srIvaishNava guru paramparai

srIvaishNava guru paramparai – Understanding our spiritual teachers

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

Preface
sri: srimathE rAmAnujAya nama: srimadh varavaramunayE nama: sri vAnAchala mahAmunayE nama: lakshminAtha samArambhAm nAtha yAmuna madhyamAm asmadhAchArya paryanthAm vandhE guru paramparAm I worship the glorious guru paramparai which starts with sriman nArAyaNan, has nAthamuni and yAmunAchAriar in the middle and ends with my Acharyan. This divine slOkam was rendered by kUrathAzhwAn to glorify our guru paramparai. According to him, asmadhAchArya means emperumAnAr because emperumAnAr was his AchAryan. But in general, asmadhAchArya means ones own AchAryan.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai Our dharisanam is called emperumAnAr dharisanam by NamperumAL as maNavALa mAmunigaL identifies in upadhEsa rathina mAlai. It was emperumAnAr who reestablished the sanAthana dharmam (eternal way of life) during his life time. He took the message from his predecessors nAthamuni, ALavandhAr, etc and presented it to everyone in a very simple manner. Guru and AchArya are synonyms. Guru means one who clears the ignorance. AchArya means one who has learnt sAsthram, follows it himself and also makes others follow the same. Guru paramparai means unbroken lineage of AchAryas. Our srivaishnava guru paramparai starts with none other than sriman nArAyaNan himself as we see in this lakshminAtha samArambhAm slOkam. It is out of the unbounded mercy of sriman nArAyaNan, he himself takes up the responsibility of clearing the ignorance in the minds of samsAris (jIvAthmAs who are bound in this material world) to rescue them and give them the ever lasting blissful life in paramapadham. So he became the first AchArya in our guru paramparai and taught the valuable meanings in sAsthram. “Thaththva jnAnan mOksha lAbha:” declares sAsthram. By acquiring real knowledge we get liberated. All the real knowledge we have now, has been received through this unbroken chain of spiritual teachers. So, it is very appropriate to know more about our AchAryas and discuss about their lives and instructions all the time. This is a humble effort from adiyen to discuss our glorious guru paramaparai as explained in 6000padi guru paramparA prabhAvam (written by pinbazhAgiya perumAL jeeyar), charamOpAya nirNayam (written by nAyanAr AchAn piLLai), yathIndhra pravaNa prabhAvam (written by piLLai lOkam jeeyar) and other granthams. adiyen is also very grateful to all the grantha kAlakshEpa AchAryas who imparted this valuable sampradhAyam knowledge to adiyen. adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan Email: sarathy.thothathri@gmail.com Web: http://ponnadi.blogspot.com , http://guruparamparai.wordpress.com kArthigai bharaNi (Dec 31st, 2012) (1st release)

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

asmadhAchAryan

Srimath paramhamsa ithyAdhi pattarbhirAn rAmAnuja jeeyar (29th pattam, vAnamAmalai mutt)

varthmAna swAmy

Srimath paramhamsa ithyAdhi kaliyan rAmAnuja jeeyar (30th pattam, vAnamAmalai mutt)

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

Contents
Introduction ............................................................................................................................................ 7 Periya perumAL .................................................................................................................................. 10 Periya pirAttiAr...................................................................................................................................... 11 sEnai mudhaliAr (vishwaksEnar) ............................................................................................................ 13 mudhalAzhwArgaL................................................................................................................................. 15 NammAzhwAr ....................................................................................................................................... 22 ANdAL ................................................................................................................................................... 25 nAthamunigaL ....................................................................................................................................... 33 nAthamunigaL ....................................................................................................................................... 33 uyyakkondAr ......................................................................................................................................... 36 maNakkAl nambi ................................................................................................................................... 38 ALavandhAr ........................................................................................................................................... 40 periya nambi ......................................................................................................................................... 45 emperumAnAr....................................................................................................................................... 48 kUrathAzhwAn ...................................................................................................................................... 55 aruLALa perumAL emperumAnAr .......................................................................................................... 64 embAr ................................................................................................................................................... 67 parAsara bhattar ................................................................................................................................... 71 nanjIyar ................................................................................................................................................. 78 nampiLLai .............................................................................................................................................. 83 vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai ....................................................................................................................... 92 periyavAchAn piLLai - vyAkyAna chakkaravarthi..................................................................................... 95 piLLai lOkAchAryar ................................................................................................................................ 99 azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr................................................................................................ 104 kUra kulOthama dhAsar ...................................................................................................................... 108

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai
thiruvAimozhi piLLai ............................................................................................................................ 111 azhagiya maNavALa mAmunigaL ......................................................................................................... 116 ponnadikkAl jIyar................................................................................................................................. 131 eRumbi appA ....................................................................................................................................... 137

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

Introduction
emperumAn sriman naryanan who is sriya:pathi (husband of sri mahalakshmi), one who lives eternally in srivaikuntam with his divya mahishis (sri, bhU, nILA dhEvis) where he is served by nithysUris like ananthan, garudan, vishwaksEnar, etc is full of auspicious qualities. Srivaikuntam (paramapadham) is a place of eternal bliss, but when emperumAn is enjoying there, his heart is with the jIvAthmAs in samsAram (since they are suffering there). All jIvAthmAs, a) nithyan – always in paramapadham (never been to samsAram due to karma), b) mukthan – one who was in samsAram but liberated now and c) badhdhan – one who is in samsAram bound by karma, are subservient to emperumAn and have the same relationship with emperumAn (owner – owned and father – son relationships primarily). It is out of this relationship alone emperumAn is helping all badhdha jIvAthmAs constantly to bring them to Srivaikuntam and engage them in eternal kainkaryam. As sAstram explains, one needs to have real knowledge to be liberated. Real knowledge is clearly/crisply explained in rahasya thrayam. The one providing this real knowledge that liberates the jIvAthma from this bonding in samsAram is called acharyan. Since this position of acharyan is very glorious, emperumAn himself wants to be an acharyan. That is why he became the prathama (first) acharyan. It is explained by our pUrvAchAryas that emperumAn took the position of acharyan in 3 places:
• • •

emperumAn took the form of Narayana rishi (acharyan) in badrikAshramam and revealed thirumanthram to his own avathAram Nara rishi (sishyan). emperumAn revealed dvaya maha manthram to periya pirAtti (sri dhEvi nAchiar) in vishnu lOkam (thus starting our srivaishnava guruparamparai). emperumAn, as partha sarathy, revealed charama slOkam to Arjunan in kurukshetram.

Periya perumAL and periyapirAtti in thiruvarangam are the same as Sriman Narayanan and Sri Mahalakshmi. So starting with Periya perumAL, our OrAN vazhi guru paramparai goes in this order:
• • • • • • • • • • • • •

Periya perumAL Periya pirAtti sEnai mudhaliAr NammAzhwAr nAthamunigal uyyakkondAr maNakkAl nambi ALavandhAr periya nambi emperumAnAr embAr bhattar nanjIyar

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai
• • • • •

nampiLLai vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai piLLai lOkAchAryar thiruvAimozhi piLLai azhagiya manavALa mAmunigal

azhwars (other than nammAzhwAr) and several other acharyas also are considered to be part of our srivaishnava guru paramparai. The azhwars in order are:
• • • • • • • • • • • •

poigai AzhwAr bhUdhathAzhwAr pEyAzhwAr thirumazhisai AzhwAr madhurakavi AzhwAr NammAzhwAr kulasEkarAzhwAr periyAzhwAr ANdAL thondaradi podi AzhwAr thiruppANAzhwAr thirumangai AzhwAr

The acharyas (who are not in OrANvazhi guru paramparai) include (but not limited to):
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Thiruvaranga perumAL arayar ThirkkOshtiyUr nambi Periya thirumalai nambi ThirumAlai AndAn Thirukkachi nambi maranEri nambi kUrathAzhwAn mudhaliAndAn aruLaLa perumAL emperumAnAr ananthAzwAn Thirukkurugai pirAn piLLAn Vaduka nambi Vangi purathu nambi piLLai urangAvilli dhAsar engaL azhwAn NadAthur ammaL sudharsana sUri periyavAchAn piLLai Naduvil thiruveedhi pillai bhattar pinbhazhagiya perumAL jIyar

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai
• • • • • •

eeyuNNi mAdhava perumAL azhagiya manavALa perumAL nAyanAr NayanArAchAn piLLai kUra kulOthama dhAsar viLAn cholai pillai vedhAntha dEsikan

After (or during) the period of ManavALa mAmunigal, many glorious acharyas lived in our sampradhAyam including (but not limited to):
• • • • • • •

PonnadikkAl jeeyar Koil kandhAdai aNNan PrathivAdhi bhayankaram aNNan eRumbiappA pathangi paravasthu PattarbhirAn jeeyar PiLLai lOkam jIyar and many more

In the subsequent articles, we will go through the lives of these acharyas as much as possible.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

Now, we will start with the OrAN vazhi acharya paramparai. OrAN vazhi means transmission of knowledge from one person to another in a hierarchical way. As discussed before, real knowledge is in rahasya thrayam and our OrAN vazhi guru paramparai carefully transmitted this knowledge. Periya perumAL

Thirunakshathram: AvaNi, rOhiNi Our OrAN vazhi guru paramparai starts with periya perumAL himself. As we observed in the previous article, emperumAn out of his unbounded mercy, takes up the position of prathama acharya. He reveals the rahasya thrayam to periya pirAtti in vishnu lOkam. EmperumAn is the only svathanthran (Independent) and sEshi (Master). All others are parathanthrar (dependent) and sesha (subservient). He takes up the position of prathama acharyan out of his own will. He is sarvajnan (omniscient), sarvasakthan (omnipotent) and sarvavyApthan (omnipresent). It is his unquestionable capabilities which allows him to give mOksham to the jIvAthmAs who show the desire for that. Periya perumAL (originally called Narayanan) descended from paramapadham with the sriranga vimAnam to bramhA and was worshipped by him in sathya lOkam. Later he

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai descended to ayOdhya by the request of ikshvAku and was worshipped by raghu kula kings. rAman gave periya perumAL to vibheeshanAzhwAn as a gift and enroute to lankA vibheeshanAzwAn placed periya perumAL in srirangam. Liking the beauty of srirangam (vandinam uralum chOlai, mayilinam Alum chOlai, kondal meethaNavum chOlai, kuyilinam kUvum chOlai), emperumAn decided to stay there facing south. periya perumAL’s thanian srI sthanAbharaNam thEja: srIrangEsayam AsrayE chinthAmaNi mivothvAntham uthsangE ananthabhOgina:

Periya pirAttiAr

Thirnakshathram: Panguni, uthram EmpermAn reveals dhvaya mahA manthram to periya pirAtti in vishnu lOkam. Periya pirAtti is the embodiment of all the qualities that are required in an acharya. An acharya should have Krupai (mercy towards suffering souls), pArathanthriyam (total dependence on emperumAn) and ananyArhatvam (totally entitled to emperumAn). Piratti being the embodiment of these 3 qualities rightfully decorates as the 2nd acharya in our OrAN vazhi guru paramparai. She is the one who actually inspires all the other acharyas for their conduct. It is explained by pillai lOkAchAryar in srivachana bhUshanam that she demonstrates these 3 qualities during the 3 separations she goes thru as sIthA pirAtti. First, when rAvaNan takes her forcefully to lanka, she out of her parama krupai allows that to happen – because unless she goes to lanka, the dhEvasthrIs (wives of dhEvas) will not be rescued. Her being the mother of the whole universe – she is also the mother

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai for rAvaNan – it is out of her motherly affection she tolerates the misbehaviour of rAvaNan. Second, when she is pregnant, when rAman asks her to leave the kingdom based on the comments of his citizens, she accepts it fully since she accepts that she is totally dependent (pArathanthriyam) on emperumAn and whatever emperumAn says she will accept that. Third, when she leaves rAman permanently to paramapadham after coming back from vanavAsam to prove that she was totally entitled to him (ananyArhathvam) only and no one else. Thus she manifests all the 3 qualities that is expected out of an acharya perfectly. periya pirAttiAr’s thanian nama: sriranga nAyakyai yath brO vibhrama bhEthatha: IsEsithavya vaishmaya nimnOnnatham itham jagath

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

sEnai mudhaliAr (vishwaksEnar)

sEnai mudhaliAr – thiruvallikEni Thirunakshathram: Ippasi, purAdam He is one of the nithya sUris. He is the commander-in-chief and the one who monitors everything in nithya vibhUthi and leelA vibhuthi by the order of emperumAn himself. He is also called as sEnai mudhalvar, sEnAdhipathi, vEthradharar and vEthrahasthar. His divine consort (wife) is sUthrAvathi. He is also called sEsha asanar – one who first partakes emperumAn’s sEsha prasAdham. periya pirAtti is the AchAryan for sEnai mudhaliAr according to our pUrvAchAryas. All azhwArs are considered to be his sishyas. It is explained by our pUrvAchAryas that emperumAn gives control of all activities in nithya and leelA vibhUthis to sEnai mudhaliAr and he happily enjoys with his mahishis and nithya sUris in paramapadham. sEnai mudhaliAr is portrayed as an elderly minister while emperumAn is portrayed as a prince. In sthOthra rathnam, emperumAn’s relationship with sEnai mudhaliAr is revealed in 42nd slOkam. thvadheeya bhuktha ujjitha sEsha bhOjiNA ( வதய ேபாஜிநா) thvayA Nisrushta Athma bharEnNa yadhyathA ( வயா நி ட ஆ ம பேரண த உ ஜித ேஸஷ

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai ய யதா) priyEnNa sENApathiNA NyavEdhi ( வ ைண:) ேயண ேஸநாபதிநா ததா யேவதி) உதார thath thathANujANaNtham udhAra veekshanNai: (த ஜாந த

In this slOkam, ALavandhAr is addresing emperumAn and glorifying sEnaimudhaliAr and enjoying the ubhaya vibhUthi sAmrAjyam of emperumAn as controlled by sEnaimudhaliAr. Simple translation: VishwaksEna is the one who partakes your sEsha prasAdham and the one who is given the responsibility of running the nithya vibhUthi and leelA vibhuthi by you and the one who is liked by everyone. That vishwaksEna is known for his ability to do any task given to him by emperumAn just by emperumAn’s katAksham – i.e., emperumAn need not speak – sEnai mudhaliAr will understand emperumAn’s thiruvuLLam by just looking at his eyes and execute the same to perfection. sEnai mudhaliAr’s thanian srirangachandra masamindhirayA viharthum vinyasya visvachidha chinnayanAdhikAram yO nirvahathya nisamanguLi mudhrayaiva sEnAnyam anya vimukAs thamasi srIyAma Let us pray to sEnai mudhaliAr to bless us to be situated with pure devotion towards emperumAn.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

mudhalAzhwArgaL
In this article we will discuss the vaibhavam of mudhalAzhwArgaL (poigaiyAr, bhUthathAr, peyAr).

poigai AzhwAr
thirunakshathram: ippasi, thiruvONam avathAra sthalam: kAnchipuram AchAryan: sEnai mudhaliAr Works: mudhal thiruvanthAdhi

poigai AzhwAr was born in a pond near thiruvekhA yathOkthAkAri temple. He is also known as kAsAra yOgi and sarO munIndhrar. His thanian kAnchyAm sarasi hEmAbjEjAtham kAsAra yOginam kalayE ya: shriya:pathyU ravim dhIpam akalpayath

bhuthathAzhwAr
thirunakshathram: ippasi, avittam avathAra sthalam: thirukkadalmallai

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai AchAryan: sEnai mudhaliAr Works: irandAm thiruvanthAdhi

bhUthathAzhwAr was born in a pond near thirukkadalmallai sthalasayanap perumAL temple. He is also known as bhUthahvayar, mallApuravarAdhIshar. His thanian mallApura varAdhIsham mAdhavI kusumOdhbhavam bhUtham namAmi yO vishNOr jyAnadhIpam akalpayath

pEyAzhwAr
thirunakshathram: ippasi, thiruvONam avathAra sthalam: thirumayilai AchAryan: sEnai mudhaliAr Works: mUnRAm thiruvanthAdhi

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

pEyAzhwAr was born in a well near thirumayilai kEsava perumAL temple. He is also known as mahathAhvayar, mayilApurAdhIpar. His thanian dhrushtvA dhushtAva yO vishNum ramayA mayilAdhipam kUpE rakthOthpalE jAtham mahathAhvayam AshrayE

mudhalAzhwArgaL charithram/vaibhavam
All the 3 AzhwArs are usually glorified together because of the following reasons.

• •

They were all born a day after each other in sequence – poigaiyAr, bhuthathAr, pEyar. They were born in the time period between the end of dhvApara yugam and the beginning of kaliyugam (yuga sandhi – transition period – see in the bottom for details). They were all ayOnijars – one who is not born from a human mother. They all appeared from flowers by the divine mercy of emperumAn. They were attached to emperumAn right from their birth – they were fully/divinely blessed by emperumAn and were fully enjoying bhagavath anubhavam throughout their life. At some point in their life, they meet each other and from then onwards they stayed together and they travelled together to various dhivyadhEsams/kshEthrams. They are also called “Odith thiriyum yOgigaL” (ஓ தி ேயாகிக ) – the yOgis who are always doing pilgrimage.

All the 3 AzhwArs were born in different locations and enjoying emperumAn thoroughly. emperumAn who considers his adiyArs as his life (gIthai – jnAniI thva Athma Eva mE

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai matham) wanted to see them all together. So he made a divine arrangement to bring all 3 of them to thirukkOvalUr in the night time.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai It was raining heavily and one by one started arriving to a small shed. When they got in to the shed there was just enough space for the 3 of them to stand. Being completely situated in bhagavath bhAvam, they started inquiring about each other and found out the details about each other. When they were sharing their divine anubhavams, emperumAn with his thirumAmagaL suddenly entered the shed where it was very dark. Wanting to see who arrived,
• • •

poigai AzhwAr lit the place using the world as a lamp, the ocean as the oil and sun as the light. bhUthathAzhwAr lit the place using his love as lamp, his attachment as the oil and his mind as the light. pEyAzhwAr, being helped by the other two AzhwArs, sees the glowing beauty of emperumAn who is with his pirAtti, thiruvAzhi and thiruchchangu and performs mangaLAsAsanam for that sErthi.

Thus they enjoyed the thirukkOvalUr Ayan and many other archAvathAra emperumAns together during their time in the leelA vibhUthi. In the eedu vyAkyAnam, nampiLLai beautifully brings out the glories of mudhalAzhwArgaL wherever applicable. Let us see a few such examples:

pAlEy thamizhar (1.4.10) – nampiLLai identifies aLavandhAr’s nirvAham (conclusion/statement) here. He says nammAzhwAr is glorifying mudhalAzhwArgaL here who were the first to bring out the glories of emperumAn in the sweet thamizh language. inkavi pAdum paramakavigal (7.9.6) – Here, nampiLLai identifies that mudhalAzhwArgaL are also known as “chendhamizh pAduvAr”. He also identifies that AzhwArs were so expert in thamizh, when poigai AzhwAr and pEyAzhwAr asked bhUthathAzhwAr to glorify emperumAn – he spontaneously sung the glories of emperumAn like how a male elephant fetched the honey for the female elephant immediately when asked by the female elephant (this elephants incident is explained by bhUthathAzhwAr in “perugu madhavEzham” – iraNdAm thiruvanthAdhi – 75th pAsuram). palaradiyAr munbhrauLiya (7.10.5) – nampiLLai beautifully brings out the thiruvuLLam of nammAzhwAr here. nammAzhwAr says in this pAsuram that emperumAn blessed him to sing thiruvAimozhi instead of great rishis like sri vEdhavyAsar, sri vAlmiki, sri parAsarar and mudhalAzhwArgaL who were expert in thamizh. chenchorkavikAl (10.7.1) – nampiLLai refers to mudhalAzhwArgaL as “inkavi pAdum parama kavigaL”, “chendhamizh pAduvAr”, etc and identifies that they are ananya prayOjanargaL (one who glorifies emperumAn without expecting anything in return).

mAmunigaL identifies how they became to be known as mudhalAzhwArgaL in his upadhEsa rathina mAlai pAsuram 7.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai maRRuLLa AzhwArgaLukku munnE vaNthuthiththu (ம

ள ஆ வா க தமிழா எ

ேன வ ெச

தி

)

Nal thamizhAl NUl cheythu NAttaiyuyththa – peRRimaiyOr (ந

நா ைட
)

த – ெப றிைமேயா ) தலா வா க
)

enRu mudhalAzhwArgaL ennum peyarivarkku (எ

ெபய வ

NinRathulagaththE NigazhNthu (நி

லக ேத நிக

Simple translation: These 3 AzhwArs appeared before the other 7 AzhwArs and benedicted the world with their divine thamizh pAsurams. It is because of this glorious act they became to be popularly known as mudhalAzhwArgaL. In the vyakyAnam, piLLai lOkAm jIyar brings out some beautiful aspects.
• •

He identifies that mudhalAzhwArgaL are like praNavam which is always considered as the beginning. He also identifies that these AzhwArs were born during the dhvApara-kali yuga sandhi (transition period) and thirumazhisai AzhwAr appeared along the same time. Subsequently, in the beginning of the kaliyugam, other AzhwArs appeared one after the other. They laid the foundation for dhivya prabhandhams in the great dhrAvida bAshai (thamizh).

mAmunigaL also brings out the glories of ippasi – thiruvONam, avittam and sathayam as these dates became so popular after the appearance of the mudhalAzhwArgaL on these days. As identified in the thirunedunthAndagam vyAkyAna avathArikai by periyavAchAn piLLai, mudhalAzhwArgaL are focussed on emperumAn’s parathvam. That is why, they are often glorifying thrivikramAvathAram. On the other hand, they also glorified many archAvathAra emperumAns since by nature all AzhwArs had great attachment to archAvathAra emperumAns. Their archAvathAra anubhavam is already discussed in here – http://ponnadi.blogspot.in/2012/10/archavathara-anubhavam-azhwars-1.html.

yuga sandhi
yathIndra matha dhIpikai explains various technical concepts in our sampradhAyam and is considered as one of the most authentic sources for our sidhAntham. In this, kAla thathvam is explained in detail and we see the definition of the various yugams and their sandhi periods.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai
• • • •

1 day of dhEvas (svargam) is 1 year for manushyas (bhUmi) 1 chathur yugam is made of 12000 dhEva years – (krutha – 4000, thrEthA – 3000, dhvApara – 2000, kali – 1000) brahmA’s day is made of 1000 chathur yugams. His night is of the same length but no creation during that time. brahmA lives for 100 years of 360 such days. sandhi period is fairly lengthy between each yugams. Here are the sandhi periods between each yugam: o between krutha yugam and thrEthA yugam, there is a sandhi period of 800 dhEva years. o between thrEtha yugam and dhvApara yugam, there is a sandhi period of 600 dhEva years. o between dhvApara yugam and kaliyugam, there is a sandhi period of 400 dhEva years. o between kaliyugam and the next krutha yugam, there is a sandhi period of 200 dhEva years. Also, in 1 day of brahmA, there is 14 manus, 14 indhrans and 14 saptha rishis (all of these are posts that are given to certain jIvAthmAs based on their karmA).

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

NammAzhwAr

NammAzhwAr – AzhwAr thirunagari Thirunakshathram: VaigAsi, visAgam avathAra sthalam: AzhwAr thirunagari He is also known as mAran, sataGopan, parAngusan, vakuLAbharaNan, vakuLAbhirAman, magizhmAran, satajith, kurugUr nambi, etc. NammAzhwAr was born in ThirukkurugUr (AzhwAr thirunagari) as the child of KAri and udayanangai. He was born days after the advent of kaliyugam. In bhagavad gIthA, krishnan declares that “After many many birth one comes to the conclusion that everything belongs to vAsudhEvan (himself). And it is very rare to find such jnAnis”. NammAzhwAr from his life and works proves that he was one such jnAni who is very dear to emperumAn. Throughout his life (which only lasted 32 years in this samsAram), he stayed under the tamarind tree (thirupuLiyAzhwAr) and was always in yOgam (meditation) thinking about emperumAn. It is said in our pUrvAchArya vyAkyAnams that, the moment we hear kurugUr (generally in thiruvAimozhi pAsurams, the last pAsuram of each padhigam will have nammAzhwAr’s name and will generally be prefixed with kurugUr which is his avathAra sthalam), we should do an anjali towards the south direction (which is where AzhwAr thirungari is). NammAzhwAr is hailed as prapanna jana kUtasthar – i.e., the first one in the prapanna gOshti. He is also hailed as vaishnava kula pathi – the leader of the vaishnava fold by ALavandhAr. AlavandhAr in his sthOthra rathnam, 5th slOkam declares that he bows down at the lotus feet of vakUlAbhirAman who is everything (father, mother, child, wealth, etc) for him and his followers/descendants.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai NampiLLai, based on pUrvAchArya works, establishes that NammAzhwAr was hand picked by emperumAn from leeLA vibhUthi to sing his glories and to bring in as many baddha jIvAthmAs into the fold of srivaishnavam. NampiLLai establishes this based on the words of nammAzhwAr himself. EmperumAn gives pure knowledge out of his own will to nammAzhwAr so that AzhwAr can see past, present and future right in front of him. In his works, he says in several places that he suffered in samsAram since time immemorial. He also says that he cannot stay in this samsAram even for a single moment – living in this samsAram for him is like standing on red-hot floor without shoes/chappals. Right in the first pAsurm of thiruvAimozhi he says that he was blessed with the divine knowledge by emperumAn. Based on this we can easily understand that he was a samsAri (baddha jIvAtmA) before and was blessed by emperumAn with divine knowledge. The same logic is applied for other AzhwArs also due to the following reasons:
• •

Since nammAzhwAr is called the avayavi (whole) and all the other AzhwArs (except AndAL ofcourse) are avayavam (parts), and Other AzhwArs have also said the same thing in their works, that they were suffering in samsAram and are blessed by emperumAn with divine knowledge.

NammAzhwar has sung 4 divya prabhandhams namely,
• • • •

Thiruviruththam (rig vEdha sAram) ThiruvAsiriyam (yajur vEdha sAram) Periya thiruvandhAdhi (atharvaNa vEdha sAram) ThiruvAimozhi (sAma vEdha sAram)

nammAzhwAr’s prabhandhams are equal to 4 vEdhas. He is also known as “vEdham thamizh cheitha mAran” – one who gave the essence of samskrita vEdhas through his Thamizh prabandhams. All the other AzhwArs prabhandhams are considered to be similar to supplementary portion of vEdhas (like sIkshA, vyAkaraNam, etc). ThiruvAimozhi is glorified as the essence of all the 4000 divya prabandhams sung by AzhwArs. All our pUrvAchAryas works (vyAkyAnams and rahasya granthams) are based on the knowledge extracted from ThiruvAimozhi. ThiruvAimozhi itself has 5 vyAkyAnams and more detailed explanations in arumpadham. Our pUrvAchAryas establish that nammAzhwAr is considered to be having the qualities of many great personalities like srIdhEvi, bhUdhEvi, nILA dhEvi, goPikAs, lakshmaNan, bharathAzhwAn, sathrugnAzhwAn, dhasarathan, kousalyai, prahlAdhAzhwAn, vibhIshaNAzhwAn, hanuman, arjunan, etc. While nammAzhwAr has the qualities of every one of these personalities, they each only have some of the qualities of nammAzhwAr – such is his glories. His glOries are unlimited, but adiyen has tried to give some of them here. NammAzhwAr’s acharyan is vishwaksEnar.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai Madhurakavi AzhwAr is his prime sishya. nAthamuni also surrenders to nammAzhwAr and learns everything from him. nammAzhwAr’s thanian mAthA pithA yuvadhayas thanayA vibhUthi sarvam ya dhEva niyamEna madh anvayAnAm Adhyasyana: kulapathEr vakuLAbhirAmam srimath thadhangri yugaLam praNamAmi mUrdhnA

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

ANdAL

thirunakshathram: thiruvAdi, pUram avathAra sthalam: srIvilliputhUr AchAryan: periyAzhwAr Works: thiruppAvai, nAchiAr thirumozhi In thiruppAvai 6000 padi vyAkyAnam, periyavAchAn piLLai first establishes the greatness of ANdAL over all other AzhwArs. He builds a beautiful layer of different categories of jIvAthmAs and shows the difference between each category.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

The difference between samsAris (dhEhAthma abhimAnis – materialistic people) and the rishis who have realised the Athma svarUpam is similar to that of a small stone and a big mountain. Difference between such rishis (who attain the knowledge by their own effort and at times fall down from their positions) and AzhwArs (who are divinely blessed by emperumAn himself and are completely pure) is similar to that of a small stone and a big mountain. Difference between rest of the AzhwArs (who focus on svAnubhavam at times and mangaLAsAsanam at other times) and periyAzhwar (who is fully focussed on mangaLAsAsanam only) is similar to that of a small stone and a big mountain. Difference between periyAzhwAr and ANdAL is similar to that of a small stone and a big mountain. The reasons for this are: o all AzhwArs were first divinely blessed by emperumAn and then they woke the samsAris up from their sleep, i.e., gave them the knowledge about emperumAn. but ANdAL, being an avathAram of bhUmi pirAtti, she herself went and woke emperumAn up from his sleep, i.e., reminded him about his responsibilities of protecting every one. As it is established by nampiLLai in thiruvirutham and thiruvAimozhi vyAkyAnams, AzhwArs were originally samsAris who were blessed with divine knowledge by emperumAn, but ANdAL is bhUmi pirAtti herself who is already a nithyasUri and specifically she is one of the dhivya mahishis of emperumAn himself. periyavAchAn piLLai follows similar line here and establishes the same principle. o ANdAL being a woman, it is natural for her to engage in husband/wife relationship with emperumAn (unlike AzhwArs who had male thirumEnis) and it is shown that her love towards emperumAn is far greater than the love of AzhwArs.

piLLai lOkAchAriar brings out the divine glories of ANdAL in a few sUthrams in his srIvachana bhUshaNa dhivya sAsthram. Let us enjoy some of that here.

sUthram 238 – brAhmanNOththamarAna periyAzhwArum thirumagaLArum gOpajaNmaththai AsthANam panNnNinArgaL ( ரா மேணா தமரான

ெப யா வா ப

தி

மகளா

ேகாபஜ ம ைத ஆ

தாந

ண னா க ). In this prakaranam, piLLai lOkAchAriar is explaining the

greatness of bhAgavathas (irrespective of their varNam – birth, etc). Here, he gives many examples where great personalities desired to take different births which are condusive for bhagavath anubhavam/kainkaryam. In this sUthram, he explains that periyAzhwAr and ANdAL, even though born in great brAhmaNa families, they themselves desired to be the cowherd girls of vrindhAvan. ANdAL specifically showed that kainkaryam that pleases emperumAn is the most important goal and one must glorify and desire for such kainkaryam in whatever form. sUthram 285 – koduththuk koLLAthE konNdaththukkuk kaikkUli kodukkavEnNum (ெகா ெகா ளாேத ெகா ட ைக லி

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

ெகா

). In this prakaraNam, piLLai lOkAchAriar is explaining how one should do kainkaryam. This is related to sUthram 238 – in that sUthram piLLai lOkAchAryar shows one should desire for kainkaryam that pleases emperumAn. In the previous sUthram (284), piLLai lOkAchAriar explains that kainkaryam should done be with out any expectation in return, i.e., we should not do kainkaryam to get something else. In this sUthram, he says that kainkaryam should be done and when emperumAn gets pleased we should do more kainkaryam to him. mAmunigaL explains this concept beautifully using ANdAL’s words. ANdAL says in NAchiar thirumozhi 9.7 “inRu vaNthu iththanaiyum cheythidapperil, NAn onRu NURu AyiramAgak koduththu pinnum ALum cheyvan” (இ வ இ தைன ெச திட ெப , நா ஒ ). In the previous pAsuram she says she wants to offer 100 plates of butter and 100 plates of sweet rice to thirumAlirunchOlai azhagar. In this pAsuram she says seeing emperumAn accepting her offerings, to show her gratitude towards emperumAn, she will offer more such offerings to please emperumAn further and keep doing it (without expecting anything other than his happiness from him ever). Thus she shows her the pinnacle of our sampradhAyam so easily in her pAsurams. Ay jananyAchAryar in his vyAkyAna avathArikai identifies the glories of thiruppAvai (and there by ANdAL nAchiAr) very beautifully. He has done 2 vyAkyAnams – 2000 padi and 4000 padi. In the avathArikai, he shows an incident where emperumAnAr’s sishyas request him to perform an upanyAsam of thiruppAvai and explain the meanings of the same. emperumAnAr replies that “You will find people (to explain and to hear) thiruppallANdu but not for thiruppAvai” meaning thiruppaLLANdu is done by periyAzhwAr as mangaLAsAsanam to emperumAn (pratham parvam – initial level) for which we will find more people, but thiruppAvai is done by ANdAL as mangaLAsAsanam to bhAgavathas (charama parvam – ultimate level) for which there will be less people in that highest state. He also explains that “Men are not qualified to explain and hear about thiruppAvai.” meaning one should have full dependency on emperumAn like a woman is dependent on her husband to be able to understand the intricacies of thiruppAvai and the heart of ANdAL. He further explains that “Even amongst women, not even emperumAn’s pirAttis who are constantly looking for anubhavam (and having the same) with emperumAn can explain/hear about the subject matter of thiruppAvai. ANdAL (who reflects the best aspects of all the AzhwArs put together) is the only person with qualification and bhAvam to explain and hear about the subject matter of thiruppAvai”. Such is the greatness of ANdAL and her thiruppAvai. mAmunigaL also glorifies ANdAL’s greatness in upadhEsa rathina mAlai pAsurams 22, 23 and 24.

