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.
Check the appended blog post for more details
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……………
“SriSailEsha dayA pAthram dheeibhakthyAdi guNarnavam
Yetheendra pravaNam vandE ramyajA mAtharam munim”
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
‘srI SailESa dayA pAtram’.
adiyArgaL vAzha arangka nagar vAzha
sadakOpan thaNdamizh nUl vAzha * –
kadal sUzhndha mannulagam vAzha *
maNavALa mAmuniyE * innum oru nURRANdirum *
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
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
Swamy Manavala maamunigaley thiruadigaley sharanam
Pictures credits : Advanced devotees serving Lord
videos : At Sri MudaliAndaans swamy Thirumaligai