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Day 5,Sanctum 3 - Sriman Naathamunigal Sanctum

Updated: Nov 21, 2021

Sriman Naathamunigal - Kaatumannaar Koil

Birth Place :- Viranaaraayanapuram; Kaatu Mannaar Koil

Birth Star :- Anusham

Month :- Aani

Works :- Nyaaya Thatvam; Yoga Rahasyam; Purusha Nirnayam

Aachaaryan {Spiritual Master} :- Nammaazhwaar

Other names :- Ranganaathamuni, Naatha Brahmar

Sriman Naathamunigal was born in VeeraNaaraayanapuram to Eeshwaramuni. Sriman Naathamunigal was the first Aachaaryan of the modern time. Swaami revived Sri Vaishnavam by bringing out the 4000 Divya Prabandham of Aazhwaars into wide spread practice. Sriman Naathamunigal was also a great Bhakti Yogi, and the author of lost treatise 'Yoga Rahasya' and an expertise of divine music (Isaipaa). Swaami initiated his nephews Keezhaiahathaazhwaan and Melaiahathaazhwaan to take ahead the musical lineage of 4000 Divya Prabandham literature and also was the first to initiate Arayar Sevai first in Srirangam, Sri Ranganaathaswaamy Temple. Sriman Naathamunigal was the grandfather of Sri Aalavandhaar, also known as Yaamunaachaaryaar.

Sriman Nathamunigal Thaniyan:

nama: achinthya adhbutha aklishta jnAna vairAgya rAsayE nAthAya munayE agAdha bhagavadh bhakthi sindhavE

நம: அசிந்த்ய அத்புத அக்லிஷ்ட ஜ்ஞான வைராக்ய ராசயே நாதாய முநயே அகாத பகவத் பக்தி ஸிந்தவே

I offer my obeisances to Sriman NaathamunigaL who is filled with knowledge about Sriman Narayana and detachment from wordly matters that cannot be quantified and are extraordinary, who is constantly meditating on Sriman Narayana and is an ocean of deep devotion towards Lord Sriman Narayana.

Sri Aalavandar is also found in this sanctum along with Sriman Naathamunigal.

Swami Aalavandar Thaniyan (rendered by Swami Ramanuja):

yathpaadhaamboruha Dhyaana vidhvasthaasheShkalmaShah |

vasthuthaamupayaatho aham yaamuneeyam namaami tham ||

யத் பதாம்போருஹத்யாந வித்வஸ்தாசேஷ கல்மஷ:

வஸ்துதாமுபயா தோஹம் யாமுநேயம் நமாமிதம்

I prosrate before yAmunAchAryar by whose mercy my defects have been removed and I have become an identifiable object, i.e., previously I was like asath (matter) and now I have realized that I am sath (soul) after meditating on the lotus feet of yAmunAcharya.

Year: 916 AD to 1042 AD

Birth Place: Kaattumannargudi

Other Names: Yamunacharyar, Yamunamuni

Month: Aadi

Thiru Natchathiram: Utthiradam

Yamunacharya, also known as Aalavandar, was the son of Ishwara Muni and grandson of the great acharya Naathamunigal. He was born in 916 A.D at VeeraNaarayanapuram (present day Kattu Mannargudi) in Tamil Nadu. Yamunacharya was a genius – a child prodigy. He was instructed in all Sastras. He had the gift of eka-santha – graha (remembering forever by learning only once).

Aalavandar pronounced Swami Ramanuja as his successor. He ordered that all his disciples should give due respect to him and the act of surrendering to him was the only way for salvation.

Na Dharma nishtOsmi na chaatma vEdi

Na bhaktimaan tvaccharaNAravindE

AkinchanOananyagatih saraNya!

