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Foreword: Part 2

From: Sadagopan (sgopan_at_computer.net)
Date: Sat Oct 23 1999 - 09:35:32 PDT

THE EARLY YEARS OF SRI MANAVAALA MAAMUNIGAL
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Thizhak-kidanthAn ThirunaavIRduaya pirAn 
ThAthar aNNan and Sriranga NaacchiyAr were
blessed with a beautiful son in the year 1370 AD.
This was an year after Swami Desikan ascended to 
Srivaikuntam . Seven years later , Sri AdhivaNN 
SatakOpan was going to be born at Melkote ,
who will initiate this child into utthamAsramam
few years later at Srirangam . 

The delighted parents gave the name of Azhagiya-
MaNavALan , the name of Lord RanganAthA to their
child . ThaatharaNNan was a great Sri VaishNavite Scholar
himself and initiated his son in to VedAs , VedAngAs and 
Dhivya prabhandhams . The gifted son took on grahasthAsramam
at a young age and moved on to AzhwAr Thirunagari 
to be a disciple under a great dhivya prabhandham
Scholar revered as ThiruvAimozhippiLLai(1307-1410 AD);
latter was a disciple of Koora kulOtthama DaasA( 1265-1365 AD),
who in turn was a dirct disciple of the renowned Sri PiLLai
LOkAcchAr ( 1205-1311 AD), a contemproary of Swamy Desikan .

ThiruvAimozhi PiLLai (TVP) was also known as Sri SailEsar or
Thirumalai AaLvAn because of his connection to Thirumalai. 
TVP had settled down at AzhwAr Thirunagari and that is where 
Azhagiya MaNavALan studied under him ThiruvAimozhi and 
rahasyArthams .TVP was moved by the Bhakthi of MM 
for AchArya RaamAnujA and appointed MM as the AarAdhakar /
administrator for a special temple he had constructed for 
Bhagavath RaamAnujA . TVP also asked MM to compose a sthuthi 
on AchAryA RaamAnujA . Thus arose YathirAja Vimsathi , 
a moving tribute by MM to Bhagavath RaamAnujA . 

Soon a son was born to MM and he named the child RaamAnujappiLLai. 
MM continued his studies under TVP , performed AarAdhanam to
AchArya RaamAnujA , worshipped AdhippirAN and Swamy 
NammAzhwAr at AzhwAr Thirunagari until his own Acharyan 
attained the Lord's feet in the year 1410 AD. MM was Fourty
years old at that time. Soon he left with his family
for Srirangam along with his fellow sishyA , RaamAnuja 
Jeeyar , who later became his own key sishyan under the name of
VaanamAmalai Jeeyar . At Srirangam , MM did extensive research
on the granthams of PoorvAchAryaas and conducted kaalakshEpam 
classes. Seven more sishyAs sought his feet as their Achaaryan.
Together , they are known as Ashta Dhig Gajams or the mighty
elephants guarding the eight directions of earth . 
These 8 sishyAs of MM are:
 
(1) VaanamAmalai Jeeyar (2) BhattarpirAn Jeeyar 
(3) ThiruvEnkata RaamAnuja Jeeyar (4)Koil aNNan 
(5)PrathivAdhi Bhayankaram aNNan (6) YeRumpiappA 
(7) aAppiLLai (8) AppiLLAr .

MM adopted SanyAsramam out of virakthi and the desire
to perform kaimkaryam to Sri RanganAthA without any 
theettu interrupting such kaimkaryams .The prEksha manthram was
given to MM by Sri Adhi VaNN satakOpa MahA Desikan . MM
exceleld in his pravachanams and was given the honorific titles of 
Visatha Vaak SikhAmaNI and SarvaJ~na Saarvabhoumar by 
the scholars of his time for his felicity in intrepreting
the Sri Sookthis of AzhwArs and AchAryAs . We referred 
earlier to Sri RanganAthA's honoring MM with a famous Taniyan 
used by the sampradhAyins of ThennaacchArya paramparai 
to this day .

