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

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

ALavandhAr – kAttu mannAr kOil

Thirunakshathram: Adi, uthrAdam

avathAra sthalam: kAttu mannAr kOil

AchAryan: maNakkAl nambi

Sishyas: periya nambi, periya thirumalai nambi, thirukkOshtiyur nambi, thirumAlaiAndAn, dheivavAriAndAn, vAnamAmalaiAndAn, IsvarAndAn, jeeyarAndAn ALavandhArAzhwAn, thirumOgUrappan, thirumOgur ninRar, dhEvaperumAL, mAranEri nambi, thirukkachi nambi, thiruvaranga perumAL arayar (sishya of maNakkAl nambi and son of ALavandhAr), thirukkurugUr dhAsar, vakulAbharaNa sOmayAjiyAr, ammangi, ALkoNdi, gOvindha dhAsar (who was born in vadamathurai), nAthamuni dhAsar (rAja purOhithar), thiruvarangathamman (rAja mahishi).

Works: chathuslOki, sthOtra rathnam, sidhi thrayam, Agama prAmaNyam, gIthArtha sangraham

Place where he attained paramapadham: Thiruvarangam

yamunaithuraivar was born in kAttu mannAr kOil. He eventually and popularly became to be known as ALavandhAr. He is also known as periya mudhaliAr, paramAchAryar, vAdhimathEbha simhEndrar.

He was born as the son of Isvara muni and the grand son of nAthamunigaL. He studied sAmAnya sAstram under mahAbhashya bhattar. During that time, AkkiAzhwAn, the rAja purOhithar sends his representatives to all pandits and asks them to pay taxes to him (since he is the chief pandit). mahAbhAshya bhattar becomes worried and seeing that yamunaithuraivar says that he will handle the issue. He sends a slOkam which says “he will destory the poets who look for cheap publicity”. Seeing this AkkiAzhwAn 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.

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 AkkiAzhwAn will win and he says if yamunaithurairvar, he will give half the kingdom to him.

AkkiAzhwAn being very confident on his debating skills says that he will refute whatever statements yamunaithuraivar make. yamunaithuraivar makes 3 statements:

  • AkkiAzhwAn’s mother is not childless.
  • The king is all capable.
  • The queen is a chaste (pure) woman.

Hearing this AkkiAzhwAn is spell bound. He could not refute any of the above fearing backlash from the king. But yamunaithuraivar easily refutes all the 3 points as in:

  • AkkiAzhwAn’s mother is childless because she only has one child (according to sAmAnya sAstram, a woman with one child is considered to be childless)
  • The king is not all capable since he is not the ruler of everything – he just rules this particular kingdom.
  • In marriages done according to sAstram, the bride is first offered to dhEvas through specific manthrams before the husband. So she is not chaste in that sense.

AkkiAzhwAn understands the true mastery of yamunaithuraivar and finally gets defeated in the debate by yamunaithuraivar’s great explanations from sAstram establishing the visishtAdhvaitha sidhAntham. He becomes a sishya of yamunaithuraivar as well. The queen gives him the name “ALavandhAr” (one who came to rule/protect her – had he not won, she would have become a servant) and also becomes his sishyai. He also gets half the kingdom and starts engaging himself in administrative tasks.

We have already seen in the previous article how maNakkAl nambi reforms ALavandhAr and brings him back to srirangam to make him the leader of our sampradhAyam. Once he comes to srirangam, he becomes a sannyAsi and starts propagating our sampradhAyam. Many become his sishyas.

Once maNakkAl nambi instructs ALavandhAr to go and learn ashtAnga yOga rahasyam from kurugai kAvalappan. When he goes there, kurugai kAvalappan is fully immersed in bhagavadh anubhavam through yOgam. But he identifies the arrival of ALavandhAr and tells ALavandhAr that emperumAn is looking over his shoulders during the yOgam to see ALavandhAr who is coming in the lineage of nAthamunigaL since that lineage is very dear to emperumAn. He also gives a date (just before he is planning to leave samsAram to go to paramapadham) to ALavandhAr to learn the yOga rahasyam. But on that particular date, ALavandhAr happens to visit thiruvananthapuram and only realises that it was too late to learn the yOga rahasyam.

During this time, one of his sishyas named dheivavAriAndAn, being unable to handle the separation from his AchArya, travels towards thiruvananthapuram while ALavandhAr starts travelling towards srirangam. They meet each other at the entrance of thiruvananthapuram and dheivavAriAndAn is full of joy that he met his AchAryan. He decides to return with his AchAryan and when ALavandhAr asks him to go and worship ananthasayana emperumAn, he says that ALavandhAr is more important for him than emperumAn. Such was his AchArya bhakthi.