கேவ

ஆய ரமாக

ெகா

ெச வ

In the 22nd pAsuram, he becomes greatly emotional thinking about how ANdAL gave up her comforts in paramapadham and stepped down to samsAram to protect him (svAnubhavam) and took birth as the divine daughter of periyAzhwAr.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai Just like if a mother sees her child caught in a river, she also jumps into the river to save the child, ANdAL being the mother of all, she jumps into samsAram to save the samsAris.

• •

In the 23rd pAsuram, he says there is no equal to the birth day of ANdAL “thiruvAdi pUram” just like there is none equal to ANdAL. In the 24th pAsuram, he says ANdAL is the daughter of “anju kudi” and her activities are far greater than other AzhwArs and how she developed love for emperumAn right at a very young age. piLLai lOkam jIyar in his vyAkyAnam explains that “anju kudi” means: o descendant of the clan which contains all the AzhwArs just like parikshIth was the great descendant of the pancha pANdavas. o the descendant of AzhwArs who are part of the prapanna kulam o the descendant of periyAzhwAr who is always worried (achcham – fear) about emperumAn and performing mangaLAsAsanam.

ANdAL is purely in AchArya nishtai. It is because of periyAzhwAr’s attachment towards emperumAn, ANdAL also developed attachment towards emperumAn and glorified him. This is seen from:

her own words in nAchiAr thirumozhi, pAsuram 10.10, ANdAL says “villiputhuvai vittuchiththar thangaL dhEvarai valla parichu varuvipparEl athu kAnNdumE” (வ லி ைவ வ சி த த க ேதவைர வ லப

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai


வ பேர

கா

ேம). She says, if periyAzhwAr can convince his

dear emperumAn to come here, she will worship him. mAmunigaL in his upadhEsa rathina mAlai, after explaining the 10 AzhwArs, introduces ANdAL, madhurakavi AzhwAr and emperumAnAr together since all 3 of them are AchArya nishtars.

With this in mind, let us enjoy the charithram of ANdAL now. ANdAL was born in srIvilliputhUr (where nAchiAr temple is now seen) near a thuLasi mAdam. Just like sIthA pirAtti was born from the earth when janakarAjan was ploughing the field and was named sItha (named after the plough which means sIthA), periyAzhwAr found ANdAL who is an avathAram of bhUmi pirAtti near a thuLasi mAdam and named her kOdhai (which means a garland). As she was growing up, she was fed with emperumAn’s divine leelais by periyAzhwAr. periyAzhwAr was regularly making garlands and offering them to vatapathrasAyi emperumAn. She shows great attachment to emperumAn and want to marry him only. Once, in his absence, ANdAL took a garland which was ready to be offered for emperumAn, wore it and checked if it fits her and also checks if she looks like a good match for emperumAn. periyAzhwAr returns and he offers those garlands to emperumAn. This routine goes on for some time and one day periyAzhwAr notices that ANdAL is wearing the garland before it is offered to emperumAn. He becomes very anguished knowing about this and that particular day he does not offer the garland to emperumAn. That night, emperumAn appears in the dream of periyAzhwAr and asks him why he did not bring garlands that day. AzhwAr says since it was first worn by ANdAL it became unfit to be worn by emperumAn. emperumAn immediately tells him that he actually likes the garlands worn by ANdAL first as they have the special fragrance of bhakthi of ANdAL. AzhwAr becomes very pleased hearing this and then after develops great attachment and respect towards ANdAL. After that, he offers the garlands first to ANdAL and subsequently to emperumAn every day. ANdAL nAchiAr, was born with parama bhakthi towards emperumAn (since she is bhUmi pirAtti herself) who is naturally attached to emperumAn. Her attachment towards emperumAn is far greater than AzhwArs’ attachment. Unable to bear the separation of emperumAn she starts to look for ways to marry him. Following in the foot steps of gOpis (cowherd girls) who acted out the pastimes of kaNNan emperumAn during his sudden absence during rAsakrItai to sustain themselves, ANdAL pretends that vatapathrasAyi is kaNNan emperumAn, his temple is NandhagOpan’s thirumALigai, srIvilliputhur is thiruvAippAdi and her local friends are gOpis and starts singing thiruppAvai. In thiruppAvai, ANdAL beautifully explains the following details:
• •

establishes that prApyam (goal) and prApakam (path) are emperumAn only. do’s and dont’s for srivaishnavas and all of that fully based on pUrvAchArya anushtAnam (sistAchAram)

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

• • • • • •

bhagavath anubhavam should be done as a group instead of doing it individually (selfishly) – she wakes up 10 gOpis to go along with her to meet kaNNan emperumAn we should take shelter of emperumAn’s close adiyArs like dhvAra pAlakas, balarAman, yasOdhai, nandhagOpan, etc., before going to emperumAn we should always take the help (purushakAram) of pirAtti before going to emperumAn we should always perform mangaLAsAsanam to him we should ask for kainkaryam to him – kainkaryam should be prayed for as it is svarUpam for jIvAthmA to request emperumAn to accept his kainkaryam that he is the upAyam to get that kainkaryam and we should never think that our effort is the upAyam even a little bit kainkaryam should be done for his pleasure only and we should not look for anything in return

Even after that, emperumAn had still not appeared to emperumAn and accepted ANdAL. So, ANdAL out of unbearable sorrow, calls out to emperumAn in her nAchiAr thirumOzhi. Many great principles of our sampradhAyam are explained in nAchiAr thirumOzhi and it is generally explained that one has to be very matured to even start listening/reading nAchiAr thirumozhi’s meanings. In this she says that “mAnidavarkkenRu pEchchuppadil vAzhagillEn” (மான டவ ெக

ேப

) meaning “even if some one without my knowledge talks about marrying me to some one else other than emperumAn I will die”. She dreams about her marriage with emperumAn in her vAraNam Ayiram padhigam (9.6). periyAzhwAr then explains to ANdAL the vaibhavam (greatness) of all the archAvathAra emperumAns and ANdAL becomes very attached to thiruvaranganAthan. AzhwAr becomes filled with anxiety thinking how he can fulfill ANdAL’s desire. One night, in his dream, thiruvaranganAthan appears and asks him to bring ANdAL over to srIrangam so that they can unite there. AzhwAr feels greatly satisfied with that and in the mean time srIranganAthan sends a beautiful palanquin, chAmaram, umbrella and his kainkaryaparars to srIvilliputhUr to bring ANdAL over. AzhwAr, after getting permission from vatapathrasAyi, leaves to srIrangam along with ANdAL in the closed palanquin with mELam (band music), etc in a grand procession.

வாழகி

ேல

After entering srIrangam, ANdAL who was most beautifully decorated, stepped out of the palanquin, entered the temple and subsequently into the garbagruham of periya perumAL and touched the lotus feet of emperumAn. Immediately she vanished and reached the divine abode of paramapadham.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

Every one became astonished seeing these events and started glorifying periyAzhwAr. periya perumAL immediately declares that periyAzhwAr has also become his father-inlaw just like samudhrarAjan and gives him special honors.and in returns to srIvilliputhUr to continue his kainkaryams to vatapathrasAyi emperumAn. ANdAL’s unlimited glories are heard so many times (atleast once an year during mArgazhi month) but every time we hear/read about them, they always feel like new and there are so many divine principles that we find in her life and prabhandhams every time we read them. To have a glimpse of the true glories of ANdAL and thiruppAvai, we can end with bhattar‘s divine words. bhattar says that one should recite the 30 pAsurams of thiruppAvai every day. If that is not possible at least one should recite the chiRRam chirukAlE pAsuram every day. Even if that is not possible, at least one should think that there was bhattar who had great attachment to thiruppAvai – simply that thinking itself will please emperumAn. Just like when a mother cow starts giving milk even when she sees a fake calf (which is made of straws and covered with calf’s skin), emperumAn will see us thinking about bhattar’s attachment towards thiruppAvai or us reciting 1 pAsuram or reciting 30 pAsurams – as long as we have some connection with ANdAL emperumAn will shower us with his causeless mercy, since that is what ANdAL (as bhUmi pirAtti) requested varAhan emperumAn. Out of her causeless mercy, ANdAL took birth in this samsAram and sung thiruppAvai, so that we can also be blessed with the divine grace of emperumAn and be permanently relieved of the pains of this samsAram and enjoy bhagavath anubhavam/kainkaryam in paramapadham. Her thanian nILa thunga sthanagiri thatI suptham uthpOdhya krishNam

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai pArArthyam svam shruthi shatha shiras sidhdham adhyApayanthI svOchishtAyAm srajinikaLitham yAbalAth kruthya bhungthE gOdhA thasyai nama itham itham bhUya EvAsthu bhUya:

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

nAthamunigaL

nAthamuniagl – kAttu mannAr koil Thirunakshathram: Ani, anusham avathAra sthalam: kAttu mannAr koil (veera nArAyana puram) AchAryan: NammAzhwAr Sishyas: UyyakkondAr, kurugai kAvalappan, piLLai karuNAkara dhAsar, nambi karuNAkara dhAsar, yEru thiruvudaiyAr, thiukkaNNamangai AndAn, vAnamAmalai dheivanAyaka AndAn, uruppattUr AchAn piLLai, chOgathUrAzhwAn, kIzhaiagathAzhwAn, mElaiagathAzhwan. Works: nyAya thathvam, yOga rahasyam, purusha nirNayam sriman nAthamunigal was Born in veera nArAyaNa puram to Ishvara bhattAzhwAr. He is also known as sri ranganAtha muni and nAtha brahmar. He was an expert in ashtAnga yOgam and divine sangeetham. Also, he is the one who established the arayar sEvai which is still observed in thiruvarangam, AzhwAr thirunagari, srivilliputhUr, etc. nAthamunigal along with his father, family and son (Ishvara muni) went on a pilgrimage to vada Mathurai, VrindhAvanam, govardhana giri, dvArakai, badharikAsramam, naimisAraNyam, etc and stayed in a village named gOvardhanapuram on the banks of yamunA river serving emperumAn in the form of yamunai thurvar. One day, in his dream, emperumAn orders his to return to kAttu mannAr koil and nAthamunigal returns back. Enroute, he does mangalAsAsanam to vAraNAsi, puri jagannath, simhAchalam, thiruvEnkatam, kadikAchalam, kAnchipuram (and other divyadhEsams there),

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai thiruvahindrapuram, thirukkOvalUr, thiruvarangam and thirukkudanthai and finally reaches kAttu mannAr kOil. A group of srivaishnavas from mElnAdu (thirunArAyaNapuram area) visit kAttu mannAr koil and sings the “ArAvamuthE…” padhigam from thiruvAimozhi in front of mannanAr (emperumAn in kAttu mannAr koil). nAthamunigaL, enthralled by the meanings of those pAsurams, asks the srivaishnavas about them, but they dont know anything beyond those 11 pAsurams. They say that if nAthamunigaL goes to ThirukkurugUr, he may be able to find out more details. nAthamunigaL takes leave from mannanAr and reaches AzhwAr thirungari. He meets parAngusa dhAsar who is a sishya of madhurakavi AzhwAr, who teaches nAthamunigaL kaNNinuN chiruththAmbu and asks him to chant it 12000 times in front of thiruppuzhiAzhwAr (tamarind tree where nammAzhwAr lived) on a single stretch. Since nAthamunigaL has already learnt ashtAnga yOgam he meditates on nammAzhwAr and successfully completes chanting kaNNinuN chiruththAmbu 12000 times. nammAzhwAr being pleased with nAthamunigaL, appears in front of him and blesses him with full knowledge in ashAnga yOgam, 4000 divya prabhandham and all meanings of aruLicheyal. Just like nammAzhwAr is blessed by emperumAn with divine knowledge, nAthamunigaL is blessed by nammAzhwAr with the same divine knowledge. This is what mAmunigaL says in upadhEsa rathina mAlai – aruL peRRa nAtha muni (அ ெப ற நாத ன ). nAthamunigaL returns to kAttu mannAr koil and presents 4000 divya prabhandham in front of mannanAr. mannanAr is very pleased with nAthamunigaL and asks him to categorize divya prabhandham and propagate it everywhere. He adds music to aruLicheyal and teaches the same to his nephews keezhaiagathAzhwAn and mElaiagathAzhwAn and propagates the same through them. nAthamunigaL was an expert in divine sangeetham as well. Once when the local king was unable to distinguish between a normal singer and a divine singer, nAthamunigaL identifies the divine singer. When the king questions his abilities, nAthamunigaL asks 4000 cymbals to be used to make sounds at once and based on the sound coming from the cymbals, he identifies the weight of each cymbal – such was his expertise. The king understands his greatness and gives him a lot of wealth – but nAthamunigaL shows no interest in those wealth. nAthamunigaL foresees the appearance of ALavandhAr (his grand son). He instructs his son Isvara muni to name the child “yamunai thuravian” (due to his attachment to kannan emperumAn) and mentions to all his sishyas that they should teach all the knowledge to yamunai thuraivan (who will become ALavandhAr later). nAthamunigaL, while meditating on emperumAn, forgets everything around him. Once, when a king comes with his wives to meet nAthamunigaL, nAthamunigaL was in yOgam at that time, so the king quietly leaves. But nAthamunigaL out of his pure bhakthi bhAvam, thinks that it was Krishnan and gOpis visiting him and runs behind them.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai Finally, once when the king visits nAthamunigaL after his hunting session, with his wife, another archer and a monkey, nAthamunigaL, again out of his bhakthi bhAvam, thinks it was rAman, sIthai, lakshmaNan and hanumAn. He starts running behind them and when he loses sight of them, he faints immediately. Unable to bear the separation from emperumAn anymore, he attains paramapadham immediately. Hearing this, Isvara muni and nAthamunigaL’s sishyas reached that spot and did charama kainkaryamgaL for him. Without nAthamunigaL’s effort to retrieve aruLicheyal, we would not have gotten all the srivaishnavasri we have today. ALavandhAr in his sthOthra rathnam, sings the glories of nAthamunigaL in the first 3 slOkams. In the first slOkam, he says “I worship nAthamunigaL who is full of unthinkable, fabulous, easily earned (by the grace of emperumAn/AzhwAr) ocean of jnAnam, bhakthi and vairAgyam”. In the second slOkam, he says “I worship nAthamunigaL’s lotus feet which is my refuge in both samsAram and paramapadham and who has full knowledge and love for the lotus feet of the killer of madhu (madhusUdhanan)”. In the third slOkam, he says “I worship nAthamunigaL who has boundless love for achyuthan, who is the epitome of real knowledge, who is an ocean of nectar, who has appeared in this world to rescue others, who is full in bhakthi and who is the leader of all yOgis”. Finally in the last slOkam he says to emperumAn, “Please do not accept me for my great achievements but for my grandfather nAthamunigaL who has natural love towards your lotus feet and who is fully understood the real knowledge”. From the above 4 slOkams we can understand the real greatness of nAthamunigaL. Let us pray at the lotus feet of sriman nAthamunigaL that we also develop the same attachment towards achyuthan and AzhwAr. nAthamunigaL’s thanian nama: achinthya adhbudha aklishta jnAna vairAgya rAsayE nAthAya nAtha munaye agAdha bhagavadh bhakthi sindhavE

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

uyyakkondAr

uyyakkondAr – AlwArthirungari Thirunakshathram: chithirai, kArthigai avathAra sthalam: thiruveLLarai AchAryan: nAthamunigaL Sishyas: maNakkAl nambi, thiruvallikkENi pAN perumAL araiyar, chEttalUr chendalangAra dhAsar, sri pundarIka dhAsar, Gomatam thiruviNNakarappan, ulagaperumAL nangai. puNdarIkAkshar was born in ThiruveLLarai (svEtha giri) divyadhEsam and was named after the emperumAn of the divyadhEsam. He is also known as padhmAkshar but eventually and popularly became to be known as uyyakkondAr. He was one of the prime sishyas of nAthamunigaL along with kurugai kAvalappan. When nAthamunigaL got blessed with divine knowledge by nammAzhwAr, he came back to kAttu mannAr koil and started preaching our samprAdhAyam from there. He taught ashtAnga yOgam to kurugai kAvalappan – through ashtAnga yOgam, one can do bhagavadh anubhavam non-stop without having to think about any bodily activities. When nAthamunigaL asked uyyakkoNdAr if we wanted to learn ashtAnga yOgam as well – uyyakkondAr said “pinNam kidakka manNam punNaralAmO” (ப ண கிட க மண ணரலாேமா) – meaning when so many samsAris are suffering in this world out of ignorance, how can we do bhagavadh anubhavam on our own. Hearing this nAthamunigaL was extremely pleased and appreciated uyyakkondAr’s magnanimity. He instructed both uyyakkondAr and kurugai kAvalappan to teach aruLicheyal and ashtAnga yOgam with meanings to Ishvara muni’s son (nAthamunigaL’s own grandson) who is soon to appear.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai After the time of nAthamunigaL, uyyakkondAr becomes the dharisna pravarthakar (one who is incharge of protecting/propagating the sampradhAyam) and teaches this divine knowledge to his sishyas. At the time of leaving to paramapadham, maNakkAl nambi (his prime sishya) asks him about the successor and uyyakkondAr instructs maNakkAl nambi himself to take care of the sampradhAyam. He also instructs maNakkAl nambi to prepare yAmunaithuraivar to be the next leader. uyyakkondAr’s thanian: nama: pankaja nEthrAya nAtha: sri pAdha pankajE nyastha sarva bharAya asmath kula nAthAya dhimathE

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

maNakkAl nambi

maNakkAl nambi – maNakkAl Thirunakshathram: mAsi, magam avathAra sthalam: maNakkAl (a village on the banks of river cauvery, near srirangam) AchAryan: uyyakkondAr Sishyas: ALavandhAr, thiruvaranga perumAL arayar (ALavandhAr’s son), dheivathukkarasu nambi, piLLai arasu nambi, siru puLLUrudaiyAr piLLai, thirumAlirunchOlai dhAsar, vangipurathu Aychi. sri rAma misrar was born in maNakkAl. He eventually and popularly became to be known as maNakkAl nambi. He lived with his Acharyan uyyakkondAr and served him for 12 years together. During that time uyyakkondAr’s dharma pathini (wife) attains paramapadham – so maNakkAl nambi completely takes care of his AchAryan’s thirumALigai and children. Once, when his AchAryan’s daughters were returning from cauvery, they were stopped by a large puddle of muddy water and were hesitating to cross the same. At that time, nambi falls flat on the puddle and let the girls cross over by walking over him. On hearing this, uyyakkondAr becomes very pleased and decorates nambi’s thirumudi (head) with his lotus feet. He asks nambi what he needs and nambi says he only wants to serve his AchAryan. Being extermely pleased with his sishyan’s conduct/desire, uyyakkondAr immediately does dvaya mahA manthrOpadhEsam once more (it was customary for

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai AchAryas to do dvaya mahA manthrOpadhEsam when they are pleased with their sishyas). uyyakkondAr appoints maNakkAl nambi as his successor while ascending to paramapadham and instructs him to train Ishvara muni’s son to become the leader of our dharisanam. Ishvara muni begets yamunaithuraivar and nambi performs pancha samskAram to him (It seems customary those days that sanka chakra lAnchanam (either with agni or with pushpam) is also done during nAma karaNam on the 11th day – while the sishya will learn the thirumanthra artha upadhEsam and thiruvArAdhanam after attaining appropriate maturity). yamunaithuraivar being very intelligent, goes on to become ALavandhAr, gets half the kingdom (which we will see in his vaibhavam) and gets entangled in administrative duties forgetting his position. When maNakkAl nambi tries to meet ALavandhAr, the security guards does not allow him to do so. maNakkAl nambi takes up the task of reforming ALavandhAr. To re-engage his sishya, he starts giving thUthuvaLai keerai (a green leafy vegetable) daily to the palace kitchen kainkaryaparAs. ALavandhAr starts liking it and suddenly when one day it was stopped, asks his kainkaryaparas what happened to it. They mention that an elderly srivaishnava regularly gave that and he stopped now. Finding out that it was maNakkAl nambi, he invites him to his palace, gives him a special seat and asks him if he needs any wealth. maNakkAl nambi says, he has the real wealth (srivaishnavasri) generated by nAthamunigaL and wants to give that to ALavandhAr. Hearing this ALavandhAr orders his security guards to let him in any time. maNakkAl nambi starts teaching the meanings of bhagavath gIthai fully to ALavandhAr which slowly transforms ALavandhAr back to his old self. ALavandhAr, once reformed, asks what is the essence of gIthai that will allow him to have bhagavath sAkshAthkAram and nambi explains charama slOka artham in a detailed manner. He then takes ALavandhAr along with him to thiruvarangam and makes him worship periya perumAL and ALavandhAr gives up all worldly attachments by being mesmerized by the beauty of periya perumAL. maNakkAl nambi, thus fullfilling the desires of nAthamunigaL, happily ascends to paramapadham. He instructs ALavandhAr to always think about nAthamunigaL and protect and propagate our dharisanam. He also instructs ALavandhAr to identify/bless a dharisana pravarthakar like him for the future as well. Rest is history, as we know, ALavandhAr blesses emperumAnAr to become our dharisana pravarthakar and all. maNakkAl nambi’s thanian: ayannathO yAumunam Athma dhAsam alarkka pathrArppaNa NishkrayENa ya: krIthvAnAsthitha yauvarAjyam namAmitham rAmamEya sathvam

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

ALavandhAr

ALavandhAr – kAttu mannAr kOil Thirunakshathram: Adi, uthrAdam avathAra sthalam: kAttu mannAr kOil AchAryan: maNakkAl nambi Sishyas: periya nambi, periya thirumalai nambi, thirukkOshtiyur nambi, thirumAlaiAndAn, dheivavAriAndAn, vAnamAmalaiAndAn, IsvarAndAn, jeeyarAndAn, ALavandhArAzhwAn, thirumOgUrappan, thirumOgur ninRar, dhEvaperumAL, mAranEri nambi, thirukkachi nambi, thiruvaranga perumAL arayar (sishya of maNakkAl nambi and son of ALavandhAr), thirukkurugUr dhAsar, vakulAbharaNa sOmayAjiyAr, ammangi, ALkoNdi, gOvindha dhAsar (who was born in vadamathurai), nAthamuni dhAsar (rAja purOhithar), thiruvarangathamman (rAja mahishi). Works: chathuslOki, sthOtra rathnam, sidhi thrayam, Agama prAmaNyam, gIthArtha sangraham Place where he attained paramapadham: Thiruvarangam yAmunaithuraivar was born in kAttu mannAr kOil. He eventually and popularly became to be known as ALavandhAr. He is also known as periya mudhaliAr, paramAchAryar, vAdhimathEbha simhEndrar. He was born as the son of Isvara muni and the grand son of nAthamunigaL. He studied sAmAnya sAstram under mahAbhashya bhattar. During that time, AkkiAzhwAn, the rAja purOhithar sends his representatives to all pandits and asks them to pay taxes to him (since he is the chief pandit). mahAbhAshya bhattar becomes worried and seeing that yamunaithuraivar says that he will handle the issue. He sends a slOkam which says “he will destory the poets who look for cheap publicity”. Seeing this AkkiAzhwAn gets angry

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai and sends his soldiers to bring yamunaithuraivar to the king’s court. Yamunaithuraivar tells them that he will come only if he was offered proper respects. So, the king sends him a palanquin and yamunaithuraivar visits the court. While the debate is about to start, rAja mahishi tells the king that she is sure that yamunaithuraivar will win and if he loses, she will become a servant of the king. And the king is confident that AkkiAzhwAn will win and he says if yamunaithurairvar, he will give half the kingdom to him. AkkiAzhwAn being very confident on his debating skills says that he will refute whatever statements yamunaithuraivar make. yamunaithuraivar makes 3 statements:
• • •

AkkiAzhwAn’s mother is not childless. The king is all capable. The queen is a chaste (pure) woman.

Hearing this AkkiAzhwAn is spell bound. He could not refute any of the above fearing backlash from the king. But yamunaithuraivar easily refutes all the 3 points as in:
• • •

AkkiAzhwAn’s mother is childless because she only has one child (according to sAmAnya sAstram, a woman with one child is considered to be childless) The king is not all capable since he is not the ruler of everything – he just rules this particular kingdom. In marriages done according to sAstram, the bride is first offered to dhEvas through specific manthrams before the husband. So she is not chaste in that sense.

AkkiAzhwAn understands the true mastery of yamunaithuraivar and finally gets defeated in the debate by yamunaithuraivar’s great explanations from sAstram establishing the visishtAdhvaitha sidhAntham. He becomes a sishya of yamunaithuraivar as well. The queen gives him the name “ALavandhAr” (one who came to rule/protect her – had he not won, she would have become a servant) and also becomes his sishyai. He also gets half the kingdom and starts engaging himself in administrative tasks. We have already seen in the previous article how maNakkAl nambi reforms ALavandhAr and brings him back to srirangam to make him the leader of our sampradhAyam. Once he comes to srirangam, he becomes a sannyAsi and starts propagating our sampradhAyam. Many become his sishyas. Once maNakkAl nambi instructs ALavandhAr to go and learn ashtAnga yOga rahasyam from kurugai kAvalappan. When he goes there, kurugai kAvalappan is fully immersed in bhagavadh anubhavam through yOgam. But he identifies the arrival of ALavandhAr and tells ALavandhAr that emperumAn is looking over his shoulders during the yOgam to see ALavandhAr who is coming in the lineage of nAthamunigaL since that lineage is very dear to emperumAn. He also gives a date (just before he is planning to leave

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai samsAram to go to paramapadham) to ALavandhAr to learn the yOga rahasyam. But on that particular date, ALavandhAr happens to visit thiruvananthapuram and only realises that it was too late to learn the yOga rahasyam. During this time, one of his sishyas named dheivavAriAndAn, being unable to handle the separation from his AchArya, travels towards thiruvananthapuram while ALavandhAr starts travelling towards srirangam. They meet each other at the entrance of thiruvananthapuram and dheivavAriAndAn is full of joy that he met his AchAryan. He decides to return with his AchAryan and when ALavandhAr asks him to go and worship ananthasayana emperumAn, he says that ALavandhAr is more important for him than emperumAn. Such was his AchArya bhakthi. ALavandhAr comes back to srirangam and is worried about appointing the successor to lead the sampradhAyam. He finds out about iLayAzhwAr (Sri rAmAnujar) who is studying under yAdhavaprakAsan in kAnchipuram. He visits kAnchipuram and in the dhEvaperumAl kOil, in front of kariyamAnikka perumAl sannidhi, he gives his divine katAksham towards iLayAzhwAr who passes by at that time. ALavandhAr goes to dhEva perumAl and does a sharaNagathi to emperumAn to make iLayAzhwAr the next leader of the sampradhAyam. Thus ALavandhAr plants the seed to what is going to be a mahA vriskham (great tree) i.e., emperumAnAr dharisanam. ALavandhAr asks thirukkachi nambi to help iLayAzhwAr in his spiritual development. ALavandhAr becomes ill and he instructs all his sishyas to depend on thiruvaranga perumAL arayar. He also gives very important instructions during his charama dhasai (towards the end of his life here in samsAram). Some of his valuable instructions are:
• •

• •

dhivyadhEsams are our life and we should always spend our time thinking about them and doing kainkaryams there. We should worship thiruppANAzhwAr (from his thirvadi to thirumudi) who is at the lotus feet of periya perumAL. He also says that he always thinks about thiruppANAzhwAr (who is always worshipped by thiruvarangaperumAL arayar) as his upAyam and upEyam. He also compares thiruppANAzhwAr (who sung periya perumAL), kurumbarutha nambi (who offered clay flowers to thiruvEnkatamudayAn) and thirukkachi nambi (who does fan kainkaryam to dhEva perumAL) to be on the same level. A prapannan should neither worry for his Athma yAthrai (bhagavad vishayam) nor for his dhEha yAtrai (loukikam). Since AthmA is athyantha parathanthan of emperumAn, emperumAn will take care of Athma yAthrai. Since dhEham is driven by karma, our puNyam/pApam will drive the dhEha yAthrai. So, we dont need to worry about either one. We should not discriminate amongst bhAgavathas. We should also treat bhAgavathas atleast at the same level as emperumAn. Just like we accept emperumAn’s charaNamrutham, we should also accept AchArya’s sripAdha thIrtham with the same respect.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

When we (AchAryas) give sripAdha thIrtham to others, we should do it on behalf of the guruparamparai with vAkya guruparamparai/dvaya mahAmanthra anusandhanam.

Finally he requests all his disciples and other srivaishnavas to assemble in front of him. He asks for their pardon for any mistakes he committed, accepts sripAdha thIrtham from them, does thadhiArAdhanam to them and leaves his charama thirumEni to paramapadham. All his disciples were plunged into sorrow and finally they start planning for the grand celebration. When srivaishnavas leave their body to go to paramapadham it is actually celebrated in a grand manner considering the great benediction they get when they go to paramapadham. All the charama kainkaryams like thirumanjanam, srichUrNa paripAlanam, alankArams, brahma ratham, etc are all explained in a detailed manner in ALavandhAr’s charithram and other AchAryas lives also. In the mean time, periya nambi had gone to kAnchipuram to bring iLayAzhwAr with him to srirangam. When iLayAzhwAr goes to sAlai kiNaru for his kainkaryam of bringing water for dhEvaperumAL, periya nambi recites ALavandhAr’s sthOthra rathnam loudly. Hearing that and understanding the deep meanings, iLayAzhwAr enquires periya nambi about the author of the slOkams. periya nambi explaining about ALavandhAr’s greatness, requests iLayAzhwAr to visit him at srirangam. iLayAzhwAr accepting the proposal, goes to dhEva perumAL and thirukkachi nambi and takes permission from them to go to srirangam. While reaching srirangam, they see the procession of ALavandhAr’s thirumEni and periya nambi falls down crying. iLayAzhwAr also being very upset enquires from the local srivaishnavas and understand what has happened. At that time, when the final kainkaryams for ALavandhAr starts, everyone observes that 3 fingers are folded in one of his hands. When iLayAzhwAr asks if anyone knew the reason, the srivaishnavas mention that ALavandhAr had 3 unfulfilled desires, viz:
• • •

We should show our gratitude towards vyAsa and parAsara rishi. We should show our love towards nammAzhwAr. We should have a bhAshyam written for vyAsa’s brahma sUtram as per visishtAdhvaitha sidhantham.

Hearing this, iLayAzhwAr immediately takes an oath that he will satisfy all the 3 desires and immediately ALavandhAr’s fingers unfolded. The assembled srivaishnavas become ecstatic looking at this and they say that ALavandhAr’s krupai and shakthi is fully showering on him and hail him to become our dharisan nirvAhakar. Once all the kainkaryams are over, iLayAzhwAr returns to kAnchipuram without even worshipping namperumAL since he was overwhelmed by the loss of ALavandhAr. ALavandhAr was a very great scholar in ubhaya vEdhAntham. We can easily understand from his granthams.

In chathusLoki he gives the essence of pirAtti’s vaibhavam in just 4 slOkams.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai
• • •

sthOthra rathnam is a real gem – He explains the whole concept of sharaNagathi (as explained in thiruvAimozhi, etc) in very simple sthOthrams. gIthArtha sangraham brings out the essence of gIthA. Agama prAmaNyam is the first grantham which highlights the importance and validity of sri pAncharAthra Agamam.

