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The Snake who attended kaalakshepam and performed SaraNAgathy!

From: Madhavakkannan V (srivaishnavan_at_hotmail.com)
Date: Tue Sep 04 2001 - 06:47:36 PDT

SrI:
SrImathE Gopaladesika Mahadesikaya namah:

We are all aware of Thirukkudanthai Desikan Sri Gopaalaarya Mahadesikan 
Swamy (from 1700 CE to 1782 CE). There were three ascetics in saffron attire 
(as Great Sishyas) serving this GrahasthA Acharya, attending on him with 
implicit reverence, doing all personal chores- a very unusual phenomenon. 
They had been drawn from far and near; one was from wartrap, who later 
proved to be on the model of Sri Nathamuni; the second from Seyyanam 
(Thirunelveli) a prototype of Sri Yamunamuni; and the third from VazhutthUr 
near Ayyampettai Sri Vedantha Ramanuja muni, whose prolific progation 
service had brought the school to a preeminent status. At His feet, there 
were three sanyaasis (munis) and hence is called “munithraya sampradayam” 
since then.

Sri VazhutthUr Swamy, Sri Vedantha Ramanuja muni- He  received  the  robes  
of a Sannyasi from the hands of Paduka Sevaka Sri Ramanuja  Maha  Desika- 
came to Sri Gopalarya Mahadesikan (Thirukkudanthai Desikan) along with other 
two sanyaasis as mentioned above and fell at his feet, quoting from 
NammazhwAr Thiruvaymozhi:

Theeraa vinaigaL theera ennai Andaay! THIRUKKUDANTHAI OORAA!
Unakku Atpattum adiyEn innam uzahlvEnO?

You have ruled me dispelling all my sins accrued so far! Oh Lord of 
Thirukkudanthai! (Thirukkudanthai DesikanE!) After being protected by You, 
will I ever suffer here (on this earth?) No… never! (pl forgive me for my 
free translation).

Thirukkdanthai Desikan was overwhelmed with joy and blessed our Sri Vedantha 
Ramanuja Swamy “Here after it is You who is going to rule the world being a 
glorious Acharya! Here after you will be the ruler (andavan) of Srivaishnava 
sishya kOtis! Thenceforth, that Acharya came to be known as Andavan. 
Prefixing  the  name  of  his  village,  he  came to be known as Vazhuthur 
Andavan.

Sri VazhutthUr Andavan was born in the star of  Poorattadi  in  the  month  
of  AvaNi in 1743 CE..

He  was  also known as Srirangam Srimad Andavan, as he stayed in Srirangam
almost permanently. As the Sampradaya was continued by the successive
Acharyas, and Swamy had Sri Navalpakkam Annayaarya Mahadesikan, Sri 
Andikkattu Swamy and Sri ThirutthuRaippooNdi Andavan as sishyas. Each of 
them had many sishyas and Samparadyam grew to a great extent and hence this 
Swamy is known as one of huge family (big kudumbam), also called “Kudumbi 
Swami”

The term “Andavan”- meaning one who came to rule the hearts
of  his  followers was coined and applied reverentially not only to him but
also  to  all Acharyas who came after him. Thereafter, the Parampara itself
came   to   be   called  “Srimad Andavan   Paramparai, propagating the 
munithraya sampradayam. Other than Sri Pakalamutt and Sri Ahobila Mutt, all 
other AchAryas of Vadakalai sect today trace back to Sri Vedantha Ramanuja 
Muni (Sri VazhutthUr Andavan) . Today is Swamy’s Thirunakshathram. Let us 
pay our obeisance to this Great Acharya by reciting the thaniyan  
(dedicatory verse) and contemplate its meaning:

Gopala Desika Padaabja Madhu Vratasya Pragnaa Virakti
Karunaa Mukha Sad Gunaabde/
Vedaanta Lakshmana Muneh Srita Bhagadeyam
Paadaaravinda Yugalam Saranam Prapadhye //

(Meaning)

He who is like bee residing in the (and sucking the honey from) the lotus 
feet of Sri Thirukkudanthai Desikan, who was endowed with  a  sea of 
auspicious qualities, knowledge, detachment and mercy, who showers His grace 
to those who resort to him. adiyEn takes refuge at his feet with no other 
recourse.

Large number of disciples used to attend his kaalakshepams due to his 
greatness. Once when a new series of kaalakshepam was about to start, 
disciples recited the thaniyan and were about to start. There was a king 
cobra which came out of its hole and had its hood raised. Immediately one of 
the sishyas took a stick to beat and kill.  Swamy the most compassionate as 
usual took pity of this being and asked the sishya not to disturb or hurt 
the snake. They proceeded with the kaalakshepam (in a tense situation 
perhaps for sishyas).  The  Cobra stood still till the end and disappeared 
after kaalakshepam was over.

This  extraordinary event was  happening repeated everyday. The snake became 
one of the regular attendees too. After the grantham was completed, Swamy 
was descending the steps of the tank  for his Anushtanam, the Cobra went 
around him  and  struck  its  hood  on  the ground three times and appeared 
to beg something.

The Acharya understood that it was a Mahapurusha in the previous birth  and  
had become a Cobra by some curse and that it was seeking relief from  
Samsara.  Plucking  a  fruit from a tree nearby, he offered it to his 
Aradhana  murthi  and  performed  Aartha  Prapatti for the Cobra. Vazhuthur 
Andavan  sprinkled  some holy waters on the Cobra which was waiting for him 
to come. Instantly, it passed away. (from Sri Anbil Ramaswamy Swamy’s 
article and Sri Thirukudanthai Desikan 300 the Anniversary malar)

Sri Vazhutthur Andavan ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam

Regards
Narayana Narayana
aDiyEn Narayana dAsan madhavakkannan

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