ALavandhAr comes back to srirangam and is worried about appointing the successor to lead the sampradhAyam. He finds out about iLayAzhwAr (Sri rAmAnujar) who is studying under yAdhavaprakAsan in kAnchipuram. He visits kAnchipuram and in the dhEvaperumAl kOil, in front of kariyamAnikka perumAl sannidhi, he gives his divine katAksham towards iLayAzhwAr who passes by at that time. ALavandhAr goes to dhEva perumAl and does a sharaNagathi to emperumAn to make iLayAzhwAr the next leader of the sampradhAyam. Thus ALavandhAr plants the seed to what is going to be a mahA vriskham (great tree) i.e., emperumAnAr dharisanam. ALavandhAr asks thirukkachi nambi to help iLayAzhwAr in his spiritual development.

ALavandhAr becomes ill and he instructs all his sishyas to depend on thiruvaranga perumAL arayar. He also gives very important instructions during his charama dhasai (towards the end of his life here in samsAram). Some of his valuable instructions are:

  • dhivyadhEsams are our life and we should always spend our time thinking about them and doing kainkaryams there.
  • We should worship thiruppANAzhwAr (from his thirvadi to thirumudi) who is at the lotus feet of periya perumAL. He also says that he always thinks about thiruppANAzhwAr (who is always worshipped by thiruvarangaperumAL arayar) as his upAyam and upEyam. He also compares thiruppANAzhwAr (who sung periya perumAL), kurumbarutha nambi (who offered clay flowers to thiruvEnkatamudayAn) and thirukkachi nambi (who does fan kainkaryam to dhEva perumAL) to be on the same level.
  • A prapannan should neither worry for his Athma yAthrai (bhagavad vishayam) nor for his dhEha yAtrai (loukikam). Since AthmA is athyantha parathanthan of emperumAn, emperumAn will take care of Athma yAthrai. Since dhEham is driven by karma, our puNyam/pApam will drive the dhEha yAthrai. So, we dont need to worry about either one.
  • We should not discriminate amongst bhAgavathas. We should also treat bhAgavathas atleast at the same level as emperumAn.
  • Just like we accept emperumAn’s charaNamrutham, we should also accept AchArya’s sripAdha thIrtham with the same respect.
  • When we (AchAryas) give sripAdha thIrtham to others, we should do it on behalf of the guruparamparai with vAkya guruparamparai/dvaya mahAmanthra anusandhanam.

Finally he requests all his disciples and other srivaishnavas to assemble in front of him. He asks for their pardon for any mistakes he committed, accepts sripAdha thIrtham from them, does thadhiArAdhanam 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 srivaishnavas 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, srichUrNa paripAlanam, alankArams, brahma ratham, etc are all explained in a detailed manner in ALavandhAr’s charithram and other AchAryas lives also.

In the mean time, periya nambi had gone to kAnchipuram to bring iLayAzhwAr with him to srirangam. When iLayAzhwAr goes to sAlai kiNaru for his kainkaryam of bringing water for dhEvaperumAL, periya nambi recites ALavandhAr’s sthOthra rathnam loudly. Hearing that and understanding the deep meanings, iLayAzhwAr enquires periya nambi about the author of the slOkams. periya nambi explaining about ALavandhAr’s greatness, requests iLayAzhwAr to visit him at srirangam. iLayAzhwAr accepting the proposal, goes to dhEva perumAL and thirukkachi nambi and takes permission from them to go to srirangam. While reaching srirangam, they see the procession of ALavandhAr’s thirumEni and periya nambi falls down crying. iLayAzhwAr also being very upset enquires from the local srivaishnavas and understand what has happened.

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

  • We should show our gratitude towards vyAsa and parAsara rishi.
  • We should show our love towards nammAzhwAr.
  • We should have a bhAshyam written for vyAsa’s brahma sUtram as per visishtAdhvaitha sidhantham.

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

ALavandhAr was a very great scholar in ubhaya vEdhAntham. We can easily understand from his granthams.

  • In chathusLoki he gives the essence of pirAtti’s vaibhavam in just 4 slOkams.
  • sthOthra rathnam is a real gem – He explains the whole concept of sharaNagathi (as explained in thiruvAimozhi, etc) in very simple sthOthrams.
  • gIthArtha sangraham brings out the essence of gIthA.
  • Agama prAmaNyam is the first grantham which highlights the importance and validity of sri pAncharAthra Agamam.

ALavandhAr’s thanian

yath padhAmbhOruhadhyAna vidhvasthAsEsha kalmasha:
vasthuthAmupayA dhOham yAmunEyam namAmitham

யத் பதாம்போருஹத்யாந வித்வஸ்தாஸேஷ கல்மஷ:
வஸ்துதாமுபயா தோஹம் யாமுநேயம் நமாமிதம்

In our next article, we will see periya nambi vaibhavam.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

archived in, also visit

Sources: 6000 padi guru paramparA prabhavam, periya thirumudi adaivu