Lord Sriman Narayana the Supreme lord created this universe starting from Brahma (who emerged from HIS navel ) along with innumerable species of birds,animals, humans etc. Appearing as kapila rishi, he gave Saankya yoga , practicing by which one would attain the final beatitude like Devahuti. As Lord Sri Rama, HE demonstrated to the world on living a righteous life and as Lord Sri Krishna , imparted the Bhagavad Gita. The jivatmas who followed the lord and attained salvation were few. Also, the study of scriptures and Vedas which were in Sanskrit were limited to only few people who were authorized to read .
So Perumal decided to depute HIS (weapons )ayudhams to the world for preaching the Vedas to all irrespective of caste,gender etc.. The various ayudhams of Perumal appeared as 12 azhwars during the end of Dwapara yuga and beginning of kali yuga. The azhwars who were immersed in bhakti composed various emotional outpourings known as pasurams which is glorified as “naalayira divya prabhandham”. The Azhwars were so much engrossed in LORDs thoughts that they could not impart knowledge to jivatmas and hence these divine pasurams were lost to oblivion.
The compassionate LORD decided to instruct the nityasuris to appear as Acharyars to this world who would give the divine knowledge about the Supreme Lord and bring the jivatmas back to Godhead.Nityasuris do not descend from Vaikuntam but bestow their yogic powers to the jivatmas who were to be born in this material world. Accordingly, Vishwaksenar (Senainayakar)-the chief Commander of Lord Sriman Narayana bestowed his mercy to Nammazhwar. Vishwaksenar along with wife Sutravathi had 8 attendants who guard the entrance of Sri Vaikuntam on either sides and the chief among them is known as “Gajanan” . The chief attendant of Vishwaksenar , “Gajanan” appeared as Nathamuni.After about 3500 years, With the blessings of Lord Sri Veera Narayanan perumal , Sri Nathamuni, the first acharyar in Srivaishnava Guruparamparai was born to Sri.Iswara bhattar at Veeranarayana puram (Kaatumannarugudi near Chidambaram) in the Tamil year “Shobhakruth varusham” on pournami thithi ,Anusham star in the tamil month of Aani (june-july) in 823 A.D. His parents named him”Ranganathan” but was fondly addressed as “Nathamuni”. He instructed his son,Iswara muni to name his child as “Yamunai Thuraivan” who was famously known as Yamunacharyar.
srIshailEsha dayApAtram dhIbhaktyAdi guNArNavam |
yatIndra pravaNam vandE ramya jAmAtaram munim ||
lakshmI nAtha samArambhAm nAthayAmuna madhyamAm |
asmadAchArya paryantAm vandE guru paramparAm ||
The above sloka …. reverberates in all srivaishnava temples and homes glorifying the rich sampradaya we have inherited from our poorvacharyas …
Swamy Nathamunigal and Swamy Alavandar, the two great acharyas have been pillars to Srivaishnava sampradayam, took their avatara at the holy place Kattumannar koil, which is 25 kms from Chidambaram in Cuddalore district of Tamil nadu, South India.
Kattumannarkoil (situated on the banks of the vast Veeranam Lake) hallowed by the birth of these Acharyas is the only place with magnificent temples dedicated to Swamy Nathamunigal and Swamy Alavandar.
Swamy Nathamunigal was the foremost Acharya of Srivaishnava sampradaya .
Nathamuni mastered himself in Vedas at a very young age.
He was devoted to Lord Veera Narayana Perumal and spent most of his time performing daily ( aaradhanai) poojas for the Lord here.
One day, during his pilgrimage to Thirukudanthai ( present day Kumbakonam ) Temple he was attracted to the Archakas chanting the divine nectarine verse …. Aaravamuthey song….
The devotees ended the song with the words… “ these 10 out of the 1000” verses .
“ Aaraavamudhe Adiyen Udalam,
Neeraal Alainthu Karaiya Urukinra Nedumaale
Seeraar Sennel Cauvery Veesum,
EraarKolam Thigazhak Kidanthaai, Kanden Emmaane”
Swami Nathamuni was drawn to these songs and pleaded them to sing the rest of the 990 verses.
However, they expressed ignorance and said they knew only these 10 songs which they were reciting daily following their ancestors .
Seeking to find the remaining of these divine songs, Swamy Nathamuni proceeded from Kattu Mannar Koil and went to Kumbakonam, where Lord Aaravamudhan appeared before him and asked him to go to Thirukolur for knowing more ..
Swamy proceeded to Thiru Kolur, where he got initiated with the great Acharyar Madhura Kavi Azhvaar’s holy verses of Kannin Siruthambinaal.
Madhurakavi Azhwar was a direct disciple of Swamy Nammazhwar .The divine pastime of Azhwar can be read in the below appended post
He came back to Thiru Kurugur and meditating under the Tamarind tree, recited these divine verses 12000 times.
