Vaduga Nambi was a very close disciple of Swami Ramanuja. He appeared in a place called Saligramam in Karnataka. As Kulasekhara Azhvar, who had been known for his devotion to Lord Rama ,
. Vaduga Nambi, likewise, was known for his Acharya Ramanuja bhakti,. He worshipped the Tiruvadi Nilai (sandals) of Swami Ramanuja daily. There are many instances where he was concerned about his Acharyar more than the LORD himself.
Once after reaching Thirukurungudi a srivaishnava divyadesam , Swamy Ramanuja had just finished his bath and called out, for his disciple Vaduga Nambi to get ready with Urdhwa Pundram (Thiruman and Sreechoornam) (Tilak) as a daily practice . However, Vaduga Nambi had not reached the place Kurungudi by then .
Something very rare happened . On hearing Swamy Ramanuja repeatedly calling Vaduga …Vaduga …Vaduga…Vaduga….
.. LORD Thirukurungudi Nambi, the Perumal of Thirukurungudi Divya Desam, took the form of Vaduga Nambi, came before Swamy Ramanuja, prepared the paste of Thiruman and gave it to Swamy Ramanuja for application .
After applying the Thiruman Kaapu, Swamy Ramanuja left the remaining Thiruman and Sreechoornam, as usual, for Vaduga Nambi.
Later when Swamy Ramanuja went to the Koil ( temple) for Lords darshan….something rare was seen ..
To the surprise of all, on the forehead of Thirkurungudi Nambi was seen with freshly applied Thiruman Kaapu!
Swamy Ramanuja was emotionally overwhelmed with Lords abundant mercy . Later in the day, Vaduga Nambi came and apologized Swamy Ramanuja about his delay in reporting . From that day onward, Thirukurungudi Nambi came to be glorified as Sri Vaishnava Nambi. Many instances are cited to show Vaduga Nambi’s single pointed devotion towards Swamy Ramanuja.
During another occasion, a devotee came to pay his respects to Swami Ramanuja. The visitor recited the Narayana mantra. Vaduga Nambi wondered why the man did so. After all, Lord was far away, and Swamy Ramanuja was close by. What was the use of praising a distant God, when a merciful Acharya was present close to him, Nambi wondered. To Vaduga Nambi, even Lord ranked next to his Acharya.
One more divine pastime speaks about Nambi’s Acharya bhakthi .
Nambi used to worship the padukas ( sandals ) of Swamy Ramanuja every day. Once while travelling to a nearby divya desam , he had to make arrangements in taking Swamy Ramanujars deities who were being worshipped by Acharyar Swamy Ramanuja .Vaduga nambi carried his worshippable sr padukas (sandals of Swamy Ramanujar in the same package.
Swamy Ramanujar was shocked to observe the same . He corrected vaduga nambi for his offence but vaduga nambi spontaneously replied “My worshipable deities are equally glorious to your deities, so there is nothing wrong in carrying them along with your deities .
At Srirangam , once the processional deity Lord Namperumal was being glorified by Srivaishnavas . Swamy Ramanuja sent for his disciple vaduga nambee . Vaduga nambi was warming milk for Swamy Ramanuja . Vaduga nambi hearing the disciple calling politely replies….
Swamin !! “If adiyen comes out to worship your Lordships , my Acharyar milk will get burnt. So I shall wait ” finish this service and then join ……
He has left for posterity, “Sri Yathiraja Vaibhavam”, a Sanskrit work in 114 verses, which gives the entire life history of Swamy Ramanuja. His devotion for Swamy Ramanuja was boundless . Swamy spent his last days at Saligramam near Mysore , Karnataka ,where Lord Narasimha and swami Ramanuja’s holy feet are enshrined and worshiped even now.
Vaduga Nambee thiruvadigale sharanam
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
Pics credits : Google images uploaded by several advance devotees