Today, Thai Meerugaseerisham (January 4, 2012) is the Varusha Thirunatchathiram of Thirukkovalur Onna Emberumanar Jeeyar.
The following is the thanian and life history of the acharyan…
THE HOLY BIRTH OF SRI MATH EMPERUMANARJEER SWAMY
The Thirumala Thirupathi is the most Favourite Dwelling Abode of the Supreme Lord and so it is upheld as the holiest of the Holy Shrines of the Almighty. There was a village called Mulguthir north of Thirumala inhabited by devout Sri Vaishnavas. Incidentally, the word Mulguthir means ‘the holy place that bestows Enlightenment and Liberation’ and right to its prophetic synonym, this sanctified village became the cradle for the holy birth of Sri Jeer Swamy, who was gifted to this earth to enlighten the mankind and liberate them from the cycle of birth and death.
In that village, a pious Sri Vaishanava by name Sri. Kondan Iyengar also called Sri. Krishna Iyengar was leading a peaceful and ideal marital life with his wife Srimathi Mathava Ammangar alias Chenkamalavalli. Being spiritually inclined, the couple had enriched their life with love and devotion to Lord and lived according to the dictates of Vedic Scriptures.
For a long time, the couple had no progeny and so they undertook a pilgrimage to the illustrious shrine Thirumala, surrendered unto His Lotus Feet and devoutly prayed for the boon of a child. With the Marvellous Grace of the Most Beneficent Lord Sri Venkatesa, Srimathi Chenkamalavalli
Ammangar became pregnant. At the time of delivery, she was crying out of labour pain and Sri Krishna Iyengar, out of compassion and sympathy towards his suffering wife, pleaded God “Oh!
*Esteemed disciple of Sri Ramanujacharya, the propagator of Vishistadvaida philsophy.
Lord Sri Venkatesa! If my wife begets a male child with ease, I shall dedicate that son to you for thy eternal service.”
Immediately, the Lord answered his prayer with the comfortable birth of a blessed son on the most auspicious day of the Salivahana Sahabtha 1374 (i.e the year 1452 A.D) Sri Mukha Samvathsara, at the Tamil month of ‘Tha(, the birth star being Mrigashira .
On beholding the handsome features of the divine child and a saintly halo around the infant, the elite and vedic exponents of the village ascertained that the child had complete aspects of Sri Adhisesha* and so the kid was aptly named after Sri Ramanuja.
The tender sprout of sacred Thulasi leaf spreads its mystique aroma even while genninating. Like wise, the pretty baby had inherited noble traits and even in the early days displayed characters of sharp intellect, extra-ordinary grasping power, love, devotion and detachment to worldly things. The child was growing like a waxing moon and the father sanctified the boy with all the vedic rituals such as Jathakanna, Annaprasna, Choula etc., at appropriate times.
UNDERGOING UPNNAYANAM INITIATIONON
Sri Kondan Iyengar decided to initiate the boy at his seventh age into Brahmoupadesam at Lord Sri Venkatesa’s Holy Abode Thirumala and so he was preparing to undertake the journey. Meanwhile, one day before he started for Thirumala, Lord of the Seven Hills appeared in the dreams of all the priests and seers of the temple simultaneously and commanded thus, “A noble child is coming to my Abode tomorrow. So, do celebrate his Upanayanam here in a grand way. Oh! Sage Singaracharya!** You take him as your disciple and give him Sri Vaishnava Deeksha by initiating him with Pancha Samskara*** and preach him all the finest, inherent and hidden meanings of the eternal Visishtadvaitha Philosophy”. All the priests and savants of the temple were amazed on exchanging their dream experience and wondered at the special order of Lord of Thirumalai and were eagerly awaiting the arrival of the divine boy.
After some time, as heralded by God Himself, Sri Kondan Iyengar and Srimathi Chenkamalavalli Ammangar were coming towards the temple along ‘with their child prodigy who looked like an effulgent sun walking on the earth. The priests, the great teachers and masters of the Sri Vaishnava philosophy, their entourage and devotees warmly welcomed and wished the boy a great successful future, showering him with rich tributes as he was blessed by the Lord Himself. They felt delighted on presenting the boy and his parents with all the sacred things such as Theertha (Sacred Water), Satakopa (Lord’s Lotus Feet), garlands, Kumkum, Thulasi, etc that were offered to Lord during worship.
On an auspicious day, the Upanayanam function was, as per traditions, grandly celebrated. Then, the blessed boy Sri Ramanuja was respectfully taken in a grand procession to the revered mansion of Sri Singaracharyar Swamy for Gurukula-vasam****.
* The Lord’s Eternal Servant in the fonn Thousand Hooded Sacred Serpent Coach.
** The Most Prominent Master of Sri Vaishnava Philosophy who lived in Thirupathi at that time.
***Qualifying and sanctifying one with five disciplines for total surrender to God.
****Residing at the home of an elite Master, serving him and learning the Vedic Philosophies and getting trainedto practice the noble principles in life under his personal guidance and supervision.
BOVING AT THE HOLY FEET OF SRI SlNGARACHARYAR SWAMY
For every chaste woman, the paramount symbol is the Mangala Suthram, the auspicious ornament for a prosperous marital life. In the same way, the Pancha Samskara is very essential for every Sri Vaishnava, who fixes the heart and soul towards total salvation from the sins of mundane existence and for perennial service to Lord in this Earth and at His Eternal Heaven. So, as prescribed in the scriptures, Sri Singaracharyar swamy, a great Ascetic of his times, after enlivening the boy with Pancha Samskara, imparted all the essential knowledge to the boy Sri Ramanuja who learned all the Ithihasas, Puranas, Tharka, Vyakarana, Meemamsa etc in a short span of time just as Lord Sri Krishna learned all the sixty four arts within sixty four days under the guidance of Sage Santheepani.