ALavandhAr’s thanian yath padhAmbhOruhadhyAna vidhvasthAsEsha kalmasha: vasthuthAmupayA dhOham yAmunEyam namAmitham

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

periya nambi

periya nambi – srirangam Thirunakshathram: mArgazhi, kEttai avathAra sthalam: srirangam AchAryan: ALavandhAr Sishyas: emperumAnAr, malai kuniya ninRAr, AriyUril sri satagOpa dhAsar, aNiarangathamuthanAr piLLai, thiruvAikkulamudaiyAr bhattar, etc. Place where he attained paramapadham: pasiyathu (pasupathy?) kOil in chOLa dhEsam periya nambi was born in srirangam and is also known as mahA pUrNar, parAnkusa dhAsar and pUrNAchAryar. He was one of the prime sishyas of ALavandhAr and instrumental in bringing rAmAnujar to srirangam. After ALavandhAr’s time, all the srivaishnavas in srirangam request periya nambi to go and bring rAmAnujar to srirangam. So, he leaves srirangam with his family and travels towards kAnchipuram. In the mean time, rAmAnujar also leaves kAnchipuram to meet periya nambi. They both meet at madhurAnthagam and periya nambi does pancha samskAram to him right there. He goes to kAnchipuram to teach sampradhAya arthams to rAmAnujar. But due to some conflicts caused by rAmAnujar’s dharma pathni, he along with his family actually leave kAnchipuram and return to srirangam.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai There are several incidents of periya nambi’s life that are recorded in various pUrvAchArya srisUkthis. Let us see a few here:

He was full of Athma guNams and had great attachment towards rAmAnujar. Even when his daughter comes to him and asks him for loukIka help, he asks her to go to rAmAnujar for solution. Once when rAmAnujar is walking with all his sishyas, periya nambi prostrates in front of him. rAmAnujar does not acknowledge it because acknowledging it means accepting the praNamam of his AchAryan. When periya nambi was asked why he did that he says that he sees ALavandhAr in rAmAnujar. In vArthA mAlai, there is a particular statement that “AchAryas should have great respect for their sishyas” and periya nambi lived by that. When mAranEri nambi (who is a great srivaishnava, disciple of ALavandhAr and born in chathurtha varNam) attains paramapadham, periya nambi does charama kainkarayam for him. Some local srivaishnavas does not accept his act and complain about that to rAmAnujar. When rAmAnujar asks about that, periya nambi says that he acted according to AzhwAr’s thiruvuLLam as expressed in thiruvAimozhi, payilum chudaroLi (3.7) and nedumArkkadimai (8.10) padhigams. This Idhihyam is shown in azhagiya manavALa perumAL nAyanAr in AchArya hrudhayam and explained in guru paramparA prabhAvam. Once, when there was a danger from some miscreants for periya perumAl, it was decided that periya nambi is the right person to do a pradhakshiNam around the periya kOil. He requests kUrathzhwAn to accompany him since kUrathAzhwAn is the one who have fully understood the nature of pArathanthriyam properly. This is shown in thiruvAimozhi (7.10.5), eedu vyAkyAnam by nampiLLai. Beyond all of these, when the saiva king invited rAmAnujar to his court, kUrathAzhwAn went in disguise. Along with AzhwAn, periya nambi also went at very old age. When the king orders the eyes to be plucked, periya nambi accepts that and out of his old age and not able to bear the pain, he eventually gives up his life and reach paramapadham. But at the time of giving up his life, there is a very important point he shows to us. AzhwAn and athuzhAi (periya nambi’s daughter) says that srirangam is only a few miles away and requests periya nambi to hold on to his breath until he reaches srirangam, so that he can leave his body in srirangam. periya nambi immediately stops and decides to give up his life then and there. He says if ever some one hears this incident and concludes that one has to be in srirangam (or any dhivya dhEsam) to give up his life that will only limit a srivaishnava’s glory. AzhwAr says “vaikuNtham Agum tham UrellAm” (ைவ த ஆ த ஊெர லா ) – wherever a srivaishnava is, that place becomes vaikuntham. So, it is more important to depend on emperumAn wherever we are – there are many people living in dhivya dhEsams without even realising the glories of such blessing, but then there are others who live in remote places (remember the chAndili-garudan episode) but constantly thinking about emperumAn.

Thus we can see how exalted periya nambi was. He was fully dependent on emperumAn. He is also known as parAnkusa dhAsar because of his attachment

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai towards nammAzhwAr and thiruvAimozhi. From his thanian we can also understand that he immersed in kalyANa guNa anubhavam of sriya:pathi and was completely satisfied in that anubhavam. Let us pray at his lotus feet to bless us with the same qualities as well. periya nambi’s thanian kamalApathi kalyAna gunAmrutha nishEvayA pUrNa kAmaya sathatham pUrNAya mahathE nama:

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

emperumAnAr

thAnAna thirumEni (srirangam)

thAnugantha thirumEni (sriperumpUdhUr)

thamarugantha thirumEni (thirunArayaNapuram)

Thirunakshathram: chithirai, thiruvAdhirai avathAra sthalam: sriperumpudhUr AchAryan: periya nambi Sishyas: kUrathAzhwAn, mudhaliAndAn, embAr, aruLaLa perumAL emperumAnAr, ananthAzhwAn, 74 simhAsanAdhipathis, many thousands of sishyas. It is said that he had 12000 srivaishnavas, 74 simhAsAnadhipathis, 700 sanyAsis, and many many srivaishnavas from different caste/creed were his disciples. Place where he attained paramapadham: thiruvarangam Works: He has done nine granthams which are considered as nava rathnams namely sri bhAshyam, gItha bhAshya, vEdhArtha sangraham, vEdhAntha dhIpam, vEdhAntha sAram, sharaNAgathi gadhyam, sriranga gadhyam, srivaikunta gadhyam and nithya grantham. iLayAzhwAr was born in sriperumbudhUr to kEsava dhIkshithar and kAnthimathi ammangAr as an avathAram of AdhisEshan and is also known by many other names. Let us see his many names and who gave them to him.
• • •

iLayAzhwAr given by his parents. sri rAmAnujar given by periya nambi during his pancha samskAram. yathirAjarar given by dhEva perumAL during sanyAsAshrama svIkAram.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai
• • • • • • • •

udayavar given by namperumAL lakshmaNa muni given by thiruvaranga peumAL arayar emperumAnAr given by thirukkOshtiyUr nambi when emperumAnAr gave charamaslOka artham to the ones who surrendered to him in thirukkOshtiyUr. satagOpan ponnadi given by thirumAlaiAndAn. kOil ANNan given by AndAL after emperumAnAr offered 100 plates of akkAra adisil and 100 plates of butter to thirumAlirunchOlai azhagar. sri bhAshyakArar given by sarasvathi in kashmir. bhUthapurIsar given by Adhi kEsava perumAL of sriperumputhUr. dhEsikEndhrar given by thiruvEnkatamudayAn.

Brief life history

Born in srIperumputhUr by the grace of thiruvallikkENi pArthasArathy emperumAn as his amsAvathAram.

pArthasArathy with ubaya nAchiArs and udayavar – thiruvallikkENi
• • • •

Marries thanjammAl (rakshkAmbAL). Goes to kAnchipuram and learns sAmAnya sAstram and pUrva paksham from yAdhava prakAsar. When yAdhava prakAsar gives crooked interpretations to sAstra vAkyams, iLayAzhwAr corrects them. On a pilgrimage towards vAraNAsi, some disciples of yAdhava prakAsar plans to kill iLayAzhwAr. Govindhar (embAr in the future), a cousin of iLayAzhwAr thwarts the plan and sends iLayAzhwAr towards kAnchipuram. iLayAzhwAr feeling lost in the forest is helped by dhEva perumAL and perundhEvi thAyar and comes back to kAnchipuram. On his return, based on his mother’s advice, he serves dhEva perumAL under the guidance of thirukkachi nambi.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

• • • • • •

• •

• • •

• •

• • • •

iLayAzhwAr travels with periya nambi to srirangam to meet ALavandhAr – but only sees ALavandhArs charama thirumEni. He vows that he will fulfill ALavandhArs 3 wishes. iLayAzhwAr considers thirukkachi nambi to be his AchAryan and asks him to do pancha samskAram, but nambi refuses to do that citing pramANams from sAstram. iLayAzhwAr wants to have sEsha prasAdham of thirukkachi nambi but his desire is not fulfilled. dhEva perumAL gives Aru vArthaigaL (6 words) to iLayAzhwAr through thirukkachi nambi. iLayAzhwAr and periya nambi meet at madhurAnthagam. periya nambi does pancha samskAram to iLayAzhwAr and gives rAmAnujan as dhAsya nAmam. periya nambi stays at rAmAnujar’s thirumALigai and teaches him all sampradhAya arthams. Eventually periya nambi leaves to srirangam. rAmAnujar accepts sanyAsAshramam from dhEva perumAL. AzhwAn and AndAn becomes sishyas of rAmAnujar. yAdhava prakAsar becomes a sishya of rAmAnujar and becomes gOvindha jeeyar. He writes “yathi dharma samuchayam” – which is used as guidelines for srivaishnava yathis. periya perumAL sends thiruvaranga perumAL to dhEva perumAL to bring rAmAnujar to srirangam. dhEva perumAL agrees and rAmAnujar becomes srirangavAsi. rAmAnujar gets periya thirumalai nambi to bring gOvindha bhattar (embAr) back into the srivaishnava dharmam. rAmAnujar travels to thirukkOshtiyur to learn charama slOkam from thirukkOshtiyUr nambi. He teaches the meaning to every one who came with the desire to learn that and was named emperumAnAr by thirukkOsthiyUr nambi. emperumAnAr listens thiruvAimozhi kAlakshEpam from thirumAlai AndAn. emperumAnAr learns panchamOpAya (AchArya) nishtai from thiruvaranga perumAL arayar. emperumAnAr out of his parama krupai, performs sharaNAgathi in front of namperumAL and sriranga nAchiAr on a panguni uthram day for the benefit of all of his followers. emperumAnAr is given poisoned food. ThirukkOshtiyUr nambi visits srirangam and orders kidAmbi AchAn to take care of emperumAnArs bikshai. emperumAnAr defeats yagya mUrthy in debate. yagya mUrthy becomes aruLaLa perumAL emperumAnAr and is given thiruvArAdhana kainkaryam for emperumAnArs thiruvArAdhana emperumAn. emperumAnAr instructs ananthAzhwan, etc to become aruLALa perumAL emperumAnAr’s sishyas. emperumAnAr sends ananthAzhwAn to thirumalai to perform nithya kainkaryam to thiruvEnkatamudayAn. emperumAnAr goes on pilgrimage and finally visits thirumalai. emperumAnAr establishes that thiruvEnkatamudayAn is a vishnu mUrthy (vigraham) and defeat the kudhrustis who claimed otherwise. He is glorified as the AchAryan of thiruvEnkatamudayAn and can be seen with a jnAna mudhrai in thirumalai.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

emperumAnAr – thirumalai
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• •

There he hears sri rAmAyaNa kAlakshEpam from periya thirumalai nambi. emperumAnAr gives sanyAsAshramam for govindha bhattar and names him embAr. emperumAnAr visits kashmIr along with kUrathAzhwAn to bring bOdhAyana vruthi grantham. They get the grantham but the wicked pandits send their soldiers to take it away from empermAnAr. When it was lost, AzhwAn says he memorized everything. emperumAnAr with the help of AzhwAn writes sribhAshyam fulling ALavandhAr’s first wish. emperumAnAr visits thirukkurungudi and empeumAn becomes a sishya of emperumAnAr and gets the name “srivaishnava nambi”.

AzhWan and AndAL, by the grace of prasAdham from namperumAL gets 2 children. emperumAnAr names them parAsAra and vEdha vyAsa fulfilling ALavandhAr’s second wish. embAr’s brother siriya gOvindha perumAL gets a child and emperumAnAr names him “parAngusa nambi” fulfilling ALavandhAr’s third wish. It is also said that emperumAnAr instructed thirukkurugai pirAn piLLAn to write a commentary for thiruvAimozhi to fulfill ALavandhAr’s third wish.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai
• • • • • • •

emperumAnAr travels to thirunArAyaNa puram, establishes the temple worship there and initiates many into our sampradhAyam. emperumAnAr takes the form of 1000 headed AdhisEshan and defeats 1000 jain scholars simulataneously. emperumAnAr retrieves selvapiLLai utsava mUrthy from muslim king’s daughter and performs the marriage of the muslim king’s daughter and selva piLLai. emperumAnAr returns to srirangam after the saiva kings death. He instructs AzhwAn to get his eyes back by glorifying dhEva perumAL. emperumAnAr travels to thirumAlirunchOlai and offers 100 plates of akkAra adisil and 100 plates of butter as per ANdAL’s wish. emperumAnAr shows the greatness of piLLai urangA villi dhAsar to other srivaishnavas. emperumAnAr gives many final instructions to his sishyas. He instructs his sishyas to treat parAsara bhattar as himself. Also, He instructs parAsara bhattar to bring nanjeeyar into our sampradhAyam. Finally, meditating on ALavandhAr’s thirumEni, emperumAnAr completes his leelai in leelA vibhUthi and returns paramapadham to continue his leelai in nithya vibhUthi. Just like AzhwAr’s charama thirumEni was preserved inside the AdhinAthan temple in AzhwAr thiunagari, emperumAnAr’s charama thirumEni is also preserved inside the ranganAthan temple in srirangam (under the mUlavar thirumEni in emperumAnAr sannidhi). All his charama kainkaryams were done in a grand manner just like the brahmOtsavam of thiruvaranganAthan himself.

emperumAnAr’s unique position in our sampradhAyam
In our AchArya rathna hAram emperumAnAr is considered as the nAyaka maNi (the center piece). In charamOpAya nirNayam, nAyanAr AchAn piLLai (son of periyavAchAn piLLai) brings out the full glories of emperumAnAr. Let us see some glimpses of this magnificient grantham:
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• •

Through the words of many AchAryas (before and after emperumAnAr), emperumAnAr is proven to be the charamOpAyam for all srivaishnavas. Even though our pUrvAchAryas were fully dependent on their own AchAryas, because everyone’s AchAryas showed that “we have to fully dependent on emperumAnAr only”, emperumAnAr’s uththArakathvam was fully established. periyavAchAn piLLai also says in mAnikka mAlai that “AchArya sthAnam is special and only emperumAnAr fully qualifies for that sthAnam”. AchAryas before empeumAnAr were anuvruthi prasannAchAryas, i.e., they had to be served continuously before they will be pleased and give valuable instructions and accept sishyas. But emperumAnAr, looking at the difficulties in this kaliyugam, identified that AchAryas should be krupA mAthra prasannAchAryas, i.e., they should be full of mercy and accept sishyas purely based on the desire in the heart of the sishya.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

It is also explained that just like when pithrus in pithru lOkam get benefited by sath santhAnam (good offsprings) in their families and ofcourse the subsequent generations will also benefit by such persons, AchAryas before and after emperumAnAr benefit from the appearance of emperumAnAr in the srivaishnava kulam. Just like vadudhEvan/dhEvaki, nandhagOpan/yasOdhA and dhasarathan/kausalyA were blessed by giving birth to kannan emperumAn and perumAL, AchAryas before emperumAnAr were blessed by the appearance of emperumAnAr in the prapanna kulam. nammAzhwAr glorifies the appearance of emperumAnAr in poliga poliga poliga padhigam and presents the bhavishyadhAchAryan (emperumAnAr) vigraham to him even before the appearance of emperumAnAr.

bhavishyadhAchAryan – AzhwArthirungari

• •

From nAthamunigaL this thirumEni was preserved and worshipped by uyyakkondAr, maNakkAl nambi, ALavandhAr, thirukkOhstiyUr nambi, etc and finally by thiruvAimozhi piLLai and manavALa mAmunigaL in AzhwAr thiunagari bhavishyadhAchAryan sannidhi. periya nambi says that just like perumAL appeared in raghu kulam and made that kulam famous, emperumAnAr appeared in prapanna kulam and made this kulam famous. periya thirumalai nambi says to embAr that “you should think that emperumAnAr thirvadigaLE thanjam and think about emperumAnAr more than myself”. thirukkOshtiyUr nambi during his final days says that “he was fortunate to have the relationship with emperumAnAr”. Also when there is misunderstanding by thirumAlaiAndAn, thirukkOshtiyUr nambi says that “you are not instructing anything new to emperumAnAr, he is sarvajnar already. Just like kannan emperumAn learnt from sAndIpani and perumAL learnt from vasishtan, emperumAnAr is learning from us”.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

peraruLALan, periya perumAL, thiruvEnkatamudayAn, thirumAlirunchOlai azhagar, thirkkurungudi nambi, etc also highlighted the importance/glories of emperumAnAr and instructed everyone to completely depend on emperumAnAr. aruLaLa perumAL emperumAnAr, AzhwAn, ANdAn, embAr, vaduga nambi, vangi purathu nambi, bhattar, nadAthUr ammAL, nanjeeyar, nampiLLai and many other AchAryas show to their sishyas that “we should always think that emperumAnAr thiruvadigaLE thanjam”. It is explained that by our pUrvAchAryas that we have to think emperumAnAr as the upAyam and upEyam. This is called charamOpAya nishtai or anthimOpAya nishtai. thiruvarangathamudhanAr after being reformed by kUrathAzhwAn, developed great attachment towards emperumAnAr. He poured out his emotions in his prabhandham rAmAnusa nURRanthAdhi. A fitting glorification of emperumAnAr, this prabhandham was composed when emperumAnAr was living in srirangam and was ordered by namperumAL to be recited in front of him during his purappAdu without any other disturbances like vAdhyam, etc (which are usually present in front of any purappAdu). This prabhandham was also included as part of 4000 divya prabhandham by our pUrvAchAryas considering the glories of emperumAnAr and his contribution towards our sampradhAyam. Not only that this became to be known as prapanna gAyathri – that which should be recited fully by every srivaishnava at least once a day.

manavALa mAmunigaL in upadhEsa rathina mAlai shows that our dharisanam is named as “emperumAnAr dharisanam” by namperumAl himself. He also says that AchAryas before emperumAnAr, were anuvruthi prasannAchAryas and were only instructing to few sishyas who served them with utmost dedication for long durations. But emperumAnAr changed the trend and showed that in this kaliyugam AchAryas should be filled with mercy. Looking at the sorrows and difficulties in the samsAram, the AchAryas should look out for individuals who simply have the desire to leave samsAram and give them the valuable meanings on the process to leave samsAram. Not only emperumAnAr himself did that, he also established 74 simhAsanAdhipathis who will propagate our sanAthana dharmam everywhere and give the mercy to every one. It is easy to speak about and summarize emperumAn’s vaibhavam but emperumAnAr’s vaibhavam is unlimited. Even he himself with his thousand tongues (as AdhisEshan) cannot speak his glories, so how can we do that to our full satisfaction. We just have to satisfy ourselves saying that some how we benefited immensely by speaking (and reading) about him today. empermAnAr’s thanian yOnithyam achyutha padhAmbuja yugma rukma vyAmOthas thathitharANi thrunAya mEnE asmadhgurOr bhagavathOsya dhayaikasindhO: rAmAnujasya charaNou sharaNam prapadhyE

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

kUrathAzhwAn

Thirunakshathram: thai, hastham avathAra sthalam: kUram AchAryan: emperumAnAr Sishyas: thiruvarangathamudhanAr Place where he attained paramapadham: thiruvarangam Works: pancha sthavam (athi mAnusha sthavam, srI vaikunta sthavam, sundhara bhAhu sthavam, varadharAja sthavam, srI sthavam), yO nithyam achyutha/lakshminAtha thanians

Born in KUram village in a noble family in the year 1010 AD (Sowmya Varusham, Thai MAsam, Hastha Nakshatram) as the son of kUrathazhwar and perundhEvi ammAL. He was named SrivathsAngan.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

• • • • •

• • • •

• •

His mother passed away at a very young age and his father does not remarry even though sAsthrams insist one must be in a proper asramam (i.e., once married, if the wife passes away, a man should remarry). His father says "if i get married and my new wife does not treat kUrathazhwan well, it will be a bhAgavatha apachAram". Such is his qualities even at a very young age. He was guided by Thirukachi nambigaL who was serving dhEvaperumAL. He gets married to ANdAL who is equally great in good qualities. He takes shelter of Sri Ramanuja and accepts Pancha Samskaram from him. Leaving behind all his wealth at KUram, he along with his wife reach Srirangam and starts living there by taking unjavruthi (bikshai). He travels with Sri Ramanuja to Kashmir to retrieve Bodayana Vruthi Grantham. After losing the grantham on the way back, he comforts Sri Ramanuja that he memorized the whole grantham. Later, after getting back to SriRangam, he helps Sri Ramanuja complete his magnus opum "Sri Bhasyam" by recording it in palm leaves as dictated by Sri Ramanuja. He instructs Sri Thiruvarangathu AmudhanAr regularly and gets him to become a disciple of Sri Ramanuja, give up the temple responsibilities and hands over the temple keys to Sri Ramanuja after sitting in the EkAgam ritual. He goes to the saiva king's court in place of Sri Ramanuja, refutes the king's claim of "Siva being the supreme", establishes of Lord Vishnu's supremacy and in the end gives up his own darshanam (eyes) to protect Sri Vaishnava darshanam (sampradayam). He leaves SriRangam to go to ThirumAlirunchOlai (after Sri Ramanuja leaves to Melkote) where he stays for 12 years. He sings Sundhara BAhu sthavam (one of pancha sthavam sung by him) to Lord Sundara Rajan. He returns back to SriRangam after hearing about Sri Ramanuja's return to Sri Rangam. Under the instructions of Sri Ramanuja, he sings VaradharAja sthavam to dhEva perumAL, and in the end asks for mOksham to all his sambhandhis - especially NAlurAn (who was one of the main causes for him losing his eyes). In total he sings pancha sthavams - Sri Vaikunta sthavam, AthimAnusha sthavam, Sundara BAhu sthavam, Varadaraja sthavam and Sri Sthavam - all of them contains the juice of vedantha meanings. He gets assigned the pouranika kainkaryam in SriRangam temple byr Sri Ramanuja and he also remains the grantha nirvAhi for our sampradayam during his times. He and his wife ges the prasAdham from Sri Ranganathan, and from that prasAdham two beautiful children are born to them. They are named parAsara bhattar and vEdha Vyasa bhattar. He is so immersed in arulicheyal anubhavam (4000 divya prabhandham) that whenever he starts saying an upanyasam either he keeps crying after being overwhelmed by anubhavam or he faints. Many times Periya perumAL converses with him directly. Finally, he requests mOksham from periya perumAl and periya perumAl grants it. When Sri Ramanuja asks "how can you leave before me?", he says "According

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai to sUzh visumbaNi mugil... padhigam in ThiruvAimozhi, when one goes to paramapadam, nityas and muktas come and wash the feet of the newly arriving mukta atma. How can I allow you to come and do that for me? That is why I am leaving before you.". There are numerous idhIhams (incidents) which are identfied/elaborated in vyAkyAnangal and guru parampara prabhAvam relating to KUrathazhwan. Is it possible to list out the greatness of KUrathazhwan in this single page? If it is not for my inability to comprehend KUrathazhwan's vaibhavam, this page could be endless.

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AzhwAn’s thanian srivatsa chinna misrEbyO nama ukthima dhImahE: yadhukthayas thrayi gantE yAnti mangala sUtradhAm: I worship KUrathazhwan, whose pancha sthavam are like mangala sutra (ThirumAngalyam) for the vedas - i.e., without which there is no clarity in who is paradhEvathai.

AzhwAn’s greatness
arvAnchO yath padha sarasija dhvandhvam Asrithya pUrvE mUrdhnA yasyAnvayam upagathA desikA mukthimApu: sOyam ramanuja munir api sveeya mukthim karastAm yath sambhandhAdh amanutha katam varnayathe kUranatha: How can we speak the greatness of KUrthazhwan within the boundary of words (mozhiai kadakkum perumpugalAn/vAcha magOchara)? Everyone gets mOksham through Sri Ramanuja - some (who are elders to Sri Ramanuja) through his thirumudi sambhandham and others (who are younger to Sri Ramanuja) gets through his thiruvadi sambhandam. Such great personality Sri Ramanuja himself proclaims that it was due to his connection to KUrathazhwan he gets mOksham. KUrathazhwan is one of the prime disciples of Sri Ramanuja. Born in KUram village near Kanchipuram in a noble family, KUrathazhwan is considered as an epitome of Srivaishnava Acharyas. He was well known for not having 3 mathams - prides (vidya matham - proud of having high knowledge, dhana matham - proud of having huge wealth, abijathya matham - proud of having born in noble family). He was praised by Thiruvarangathu Amudhanar in Ramanuja NUtrandAdhi as "Mozhiyai kadakum perum pugazhAn vanja muk kurumbAm kuzhiyai kadakum nam KUrathazhwan" and by Manavala MAmunigal in Yathiraja Vimsadhi as "vAchAmagocara mahAguna desikAgrya KUrAdhinatha" - both indicating that kUrathazhwan's vaibhavams are beyond words. In fact both Ramanuja NUtrandAdhi and Yathiraja Vimsadhi are aimed at praising Sri Ramanuja.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai Sri Ramanuja is considered as the most important acharya in Srivaishnava sampradayam. This sampradayam truly represents Sanatana Dharma (vedic religion) which contains boundless knowledge about Tattva thrayam (chit - soul, achit - matter and iswara - God Sriman Narayanan). Sri Ramanuja preached this universal dharma all over India. He was a visionary who played many roles - preacher, temple administrator, social reformist, humanitarian, etc. He wrote nine granthas explaining various aspects of vedas, vedanta, bhagawad gita, concept of saranagati ( complete surrender to god) and vaidhiha anushtanams. Sri Ramanuja is closely related to Sri Parthasarathy swamy temple. It was because of his father's prayers to Sri VenkataKrishnan/Sri Parthasarathy, presiding deity here in Thiruvallikeni, Sri Ramanuja was born into this world.. It is one of the 108 divya desams where Pei Azhwar, Thirumazhisai Azhwar and Thirumangai Azhwar have performed mangalasanams.

Gitacharyan and Azhwan 1
Sri Parthasarathy, who is Gitacharyan - one who spoke Sri Bhagavad Gita to Arjunan. Sri Bhagavad Gita is considered as the most important scripture for Sanatana Dharma and especially Srivaishnavas as this is directly spoken by Sri Krishna himself. In the 13th AdhyAyam (Chapter) of Sri Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna explains the difference between Kshetra (body) and Kshetranja (Knower of the body - soul). As part of his instructions, he explains the 20 important qualities of a God realized person. These qualities are wonderfully visible in KUrathazhwan's life and we will walk through each of the qualities explained by kaNNan emperumAn with specific examples from kUrathazwan's life. Sri Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 13, Slokas 7 - 11 amanitvam adambhitvam ahimsa ksantir arjavam acaryopasanam saucam sthairyam atma-vinigrahah indriyarthesu vairagyam anahankara eva ca janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhiduhkha-dosanudarsanam asaktir anabhisvangah putra-dara-grhadisu nityam ca sama-cittatvam istanistopapattisu

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai mayi cananya-yogena bhaktir avyabhicarini vivikta-desa-sevitvam aratir jana-samsadi adhyatma-jnana-nityatvam tattva-jnanartha-darsanam etaj jnanam iti proktam ajnanam yad ato 'nyatha 1. amanitvam - humility
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Even though he was born in a noble and wealthy family, he gave up everything when he decided to go to SriRangam to server Sri Ramanuja. In SriRangam, there was a time, when Sri Ramanuja was asking Sri Periya Nambi to drop holy sand by circling around the temple to protect it from evils, Sri Periya Nambi asks for some one to accompany him - but insists that person should be very humble - one who will not think even for a moment that why should I walk behind another person. While Sri Ramanuja is thinking and looking around, Sri Periya Nambi himself says, "Please send KUrathanzhwan since there can be no one more humble than him".

2. adambhitvam - pridelessness

When accompanying Sri Ramanja to Kashmir to retrieve the Bodhayana vruthi grantham (which is a short commentary for Brahma sutras), they received the grantham and were returning back. At that time, some of the local pandits who did not like Sri Ramanuja sent some soldiers who took the grantham away from Sri Ramanuja. While Sri Ramanuja was in shock and disappointment, KUrathazhwan mentions to Sri Ramanuja that he memorized the whole grantham in night time after serving him. But still he did not show even a tinge of pride during this incident.

3. ahimsa - nonviolence

Once he hears the sound of a frog crying out while being eaten by a snake. He starts crying for the poor frog and faints immediately. This shows his love for all living beings. He is considered as an incarnation of Sri Rama, who as stated in Valmiki Ramayanam, when some thing bad happens in Ayodhya before the affected person Sri Rama cries and when some thing good happens he feels happy before the affected person.

4. ksantir - tolerance

Sri Ramanuja learns the meanings of Sri Bhagavad Gita Charama slokam (Sarva DharmAn Parithyajya mAm ekam ...) from Sri Thirukottiyur Nambi. Sri

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai Thirukotiyur Nambi instructs Sri Ramanuja to teach this only to his disciples after putting them through difficult tests. When, KUrathazhwan asks for the meanings, Sri Ramanuja asks him to show his dedication, and kUrathazhwan, fasts for 1 month outside the mutt of Sri Ramanuja. Finally he learns it after being patient for so long. He also forgives and begs for Moksham for NAlurAn who was one of the cause for losing his eyes in the Saiva king's palace.

5. arjavam - honesty

After instructing Sri Thiruvarangathu Amudhanar for a while on sat vishyams, when amudhanAr wanted to become a disciple, he asked him to take shelter of Sri Ramanuja. After instructing Pillai Pillai Azhwan, KUrathazhwan tells him to always depend on Sri Ramanuja.

6. acarya-upasanam - always depending on the Acharya

When Sri Ramanuja places his feet on a deaf and dumb person who is living in Sri Rangam, KUrathazhwan starts crying and says there is no use of learning vedanthams compared to getting the lotus feet of Sri Ramanuja. In DhAti Panchakam, the last verse "Trini kruta virinchani nirangusa vibuthaya, ramanuja padhAmboja samasrayana salina:" indicating the same meaning.

7. saucam - cleanliness -both internal and external
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While it is obvious that such great personality will be externally clean, the next examples show how clean his heart was. When Sri Ramanuja had to leave SriRangam to go to Melkote due to Saiva King's actions, KUrathazhwan was still living in SriRangam. One day, when he entered the temple, one of the guards stopped him saying "the king has ordered anyone related to Sri Ramanuja should not enter the temple". But another guard at that time said, " KUrathazhwan is a persona of great qualities, so we should let him in". Hearing this KUrathazhwan said, "If I have any good qualities, that is because of my relationship with Sri Ramanuja" and leaves the temple without entering. Such is his pure heart, that if some one considers him independently great, he does not accept it, even to take the Darshan of the Lord Sri Ranganatha.

8. sthairyam--steadfastness

When some devotees was asking "why srivaishnavas are not worshipping dhEvatantarams?", KUrathazhwan said because our elders (pUrvacharyas great vedic scholars) did not do that, we are also not doing it. He had such steady mind and faith on pUrvacharyas.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai 9. atma-vinigrahah - self control (vairaghyam)

When his children were getting ready to be married, his wife and many others were asking him to look for suitable brides. KUrathazhwan said "Iswara kudumbathukku nAm yAr karaivathu?" - meaning "Why should I worry for Bhagavan's family? It is Lord SriRanganatha's responsibility.". When Sri Ramanuja instructs KUrathazhwan to sing Sri Kachi Varadan and request for his eyes back - KUrathazhwan asks for Moksham for him and NAlurAn who caused the loss of eyes.

10. indriya-arthesu vairagyam -renunciation in the matter of the senses

When Sri Thiruvarangathu AmudhanAr submits all his wealth (gold, etc) to KUrathazhwan, KUrathazhwan simplity throws them out on the street, and tells Sri Ramanuja that he got rid of unnecessary burdens.

11. anahankAra - being without false egoism

Even after being a great scholar, wealthy person, etc., when Sri Ramanuja gets upset with KUrathazhwan while writing the Sri Bhashya, KUrathazhwan says, "Sri Ramanuja is my Swamy and I am his Dasan, so he can do whatever he wants to me".

12. janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhiduhkha-dosanudarsanam - Always seeing the faults in this samsara

Once when he hears some one gives birth to a child, KUrathazhwan goes in front of Lord Ranganatha and cries. When asked why, he says "When some one gets put in this jail of samsara, you have to go and cry in front of the one who can relieve them from this samsara. Since Lord Ranganatha is the only one who can liberate us all from samsara, I went and cried in front of him for this new born child".

13. asaktir - detachment

When travelling to SriRangam to take shelter of Sri Ramanuja, through the forest, KUrathazhwan's wife was looking worried. When asked she said she was carrying the gold vessel in which KUrathazhwan will eat prasAdham every day. Hearing this, he takes that from her and threw it away, saying what is the use of this utensil when Lord Ranganatha and Sr Ramanuja are there. This shows that he did not even have a tinge of attachment to anything material.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai 14. putra, dara, grha-adisu anabhisvangah - without association to sons, wife, home, etc.

