Avvaiyyar was a female poet of the ninth century, who lived in the
southern parts of India. She is known, not only for her extraordinary
poetry, but also, as a noble and revered saint. The term 'Avvaiyyar'
means ' respected old woman' or 'Grandmother'. Even though her real name
is not known, it doesn't make her or her literary works any less
popular. The children learning Tamil language make use of one of her
poems, which has been written especially for the purpose. As we move
further in this article, we will come across the various stages in life
history of Avvaiyar.
As per the legends surrounding Avaiyyar Biography, she was born to a
Brahman called Bhagavan and his untouchable wife called Adi. Since
Bhagavan was on a spiritual journey at the time of her birth, both of
them decided to abandon the child. A poet passing from there noticed the
abandoned child and took her under his care. Right from childhood,
Avvaiyyar showed a deep interest in poetry. At the tender age of four,
she was able to complete a complicated verse that even the most
distinguished poets of the land could not.
Devotion to Ganesha
Avvaiyar was extremely devoted to Lord Ganesha since childhood. She
always asked Him for three gifts, the gifts of poetry, music and drama.
As she grew, her talents also grew to the highest levels. At the same
time, she also started getting marriage proposals. Fed up with the
proposal and being constantly pressurized to get marries, Avaiyyar asked
Lord Ganesha to remove her beauty and turn her into an old woman. The
Lord obliged and in acknowledgment of His generosity, she sang a great
paean of Praise for Him, regarded as the equivalent of the Vedas.
Her Spiritual Journey
After this incident, she began her journey as a wanderer. The life gave
her the much desires education and inspiration and this social
conscience started to reflect in her poetry also. The love Avvaiyar had
for the common man, her contempt towards pretensions of the rich, etc,
all were beautifully brought forward in her poems. During her lifetime,
Avvaiyar also came across Skanda, brother of Ganesha. Her last public
service was the prevention of the war between King Adiyaman and King
The Spiritual Journey Ends
It is believed that Avvaiyyar did not die a normal death. Instead, she
was transported bodily to Kailasha, the abode of Lord Shiva, by Lord