srimathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srimadh varavaramunayE nama:
sri vAnAchala mahAmunayE nama:

In the previous article (http://guruparamparai.wordpress.com/2012/09/01/periya-nambi/) we discussed about periya nambi. Now we will move on to the next AchAryan in the OrAN vazhi guru paramparai.

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 periya thirumalai nambi on behalf of his parents.
  • sri rAmAnuja given by periya nambi during his pancha samskAram.
  • yathirAja and rAmAnuja muni given by dhEva perumAL during sanyAsAshrama svIkAram.
  • 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.
  • bhUthpurIsar 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.
  • 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.

emperumAnAr – thirumalai

  • 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.
  • 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:

  • 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.
  • 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”.
  • 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 nUtranthAthi. 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
vyAmOhathas thathitharANi thruNAya mEnE
asmadhgurOr bhagavathOsya dhayaikasindhO:
rAmAnujasya charaNau sharaNam prapadhyE

யோநித்யம் அச்யுத பதாம்புஜ யுக்ம ருக்ம
வ்யாமோஹதஸ் ததிதராநி த்ருணாய மேநே
அஸ்மத்குரோர் பகவதோஸ்ய தயைகஸிந்தோ:
ராமாநுஜஸ்ய சரணௌ சரணம் ப்ரபத்யே

In our next article, we will see embAr vaibhavam.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

archived in http://guruparamparai.wordpress.com, also visit http://ponnadi.blogspot.in/

Sources: 6000 padi guru paramparA prabhavam, periya thirumudi adaivu, charama upAya nirNayam

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61 thoughts on “emperumAnAr

  1. krishna

    dear swamin, While listening to guruparambarai 6000 padi kalakshepam, Ramanuja Muni was the name given by kanchi varadharajan when Ilaiazwar took sanyasa ashramam. Please clarify

    1. sarathyt Post author

      yes swamy – in guruparamparai that is explained clearly. Actually in periya thirumudi adaivu, it is explained that periyanambi gave the dhAsya nAmam “rAmAnuja” to iLayAzhwAr. adiyen will correct it in the article. thanks for pointing it out.
      adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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