Sri vEdAnthAchAriar Vaibhavam
srimAn vEnkatanAthArya: kavithArkkika kEsaree |
vEdhAnthAchAryavaryO mE sannidhhaththAm sadhA hrudhi ||
[One who is like a lion to any opposing pundits and debaters, one who possesses wonderful wealth (of gyAnam, bHakthi, vairAgyam, and more), and whose thiru nAmam is ‘vEnkatanathan’, such Sri vEdhAnthAchAryar shall always live in my heart.]
|Name at birth||vEnkatanAthan|
|Year of birth||kali yuga year of 4370 (1268 AD)|
|Month & thirunakshathram||purattasi, thiruvONam (same as that of thiruvEngadamUdaiyAn )|
|Place of birth||Kancheepuram, thiruththanka|
|Incarnation||Holy bell of thiruvEnkadamudaiyAn (as he also mentions this in his grantham ‘sankalpa sUryOdhaya’|
|Parents||anantha sUri and thOthArambai|
|Age when leaving this vibhUthi||About a hundred years.
He left this vibhUthi in about the Kali yuga year of 4470 (1368 AD) from Srirangam.
He got the name ‘vEdhAnthAchAriar’ from Sri ranganAthan, and the name ‘kavithArkika kEsari’ and ‘sarvathanthra swathanthrar’ by Sri ranga nAchiar.
He had a son named ‘varadhAchariar’. Sri varadhAchariar and a jIyar named ‘brahmathanthra swathanthrar jIyar’ were his sishyas.
KidAmbi AchAn’s grandson kidAmbi appuLLAr is one of the sishyas of Sri NadAdhUr ammAL.
“appUL” as mentioned in Thiruviruththam 3 refers to Garuda. The term ‘appuLLAr’ in his name is based on him being likened to Garuda in qualities. Another name given to him is ‘vAdhi hamsAmbuvAhar” – like a cloud that defeats hamsas, he defeats the opposing debaters. His given name was ‘RAmAnujar’.
Sri kidAmbi appuLAr’s nephew and sishyar is the world famous Sri VedhAnthachAriar.
When vEdAnthAchAriar was young he went with his maternal uncle (Sri kidAmbi appuLAr) to attend Sri nadAdhUr ammAL’s kAlakshEpa goshti. vEdAnthAchAriar refers to this and says that Sri nadAdhUr ammAL had blessed him at that time that he will establish well and clear all the oppositions of vishishtAdhvaitha Srivaishnava sidhAntham.
As blessed by nadAdhUr ammAL, Sri vEdhAnthachAriar wrote innumerable granthams, won many philosophers and debaters who are against vishishtAdhvaitham.
Sri vEdhandhachAriar has written more than a hundred granthams, and they are in Sanskrit, Tamil, and maNipravALam (mixture of Sanskrit and Tamil).
Following are some of the most important of his granthams.
o thAthparya chandhrikai which is a gIta bhAshya vyakyAnam
o thathvateekai, vyakyAnam for a part of Sri Bhashyam
o nyAya sidhdHanjanam, which analyses the philosophy our sampradhAyam
o sadha dhUshani which argues against adhvaitha philosophy
o adHikarNa sArAvaLi related to groupings in Sri Bhashya
o thathva mukthAkalApam that explains our thathvam; its vyAkyAnam named ‘sarvArtHa sidhdHi’
o bhAshyams in Sanskrit for sthOthra chatuslOki and gadhya thrayam
o sankalpa sUryOdhayam which is in the form of drAmA
o dhayA sathakam, pAdhukA sahasram, yAdhavabhyudhayam, hamsasandhEsam;
o rahasyathraya sAram, sampradhAya parisudhdhi, abhayapradhAna sAram, para matha bhangam
o munivAhana bhOgam which is a vyAkyAnam on amalanAdhipirAn
o AhAra niyamam, a tamil text on recommended food habits
o sthothras like dasAvathAra sthothram, godha sthuthi, srI sthuthi, yathiraja sapthathi
o dhramidOpanishad thAthparya rathnAvaLi, dhramidOpanishad sAram, that provide meanings on thiruvoimozhi, and so on and more.