Not only he gave up all his wealth, he also started taking unja vruthi (bikshai) for his daily needs after reaching SriRangam. Even after having a family, he was very strict in adhering to sastras. When he was instructing to his disciples on rahasya trayam (Thirumantram, dvayam, charam slokam), he first asks his children to leave - but later invites them and teaches them the inner meanings. When asked why, he says, "well who knows how long they could live, they could lose their life before reaching home, that is why I wanted to make sure they learn this". This shows, he is not sentimental towards his children, but see them also as atmas who need to attain proper knowledge and get liberated from samsara It is also said that he did not keep any bodily relationship with his wife and his children (both Parasara bhattar and vedavyasa bhattar) were given by Lord Sri Ranganatha itself through his prasAdham.

15. ista anista upapattisu nityam sama-cittatvam - even-mindedness amid pleasant and unpleasant events

When he lost his eyes KUrathazhwan did not worry too much. He said "what is the use of these eyes anymore after seeing the king who is a bhagavad virodhi". When Sri Ramanuja instructs him to request his eyes back from Sri Kachi Varadan, KUrathazhwanis not too happy either - he says "I am already seeing both Sri Ramanuja and EmberumAn through my inner eyes, so what is the need for these external eyes?".

16. mayi ananya-yogena bhaktih avyabhicarini - constant devotion unto me (Sri Krishna) only

Even in many adverse conditions, such as having to lose his eyes, or having to leave SriRangam, etc., KUrathazhwan always prayed for constant devotion to EmberumAn.He never went to any one else, nor he asked anything other than complete devotion to the Lord.

17. vivikta desa sevitvam - living in solitary places

For a Srivaishnava, living in a solitary place means living in holy places where there is activities around Lord only nothing else. KUrathazhwan always stayed with his Acharya Sri Ramanuja and was always thinking about service to Sri Ramanuja and EmberumAn.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai 18. aratih jana samsadi - without attachment to people in general

Even though great devotees may have to associate with general people, they will still show no attachment towards them. KUrathazhwan even though had to associate with ordinary people (kings, etc) who takes instructions from him, but never showed any attachment towards them.

19. adhyatma jnana nityatvam - pertaining to the eternal self knowledge

Right from the young age, KUrathazhwan always shows interest in self knowledge and shows clear understanding of all jivatmas are servants of paramatma.

20. tattva-jnana artha chintanam - Thinking about the true knowledge

KUrathazhwan always was thinking about the true knowldge - that all jivatmas are servants of Sriman Narayana. That is why when he left his body to go to paramapadham, Sri Ramanuja instructs to the Srivaishnavas to keep chanting Dvaya maha mantram in KUrathazhwan's ears since that is what he is always thinking about.

Conclusion It is so amazing to see all this wonderful qualities in a single person. That is why Sri PeriyavAchAn pillai says "Both Acharya and Sishya lakshanam are fully manifested in KUrathazhawan" in mAnikkA mAlai. Let us atleast try to take some of these examples and implement it in our life - to please KUrathazhwAn and all our PUrvacharyas.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

aruLALa perumAL emperumAnAr

aruLALa perumAL emperumAnAr – thiruppAdagam thirunakshathram: kArthigai, bharaNi avathAra sthalam: vinjimUr AchAryan: emperumAnAr sishyAs: ananthAzhwAn, echchAn, thoNdanUr nambi, marudhUr nambi, etc Works: jnAna sAram, pramEya sAram, etc Born in vinjimUr (Andhra pradhEsh), he was originally known as yagya mUrthy and was an adhvaithi. He once goes for gangA snAnam and wins many vidhwAns there and becomes a mAyAvAdha sanyAsi. Due to his vast knowledge in sAsthram he had

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai acquired great fame and many disciples. Hearing about emperumAnAr‘s glories, yagya mUrthy desires to debate with him. He prepares many granthams and have them carried by his many disciples and arrives at srIrangam to meet emperumAnAr. emperumAnAr welcomes yagya mUrthy and they make an arrangement to debate for 18 days. yagya mUrthy declares that if he is defeated he will change his name to reflect emperumAnAr’s name, carry the pAdhukais of emperumAnAr on his head and become a sishya of emperumAnAr. emperumAnAr declares that if he is defeated he will give up touching any granthams. The debate starts and goes on for 16 days. Both of them debate eloquently and furiously like two elephants fighting each other. On the 17th day, it appears that yagya mUrthy is gaining an upper hand. emperumAnAr becomes a bit worried and leaves to his mutt at the end. In the night, he meditates on dhEva perumAL and asks emperumAn if he will end up losing the debate which will lead to the downfall of the great sampradhAyam which was nourished by NammAzhwAr to ALavandhAr. He also worries that he becomes the reason for such downfall. dhEva perumAL appears in emperumAnAr’s dream subsequently and tells him not to worry. He tells him that this was a divine leelai to bring a sishya to emperumAnAr who is adequately intelligent and brilliant. He instructs emperumAnAr to use ALavandhAr‘s refutations for mAyAvAdham and defeat yagya mUrthy in the debate. emperumAnAr realises the greatness of emperumAn and continues to recite emperumAn’s thinAmams until early morning, performs his nithyAnushtAnams and thiruvArAdhanam and arrives for the debate for the last (18th) day with majestically. yagya mUrthy, being an intellectual, right away recognises the thEjas in emperumAnAr, falls at his lotus feet, keeps emperumAnAr’s pAdhukas on his head and accepts his defeat. When emperumAnAr asks if he wants to debate further, yagya mUrthy says “emperumAnAr is non-different from periya perumAL for him, so need to debate further”. But emperumAnAr out of his krupai, still explains emperumAn’s saguNathvam using proper pramANams. yagya mUrthy requests emperumAnAr to give him proper sanyAsAshramam. emperumAnAr instructs him to first perform prAyachitham for giving up the shikai and yagyOpavItham (since he was a mAyavAdha sanyAsi before) and he obliges. After that, emperumAnAr presents thridhaNdam, kAshAyam, etc to yagya mUrthy and names him aruLALa perumAL emperumAnAr in memory of the favours done by dhEva perumAL (pEraruLALan) and to fulfill the desire of yagya mUrthy who wanted to be named after emperumAnAr. emperuAnAr also brings aruLALa perumAL emperumAnAr to namperumAL and his own thiruvArAdhana perumAL to show that it was their divine plan that connected emperumAnar and aruLALa perumAL emperumAnAr. emperumAnAr teaches aruLicheyal and their meanings to aruLALa perumAL emperumAnAr himself over time. When ananthAzhwAn, echchAn, etc arrives to srIrangam to become the sishyas of emperumAnAr, he asks them to undergo pancha samskAram under aruLALa perumAL emperumAnAr. aruLALa perumAL emperumAnAr instructs his sishyas to simply think about emperumAnAr as the upAyam always.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai It is also said that aruLALa perumAL emperumAnAr’s specific kainkaryam to emperumAnAr was to perform thiruvArAdhanam for emperumAnAr’s pEraruLALan emperumAn. Once when two travelling srivaishnavas ask some one in the streets of srIrangam “where is emperumAnAr‘s mutt?”. At that time, a local person replies “which empermAnAr?”. The srivaishnavas ask “Are there two emperumAnAr’s in our sampradhAyam?” and the local person replies “Yes, there is emperumAnAr and aruLALa perumAL emperumAnAr”. The srivaishnavas finally say “Oh! we are looking for udayavar’s mutt” and the person points them to the mutt. aruLALa perumAL emperumAnAr happens to be there at that time and becomes very upset that since he was living in a separate mutt with the same name this conversation happened. Immediately he destroys his mutt, comes to emperumAnAr and tells him that he does not want to live in a separate place anymore explaining the conversation which happened. emperumAnAr accepts him, asks him to live in his own mutt and also explains all rahasya arthams to aruLALa perumAL emperumAnAr. aruLALa perumAL emperumAnAr, out of his krupai, writes two prabhandhams in thamizh, jnAna sAram and pramEya sAram. These two prabhandhams bring out the most beautiful meanings of our sampradhAyam, especially bringing out the glories AchAryan in a very beautiful way. piLLai lOkAchAryar‘s srIvachana bhUshaNam closely follows the concepts that are explained by aruLALa perumAL emperumAnAr in these prabhandhams. mAmunigaL has done beautiful vyAkyAnams for these prabhandhams. bhattar, when he was very young, asked AzhwAn the meaning for “sirumAmanisar” (thiruvAimozhi 8.10.3) saying that it looks contradictory. For that, AzhwAn explains that this means srivaishnavas like mudhaliANdAn, embAr and aruLALa perumAL emperumAnAr who are small in physical stature but are as great as nithya sUris. This charithram is identified by NampiLLai in his eedu mahA vyAkyAnam. Let us remember aruLALa perumAL emperumAnAr who always remembers emperumAnAr. aruLALa perumAL emperumAnAr’s thaniyan rAmAnujArya sachchishyam vEdhasAsthrArtha sampadham chathurthAsrama sampannam dhEvarAja munim bhajE

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

embAr

embAr – madhuramangalam Thirunakshathram: thai, punarpUsam avathAra sthalam: madhuramangalam AchAryan: periya thirumalai nambi Sishyas: parAsara bhattar, vEdha vyAsa bhattar. Place where he attained paramapadham: thiruvarangam Works: vijNana sthuthi, emperumAnAr vadivazhagu pAsuram. gOvindha perumAL was born in madhuramangalam born as the son of kamala nayana bhattar and sridhEvi ammAL. He is also known as gOvindha bhattar, gOvindha dhAsar and rAmAnuja padha chAyaiyAr. He eventually and popularly became to be known as embAr. He is a cousin of emperumAnAr and was instrumental in saving emperumAnAr from being killed during vAraNAsi yAthrai with yAdhava prakAsar.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai After saving emperumAnAr, gOvindha perumAL continues his yAthrai and becomes a siva bhakthar and settles down in kALahasthi. emperumAnAr sends periya thirumalai nambi to reform him. When gOvindha perumAL comes to the nandhavanam to pluck flowers for his pUjA, periya thirumalai nambi recites thiruvAimozhi pAsuram “dhEvan emperumAnukkallAl pUvum pUsanaiyum thagumE”, i.e., only emperumAn sriman nArAyaNan deserves to be worshipped with flowers and no one else qualifies for that. govindha perumAL at once realises his mistake and gives up the attachment towards the sivan and surrenders to periya thirumalai nambi. periya thirumalai nambi performs pancha samskAram to him and teaches him sampradhAya arthams. Thereafter, gOvindha perumAL stays with periya thirumalai nambi doing all kainkaryams to his AchAryan. emperumAnAr visits periya thirumalai nambi at thirupathi and learns sri rAmAyaNam from him. A few incidents happen at that time which will make us understand the greatness of embAr. Let us see them briefly:

Once, gOvindha perumAL prepares the bed for periya thirumalai nambi and lies down it first before his AchAryan lies down. When emperumAnAr sees this, he lets periya thirumalai nambi know about this and nambi enquires from gOvindha perumAL about the incident. gOvindha perumAL says he will get narakam for this act but he does not mind that. He says that he was testing to ensure that the bed will be very comfortable for his AchAryan. So he did not worry about his fate but was more concerned about his AchAryan’s thirumEni. This relates to mAmunigaL’s srisUkthi – thEsArum sichchan avan sIr vadivai Asaiyudan NOkkumavan (ேதசா சி ச அவ சீ வ ைவ ஆைச ட ேநா மவ ). Once emperumAnAr notices that gOvindha perumAL does something in a snake’s mouth and takes a bath for sarIra sudhi. emperumAnAr enquires why and gOvindha perumAL says that the snake had a thorn in its mouth and he removed it. emperumAnAr was overwhelmed with gOvindha perumAL’s jIva kArunyam. When emperumAnAr takes leave from periya thirumalai nambi, nambi says he wants to offer something to emperumAnAr. emperumAnAr requests nambi to send gOvindha perumAL with him. nambi happily agrees and instructs gOvindha perumAL to treat emperumAnAr as himself. But by the time they reach kAnchipuram, gOvindha perumAL unable to bear the separation from his AchAryan returns to his AchAryan. periya thirumalai nambi does not let gOvindha perumAL enter his house and says that once he was given to emperumAnAr he has to stay with him only. gOvindha perumAL realises the heart of his AchAryan and returns to be back with emperumAnAr.

After returning to srirangam, on the request of gOvindha perumAL’s mother, emperumAnAr arranges for gOvindha perumAL’s marriage. gOvindha perumAL reluctantly agrees but never gets involved in his married life with his wife. emperumAnAr specifically instructs gOvindha perumAL to be involved in EkAntham, but gOvindha perumAL comes back and says that he sees everywhere emperumAn only, so there is

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai no EkAntham. Immediately understanding the position of gOvindha perumAL, emperumAnAr gives him sanyAsAshramam and names him embAr and orders him to stay with him always. Once when embAr was praised by other srivaishnavas embAr happily agrees to those praises. emperumAnAr takes a note of that and mentions to embAr that it is not a srivaishnava’s quality to accept praises without naichiyAnusandhAnam (humility). For that embAr says if some one praises him, it only glorifies emperumAnAr himself since it was emperumAnAr who reformed him from a very lowly state. emperumAnAr acknowledges that and praises embAr for his AchArya bhakthi. When AndAL (wife of kUrathAzhwAn) gives birth to two children by the grace of emperumAn through his prasAdham, emperumAnAr along with embAr visits them for the nAmakaraNam ceremony. emperumAnAr instructs embAr to bring the children and while doing so embAr recites dhvaya mahA manthram to the children as a rakshai for them. emperumAnAr looking at the children, was able to recognise that they had dhvaya mahA manthrOpadhEsam by embAr immediately and order embAr to be their AchAryan. Thus parAsara bhattar and vEdha vyAsa bhattar become the sishyas of embAr. While embAr was always completely detached to lOka vishayam (material things), he was very much attached to bhagavath vishayam. He was also a great rasikar (one who appreciates/enjoys) bhagavath vishayam. There are several incidents that are highlighted in the vyAkyAnams about embAr’s bhagavath anubhavams. Let us see a few here.

In the last pAsuram of periyAzhwAr thirumozhi, when srivaishnavas ask the meaning for “chAyai pOla pAdavallAr thAmum aNukkargaLE” - he says he has not heard the meaning from emperumAnAr for that particular pAsuram. But he keeps the pAdhukA of emperumAnAr on his head and meditates for a moment and says emperumAnAr revealed it at that very moment and says it should be read as “pAdvallAr – chAyai pOla – thAmum aNukkargaLE”, i.e., one who sings these pAsurams will be close to emperumAn like his shadow. When uyntha piLLai arayar does abinayam for periyAzhwAr thirumozhi, 2.1 padhigam, which describes how kannan emperumAn scares everyone, he shows that kannan emperumAn is keeping his eyes in a scary position to scare the gOpa kumAras (cowherd boys). But embAr, watching from behind shows as if kannan emperumAn showing his sangu and chakkaram to the children to scare them, the arayar swamy understands that and shows that the next time. emperumAnAr, on observing this, asks “gOvindha perumALE irunthIrO” (Are you there in the gOshti?) – since he knows only embAr can give such beautiful meanings. In thiruvAimozhi, minnidai madavArgaL padhigam (6.2), it is shown that, even being a sanyAsi, embAr was able to understand the thiruvuLLam of AzhwAr who is having vislEsham with kannan emperumAn. He was also giving wonderful meanings for this wonderful padhigam which amazes all the srivaishnavas. This

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai truly shows how a srivaishnava should be “paramAthmani raktha: aparamAthmani viraktha:” – anything related to emperumAn is enjoyable and anything not related to emperumAn is to be shunned/given up. In thiruvAimozhi, 10.8.3 pAsura vyAkyAnam an interesting incident is shown. emperumAnAr while walking in his mutt meditating on thiruvAimozhi, suddenly turns back. embAr watching him from behind the doors and asks if emperumAnAr is thinking about “madiththEn” in this pAsuram and emperumAnAr acknowledges that. Just based on a simple act embAr was able to determine exactly what emperumAnAr was thinking.

embAr during his charama dhasai, instructs parAsara bhattar to administer our sampradhAyam from srirangam. He also says to bhattar that, bhattar should always think that “emperumAnAr thirvadigaLE thanjam”. Deeply meditating on emperumAnAr, embAr gives up his charama thirumEni and reaches paramapadham to be with emperumAnAr in nithya vibhUthi. Let us pray at the lotus feet of embAr that we also develop such attachment towards emperumAnAr and our AchAryan. embAr’s thanian rAmAnuja padha chAyA gOvindhAhva anapAyinI thadhA yaththa svarUpA sA jeeyAn madh visramasthalee

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

parAsara bhattar

parAsara bhattar (with nanjIyar at his thiruvadi) – srirangam Thirunakshathram: vaikAsi, anusham avathAra sthalam: srirangam AchAryan: embAr Sishyas: nanjIyar Place where he attained paramapadham: srirangam Works: ashtaslOki, srirangarAja sthavam, sri guNa rathna kOsam, bhagavadh guNa dharpaNam (vishnu sahasranAma vyAkyAnam), srirangarAja sthOthram parAsara bhattar is the illustrious son of kUrathAzhwAn and ANdAL ammangAr. He and his younger brother vEdha vyAsa bhattar were born out of sriranganAthan’s prasAdham consumed by ANdAL. embAr performs dhvaya mahA manthrOpadhEsam to both parAsara and vEdha vyAsa bhattars when they were only 11 days old and emperumAnAr orders him to be the

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai AchAryan for both of them. emperumAnAr also instructs kUrthAzhwAn to give parAsara bhattar as an adopted son for periya perumAL and AzhwAn does so. bhattar was also taken care off by sriranga nAchiAr herself in her sannidhi when he was very young. When bhattar was very young, he once comes to periya kOil for mangalAsAsanam. At that time after bhattar worships periya perumAL, he comes out and emperumAnAr tells ananthAzhwAn and other srivaishnavas, that bhattar should be treated just like himself. bhattar was extremely brilliant right from his childhood. There are many incidents which prove this fact.

Once when he was playing in the street, a vidhwAn named sarvajna bhattan comes in a palanquin. bhattar shocked to see some one being carried in a palanquin in srirangam, goes straight to him and challenges him for a debate. sarvajna bhattan considers bhattar as a child and says bhattar can ask any question and that will be answered by him. bhattar picks a handful of sand asks how much sand he has in his hand. sarvajna bhattan becomes speechless and says he does not know. bhattar says that he could have just answered “its a handful”. Amazed by bhattar’s brilliance, sarvajna bhattan at once comes down from a palanquin and carries bhattar to his parents and glorify him. When he was very young during his gurukulam time, bhattar was playing in the streets. At that time, AzhwAn comes by and asks why bhattar was playing instead of attending the class. bhattar says “every day they are teaching the same santhai again and again” – usually the same santhai is repeated for 15 days or so. But bhattar could grasp right in the first day itself. AzhwAn tests him with a pAsuram and bhattar easily recites it. Once when AzhwAn was teaching nedumArkkadimai padhigam in thiuvAimozhi, when the term “sirumA manisar” is encountered – bhattar asks “is it not contradictory that the same person be small and big?”. For that AzhwAn explains that like mudhaliAndAn, aruLaLaperumAL emperumAnAr, etc., some srivaishnavas are small physically but their heart and intelligence are very big. bhattar is satisfied with the logical answer.

After growing up bhattar becomes the dharisana pravarthakar of the sampradhAyam. bhattar had many special qualities like extreme humility, magananimity and he was a great rasikar of aruLicheyal meanings. In many vyAkyAnams, nampiLLai and other AchAryas quote bhattar’s view point as the best opinion. Also, similar to AzhwAn, bhattar would also get immersed in thiruvAimozhi and its meanings. There are many such incidents that are shown in vyAkyAnams. Many times when AzhwAr sings in the mood of parAnkusa nAyaki – bhattar would just say “no one can understand what is going on in AzhwAr’s mind now”. There are many incidents which portray bhattar’s humility, magnanimity, brilliance, etc. bhattar’s humility is praised by maNavALa mAmunigaL in yathirAja vimsathi in

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai comparison with ALavandhAr’s and AzhwAn’s humility. Actually the vyAkyAnams is filled with Idhihyams (incidents) and nirvAhams (instructions/conclusions) of bhattar.

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In his srirangarAja sthOthram, he identifies an incident. Once a dog some how enters periya kOil. The archakas decide to do a lagu (small) samprOkshaNam. Hearing this bhattar runs to periya perumAL and tells him that every day he (bhattar) walks into the temple and no samprOskhanam is done and why are they doing a samprOkshaNam when a dog enters the temple. Such was his humility – even after a being such a great scholar, he considers himself lower than a dog. In the same srirangarAja sthOthram, he says that he would rather be born as a dog in the streets of srirangam than being born than dhEvalOkam as a dhEvan. Once in front of namperumAL, some kainkaryaparas without looking at bhattar starts scolding him out of jealousy. Hearing this bhattar presents his grand ornaments and shawl to him. He thanks him saying “Every srivaishnava should do two things – sing the glories of emperumAn and also lament the faults of oneself. I got immersed with singing the glories of emperumAn and forgot my duty of lamenting about my faults. Now you have done me a great favour of fulfilling my duty, so I should only reward you”. Such was his magnanimity. Several srivaishnavas attend bhattar’s kAlakshEpa gOshti. Once bhattar waits for a srivaishnava who is not so learned in sAstram. Other vidhwAns in the gOshti ask him why he was waiting and bhattar says it is because that srivaishnava though may not be a vidhwAn knows the absolute truth. To prove his point, he calls out one of the vidhwAn and asks “what is the upAyam?” and the scholar replies “there are so many upAyams mentioned in the sAstram - karma, jnAna, bhakthi yOgam, etc”. Then he asks “what is the upEyam?” and the scholar replies “there are so many goals – isvaryam, kaivalyam, kainkaryam, etc”. bhattar says, even after being vidhwAns – there is no clarity. When that srivaishnava arrives bhattar asks the same questions and that swamy replies “emperumAn is upAyam and emperumAn is upEyam”. bhattar says this is the proper nishtai of a srivaishnava and that is why he waited for that swamy to arrive. When sOmAsiyAndAn asks about thiruvArAdhana kramam, bhattar teaches him a detailed version of it. Once when sOmAsiyAndAn visits bhattar, bhattar is about to eat his prasAdham and suddenly remembers that he had not done thiruvArAdhanam yet. He calls for his thiruvArAdhana perumAL to be brought over and he offers the perpared food to him and straight away starts eating the prasAdham. When sOmAsiyAndAn asks why detailed thiruvArAdhanam for him, bhattar says for bhattar even small thiruvArAdhanam is too much to handle (because the moment he starts thiruvArAdhanam he will be overwhelmed with emotions and faint) and for sOmAsiyAndAn even a big thiruvArAdhanam is not sufficient (because he is a person who is used to performing sOma yAgam which is very nature by big – so anything small will not satsify him). Once during a uriyadi purappAdu in srirangam, bhattar left the vEdha pArAyaNa ghOsthi and joined the idayar (cowherds) gOshti. When asked he says, emperumAn’s katAksham will be on the idayars that particular day (since this

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai purappAdu is specifically for them) and it is important for us to be where his katAksham is. Once ananthAzhwAn asks bhattar if parampadhanAthan has two hands or four hands. bhattar says it can be either one and says if he has two hands he will be like periya perumAL and if he has four hands he will be like namperumAL. ammaNiAzhwAn comes from a long distance and requests bhattar to give some valuable advice. bhattar explains nedumArkkadimai padhigam in thiruvAimozhi and says knowing emperumAn means eating a little bit and knowing bhAgavathas means eating full stomach. Once a king comes to bhattar after hearing his glories and tells bhattar to come and visit him for some financial help. bhattar says even if namperumAL’s abhaya hastham (hand in protection posture) turns the other way, he will not go to anyone for help. Once when amudhanAr considers himself greater than bhattar because of his AchArya-sishya relationship with AzhwAn (in comparison to Father-Son relationship with bhattar), bhattar simply says “it is very valid, but amuthanAr himself should not have said that”. When some one asks bhattar “how should srivaishnavas treat dhEvathAntharams?”, bhattar responds saying the question itself is wrong and the question should be “how should dhEvathAntharams treat srivaishnavas?”. He says since, dhEvathAntharams are filled rajO/thamO guNam and srivaishnavas are filled with sathva guNam, it is only natural for dhEvathAntharams to be subservient to srivaishnavas. (This idhihyam is also explained in relation to AzhwAn). bhattar’s glories are boundless, even his own mother (who has a great scholar herself) would take the sripAdha thIrtham of her own son. When asked, she would say just because a sculptor creates a sculpture, it does not mean that he cannot worship/adore that sculpture once it becomes emperumAn’s thirumEni. The same way even though bhattar is born from her, he is great and should be worshipped. Once a dhEvathAntharaparar’s dhoti touches bhattar accidentally. Even being a great scholar, bhattar gets shaken up by this simple incident of having mild contact with a dhEvathAntharaparar. He runs to his mother and asks what to do. His mother says the only way is to accept sripAdha thIrtham of a abrAhmaNa srivaishnava. Bhattar locates one such srivaishnava and requests for his sripAdha thIrtham. That srivaishnava looking at the stature (position) of bhattar refuses to give sripAdha thIrtham but bhattar insists and accepts the same from him. Once bhattar was doing thiruvAlavatta (fan) kainkaryam in a mandapam near cauvery river. The sun is about to set, so the srivaishnavas remind him about sandhyAvandhanam. bhattar replies since he is in antharanga kainkaryam (confidential service) to emperumAn, chithragupthan (yaman’s administrative incharge) will not count this as a pApam. azhagiya perumAL nAyanAr explains this principle in AchArya hrudhayam as “aththANi chEvagaththil pothuvAnathu nazhuvum” (அ தாண ேசவக தி ெபா வான ந ). This

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai cannot be taken as an excuse for not doing nithya karmAs when we are watching TV, etc. Once during adhyayana utsavam, ANdAL ammangAr reminds bhattar about pAraNam on dhvAdhasi. For that bhattar replies, “How do we even remember EkAdhasi/dhvAdhasi during periya uthsavam?”. This means when there is bhagavadh anubhavam we should not think about food at all (this is misinterpreted by many to say that we dont have to fast on EkAdhasi which is a karthavyam for us). Once bhattar instructs his disciples to develop detachment on this body and bodily decorations. But the next day, he wears nice silk clothes, ornaments, etc. When the disciples ask about the contradiction in his instructions and the actions, bhattar says, he considers his body as a kOilAzhwAr – vAsasthalam (residing place) of emperumAn. So just like we decorate a mandapam where emperumAn stays for a short while, if we have developed that athavasAyam (strong faith) we can also decorate our body in many beautiful ways. When vIrasundhara brahma rAyan, the local king and sishya of AzhwAn, wants to build a madhiL, he decides to disturb/destroy piLLai piLLai AzhwAn’s thirumALigai in the process. bhattar instructs him not to do that but the king does not listen to that. bhattar leaves srirangam and goes to thirukkOshtiyUr and lives there for some time. During those days, bhattar is unable to bear the separation from sriranganAthan and is plunged in sorrow fully. Finally after the king dies, bhattar returns to srirangam and srirangarAja sthavam was composed on his way back to srirangam. Once bhattar defeats some vidhwAns in debate. To trick him they put a snake in a pot and ask him what is in the pot. bhattar realizing that there is a snake, says that “there is an umbrella inside” – the vidhwAns were puzzled by the answer and bhattar explains since poigai AzhwAr says “chendrAl kudaiyAm” – snake (AdhisEshan) means umbrella as well.

There are so many incidents like this in his life which are absolutely enjoyable every second and every time we read it again and again. bhattar is very attached to sriranga nAchiAr who is his mother. He is attached to her even more than periya perumAL. Once when namperumAL adorns nAchiAr thirukkOlam and asks he if looks like sriranga nAchiAr – bhatter says everything is fine, but the karuNai in her eyes are not to be seen in the eyes of emperumAn. This also reminds us how hanumAn compares rAman and sIthai and in the end says sIthai is asithEkshaNa (have beautiful eyes) which is even better than rAman emperumAn’s eyes. sriguNa rathna kOsam is his out pourings of his attachment towards sriranga nAchiAr. Bhattar gives wonderful explanations for many pAsurams where the meanings are difficult to understand. Let us see a couple here.

In periya thirumozhi 7.1.1 karavA madanAgu pAsuram, piLLai amudhnAr explains that AzhwAr is the cow and emperumAn is the calf – AzhWar is longing for emperumAn just like the cow longing for its calf. But bhattar looks at it slightly

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai differently and gives a better view point which is appreciated by the pUrvAchAryas. bhattar says “karavA mada nAgu than kanRu” should be read together. So he says “just like the cow’s calf longs for the mother cow”, AzhwAr is longing for emperumAn. In periya thirumozhi 4.4.6 vyAkyAnam it is shown that AppAn thiruvazhunthUr arayar and other srivaishnavas request bhattar to explain the meaning of this pAsuram. bhattar asks them to recite the pAsuram and quickly points out that AzhwAr is saying this pAsuram speaking as rAvaNan. bhattar explains here that rAvaNan (out of pride) is saying that “I am the king of all the 3 worlds, but a normal human being is thinking that he is a great warrior comes to fight with me” – but eventuall he gets defeated by rAman emperumAn.

