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Guru Parampara

From: Mani Varadarajan (
Date: Fri Jun 30 1995 - 11:48:23 PDT

I just posted this article on network news (alt.religion.vaisnava)
in response to a question on the Visistadvaita line of acharyas.


In-reply-to: Eswar Josyula's message of 29 Jun 1995 16:27:35 GMT
Newsgroups: alt.religion.vaisnava
Subject: Re: Guru-Parampara of Vishistadvaita
References: <3suk9n$kf2$>

In article <3suk9n$kf2$> Eswar Josyula <76142.1306@CompuServe.COM> writes:
> The guru-parampara of the Vishishta-Advaita Vaisnava School is given here.

There is a Sloka composed by Srivatsaanka Misra (Kooratthaazhvaan)
which pays homage to all the teachers of the tradition, beginning 
with the Lord down to Sri Srivatsaanka's acharya, Ramanuja.
It is recited these days at the beginning of formal worship
or study.

	laksmInaatha samaarambhaam naatha-yaamuna madhyamaam
	asmadaachaaryaparyantaam vande guruparamparaam

The guruparampara is as follows.  The first three names in
the list, of course, are anhistorical, since they are 
considered divine personalities in the tradition.  The fourth 
and fifth names are separated by at least two centuries.
Nammalvar is said to have handed the Thiruvaaymozhi and other 
works of the Alvars to Nathamuni by appearing in a vision to the
latter.  Whether or not this was the case, Sri Nathamuni rescued 
the Divya Prabandham (as the Alvars' hymns are known) from 
virtual oblivion and was imbued with the spirit of devotion to
the memory of Nammalvar.

I have given the common name of each acharya as well as a
popular alternative in parentheses. Usually one is in Tamil,
the other in Sanskrit.

	Parabrahman, Sriman Narayana (emberumaan)

	Lakshmi (periya piraatti)

	Visvaksena (senai mudaliyaar)

	Nammalvar (kaari maaran sadagopan) (6th-8th centuries A.D.)

------ strictly historical parampara begins here

	Naathamuni (c. 900 A.D.)

	UyyakkoNDaar (pundarIkaaksha)

	Rama Misra

	Yaamunaacaarya (Alavandaar) (c. 900-1000 AD)

	Periya Nambi (MahaapUrNa)

	Ramanuja (emberumaanaar, udaiyavar, bhaashyaakaara) 
		(1017 - 1137 A.D.)

The guruparampara splits off here into various traditions.
Ramanuja had 74 principal disciples, each of whom were
major teachers in their own right.  However, there are some 
acharyas who deserve special mention. They are listed in
two columns, in chronological order.

Thirukurugai Piraan Pillaan (Kurukesa)               Embar (Govinda)
   Author of the first commentary on the                Cousin of Ramanuja
   Thiruvaaymozhi, "The 6000". Direct                   and a great teacher.
   disciple of Ramanuja.
Engal Azhvaan (Vishnucitta)                             (Srivatsanka Misra)
   Author of a commentary on                            A master poet and
   the Vishnu Purana, the most authentic                Vedantin who 
   and philosophical of the Puranas.                    martyred.

Vaatsya Varadacharya (Nadadur Ammaal)                Parasara Bhattar
   A great master of Vedanta whose                      The first acharya
   lectures in Kanchipuram inspired                     in this line who lived
   Sudarsana Suri's exposition of                       past Ramanuja's death.
   Ramanuja's commentary on the                         Author of a commentary
   Brahma-sutras.              \                        on the Vishnu Sahasranama
   /                            \                       as well as several 
  /                            Sudarsana Suri           philosophical works.
Atreya Ramanuja (Appullaar)       Author of the most lucid           |
  |                               commentary on the Sri Bhashya,     |
Vedanta Desika (1268-1369 A.D.)   the Srutaprakaasika.               |
   Undisputed master of Vedanta,                              /------
   logic, the Prabandham, poetics,                           /       
   and aesthetics. The dynamic                      Nanjeeyar
   range of his works display his                      Author of the "9000",
   brilliance as a poet as well as                     the second major commentary
   a scholar.  He is one of the                        on the Thiruvaaymozhi. He
   brightest stars in the history                      was formerly an Advaitin,
   of medieval Vedanta.                                but became a Visistadvaitin
                                                       after being defeated in
                                                       debate by Parasara Bhattar.

                                                       A master expositor of  
                                                       Ubhaya Vedanta, particularly
                                          ----------   of the Thiruvaaymozhi. He
                                         /             is very fondly remembered in
                         ---------------/              the tradition.
                         |                                            |
           Periya Vaaccaan Pillai (c. 12th century)      Vadakku Thiruvidi Pillai
             Known as Vyaakhyaana Chakravarti,             Author of the best-loved
             "Emperor of Commentators", since he           commentary on the 
             wrote lucid commentaries on all the 4000      Thiruvaaymozhi, the
             hymns of the Alvars, as well as on            "36000", also known as
             Ramanuja's three prose poems,                 "EeDu Vyaakyaanam".
             the Gadyatrayam.                                /
                                             Pillai Lokacharya (13th century A.D.)
                                                Gifted with great
                                                foresight, this acharya
                                                was one of the most catholic
                                                and open-minded of men,
                                                especially given the times.
                                                He wrote many works, most
                                                of which set on solid ground
                                                the philosophy of self-surrender,
                                                the highest teaching of the
                                                Sri Vaishnava religion.
                                             Thiruvaaymozhi Pillai (Sri Sailesa)

                                             Manavaala Maamunigal (15th century)
                                                (Ramyajaamaatr Muni)
                                                Perhaps the acharya who had the
                                                largest following in the post-
                                                Ramanuja period. He spread
                                                the philosophy of the movement
                                                far and wide, reestablished 
                                                temple worship in places which
                                                were languishing, and wrote
                                                lucid commentaries on the works
                                                of Pillai Lokacharya.