Tvat paadamoolam saranam prapadye. (Sthothra Rathnam- 22nd sloka)

Oh, you worthy of being sought as refuge! I am not one established in Dharma, nor am I a knower of the self. I have no fervent devotion to your lotus-feet. Utterly destitute as I am and having none else for resort, I take refuge under your feet. (Translation by Swamy Adi Devananda)

During that time, Aakkiaazhwaan, the Raja purohitar sends his representatives to all pandits and asks them to pay tax to him (since he is the chief pandit). mahaabhaashya Bhattar becomes worried and seeing that, yamunaithuraivar says that he will handle the issue. He sends a slokam which says “he will destroy the poets who look for cheap publicity”. Seeing this Aakkiaazhwaan gets angry and sends his soldiers to bring yamunaithuraivar to the king’s court. Yamunaithuraivar tells them that he will come only if he was offered proper respects. So, king sends him a palanquin and yamunaithuraivar visits the court.

Yamuna asked (or stated) three statements. He asked Aakkiaazhwaan to counter.

1) Aakkiaazhwaan mother is childless.

2) The King was just a ruler.

3) The Queen was chaste.

The scholar had to deny all the above three statements. They were all very tricky.

How can one say that his mother is barren, when he is her child!

How can anyone say in front of the King that he was unjust!

Punishment could be severe. Worst is, who can dare say that the Queen was not chaste!

While the debate is about to start, Raja Mahishi tells the king that she is sure that yamunaithuraivar will win and if he loses, she will become a servant of the king. And the king is confident that Aakkiaazhwaan will win and he says if yamunaithuraivar, he will give half the kingdom to him.

The scholar (Aakkiaazhwaan) was caught in terrible embarrassment. To get over this, the scholar challenged Yamunacharya to answer by denying the statements. Unfazed, Yamunacharya replied to all the 3 statements: (Sthothra Rathnam- 22nd sloka)

1) According to shastras, bearing only one child is equivalent to infertility. So, saying Scholar's mother was barren is acceptable, as he was her only child. It is like plantain trees give only one bunch and mothers having only one child are called kathali vandhya in Sanskrit.

2) According to Shastras, all crimes committed by his people affects the King. So, no King could call himself just.

3) According to Shastras, again, a woman is considered chaste only if she followed her husband implicitly or absolutely. In this debate, the King was supporting the scholar, while the Queen was supporting Yamunacharya. Therefore, the Queen was not following the King implicitly and so she could not be termed chaste.

The King sent Aakkiaazhwaan out of his kingdom and gave Yamuna half his kingdom. The queen hailed the boy as "Aalavandar" ஆளவந்தீரோ - One who came to save me.

During Swami Nathamuni's final days, he had entrusted the task of establishing the siddhantam by his grandson Yamunacharya, to his disciple Swami Uyyakondar [உய்யக் கொண்டார்]. In his lifetime he could not achieve and so, Uyyakondar passed on the responsibility to his disciple Swami Manakkal Nambi [மணக்கால் நம்பி]. Swami Manakkal Nambi found it was difficult to meet Aalavandar, as he was a ruler and had little time for religious matters. He devised a plan and offered daily thoodhuvalai keerai [தூதுவளை கீரை], a type of lettuce, to the Royal cook and requested him to serve the King daily. The cook prepared the lettuce and the King Aalavandar relished the preparation. This continued for several months.

Suddenly Swami Manakkal Nambi stopped supplying the lettuce and so the cook could not serve the King. Noticing that lettuce was not in the plate, Aalavandar called the cook and asked why lettuce was not served. The cook replied that one brahmin was supplying regularly and suddenly the supply was stopped. King Aalavandar asked the cook to send the brahmin to him, if he reported again. Swami Manakkal Nambi appeared again and the cook promptly took him to the King Aalavandar. Aalavandar asked Swami Manakkal Nambi, what was he expecting to get, by supplying all these days lettuce. Swami Manakkal Nambi denied anything he expected from the King; but wanted to hand over a treasure, Aalavandaar's grand father had given to him. Thus, the opportunity came and Swami Manakkal Nambi taught Bhagavad Gita to Aalavandar as taught to him by Swami Naathamunigal.

Realizing the greatness of Gita, Aalavandar wanted to learn more about the Lord. Swami Manakkal Nambi took him to Srirangam and with the grace of Sri Ranganatha, Aalavandar was instantly captivated by the beauty of the Lord. Renunciating all wealth and Kingdom, Swami Aalavandar devoted himself to our philosophy and established his mutt to preach others. One of Swami Aalavandaar's disciple was Periya Nambi, whose disciple was Swami Ramanuja. Just like Ekalavya did not get tutored directly from Drona, Swami Ramanuja was not fortunate to be the direct disciple of Swami Aalavandar.

