Srimathey Sri Vedandtha Ramanuja Maha Desikaya Namaha Srimathey Sri Rangaramanuja Maha Desikaya Namaha Srimadyey Godhayey

Namaha Sri Ranganatha Dhivya Mani Padukapyam Namaha ***************************** GLIMPSES IN TO SRVAISHNAVA SAMPRADAYA Prostrating many times at the Lotus Feet of my acharya, all poorvacharyas and elders, I venture in this task of narrating in nutshell certain aspects of the Sri Vaishnava Sampradaya for the benefit of youngsters who are not aquainted with the sampradayam and dedicate this reverentially at the holy feet of acharyas. *** Srivaishnava sampradayam is a part of Hindu religion. In fact, there is no such religion as Hindu religion. It is only proper to call ours as vedic religion. None could establish so far as to when , where and how the VEDAS emanated and hence stands our belief that, vedas emanated from the primordial power, heard by the rishies and given to the mankind for its benefit by word of mouth. (The Bible also says that first there was the sound ). From an unknown time from the past, we call the primordial sound as OM (pronounced as AUM) or Pranava. Hence, during the time of Rama and Krishna we do not hear of Saivaite, Vaishnavite or Madhvas! Later, down the ages when there was anarchic interpretation of vedic statements, great acharyas incarnated and the different codes of life (known as sampradhaya) came into being. Adhi Sankaracharya codified the vedic religion into six group known as Shanmadhas. But, fundamentally, the major three sampradayas enveloping all these can be said as saiva, vaishnava, madhava sampradhayas. They have one single root. There is one central theme in vedas which says "ekameva adhvidheeyam na dwidheeyam" ie., there is only one, no second. Based on the interpretation ( called Bashyams ) given by the three acharyas to this Brahma Sutra at different times taking into consideration the living conditions of the people of their time, three major off-shoots came into being. Adhi Sankaracharya (revered as avatar of Shiva) interpreted the Brahma Sutra to the effect that there is only one force as Paramatma and all the rest is Maya-a vision similar to mirage/dream

and hence his followers came to be known as adhvaithis ie., those who believe there is no second. It was known as adhvaitha (Monism). In simple parlance His teaching meant that Brahman is like a screen in the cinema and the universe we see and identify are like pictures which are mere shadows - hence, Brahman alone exists as base. His advent and that preaching were the urgent need of that hour because by then Buddhism had degenerated by discarding the spirit behind the preaching of Gautama, the Buddha. Buddha did not speak of God but preached right living to attain nirvana (enlightenment). Generations later the valuable teaching of Buddha was not practiced in its true spirit and almost a sort of atheism developed. Thus Sri Shankaracharya’s advent and his monism to bring back the vedic religion from near rout took place by the Divine will. He did it so successfully that Buddhism almost vanished from Bharat. But, by the passage of time many common followers of Shankaracharya mis-interpreted the Great exposition and indulged in mundane activities saying that the world is after all a dream. Hence, the Divine Will had to bring about a fresh wind to blow the chaff away in the form of Ramanujacharya (revered as avatar of Adhi Sesha). He said that the vedic statement no doubt meant that the Paramatman is without second but it does not mean that jivas are not there. There is a Paramatma, the primordial power-to whom jeevas/creations form part of Him. Hence, he termed his philosophy as vishista-adhvaidha ie, qualified advaidha. His commentaries on the Brahma sutras expounding Vishistadvaidha is famously known as SRI BHASHYAM, the holy magnum opus for Shrivaishnavas. Later, to suit particular conditions of the people of the time, Madhavacharya (revered as Vayu's avatar) interpreted the Brahma Sutra and gave the conduct of living which is known as Dwaidha ie., always the Paramatma and Jivatmas exist, the later subservient to the Paramatma. Hence, the root for all the three sampradhayas is the vedic dictum. While for the vishishtadhvaidhis and dwaithis SRIMAN NARAYANA is the prime lord of worship, Adhi Shankaracharya also at the end of all His immortal works, advocated for the common people like us the famous Baja Govindam song (sing the praise of Govinda). Thus all the three Acharyas direct the people towards the worship of the Paramatma, in whatever name one would like to call according to his previous karma or surroundings. Ramana Maharishi of Thiruvannamalai says that "advaitha does not mean that one sits without doing anything-lots of actions are to done when we have this body and the body will perform all acts for which it has come whether we like it or not. That is why Sankara was in action (by singing hymns and going to various temples)." Incidentally, it is interesting to note that while the Bhashyams are known by the name of the respective author like Sankara Bhashyam, the mere mention Shri Bhashyam denotes the Bhashyam of Ramanujacharya. Scholars like to quote this as a proof for the excellence of the Bhashyam .Shri Ramanuja

is the only saint who is also called bashyakarar-one who gave the bashyam. (It is advised that one reads the book " Life of Sri Ramanuja", written by Swami Ramakrishnananda, the direct disciple of Paramahamsa Ramamakrishna himself and published by Ramakrishna Mutt, Chennai). It is interesting to note that Bagawat Ramanuja started his vedic studies under the guidance of an Advaithic teacher by name Yadava Prakasar at Kancheepuram, near Chennai. But, later his conviction was changed due to divine intervention following the prayers of Saint Alavanthar and he embraced the Vishistadwaitha sidhantha. It is all the more interesting to note further that Yadva Prakasa, who tried to murder his disciple Sri Ramanjuja as he found the shishya more intelligent than him, later became the disciple of Sri Ramanujacharya not only because of his getting convinced of the interpretations of Ramanuja but also because of the latter's compassion and greatness . Yadva Prakasa was rechrisened as Govinda Jeeyar and became head of one of the mutts under Ramanuja. VISHISTA-ADHVAITHAM A small example will clear what this means. Saint Aalavandhar, Guru of Shri. Ramanuja and one of the most revered acharyas of Srivaishnavaites, went to Chola king, who was then patronising Jain monks. The king asked "Swami, the Veda says that Paramatma is one and there is no second. If so, how can you say that the world and Jeevatmas exist and forms part of Paramatma". Swami asked the King; "Raja. I say that ' Chola Raja is one and there is no second.' What does this mean? Does this mean that you have no wife, no children,no subjects, nothing? Or does it mean that there is Chola Raja and everything, but none to equal Chola Raja." Raja replied, "Swami, it appears that your second interpretation is correct." Swami said that in the same manner the Paramatma is supreme and has in Him all the other attributes and hence the qualified advaidha known as vishistadvaidha. Chola king was, thus, convinced and accepted Srivashnava sampradaya and rejected the philosophy of the Jain monks who were then having the monopoly in his durbar. Sri Satya Sai Baba gives many fine examples. We see a pot. In the pot you have mud. But in the 'mud', pot does not exist. Pot is the result of the process of Kalpana(creation). Yet mud exists in the pot. (Assume mud the supreme power and the pot creation. It will be understood). Similarly, a bubble of water arises from water because of Kapana (creation) and hence it dissolves back in the water. Nevertheless, in the bubble too water is present as a thin film. In the same manner, the supreme manifests ITSELF as creations and merge back in to IT.