CONFERRING CELEBERATED TITLE “LAKSHMANARYA”
The brilliant disciple Sri Ramanuja was studiously learning Sri Bashya of Sri Emperumanar* with its commentary Srutha Prakashika and on one such day, while envisaging the cryptic meanings of the Vedantic views, he was contemplating the abundant love of the Supreme Being and so he lost. Himself in the celestial joy of embracing the Supreme Soul, forgetting the entire world at the veranda of the neighbouring residence of the Masters Mansion on a hot summer season. At that time, a big Cobra, spreading its large hood over his head, was giving him a protective shelter for a long time against the hot sun rays falling from a damaged portion of the roof of the house. The Master, feeling the absence of his favourite disciple Sri Ramanuja for his Discourse Session, asked his other students to search him. On seeing the sagacious posture of Sri Ramanuja’s meditation in solitude under the umbrella of a Divine Cobra’s hood, they were left spellbound and awe-stricken. They informed their Master who also later came there, witnessed this incredible miracle, felt excited and returned home without disturbing him.
After a long time, Sri Ramanuja drew himself away from his transcendental bliss and rushed to the Discouse-Hall of his revered Master with a feeling of guilt and asked apology to ‘his ~laster for his delayed arrival. But the Master Sri Singaracharya with extreme pleasure exclaimed at him “Are you the reincarnation of our great Master Lakshmanarya**”. Thereafter this incidence, Sri Ramanuja was fondly called LAKSHMANARYA.
Afterwards, our Lakshmanarya mastered The Four Thousand Divine Hymns of Tamil (the heart-rending hymns of Alwars), Rahasya Thraya and other Rahasya Granthas*** of Poorvacharyas and all the commentaries related to suth invaluable treasures. At that time, he had completed twenty-three years of his juvenile age.
*The other sacred name of Sri Ramanujacharya, the propagator of the Vishishtadvaitha Philosophy and head of all
** The other Sacred Name of Sri Ramanujacharya, who is revered as the incarnation of Sesha Nag (Aadhi Sesha) of Lord Sriman Narayana.
***Secret knowledge of ancient wisdom and its hidden meanings as propounded by the Great Grand Masters.
SERVICE OF OFFERING FRAGRANT FLOWER WREATHS TO THE LORD OF SEVEN HILLS
On seeing the noble virtues such as divine wisdom, deep knowledge, sharp intellect, compassion, magnanimity, humility towards devotees, sense of righteousness, leadership qualities and administrative skills of Lakshmanarya, the Master Singaracharya considered him as the reincarnation of Sri Yathiraja (Sri Ramanujacharya) and developed very great reverence towards him. So, he realised that it was not wise to confine such a great Personality (Avatara Purusha) within the premises of his home, as he had a noble mission to fulfil according the Will of Lord of Thiruvenkatam.
As Nammalwar sang in his Thirvoimozhi , the pleasing service to Lord is to offer Him fragrant flowers and garlands that will adorn the Lord who is the Embodiment of Universal Beauty. So, Lakshmarya grew and maintained a beautiful flower garden near the temple and was offering highly aromatic, colourful and sacred flowers to Lord everyday with all humility.
RECEIVING THE HOLY NAME AS “JEER”
Sri Lakshmanarya’s flowery service to Lord continued for three years without any interruption. Suddenly on one day, the Senior Jeer of Tirumala Temple Shrine, who was also the chief administrator of all the Services to Lord, attained the Ultimate Beatitude of God (Moksha) and so the entourage of the Monastery were sunk in the ocean of grief and were uncertain about the worthy successor and future of the Mutt. At this crucial juncture, Lord Sri Venkatesa conveyed His Will through the priest that His Wish was to enthrone Sri Lakshmanarya as the next pontiff for heading the ancient and sacred Monastery of Tirumalai for he was going to be an architect of a magnificent empire of Sri Vaishnava Dharama. Happily submitting himself to Lord’s Will, Sri Lakshmanarya renounced the worldly pleasures completely, took to Sanyasa Ashrama, wore the safron cloth, held the thri dhanda* on his right hand and entered the Holy Shrine. Surrendering himself unto the Lotus Feet of Lord with the effervescence of blissful tears rolling down his cheeks, his heart melted at His causeless mercy.
* Three sanctified bamboo sticks tied as one, symbolising sacrifice and renunciation of a Sri Vaishnava Sanyasi.
The Supreme Lord with His gracious and elegant look, cheerfully invited him as “Welcome, Oh! Jeer, the saint of the saints” and then presented him with all His Divine Laurels. From that day onwards, he was respectfully called Sri Jeer Swamy.
As the Jeer Swamy was meticulously looking after the administrative and spiritual services to Lord, so many elite scholars and devotees of the Lord were attracted towards his boundless love for Lord, versatile services, eloquence, divine wisdom and became his ardent disciples.
THE KING OF CHANDRA GIRI BECOMING DISCIPLE OF JEER
On hearing the outstanding achievements of Sri Jeer Swamy, the King Venkatapathy Nayaka who ruled the city Chandragiri kneeled down at the sacred feet of Sri Jeer Swamy and begged for his grace and blessings. . Sri Jeer Swamy also gracefully accepted him as his disciple, initiated him with Pancha Samskara and enunciated him the highest Truth of Vishistadvaida and one’s ultimate goal of life. The King’s Guru Bhakthi crossed the worldly bounds that he could not part away from Sri Jeer Swamy even for a short while. He treated himself as a slave in front of Sri Jeer Swamy and fulfilled all his wishes of various services to Lord and to His devotees.
