srimathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srimadh varavaramunayE nama:
sri vAnAchala mahAmunayE nama:
thirunakshathram: vaikAsi, anusham
avathAra sthalam: srIrangam
Place where he attained paramapadham: srIrangam
vEdha vyAsa bhattar is the illustrious son of kUrathAzhwAn and the younger brother of parAsara bhattar. He is also known as srI rAma piLLai, srI rAma sUri, etc. sudharsana sUri (srutha prakAsikA bhattar), the one who wrote the commentary for srI bhAshyam, is a descendant of vEdha vyAsa bhattar.
Both bhattars were born to AzhwAn and ANdAL out of the prasAdham from periya perumAL (srI ranganAthan). Once when AzhwAn and ANdAL were lying down in the evening without consuming any prasAdham (AzhwAn was doing unja vruthi and on that day due to rain he was unable to collect any grains), they hear the final naivEdhyam bell ringing from the temple. ANdAL says to emperumAn “Here you have AzhwAn who is your pure devotee without any prasAdham but you are enjoying nice bhOgam there”. Understanding this, periya perumAL sends his prasAdham to AzhwAn and ANdAL with all his paraphernelia through uththama nambi. Seeing the prasAdham coming in, AzhwAn is awe-struck. Immediately, he turns to ANdAL and asks did you complain to emperumAn and ANdAL admits her request. AzhwAn becomes upset for insisting emperumAn to provide for their prasAdham. He accepts 2 handfuls of prasAdham alone, consumes some and gives the remnants to ANdAL. Those 2 handfuls of prasAdham eventually blesses them with two beautiful children.
On the 12th day after the birth of the two children, emperumAnAr arrives with embAr and all his sishyas to AzhwAn‘s home. He asks embAr to bring the children over. embAr, while bringing the children over, recites dhvaya mahA manthram in their ears and hands over the children to emperumAnAr. emperumAnAr at once identifies that they have had dhvaya manthrOpadhEsam and asks embAr to be their AchAryan. embAr happily accepts that and teaches them all the divine principles of our sidhAntham. emperumAnAr then names the children parAsara bhattar and vEdha vyAsa bhattar in memory of sage parAsara and sage vEdha vyAsa for their contribution for sanAthana dharmam. Thus he fulfills one of the vows to ALavandhAr where he said he will do something which will show our gratitude to the sages parAsara and vEdha vyAsa.
Of the two brothers, parAsara bhattar lived for a short period and left to paramapadham out of great desire to leave samsAram. ANdAL (bhattar’s mother) was magnanimous during the last moments of bhattar and oversees bhattar’s final rites blissfully considering bhattar himself wanted to go to parampadham to perform eternal service to srIman nArAyaNan there. On completion of the final rites, vEdha vyAsa bhattar returns home and starts crying out loud out of separation from parAsara bhattar. ANdAL at once chastises vEdha vyAsa bhattar and asks if he is jealous of parAsara bhattar ascending to paramapadham. vEdha vyAsa bhattar realizes his mistake at once, consoles himself, begs his mother for pardon and continues the great celebrations for parAsara bhattar.
periya perumAL invites vEdha vyAsa bhattar over to his sannidhi and tells him “Dont think that parAsara bhattar has left you. I am here for you like your father.”. vEdha vyAsa bhattar then leads the sampradhAyam with other stalwarts such as nanjIyar, etc.
In our vyAkyAnams, a few idhihyams (incidents) that show the glories of vEdha vyAsa bhattar are seen. Let us see some of them now.
- thirumAlai 37 – periyavAchAn piLLai vyAkyAnam – In this pAsuram, thoNdaradippodi AzhwAr explains that periya perumAL is the eternal relative for us and he will protect us at all times. In connection to this, it is identified that when vEdha vyAsa bhattar was going through some suffering, parAsara bhattar explains to him this principle and asks him to fully depend on periya perumAL.