Hence forth, we will term this sidhantha as vaishnava sidhantha and the followers as sri vaishnavas or srisampradayees, because this is the common terminology used in day to day life. GURU PARAMPARA (Lineage of Gurus) We do not know when the Vaishnavism came into being as a separate way of life. The history of Gurus (we will call them as acharyas) commences from Srimad Nada Muni (Literally means singing saint) who lived somewhat around 1300 years back. Before him we had twelve Azhvars (meaning persons who immersed themselves in Lord Vishnu out of pure divine love) who gave to us the 4000 devotional songs which are famously known as Naalaayira Dhiwya Prabhandam ( Annexure II gives all details) . One of the Azhvars is the famous Aandal. Over the period of time the 4000 songs were lost. (In real count it is not exactly 4000 but slightly short of that number to which the Thiru Arangathu Amudhanar’s 108 praising songs (known as Ramanusa nootranthathi) on his Guru Ramanujar is added to make 4000. (Please see Annexure II- the list of Azhwars, their thiru nakshatras, works etc. at the end.)

We do not know when the Guru parampara started till Nada Muni's record started. The Guruparampara says that as a child NADHA MUNI (born in the star Anusha in the month of Aani) heard some Brhamins from West who came to Veeranarayanpuram temple (also known as Kaattu mannaar koil) and sang some Tamil pasruams of Namnalwar ('aaraa amudhe adiyen udalam') which ended with aayirathul ip paththum (10 out of the 1000) and when a thrilled Nada Muni asked them to teach him the remaining 990 songs they said that these ten songs are sung for generations and they do not know beyond that. They advised him to go the birth place of Nam Azhwar and pray. Thus, he went to Thirukurukoor (Azhwar Thirunagari) in deep South, did tapas before Nammalvar deity by singing 12000 times the Kanninum siru thaambu songs of Madura kavi Azhwar on Nammalvar and got the all the pasurams of Dhiwiya Prabandam from Nam Azhwar's divine mouth. The diviya prabhandas are also known as Dravida Veda. Hence, in Vaishanva sampradaya the Guru Parampara is like this: $ First Acharya is Sriman Narayana to His consort Lakshmi $ Then Lakshmi to Vishvaksenar. (Like Vinayaka to Saivaites, Vishvaksevnar is to Vaishnavas) $ Vishvaksenar to Sadagopan, {who is considered to be incarnation of Vishvaksenar on Earth. He is famously and very affectionately known as nam azhwar ie.,our azhwar}.

$ Then, Nada Muni, followed by Uyyakkondar, Manakkal Nambi, Peria Nammbi, Aala vanthar, Ramanjuacharya and the present day Acharya. Every day we are ordained to say namaskar in the reverse order ie., namaskar to ……(present acharya), Aala Vanthar, Peria Nambi, Mankkal Nambi, Uyyakkondar, Nada Muni, Sadagopan, Vishvaksenar, Lakshmi and Narayana.( we recite : asmath guru, parama guru, yadheevara, poornow, sayamunam, ramam ,padmaksha natha, satajith, senesa, rama, rampathimcha bajey) Normally we do not say Vishvaksena, Lakshmi and Narayana . We address them: Vishvaksena: Senai Nathan (Leader of the army of Vishnu), Senai mudalvar, Lakshmi: Narayana: Thiru Magal, or Thaayar or Praatti Emperuman or Perumal

In Shrivaishnava Sampradaya, if one says merely Koil it denotes Sri Rangam Temple, Perumal means Varadaraja of Kancheepuram and Malai means Thirumala. The 108 Shrivaishnavite temples sung by Azhwars are sacred to shirvaishnavas and are known as thirupathi. (See Annexure I which gives the names of 108 Thirupathis, name of the Lord and His consort). (also Annexure III highlighting some thirupathis in Kerala and South Tamil Nadu). The most important thing that one should every day remember and recite are the MANTR TREYAM (THREE MANTRAS) viz., (1) "Om Namo Narayanaya" (2) "Sriman Narayana charanow charanm prapatye Srimate Narayanaya Namaha" and (3) Sarvadharman Parityaksha Maam Ekam Charanam Vraja, Aham twa sarva papepyoho, Mokshaisyami Ma suchaha". First is known as Moola Mantra, Second as Dwayam and the third Charamas Slokam. These three mantras will be given as upadesa to devotees by their respective acharyas. The commentaries given by ancient acharyas to these three mantras are known as Rahsya traya saaram (essence of three rahasyas) Incidentally, one should know here about samasaranam and bharanyasam. The male and female must undergo samasarnam. The male can have samasaranam only after upanayanam and the female can have it only after marriage. Samasaranm and bharnyasam are conducted by the acharyan. Samasaranam is pancha

samskaras like purifying the body with pancha-kavyas, adapting daasa after ones name, wearing 12 thiruman kaappu on the body, getting initiated to the mantra treyam (explained above) and getting the symbol of conch and discus of Lord affixed on either shoulder. Only then a male is eligible for doing thiru aarathanam for God and the lady is eligible for kitchen duty for any religious function. Bharanyasam or Bharasamarpanam ( practiced in vadgalai

