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svAmi maNavALa mAmuni's vaibhavam - part 2
Date: Tue Oct 16 2001 - 10:20:52 PDT

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

dear bhAgavathAs,

I am continuing with aspects of svAmi maNavALa
vaibhavam. In this posting, I will paraphrase certain
details from svAmi's birth till the time he went to
srIrangam first.

During the time of svAmi maNavALa mAmuni's birth,
srI. thiruvAymozhip piLLai was conducting the
nirvAham of the emperumAnAr darsanam from AzhvAr
thirunagari (during svAmi piLLai lOkAchAr's time,
immediately preceding the time period in question, due
to the islamic invasion, most of the srIvaishNavAs
had to leave srIrangam, including svAmi piLLai 
lOkAchAriar himself with the namperumAL vigraham;
and svAmi vEdAnta dEsikan with the manuscripts of
srutaprakAsika, the grand commentary of srI. sudarsana
bhattar (a descendant of srI. kUrattAzhvAn) on srI.
rAmAnujA's srIbhAshyam.

Earlier, srI. thiruvAymozhip piLLai was the rAja
of the king of madurai, and after the death of the
he was the caretaker of the kingdom. during that time,
due to the krpa of svAmi piLLai lOkAchAr and his
shishyAs (kUrakulOththuma dAsar, nAlUrAchchAn piLLai,
viLAnchOlaip piLLai and others), learnt deeply abuout
the darsanam, and slowly became the darsanap 
pravarthakar. During his reign as the caretaker of
the madurai kingdom, srI. thiruvAymozhip piLLai was
instrumental in using his influence to regain the
vigraha (archa thirumEni) of svAmi nammAzhvAr that
was stored in a slope in the kEraLa hills during the
islamic invasion.

At that time, AdisEsha took avatAram as the son of
srI. thiruvAveeRudaya pirAn thAthar aNNar, in a place
called sikkil kidAram, in the southern districts of
tamizhnAdu. The year was 4471 years after the birth
of kaliyuga, aippasi month, mUla nakshattiram. In
the roman calendar, this corresponds to 1370 AD.
This child was named azhagiya maNavALap perumAL
nAyanAr by his parents. At the appropriate times as
dictated by the sAstrAs, upanayanam and other rites
were performed by this child, and he learnt vEdAs
and the divya prabhanda, and other sAstrAs at
the prescribed age. His marriage also took place,
and his father himself taught him the rahasya
granthAs and the meanings of the nAlAyira divya
prabhanda. At this time, his father attained
and svAmi performed the appropriate rites.

At this time, in AzhvAr thirunagari, srI. 
thiruvAymozhip piLLai was looking for the next teacher
for the rAmAnuja sampradAya. srI. AM nAyanAr also
wanted to learn more about the sampradAyam, and
he took srI . thiruvAymozhip piLLai as his
achAryan and learnt the intricacies of thiruvAymozhi
and other sAstrAs from him. srI. TMP commanded srI
AMNAyanAr to do service to rAmAnujA. srI. AM nAyanAr
built a temple for rAmanuja, created a surrounding
commuynity called rAmAnuja chaturvEdi mangalam
around the temple, and spent his time doing service
to the great AchArya. It was during this time that
srI AMNAyanar composed the beautiful, simple to
understand even by less learned folks, yatirAja
vimsati. So pleased was srI. TM PiLLai on seeing
yatirAja vimsati, and the devotion of his sishya
to rAmAnuja that he presented his sishya with 
his own vigraha of rAmAnuja. It is appropriate to
write about this specific vigraha, and its

It is the belief of our elders that when svAmi
madhurakaviAzhvAr yearned to install a arca thirumEni
of svAmi nammAzhvAr and prayed to him, nammAzhvAr
commanded him to boil the water or the river
tAmraparaNi. When madhurakaviAzhvAr followed the
command, and boiled the water, first he obtained
a vigraha that is the current rAmAnuja vigraha.
On seeing the vigraha, madhurakaviAzhvAr mentioned
to nammAzhvAr that he wanted his (i.e. AzhvAr's)
vigraha, and that he had obtained a different
vigraha. AzhvAr conveyed to him that this icon
was that of the universal teacher that was going
to take birth (bhavisyathAchAryar) as per the
message in the thiruvAymozhi pAsuram "poliga
poliga", and that madhurakaviAzhvAr needed to
boil the water once again to obtain the nammAzhvAr
vigraham. madhurakaviAzhvAr did so, and he obtained
the nammAzhvAr vigraham, which we have to this
day in AzhvAr thirunagari. The above rAmAnuja
vigraham was buried under the tamarind tree in
AzhvAr thirunagari when the nammAzhvAr vigraham
was taken to a safe place during the islamic invasion.
srI. thiruvAymozhip piLLai dug out the vigraha on
his return to azhvAr thirunagari along with the
nammAzhvAr vigraham that he helped to regain from

A son was born to svAmi AM NAyanar, and he named
the son as "em aiyan irAmAnusan". For the next 
few years, svAmi AM nAyanAr spent his time performing
kainkarya to srI. TM piLLai, and performing upadEsa
to the sishya varga. srI. TM piLLai's last
days on this earth arrived - srI. TM piLLai had
a great concern, and that concern was apparent in
his face. srI. AM nAyanAr enquired about the concern,
to which srI. TM piLLai replied - 'It is the kaliyuga
now, and I am very concerned about who has the
deepest interest and appreciation of the works of
our azhvArs, and who will spread the beautiful
message of the AzhvArs for the benefit of all the
people". srI.AM nAyanAr replied - "adiyEn will
do the same" to which srI. TM piLLai countered
"just words alone will not suffice" to which srI.
AMnAyanAr replied "adiyEn promises to do so".
srI. TM piLLai then commanded srI. AM nAyanAr
as follows - "learn and propaget the srIbhAsya once,
and spend most of your time in propagating and
preaching the aruLicheyal of the AzhvArs that is
so dear to srI. rAmAnuja and myself. Just as our
teachers did, stay at srIrangam and perform 
kainkaryam to the Lord there", and he left this 
world thinking about his AchArya svAmi piLLai

srI AM nAyanAr, true to the command of his AchArya
performed upanyAsams of the aruLichcheyal and
the rahasyas. At this time, srI. azhagiya varadar
became svAmis sishya, and undertook sanyAsAshrama.
The sanyAsa name was given as "rAmAnuja jIyar".
Thus began the most illustrious jIyar maTam in
the srIvaishNava sampradAya, the vAnamAmalai
maTam, that continues the great unbroken lineage
of our AchAryAs to this day.

srI. AM nAyanAr took the permission of svAmi
nammAzhvAr, and along with his sishyAs, left 
for srIrangam. On the way, he spent some time
at srIvillipuththUr and thirumAlirunchOlai, and
finally reached srIrangam.

I will continue in the next posting.

AzhvAr emperumAnar jIyar thiruvadigaLE saraNam,
adiyEn madhurakavi dAsan,

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