srimathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srimadh varavaramunayE nama:
sri vAnAchala mahAmunayE nama:
avathAra sthalam: unknown
AchAryan: maNavALa mAmunigaL
Works: sampradhAya chandhirkai, kAla prakAsikai
Also known as appiLLAn, appiLLAr was a great scholar. He is said to be coming in the lineage of kidAmbi AchAn who is a dear sishya of emperumAnAr. He goes on to become one of the dear disciples of maNavALa mAmunigaL and one of the ashta dhik gajas.
mAmunigaL resides in srIrangam per periya perumAL‘s orders and spends his time spreading the glories of our sath sampradhAyam. Seeing his greatness, many AchArya purushas and scholars become his sishyas.
appiLLAr was a great vidhwAn who won over many scholars in northern part of bhAratha dhEsam. He was filled with pride about his knowledge and arrives at eRumbi to debate with eRumbi appA. But, seeing eRumbi appA‘s greatness, he submits to him and learns the essential principles from him. After a few days, he decides to leave. While sending him off, eRumbi appA asks where he was going. appiLLAr says, he is planning to go to srIrangam to debate with jIyar (mAmunigaL). eRumbi appA wanting to give good advice to him, says “You should not do that. I know the glories of jIyar. He studied srI bhAshyam under kidAmbi nAyanAr in kAnchIpuram. At that time kidAmbi nAyanAr asked me to enquire previous lessons from jIyar to verify jIyar’s memory and I was amazed to his sharp intellect. He is well aware of the entire principles. No one can debate with him. More over he is a leader among sannyAsis and the one who rejuvenates srIvaishNava sampradhAyam. We should only have reverence towards him. I will explain more about him in the future”. Hearing this appiLLAr leaves eRumbi with some understanding about mAmunigaL.
After that eRumbi appA visits srIrangam and becomes a sishya of mAmunigaL. He stays with mAmunigaL for some time and wants to leave srIrangam. He wants to return to eRumbi (his native village) after serving mAmunigaL for some time. He sees some inauspicious signs/omens, so he does not leave. When he comes back to mAmunigaL, mAmunigaL says “You wait and see – something auspicious is going to happen. We will let you leave after that”. Others hearing this become ecstatic and are waiting for the auspicious incident.
At that time, appiLLai and appiLLAr arrive at srIrangam with their familes and associates to worship srIranganAthan. Though they have heard about mAmunigaL they dont have great attachment towards him. Being great scholars, they arrive with their sishyas and great wealth (acquired from winning debates) at the banks of cauvery river and stay put there for a couple of days. While staying there, they hear about the glories of mAmunigaL and hear that many great personalities such as kandhAdai aNNan, eRumbi appA, etc have taken shelter of mAmunigaL. They become amazed and wonder if such great AchAryas can become sishyas of mAmunigaL. appiLLAr knowing eRumbi appA‘s expertise in sAsthram, wonders if such experts in sAsthram takes shelter of mAmunigaL there must be something special in him. appiLLAr then goes inside srIrangam with his close associate who is intelligent and goes near jIyar’s mutt. Staying outside, he sends his associate inside and asks him to announce that “appiLLAn has arrived” and if eRumbi appA is present in the gOshti he will recognize him and welcome him. His associate goes inside, spots eRumbi appA and says “appiLLAn has arrived” and hearing that eRumbi appA feels happy and thinks that “this is a good dawn for appiLLAr”. eRumbi appA comes out immediately to meet appiLLAr. appiLLAr notices the shankam (conch) and chakram (disc) marks in the shoulders of eRumbi appA and understands that he has recently become a sishya of mAmunigaL. appiLLAr offers his obeisances to eRumbi appA and they both enquire their mutual well-being. eRumbi appA explains the whole set of incidents through which emperumAn directed him to become the sishya of mAmunigaL. appiLLAr slowly realises the glories of mAmunigaL and tells eRumbi appA that appiLLai and many others have arrived and they are waiting at the banks of cauvery. He also requests eRumbi appA to visit them all (to explain the glories of mAmunigaL and reform them all). eRumbi appA feeling delighted to hear appiLLAr’s intentions, goes to vAnamAmalai jIyar and informs him. He requests vAnamAmalai jIyar to bless him to reform everyone to accept mAmunigaL as their AchArya. He then leaves to the banks of cauvery and explains the essential
principles to everyone.
In the meantime vAnamAmalai jIyar goes to mAmunigaL and informs him about the arrival of the great scholars appiLLAr and appiLLai. He tells mAmunigaL that they are ready for AchArya sambandham. It is highlighted that there are 6 things that happen before AchArya sambandham and this principle is explained in the following slOkam.
Isvarasya cha sauhArdham yathruchchA suhrudham thathA vishNO: katAksham adhvEsham Abhimukhyam cha sAthvikai: sambhAshaNam shadEthAni
ஈச்வரஸ்ய ச ஸௌஹார்தம் யத்ருச்சா ஸுஹ்ருதம் ததா விஷ்ணோ: கடாக்ஷம் அத்வேஷம் ஆபிமுக்யம் ச ஸாத்விகை: ஸம்பாஷணம் ஷடேதாநி
- At first, as bhagavAn is kind-hearted, he looks out for the well being of every one.
