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Beginner’s guide – ashta dhik gajangaL and others

SrI:  SrImathE SatakOpAya nama:  SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama:  SrImath varavaramunayE nama:

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pAtti : Welcome kids , hope you all remember our last discussion .

Children (in chorus) : Hello pAtti , yes we do, and we are here to listen  more about ashta dhik gajangaL .

pAtti : Sounds good , Let us start discussing .

parASara : pAtti, ashta dhik gajangaL means 8 Sishyas. Am I right pAtti?

pAtti : parASara, you are right , ashta dhik gajangaL are the 8 primary Sishyas of maNavALa mAmunigaL. ponnadikkAl jIyar,  kOyil aNNanpathangi paravasthu pattarpirAn jIyar, thiruvEnkata jIyar,  eRumbiappAprathivAdhi bhayankaram aNNan, appiLLai, appiLLAr. These great Sishyas of mAmunigaL were most influential in the growth of our sampradhAyam after mAmunigaL’s times.

Let us start with ponnadikkAl jIyar who was prANa sukruth (dear like life) to his AchAryan maNavALa mAmunigaL .

ponnadikkal-jiyar

pAtti :  Born as azhagiya varadhar, he became to be famously known as ponnadikkAl jIyar.

parASara  : pAtti, why he is called as  ponnadikkAl jIyar ?

pAtti : ponnadikkAl means the one who laid the foundation of mAmunigaL’s Sishya sampath (i.e. wealth of Sishyas). ponnadikkAl jIyar was held as purushakAram by many AchAryas to approach mAmunigaL.

mAmunigaL also appointed ashta dhik gajangaL to ponndikkAl jIyar. mAmunigaL instructed ponnadikkAl jIyar to go to vAnamAmalai as dheyvanAyakan emperumAn (vAnamAmalai) sends SrImukam (an instruction) through sEnai mudhaliAr to mAmunigaL that ponnadikkAl jIyar should be sent to vAnamAmalai dhivya dhEsam to look after the kainkaryam there.

vyAsa : pAtti, ponnadikkAl jIyar was father-in-law to dheyvanAyakan emperumAn.  Am I right  ?

pAtti : yes vyAsa, correct. ponnadikkAl jIyar was the one to bring nAchiyAr vigraham (divine deity of thAyAr) from thirumalai and arranged a grand wedding with dheyvanAyakan emperumAn and he himself performs kannikAdhAnam. dheyvanAyakan emperumAn proclaimed that “like periyAzhwAr, ponnadikkAl jIyar is also his father-in-law”.

He went to various parts of bhAratha dhESam and spread our sampradhAyam based on mAmunigaL’s orders. In the end, meditating upon his AchAryan azhagiya maNavALa mAmunigaL’s divine feet, ponnadikkAl jIyar gives up his charama thirumEni and attains paramapadham.

Let us pray at the lotus feet of ponnadikkAl jIyar that we also develop such attachment towards emperumAnAr and our AchAryan.

pAtti : Our next discussion is about kOyil aNNan,  He becomes one of the dearest disciples and ashta dig gajangaL. An interesting incident happened in the life of koil aNNan , which took him to take the shelter of mAmunigal.

 

koilannan

 

parASara  : pAtti, what was the incident ??

pAtti : Appreciating your curiosity parASara , Born in the illustrious family lineage of mudhaliyANdAn , he did not want to take shelter of  mAmunigaL. The incident brought him back to take the lotus feet of  mAmunigaL. kOyil aNNan (as popularly known) was living in SrIrangam with many Sishyas . You all know  SrI bhAshyakArar (SrI rAmAnujar) was the one who ordered kOyil aNNan to become the disciple of mAmunigaL.  SrI rAmAnujar guided kOyil aNNan and asked to utilise his relationship with mudhaliyANdAn properly.

emperumAnAr said “I am Adhi sEshan and have come again as maNavALa mAmunigaL. You and your relatives become the disciple of mAmunigaL and be uplifted”. Children, the whole incident happened in his dream. The dream stops and aNNan wakes being totally shocked. He explains the incidents to his brothers with great emotions.

aNNan along with many other kandhAdai family AchArya purushas go to jIyar mutt to take shelter of mAmunigaL. mAmunigaL instructs vAnamAmalai (ponnadikkAl) jIyar to prepare the necessary aspects and performs pancha samskAram to all of them.

