srimathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srimadh varavaramunayE nama:
sri vAnAchala mahAmunayE nama:
In the previous article (https://guruparamparai.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/pillai-lokacharyar/) we discussed about piLLai lOkAchAryar. Now we will move on to the next AchAryan in the OrAN vazhi guru paramparai.
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
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 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 son 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 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 re-establishes 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 in-depth 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 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
நம ஸ்ரீஸைலநாதாய குந்தீ நகர ஜந்மநே
ப்ரஸாதலப்த பரம ப்ராப்ய கைங்கர்யஸாலிநே
In our next article, we will see azhagiya maNavALa mAmunigaL vaibhavam.
adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan
Sources: yathIndhra pravaNa prabhAvam, periya thirumudi adaivu, vyAkyAnams