, milk and yogurt spilled all over and they became crazy with joy and their thick soft hair became loose.
  5. When the cowherds who carry the uri, sharp mazhu weapons, staffs for grazing the cows and who have palm-leaf beds to sleep on heard the divine child was born, they joined happily together and laughed with their jasmine flower-like teeth. They smeared oil on themselves and jumped into the water to bathe.
  6. The cowherdess Yashoda massaged the baby’s hands and legs and gently poured fresh turmeric water on his body from the pot and bathed him. When she cleaned his lovely tongue, he opened his mouth and she saw all the seven worlds inside.

  7. The beautiful cowherd women who saw the worlds in his mouth wondered and praised him, “This is no cowherd child. He is the supreme god. This wonderful child is really is a Maayan!”

  8. The cowherds planted poles of victory in all directions on the twelfth day after the child was born and gave him a name of the god who lifted up the huge Govardhana mountain. They carried him in their arms and rejoiced.
  9. Yashoda said, “If I put him in the cradle, he will kick and tear the cloth of the cradle. If I take him in my hands, he will hurt my waist. If I embrace him tightly, he will kick my stomach. I don’t have strength anymore to deal with him. I am tired, my friends!”
  10. Vishṇuchithan who wore a shining sacred thread composed the poems that describe the birth of omnipresent Narayaṇan, Purushothaman in Thirukkoṭṭiyur, surrounded with flourishing paddy fields. All the sins of the devotees who recite these poems will go away.

My question is about the first verse of the poem, which says that Krishna "was born in Thirukkoṭṭiyur filled with beautiful palaces". For those who don't know, Thirukottiyur, AKA Thirukoshtiyur, is a village in Tamil Nadu, home to the Sowmya Narayana Perumal Vishnu Temple. But obviously Krishna wasn't born in Tamil Nadu at all; he was born in Mathura in North India. So my question is, why does Perialwar say that Krishna was born in Thirukottiyur?

The Wikipedia article on the Thirukottiyur temple says that it has a statue of Krishna:

The shrine for Narayana is constructed in form of three stages, similar to that of three floors in a building. This interprets as Boologam (earth), Thiruparkadal, Vaikundham. Narayana appears in three stages in three forms. In Ground floor as Krishna in dancing posture. Next level he is sayana thirukolam (sayana = reclining, thirukolam = posture), a posture resting on Adhisesha. And top most level in standing posture as Sri Sowmya Narayana Perumal.

So did Perialwar just say that Krishna was born in Thirukottiyur out of his devotion to the Krishna deity there? Or did he mean something else by it? This blogpost claims that it's because Thirukottiyur is where Vishnu appeared before the gods and agreed to incarnate as Krishna:

Why does periyaazhwar say that Kannan ws born in Thirukkoshtiyoor? Does the aazhwar not know that the Lord was born in Mathura?

The puranas say that Thirukkoshtiyoor is the place where the Lord held counsel with the Devas tormented by Kamsa and He decided to be born as Krishna on the earth.

Since this was the place where the Lord decided to be born, aazhwar says that this was the birth place of Krishna.

Does anyone know if this is mentioned in the Puranas? The Srimad Bhagavatam only mentions the gods going to the shore of Vishnu's ocean of milk (called Thiruparkadal in Tamil). The Adi Parva of the Mahabharata says the same thing]. But is it possible that they also had a meeting on Earth?

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The discource (kalakshepa) renderes says Periazhwar is one of the person who out of devotion and affection sung Pallandu song which in common sense is not required. Continuing the trend, Periazhwar feared that by mentioning the birth details of Krishna he might put him in danger. Due to this he tries to divert the potential killers by misdirecting them. In that connection he also says:

மத்தக் களிற்று வசுதேவர் தம்முடை

சித்தம் பிரியாத தேவகி தன்வயிற்றில்

**அத்தத்தின் பத்தாநாள்** தோன்றிய அச்சுதன்

முத்த மிருந்தவா காணீரே முகிழ்நகை யீர்வந்து காணீரே.

Krishna was born in 10th day from the star Hastha which he could have clearly said as Rohini.

While Sri Prathivadhi Bhayankaram Annangaracharya says since the devas gathered to witness the birth of Sri Krishna which in Tamil said as Koshti (கோஷ்ட்டி) became as ThiruKoshtiyur.

These are the interpretations of many acharya and the only true intention of why Sri Periazhwar mentioned so will be known only to him and the Lord.

  • Thanks for your answer. What Kalakshepam did you hear the information from about Periyalwar trying to hide Krishna's location? And what work of Prathivadi Bhayankaram Annangaracharya says that the gods gathered in Thirukoshtiyur? – Keshav Srinivasan Oct 16 '15 at 10:09
  • It Sri.Koothapakkam Raghunatan swami who said so in a kalakshepam. I will try to get his attention to this and there by (may be) introduce this site to him. Yes indeed the work of PBA swami syncs with your words in your question. – Narayanan Oct 19 '15 at 3:36
  • @KeshavSrinivasan You should accept this answer. – user9554 Oct 10 '17 at 9:03

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