Swamy Uyyakondar and Swamy Engalazhwan of Thiruvellarai

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Uyakkondar was foremost disciple to  ” Swami Nathamuni ” . Uyyakkondar  was  called as  Pundareekaakshar by his parents . Swamy Uyyakondar   appeared  in Tiru vellarai the famous Srivaishnava Divya desam  .

This Divyadesam is located at about 20 km north of Trichirappalli, enroute to Thuraiyur  and situated in a  14 acre  site and resembles like an Old fort with strong compound walls  The temple  is older than Srirangam  and  built   ahead of LORD  Rama’s  avataram . Hence the name Aadhi Vellarai.  

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The sanctum sanctorum has two entrances namely Utharayana  Entrance  and the Dakshinayana Entrance  .

Utharayana Entrance  is opened   during  the Tamil month of Thai ,  January  upto  June Aadi (Cancer), i.e., from Jan 15 to June 15  approximately and from then on, the Dakshinayana   Entrance  is opened .  Apart from Utharayana and Dakshinayana Gates, the sanctum sanctorum has one more entrance called ‘Naazhi Ketta Vaayil’ where it is believed that the Lord was intercepted and questioned by  goddess , Mahalakshmi  upon his returning home later, after his sojourn.

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 During the festivals, after gracing the devotees  around the town , Perumal has to account for his time to his consort by informing the time he started, the places he visited etc., at this gate in order to gain entry into the temple. To seek LORDS darshan one has to climb 18 Steps at the entrance .

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At the very entrance of this temple  there  are  18 steps reminding us  of the 18 chapters of  Srimad Bhagvat Gita given to us by   LORD Pundareekakshan.

Proceeding further  we  come  across 4 steps that are  4 Vedas and later one reaches the Bali Peetam. It is believed that one’s wishes submitted to the Perumal at the Balipeetam with the turmeric kappu  are automatically taken care by Him. Abhishekam is done to the Bali Peetam only .   From here, we  enter  the Perumal sannidhi by ascending 5 steps  further  representing the PanchaBhoothams (Fire, Water, Space, Air and Earth) and  slowly crossing the Naazhi Kettaan Vasal. Now we see   2  entrances  Dakshinaayana Gate and Utharaayana Gate which are alternately opened for devotees  during the Dakshinayana/ Utharayana  six month periods. 

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As One climbs further 8 steps  we are reminded   of Ashtaakshara mantra   and  further   we move ahead  another  24 steps reminding  us  of Gayathri Mantram to arrive at the sanctum sanctorum,where  we have divya darishnam of our LORD  Senthaamarai Kannan (Pundareekaakshan)  along  with His consort Pankajacchelvi Naacchiyaar.

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It is believed that  Swamy Pundarikakshar  parents had migrated from Madhyapradesh, and settled at Tiru vellarai, performing  devotional services  to Lord  Sri Pundareekaaksha Perumal at this divyadesam.  Swamy Uyakkondar had five prominent  disciples , of whom Manarkal nambi (also known as Rama mishra) was the most popular and important to our  Srivaishnava  school .  Swamy Uyyakondar taught the  disciples  Azhwars’  Naalayiram Divya Prabandam’ .This rock is called as ‘Uyyakkondaan Malai’ where Swamy taught his disciples .

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  After the  demise of  Swamy Uyakkondar’s wife,  the humble disciple swami Ramamishra took charge of the household chores at  his  Acharyars Uyakkondar’s house. He also took care of Uyakkondar’s young daughters like a dutiful mother . One day, when the children  were returing from daily bath at a nearby pond, the girls had to walk past a muddy stream and were hesitating to cross it. Rama mishra seeing their  confusion fell across the stream and asked the girls to use his back as a bridge. Seeing the foot marks on his disciples back, after their return, Uyakkondar  understood the humility of his disciple . Pleased , Swamy  Uyakkondar titled him Manarkal Nambi and renamed his birth place as Manarkal.

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Swamy Nathamuni, while  collecting  the Nalayiram  Divya Prabhantham from  our Nammalvar after the recitation of Kanninum siruthambu pasuram , was also presented with  a deity  of  Swamy Ramanujar                    ( Bhavishya Acharyar ) instructing him to handover the deity  to  the arriving Acharya who will be appearing shortly.

When Nathamuni was about to depart ,  he passed on the deity  to Uyakkondar  for worship and  then  Uyyakondar handed over the deity to  Swamy Manarkal nambi which finally was handed over to  Sri Yamanucharya and worshipped .

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Once as per the directions of his Acharyar Swamy  Natha Muni,  Pundarikakshar  escorted  his  mother (Acharyars wife ) to her parent’s home.  The womenfolk known as Vangipurathu Aachis made him sit in an corridor  and  fed him  with  stale remnants of food left over. Pundarikakshar partook the same with relish as it was food offered to him by the Parijanas ( those dear to) of his Acharya.  On his return, on  he felt greatly elated and  narrated the incident to his Acharya. The Acharya was overwhelmed and exclaimed ” Nammai Uyyak Kondeero?”-Oh  You came to redeem me?”. From then on, he came to be known as Uyyak Kondaar.

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It is  believed that  all  of us must visit this temple at least once in  our lifetime in order to be eligible  for  Moksham .

Hence, there is  a  tradition at the temple to call ‘Thiruvellarai Kandeero- Thiruvellarai Kanden Aiyya’ (the devotees informing the Lord that they have seen Thiruvellarai Perumal  and that they are now ready/eligible for Moksham), a voice that is said to echo to the Lord up there. 

Swamy Ramanujar spent a few months  in this divyadesam   after the unfortunate incident  where some person wanted to poison him..

Another  most respected Acharyar  was Swamy   Vishnuchithar’s   who appeared in this divya desam  He  served Swamy Ramanuja at this place . A tank called Udayavar kulam  was dug for the use of  Jagathacharyar Swamy  Ramanuja during his stay .  Vishnuchithar’s was about  80 years younger than  Swami Ramanuja.  Swami Ramanuja  embarked upon the task of writing Sribhashya, a commentary on the Brahmasutras of Sage VedaVyasa. He engaged  Swami Kooratthazhwan to write down the commentary as he dictated. Unfortunately for him, Swami Koortthazhwan  services could not be extended by the divine will  Swamy was looking for a scholar who could help him finish the text. He decided Swami Vishnuchithar’s would be the apt person to write down sribashya .

He was very pleased with Vishnuchithar’s  deep knowledge and  compared  him with Swami Kooratthazhwan and embraced him calling him ‘Engal Azhwano!‘ (Your knowledge equals that of our Azhwan (Kooratthazhwan)..

 Vishnuchithar  was henceforth  called  as Engalazhwan. Swami Ramanuja made Swami Engalazhwan a disciple of Thirukkurukaippiran Pillan. Swami Engalazhwan was also called Ammal  Acharyar since he was the  Acharya of Nadathur Ammal .

Adiyen had the bhagyam of having darisanam of  the present His Holiness Engalazhwan at Thiruvellarai 

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Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

 

6 thoughts on “Swamy Uyyakondar and Swamy Engalazhwan of Thiruvellarai

  1. Hari Om! Devoted desciples – Both Uyyan Kondar & Manarkal Nambi – Never minding their life & serving their Acharyar! Humility should be learnt from them. Oh! We ‘ld attain Moksha if we visit. Adiyen is very much sure you have got it booked! Sure your followers too will get it.
    Adiyen – Ramanuja Dasan – Jai Sriman Narayana!

    Liked by 1 person

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