Vaduga Nambi s the synonym of Acharya Abhimana / Bakthi. He was born in Saligramam which is nearly 80 KM west of Mysore, now called as Mirle-Saligramam, where paddy grows abundance near Mysore. (Sali means Paddy). He was born in the star of Ashwini in the month of Chittirai for the Salagrama Aiyan couples. His birth name was Andhra Purnar.
Today being Chittirai – Ashwini the varusha thiru nakshatram of the one the great shisyas of Swami Ramanujar, Sri Vaduga Nambi, lets remember the him and his great guru bhakti towards Emberumanar.
During first days of Swami Ramanujar’s travel towards Melkote, many people of Thondanur became sishyas to Swami Udaiyavar after consuming Sripatha Teertham of Swami Mudaliaandan. Swami Ramanujar then reached Mithilai Saligrama and was watching Mudaliandan’s Sripadha theertham (from thondanur lake) and Vaduga Nambi requested Swami Ramanujar to keep his feet in the same water and then he took Sripadha Theertham of both Mudaliandan & Ramanujar. Thus became Sishya of Swami Ramanujar.
Vaduga Nambi was said to be taken on board by Sri Ramanuja as disciple by 1079 A.D and lived his life in the seva of Sri Ramanuja. He became inseparable from Emperumanar.
It was said that Vaduga Nambi suggested to the queen and king Bittadeva that his spiritual master was capable of restoring the princess to normalcy. The Jain king invited Ramanujar to his palace to cure the princess but Swamy was initially reluctant to enter a palace. Vaduga nambi also persuaded Swamy Ramanujar to resent to the king’s plea which could help in establishing faith in Srivaishanvism.
His reverence for Ramanuja was boundless and he performance thiruvaradhanam to the Tiruvadi Nilai (sandals) of Sri Ramanuja daily.
Once, when in Srirangam,he was heating the milk to be offered to Ramanuja, the Saint called him to worship Lord Namperumal (Ranganatha) as the procession was passing through the place. Ramanuja told Vaduga Nambi: “Vaduga, come out immediately, the Lord’s procession is passing through our place; let us go and worship Him.” Pat came the reply from the disciple, “If I come out now to worship your Lord, who will attend to the milk for my Lord (Ramanuja)?”
Sri Ramanuja usually visited Nampermal’s Sannathi(Procession Deity of Sri Ranganatha in Srirangam) along with his disciples. Once during such visits, when Sri Ramanuja was enjoying in the beauty of Namperumal Archai Thirumeni, Swami Vaduganambi was enjoying in the beauty of Sri Ramanuja’s Divine form. Sri Ramanuja told Swami Vaduganambi, “Vaduga! look at the Namperumal’s eyes – (Neenda ap peryavaya Kanngal…ummai Pethamai Seiyavillaiya..??”). There was a spontaneous reply from Swami Vaduganambi , saying that “The eyes which have seen my ‘amudhan’ will not see another!-(En amuthani kanda kangal Mattru Onninai Kaanave)”. For Swami Vaduga Nambi , Sri Ramanuja is the only one and all in one.
Vaduganambi, was once visited by relatives who had not obtained samasrayanam from acharyas. When they left, Nambi threw away all the vessels and cleaned the thirumaligai and brought the left over vessels from Andaan’s thirumaligai and felt happy as he firmly believed that vessels used by such a srivaishanava as Andaan are good to use even when they are very old.
Once Swami Ramanujar along with Vaduga Nambi and others travelled to Tiruvanandapuram in kerala to propagate vishistadvaitam and thought of changing agamam at the temple. But Lord had different plans and lifted Sri Ramanujar from there to Thirukurungudi when he was sleeping. Thus both Swami Vaduga Nambi and Sri Ramanuja were separated on either side of the Mahendragiri Hill. At Thirukkurunkudi, thirukkurungudi Nambi posed as Vaduga Nambi and became sishya of Sri RamAnujA and became VaishNava Nambi. Vaduga Nambi, thus had this great privilege.
Vaduga Nambi was like Madhurakavi Azhwar who had Nammazhwar as everything. He regularly used to accept Emperumaanar’s Sesha Prasadham only. He considered Sri RamAnuja as his AchArya and Lord.
He was one of the 74 Simhasanaadhipatis established by Swami Ramanujar.
When Emperumaanar left the mortal coil , he rested his head on Embar’s lap and his feet on Vaduga Nambi’s lap and amalgamated into Namperumal’s Thiruvadi… listening to Divya Prabandam and Upanishads.
After Sri Ramanujar ascending to paramapadam, spent his last days in Saligramam worshipping Sri Ramanuja’s Thiruvadi and teaching Sri Ramanujars glories to his sishya and others and attained immortality due to his Acharya Abhimanam.
Vaduga Nambi was said to have lived for 95 years.
Vaduganambi left us with a chronicle called YathirAja vaibhavam detailing every incident of emperumAnAr’s life. In yathirAja vaibhavam’s last sloka vaduga nambi contemplates the mercy of emperumanar who gave him the kainkaryam of boiling milk for him.
Sri vaduga nambi’s thaniyan:
rAmAnujArya sachchishyam sALagrAma nivAsinam
panchamOpAya sampannam sALagrAmAryam AsrayE
ராமானுஜார்ய ஸச்சிஷ்யம் ஸாளக்ராம நிவாஸிநம்
பஞ்சமோபாய ஸம்பந்நம் ஸாளக்ராமார்யம் ஆச்ரயே