Sri Narasimha Perumal!

In honor of Sri Narsimha Jayanthi, the following are the verses of Narasimha Panchamrutha sthotram. This prayer is believed to have been composed by Lord Rama when he visited the temple of Narasimha at Ahobilam. Since each stanza is like nectar, it is called Panchamrutham.


Ahobilam Narasimham gathwa Rama prathapavan,
Namaskruthwa Sri nrusimham asthousheetha kamalapatheem.

The glorious Rama went to Narasimha of Ahobilam,
Prostrated before him and offered prayers to the Lord of Goddess Kamala.


Govinda, Kesava, Janardhana, Vasudeva,
Viswesa, Viswa, Madhusoodhana, Viswaroopa,
Sri Padmnabha Purushothama Pushkaraksha,
Narayanachyutha Nrusima namo namsthe. 1

Protector of beings, destroyer of persons, he who is everywhere,
Lord of the universe, He who is complete, Killer of Madhu, Lord with universal form,
Lord having lotus growing from His navel, Best among men, Lotus eyed Lord,
Narayana! Unfailing one! Oh Narasimha!
Salutations again and again to you!


Deva samastha khalu yoga mukhya,
Gandharwa vidhyadhara kinnarscha,
Yath pada moolam sathatha namanthi,
Tham Narasimham saranam gathosmi. 2

I have sought the protection of Sri Narasimha Whose feet are ever worshipped by all the celestials, by great experts in yoga, and the Gandharwas, Vidhyadharas and Kinnaras


Vedan Samasthan khalu Sastragarbhan,
Vidyabale keerthimathim cha Lakshmeem,
Yasya prasadath sathatham labhanthe,
Tham narasimham saranam gathosmi. 3

I have sought the protection of Sri Narasimha,
By whose grace, one receives always without fail,
All the Vedas, essence of all sciences,
Knowledge, strength fame as well as wealth.


Brahma shivasthwam purushothamancha,
Narayanoasoumarutham pathischa,
Chandrarka vayvagni maruth ganamcha,
Thwameva tham thwam sathatham nathosmi. 4

I always salute you and you only as you are,
Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu, and Narayana,
The chief of the Maruths, the moon, the wind,
Fire and all the celestial principles!


Swapnepi nithyam jagatham trayanam,
Srushta cha hantha vibhuraprameya,
Thratha thwameka sthrividho vibhinna,
Tham thwam narasimham sathatham nathosmi. 5

I always salute you and you only as you create, destroy, and protect
The entire three worlds as if in a dream; You are the one, who divides,
Yourself in to these three forms!

Excerpted and adapted from:


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Swami Ramanuja in 3 places…


Birthplace of Swami Ramanuja, Sri Perumbudur

Although many sacred places associated with Swami Ramanuja exist, three are particularly special. Azhwar Thirunagari where the deity of Swami Ramanuja was installed prior to his incarnation; Sri Perumbudur, where he incarnated, and Thirunarayanapuram where Swami spent many years establishing temples in the area (having escaped from Kulothunga Cholan).

The above is a short video with the thaniyan (dhyana slokam) for Swami Ramanuja. The sloka is as follows:


Sri Bhavishyadacharyan (Swami Ramanuja at Sri Azhwar Thirunagari)

yOnithyamachyutha padAmbuja yugmarukma

vyAmOhathas thaditharAnI thrunAya mEnay

asmad gurOrbhagavatOsya dayaika sindhOho

rAmAnujasya charanAU saranam prapadyE

“I surrender to that divine Sri Ramanuja, our guru, an ocean
of mercy, who in his intense attachment to the two feet of
Lord Achyuta considered all else as worthless as grass”

P.S: I re-posted yesterday’s post on Swami Ramanuja’s biography, and the pictures now are temple paintings illustrating the entire narrative. If you read the post, skim it again to see the new pictures…

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Sri Ramanuja appears…


In the year 1017 A.D., Ramanuja was born in the village of Perumbudur, about twenty-five miles west of Madras. His father was Kesava Somayaji and his mother was Kantimathi, a very pious and virtuous lady. Ramanuja’s Tamil name was Ilaya Perumal. Quite early in life, Ramanuja lost his father. Then he came to Kancheepuram to prosecute his study of the Vedas under one Yadavaprakasha, a teacher of Advaita philosophy.

Ramanuja was a brilliant student. Yadavaprakasha’s interpretations of Vedic texts were not quite up to his satisfaction. Ramanuja pointed out many mistakes in the exposition of his master. Sometimes he gave his own interpretations which were much liked by all the co-students. This made Yadavaprakasha very jealous of Ramanuja…


Yadavaprakasha made a plan to take away the life of Ramanuja. He arranged for Ramanuja and his cousin Govinda Bhatta–a fellow student–a pilgrimage to Varanasi. Govinda Bhatta, being a favourite student of Yadavaprakasha, came to know of the latter’s plan while they were travelling. He at once apprised Ramanuja of the danger and helped him to escape. By the grace of Sri Devaperumal of Kanchipuram, Ramanuja escaped with the help of a hunter and his wife (Perumal and Thayaar in disguise) whom he accidentally met on the way.


