Melpathur Narayana Bhattathiri (AD 1559-1632)

The most famous among the Guruvayur saints was Melpathur. He was born in Melpathur illam near Tirunavaya, famed as the theatre of the Mamankam festival. He was married to Achuta Pisharodi's niece and settled in Thrikandiyur.

Bhattathiri was affected with rheumatism and searched for a remedy. Ezhuthachan, a well known Malayalam poet and Sanskrit scholar told him - "meen thottu koottuka" (start with fish). Bhattathiri took it in the proper sense decided to present the various incarnations of Lord Vishnu starting with the fish, as narrated in the Bhagavatham in a series of Dasakas ( Groups of ten slokas) . He reached Guruvayur and started composing one dasaka a day in the presence of the Lord. The refrain in last sloka of every dasaka is a prayer to him to remove the ailments and sufferings. He composed his work in one hundred dasakas on the Kali day. This work is known as Narayaneeyam after which he recovered fully and regained happiness.

Narayaneeyam is in praise of Lord Narayana (Vishnu) on the equation between NARA and NARAYANA. Narayaneeyam is a summary of the Bhagavatha and its parayana (reading) confers great benefits; it is an effective faith therapy. It makes one God-conscious , it concerns mainly about our present life - Aarogyam (health and freedom from diseases) and saukhyam (happiness).

To Guruvayur also, Narayaneeyam is of utmost importance. No work of this magnitude has ever been dedicated and addressed to the deity of any other temple in India. It offers to the devout devotee an opportunity to visualise and worship Mahavishnu by reading it or listening to its rendition. It will shine and conjure up at Guruvayur in the heart of posterity. The Devaswom celebrates the Narayaneeyam Day every year with great enthusiasm and splendor.