So Kids , we have seen some glimpses of the glorious life of kOyil kandhAdai aNNan. He was very dear to mAmunigaL. Let us pray at his lotus feet that we too get a little bit of such abhimAnam of AchAryan.

Next I will tell about mOr munnAr ayyar (paravasthu pattarpirAn jIyar). He is one of the ashta dhik gajangaL of mAmunigaL. He stayed with mAmunigaL without ever separating from him just like embAr who always stayed with emperumAnAr.

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vEdhavalli: pAtti, why he is known as  mOr munnAr ayyar ?

pAtti :  Sounds interesting right. Everyday, he ate the SEsha prasAdham (remnants) of mAmunigaL. He used to consume his prasAdham on the same banana leaf on which mAmunigaL ate. As mAmunigaL finishes with curd rice,  paravasthu pattarpirAn jIyar wants to consume prasAdham without changing the taste (from curd to dhAl). Thus, he became to be known popularly as “mOr munnAr ayyar .

He learned all the essence of SAsthram from mAmunigaL directly and constantly served him. After mAmunigaL ascended to paramapadham,  pattarpirAn jIyar settles down at thirumalai and purify many jIvAthmAs there. Having more AchArya nishtai, he writes a grantham named anthimOpAya nishtai, which fully brings out the glories of our AchArya paramaparai and how  our pUrvAchAryas fully depended on their respective AchAryas. He was a great scholar and was very dear to mAmunigaL .

pAtti : Kids. next I will tell you about eRumbi appA. His original name is dhEvarAjan. While living and performing his dharmam at his village, eRumbi appA heard about maNavALa mAmunigaL and wished to meet him. eRumbi appA stayed with mAmunigaL for some time, learned all the rahasya granthams and finally returned to his village and continued his kainkaryam there.eRumbiappA-kAnchi

He was constantly thinking about his AchAryan and compiled pUrva and uththara dhinacharyai (which summarizes mAmunigaL’s daily activities) and sent them to mAmunigaL through a SrIvaishNava. mAmunigaL was very pleased to see eRumbi appA’s nishtai and glorified him. He also sent an invitation to eRumbi appA to come and visit him .

vyAsa : pAtti, like pattarpirAn jIyar, ponnadikkAl jIyar, eRumbi appA is also more attached towards his AchAryan. Isn’t it so pAtti?

pAtti : Right vyAsa. One of the most important contributions of eRumbi appA is “vilakshaNa mOksha adhikAri nirNayam”. This is a compilation of conversations between eRumbi appA and his Sishyas like sEnApathi AzhwAn .

vEdhavalli : pAtti, what is vilakshaNa mOksha adhikAri nirNayam ?

pAtti : This grantham clarifies many of the doubts that arises out of misunderstanding our AzhwAr/AchArya srisUkthis . eRumbi appA taught us the importance of developing vairAgyam in samsAram and attachment towards our pUrvAchArya’s gyAnam and anushtAnam and guided us to put them into practice .

Let us remember eRumbi appA who always remembers maNavALa mAmunigaL.

pAtti : Kids, now will discuss about prathivAdhi bhayankaram aNNA. Born as hasthigirinAthar, in the early part of his life, he lived in kAnchIpuram and was blessed by  vEdhAnthAchAryar. He became a great scholar and won over many scholars of other sampradhAyams .

pb-annan-kanchi

Later he was living in thirumalA and serving thiruvEngadamudaiyAn. Hearing about the glories of maNavALa mAmunigaL , he decided to join as Sishya to maNavALa mAmunigaL. He reached SrIrangam and visited mAmunigaL’s mutt. mAmunigaL was performing kAlakshEpam and as aNNA heard the kAlakshEpam he understood the great knowledge of mAmunigaL in the various fields of SAsthram. He surrendered to mAmunigaL and became a Sishya.

