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Sri MaNavALa mAmunigaL : Devotional side--Part 1

From: V. Sadagopan (
Date: Wed Nov 20 1996 - 17:13:48 PST

Srisailesa dayApAthram dipakthyAdhi gunArNavam I
yateendhra pravaNam vandeh ramyajAmAtharam munim II

Dear fellow BhakthAs of Acharya RaamAnujA : 

It is my pleasure to respond to Sri Mohan SAgar"s 
request and get the ball rolling on the discussions on 
Topic. The philosophical side , the "doctrinal differences",
and their priorities --Swami Desikan"s on VedanthA and 
sAstrAs and Maamuni's on devotionalism--have been excellently
covered by Dr. Patricia Mumme in her two volumes entitled
" Sri VaishNavA theological dispute: MaNavALa Maamuni
and Vedantha Desika .  "  

Maamuni  was born an year after Swami Desikan's passing away 
and had Sri Bhashyam kaalakshepam from one of the disciples 
of Brahma Tantra Swami , the founder of the ParakAla  mutt and 
direct disciple of Swami Desikan . Maamuni  had the highest regard for 
Swami Desikan and used to refer to latter with great affection 
as " ABHIYUKTHAR " OR THE REVERED ONE . Swami Desikan had 
in turn the highest regard for the Achaarya of Maamuni's  own Achaarya, 
Sri Pillai LokAcharya. It is unfortunate that the polarization of 
the Sri VaishNavA tradition took place clearly two centuries later 
thanat the time of the passing away of both Swami Desikan
and Maamuni . 

Maamuni  and the " Srirangam acharyas " interpreted their works 
with primary  emphasis on the nAlAiyra Divya Prabhandham
and did not elect to concentrate on VedanthA or Saastraas. Swami Desikan
and "Kanchi Acharyas" put their primary emphasis on Vedas, 
PaancharAtram and  Brahma SutrAs commented by  RaamAnujA . 

The distinctly different perspectives of Swami Desikan's and Maamuni's 
views on Sri VaishNava tradition have been covered by Dr. Mumme with 
reference to their intrepretations on the prime contributions 
of Sri RamAnujA . Swami Desikan in his Yathiraaja Sapthadhi
salutes RAmAnujA for establishing the VisishtAdvaita intrepretation
of Brahma Sutras through his Sri Bhaashyam. Maamuni saluted 
RamAnujaA much more for his Bhakthi for NaMMAzhwAr and 
Sri RanganAtha than for his cardinal contribution to establish 
VisishtAdvaitha VedAnthaa. 

Maamuni's reverence for Sri RaamAnjua is profound. He followed 
faithfully his AchArya's command to spend his time teaching and 
giving Kaalakshepam on the hymns of the AzhwArs and pay only 
" cursory attention " to Sanskritic sources and Sri Bhaashyam . 
Maamuni studied only once Sri Bhaashyam as suggested by his 
Acharya and stayed most of his life at Srirangam in obedience to 
the suggestion of his AchArya. Earlier ,he had spent a lot of his time
at AzhwAr Thirunagari . There  , he composed his first work at the 
command of his Acharya on RaamAnuja in Sanskrit known as 
" YathirAja Vimsathi " . This moving work is a testament to Maamuni's
reverence for RaamAnujA just as Swami Desikan"s celebrated work
known as " YathirAja Sapthadhi " is a moving eulogy of BhaashyakArar . 

Maamuni's deep  attachment to RaamAnuja is evident from the following 
facts : (10 He named his own son, RaamAnuja (2 ) His tribute to
the great AchArya in YathirAja Vimsathi (3) His choice of writing a 
commentary on RaamAnuja NyurranthAdhi of Thiruvarangatthu 
AmudanAr (4 ) modeling his composition ( ThiruvArAdhana Kramam "
after the Sanskrit work of RaamAnujA and(5) concluding his
life on this earth with the moving aarthi Prabhandham , where he 
anguishes (aarthi ) at staying in this world and expresses his eagerness to 
reach Sri VaikuNtam to perform Nitya Kaimkaryam to Parama Padha 
Naathan . Thus Maamuni's first and last work were on Acharya RaamAnuja.

In his work, Upadesa Ratna Maalai , Maamuni pays his tribute to 
Acharya RaamAnujA as the establisher of Srimadh Bhagavadh
RaamAnuja SiddhAntham and the command to his disciple ,
Thirukuruhai PirAn PiLLai to wirite the firdt commentary on 
ThiruvAimozhi , which led to the continuation of that tradition 
by five successors (viz) ., Nanjeeyar, PeriyavAcchAn PiLLai , 
Vadakku Thiruveedhi PiLLai and Vaadhi Kesari Azhahiya 
MaNavALa jeeyar . Maamuni  wonders loud as to what  a loss it 
would have been, if Sri RamAnujA out of his compassion for
us had not instructed his disciple , Thirukkuruhai PirAn PiLLai,
to write the first  commentary on Thiruvaimozhi . 

The two paasurams of Upadesa Ratna Maalai referring to 
Maamuni's tribute to Acharya RaamAnujA as the the founder of 
"RaamAnuja Darsanam " and his catalysing the writing of 
the VyAkyAnam for Thiruvaimozhiare as follows :

emperumAnAr darisanamenrEitharku 
namperumAL perittu nAtti vaitthAr-- ambhuviyOr
inda darisanatthai vaLartha 
antha seyal arihaikkA --Upadesa Ratna Maalai, verse 38

munthuravE piLLAn mudalAnOr seytharuLum
antha viyAkkiyaL anru aahil --anthO
thiruvaimozhipporuLai ternthuraikka valla
guru aar ikkaalam nenjE kooru -- Upadesa Ratna Maala , verse 40

In yesterday's posting, I covered the devotional work in Sanskrit of 
Maamuni revered as Sri DevarAja MangaLam . In the next posting , 
I will cover the other Sanskritc devotional work of this AcharyA 
saluted as YathirAja Vimsathi . 

Sri MaNavALa MaamunigaL thiruvadigalE SaraNam

Sri VaishNava Dasan , Oppiliappan Koil VaradachAri Sadagopan