The content so far in this article is mostly based on a malar published by Puthur Swami.
kAnchi Sri Thoopul vEdAnthAchAriar during avathAra uthsavam
vEdAnthachariar and other Acharyars
0 vEdAnthAchAriar has a written a wonderful prabhandham named lOkAchArya panchAsath glorifying piLLai lOkAchAryar. vEdhAnthAchAryar was atleast 50 years younger to piLLai lOkAchAryar and had great admiration for piLLai lOkAchAryar which can be easily understood from this grantham; this grantham is recited regularly in thirunArAyaNapuram (Melkote, Karnataka) even today. A simple English translation to lOkAchArya panchAsath written by Shri U.Ve T. C. A. Venkatesan swamy based on Shri U.Ve V. V. Ramanujam swamy can be downloaded from http://acharya.org/books/eBooks/vyakhyanam/LokacharyaPanchasatVyakhyanaSaram-English.pdf.
0 vAdhikEsari azhagiya maNavaLa jIyar in his grantham ‘Tatvadeepa’ and others, has referred to vEdAnthAchAriar’s granthams2.
0 Sri maNavALa mAmunigaL in his vyakyanam for thathvathrayam and mumukshupadi (which were written by Sri piLLai lOkAchAriar), refers to the words of vEdanthAchariAr; and maNavALa mAmunigaL fondly refers to vEdhAnthAchAriar as ‘abhiyukthar’3.
0 Sri ErumbiappA, one of the ashta dikgajangaL of maNavALa mAmunigaL, in his ‘vilakshaNamOkshAdhikAri nirNayam’ references vEdhAnthAchariar’s ‘nyAyavimsathi’, and provides summary of its meaning as well3.
0 Swami Dhoddachariar of Cholasimhapuram (Sholingur) wrote a commentary on vedAntha dEsika’s ‘SatadhooshaNi’, called ‘ChandamArutham’. Hence he was referred to as ‘ChandamArutham Dhoddachar’, and his descendent AcharyAs are also referred so to this date.
0 The devotion of PrativAthi bhayankaram aNNa and his sishyas and descendents for vEdAnthAchAriar is well known. The descendents living in ThiruvindhaLUr and other southern centres even bear the name of vEdanthAchAriar’s son referred to as ‘nAyinAchAriar’, thus extending their devotion down to his son.
0 Many other AchAryAs and vidwAns have written commentaries on or referenced vEdAnthAchAriar’s granthams.
. . . . . narasimharAjAcharya swami who is Sri dhoddAchAriar’s disciple has written commentaries on ‘nyAya parisuddhi’;
. . . . . Mysore (maNdayam) ananthAzhvAn who lived in the early part of nineteenth century has made several references to vEdAnthAchAriar’s granthams in his writings;
. . . . . KunrappAkkam swami who lived in Kancheepuram in latter part of nineteenth century has in his work ‘Tatwa-RatnAvaLi’ has fondly referred to vEdAnthAchAriar as ‘Jayati Bhagavan Vedantarayas sa tharkika-kesari’.
() Sri vEdanthAchAriar too, had a deep love and regard to purvAchAryas and contemporary achAryAs, as evidenced in his ‘abhithistavam’, “Kvachana rangamukyE vibhO! paraspara-hithaishiNAm parisarEshu mAm varthaya” , (O Lord!, let me reside in Srirangam at the feet of the great ones who are mutual well-wishers)2.
() “In the last verse of his ‘bhagavad-dhyAna sOpanam’, Sri vEdAnthAchAriar pays a glowing tribute to the erudite scholars and art-lovers of Srirangam, who imparted clarity in his thoughts and enabled him to develop a facile and pleasing style”.2
() Sri vEdAnthAchAriar’s devotion to Sri rAmanujar is very well known; in his ‘nyAsa tilakA’ in the verse starting ‘ukthya dhananjaya…’ he pacifies perumAL for having indirectly told him that mOksham need not be granted by Him, as it had already been guaranteed to him by his connection with Sri rAmAnujar.
These go to show that vEdanthAchAriar and other scholars held mutual respect, love, and reverence for each other, and paved ways for harmonious discussions on our srivaishnava sampradhAyam.
