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Sri RaamAnuja NooRRandhAthi: Life of the grantha karthA, Thiruvarangatthu AmudanAr: Part II

From: Sadagopan (
Date: Tue May 02 2000 - 06:25:50 PDT

SrimathE RaamAnujAya nama:

Introduction on the vaibhavam of AmudhanAr

There are three utthAraka (uplifting )
manthrams besides the AshtAkshara and Dhvaya manthrams
for Sri VaishNavites . The latter two are received 
directly from a SadAchAryan. The other three 
are SrimathE NaarAyaNAya nama: ,
SrimathE SatakOpAya nama: and SrimathE 
RaamAnujAya Nama:

These are considered amudha mozhis and it
is appropriate we think of AmudhanAr 
and his Sri Sookthi in this context.It is
also appropriate to recall that the name 
"AmudhanAr" was given to periya Koil Nampi 
by AchArya RaamAnujA himself.

The manthram , "SrimathE RaamAnujAya nama:"
is dear to the tongue and mind of all
Udayavar sampradhAyins and this manthram
and the 108 paasurams extolling AchArya 
RaamAnujA's greatness are generally 
viewed as AmruthAksharangaL.Let us 
recite Sri RaamAnuja NooRRandhAthi 
during his Thirunakshathream .It is 
also my request to Sri Thirukkudanthai
Rengarajan to post a series of articles on 
the individual paasurams of this Prabhandham 
for our benefit .  

AmudhanAr's lineage
Sri AmudhanAr was born at Srirangam. 
His father's name was ANiarangatthamudanAr ,
who was steeped in service to Sri RanganAthan .
The other name for our AmudanAr is Moongilkudi
amudhanAr denoting the ancient village from
which his ancestors came prior to settling down
in Srirangam. AmudhanAr lived for 128 years
on this earth . 

AmudhanAr's blessings 

AmudhanAr's devotion to AchArya RaamAnujA
was equal to that of the unparalleled devotion 
that Madhuara Kavi AzhwAr had for SwamyNammAzhwAr. 
AmudhanAr was saved by AchArya sambhandham. Prior to 
being saved by the limitless of DayA of AchArya RaamAnujA ,
Amudhanar was the purOhithar for Sri RanganAthA
and was filled with rajO guNam and had ill feelings
towards AchArya RaamAnujA for the boons granted 
to him by Sri RanganAthA .He resented the granting 
of the title of Udayavar by Sri RanganAthan. In those
days , AmudhanAr was known as Periya Koil Nampi.

RaamAnujA's plan and Sri RanganAthA's Sankalpam

As RaamAnujA began to fulfill the command of 
Lord RanganAthA to manage the day to day affairs 
of the temple , Amudhanar got angrier and angrier
and placed many obstacles in the way of RaamAnujA
and caused deep pain to RaamAnujA . The despondent
RaamAnujA wanted to dismiss AmudhanAr from temple
service to achieve the smooth running of the affairs
of the temple. One day , Lord RanganAtha appeared 
in the dream of RaamAnujA as an old Brahmin and said: 
" Periya Koil Nampi is dependent on Me for a long time.
rest is Your ThiruvuLLam " and disappeared. RaamAnujA 
shared his dream with KUrEsan and concluded that
the Lord did not want him to dismiss Periya Koil Nampi 
from His service and that the Lord wanted Nampi 
to engage in some other kaimkaryam other than purOhitham.

KurEsan responded and mentioned that the Lord wants 
RaamAnujA to correct the undesirable ways of Nampi
and to engage him in AchArya kaimkaryams . RaamAnujA 
suggested that KUrEsan himself correct Nampi's
destructive ways and bring him back to the fold of
BhAgavathAs . KUrEsan accepted the suggestion of
his AchAryan as command and engaged the scholarly 
Periya Koil Nampi in discussions and slowly  but
surely changed Nampi to mend his previous ways.
KUresan brought Nampi before RaamAnujA and placed
Nampi at his feet . AchArya RaamAnujA was overjoyed 
at the transformation in Nampi and was about to accept
him as his sishyan.

KUrEsan becoming the AchAryan for Nampi

Periya Koil Nampi was a great scholar and 
AchArya RaamAnujA recognized that extraordinary 
scholarship and felt that Nampi's vidhvath
was far superior to his own and therefore recommended 
that KUrEsan become the AchAryan to nampi instead of 
him. Recognizing the sweetness of speech of Nampi ,
AchArya RaamAnujA gave the name of "AmudhanAr" 
to Nampi. From then on , Periya Koil Nampi came
to be known as " Thiruvarangatthu AmudhanAr ". 
He was also addressed with reverence as 
"PiLLai AmudhanAr ". 

