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Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Margazhi Blogotsavam: Day 15: The Lord Preferred his Bhakti over Scholarliness: Poonthanam

Born in 1547 in Keezhattoor in Mallapuram region, Poonthanam was a devotee of Lord Guruvayurappan from a very young age. 

After many years of marriage, and long and arduous prayers to the Lord, his wife gave birth to a boy. On the child’s 1st birthday, however, the little one fell into the boiling rice and died. 

The inconsolable Poonthanam cried with agony at the feet of Guruvayurappan and the Lord Himself consoled him by lying in his lap for just a moment, like Poonthanam’s son. From that day on, Poonthanam began looking on the Lord as his own son, spent all his time reading the Bhagavatham, and composing poems and other writings praising the Lord’s glories. Most of his writing was in chaste Malayalam, since Poonthanam wasn’t well-versed in Sanskrit. 

Image courtesy: My Words and
Once, he wanted some help with his poetic work called Sri Krishna Karnamrutham and approached Melpattur Narayanan Bhattathiri, who was considered one of the greatest poets who wrote in Sanskrit, famous for his book called Naaraayaneeyam. However, the great man refused to help Poonthanam, saying he had nothing to do with compositions in Malayalam.

No sooner had he turned away Poonthanam, than he began suffering from severe pain in the joints. That night, Lord Guruvayurappan appeared in Melpattur’s dream. He declared, "To me, Poonthanam's bhakti is greater than your vibhakti (expert grammar). What you consider the lowly writing of Poonthanam is Malayalam, is dearer to me than your so-called great writings in Sanskrit!”

Once every month, Poonthanam would walk about 100 kilometres to have darshan of his beloved Guruvayurappan. On one such trip, he was attacked by robbers who snatched his ring and whatever money he had. Seeing him fiercely clutching a small bag, they wanted that too, thinking it contained some valuables. Poonthanam begged them to leave it alone, saying it only contained the Bhagavatam book that he used to read from everyday; but the robbers didn’t believe him. Helpless against their attack, Poonthanam loudly cried out, chanting the Lord’s Name, begging His help to protect his treasure.

A man who was passing by on horseback fought the robbers singlehandedly and got back Poonthanam’s money and ring, and also ensured no damage was done to the holy Bhagavatam. The man said he was the King’s minister, and guided Poonthanam to the temple. In gratitude, Poonthanam gifted his ring to the minister.

That night, the chief priest at the Guruvayurappan temple dreamt that the Lord told him, “You’ll find a ring on my murti tomorrow. Give it to my devotee Poonthanam who will come there.” He did exactly as bidden, and Poonthanam was shocked to realize that it was his dear Guruvayurappan who had come in the minister’s guise to help His humble devotee!

Poonthanam composed many poems in Malayalam and later, also in Sanskrit. He is best known for a composition called Jnanappana, which can be translated to mean ‘Song of Divine Wisdom’. In simple Malayalam, that even a commoner can follow, this text expounds the greatness of Namajapa – chanting the Lord’s Name. So popular is its appeal among the masses that it is sometimes termed the Malayalam Bhagavad Geeta! 

Quote courtesy:

Stories abound of the miracles wrought by Lord Guruvayurappan in Poonthanam’s life. This just goes to show that the Lord always takes care of those who surrender themselves to His lotus feet.

Can we try to start surrendering ourselves to the Lord, little by little at least, even if we cannot attain Poonthanam’s heights of surrender?

Can we stop trying to control everything around us, wanting things to go exactly as per our plan, and find joy in adapting to changing circumstances, accepting it as God’s will?



  1. One needs His blessings even to have bhakti and the knowledge or willingness to surrender to Him. These stories tend to inspire others to walk in that path or at least think about such possibilities. Only our good deeds, compassion, and positive attitude can help us be pulled in that direction.

    1. How true! Purva janma sukrutham counts!

  2. 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻💐🌈

  3. Very very happy to read such bhaktimay story

  4. Murthy Dakshina Somayajula12 January 2020 at 21:41

    God always takes care of those who surrender to him! ������

  5. Murthy Dakshina Somayajula12 January 2020 at 21:43

    God always takes care of those who surrender to him! ������


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