He wrote many granthams on praise of emperumAn and mAmunigaL. The most popular vEnkatESa suprabhAtham, vEnkatESa prapaththi etc were submitted to thiruvEngadamudaiyAn by aNNA for the pleasure of his AchArya, mAmunigaL.

pAtti : Kids, our last discussion will be about appiLLai, appiLLAr . There is not much information available about them . They become dear disciples of maNavALa mAmunigaL and one of ashta dhik gajas.  They both are great vidhwAn who won over many scholars in northern part of bhAratha dhEsam

appiLLai appiLLAr

Though they heard about mAmunigaL,  they did not have great attachment towards him. But slowly they came to know about the glories of mAmunigaL and even heard  that many great personalities such as kandhAdai aNNan, eRumbi appA  have taken shelter of mAmunigaL.

vEdhavalli: pAtti , how did they become  disciples of maNavALa mAmunigaL?

pAtti : Yes vEdhavalli , eRumbi appA was the one to inform mAmunigaL that they are ready for AchArya sambandham . ponnadikkAl jIyar says to mAmunigaL “they have been blessed with discussions with eRumbi appA and they have all the qualification to become your Sishyas”. They both asked  mAmunigaL to accept them and bless them . Like wise, mAmunigaL  did pancha samaskaram to both appiLLai, appiLLAr .

appiLLAr is given the responsibility of taking care of jIyar mutt’s all daily activities such as thadhIyArAdhanam. Just like kidAmbi AchAn served emperumAnAr by fully taking care of mutt responsibilities, mAmunigaL was served by appiLLAr.

appiLLai writes vyAkyAnams for thiruvanthAdhis per mAmunigaL’s divine instructions and assists mAmunigaL in his many dhivya prabhandham related kainkaryams.

During the final days of mAmunigaL, appiLLAr prays to him, and requests him to bless him with archA vigraham (deity) of mAmunigaL for their daily worship. mAmunigaL gives the sombu (vessel) which he uses daily and they use that to prepare two vigrahams (deities) and each keep one vigraham (deity) of mAmunigaL for their daily worship .

So kids let us pray at their lotus feet that we too get a little bit of such abhimAnam of AchAryan.

Kids so far we discussed about glories of mAmunigaL and his ashta dhik gajangaL .

parASara : We learned so much today pAtti.

pAtti : Yes dear. I am also going to tell you all something very important now. Listen carefully.

Subsequent to the times of mAmunigaL, many great AchAryas continued to bless the devoted ones in every town and village. The AchAryas stayed in dhivya dhESams, abhimAna sthalams, AzhwAr/AchArya avathAra sthalams and other kshEthrams, and shared the knowledge and nurtured bhakthi in everyone.

thirumazhisai aNNavappangAr and first SrIperumbUthUr embAr jIyar were from recent past (200 years ago) and contributed significantly to our sampradhAyam through their in-depth granthams and kainkaryams.

Whatever knowledge I have shared with you has come through this paramparA of AchAryas. We have to be thankful to them always. Hope you all had a nice time . Our mind, senses and body and should be engaged in kainkaryam to such AchAryas, AzhwArs and emperumAn.

Alright, it has become dark. Let us think about the AchAryas and complete our session today.

