srimathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srimadh varavaramunayE nama:
sri vAnAchala mahAmunayE nama:
thirunakshathram: AvaNi hastham
avathAra sthalam: srIrangam
AchAryan: ponnadikkAl jIyar
Sishyas: aNNAvilappan (his own son), etc
Born in srIrangam, he was named varadharAjan by his father siRRaNNar. He was born in the glorious vAdhula lineage of mudhaliyANdAn and is 9th in the lineage of ANdAn famly. He is also the son of AychiyAr who is the daughter of thirumanjanam appA. He was named by appAchiyAraNNA by maNavALa mAmunigaL who consider him very dear and hailed him as “nam appAchiyAraNNAvO” (நம் அப்பாசியாரண்ணாவோ – Is this our appAchiyAraNNA?). He is also the dear sishya of ponnadikkAl jIyar and is hailed as the lotus feet of ponnadikkAl jIyar (just like ponnadikkAl jIyar is hailed as the lotus feet of mAmunigaL).
thrirumanjanam appA was a self-less kainkaryaparar at srIrangam periya kOil and had great attachment towards mAmunigaL. Understanding mAmunigaL’s glories, he regularly followed mAmunigaL while mAmunigaL went for his bathing everyday. He would bath in the water that flows from where mAmunigaL bathes and he becomes blessed with pure knowledge by that divine water that was used by mAmunigaL to bathe. He then fully takes shelter of mAmunigaL and starts serving mAmunigaL fully.
Once when mAmunigaL was going for his bathing. At that time, it starts raining. So, he takes shelter at the front porch of a vaishNava house. The lady of the house comes out rushing seeing jIyar and prepares a seat for him to sit. She also takes the wet pAdhukas (sandals) of mAmunigaL, places them at her head with the water dripping from them. She then wipes off the water and places the same again on her head with great devotion. By that contact, she becomes fully blessed and wants to accept mAmunigaL as her AchArya. When jIyar asks her about her identity, she reveals that her name is “Achi” she is the daughter of thirumanjanam appA and mAmunigaL was happy to hear about her connection with thirumanjanam appA. She also says that she is married to kandhAdai siRRaNNar (mudhaliyANdAn lineage). When the rain stops, mAmunigaL leaves from there to cauvery.
After some time, she reveals her desire to her father and her father arranges for her pancha samskAram by mAmunigaL in a secret fashion (since she was married into an AchArya purusha family, she was scared to do it publicly). While mAmunigaL hesitates initially due to her existing sambandham (connections), seeing her extreme devotion, she performs pancha samskAram for her.
Eventually, most of the kandhAdai family AchAryas take shelter of mAmunigaL through the divine arrangement of emperumAn. kOil kandhAdai aNNan who is the main AchArya sees a divine dream which guides him to approach mAmunigaL through ponnadikkAl jIyar and takes shelter of him. He brings along most of the AchArya purushas of kandhAdai thiruvamsam and they all take shelter of mAmunigaL.
After performing pancha samskAram to kOil aNNan and others, mAmunigaL reveals his divine attachment towards ponnadikkAl jIyar. He says to everyone in the gOshti that “ponnadikkAl jIyar is my life breath and well-wisher. Whatever glories are present for me, he should also have the same. Just like I now have the connection (as AchArya) for the descendants of mudhaliyANdAn, he should also have some sishyas from the same family”. kOil aNNan, understanding the divine emotions of mAmunigaL, at once says “You should have shown me the lotus feet of ponnadikkAl jIyar and I would have taken shelter” and mAmunigaL replies “How can I give up, what is to be accomplished by me?”. kOil aNNan then looks around his relatives and appAchiyAraNNA stands up and humbly says “Please give me the shelter our lord vAnamAmalai rAmAnuja jIyar“. jIyar becomes very pleased and says “nam appAchiyAraNNAvO?” (Is this our appAchiyAraNNa?). mAmunigaL raises from him Asanam and asks ponnadikkAl jIyar to sit in his own Asanam and hands over thiruvAzhi (chakkaram) and thiruchangu (sangu) and instructs him to perform pancha samskAram to appAchiyAraNNA. ponnadikkAl jIyar at first refuses to do that out of humility but mAmunigaL insists that he must do that since that is very dear to him. So, ponnadikkAl jIyar obliges and accepts appAchiyAraNNA as his sishya.
