He is referred to as Sampooranathevan, a deva (a deity), in the religious book Akilam. However the exact date of birth of Mudisoodum Perumal was unknown. The Akilattirattu Ammanai mention that when the body of Mudisoodum Perumal is taken into the sea he was 24 years old. In that sense it was predicted as 1809 and in history there are different views about the year of birth. But some historians opinions it as 1810 C.E while others follow the view of Akilam. Any way the exact day and month of birth was unknown.
The religious book, Akilam, states a legend that the child was born dead, and then the soul of the deva Sampooranathevan was installed in the body. According to the legend, the parents found the child still for a time immediately after the birth, and then the child began behave normally. Thereafter, that boy grew up called Muthukutty in human history, and Sampooranathevan in Ayyavazhi mythology.
Muthukutty, a religious minded boy, had special interest in the worship of Vishnu. The holy book Akilam mentions that he had set a pedestal for Lord Vishnu in his house and worshipped the deity devoutly. At the age of seventeen, Muthukutty married Thirumalammal from the nearby village of Puviyur, and led a family life with her. However, there is also an opinion that they were not married at all, but that, she had come to live with him only to serve him during his public activities. Thirumalammal had been previously married, but left her former husband to marry Muthukutty. According to quotes found in Akilam, they had a male child and that the child was born to her in the relationship with her first husband. Muthukutty earned his living as a Palmyra climber and as an agricultural laborer.
In each of the five yugas prior to the transformation of Ayya Vaikundar, as each fragment of Kroni (evil or Devil) came into physical form, the Lord Vishnu incarnated as well, destroying them. However, in this the sixth yuga, the evil was called Kali, (not the Hindu deity) and having no physical form (see Pre-Incarnational Events for this account) he occupied the mind of people of earth as the Mayai (illusion), causing them to behave discourteously. Kaliyan claimed, it was impossible to destroy him in this yuga as in the previous ones as he held the boon from gods, it was impossible for Narayan, or any others, to incarnate in the world to destroy him.
Since God could not incarnate directly, He incarnated as Ayya Vaikundar in three stages.
- The first stage of Avatar was the born dead child (birth of the Body).
- Next, immediately the soul of Sampooranathevan was installed into the body, along with the Spirit (not Soul) of Narayana kept in Parvatha Ucchi Malai (a mythical mountain believed to be in this region) after the completion of the Krishna Avatar. This was the second stage of the Avatar.
- Then in the sea (during the 24th year), the soul of Sampooranathevan was granted moksha (liberation from the cycle of death and birth, synonymous with heaven), unified to the Ultimate Soul. Now, the Spirit of Narayana along with the Ultimate Soul (Paramatma) incarnated in the body of a human being (Muthukutty). (see:The Incarnation) This is the third stage of Avatar and from then he was called Ayya Vaikundar. Then Ayya Vaikundar was given Vinchai by Narayanar.(see: Vinchai to Vaikundar).
According to Ayyavazhi legends Ayya Vaikundar was not merely a human, not merely Narayana, and not merely the Ultimate Soul, but he was a human and he was the Ultimate Soul and he was Narayana. He was the one who had the responsibility to destroy the evil.
There is another vew that Vaikundar did not take a human body and showed only a bodily appearance to mankind based upon some quotes in akilam.
Having reached Poovantanthoppe, (present-day Swamithope), he undertook to perform a penance. The penance consisted of three stages, each spanning two years. There is a tradition that describes his postures during the six-year tavam as follows: during the first two years, he stood inside a pit of six depth, during the next two years, squatted on the ground, and, during last two years, sat on a raised platform. His appearance was squalid, "long and entangled plait of hair" and frayed clothes. He spoke less and subsisted on frugal meals.
"There are no demons, no devils, No ill effects of magical practices, No disease, no pain, and no extortion of taxes, And, therefore, live courageously."
The fame of Vaikundar had begun to spread in the countries of Travancore and Tirunelveli, and he had been gradually recognised socially as a religious person with extraordinary powers. In the religious parlance of the time, he was addressed as a Pantaram, a religious person hailing from, and serving the ordinary folk. Akilattirattu addresses him as NarayanaPantaram.
People came to him to listen to his teachings and instructions, to be cured by him of different diseases, to witness, worship and serve a religious person. Vaikundar encouraged the people to come together around a well to take a ritual bath, irrespective of caste differences. He encouraged them to dine together in his presence.
He gave out a number of teachings and instructions, the central point of which was that he had come to abolish Kali Yukam, and to usher in an age of Dharma Yukam, during the time of which the now-oppressed and suffering people would be liberated and rule the land under his leadership. 'Uplift of the lowly is dharmam’ was a constant refrain in his teachings. People were encouraged to serve as catalysts for the destruction of Kali by transforming themselves to be 'people of Dharma Yukam' and to acquire a new character. The new character would come upon them, he said, if they learned to live with self-respect, social dignity and fearlessness. Underscoring the importance of self-respect and social dignity, he said, ‘if one lives with dignity and self-respect, the kali would destroy itself’ . He said when people grew out of kalimayai, Dharma Yukam would unfold itself and in that age, he would rule over the people as Dharma Raja, the king of Dharma Yukam.
See also: Vaikundar's Trial.
On 3 June 1851, (malayalam era 1026 Vaikasi,21) Vaikundar attained Vaikundam (see also:Attaining Vaikundam). But How ever Samuel Mateer mentions the year as 1848. But today most of the historians opinins it as it is mentioned in Akilam. As he attained Vaikundam his body was interned in a tomb and, around that, a pati (temple) was raised later on. His devotees continued to visit this site, and performed the rituals as they used to do when Vaikundar was bodily present. His life and works remain the foundation of the Ayyavazhi. The head temple of the Ayyavazhi religion is the Swamithoppepathi and is located in the Village of Swamithope.