Tiruvaimoli Nutrandadi, the magnum opus of Manavala Mamunigal, is an important work that forms an integral part of daily worship for Srivaishnavites. The work presents the essence of Nammalvar’s Tiruvaimoli in hundred sweet verses of poetry, with each verse capturing the essence of a decad (a decad comprises approximately ten songs). The Tiruvaimoli of Nammalvar is said to embody the path of absolute surrender (prapatti or dheerga saranagati). The Tiruvaimoli, with its commentaries and special meanings, was transmitted across generations in the teacher-disciple mode from Nathamuni to Manavala Mamunigal. Pillailokam Jiyar, in his commentary on the Tiruvaimoli Nutrandadi, compares this tradition to a stream of water that had its source in Nammalvar, flowed through the various preceptors of Srivaishnavism and found its culmination in the lake called Mamunigal.
Upadesa Ratnamalai or ‘Jewel-studded Garland of Instructions’ is a work authored by Manavala Mamunigal in a classical Tamil form of poetry called venpa. A venpa is a metric prosody that ranges anywhere from two to twelve lines. This work appears to be an attempt by the author to educate the Srivaishnava community about: (i) The Glory of Alvars and Purvacharyas representing the tradition of Srivaishnavism; (ii) The commentaries authored by his earlier preceptors on the Divya Prabandham, (iii) The Greatness of the Tiruvaimoli and its commentaries, (iv) The tradition of Eedu Commentary of the Tiruvaimoli from Vadakku Tiruveedhi Pillai to Mamunigal himself, (v) The glory of Pillai Lokacharya’s Srivachanabhushanam, (vi) Some instructions to Srivaishnavites on how to conduct themselves as worthy seekers of salvation and finally (vii) The revelation of ultimate means, Charamopayam.
It is said that this work was composed by Manavala Mamunigal at the request of his disciples to glorify the Lord of Kanchipuram. This work appears to have been authored when Mamunigal undertook a trip to the divyadesam of Kanchi. In this work, the author celebrates Lord Varadaraja of Kanchipuram in thirteen sweet verses of poetry. By the author’s own admission, he follows the footsteps of his earlier preceptors (notably referring to Kanchipurna and Vedanta Desika — the authors of Devarajastakam and Varadaraja Pancasat respectively) by employing similar poetical constructs in glorifying Lord Varadaraja (13).
At the behest of his preceptor Srisailesa, Mamunigal composed a Sanskrit work in adoration of Saint Ramanuja which came to be called ‘Yatiraja Vimsati’ or ‘Twenty Verses on the King of Hermits.’ This work appears to have been authored during the initial years of the author’s association with Srisailesa and bears close resemblance to the author’s later work in Tamil viz. Arthi Prabandham. The grandeur of these twenty hymns have also been eulogised by Prativadi Bhayankaram Anna, one of Mamunigal’s eight chief disciples, in his work titled ‘Varavaramuni Satakam’. The importance of work is highlighted by the fact that chanting its verses forms an integral part of daily worship in Srivaishnavite households.
Arthi Prabandham is said to be Manavala Mamunigal’s swansong before he attained Srivaikuntam. He authored this prabandham solely for salvation-seekers, who, when caught in the quagmire of samsaric afflictions, find themselves unsuitable for performing any of jnana yoga, karma yoga, bhakti or sharanagati. This work comprises verses that are in the form of dialogues, instructions and informational content. In some verses, we see Mamunigal talking to his own mind and in other verses, experiencing alternating fits of love and pain, he seems to be engaging in a conversation with Ramanuja.
The relationship between the individual souls and the Supreme Lord continues from time immemorial. It is for the souls to realize the everlasting continuity of this relationship with the Supreme Self. Subsequent to the initiation ritual (pancha samskara), the soul gets to know of the nature of this relationship in the form of spiritual instructions from one’s immediate preceptor. However, the theoretical knowledge of this relationship alone doesn’t suffice to gain the candidacy required for performing unconditional surrender. The pulls of bondage, which are a result of our previous deeds, can at some times be too strong for us to condition and discipline our mind to practically realize the truth learnt through instructions. It is here that we need the grace of our preceptor to cross the river of bondage.