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

thirunakshathram: chithrai, thiruvAdhirai

avathAra sthalam: kArAnchi

AchAryan: emperumAnAr

Works: srIbhAshya vivaraNam, guru guNAvaLi (which explains emperumAnAr’s glories), shadartha sankshEpam

Born in a family which was engaged in performing sOma yAgam, he was named srI rAma misrar. He is one of the 74 simhAsAnAdhipathis (AchAryas) appointed by emperumAnAr himself. He is also known as sOmayAjiyAr. He was the first to write a commentary for srI bhAshyam. His family continues to have the kainkaryam of compiling vAkya panchAngam in srIrangam periyakOil. His srIsUkthis are referred by sruthprakAsikA bhattar, nAyanArAchAn piLLai and vEdhAnthAchAryar in their granthams.

In charmOpAya nirNayam, nAynArAchAn piLLai quotes sOmAsiyANdAn’s guru guNAvaLi slOkam to establish the importance of krupAmAthra prasannAchAryas (the AchAryas out of their mercy alone uplift the ones who just have the desire to learn the valuable principles).

yassAparAdhAN svapadhaprapaNNAN svakIyakArunNya gunNENa pAthi
sa Eva mukyO gururapramEyas thadhaiva sadhbhi: parikIrthyadhEhi

யஸ்ஸாபராதாந் ஸ்வபதப்ரபந்நாந் ஸ்வகீயகாருண்ய குணேந பாதி

ஸ ஏவ முக்யோ குருரப்ரமேயஸ் ததைவ ஸத்பி: பரிகீர்த்யதேஹி

The AchAryan out of his utmost mercy who protects and delivers the sishya who is surrendered to him – that AchAryan is the most important one. This is identified by trustworthy persons.

An incident involving emperumAnAr‘s divine mercy in nurturing detachment in the heart of sOmAsiyANdAn is explained in charamOpAya nirNayam.

sOmayAjiyAr (sOmAsiyANdAn), after surrendering to emperumAnAr, performed kainkaryam to him for some time and returned to his native place “kArAnchi” and lived there for some time. After some time, he wants to return to emperumAnAr but since his wife does not allow him to leave, he makes a vigraham of emperumAnAr. Since it did not come out to his satisfaction, he uses that vigraham and again gets the AchAri (sculptor) to make another one. That night, emperumAnAr appears in his dream and asks him “Why are you destroying my old vigraham to make a new one? Wherever you are, if you are not able to have full faith in my abhimAnam as uththArakam, how are you going to develop attachment towards my vigraham?”. Suddenly woken up after the dream, sOmayAjiyAr immediately keeps the vigraham in a safe, gives up his wife and leaves to srIrangam. After arriving in srIrangam, he runs to emperumAnAr, falls at his lotus feet and starts crying”. emperumAnAr asks him “what is the matter?” and he explains the incidents and the dream. udayavar tells him with a smile “Welcome oh ignorant! I did this to relieve you from the dependence on your wife; even if you dont appreciate me, I will never give up on you. Wherever you are, due to my abhimAnam towards you, your ultimate goal is guaranteed. Give up all worries and stay happily”. This incident is explained by periyavAchAn piLLai.

In our vyAkyAnams, a few idhihyams that show the glories of sOmAsiyANdAn are seen. Let us see some of them now.

  • thirunedunthANdagam 27 – periyavAchAn piLLai vyAkyAnam – thirumangai AzhwAr (as parakAla nAyaki) is sending a stork as messenger to thirukkaNNapuram to reveal her heart to emperumAn. periyavAchAn piLLai identifies that the way AzhwAr says “thirukkaNNapuram” is very special and no one can match that mood. He shows other similar examples to explain this. When ananthAzhwAn says “thiruvEnkatamudaiyAn”, that is special. When bhattar says “azhagiya maNavALa perumAL”, that is special. When sOmAsiyAndAn says “emperumAnArE charaNam”, that is special. When we utter the same names/words we will not be able to manifest the mood of these great personalities.
  • thiruvAimozhi 6.5.7 – nampiLLAi eedu vyAkyAnam – The same principle that is explained in the previous point is highlighted here with a slightly different context. Here nammAzhwAr (as parAngusa nAyaki) is longing for association with thulaivillimangalam emperumAn. nampiLLai identifies that when she utters the names of emperumAn it adds to the glories of those names. nampiLLai highlights that, this is similar to ananthAzhwAn, bhattar, sOmAsiyANdAn adding glories to the names thiruvEnkatamudaiyAn, azhagiya maNavALa perumAL, emperumAnAr respecitively by uttering them with such great emotions.

