Beginner’s guide – embAr

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

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parAsara , vyAsa enter AndAL pAtti’s house with vEdhavalli and aththuzhAy.

pAtti : Welcome children. Wash your hands and feet. Let me bring some prasAdam. Do you know what day is tomorrow? Tomorrow is AlavandhAr’s thirunakshatram , Adi, uthrAdam. Who over here, remembers AlavandhAr?

aththuzhAy : I remember! He was the AchArya who prayed to dhEvap perumAL to bring rAmAnujar into the sampradhAyam.

vyAsa : Yes. Also, after he reached paramapadham, on his thirumEni,  three fingers were closed which denoted his last three unfulfilled wishes and rAmAnujar promised to fulfill them. As rAmAnujar promised, the three fingers unfolded.

parAsara : pAtti, we also remember how you said that the relation between rAmAnujar and AlavandhAr was that of mind and soul and beyond bodily senses.

pAtti : Exactly! It is his thirunakshatram tomorrow. Here take these prasAdam. Do not forget to go to temple tomorrow and pay your respects to the great AchArya who brought rAmAnujar to the sampradhAyam. Moving on, today, let us know about our next AchArya embAr. embAr was born in madhuramangalam as the son of kamala nayana bhattar and SridhEvi ammAL. His birth name was gOvindhap perumAL. He was also known as gOvindha bhattar, gOvindha dhAsar and rAmAnuja padha chAyaiyAr. He was a cousin of emperumAnAr and once saved rAmAnujar from being killed.

vEdhavalli : killed? pAtti, I thought rAmAnujar’s life was in danger only once and kUraththAzhwAn and periya nambi saved his life. How many times was his life in danger?

pAtti : Plenty of times! I will tell them as and when the time comes. His life was in danger for the first time when his own guru yAdhava prakASar wanted to kill him. rAmAnujar and yAdhava prakASar always had difference of opinions when it came to meanings prescribed in vEdhas. yAdhava prakASar used to give meanings to certain phrases in the vEdhas in a wrong and manipulated way. rAmAnujar, on hearing it, would feel very bad and convey the true meaning as per our viSishtAdhvaitha sampradhAyam. yAdhava prakASar who was an advaiti, would never be happy with the explanations given by rAmAnujar. He knew that the explanations as told by rAmAnujar were more meaningful and hence started feeling competitive. He felt rAmAnujar would soon out throw him out  from his position of AchArya although rAmAnujar had no such intentions. This led to jealousy and hatred towards rAmAnujar, in yAdhava prakASar’s mind. He planned to kill rAmAnujar while the entire gathering of yAdhava prakAsar and his Sishyas went to vAraNAsi yAthrA. gOvindha perumAL who comes to know about this plot informs rAmAnujar about the same and warns him to not continue the yAthrA with the group. He asks rAmAnujar to go south towards kAnchIpuram so that his life is saved. rAmAnujar does the same and thus escapes the treacherous plot of his guru. Thus, gOvindhap perumAL saves rAmAnujar’s life.

vyAsa : pAtti, was gOvindhap perumAL a Sishya of yAdhava prakASar too?


pAtti : Yes vyAsa. Both rAmAnujar and gOvindhap perumAL were learning from yAdhava prakAsar. Although rAmAnujar had to go south to save himself, gOvindhap perumAL continues the yAthrA and becomes a Siva bhaktha and stays in a place called kALahasthi as uLLangai koNda nAyanAr. Knowing this , rAmAnujar sends his maternal uncle periya thirumalai nambi to reform gOvindhap perumAL and bring him back to the sampradhAyam. periya thirumalai nambi goes to kALahasthi and uses the pAsurams of nammAzhwAr and SlOkas from sthOthra ratnam of ALavandhAr to reform gOvindhap perumAL. gOvindhap perumAL realises his mistake and returns back to our sampradhAyam. So children, ALavandhAr, even after reaching paramapadham, was instrumental in bringing not only rAmAnujar but also his brother gOvindhap perumAL into our sampradhAyam. As periya thirumalai nambi brought him into the sampradhAyam, he was his AchAryan and performs his pancha samskAram. periya thirumalai nambi returns to thiruppathi with gOvindhap perumAL and gOvindhap perumAL continues to do kainkaryam to his AchAryan. Here , there is a very important thing that you all must notice. You must notice that rAmAnujar and periya thirumalai nambi went and reformed gOvindhap perumAL but gOvindhap perumAL never approached them to be reformed. Such AchAryas who reach towards their Sishyas to change them for their betterment and are very concerned for the goodness of their Sishyas are called krupA mAthra prasannAchAryas. They themselves approach their disciples out of pure , causeless mercy for them just like emperumAn. Both rAmAnujar and periya thirumalai nambi were krupA mAthra prasannAchAryas for gOvindhap perumAL.