LORD APPEARING IN THE DREAM OF SRI JEER SW AMY
As the time was passing, on one day the Lord Sri Venkatesa with His captivating beauty emerged in the vision of Sri Jeer Swamy during his prayerful meditation and revealed the very purpose of his incarnation and the importance of his mission to redeem His Holy Abodes and the uphill tasks he had to undertake to reinstate the pristine fame of His Dwelling Shrines besides rejuvenating the most splendid and sacred tradition of Sri Vaishnavism, elevating the society of devotees to the height of spectacular triumph.
The Lord Almighty also appeared in the dream of Sri Venkatapathy Nayaka (King of Chandragiri) the same night and commanded him to extend all the assisting supports to Sri Jeer Swamy in his holy mission of bringing a renaissance to the eclipsed Sri Vaishnava Culture.
Sri Jeer Swamy narrated his vision to all his disciples through whom he sent the message to the King of Chandragiri and called him.
Meanwhile, the king was astonished on repeatedly recalling the Lord’s appearance in his dream and His commands to him. In his anxiety to convey his wonderful experience to Sri Jeer Swamy, he hurriedly started journey to Thirumala along with his escorts. On the way, he met the disciples of Sri. Jeer Swamy and was inexplicably thrilled during their mutual exchange of similar episodes of divine Order. The disciples and the King with his entourage reached the revered Monastery and offered their respectful obeisance unto the Sacred Feet of Sri Jeer Swamy with extreme delight and devotion. Sri Jeer Swamy graced the King and conveyed him of his resolve to undertake a long pilgrimage to redeem all the Shrines of Lord from the clutches of oppression and to stamp out the lethargy of Sri Vaishnuvu society, as per God’s Will.
The King merrily arranged for all the facilities for the comfortable travel of Sri Jeer Swamy. Besides, since Thirukovalur domain was then under therule of the King of Chenchi – Sri. .Thuvaal Krishnappa Nayaka , the King of Chandragiri forwarded letters to the King of Chenchi and to his officers in charge of the small towns/villages on the way, stating the full details of the journey of Sri Jeer Swamy with a request to provide necessary assistance to His Holiness.
SEEKING DIVINE PERMISSION TO PROCEED FOR THE NOBLE MISSION
Sri Jeer Swamy called all the priests, savants and devoted servants of Lord of the sacred Seven Hills and informed them about Lord’s wishful direction and of his journey. He instructed all the servants of the Lord to perform the routine worship with piety and gaiety besides celebrating all the festivals in a splendid way with a spirit of love and devotion.
After receiving the sacred offerings from the Lord, Sri Jeer Swamy prayed Lord, sought His permission to proceed for his pilgrimage with a divine mission to fulfill. The Lord blessed His Holiness a grand and successful pilgrimage trip. Then, the Lord handed over an attractive and artistic Ratham (Car) made of sandal wood and entrusted Sri Jeer Swamy to dedicate the same to Sri Satagopan (Sri Nammalwar) of Thirukurugur.
REDEMPTION OF THIRUKOVALUR
After having adorned the Sacred Seat of Srimath Periya Kelvi Appan Jeer of Thirumala Thirupathi for seventeen valuable years, Sri Jeer Swami as ordained by the Lord, proceeded to redeem Lord’s Sacred Shrines at his age of forty seven. To begin with, Sri Jeer Swami focused his attention on” Thirukovalur and was determined to redeem it. So he approached the King of Chenchi.
The king of Chenchi had been already awaiting the arrival of Sri Jeer Swamy, on receipt of the message from the king of Chandragiri. When Sri Jeer Swami entered the boundary of Thirukovalur, the king of Chenchi offered a traditional welcome with due respects and hospitality.
As Sri Jeer Swamy authentically proclaimed the candid details and historicity of Thirukovalur temple which was of Sri Aayanar* brutally occupied by strangers, the king could not deny the facts and so he took Sri Jeer Swami to the Shrine.
The followers of rival cult, on watching the divine personality of Sri Jeer Swamy who was coming with the king Thuvaal Krishnappa Nayaka, were that was perturbed and tried to quell the truth of the temple’s original stature as Sri ” Vaishanava Shrine. They objected the purpose of Sri Jeer Swamy’s visit and forced the king not to yield to Sri Jeer Swamy’s counsels.
The king felt embarrassed as the frenzied mob of Shaivites agitated. So in a state of indecisive confusion, he had to endorse their claim that the temple was under their worship for a long time and it was with the emblems of their deity only and not of Lord Sri Vishnu. The king, therefore, sadly expressed to His Holiness his inability to proceed further.
Sri Jeer Swamy emphatically reiterated his stand based on the authoritative quotes of Sri Alwars’ Divya Prabhandams, eminent Puranas and other historical and geographical recordings related to the temple and thus cleared all his doubts and enlightened him with truth. On observing the king’s conviction at Sri Jeer Swamy’s quotations from authoritative scriptures, the rivals appealed to the king “Your Excellency! This Jeer Swamy is covincing you with the power of his oration. Our conclusion is that the place he is looking for as described in his quotes, is not this one. Please believe us. Ours is not a wage argument. Although we do not have any genuine scriptures supporting our claim, the existing stature of this temple as witnessed by us in the past and present is the only legitimate point in our side. Hence, please have no second thought that this shrine belongs to our deity.”
