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SrI UttamUr SwAmi - An article on his Life and Works

From: Anand Karalapakkam (kgk_at_md2.vsnl.net.in)
Date: Tue May 09 2000 - 07:26:43 PDT

SrI:
SrI PadmAvati SamEta SrInivAsa Para BrahmaNE 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.

 The following is an article by SrI V.T. VEdAnta RAmAnujAchAria,
 a disciple of SrI UttamUr swAmi. This was published in the
 souvenir released in commemoration of the SatAbhishEkam (80th
 thirunakshatram / birthday) of SrI UttamUr swAmi on 10th Feb
 1977.

 This article gives more information on the Life and Works
 of SrImad "abhinava dESika" UttamUr VeerarAghavAchArya swAmi.


                  OUR ACHARYA
                 *************

   SrI U.Ve. abhinava dESika Uttamoor VeerarAghavAchyArya
 MahAdESika swAmi, our revered AchArya is completing his
 80th year of age on 10-2(Feb)-1977, he having born in
 the month of Thai in 1896-1897 in an orthodox AchArya
 Purusha family, of NallAn Chakravarthis, in Utthamoor
 village, near MadhurAntakam in Chingleput District. His
 birth star is SwAti, the same as that of SrI PeriAzhwAr,
 besides having been chosen for His avatAra by BhagavAn
 SrI Lakshmi Nrisimha. His parents worshipped SrI VeerarAghava
 swAmi deity at Trivellore (thiru-yevvuLUr) before his birth
 and their prayer was granted by the birth of our AchArya
 and hence they named him SrI VeerarAghava and our AchArya
 has also referred to it respectfully in his monumental
 work "SrI ParamArtha BhUshanam".


    Even as a boy, our AchArya evinced a keen desire to
 master Sanskrit and studied under his revered father
 upto kAvya (Poetry) and nAtaka (Drama) and continued
 them under His Holiness SrI Paramahamsa ParivrAjaka -
 AchArya SrI SrInivAsa MahAdESikan (SrI Garudapuram
 swAmi) in his poorva Ashramam (ie.gruhasta) at
 MadhurAntakam, and after mastering the same, studied
 "Tarka SAstra" (Philosophy of NyAya) under the famous
 SrI U.Ve. Swacchandam SrInivAsAchArya swAmi at
 MadhurAntakam and attained proficiency in Tarka SAstra.
 Thence, with the blessings of that guru, who had been
 appointed as Professor in the Sanskrit College at
 TiruvaiyAr, he continued his studies in the above said
 Sanskrit college under the same guru in NyAya and at the
 same time mImAmsa SAstra also under another great
 professor and came out first in the Presidency in the
 SirOmani Examination during the year 1919.


    In view of his proficiency, he was taken as a
 research scholar in that college and with the help of
 the English language learnt in his boyhood under his
 father while learning Sanskrit, he chose his subject as
 "Comparison of the Philosophy of East and West" and
 passed the B.O.L. Examination under credit.


    It was about that time our AchArya had the oppurtunity
 of receiving instruction on SrI BhAshya and other
 essential granthas and Rahasyas in the traditional
 kAlakshEpam way from the late Paramahamsa ParivrAjaka -
 AchArya SrI RangarAmAnuja MahAdESikan (SrI KOzhiyAlam
 swAmi), his AchArya, in the poorvAshramam and also
 subsequent to his assuming the sannyAsa Ashramam. Our
 AchArya's regard and esteem for his AchArya is
 unlimited. Similar is the grace of the said AchArya to
 his sishya ie. our AchArya, and it is reflected in the
 Tanian (salutation / laudatory verse) for our AchArya
 having been given by his guru himself - a rare thing
 indeed.


     He had by that time ie. even in the early age given
 us three works respectively relating to the three systems
 named "VaisEshika DarSana Vimarsa" (on NyAya-VaiSEshika),
 "MImAmsa SudhAswAdha" (on pUrva mImAmsa) and "VEdAnta
 DarSana Vimarsa" each one of which was applauded by
 learned pandits as of a very high order.

 ( note : SrI UttamUr SwAmi wrote an outstanding commentry
   to a very difficult work by UdayanAchArya called NyAya
   KusumAnjai, while he was a student learning it. More on
   it in the later postings )

     Thus our AchArya, like SrI VEdAnta DESika, mastered
 the SAstras even before he was 22 years old. In view of
 the high attainments of our AchArya, he was chosen as
 the Examiner for Sanskrit in the University Examinations
 of Mysore, Madras, Andhra and Benaras Hindu Universities.


     After our AchArya was at TiruvaiyAr for some years,
 the late SrI U.Ve. Kapisthalam DESikAchArya swAmi of
 great fame, desired to draw our AchArya to SrI VenkatESwara
 Oriental College, Tirupati. It happened sometime thereafter
 that the authorities of that college, having regard to his
 high attainments, requested our AchArya to join that college
 at Tirupati as the Head of the Department of NyAya and he
 accepted the same. He was held in great esteem there and
 started the MImAmsa SirOmani class also and continued as
 the Head of both the departments, till he retired about
 25 years ago. Panditas more than 100 in number received
 instruction under him there and have reaped the benifit
 thereof holding high posts (in teaching SAstras) and they
 all owe their present position to our swAmi.


