srimathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srimadh varavaramunayE nama:
sri vAnAchala mahAmunayE nama:
emperumAnAr and vangi purathu nambi
thirunakshathram: not known
avathAra sthalam: not known (potentially vangi puram which is his father’s native place or srIrangam where his father vangi purathu Achi might have lived after becoming maNakkAl nambi‘s sishya)
Works: virOdhi parihAram
He was instrumental in the revelation of virOdhi parihAram – one of the classic granthams of our sampradhAyam. When vangi purathu nambi goes to emperumAnAr and asks him what are the hurdles that a prapanna will face while in samsAram, emperumAnAr gives a list of 83 hurdles. vangi purathu nambi documents those 83 hurdles with detailed explanation to each one of those hurdles as heard from emperumAnAr. In this grantham, each aspect of our lives is analysed bit by bit and clear guideline is presented for us to handle each particular aspect.
vangi purathu nambi’s son is named vangi purathu Achi and he is also highlighted in some idhihyams.
In our vyAkyAnams, a few idhihyams that show the glories of vangi purathu nambi are seen. Let us see some of them now.
- nAchiyAr thirumozhi 9.6 – periyavAchAn piLLai vyAkyAnam – ANdAL glorifies emperumAn as the one who has the great wealth of srI mahAlakshmi. In this connection, vangi purathu nambi instructs his sishya siriyAthAn that “Many philosophies accept a supreme power, but we (srIvaishNavas) accept what is presented in sAsthram – that srImAn nArAyaNan is the supreme god and the only refuge for everyone”.
- periya thirumozhi 6.7.4 – periyavAchAn piLLai vyAkyAnam – In this pAsuram, thirumangai AzhwAr talks about kaNNan emperumAn (supreme god himself) was scared of yasOdhai and started to cry as soon as he was caught stealing the butter. In this connection, a beautiful incident is explained. vangi purathu nambi requests emperumAnAr to teach him thiruvArAdhana kramam (how to perform daily worship at home). emperumAnAr was unable to spend the time and teach him the same due to his busy schedule. But once in nambi’s absence, emperumAnAr starts teaching thiruvArAdhana kramam to AzhwAn and mAruthi siriyAndAn (hanumath dhAsar). At that time vangi purathu nambi enters the room and seeing him emperumAnAr feels great emotions. He says at that time “I had this doubt in my mind for a long time. Now I realize/understand why emperumAn (even though being supreme) was feeling scared after being caught stealing butter. I am going through the same emotions now – when you requested, I did not teach you this but some how I started teaching them the same. Even though I am AchAryan and you are sishyan and I dont have to fear for you, because of my deed, I am feeling scared looking at you”. Such was the greatness of our emperumAnAr that when he did a mistake, he openly accepted it and also explained a great principle in that connection.
- thiruvirutham – nampiLLai eedu vyAkyAnam introduction – nampiLLai establishes that nammAzhwAr was a samsAri before and by the causeless mercy of emperumAn he became AzhwAr. But AzhwAr‘s glories are too much that different AchAryas have seen him in different view point – Some view him as a mukthar (one was freed from samsAram); one of aruLALa perumAL emperumAnAr‘s sishya views him as some one who is not a mukthar but as good as one; Some say he is a nithya sUri; vangi purathu nambi says he is emperumAn himself.
- thiruvAimozhi 7.2.7 – nampiLLai eedu vyAkyAnam – In this padhigam (kangulum pagalum), nammAzhwAr sings in mother bhAvam, where AzhwAr’s state is explained by her mother. In every pAsuram, AzhwAr (mother) is calling out for emperumAn as thiruvarangathAy but in this pAsuram, she is not doing that. vangi purathu nambi explains that when a patient’s situation becomes very bad, the doctor will not look at the eyes of the relatives and inform the same – instead he will turn his face towards some other direction and inform the condition of the patient to the relatives. Similarly, since AzhwAr‘s condition in separation from emperumAn is really bad, so AzhwAr (mother) is not calling out emperumAn in this pAsuram and just reveals her anguish about the situation.
- thiruvAimozhi 9.2.8 – nampiLLai eedu vyAkyAnam – During a srIjayanthi purappAdu in srIrangam, vangippurathu nambi joins the cowherd girls group and worship emperumAn from there. ANdAn asks him what he said when he was in that group. nambi says “I said vijayasva”. ANdAn replies when you are there with those girls, you should glorify him in their own language instead of this hard samskritham.
In vArthAmAlai, a few idhihyams that show the glories of vangi purathu nambi (and his son) are seen. Let us see them now.
- 71 – vangi purathu nambi instructs yathivara chUdAmaNi dhAsar – When a jIvAthmA (who is miniscule and incapable of anything) gets emperumAn (who is great and omnipotent), there is no effort in jIvAthmA himself or any one else. jIvAthmA has only 2 choices – either accept AchAryan’s grace, contemplate on dhvaya mahA manthram and be uplifted or become a nithya samsAri and be in this samsAram for ever.
- 110 – vangi purathu Achi instructs kidAmbi AchAn – For the jIvAthmA who has been in this samsAram since time immemorial, always be confident that periya pirAttiyAr is there to help us reach emperumAn.
- 212 – This is a beautiful incident. A srIvaishNavi named thrailOkyAL is a sishyai of vangi purathu Achi. When ananthAzhwAn arrives to srIrangam, she goes and serves him for 6 months. After ananthAzhwAn’s departure, she returns to Achi. Achi enquires her about her absence and she replies that she was serving ananthAzhwAn. Achi enquires her if he taught her any valuable principle and she replies “I served you for so many years – you showed me that I am fully dependent on emperumAn’s lotus feet. In six months he showed me that I should be fully dependent on your lotus feet”. ananthAzhwAn shows her that we should be fully dependent on AchAryan’s lotus feet and this incident beautifully reveals that.
piLLai lOkAchAryar identifies vangi purathu nambi’s conclusion of charama slOkam in mumukshupadi. In the last section of charama slOka prakaraNam, the glories of charama slOkam are fully revealed. In sUthram 265, it is identified that “vangi purathu nambi says that kaNNan emperumAn instructs arjunan the charamslOkam after fully demonstrating his greatness through various incidents. Thus it should be easy for arjunan to accept that principle”. In the vyAkyAnam, mAmunigaL identifies that vangi purathu nambi is “Aptha thamar” – one who is well-situated in our spiritual well-being.
Thus, we have seen some glimpses of the glorious life of vangi purathu nambi. He was fully situated in bhAgavatha nishtai and was very dear to emperumAnAr himself. Let us pray at his lotus feet that we too get a little bit of such bhAgavatha nishtai.
vangi purathu nambi’s thaniyan:
bhArathvAja kulOdhbhUtham lakshmaNArya padhAsritham
vandhE vangipurAdhIsam sampUrNAyam krupAnidhim
பாரத்வாஜ குலோத்பூதம் லக்ஷ்மணார்ய பதாச்ரிதம்
வந்தே வங்கிபுராதீஸம் ஸம்பூர்ணாயம் க்ருபாநிதிம்
adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan
Sources: 6000 padi guru paramparA prabhAvam, vArthAmAlai, vyAkyAnams, periya thirumudi adaivu, MAV swamy’s vAzhvum vAkkum for quick reference