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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'.
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.
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 Veda.
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 Thondiaman.
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 Ganesha Himself.