- Second, there is incidental desire/action for goodness.
- Third, bhagavAn‘s merciful vision falls on the jIvAthmA.
- Fourth, jIvAthmA manifests adhvEsham – he does not stop bhagavAn‘s mercy.
- Fifth, jIvAthmA manifests Abhimukyam – he turns towards bhagavAn.
- Sixth, he gets into discussion of bhagavath vishayam with bhAgavathas who will promptly reform him and send him to an AchAryan.
ponnadikkAl jIyar says to mAmunigaL that they have been blessed with discussions with eRumbi appA and they have all the qualification to become your sishyas. So, you too, who are constantly thinking about the upliftment of jIvAthmAs should accept them and bless them to fulfill the desire of eRumbi appA and myself. mAmunigaL accepts his request and says “emperumAnAr has revealed his divine heart to me” and says to ponnadikkAl jIyar that one of them will have his dhAsya nAmam (name after panchasamskAram) of emperumAnAr. ponnadikkAl jIyar seeks the permission of mAmunigaL to go and welcome
them and mAmunigaL accepts for that. ponnadikkAl jIyar sends a srIvaishNava to appiLLAr to inform about their arrival.
Hearing about the arrival of ponnadikkAl jIyar and other sishyas of mAmunigaL, appiLLAr becomes ecstatic and asks his associates to spread his favourite green shawl on the ground to have ponnadikkAl jIyar and others step on it, collect the dust of the lotus feet and bring him the same to decorate his head with that. He then brings fruits and thAmbUlam (beetle leaves and nuts) and welcomes ponnadikkAl jIyar with prayers. He offers his full obeisances and accepts the dust of their lotus feet on his head. After enquiries about mutual well-being, ponnadikkAl jIyar brings everyone to kOil aNNan‘s thirumALigai (residence). kOil aNNan elaborately explains mAmunigaL‘s glories, that he is the re-incarnation of srI rAmanuja himself. Hearing this, appiLLAr and appiLLAi wants to take shelter of mAmunigaL and they all reach jIyar mutt with fruits, thAmbUlam and many other offerings. They reach thirumalai AzhwAr maNdapam where mAmunigaL is seated in a radiant manner. mAmunigaL looks in a unique shining form with beautiful and broad shoulders, chest, eyes, etc. He is wearing clean saffron clothes and holding on to his thridhaNdam. With a beautiful smile on his face, he welcomes everyone. Seeing this beautiful form, appiLLai and appiLLAr falls at his lotus feet and wait for his acknowledgement. mAmunigaL affectionately accepts their offerings and explains them the divine essential principles which amazes the two great scholars. They immediately request mAmunigaL to perform pancha samskAram to them. mAmunigaL accepts their request, performs pancha samskAram and accepts them as his disciples. He then brings them to periya perumAL‘s sannidhi in the proper sequence (This is the sequence mAmunigaL follows while going for his mangaLAsAsanam at srIrangam temple as outlined in pUrva dhinacharyai – ANdAL, emperumAnAr, nammAzhwAr, sEnai mudhaliAr, garudAzhwAr, srI ranganAthan, srI ranganAchiyAr, paramapadha nAthan) and submits the great scholars to emperumAn. After mangaLAsAsanam to emperumAn, they return to the mutt and appiLLai and appiLLAr accepts the food remnants of mAmunigaL as stated in the sAsthram that a sishya should accept food remnants of his AchArya.
appiLLAr is given the responsibility of taking care of jIyar mutt’s all daily activities such as thadhIyArAdhanam, etc. Just like kidAmbi AchAn served emperumAnAr by fully taking care of mutt responsibilities, mAmunigaL was served by appiLLAr.
During the final days of mAmunigaL, appiLLAr and jIyar nAyanAr (the grand son of mAmunigaL from his pUrvAsramam) prays to mAmunigaL and requests him to bless him with archA vigraham (deity) of mAmunigaL for their daily worship. mAmunigaL gives the sombu (vessel) which he uses daily and they use that to prepare two vigrahams (deities) and each keep one vigraham (deity) of mAmunigaL for their daily worship.
Thus, we have seen some glimpses of the glorious life of appiLLAr. He was very dear to mAmunigaL. Let us pray at his lotus feet that we too get a little bit of such abhimAnam of AchAryan.
kAnthOpayanthru yOgIndhra sarva kainkaryadhUrvaham
thadhEka dhaivatham saumyam rAmAnuja gurum bhajE
காந்தோபயந்த்ரு யோகீந்த்ர ஸர்வ கைங்கர்யதூர்வஹம்
ததேக தைவதம் ஸௌம்யம் ராமாநுஜ குரும் பஜே
adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan
Source: yathIndhra pravaNa prabhAvam