One of the highlights of bhattar’s life is him going to thirunArAyaNapuram to debate and bring nanjIyar in to our sampradhAyam. It was emperumAnAr’s divine order that nanjIyar should be reformed. bhattar goes all the way to thirunArAyaNapuram in his palanquin with grand srivaishnava gOshti to debate with madhavAcharyar (nanjIyar’s original name) on the sidhAntham. Eventually he was stopped and suggested that going like that in a grand manner will not be favourable as the disciples of mAdhavAchAryar will stop him and just delay him from meeting him forever. So he changes to a very simple attire and goes to the thathiArAdhana kUtam (hall) of mAdhavAchAriar. He waits there without eating and mAdhavAchAriar taking a note of him, comes to him and asks him why he does not eat and what he wants. bhattar says he wants to debate with him. mAdhavAchAriar having heard about bhattar before quickly realises this to bhattar (since no one will have the guts to challenge him) engages with bhattar for a debate. bhattar first uses thirunedunthAntakam to establish the parathvam of emperumAn and subsequently presents all the meanings from sAsthram. mAdhavAchAriar accepts the defeat and falls at the lotus feet of bhattar and accepts him as AchAryan. bhattar gives him specific instructions to learn aruLicheyal, etc and teaches him our sampradhAya arthams. bhattar takes leave from him and goes to srirangam on the day before the start of adhyayana uthsavam. There is a grand welcome arranged in srirangam for bhattar. bhattar goes to periya perumAL and he narrates in front of him the whole incidents. periya perumAL being very pleased orders bhattar to recite thirunedunthAntagam and this is made a custom ever after that in srirangam – the adhyayana uthsavam starts with the recital of thirundenthAntagam there alone. bhattar was the first to document rahasya thrayam in a grantham. His ashta slOki is a master piece, where thirumanthram, dhvayam and charama slOkam are explained excellently in just eight slOkams. Also, in srirangarAja sthavam, he explains most complicated sAstra arthams in simple slOkams. In vishnu sahasranAma vyAkyAnam, he shows that each thirunAmam relates to a particular guNam of emperumAn and his explanations are of absolute beauty. sri guNa rathna ghOsam is a dedication to sriranga nAchiAr which is unparallel to any other work. bhattar leaves samsAram at a relatively young age compared to most of our pUrvAchAryas who lived for more than 100 years. It is said that, if only he lived a few more years he would have built a staircase to paramapadham from here. bhattar

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai instructs nanjIyar to write a commentary for thiruvAimozhi. He also appoints nanjIyar as the dharisana pravarthakar. Once bhattar recites some pAsurams and nice meanings in front of periya perumAL who gets very pleased and says “you are given mOksham now”. bhattar is ecstatic, but he says that if he is unable to see namperumAL in paramapadham, he will make a hole and jump out of paramapadham and come back to srirangam. He goes to his mother and informs this and His mother is even happier for her son getting mOksham (really, this is the nishtai of our pUrvAchAryas – they had fully understood the purpose of our life). When some srivaishnavas asked bhattar “periya perumAL out of his joy gave mOksham to you. Why did you accept that? What are we going to do here? There are so many jIvAthmAs to be reformed in this samsAram. Who is going to do that?”. bhattar replies, “I wont fit in this samsAram. Just like high quality ghee does not fit in a dog’s stomach – I am not a fit for this samsAram either”. bhattar invites all srivaishnavas to his thirumALigai and performs a grand thadhiArAdhanam. He sits in padhmAsanam, starts reciting thirunedunthAntagam and with a big smile on his face give up his thirumEni and reach paramapadham. Every one starts crying but eventually start doing the charama kainkaryams. ANdAL ammangar, happily embraces bhattar’s charama thirumEni and gives him a great send off. bhattar’s life has the power to melt even a stone. Let us pray at the lotus feet of bhattar that we also develop such attachment towards emperumAn and AchAryan. bhattar’s thanian sri parAsara bhattArya srirangEsa purOhitha: srivathsAnga sutha: srimAn shrEyasE mEsthu bhUyasE

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

nanjIyar

nanjIyar – thirunArAyaNapuram Thirunakshathram: panguni, uthram avathAra sthalam: thirunArAyaNa puram AchAryan: parAsara bhattar Sishyas: nampiLLai, sri sEnAdhipathi jIyar, etc Place where he attained paramapadham: srirangam Works: thiruvAimozhi 9000 padi vyAkyAnam, kanninun chiruthAmbu vyAkyAnam, thiruppAvai vyAkyAnam, vyAkyAnams for thiruvandhAdhis, sharaNagathi gadhya vyAkyAnam, thiruppallANdu vyAkyAnam, rahasya thraya vivaraNa grantham named nURRettu (108) – most of these are not available now. Born as sri mAdhavar, he became to be a famous adhvaitha scholar. Eventually bhattar named him nanjIyar and he was also known as nigamAntha yOgi and vEdhAnthi. mAdhavAchAryar was a great adhvaitha scholar who was living in thirunArAyaNapuram. emperumAnAr wanted to reform him and bring him into our sampradhAyam. He orders bhattar to go and reform mAdhvAchAryar. It is clear from the guru paramparai that even emperumAnAr had good respect for mAdhavAchAryar despite him being an adhvaithi. mAdhavAchAryar also hears about bhattar’s glories and was longing to meet him. Based on emperumAnAr’s desire, bhattar goes to thirunArAyaNapuram, debates with him and accepts him as his sishya (we have already seen this in bhattar’s vaibhavam – http://guruparamparai.wordpress.com/2012/09/11/parasara-bhattar/). After the debate, all the srivaishnavas who came with bhattar from srirangam arrive at mAdhavAchAriar’s place and mAdhavAchAriar was completely overwhelmed after understanding the glory of bhattar. He says to bhattar “You have come all the way from srirangam, giving up

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai your glories – changed into a simple attire voluntarily and debated with me, explained me all the true knowledge in sAsthram and reformed me. How am I going to ever repay you for all these favours?”. bhattar simply asks him to master aruLicheyal and related works and leaves to srirangam. mAdhavAchAriar, getting frustrated with his wives who are unfavourable for his kainkaryams and unable to bear the separation from his AchAryan decides to become a sannyAsi and go to srirangam to be with his AchAryan. He divides his huge wealth into 3 parts, gives 2 parts to each of his 2 wives (since sAsthram says that wives should be taken care off before accepting sannyAsAshramam), accepts sannyAsAshramam and begins his journey to srirangam. On his way, ananthAzhwAn meets him and asks him the need for taking for sannyAsAhramam. He says if he goes to bhattar and simply serve, emperumAn will give mOksham anyway. He says to mAdhavAchAriar “let you be born in thirumanthram (understanding the Athma svarUpam) and grow in dhvayam (doing kainkaryam to perumAL and pirAtti)”. bhattar seeing mAdhavAchAriar and his dedication, accepts him and calls him “you are nam jIyar” and then onwards he becomes to be known as nanjIyar. bhattar and nanjIyar share an ideal AchArya-sishya relationship. nanjIyar gives up everything else in his life and stays with his AchAryan forever. bhattar teaches him thiruvAimozhi based on 6000 padi vyAkyAnam of thirukkurugai pirAn piLLAn. bhattar instructs him to write a vyAkyAnam for thiruvAimozhi and nanjIyar duly writes 9000 padi vyAkyAnam. One of the speciality of nanjIyar is that he performs thiruvAimozhi kAlakshEpam 100 times in his 100 years of life time. nanjIyar’s AchArya bhakthi was boundless. Let us see some incidents through which we can understand his AchArya bhakthi.

Once during a procession of bhattar on his palanquin, nanjIyar tried to carry him as well with his thridhandam on one shoulder and the palanquin on the other. bhattar said “jIyA, this does not fit your sannyAsAshramam. you should not carry me”. For that nanjIyar says “if my thridhandam becomes a hurdle for my service to you, I will break it and give up the sannyAsAshramam”. Once when some EkAngis (his assistants) were complaining to nanjIyar that there were some disturbances in the garden due to the arrival of bhattar, nanjIyar says the purpose of the garden is to serve bhattar and his family not for namperumAL and asks his EkAngis to always keep that in mind. It is customary for AchAryas to keep their heads on their sishyas’ laps while lying down. Once, when bhattar wanted to take rest, he lied down and kept his head on nanjIyar’s lap and rested for a long time. nanjIyar stayed put for the whole time without moving and bhattar when woke up realized the dedication of nanjIyar and taught the meanings of dhvayam once more (AchAryas teach dhvayam only when they are very pleased with the sishyas). nanjIyar quickly learnt aruLicheyal and became a master of it. bhattar used to ask nanjIyar to recite aruLicheyal pAsurams and will give wonderful meanings to him. Once when nanjIyar was reciting thiruvAimozhi 7.2.9, “en thirumagaL chEr

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai mArvanE enRum ennudaiyAviyE enRum” (எ தி மக ேச மா வேன

எ எ ைடயாவ ேய எ ) – he recited the whole sentence without break. Hearing this bhattar immediately fainted. When woken up, bhattar explains that this sentence should be recited together only since doing that we get the real thiruvuLLam of parAnguasa nAyaki that because sriranganAthan is having sriranganAchiAr in his heart, he is very dear to AzhwAr. If it was recited separately as two phrases it would simply mean he is sriranganAthan who has sriranga nAchiAr in his heart and he is very dear to me. bhattar also praises nanjIyar for his knowledge in aruLicheyal despite coming from a land where Tamizh is not the mother tongue and despite being a samskritha vEdhAnthi (adhvaithi) before.

bhattar and nanjIyar had several interesting conversations. nanjIyar, even though he was a great scholar, he never hesitated asking doubts and clarifying them from his AchAryan. Let us see some of his conversations here:

nanjIyar asks bhattar why AzhwArs are very attached to kannan emperumAn. bhattar says that everyone remembers more recent activities. It is because krishnAvathAram is the most recent avathAram of emperumAn and the AzhwArs missed meeting kannan emperumAn personally even being born quite recently (relatively speaking compare to other avathArams) they are very attached to him. bhattar also explains that in krishnAvathAram, emperumAn is living in gOpa kulam. Wherever he goes he meets with asuras – kamsan has his servants waiting to kill kannan emperumAn everywhere. But in rAmAvathAram (and other avathArams as well), emperumAn himself has learnt all weaponry. His father dhasarathan was brave enough to even help indhran during difficulties. His brothers (lakshmaNan, bharathan, shathrugnan) were equally brave and capable. Thus periyAzhwAr feared for kannan emperumAn more than other avathArams. kaliyan in thirumozhi “oru nal suRRam” padhigam (towards the end of thirumozhi) does mangaLAsAsanam for many dhivyadhEsams. nanjIyar asks the reason for that and bhattar says, a girl who is getting married and leaving to her husband’s place would quickly go to all her friends and neighbours to take leave from them. Like that, since AzhwAr is almost ready to go to paramapadham, he is taking leave from all the emperumAns in this world quickly before he leaves. prahlAdhan curses his grandson mahAbali that all his wealth will be lost when he is not respecting emperumAn. nanjIyar asks why prahlAdhan who does not care about wealth cursed like that. bhattar says prahlAdhan took away what was dear to mahAbali – just like if you want to punish a dog, you take away the dirt which it eats. nanjIyar asks, why mahAbali goes to pAthALam and sukrAchAryar loses his eye in vAmana charithram. bhattar says since sukrAchAryar stopped mahAbali from performing his dharmam he lost his eye and since mahAbali did not listen to his AchArya’s words he was punished to be in pAthALam. nanjIyar asks why dhasarathan who could not bear the separation of perumAL and gave up his life immediately only went to svargam. bhattar says actually

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai since he was attached to sAmAnya dharmam (speaking truth) and gave up emperumAn (protecting him), he should have gone to narakam only. But since he was perumAL’s father, it would not be nice for him to go to narakam – so emperumAn mercifully sends him to svargam. nanjIyar asks why sugrIvan was not in favour of accepting vibhIshaNan even though vibhIshaNan was a bhakthan. bhattar says, just like perumAL was trying to accept/protect his bhakthan, sugrIvan was also trying to protect his sharaNagathan (perumAL asked the help of sugrIvan before). sugrIvan was worried that vibhIshaNan may harm perumAL. When kannan emperumAn meets dhEvaki and vasudhEvar after killing kamsan, it is said that dhEvaki had milk flowing from her breasts out of motherly affection and kannan emperumAn accepted that (even though he is no longer a baby). nanjIyar asks how is that possible. bhattar first jokingly says it is between a mother and child and who are we to question? but he also explains that if pUthanai who is neither his mother nor has any real love for kannan emperumAn can give milk and emperumAn accepts that, what is the difficulty in understanding that the real mother who has so much lover for emperumAn giving milk and emperumAn accepting it. bhattar explains yayAthi charithram as part of a lecture. yayAthi compeletes 100 ashvamEtha yAgams and goes to svargam to share the seat of indhran. Indhran does not like sharing his seat, so he tricks yayAthi to commit a mistake and pushes him down from his seat. nanjIyar asks bhattar what is the purpose of this charithram? bhattar says this charithram explains the greatness of emperumAn and the lack of the same in other dhEvathas. emperumAn gives sAmyApathi mOksham to every one who simply surrenders to him. But anya dhEvathas cannot bear any one being equal to them even after performing 100 ashvamEtha yAgams – they will some how try to push them down.

There are so many such conversations which explains the deep meanings of aruLicheyal and sAsthram to us. Actually, these conversations lay the foundation for nanjIyar’s expert commentaries to aruLicheyal and explanations to his sishyas. When nanjIyar wanted to make a nice copy of his 9000 padi vyAkyAnam, nambUr varadhAchAriar was identified as a great writer to do that. He completes the work and eventually nanjIyar praises him and names him nampiLLai and makes him the dharisana pravarthakar. nanjIyar also constantly glorifies nampiLLai when nampiLLai gives a better explanation than him. This shows his magnanimity as well. nanjIyar had excellent understanding of our sampradhAyam. He says “if a srivaishnava looks at another srivaishnava’s sufferings and if he feels sorry for that, then he is a srivaishnava”. He had great respect for srivaishnavas and AchAryas of his time. In periya thirumozhi, 3.6 (thUviriya malaruzhakki padhigam), an incident is shown. When nanjIyar is very ill towards the end of his life, a swamy named peRRi visits him and asks him if he needs anything. nanjIyar says he wants to hear this padhigam which is thirumangai AzhwAr’s thUthu to emperumAn (AzhwAr sends thUthu in the first 4

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai pAsurams and after that is unable to continue due to his soft nature) – the arayar swamy recites the same in front of namperumAL and nanjIyar gets immersed in emotions when he hears that. Towards the end of his life, he requests emperumAn to show his svayam thirumEni and namperumAL does that for him specially. Fully satisfied with that, nanjIyar gives many final instructions to his sishyas and gives up his charama thirumEni and attains paramapadham. Let us pray at the lotus feet of nanjIyar that we also develop such attachment towards emperumAn and AchAryan. nanjIyar’s thanian namO vEdhAntha vEdhyAya jagan mangaLa hEthavE yasya vAgAmruthAsAra bhUritham bhuvana thrayam

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nampiLLai

nampiLLai – thiruvallikkENI Thirunakshathram: kArthikai, kArthikai avathAra sthalam: nambUr AchAryan: nanjIyar Sishyas: vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai, periyavAchAn piLLai, pinbhazhagiya perumAL jIyar, eeyuNNi mAdhava perumAL, naduvil thiruvIdhi piLLai bhattar, etc Place where he attained paramapadham: srirangam Works: thiruvAimozhi 36000 padi eedu vyAkyAnam, kanninun chiruthAmbu vyAkyAnam, vyAkyAnams for thiruvandhAdhis, thiruvirutham vyAkyAnam Born as varadharAjan in nambUr, he became to be famously known as nampiLLai. He is also known as thirukkalikanRi dhAsar, kalivairi dhAsar, lOkAchAryar, sUkthi mahArNavar, jagathAchAryar and ulagAsiriyar.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai As seen in periya thirumozhi 7.10.10, it is said that thirukkannamangai empeumAn wanted to learn the meanings of thirumangai AzhwAr’s pAsurams from kaliyan himself – so kaliyan descended as nampiLLai and emperumAn descended as periyavAchAn piLLai to learn all the meanings of the aruLicheyal. nanjIyar wanted to make a nice copy of his 9000padi vyAkyAnam. When he was enquiring in the srivaishnava gOshti, nambUr varadharAjar’s name was proposed. varadharAjar tells nanjIyar that he will write to the satisfaction of nanjIyar’s thiruvuLLam. nanjIyar first gives full kAlakshEpam of 9000 padi to varadharAjar and then gives the only original copy to him. varadharAjar decides to go across cauvery to his native place so that he can focus on the writing and finish it quickly. While crossing the river, suddenly floods appear and varadharAjar starts swimming across. While doing so, the original grantham slips away from his hands and he is dhEvastated. After reaching his native place, he meditates on his AchAryan and the meanings given by him and starts re-writing 9000 padi vyAkyAnam. Since he was an expert in Tamizh language and literature, he adds nice meanings wherever applicable and finally returns back to nanjIyar and submits the same to him. nanjIyar seeing the vyAkyAnam, understands that there are some changes from the original, enquires what happened. varadharAjar explains the whole incident and nanjIyar is mighty pleased hearing the same. Truly understanding varadharAjar’s glories, nanjIyar names him “nampiLLai” and “thirukkalikanRi dhAsar”. Like bhattar-nanjIyar relationship and conversations, nanjIyar-nampiLLai relationship and conversations are also much enjoyable and full of excellent meanings. Let us see a few here:

nampiLLai asks nanjIyar while there are so many pramANams for upAyAnthraram (karma, jnAna, bhakthi) why is there not many pramANams for sharaNAgathi. nanjIyar first replies that we dont need pramANam for what can be understood from prathyaksham – he says when a person is sinking in a river, he holds on or surrenders to another person who is not sinking – we are sinking in samsAram and emperumAn is not, so surrendering to emperumAn is the most apt upAyam. But he also identifies some pramANams subsequently from sAsthram to prove the validity of sharaNAgathi. He also says we cannot decide the validity of a process based on the number of pramANams being more or less – for example, in this world, there are many samsAris but few sannyAsis – it does not mean that because there are more samsAris, being samsAri is better. Hearing all these nampiLLai was very satisfied. nampiLLai asks nanjIyar “when will one understand that he has srivaishnavathvam?”. nanjIyar replies one who sees parathvam in archAvathAram, one who thinks about other srivaishnavas like his wife and children (have the same attachment towards srivaishnavas) and one who accepts other srivaishnavas insulting him happily can think that they have srivaishnavathvam. When nampiLLai was hearing sribhAshyam under nanjIyar, nanjIyar instructs nampiLLai to do thiruvArAdhanam for his emperumAn. nampiLLai says he does

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai not know exactly how to do – at that time nanjIyar instructs nampiLLai to recite dvaya mahA manthram (interleaved with “sarva mangaLa vigrahAya” between the first and second part of dhyavam to indicate/appreciate emperumAn’s soulabhyam in being present everywhere in archAvirgraha form) and offer the bhOgam to emperumAn. This clearly shows that our pUrvAchAryas were fully dependant on dhvaya mahA manthram only for everything. nampiLLai asks “what is the purpose of avathArams of emperumAn?”. nanjIyar replies that “emperumAn took up big tasks to ensure that one who committed bhAgavatha apachAram is punished appropriately” (eg: as kannan empeumAn, he takes up so much pain on himself to ensure that duryOdhanan who committed many apachArams on his bhakthas gets killed eventually). nampiLLai then asks “what is bhAgavatha apAchAram?”. nanjIyar replies “it is to consider other srivaishnavas to be equal to ourselves”. He quotes many AzhwAr’s pAsurams where it says how great bhAgavathas are and based on those, we should always think that every bhAgavatha is higher than us irrespective of their birth, knowledge, etc. He also says that like AzhwArs and pUrvAchAryas we should also try to constantly glorify other bhAgavathas. nanjIyar explains to nampiLLai that for the ones who engage in bhagavath vishaya anubhavam, other lOka vishaya anubhavam like ishvaryam, artham, kAmam, etc are to be completely given up. He explains this using many AzhwAr’s pAsurams. He also quotes how thirumangai AzhwAr gave up attachment as soon as he realized the glories of emperumAn and started his prabhandam with “vAdinEn vAdi…nArAyaNa ennum nAmam” (I sufferred at the hands of samsAram until I found emperumAn’s thirunAmam). Hearing this nampiLLai became very pleased and stays with nanjIyar for ever after that serving him continuously and hearing kAlakshEpams. nanjIyar performs thiruvAimozhi kAlakshEpam 100 times and nampiLLai conducts sadhAbhishEka mahOtsavam for nanjIyar. He also gains all the pUrvAchArya meanings from nanjIyar through these kAlakshEpams.

nampiLLai had several unique qualities and his greatness cannot be measured. He had great command over tamizh/samskritham language and literature. In his lectures he was able to freely quote thirukkuraL, nannUl, kamba rAmAyaNam, etc and also from vEdhAntham, vishNu purANam, sri vAlmIkI rAmAyaNam, etc. He was also an expert in giving satisfactory reasoning using vAlmIkI rAmAyaNam whenever a doubt/question arises in the minds of people on any aspects of AzhwAr and aruLicheyal because vAlmIki rAmAyaNam was universally accepted by vaidhIhas. Let us see some of the incidents which show his greatness and his humility.

nampiLLai regularly lectured at the eastern side (periya perumAL’s thiruvadi side) of the pradhakshiNam around the main sanctum at periya kOil. That is why even today we offer our praNamams there specifically after coming out of the sannidhi in that side. Once periya perumAL stood up and tried to watch nampiLLai’s upanyAsam. thiruviLakku pichan (a srivaishnava who took care of the lamps and lighting in the sannidhi) looked at periya perumAL in standing posture and pushed him down to his lying down posture saying that he cannot move in

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai archAvathAram. emperumAn even broke his archA samAdhi to watch and listen to nampiLLai.

nampiLLai’s lectures were so popular that often everyone will ask if this is namperumAL gOshti or nampiLLai gOshti. He was able to attract people to his lectures just like namperumAL was able to attract them for his purappAdu, etc. nampiLLai’s humility was unparallel. He lived like an example of srivaishnavathvam which he learned from nanjIyar. Once in front of namperumAL, kandhAdai thOzhappar (who comes in the lineage of mudhaliANdAn) says some harsh words towards nampiLLai. He was not able to appreciate the glories of nampiLLai and that came out as harsh words. nampiLLai did not say a word, accepting the insults silently left the temple to go to his thirumALigai. When thOzhappar went to his thirumALigai, his wife who already heard the news from others gave him strong advice on his behaviour and explained the glories of nampiLLai. She insists he should go and apologize at the lotus feet of nampiLLai. Finally he realized his mistake and decides to go to nampiLLai’s thirumALigai late in the night. When he opened the door to go, he noticed there was a person waiting there and that was none other than nampiLLai himself. nampiLLai seeing thOzhappar, immediately falls down and offering his praNAmams and says that he had committed some mistake which caused thOzhappar to be upset with him. thOzhappar was shocked to see nampiLLai’s greatness – even though it was thOzhappar who committed the mistake, nampiLLai was gracious enough to take up the fault on himself and apologise. thOzhappar immediately offered his praNAmams to nampiLLai and said from then on nampiLLai will be called “lOkAchAryar” because of his great humility. He said only some one with great humility even after being such a great

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai personality can be called lOkAchAryar and nampiLLai fully fits that position. thOzhappar also gives up his hatred towards nampiLLai and starts serving nampiLLai with his wife and also learns all the meanings of sAsthram from him. mAmunigaL quotes this incident in his upadhEsa rathina mAlai and glorifies both thOzhappar and nampiLLai and from that itself we can understand nampiLLai’s purity. We can also understand thOzhappar became pure by associating with nampiLLai after this incident. naduvil thiruvIdhi piLLai bhattar who came in the thiruvamsam of bhattar seeing nampiLLai’s glories, developed some jealousy towards nampiLLai. Once when he was going to the king’s court, he invited pinbhazhagiya perumAL jIyar alog with him. The king invited both of them, gave them sambhAvanai and offered them nice seats. The king asked bhattar a question from sri rAmAyaNam. He asked when perumAl who declared he will not show his parathvam in rAmAvathAram, how did he say to jatAyu “gachcha lOkAn uththamAn” (go to the highest world – paramapadham)? When bhattar was not sure about the answer and worried about his reputation, the king gets diverted by some activities. bhattar asks jIyar how nampiLLai would have explained this and jIyar immediately says that he would explain it using “sathyEna lOkAn jayathi” (a truthful person will conquer the worlds). bhattar mediating on that slOkam realises the meaning and explains to the king that since rAman was fully truthful, he would simply use that quality to send anyone to any place with his power of honesty. The king being very pleased with the explanation, praised bhattar for his knowledge and presented him a huge wealth. bhattar immediately realising the power of one statement of nampiLLai, goes to nampiLLai and offers all the wealth to him. He also surrenders to nampiLLai and becomes a disciple of him and thereafter serves nampiLLai forever.

There are many incidents in nampiLLai’s life were he gives valuable lessons and instructions to his sishyas. Let us see a few here:

Once when nampiLLai along with his sishyas was returning from thiruveLLarai on a boat, cauvery started flooding and the boat man mentions to the gOshti that some one should jump out to maintain the balance of the boat and save nampiLLai. Hearing this one old lady jumped out into the floods and nampiLLai became very sad. But when they reached the banks they heard the voice of the old lady from a near by island and she said nampiLLai appeared in front of her and saved her. The old lady shows how to serve AchAryan even at the cost of giving up our own life. And nampiLLai shows how to protect the sishyas even in dire situations. Once a srivaisnava lady living in the next door of nampiLLai was approached by a srivaishnavar and he said that since her house is right next to nampiLLai’s thirumALigai, if she gave her thirumALigai to nampiLLai that will allow nampiLLai’s thirumALgai can be extended and that will benefit a bigger srivaishnava gOshti. The lady first hesitates but then goes to nampiLLai and requests that he gives a place for her in paramapadham for her offering.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai nampiLLai happily writes a note for her and with that she leaves her charam sarIram a few days later and reaches paramapadham. nampiLLai had two wives. He once asked his first wife how she thinks of him. She replies that she considers nampiLLai to be an avathAram of emperumAn and treats her as his AchAryan. nampiLLai was very pleased and asks her to be engaged in thadhiArAdhana kainkaryam fully for the srivaishnavas who visit nampiLLai regularly. He then asks his second wife how she thinks of him. She replies that she considers nampiLLai as her dear husband. nampiLLai asks her to assist his first wife and asks the second wife to accept the prasAdham of the srivaishnavas. He says that taking srivaishnava sEsham will purify her and increase her level of nishtai to something spiritual (AchArya-sishyai) from her bodily views (Husband-Wife). When mahAbhAshya bhattar enquires nampiLLai what should be the thinking of a srivaishnava after realising his chaithanyam (knowledge). nampiLLai replies that such srivaishnavas should always think emperumAn is upAyam and upEyam, should be thankful for AchAryan who cured this time immemorial disease of samsAram, should think that emperumAnAr sidhAntham established through sribhAshyam as the truth, should do bhagavadh guNAnusandhAnam through sri rAmAyaNam and should spend our time fully in AzhwAr’s aruLicheyal. Finally he also says we should have firm faith that at the end of this very life we will see paramapadham. Some srivaishnavas from pandiya nAdu visits nampiLLai and asks him to give the essence of our sampradhAyam. nampiLLai instructs them to think of the sea shore. When they are puzzled and asks what to think about in a sea shore, nampiLLai explains that when chakkaravarthi thirumagan was staying in the sea shore before the war with rAvaNan, he was resting in his tent and the monkeys were watching around the area for protection. But out of fatigue when the monkeys fell asleep, emperumAn himself went around the place protecting them. nampiLLai explains that emperumAn is protecting us when we are sleeping so we should have full confidence in him that he will protect us even when we are awake and thus we should give up sva rakshanE sva anvayam (attitude of us trying to protect ourselves). We will see an excellent explanation given by nampiLLai on dhEvathAnthara bhajanam. One person came to nampiLLai and asks “you are worshipping dhEvathAntharams (like indhran, varuNan, agni, sUryan, etc) in your nithya karmAs but why not in their temples?”. nampiLLai gives an instant and brilliant reply that “Why do you worship agni in yagyam and stay away from agni frrom a burial ground? The same way, since sAsthram says nithya karmAs must be performed as bhagavadh ArAdhanam keeping that emperumAn is antharyAmi for all the dhEvathAs, we do it. The same sAsthram says we should not worship anyone but emperumAn so we dont go to other temples. Also, when these dhEvathAs are installed in a temple, they tend to develop rajO guNam and start thinking they themselves are supreme, and since we (srivaishnavas) are in sathva guNam we dont worship dhEvathAs who have rajO guNam”. Can this be any clearer than this for us to abstain from dhEvathAnthara bhajanam?

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• •

One srivaishnava visits nampiLLai and says he looks leaner than before. nampiLLai replies when the AthmA grows the body automatically becomes lean. When another srivaishnava asks nampiLLai why he does not look strong, nampiLLai replies he has enough strength to worship emperumAn and he is not going for a war to be so strong. This proves that a srivaishnava need not worry too much about being very strong physically. When nampiLLai was ill, one srivaishnava is worried about that, nampiLLai says, we should think that any suffering is good, since according to sAsthram it is said that “the ones who have surrendered fully to emperumAn will wait for mruthyu dhEvan (death) happily to arrive”. At that time some srivaishnavas want to tie a rakshai for nampiLLai to relieve him from the illness out of their love towards nampiLLai and based on the instructions from engaLazhwAn, nampiLLai says he cannot accept that. The srivaishnavas question nampiLLai’s action and say “It is OK for a srivaishnava to not care for himself but what is wrong with them caring for other srivaishnava’s illness”. nampiLLai explains that if we try to cure our own illness, that means we have not properly understood our svarUpam that we are completely dependent on emperumAn and nothing else. And if we try to cure other’s illness that means we have not properly understood emperumAn’s jnAnam and shakthi, that again we should depend on him to cure his bhakthas. That was nampiLLai’s nishtai and he lived by that. Still we should understand that it is our duty to care for other srivaishnavas when they are suffering as did by mAranEri nambi when ALavandhAr was suffering. nampiLLai had great sishyas from many AchArya purusha families and his times in srirangam is glorified by everyone as nalladikkAlam (best times). His sishyas naduvil thiruvIdhi piLLai bhattar (125000 padi) and vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai (eedu 36000 padi) both wrote commentaries for thiruvAimozhi but nampiLLai destroyed the former’s grantham because it was too large and detailed and took away latter’s grantham and gave it to eeyuNNi mAdhava perumAL so that it can be revealed by none other than azhagiya maNavALa mAmunigaL to everyone in the future. He also instructed periyavAchAn piLLai to write a commentary for thiruvAimozhi and periyavAchAn piLLai promptly fulfilled his AchAryan’s desire by writing 24000 padi vyAkyAnam which was praised by nampiLLai. When nampiLLai asks periya kOil vaLLalAr the meaning of “kulam tharum”, vaLLalAr says “when my kulam is changed from my birth kulam to nambUr kulam (kulam of nampiLLai), that means kulam tharum” – this is the same as periyAzhwArs srisUkthi pandai kulam (birth based kulam) to thonda kulam (AchArya sambandham and kainkaryamsrI). Such was nampiLLai’s greatness.

Finally to conclude, let us see what periyavAchAn piLLAi has to say about nampiLLai in Ezhai Ethalan padhigam, Othu vAimaiyum pAsuram (periya thirumozhi 5.8.7). While explaining the terms “anthaNan oruvan” (unique scholar), periyavAchAn takes that opportunity to glorify his AchAryan and he says his AchAryan is the most unique scholar using the following words: “muRpada dhvayaththaik kEttu, ithihAsa purAnNanGgaLaiyum athigariththu, parapaksha prathkshEpaththukkudalAga NyAyamImAmsaikaLum athigariththu, pOthupOkkum aruLicheyalilEyAmpadi

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai piLLaiyaippOlE athigarippikka vallavanaiyirE oruvan enbathu” ( ேக ர ே ேபா , இதிஹாஸ ராண ப ேபா டலாக அ கைள அதிக ப , பரப அதிக , ைளைய ேபாேல யாயமமா ைஸக பட வய ைத

ள ெசயலிேலயா ப

அதிக ப க வ லவைனய ேர ஒ வ எ ப ). Simple translation: One who hears dhvayam first, then learns purANams and ithihAsams, leanrs Nyayam and mImAmsai to defeat bAhya/kudhrishtis and spends all his time in learning and teaching AzhwAr’s aruLicheyal and its meanings like nampiLLai can be said as a unique scholar. Here periyavAchAn piLLai compares sAndipani muni to be somewhat like nampiLLai (nampiLLai is far greater than sAndipani muni actually since nampiLLai was fully engaged in bhagavath vishayam as against sAndipani muni who asked kannan emperumAn to bring back his dead child even after knowing kannan emperumAn as mukundhan, one who can give mOksham). Because of his in-depth knowledge in various literature in both tamizh and samskritham he was able to mesmerize his audience during his lectures. It is also because of him thiruvAimozhi was propagated to new heights and aruLicheyal meanings were understood by everyone. For thiruvAimozhi, except for 6000 padi vyAkyAnam, all the other 4 vyAkyAnams has some connection with nampiLLai.
• • • •

9000 padi even though originally was written by nanjIyar, it was re-written by nampiLLai with some special insights and meanings. 24000 padi was written by periyavAchAn piLLai based on nampiLLai’s teachings and instruction. 36000 padi was written by vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai based on what was lectured by nampiLLai. 12000 padi was written by periyavAchAn piLLai’s sishya vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar and from the meanings presented we can easily understand that it closely follows nampiLLai’s 36000 padi.

