The stage was set at Thirukovilur and the divine plan was already about to reveal. Lord Sriman Narayana achieved this by making the Azhvars meet and become the harbingers in the effort towards the composition of the holy Dravida Vedas.,,
Thus Lord arranged a divine plan and made each of them go to the town Thirukovilur which is located 75 kms from Cuddalore and about 200 kms from Chennai.The rain clouds had overcast the sky and cover of darkness spread all around in the holy town of Thirukovalur . The torrential rain began pouring generously . It was as if the sky will tear open to give its opulence .Proceeding the temple streets , Poigai Azhwar found out a small front passage ( dehali or rayzhi , thinnai in tamil ) in front of Mrikanda Ashrams hut ( the present Thirukovalur temple sanctum sanctorum ) which was fit for one person to lie down.
“Azhwar” are saintly souls who had immersed themselves in the exclusive devotion to Lord Sriman Narayana in unconditional surrender. The advanced saints, were the supreme devotees of Lord propagating Sri Vaishnavism among the masses through their poetical compositions glorified as Divya Prabhandams highlighting the beautiful effulgent form, auspicious attributes and divine deeds of the Supreme Lord in His various incarnations based on their personal mystic experiences. They lived as human beings and burst out bhakti laden great works for the sake of humanity. The direct result of the Lord’s divine grace on Azhwars made their outpourings special and therefore called ‘ Divyam’. It is because of this that the works of Azhwars are called ‘ Divya Prabandham’ and are 4000 poems (pAsurams).
The Divya Prabhandams of the Azhwars are, therefore, held in as great veneration and reverence as the Vedas in Sanskrit. All the Azhwars held the view that Lord Sriman…
Lord Sriman Narayana incarnated in different avatharas in this world, for spreading the message of the liberation for the jeevatma from this material bondage .
Unsatisfied , LORD summoned His serpent couch, the nitya-soori (eternally free soul) .
Adisesha, and instructed,
My dear Adishesha !
“Go down to the mortal world and live there for 200 years, and through your exhortations, empower the people with knowledge about their true nature and make them come to..
My world, so that they enjoy “eternal bliss” forever …….
Accordingly, Adishesha appeared as “Swamy Ramanuja” in the age of Kali, where Adharma was in the forefront due to the karmic vasanas .
Swamy Ramanuja followed LORD;s directives by spreading the divine message of Azhwars and the true knowledge to seek Lord’s mercy and disappeared at the age of 120.
The Lord was not satisfied with the developments and felt the mission was incomplete Hence he once again advised Swamy Ramanuja to complete the original assignment of remaining in this material world for complete 200 years and uplift the jivatmaas .
With implicit obedience, Adishesha who appeared as Swamy Ramanuja once again appeared as Azhagiya Manavala Perumal Nayanar at Sikkil Kidaaram . In his early years he was trained by his father Tigazhaakkidanthan on Vedas and the Divya Prabhandam .
He moved from Sikkil Kidaaram to Azhvar Thirunagari to become the disciple of the revered Acharyar Thiruvaimozhipillai who was the disciple of Loka Acharyar Swamy Pillai Lokacharyar .
Thus our Saint Vara Vara Muni was the last of the poorvacharyas amongst the grand galaxy of preceptors of Srivaishnavam.
It is believed , AdisEsha, in his previous incarnation as Swamy Ramanuja, was very much attracted to Nammazhvars’ s appearance and his divine outpouring (thiruvAimozhi), and hence, earned the appellation “mAran adipaNindhu Uynthavan”.
In keeping with this overwhelming love for Swamy Nammazhvar, the second time AdisEsha selected Azhvar Thirunagari as the place most suited for his appearance and thus Swamy appeared in the month of Aipassi under the star Moola and was named “Azhakiya maNavALapperumAL nAyanAr by his parents .
This was an year after Swami Desikar ascended to Srivaikuntam
Swami Azhakiya maNavALapperumAL nAyanAr excelled as the disciple of Swamy Tiruvaimozhi pillai .
One day Swamy Tiruvaimozhi pillai while meditating on the great qualities of saint Ramanuja, pondered over those stanzas of Thiruvarangath-amudanar………….
depicting Swamy Ramanuja as a staunch devotee of Saint Nammazhvar proclaiming to the inhabitants of this wide world, end to end, the great glory of the Azhvar’s hymns.
Swamy Tiruvaimozhi pillai ( Srisailesar) decided for raising a fitting memorial for Swamy Ramanuja, right at the appearance place of Swamy Nammazhvar (Azhvar Thirunagari). This took concrete shape soon thereafter.
Tiruvaimozhi pillai with the support of the villagers after clearing the wild vegetation at Azhvar-thirunagari took all initiatives in bringing back the sacred deity which was lost during invasions .