branch only) is the ritual of surendering to Lord through acharyan, leaving all burdens to Him. There is no age limit for bharanyasam and even a child in the womb is eligible, because no one knows when death will strike a person. Srimad Azahgia singer-44th acharya of Ahobila mutt terms Bharanyasa as insurance of the soul with Baghavan which should not be postponed. There is an interesting episode. It is said that once when Aakkur Andavan was coming from thiru Kaveri, a snake coiled around his leg and when others were scared, Andavan said that it has come to surrender and saying so he sprinkled holy water on it and prayed for its surrender to Lord. There is a similar episode in Ramakrishna Pramahamsa's life. Once when he was walking with his devotees, some persons where catching fishes in the shallow water. One fish jumped and writhed around Paramahamsa's legs. He took it and placed it in the waters saying that we are expected to surrender at the Lord's feet like that fish. (Then Kalai sect of Srivaishanvas do not practice the ritual of Bharnyasam). Bhagawan Sri Ramana Maharishi says that surrendering is not that simple.

He says in real terms when some one says that one surrenders to Lord one assumes that he is free other wise to act according to his will. Even the very thought that we are surrendering is 'ego' says the Maharishi. The real surrender, Maharishi says, is in 'realising' that everything goes as ordained by the Supreme power. Hence, surrender i.e., bharanyasam pre-supposes mental realisation that we are not the doer. A word about Bharanysam. Some of us are driven to the fear to seek bharanyasam because of the fear that we may have to eat outside, could make some slip in the rituals prescribed. No doubt, the rituals prescribed, the food prohibited are all very important for control of senses, but they are not the be all and end all. The main point is the mental resignation and realisation that we are not the doers. When the latter is perceived the former restrictions will automatically fall in line as per the will of the God. If we mis-place our priorities on the technicalities and not on the intent and purpose of surrender then we will be missing the woods for the tree. By this statement, deliberate/avoidable violation of the dictums on food and daily rituals ordained by elders are not accepted but it is emphasised that spirit of the act of surrender is not lost in the over zeal to hold on to the outer covers.

OUR ACHARYAS Baghawat Ramanuja, ( who is also known as emperumanar-, Sriman Narayana is Emperuman while Ramajuja is emperumanar) was born at Sriperumpudur in the present Tamil Nadu in the year 1017 AD and lived up to 120 years, established 74 mutts in different parts of this Bharatavarsha and the Mutt Heads were known as Jeeyers.

Some of the famous ones are Thirumalai-Thirupathi Jeeyer, Vaana Maa Malai Jeeyer, Ahobilam Jeeyer , Sriperumbudur jeeyer, Tridandi Ramanuja jeeyer etc., It is Ramanjuja who codified the daily rituals in the Srirangam temple and in the daily life of srisampradayees. (Then Arangan selvam mutrum thiruththi vaithan vashiyave-so sings the elders). Most vaishnava temples follow these codes. Swami Desikan has laid down the ahara (food) niyamas also. Some interesting facts from Ramanuja's life is given in Annexure IV. Among the Vaishnavites there are two sub-sets ( people call it kalai) known as vada kalai (who use the Tripundaram-known commonly as Thiruman Kaappu in the head in " U " shape) and Then Kalai (who use a sharp projection in the nose while applying Thiruman). There is not much of a difference in the sampradaya at macro level among the two Kalais.. The principal acharya for all vaishnavas is RAMANUJA. Coming to Acharyas, in the VADA KALAI sect there are two prime Mutts known as Srimad Aandavan Ashramam of Sri Rangam (near Trichy) and Ahobila Mutt at Ahobilam in Andhra Pradesh. For both of these mutts predominant Acharya is VEDHANTHA DESIKAN, who lived about 700 years ago. Swami Desikan has composed 28 stotra grandhas, 4 kaavya grandhas, 1 nataka grandha, 14 vedantha grnadhas, 8 vyakya grandhas, 2 anushtana grandhas, 32 rahasya grandhas and 24 Tamil prabandhas. He wrote the famous paduka sahasram- 1008 sanskrit slokas on the virtues of Rama's Padukas in 3 nazhigais in a single night. Such is His greatness. He is the avatar of the holy bell of Thirumala and one will feel it as one recites His works. The Aandavan Ashram head is called Srimad Aandavan and the head of Ahobila Mutt as Azhahiya Singer (ie. the Beautiful Narasimham). There can be no function or daily pooja/sandhya vandhana in sri vaishnava family without seeking first the blessings of Nigamantha Maha Desikan (and Srimad Andavan or their

respective acharyas) for Vadakalai group. Thenkalai sect will invoke the blessings of Sri Manavala Maamunigal and their acharyas. In the Andavan ashramam procedure of worship, prime importance is for the padukas and the aradhana to padukas of poorvacharyas and distribution of paduka theertham by Srimadanvan every day is a very important ritual. The spiritual monthly magazine brought out by the ashram is itself title as Ranganatha Paduka.

