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svami manavala mamuni's vaibhavam - part 6
Date: Thu Nov 08 2001 - 00:56:07 PST

srImathE saTakOpAya namah
srImathE rAmAnujAya namah
srImathE anantArya mahAguravE namah
srImathE vara vara munayE namah

dear bhagavathas,

for the past 10 days or so, due to some personal
committments, i could not continue with the 
paraphrasing of svami manavala mamuni's vaibhavam. 
I will continue with svami's vaibhavam from today.
This post will consist of details on one of the 
foremost sishyas of svami manavala mamuni - svami 
prativadi bayankaram aNNa.

During the time of adisesha's reign on earth as svami 
manavala mamuni, there was a great scholar named 
hasthigirinadharanna who lived in kanchipuram 
(hasthigiri = kanchipuram). He was a great scholar in 
the ubhaya vedanta philosophy, and had defeated scores

of scholars in debates regarding vEdAnta, and 
established the srivaishnava sampradayam as the 
religion propounded by the vedic seers. Due to his 
excellence in debates, he was conferred the title of
"prativAdi bayankarar" - the one that stirs fears 
in the minds of those debating him, and became to be 
known as prativadi bayankaram aNNa. He had 3 children 
who were scholars in their own right, and his wife is 
normally held in the same regard as koorattAzhvAn's 
wife ANdAL.

PB aNNA slowly developed revulsion for material 
things, gave all of his material belongings away, and 
went to thirumalai to perform service to the Lord of 
the seven hills in the true spirit of what nammAzhvAr 
advocated (ozhivil kAlamellAm udanaay manni), and 
what anantAzhvAn practiced. There, thOzappa svami 
(descendant of periya thirumalai nambi) gave PBANNa 
the kainkaryam of fetching water from AkAsa ganga, 
preparing it with fragrant material like elaichi and 
submitting it  for perumAL's thiruaradhanam everyday. 
PB aNNa did that kainkaryam with great happiness. 
One day, a srIvaishNava from srIrangam came to worship

the Lord of seven hills. PB aNNa served the 
srIvaishnava by taking him to the temple, helping him 
worship the Lord and by taking him to his home and 
having him stay there. EVeryday, svAmi PBaNNa used to 
listen to the srIvaishNava express the happenings at 
srIrangam - the utsavas, the srivaishnavas there and 
the great prabhavam of svami manavala mamuni. One day,

PB aNNa invited the srivaishnava to accompany him as 
he was bringing water from akasa ganga, and the 
srivaishnava did so. On the way to and from akasa 
ganga, the srivaishnava was explaining the vaibhavam 
of svami manavala mamunigal, especially through the 
purva and uttara dinacharyas (two slokas written by 
srI. erumbiappa, that contain details  about svami 
manavala mamunigals activities throughout the day). 
both the srivaishnava and svami PB aNNa were overcome 
with hearing about svami manavala mamuni, and there 
was a slight delay in the bringing of the water. as 
soon as they reached the temple, before the fragrant 
material like elaichi were added, a ekangi took away 
the vessel containing water for thiruaradhanam for 

The archaka used the water as usual for 
thiruaradhanam, but svami PB aNNa was very dejected 
and was feeling very sad that there were no fragrant 
additives in the water for perumal. So, he took a 
small vattil (small vessel), and took some of the 
fragrant material in that vattil and stood near the 
archaka so that he can give the material to the
archaka. At that time, the archaka mentioned " The 
water today is much more fragrant than everyday" to PB

aNNa.svami aNNa realized that the fragrance was 
because of the listening to svami manavala mamunis 
vaibhavam and even the water became more fragrant 
listening to the vaibhavam and becomes more attractive

for the Lord!. He requested to srivaishnava to take 
him to srirangam so that he(aNNa) can become a sishya 
of svami manavala mamunigal.

PB aNNa went to srIrangam with his family, and stayed 
at the srIranga narayana jeeyar matam. He went to the
temple to worship Lord ranganAtha and in the temple,
he saw svami manavala mamuni performing upanyasam of
a specific decade (onrum thevum) of thiruvaymozhi in
the chitra mantapam inside the temple. svami manavala
mamunigal, on hearing that PB aNNa had come to the
gosthi, stopped the upanyasam, embraced svami and then
continued with the upanyasam. 