About the end of the tenth century, the Visishtadvaita system of philosophy was well established in Southern India and the followers of this creed were in charge of important Vaishnavite temples at Kancheepuram, Srirangam, Tirupathi and other important places. The head of the important Vaishnavite institution was Yamunacharya, a great sage and profound scholar; and he was also the head of the Mutt at Srirangam. One of his disciples, by name Kanchipurna, was serving in the temple at Kancheepuram. Although a Sudra, Kanchipurna was so very pious and good that the people of the place had great respect and reverence for him. At present, there is a temple at Kancheepuram where Kanchipurna’s image has been installed and where he is worshipped as a saint.


Young Ramanuja came under Kanchipurna’s influence and had such reverence for him that he invited him to dinner in his house. Ramanuja’s intention was to attend on Kanchipurna and personally serve him at dinner and himself take meals afterwards. Unfortunately, Kanchipurna came to dinner when Ramanuja was not at home, and took his meals being served by Ramanuja’s wife. When Ramanuja returned home, he found the house washed and his wife bathing for having served meals to a Sudra. This irritated Ramanuja very much and turned him against his wife who was an orthodox lady of a different social ideal. After a few incidents of this nature, Ramanuja abandoned the life of a householder and became a Sannyasi.


About this time, Yamunacharya being very old was on the look-out for a young person of good ability and character to take his place as head of the Mutt at Srirangam. He had already heard of Ramanuja through his disciples and made up his mind to instal Ramanuja in his place. He now sent for Ramanuja. By the time Ramanuja reached Srirangam, Yamunacharya was dead; and Ramanuja saw his body being taken by his followers to the cremation ground outside the village. Ramanuja followed them to the cremation ground. There he was informed that Yamunacharya, before his death, had left instructions that he had three wishes which Ramanuja was to be requested to fulfil, viz., that a Visishtadvaita Bhashya should be written for the Brahma Sutras of Vyasa which hitherto had been taught orally to the disciples of the Visishtadvaita philosophy and that the names of Parasara, the author of Vishnu Purana, and saint Sadagopa (Swami Nammazhwar) should be perpetuated. Ramanuja was deeply touched, and in the cremation ground itself, before the dead body of Yamunacharya, he made a solemn promise that, God willing, he would fulfil all the three wishes of Yamunacharya. Ramanuja lived for 120 years, and in the course of his long life, fully redeemed his promise by fulfilling all the three wishes of Yamunacharya.


After the death of Yamuna, his disciples at Srirangam and other places wanted Ramanuja to take Yamuna’s place as the head of the Mutt at Srirangam. This was also the expressed wish of Yamuna. Accordingly, Ramanuja took his place and was duly installed with all the attendant ceremonies and celebrations as the head of the Visishtadvaita Mutt at Srirangam

Ramanuja then proceeded to Thirukottiyur to take initiation from Nambi for Japa of the sacred mantra of eight letters (thirumantram). Somehow, Nambi was not willing to initiate Ramanuja easily. He made Ramanuja travel all the way from Srirangam to Madurai nearly eighteen times before he made up his mind to initiate him, and that too, only after exacting solemn promises of secrecy. Then Nambi duly initiated Ramanuja and said: “Ramanuja! Keep this mantra a secret. This mantra is a powerful one. Those who repeat this Mantra will attain salvation. Give it only to a worthy disciple previously tried”. But Ramanuja had a very large heart. He was extremely compassionate and his love for humanity was unbounded. He wanted that every man should enjoy the eternal bliss of Lord Narayana. He realised that the mantra was very powerful. He immediately called all people, irrespective of caste and creed, to assemble before the temple. He stood on top of the tower above the front gate of the temple, and shouted out the sacred mantra to all of them at the top of his voice. Nambi, his Guru, came to know of this. He became furious. Ramanuja said: “O my beloved Guru! Please prescribe a suitable punishment for my wrong action”. Ramanuja said: “I will gladly suffer the tortures of hell myself if millions of people could get salvation by hearing the mantra through me”. Nambi was very much pleased with Ramanuja and found out that he had a very large heart full of compassion. He embraced Ramanuja and blessed him. Having thus equipped himself with the necessary qualifications, Ramanuja succeeded Yamuna.


By this time, Ramanuja’s fame had spread far and wide. He became a good controversialist. Then he wrote his commentary on the Brahma Sutras known as the Sri Bhashya. The Visishtadvaita system is an ancient one. It was expounded by Bodhayana in his Vritti, written about 400 B.C. It is the same as that expounded by Ramanuja; and Ramanuja followed Bodhayana in his interpretations of the Brahma Sutras. Ramanuja’s sect of Vaishnavas is called by the name Sri Sampradaya. Ramanuja wrote also three other books–Vedanta Sara (essence of Vedanta), Vedanta Sangraha (a resume of Vedanta) and Vedanta Deepa (the light of Vedanta).