The king responded with clarity, “Your argument may look valid; but the assertion of this great Sage also seems to be indisputable. There is no other Shrine of Lord Sri Vishnu here at Thirukovalur other than this temple, as picturesquely depicted by the saintly Alwars. Also, we never heard that such a glorious temple of Sri Vishnu other than this had pre-historically existed here once and was ravaged in the flood of times. Can anyone of you authentically vouch such a possibility? I challenge.”
SABOTAGE PERPETRATED AGAINST SRI JEER SWAMY
As the rivals, on hearing the king’s quintessential judgement, had no other choice but to obey the king and so they had decided to alter their tactics in such a way to nullify the agile Sage by subversion. They cunningly requested the king “Your Majesty, we humbly accept your assessment. Yet, the substance of ultimate truth in both of our arguments can be appraised purely by establishing the same through a miracle alone. We are representing our stand based on the existing stature of the temple being witnessed for a long time. But, this Sage is claiming on the basis of textual authority. So, he has to substantiate the prudence of his arguments. If he proves his declarative vow by placing himself inside the furnace of hot lime, surrounded by wild fire and then come alive unscathed, we shall accept the veracity of his statement. Also, this unprejudiced fire-test will save you from the wrath of the followers of our cult.”
Terrified by the cruel suggestion of the saboteurs, the king stumbled; but the indomitable Jeer Swamy consoled the king with his lively sermons and declared “Oh! King! Fear not! God is my Guard! The unfailing Grace of Sri Dhehaleesa** will lead me. I shall do as they wish. But I also seek a promise from them. If I win in this ordeal, all these people should become faithful Sri Vaishnavas!”
* The Enchanting Lord and Protector of His Beloved Cowherds.
**The Lord who transpired in a small veranda amidst First Three Azwhars.
With sadistic hope, asserting themselves in their heart that the Jeer Swamy would be burnt beyond recognition in the combustion of the furnace, the notorious rivals did swear upon God in front of the king that they would abide by the condition laid out by Sri Jeer Swamy. At once, the great Sage asked the king to construct a limestone furnace. As the king ordered to do so, the rival clan with a malicious glee, silently rejoiced over their gruesome ploy, constructed the lime-stone furnace and asked His Holiness to place himself inside the boiling furnace.
SUCCESSFULLY ACHIEVING THE VOW IN THE LIME FURNACE
Sri Jeer Swamy meditating upon the commandment of Lord of Thirumala who is surrounded by chilling water falls and cool breeze, kept his heart inside the fortress of Sri Dhelaleesa’s shielding Grace and praised the Supreme God as:
“Oh Lord! Thou art the indescribable delicacy of the Heavenly Elixir to thy ever-adoring devotees whose eyes are filled with profuse tears out of extreme love for you! Your exhilarating appearance with your Divine Consorts Sri Devi and Bhoomi Devi, dazzling Disc and sparkling Conch adorning both sides looks like a Kalpaka Vruksha* that fulfils the wishes of thy devotees! What a mercy! You hurriedly came in the sky holding the lightning Disc to save the surrendered elephant from the clamping jaws of fearsome crocodile in the lake. What a glory! What a gallantry might! Oh! The Invincible One! You, as Lord Sri Krishna, devastated the wild elephant of Kamsa, smashed the demon who was in the disguise of a wild horse, overpowered the seven ferocious bulls, downed the gigantic ‘Marutha’ tree, kicked to death the demon who came in the form of a sturdy wheel against you, quashed the wrestlers of Kamsa and thou art the virulent venom to the conspiring Kamsa himself,”
“Oh! The all Pervading One! The Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds! When am I going to see Thee in the Shrine of Thirukovalur as glorified by erudite scholars of the Vedas! If not now, then when can I? Oh the Supreme Power! Let me see You now! At once!”
Praying at the Lotus Feet of Lord thus, vowing his declaration of legacy of the temple and unrivalled supremacy of Sri Vishnu – the Only God – Sri Jeer Swaniy, entered the furious lime furnace which was set ablaze by the wicked rivals. The towering red hot flames that charged the furnace in anq out was frightening all and looked like an inferno for days together.
Under the cool wings of the Choicest Grace of Sri Aayanar, who manifests Himself as Water, Fire, Air, Bountiful Earth, Boundless Sky, Blazing Sun, Sparkling Moon, Twinkling Stars, Lord Shiva, Lord Brahma et all, the horrifying bonfire did not give the Sage even the iota of heat and indeed he felt as if seated in a flower bedecked throne, embraced by pleasant breeze. He was folding his hands above his head in deep meditation, praying towards the direction of Lord Sri Aayanar until all the fire around him got completely ceased. Then, as his fluorescent saffron cloth captivating and his face looking like a blooming lotus, he triumphantly emerged from the hot lime of the furnace in an enchanting appearance with a beaming smile and a divine aura around him.
* The Celestial Treasuring Tree
The king, who initially was bewildered on presuming the dire consequences of this cruel test, was finally amazed at the outcotne. He could not resist the spring of his joyous emotions and so he prostrated again and again at the sacred feet of His Holiness Sri Jeer Swamy. The people witnessing this sensational miracle were startled and the rivals were unnerved, felt guilty for their sinister designs against a great soul. They were panic-stricken to realise the depth and gravity of the mystic powers of the Great Yogi who executed the Almighty’s Will by undergoing a great ordeal himself with exemplary valour.
But, the godly Saint was too compassionate even to his perpetrators, did forgive them, consoled them and won the hearts of all the people by sheer virtue of love towards the entire humanity. Then His Holiness led the king and all the people towards sanctum sanctorum of the temple.
THE GRAND AND GRACIOUS APPEARANCE OF SRI Aa:YANAAR
Sri Jeer Swamy asked all the people to stand in front of the stone wall that blocked the
sanctum-sanctorum of the original Shrine. He pointed out a spot with his ‘thri-dhanda’ on the hiding wall and asked them to open it.