after the upanyasam, svami manavala mamuni took pbanna
to the sannadhi and helped him worship the Lord. The
Lord, through the archaka, welcomed pb aNNa and
told anna thus "You have come here, knowing that even
the water that was present in a place where svami
manavala mamuni's vaibhavam is being described is
very dear to Me - I give you the most special
relationship now" and showed svami manavala mamuni
and entrusted pb anna in svami manavala mamuni's

pb anna, along with his family took refuge in svami
manavala mamuni and became his sishyas. he lived the
life of a true srivaishnavite performing service to
fellow srivaishnavas at srirangam. Here, it is a
appropriate to fit in an incident narrated by many
elders regarding pb anna. Once, when pb anna met a 
srivaishnava and performed his obeisances to him,
the srivaishnava addressed pb anna as "prativadi
bayankararE", to which pb anna replied - "svami,
please do not address me so - i am prativadi 
in the goshti of non-srivaishnavas; in the goshti of
srivaishnavas, i am their servant" {para gOshtIshu
prativAdi bayankarah. srIvaishNavaanaam gOshtIshu
that dAsa ithi visruthah}. That is the reason why
most of the descendants of svami pb anna to this
day have the name "srivaishnava dasan" and use 
"adiyen srivaishnava dasan" etc..

Another important detail about pb anna, especially
relevant in today's context, is that he was a shishya
of svami vEdanta dEsika's descendants. In fact
svami aNNa's thaniyan mentions him as receiving the
grace of vEdAnta dEsika and svami maNavALa mAmuni.
svami anna is a prime example that there were no
divisions among the ramanuja sampradaya followers
even during and a little bit after svami manavala
mamuni's time.

The lineage that descends from srI pb anna is very
illustrious. In the thiru nAngUr area, where a branch
of that lineage settled, this family has brought in
thousands and thousands of people into the ramanuja
sampradaya over the years. They are the heriditary
trustees and managers of all the divya desams in
the thirunangur area. This geographic branch is
known for great ubhaya vedanta scholars that are
present to this day. nAngUr PB aNNangarAchAriAr
comes to mind of the scholars in the last century.
In the divya dEsam known as aNNan kOvil, now, there
is a prativadi bayankaram svami, very very learned,
one of the kindest acharyas that one can see -
he is around 95 years old, and if one goes to
pay his/her obeisances to him, the first word
that comes out his mouth (even at this advanced
age) is "did you eat? have you eaten? please stay
here, eat here and then go". A branch from here went
to north india and settled there.

In kanchipuram, another illustrious branch of the
lineage is present. This branch gave us the two
most illustrious scholars of the ramanuja sampradaya
of the 20th century - svami PB anantAchAriAr and
svami PB aNNangarAchAriAr. Volumes and volumes have
been written on these two great acharyas. 
svAmi PB anantAchAriAr (also known as gadhi svami),
perhaps illustrates what a true acharya needs to be -
He travelled long and far in North India, and brought
hundreds of thousands of people into the ramanuja
sampradayam. Out of his concern that language should
not be a barrier, he translated azhvar prabhandhams
and their meaning and delivered upanyasams in sanskrit
and/or hindi. He was instrumental in building the 
famous panasvadi srinivasa temple in mumbai. He, 
perhaps after ramanuja was the first acharya to have
gone deep into north india and spread the universal
knowledge of our religion. There are thousands
of sishyas who come to kanchipuram even today from
remote parts of north India to the current acharya
of this lineage.

svAmi PB aNNangarAchAriAr needs no introduction.
He followed the footsteps of svami gAdhi anantAchAr,
and became a scholar in his own right. His 
contributions to ramanuja sampradaya are uncountable. 
He spread the ramanuja sampradaya among many many 
people in andhra pradesh. He , along with 
thirukkaNNApuram pattappa svami and gadhi anantAchar 
svAmi was  among the very few acahryas to have carried

the  universal message of the ramanuja
sampradaya to ALL people, irrespective of caste,
language or background. His contributions towards
making our acharyas' commentaries accessible to the
common man is infinite. The "divyArtha deepikai",
an easy to understand commentary on the naalayiram,
based on purvacharyas vyakhyanams is a treasure.
Similarly the simple to understand summaries of
the rahasya granthas. He also published countless
books on the sampradaya (commentaries by acharyas, 
summaries, commentaries in simple colloquial 
language) in telugu, sanskrit and hindi.

Perhaps the greatest contribution of svami
PB aNNangarAcharya was the debunking of several
(even today prevalant) myths about the difference of
views among ramanuja sampradaya acharyas. His 
treatises establishing the unifying nature of all
of our acharyas are a treasure for us. 

I will stop here and will continue in the next

azhvar emperumanar jiyar thiruvadigale saranam,
adiyen madhurakavi dasan,

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