Not only that, nampiLLai out of his boundless mercy, laid the foundation for 2 glorious pillars of our sampradhAyam – piLLai lOkAchAriar and azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr who gave us srivachana bhUshaNam and AchArya hrudhayam respectively based on the knowledge received from our pUrvAchAryas. We will see this charithram in our next article (vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai vaibhavam). nampiLLai gives up his charama thirumEni in srirangam and attains parampadham. naduvil thiruvIdhi piLLai bhattar shaves his head fully on that occassion (sishyas and sons generally do that when the father/AchAryan leaves to paramapadham) and when his brother complains to namperumAL that even after being born in kUra kulam he did that, namperumAL summons bhattar in front of him and bhattar explains to namperumAL that he appreciates his sambandham with nampiLLai more than his family, namperumAL gets very pleased.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai Let us pray at the lotus feet of nampiLLai that we also develop such attachment towards emperumAn and AchAryan. nampiLLai’s thanian vEdhAntha vEdhya amrutha vArirAsEr vEdhArtha sAra amrutha pUramagryam AdhAya varshantham aham prapadhyE kAruNya pUrNam kalivairidhAsam

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vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai

vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai – kAnchipuram Thirunakshathram: Ani, swAthi avathAra sthalam: srirangam AchAryan: nampiLLai Sishyas: piLLai lOkAchAryar, azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr, etc Place where he attained paramapadham: thiruvarangam Works: eedu 36000 padi Born as sri krishna pAdhar, he became to be famously known as vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai. He was one of the prime disciples of nampiLLai. vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai was completely situated in AchArya nishtai and even after entering gruhasthAshramam he was not showing any interest in begetting any children. Worried about that, his mother goes to nampiLLai and complains about vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai’s nature. Hearing that, nampiLLai invites both vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai and his wife, blesses his wife with his krupai and instructs vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai to engage in the process of begetting a child. Accepting his AchAryan’s instructions vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai does so and soon enough vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai’s wife gives birth to a child. vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai names that child piLLai lOkAchAryan since he was born out of the mercy of nampiLLai (lOkAchAryan). Hearing that,

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai nampiLLai says he wanted to name the child azhagiya maNavALan. namperumAL also heard this and blesses vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai with another child sUn after and that child is named azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr since he was born out of the grace of azhagiya maNavALan (namperumAL). Thus vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai gives two great gems to our sampradhAyam. He can be compared to periyAzhwAr:
• •

AzhwAr and vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai both are born in Ani swAthi. AzhwAr wrote thirupallAndu and periyAzhwAr thirumozhi by the grace of emperumAn. vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai wrote eedu 36000 padi by the grace of nampiLLai. AzhwAr gave ANdAL to our sampradhAyam and he raised her feeding krishnAnubhavam. vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai gave piLLai lOkAchAryar and azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr and raised them feeding bhagavath anubhavam.

vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai while hearing thiruvAimozhi lectures from nampiLLai, spends the time with his AchAryan in the day time and spends the time recording them in palm leaves regularly in the night time. Thus he writes the eedu 36000 padi vyAkyAnam based on nampiLLai’s lectures without the knowledge of nampiLLai. Once vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai invites nampiLLai to his thirumAligai for thadhiyArAdhanam and nampiLLai accepts that and visits his thirumALigai. nampiLLai himself starts the thiruvArAdhanam and in the kOilAzhwAr he sees the bunch of palm leaves with the vyAkyAnam. Being interested, he starts reading a few of them and asks vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai what is that. vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai explains that he recorded nampiLLai’s lectures and nampiLLai instructs vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai to do the thiruvArAdhanam while he starts reading the palm leaves. He also asks periyavAchAn piLLai and eeyuNNi mAdhava perumAL to go through the same and they both read and glorify it very much. nampiLLai asks vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai why he did this without his permission and also asks if he did it as a competition to periyavAchAn piLLai’s vyAkyAnam. vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai completely upset with himself, falls at the lotus feet of nampiLLai and explains that he wrote that so that he can refer it for the future. Convinced with his explanations, nampiLLai glorifies the vyAkyAnam and says vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai is an avathAra visEsham to be able to do such work without missing anything from his lectures. nampiLLai also says he would give the vyAkyAnam to eeyuNNi mAdhava perumAL (who carries nanjIyar’s pUrvAshramam name – mAdhavar) to teach it to his descendants eventually to be revealed to every one by maNavALa mAmunigaL. By the grace of emperumAn, nampiLLai was able to foresee the appearance of mAmunigaL and he informs the same to eeyuNNi mAdhava perumAL that through him and his descendants, it will reach mAmunigaL and it will be revealed to the entire world at the right time. vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai became the leader of the sampradhAyam after nampiLLai attaining paramapadham. He teaches all the meanings to both piLLai lOkAchAryar and azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr. In srivachana bhUshaNa dhivya sAsthram piLLai lOkAchAryar refers to vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai’s instructions in a few places:

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In sUthram 77, it is said that when the ahankAram is given up, AthmA can only be called adiyAn. It is shown in yathIndhra pravaNa prabhAvam that this instruction was explained by vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai. In sUthram 443, piLLai lOkAchAryar says that vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai explains always that, for jIvAthmAs who have been in this samsAram since time immemorial due to their sva svAthanthriyam, the only way to relieve themselves from the samsAram is by surrendering to a sadhAchAryan.

After some time vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai gives up his charama thirumEni thinking about his Acharyan nampiLLai and attains paramapadham. Let us pray at the lotus feet of vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai that we also develop such attachment towards emperumAnAr and our AchAryan. vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai’s thanian sri krishna pAdha pAdhAbjE namAmi sirasA sadhA yath prasAdha prabhAvEna sarva sidhirabhUnmama

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periyavAchAn piLLai - vyAkyAna chakkaravarthi

periyavAchAn piLLai - sEngaNUr

Thirunkaksathram: AvaNi rOhiNi avathAra sthalam: sanganallUr (sEngaNUr). AchAryan: nampiLLai sishyas: nAyanArAchAn piLLai, vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jeeyar, parakAla dhAsar, etc Born as krishnan as the son of yAmunar and sEngaNUr, he becomes to be known as periyavAchAn piLLai. He is one of the prime sishyas of nampiLLai and learnt all sAsthra arthams from nampiLLai himself. periyavAchAn piLLai became an illustrious AchAryan in our sampradhAyam by the grace of nampiLLai. As in periya thirumozhi 7.10.10, it is said that thirukkannamangai empeumAn wanted to learn the meanings of thirumangai AzhwAr's pAsurams from kaliyan himself - so kaliyan descended as nampiLLai and emperumAn descended as periyavAchAn piLLai to learn all the meanings of the aruLicheyal. He is also known as vyAkyAna chakkaravarthi, abhaya pradha rAjar, etc. He adopts nAyanArAchAn piLLai as his son. In his life time, he has done vyAkyAnams for:

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• •

4000 dhiyva prabhandham - He has written vyAkyAnams for all of aruLicheyal. vyAkyAnams of approximately 400 pAsurams for periyAzhwAr thirumozhi was lost and mAmunigaL just wrote those missing pAsura vyAkyAnams. sthOthra granthams - He has written vyAkyAnams for pUrvAchArya srisUkthis like sthOthra rathna, chathu slOki, gadhya thryayam, etc and jithanthE sthOthram. sri rAmAyaNam - He has selected important slOkams from sri rAmAyaNam and written a detailed commentary for those in rAmAyaNa thani slOki. He was named abhaya pradha rAjar for his masterful explanation of vibhIshaNa sharanAgathi episode.

He has also written many rahasya granthams such as mANikka mAlai, parantha rahasyam, sakala prAmANa thAthparyam, etc which explains rahasya thrayam in an excellent manner. He was a pioneer in documenting rahasya thrayam - piLLai lOkAchAryar took the essence of nampiLLai and periyavAchAn piLLai's teachings and wrote his astAdhasa rahasya granthams. His expertise in aruLicheyal and sri rAmAyaNam can be understood by his grantham called pAsurapadi rAmyAyanam where he uses words from aruLicheyal to explain the story line of sri rAmAyaNam in a crisp manner. The power of his grace can also be understood from the incident happened in vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jeeyar. jeeyar, in his pUrvAshramam was serving in the thirumadappaLLi (kitchen) of periyavAchAn piLLai's thirumALigai. He was an illiterate but had strong devotion towards his AchAryan. Once when he overheard some srivaishnavas discussing some vEdhAntha vishayam, he enquired from them about the topic of discussion. Them being arrogant and considering him as an illiterate said they were discussing about a grantham called "musala kisalayam" (newly blossomed pounder). He went and mentioned this to his AchAryan and periyavAchAn piLLai out of his grace decided to teach everything to him. After a few years, he becomes a master of all sAstram and goes on to become vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jeeyar and writes several granthams himself on our sampradhAyam. Just like periya perumAL, periya pirAtti, periya thiruvadi, periya AzhwAr and periya kOil, AchAn piLLai also due to his greatness became to be known as periyavAchAn piLLai. maNavALa mAmunigaL in his upadhEsa rathina mAlai dedicates two pAsurams specifically to periyavAchAn piLLai. pAsuram: 43 NampiLLai thammudaiya NallaruLAl Eviyidap (ந ப

ைள த ப பா வ

ைடய ந ைள அதனா ப தி மாற


)

ளா

ஏவ ய ட )
pin periyavAchAn piLLai athanAl (ப

ெப யவா சா

inbA varubathi mARan maRaip poruLai chonnathu (இ

மைற

ெபா

ைள ெசா

ன ப

)

irupathu nAlAyiram (இ

நாலாய ர )

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Simple Translation: Out of his grace, nampiLLai orders periyavAchAn piLLai to write a commentary for thiruvAimozhi. Having that in mind, periyavAchAn piLLai wrote the most enjoyable commentary for nammAzhwAr's thiruvAimozhi which is the essence of all vEdhas. The commentary was written similar to sri rAmAyaNam, i.e., containing 24000 lines (similar to 24000 slOkams in sri rAmAyaNam). pAsuram: 46 periyavAchAn piLLai pinbuLLavaikkum (ெப யவா சா theriya vyAkiyaigaL cheyvAl (ெத ய

ைள ப
)

ளைவ ெபா ைள

யாகிையக

ெச வா

ariya aruLichcheyal poruLai AriyargatkippOthu (அ ய அ

ள ெசய
)

ஆ ய க கி ேபா )
aruLichcheyalAyth thariNthu (அ Simple Translation: It is due to periyavAchAn piLLai's commentaries for aruLicheyal, the great teachers are able to understand and propagate the true meanings of aruLicheyal. Without these vyAkyAnams, no one can speak about the inner meanings of aruLicheyal. Also, mAmunigaL in pAsuram 39, identifies that periyavAchAn piLLai was one of the 5 vyAkyAna karthAs for thiruvAimozhi, there by saving it and propagating it to everyone since without the vyAkyAnams we cannot understand the inner meanings of aruLicheyal. Several incidents from his life are recorded in vArthA mAlai grantham and other pUrvAchArya granthams. Let us see some here:

ள ெசயலா

When some one asks if we are target of emperumAn's krupai or leelai - periyavAchAn piLLai says "if we think that we are caught in this samsAram, we are target of emperumAn's krupai and if we think that we are happy in this samsAram, we are target of emperumAn's leelai". When some one asks what does pArathanthriya mean? periyavAchAn piLLai says that depending fully on emperumAn's sakthi, completely giving up upAyAntharams (including self efforts) and ever longing for bhagavath kainkarya mOksham is pArathanthriyam. When some one asks what is upAyam? Is it us giving up everything or holding on to him? periyavAchAn piLLai says that both are not upAyam it is emperumAn who made us give up everything and hold on to him is the upAyam. Once when bandhu of periyavAchAn piLLai is worried and he asks for the reason. She says she is very worried since she has been in this samsAram since anAdhi kAlam and with so much karma how emperumAn will give her mOksham. For that periyavAchAn piLLai says, we are emperumAn's property and he will take us when he wants to irrespecitve of our karmas. When a srivaishnava finds fault in another srivaishnava, periyavAchAn piLLai says that yaman is asking his servants to move away from srivaishnavas without looking at their

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faults, piAtti says "na kaschin na aparAdhyathi" - dont look at anyone's faults, perumAL says even if my bhakthas do mistakes it is good only, AzhwAr says who ever emperumAn's bhakthas are, they have to be praised. So sarcastically he says, some one needs to say the faults in srivaishnavas and let that some one be this person who finds faults in the other person. During a discussion about the greatness about bhAgavathas, some one starts speaking about emperumAn and periyavAchAn piLLai says why speak sAmAnya vishyam (general matters) when speaking about visEsha vishayam (special matters). periyavAchAn piLLai says every srivaishnava must have involvement in aruLicheyal. and so on.

• •

Let us bow down at his lotus feet and ever remember his contribution to our sampradhAyam. His thanian: srimath krishna samAhvAya namO yAmuna sUnavE yath katAkshAya lakshyANam sulabha: sridharAya nama: I worship periyavAchAn piLLai who is the son of yAmunar and whose katAksham will make emperumAn sriman nArAyanan's grace fall on us very easily.

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piLLai lOkAchAryar

piLLai lOkAchAryar – srirangam Thirunakshathram: ippasi, thiruvONam avathAra sthalam: srirangam AchAryan: vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai Sishyas: kUra kuLothama dhAsar, viLAn chOlai piLLai, thiruvAimozhi piLLai, maNappAkkathu nambi, kOttur aNNar, thirupputkuzhi jIyar, thiurkannangudi piLLai, kolli kAvala dhAsar, etc Place where he attained paramapadham: jyOthishkudi (near madhurai) Works: yAdhrichika padi, mumukshupadi, sriya:pathi padi, parantha padi, thani praNavam, thani dhvayam, thani charamam, artha panchakam, thathva thrayam, thathva sEkaram, sAra sangraham, archirAdhi, pramEya sEkaram, samsAra

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai sAmrAjyam, prapanna parithrANam, navarathina mAlai, nava vidha sambandham, sri vachana bhUshanam and many more. piLLai lOkAchAryar was born in srirangam to vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai by the grace of nampiLLai (we have seen this in vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai idhihyam http://guruparamparai.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/vadakku-thiruveedhi-pillai/ already). He and his younger brother azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr grew up in srirangam like perumAL and iLaya perumAL in ayOdhya and kannan emperumAn and nambi mUtha pirAn in gOkulam. They both were blessed to have the katAksham and guidance of great AchAryas of our sampradhAyam like nampiLLai, periyavAchAn piLLai, vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai, etc at the same time. They learnt our sampradhAyam under the lotus feet of their father vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai. Also, one of the unique quality of these two AchArya simhams is that they both took the vow of naishtika bramhacharyam and lived by that throughout their life. piLLai lOkAchAryar out of his boundless kAruNyam towards all the suffering jIvAthmAs in this samsAram and also out of the order he received from periya perumAL in his svapnam, wrote many granthams to reveal the most valuable meanings of our sampradhAyam which was mostly done through AchAryan to sishyan on an individual basis. piLLai lOAchAryar became the leader of our sampradhAyam and he was teaching to his disciples regularly in srirangam. A srivaishnava named maNappAkkathu nambi went to dhEvaperumAL and dhEvaperumAL gives him valuable instructions on our sampradhAyam. But dhEvaperumAL without fully completing the instructions tells nambi to go to srirangam where he will continue to teach the same. When nambi travels to srirangam and arrives at kAttazhagiya singhar temple, he sees the kAlakshEpa gOshti of piLLai lOkAchAryar. Hiding behind a pillar, he starts listening to piLLai lOkAchAryar and is amazed to hear that he is hearing the same thing and continuation of what dhEva perumAL was teaching him. He comes out of his hiding place, falls flat at the lotus feet of piLLai lOkAchAryar and asks “avarO nIr” (Are you dhEva perumAL?) and piLLai lOkAchAryar replies “Avathu; yEthu?” (Yes, what to do now?). Thus we can clearly see that piLLai lOkAchAryar is none other than dhEva perumAL himself.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai Another incident is also identified in yathIndhra pravaNa prabhAvam to prove that piLLai lOkAchAryar is dhEva perumAL himself. piLLai lOkAchAryar during his final days at jyOthishkudi, instructs nAlUr piLLai to teach vyAkyAnams to thirumalai AzhwAr (thiruvAimozhi piLLai). When thirumalai AzhwAr visits dhEva perumAL for mangaLAsAsanam, dhEva perumAL speaks directly to nAlUr piLLai who was standing nearby and says “as I mentioned in jyOthishkudi you should teach thirumalai AzhwAr all the meanings of aruLicheyal”. piLLai lOkAchAryar has written many granthams for the ujjIvanam of mumukshus (one who desires to get bhagavath kainkarya mOksham). He wrote 18 rahasya granthams mainly addressing the important aspects of our sampradhAyam such as rahasya thrayam, thathva thrayam, artha panchakam and deep sampradhAya meanings based on thiruvAimozhi. Of those the following are considered most important:

mumukshupadi – rahasya thrayam is excellently explained in this grantham. mAmunigaL has done a detailed vyAkyAnam for this grantham. This is the fundamental grantham for any srivaishnava without which we can not easily understand the glories of thirumanthram, dhvayam and charama slOkam. thathva thrayam – this is also called as kutti bhAshyam (small sri bhAshyam). piLLai lOkAchAryar masterfully takes us through the three entities chith, achith and Ishvaran explaining them fully based on sribhAshyam. Again, without mAmunigaL’s vyAkyAnam we cannot fully understand the glories of this grantham. srivachana bhUshaNa dhivya sAsthram – this grantham is fully written using the words of AzhwArs and AchAryas. This is the magnum opus of piLLai lOkAchAryar and is a detailed grantham explaining the sath sampradhAya arthams. This brings out the inner meanings of our sampradhAyam which is magnificiently explained by mAmunigaL in his vyAkyAnam. ThirunArAyaNapurathu Ayi has also done a vyAkyAnam for this grantham.

srivaishnavas must hear these granthams as kAlakshEpam at least once in their lifetime to fully appreciate our sampradhAyam. The greatness of piLLai lOkAchAryar is that, he documented these granthams in simple tamizh (maNi pravALam) language which can be understood by anyone who has the desire. Looking at the difficulties of mumukshus in understanding the sacred sampradhAya meanings, he mercifully documented what he heard from his AchAryas – all the meanings that are seen in his granthams can be directly seen in pUrvAchArya vyAkyAnams like eedu 36000 padi and vyAyAnams for other granthams by our pUrvAchAryas (before piLLai lOkAchAryar). He mercifully consolidated them and gave them in simple granthams written in simple/crisp language. Thus we can understand that he was the main AchAryan who did pramANa rakshaNam (protecting/nourishing the knowledge base). Not only he did pramANa rakshaNam, he was fully involved in pramEya rakshaNam (protecting/nourishing emperumAn). When everything was going good in srirangam,

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai suddenly the news of muslim invasion spread like wild fire. Everyone got very worried since these muslim kings are well known to target temples for the abundant wealth that are in temples. So, immediately piLLai lOkAchAryar (being the senior most srivaishnva AchArya those times) took control of the situation. He instructed the srivaishnavas to raise a wall in front of periya perumAL and left with namperumAL and ubhaya nAchiArs towards south India. He was much older at that time but did not care for himself and he travelled along with namperumAL in the journey. When they were going through the forests, some thieves came and robbed all the jewels of namperumAL. piLLai lOkAchAryar was going a little bit ahead and when he heard about this he came back and the thieves seeing piLLai lOkAchAryar changes their mind, surrenders to him and offers the jewels back. After this, they reach a spot named jyOthiskudi (near madhurai – backside of Anai malai region). piLLai lOkAchAryar due to his vayOthigam (old age) becomes ill and decides to leave to paramapadham. He thinks about thirumalai AzhwAr (thiruvAimozhi piLLai) who is one of his sishyas to be groomed to be the next leader of the sampradhAyam. He asks his sishyas (especially kUra kulOthama dhAsar) to go and relieve him from his administrative duties and reform him to be our dharisana pravarthakar. And finally he gives up his charama thirumEni and reaches paramapadham there itself.

jyOthishkudi – place where piLLai lOkAchAryar attained paramapadham

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai maNavALa mAmunigaL writes upadhEsa rathina mAlai to glorify piLLai lOkAchAryar and his srivachana bhUshaNa dhivya sAsthram. He explains about AzhwArs’ avathAram, AchAryas’ avathAram, emperumAnAr’s krupai in opening up our sampradhAyam to everyone who desires, thiruvAimozhi vyAkyAna avathArams, etc and starts explaining the avathAram of piLLai lOkAchAryar and the glories of srivachana bhUshaNa dhivya sAsthram and the meanings that are present in that grantham and finally says that we must live by those meanings and by doing that we will become the sath pAthram (holder) of emperumAnAr’s mercy easily. He also says without having faith in our pUrvAchAryas jnAnam and anushtAnam (instructions and pure life), if we try to create our own meanings based on our own understandings, interpretations and logic, we will only be called fuls. mAmunigaL who never uses any apa sabdhams (words like fuls, etc) anywhere uses a strong word (mUrkar) here to indicate the cruelty of speaking/acting without faith in our pUrvAchAryas. And this is the essence of srivachana bhUshaNa dhivya sAsthram as presented by mAmunigaL in his wonderful upadhEsa rathina mAlai prabhandham. vEdhAnthAchAryar (also known as nigamAntha mahA dhEsikan) has a written a wonderful prabhandham named lOkAchArya panchAsath glorifying piLLai lOkAchAryar. vEdhAnthAchAryar was atleast 50 years younger to piLLai lOkAchAryar and had great admiration for piLLai lOkAchAryar which can be easily understood from this grantham which is recited regularly in thirunArAyaNapuram even today. A simple English translation to lOkAchArya panchAsath written by Shri U.Ve T C A Venkatesan swamy based on Shri U.Ve V V Ramanujam swamy can be downloaded from http://acharya.org/books/eBooks/vyakhyanam/LokacharyaPanchasatVyakhyanaSaramEnglish.pdf. Thus we can understand the unbounded glories of piLLai lOkAchAryar who dedicated his whole life for pramANa rakshaNam and pramEya rakshaNam. Any one claiming to be a srivaishnava must have gratitude (upakAra smrithi) towards piLLai lOkAchAryar always, because without him we would neither see namperumAL nor understand the indepth meanings of our emperumAnAr dharisanam. Let us pray at the lotus feet of piLLai lOkAchAryar that we also develop such attachment towards emperumAnAr and our AchAryan. piLLai lOkAchAryar’s thanian lOkAchArya guravE krishna pAdhasya sUnavE samsAra bhOgi santhashta jIva jIvAthavE nama: mangaLAsAsanam to piLLai lOkAchAryar and his gOshti vAzhi ulagAsiriyan vAzhi avan mannu kulam vAzhi mudumbai ennu mAnagaram vAzhi manam chUzhntha pErinba malgumigu nallAr inam chUzhnthu irukkum iruppu

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr

Thirunakshathram: mArgazhi, avittam avathAra sthalam: srirangam AchAryan: vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai Place where he attained paramapadham: srIrangam Works: thiruppAvai 6000padi vyAkyAnam, kaNNinuN chiruthAmbu vyAkyAnam, amalanAdhipirAn vyAkyAnam, aruLicheyal rahasyam (rahasya thrayam explanation

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai using AzhwAr words), AchArya hrudhayam, pattOlai (his own explanation for AchArya hrudhayam which is not found anymore), etc. azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr was born in srirangam to vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai by the grace of namperumAL (we have already seen this in vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai idhihyam - http://guruparamparai.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/vadakkuthiruveedhi-pillai/). He and his elder brother piLLai lOkAchAryar grew up in srirangam like perumAL and iLaya perumAL in ayOdhya and kannan emperumAn and nambi mUtha pirAn in gOkulam. They both were blessed to have the katAksham and guidance of great AchAryas of our sampradhAyam like nampiLLai, periyavAchAn piLLai, vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai, etc at the same time. They learnt our sampradhAyam under the lotus feet of their father vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai. Also, one of the unique quality of these two AchArya simhams is that they both took the vow of naishtika bramhacharyam and lived by that throughout their life. mAmunigaL, in his upadhEsa rathina mAlai pAsuram 47, glorifies nAyanAr and his contributions. NanYchIyar cheytha vyAkkiyaigaL NaliranNdukku (ந

சீய ெச த இ ைலேய) சீரா

யா கிையக

நாலிர

)

enYchAmai yAvaikkum illaiyE (எ

சாைம யாைவ மணவாள மைவ தா ன) சில)

tham chIrAl vaiyaguruvin thambi mannu manNavALamuni (த

ைவய

த ப ம

cheyyumavai thAmum chila (ெச

Simple translation: NanjIyar did vyAkyAnams for a few prabhandhams in aruLicheyal (even before periyavAchAn piLLai). After periyavAchAn piLLai, azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr who is filled with divine qualities and the dear brother of piLLai lOkAchAryar wrote vyAkyAnams for some prabhandhams in aruLicheyal as well. In the vyAkyAnam piLLai lOkam jIyar brings out the glories of nAyanAr.

For “tham chIr”, he brings out one of the important glories of nAyanAr. He identifies that nAyanAr’s expertise in aruLicheyal is far greater than all other AchAryas. This can be understood by studying AchArya hrudhayam which is fully built using the words from aruLicheyal (with some words from ithihAsa, purANams as well). When explaining “vaiya guruvin thambi”, it is show that nAyanAr’s greatness is due to him being born as the younger brother of piLLai lOkAchAryar. He is popularly glorified as “jagath guruvarAnuja” (brother of jagath guru piLLai lOkAchAryar).

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai While nAyanAr has done vyAkyAnams for thiruppAvai, kaNNinun chiruthAmbu, amalanAdhipirAn, etc., which are all greatly relishable, his master piece is AchArya hrudhayam. His vyAkyAnams/works:

• •

His thiruppAvai 6000 padi vyAkyAnam is very detailed and most beautiful. In the vyAkyAnam, the essence of our sampradhAyam is beautifully presented. Principles like emperumAn’s upAyathvam/upEyathvam, emperumAn’s nirhEthuka krupai, pirAtti’s purushakAram, paragatha svIkAram, kainkaryathil kaLai (virOdhi), etc are most eloquently explained by nAyanAr in his thiruppAvai vyAkyAnam. His amalanAdhipirAn vyAkyAnam is one of the best renderings of our sampradhAyam. He beautifully bridges the thirumEni anubhavam of emperumAn and the sidhAntham in his vyAkyAnam. We have already seen this as part of thiuppANAzhwAr’s archavathAra anubhavam in http://ponnadi.blogspot.in/2012/10/archavathara-anubhavamthiruppanazhwar.html. His kaNNinuN chiruthAmbu vyAkyAnam beautifully reveals the glories of panchamOpAyam (accepting AchAryan as everything) and AchArya kainkaryam. His aruLicheyal rahasyam beautifully explains rahasya thrayam – thirumanthram, dhvayam and charamaslOkam through words from aruLicheyal. This is one of the most classic works which will be fully relished by experts of aruLicheyal. Finally, AchArya hrudhayam, his master piece, brings out the true emotions of NammAzhwAr and his thiruvAimozhi dhivya prabhandham. This grantham explains the principles that are presented in srivachana bhUshaNa dhivya sAsthram (that was written by piLLai lOkAchAryar) in further detail. We have already seen the archAvathAra anubhavam of nAyanAr through AchArya hrudhayam in http://ponnadi.blogspot.in/2012/11/archavathara-anubhavamnayanar-anubhavam.html.

To understand some one’s greatness, one has to see the words of other great personalities on that person. nAyanAr decided to leave his thirumEni at an early age and ascended to paramapadham leaving behind piLLai lOkAchAryar. piLLai lOkAchAryar fell in an ocean of sorrow and cried out keeping nAyanAr’s thirumudi in his lap and said: mAmudumbai mannu manNavALa anNnNalodu (மா

ைப ம ைவ ெபா த
)

மணவாள ெச ற கா
)

ணெலா ) ட

chEmamudan vaikuNtham chenRakkAl (ேசம

mAmenRu thotturaiththa chollum thuyam thanninAzh poruLum (மாெம

ெதா

ைர த ெசா

ன னா இ

ettezhuththum inGguraippArAr (எ ெட

ைர பாரா )

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai Simple translation: After nAyanAr ascending to paramapadham with all glories, who is present here to explain the rahasya thrayam – thirumanthram, dhvayam and charama slOkam (where emperumAn touched his heart and said “mAm” – I am the protector). Such is nAyanAr’s glories that piLLai lOkAchAryar himself glorifies him. Let us pray at the lotus feet of azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr that we also develop such attachment towards emperumAnAr and our AchAryan. azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr’s thanian dhrAvidAmnAya hrudhayam guruparvakramAgatham ramyajAmAthrudhEvEna dharsitham krshNasUnunA glorifications to azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr (usually recited after AchArya hrudhayam) thantharuLavENum thavaththOr thavappayanAy vantha mudumbai maNavALa – chinthaiyinAl nIyuraiththa mARan ninaivin poruLanaiththen vAyuraiththu vAzhum vagai

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

kUra kulOthama dhAsar
thirunakshathram: ippasi, thiruvAdhirai avathAra sthalam: srirangam AchAryan: vadakku thiruveedhi piLLai (heard kAlakshEpams from piLLai lOkAchAryar and azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr)

Also known as kUra kulOthama nAyan, he was born in srirangam and was living there. kUra kulOthama dhAsar is instrumental in bringing thirumalai AzhwAr (thiruvAimozhi piLLai) back into our sampradhAyam. He is one of the close associates of piLLai lOkAchAryar and he travelled with him during thiruvarangan ulA (nampermAL’s journey during kalAba kAlam). At jyOthishkudi, during his last moments, piLLai lOkAchAryar instructs kUra kulOthama dhAsar, thirukkaNNankudi piLLai, thirupputkuzhi jIyar, nAlur piLLai and viLAnchOlai piLLai to give all the divine knowledge in our sampradhAyam to thirumalai AzhwAr (who had pancha samskAram under the lotus feet of piLLai lOkAchAryar at a very young age) and make him the leader of our sampradhAyam. kUra kulOthama dhAsar first goes to meet thirumalai AzhwAr who is the minister in the mathurai kingdom. Because of thirumalai AzhwAr’s expertise in administration and thamizh language and because the king died at a young age, he was taking care off the king’s responsibilities and nurturing the prince. When he first went there, he started

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai reciting nammAzhwAr’s thiruvirutham. thirumalai AzhwAr was doing his rounds in his palanquin and noticed him at that time. Without stepping down from the palanquin he asked kUra kulOthama dhAsar to teach the meanings of the same and in return he spit at him. Looking at this thirumalai AzhwAr’s servants became angry and try to punish kUra kulOthama dhAsar but was stopped by thirumalai AzhwAr who realised the greatness of him. When thirumalai AzhwAr returned to his palace and explained the incident to his stepmother who was guiding him, she reminded his relationship with piLLai lOkAchAryar and glorified kUra kulOthama dhAsar. He started to look for kUra kulOthama dhAsar again. Once, when thirumalai AzhwAr was going on an elephant, kUra kulOthama dhAsar, climbed on a high place so he is visible to him. thirumalai AzhwAr noticed him and immediately stepped down from his elephant and fell flat on the lotus feet of kUra kulOthama dhAsar and started glorifying him. He then brought kUra kulOthama dhAsar to his palace and learnt all the valuable instructions of piLLai lOkAchAryar briefly from him. Being purified by those instructions, he requested kUra kulOthama dhAsar to visit him every day during this morning anushtAnam and teach all the sampradhAya vishayam since he is busy otherwise. He also arranges a residence for kUra kulOthama dhAsar along the banks of vaigai river, provides all necessary items (provisions, etc) for his livelihUd. kUra kulOthama dhAsar starts visiting thirumalai AzhwAr every day. He notices thirumalai AzhwAr reciting piLLai lOkAchAryar‘s thanian while applying thirumaN kAppu (we are suppose to recite the guru paramparai thanians while applying thirumaN kAppu) and becomes very pleased. He starts teaching all the meanings but one fine morning he does not arrive. When thirumalai AzhwAr sends his servants to kUra kulOthama dhAsar, there is no response. So, he himself goes directly with great attachment to his AchAryan and kUra kulOthama dhAsar makes him wait for some time. Finally he goes and falls flat at the lotus feet of kUra kulOthama dhAsar and asks for forgiveness for any mistakes he committed. Since he arrived during kAlakshEpam time, he also attends the same and accepts sripAdha thIrtham and sEsha prasAdham of kUra kulOthama dhAsar. The sEsha prasAdham of bhagavath adiyArs have great ability to purify any one and it brought in a great change in thirumalai AzhwAr also. After consuming it, thirumalai Azhwar started saying “kUra kulOthama dhAsa nAyan thiruvadigaLE sharaNam” repeatedly and showed great detachment to the kingdom and worldly affairs. kUra kulOthama dhAsar then left to sikkil (a place near thiruppullANi). thirumalai AzhwAr gave up his duties in the kingdom and went and stayed with kUra kulOthama dhAsar and served him fully. During his last days, kUra kulOthama dhAsar instructs thirumalai AzhwAr to go and learn further sampradhAya vishayams from viLAnchOlai piLLai and thirukkaNNankudi piLLai. He finally left his charama thirumEni meditating on piLLai lOkAchAryar and reached paramapadham.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai mAmunigaL glorifies kUra kulOthama dhAsar as “kUra kulOthama dhAsam udhAram” (one who is very merciful and generous), because of his unlimited krupai of taking many efforts to reform thirumalai AzhwAr and for transmitting the divine knowledge that was learnt from piLLai lOkAchAryar. He has an important place in our rahasya grantha kAlakshEpa paramparai and he is glorified in many of the thanians for the rahasya granthams. In srivachana bhUshaNa dhivya sAsthram, it is concluded that for a sishya “AchArya abhimAnamE uththAragam” (ஆசா ய அப மானேம உ தாரக ). In the vyAkyAnam mAmunigaL explains that, for a prapanna who has given up all other upAyams, it is the nirhEthuka krupai of AchAryan and that AchAryan’s thought that “this is my sishyan” is the only way for salvation. In the charithram of piLLai lOkAchAryar, kUra kulOthama dhAsar and thiruvAimozhi piLLai, we can see this clearly. It was piLLai lOkAchAryars abhimAnam towards thiruvAimozhi piLLai and kUra kulOtham dhAsar’s abhimAnam and tireless efforts which gave us the great AchAryan thiruvAimozhi piLLai who eventually gave us azhagiya maNavALa mAmunigaL. Let us remember kUra kulOthama dhAsar who always remembers piLLai lOkAchAryar. kUra kulOthama dhAsar’s thaniyan: lOkAchArya krupApAthram kauNdinya kula bhUshaNam samasthAthma guNAvAsam vandhE kUra kulOthamam