In vArthAmAlai, a few incidents involving sOmAsiyANdAn are identified. Let us see them now.

  • 126 – Here sOmAsiyANdAn beautifully establishes that emperumAn is the only upAyam for prapannas (the surrendered ones). For bhagavAn to help us, we should give up our own efforts and fully accept him as the refuge. Neither bhakthi nor prapathi are the real upAyam. bhagavAn, to whom we surrender is the real upAyam (since he is the one who blesses us with the ultimate goal).
  • 279 – appiLLai (who is likely to be younger to sOmAsiyANdAn but probably a well established srIvaishNava) advises sOmAsiyAndAn “You are very learned, elderly, follow in the footsteps of our pUrvAchAryas and an authority in both srIbhAshyam and bhagavath vishayam. Still, please tie a knot in your cloth to keep reminding about not indulging in bhAgavathapachAram”. It is a common practice to tie a knot in the cloth we wear, to remind us (when we see the knot, we will remember why we tied it) – here appiLLai asks sOmAsiyAndAn to be watchful not to commit any offenses towards bhAgavathas since that will destroy our svarUpam – even great personalities could fall in that trap which is why appiLLai is asking sOmAsiyANdAn to be watchful.
  • 304 – sOmAsiyANdAn advises that a srIvaishNava should not indulge in material enjoyment due to the following reasons:
    • if we understand the true nature of jIvAthmA which is totally dependent on bhagavAn, we should not engage in material enjoyment
    • if we understand the reason for our existence which is to serve bhagavAn only, we should not engage in material enjoyment
    • if we understand our relationships with bhagavAn which is the only true and eternal relationship, we should not engage in material enjoyment
    • if we understand our body which is temporary and ever changing, we should not engage in material enjoyment
  • 375 – When hearing that a cow-herd who stole some milk was punished by some one, sOmAsiyANdAn faints at once. He becomes overwhelmed with emotions because he was reminded how yasOdhai punished kaNNan empeumAn for stealing milk.

Thus, we have seen some glimpses of the glorious life of sOmAsiyANdAn. He was fully situated in bhAgavatha nishtai and was very dear to emperumAnAr himself. Let us pray at his lotus feet that we too get a little bit of such bhAgavatha nishtai.

sOmAsiyANdAn’s thaniyan:

naumi lakshmaNa yOgIndhra pAdhasEvaika dhArakam
srIrAmakrathunAthAryam srIbhAshyAmrutha sAgaram

நௌமி லக்ஷ்மண யோகீந்த்ர பாதஸேவைக தாரகம்
ஸ்ரீராமக்ரதுநாதார்யம் ஸ்ரீபாஷ்யாம்ருத ஸாகரம்

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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Sources: 6000 padi guru paramparA prabhAvam, vyAkyAnams, vArthAmAlai, MAV swamy’s vAzhvum vAkkum for quick reference, puthur swAmy’s AchAryargaL vaibhavam

11 thoughts on “sOmAsiyANdAn”

  1. swami, little less adiyEn knew about sOmAsiyAndAn before readng this. However, adiyEn didn’t understand the knot-tying pastime. Could devareer explain a little about it?

    • In those days, people use to tie a knot in the dhoti to remind us of something. For example, we may be going to the temple and let us say the wife asks us to get prasAdham. If we are forgetful, we will then tie a knot in the dhoti. When we see the knot in the dhoti we will get reminded that there was something the wife wanted from us – that will lead us to remember to bring prasAdham home for her. In this incident, appiLLai asks sOmAsiyANdAn to tie a knot in the dhoti – everytime he looks at it he will be reminded that he should not be committing bhAgavatha apAchAram.

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