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Abhinava DESIka and UttamUr Uttama SwAmi mAhAtmyam - By MadhurAntakam SwAmi

From: Anand Karalapakkam (
Date: Sun May 14 2000 - 04:03:08 PDT

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 the translated excerpts from two articles in
 tamil by the famous SrI U.Ve. MadhurAntakam VeerarAghavAchArya
 swAmi, who was one of the greatest vidvAns of the last century.

 Recently the centenary of MadhurAntakam swAmi was celebrated
 in a very grand manner at SrIrangam under the presidentship
 of H.H. SrImad Poundarikapuram Andavan. H.H. Jeeyar of SrI -
 ParakAla Mutt also graced the celebrations. The star event
 was the 5 day Vidwat Sadas and pArAyana (recitations) of
 all branches of vEdAs, Divya Prabandhas, SrI SUktIs of
 AchAryas, IthihAsa - PurANas etc. adiyEn had the fortune of
 being present there for all the five days and obtain the
 blessings of all AchAryas including MadhurAntakam SwAmi,
 apart from the Divya Dampatis at SrIrangam. The street
 procession of SwAmi DESikan (arcA mUrti) and MadhurAntakam
 SwAmi's photo was a great treat. It was an excellent
 experience indeed, well attended by many devotees and adiyEn
 has many new acquaintances now.

    Kindly refer to the archives for the information about
 the illustrious Life and Works of SrI MadhurAntakam SwAmi.
 He was a classmate of SrI UttamUr swAmi in their younger
 days. They didn't loose their contact and were good friends
 when they later became accomplished scholars and addressed
 each other as "brother" in their correspondence.

   Article #1 "abhinava dESikar" :
 This article in tamil by SrI MadhurAntakam SwAmi was published
 in the souvenir released in commemoration of the SatAbhishEkam
 (80th thirunakshatram ie. birthday) of SrI UttamUr swAmi on
 10th Feb 1977.

 Some excerpts :

                  ABHINAVA  DESIKA

  The article starts with a Sloka composed by SrI MadhurAntakam
  SWami :

  "abhinavadESika birudAnuguNa guNaSrENi bhUshNO bhAti |
   sacchakravarti kulavidhurakalankO veerarAghavAcAryaha || "

   " Being Uttama (noble) similar to the place (UttamUr ie.Noble
     place) in which he took the avatAra, Being nallAn (good) to
     us similar to his kulam (nallAn chakravarti lineage), Being
     PaNdita Cakravarti (Emperor of PaNditas ie. Scholars), Being
     vatsa (SrIvatsa gOtra) and Being vatsala (very affectionate)
     -- These are the things which we experience from abhinava
     dESika, for whom is the SatAbhishEkam being performed. There
     are many special features of earlier DESika, that are present
     in abhinava DESika ......."

    MadhurAntakam SwAmi in his own anubhava, then contrasts the
    lineage of AchAryas for SwAmi DESikan and Abhinava DESikan and
    draws some parallels < Please refer to an earlier posting on
    KOzhiyAlam swAmi viz. Nine Gems.... for the details on these
    lines>. MadhurAntakam Swami then continues ....

    " Moreover, earlier DESika was glorified as

     'SAmskruteebihi drAmidIbhihi bahvIbhihi krutibhirjanAn |
      yassamujjIvayAmAsa tasmai sEvyAya mangalam ||'

      (ie. May Mangala <auspiciousness/prosperity> attain SwAmi
       DESikan, who protected the world by his hundreds of works
       in Sanskrit and Tamil -- 10th Verse of SrI VEdAnta DESika
       Mangalam, composed by SrI KumAra VaradAchArya, foremost
       disciple and son of SrI VEdAnta DESika).

      We can also glorify abhinava dESIka like this, is it not ?

      In accordance with 'sahasrEshu ca paNditaha', only one from
      several thousands of people can attain the scholarship of
      being a paNdita. Even then, the wealth of 'exposition'
      (pravachana / delivering discourses) will be poor. 'vaktA
      SatasahasrEshu' is the saying. Even if one is skilled in
      both of these (ie.scholarship and ability to deliver
      discourses), one will not have the skill in writing
      extraordinary works. Also, in the war of debate, it will
      happen for them to run by showing their back ; They will
      only be in destitution of sAhitya ie. literary composition.
      Even if all these exists, they will not have vinaya
      (modesty/humility), AchAram (good conduct / observance of
      dharmaSAstras etc, esp. rites of nitya and naimittika karmas
      in accordance with VarNAshrama dharma), devotion to bhagavAn,
      bhAgavatAs and AchAryas, kshamA (patience) and cAturyam
      (amiableless). SrI VEnkatAdvari in VisvaguNAdarSana says
      that, the earlier DESika had all of these viz. vEda-SAstra-
      SAhitya-vinaya-AcAra-bhakti-kshamA-cAturya. Similarly are so
      for abhinava dESika. ".