    After retirement, he was requested to settle at
 Madras by the late 'Sir' S.VaradAchAria, retired judge
 of the Federal Court, Delhi and by the late SrI V.V. SrInivAsa
 IyengAr, sometime judge of the High Court of Judicature at
 Madras and a leading advocate, and by the late Rao Bahadur -
 G.RangaswAmi IyengAr, retired Commissioner of Police and by
 SrI V.T. RangaswAmi IyengAr, the then Public Prosecutor of
 the High Court, Madras and a leading advocate and the
 President of this SatAbhishEkam Committee, and accordingly
 he settled down at Madras (ie. Mambalam) and began KAlakshEpam
 classes, which continue up-to date, where he expounds
 to the Sishyasin his inimitable way the several VEdAnta
 works to be studied by all SrI Vaishnavites. In
 particular, the late SrI K.BhAshyam IyengAr, ex-Law
 Minister with the Government of Madras was an ardent
 pupil who studied intensively under our AchArya during
 his lefetime. Thus, our AchArya is doing yeomen service
 to the Vaishnava Community upto date by expounding to
 them the principles of SrI VaishNava sampradAya and by
 himself following in word and spirit, the said principles.


       From his early age, he was able to expound clearly
 what he studied. We find him to have written a commentry
 on "NyAya KusumAnjali" (*) which was of such a high order
 that it won the approbation of the late SrI U.Ve. Asoori -
 RAmAnujAchjAria swAmi of SrIperumpUdUr, a learned pandit
 of the Thenkalai Sect and also principal of the Sanskrit
 college there, who on pursuing the commentry, praised it
 stating that there is a spark of divinity (daivIka amSam)
 in the young author. He produced another commentry of a
 very high order at that early age itself on "Siddhi Trayam"
 (of SrI YAmunAchArya), which he submitted to his AchArya
 SrI KOzhiyAlam swAmi as his (UttamUr swAmi's) samarpanam
 on his (KOzhiyAlam swAmi's) 61st birthday as a mark of
 respect (and gratitude).

   (*) : NyAya KusumAnjali is a masterpiece by one of the
 all time greats of NyAya SAstra named "UdayanAchArya".
 In this work, he wonderfully argues in various ways to
 establish the presence of God, with great logical acumen
 and systematically refutes various schools of thought like
 ChAravAka etc who uphold the absence of God. In SrImad
 Rahasya Traya SAram, SwAmi DESikan refers to SrI KidAmbi
 AcchAn as "Udayana of VEdAnta" ie. SrI KidAmbi AcchAn's
 proficiency in VEdAnta (including logical skills etc) is
 like what Udayana's proficiency in NyAya.


      All these indicated the future great works to be
 published, more than one hundred in number, by our
 AchArya in due course. To refer to a few of them only,
 we may take his "BhAshyArtha Darpana", a commentry on
 SrI BhAshyam, which enables even the average student to
 understand SrI BhAshya and the basic principle enshrined
 therein. Similar is the lucid commentry on SrI VEdAnta DESika's
 "TAtparya Chandrika",a commentry on SrI Bhagavad RAmAnuja's
 GIta BhAshya. So also is the "GeethArtham" a commentry in
 Tamil of SrImad Bhagavad GIta, which besides giving a word
 for word translation of the slokas of Gita gives the purport
 thereof as per "GIta BhAshya" and "TAtparya Chandrika".


     His tippani for the BhAshya of SrImad Upanishad
 BhAshyakAra swAmi (SrI RangarAmAnuja Muni) to the Ten
 (principal) Upanishads and connected small Upanishads is
 very lucid and illuminating, and the comparitive study
 therein of the interpretations of other (philosophical)
 systems is inimitable. A simple tamil summary of the
 Upanishads is also given.


     He has also given us in Tamil a book "Upanishad
 SAram" where we find summary of some more Upanishads. His
 work "ISAvAsyOpanishad AchArya BhAshya TAtparya" and his
 commentry on Stotra Ratna BhAshya of SrI VEdAnta DESika
 are of equally high order and have been greatly
 appreciated by the late His Holiness SrI InjimEttu
 Azhagiyasingar swAmi (42nd HH Jeeyar of SrI Ahobila Muth)
 and by SrI "MahAmahOpAdyAya" Kapisthalam (DESikAchArya)
 swAmi and others.


   Similar are the various commentries of the SrI SooktIs
 of PoorvAchAryas. All his tippanis have an introduction
 which is a treatise by itself and contains crisply as to
 what the work deals with, and is well worth considering
 whether these themselves can be had all in one volume,
 and that one book will be suffice to indicate the glory
 of our ViSishtAdvaita philosophy. His work "ParamArtha -
 BhUshanam" is a magnificent and monumental one
 establishing the greatness of our ViSishtAdvaita
 Philosophy, answering all criticisms against it and is a
 permanent authority for our sampradAyam, silencing all
 attacks against the authority of SrI VEdAnta DESika's
 "Sata Dooshani".