SOME ACCEPTED TRADITIONS 1.While prostrating before God or elders, we should prostrate minimum twice and prostrations should be only in even numbers-2,4,6,etc.. 2.While prostrating before Acharyas, we should continue to prostrate till Acharyan says stop. 3.The sari pallu should always be on the left shoulder. 4.The deepam in the Perumal sannidhi in the house should not be allowed to extinguish by itself. 5. If saligrama deity is kept in the home, everyday something should be submitted as nivedyam without fail, because Saligrama is not supposed to be left without any offering even for a day. When it becomes inevitable that we will be unable to offer nivedayam, because of our going out on tour or any other reason, the Salagarma has to be laid into the rice bowl. 6. Wife for all functions stands on the right side of the husband. 7. Before singing any sloka or stotras first sing the praise of Swamy Desikan: Ramanuja daya patram , gana vairagya bhooshanam, srimad venkata natharyam , vandhey vedanda desikam. Similarly, before closing sing Kavitharkika simhaya kalyana kunasaliney, srimthey venkatesaya vedantha gurave namaha. 8. Annually during the period from Thiru Karthikai day (some time during late November and early December) to Hastha Nakshatra in the Tamil Month of Thai (Mid January), the period is called anadhyayam period. During this period in the house naalaayira diwya prabandam should not be sung. The exceptions are Thiruppavai and Thirupallis ezhuchi.,Rananusa nootrandadhi, Desika Prabandam etc., During this period in the vaishnava temples in the festival called raa pathu and pagal pathu entire naalaayiram will be sung. 9. No thiru aaradhanam or neivedhyam to Baghavan should be done without ringing the bell. 10.While serving food in the normal days only rice should be served first. On festival or important occasions first a little of milk in the plate, then little sugar and then rice. Vegetable should not be served first. 11. Should NOT prostrate or fold hands as namaskar for a person lying down. 12. Should NOT prostrate any one in a temple, even if it is one's acharyan. In the temple only God should be prostrated. Only fold the hands and do namaskar. 13. (GENTS) After prostrating perumal, thayar, sanyasin, ladies (EXCEPT mother) , veda or

iyal ghosti coming with Perumal abhivadhaye is not to be told. 14. Do NOT prostrate or do namaskar to one younger to you or one in wet cloth. 15. During polluted days ( theettu ) Thiruarathanam is not to be done. 16. Do NOT fold hands as namaskar or prostrate to a person just leaving for outstation. 17. Generally idols more than two inches big are not kept for aradhana in the house as it requires strict adherence to rituals and niyamas. Some common terminologies in usage - Elders are generally addressed as 'Mama' (male) and 'Mami' (Female), unless there is specific relationship to call. Husband's brother's wife ( in- law's wife): "Orpadi" - Elder Sister's OR siter-in-law's husband: "Athimber." - Father in Law:" Mamanar": Mother- in Law:" Mamiyar" but generally address as appa/amma. - Husband's sisters: "Nathanar" / Peria{elder} Nathanar. / Chinna(younger) Nathanar. - Father-in-Law's elder brother is" Peria (elder) mamanar.". His wife is called "Peria Mamiar". Aunt is called "Aththai". Husband's elder brother (either own or step-brother) is called "Anna" and elder sister is called "Akka". Swamy sannidhi is called Perumal Sanndhi. Pooja is called Thiru Aradhanam.Temple is Kovil. Lord is Perumal. Lord's consort is called Thayar (ie., mother).Cooked rice: Sadham.(generally it is called prasadam by elders because they do not partake anything which is not submitted to Lord): Kitchen: Thirumadapalli Kariamuthu .Sambar:Kuzhambu Rasam: Sathumudhu. Sweet rice: Sakkarai Pongal Curry: Drinking

Payasam:Kannamudhu(Thirukannamudhu) Curd Bath: Dadhiyonnam

water: Theertham or Jalam MAJOR FESTIVALS Corresponding English Month Tamil New Year known as Chitrai Masa Pirappu .!st of Adi month Adi masa Pirappu Adi Perukku (18th day of Adi Month) Thiru Adi Pooram (Lord Andal's Birth day) Mid-April Mid-August " "

Adi Month all Fridays . Deepa Poojai Avani Avittam-Thread changing ceremony Gayari Japam Krishna Jayanthi Purattasi month; Thiruvonam (Swami Desikan Birth day) Navaratri Deepavali Karthikai Deepam

Mid August End of August next day September Sep-Oct

October Oct/Nov November

Margazhi (Month of Thiruppavai sung By Andal) Month of Thai: 1st day Bogi 2nd " 3rd " Pongal Kanu Mid -Mar to Mid April Mid -January Mid-Dec to Mid- Jan

Month of Panguni Sri Rama Navami Uthira Nakshatram(Lord Andal's Thiru Kalyanam)

AUTHOR'S NATIVE PLACE Our native place Srivilliputtur is about 60 kilometers South from Madurai. It is the birth place of Sri Andal, one of the 12 vaishnavite saints. But she is considered as the reincarnation of Bhoo Devi of Lord Narayana and married him by conducting vratha by singing Thirupavai song (30 numbers) in the month of Margazhi. Margasheersha or Margazhi month is considered as the most auspicious for spiritual upliftment and in the Geetha, Krishna says in the months he is Margasheersha month. Till recently, the temple tower at Srivilliputtur measuring 192 feet high was the tallest in Indian Gopurams and even to day it is the Tamil Nadu Government's State Symbol. The temple of Andal

is one of the biggest ones in the south and the temple cart is the biggest in India. The other temple is called Peria Koil (Big temple), where like Lord Ranganatha, there lies Perumal in Adhi Sesha in all His majesty. He is our family deity (Kula Daiva) for generations. He is known as Vatapatra sayee or vada perum koiludaiyaan or Peria Perumal.(Big perumal in size too). The special offering of prasadam to Him is amirtha kalasam which is a sweet dish with poornam inside. When it is prepared at our instance we should ask the priest to do seva to vittala vaail appan also near the Peria Perumal. Srivilliputtur is one of the 108 Diwya Desas dear to any true Srivaishnava. There is a Desikar temple to which our forefathers till recently were doing sevas. Let us pray to our acharyas and Lord that let us not forget at any time or on any auspicious occasion the native place, the bewitching Gods whom our forefathers loved with their body and soul for generations. There is no treasure to excel them. We should live upto Peria Azhwar’s song where he sings that for seven generations and yore we continue to do seva in Thiruvonam festival ( in ' Pallandu' He sings enthai, thanthai,thanthaithan moothappan, ezhpadikkal thodangi). Also we shall pray as Andal sang that for ever we shall do seva to our family deities and shrivaishnavas ( 29th Song of Thiruppavai - sitram siru kale). Forsaking our false ego, let us sing loudly the divine names of our dear God and Goddess. WHO IS A TRUE VAISHNAVAN? Whether by following the various daily rituals narrated alone a person becomes a Vaishnava? The elders and scriptures deny. Bhagawat Ramanujacharya himself dispelled this doubt by openly giving upadesa of the MOOLA MANTRA from the temple tower of Thirukoshtiur and also embracing all to the Srivaishnavism at Melkote and other places of His visit. Ramanujacharya has given us some dictum (Ramanujarya Diwyagna) and one of it says that if you cannot follow any of the direction atleast serve a Srivaishanva. Srivaishnava is one who considers that everyone belongs to the Vasudeva Kutumbam-all belongs to the family of Vasudeva. He will consider other’s pain as his, world as the embodiment of saguna Brahma, he will not abuse any one, and worship other women as his mother, pure in his thoughts and words. In short he will observe the dictum of Bagawat Ramanuja but will not be dogmatic immersed lifelessly in rituals forgetting the substance of Ramanujacharya's message. His life itself was His message. In short a true vaishnava will be a whole being fully engrossed by the universal love. Narasi Mehta in his famous vaishnava janatho song extols the virtues of a Vaishnava.