The wise king fulfilled the wish of Sri Jeer Swamy and on opening the stone wall, all the people were astounded to see the mammoth posture of the Lord in His Thrivikrama Manifestation, with a radiant smile and a majestic look. All the people there cheering out with brimming joy, “Glory Be! And blessed one be This Lovely Day!” At the flash of the thrilling sight, Sri Jeeyar Swamy was overwhelmed with joy and praised the Lord of Marvels, who revealed His Sovereignty over Earth and Heaven.
Thus, highly charged with profound love and profuse tears, he began to recite melodiously the picturesque versus from the hymn of Periya Thirumozhi of Sri Thirumangai Alwar and praised the Lord thus:
“At the southern bank of ‘Pennai’, the sacred river of perennial stream, encircled by fertile paddy fields, amid Vedic recitation of Ascetics performing Soma Yaga, there alluringly appears the Holy City Thirukovalur
Where I VERILY WITNESS the Supreme Lord who stowed the seven colossal cloud-clad mountains The seven Oceans, all the celestial worlds, earth and everything in His Stomach with no remains left; Yet relaxing calmly as a charming Infant on a tender Banyan Leaf that floats on the Causal Ocean.”
(Translated version of Sri Thirumangai Alwar’s Periya Thirumozhi 2: 10: 1)
DISLODGING THE ‘NANDHI’ TO KEELAIYUR
The Magnanimous Jeer Swamy, though belonged to the supreme school of Sri Vaishnavism, had respect and tolerance for other faiths too, since all the other ways of worship are also god-made to guide the souls to reach Him ultimately after several births. Therefore, he had never had any hatred or illwill towards the Shaiva cult. Actually, the Nayanmars, saints of Shaiva cult, had sung in praise of a Shiva temple at a place nearby Thirukovalur, namely Keelaiyur. So, Sri Jeer Swamy handed over all the icons of Lord Shiva, archa-vigrahas and sculptures of other demi-gods and relevant relics to the adored Shiva Temple of Keelaiyur. However, it was difficult to shift the Nandhi (Bull) to its relevant shrine; but Sri Jeer Swamy, with his magnetic personality and mystical powers, enticed the Bull with a bunch of sacred grass in his hands, and successfully repatriated it to the original Shiva temple. This superhuman adventure earned him the name “The Evictor of Nandi”.
FORMING BOUNDARIES FOR THE HOLY SHRINE
Sri Jeer Swamy, then discussed with the king of Chenchi about the future course of maintenance of Sri Aayanar Temple. To avoid any further illegitimate occupation of the Holy Shrine and to eliminate the possibility of any future mischief by the followers of other cults, Sri Jeer Swamy suggested a boundary around the Shrine and convinced the king that the non-believers of Lord’s Supremacy can have no moral right to live within the limits of that territory and so it was better to evict those potential miscreants residing around the temple. But, among a section of the rivals who wanted to avoid this condition, cleverly pleaded the king, “Your Highness! We can not accept this condition and at the same time we can not disobey your order. So, kindly comply with our simple request also. The boundary can be finalised by allowing anyone who was ready to measure by moving around with a flaming fire-pot on his head and a ‘Trident’ (Trishul) pierced in his belly. The boundary demarcated by someone under the above condition will be considered as unbiased one.”
The king, with the approval of Sri Jeer Swamy, acceded to their request. But, as expected by the adamant rivals, no one dared to come forward to undertake this crucial trial, fearing the physical agony. But, there came the Lord’s explicit disclosure of implicit faith of a real devotee to the world irrespective of his social status!
A valiant Harijan devotee, by name “Periyaan”, though living in the slum of downtrodden of that area, was having hearty love for The Lotus Feet of Sri Aayanar. He happily volunteered himself forward and thundered “I shall measure the boundary for my Lord God who measured the entire Universe and beyond and thus branded His Ownership and Lordship over every animate and inanimate beings.” The great devotee, with the Lord’s Grace in his heart, the red hot fire pot on his head and Trident plunged in his bowel, demarcated the boundary line, much to the embarrassment and disappointment of the mischievous rivals. So, as already agreed upon, the king ordered that the infidels should not reside within that boundary limits.
THE KING OF CHENCHI AND SHAIVITES BECOMING DISCIPLES OF SRI JEER SWAMY
On witnessing the remarkable glory and conspicuous accomplishments of Sri Jeer Swamy, the king of Chenchi, Sri Thuvaal Krishnappa Nayaka exalted His Holiness, surrendered unto the Sacred Feet of Sri Swamy and beca!lle an ardent disciple. Also, as promised before debate, a section of Shaivites who were honest about their commitment had become disciples of His Holiness. But, most of the unwilling Shaivites, with a feeling of guilt, dispersed from the Shrine and settled elsewhere. But our Philanthropic Sage, through his divine powers, mystically appeared in their dreams, consecrated them and initiated every one to Sri Vaishnava Sampradhaya by carrying out Pancha Samskara to them. Thus, he not only won their hearts, but own them as his sincere disciples too in course of time with his allencompassing love towards humanity!
