Thiruvaimozhi Nutrandhadhi

Thiruvaimozhi Nutrandhadhi, 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 Nammazhvar’s Thiruvaimozhi in hundred sweet verses of poetry, with each verse capturing the essence of a decad (a decad comprises approximately ten songs). The Thiruvaimozhi of Nammalvar is said to embody the path of absolute surrender (prapatti or dheerga saranagati). The Thiruvaimozhi, 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 Thiruvaimozhi Nutrandhadhi, compares this tradition to a stream of water that had its source in Nammazhvar, flowed through the various preceptors of Srivaishnavism and found its culmination in the lake called Mamunigal. The distinguished Mamunigal, without whom this tradition of Tamil Vedas would have vanished without a trace, composed the Thiruvaimozhi Nutrandhadhi for the following reasons as pointed out to us by the commentator: (1) To serve as a medium to experience the auspicious attributes of the Lord embodied in each decad of Thiruvaimozhi; (2) To explain, with clarity and brevity, those meanings of the Thiruvaimozhi which cannot not be easily apprehended; (3) To point out the semantic connections between two consecutive decads of the Thiruvaimozhi.

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Upadesa Ratnamalai

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.

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Devaraja Mangalam

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).

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Yatiraja Vimsati

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.

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Arthi Prabandham

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 jnana yoga, karma yoga, bhakti or saranagati. This work comprises verses that are in the form of dialogues, instructions or mere 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. By projecting himself as a jivatma caught in the web of samsaric afflictions, Mamunigal, through this prabandham, immediately strikes a chord with his audience. He prescribes to them the secret (i.e. singing the holy names of Ramanujacharya) that will help them sever connections with samsara and attain an everlasting place in Srivaikuntam. In addition, the author makes passing references to the following topics in this prabandham: i) The pitstops a soul encounters, as it takes the archiradi route to end the repeated cycles of birth and death; ii) The scholarly might of Ramanuja that established the supremacy of Visistadvaita Vedanta by defeating the Advaitins, Buddhists, Jains and the preceptors of other religions; iii) Srivaishnava Lakshana – the dos and don’ts for a spiritual aspirant.

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