Ramanuja travelled throughout the length and breadth of India to disseminate the path of devotion. He visited all the sacred places throughout India including Kashi, Kashmir and Badrinath. On his way back he visited the Tirupathi hills. There he found the Saivites and the Vaishnavites quarrelling with one another, one party contending that the image of the Lord in the Tirupathi hills was a Saivite one and the other party saying that it was a Vaishnavite one. Ramanuja proposed that they should leave it to the Lord Himself to decide the dispute. So they left the emblems of both Siva and Vishnu at the feet of the Lord, and after locking the door of the temple, both parties stayed outside on guard. In the morning, when they opened the doors, it was found that the image of the Lord was wearing the emblems of Vishnu, while the emblems of Siva were lying at its feet as left there the evening before. This decided that the temple was a Vaishnavite one and it has remained so ever since.


Ramanuja then visited all the Vaishnavite shrines in South India and finally reached Sri Rangam. Here he settled himself permanently and continued his labours of preaching the Visishtadvaita philosophy and writing books. Thousands of people flocked to him everyday to hear his lectures. He cleansed the temples, settled the rituals to be observed in them, and rectified many social evils which had crept into the community. He had a congregation of 700 Sannyasis, 74 dignitaries who held special offices of ministry, and thousands of holy men and women, who revered him as God. He converted lakhs of people to the path of Bhakti. He gave initiation even to washermen. He was now seventy years old, but was destined to live many more years, establish more Mutts, construct more temples and convert many more thousands of people…

The Chola king about this time was Kulothunga I, a staunch Saivite. He ordered Ramanuja to subscribe to his faith in Siva and acknowledge Siva as the Supreme Lord. Two of the disciples of Ramanuja, Kuresa and Mahapurna, donned the orange robes of Sannyasins and visited the court of Kulothunga I in place of Ramanuja. They argued there for the superiority of Vishnu. The monarch refused to hear them and had their eyes put out. The two unfortunate people started for Srirangam–their native place. Mahapurna was a very old man, and unable to bear the pain, died on the way. Kuresa alone returned to Srirangam. Meanwhile, Ramanuja, with a few followers, by rapid marches through day and night, reached the foot-hills of the Western Ghats, about forty miles west of Mysore. There, after great difficulties, he established himself and spent some years in preaching and converting people to the Visishtadvaita philosophy.


The king of the place was Bhatti Deva of the Hoysala dynasty. The Raja’s daughter was possessed by an evil spirit and nobody was able to cure her. Ramanuja succeeded in exorcizing the spirit and the princess was restored to her former health. The king was very much pleased with Ramanuja and was converted by Ramanuja into a Vaishnavite. Thereafter Ramanuja firmly established himself in the Mysore king’s dominions, constructed a temple at Melkote, and created a strong Vaishnavite community there. The lower classes (now called Harijans) of the place were of great service to Ramanuja; and Ramanuja gave them the right of entry inside the temple which he constructed at Melkote–on some fixed days and with certain privileges–which they enjoy to this day.


Ramanuja constructed a few more Vishnu temples in and about Mysore, set up a strong Vaishnavite community and put them in charge of his disciples to continue his work and spread the Visishtadvaita philosophy and Vishnu worship throughout the king’s dominions. Thus he continued his labours here for nearly twenty years and his followers numbered several thousands.

Meanwhile, Kulothunga Chola I, who persecuted Ramanuja, died. The followers of Ramanuja immediately communicated the news to Ramanuja and requested him to come back to Srirangam. Ramanuja himself longed to go back to his followers in Srirangam and worship in the temple there. But his new disciples and followers at Melkote and other places in Mysore would not let him go. So he constructed a temple for himself, installed therein his own image for worship by his disciples and followers, and left the place for Srirangam. He was welcomed by his friends and disciples at Srirangam. The successor to Kulothunga Chola I was a pro-Vaishnavite and Ramanuja was left undisturbed. Ramanuja continued his labours for thirty years more and closed his long active career after attaining the remarkable age of 120 years.


Ramanuja was the exponent of the Visishtadvaita philosophy or qualified non-dualism. Ramanuja’s Brahman is Sa-visesha Brahman, i.e., Brahman with attributes. According to Ramanuja’s teachings, Lord Narayana or Bhagavan is the Supreme Being; the individual soul is Chit; matter is Achit. Ramanuja regards the attributes as real and permanent, but subject to the control of Brahman. The attributes are called Prakaras or modes. Lord Narayana is the Ruler and Lord of the universe. The Jiva is His servant and worshipper. The Jiva should completely surrender himself to the Lord…

Excerpted and adapted from:

Photos courtesy of: Picasa web albums


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Sri Parthasarathy…


I found a beautiful video of Lord Parthasarathy of Thiruvallikeni, dressed as Venugopalaswamy (flute-bearing Lord Krishna). For those in a time crunch, the video is especially sweet from 3:00 onwards… Take a look.

