Today August 25, 2013; Vijaya Aavani Revathi, is Srimath Thenbirai Andavan’s varusha thirunakshatram. The following is the Thanian of and write-up on Srimath Thenbirai Andavan:
Srimath VEdha vathamsa lakshmana munehe praapthaaga maantha dvayam
ThEna Sri raghu punga vangri yugaLe nyasthaathma Rakshaambharam
Srimath Srinidhi yogivarya karuna labdaabhja chakraangkanam
Vande shaanthi virakhthi poornamanagham Sri ranga naatham Gurum
Srimath Thembarai Andavan Sri RanganAtha MahA dEsikan adorned Acharya peetam as the 8th Andavan in the Andavan Periashramam Munithraya Sampradayam AchArya Lineage.
Thembarai is a beautiful serene village situated on the banks of river pAmani. He was born to Sri U.Ve Vangeepuram SeshAdriyAchAr in then year 1886 VIYA varusham in the month of Avani with Revathy as birth star (August 19, 1886). His poorvasirama name was Venkataraghavan. (His father gave him excellent education in his younger days.)
The Astrologers who looked at the horoscope of swAmi predicted that he would become a sanyAsi and a parama virakthA, unparalleled. After undergoing samskArams at the right age, swAmi performed adhyayanam of sAma sAkhA and became an exponent. He underwent rigorous training and mastered sanskrit, and Kavya sAstrAs along with other vEda sAkhAs in Thirukkudanthai Sanskrit College. He went to Rajamannar koil and mastered vyAkaraNa sAstrAs under the tutelage of Sri U.Ve RangachAr swAmi (This mahAn later became the 39th Jeer of Sri Ahobila Mutt as Sri Parankusa SatakOpa yatheendra mahA dEsikan). Later he went to viLAkkudi to learn tharka sAstrAs under the eminent guidance of “ThArkika simham” Sri. U.Ve. SrinivAsachariAr swAmi. Having completely learnt tharka sAstrAs, swAmi learnt and mastered MeemAmsa sAstrAs under the guidance of MahA mahOpAdhyAyA Brahmasri KuppuswAmi SastrigAL and Brahmasri ChinnaswAmi SastrigAL.
In the year 1908, swAmi was married to Srimathi Vijayavalli Ammal. Immediately after the marriage, swAmi took the VaisvadEva upadEsam from his paternal uncle, Maha vidwAn Brahmanidhi Sri U.Ve RamabhadrAchAr swAmi. During his GruhasthAsramA, swAmi observed panca kAla anushtAnams in an austere and rigorous way. Later, swAmi served as a religious teacher in a national high school. During this time swAmi served as an examiner for sanskrit competitions conducted Sri kanchi kAmakOti matam. Sri SankarAchArya (paramAchAryA) had utmost respect for swAmi’s pAndithyAm.SwAmi followed Sriman nigamAntha mahA dEsikan in observing ‘Unccha vrutthi’. Such was the vairAghyam swAmi possessed in renouncement all the materialistic lifestyle and observance of severe austerity. SwAmi underwent grantha chathushtya kAlakshEpams under Srimath NammAndavan. In the kAlakshEpa goshti, swAmi used to listen to kAlakshEpam with rapt attention and full concentration.
Srimath NammAndavan performed panca samskAram to swAmi in his younger days and later performed bharasamarpanam at the lotus feet of vaduvoor (Lord Sri Rama). In the year 1922, in Mannargudi, Sri Ramanaya upanyasam of swAmi was arranged by Sri U.Ve. vidwAn Rama swAmi Iyengar and Sri. U.Ve. KrishnamAchAriAr,which went on for over two months. While swAmi was undertaking kAlakshEpams from His Holiness Srimath NammAndavan ,Srimath Andavan adorned ThirunAdu unexpectedly in Kanchipuram. Srimath Akkur Andavan succeeded NammAndavan to adorn the AchArya peetam. Thembarai swAmi continued his kAlakshEpams under Srimath Akkur Andavan.
Guna seelA from his younger days, swAmi was a puritan filled with all satva gunAs. Simplicity, honesty, purity, veracity, courage, equality, renunciation, lucid and profound sampradayic knowledge were hallmarks of swAmi’s gunAs. One could see simplicity all the way in the clothes he wore, the food he ate or the lifestyle he led. SwAmi was such a down-to-earth person who won the respect of many of his admirers SwAmi had no desire to save money for his family. The amazing virakthi swAmi possessed is attributed to his profound knowledge of our siddhAnta and total belief in it. Even during the sadas when sambhavana was offered to vidwAns, swAmi would do his best to avoid taking up sanmAnam.