Thereafter appAchiyAraNNA constantly engages in serving ponnadikkAl jIyar and mAmunigaL in srIrangam.
Once when mAmunigaL goes on thiruvEnkata yAthrai, all his sishyas accompany him. They first reach kAnchipuram and perform mangaLAsAsanam to dhEva perumAL. At that time jIyar and his entourage worships dhEva perumAL’s vaikAsi mahOthsavam and perform mangaLAsAsanam to emperumAn in garuda vAhanam.
The srIvaishNavas of kAnchipuram approach mAmunigaL and glorify mAmunigaL. mAmunigaL highlights them the importance of srIvaishNava etiquette and principles and asks them to be well-versed in dhiyva prabhandham, etc. They happily agree to his suggestions and request him to appoint some one to stay there permanently and guide them. mAmunigaL requests ponnadikkAl jIyar to bring appAchiyAraNNA and he does so. He then says “Consider appAchiyAraNNA as myself” to the srIvaishNavas and instructs appAchiyAraNNA “Since you come in the lineage of mudhaliyANdAn, you guide everyone here as a representative of me and thus please your ancestors like ANdAn, kandhAdai thOzhappar, etc and perform mangaLAsAsanam to dhEva perumAL every day. hasthigiri nAthan will bring all auspiciousness to you”. appAchiyAraNNA accepts mAmunigaL’s instructions but follows jIyar in his thirumalai yAthrai. After visiting many dhivya dhEsams, they return to srIrangam finally.
At that time, mAmunigaL invites appAchiyAraNNA and reminds him about his responsibility to return to kAnchipuram. appAchiyAraNNA reveals his sorrow in leaving the wonderful company of srIvaishNava gOshti at the lotus feet of mAmunigaL. mAmunigaL understanding appAchiyAraNNA’s emotions, brings him over to his perumAL sannidhi. He was having a sombu (small pot) which was named “srI rAmAnujam” but he handed over the same to ponnadikkAl jIyar who kept that in a basket and worshipped the same with devotion everyday as prasAdham of his AchArya. mAmunigaL ordered ponnadikkAl jIyar to bring that sombu, collects that, hands over the same to appAchiyAraNNA and says “As the engraved thirumaN, sangu, chakram and the name srIrAmAnujam have all vanished, please create two small vigrahams of me out of this metal and you submit one to your AchAryan (ponnadikkAl jIyar) and keep one for your thiruvArAdhanam”. He also presents a divine vigraham named “ennaith thImanam keduththAr” (என்னைத் தீமனம் கெடுத்தார் – one who purified my mind – this divine name is from nammAzhwAr‘s thiruvAimozhi 2.8 padhigam) from his own thiruvArAdhanam to appAchiyAraNNA.
This emperumAn was worshipped by AtkoNdavilli jIyar (who is a sishya of emperumAnAr) and kandhAdai ANdAn (son of mudhaliyANdAn) was very dear to AtkoNdavilli jIyar. mAmunigaL says “As you also come in the lineage of kandhAdai ANdAn and you also deserve to worship this emperumAn, you place him in your thiruvArAdhanam and worship him daily”. mAmunigaL also reveals out of great attachment towards appAchiyAraNNA that appAchiyAraNNA is an amsam of dhEva perumAL himself. Accepting mAmunigaL’s orders, appAchiyAraNNA settles down in kAnchipuram and guides all the srIvaishNavas there.
Thus, we have seen some glimpses of the glorious life of appAchiyAraNNA. He was very dear to mAmunigaL and his AchAryan ponnadikkAl jIyar. Let us pray at his lotus feet that we too get a little bit of such abhimAnam of our AchAryan.
srImath vAnamahAsaila rAmAnuja munipiryam
vAdhUla varadhAchAryam vandhE vAthsalya sAgaram
ஸ்ரீமத் வாநமஹாசைல ராமாநுஜ முநிப்ரியம்
வாதூல வரதாசார்யம் வந்தே வாத்ஸல்ய ஸாகரம்
adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan
Sources: yathIndra pravaNa prabhAvam, mudhaliyANdAn swamy thirumALigai thanian srIkOsam