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Re: Karnataka Iyengars

From: Malolan Cadambi (mcadambi_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Tue Jun 06 2000 - 14:16:40 PDT

Srimathe Malola Narasimhaya Namaha

Dear Sriman Ranganath Sudarshan :

Sriman Srinath Chakravarthy wrote : 
 
>(g) Mandya Srivaishnavas were mostly local Jains/other sects that who 
    embraced Ramanuja SampradAyam during Ramanujar's 20-some years spent
    in Mysore country (and perhaps even later).

I have given below a detailed description of the above fact. For more details about Mandya Sri Vasihnavas please refer to the  book :

  1.. " Melukote Through the Ages " by Prof. M.A. Lakshmithathachar - Academy of Sanskrit Research, Melukote
Sriman R.Padmanabhan, author of " Bhagavan Ramanuja " - LIFCO Books had written :

Ramanuja And Vishnuvardhana

The Hoysalas ( During the time of Ramanuja - they were rulers of the present Karnataka State ) in whose country Ramanuja and his disciples had taken refuge, had their ( Hoysalas ) home in a hill towards the west of Mysore. The kings and in fact the royalty were all Jains allied with the Chalukyas and therefore were against the Cholas. Ramanuja and his disciples had migrated from Srirangam due to the vehement attitude of Saivite Cholas to Sri Vaishnavas.

The king of the Hoysalas was BITTIDEVA. At the time of Ramanuja's visit to Thondanur ( Another name of Melukote ), the daughter of king Bittideva and Queen Shantala was possessed by evil spirits. None of the court magicians or exorcists could exorcise the spirit. On that account they were greatly distressed not knowing what to do. They banned all festivities in the palace until their daughter was thoroughly well.

It was just during this period of distress and agony that the Vaishnava devotee Thondanut Nambu was by chance able to contact Queen Shantala Devi. He suggested to her that Ramanuja, the great apostle of Sri Vaishnavism from Sri Ramgam, could exorcise the spirit by his super human powers, and that the great sanyasin should be summoned forthwith. What better news could there be for the king and queen?

In a short time this king and queen and all his courtiers visited Ramanuja and begged of him to visit the place and exorcise the devil which had possessed their princess. Although Ramanuja was willing to comply with the king's request, he as a sanyasin, disliked his paying a visit to the king's palace. when Tondanur Nambi and Mudaliyandan came to know of their masters hesitation to visit the place, they pleaded with him to visit the place for the cause of Vaishnavism and said " O Master, may we submit that in Melukote hills there us under the authority of king bittideva, there is a Thirunarayana Temple. To strengthen the cause of Sri Vaishnavism, we may renovate it and make it a strong hold of Vasihnavism in the western country. Pray, visit the palace and serve our cause ". So Ramanuja prevailed upon at last to visit the palace of Bittideva.

On Ramanuja arriving entering the royal apartments, his disciples took the water consecrated by their master and asked the princess to drink a little. And Lo! the spirit was exorcised and the next moment  the princess looked as cheerful as ever. Ramanujamuni had succeed where others had failed.

Ramanuja, as suggested by his own disciples took advantage of the opportunity to convert the king, a jaina to Sri Vaishnavism. The King and queen were pleased, and expressed their readiness to accept the new faith. Consequently Ramanuja initiated tem to Vaishnava Faith, and in token of this conversion, he changed Bittideva's name to VISHNUVARDHANA by which name Bittideva is know to history.

Consequently many Jains including royalty converted to Sri  Vaishnavism out of love.


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For further details please for to Bhagavan Ramanuja by R.Padmanabhan - LIFCO Books. 

Coming to Mandya, Mandya is the immediate town located in the foothills of Melukote. Sri Vaishnavas here speak a dialect of Kannada and Tamil. Most of the Iyengars in Karnatka are from Mandya. For further details about Mandya Sri Vaishnavas please contact Sriman M.A.Alwar who is a member of this list and a resident on Melukote.

adyiEn Malola Narasimha dasan,

malolan cadambi








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