Sri Manavala MamunikaL
Sri Manavala mamunikal
was the son of Thikalakidanthan thirunavirudayapiran thatharannan, a disciple
of Sri Pillailokacarya,
and Sriranga nacciyar.
He was born in the town of kidaram in Tamilnadu, in the year
1370 AD. He was the first acarya to comment of the works of earlier acaryas.
His parents named him Azhakiya manavalan,
after the Lord Himself. He learnt the Vedas, Vedangas and all other sastras from his father. He was an outstanding student,
who knew the Divya prabandhas,
the Vedas and had a boundless knowledge of religion. He married at the proper time and
lived as a true vaishnava. He moved to Alvar Tirunagari
and became a sishya of Tiruvaymozhip pillai.
is said that Manavala mamuni's devotion to Nammalvar, Ramanuja
and to his own Acharya grew as he studied the Alvar's
hymns and rahasyas at Alvar tirunagari. On observing his devotion to Ramanuja, Tiruvay mozhip pillai ordered the construction
of a Shrine of Ramanuja at Tirunagari and appointed Manavala mamuni to take care of the activities at the shrine. During this
time Manavala mamuni composed his first work Yatiraja Vimsati,
twenty sanskrit stanzas in praise of Ramanuja. Tiruvaymozhip
pillai read the works and gave him the title Yatindra Pravanar.
Since that time onwards he was addressed Yatindra Pravanar.
He had a son and named him Ramanujap pillai.
After the death of his guru, Tiruvaymozhip pillai, Manavala mamuni moved
north to Srirangam
with his family and his co-disciple Ramanuja Jeeyar (later to be known as Vanamaamalai Jeeyar).
He was very well received at Srirangam in spite of some initial friction with Uttama Nampi who was in charge of the temple
administration. Soon they patched up and Manavala mamuni started to institute some reforms at the temple, very much in line
with what Ramanuja did. He started to research the manuscripts of earlier acharyas and had them restored and recopied. He
went on a pilgrimage to Kanchi, Tirumalai
While in Kanchi he studied Sri Bhashya
with Kitambi Nayanar, a disciple of Brahamatantra Svatantra Jeeyar. After his return to Srirangam he renounced his householder
status and became a Sanyasin,
concentrating on temple activities. He, soon, began giving discourses on Alvar's
hymns and his list of disciples grew constantly. He took over and renovated the old math of Ramanuja, using clay from Pillai
Lokacharya's house. He also ordered an idol of Pillai Lokacharya to be installed at Srirangam temple.
After some time
he returned to Alvar Tirunagari and when trying to teach Acharya hrdayam,
encountered some difficulties. So he decided
to consult with Tirunarayanpurattay, who was a co-disciple of Tiruvaymozhip pillai. As he was on his way to Alvar tirunagari
to meet Manavalamamuni. They both met at the outskirts of Alvar Tirunagari and returned to Manavala mamuni's residence, and
the later studied the secrets of the Acharya Hrdayam. It is said that, Manavala mamuni, during this time had many important
disciples such as Kantadai annan, Prativadi bhayankaram anna, Erumbi appa, Appilai and Appillan.
Around 1430, Mamuni
conducted a one year lecture series on Tiruvaymozhi according to all five commentaries. During these lectures a small boy
stepped forward and uttered the verse that became to be known as Manavala mamuni's Taniyan srIsailesha dayaapaatram
dIbhaktyAdi gunArnavam |
YatIndrapravanam vande ramyajAmAtram munim ||
This was interpreted by the audience
as a proclamation by the Lord Himself as
the same verse was revealed through the archakas at Tirupati and Alakar koil.
is said that, while at a very old age, Manavala maamuni discoverd that part of Periyavachchaan pillai's commentary on Periyalvar
Tirumozhi was missing. So he sent word to Tiruppanalvar Tattar Nayanar at Alvar tirunagari to come and help him complete the
commentary. It is also noted that he composed the commentary on Acharya Hrdayam with great difficulty as his health was failing.
When he became very ill, preventing him from worshiping at the temple, he dedicated one tamil stanza a day, expressing to
Ramanuja his anguish at staying in this world and his eagerness to reach Vaikuntham.
These collected verses became
known as Arti Prabhantham,
his last work.
Manavala mamuni had many disciples, however, the following eight
were the chief disciples known as Ashtadiggajas
(elephants of the eight directions): Vanamaamalai Jeeyar, Bhattar Piraan
jeeyar, Tiruvengada jeeyar, Koil kanthaadai annan, Prathivaadhi bhayankaram annaa, Erumbi appaa, Appillai and Appillan. They
and their disciples made many contributions to promoting Srivaishnavam.
He has blessed us with 19 granthams. Three of them are in Sanskrit. The rest are in Tamil and ManipravALam.
The three works in Sanskrit are: YathirAja Vimsathi, Sri DevarAja mangalam and Sri Kaanchi DevapperumAL SthOthram. His ninteen
granthams can be classified under three major categories:
(A) VyAkyAna Granthams or commentaries on the works of earlier AchAryAs
like Sri PiLLai Lokaachaar, PeriyavaacchAN PiLLai and Thiruvarangatthu Amudanaar. These eight VyAkhyAna granthams are:
1. Sri Vachana BhUshaNam
5. Jn~Ana Saaram
6. PramEya Saaram
7. PeriyAzhwAr Thirumozhi
8. RaamAnuja NooRRanthAdhi
(B) Three granthams known as PramANa Thirattu are:
2. Sri Vachana BhUshaNam
(C) His Own Granthams in Sanskrit (3) and Tamil (5) add up
to the remaining
1. UpadEsa Rathna Maalai
2. ThiruvAimozhi NooRRanthAdhi
4. ThiruvArAdhana Kramam
5. YathirAja Vimsathi
6. DevarAja MangaLam
7. Sri Kanchi DevapperumAL SthOthram
Aaarthi Prabhandham, his last grantham .