srimathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srimadh varavaramunayE nama:
sri vAnAchala mahAmunayE nama:

In the previous article ( we discussed about nammAzhwAr. Now will move on to the next AchAryan in the OrAN vazhi guru paramparai.

nAthamunigaL – kAttu mannAr koil

thirunakshathram: Aani, anusham

avathAra sthalam: kAttu mannAr koil (veera nArAyana puram)

AchAryan: NammAzhwAr

Sishyas: UyyakkondAr, kurugai kAvalappan, piLLai karuNAkara dhAsar, nambi karuNAkara dhAsar, yEru thiruvudaiyAr, thiukkaNNamangai AndAn, vAnamAmalai dheivanAyaka AndAn,  uruppattUr AchAn piLLai, chOgathUrAzhwAn, kIzhaiagathAzhwAn, mElaiagathAzhwan.

Works: nyAya thathvam, yOga rahasyam, purusha nirNayam

sriman nAthamunigal was Born in veera nArAyaNa puram to Ishvara bhattAzhwAr. He is also known as sri ranganAtha muni and nAtha brahmar. He was an expert in ashtAnga yOgam and divine sangeetham. Also, he is the one who established the arayar sEvai which is still observed in thiruvarangam, AzhwAr thirunagari, srivilliputhUr, etc.

nAthamunigal along with his father, family and son (Ishvara muni) went on a pilgrimage to vada Mathurai, VrindhAvanam, govardhana giri, dvArakai, badharikAsramam, naimisAraNyam, etc and stayed in a village named gOvardhanapuram on the banks of yamunA river serving emperumAn in the form of yamunai thurvar. One day, in his dream, emperumAn orders his to return to kAttu mannAr koil and nAthamunigal returns back. Enroute, he does mangalAsAsanam to vAraNAsi, puri jagannath, simhAchalam, thiruvEnkatam, kadikAchalam, kAnchipuram (and other divyadhEsams there), thiruvahindrapuram, thirukkOvalUr, thiruvarangam and thirukkudanthai and finally reaches kAttu mannAr kOil.

A group of srivaishnavas from mElnAdu (thirunArAyaNapuram area) visit kAttu mannAr koil and sings the “ArAvamuthE…” padhigam from thiruvAimozhi in front of mannanAr (emperumAn in kAttu mannAr koil). nAthamunigaL, enthralled by the meanings of those pAsurams, asks the srivaishnavas about them, but they dont know anything beyond those 11 pAsurams. They say that if nAthamunigaL goes to ThirukkurgUr, he may be able to find out more details. nAthamunigaL takes leave from mannanAr and reaches AzhwAr thirungari. He meets parAngusa dhAsar who is a sishya of madhurakavi AzhwAr, who teaches nAthamunigaL kaNNinuN chiruththAmbu and asks him to chant 12000 times in front of thiruppuzhiAzhwAr (tamarind tree where nammAzhwAr lived) on a single stretch. Since nAthamunigaL has already learnt ashtAnga yOgam he meditates on nammAzhwAr and successfully completes chanting kaNNinuN chiruththAmbu 12000 times. nammAzhwAr being pleased with nAthamunigaL, appears in front of him and blesses him with full knowledge in ashAnga yOgam, 4000 divya prabhandham and all meanings of aruLicheyal. Just like nammAzhwAr is blessed by emperumAn with divine knowledge, nAthamunigaL is blessed by nammAzhwAr with the same divine knowledge. This is what mAmunigaL says in upadhEsa rathina mAlai – aruL peRRa nAtha muni (அருள் பெற்ற நாதமுனி).

nAthamunigaL returns to kAttu mannAr koil and presents 4000 divya prabhandham in front of mannanAr. mannanAr is very pleased with nAthamunigaL and asks him to categorize divya prabhandham and propagate it everywhere. He adds music to aruLicheyal and teaches the same to his nephews keezhaiagathAzhwAn and mElaiagathAzhwAn and propagates the same through them.

nAthamunigaL was an expert in divine sangeetham as well. Once when the local king was unable to distinguish between a normal singer and a divine singer, nAthamunigaL identifies the divine singer. When the king questions his abilities, nAthamunigaL asks 4000 cymbals to be used to make sounds at once and based on the sound coming from the cymbals, he identifies the weight of each cymbal – such was his expertise. The king understands his greatness and gives him a lot of wealth – but nAthamunigaL shows no interest in those wealth.

nAthamunigaL foresees the appearance of ALavandhAr (his grand son). He instructs his son Isvara muni to name the child “yamunai thuravian” (due to his attachment to kannan emperumAn) and mentions to all his sishyas that they should teach all the knowledge to yamunai thuraivan (who will become ALavandhAr later).

nAthamunigaL, while meditating on emperumAn, forgets everything around him. Once, when the king comes with his wives to meet nAthamunigaL. nAthamunigaL was in yOgam at that time, so the king quietly leaves. But nAthamunigaL out of his pure bhakthi bhAvam, thinks that it was Krishnan and gOpis visiting him and runs behind them.

Finally, once when the king visits nAthamunigaL after his hunting session, with his wife, another archer and a monkey, nAthamunigaL, again out of his bhakthi bhAvam, thinks it was rAman, sIthai, lakshmaNan and hanumAn. He starts running behind them and when he loses sight of them, he faints immediately. Unable to bear the separation from emperumAn anymore, he attains paramapadham immediately. Hearing this, Isvara muni and nAthamunigaL’s sishyas reached that spot and did charama kainkaryamgaL for him.

Without nAthamunigaL’s effort to retrieve aruLicheyal, we would not have gotten all the srivaishnavasri we have today. ALavandhAr in his sthOthra rathnam, sings the glories of nAthamunigaL in the first 3 slOkams.

In the first slOkam, he says “I worship nAthamunigaL is full of unthinkable,  fabulous, easily earned (by the grace of emperumAn/AzhwAr) ocean of jnAnam, bhakthi and vairAgyam”.

In the second slOkam, he says “I worship nAthamunigaL’s lotus feet which is my refuge in both in samsAram and paramapadham and who has full knowledge and love for the lotus feet of the killer of madhu (madhusUdhanan)”.

In the third slOkam, he says “I worship nAthamunigaL who has boundless love for achyuthan, who is the epitome of real knowledge, who is an ocean of nectar, who has appeared in this world to rescue others, who is full in bhakthi and who is the leader of all yOgis”.

Finally in the last slOkam he says to emperumAn, “Please do not accept me for my great achievements but for my grandfather nAthamunigaL who has natural love towards your lotus feet and who is fully understood the real knowledge”.

From the above 4 slOkams we can understand the real greatness of nAthamunigaL. Let us pray at the lotus feet of sriman nAthamunigaL that we also develop the same attachment towards achyuthan and AzhwAr.

nAthamunigaL’s thanian

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

நம: அசிந்த்ய அத்புத அக்லிஷ்ட ஜ்ஞான வைராக்ய ராஸயே
நாதாய முனயே அகாத பகவத் பக்தி ஸிந்தவே

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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Sources: 6000 padi guru paramparA prabhavam, sthOthra rathnam

18 thoughts on “nAthamunigaL”

  1. Dear swami ,

    Great write up.Just some clarifications….

    1.Do we get the granthams that shrimannathamunigal has given us.Is it available today ?

    2.Is it true that nathamunigal also contibuted to bharatha natya shastram as he made many abhinayams and adavus (i heard this from a person who is a dance theorist and musicologist)

    • thank you for your feedback swamy.

      1. as far as adiyen knows we dont get any of his works.
      2. yes, he established the arayar sEvai as it is practised today – so, he must have been a master of nAttiya sAstram also.

      adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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