Coming to our alwa:r, whose thirunakstram we are celebrating today is named ‘pa:ni’, meaning ‘one who carries an instrument’.This a:lwa:r carried an instrument and always sung in praise of Lord Ranganattha. However, he was prohibited from entering the temple because of the social status which was quite prevalent in those days. The head priest of the temple, Loka Saranga Muni also happened to send him away during the course of a ritual to bring water from a river bed. The a:lwa:r lost in his own thoughts on Lord did not notice the priest. The priest hit him with a rock. The a:lwa:r then realised the priests presence, quite willingly and guiltily moved away from the priests path. However, as the head priest reached the temple, Lord communicated to the priest via another priest about how he wanted to see the a:lwa:r right away and that he should be brought into the temple. They all went to fetch him, and the a:lwa:r was quite overwhelmed and at the same time shocked that he is being asked to enter the temple premises.
As soon as he reached the dhwaja sthambham, he began to sing Lord saying he is ‘amala’ – meaning Lord is someone who is not impacted by the ‘mala’, dirt around him. The dirt internally, externally can never impact God’s qualities and form. After he entered the sanctum and sang 10 songs in praise of Lord Ranganattha, he disappeared into the deity! What an amazing incident, how beautiful it is to visualise someone in love for lord becoming part of his murthi. The songs are an epitome of his extreme devotion and they are called ‘amalana:thi pira:n’.
His songs describe Exquisite charm of Lord Ranganatha from toe to head. Thiruppa:ni a:lwa:r is worshipped in all temples glorifying his love for Lord.
Now, coming back to our question ‘why does God need any protection’. If he comes down as archa murthi, he sticks to the rules of the nature of the material used in making the murthi. And hence, he does not talk or move like humans. In such cases, when someone utters out questioning the power of the murthi, it is the a:lwa:rs and Acharya:s who protected the existence of Lord as archa mu:rthi. And thus, we call a:lwa:r as the protector of God as well.
He believed in God as archa murthi and reached the state of union with God, the ultimate blissful state. We go to temples as well but we miss out on experiencing the bliss because we don’t believe in the form to the fullest extent as the actual avatar of God.