Children : Thank you pAtti.

adiyen janani rAmAnuja dAsi

Beginner’s guide – azhagiya maNavALa mAmunigaL

SrI:  SrImathE SatakOpAya nama:  SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama:  SrImath varavaramunayE nama:

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ANdAL pAtti greets the children, who all are excited to learn and hear about maNavALa mAmunigaL  .

pAtti : Welcome children, how did you all enjoy your summer vacation?

parASara : pAtti , vacation was good. We are now eager to hear about maNavALa mAmunigaL. Can you tell us about him?

pAtti :  Sure children. He was born in AzhwAr thirunagari to thigazhak kidanthAn thirunAvIrudaiya pirAn and SrI ranga nAchchiyAr as an avathAram of AdhiSEshan and punar avathAram (reincarnation) of yathirAjar. He was named azhagiya maNavALan (also azhagiya maNavALap perumAL nAyanAr). He learns all sAmAnya SAsthram (basic principles) and does vEdha adhyayanam under his father’s guidance .

vyAsa : pAtti, wasn’t thiruvAimozhip piLLai his AchAryan?

pAtti : yes vyAsa, hearing about thiruvAimozhip piLLai’s greatness, He surrenders unto him. He becomes expert in aruLichcheyal (dhivya prabandham) especially thiruvAimozhi and eedu 36000 padi vyakyAnam. He was also greatly attached SrI rAmAnuja and served him in bhavishyadhAchAryan sannidhi in AzhwArthirunagari. Due to his overwhelming affection towards yathIndhra (SrI rAmAnuja), he was fondly known as “yathIndhra pravaNa” (one who is very attached to yathIndhra).

Later on, recollecting his AchAryan’s niyamanam he goes and lives in SrIrangam to propagate our sampradhAyam. After reaching SrIrangam, he also accepts sanyAsa ASramam and becomes to be popularly known as azhagiya maNavALa mAmunigaL and periya jIyar.

He writes beautiful commentaries to rahasya granthams such as mumukshuppadi, thathva thrayam , SrIvachana bhUshaNam with many references from vEdham, vEdhantham, ithihAsams, purANams and aruLichcheyal .

He writes commentaries to rAmAnuja nURRanthAdhi , gyAna sAram and pramEya sAram which explains the charama upAya nishtai  (understanding  AchAryan is everything). mAmunigaL wrote thiruvAimozhi nURRanthAdhi which highlights the meanings of thiruvAimozhi and greatness of nammAzhwAr, based on the request from few SrIvaishNavas. He even recorded the valuable teachings of our pUrvAchAryas by writing upadhEsa rathina mAlai which highlights AzhwArs’ birth places, thirunakshathrams, thiruvAimozhi and SrIvachana bhUshaNam .

mAmunigaL also performs dhivya dhESa yAthrAs and performs mangaLAsAsanam to all the  perumALs and AzhwArs.

vEdhavalli : pAtti, amazing to hear about mAmunigaL, and his hard work for our sampradhAyam.

pAtti : yes vEdhavalli, even namperumAL was very interested to hear the kAlakshEpam of nammAzhwAr’s thiruvAimozhi with eedu 36000 padi vyAkyAnam from mAmunigaL. mAmunigaL was very pleased and performed kAlakshEpam of the same for 10 months and finally performed sARRumurai on Ani thirumUlam.

srisailesa-thanian-small

Once the sARRumurai  was completed, namperumAl assumes the form of a small child named aranganAyakam comes in front of mAmunigaL and starts reciting “SrISailESa dhayApAthram dhIbhakthyAdhi guNArNavam” with anjali mudhrA (joined palms). Everyone becomes amazed and understood that it was none other than namperumAl himself.

parASara : Wow – that’s great to be honoured by namperumAL himself. pAtti, is that why we start all of our sEvAkAlam with this thaniyan?

pAtti : yes parASara. emperumAn sends this thaniyan to all dhivya dhESams and ordered that it is recited during the commencement and at the end of the sEvAkAlam. Even thiruvEnkatamudayAn and thirumAlirunjOlai azhagar instructed that this thaniyan is recited at the beginning and at the end of aruLichcheyal anusandhAnam.

