Today Thai Punarvasu – thiru nakshatram of Swami Embaar. Life of Swami Embar is a part of Swami Ramanujar’s life.
pushye punarvasoo dhine jaatam govinda desikam |
raamanuja padaambojathvanthva pravanamaanasam ||
He was a cousin of Sri Ramanujar (his mother’s younger sister’s son). Swami EmBaar was born in Madhuramangalam (then known as Mazhalai mangalam) to pious couple Periya Pratti and Sri Kamalanayana Bhatta in the year 1026 CE (Krodana samvatsaram) month of Makara ( Tamil Month of Thai ) under the the constellation of Punarvasu. It is said he was the amsam of Vainatheyan . His maternal uncle Thirumalai nambhi named him as Govinda Bhatta.
Govinda studied under Yadava prakasar along with Ramanujar and rescued Ramanujar from the plot- the Guru Yadavaprakasa hatched on the way to ganga yatra.
Later, while taking bath in Ganges with Yadavaprakasar and ashram mates, Sri Govinda Battar gets a lingam in his hand. Sri Govinda Battar shows the same to his guru. The advaitic scholar replied that it is the anugruham of Lord Siva and names him as ULangai konNarnda NAyanAr’s. From that day, Govinda Battar becomes a pure advaitee and starts practising the same.
Then Govinda returned back and did the Prathistai of the Lingam in Madhuramangalam ( even to this day you can see this Lingam) then he dreamt Lord of Kalahasthi beckoned him so he went to Kalahasthi and continued to worship. Years rolled on Ramanujar also grew up and he became the disciple of Thirukachi Nambhigal ,Priya Nambhi,Thirukoshtiyur nambhi etc and he had become an ascetic . Sri Ramanujar felt that he needed some trusted lieutenant to assist him , he then remembered Govinda , whose timely advice saved his life.
Then he requested his Maternal uncle Thirumalai Nambhi to bring back Govinda to Srivaishnava fold. Thirumalai Nambhi too had been thinking of correcting Govinda Bhattar and hence immedietely left to Kalahasti with few of his disciples and started giving discourses. He crossed ULangai konNarnda NAyanAr’s path and makes AaLavandAr’s shlokam fall on his ears: “SvAbhAvikAnavatikAtisayEchitrutvam”. Something in NAyanAr’s mind gets stirred when he hears the words and becomes disturbed. On another occasion, Nambigal went and sits under the tree from which NAyanAr used to pluck flowers everyday and starts teaching the meaning of TiruvAimozhi to his disciples. NAyanar forgets his task of gathering the flowers and stands there mesmerized. When Nambigal was explaining the meaning of the pathu titled “Thinnan veedu” – there is a pasuram – dhevum epporulum padaikkap poovil naanmukhanaip padiaatha – devan Emperumaanukkallal Poovum poosanaiyum thagume ? On hearing those words, NAyanAr throws the basket and the flowers and cried by saying ‘thagathu ! thagathu !’ (cannot cannot). Realising the folly he had been committing, he fell down at the feet of Thirumalai Nambi with tears rolling down his cheeks and cried for saving him and to change him to a Vaishnavaite again.
Then Govinda went along with his uncle to Thirumalai to learn Divyaprabhandam etc. under him. He did kainkaryams to Sri Tirumalai Nambigal. One night, he prepared the bed for Sri Nambigal and lied down on that. Heard this action, Sri Nambigal asked about this to Sri Govindan. He replied that “I know I’ll get the position in hell, but I checked there is no trouble or disturbing things in the bed for you swami”. Sri Nambigal was wondered by his Acharya Bakthi.
Sri Ramanuja wanted to learn Srimad Ramayana from his uncle Thirumalai Nambi and came to Tirupati. One day at the garden, Sri Udayavar saw Govindan put his hand into the mouth of the snake. He asked him about this. Govindan said “there is a spine stitched in its tongue, I took that”. Sri Ramanuja wondered about his kindness towards all things.
