Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Pillai Lokacharyar Tiruvarasu||Ambal / Thayar:||–|
|Timing:||to & to||Parikaram:|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Kodikulam||District:||Madurai|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Madurai (16 km)||Sivaganga (22 km)|
|Dindigul (60 km)||Virudhunagar (64 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
Kodikulam, located on the north-eastern side of the Yanai Malai hill just outside Othakadai in Madurai, is home to temples for Vinayakar and Veda Narayana Perumal, and a separate shrine for Pillai Lokacharyar.
Pillai Lokacharya, who lived for about 118 years from the early 13th to the early 14th century, was a prominent Vaishnava leader, saint, and philosopher. He also authored several works important to Vishishtadvaita philosophy.
The saint was named for Lokacharyar, the Guru of his father, Vadakku Tiruveedhipillai. He is regarded as the amsam or earthly / human representation of Kanchipuram Varadaraja Perumal. His disciples included his own brother – Azhagiya Manavala Perumal Nayanar – amongst many others.
During his time in Srirangam, the Mughals invaded the Pandya country. To save the temple and the murtis, Ranganathar was moved behind a newly constructed wall, in front of which another murti was placed. The utsavar – Azhagiya Manavalar – was moved around to different places and was also brought to Kodikulam (then known as Jyotishakudi) by Pillai Lokacharyar. During this journey, the saint and his entourage were also confronted by thieves, but thankfully they did not touch the murti of Perumal.
Pillai Lokacharyar attained mukti at the age of almost 118, due to injuries that resulted from a fall from a height at Yanai Malai. Prior to his earthly departure, the saint touched several ants and insects, so that they could also get a place at the Lord’s feet at Vaikuntam. After his departure, his disciples performed the necessary rituals and, at the appropriate time, took the murti of Perumal back to Srirangam.
The place where the saint fell is commemorated as a Tiruvarasu – something that is done for saints, in the Vaishnavite tradition, akin to a Brindavanam – and a peepul tree (arasa maram) was grown above it.
The place is located adjacent to the Veda Narayana Perumal temple, and is a perfect example of solitude. On occasion, individuals can be seen seated in meditation, but there is no sound other than that of nature.