During his final days, mAmunigaL was writing the commentary for AchArya hrudhayam with great difficulty. Finally he decides to give up his thirumEni (divine form) and go to paramapadham. He recites Arththi prabhandham crying out to emperumAnAr to accept him and relieve him from this material realm. Subsequently, mAmunigaL, by the grace of  emperumAn ascends to paramapadham. ponnadikkAl jIyar, who was away during that time, returns to SrIrangam on hearing the news and completes all the charama kainkaryams for mAmunigaL.

aththuzhAy:  pAtti , all of us benefited immensely by speaking about him. Thanks for sharing the divine charithram of mAmunigaL with us.

pAtti : Pleasure is  mine too aththuzhAy , last but not the least, as he was accepted as AchAryan by periya perumAL, he completes the AchArya rathna hAram and the OrAN vazhi guru paramparai which started from periya perumAL himself.

In our next discussion we will discuss about  Sishyas (ashta dhik gajangal)  of mAmunigaL.

adiyen janani rAmAnuja dAsi

Beginner’s guide – thiruvAimozhip piLLai

SrI:  SrImathE SatakOpAya nama:  SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama:  SrImath varavaramunayE nama:

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AndAL pAtti was busy in kitchen cooking when kids entered the house to discuss more about piLLai lOkAchAryar’s Sishyas. AndAL pAtti welcomed them with broad smile. She was waiting with SrIranganAtha’s prasadam to distribute to kids.

pAtti: Come in children. Here take the perumAL prasAdham. Hope everyone remembers our  previous discussion.

vyAsa: pAtti, We learnt about kUra kulOththama dhAsar, viLAnchOlai piLLai, and have even learned about “AchArya abhimAname uththAragam“.

pAtti: Very proud of you kids, today I will tell more about one such Sishya of piLLai lOkAchAryar named thirumalai AzhwAr.

aththuzhAy:  pAtti , I have heard that thirumalai AzhwAr  got his name due to his attachment towards AzhwAr’s thiruvAimozhi. Am I right pAtti !

pAtti: Absolutely correct aththuzhAy, he was known as SriSailESar, SatakOpa dhAsar and most importantly thiruvAimozhip piLLai. Due to his attachment towards nammAzhwAr and  AzhwAr’s thiruvAimozhi he got this name. thirumalai AzhwAr had his pancha samaskaram at  his young age at the lotus feet of  piLLai lOkAchAryar . But after some time  thirumalai AzhwAr  drifted off from our sampradhAyam  and became the chief advisor of the madhurai kingdom .

vyAsa : Oh , but  pAtti then who brought  thirumalai AzhwAr back into our sampradhAyam ?

pAtti : Children, I appreciate your curiosity. piLLai lOkAchAryar during his final days , instructed kUra kulOththama dhAsar and other Sishyas to reform thirumalai AzhwAr and bring him back to lead the sampradhAyam.

vEdhavalli : pAtti, what did  kUra kulOththama dhAsar do to reform thirumalai AzhwAr? Can you tell us pAtti ?

pAtti : Yes , Once  thirumalai AzhwAr  was doing his routine  rounds in his palanquin. He comes across kUra kulOththama dhAsar who was reciting AzhwAr’s thiruviruththam. Since thirumalai AzhwAr had the blessings of  piLLai lOkAchAryar, he was able to understand the greatness of dhAsar. thirumalai AzhwAr stepped down from his palanquin and requested dhAsar to teach him the meanings of  thiruviruththam.

parASara : pAtti , tell us more about how thirumalai AzhwAr learned from dhAsar.

pAtti : dhAsar arrives to teach thirumalai AzhwAr; he notices that thirumalai AzhwAr is reciting  piLLai lOkAchAryar thaniyan while applying thirumaN kAppu and was very pleased with that. But thirumalai AzhwAr is unable to attend the class some times. thirumalai AzhwAr asks for pardon to dhAsar. dhAsar accepts him and gives him his SEsha prasAdham (food remnants). thirumalai AzhwAr accepts with great joy and from then on he completely becomes detached from worldly activities, transfers the power to the young prince and leaves the kingdom.