When Ramanujar finished his Srimad Ramayana studies under Thirumalai Nambi , Guru cum uncle wanted to gift something to his student and lamented he did not have anything to give. Then seizing the opportunity he asked Govinda to be gifted to him, which Nambigal readily did . Then Ramanuja and Govinda returned back to Srirangam via Kanchi, After returning back , Govinda was always sad and missed his uncle very much. Then seeing the sad plight Karuna Murthy Ramanujar immediately asked him to go back to Thirumalai Nambigals place. Then once he reached Thirumalai Nambigals place , nambigal refused to see his face and told him to go back to Ramanuja, then he told Cow once Sold or gifted in dhana cannot be taken back or feed. Then Govinda returned back to Ramanuja , and he was now much more refined, wiser and chastened. Ramanujar showered his move and affection and Govinda also reciprocated. He attended Ramanujas all lectures, discourse, debates expositions and dispositions . Like a shadow of Ramanuja he served his master day and night and hence know as Ramanuja padacchaya.
“Raamanuja Padacchaaya Govindahva anapayinee |
Thatha yattha svaroopaasa jeeyaan madhvisramasthalee ||” was the Thaniyan verse of Swami Embar.
Event though Govinda was married, he never lived a householders life, he remained like a Brahmachari and even never thought he was married. He wanted to take Sanyasa like his master Ramanujar. But his Mother was unhappy about this and she wanted the Vamsa vridhi, so she approached Ramanujar and told her desire to him. Then Ramanuja asked Govinda to spend some time with his wife in privacy . Govinda respected his master’s word and spent time with his wife, but that night he spent time with his wife explaining about Bhagawans athma Gunas etc. Then his wife narrated the thing to her Mother in law and she in turn informed Ramanujar, Then Ramanujar questioned the strange behavior of Govinda, he replied that Lord was every where and there is no question of privacy. Sri Ramanuja found Govinda was firm like a mountain and his aim was to become an ascetic.
Finally Udayavar had to budge in and agreed to give him Sanyasa , He presented Govinda a Arch robe of an ascetic and also gave his name “Emperumanar”, upon which Govinda protested and informed his master he did not deserve this honor. Then Udayavar joined the first and last Syllables of his name and called him “EMBAR”. And thus Govinda got his name “EMBAR”.
The another close disciple of Sri Ramanuja was Sri Koorath Alwan , and he did not have Progeny for long time. With Divine grace and Udyavars blessings he was blessed with Twins. Then Ramanujar and his disciples went to Alwans house to see the child and do namakaranam. on reaching the house he asked Embar to fetch the children from inside the house. As commanded by his master Embar went inside and fetched the children. Our Udayavar saw them redolent with Dwaya Mantra, seeing that he asked Embar how is it, then Embar told that when he saw the divya tejus of the children , to protect the children from Drishti ( evil Eye) , he immediately chanted the Dwaya Mantra . Hence the glow of dwaya mantra was there. Then he immediately told Embar to be the preceptor of the Children and duly named them Parasara Bhatta and Vedavyasa Bhatta, ( He fulfilled one of the three promises he made to Yamunai Thuraivan aka Alavandar).
Being the Acharya to SriParasara Bhattar and SriVedaVyasa Bhattar, he lived a long by spreading the SriBashyam of Sri Ramanuja and Explanatory comments of Paasurams.
Then in the year 1137 Udayavar Shed his mortal coil by his head was resting in Embars lap
After the departure of Ramnujar to Vaikuntam Embar had no interest in life. In the year 1141 Embar Shed his mortal coil . Embar composed the work called “VIJNAASTHUTHI” which will ever be remembered by posterity.
Along with Sri Kamalavalli Thaayar Sametha Sri Vaikunta Perumal, Sri Embar’s Archa Moorthy was installed and he is worshipped at Madura Mangalam. In the Sannidhi for Sri Embar, he is seen wearing a pendant gifted to him by Sri Ramanuja. It is believed that all ailments relating to the eyes are cured if the Archa Moorthy is worshipped.
Currently at Madhuramangalam, the present pontiff of the mutt, His Holiness Sree Yatiraja Narayana Ramanuja Jeeyar Swami is adorning the pettam , in which his aaradhana swamy Sree Pattabiraaman is housed and worshipped. Website with mutt details is http://madhuramangalamjeeyar.com/