    Article #2 "UttamUr Uttama SwAmi MAhAtmyam" :
 This article in tamil by SrI MadhurAntakam SwAmi was published
 in the souvenir released in commemoration of the 88th
 thirunakshatram of SrI UttamUr swAmi on 25th Jan 1984. This was
 the immediete thirunAkshatram after SrI UttamUr SwAmi attained
 AchArya thiruvadi ie. Paramapadam.

 Some excerpts :



  "In SubhAshita NIvI, SwAmi DESikan starts with the following
   verse for the MahApurusha-paddati :

   'satAmEva khapushpatvam yEshAm yatsadasatvayOhO |
    na jAtu tasya tattAbhyAmiti tEshAm sa viSvadruk || '.

   Sun is an analogy for MahApurushAs (Great Men). When Sun is
   there, the presence of stars will not be seen. The lustre
   of stars will be very small. Even when the Sun is not there
   during the nights, the stars will be present all over the
   sky, like a scattered flower. Whether the stars are either
   present Or absent, there is no loss(in lustre/superiority)
   to the Sun. The lustre of Sun always reigns supreme.
   Similarly, in the presence of mahApurushAs (greatest of men),
   the presence of other Sat(s) <noble men/great scholars> will
   not be seen. Even when that mahApurusha is absent, it will be
   felt that, no other Sat is present. The import <of this
   verse> is that, even when other Sats are either present or
   absent, there will be no decrease in the prakASatvam (lustre
   Or greatness Or superiority) of mahApurushAs. (satAm - For
   Sats - Stars ; khapushpatvam - diminishment of lustre,
   present as a flower in sky) -> UpamAna alankAra in SlEsha
   is employed in the verse.

   SrI UttamUr SwAmi was present as the best example to this
   (as a mahApurusha). Even when swAmi graced the earth, the
   greatness of other mahAns didn't get highlighted. Even when
   the swAmi attained nitya-vibhUti (SrI VaikuNTham), it gives
   the feeling as though there is no mahAn present in this
   world now ! ".

   When one of the stalwart AchAryas of the last century has
   paid such laurel tributes, it goes without saying as to
   what all other vidvAns would have felt about SrI UttamUr

   SrI MadhurAntakam SwAmi, recalls the days of his youth with
   SrI UttamUr SwAmi :

   "For around 8 to 10 years <around 1908 to 1918>, we both
    were classmates in the MadhurAntakam school. We studied
    the fundamental texts of NyAya Philosophy under Swacchandam
    swAmi (One of the greatest authorities in NyAya SAstra, of
    those times). We studied kAvya-nAtaka-alankAra-campu etc
    literary fields in sanskrit, starting from naishadam, under
    SrI Garudapuram SwAmi (A great mahAn who later became a
    sannyAsi; SrI MadhurAntakam swAmi's AchArya and underwhom
    he studied the rest of NyAya and VEdAnta SAstra). We
    studied VyAkaraNa (Sanskrit Grammar) texts like Kaumudi
    and ashtadyAyi (4000 sUtras for grammar by PAnini) under
    ThirukkaLLam VyAkaraNa MahAvidvAn, who was a classmate of
    SrI KOzhiyAlam swAmi. We performed the vEda adhyayanam for
    first khAndam together.

    In the meantime, by the invitation of KuppuswAmy SAstri -
    the principal of ThiruvaiyARu Sanskrit College, Swacchandam
    swAmi had to go to that college. He wanted to take both of
    us along with him. But, my father didn't allow for that.
    UttamUr SwAmi alone got the permission of his father and
    went there.

    In those times, NyAya and mImAmsa (ie.pUrva mImAmsa) together
    constituted one SirOmaNi degree. So, UttamUr swAmi had the
    fortune of learning the whole of mImAmsa SAstra under the
    Srauti-GanapAti-mImAmsa vallabha ChinnaswAmi SAstri (a great
    authority in mImAmsa of those times). Since the two degrees
    (SirOmaNi in NyAya and mImAmsa) got separated during the
    time when UttamUr swAmi gave the examination, swAmi wrote
    the exam for NyAya SirOmaNi and obtained the degree. In
    PudukkOttai samsthAnam also, he passed the examination in
    first class. I learnt the pancavAdAs in NyAya under my
    AchArya (SrI Garudapuram SwAmi) at MadhurAntakam. After
    three years, I went to ThiruvaiyARu and joined the (NyAya)
    SirOmaNi class ; Obtained the degree by giving the exams.
    In PudukkOttai exam also I passed in first class. ".