During his final days, dhAsar instructs thirumalai AzhwAr to go thirukkaNNangudip piLLai to learn thiruvAimozhi in detail. Later, he learned all rahasya arthams (confidential meanings) from viLAnchOlaip piLLai. dhAsar appoints thirumalai AzhwAr as the leader of our sampradhAyam. After dhAsar attaining paramapadham, meditating on piLLai lOkAchAryar, thirumalai AzhwAr does all the charama kainkaryam (final rites) for him in a grand manner.

vyAsa : pAtti, did thirumalai AzhwAr lead our sampradhAyam from then onwards?

pAtti : No vyAsa, as I said before, thirumalai AzhwAr goes to thirukkaNNangudip piLLai and starts learning  thiruvAimozhi. He wants to know the meaning of all the pAsurams in detail. So piLLai sends him to thirupputkuzhi jIyar to learn the same. Unfortunately just before his arrival jIyar had attained paramapadham. thirumalai AzhwAr becomes very upset and then decides to perform mangaLAsAsanam to dhEvap perumAL (kAnchIpuram varadhar).

parASara : pAtti , this incident is similar like rAmanujar once visits ALavaNdhAr, but before udaiyavar’s arrival ALavaNdhAr attained paramapadham. Am I right pAtti ?

pAtti : Absolutely correct parASara, then he arrives to do mangaLAsAsanam to dhEvap perumAL; he was welcomed by every one there and dhEvap perumAL blesses thirumalai AzhwAr with his SrI SatakOpam, mAlai (garland), sARRupadi (sandalwood paste). dhEvap perumAL ordered nAlUr piLLai to teach thirumalai AzhwAr all the meanings of aruLichcheyal (dhivya prabandham) including thiruvAimozhi eedu vyAkyAnam which he could not hear from thirupputkuzhi jIyar .

nAlUr piLLai felt happy to teach, but he felt his old age would not allow him to teach thirumalai AzhwAr properly. Then dhEvap perumAL ordered nAlUr piLLai’s son nAlUr AchchAn piLLai  to teach thirumalai AzhwAr . Hearing this divine order, nAlUr piLLai accepts thirumalai AzhwAr with great joy and brings him to nAlUr AchchAn piLLai and instructs him to teach eedu along with other aruLichcheyal meanings. Hearing the incident, thirunArAyaNapuraththu Ayi, thirunArAyaNapuraththup piLLai and others request nAlUr AchAn piLLai and thirumalai AzhwAr to come and live at thirunArAyaNapuram and continue the kAlakshEpam there so they can also learn this in detail. They accept the invitation and reach thirunArAyaNa puram and performs the kAlakshEpam fully there. There thirumalai AzhwAr learns eedu in full depth and being pleased with him and his service attitude, nAlUr AchchAn piLLai presents his  thiruvArAdhanap  perumAL to thirumalai AzhwAr. Thus eedu 36000 padi gets propagated from nAlUr AchchAn piLLai through 3 great scholars – thirumalai AzhwAr, thirunArAyanapuraththu Ayi , and thirunArAyanapuraththup piLLai. Then thirumalai AzhwAr decides to go to AzhwArthirunagari to live there permanently .

vyAsa : Isn’t AzhwArthirunagari the birth place of nammAzhwAr? I have heard that thirumalai AzhwAr is the one who rebuilt AzhwArthirunagari when it was in a very bad shape. Please tell us that chaithram pAtti.

pAtti : You are right vyAsa. When thirumalai AzhwAr arrived in AzhwArthirunagari, it was like a forest. During muslim invasion, AzhwAr left AzhwArthirunagari and travelled to Karnataka/Kerala border. thirumalai AzhwAr with great efforts, cleared the forest, reconstructed the town and the temple, re-established the temple norms. He also brought back AzhwAr with the help of madhurai king. He showed great love for AzhwAr and thiruvAimozhi. He became to be known as thiruvAimozhip piLLai as he was constantly reciting thiruvAimozhi. He also found the divine bhavishyadhAchAryan (emperumAnAr) vigraham and established a separate temple for emperumAnAr in the western part of the town with separate 4 streets surrounding it and a sannidhi street in front of the temple. He also established care takers for this temple too. Without him, we cannot imaging the AzhwArthirunagari we are seeing and enjoying today.