parAsara : pAtti, tell us more about gOvindhap perumAL. What kainkaryams did he do?

pAtti: There are many incidents that show the AchArya abhimAnam that gOvindhap perumAL had for his AchAryan periya thirumalai nambi. Once, when gOvindhap perumAL was making the bed for periya thirumalai nambi, he lies on the bed before his AchAryan lies on it. nambi enquires from gOvindhap perumAL about it. gOvindhap perumAL replies that although he knows that he might go to narakam for this act, he doesn’t mind as long as his AchAryan’s bed is safe and comfortable to lie on. This shows the AchArya abhimAnam that he had where he doesn’t bother about himself and cares for his AchAryan’s thirumEni. The time came when rAmAnujar comes to thiruppathi to learn the essence of SrI rAmAyanam from periya thirumalai nambi. After learning it from nambi for an year, while departing, nambi offers to give something to rAmAnujar. rAmAnujar asks for gOvindhap perumAL and nambi also gladly agrees to give away gOvindha perumAL to rAmAnujar for kainkaryam. On learning this, gOvindhap perumAL feels sad to leave periya thirumalai nambi.

vyAsa : pAtti, why did nambi give away gOvindhap perumAL? Why did gOvindhap perumAL have to leave if he was happy doing the kainkaryam to his AchAryan?

pAtti : vyAsa, gOvindhap perumAL had a greater role to play in the sampradhAyam by doing various kainkaryams to rAmAnujar. Right from his childhood, he had great love and affection towards rAmAnujar. After rAmAnujar reached paramapadham, he also took in parAsara bhattar and other Sishyas of rAmAnujar to guide them. With so many responsibilities and duties waiting for him, he must make this sacrifice of leaving his AchAryan periya thirumalai nambi and accept rAmAnujar as his guide and mentor. He later accepts rAmAnujar as his everything and also composes a beautiful pAsuram depicting the beauty of rAmAnujar’s thirumEni (divine form). It is called “emperumAnAr vadivazhagu pAsuram”. As I told you last time also, when it comes to sampradhAyam, you must be ready to make sacrifices for the greater good. So did gOvindhap perumAL.

aththuzhAy : Did gOvindhap perumAL marry? Did he have kids?

pAtti : gOvindhap perumAL was always involved in bhagavath vishayam that he always saw emperumAn in everything and everyone. Even though he gets married , looking at gOvindhap perumAL’s elevated status in bhagavath vishayam, emperumAnAr himself initiates sanyAsASramam to gOvindhap perumAL and gives him the name embAr. During his final days, embAr instructs parAsara bhattar to carry forward the beautiful SrIvaishNava sampradhAyam. He instructs bhattar to always meditate upon the lotus feet of emperumAnAr and always chant “emperumAnAr thirvadigaLE thanjam” . Meditating on his AchAryan rAmAnujar’s lotus feet and fulfilling the promises he made to his AchAryan, embAr reaches paramapadham to continue his kainkaryam to his AchAryan. bhattar follows in the steps of his AchAryan and continues the blemish-less and bright legacy of our sampradhAyam.

vEdhavalli : pAtti , tell us more about bhattar.

pAtti : I will tell you more about bhattar the next time you visit. Now go home as it is getting dark outside. And do not forget to visit the temple for ALavandhAr thirunakshatram tomorrow.

The children leave to their homes thinking about ALavandhAr, periya thirumalai nambi, rAmAnujar  and embAr.

adiyEn jAnaki rAmAnuja dAsi

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