kUra kulOthama dhAsar

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

thirunakshathram: ippasi, thiruvAdhirai

avathAra sthalam: srirangam

AchAryan: vadakku thiruveedhi piLLai (heard kAlakshEpams from piLLai lOkAchAryar and azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr)

Also known as kUra kulOthama nAyan, he was born in srirangam and was living there.

kUra kulOthama dhAsar is instrumental in bringing thirumalai AzhwAr (thiruvAimozhi piLLai) back into our sampradhAyam. He is one of the close associates of piLLai lOkAchAryar and he travelled with him during thiruvarangan ulA (nampermAL’s journey during kalAba kAlam). At jyOthishkudi, during his last moments, piLLai lOkAchAryar instructs kUra kulOthama dhAsar, thirukkaNNankudi piLLai, thirupputkuzhi jIyar, nAlur piLLai and viLAnchOlai piLLai to give all the divine knowledge in our sampradhAyam to thirumalai AzhwAr (who had pancha samskAram under the lotus feet of piLLai lOkAchAryar at a very young age) and make him the leader of our sampradhAyam.

kUra kulOthama dhAsar first goes to meet thirumalai AzhwAr who is the minister in the mathurai kingdom. Because of thirumalai AzhwAr’s expertise in administration and thamizh language and because the king died at a young age, he was taking care off the king’s responsibilities and nurturing the prince. When he first went there, he started reciting nammAzhwAr’s thiruvirutham. thirumalai AzhwAr was doing his rounds in his palanquin and noticed him at that time. Without stepping down from the palanquin he asked kUra kulOthama dhAsar to teach the meanings of the same and in return he spit at him. Looking at this thirumalai AzhwAr’s servants became angry and try to punish kUra kulOthama dhAsar but was stopped by thirumalai AzhwAr who realised the greatness of him.

When thirumalai AzhwAr returned to his palace and explained the incident to his step-mother who was guiding him, she reminded his relationship with piLLai lOkAchAryar and glorified kUra kulOthama dhAsar. He started to look for kUra kulOthama dhAsar again.

Once, when thirumalai AzhwAr was going on an elephant, kUra kulOthama dhAsar, climbed on a high place so he is visible to him. thirumalai AzhwAr noticed him and immediately stepped down from his elephant and fell flat on the lotus feet of kUra kulOthama dhAsar and started glorifying him. He then brought kUra kulOthama dhAsar to his palace and learnt all the valuable instructions of piLLai lOkAchAryar briefly from him. Being purified by those instructions, he requested kUra kulOthama dhAsar to visit him every day during this morning anushtAnam and teach all the sampradhAya vishayam since he is busy otherwise. He also arranges a residence for kUra kulOthama dhAsar along the banks of vaigai river, provides all necessary items (provisions, etc) for his livelihood.

kUra kulOthama dhAsar starts visiting thirumalai AzhwAr every day. He notices thirumalai AzhwAr reciting piLLai lOkAchAryar‘s thanian while applying thirumaN kAppu (we are suppose to recite the guru paramparai thanians while applying thirumaN kAppu) and becomes very pleased. He starts teaching all the meanings but one fine morning he does not arrive. When thirumalai AzhwAr sends his servants to kUra kulOthama dhAsar, there is no response. So, he himself goes directly with great attachment to his AchAryan and kUra kulOthama dhAsar makes him wait for some time. Finally he goes and falls flat at the lotus feet of kUra kulOthama dhAsar and asks for forgiveness for any mistakes he committed. Since he arrived during kAlakshEpam time, he also attends the same and accepts sripAdha thIrtham and sEsha prasAdham of kUra kulOthama dhAsar. The sEsha prasAdham of bhagavath adiyArs have great ability to purify any one and it brought in a great change in thirumalai AzhwAr also. After consuming it, thirumalai Azhwar started saying “kUra kulOthama dhAsa nAyan thiruvadigaLE sharaNam” repeatedly and showed great detachment to the kingdom and worldly affairs.

kUra kulOthama dhAsar then left to sikkil (a place near thiruppullANi). thirumalai AzhwAr gave up his duties in the kingdom and went and stayed with kUra kulOthama dhAsar and served him fully. During his last days, kUra kulOthama dhAsar instructs thirumalai AzhwAr to go and learn further sampradhAya vishayams from viLAnchOlai piLLai and thirukkaNNankudi piLLai. He finally left his charama thirumEni meditating on piLLai lOkAchAryar and reached paramapadham.

mAmunigaL glorifies kUra kulOthama dhAsar as “kUra kulOthama dhAsam udhAram” (one who is very merciful and generous), because of his unlimited krupai of taking many efforts to reform thirumalai AzhwAr and for transmitting the divine knowledge that was learnt from piLLai lOkAchAryar. He has an important place in our rahasya grantha kAlakshEpa paramparai and he is glorified in many of the thanians for the rahasya granthams.

In srivachana bhUshaNa dhivya sAsthram, it is concluded that for a sishya “AchArya abhimAnamE uththAragam” (ஆசார்ய அபிமானமே உத்தாரகம்). In the vyAkyAnam mAmunigaL explains that, for a prapanna who has given up all other upAyams, it is the nirhEthuka krupai of AchAryan and that AchAryan’s thought that “this is my sishyan” is the only way for salvation. In the charithram of piLLai lOkAchAryar, kUra kulOthama dhAsar and thiruvAimozhi piLLai, we can see this clearly. It was piLLai lOkAchAryars abhimAnam towards thiruvAimozhi piLLai and kUra kulOtham dhAsar’s abhimAnam and tireless efforts which gave us the great AchAryan thiruvAimozhi piLLai who eventually gave us azhagiya maNavALa mAmunigaL.

Let us remember kUra kulOthama dhAsar who always remembers piLLai lOkAchAryar.

kUra kulOthama dhAsar’s thaniyan:

lOkAchArya krupApAthram kauNdinya kula bhUshaNam
samasthAthma guNAvAsam vandhE kUra kulOthamam

லோகாசார்ய க்ருபாபாத்ரம் கௌண்டிந்ய குல பூஷணம்
ஸமஸ்தாத்ம குணாவாஸம் வந்தே கூர குலோத்தமம்

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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Sources: yathIndhra pravaNa prabhAvam, periya thirumudi adaivu