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april 18 - Uyakkondar Tirunakshathram

From: Venkatesh K. Elayavalli (vke_at_cypress.com)
Date: Sat Apr 17 1999 - 19:20:09 PDT

Dear Members,

April 18 (Chiththirai maasam Karthikai naaL) is the tirunakshaththram of

Sri Pundareekaakshar (also known as Uyakkondar). The details of his
glorious life is now online at

http://www.srivaishnava.org/sva.htm

Uyakkondar is very important for our Samprathayam. Following is a
detailed
account of his life:  (I am sorry if this turns out to be  a long
email).

Sri Uyakkondar:
---------------------

Uyakkondar, named Pundareekaakshar by his parents, was born in year
886 A.D. on Chiththirai month (kaarthikai) Krithikai, some 63 years
after the
birth of Sri Nathamuni. He was born to a bhramin family residing in Tiru
vellarai.
It is  believed that his parents had migrated from Madhyapradesh, and
settled
at Tiru vellarai, performing kainkariyam to Sri Pundareekaaksha Perumal
at that
sthalam. One can conclude that he was trained in all aspects of Vedic
philosphy at a very young age (as not much information is available
about this important acharya).

It is believed that when Pundareekaakshar was in his teens, he was sent
to
Sri Nathamuni for further instruction. At this time, Nathamunigal had
two
prominent students, Pundareekaakshar and Kurukai kavalappan. Nathamuni
had two important treasure with him, one the secret of Bhakti Yoga to
attain
praapthi, the other, the 4000 Divya prabhantham. The first will be able
to
save only the person practicing it, while the Divya prabhantham has the
power to save the entire world. Nathamuni wanted to give each of
these to his two prominent students. When he asked Kavalappan which he
would wish, he chose the bhakti yoga. Therefore, Nathamuni instructed
him
on Bhakti Yoga.

Nathamuni asked the same to Pundareekaakshar. He replied, When the
entire
world seem to be doomed in Samsaaram, what is the use for just one soul
reaching
the Lord. It does not matter what happens to me, but please teach me the
secret
that can deliver the entire world to the Lord. Hearing this, Nathamuni
praised Pundareekaakshar's determination and kindness and titled him
Uyakkondaar and started his instruction in Divya prabhantham. It was
this
determination and kindness that resulted in the spread of Sri Vaishnavam
all
over India.

Uyakkondar had five prominent students, of whom Manarkal nambi (also
known as Rama mishra) was the most popular and important to Srivaishnava

Samprathayam. After teh death of Uyakkondar's wife, Ramamishra took
cahrge
of the household chores at Uyakkondar's house. He also took care of
Uyakkondar's young daughters. One day, when they 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 plight fell across the
stream
and asked the girls to use his back as a bridge. Seeing the foot marks
on his
back, after their return, Uyakkondar asked his girls what had happened.
When he heared the incident, Uyakkondar titled him Manarkal Nambi and
renamed his birht place as Manarkal.

Nathamuni, when receiving the 4000 Divya Prabhantham from Nammalvar,
also  received an image of Ramanujar, instructing him to handover the
image
to his yet-to-be-born grandson. He immediately started work on creating
an
idol based on that image. When Nathamuni was about to depart to Lord's
feet,
he passed on the idol to Uyakkondar after extracting a promise from him
that he
would keep the idol in a secure place until it is handed over to his
grandson.
However, Nathamuni's grandson had not born even at the time of
Uyakkondar's
departure to Vaikuntam. He passed on the idol to Manarkal nambi
extracing
from him, the same promise he had made to Nathamuni. He also instructed
Markal nambi that he would take the responsibility of instructing
Nathamuni's
grandson. It is believed that Uyakkondar lived for 105 years.

Uyakkondar did not compose any independent work. However, he did compose
the
thaniyan for Tiruppavai, which is recited every day at many temples and
homes.

Uyakkondar tiruvadikalE Saranam
Azhvar Emperumaanaar jeeyar tiruvadikaLE Saranam.

Venkatesh K. Elayavalli

http://www.srivaishnava.org