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Swamy Desikan-1 (Thoopul maNdapam kaimkaryam appeal)

From: Madhavakkannan V (
Date: Fri Jun 29 2001 - 05:25:57 PDT

SrImathe Ramanujaya namah:
SrImathe Nigamantha mahadesikaya namah:
SrImAn venkatanAthAryaH kavitArkika kesarI |
vedAntAcArya-varyo me sannidhattAm sadA hRdi ||

May the glorious Venkatanatha, the greatest of teachers of Vedanta, and the 
lion among poets and debaters, reside forever in my heart.

Dearest Srivaishnavas,

Recently there was an appeal (sent by Sri VK Sudharshan) forwarded by Sri 
Diwakar Kannan on Thoopul MaNdapam kaimkaryam by Smt Shantha Kalyanarangan 
of Thoopul trust. Sri Lakshmi N. Srinivasa also has created a web site for 
this trust and also for this special kaimkaryam for Thoopul Pillai.

It is my humble request to please contribute your mite towards this 
kaimkaryam, as remembering Acharyan, and talking alone will not suffice.

AsmadhAcharyan Srimad PaRavaakkOttai Andavan Swamy also has Blessed this 
kaimkaryam with His SrImukham, wherein He mentions that Sri 
Brahmathanthraswathanthrar, the direct disciple of Swamy Deskan used to 
prostrate even the residence of Swamy Desikan, as Swamy himself. That is in 
a dilapidated condition and Smt Santha is taking all efforts to refurbish.

It is our duty to talk in praise of and contemplate on the glories and 
greatness of our Acharya. More so, if He is Acharya saarva bhouman 
Kavithaarkika simham, Sarvathanthra swathanthran, Vedanta Acharyan Swamy 

AdiyEn will post on the glories and greatness of Swamy Desikan’s works and 
continue to appeal as usual every Friday for maNdapam until perhaps 
Purattassi SravaNam (Swamy Desikan’s hirunakshathram). AdiyEn will write 
briefly about Swamy Desikan’s each work (based on the book written by Prof. 
A. Sri Srinivasaraghavachariar). I will not write about sthOthrams (28 in 
number) as Bhagawathas of the list are already aware of them. It is adiyEn’s 
desire to mainly introduce to this groups of srivaishnavas, (especially 
youth and ignoramuses like myself), about our great Acharya and his works 
briefly so that this creates an interest in the present day srivaishnavas in 
AchArya saarvabouman’s works for taking up further to learn at the feet of 
their respective Acharyas’ and other vdiwAns and scholars as available at 
their places of residence.

Acharyan is the dispeller of all sins. He removes the darkness from our 
minds and removes ignorance. He gives us new birth (vidya janmam); He is the 
Father and the manthram (which He initiates us with) is the Mother. This 
birth places us on the path which meads us to an end to all future births 
and deaths. He endows us with divine vision. He has infinite amount of 
compassion towards us. He always is interested in our welfare. On account of 
all of these, He is always to be worshipped as the Lord Himself. One should 
never harbour any feeling that he is doing a good return for what Acharya 
has done by paying few dollars. It is only as a token of our gratitude.

First let us look briefly at the life of Swamy Desikan.

Born to Sri Anantasuri and Smt Totarambha at Thoopul, a locality of Kanchi, 
he is believed to have been the very incarnation of Lord Srinivasa’s 
GaNTAmani (temple Bell). He derived the name GaNTAvatharam in the taniyan 
because of this. His intellectual brilliance was discernable even from his 
childhood. Once as a child of five years, he was taken to the august 
religious assembly- Kaalakshepa Goshti- of Sri Nadadur AmmAL by his maternal 
uncle Sri Appullar, who was mainly responsible for his education in the 
religious line. Sri Ammal and his disciples were so captivated by the divine 
appearance of the little boy Desikan, they were diverted for sometime and 
forgot what they were discussing to trace. It was the little Boy Desikan who 
came to their rescue by pointing out the place of the discourse from where 
their attention was diverted. They were all simply stupefied on seeing the 
extraordinary intellect and brilliance of Swamy at that age and Sri Ammal 
who was overwhelmed with joy, and admiration blessed him for a great future 
where he would succeed in establishing the philosophy of Ramanuja and the 
previous Acharyas in an unassailable position and in an unambiguous manner.

Another intellectual feat of Sri Vedantha Desika was his ability to revise 
Sri Bashyam twenty times before he was twenty years of age.