ACCREDITED WITH THE HOLY NAME AS “EMPERUMANAR JEEYAR”
Sri Jeeyar Swamy, with the assistance of the king Krishnappa Nayaka, renovated the Holy Temple of Sri Aayanar after consecrating the surrounding of the Sacred Shrine, enforced disciplines of Sri Vaishnava
Heritage and made permanent arrangements f()r grand celebrations of weekly, monthly and yearly festive occasions apart from performing routine Poojas conforming to the religious rules. Inspired by the excellent services of His Holiness, the Lord graciously looked at Sri Jeer Swamy and called the Great Sage” Welcome! Oh! Beloved Emperumanar of the Present Time”. As the Lord Himself paid tribute to Sri Jeer Swamy, thenceforth His Holiness was merrily hailed by everyone as “SRI EMPERUMANAR JEER SWAMY.”
RENOVATION OF “SRI MUSHNAM”
Sri Emperumanar Jeer Swamy was religiously reigning in Thirukovalur for three golden years, ensuring all the divine services and auspicious celebrations are regularly performed to Sri Aayanar, adhering to the temple rules. To proceed further with other tasks of his life mission, Sri Emperumanar Jeer Swamy summoned the king and asked him to take charge of the temple administration during the absence of His Holiness. At his age of fifty, Sri Swamy arrived at Sri Mushnam, a prominent Purana Kshethra of Sri Varaha Perumal who is glorified by all the saints as “THE LORD OF ENLIGHTENMENT’. There, Sri Emperumanar Jeer Swamy renovated the dilapidated temple and reinstated its sanctity and pristine glory. Sri Jeer
Swamy felt immense joy while paying obeisance to the Lord of Enlightenment and praised Him through Alwar’s sweet verses of benediction:
“To my perception, no other deity is so wonderful as the Lord of Supreme Knowledge, Who salvaged this Earth from the engulfed deluge as a Bright White Boar and no other benefactor Is so beneficent to the Angels of Paradise and to the rest as our Lord of Enlightenment and Eternal Wisdom”
(Translated version of Sri Nammalwar’s Thiruvirutham: Hymn: 99)
RENOVATION OF THIRU KANNAMANGAI
After rendering sacred services for one year at Sri Mushnam, at the behest of Sri Varaha Perumal”the Lord of Enlightenment, Sri Emperumanar Jeer Swamy continued his voyage to execute the Divine Will. So’, His Holiness arrived at Thiru Kannamangai. There His Holiness undertook and completed the renovation works of the temple of Sri Bakthavathsala Perumal and showered the Alwar’s hymns of benediction at the Most Affectionate Lord, for Whom His devotees are His Inseparable Soul. The Lord graciously reciprocated in multiplicity the Sage’s passion of joyous love. The Lord then offered a Sacred Monastery (Mutt), the reigning powers of the Shrine, charge of the Temple’s Treasury and all other credentials of supreme rights and privileges over His Lovely Abode Thiru Kannamangai.
REDEMPTION OF NINE SACRED SHRINES AND GOT ENTITLED AS “NAVA THIRUPATHI JEER”
Sri Jeer Swamy was cheerfully offering the sacred hymns of benediction out of affection to the Lord of Thirukannamangai, the Holy Shrine surrounded by blooming lotus flowers, for one year and then as ordained by the Lord, His Holiness started his pilgrimage towards Thirukurugur and arrived to that Sacred Shrine which is ever glorified by all the savants, seers and exemplars.
The great Saint called all the ‘Pothis’ who were performing Poojas in all the Nine Shrines (Nava Thirupathi) and delivered an eloquence based on the spiritual doctrines of the scriptures, enlightened them with his sermons and convinced them to give way to the traditional priests to perform Poojas as was earlier, that is before the ‘Pothis’ took control over the temple. Thus, the Sage won their hearts and got full control over the temple.
The great Seer renovated the Shrine and was offering his loving benedictions to the Lovely Lord of Thirukurugur. Having immensely pleased by the remarkable services of our Jeer Swamy, the Lord presented His Holiness with all His Divine Laurels and dignified him in His own words, “Welcome, Oh! Jeer of Navathirupathi! I am very much pleased with your excellent services! So, now onwards, you take care of all the administrative, religious and spiritual services of our Shrine!” Being elated, Sri Jeer Swamy thanked the Lord who is the Origin of all the Existences. Then, His Holiness surrendered unto the Lotus Feet of Sri Nammalwar,’ the greatest of the great Sri Vaishnava Saints and the Primus among all the Masters of this eternal cult. Having sung in praise of Sri Nammalwar, the Sage dedicated a beautiful temple Car, carved out of sandalwood that was sent by The Lord of Seven Hills through Sri Jeeyar Swamy. There after, Sri Jeeyar Swamy earned a sacred name as “Navathirupathi Jeeyar Swamy”
KING VEERA VENKATA DEVARAYA BECOMING DISCIPLE OF SRI JEEYA SWAMY
Having excited on personally witnessing the spectacular achievements, leadership qualities and divine personality of Sri Jeer Swamy, the Shaivite king of that territory Sri Veera Venkata Devaraya surrendered unto the lotus feet of the Seer and became his ardent disciple. He constructed a Monastery for Sri Jeer Swamy and made him the principal administrator and exerciser of all the rights of the entire Navathirupathi Shrines.
SRI JEER SW AMY RESIDING AT SRIV AIKUNT AM SHRINE
While Sri Jeer Swamy cheerfully undertook pilgrimage to all the Nine Sacred Shrines of Navathirupathi with extreme devotion, he arrived to the Shrine ‘Sri Vaikuntam’, the Sacred Abode in the earth for the Emperor of the Heaven, who is glorified by the angels for ever!
There, Sri Senai Muthalvar * invited and addressed the Sage, “Welcome, Sri Jeer Swamy of Navathirupathi”, presented the Divine Offerings and asked him to stay for a long span of years to offer lovely services to Lord. The king ‘Veera Venkata Devaraya, on hearing the divine order, constructed a Monastery to His Holiness and offered all the reigning authorities of the Temple, besides gifting lot of fertile lands, groves and other such grants to. suppprt the Monastery’s functioning.
