Guru Parampara Series – Manakkal Nambi
Manakkal is an agraharam on the banks of Kaveri. It lies to the east of SriRangam. In Kaliyugam year 4052, in the Tamil year Virodhikrith, in the Tamil month of Masi when the constellation of Makham was in ascendance, the avatharam of Manakkal Nambi took place. He was an amsam of the nityasuri, Kumudhan. He was named as Ramamisrar. Swami Desika in Yathiraja Sapthathi addresses Him as the fourth Rama. Parasurama, Dasaratha Rama and Balarama preceded Him but He was the blemishless Rama. Parasurama was the angry Rama who destroyed the kshatriyas, Dasaratha Rama destroyed the rakshasas and Balarama was addicted to alchohol but Rama Misra had complete control over His senses and only did good.
“Annujitha Kshama Yogam, Apunya Jana Bhadhakam,
Asprushta Madha Raagam Thum, Raamam Turyam Upasmahe. “
Rama Misrar was the chief disciple of Uyyakondar. His gurubhakthi was unparalleled and He rendered continued service to Uyyakondar. After the demise of Uyyakondar’s devigal (wife) He took over the cooking and attended to every personal need of His acharya. One day He escorted Uyyakondar’s daughters for some festivities. On the way back home they had to cross muddy waters. Seeing the girls hesitate He lay upside down forming a human bridge for the girls to cross over. Since the sandy footprints fell on His back (manal kal) He came to be called Manakal Nambi. Uyyakondar was so pleased with this act he wanted to reward Him and asked Rama Misra what to do in return. Rama Misra replied that He desired to continue what He already was doing that is He desired continued service to His acharya. Uyyakondar then gave the meaning of Dwaya manthram which is hailed as Manthra Ratnam. He learnt all the rahasyarthams from Uyyakondar who entrusted Him with the responsibility of teaching these to the grandson of Nathamunigal. Uyyakondar asked Manakkal Nambi to succeed him and carry on the SriVaishnava tradition.
Uyyakondar entrusted Manakkal Nambi with three jobs –
- To hand over the divya mangala murthi of Bhavishyadh acharya to his grandson.
- To initiate him into the secrets of SriVaishnavam and
- To teach the four thousand srisookthis of the Azhwars.
Due to His unshakeable Acharya Paribhakthi Manakkal Nambi fulfilled the Commandments successfully. His patience and steadfastness in achieving the goals is worth knowing. His first job was to trace Nathamunigal’s grandson. Yamunai Thuraivar the son of Ishvara Muni had won a contest and was conferred half the kingdom by the reigning Pandya King. He was known as Alavandar and getting audience from him was not easy. Manakal Nambi was not one to give up. He gained entry into the royal kitchen and supplied greens known as Thoothuvalai (these greens are reputed to evoke satva gunam). He did this regularly but stopped after some time. When Alavandar asked for the Thoothuvalai preparation he was told that the old srivaishnava who supplied them had stopped coming. Alavandar told the kitchen staff to bring the person to him if He came another time. After some time when Manakkal Nambi came with the greens he was summoned to Alavandar’s presence. Alavandar got up from his seat and thanked him for the greens and asked Him what he could do in return? Manakal Nambi replied that He had come to give him treasures not to take anything. Perplexed Alavandar wanted to know where the treasures were. Manakkal Nambi explained that the family treasure was bequeathed to him by his grandfather and was guarded by serpents and would be revealed to him at the appropriate time.
Manakkal Nambi became a regular visitor to Alavandar’s court. He told the meaning of the 18 chapters of Srimadh Bhaghavadh Geetha which Alavandar listened with rapt attention craving for more and more. He gave him the four thousand divya prabhandhams which Nathamunigal had retrieved. Manakkal Nambi realized that the time to reveal the ultimate Treasure had come. He took Alavandar to SriRangam and after crossing the seven prakaras took him to the sanctum sanctorum of Sri Ranganatha. Alavandar saw his treasure and got completely lost in it. Thus it was that Manakkal Nambi fulfilled the commandment of His guru Uyyakondar by teaching Yamunacharya the Divya Prabhandhams and the tenets of Sri Vaishnavam. The secrets embedded in the Geetha and by handing over the divyamangala vigraham of Bhavishyadh Acharya. Having fulfilled His acharya’s wishes Manakkal Nambi spent the rest of His days in SriRangam engaged in service to Srivaishnava sampradhayam.
Let us say Manakkal Nambi Tiruvadigale sharanam every day.
Writeup By : Sri Vyjayanthi Rajan