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SrI UttamUr SwAmi : A Legend in His Lifetime

From: Anand Karalapakkam (
Date: Mon May 08 2000 - 08:50:25 PDT

SrI PadmAvati samEtha SrInivAsa ParabrahmaNE namaha

SrImad abhinava dESIka UttamUr VAtsya VeerarAghavArya -
mahAdESikAya namaha

SrI Lakshminrusimha divya pAdukA sEvaka SrIvaN SatakOpa SrI -
nArAyaNa yateendra mahAdESIkAya namaha

 Dear devotees,
 namO nArAyaNa.

 First of all, adiyEn would like to convey my sincere thanks
 to all the devotees who have kindly come forward to support
 this very important project of republishing the invaluable works
 of SrI UttamUr swAmi. adiyEn requests those who have missed
 the earlier appeals, to kindly gothrough the archives
 starting from later half of March, 2000.

 In the forthcoming days, adiyEn will post some very interesting
 articles on the Life and Works of SrI UttamUr swAmi. Please
 don't miss it and you will certainly enjoy those articles
 written by eminent scholars and devotees. Its highly inspiring.
 Kindly take time to relish the forthcoming series of postings.

 There can't be a better auspicious day to start the series of
 postings than the most auspicious day of thirunakshatram (birth-
 star/birthday) of our most beloved Bhagavad RAmAnuja.

 Following is the edited version of an article that
 appeared in the daily "The Hindu" on 17th Jan 1997,
 on the eve of the centenary celebrations of SrI
 UttamUr SwAmi. This is a very short article to just give a
 feel about SrI UttamUr SwAmi. More in the future ....


     Among the contemporary scholars of the ViSishtAdvaita
 tradition, SrI UttamUr VeerarAghavArya MahAdESIkA Or
 UttamUr SwAmi as popularly known, achieved the unique
 distinction of being hailed as "abhinava dESIka" and
 undoubtedly earned the respect and gratitude of both the
 scholars and layman alike, for the signal service he has
 rendered in the cause of SrI-VaishNava religion and
 ViSishtAdvaita Philosophy. He became a legend in his
 lifetime (1896 - 1983) a name to reckon with, both in
 the religious and academic spheres, which earned him
 laurels not only from the religious heads of the various
 SrI VaishNava Muths, but also from the AchAryAs of other
 traditions including SrI ChandrasEkharEndra Saraswati of
 Kanchi Muth (who followed the philosophy of advaita).

  This attests to his profound scholarship in the various
 philosophical traditions, proficiency in sanskrit and
 other languages, and polemical skills which he applied
 with great elegance in his original writings and also to
 publish the works of the AchAryAs and the literature of
 the Ubhaya-vEdAnta tradition, which alltogether number
 more than 160 - a stupendous feat for an individual.

  Hailing from UttamanallUr, a village near MadhurAntakam
 in chingleput district of Tamilnadu, the swAmi belonged
 to the nallAn chakravarthi lineage. He mastered the tarka
 SAstra, vyAkarana, pUrva and Uttara mImAmsa with
 remarkable ease and the turning point in his carrier was
 his training in the Ubhaya-vEdAnta under the guidance of
 SrI RangarAmAnuja MahAdESIkan, popularly known as SrI
 KOzhiyAlam swAmi, which made him blossom into a full
 fledged AchArya.

 He travelled during the course of his career which took
 him as far as Pushkar (RAjasthAn) until he retired from
 SrI VEnkatESwara Oriental College, Tirupati. He started
 writing right from the beginning of his career and after
 retirement, he took upon himself the dissemination of
 Ubhaya-vEdAnta through KAlakshEbams, UpanyAsams and
 Publications. The establishment of Ubhaya-VEdAnta-
 GranthamAlA in Chennai was a landmark in his publishing

 It must be said to UttamUr SwAmi's credit that his works
 have received unqualified praise from all quarters. His
 magnum opus "ParamArtha BhUshanam" was prescribed as the
 textbook of advanced study in VEdAnta by Beijing
 University. SwAmi was the first recipient of the President
 of India's Award for proficiency and contribution to
 Sankrit, in 1960.

 Some of the titles that were conferred on him are
 TarkArnava, Pandita Ratna, Pandita MArtAnda, Pandita
 BhooshaNa, PoorvOttara MImAmsa Pradeepa and Ubhaya mImAmsa
 vallabha. The title "abhinava dESIka" (newer VEdAnta dESika)
 was conferred upon him on his Sashtiabdapoorti (60th birthday)
 in 1957 and also "Ubhaya VEdAnta Vijaya Dwaja" and "SarvAtma
 RakshAmaNi" on his SatAbhishEkam day (80th birthday) in 1977.

   Poised as he was in tradition both by precept and practise,
 he was the natural successor to SrI KOzhiyAlam swAmi in the
 Munitraya AchArya parampara. It is significant to note that
 he remained in GruhastAshrama (as per the instructions of his
 AchArya, in order to mainly carry out the books publication
 work). Such was the respect he commanded from his contemporaries.

  As the oft quoted saying, lives of great men must make ours
 sublime, that of one who has lived amongst our midst not so
 very long ago must indeed inspire us to tread the path he had
 blazed. One way to do so would be to show our gratitude and
 compensate atleast in a small measure for what such AchAryas
 have bequeathed to us by remembering them atleast during their
 thirunakshatrams (and supporting the republication of their works

 adiyEn humbly requests other devotees also to join this series
 of postings, by offering comments etc on these articles and
 share their feelings regarding SrI UttamUr SwAmi and his
 works, and the importance of this reprinting project. It would
 be great if the devotees can also post their independent
 articles about SrI UttamUr swAmi and their personal experience
 upon reading his works. Thanks a lot in advance.

 adiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan,

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