Swami was doing kainkaryam to Srimath Akkur Andavan, continuing to undertake kAlakshEpams under His Holiness. Srimath Andavan was immensely pleased with our swAmi’s GnAna, vairAghyA and AnushtAnams and felt that our swami was the right person to be adorned as ‘sampradAya pravarthakA’ of periAsramam after His time. He was very confident our swami would carry Asramam’s growth to heights of glory. Accordingly HH did upadEsam on prapatti proyOgA and prEsha manthram to our swami.
In the meantime, swAmi’s dharma patni attained AchAryan thiruvadi in the year 1946. Srimath Akkur Andavan was also becoming weak because of age. Swami after long thoughts decided to take up sanyAsam and hence went to Srimath Andavan and prayed to HH and sought his blessings for the sanyAsam. Srimath Andavan was extremely pleased by swAmi’s decision and ordained His sishyAs to make arrangements for the Holy ceremony.
In the year viya in the month of Aippasi on the 21st day that is on October 6, 1946 in the presence of several Andavan Thiruvadis, Srimath Akkur Andavan gave the holy sanyAsam to Sri. U.Ve. Brahmaniddhi Thembarai VenkatarAghavAchAriar swami. He was given the title as ‘Sri RanganAtha mahA dEsikan’ and was fondly called as Thembarai Andavan. Srimath Akkur Andavan lived for 5 more months after that and adorned ThirunAdu on 19-3-1947 on a krishna paksha dwAdasi day ( in the month of Panguni, viya year).
Because of the sanyAsa sweekAram, swami’s lifestyle did not change a bit at all as he practiced a life of sanyAsi even before that with rigorous anushtAnams and extreme vairAghyam having completely renounced worldly comforts. The daily chores of Asramam was maintained the same way as it was done from Srimath PeriAndavan’s period. Srimath Thembarai Andavan would wake up before 4 AM in the morning and would perform avagAha snAnam immediately thereafter. SandhyAvandhanam, japams would be done after that followed by bhagavath ArAdhanam and purvAchAryAs’ pAdukA ArAdhanam. This was followed by distribution of perumAl and pAdukA theertham. . Later, Sri bhAshya, geethA bhAshya, bhagavath vishaya kAlakshEpams would by rendered by His Holiness after which vaidheeka karmas such as samAsrayanams and bharanyAsams would be performed for the bhAgavathAs for the day.
In the evenings, kAlakshEpams on divya sookthis such as Srimath RamAyanam, nyAya siddhAnjanam. AdhikaraNa sArAvaLi would happen besides other anushtAnams. Srimath Andavan would consume very little food once a day in the mornings.During swAmi’s time as AchAryA, Sri. U.Ve. Chakravarthi KrishnamAchAriar swAmi, Sri U.Ve V.K. SrinivAsAchAriAr swami and later Sri U.Ve SrinivAsa rAghavAchariAr swami (Kannan swami – later Srimath Thirukkudanthai Andavan) served as Sri Karyams of Asramam at different periods.
As per the holy order of His Holiness, a monthly magazine called ‘Sri Ranganatha Paduka’ was started in the year 1955 in the month of October ( Manmatha Varusham in the month of Ippasi) to bring a connection between the asramam and the andavan sishyas. Srimath Thembarai Andavan became weaker as the days passed by due to rigorous anushtanams, meagre intake of food and also due to breathing related health issues. His Holiness gave upadEsam on “PrEsha manthram” and “MOkshAsrama Ahnika AnushtAnam” to three vidwAns of the Asramam – U.Ve. Sri. Kannan swAmi, U.Ve. Sri. Mysore GopAlAchAr swAmi(who later on became Srimath Mysore Andavan in the late 80s) and Mannargudi GanapAdi vidwAn Sri U.Ve NarasimhAchArya swAmi for them to be ready and take up sanyAsam any time when called.In April 1963, Srimath Andavan’s health was extremely affected and with great difficulty His Holiness was performing his nithya karma anushtAnam. On April 4th 1963, Srimath Andavan’s condition became worse and most of the sishyAs were informed. Sree kAryam Sri U.Ve Kannan swAmi was also informed of Srimath Andavan’s health. On His arrival, arrangements were speeded up for Sri Kannan swAmi’s thureeyAsrama sweekAram. Early morning the next day i.e. on 5th april, 1963 (Friday, sukla dwAdasi, makam star), in the presence of sishyAs, His Holiness Srimath Thembarai Andavan ordained the ascetic order to Sri U.Ve. Kannan SwAmi who was named as Srimath vEdAnta rAmAnuja mahA dEsikan and within few hours on the same day (April 5th 1963) He adorned Thirunadu satisfied with having found His worthy successor.
Write-up Courtesy: Sri Perungadambanur Parthasarathy Sreenivasan
The following is the video of Srimath Mushnam Andavan’s upanyasam about Srimath Thenbarai Andavan taken two years back…
Video Courtesy: Sri Govindarajan Sridhar Swami and Sri Raguveeradayal Swami