Basically one should follow his own religion but without hatred for any other religion or sampradaya. In Baghawat Geetha, Lord Krishna asserts that whatever may be the path a person chooses ie.,Gnana Marga, Bakthi Marga or Karma Yoga and whatever deity he chooses to worship, all those efforts reach the one and the only goal-the Supreme Lord. Saint Nam Azhwar in His Thiruvai Mozhi pasuram reiterates that each one gets his chosen deity according to his fate and no god has any short-comings ( avaravar iraiyavar kurai vilar, iraiyavar avaravar vidhi vazhi adaiya nindranarey). Can there be a greater outlook for mankind than this one stated by our Azhwar? The path of one pointed devotion to one God (maranthum puram thozha maanthar) is advised to have concentration and not for hating Gods worshiped by others. Elders used to give an example. A married woman will have the highest respect for her husband. But she does not show disrespect to other elders. But her devotion anyway is supreme to her husband. As per vedantha Lord alone is the Pursha . (Purusha evedhagum sarvam). Bhakthi yoga is in no way inferior to Gnana yoga and for the Kali Yuga Bakthi yoga is advised by acharyas as the best for mankind. Let us keep in mind the following dictum which Swami Vivekananda emphatically proclaimed in the Parliament of Religions:

Aakaasaath Pathitham Thoyam Yadha Gachchathi Saagaram Sarvadeva Namskaram Sri Kesavam Prathi Gachathi (As water that pours from the sky goes ultimately to sea, in the same way worship of all Gods goes to Lord Shri Krishna)

Samarpan at the Lotus Feets of THIRUKKUDAHTHAI AANDAVAN and SRI SATYA SAI who made me realise by their life that there is nothing to equal selfless love.

Bangalore August 22, 2001

Alagar Govindakrishna Daasan (Thirukkudanthai Aandavan Thiruvadi)

Srimathe Sri Ranga Ramajuja Maha Desikaya Namaha Srimathe Vedhantha Ramanuja Maha Desikaya Namaha Sri Ranganatha Diviya Mani Padukabyam Namaha Srimadyai Godhayai Namaha

No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 Name of Diviya Desam Thiru Arangam* Uraiyoor (Thiru Kozhi) Uthamar Koil (Thiru Karambanur) Thiru Vellarai Thiru Anbil Thirupper nagar Thirukkandiyur Thiru Koodaloor Thirukkavithalam Thiru Pulla Bootham Kudi Thirukkudanthai Thiru vinnagar Thiru Naraiur (Nachiar Koil) Thiru cherai Thiru Kanna Mangai Thiru Kannapuram Thiru Kannamgudi Thiru Nagai (Nagapatinam) Thiru Tanjai Maamanikkoil Nathan Koil Thiru velliangudi Thiru vazhunthur Thiru Aadhanoor Thiruchchiru Puliyur Thiru Thalaichangadu Thiru Indhaloor Thiru Naangoor Sirgazhi Ariya mel vinnagaram Perumal's Thirunamam Sri Ranganathar Azhahiya Manavalar Purushotahaman Pundarikashan Vadivazhagiya Nambi Appak kudathan Harasaba Vimochana Perumal Jagat rakshagan Gajendra Varadhan Valvil Raman Aravamudan / Sarangapani Oppiliappan Thiru Nariur Nambi Sara nathan Baktha vatsalan Sauri Rajan Loganathan Neelamegam Neelamegam Natha Nathan Kola valvil raman Devathi Rajan Aandalakkum aiyan Arul Maa Kadal Naan madhiyap perumal Parimala Nayagan Gopalakrishnan Thrivikraman Kudamadu koothan Thayar's Thirunamam Sri Ranganayaki Kamalavalli Naachiyar Poornavalli Shenbagavalli Azhagiya Valli Indira Devi / Kamalavalli Kamalvalli Padmasani Ramamani Valli Hemambuja valli Komalavalli Bhoomi Devi Vanjula valli Sara Nayaki Abisheka Valli Kannapura Nayagi Aravintha valli Soundarya valli Senkamala valli Shenbaga valli Maragatha valli Sengamala valli Ranga nayagi Thiru Maa magal Thalaichanga nayagi Parimala Ranga Nayagi Madavaral nangai Loga nayagi Amrutha kada valli

30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78

Thiru van purudothamam Thiru chempon koil Thirumadakkoil Thiru vaikuntha vinnagaram Thiru vaali / Thiru nagari Thiru thevanar thogai Thiru thetri ammbalam Thiru manikkoodam Thiru vellakkulam Thiru parthana palli Thiru chitrakoodam (Chidambaram) Thiruvahindrapuram Thirukovalur Thiru kachchi (Kanchipuram)** Ashata puya karam Thiru than ka (Thooppul) Thiru velukkai Thiru neeragam Thiruppadagam Thiru Nila Thingal Thundam Thiru vooragam Thiru veh ka Thirukkaragam Thirukkar vanam Thiruk kalvanoor Thiru pavala vannam Thiru parameswara vinnagaram Thiru put kuzhi Thiru nindra voor Thiru ev vul (Thiruvalloor) Thiruvallikkeni Thiru neer malai Thiruvidanthai Thirukkadal mallai (Mahabalipuram) Thirukkadigai Thiru Ayodhi Thiru naimisaranyam Thiru pirithi(Joshi Mut) Deva prayagai Badrinath (vadhari) Salagaramam Thiru vada madurai Thirvai paadi Dwarakai Ahobilam (Singvel Kundram) Thiru vengadam*** Thiru navaai Thiru vithuvakkottu ammaan Thirukkaat karai