Swamy thus had erected a temple at Azhvar-thirunagari for Swami Ramanuja and installed Sri Ramanuja’s deity ( Swamy Ramanuja’s Bhavishyad Acharaya vigraha ) which had been presented to Sri Madhurakavi Azhvar that lay buried at the foot of the famous Tamarind tree few hundred years back .
The surrounding streets were named as Sri Ramanuja Chaturvedi Mangalam and were permanently inhabited, exclusively by the ardent worshippers of Swamy Ramanuja.
The zealous disciple, Azhakiya Manavala Nayanar, was called upon by Srisailesar to stay in this new colony and look after the daily routine of the temple.
Nayanar s extra-ordinary devotion to this great cause earned the unstinting approbation of his Acharyar
Srisailesar, who started calling him a Yateendra Pravanar signifying the enormous love and devotion borne by him for Swamy Ramanuja, the Prince of ascetics a name which became immortal .
Over a period of time , Swamy Tiruvaimozhi pillai ordered his ardent disciple Azhakiya maNavALapperumAL nAyanAr who had learnt all sastras , to propagate the divya prabandham ( azhvar’s 4000 hymns and their commentaries) to the world.
He wished that living in Sri Rangam and propagating the true tenets of the Sri Vaishnava Sampradaya as given in the hoary aruLiccheyal (divya prabandham) was the need of the hour. Hence advised him to proceed .
The devoted disciple that he was, Azhakiya maNavALapperumAL nAyanAr did act according to the commandments of his Acharyar Thus Azhakiya maNavALapperumAL nAyanAr spent his time in giving divine discourses at Srirangam .
Once during this period , few relatives passed a message about some asowcham ( impurity ) which was coming in the way of service to the Lordships .
Not being able to be kept out of service even for few days, Nayanar decided to take up sanyasam and requested LORD’S permission.
After accepting sanyasa, Nayanar offered benedictions to namperumal for uninterrupted services forever . Pleased with nAyanar, NamperumAl blessed him with theertham, thirumAlai, thiruparivattam, and Sri sadagopam and gave him a honorable name
AZHAGIYA MANAVALA JEEYER.
Thus the bonding between LORD and his disciple became closer and closer .
Lord Ranganathar ( Peria Perumal ) had a desire to be accomplished through Azhagiya Manavala Jeeyer in Srirangam.
He seized the golden opportunity and ordered him to give a public discourse on the Eedu (36000 padi), the super-commentary of Swami Nampillai on Thiruvaimozhi along with other commentaries, in alluring style for having the good fortune of being trained by the esteemed Acharyar Thiruvaimozhip pillai .( Srisailer )
In order to accommodate unhindered conduct for the divine discourses all festivities of the temple was kept in abeyance . History reveals that for a whole year, Namperumal had enjoined cessation of all festivals which proves the dedication of the disciple and the Acharyar .
On the final day of the discourse , and uplifting event occurred , which was interestingly, by the “Ani thiru-moola” star.
And hence the Sri Vaishnava-world attaches equal importance to this Ani moola star auspicious day also, in a manner akin to the day of Acharyar’s “Aippasi Thirumoola” appearance day.
Lord appeared amidst the august assembly of Acharyar and galaxy of sri vaishnavas, in the guise of an archakar’s (priest) son by the name Aranga Naayakam and brushing aside the opposition getting into proximate presence to Swami mAmunikaL’s seat
recited the following stanza in
His inimitable, majestic voice resembling the thunder of a rumbling cloud……………
LORD in the guise of an archakar’s (priest) a small boy ( kept a palm leaf containing the above sloka on a golden plate full of flowers, fruits, coconuts and other sacred paraphernalia of guru dakshiNa (token of appreciation) and after offering it at the holy feet of Swami mAmunikaL, walked towards the sanctum & disappeared.
To add to this magnificent miracle, Periya Perumal, the Lord Ranganatha Himself, immediately ordered through the archaka……….
let this slOka be recited at the beginning of all divya prabhanda recitations just as a Vedic recital begins and ends with the sacred
so also all recitals of the tamil veda, the divya prabhandam, shall commence and end with
These holy verses extols Swamys contributions to continued existence and prosperity of Sri Vaishnavaism, the followers, their holy temples, scriptures, traditions, and the well being of the whole world, and concludes with the prayer, that the great saint Swamy Manavalamaamuni live for another hundred years for fulfilling that purpose.
Swami mAmunikaL’s life was punctuated by many events that demonstrated that he was no ordinary person. In fact, authentic accounts of Sri Vaishnava literature and lineage, position Swami maNavALa mAmunikaL at the very pinnacle of the orthodox lineage of Sri Vaishnava AchAryas (called `OrAn vazhi’) and with the above divine incident , identify him as the Acharya (guru) for Lord RanganAtha himself!!
