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Stories Of Poonthanam And Melputhur Narayana Bhattathiri

The entrancing glory of Sri Krishna at Guruvayur became part of the lore, lyric, literature and life of generations through the lives of a handful of saintly devotees. One of them was Poonthanam Namboothiri, who wrote Jnanappana, and another was Melpathur Narayana Bhattathiri.

Once, Poonthanam was chanting the Vishnu Sahasranama at the Guruvayur temple. The great Sanskrit poet and scholar Melpathur Narayana Bhattathiri was at the temple too. He overheard Poonthanam chant ‘Padmanabho Maraprabhu’ and corrected him saying, ‘Padmanabha is Amaraprabhu; not Maraprabhu!’ Just then a voice was heard from within the sanctum sanctorum, ‘I am Maraprabhu and Amaraprabhu. I am Sarvaprabhu!’ Melputhur was a great devotee of Guruvayurappan himself and had composed the Narayaneeyam in Sanskrit. It was after composing this work that he was cured of the arthritis that he had taken on from his guru.

One day Poonthanam took his newly composed work Sri Krishna Karnamrutham to Melpathur and humbly requested him to read it and make corrections. The story goes that Melpathur suggested that Poonthanam show it to some poet who composed in Malayalam. ‘How would you know of vibhakti?’ he is said to have asked. Later that evening Melpathur experienced a worsening of his arthritis that had fully been cured earlier. Writhing in pain he cried out to Guruvayurappan until he dozed off out of weariness. That night he had a dream. Bhagavan spoke benignly, “Even I cannot save one who hurts by word or deed my innocent devotee who has surrendered everything to me. Poonthanam’s bhakti is dearer to me than your vibhakti.” Melpathur woke with a start and immediately sent for Poonthanam. He prostrated at his feet and sought forgiveness. Melpathur’s pain vanished as miraculously as it had manifested, and he duly read through Poonthanam’s work.