Purushothaman Perarulalan Narayanan Vaikuntha nathan Lakshmi narasimhar Deiva nayagan Senganmal perumal Varadarajan Srinivasan Thamariyal kelvan Govindarajan Deivanayagan Thrivikraman Varadarajan (Perarulalan) Aathi kesavan Deepa prakasar (Vilakkodi perumal) Azhagiya singar Jagadeeswarar Pandava dhoothar Chandra choodan Thrivikkraman Yadhoktha kari (Sonna vannam seitha perumal) Karunakaran Kalvar Adhi varagam Pavazha vannan Paramapada nathan Vijaya raghavan Bhaktha vatsalan Veera raghavan Parthasarathy Neer vannan Lakshmi varagar Ulaguiya nindran Akkarakkani Sri Raman Devarajan Parama purushan Neela mega perumal Badri narayanan Sri moorthy Govinda nesan Nava mohana krishnan Dwaraka dheesan Prahlada varadan Srinivasan Narayanan Abhaya pradhan Kaat karai appan

Purushothama Nayagi Alli malar nachiyar Pundarika valli Vaikuntha valli Amrutha valli thayar Kadal magal nachiyar Sengamanala valli thayar Thiru ma magal Alamelu mangai Thamarai nayagai Pundarika valli Hemambuja valli Poongoval nachiyar Perunthevi thayar Padmasani Maragatha valli Velukkai valli Nilamangai valli Rukmini-Satyabama Ner oruvar illa valli Amrutha valli Komalavalli Padma mani Kamalavalli Anjalai valli Pavazha valli Vaikunda valli Maragatha valli Sudha valli Kanagavalli Vedavalli Ani ma malar mangai Komalavalli Nilamangai Amruthavalli Sita Pundarika valli Parimala valli Pundarika valli Aravinda valli Sri devi Satya Bama Rukmini-Satyabama Rukmini-Lakshmi Senju Lakshmi Padmavathi Siru devi Padma bhani Vatsalya valli

79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106

Thiru moozhikkalam Thiru valla vaazh Thirukkadi thanam Thiruch chengunnur Thiru puliyur Thiru varan vilai Thiru van vandoor Thiruvananthapuram Thiruvettaru Thiruvan pari saram Thirukkurungudi Thiru sivara mangai (Vaanamamalai)(Nanguneri) Thiru vai kundam Thiru vara guna mangai Thiruppulingudi Thiru tholai villi mangalam Thirukkulanthai Thirukkolur Thirupperai Thirukkurukoor Thiruvilliputtur (Srivilliputtur) Thiru than kaal Thirukkoodal Tiru maal Irum solai (Alagar Koil) Thiru Mogoor Thirukkoshtiyoor Thiruppullani Thiru meiyyam

Appan Sri vallabhan Adhbudha narayanan Imaiyavar appan Mayappiranp Thirukkural appan Kamala nathan Anantha padmanaban Adhi kesavan Thirukkural appan Nindra nambi Thothadri Vaikunda nathan Vijayasana perumal Kaichina vendan Devappiran Srinivsan Vaitha maanidhi Magara nedum kuzhai kaathan Aadhi nathan Vadapatra sayee/Rangamannar Nindra Narayanan (Thiru than kaal appan) Koodal Alagar Kal Alagar Kala Megam Sowmya Narayanan Kalyana Jagannnathan Satya murthy (Meiappan) DIVIYA DESAMS NOT ON EARTH Ksheerabdhi nathan Parama padha naathan

Madura veni Vatsalya valli Karpagavalli Sengamala valli Porkkodi Padmasani Kamala valli Srihari lakshmi Maragatha valli Kamala valli Kurumkudi valli Seevara mangai Vaikunta valli Varaguna valli Pulikkudi valli Ubaya Nachiyargal Kulanthai valli Kumuda valli Kuzhai kaathu valli Kurukoor valli Sri devi / Bhoo devi / Neela Devi / Aandaal Sengamalam Madura valli Sundara valli Mohoor valli Thiru Ma Magal Kalyana vanni Oiyavantha nachiyar

107 108

Thirupparkadal Paramapadam (Thiru naadu)

Kadal Magal - Bhoo devi Peria piratti

1.*Known merely as KOIL ** as PERUMAL *** as MALAI to all Sri Vaishnavas 2. "ARAIYAR SEVAI" is a special in 3 keshtras viz., Sri Rangam, Srivilliputtur, Azhwar Thirunagari. 3. On iypasi month in moola nakshatra, the Vanamamalai jeer (30) wears the gold ring of Manavala Mamunigal and gives sri pada theertham. 4. In Kandagi river at Salagrama(70) salagramas are taken.

ANNEXURE II The names of ALWARS in descending order of their avatar


Name of the Alwar

Avatar of

1 2 3 4 5 6

Poigai alwar Boothath Alwar Pei Alwar Thirumazhisai Alwar Madura Kavi Alwar Nammalvar

Panjajanyam Ghadha Nandagam Chakra Vainadeyam (Garuda) Visvaksenar

Month, Thiru Nakshatram, and Place Iypasi, Thiruvonam, Kanchipuram Iypasi, Avittam, Mahabalipuram Iypasi, Sadhayam, Mylapore (chennai) Thai, Maga, Thirumazhisai Chithirai, Chitra, Thirukkoloor Vaigasi, Visakam, Alwar Thiru nagari Masi, Punarvasu, Thiru vanjikkalam Aani, Swathi, Srivilliputtur Adi, ThiruppooramSrivillipu ttur Margazhi, Kettai, Thirumandamkudi Kartikai, Rogini, Uraiyur Karthigai, Kruthikai, Thirukkuraiyaloor

Prabhandas composed & Numbers.

