Lord Sriman Narayana incarnated in different avatharas in this world, for spreading the message of the liberation for the jeevatma from this material bondage .
Unsatisfied , LORD summoned His serpent couch, the nitya-soori (eternally free soul) .
Adisesha, and instructed,
My dear Adishesha ! “Go down to the mortal world and live there for 200 years, and through your exhortations, empower the people with knowledge about their true nature and make them come to..
My world, so that they enjoy eternal bliss”.
Accordingly, Adishesha appeared as “Swamy Ramanuja” in the age of Kali, where Adharma was in the forefront due to the karmic vasanas . Swamy Ramanuja followed LORDs directives by spreading the divine message of Azhwars and the true knowledge to seek Lord’s mercy and disappeared at the age of 120.
The Lord was not satisfied with the developments and felt the mission was not complete .Hence he once again advised Swamy Ramanuja to complete the original assignment of remaining in this material world for complete 200 years and uplift the jivaatmaas .
With implicit obedience, Adishesha who appeared as Swamy Ramanuja once again appeared as Swami maNavALa mAmunikaL.
AdisEsha, in his previous incarnation as Swamy Ramanuja, was very much attracted to Nammazhvars’s appearance and his divine outpouring (thiruvAimozhi), and hence, earned the appellation “mAran adipaNindhu Uynthavan”.
In keeping with this overwhelming love for Nammazhvar, the second time around, AdisEsha selected Azhvar Thirunagari as the place most suited for his birth. He appeared in the month of Aipassi and star Moola and was named “Azhakiya maNavALapperumAL nAyanAr . It should be noted that Swami MamunikaL excelled as the disciple of none other than the famous SriSailesha (Tiruvaimozhi pillai), SrisailEsha erected a temple at Azhvar-thirunagari for Swami Ramanuja and installed Sri Ramanuja’s idol, which had been presented to Sri Madhurakavi Azhvar and lay buried at the foot of the famous Tamarind tree.
Sri Sailesha after clearing the wild vegetation at Azhvar-thirunagari took all initiatives in bringing back the sacred deity which was lost during invasions . Sri SailEsha also brought out the buried deities of Swamy Ramanuja’s Bhavishyad Acharaya vigraha .
Sri Ramanuja’s temple at Azhvar thirunagari was handed over to Swami Manavala Mamunikal in due course of time, and daily thiruArAdhanam (ritual worship) was performed by Swami mAmunikaL.SriSailEsha ordered his ardent disciple Swami Manavala Mamuni, who had learnt all sastras from him to study and propagate the divya prabandham ( azhvar’s 4000 hymns and their commentaries).
He wished that living in Sri Rangam and propagating the true tenets of the Sri Vaishnava Sampradaya as given in the hoary aruLiccheyal (divya prabandham) was the need of the hour.
The devoted disciple that he was, Swami Mamuni did act according to the commandments of his teacher. So Sri Rangam, the citizens of Srirangam & the Lord of Sri Rangam – all of them begot the good fortune of counting Swami Mamuni as one amongst themselves. Swami Manavala Mamunikal came to Sri Rangam as a gruhastha (householder). Swami Manavala Mamuni accepted asceticism (sanyAsa Ashrama) later for a total involvement in the spreading of his Acharyars desire .
Lord Ranganathar ( Peria Perumal ) had a desire which he wanted Swami Mamuni to accomplish in Srirangam.
He seized the golden opportunity of Mamunikal’s arrival to the city of Sri Rangam & ordered him to give a public discourse on the Eedu (36000 padi), the super-commentary of Swami Nampillai on Thiruvaimozhi along with other commentaries, in alluring style for having the good fortune of being trained by the esteemedAcharya Sri SailEsha (Thiruvaimozhip pillai).
In order to accommodate unhindered conduct for the kAlakshEpam (discourse) all festivities of the temple was kept in abeyance . History tells us that for a whole year, Namperumalhad enjoined cessation of all festivals at Srirangam, world renowned by the name kOil, a temple that is considered to be the foremost amongst the 106-Divya desams.
The above-mentioned, spiritually uplifting event occurred on the final kalakshEpa (discourse)-day, the day adorned, interestingly, by the Ani thiru-moola star. So, SriVaishnava-world attaches equal importance to this Ani moola auspicious day also, in a manner akin to the day of Sri Mamunikal’s appearance, SriAippasi Thirumoola day. Swami mAmunikaL, with implicit obedience, accepted LORDS directives to perform service to the Lord.
On the concluding day of Swami mAmunikaL’s wonderful lectures on thiruvAimozhi and Eedu, Lord appeared amidst the august assembly of mAmunikaL and sri vaishnavas, in the guise of an archakar’s (priest) a small boy from getting proximate presence to Swami mAmunikaL’s seat, recited the following stanza in His inimitable, majestic voice resembling the thunder of a rumbling cloud,
“SriSailEsha dayA pAthram dheeibhakthyAdi guNarnavam
Yetheendra pravaNam vandE ramyajA mAtharam munim”
He kept a palm leaf containing the above sloka on a golden plate full of flowers, fruits, coconuts and other sacred components of guru dakshiNa (token of appreciation) and after offering it at the holy feet of Swami mAmunikaL, ran towards the sanctum sanctorum & disappeared. To add to this magnificent miracle, Periya Perumal, the Lord Ranganatha Himself, immediately ordered through the archaka –‘let this slOka be recited at the beginning of all divya prabhanda recitations; just as a Vedic recital begins and ends with the sacred ‘Om’, so also all recitals of the tamil veda, the divya prabhandam, shall commence and end with ‘srI SailESa dayA pAtram’.
adiyArgaL vAzha arangka nagar vAzha
sadakOpan thaNdamizh nUl vAzha * – kadal sUzhndha
mannulagam vAzha * maNavALa mAmuniyE *
innum oru nURRANdirum *
These holy lines extols Swamys contributions to continued existence and prosperity of Sri Vaishnavaism, the followers, their holy temples, scriptures, traditions, and the well being of the whole world, and concludes with the prayer, that the great Manavalamaamuni live for another hundred years for that purpose. The apparent conflict between 100 years and perpetuity is resolved, when one understands the key link of devoted Sri Vaishnava devotees, their ongoing practice of the prayer and traditions as a “Vaazhaydi Vaazhai”, for the perpetuation of the faith. So 100 and more years down the line there will be faithful chanting the same for the future.
Swamy Manavala maamunigaley thiruadigaley sharanam
Pictures credits : Advanced devotees serving Lord
videos : At Sri MudaliAndaans swamy Thirumaligai