Aalavandar comes back to srirangam and is worried about appointing the successor to lead the sampradaayam. He finds out about iLayAzhwAr (Sri Ramanujar) who is studying under YaadavaPrakaasar in Kanchipuram. He visits Kanchipuram and, in the Deva, Perumal Koil, in front of kariyamaanikka Perumal sannidhi, he gives his divine kataaksham towards iLayAzhwAr who passes by at that time. Aalavandar goes to Deva Perumal and does a sharanaagathi to emperumAn to make iLayaazhwaar the next leader of the sampradaayam. Thus, Aalavandar plants the seed to what is going to be a Maha vriskham (great tree) i.e., emperumanAr dharisanam. Aalavandar asks Thirukacchi nambi to help iLayAzhwAr in his spiritual development.

Finally, he requests all his disciples and other SriVaishnavaas to assemble in front of him. He asks for their pardon for any mistakes he committed, accepts Sripaada theertham from them, does thadhiaaraadhanam to them and leaves his Charama Thirumeni to Paramapadham. All his disciples were plunged into sorrow and finally they start planning for the grand celebration. When SriVaishnavaas leave their body to go to Paramapadham it is actually celebrated in a grand manner considering the great benediction they get when they go to Paramapadham. All the Charama kainkaryams like thirumanjanam, srichoorNa paripaalanam, alankaarams, brahma ratham, etc are all explained in a detailed manner in Aalavandaar’s charithram and other AchAryas lives also.

In the mean time, Periya Nambi had gone to Kanchipuram to bring iLayaazhwaar with him to srirangam. When iLayaazhwaar goes to Saalai kinaru for his kainkaryam of bringing water for Deva Perumal, periya nambi recites Aalavandaar’s sthothra rathnam loudly. Hearing that and understanding the deep meanings, iLayaazhwaar enquires periya nambi about the author of the slOkams. periya nambi explaining about Aalavandaar’s greatness, requests iLayAzhwAr to visit him at srirangam. iLayAzhwAr accepting the proposal, goes to deva Perumal and Thirukacchi nambi and takes permission from them to go to srirangam. While reaching srirangam, they see the procession of Aalavandaar’s Thirumeni and periya nambi falls down crying. iLayAzhwAr also being very upset enquires from the local SriVaishnavaas and understand what has happened.

At that time, when the final kainkaryams for Aalavandar starts, everyone observes that 3 fingers are folded in one of his hands. When iLayAzhwAr asks if anyone knew the reason, the SriVaishnavaas mention that Aalavandar had 3 unfulfilled desires, viz:

We should show our gratitude towards vasa and Paraasara rishi.

We should show our love towards Nammaazhwar.

We should have a Bhasyam written for vyAsa’s brahma sUtram as per visishtAdhvaitha sidhantham.

Hearing this, iLayaazhwAr immediately takes an oath that he will satisfy all the 3 desires and immediately Aalavandaar’s fingers unfolded. The assembled srivaishnavas become ecstatic looking at this and they say that Aalavandaar’s krupai and shakthi is fully showering on him and hail him to become our dharisana nirvAhakar. Once all the kainkaryams are over, iLayAzhwAr returns to Kanchipuram without even worshipping Namperumal since he was overwhelmed by the loss of Aalavandar.


- Chatusloki

- Sthotra Ratnam

- Siddhi trayam (Atma trayam, Samvit trayam, Eeswara trayam) - These helped Swami Ramanuja to formulate his philosophy in Sri Bhasyam)

- Geethartha Sangraham (base for the Gita Bhashyam of Swami Ramanuja)

- Agama Pramanam (enabled Ramanuja to expound Pancharatra)

- Maha Purusha Nirnayam (This establishes the supremacy of Sriman-Narayana)

Tomorrow (Day 6 ) we shall visit Sanctum 4 - Sri Ull Andal Sanctum and Kothanda Ramar Sanctum

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