- mudhal thiruvanthAdhi 4 – nampiLLai/periyavAchAn piLLai vyAkyAnams – poigaiyAzhwAr explains that rudhran was explaining bhagavath vishayam to agasthya, pulasthya, dhaksha and mArkandEya (as if he knows everything about emperumAn). When vEdha vyAsa bhattar sarcastically comments about rudhran, parAsara bhattar says “rudhran becomes confused when thamO guNam overtakes his mind, atleast now he is engaging in bhagavath vishayam – so dont criticise him now”.
- thiruvAimozhi 1.2.10 – nampiLLai eedu vyAkyAnam – In this pAsuram, nammAzhwAr explains the meaning of thirumanthram (ashtAkshari). A beautiful incident is identified by nampiLLai here. The meanings of ashtAkshari must be heard from the AchAryan only. Once during a kAlakshEpam of AzhwAn, while explaining the meanings of this pAsuram, he observes the presence of his two sons – parAsara bhattar and vEdha vyAsa bhattar. He asks them to go to embAr (their AchAryan) and learn the meanings. They both oblige and starts leaving. But AzhwAn calls them back and tells them “everything in this world is so temporary that, you may not even reach embAr‘s mutt successfully (something could happen on the way to both of you). So, I myself will teach you the meanings of ashtAkshari” and explains the same to them. AzhwAn was a classic example of how a srIvaishNava should be – most merciful towards others spiritual welfare and most detached from others.
- thiruvAimozhi 3.2 – nampiLLai eedu vyAkyAnam (introduction section) – In this padhigam, nammAzhwAr is unable to behold the anubhavam of thirumAlirunchOlai azhagar. Here vEdha vyAsa bhattar raises a doubt to parAsara bhattar. “Why is AzhwAr suffering so much and not able to enjoy emperumAn fully in archAvathAram which is right in front of us now unlike parampadham (which is far far away) or vibhavam (which happened long ago)?”. parAsara bhattar replies “For less intelligent people, the 5 different forms of bhagavAn (para, vyUha, vibhava, archai, antharyAmi) are different from each other. But for the ones who have fully understood the principles, since all these forms represent the same bhagavAn, all of them are full in all qualities. But now, AzhwAr is being overwhelmed by the beauty of azhagar and he is not able to fully enjoy and behold those emotions”.
- thiruvAimozhi 6.7.5 – nampiLLai eedu vyAkyAnam – When parAsara bhattar explains the beauty of the gardens, etc around the thirukkOLUr temple of vaithamAnidhi emperumAn, vEdha vyAsa bhattar reminds him about the more detailed explanation given by embAr that AzhwAr‘s mind becomes greatly pacified by seeing the beauty around the dhivya dhEsam.
- thiruvAimozhi 7.2 – nampiLLai eedu vyAkyAnam – When the two bhattars became eligible for marriage, ANdAL asks AzhwAn to go and inform periya perumAL. AzhwAn says “Why should we worry for bhagavAn’s family?” – he was totally surrendered to emperumAn that he was not indulging in any self-efforts. When AzhwAn goes to periya perumAL, periya perumAL himself asks if AzhwAn wants to say something. AzhwAn replies that “Others are saying that, these two bhattars need to get married” and emperumAn subsequently arranges for their marriage.
Thus, we have seen some glimpses of the glorious life of vEdha vyAsa bhattar. 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.
vEdha vyAsa bhattar’s thaniyan:
pauthram srIrAmamisrasya srIvathsAngasya nandhanam
rAmasUrim bhajE bhattaparAsAravarAnujam
பௌத்ரம் ஸ்ரீராமமிச்ரஸ்ய ஸ்ரீவத்ஸாங்கஸ்ய நந்தநம்
ராமஸூரிம் பஜே பட்டபராஸாரவராநுஜம்
adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan
Sources: 6000 padi guru paramparA prabhAvam, vyAkyAnams, periya thirumudi adaivu, MAV swamy’s vAzhvum vAkkum for quick reference