Mudal Thiru Andhadhi (100) Irandam Thiru Andhadhi (100) Moondram Thiru Andhadhi (100) Thiruchanda viruttam & Nanmugan Thiru andhadhi (216) Kanninum siruthambu(11) Thiru virutham, Thiruvasiriam, Peria thiruvandhadhi, Thiruvaimozhi (1296) Perumal Thirumozhi (105) Perialwar Thirumozhi (473) Thiruppavai, Nachiar Thirumozhi (173) Thiru Maalai, Thiruppali ezhuchi (55) Amalanaathipiran (10) Peria Thirumozhi, Thirukkurunthandagam, Thiru nedunthandagam, Thiruvezhu kootrirukkai, Siria thiru madal, Peria Thiru madal (1253)

7 8 9

Kulasekara alwar Peri alwar Aandal

Kousthubam Garuda Bhooma devi

10 11 12

Thondar adi podi alwar Thiruppaan alwar Thirumangai alwar

Vanamala Srivatsam Sarngam (bow)

Additional information: 1. The above prabhandas total up to 3892 to which by adding 108 pasurams of Thiru arangathu amudanar's Ramanuja nootrandhadhi the Diviya Prabhandas account for 4000. Hence , NALAIYA DIVIYA PRABANDAM. 2. Swami Desikan gives the numbers of each alwars composition in his Prabhanda saaram. 3. The Alwars mentioned above have other names also, as indicated below: -Poigai: Padma muni, Saro yogi, Kasaara yogi -Pei: Kairava muni, Mahadhavaiyar -Thirumazhisai: Maheesarapureeswarar, Bhakthidsarar, Bargawar -Nammalvar: Maaran, Sadagopan, Kurugayarkon, Vagulabharanar, Paraangusan, Sadathjit, Sadathdweshi etc., -Madurakavi: Azhwarkkadiaan, Inkaviyar -Kulasekaran: Kolli kaavalan, Koodal Nayagan, Kozhikkon, Seralar Kavalan, Villavar Kon -Periazhwar: Bhattanathan, Bhattar piraan, Vishnu chithan, Srivilliputturar, Sri Ranganathsvasoorar -Aandal: Goda, Kothai, Soodikkodutha Naachiyar, -Thondaradipodi: Bhakthangrirenu, Vipranarayanar, Palliunarthiya piraan, Mandamgudiyaar -Thiruppaan: Paanar, Munivahanar, Yogivahanar -Thirumangai: Aalinaadan, Kalian, Nalikavi perumal**, Arul maari, Mangayar Kon, Para Kaalan ** This title was acknowledged by the great saivait saint THIRU GNANASAMBANDAR who was a contemporary of this Alwar.

4. The following are the other names of our great acharyas: Ramanujar: Udaiyavar, Yathi rajar, Emperumaanaar, Bhashyakarar, Elaiyaarwar, Lakshmana Muni, Vadhasanar Swami Desikan: Vishnu Ghandavatharam, Venkata Naathan, Kavitharkika Simham, Sarva Thantra Swathantrar, Tamil maraiyon Manavala Maamuni (He is the acharya for Then kalai branch Of Sri vaishnava sampradayam) Visadha vaak sigamani, Sri vara vara muni, Yadheentra Pravanar, Azhagiya Manavalar, Muppaththu aaraayira perukkar


Some DWIYA DESAMS IN KERALA (Malai Nadu) 1. Thiru Naavaai: There is rail station in this name between chennai and calicut. The temple is one mile from the station. Otherwise from Shoranur one can come by bus to Kutteepuram and change the bus to Thirunavai. Since nine yogis did taps here this place came to known as Thiru Nava Yogi, twisted as Thiru naavaai. The place is song by Nammalvar and Thirumangai alwar. 2. Thiru vithuvakkodu: Also known as Thiruvichikkodu, Thiruvinjikkodu. The nearest station is Pattambi, in the Shoranur-Calicut route. 2 miles from the station. It is also in the bust route in between Shoranur & Guruvayoor. Sang by Kulasekara Alwar. 3. Thirumoozhi kalam or Moozhi kalam Reachable from Alwaye by town bus. Or can come by bus from Ernakulam. Sang by Namalwar and Thirumangai alwar. 4. Thiruvalla Thiruvalla station in between Quilon and Ernakulam. 3 miles from station. Sang by Nam alwar and Thirumangai alwar. 5. Thiruchitraru (Thiruchengundrur) Chenkannur station in the Thiruvananthapuram - Quilon route via Ernakulam. Sang by Nam alwar 6. Thiru anantha puram ( Trivandrum) Sang by Nam alwar. 7. Thiru vattaru In between Thiru ananthapuram and Nagercoil in bus route. Get down at Thoduvetti and from there take another bus for 6 miles. Sang by Nam alwar. 8. THIRUPATHI SARAM ( THIRUVAM PARISARAM) 2.5 miles from Nagercoil (Thirunelveli District of Tamil Nadu). Sang by Nam Azhwar. Some Dwiya Desams of Pandya Kingdom (Present south Tamil Nadu) 1. THIRUKKURUN GUDI Direct buses from Tirunelveli. Or come to Nanguneri from Thirunelveli (18 miles) by bus and from there another bus to Thirukkurungudi. VERY IMPORTANT KSHETRA FOR VAISHNAVAS. Here THIRUMANGAI AZHWAR LEFT HIS BODY. IT IS UNDER THIRUKKURUNGUDI JEEYAR. Sang by Peri alwar, Thirunazhisai Alwar, Thirumangai Alwar, Nam Alwar. THIRU SEEVARA MANGAI (Vaana Maa Malai, Nanguneri, Totadri ) Another very important Kshetra. Popularly known as Nanguneri or Vaana Maa Malai. Comes under Vaana Maa Malai Jeeyar established by Manavala Maa Munigal. Direct buses from Thirunelveli. Sang by Nam alwar.