Image result for manavala mamuni

Then Hearing about thiruvAimozhi piLLai, azhagiya maNavALan (maNavALa mAmunigaL before accepting sanyAsa) went to AzhwArthirunagari, becomes a Sishya of him, starts serving him and learning aruLichcheyal and its meanings from him fully.  During his last days , thiruvAimozhip piLLai starts worrying about a successor to carry our sampradhAyam after his time. azhagiya maNavALan vowed to take up the responsibility. thiruvAimozhip piLLai becoming very pleased with that and instructed mAmunigaL to learn SrIbhAshyam once and asked him to fully focus on  thiruvAimozhi and its vyAkyAnams for the rest of his life. Later thiruvAimozhip piLLai attained paramapadham and azhagiya maNavALan performs all the charama kainkaryams to thiruvAimozhip piLLai .

thiruvAimozhi piLLai  dedicated his life for nammAzhwAr and thiruvAimozhi. It is by the efforts of thiruvAimozhip piLLai we have received the eedu 36000 padi vyAkyAnam which was spread widely to great heights by azhagiya maNavALa mAmunigaL subsequently. So children, let us pray at the lotus feet of thiruvAimozhip piLLai to give us the same attachment towards emperumAnAr and our AchAryan.

Kids felt fully blessed and left AndAl pAtti’s home thinking about discussions .

adiyen janani rAmAnuja dAsi

Beginner’s guide – piLLai lOkAchAryar’s sishyas

SrI:  SrImathE SatakOpAya nama:  SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama:  SrImath varavaramunayE nama:

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parASara, vyAsa, vEdhavalli and aththuzhAy enter ANdAL pAtti’s home with full curiosity as they are going to learn about the Sishya’s of piLLai lOkAchAryar.

pAtti: Welcome children, How are you all? I could see excitement in all your faces.

vyAsa: Hello pAtti, we are doing good! How are you patti? Yes pAtti you are correct we been eagerly waiting to hear about the sishyas of piLLai lOkAchAryar.

pAtti: Yes kids, even I was waiting to share with you all. Hope you all remember our last discussion. Can any one tell me his sishyas’ names?

aththuzhAy: pAtti! I do remember the names. kUra kulOththama dhAsar, viLAnchOlaip piLLai, thirumalai AzhwAr (thiruvAimozhip piLLai), maNapAkkaththu nambi, kOttUr aNNar, thirupputkuzhi jIyar, thirukkaNNangudip piLLai, kolli kAvala dhAsar.

pAtti: Very nice aththuzhAy, glad that you kids remember. Now let us discuss in detail. First, I will tell you all about kUra kulOththama dhAsar.

All children: Sure pAtti!

pAtti: kUra kulOththama dhAsar was born in SrIrangam. His role was very important in bringing thirumalai AzhwAr (thiruvAimozhip piLLai) back to our sampradhAyam. He was close associate of piLLai lOkAchAryar and he travelled with piLLai lOkAchAryar during thiruvarangan ula (when namperumAL travelled to various places during muslim invasion). mAmunigaL glorifies kUra kulOththama dhAsar as “kUra kulOththama dhAsam udhAram” (one who is very merciful and generous) because of his unlimited krupai of taking many efforts to reform thirumalai Azhwar. Eventually, thirumalai AzhwAr became so grateful and surrendered to kUra kulOththama dhAsar that he always lived with dhAsar serving him and left to AzhwArthirunagari only after dhAsar’s ascending to parampadham. In SrI vachana bhushaNam, it is said that for a Sishya “AchArya abhimAname uththAragam“. This absolutely suites kUra kulOththama dhAsar and thirumalai Azhwar. So let us all remember kUra kulOththama dhAsar who always remembers the feet of  piLLai lOkAchAryar.