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The King of Kings…

The sweet Lord of Mannargudi, Sri Rajagopalaswamy in Raja alangaram (“royal outfit”) with His consort, Bhu Devi…


“My salutations to that Supreme Being whom Brahma, Varuna, Indra and Rudra glorify by divine hyms; whom singers of Sama praise by chanting the Veda with all the complementary parts, sections, and Upanishads; whom Yogis intuit with minds concentrated in meditation, and whose limit neither the hosts of Devas nor the Asuras know of!”


“I salute Madhava, the Supremely Blissful One, by whose grace a dumb man can become eloquent, and a lame person can cross over mountains.”


“Salutations to Thee, O Krsna, Who appears as a Parijatha tree to those surrendered to You, Who holds a cane to drive cattle in one hand, while the other hand is held in jnana mudrai, and Who is famous as the milker of the nectarean milk of the Bhagavad Gita!”


“All the Upanishads are the cows; the cowherd’s son, Krsna is the milker of these cows; Partha is the calf; the nectarean Gita is the milk, and the pure-minded are the drinkers of it.”


“I salute Lord Krsna, the son of Vasudeva, the bestower of supreme delight to Devaki, the destroyer of Kamsa and Chanura, and the spiritual master of the entire universe!”

Pictures taken from:

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The Pāñcharātra Agamas


I recently posted about the Vaikhanasa agamas, so I thought it would be nice to post on the Pancharatra agamas.

The Pancaratra Agamas prescribe icon worship in the place of rituals like Yajnas, mentioned in the Vedas. The Agamas accept the authority of Vedas, Samkhya, and Aranyakas. Agamas generally talk about construction of temples; the rules for installation and consecration of the deities in the temples; the methods of performing pujas in the temples; philosophy; linguistic occultism (mantra -sastra); theory of magical-meditative figures (yantra -sastra), yoga/ bhakti yoga, domestic observances (samskara, ahnika), social rules (varnasrama-dharma) and public festivals.

Pāñcarātra are Vaishnavite devotional texts dedicated to a single deity, Sriman Narayana, who manifests in different forms.The central teaching of the Pāñcharātra religion is that the deity manifests Himself in five-fold forms: Para, Vyūha, Vibhava, Antaryamin, and Archa. These five aspects are how the absolute, formless Transcendent One (Parabrahman) is brought into living and loving touch with the mundane world so that living beings can interact with the divine.


Para Manifestation

The Para form is sometimes described as the first immanent manifestation of the Supreme Being. But sometimes it is said to have sprung from a still higher, the very first form of god. This first form is referred to as ‘the best of the Purushas’ and ‘the Highest Light’, seen by the Brahmanas in meditation. This form is immanent and should not be confused with the supreme transcendent one. This is clear when it is said that this form has originated from ‘that which has all forms and no form’, ‘Brahman without beginning, middle and end’.

God as para is sometimes identified with and sometimes distinguished from the Vyuha Vasudeva. When the two are distinguished the Vyuha Vasudeva is said to have sprung from the para Vasudeva. The Padma Tantra describes para Vasudeva as diving himself ‘for some reason’ and becoming with one half the Vyuha Vasudeva and with the other Narayana, the creator of the primeval waters. The para is adorned with nine chief ornaments and weapons, which symbolically represent the principles of the Universe.


Vyuha Manifestation

The appearance of gunas in Lakshmi and Narayana denotes the beginning of the process of Vyuha or emanation. Vasudeva, characterized by the six gunas, is sometimes called the first Vyuha. From Vasudeva emanates Samkarshana in whom jnana and bala alone get manifested. From Samkarshana comes Pradyumna to whom belong aishvarya and virya. From Pradyumna emanates Aniruddha to whom shakti and tejas appertain. This, however, does not mean that each Vyuha has only two gunas, but each Vyuha is Vasudeva himself with his six gunas, of which, however, only two in each case become manifest. In the Lakshmi Tantra all these vyuhas are said to proceed from Lakshmi. The Vihagendra Samhita, however, maintains that they come from Vasudeva.

The Pancharatra thinkers were very much particular in safeguarding and preserving the purity and unchanged nature of the transcendent Supreme Being. From that point of view, the chief merit, and hence its primary significance, is that it is such a process of emanation in which the Supreme Being remains unaffected and unchanged in all the five-fold manifestations.