  Please go through the following chart to have an idea
  of the KEtANDipaTTi SwAmi AchArya parampara, which belongs
  to the Munitraya AchArya Parampara.

  note : The (S) mark means that, the AchArya was a sannyAsi
         and the (G) mark means that, the AchArya was a
                   SAkshAt SwAmi(S)
                Thirukkudanthai DESkan(G)
     |                    |                            |
 SrInivAsa Muni(S)  VazhuttUr SwAmi(S)  SeeyAlam
       |                  |                     |             
  LAdapuram       aaNDikkADu SwAmi(S)           |              | 
  SwAmi (S)               |                 NAvalpAkkam        |    
      |                   |     ANNayArya MahAdESikan(G)  
 <rahasyas>               |                     |       SrInivAsa  
      |            KEtANDipaTTi SwAmi(S)        | RAmAnujaMuni(S)
      |                   |                     |             
Kapistalam SwAmi(G)       |               {NAvalpAkkam         |    
                          |           AchArya Parampara}       |
                          |                                    | 
                          |                         Peria
                          |                           |  
                          |                           |
                          |               ----------------------      
                          |               .                    .
                          |               .                    .
                          |  {PounDarIkapuram       {PeriAshramam   
                          |  ANdavan Parampara} ANdavan Parampara} 
     |                    |                     |           |
     |          DengaNikOttai swAmi(S)          |        Kapistalam
     |                                          |           swAmi(G)
 Tirupati SwAmi(S)                       ThiruvahIndrapuram  
     |                                   SrI Chinna SwAmi(S)    
     |                                          |
     |                                          |
     |                        ---------------------------------
 KOzhiyAlam SwAmi(S)          |                 |             |
     |                        |                 |             |
     |                        |                 |             |
     |          Navaneetam SwAmi(G)   Garudapuram SwAmi(S)    |
     |                        |                 |             |
     |                        |                 |        ChEttalUr
 UttamUr SwAmi(G)             |                 |         SwAmi(G)
                              |                 |
              SrIrAmadESikAchArya(G)   MadhurAntakam SwAmi(G)

   Three SannyAsis viz. (1) SrInivAsa Muni,  (2) VazhuttUr SwAmi
   (VEdanta RAmAnuja Muni alias "VazhuttUr Andavan" alias 
    "SrIrangam SwAmi") and (3) SrI SeeyAlam RanganAtamuni  
   were disciples of SrI Thirukkudanthai GOpAladESikan, who
   was a gruhasta. Because of these three Munis, the AchArya 
   Parampara that followed them came to be known as Munitraya 
   AchArya Parampara.    

   SrI Navaneetam KrishnamAchArya, SrI Garudapuram swAmi
   (who later became a sannyAsi) and SrI ChEttalUr NrusimhachArya
   (another very famous AchArya) were classmates while learning
   under SrI ThiruvahIndrapuram (Chinna) swAmi <SrI SrInivAsa
   RAmAnuja MahAdESIkan>.

   SrI Kapistalam DESikAchArya was another great scholar of the
   past. He learnt SrI BhAshyam under SrI KEtANDipaTTi SwAmi.
   SrI Kapistalam swAmi, who was a Professor in the Tirupati
   College, was instrumental in making UttamUr SwAmi join that
   college as his (junior) colleague.

   Since both UttamUr SwAmi and MadhurAntakam swami belongs to
   the AchArya parampara of SrI KEtANDipaTTi swAmi, they
   addressed themselves as brothers. Also, SrI UttamUr SwAmi
   with MadhurAntakam SwAmi as a classmate, learnt Sanskrit
   literature from SrI Garudapuram SwAmi.

   Now, we have a good background in general regarding the
   Life and Works of SrI UttamUr SwAmi. Lets get into the
   quite detailed account on his Biography. adiyEn will post
   them as a series. After this series, we shall again enjoy 
   the articles by other scholars on UttamUr SwAmi. Again, 
   adiyEn requests you all not to miss the previous postings 
   on UttamUr SwAmi. Please do go through them in your leisure. 

 adiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan,

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