SRIVAIKUNDAM Another important place. Can come by direct bus from Thirunelveli. Also there is a station by name Srivaikundam in Thirunelvei - Thiruchendur rail route. Sang by Nam Alwar. 4. Sri Vara Guna Mangai (Also known popularly as Naththam) 1.5 miles from Srivaikundam (above). Sang by Nam alwar.

5. Thiru Pulingkudi Just less than a mile from the above place. Or 2 miles from Srivaikundam (item 3). Sang by Namalwar. 6. THIRUKKURUKOOR ( Azhwar Thirunagari) Just 3 miles from Srivaikundam (item 3). There is also a station as Azhar Thirunagari in the Thirunelveli - Thiruchendur rail route. VERY IMPORTANT FOR SRIVAISHNAVAS as it is the birth place of NAM ALWAR. If one stays here for a couple of days he can to all nava thirupathis ( which include all these 6 places mentioned so far) around. The tamarind tree (known as Thiru Puli Azhwar) in whose whole Namalwar stayed is also there still in the temple). 7. SRIVILLIPUTTUR 60 kms from Madurai. Countless buses, almost leaving every 15 minutes. It also in the rail station Srivilliputtur in the chord line to Quilon from Chennai. Birth place of Andal. Sang by Peri alwar and Aandal. 8. Thiru Than Kaal Just half an hour bus journey from Srivilliputtur. Sang by Boothath Alwar and Thirumangai alwar. 9. Thirukkoodal (Madurai) In the heart of Madurai near the Madurai junction. It is here the Peri alwar won the gold bag from Pandiyan King and sang PALLANDU to ward off evil eye that may affect the kalyana roopam of Lord. Massive deity in the sitting posture. Sang by Thirumangai alwar and Thirumazhisai alwar. 10. Thirumal irum solai (Alagar Koil) 12 miles by town bus from Madurai. Very famous. It is here Sri Ramanuja placed before Lord butter in 100 massive vessels and Sakkarai Pongal in 100 massive vessels to fulfill the vow taken by Andal for marrying Lord but went to vaikunda without fulfilling the vow. Hence Ramanuja is called elder brother of Andal. Andal is addressed as 'Perumboothoor Maa Munikku Pinnanal Vazhi'- hail she who came after Perumboothur Maa Muni (Ramanuja). In fact Ramanuja came long long after Andal. But since he fulfilled her vow, he is considered as anna of Andal 11. Thirumogoor 7 miles by town bus from Madurai. Gajendra Moksha place. Very famous. Sang by Peri alwar, Pei Alwar, Thirumangai Alwar, Boothath alwar, Thirumazhisai alwar. 12. THIRU PULLANI ( DHARBA SAYANAM) By town bus from Ramanathapuram. Side by side is the Sethu samudram. Rama in tapas over kusa grass for favour from samudra raja. Sang by Thirumangai alwar. ( It can be seen that by staying in Madurai and Thirunelveli one can see all the above Dwiya desams).

ANNEXURE IV SOME INTERESTING INFORMATION I. There are 3 famous images of Saint Ramanujar: (1) Thanana Thirumeni (His own body): In the Sri Rangam temple precincts is placed the body of Ramanuja. Some say the image was made in 3 days time and the saint breathed life into it for placing over the place where he was laid to rest. Some say the very image now there is actual body of Saint Ramanuja, kept intact by the yogic power of the saint even after 1000 years. (2) Thanugantha Thirumeni: ( Image preferred by Him): The devotees of Yadavadri ( the present Melkote in Karnataka State) made an image of the saint and Ramanuja embraced the same and handed it over to them (3) Thamarugantha Thirumeni: The devotees of Sriperumbudur had made an image of the saint and were invoking life into it for installation in the temple. At the same moment, Ramanuja who was at Sri Rangam became silent and from his closed eyes two tear drops trickled down. Ramanuja opened his eyes and narrated what was happening in the Sripenrumbudur temple.

Ramanuja left this world on a Saturday, 10th day of Sukla Paksha in the month of Magha in the year 1137 AD after living 120 years. II. Ramanujacharya's last message: He who has truly surrendered at the feet of the Lord should not bestow thought on the future which is entirely at his disposal and any least anxiety felt betrays the hypocrisy in the surrender. Dictums: 1. Study the Sribashya and teach it to others 2. If the above is not possible, study saint Sadagopa and others' works and teach them to others. 3. If not, do service to Lord in any of the holy places 4. If not, remain where you are and throwing all burden on the Lord and your acharya be immersed in their contemplation. 5. If any of the above is not possible, seek a Srivaishnava of wisdom and devotion and serve him. III. We talk of abolishing untouchability to day and we need Acts. Think of this saint who arranged 1000 years back the right of entry in to temple for the untouchable at Melkote. IV. Thirukkachi Nambigal, also known as Kanchipurna was noted for talking to Lord Varadharaja of Kancheepuram. Ramanuja told him that certain doubts (he did not elaborate them) are haunting him and he wanted the reply of Lord. Kancipurana next day agreed to get the answers and so got them. They are: 1. I, Vishnu, is the absolute Brhaman (Para tatwam) 2. The distinction between Jiva and Iswara is axiomatic 3. Self-surrender is the only means for Liberation 4. Even if my devotee fails to remember me while breathing his last, liberation for him is sure. 5. As soon as my devotees leave their bodies, they attain me. 6. Take refuge in Mahatma Mahapurana On getting the replies, Ramanuja was supremely happy and moved towards Srirangam to get initiated by Mahapurana, least knowing that Mahapuran was moving towards Kanchi to get Ramanuja to head the Srirangam mutt, which was orphaned by the passing away of Alavandar. Both met at the temple of Madurantakam ( now in the Chengleput district of Tamil Nadu). Ramanuja insisted that he be initiated into the worship of the Lord then and there. The reason he gave was that life in the earth is not even as permanent at a lightning and that there should not be any delay in this. Mahapurana conducted the samasaram ceremony for Ramanuja in the temple of Rama at Madurantakam.

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