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

thiruvAimozhi piLLai

thiruvAimozhi piLLai – kunthInagaram (konthagai) Thirunakshathram: vaikAsi, visAkam avathAra sthalam: kunthInagaram (konthagai) AchAryan: piLLai lOkAchAryar Sishyas: azhagiya maNavALa mAmunigaL, satagOpa jIyar (bhavishyadhAcAryan sannidhi), thathvEsa jIyar, etc Place where he attained paramapadham: AzhwAr thirunagari Works: periyAzhwAr thirumozhi svApadhEsam

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai Born as thirumalai AzhwAr, he is also known as srisailEsar, satagOpa dhAsar and eventually became to be famously known as thiruvAimozhi piLLai due to his interest and propagation of AzhwAr’s thiuvAimozhi. thirumalai AzhwAr had his pancha samskAram done at a young age at the lotus feet of piLLai lOkAchAryar. He was a great scholar in tamizh and also a great administrator. He drifted off from the sampradhAyam and became the chief advisor of the madhurai kingdom as the king died at an early age leaving behind his young sons at the care of thirumalai AzhwAr. piLLai lOkAchAryar during his final days, had his divine mercy on thirumalai AzhwAr and instructed kUra kulOthama dhAsar and other sishyas to reform thirumalai AzhwAr and make him the leader of our sampradhAyam. kUra kulOthama dhAsar then ventured out to meet thirumalai AzhwAr to reform him. During this time (little after when the muslim invasion happens), nammAzhwAr travels from AzhwAr thirunagari and stays with namperumAL in kOzhikOde for some time. But when namperumAL leaves from there, due to some internal disagreements between the local people, AzhwAr does not travel with him. At that time, AzhwAr is taken to the south west region into the mountaneous areas and fearing for thieves and robbers he was placed in a box and kept under a cliff for safety. After some time, a srivaishnava named thOzhappar who was very attached to nammAzhwAr, comes to thirumalai AzhwAr, requests for a bunch of soldiers for protection to go and rescue nammAzhwAr. thirumalai AzhwAr gladly arranges the same and thOzhappar guides the soldiers to the cliff. When everyone was scared to go down the cliff thOzhappar volunteers to go down. At that time, the srivaishnavas from AzhwArthirungari appreciates thOzhappar and tells him that from that day onwards he will get special mariyAdhai/prasAdham from AzhwAr for his efforts. He goes down in a winch kind of arrangement, places nammAzhwAr safely and sends him up. When the second time the winch was sent down to bring thOzhappar he some how slips and falls down the cliff and attains paramapadham immediately. nammAzhwAr immediately pacifies thOzhappar’s son and says to him that he himself will be the father of thOzhappar’s son. Thus thOzhappar’s efforts (with the help of thirumalai AzhwAr) help bring nammAzhwAr back to thirukkaNAmbi where he stays from then onwards. On to thirumalai AzhwAr now. Once when thirumalai AzhwAr is doing his routine rounds in his palanquin, he comes across kUra kulOthama dhAsar who was reciting AzhwAr’s thiruvirutham. Since thirumalai AzhwAr had the blessings of piLLai lOkAchAryar, he was able to immediately understand the greatness of dhAsar and stepped down from his palanquin and requested dhAsar to teach him the meanings of thiruvirutham. But dhAsar says he wont teach him the meanings yet and spat at him. Since thirumalai AzhwAr was blessed to be a sAthvikar, he stopped his servants to harm dhAsar for his action and left the place. He later informed his foster-mother about the incident who reminds him about his relationship with piLLai lOkAchAryar. thirumalai AzhwAr immediately realizes what he has been missing and feels for that. Again, when thirumalai AzhwAr is travelling on an elephant, he sees dhAsar. This time he immediately steps down and falls flat at the lotus feet of dhAsar. dhAsar accepts him and agrees to teach all the meanings then. thirumalai AzhwAr establishes an

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai agrahAram (area) specifically for dhAsar with all arrangements for his thiruvArAdhanam, etc. Since he is extremely busy with administrative activities, thirumalai AzhwAr requests dhAsar to visit him daily while he applies thirumaN kAppu and dhAsar agrees. When dhAsar arrives the first time he notices that thirumalai AzhwAr is reciting piLLai lOkAchAryar’s thanian while applying thirumaN kAppu and is very pleased with that. From then onwards he regularly teaches thirumalai AzhwAr all the knowledge that he learnt from piLLai lOkAchAryar. Once when thirumalai AzhwAr was busy and unable to attend the class, dhAsar does not visit on the subsequent days. When thirumalai AzhwAr visits dhAsar and asks for aparAdha kshAmanam, dhAsar accepts him and gives him his sEsha prasAdham. From then onwards, thirumalai AzhwAr completely becomes detached from the loukIka activities, transfers the powers to the young prince and leaves the kingdom and stays with dhAsar all the time. During the final days of dhAsar, dhAsar instructs thirumalai AzhwAr to go to thirukkaNNangudi piLLai to learn thiruvAimozhi in detail and viLanchOlai piLLai to learn all rahasya arthams. dhAsar also appoints him as the leader of our sampradhAyam. After dhAsar attaining paramapadham meditating on piLLai lOkAchAryar, thirumalai AzhwAr does all the charama kainkaryamas for him in a grand manner. thirumalai AzhwAr goes to thirukkaNNangudi piLLai and starts learning thiruvAimozhi. While piLLai teaches him the essence, thirumalai AzhwAr also wants to know word by word meanings. piLLai sends him to thirupputkuzhi jIyar to learn the same. thirumalai AzhwAr then goes to thirupputkuzhi, but unfortunately just before his arrival jIyar had attained paramapadham. thirumalai AzhwAr becomes very upset but he then decides to do mangaLAsAsanam to dhEva perumAL. When he arrives he was welcomed by every one there and dhEva perumAL gives his sri satagOpam, mAlai, sARRupadi, etc to him. At that time nAlUr piLLai was also present in the sannidhi. (Note: nampiLLai gave the eedu vyAkyAnam to eeyuNNi mAdhava perumAL who in turn taught it to his brother eeyuNNi padmanAbha perumAL. nAlUr piLLai is the direct sishya of eeyuNNi padmanAbha perumAL who has learnt eedu vyAkyAnam fully and has also taught the same to his son nAlUr AchAn piLLai.) dhEva perumAL directly speaks to nAlUr piLLai and says “as I mentioned in jyOthishkudi (as piLLai lOkAchAryar) you should teach thirumalai AzhwAr all the meanings of aruLicheyal including thiruvAimozhi eedu vyAkyAnam which he could not hear from thirupputkuzhi jIyar”. Hearing that nAlUr piLLai says he will be fortunate to do that, but his old age would not allow him to teach thirumalai AzhwAr properly. Then dhEva perumAL says “If your son nAlUr AchAn piLLai teaches its as good as you teaching”. Hearing this divine order, nAlUr piLLai accepts thirumalai AzhwAr with great joy and brings him to nAlUr AchAn piLLai and instructs him to teach eedu along with other aruLicheyal meanings. nAlUr AchAn piLLai (also known as dhEvarAjar) starts teaching him the meanings and hearing about these incidents thirunArAyaNapurathu Ayi, thirunArAyaNapurathu piLLai and others request nAlUr AchAn piLLai and thirumalai AzhwAr to come and live at thirunArAyaNa puram and continue the kAlakshEpam there so they can also learn this in detail. They accept the invitation and reach thirunArAyaNa puram, performs mangaLAsAsanam to emperumAnAr, yathugiri nAchiAr, selva piLLai and thirunAraNan

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai and performs the kAlakshEpam fully there. There thirumalai AzhwAr learns eedu in full depth and being pleased with him and his service attitude, nAlUr AchAn piLLai presents his thiruvArAdhana perumAL (inavAyar thalaivan) to thirumalai AzhwAr. Thus eedu 36000 padi gets propagated from nAlUr AchAn piLLai through 3 great scholars – thirumalai AzhwAr, thirunArAyanapurathu Ayi and thirunArAyanapurathu piLLai. thirumalai AzhwAr then decides to go to AzhwAr thirunagari to live there permanently. He finds out that AzhwAr thirunagari has become like a forest since nammAzhwAr left the place. He first arrives there and clears all the bushes and woods. He becomes to be known as kAdu vetti guru (because he is the AchAryan who cleared the forest) for his kainkaryam of bringing AzhwAr thirunagari back to its beautiful shape. He then brings nammAzhwAr over from thirukkaNambi (in kerala) to AzhwAr thirunagari and reestablishes the temple worship there. He also establishes a temple for emperumAnAr (bhavaishyadhAchAryan thirumEni which was given by nammAzhwAr himself long ago) in AzhwAr thirunagari in the western part of the town, builds a chathurvEdhi mangalam (4 streets around the temple) and establishes a set of 10 families and a srivaishnava ammaiyAr who was a widow to look after the kainkaryams in that temple. Since he was always engaged in glorifying nammAzhwAr and teaching thiruvAimozhi piLLai he became to be known as thiruvAimozhi piLLai. After a while, thiruvAimozhi piLLai decides to go to thiruvananthapuram and meet with viLAnchOlai piLLai who was one of the dear sishyas of piLLai lOkAchAryar to learn all the rahasya granthams. viLAnchOlai piLLai was always meditating on his AchAryan and was happy to receive thiruvAimozhi piLLai. viLAnchOlai piLLai teaches him all the indepth meanings to thiruvAimozhi piLLai and blesses him completely. After that thiruvAimozhi piLLai returns to AzhwAr thirunagari. Later viLAnchOlai piLLai decides to give up his charama thirumEni to serve his AchAryan permanently in nithya vibhUthi and does so. Hearing this, thiruvAimozhi piLLai performs all the charama kainkaryams for him. After some time periya perumAL orders AdhisEshan to re-appear in this samsAram to bring many jIvAthmAs to paramapadham. thiruvananthAzhwAn accepts his swamy’s orders and takes birth as azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr (who eventually becomes azhagiya maNavALa mAmunigaL) as the son of thigazha kidanthAn thirunAvIrudaya pirAn (coming in the lineage of gOmadathAzhwAn who was one of the 74 simhAsanAdhipathis established by emperumAnAr) and sriranga nAchiAr on ippasi thirumUlam in AzhwAr thirunagari. He was raised in his mother’s place in sikkil kidAram for a while where he learns all the sAmAnya sAsthram and does vEdha adhyayanam under his father. Hearing about thiruvAimozhi piLLai, azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr returns to AzhwAr thiunagari, becomes a sishya of him, starts serving him and learning aruLicheyal and its meanings from him fully. Under the guidance of thiruvAimozhi piLLai, he performs thiruvArAdhanam to bhavaishyadhAchAryan with utmost love and dedication and also composes yathirAja vimsathi glorifying emperumAnAr. When some of thiruvAimozhi piLLai’s sishyas wonder why their AchAryan is so attached to azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr, thiruvAimozhi

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai piLLai understands that and explains to them that he is none other than AdhisEshan himself. Towards the end of his life, thiruvAimozhi piLLai, starts worrying about a successor to carry our sampradhAyam after his time. At that time, azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr vows that he will take up that responsibility and fulfill his desires. Very pleased with that, thiruvAimozhi piLLai instructs him that he should learn sribhAshyam once but focus fully on thiruvAimozhi and its vyAkyAnams for the rest of his life with the mind fixed on doing mangaLAsAsanam to periya perumAL at srirangam. thiruvAimozhi piLLai tells his sishyas that they should have great respect towards azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr and consider him to be a special avathAram. After that, mediating on piLLai lOkAchAryar’s thiruvadi, thiruvAimozhi piLLai gives up his charama thirumEni and reaches paramapadham. azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr and other sishyas perform the charama kainkaryams in a grand manner. Like emperumAnAr who took shelter of periya nambi (parAngusa dhAsar), azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr took shelter of thiruvAimozhi piLLai (satagOpa dhAsar). It is by his efforts we see AzhwAr thirunagari in its current shape with AthinAthar AzhwAr temple and bhavishyadhAchAryan (emperumAnAr) temple. He dedicated his life for nammAzhwAr and thiruvAimozhi, he went to so many places to gather all the instructions from many AchAryas according to the instructions of piLLai lOkAchAryar and finally gave all of them to azhagiya maNavALA perumAL nAyanAr who will soon become azhagiya maNavALa mAmunigaL. Also, It is by the efforts of thiruvAimozhi piLLai we have received the eedu 36000 padi vyAkyAnam which was propagated to great heights by azhagiya maNavALa mAmunigaL subsequently. Let us pray at the lotus feet of thiruvAimozhi piLLai that we also develop such attachment towards emperumAnAr and our AchAryan. thiruvAimozhi piLLai’s thanian nama srisailanAthAya kunthI nagara janmanE prasAdhalabdha parama prApya kainkaryasAlinE

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azhagiya maNavALa mAmunigaL

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai Thirunakshathram: ippasi, thirumUlam avathAra sthalam: AzhwAr thirunagari AchAryan: thiruvAimozhi piLLai Sishyas: ashta dhik gajangaL – ponnadikkAl jIyar, kOil aNNan, pathangi paravasthu pattarpirAn jIyar, thiruvEnkata jIyar, eRumbiappA, prathivAdhi bhayankaram aNNan, appiLLai, appiLLAr. nava rathnangaL – sEnai muthaliAndAn nAyanAr, satagOpa dhAsar (nAlUr siRRAththAn), kanthAdai pOrERRu nAyan, yEttUr singarAchAryar, kanthAdai aNNappan, kanthAdai thirukkOpurathu nAyanAr, kanthAdai nAraNappai, kanthAdai thOzhapparappai, kanthAdai azhaiththu vAzhviththa perumAL. He had many other sishyas from various thiruvamsams, thirumALigais and dhivya dhEsams. Place where he attained paramapadham: thiruvarangam Works: prabhandhams: sri dhEvarAja mangaLam, yathirAja vimsathi, upadhEsa rathina mAlai, thiruvAimozhi nURRanthAdhi, Arthi prabhandham. vyAkyAnams for: mumukshupadi, thathva thrayam, srivachana bhUshaNam, AchArya hrudhayam, periyAzhwAr thirumozhi (for the portion which was missing from periyavAchAn piLLai’s vyAkyAnam), rAmAnusa nURRanthAdhi. pramANa thirattu (compilation of all slOkams, sAsthra vAkhyams in a particular gratham) for: eedu 36000 padi, jnAna sAram, pramEya sAram, thathva thrayam, srivachana bhUshaNam. azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr was born in AzhwAr thirunagari to thigazha kidanthAn thirunAvIrudaya pirAn and sri ranga nAchiAr as an avathAram of AdhisEshan and a punar avathAram of anaiththulagum vAzhappiRaNtha yathirAjar (அைன ல வாழ ப ற த யதிராஜ ) and is also known by many other names such as azhagiya maNavALa mAmunigaL, sundhara jAmAthru muni, ramya jAmAthru muni, ramya jAmAthru yOgi, varavaramuni, yathIndhra pravaNar, kAnthopayanthA, rAmAnujan ponnadi, soumya jAmAthru yOgIndhrar, kOil selva maNavALa mAmunigaL, etc. He also has the titles periya jIyar, veLLai jIyar, visthavAk sikAmaNi, poi illAtha maNavALa mAmuni, etc.

Brief life history

Born in AzhwAr thirunagari by the grace of periya perumAL as an avathAram of AdhisEshan.

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mAmunigaL -AzhwAr thirunagari, with ashta dhik gajangaL under his thiruvadi

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He learns all the sAmAnya sAsthram and does vEdha adhyayanam under his father’s guidance in his mother’s place sikkil kidAram. He also gets married in due course. Hearing about thiruvAimozhi piLLai’s vaibhavam, he returns to AzhwAr thirunagari and surrenders to him. We have already seen this in the previous article. His wife gives birth to a son and he requests thiruvAimozhi piLLai to give a suitable name. thiruvAimozhi piLLai says rAmAnujan is repeated 108 times (in rAmAnuja nURRanthAdhi), so that must be the best. Based on that he names his son “emmaiyan irAmAnusan”. After thiruvAimozhi piLLai attaining paramapadham, he becomes the dharisana pravarthakar. He becomes an expert in aruLicheyal especially thiuvAimozhi and eedu 36000 padi vyAkyAnam. He also starts collecting all the supporting pramANams for eedu vyAkyAnam and documents them. Hearing about his glories, azhagiya varadhar (from vAnamAmalai) becomes the first sishya of azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr and immediately accepts sannyAsAshramam to render continuous service to his AchAryan. He gets to be named as vAnamAmalai jIyar (because of his native place) and ponnadikkAl jIyar (because he becomes the first sishya of nAyanAr and lays the foundation for many more to follow – pon adikkAl means golden foundation).

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Recollecting his AchAryan’s niyamanam to go and live in srirangam to propagate our sampradhAyam, he goes to AzhwAr and takes permission from him to travel to srirangam. On the way to srirangam, he performs mangaLAsAsanam to srivilliputhur ANdAL rangamannAr and thirumAlirunchOlai azhagar. He reaches srirangam, performs his nithyakarmAnushtAnam at the banks of cauvery river. All the srivaishnavas from srirangam comes out to welcome him and with the purushakAram of the local srivaishnavas he does mangaLAsAsanam to emperumAnAr, nammAzhwAr, periya pirAttiAr, sEnai mudhaliAr, periya perumAL and namperumAL with his nAchiArs in order. perumAL welcomes him as he welcomed emperumAnAr and gives him special prasAdhams and sri satagOpam. After that he visits piLLai lOkAchAryar’s thirumALigai and glorifies piLLai lOkAchAryar and his younger brother azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr for their contributions for our sampradhAyam. He stays in srirangam for a while and one day namperumAL instructs him to do nithyavAsam (stay permanently) in srirangam teaching all the in-depth meanings of our sampradhAyam. He accepts that order happily and thereafter starts collecting all the granthams which were lost during the muslim invasion. Once, when ponnadikkAl jIyar complains to him about uththama nambi about his services, he instructs jIyar to reform him and engage in emperumAn’s service properly. Then he desires to visit thiruvEnkatam and starts his journey along with ponnadikkAl jIyar. On the way, he performs mangaLAsAsanam at thirukkOvalUr and thirkkadigai. In thirumalai, periya kELvi appan jIyar (who was established by emperumAnAr) sees a svapnam where he says a srivaishnava (gruhasthar) who looks like periya perumAL lying down and a sannyAsi standing at the lotus feet of the srivaishnava. In the svapnam he asks the people who are passing by about them and they say they are “thiruvAimozhi eettu perukkar azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr and his prAna sukruth (life breath/well wisher) and sishyar ponnadikkAl jIyar”. Waking up he is thinking about the auspicious svapnam and finds out that they both are arriving to thirumalai shortly. nAyanAr arrives at thirupathi, worships the thiruvEnkata malai, gOvindharAjar, narasimhar (at the bottom of the hill) and finally reaches thirumalai. periya kElvi appan jIyar arranges for a grand welcome to nAyanAr and ponnadikkAl jIyar and brings them to thiruvEnkatamudaiyAn for mangaLAsAsanam. thiruvEnkatamudaiyAn being very pleased to see them, gives them his prasAdhams and sri satagOpam and finally they take leave from him. He arrives at kAnchipuram and performs mangaLAsAsanam to dhEva perumAL.and dhEva perumAL proclaims him to be the same as emperumAnAr himself and gives his prasAdhams and sri satagOpam.

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mAmunigaL – kAnchipuram
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He then reaches sriperumpUdhUr and completely immerses into emperumAnAr’s anubhavam and performs mangaLAsAsanam. He returns back to kAnchipuram and starts hearing sri bhAshyam from kidAmbi nAyanAr (who is a descendant of kidAmbi AchAn). When srivaishnavas come to do tharkam with him on certain matters, he first refuses citing his AchAryan’s orders on only indulging in bhagavath vishayam but later when convinced by his well wishers, he takes up the task and gives fitting explanations to the ones who came for debate and they finally fall at his lotus feet and praise him very much. kidAmbi nAyanAr being amazed by azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr’s intelligence requests him to show his real svarUpam. Since kidAmbi nAyanAr was in his AchArya sthAnam teaching sri bhAshyam, azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr obliges and shows him his AdhisEsha svarUpam. kidAmbi nAyanAr becomes very much ecstatic and then onwards shows great attachment towards him. Finally after completing the sribhAshyam kAlakshEpam he takes leave and returns to srirangam. Seeing his return periya perumAL becomes joyful and instructs him to stay in srirangam without taking up any more yAthrais. During that time, his relatives inform about some Asoucham which interrupts his kainkaryam. He accepts sannyAsAshramam from a satagOpa jIyar (who is a sishya of thiruvAimozhi piLLai and studied with him in AzhwAr thirunagari) and immediately goes to periya perumAL to inform about that. periya perumAL

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai welcomes him and instructs him to keep the same thirunAmam (due to the divine reason of him wanting to maintain his future AchAryan’s name) and gives him pallava rAyan mutt for him to stay and conduct his kAlakshEpams, etc. Thus azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr becomes azhagiya maNavALa mAmunigaL. All the srivaishnavas under the leadership of uththama nambi went with him to his mutt and sang “manavALa mAmuniyE innumoru nURRAndirum” out of joy. He instructs his sishyas under the leadership of ponnadikkAl jIyar to repair the mutt fully. A beautiful mandapam is built with the sand from piLLai lOkAchAryar’s thirumALigai and is named thirumalai AzhwAr where he performs his kAlakshEpam regularly. He spends his day giving lectures on thiruvAimozhi (eedu) and other prabhandhams, emperumAnAr’s glories and srivachana bhUshaNa dhivya sAsthram, etc to all his disciples and abhimAnis. His glories spread everywhere like wild fire and many srivaishnavas come and take shelter of mAmunigaL. thirmanjanam appA (who is a nithya kainkaryaparar to periya perumAL), her daughter (AychiyAr) and pattarpirAn jIyar become his sishyas. One swamy from vaLLuva rAjEndhram (a nearby village) named singaraiyar supplies some vegetables to mAmunigaL’s mutt and emperumAn being pleased with his action show in his svapnam that “mAmunigaL is none other than AdhisEshan himself and he should go and take shelter of mAmunigaL”. So he travels to srirangam and stays at (kOil) kandhAdai aNNan thirumALigai and shares this incident with aNNan. aNNan thinking about this and lies down to sleep and he sees emperumAnAr and mudhaliANdAn in his dream where emperumAnAr says mAmunigaL is none other than himself. In the dream, mudhaliANdAn instructs kOil aNNan (and uththama nambi) to surrender to mAmunigaL. After waking up, kOil aNNan along with his brothers goes to mAmunigaL’s mutt, takes the purushakAram (recommendation) of ponnadikkAl jIyar and submits himself to mAmunigaL. mAmunigaL gladly accepts him and performs panchasamskAram to him. Then AychiyAr’s (thirumanjanam appA’s daughter) son appAchiAraNNa wants to take shelter of mAmunigaL. mAmunigaL was very happy to hear that but he invites ponnadikkAl jIyar who he considers as his life breath and well wisher, offers his own simhAsanam, presents his own thiruvAzhi and thiruchakkaram and asks him to do panchasamskAram. While ponnadikkAl jIyar first refuses, he has no other choice than accepting his AchAryan’s thiruvuLLam and performs pancha samskAram for appAchiAraNNA. emmaiyan irAmAnusan (pUrvAshramam son of mAmunigaL) lives in AzhwAr thirunagari, gets married and gives birth to two sons – azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr (who becomes to be known as jIyar nAyanAr for his attachment and kainkaryam to mAmunigaL subsequently) and periyAzhwAr aiyan. mAmunigaL decides to do mangaLAsAsanam to nammAzhwAr and takes permission from periya perumAL to go there. He reaches AzhwAr thirunagari, performs his nithya karmAnushtAnams on the banks of the holy thAmirabharaNi river, and does mangaLAsAsanam to bhavishyadhAchAryan (emperumAnAr),

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai thiruvAimozhi piLLai and his thiruvArAdhana perumAL inavAyar thalaivan, nammAzhwAr and polindhu ninRa pirAn. When he has a doubt for one of the chUrNikais in AchArya hrudhayam, he thinks about thirunArAyaNapurathu Ayi who was a sa-brahmachAri (class-mate) of his AchAryan thiruvAimozhi piLLai. He starts his journey to meet him, but right outside AzhwAr thirunagari, he meets Ayi who has travelled all the way from thirunArAyaNapuram to meet mAmunigaL. Both embrace each other with joy and glorify each other. While mAmunigaL writes a thanian glorifying Ayi, Ayi in turn writes a pAsuram which asks if mAmunigaL is emperumAnAr himself or nammAzhwAr or emperumAn himself. After some time Ayi returns to thirunArAyaNapuram and mAmunigaL continues his stay in AzhwAr thirunagari. Some people who were jealous of mAmunigaL’s glories, sets fire to his mutt. But mAmunigaL takes his snake form and comes out of the mutt and takes his form back and stands in the middle of the srivaishnavas looking from outside. When the king decides to punish the miscreants mAmunigaL asks him to forgive them and looking at his kAruNyam they also take shelter of him. The king of the region, looking at mAmunigaL’s glories, accepts pancha samskAram from him and performs many kainkaryams in AzhwAr thirunagari and thirukkurungudi dhivya dhEsams. mAmunigaL returns to srirangam and continues his kainkaryams there. At that time eRumbiappA from eRumbi village hears about mAmunigaL and visits him. After the visit, he leaves without taking the prasAdham of mAmunigaL. After reaching his village, when he tries to open his emperumAn chakkaravarthi thirumagan’s sannidhi door, it does not open. emperumAn tells him that he committed apachAram at the lotus feet of mAmunigaL who is none other AdhisEshan and instructs him to take shelter of mAmunigaL, perform kainkaryam to him and accept his prasAdham – only then the door will be opened. eRumbiappA returns to srirangam and submits himself to mAmunigaL. He writes a wonderful prabhandham named dhinacharyA which has two parts – pUrva dhinacharyA (morning activities of mAmunigaL) and uththara dhinacharyA (evening activities of mAmunigaL). jIyar appreciates kandhAdai nAyan who shows masterful brilliance even at a very young age. appiLLai and appiLLAr takes shelter of mAmunigaL through the purushakAram of ponnadikkAl jIyar. eRumbiappA takes leave from mAmunigaL and returns to his village to propagate mAmunigaL’s glories in his region. Once, uththama nambi who is one of the prominent srivaishnavas was doing thiruvAlavattam kaikaryam to periya perumAL privately. At that time mAmunigaL enters there to do his mangaLAsAsanam. uththama nambi asks him to leave quickly and mAmunigaL accepts his words and left quickly. When nambi becomes tired and lies down for a while near periya perumAL in his svapnam, periya perumAL points his fingers to AdhisEshan and tells nambi that mAmunigaL is none other than AdhisEshan himself. Waking up, he realises his apachAram and runs to mAmunigaL’s mutt and takes aparAdha kshAmanam and serves him with love after that.

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A srivaishnavi named satagOpa koRRi learns aruLicheyal from AychiAr. In the noon time, when mAmunigaL was resting privately, this ammaiyAr peeks through the key hole and finds mAmunigaL in his svarUpam (AdhisEshan form). Hearing the noise mAmunigaL comes out and enquires what she observed. ammaiyAr explains what she saw and mAmunigaL with a smile asks her to keep that a secret. mAmunigaL then decides to write commentaries to rahasya granthams. He first writes expert commentaries to mumukshupadi, thathva thrayam and srivachana bhUshaNam with many references from vEdham, vEdhAntham, ithihAsam, purANams, aruLicheyal, etc. Then he writes commentaries to rAmAnuja nURRanthAdhi, jnAna sAram and pramEya sAram which gives the charama upAya nishtai – i.e., understanding AchAryan is everything. When the srivaishnavas request him to write something crisp and clear for thiruvAimozhi, he writes thiruvAimozhi nURRanthAdhi. This is an unparallel grantham which is written in venpA (a type of poem that is easy to memorize but difficult to write), with one pAsuram for each padhigam in thiruvAimozhi where the starting/ending words of the pAsuram matches that of the padhigam, giving the meanings of the whole padhigam in just 2 lines and glorifying nammAzhwAr in the remaining 2 lines. When the srivaishnavas ask him to record the valuable teachings of our pUrvAchAryas, he writes upadhEsa rathina mAlai which gives an account of the birth stars of AzhwArs, their birth places and glories, emperumAnAr’s apAra kAruNyam, thiruvAimozhi vyAkyAnams and eedu avathAram/propagation details, avathAram of piLLai loKAchAryar and his magnum opus srivachana bhUshaNam, establishes that the essence of thiruvAimozhi is srivachana bhUshaNam and finally explaining the meanings of the same in detail. When some mAyAvAdhis come for a debate, he refuses to debate with them sticking to his “no debate” principle, but asks his sishya vEdalappai to debate with them. vEdalappai does so and easily defeats them. But vEdalappai decides to leave his native place shortly. At this time prathivadhi bhayankaram aNNA who is an expert scholar from kAnchipuram along with his wife, is serving in thirumalai because of his attachment towards thiruvEnkatamudaiyan by doing thirumanjana thIrtha kainkaryam. Once a srivaishnava from srirangam arrives in thirumalai and meets aNNA during his kainkaryam and explains the glories of mAmunigaL. Hearing about mAmunigaL, aNNA becomes very pleased and his desire grows very much to meet him. But in the process, he forgets to add thIrtha parimaLam (cardomom/yElakkAi, etc) and offers the thIrtham to the archakar. He later remembers that and runs to the archakar with the thIrtha parimaLam but archakar says the thIrtham was smelling more pleasant than ever before. aNNA understands the glories of just hearing about mAmunigaL making the thIrtham smell great and travels to srirangam. When he arrives at mAmunigaL’s mutt, mAmunigaL was explaining “onRum dhEvum” (thiruvAimozhi 4.10) padhigam which establishes emperumAn’s parathvam. mAmunigaL was fluently referring to all sAsthrArthams and explaining the pAsurams and aNNA becomes amazed by mAmunigaL’s knowledge and presentation. mAmunigaL stops at the 3rd

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai pAsuram and says aNNA can hear only when he has sambandham with AzhwAr (through the OrAN vazhi AchArya paramparai). aNNA then goes to perform mangaLAsAsanam to periya perumAL. periya perumAL through his archakar instructs aNNA to surrender to mAmunigaL to get vilakshaNa sambandham. aNNA through the purushakAram of ponnadikkAl jIyar takes shelter of mAmunigaL and stays there for some time. Again mAmunigaL goes on a yAthrai to thirumalai. On the way, he performs mangaLAsAsanam to kachi pEraruLALan and stays in kAnchipuram for some time to reform many srivaishnavas there. He instructs appAchiAraNNA to stay in kAnchipuram as his representative. He then proceeds to thirumalai via thirukadigai, eRumbi, thirupputkuzhi, etc and reaches thirumalai. After performing mangaLAsAsanam there, he appoints a siriya kELvi appan jIyar to help periya kELvi appan jIyar (who was appointed by emperumAnAr himself) in his kainkaryams. On his way back he performs mangaLAsAsanam to thiruevvuL vijaya rAghavan, thiruvallikkENi vEnkata krishnan and many other dhivyadhEsams. He arrives at madhurAnthagam and worships the place where periya nambi performed pancha samskAram to rAmAnujar. He then reaches thiruvAli thirunagari and enjoys thirumangai AzhwArs and submits of vadivazhagu pAsuram and performs mangaLAsAsanam to all the emperumAns in the region. He then reaches thirukkaNNapuram, enjoys the sarvAnga sundhara (sourirAja) emperumAn and establishes a thirumEni for thirumangai AzhwAr there. After visiting many other dhivya dhEsams he finally returns to srirangam and stays there. He then instructs appAchiAraNNA to go to kAnchipuram as instructed before. At that time aNNA is very sad that he has to leave this wonderful gOshti and looking at that he orders two small thirumEnis of himself to be made out of his sombu rAmAnujam that was worshipped by ponndikkAl jIyar. He gives one of them to ponndikkAl jIyar and another one to aNNA (these thirumEnis of mAmunigaL can still be seen in vAnamAmalai mutt, vAnamAmalai and mudhaliAndAn thirumALigai in singa perumAL kOil respectively). He also gives “ennai thImanam keduthAi” emperumAn from his thiruvArAdhanam to aNNA (this emperumAn can still be seen in mudhaliAndAn thirumALigai in singa perumAL kOil). mAmunigaL crowns prathivAdhi bhayankaram aNNA as sribhAshya AchAryar, kandhAdai aNNan and sudhdha sathvam aNNan as bhagavath vishaya AchAryars. He also instructs kandhAdai nAyan to write an arumpadham for eedu 36000 padi. periya perumAL starts longing to hear bhagavath vishayam from mAmunigaL without any interruption and also starts thinking about accepting him as his AchAryan out of his own desire. Once during pavithrOthrasavam sARRumarai, when namperumAL goes to thiruppavithrOthsava mandapam and stays there mAmunigaL enters the mandapam to perform mangaLAsAsanam to him. At that time namperumAL orders to mAmunigaL in front of all the kainkaryaparars, AchArya purushas, jIyars, srivaishnavas, etc., to perform kAlakshEpam of nammAzhwAr’s thiruvAimozhi with eedu 36000 padi vyAkyAnam. He orders this to continue without any disruption/disturbance until the kAlakshEpam completes.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai mAmunigaL being very pleased and thinking with great humility that emperumAn has chosen him to do this, accepts emperumAn’s order. The next day when he arrives to the periya thirumandapam (outside periya perumAL sannidhi dvAra pAlakars), namperumAL with his nAchiArs, thiruvananthAzhwAn, periya thiruvadi, sEnai mudhaliAr, all AzhwArs and AchAryas is waiting for him to begin the kAlakshEpam series. mAmunigaL feeling blessed starts the kAlakshEpam of eedu 36000 padi vyAkyAnam with all the other vyAkyAnams (6000 padi, 9000 padi, 12000 padi and 24000 padi) and explains the deep meanings from sruthi perspective, sribhAshyam perspective, sruthprakAsikA perspective sri gIthA bhAshyam perspective, sri pAncharAthram perspective, sri rAmAyaNam perspective, sri vishNu purANam perspective, etc. He also explains word by word meanings, inner meanings, etc. This goes on for close to 10 months and finally they reach the date of sARRumurai on Ani thirumUlam. Once the sARRumurai is complete, namperumAL takes the form of a small child named aranganAyakam comes into the front of the gOshti even when others stop him. Keeping anjali mudhrai, he starts saying “srisailEsa dhayApAthram” and when asked to say more he says “dhIbhakthyAdhi guNArNavam” and when requested to say more again he says “yathIndhra pravaNam vandhE ramya jAmAtharam munim” and runs away. When the sishyas record the slOkam and bring the child back to the gOshti he is unable to read anything from the palm leaf and runs away again. Every one understands that it is none other than namperumAL himself offering the thanian to his AchAryan. At the same time, emperumAn sends this thanian to all the dhivya dhEsams – every where this spreads like wild fire. At that time, a vAzhi thirunAmam is also written by appiLLai by the orders of the srivaishnavas glorifying mAmunigaL.