The apparent conflict between 100 years and perpetuity is resolved, when one understands the key link of devoted Sri Vaishnava devotees, their ongoing practice of the prayer and traditions as a “Vaazhaydi Vaazhai”, for the perpetuation of the faith.
Thus the 100 and more number of years down the line there will be faithful chanting of the divine prayers for the same for the infinite future.
Among several disciples the foremost eight disciples were very special . They are glorified as as “Ashta Dhig Gajams” or the mighty elephants guarding the eight directions of earth who are as below (1) VaanamAmalai Jeeyar (2) BhattarpirAn Jeeyar (3) ThiruvEnkata RaamAnuja Jeeyar (4) Koil aNNan (5) PrathivAdhi Bhayankaram aNNan (6) ErumpiappA (7) aAppiLLai and (8) AppiLLAr .
Swamy Erumbiappa, one of the astadiggajas glorified 100 verses adorning the divine qualities of Swamy Manavalamamuni .
In Srivaishnava sampradayam, Azhvar it indicates to only nammAzhvar, the term swamy refers only to Swamy Ramanuja and Jeeyer is a special term indicating Periya Jeeyer, our Sri Vara Vara Muni.
The verses of Swamy erumbiappa are called as Vara Vara Muni sathakam .
Swamy prathivAdi bayankaram annan had also glorified the divine qualities of his Acharyar .
Swamy Maamuni had the highest regard for Swami Desikan and used to refer him with great affection as ” ABHIYUKTHAR ” OR THE REVERED ONE likewise Swami Desikar had the highest regard for the Achaarya of Swamy Maamuni’s own Achaarya, Swamy Pillai LokAcharyar.
Swamy has been glorified with several names like Varavaramuni, Periya Jeer, Vichatavak Shikhamani , Sowmyajamatrumuni, ramyajamatra muni, Sowmyopayanthrumuni, Sundarajamatrumuni, , YatheendraPravanar .
“Upadesa Ratinamala” is a wonderful work composed by Swamy Mamunigal which has 73 verses that gives the details of Azhwars and Acharyas appearance & their divine works.
Swamy Erumbiappa composed the 74 th verse and pleaded Lord Ranganathar requesting LORD to accept them and hence as a result of Lord’s command, the following verse was included in Upadesa Ratinamala.
The verse goes like
“mannuyir_kAL ingE maNavALa mAmunivan *
senkamalappOthukaLai * –
unnis siraththAlE theeNdil
amAnavanum nammai *
karaththAlE theeNdal kadan “
The Meaning of the above verse ………….
“Oh my dear devotees who desire for Moksha seeking Swamy Mamunigal’s lotus Feet listen ….
taking refugee at the Lotus feet of Swamy Mamunigal will definitely lead us to the blessings of “Amanavan” who allows us at the entrance into Sri Vaikuntam” as we are Swamy Manavala mamuni’s disciples …
Swami Manavala Mamunikal is compared favorably with the kind of divinity exuded by Swami Ramanuja. After all, they were both the incarnation of our Lord’s dear serpent servant Adi sEsha.
. Fortunate are the devotees who are at Srirangam and Azhwar Thirunagari celebrating the grand dayof Aani Thirumoolam
Oh Lord !! Tirupati Venkataramana! Could you not remove the screen,
the screen of anger, delusion ,arrogance and jealousy, which is taking a firm stand within me,
Oh Lord ! that screen which keeps me out of the reach of dharma and other four Purusharthas Dharma ,Artha, Kama and Moksha?
Oh Lord !!! This screen which effectively hides me from vision, the immaculate light of the lamp, Jnana. And…………………
My Lord !!! by the existence of this screen, this mind gets caught by evil, just as ignorant beasts are got into the Hunter’s net…….
Oh Lord !!! I have been following you faithfully…….
Oh Lord I pray sincerely ….. please please remove the screen and allow me to have your darshan………..
The kirtan was so melodious and Lord was listening ..
It was the time LORD wished to see his devotee .
Suddenly !!the screens fell without any one attempting , much to the astonishment of all the devotees . …..
Innumerable Emperors , Kings , Rich , poor , people following different religions have worshiped Lord Venkateshwara at Tirumala from times immemorial and have been blessed with prosperity . There is never any person who had darshan only once .The thirst to seek HIS mercy takes one to the Holy abodes several times . The Glory of of the Lord of Seven Hills is vast and is beyond words to describe Every devotee will have a experience to share .
The unique status of those blessed to have His darsanam at Tirumala is hinted by Kulasekhara Azhwar in one of the verses of Mukunda Mala ……
For him , who had the darsana sowbhagyam of Lord Venkateshwara , this wide earth is a small speck , the rolling oceans a water drop , the raging fires a mere spark , the shoreless winds a mere breath , the…
A true seeker of LORD will always respect the devotees of Lord . He will never distinguish about their inheritance of birth and caste while seeking their association . A devotees glory can be seen with that deep knowledge and practices which takes them nearer to LORD .