Avatara Manifestation

Closely connected with the doctrine of vyuhas, is the next manifestation of God, named as vibhava (manifestation) or avatara (descent). The only supreme being the pancharatra philosophers knew about was the Transcendent One, who was not in any way directly related to the world. Therefore, the Samhitas explicitly describe the avataras as either all springing from Aniruddha, or some from Vasudeva and the rest from the other three vyuhas. One should not be mistaken here in assuming that the Supreme Being himself takes avatara. This is a puranic conception. The Pancharatra Samhitas nowhere maintain that the Supreme Being, laying aside its transcendent, unmoving nature assumes these finite forms. This is impermissible by the premises of the system. The Supreme Being is merely a spectator with an attitude of passivity and indifference. It cherishes no attachment to the mundane world, and it is beyond its nature to do so.


Antaryamin Manifestation

The fourth manifestation is the Antaryamin avatara, which is Aniruddha as the ‘Inner Ruler’ of all souls. It is a mysterious power seated in the ‘lotus of the heart’. Here again it should be noted that this is not a manifestation of the Supreme Being, but only of Aniruddha, one of the vyuhas.


Archa Manifestation

The Pancharatra Samhitas, unlike Narayaniya, finally recognize the archa manifestation of God. An inanimate object (i.e. image of Vishnu), if duly consecrated according to the Pancharatra rites, acquires a miraculous power, and the Shakti of Vishnu descends into it. It is meant for the purpose of daily worship.

This archa worship is different from the pratima worship. In the latter the symbol is the locus, on which the devotee concentrates his thought. But no sooner the thought is centralized, than the locus soon gets out of his vision and no necessity thereof is felt. But in the archa worship, on the other hand, the devotee feels the very presence of God in it. And as such the inanimate image soon acquires a new meaning, becomes the object of love, of heart’s hankering and of the eye’s rest. This we find in the religion of the Alvars as well, who are the Tamil Vaishnava saints…

Excerpted and adapted from:


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Sri Nanjeeyar…


Sri Nanjeeyar Thirumaligai

Sri Nanjeeyar was the disciple of Sri Parasara Bhattar, the son of Sri Kurattazhvan and the acharya of Sri Nampillai. He was the first acharya to write vyakhyanams for both Thiruvaymozhi as well as prabandhams of the other Azhvars. He was also the first to write vyakhyanams in the style of explaining each word and phrase of the Azhvars, while quoting other acharyas in detailing their meanings.


Sri Nanjeeyar

It is believed that Nanjeeyar lived from 1113 CE to 1208 CE (95 years). He was born in the city of Thirunarayanapuram, near Mysore in Karanataka. He grew up in the town of Kankorai. He was the direct disciple of Parasara Bhattar and it was to him that Bhattar handed over the sampradhayam before attaining paramapadham. Bhattar’s acharya was Sri Embar (as well as Kurattazhvan who was his father). One of Nanjeeyar’s greatest contributions was the identification of Nampillai and his appointment as the next acharya of the sampradhayam.

Nanjeeyar’s original name was Madhavacharyar. Since he had outstanding knowledge of the Vedantas, he was called as Vedanti. He was renowned as an acharya in the Advaitic tradition initially. Swami Ramanuja before leaving this world called Bhattar and told him about Vedanti and asked that Bhattar correct him and being him into the Srivaishnava samparadhayic fold. This shows the greatness of Nanjeeyar. Ramanuja had already done a similar act with the advaitin Yajnamurti, who was renamed Arulala Perumal Emperumanar. However, due to old age Ramanuja was unable to do the same with Madhavacharyar and therefore gave the task to Bhattar.


Thirunarayanan at Melkote

As Vedanti, Nanjeeyar lived with great fame in Thirunarayanapuram. Once a Brahmin from Srirangam met him and told him about Bhattar’s greatness. From that time on, Vedanti was eager to meet Bhattar. When the brahmin met Bhattar and told him the incident, Bhattar aked him what he told Vedanti. The Brahmin replied that he told Vedanti that Bhattar knew all sastras. Bhattar then told the Brahmin that he should have told Vedanti that Bhattar also knew Thirunedunthandagam. The next time the Brahmin met Vedanti he repeated that to him. Vedanti was then wondering about this work that he had not come across before.

Bhattar then later traveled to Thirunarayanapuram to challenge Vedanti. He went there in a palanquin, surrounded by his disciples, in a procession. Upon seeing that the local people told Bhattar that he would not be able to meet Vedanti if he went like that. They advised him that Madhavacharyar was in the habit of feeding brahmins each day and if he went as one of those brahmins, he will able to meet him quickly. Therefore, Bhattar dressed as a poor brahmin and went to his place. There Bhattar met Madhavacharyar who asked him why he was waiting there. Bhattar replied that he was waiting for some alms. Madhavacharyar asked him why he was not eating with the other brahmins then. Bhattar replied that he did not come there for food but that he wanted the alm of philosophical debate. Madhavacharyar instantly recognized that it was Bhattar who was thus challenging him. He accepted the challenge and a debate raged for nine days between them. On the tenth day, Vedanti agreed that he had lost and that Visishtadvaitam was the true philosophy. He surrendered at the divine feet of Bhattar who then performed pancha samskaram to him and returned to Srirangam.