His life was one of perfect austerity, vairagyam, and deep devotion  
particularly to Archamoorthys enshrined in Divya Desams similar to 
Thirumangai mannan. He had a special and abiding devotion to the Lord 
Varadan of Kanchi. Just like Sri Ramanuja, his ArAdhya Devatha, the deity of 
his daily worship was Sri PeraruLALan. He led a very simple life. He earned 
his livelihood by taking alms from the devotees. The rice he gathered like 
that was used for his food after offering to the Lord. One day his wife 
found some gold coins in the rice he got from the philanthropic public. 
Evidently, some well intentioned person wanted to help Swamy Desikan without 
his knowledge. As soon as this was found out, Swamy Desikan threw the entire 
collection of the day away on the street. This is an example of his 
steadfast vairagya. Another instance of his strong determination 
/renunciation can be seen when Vidyaranyar, a royal vidwan at the court of 
early Vijayanagar, once his class mate, hearing about Swamy desikan 
languishing in penury and knowing his extraordinary skills and intellectual 
talents sent a message to him inviting him and asking to come to the court 
of Vijayanagar king where he would be fittingly honoured with riches. Swamy 
Desikan refused to go, saying that he is not after wealth, adding that he 
was already provided with the Greatest wealth bequeathed to him by his 
grandfather (four faced Brahma), meaning the Lord Varadan (atthigiri 
Varadan). This is conveyed to his friend in the form of five slokas called 
“Vairagya Panchakam:.

He spent a good part of his time at Tiruvaheendrapuram. Lord Hayagrivan, the 
Lord of knowledge and learning blessed him here. He composed “Hayagriva 
sthOthram: here in praise of Lord Hayagrivan. He also composed Achutha 
sathakam, in prakrit, Devanayaka panchasath, in Sanskrit, mummaNikkOvai, 
Navarathnamaalai in Tamil on Lord Devanathan of this Divya Desam. “nin 
vadivazhagu maRvaathaar piRavaadhaarE..” –says Swamy. He is said to have dug 
a well, chiseled an idol of his and cone several wonders and miracles 
justifying thereby his title “sarvathanthraswathanthrar”, during his stay 
here. After sometime, he retunred to Kanchi and then later he proceeded to 
Srirangam (when invited by Sri Pillailokchariar from Srirangam for debating 
against Advaitins who had objected to recitation of Tamil hymns(4000) at 
Srirangam temple). The titles of “Vedantacharya”, Kavitaarkika simham”, were 
conferred on him by Lord Ranganathan and Periya Piraatti respectively at 
Srirangam where there was occasion for him to refute theories and arguments 
of Advaitins successfully and victoriously establishing the Parama vaidika 
Visishtadvaita Srivaishnava sampradayam.

Padhuka sahasram is yet another masterpiece of work containing one thousand 
eight slokas eulogizing the Padhukas (sandals) of Lord Ranganathan of 
Srirangam. He completed the whole 1008 slokas in one yaamam (about 3 hours), 
latter part of night. It is said that this piece of extraordinary work was 
composed by him (when challenged).

>From Srirangam, he flew to Satyakalam, a place at Karnataka fearing the 
muslims depredations. “abheeti sthvam” on Lord Ranganathan, containing 29 
slokas was brought out here to ward off the fear and evil caused by the 
muslim maruders. After the terror had subsided, he returned to Srirangam to 
spend his last days. He attained the lotus feet of Acharya on Karthigai day. 
His yadhavabhyudhayam, a maha kaavyam on Lord Krishna was admired very much 
by the renowned advaita philosopher Appayya DhIkshithar in the 16th century 
A.D. He wrote a commentary also on this mahaakaavya as a mark of 
appreciation. (but could not write more than four slokas, as that itself 
immersed him and drowned him with such a beauty and marvel, that he was 
simply flabbergasted with its literary nicetry and stopped after four slokas 
of this kaavyam, whose commentary itself ran to pages..

In fact, it is simply a foolhardy experiment to attempt to give a 
comprehensive picture on the life of this AchArya saarvabhouman in this 
small post. Excuse is therefore sought for omissions and lapses. Let us see 
the list of all his works in the next post.

Isn't it appropriate to refurbish the maNdapam of The Greatest Acharya
saarvabhouman ThUppul Pillai? Please contribute your mite.

Please donate according to your shakthi. The money can be sent to "Thuppul 
Trust" and the address is :

Thuppul Trust
Old No.20, New No.24, Thiruvengadam Street
West Mambalam, Chennai-600033, India
Phone No: 91-44-4741559 / 91-44-3715771

Please contact Sri. V.K. Sudharshan at or Sri Lakshmi N 
Srinivasa (He can collect and send it as single amount 
in USA).

The address:

Lakshminarasimhan Srinivasa
3 Old Towne Road, #212
Ayer, MA-01432

For those in the South East Asia, please send to me at  .Please pass on this kaimkaryam to as many people 
as possible in order to complete the same.
kavi-tArkika-simhAya kalyANa-guNa-SAline |
Srimate venkateSAya vedAntagurave namaH ||

Salutations to Sri Venkatesa, in whom all perfection resides, who is the 
teacher of Vedanta and the lion among poets and debaters!

Swamy Desikan ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam
Narayana Narayana
adiyEn Narayana dAsan madhavakkannan

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