Sri Jeer Swamy was efficiently managing all the functional routines of the Navathirupathi Shrines, keeping Sri Vaikunatam as Head Quarters for fourteen golden years and almost all the people of that area became the disciples of Sri Jeer Swamy.
SRI JEER SW AMY’S GRAND ARRIVAL TO SRIRANGAM
On hearing Sri Jeer Swamy’s glorious divine powers and fame that was prevalent in all directions, Sri Veda Vyasa Bhattar who migrated from Thirukovalur to Sri Rangam long back due to the Chola King’s cruel deed, was very glad to learn that the long awaited Messiah had, as prophesied, come and rescued the Holy Shrine Thirukovalur. He, therefore, was planning to go to the Sacred Shrine ‘Sri Vaikuntam’ city to directly invite Sri Jeer Swamy to Sri Rangam. At the same time, Sri Nammalwar, the premier Saint among all the Alwars, appeared in the vision of Sri Jeer Swamy, asked him to go to Sri Rangam and establish a ‘Sannithi’ (Shrine) for his beloved Koorathalvan. Sri Jeer Swamy described his experience of divine vision to the king Veera Venkata Devaraya and asked him to ensure all the services to Lord be well cared for by him on behalf of His Holiness. Then, he undertook pilgrimage to the Holy Capital SRI RANGAM at his age of sixty-six. The king Devaraya had arranged necessary assistance for the journey of His Holiness, ordering his royal entourage to accompany the Sage during his holy trip.
* The Chieftain of Eternal Servants of God
As the news of the arrival of Sri Jeeyar Swamy reached the natives of Sri Rangam, they happily welcomed His Holiness with all the warmth and hospitality. After arranging for the Sage’s comfortable stay, Sri Veda Vyasa Bhattar, the erstwhile priest of Thirukovalur, met the Seer in privacy, praised His Holiness for redeeming the Thirukovalur Temple and briefed him about the importance of establishing a Shrine in honour of Sri Koorathalwan inside Sri Rangam Temple premises; but regretted the opposition for the same by some local authorities of the Temple. He also expressed his grief towards the reluctant attitude of some priests and natives during the occasion meant for lecturing “Kaisika Puranam” * apart from other imperial hurdles.
Sri Jeeyar Swamy pacified him and asserted that the Gracious Will of the’Lord would solve all the problems and bring cheers to His true devotees. His Holiness then explained the details of his spiritual vision in which the Sage received the Lord’s commands specially meant for curing the ills that afflicted the divine services of the Most Sacred Sri Rangam Temple.
FULFILLING THE NOBLE WISHES OF SRI VEDAVYASA BHATTAR
At a right opportunity, Sri Jeer Swamy convinced the temple authorities including the descendants of Sri Uthama Nambi about the importance of establishing a Shrine of Sri Koorathalvan in the premise of Sri Rangam Temple. On realising the divine qualities and indisputable leadership of Sri Jeer Swamy, the temple” authorities surrendered at the Sacred Feet of His Holiness. Then the Shrine of Koorathalvan was well established and all the rights of religious services and administrative authority of the Shrine were granted to Sri Veda Vyasa Bhattar.
Afterwards, Sri Jeer Swamy gave a new lease of life to traditions of Sri Rangam Temple by himself directly undertaking the services of lecturing the “Kaisika Puranamu which was hitherto neglected and riding on the Brahma Ratham** after completion of the discourse. Actually, at that time the yearly observance of riding on the Brahma Ratham was discontinued long back since every year the riders had to meet their fatal end on being confronted by a ‘devil’ on the way. As a great Mystic, Sri Jeer Swamy daringly rode on the Brahma Ratham, successfully encountered the ‘devil’ and liberated that cursed soul from its darkness of sins.
Besides, Sri Jeer Swamy bridged the gap between Sri Veda Vyasa Bhattar and the temple authorities by creating a cordial atmosphere in which cheerful co-operation among them had driven out all the differences and hurdles since then existed. Immensely gratified at the developments by the intervention of Sri Jeer Swamy, the elite Sri Veda’ Vyasa Bhattar was in full praise and gratitude for the great Sage.
*A heart-melting classical history, revealing Lord’s boundless Grace to a truthful and steadfast devotee who was socially lowest ranked by birth.
**The Divine Palanquin meant for riding by the Saint on sacred occasions.
The royal authorities too honoured the Sage for his distinguished services rendered to the development of the Temple and offered His Holiness a grand Monastery along with other honours such as Theertha Mariyadahai* and relevant superior rights in the Temple. Sri Jeeyar Swami commanded respond from all quarters and enjoyed reputation as reviver of Sri Ramanuja chareya’s Golden year.
SRI JEEYAR SWAY’S RETURN TO THIRUKOV ALUR
All the eminent citizens of Sri Rangam and all the Great Masters of Sri Vaishnava Philosophy led by Sri Ranga Narayana Jeer Swamy assembled in the Sacred Big Mandapa of the Temple to felicitate Sri Emperumanar Jeer Swamy. They glorified Sri Jeer Swamy’s magnificent achievements in restoring the Holy Sri Vaishnava Shrines, besides bringing order to the Sri Vaishnava Way of Life and renaIssance to its esteemed Society.