Madhavacharyar then continued to live in Thirunarayanapuram with his two wives and all his wealth. Once a few brahmins came to his house and his wives sent them away without food. Upon returning to his house and hearing the news, Madhavacharyar grew greatly dejected with his wives in their failure to feed the poor. He therefore divided his wealth into three portions, gave two of the portions to his wives and took one portion to give to Bhattar for service to the Lord. He then renounced this world and took sanyashrama dharma and left for Srirangam to meet Bhattar.


Sri Parasara Bhattar

On the way, he was met by Sri Anandahzvan, a disciple of Ramanuja. Anandazhvan told him that if he continued to live as usual by eating when hungry, taking a bath when sweating and surrendered at Bhattar’s feet, that he would not have been rejected from paramapadham. There was no need to become a sanyasi. Anandazhvan then blessed him saying that having done it he should now be born in Thirumantra and grow in Dvaya and recite nothing but Dvaya.

When Vedanti reached Srirangam he fell at the feet of Bhattar. Bhattar then picked him up calling him “nam jeeyar” (Our Jeeyar) and embraced him. From that day forward, Vedanti came to be known as Nanjeeyar. This event must have occurred around 1137 or 1138 CE.

Nanjeeyar then continued to live with Bhattar in Srirangam and became a close disciple to him. There are countless stories in Guru Parampara Prabhavam, Vyakhyanams, Varttha Mala, etc which recount events of interaction between Bhattar and Nanjeeyar. These events bring out the best in the Srivaishnava Sampradhayam. Nanjeeyar would ask very many questions to Bhattar and Bhattar would answer them with amazing dexterity. So much so, it became known in the sampradhayam that there was no one to ask questions like Nanjeeyar and that there was no one to answer them like Bhattar. These stories also show the immense devotion that Nanjeeyar had for his acharya, Bhattar.

After Bhattar attained paramapadham, Nanjeeyar took over the leadership of the sampradhayam in Srirangam. At this time he selected Nambur Varadarajar, a disciple of his, to write down his works in silk sheets. He then gave his works in palm leaves to Varadarajar who then left for his home town of Nambur to write them down. Varadarajar lost the palm leaves as he tried to swim across the Cauvery river. As he was mouring the great loss, the Lord appeared hin his dream and told him to write them again from his memory.


Sri Nampillai

When Varadarajar returned the silk sheets to Nanjeeyar, Nanjeeyar was amazed to see that the sheets contained his words but also additional references that he had made in discourses but had not put down in writing. When he questioned Varadarajar about the same, Varadarajar fell at his feet and told him what had happened. Nanjeeyar then picked him up and embraced him and called him “nam piLLai” (Our Son). From that day on, Nambur Varadarajar was known as nampiLLai. NampiLLai would go on to inherit the sampradhaya leadership from Nanjeeyar and become the next great acharya of the tradition.


Sri Namperumal with Ubhaya Nachimars on purappadu

When Nanjeeyar was old and not well, a person called Petri came to see him and asked him what he wished for. Nanjeeyar replied that he would like to hear Arayar recite the Periya Thirumozhi pasuram “thUviriyamalaruzhakki” and also see the front and behind beauty of Namperumal as He comes in a procession. This was arranged for and Varamtharum Perumal Arayar recited the pasuram. It is said that when Arayar recited the fourth pasuram of the pathigam, Nanjeeyar spoke a few words about its meanings and attained paramapadham. Guru Parampara also records that Nanjeeyar saw Namperumal in a procession as per his wish and then speaking a few words of good advice to his disciples including Nampillai, he reached His abode.

Adapted from:

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Sri Namperumal and His consorts…


Sri Namperumal with Ubhaya Nachimars

Sri Rama Navami is celebrated in Chithirai suklapaksha navami. On this day Namperumal, goes for a serthi (serthi is when the utsava murthies of Perumal and His consort give darshan together) with Cherakulavalli Nachiyaar. Kulasekhara Perumal had a daughter named Cherakulavalli, and he gave her hand in marriage to NamperumaL, just as Periyalwar did for AndaL. On Sri Rama Navami, Namperumal comes to Arjunamandapam, and performs serthi with Cherakulavalli Nacchiyar. The araiyar swami recites paasurams from the Perumal Thirumozhi, authored by Kulasekhara Perumal himself. This is the only day one can have the darsan of Cherakulavalli Nachiyaar…


Sri Namperumal with Sri Cherakulavalli Nachiyaar

In Srirangam one can witness four serthis with five different thayaars. Namperumal is always in serthi with the ubhaya nacchimars – Sri and Bhu devis. During the month of Panguni, in the nakshatra of Ayilyam, Namperumal performs serthi with Kamalavalli Nachiyaar of Thiruuraiyur.