AchArya RaamAnujA taking control of Temple service

Few days after becoming the Thiruvadi of 
KUrEsan , AmudhanAr's mother passed away.
AmudhanAr was performing her Charama kaimkaryam.
The day of yEkOdhishtam came ( the day after
sabhinDIkaraNam). Because of the earlier 
quarrels that Nampi had with his relatives , he could not
get anyone to accept his invitation to officiate
in the ceremonies. AchArya RaamAnujA realized
the desperate state AmudhanAr was in and suggested 
that KurEsan to take part in the ceremony and
bring it to a saasthraic conclusion without
any vignams. 

In this important srArddha ceremony ,
there is a stage, when the Brahmin chosen to
accept the ritual food should say , " I am 
satisfied with the offerings " (susampannam ,
Sarvam sampUrNam , ThrupthAsma: ).When that stage
arrived , KUrEsan stalled and did not say 
the prathivachanam , "ThrupthAsma:". AmudhanAr
was deeply disturbed and asked waht else needs to 
be done . AchArya RaamAnujA had instructed KUrEsan
to ask as dhAnam , PurOhitham and PurANa
patanam for Sri RanganAthan , which were 
the heriditary rights of AmudhanAr family . 
When KUrEsan asked for these two dhAnams , 
AmudhanAr had no choice except to agree. Thus AchArya
RaamAnujA was able to get control of 
the temple administration from AmudhanAr and 
appointed KUresan to serve as the chief priest
and pourANikar for the Lord . That is how ,
ParAsara Bhattar , the son of KUrEsar got
the title of Sri rangEsa PurOhithar later.

RaamAnujA's daya for AmudhanAr

Lord RanganAthA was very pleased with the turn of events.
RaamAnujA felt bad that such a great scholar (AmudhanAr)
was stripped of his erstwhile major responsibilites
and out of his (RaamAnujA's) spirit of compassion went to 
the residence of one of his AchAryan ,Thiruvaranga 
PerumAL arayar .There , he begged his achAryan 
to grant as boon(DhAnam)  Iyarpaa SrikOsam 
to him . He requested his AchAryan not to recite
the Iyarppaa thousand , which was his assigned duty.
He instructed  AmudhanAr on the recitation of
Iyarppaaa and asked him to take over the recitation
of this thousand from the Arayar. All the maryAdhayais
for such kaimkaryam were deflected to Amudhanaar
from that day onward.Arayar recited all other 
isaippaa other than Iyarppaa.AmudhanAr was 
also put in charge of Iyarppaaa recitation at 
Sri RanganAyaki ThAyAr sannidhi. 

The composition of RaamAnuja NooRRandhAthi

AmudhanAr was moved by the dayA of RaamAnujA 
and composed the 108 paasurams of Sri RaamAnuja
NooRRandhAthi and recited in front of NamperumAL. 
On a SapthAvaraNam day , Lord RanganAthA asked
RaamAnujA not to accompany Him on His Raaja Veedhis
and stopped all vAdhyams and asked Sri VaishNavAs
to recite the RaamAnuja NooRRandhAthi. From then on ,
NooRRandhAthi is recited after Iyarppaa at PerumAL
and ThAyAr sannidhis at the command of NamperumAL .

AchArya RaamAnujA obeyed the wish of Lord RanganAthA
and included the recital of NooRRandhAthi at the end
of Iyarppaa recitation , just as KaNNinuNN SiRutthAmpu
is recited at the end of Mudal Aayiram. Thus AmudhanAr 
is to AchArya RaamAnujA just as Madhura Kavi is to 
Swamy NammAzhwAr. The two prabhandhams by Madhura kavi
and Thiruvarangatthu AmudhanAr are like Naayaka 
rathnams adorning the gem necklace .

In Sri VaishNava sampradhAyam , AchAryan is recognized
as the avathAra visesham of Sriman NaarAyaNan. Therefore ,
one worships one's AchAryan as not different form EmperumAn .
Such AchArya abhimAna nishtaaLs appreciate deeply
Madhura Kavi's sincere declaration , "dhEvu maRRaRiyEn".
AmudhanAr declared in this respect : " surakkum Thiruvum
uNarvum solappuhil vaayamudham parakkum iruvinai
paRraRavOdum patiyiluLLIr ! uraikkinranan numakkiyAn
aRancheeRum uRu kalyai thurakkum perumai RAAMAANUSAN 

In every one of his NooRRandhAthi paasurams ,
AmudhanAr placed the ThirunAmAm of RaamAnusar
for our benefit .We look forward to Sri RengarajAn's
postings in the days to come to have  a special
celebration on the Vaibhavam of AchArya RaamAnujA
and his reverence to AzhwAr's Sri Sookthis.

Daasan, Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan 


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