You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : March 1996

Re:Yatiraja Vimshati

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani)
Date: Sun Mar 10 1996 - 18:25:39 PST

No, Thiruvarangatthu Amudhanaar and YAdava PrakASa are
different people.  Each first had fractious disputes with
Ramanuja and later sought him as his acharya.  Their
respective mothers were instrumental in both cases.

Amudhanaar was the head priest of Srirangam temple
when Ramanuja took over the leadership of the Sri 
Vaishnava community.  Known then as Periya Koil
Nambi, he had major disagreements with Ramanuja
when the latter tried to restructure the Srirangam
temple organization.  At one point he categorically
refused to allow Ramanuja to proceed with the
reforms.

Periya Koil Nambi's mother had grown very close to
Kuratthaazhvaan, as he used to sing and explain
Azhvaar paasurams to her.  [The accounts indicate
that Periya Koil Nambi was a Vedic scholar but
not particularly well versed in the Prabandham.]
After she died, Kuratthaazhvaan was a main participant
in her funeral and managed to convince Periya
Koil Nambi to reconcile with Ramanuja and seek him
as his acharya.  Accounts indicate that the persuasion 
involved a combination of charismatic charm and
arguments that Nambi owed it as a debt to his late
mother.

It is obvious, however, that no matter how much
animosity once existed, Periya Koil Nambi's conversion
was absolute and complete.  Ramanuja was sufficiently
fond of him to give him a new name, Thiruvarangatthu 
Amudhanaar.  Amudhanaar in turn was so devoted
to his new acharya that he composed a Tamil poem 
in his honor, the ``raamaanusa nooRRandhaadhi''.
This is the only genuine contemporary poem about
Ramanuja.

Needless to say, Ramanuja's temple reforms then
proceeded unobstructed.

YAdava PrakASa was Ramanuja's first instructor
in Vedanta.  It is unclear as to whether YAdava
PrakASa was an Advatin or a Bheda-abheda vAdin.
Whatever the case, YAdava violently disagreed
with the young Ramanuja's interpretations of 
certain Vedantic passages, and once plotted to 
kill him during a pilgrimage to a holy site.  
Ramanuja was forewarned and left the party before 
anything untoward could happen. When student
and teacher met again, they resumed the relationship
for a while, but the friction resurfaced that
YAdava suggested that Ramanuja would be better
off learning somewhere else.

Later in life, YAdava PrakASa was feeling 
a great deal of discontent with life, in spite 
of his great Vedantic learning.  His aged mother 
had been a follower of Ramanuja's for some time, 
and suggested to her son that he seek out Ramanuja.
YAdava approached Ramanuja and became his disciple
as a sannyAsi, adopting the name Govinda Jiyar.
Under the direction of Ramanuja, he wrote a 
code of rules for sannyAsis, known as the 
``yati-dharma-samucchaya''.

Mani