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thiruvEnkatamudayAn, thirumAlirunchOlai azhagar also instructs that this thanian is recited at the beginning and end of any aruLicheyal anusandhAnam. Other dhivya dhEsams like bhadhrikAshram also gets emperumAn’s niyamanam to glorify mAmunigaL. mAmunigaL starts thinking about vada nAttu dhivya dhEsams and his sishyas take up vada dhEsa yAthrai on his behalf. mAmunigaL gives eRumbiappA his dhivya pAdhugas. mAmunigaL gives aranganagarappan (his thiruvArAdhana perumAL) to ponnadikkAl jIyar and instructs ponnadikkAl jIyar to go and establish a mutt in vAnamAmalai to do uninterrupted service to dheivanAyaka perumAL. mAmunigaL goes on a pAndiya nAttu dhivya dhEsa yAthrai once again. On his way, the king of that region becomes his sishya and performs many dhivya dhEsa kainkaryams based on his orders. When he is travelling near madhurai he stays under a tamarind tree to take rest and while leaving he touches the tree and gives mOksham to the tree. He goes on to perform mangaLAsAsanam in many dhivya dhEsams and finally returns back to thiruvarangam. Through his sishyas he performs various kainkaryams. He sends a jIyar swamy to go and serve thirumAlirunchOlai azhagar. He writes vyAkyAnam for periyAzhwAr thirumozhi for the part that was lost. periyavAchAn piLLai had already written a vyAkyAnam but part of that gets lost – so writes exactly up to the word where periyavAchAn piLLai’s vyAyAnam was not there. He becomes ill and still continues to write. When he was writing AchArya hrudhayam vyAkyAnam with great difficulty, many of his sishyas ask him why he was doing that. mAmunigaL replies that he is doing it for their sons and grandsons and generations to come. He develops great desire to give up his thirumEni and go to paramapadham. He writes Arthi prabhandham crying out to emperumAnAr to accept him and relieve him of this charama thirumEni. He is simply showing us how to do that, since he was emperumAnAr himself anyway. Finally he ends his dealings in the leela vibhUthi and decides to return to paramapadham to do eternal service to emperumAn. He desires to hear all the aruLicheyal once and all his sishyas arrange for that with great love and dedication. mAmunigaL becomes so pleased and performs a grand thadhiArAdhanam and asks for aparAdha kshAmaNam from everyone. Everyone replies that he was blemishless and no need to ask for any kshAmaNam. He then requests everyone to ensure that all the kainkaryams for periya perumAL and namperumAL were done with full love and full focus on them alone. He then says “piLLai thiruvadigaLE sharaNam”, “vAzhi ulagAsiriyan” and “emperumAnAr thiruvadigaLE sharaNam”. With wide open eyes he desires to see emperumAn and emperumAn immediately appears in front of him on garudan and carry him along – thus he ends his leelai in this vibhUthi in the most glorious way. Seeing this all the srivaishnavas starts crying so much. periya perumAL feels the void so much and refuses to accept any bhOgam. Finally all the srivaishnavas console themselves and each other and start the final

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai kainkaryams. The thiruvadhyayana mahOthsavam was celebrated in the most grandeur way – even grander than periya perumAL’s brahmOthsavam based on periya perumAL’s orders. ponnadikkAl jIyar returns from his vada nAttu dhivya dhEsa yAthrai and also completes all the charama kainkaryams of mAmunigaL.

mAmunigaL’s instructions (jnAna/anushtAna pUrthi)

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Once two srivaishnavas are having some misunderstanding with each other. At that time when two dogs are fighting in the street in the presence of those two srivaishnavas – he looks at the dogs and asks the dogs “Have you also learnt srivachana bhUshaNam, etc like these two srivaishnavas to have so much ahankAram?”. Immediately they realize their mistake and become pure after that. When some one from vada dhEsam submits some wealth and when he understands that the wealth was not properly earned, he immediately sends that out. He shows no interest in material wealth, etc. Even when it comes to kainkaryam he ensures that he get money/material that are connected to srivaishnavas only. Once when an old lady comes to his mutt and requests him to stay there for the night. He insists to her that she cant stay in the mutt – he says “even an old squirrel can climb a tree” meaning even when an old lady stays in the mutt, some one may find a fault in mAmunigaL’s vairAgyam. So completely avoids anything which could cause doubt in anyone’s mind. Once when a srivaishnava ammaiyAr is helping in cutting vegetables, etc., she is not doing it with proper bhakthi bhAvam – so mAmunigaL asks her to stay away for 6 months as punishment as he wants the kainkarayaparars to be 100% staying in bhagavath/bhAgavatha nishtai. Once when one srivaishnava named “varam tharum piLLai” comes to mAmunigaL alone, he says srivaishnavas should never go to emperumAn or AchAryan alone and we should always go with other srivaishnavas. He reveals many times the cruel nature of doing bhAgavatha apachAram and always ensures srivaishnavas develop mutual respect for each other. When one bhattar (archakar) in the temple complains to mAmunigaL that his sishyas are not respecting him properly, he insists that they should always offer proper respect to him thinking that perumAL and pirAtti are present in him always. When one wealthy srivaishnava from vada nAttu dhivya dhEsam comes and asks him about srivaishnava lakshaNam, mAmunigaL gives him a detailed explanation as follows. For a real srivaishnava: o It is not sufficient to just to go and take shelter of emperumAn. o it is not sufficient to just accept sambhandham of emperumAn thru shanka/chakra lAnchanam. o It is not sufficient to just do thiruvArAdhanam to emperumAn. o It is not sufficient to just be parathanthran (completely subservient) to ones own AchAryan. o It is not sufficent to just do kainkaryams to bhAgavathas.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai We should have all of these but beyond these we need: to do the kainkaryams which are pleasing to emperumAn and what is needed at that specific time. to keep ones home open for srivaishnavas to enter and do whatever they want and whenever they want to keep oneselves as said by periyAzhwAr “en thammai viRkavum peruvArgaLE” (we should keep ourselves so that srivaishnavas can even sell us to others). o Once we delveop our bhAgavatha sEshathavam then we will easily learn all the sampradhAya arthams by the grace of emperumAn and AzhwAr/AchAryas. For a srivaishnava who is in this nishtai – there is no necessity for them to learn anything specifically/explicitly because they are already following that charama nishtai. o If we try to preach anything that we are not following it will be completely useless. It is compared to be like a prostitute preaching others how to be pure in their conduct. o There is no greater service than worshipping srivaishnavas and there is no greater fault than doing apachArams to srivaishnavas.
o

Hearing these instructions that srivaishnava become very much devoted to mAmunigaL and was constantly thinking about him and worshipping him even after returning to his native place.

mAmunigaL’s unique position in our sampradhAyam
It is easy to speak about and summarize any AchArya’s vaibhavam but mAmunigaL’s vaibhavam is unlimited. Even he himself with his thousand tongues (as AdhisEshan) cannot speak his glories, so how can we do that to our full satisfaction. We just have to satisfy ourselves saying that some how we benefited immensely by speaking (and reading) about him today.
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He was accepted by periya perumAL as his own AchAryan and completes the AchArya rathna hAram and the OrAN vazhi guru paramparai. periya perumAL being his sishya, offers his own sEsha paryankam to mAmunigaL which we can observe even today – except mAmunigaL no other AzhwAr/AchAryan has sEsha paryankam/pItam. periya perumAL being his AchAryan, composes a thanian, offers it to mAmunigaL and instructs that this thanian should be chanted in the beginning and ending of any aruLicheyal gOshti in any place – temples, mutts, thirumALigais, etc. In AzhwAr thirunagari, during ippasi thirumUlam (mAmunigaL’s thirunakshathram), AzhwAr, after his thirumanjanam, sends all his own pallakku, kudai, chAmaram, vAdhyam, etc to mAmunigaL’s sannidhi to bring him over. Only mAmunigaL’s arrival, he adorns the thirumaNN kAppu and gives the prasAdham to mAmunigaL.

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mAmunigaL is the only AchAryan from our pUrvAchAryas whose thiruvadhyayanam is celebrated. Usually thiruvadhyayanam is celebrated by sishyas and sons. In this case, sri ranganAthan is the living sishya of mAmunigaL who celebrates his AchAryan’s thIrtham in a grand manner even today. He sends his own archakas, parichArakas, paraphernelia (all his vattil, kudai, chAnaram, etc), etc for the mahOthsavam. For detailed information in this mahOthsavam please view http://www.kArimAran.com/thiruadhyayanam.html. mAmunigaL was so focussed on not having any glories/celebrations for himself – both in srirangam and AzhwAr thirunagari, he insisted that his archA thirumEnis should be very small and not have any purappAdu, etc., since the focus is on namperumAL and AzhwAr respectively. That is why we see him in very small and beautiful thirumEnis in both these dhivyadhEsams. mAmunigaL was so polite and humble that he would not write ill of any one. Even when there are seemingly contradictory words/meanings in pUrvAchArya vyAkyAnams – mAmunigaL will never harp on it and find fault in one side or the other. mAmunigaL focussed on aruLicheyal and explained vEdhAntham through aruLicheyal pAsurams. Without his advent it is said that thiruvAimozhi and its meanings would have become like tamarind soaked in a river i.e., it would have completely vanished. mAmunigaL collected all the available granthams and wrote them personally and preserved them so many generations later we can still get them. He had apAra kAruNyam even to the ones who troubled/insulted him, he would never show any anger. He would always respect them and treat them nicely. It is said that when we are ready to hold his thiruvadis on our head, amAnavan (the one who helps us cross virajai river) is guaranteed to hold our hand and relieve us from this samsAram. His dedication towards emperumAnAr was unparallel and he showed us how to worship emperumAnAr by practically demonstrating that himself. His life was an example for the writings of our pUrvAchAryas on how a srivaishnava should conduct himselves. This was discussed in detail in adiyen’s ebook named srivaishnava lakshaNam. Click here to see this series of articles and ebook – http://ponnadi.blogspot.in/p/srivaishnava-lakshanam.html.

mAmunigaL’s thanian srisailEsa dhayA pAthram dIbhakthyAdhi guNArNavam yathIndhra pravaNam vandhE ramya jAmAtharam munim Simple translation: I (sri ranganAthan) worship maNavALa mAmunigaL who is the target of thiruvAimozhi piLLai’s dhayai, who is an ocean of jnAnam, bhakthi, vairAgyam, etc and who has great attachment towards emperumAnAr. With this we have completed the OrAN vazhi AchArya paramparai. It is said that we should end everything in a sweet manner. That is why our OrAN vazhi paramparai also

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai ends with mAmunigaL and his charithram are sweeter than anything else in both the worlds (nithya vibhUthi and leelA vibhUthi). mAmunigaL’s thirunakshathra mahOthsavam is celebrated in a grand manner in many dhivyadhEsams like AzhwAr thirunagari, srirangam, kAnchipuram, srivilliputhUr, thiruvahidhrapuram, vAnamAmalai, thirunAryaNapuram, etc. We can all participate and have ourselves purified by being present infront of our AchAryan who was the beloved AchAryan of sri ranganAthan himself. Let us understand the glories of ponnadikkAl jIyar who is the thiruvadi nilai of mAmunigaL and was considered by mAmunigAL as his life breath and well wisher. So, let us enjoy ponnadikkAl jIyar vaibhavam in the next article.

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ponnadikkAl jIyar

ponnadikkAl jIyar – vAnamAmalai

ponnadikkAl jIyar – thiruvallikkENi

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai Thirunakshathram: purattAsi, punarpUsam avathAra sthalam: vAnamAmalai AchAryan: azhagiya maNavALa mAmunigaL Sishyas: chOlasimhapuram mahAryar (dhoddAchAryar), samarabhungavAchAryar, sudhdha saththvam aNNA, jnAnakkaNNAththAn, rAmAnujam piLLai, paLLakkAl sidhdhar, gOshti puraththaiyar and appAchiArANNA and many more. Place where he attained paramapadham: vAnamAmalai Works: thiruppAvai svAbhadhEsa vyAkyAnam, etc Born as azhagiya varadhar, he became to be famously known as ponnadikkAl jIyar. He is also known as vAnamAmalai jIyar, vAnAdhri yOgI, rAmAnuja jIyar, rAmAnuja muni, etc. He was the first and the prime disciple of azhagiya maNavALa mAmunigaL. azhagiya varadhar became the first disciple of azhagiya maNavALa mAumingaL when mAmunigaL was a gruhasthar. azhagiya varadhar immediately accepted sannyAsAshramam and stayed with mAmunigaL most of his life. ponnadikkAl means the one who laid the foundation of mAmunigaL’s sishya sampath. He established many thOthAdhri mutts all over the bhAratha dhEsam and propagated our sampradhAyam in many regions. When mAmunigaL goes for thiumalai yAthrai for the first time, periya kELvi appan jIyar sees a dream, where a gruhasthar is lying down and a sannyAsi is at his lotus feet. jIyar asks the people who are there about these two personalities and they say one is “eettu perukkar” azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr and the other is ponnadikkAl jIyar as called by nAyanAr himself. ponnadikkAl jIyar was always held as purushakAram by many AchAryas to approach mAmunigaL. In yathIndhra pravaNa prabhAvam it is seen that many srivaishnavas comes through ponnadikkAl jIyar and he gladly establishes the connection for them with mAmunigaL and helps them engage in kainkaryam. After kandhAdai aNNan and his relatives become shishyas of mAmunigaL, mAmunigaL says ponnadikkAl jIyar is his prANa sukruth and he should get all the glories which mAmunigaL himself has. Looking at appAchiAraNNA who approached mAmunigaL to become his sishya, mAmunigaL called for ponnadikkAl jIyar, seated him in his own Asanam, gave him his own shankam and chakram and instructed ponnadikkAl jIyar to do samAshrayaNam for appAchiArANNA. ponnadikkAl jIyar, initially refuses out of humility, but seeing mAmunigaL’s determination, he accepts and performs samAshrayaNam to appAchiAraNNA and a few others at that time. mAmunigaL also appoints an ashta dig gajangaL (just like he had eight prime sishyas) to ponndikkAl jIyar as well namely – chOlasimharpuram mahAryar (dhoddAchAryar),

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai samarabhungavAchAryar, sudhdha saththvam aNNA, jnAnakkaNNAththAn, rAmAnujam piLLai, paLLakkAl sidhdhar, gOshti puraththaiyar and appAchiArANNA. When appAchiAraNNA was instructed to leave srirangam to go to kAnchipuram by mAmuingaL, he feels very much upset. At that time mAmunigaL asks appAchiAraNNA to accept his old rAmunujan (thIrtha sombu is usually called as rAmAnujan in our sampradhAyam) which was worshipped by ponnadikkAl jIyar for a long time and asks him to make two small archA thirumEnis of himself (mAmunigaL) and keep one for appAchiAraNNA and give the other to his AchAryan ponnadikkAl jIyar. After some time dheivanAyakan emperumAn (vAnamAmalai) sends a srImukam (an instruction) through sEnai mudhaliAr to mAmunigaL that ponnadikkAl jIyar should be sent to vAnamAmalai dhivya dhEsam to look after the kainkaryam there. mAmunigaL instructs ponnadikkAl jIyar to accept that and go to vAnamAmalai. mAmunigaL then orders everyone to recite 4000 dhivya prabhandham in front of periya perumAL in 100 pAsurams per day kramam. During periya thirumozhi sARRumurai, when “aNiyAr pozhil sUzh aranganagarappA” is recited, emperumAn being very pleased, gives aranganagarappan (a lakshmi nArayaNan vigraham) from his sannidhi to ponnadikkAl jIyar to be carried along to vAnamAmalai. periya perumAL then gives special prasAdham and srI satagOpam to ponnadikkAl jIyar and gives him a nice send off. mAmunigaL also brings ponnadikkAl jIyar to his mutt, performs a grand thadhiArAdhanai and sends him off to vAnamAmalai. ponnadikkAl jIyar then stays at vAnamAmalai, performs many kainkaryams in vAnamAmalai and the nearby dhivyadhEsams like nava thiruppathi, thirukkurungudi, etc and also in places like bhadharikAsramam during his yAthrais. He also gets many disciples and gives them kAlakshEpams and instructions for them to conduct their kainkaryam. ponnadikkAl jIyar then goes on a lengthy yAthrai to all northern dhivyadhEsams. In the mean time mAmunigaL finishes his leelai in samsAram and leaves to paramapadham. While returning from his yAthrai, after reaching thirumalai he hears about the mAmunigaL’s decision to go to paramapadham and out of great sorrow stays some time in thirumalai. He brings all the wealth accumulated during his yAthrai to srirangam, meets with jIyar nAyanAr (grand son of mAmunigaL in his pUrvAshramam) and all the other srivaishnavas and share the grief of his separation from his AchAryan. At that time, according to the orders of mAmunigaL, mAmunigaL’s upadhaNdam (extra dhaNdam), ring (thirvAzhi mOdhiram) and pAdhukAs are given to ponnadikkAl jIyar. Even today this upadhaNdam is tied to the vAnamAmalai jIyars’ thridhaNdam. Also, even today vAnamAmalai jIyars wear mAmunigaL’s ring on special occasions. He then returns to vAnamAmalai and continues his kainkaryam there. At that time, there was no uthsava vigraham for srivaramangai nAchiAr in vAnamAmalai. Once in ponnadikkAl jIyar’s svapnam dheivanAyakan appears and instructs him to bring the nAchiAr vigraham (thirumEni) from thirumalai. So, he travels to thirumalai to fulfill the orders of emperumAn. In his dream, nAchiar appears and says

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai “dear father, please take me to vAnamAmalai and perform my marriage with dheivanAyakan”. She also appears in the dream of the thirumalai jIyar swamys and instruct them to hand over the vigraham to ponnadikkAl jIyar. The jIyars accepted her order and arranged nAchiAr to be sent along with ponnadikkAl jIyar. ponnadikkAl jIyar having brought her over to vAnamAmalai, arranged for a grand wedding and he himself performs kannikAdhAnam. dheivanAyakan also claims that “like periyAzhwAr, ponnadikkAl jIyar is also his father-in-law” and even today this custom is respected and followed in vAnamAmalai dhivyakshEthram. After living for many years giving valuable instructions to every one, ponnadikkAl jIyar gives up his charama thirumEni meditating on his Acharyan azhagiya maNavALa mAmunigaL and attains paramapadham. He appoints the next jIyar of the vAnamAmalai mutt and this AchArya paramparai is continuing even today without any break. Let us pray at the lotus feet of ponnadikkAl jIyar that we also develop such attachment towards emperumAnAr and our AchAryan. ponndaikkAl jIyar’s thanian (submitted by dhoddAchAryar) ramya jAmAthru yOghIndhra pAdharEkha mayam sadhA thathA yaththAthma saththAdhim rAmAnuja munim bhajE Let us see a couple of great samskritham works on ponnadikkAl jIyar by dhoddAchAryar. These two works bring out the greatness of ponnadikkAl jIyar in a wonderful way. The original verses by dhoddAchAryar and a simple translation of these works in Thamizh by sri U.Ve. thenthiruppErai aravindhalOchanan swamy are archived in (http://www.kArimAran.com/downloads/PrapathiMangalasasanam.pdf). vAnamAmalai jIyar mangaLAsAsanam 1. I worship vAnamAmalai jIyar, who is the holder of mAmunigaL’s grace, who is an ocean of mercy himself, pure in heart, full of good qualities right from his birth and was originally known as azhagiya varadhar. 2. My worships always belong to our rAmAnuja jIyar who is the leader of the the jIyar swamys and our kulam and is full of all great qualities that were blessed by mAmunigaL. 3. I worship rAmAnuja jIyar who he is like a honey-bee in the lotus feet of mAmunigaL and is pleasing to my heart like the full moon. 4. I worship rAmAnuja jIyar who is an ocean of good qualities like vAthsalyam, seelam, jnAnam and one who is considered by mAmunigaL as his life breath. 5. I worship vAnamAmalai jIyar who directly went from brahmacharyam to sannyAsam, there by making other two Ashramams (gruhasthAshramam and vAnaprastham) look embarassed. 6. I worship vAnamAmalai jIyar who was the first to be blessed by mAmunigaL and who can remove our dhOshams (defects) like kAmam (lust), etc.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai 7. I worship vAnamAmalai jIyar who is holder of all good qualities and who is free of likes and dislikes in material things and who has lotus like beautiful eyes. 8. vairAgam first manifested in hanumAn. Then it grew well in bhIshma pithAmahar. Finally it glows in vAnamAmalai jIyar now. We will enjoy looking at such glorious vAnamAmalai jIyar. 9. I worship vAnamAmalai jIyar whose explanations to ubhaya vEdhAntham attracts great vidhwAns, whose anushtAnam is hailed and followed by all sannyAsis, who is blemishless and full of knowledge and other good qualities, and one who surrendered to the lotus feet of mAmunigaL. 10. I worship vAnamAmalai jIyar, where even birds near his kAlakshEpa gOshti proclaims that “only sriman nArAyaNan is supreme, eternal truth, etc and all the dhEvathAs are his servants”. 11. I worship vAnamAmalai jIyar, whose katAksham is powerful enough to give artha panchaka jnAnam easily and who is like kalpa vruksham for his sishyas and who have done many kainkaryams in vAnamAmalai. 12. I worship vAnamAmalai jIyar, who reformed me (who was interested in material things only and was not showing any interest in srivaishnavas) out of his pure mercy and who is the wealth of vAnamAmalai dhivya kshEthram. 13. I worship vAnamAmalai jIyar, who is full of knowledge, where vairAgyam is resting peacefully and is like a box containing expensive jewels and is fully determined to take care of the AchArya pItam that was established by emperumAnAr himself. 14. I worship vAnamAmalai jIyar, who is the place holder of mAmunigaL’s mercy, who is an ocean of all good qualities like jnAnam, etc and has great attachment for sri dheivanAyakan emperumAn. vAnamAmalai jIyar prapaththi 1. I surrender at the lotus feet of vAnamAmalai jIyar who is as beautiful as freshly bloomed lotus flower, one who gives happiness to the ones who look at him and one who can help us this samsAram which is a ocean of miseries. 2. I surrender at the lotus feet of vAnamAmalai jIyar who gained glories by the blessings of mAmunigaL, who is capable of destroying our defects, who is an ocean of good qualities and who is like kalpa vruksham for his sishyas. 3. I surrender at the lotus feet of vAnamAmalai jIyar who surrendered to mAmunigaL and did not entangle himself in married life thinking that it will bind him in this jail of samsAram more and more. 4. I surrender at the lotus feet of vAnamAmalai jIyar – first the creeper of virakthi started from hanuman but now it has spread on vAnamAmalai jIyar fully and manifests nicely. 5. I surrender at the lotus feet of vAnamAmalai jIyar who built many mandapams, etc in vAnamAmalai like AdhisEshan (who works to please emperumAn always) to please his AchAryan mAmunigaL. 6. I surrender at the lotus feet of vAnamAmalai jIyar who explained excellently the deep vEdhAntha meanings that are given by nammAzhwAr.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai 7. I surrender at the lotus feet of vAnamAmalai jIyar whose name is powerful enough to remove the poison of the snake called samsAram and will raise the jIvAthmAs to the level of emperumAn himself. 8. I surrender at the lotus feet of vAnamAmalai jIyar which will relieve us from the sins that were accumulated due to time immemorial existence in samsAram, and that which are worshipped by all sAdhus and that which are very pure. 9. I surrender at the lotus feet of vAnamAmalai jIyar whose sripAdha thItham will purify any one and will destroy the fire called thApa thrayam immediately. 10. I surrender at the lotus feet of vAnamAmalai jIyar who was surrendered fully by appAchiAraNNA who was very pure and an ocean of good qualities. 11. I surrender at the lotus feet of vAnamAmalai jIyar who was surrendered by samarabhungavAchAryar who worshipped vAnamAmalai jIyar and who was the peak of all good qualities and who was worshipped by sAdhus. 12. There is no one equal to vAnamAmalai jIyar since his vairAgyam is greater than that of hanuman, bhIshmar, etc. His bhakthi is in line with the oRAN vazhi AchAryas starting with nammAzhwAr. His jnAnam is the same as nAthamuni, yAmuna muni, etc. So, who can be considered greater than vAnamAmalai jIyar based on these facts? 13. He served sri dheivanAyakan emperumAn like Adhi sEshan. He glorified emperumAn’s bhakthas as kulasEkara AzhwAr did. He worshipped his AchAryan mAmunigaL like mathurakavi AzhwAr worshipped nammAzhwAr. He was following the footsteps of our pUrvAchAryas and was the place holder for all good qualities. 14. Long ago, emperumAn descended as nArAyaNan and naran. Now the same emperumAn has appeared like mAmunigaL and ponnadikkAl jIyar. Such is the glory of vAnamAmalai jIyar.

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai

eRumbi appA
thirunakshathram: ippasi, rEvathi avathAra sthalam: eRumbi AchAryan: azhagiya maNavALa mAmunigaL sishyAs: periyavappA (his own son), sEnApathi AzhwAn Works: pUrva dhinacharyai, uththara dhinacharyai, varavaramuni sathakam, vilakshaNa mOksha adhikAri nirNayam, last pAsuram of upadhEsa raththina mAlai (mannuyirgAL …)

eRumbiappA is one of the ashta-dik-gajangaL (eight primary disciples who were established to protect/develop our sampradAyam) of maNavALa mAmunigaL. His original name is dhEvarAjan. While living and performing his dharmam at his village, eRumbiappA hears about maNavALa mAmunigaL and gets attracted towards him. This time period (of maNavALa mAmunigaL) is called NalladikkAlam (golden period) by our pUrvAchAryas. It is because of the fact that, during this period, srivaishnavas could uninterruptedly enjoy the kalyAna guNams (divine qualities) of emperumAn through our acharyas (mainly

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai maNavALa mAmunigaL) without any disturbance from external forces. For example: During emperumAnAr’s time, he had to leave srirangam to go to thirunArAyaNapuram due to the disturbances from saiva king. During bhattar‘s time, he had to leave to thirukkOttiyur due to the disturbances from a disobedient king who was AzhwAn’s sishyan himself. During piLLai lOkAchAryar’s time, he had to leave srirangam to go to down south due to muslim invasion. But when maNavALa mAmunigaL arrived to sriranga he re-established the temple worship, revived the AchArya purushas and most importantly collected all the lost granthams and documented them properly. He was also constantly engaged in performing kAlakshEpams of aruLicheyal based on pUrvAchArya vyAkyAnams. When eRumbiappA hears about maNavALa mAmunigaL‘s vaibhavam, he comes to srirangam to meet him. When he enters the mutt, mAmunigaL is explaining thiruvAimozhi 1st pAsuram – “uyarvara uyar nalam …”. eRumbiappA is mesmerized by the way mAmunigaL explains the great meanings of vEdham and vEdhAntham to explain emperumAn’s parathvam. After that mAmunigaL welcomes him and requests him to participate in the thadhiyArAdhanam. But eRumbiappA refuses to accept prasAdham at the mutt citing sAmAnya sAsthram which says one should not accept sannyAsi’s food, food from the plate of a sannyAsi and food that was sent by a sannyAsi – accepting this one has to do chAndhrAyaNa vratham. He did not realize the visEsha sAsthram like in thirumAlai 41st pAsuram – “tharuvarEl punidhamanRE” (if the great srivaishnavas mercifully give their prasAdham, it is very purifying and we should accept the same). When he returns to his home town, in the morning after completing his anushtAnams, he tries to open the kOvil AzhwAr (thiruvArAdhanam room) and his thiruvArAdhana perumAL chakkaravarthi thirumagan (sri rAman) does not let him open the doors. Out of sorrow and anxiety he does not take any food and goes to sleep. In his svapnam, chakkaravarthi thirumagan appears and instructs him to take shelter of maNavALa mAmunigaL. He says mAmunigaL is none other than AdhisEshan who descended as iLaya perumAL during rAmAvathAram. He says now mAmunigaL has appeared again to give benediction to the suffering samsAris. He instructs him to go and take shelter of mAmunigaL and develop proper thathva jnAnam. Hearing this eRumbiappA runs back to srirangam and with the purushakAram of kOil kandhAdai aNNan, he takes shelter of maNavALa mAmunigaL and eventually becomes one of the ashta-dik-gajangaL. It is at this juncture (while taking shelter), he glorifies mAmunigaL’s daily activities through many slOkams which are compiled by him eventually as dhinacharyais. eRumbiappA stays with mAmunigaL for some time, learns all the rahasya granthams and finally returns to his village and continues his kainkaryam there. He is constantly thinking about his AchAryan and compiles pUrva and uththara dhinacharyai (which summarizes mAmunigaL’s daily activities) and sends them to mAmunigaL through a srivaishnava. mAmunigaL is very pleased to see eRumbiappA’s nishtai and glorifies him. He also sends an invitation to eRumbiappA to come and visit him. eRumbiappA stays with his AchAryan for a while and participates in the bhagavath vishaya

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srIvaishNava guru paramparai kAlakshEpam of mAmunigaL in front of namperumAL. He finally returns to his village again. eRumbiappA hears the news about mAmunigaL reaching paramapadham and is filled with the sorrow of separation from his AchAryan. He glorifies the benedictions that was given to him by his AchAryan and prays to emperumAn to accept him also as soon as possible. One of the most important contributions of eRumbiappA is “vilakshaNa mOksha adhikAri nirNayam”. This is a compilation of conversations between eRumbiappA and his sishyas like sEnApathi AzhwAn, etc. In this beautiful grantham eRumbiappA expertly clarifies many of the doubts that arises out of misunderstanding our AzhwAr/AchArya srisUkthis. The importance of developing vairAgyam in samsAram and attachment towards our pUrvAchArya’s jnAnam and anushtAnam and ourselves putting them into practice (without this being just theoretical knowledge) is greatly emphasized by him based on pUrvAchArya srisUkthis. It is stated by our pUrvAchAryas that, one should not eat prasAdham without chanting pUrva and uththara dinacharyais (remembering the most exalted/uncomparable lifestyle of maNavALa mAmunigaL). It is such wonderful composition which makes even a stone melt after hearing these dinacharyais. The dinacharyais (text) can be downloaded in different languages from http://acharya.org/sloka/erumbiyappa/index.html. Let us remember eRumbiappA who always remembers maNavALa mAmunigaL. eRumbiappA’s thaniyan (pUrva/uththara dinacharayais thaniyan): sowmya jAmAthru yoghIndhra sharanAmbhuja shathpadham dhEvarAja gurum vandhE dhivya jnAna pradham shubham

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