The very word Kovil indicates Sri Rangam
The very word Vinnagar indicates Sri Oppiliappan Thiruvinnagar
The very word Azhwar indicates Svami Naamazhwar
The very word Desikan indicates Svami Thupul Nigamanta Desikan
All this indicates the greatness of the places and people, that even without a prefix to the generic name indicates a particular perumal or great acharya. Another in this line of stand out stalwarts of our philosophy, is Bhattar, which indicates only and only to Svami Sri Parasara Bhattar, son of Sri Kurathazhwan and Principle Aaradhakar Archakasvami of Sri Ranganthar.
His greatness shines without mention but the recitation of his life is not to throw light on his greatness but to imbibe the great qualities one should follow. It is to learn and practice from the ideals he set. He is a standard and we all are practitioners of his philosophy. It is true he is too tall for us to even imagine to be him, but atleast by trying to follow his footsteps we shall please the Lord who would bless us and take care of us, like always because he took care of us earlier, takes care of us now and will definitely take care of us later.
Sri Parasara Bhattar was born to Sri Kurathazhwan in the tamil month of Vaikasi with Anusham as his birth star. He was named Parasharan on advice from Sri Sri Sri Ramanujacharyar himself, in memory of Sage Parashara who penned the Sri Vishnupuranam. It is said that Sri Bhattar grew up as the adopted child of Sri Ranganathar and Sri Ranganayaki Taiyar themselves as if he was not found at home Sri Bhattar was assured to be in the halls of Sri Rangam temple doing service to the lord small or big.
His initial teachings happened under his own great father Sri Kurathazhwan and later under Sri Ramanauja’s cousin Sri Embar. He grasped all the nuances of religious scriptures very quickly and became a great scholar at a young age itself. He was installed as the Purohit- Priest Principal of Sri Ranganathar. His twin brother Sri Vedavyasaa Bhattar (Sri Srirama Pillai) descendants continue to be the Priest Principal of Perumal even today.
It is known that as a young genius, Sri Bhattar overwhelmed another great scholar commonly known as Vedanti of Melkote by his eloquence and with the help of Tirunedunthandakam of Sri Thirumangai Azhwar. Sri Vedanti was so attracted to our acharya that he gave up everything became a sanyasi and a deep follower of Sri Bhattar. He stayed in Srirangam and learnt the Thiruvaiymozhi of Svami Nammazhwar from Sri Bhattar. Sri Bhattar was so impressed with Sri Vedanti that he game him the name Nanjiyar and he took over as acharya after Sri Bhattar.
His snubbing a scholar by a simple question when he was just five year old is widely quoted. He used to ask his father questions, used to find Vedic classes boring with the repetition of the lessons which he already knew. Bhattar had two wives, Akkacci and Manni from the family of Mahapurna. It appears that despite the catholicity of Ramanuja, Kurattalvan found it difficult to get alliances for his sons as he belonged to the ‘vadama’ subsect whereas the prevailing circle he associated at Srirangam was Brhaccaranam ! It was Ramanuja’s intervention that brought about this alliance. Bhattar had one son by name Uddanda Bhattar(Naduvil Tiruvidhi Pillai).
The stalwart seniors of Bhattar were all alive and active for the greater part of his youth and middle age. It can therefore be conjucted that during this period, he maintained a low profile. Bhattar wrote the commentary ‘Bhagavadguna Darpana’ on Sri Visnusahasranama at the behest of Acharya Ramanuja himself. His other equally famous works are ‘Srrangaraja Stava’, ‘Srigunaratnakosa’, ‘Astasloki’, ‘Tatvaratnakara’ and ‘Tatvatraya’. His favourite Divya Prabhandham composition was Thirumangai Alwar’s Tirunedundandakam on which he has written a beautiful commentary. The speciality of this works is that he has taken just the 21st stanza ‘Maivanna Narumkunji..’ for detailed study and in the course he has brought in other 29 stanzas more for delineation.
The Kalakshepa Ghosti of Sri Bhattar was very famous in his times, attended by hundreds of disciples in SriRangam temple premises itself. His explations of Tiruvaymozhi and Thirunedunthandakam are splendid and still quoted by authors. He authored a huge plethora of books a few jems from this jewel set are Sahsranama Bhasyam (Bhagvadguna Darpanam) commentary and interpretation of The Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam Astasloki ( 8 sanskrit shlokas) The first four explain the Ashtakshra Mantram and the next two the Dvyam. While the last two are on Sri Krishna;s Charama Shloka. His other works include the Sriranga Ashtakam, Tattvaratnakaram, Pranava Vivaranam, Sri Gunaratnakosam, Sri Rangarajastavam, Sri Kriya Dipam, Tattvatraya Shlokam and many more. Sri Bhatar attained Moksham at a very yong age around 30 and now serves at the feet of the Lord of Vaikuntham.
Sri Parasara Bhattaryah Srirangesa Purohittah |
Srivatsangasutah Sriman Sreyase Mestu Bhuyase||
Sri Nrisimhapriya (English) (Volume 11/Issue 1) June 2012 Article by Sri R Kannan.
(Both these played a major role in shaping this article)
dAssan Varun S Aiyengar