Thirunakshatram of Baghavad Ramanuja


Swami Ramanuja_Kanchi

Today Chithirai Thiruvathirai (May 14th, 2013), is the Varusha Thirunakshatram of Swami Emberumanar (996th thirunakshatram)

Lets read an article titled “Sri Ramanujar Thirumeni”

Sri Ramanuja’s physical beauty is an aspect that surely mesmories all. We surely have darsan of Udaiyavar sannidhi in almost all divyadesams. But there are few distinguished thirumeni’s of Sri Ramanujar.

First Thirumeni of Ilayaperumal appeared much before the he came down to the earth. That was Bhavishyath Achaarya vigraham. This was given to Sri Nathamunigal by Swami Nammazhwar after teaching him the great treasure of nalayiram divya prabhandam. This was then given to Sri Uyyakkondar. This vigraham was passed to Sri Manakkal Nambi who succeeded him. Sri Yamnucharya (Nathamunikal’s grand son) got the sacred vigraham from Sri Manakkal Nambi. Sri Yamnucharya identified Ilaya Perumal as the bhavishyath aacharyan he had. Thus Emperumanaar is known as Bhavishyath aacharyan (future to Nammazhwar , Nathamunigal ….).

The Thirumeni from Sri Nammawar can be called as Thannai unarthiya Thirumeni (தன்னை உணர்த்திய திருமேனி). That is தன்னை (உலகிற்கு) உணர்த்திய திருமேனி

The Bhavishyat acharyan temple is in Alwar Thirunagari but the thirumeni that Sri Nathamunigal got it is present in Thirukoshtiyur.

The other three distinguished thirumeni of Emperumanaar are

The one in Thirunarayanapuram is Thamarugandha Thirumeni ( தமர் உகந்த திருமேனி) : After a stay of nearly 12 year in Melkote, Emperumanaar decided to return to Srirangam as chozha king was no more. By hearing the news the local people was very unhappy. So Swami Ramanuja asked created a bronze image of his and gave to them. That was known as Thamar ungandha Thirumeni.

The thirumeni at Sriperumpudur is Thanugandha Thirumeni (தான் உகந்த திருமேனி) :  Just  few days before leaving the mortal coil and going to Vaikunta, Emperumanaar’s Disciple and Swami Mudhaliandan’s Son Kanthadai Annan got a Archa Vigraham of Ramanuja and presented before him, then Swami Ramanuja embraced that archa thirumeni and passed all his powers onto that vigraham, then Udayavar instructed to the Prathistai (installation) of this Vigraham at Sriperumpudur. While Swami Ramanuja was in Srirangam, this archa moorthi was installed in Sriperumbudur. It is known as Than Uganda Thirumeni.

The Thirumeni in Srirangam is Thanana thirumeni (தானான திருமேனி) :  SrI rAmAnuja was the only personage whose remains were interred inside the Great Temple precincts. The mUla vigraham of the Swami Ramanujar was fashioned over his relics and hence it is known as  tAm Ana tirumEni. This image receives, twice a year, a coat of camphor mixed with saffron, and this special observance had continued for the last eight centuries and a half.

Though we are fortunate to enjoy these thirumeni s of Swami Ramanujar, but those who are lived with him are fortunate souls, for they was treated daily to the enchanting sight of Udayavar

How can they resitrict themselves without describing his beauty.

Sri Embar, who was known as padha chayya – shadow of sri ramanujar’s lotus feet, excellently describe the divinely beautiful thirumeni azhagu of Emperumanaar with the following pasuram.

paRpamenaththigazh painGgazhalum thanN pallavamE viralum

pAvanamAgiya paiNthuvarAdai padhiNtha marunGgazhagum

muppuriNUlodu munkaiyilENthiya  mukkOl thannazhagum

munnavar thaNthidu mozhigaL NiRaiNthidu muRuval NilAvazhagum

kaRpagamEvizhi karunNaipozhiNthidu kamalakkanNnNazhagum

kAri chuthankazhal chUdiya mudiyum ganaNaRchigai mudiyum

eppozhuthum ethirAchan vadivazhagu en idhayaththuLathAl

illai enakkethir illai enakkethir illai enakkethirE


பற்பமெனத்திகழ் பைங்கழலும் தண் பல்லவமே விரலும்

பாவனமாகிய பைந்துவராடை பதிந்த மருங்கழகும்

முப்புரிநூலொடு முன்கையிலேந்திய  முக்கோல் தன்னழகும்

முன்னவர் தந்திடு மொழிகள் நிறைந்திடு முறுவல் நிலாவழகும்

கற்பகமேவிழி கருணைபொழிந்திடு கமலக்கண்ணழகும்

காரி சுதன்கழல் சூடிய முடியும் கனநற்சிகை முடியும்

எப்பொழுதும் எதிராசன் வடிவழகு என் இதயத்துளதால்

இல்லை எனக்கெதிர் இல்லை எனக்கெதிர் இல்லை எனக்கெதிரே

Embar’s enjoyment of seeing Sri Ramanujacharya’s lotus feet , tender fingers reminding one of the creepers, sacred saffron robe, most auspicious poonool ( yagnopavitham), thridandam , His enchanting smile laden with Daya , large dark eyes reminiscent of wish yielding karpaka maram (tree), the sikha formed by abundant tresses is simply beautiful . Embar declares that there is no one equal to himself; since Yathirajan’s Divine Beauty lingers in his heart.