Sri. S. Satyamurthi Iyengar, Gwalior (also referred to as ‘Gwalior swami’), mentions in his 1967 book “A critical appreciation of Sri Vedanta Desika Vis-à-vis the Srivaishnavite World”, about other sources of information to learn about Sri vedhAnthachAriar. Most of the following text is attributed to the mentioned book.
He refers to a work called ‘VedAntAcharya Vijaya’ also known as ‘AchArya-champu’, written in Sanskrit in the form of prose and verse, by a great scholar and poet named ‘Kousika KavitArkikasimha VedanthAchariAr’, who lived around 1717 AD. This work is considered the oldest historic record of VEdAnthAchAriar’s life history and most authentic.
This work starts in first Stabaka (Chapter, or Section) with a benediction, then speaks about author’s family, about the city of Kancheepuram, and about Sri Pundarika Yajwa, grandfather of VEdAnthAchAriar.
The second Stabaka deals with the birth and marriage of Ananta-Suri (Sri Desika’s father) and the entry of divine Bell into his wife’s womb.
The third Stabaka describes the birth of VEdAnthAchAriar, his childhood, his accompanying his maternal uncle to Sri Vatsya Varadacharya’s school, and securing the latter’s blessings, getting the sacred thread, initiation to the study of literature, vedhas, and more; marriage, winning the grace of Lord HayagrIva, composition of various works including ‘nyAya sidhdhAnjana’, and gaining the title of Kavitarkikasimha.
The fourth Stabaka describes the Uthsavam at Kanchi, the composition of ‘VaradarAja panchAsat’ by VEdAnthAchAriar, his encounter with Advaitha scholar named Vidyaranya and winning him; and pilgrimage to vEnkatAdri.
The fifth Stabaka provides details of the pilgrimage, his composing ‘dayAsatakA’, and his ‘Vairagya-panchaka’ as a scoring-of-the-riches reply to an invitation to royal court by Vidyaranya; pilgrimage to kshethras in the north; return to Kancheepuram; delivering judgment in the debate between Vidyaranya and Akshobhya muni a Dwaita scholar); pilgrimage to shrines in the south; his living in ThiruvEndhipuram for some time; his bringing out several works; pilgrimage to sri mushnam; and getting invitation to visit Srirangam.
The final and sixth Stabaka of ‘AchArya-champu’ describes vEdAnthAchAriar’s journey to Srirangam, his having darsan of Sri Ranganathan; composing of ‘Bhagavad dhyana sopana’ etc.; winning an advaithi named Krishnamisra after a long debate of 18 days and earning the title of ‘vEdAnthAchAryA’ , ‘Sarvatantra-Swatantra’, etc.; composing ‘pAduka sahasram’ when challenged by a vain Poet; the sack of Srirangam by Muslims, VEdAnthAchAriar’s stay in the western part of the country, composing Abhitistava; his visit to other kshetrams; composing ‘GaruadAndaka’ to meet the challenge of a snake-charmer, birth of a son to VEdAnthAchAriar; and composing of ‘RahasyatrayasAra’.
This book ‘AchArya-champu’ commanded wide popularity, eagerly studied by Sanskrit scholars of yore; there is not much attempt to bring out a reprint of this valuable book.
1. Puthur Swami’s pOn vizhA malar
2. Sri. S. Satyamurthi Iyengar, Gwalior; “A critical appreciation of Sri Vedanta Desika Vis-à-vis the Srivaishnavite World”; c 1967.
3. ‘Thamizhar thozhu vedhanthavAsiriyan’ (Tamil) by Sri P.B.Annangarachariar swami.
4. English translation to ‘lOkAchArya panchAsath’ written by Shri U.Ve T. C. A. Venkatesan swamy based on Shri U.Ve V. V. Ramanujam swamy’s work in Tamil http://acharya.org/books/eBooks/vyakhyanam/LokacharyaPanchasatVyakhyanaSaram-English.pdf taken on Sep 25, 2012.
5. Photo courtesy an informative email from Koil Aaththan Kasthurirangan swami, ThiruvallikENi.
6. Logo courtesy from blog of Sarathy Thothathri swami, ThiruvallikENi: http://guruparamparai.wordpress.com – taken on Sep 25, 2012.
7. Additional photos courtesy https://picasaweb.google.com/113539681523551495306/ – taken on Sep 25, 2012.
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