Elders advise us that It would be a boon serving such advanced devotees .
Sastras command that ” Even if one is born in a lower caste and still follows the Nine types of devotional services and surrenders to Lord unconditionally , he automatically becomes very close to Lordships . Consuming such devotees Sripada Theertham ( charan theerth) is a great blessing and serving him is most pleasing to LORD .
The most advanced devotee Nampaaduvaan sang in praise of Lord Thirukkurungudi Nambi .
with abundant compassion granted the fruit of the song sung by him to LORD to a Brahmin turned BrahmaRakshasa -SomaSharma and thus converted him back into a Brahmin.
Was it not a singer of the so referred low caste who rescued a upper caste Brahmin?
The great devotee Guhan ( boatman ) was accepted by Lord Rama as his own brother .
Lord Krishna preferred to stay with Vidhura to any other when He came as a messenger to meet the kauravas .Though having many friends and Elders he preferred Vidhura Hence status is no criteria to decide one’s Bhagavad Sambandham.
Lord Rama left Ayodhya – the land of the learned scholars to join with the innocent monkeys .He embraced Hanumanji lovingly and accepted Sugriva and Vibhishana as His Brothers. The funeral of dasi putra Vidhurar was done by Yudhishtra , bird Jatayu by Lord Rama and Swamy Alavandar’s disciple Maraneri nambi ( a low caste born ) by Acharyar Periya nambi.
In the Rajasooya yaga the Agrapooja was done to Lord Krishna.
At Thirupuliyur, the Priests performed Agrapooja to Thirumazhisai Aazhwar who was brought up by a woodcutter.
Kurumbarutha Nambi was a great devotee of Lord Venkateshwara and he stayed at Tirumala. For his devotion to LORD he was respected and glorified by the revered great king a Kshatriya Thondaiman Chakravarthy.
JagathAcharyar Swamy Ramanujacharya learnt true knowledge from Sri Thiru Kachhi nambi who conversed daily with Lord Varadarajar at Kanchi.
At Srirangam the temple priest Lokasarangamuni carried Thirupannazhwar on his shoulders into the temple sanctum as commanded by LORD .
During daily rituals to Lord , ( Thiruvaradhanam) , Swamy Ramanujar used to hold the hands of Sripillai Urangavilli Dasar as Kayasuddhi.
After Thiruvaradhanam, Sri Nampillai used to receive Prasadam from Pillai Eru Thiruvudaiya Dasar.
During Graha Pravesha, Sri Vadakku thiruveedi Pillai asked Sri Pillai Ramanuja Dasar to enter His house first thus proving devotion is supreme .
Once Sage Durvasa met the King Ambarisha who was observing Ekadashi Vratha . The next day was Dwadasi and in order to honor the sage and due to constraints of time to break the fast without any iota of offense , the king sipped Sripada Theertham The sage became furious. He pulled a hair from his matted locks ordering a fierce demon to harm the King .
The King obediently folded his hands and surrendered . At the same time Sudarshan disc destroyed the demon and started chasing the sage Durvasa . The Sage who went to all the worlds seeking protection finally surrendered to Lord SrimanNarayana who replied …..
O Great Sage ! I am deeply attached to my devotees.
In fact , I am controlled by them …….
Therefore I am incapable of doing anything out of my own volition in such cases involving any offense to my dear devotees . My love for my devotees is greater than that for Myself or My consort , Maha Lakshmi ……
Oh sage !!!…
Penance austerity and knowledge are fruitless without humility……
The ones who do not understand the quoted simple truth remain as decorated corpses. There is no discrimination for devotees in the eyes of the Almighty.
He is waiting for those who have devotion in their minds.
HE accepted the coarse grains offered by Vidura.
HE protected child Prahalada in the house of demons.
At Pandharpur , HE helped Rohitdas to dye clothes.
HE helped the great saint Kabir to weave clothes ….
As Vittala HE helped Sajan, the butcher selling meat.
HE helped the great devotee in Maharashtra Sawata Mali in petty agricultural operations.
HE helped the great saint Narhari in performing chores of a goldsmith.
HE helped Chokhamela by grazing his cattle.
HE drove the chariot of Arjuna.
HE accepted with great love the beaten rice offered by Sudama.
In the homes of milkmen HE undertook the task of maintaining cows.
HE acted as a doorkeeper for King Bali.
HE repayed loan of Santh Yekoba.
HE drank that glass of poison for Saint Meerabai.
HE transformed as a low breed person to pay off loan of Santh Damaji.
HE carried earth for Santh Gora Kumbhar. HE repayed loan of Santh Narsi Mehta.
HE is Our Lord Vittal
HE who is still standing on a brick for all of us ….
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
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