Updated: Oct 10
Desika is a Sanskrit word which means “Acharya”. In our srivaishnava sampradayam there are numerous acharyas starting from Nammazhvar to present day acharyas, it is only Swami desika is addressed respectfully as “Desika”. This is like calling srirangam perumal as nam perumal and addressing Shatakopan as Namaazhvaar.
Swami desika’s parents were childless for long time and one day Lord Srinivasa of Seven Hills, Tirupati has ordered them to go for a pilgrimage to Tiruppati.
The Lord appeared in their dreams in the garb of a Srivaishnava youth and handed over a small golden bell which Totaramba swallowed.
During an investigation ordered into the loss of the bell, the Lord appeared by Avesa (spiritual trance) on Tirumalai Nambi and told that He had himself presented the bell to the Ananthasuri couple and thenceforward, the small hand- bell need not be used in the Tiruvaradhana in the temple. Even today. when the Naivedyam is offered to the lord, it is the only the huge bell, suspended in the front hall that is being rung.
12 years after this incident, the Ganta of the Lord was born as Gantaavataara Aazhwar. The Avatara of Thooppul Kulamani was in the Kali yuga year 4370 which corresponds to 1268 AD 9I,e)Year Vibhava, month Purattaasi, on the Dasami day of Sukla Paksha, a Wednesday, in the constellation of Sravanam ( the same as that of Lord of Tirumalai).
Swami Desikan was born in Thooppul, near Tiruttangaa (Himavanam) adjacent to the temple of Deepa Prakaasar in Kanchipuram, the birthplace of Poigai Alwar. As he was born during the Theerthotsava of Tiruvenkadamudaiyaan, appullaar, his uncle named him "Venkatanathan".
After Abdapoorthi (the first birthday) he took the child to "Per aruLaLan Temple" at Kanchi, near Madras, India.
The Lord blessed the child to become the "beacon light" of "Srivaishnava Darsanam" like Ramanuja.
Swami Desika himself mentions this in his "Amritha Ranjanai", thus: "Anre Adaikkalam Konda Nam Athigiri Thirumaal".
The child had his choulam in the 3rd year and Aksharaabhyaasam in the 5th year.
To be continued..