Sri Namperumal with Sri Kamalavalli Nachiyaar, Thiruuraiyur

On Panguni Uthiram, the famous, serthi of Periyapirattiyar (Sri Ranganayaki) with Namperumal is celebrated. This day is regarded as occasion when Sri Mahalakshmi appeared from the ocean of milk (ksheerabdhi), and chose Sriman Narayana as Her consort. The day is thus both Her birthday, and wedding day. Sri Ramanujar composed the Gadyatrayam consisting of the Sri Ranga Gadyam, the Vaikunta gadyam, and the Saranagati gadyam. Reciting these three gadyams, he performed saranagati to Perumal and Thayaar in serthi, on this day, in Sri Rangam…


Sri Namperumal with Sri Ranganayaki on Panguni Utthiram

Panguni utthiram is also the occasion of Goddess Sita’s wedding to Lord Rama. Srivilliputhur’s Goddess Andal weds Lord Rangamannar on this day also. Goddess Andal married Lord Krishna in Her dream, narrated in the famous paasuram “Vaaranam Ayiram”…


Sri Andal Rangamannar, Srivilliputhur

Although Andal married Krishna in Her dream, She was united with Lord Ranganatha in Sri Rangam, the prathinidhi murthi for Lord Krishna who appeared in the previous yuga. {Even today, Lord Ranganatha’s moola vigraha is considered to be Lord Krishna, and the utsavar, Sri Namperumal to be Lord Ramachandra…}

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Vaduvur’s Sri Ramar…

Happy Sri Rama Navami!


Sri Kodhandaramar at Vaduvur

Vaduvur is a place situated between Thanjavur and Mannargudi, where water from lakes, ponds and canals are used for cultivating both wet and dry lands, which one can find in abundance. Apart from being fertile, this place is famous for Sri Kodhandarama temple.

Here the main deity, Sri Kodhandaramar along with Sri Seetha Piratti, Lakshmanar and Hanuman appear in ‘Thirukalyana kolam’ and this temple is particularly special since the utsavars also appear in this same state. The original Perumal in this place is Sri Gopalan with Goddesses Rukmini and Sathyabhama. The other holy names for Vaduvur are Vagularanyam (magizhankadu), Bhaskara Kshetram and Dhakshina Ayodhi. Vagula maram (maghizha maram) is the sacred tree of this sthala.

This place called Vaduvur was once donated to the vidhwans by the kings of Thanjavur on an Ekadasi day and hence it is also called as ‘Ekadasi’ village. There is an interesting story about how the Rukmani-Sathyabhama samedha Gopalan temple gave place to Sri Kodhandarama temple.


When Rama spent 14 years in the forest and was preparing to leave for Ayodhya, the rishis prayed in earnest asking him to stay with them. The feeling of separation from His holy presence melted their hearts. Torn between duty and love, Rama sent them away for the time being and starts thinking about their request. He then created His own enchanting divine form as a deity and left it outside the ashrama.

The rishis who came to see Rama and Seetha the next day were spellbound by the beautiful deity. They were fascinated by its magnificence and went inside the ashrama to repeat their entreaty to Rama. Rama asked them wheather they wanted Him or the statue placed at the threshold. The rishis, enamoured by the deity’s beauty and still under its spell, told Him that they wanted the deity.

Rama, with a smile, agreed to their request and leaving the statue behind, left for Ayodhya. Later, the natives of Thirukannapuram brought the deity and established it in their village. Time passed by and later they themselves, during a certain period, took the Ramar deity and the deities of Seetha, Lakshmana, Bharatha and Hanuman themselves and made it to Thalai Gnayiru, a village near Thiruthuraipoondi and buried them under a tree.


Years rolled by and it was the time when Sarabhoji Mannan ruled Thanjavur. One day, Lord Rama appeared in the king’s dream and told him to unearth the deities from Thalai Gnayiru. He asked the king to establish and worship the deities. The king awoke and proceeded immendiately, with his entourage, to Thalai Gnayiru and unearthed the deities. When the king and his entourage were preparing to leave, the natives of the place prevented the king from taking the deities. The king managed to convince them and as compensation left the deities of Bharatha and Lakshmana behind with them. He took possession of Rama, Seetha and Hanuman statues and on his way rested at Vaduvur.

The people of the village (known for their unity) came to know about the idols and pleaded with the king to establish the deities in their Rukmani-Sathyabhama samedha Gopalan temple. Initially, the king refused but when the villagers threatened to jump from the tower of the temple and commit suicide, he relented. He allowed them to establish the idols and since then Rama has been the main deity in the Gopalan temple.

Later, the deity of Lakshmana was also sculpted by the people of Vaduvur. It appeared like a woman and so the villagers established it as Sundari Amman and built a separate temple for Her. They sculpted another deity of Lakshmana and today Rama with Seetha and Lakshmana stand majestically to bless the devotees at this temple.