They recalled Sri Thirumangai Alwar’s love and fascination for 8Jri Thirukovlur as revealed in his Periya Thinlmozhi and Thiru Nedumthandakam. They also thought of the devotion and passion of Sri Parasara Bhattar ** towards that Holy Shrine. As every one was aware, but for the gallantry deed of Sri Jeer Swamy, our Sri Vaishnava devotees would have been for ever deprived of their worship at Lord’s Holy Abode Thirukovalur, the most favourite Shrine of Sri Parasara Bhattar. To express the gratitude of Sri Vaishnava Society, they wanted that Sri Jeer Swamy
should reign and guide the Sri Vaishnava Society from the Reverential Seat of His Holiness at Thirukovalur. Also they decided that all the supreme rights and authority of Thirukovalur Temple Shrine should be rested on Sri Jeer Swamy’s rule.
They, therefore, requested Sri Jeer Swamy to fulfil their affectionate wishes and the Sage also subscribed to their genuine views. Accordingly, all the primary rights of Thirukovalur Temple, lecturing Kaisika Puranam, riding on Brahma Ratham etc., were bestowed on Sri Jeer Swumy us in the observance for the Seers and Great Masters at Sri Rangam and other sueh Holy Shrines. Also, the primary duty of the imperial authority was to ensure that there should neither be any deviation nor any intervention to this system. All these arrangements were well scripted on a copper plate by the authoritative governing body of Sri Vaishnava Society and thus permanently documented for future references. Sri Jeeyar Swamy returned to Thirukovalur with all these renowned credentials.
* A special offering of Sacred Aqua of Lord’s Lotus Feet as per Temple’s Primary Order.
** The divine son of Sri Koorathalavn and one of the most prominent Poorvacharyas.
On knowing the arrival of Sri Emperumanar Jeer Swamy at Thirukovalur, the king of Chenchi ‘Thuvaal Krishnappa Nayaka’ and the king of Chandra Giri ‘V enkatapathy N ayaka’ came to Thirukovalur and bowed down at the Lotus Feet of Sri Jeer Swamy as their eyes filled with blissful tears. Sri Jeer Swamy blessed them and elaborated all the episodes of adventures and miracles during the noble mission of His Holiness. Both the kings were delighted and venerated the glories of the Sage. They set up a spacious Monastery for Sri Jeeyar Swamy near the Temple and also built many Mantapas inside the Temple Shrine. They donated many grants to support the daily performance of Poojasand also to celebrate festivals at Temple and Monastery. Thus, they earned the blessings of Sri Jeeyar Swamy who was extremely pleased at their love towards Lord, devotees and Master.
Sri Jeeyar Swamy was thus rendering his devotional services and paying his obeisance to the Lord Sri Aayanar for forty nine long years with innumerable disciples, supervising and guiding the noble activities of the Sri Vaishnava Society. Hence, His Holiness was revered as a Leading Light of all the Sri Vaishnava devotees!
SRI JEER SW AMY ATTAINING HEAVENLY ABODE
Sri Jeer Swamy then made one of his best disciples by name Sri Thirumalai Nambi to totally renounce all the worldly attachments, offered saffron cloth with Thridhanda for him to undertake Sanyasa Dharma. His Holiness Sri Emperumanar Jeer Swamy named the new pontiff as “Thirumalai Nambi Emperumanar Jeer”, made him as the successor of his Reverential Order and entitled him all the supreme authority and rights.
After triumphantly completing all the divine ordained missions in his sacred life, Sri Emperumanar Jeer Swamy at his age of one hundred and sixteenth year, attained the Ultimate Beatitude of the Lord’s Supreme Abode.
BLESSED BENEFITS OF READING THIS SACRED BOOK
As revealed on so many occasions, Sri Jeer Swamy was the incarnation of The Divine Serpant, the thousand hooded “Aadhi Sesha” who is th.e Eternal Servant of Lord Sri Vishnu. Sri Aadhi Sesha is ever serving and pleasing the Supreme Lord in so many forms such as a beautiful Umbrella when He walks, His Throne while seating, serving like wooden sandals while standing, carrying Him as a lovely Yacht in the Milky Ocean, decorating His Presence as a Scintillating Lantern, beautifying His Supreme Abode as a Delicate Silky Canopy and comforting Him as His pleasant slanting couch.
All as the same, Sri Jeer Swamy was also pleasing the Supreme Godhead Sriman Narayana by his versatile services and even today His Holiness is serving God’s will through his disciplic succession. There are so many such parallel aspects of eternal services between The Aadhi Sesha and Sri Jeer Swamy. It is therefore equally true that Lord Sri Thrivikrama (Sri Aayanar) with His Divine Concert Sri Pushpavalli Thaayar (Sri Poonkoval Nachiyar) is much pleased with the devotees who read this sacred book depicting the glories of His most Beloved Saint Sri Emperumanar Jeeyar Swamy.
Those who read this Sacred History of Sri Jeer Swami with faith, piety and love will certainly be blessed not only with all the prosperity in this worldly life but are sure to become eligible to serve the Lord eternally in their Heavenly Life too!
This authentic documentation of Glorious History of one of the greatest Sages of this Kali Yuga is to be revered and honoured at all times. Reading this Sacred Book will drive out all the evils within and around, purify the polluted minds, sanctify the dwellings and fill the hearts with extreme love for the Supreme Lord! Sincere reading of this Sacred Book itself is a prayerful worship and so this Blessed History is to be kept and honoured in the worshipping spot. This will bring bliss and sanctity to human hearts, thus steadily elevate the souls to the spectacular heights of spirituality!
“SURRENDER UNTO THE LORD’S LOTUS FEET,
THE ULTIMATE SANCTUARY OF ALL THE SOULS!”
“FLOURISH! FLOURISH! AND FLOURISH FOR EVER!”
courtesy “Tirukkovalur Emberumaanaar Jeeyar Mutt”