      Our AchArya is equally proficient in Tamil, a rare
 quality among persons learned in Sanskrit. He has given
 us lucid commentries under the caption "Prabandha Raksha"
 on the "NAlAyira Divya Prabandhams" of AzhwArs. The same
 contains the meaning in Tamil word for word of each
 pAsuram and also the purport. The commentry is superb and
 all pandits who give discourses on TiruppAvai in the month
 of mArgazhi derive inspiration therefrom. It is also
 learnt that SrI N.KrishnaswAmi Reddiar, retired Judge of
 the High Court of Judicature at Madras relied mostly on
 the same while explaining the purport of each pAsuram of
 tiruppAvai through the All India Radio every morning last
 mArgazhi month.


      The commentry on TiruvAimozhi is equally superb as it
 seeks to bring out the essentials contained in the
 commentries of Thiruk-kurugai PirAn PiLLAn in SrI Tiru 6000
 padi and of SrI VEdAnta DESika in his TAtparya RatnAvaLi, as
 also how SrI NampiLLai has dealt with it in his "Yeedu". The
 commentry takes into account also all existing commentries on
 TiruvAimozhi and explains the same fully. The introduction to
 the commentry on TiruvAimozhi is by itself a literature, of a
 very high order and greatly instructive.


      Our AchArya has great faith in the "PanchakAla Prakriya"
 which has to be followed by all aastikas and he always follows
 it strictly from 4:30 AM to night time daily ie. Abhigamana,
 UpAdAna, Ijya, SwaadhyAya, and YOga. After "abhigamana
 aarAdhana", he spends the "UpAdAna kAla" in imparting knowledge
 in the traditional kAlakshEpam way, in his classes to his
 Sishyas. This was commenced 25 years ago at Mambalam where he
 settled after retirement as stated above and the classes still
 continue despite his physical condition. The exposition then
 is so unique that he would make even the ignorant Sishya
 understand the essence of the subject. His Soulabhyam is so
 great that he would take in any Sishya to his classes provided
 he is sincere and eager to study, a peculiar characteristic
 unlike others. Thus our AchArya has imparted instructions to
 most of his Sishyas in the traditional kAlakshEpam way on
 "Grantha Chatushtaya" ie. SrI BhAshya, SrI GIta BhAshya,
 SrImad Rahasya Traya SAram and SrI Bhagavad Vishayam, each
 having been repeated several times, and also "Upanishads",
 "Chillarai Rahasyas" etc.


      He spends the spare time to produce VEdAntic works,
 and one would be surprised to find him always busy, even
 correcting proofs by himself.


      Our AchArya is thus leading the life of an ideal
 AchArya, by himself following the AchArya in word and
 spirit, and by producing VEdAntic works for the benifit
 of the people and by expounding the doctrines enshrined
 therein to others. Our AchArya continues the guruparampara.
 All sishyas receive "Pancha SamskAram" from him, ie.
 "SamASrayanam" and our AchArya instructs them on the
 "Three Rahasyas" which naturally creates in them a desire
 to perform SaraNAgati to SrI Bhagavan, and our AchArya does
 the same for them and redeems their souls - "SaraNAgati"
 being the only means now possible for all. Such Sishyas are
 ever flowing and our AchArya helps them unflinchingly in
 redeeming their souls.


        He thus resembles in all respects SrI VEdAnta DESika
 and hence the title of "abhinava dESika" was conferred on him
 up elders. The same is confirmed in the Tanian of our AchArya
 which as indicated above was given by his AchArya himself - a
 rare and unique honour.


      Our National Government has also recognized his
 merit. The earliest and first award of the President of
 India was conferred on him in person at Delhi in the
 year 1959 by the president "Dr.Rajendra Prasad", who was
 himself a Sanskrit scholar. Our AchArya offered worship
 at Badrinath at that time and has already offered worship
 in other North Indian shrines as at Pushkaram previously.


      Our AChArya's mastery of parallel systems of
 philosophy and his exposition thereof has won the
 appreciation of the followers of those faiths also.


      We pray to God Almighty to give our AchArya the
 full span of life of 121 years, sound health and
 strength so that he can continue to be useful to our
 community and complete the remaining works of SwAmi VEdAnta
 DESika he has in mind, and secure for us all the benifits of
"SaraNAgati".

     We cannot adequately express our gratitude to him
 for the available help he has rendered to the community
 at large and to his Sishyas and disciples in particular
 and it is only in the fitness of things that the entire
 community through the SatAbhishEkam Committee avail
 themselves of this oppurtunity of expressing their deep
 debt of gratitude and grateful thanks to him in a proper
 and befitting manner on this important occasion.
-------------------------------------------------

  Hope that you enjoyed reading about the legendry UttamUr
  SwAmi. Its adiyEn's humble request to you all, to kindly
  go through these postings till you get a good amount of
  memory retension atleast on key points. It will then be
  very useful and will make the future articles very
  interesting while reading. Thanks.


 adiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan,
 anantapadmanAbhan.
 krishNArpaNam.

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