It is said Kanva Maharishi worshipped in this temple and was blessed with the darshan of Sri Kodandaramar. Likewise, Kulasekara Perumal also was blessed with the Lord’s darshan. Of the two Vaishnava holy religious scriptures, Pancharathram and Vaikanasam, the former is followed in this temple…

A beautiful kriti composed by Sri Thyagaraja on Lord Rama is “Bantureethi Kolu.” I found a video of the famous M. S. Subhalakshmi rendering of this kriti. Enjoy!

Sri Rama! Jaya Rama! Jaya Jaya Rama!

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The Goddess of Uraiyur…


Sri Kamalavalli Nachiyar of Thiru Uraiyur

Once upon a time, there was a discussion among the great rishis as to who was the greatest- Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva? In the course of that discussion, they could not come to a conclusion. Finally, all the rishis thought it would be helpful for them to find the answer from the great muni, Brighu. Brighu muni accepted their dilemma and told them he would give an answer that would remove all of their doubts.

First, he went to Kailasam where Lord Shiva and Godess Parvathi reside. At the entrance, Brighu muni was stopped by the door-keepers who claimed that Lord Shiva was alone with his consort, and that the sage’s entry would be a distrubance. Upon hearing such a response, the sage decided that Lord Shiva would not be the one to help solve the dilemma. Disappointed by this, he then left to Sathyalokam, the abode of Lord Brahma and Goddess Saraswathi…

There also he could not meet Brahma devan and he began to think what he thought when he went to Kailasam. Finally, he went to Sri Vaikuntam where Sriman Narayanan and Godess Sri Laksmi reside. As Brighu muni enetered Vaikuntam, he was greeted in a good manner and this first action made him to think that Sriman Narayanan is the right person to whom all persons and rishis can seek help and can have a direct approach towards him. Sriman Narayanan offered him with the seat and did the Paadha Pooja for him. But this action of Sri Vishnu made Sri Lakshmi to think bad and asked Him not to catch hold of his feet. But, this action of Sri Lakshmi made Brighu muni to get angry and cursed Her that she would born in the world as an ordinary human. But Sri Lakshmi felt very sad for the Curse she got from Brighu muni but Sriman Narayanan said that all the actions are happening according to their fates only and added that he will follow Her soon towards the earth.


Serthi of Sri Namperumal adn Sri Kamalavalli Nachiyar

At the same time in the earth, a king by named Dharma Varman lived in Kumbakonam, Chozha Naadu. Once he went out for hunting and found that the rishis were being distressed by some demons and seeked the help from the king. Dharma Varman said that he will help them from the demons by killing them and he stayed in the forest for sometime. The King was happy for all the reason but only one thing made him worry and disappoint and that is he had no children. He seeked the help of the rishis to hep him out to get a child. So, to help the king, all the rishis did a Yagam to get a child for the king. At that time, an Asareeri stated that if he want to get a child he should pray towards Sri Lakshmi and as a result, Sri Lakshmi itself will be born as a child to him. Hearing this, he started to pray towards Sri Lakshmi and finally, a female child was born to him and was kept a name as “Vara Lakshmi”.

As the days went on, Dharma Varman started to seek a perfect groom for his daughter and announced a Swayamvaram for that. Lots of kings came for this and at the same time, Sriman Narayanan also came there as one among the grooms. In that hall, when Sri Lakshmi came, she had a look at all the members in the hall and at the same time, she also noticed Sriman Narayanan and went straight towards Him without delay and garlanded him. All those who saw this wedding of Sri Vishnu and Sri Lakshmi, in addition to the king, raised a temple for Sri Ranganathar in Kalyana Thirukkolam.


Sri Azhagiyamanavala Perumal with Sri Kamalavalli Nachiyaar

In this sthalam, Periya Pirattiyar is giving her seva in two different ways. One is Irundha seva and the other one is Kidantha seva. Combining these both sevas, she is giving the seva “Urayum” (from sitting seva to sleeping seva) seva, this temple is called “Thiru Uraiyur”. Also, this is the only temple where Thayaar faces north, in the direction of Lord Ranganatha reclining in Sri Rangam.

The utsavam done here starts on Aayilya nakshathram in the month of Panguni and lasts for 10 days. On the first day of the Panguni Uthiram celebrations, Sri Ranganathar, in a palanquin, crosses the Kaveri river and arrives in Uraiyur. He marries Kamalavalli Naachiyar and They give darshan together to the devotees. Only a moolavar of Perumal is found in this sthalam; there is no utsava murthy here (see picture above). Since, Sri Ranganathar married Kamalavalli Naachiyaar, the utsavar of Srirangam, Sri Namperumal is said to be the utsavar for this sthalam, in addition to Sri Rangam…

Excerpted and adapted from:

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