On completion of which the all compassionate NammAzhvaar is said to have appeared before him and shared the entire 4000 songs the “Divyaprabhandam” —Naalaayira Divya Prabandham which we are able to relish glorifying the LORDSHIPS .
Lord Veera Narayana Perumal is then said to have called Swami Nathamuni back to Kattu Mannar Koil where the Vaishnavite Saint chanted and shared the “Naalayira Divya Prabandham”.
Thus, Nathamuni of Kattu Mannar Koil, was instrumental in bringing back to the world the 4000 verses of the Azhvaars.
He also initiated the Sri Vaishnava Sampradayam from here.
As Lord Narayana came here as ‘Mannan’ to wed Mahalakshmi and asked Nathamuni to share the Divya Prabandham and the Vaishnava Sampradayam to the world at large, he was referred to as ‘ Kattum’ ‘Mannan- Aanaar’ (the Lord who came aa kings and later presented the entire prabandham through Nathamuni).
Poorvacharyars glorify this place as “divya prabhandham vilaindha oor”-the place where Divya prabhandham came into existence. the Lord KAatu Mannar(another thirunaamam of Veeranarayanan) came to be known as “KAatum mannar”
In course of time, Kattum Mannan-Aanaar became Kattu Mannar.
Nathamuni’s grandson was named as ‘Yamunai Thuraivan’(Alavandar) .
Born in Kattu Mannar Koil, Aalavanthar would travel to Srirangam and spread the message of SriVaishnavism. Swamy Ramanuja was nominated by him as the ’to be’ next Acharyar of the great sampradhayam after his disappearance .
Alavandar’s disciples include Periya Nambi, ThiruKoshtiyur Nambi, Thiru Kachi Nambi and Srirangam Araiyar.
A clip was taken during our in which Bhattar elaborately explains in tamil about the glorious Srivaishnava Sampradayam.
Swamy Nathamuni set the 4000 Divya prabhandam to tune and music and taught to his dear disciples Melai agatthazhwAn and Keezhai agatthazhwAn (his nephews) and propagated the divine nectar in various divya desams.
Nathamuni re arranged 4000 nectarine verses equivalent to Vedas into four parts and introduced the same as part of recitation in Divya Desams, as part of worship in all temples
During the period ,once , the Chozha King got down along with his wives to have darshan of Lord at Viranarayanapuram temple at Kattumannar .
Looking at the Royal couple in such great ornaments, crown, and silk cloth, Nathamuni who was a transcendental devotee , for a moment lost himself and thought Lord Krishna with His devis would have come from Dwarakai.
He fell at the feet of the king seeing him as Lord Krishna .
The king was shocked and immediately sprung to lift Nathamuni and realized the deep devotion the Sage had .He immediately submitted himself for his offense .
During another occasion, the king had just completed discussing with the Sage about Lordships divine pastimes. He took Acharya’s permission to leave.
He started walking towards the chariot. When he was about to board, (as usual, the king used to call the chariot driver on whose shoulder he used to set his foot to jump into the chariot), the driver was there for the king to jump in.
After he jumped in, he saw below and it was Nathamuni’s shoulder.
The king was shocked . He got down to apologize for his grave offense .
He felt ashamed and said ! Swamin ….
“What have I done! Stepped on your shoulders! that too my Acharyar !!!
I have committed a great apacharam!”
Nathamuni thought it was Lord Rama who had come by the chariot along with Sumanthrar.
Hence, he offered his shoulders for Lord to step into the chariot.
That was Nathamuni’s unalloyed devotion who was always in transcendental bliss always seeing LORDSHIPS everywhere .
One day Swamy Nathamuni was in deep meditation .
The Chozha king passed near Veeranarayanpura with his soldiers after a hunting exercise.
The sage, interrupted in his meditations by the attendant bustle, opened his eyes and, construing the party to be the divine Lord Rama and his brother in the streets ,( on whom his thoughts were wholly bent in meditation ) followed the track of the party and walked with weary steps till the very gates of the Chozha capital Gangaikondapuram from Kattumannar Koil and went searching ..
Nathamuni already in that bliss imagined ” Lord Rama with his brother Lakshmana and Mother Sita have come to grace him .
He fainted at a place in a divine bliss and reached Lord’s abode on an Ekadasi day.
All glories to Swamy Nathamunigal
Swamy Natha Munigals appearance day is being celebrated on 2-07-2020 ( Aaani Anusham ) in all Srivaishnava temples .
nama: achinthya adhbudha aklishta jnAna vairAgya rAsayE
nAthAya munayE agAdha bhagavadh bhakthi sindhavE
All glories to the devotees participating in all the temples
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
Pics credits : Google images uploaded by several devotees