During his blessed life , MM wrote commentaries for 
the three of the 18 rahasyams of Sri PiLLai LokAcchAr 
( Srivachana BhUshaNam , Tattva thrayam and Mumukshuppadi),
since they are the most prominent . He gave us a vyAkhyAnam
for Azhagiya maNavALa PerumAL NaayanAr's "AchArya Hrudhayam ".
by then , PeriyavAcchAn PiLLai's commentary for PeriyAzhwAr's 
Thirumozhi had been eaten up by white ants .MM recreated 
this commentary for the benefit of future generations. 
He blessed us with commentaries on AruLALap PerumAL 
EmperumAn's Sri Sookthis known as Jn~Ana saaram and 
PramEya Saaram .He wrote a commentary on RaamAnuja 
NooRRanthAdhi of Thiruvarangatthu amudhanAr . Taathparya 
DhIpam arose from MM as a commentary on Bhagavath GitA .
PramANatthirattukaL, ThiruvArAdhana PrayOgam ,IyalcchARRu,
YathirAja Vimsathi , DevarAja MangaLam  ,UpadEsa Rathna 
Maalai , ThiruvAimozhi NooRRanthAdhi were also created 
by MM. 

After these kaimkaryaqms , towards the end of his life ,
MM had such an intense longing (Aarthi) to join 
the lotus feet of AchArya RaamAnujA 
out of his deep virakthi from the life on this earth .,
He composed at this time , his famous Aarthi prabhandham 
one paasuram a day and begged RaamAnujA to call him(MM) 
to his (RaamAnujA's ) sacred feet at Sri Vaikuntam .These
are great and moving expressions of MM's 
NaicchAnusandhANams , which became our 
" NithyAnusandhAnam " for developing VairAgyam and
ruchi for Bhagavath-Bhaagavatha  Kaimkaryams .
AchArya RaamAnujA responded to the intense prayer of
MM and called MM to his feet in the year 1443 AD.

Summary of his own Life by Sri MaNavALa Maamunigal
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In one of the paasurams of Aarthi Prabhandham ,
MM expressed his own satisfaction with the blessings that 
came his way due to the blessings of AzhwArs, AchAryALs 
and the Lord in a moving way and gave thanks in a 
mind frame similar to Swamy NammAzhwAr in his 
" uNNUm sOr paruhu neer"  and 
"ThuvaLil MaamaNI Maadam Pathikams :

Tennarangar seer arulukkilahaahap peRROm
  Thiruvarangam ThiruppathiyE iruppaaha peRROm 
manniya seer MaRan kalai uNavaahap peRROm
  Madhura kavi soRRppadiyE nilayiaahap PeRROm 
munaavarAm nanguravar mozhikaL uLLappeRROm 
  pinnai onRu tanil nenju pErAmal peRROm
piRar minukkam poRAmaillA perumayaum peRROmE 

Here MM reflects with happiness over the amazing grace
of the Lord of Srirangam ,his days spent joyously 
at His KshEthram , his blessings to have 
the Sri Sookthis of NammAzhwAr as his nourishment ,
his obedient pursuit of the path shown by 
Madhurakavi AzhwAr with respect to the revenerence
for his AchAryan, his treasuring of the upadEsams
of poorvAcchAryALs , his reflecting on their
deep meanings as the way to spend his time and discarding 
all other distracting thoughts and living out his life 
with out generating the asooyai of others .

What a splendid and self-effacing summary of 
his life by this great AchAryan !

SeerArum YethirAsar ThiruvadigaL Vaazhi
Maaran Malar Paadham Thaan Vaazhi 
Yenthai Thiruvarangan poRRppAdham Thaan Vaazhi

NaarAyaNa , NaarAyaNa , NaarAyaNa 

Daasan Oppilaippan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan 
Pramaathi Iyppasi Sukla Paksha ThrayOdasi
October 23, 1999 .