vEdhavalli: pAtti, we are all happy to hear about kUra kulOththama dhAsar. We all learned how a Sishya should respect Acharyan.

pAtti: Yes vEdhavalli everyone should remember “AchArya abhimAname uththAragam”. Now  we will learn another important Sishya named viLAnchOlaip piLLai.

vyAsa: pAtti, I already know why he is called viLAnchOlai piLLai. He used to climb “ViLam” trees to get dharSan of the gOpuram of the thiruvananthapuram,  padhmanAbha swAmi temple.


viLAnchOlai piLLai

pAtti: Very good vyAsa,you are right. Being born in eezhava kulam, he was not allowed inside the temple. So to have dharSan of perumAL, he will climb “viLam” tree and perform mangaLASAsanam. Due to piLLai lOkAchAryar’s grace, he learned eedu, SrI bhAshyam, thathva thrayam and other rahasya granthams from azhagiya maNavALap perumAL nAyanAr, who is the younger brother of piLLai lOkAchAryar.

viLAnchOlai piLLai learned SrI vachana bhUshaNam from his Acharyan piLLai lOkAchAryar. He become an expert in the meaning of  SrI vachana bhUshaNam. He wrote “saptha gAthai” which is the essence of his AchArya’s SrI vachana bhUshaNam.

parASara: We are greatly surprised seeing  viLAnchOlai piLLai”s attachment towards his AchAryan.

pAtti: Yes, parASara! One of the biggest kainkarayams he did was to follow his AchAryan’s instructions in reforming thirumalai AzhwAr. piLLai lOkAchAryar wanted viLanchOlai piLLai to teach the meanings of SrI vachana bhUshaNam to thirumalai Azhwar. Children! Now, I would like to share one important incident happened in the life of viLAnchOlaip piLLai.

aththuzhAy: pAtti, please tell us about the incident.

pAtti: I know you all be curious to listen to it and my duty is to share sathvishyam with you all, so listen carefully,

One day nambUdaris were doing thiruvArAdhanam to padhmanAbha swAmi. viLAnchOlai piLLai entered in to the temple. As we all know, the sanctum has three doors to facilitate our dharSan of perumAL. viLAnchOlai piLLai stood near the door that gives dharSan of perumAL’s lotus feet. Seeing all this, nambUdaris became shocked, as he was not allowed inside the temple premises those days. nambUdaris closed the door of the sannidhi, started to move out of the temple.

At the same time, some local Sishyas of viLAnchOlai piLLai approached the temple and announced that their Acharyan viLanchOlai piLLai has left his body and reached the lotus feet of his Acharayan piLLai lOkAchAryar. They wanted “thirupariyattam” (emperumAn’s vasthram as prasAdham) and emperumAn’s garlands for the charama thirumEni (final sacred body) of viLAnchOlai piLLai.

Hearing this nambUdharis became shocked and understood the greatness of viLAnchOlaip piLLai. He then offered perumAL’s thiruppariyattam and garlands.

vEdhavalli: pAtti, I had goose bumps hearing about viLAnchOlai piLLai final moments.

vyAsa: Yes pAtti, I am also getting happy tears from my eyes. This truly explains how a person from “eezhava kulam” is glorified in our sampradhAyam.

pAtti: Alright kids, I had a nice time with you all. Hope you all will remember what we discussed today. Next time, I will tell you in detail about thiruvAimozhip piLLai, see you all soon.

All the kids left Andal patti’s home with full energy and happiness thinking about the discussions.

adiyEn janani rAmAnuja dAsi