This pasuram is a part of Sri Ramanujar’s tirumanjana kattiyam asit brings before our eyes in vivid detail,Udayavar’s beautiful tirumEni.

Sri KoorattAzhwAn’s words are an eloquent testimony  to the handsomeness of Sri Etirajar.

“KashAya sobhi kamaneeya sikhA nivEsam

dandatraya ujjvala karam vimala upaveetam

udyat dinEsa nibham ullasat oordhva pundram

roopam tavAstu yatirAja drisOr mamAgrE”

Sri Ramanuja, returning from Tirunarayanapuram after a 12 year sojourn, was dismayed to find Azhvan sightless. Sri KoorattAzvAn, however, told his master that he did not need the aid of physical eyes, as Sri Ramanuja’s handsome tirumEni was etched in his mind’s eye, and recited the aforesaid slOkA, recalling in splendid detail what was ever-visible to him, despite the loss of sight.

Here, Sri AzhvAn compares Sri BhashyakArA’s appearance with that of sanyAsis of other faiths.

Meaning –  The dress code of other yatis is hardly becoming, while the kAshAya (ochre robes) worn by Bhagavat Ramanuja sits on him with resplendence. Dharma shastrAs enjoin every vaidika to sport a shikhA, as an eligibility criterion for vaidika karmAs. Whereas yatis of other faiths completely shave their heads, Sri Ramanuja has a beautiful shikhA, denoting symbolically that our sampradaya is based on the solid foundations of the Vedas and dharma shastras. Unlike other sanyasis who carry only Eka dandam, Sri Bhashyakara carries a shining tridandam. Unlike advaita sanyasis who give up their yagyOpaveetA upon assuming the tureeyAshramam, a beautiful upaveetam adorns the broad chest of Yatiraja, signifying that performance of   karma, as ordained in the shAstrAs, with sAtvika tyAgam, and not total karma tyagam, is called for. He is indeed a rising Sun, sparkling with physical beauty , dazzling non-believers with the blinding light of his gnAnA, and come to dispel the darkness of ignorance. The dvAdasa oordhva pundrAs adorning his tirumEni bestow on Sri Ramanuja an indescribable beauty. To those who have noticed how a tiruman improves even the most unremarkable of visages, it should be easy to imagine how panniru tirunAmam enhances the already considerable handsomeness of Yatiraja.

We can see great sishya like Sri Vaduga Nambi who declared “En amuthani kanda kangal Mattru Onninai Kaanave” – The eyes which have seen my ‘amudhan- Sri Ramanujar’ will not see another.  Thus he bound his sishyas with his divine beauty.

The aacharyars after Sri Ramanujar also at many instances described the Swami’s Vadivazhagu.

Swami Desikan in his Yathiraja Sapthathi gives a description which was very close to above Azhaawan’s  slokam.

“Upaveetinam oordhapundravantam

Trijagat puNya palam tridanda hastam

SaranAgata sArtthavaham eedE

ShikayA sEkariNam patim yateenAm”

I praise Yathiraja, who shines with a Yajna Upaveetham, on His chest and with theOordhavapuNram who is really the fruit of the Good deeds of all worlds, who has athridaNda, in His hand, and finally has a tuft of hair on the Head. He is the saviour of the Vaishnavites, surrendered unto Him, guaranteeing for their salvation.

Sri Varavaramuni in his Arthi prabandham gave moving description of Yathirajar’s aprAkrita divya soundaryam.

“SeerArum etirAsar tiruvadigaL vAzhi

Tiruvarayil sAttriya sen tuvarAdai vazhi

ErArum seyya vadivu eppozhudum vAzhi

Ilangiya munnool vAzhi iNai tOLgaL vAzhi

SOrAda tuyya mukhacchOdi vAzhi

Toomuruval  koNda mukham vAzhi tuNai malar kaNgal vAzhi

EerAru tirunAmam aNinda ezhil vAzhi

Ini tiruppOdezhil gnAna muddirai vAzhiyE”.

The feet of Ramanuja, that contains the best of divine auspicious qualities, may that live long! The saffron robe that Ramanuja wraps around his body, the one that can even put the brightness of the sun to shame, may that live long! The body (thirumeni) of Ramanuja, which glitters in bright red colour, may that live long! The sacred thread (upaveedham) that runs around his body, the one that appears like lightning in the background of a dark cloud, may that live long! Oh Ramanuja, may your mighty shoulders (which are adorned with basil garlands), which can retrieve people from the depths of samsara and the compassion that drives you to their rescue live long! May your divine face, which bears a bright smile, live long! May that smile on your face (which resembles that of a bud in bloom) due to your continued service to the Lord and due to the love you have for your devotees, live long! May your divine eyes, which sparkle when one glorifies “Sri Ranga Sri” and “Srivaishnava Sri” and when you see your devotees, live long! May the twelve thirunamams (dvadhasa urdhva pundrams) on your body live long! May the beauty of your body posture, in which you are seated in Padhmasana with a mudra of knowledge, live long!


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