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Srimathe Ramanujaya Namaha
Sri DayabAla munayE namaha
Sri ThathAchArya GuravE namaha

During the period of Sri Ramanujar, there lived a great "Advaitha" proponent named 'Yagya murthy' near a place called "Vinjimoor" in the plains of Tirumala hills. He was an extremely erudite scholar who won over many battles over his peers in "Tarkha Vaadham" or "Tarkham". Tarkham refers to the art of debating, making counter points to disprove an already established theory or practice. A lot of analytical skills are needed to do tarkha vaadam. Yagya murthy, the great intellect, was highly successful in tarkha vaadam as a result of which he made his oppoents embrace "Advaitha" philosophy. In those days, when an opponent accepts defeat in an argument, he should embrace the philosophy of the winner at once.

As days progressed, his victories grew by leaps and bounds. Yagya Murthy started to go to different places near and far to win over his contemporaries and bolster the roots of "Advaitha". But how far could he go and how could he? Just because he went on converting loads of folks to Advaitha, would it mean that "advaitha" is the right way of interpreting Vedas? The answer is definitely a "NO". Universal and eternal truth is one and that is the one which stands the test of time. So we do recognize that he should and he will be corrected at some point of time. But during those times, who could have dared to face Yagya murthy in tarkha vaadam? Who can put an end to this invincible scholar? The simplest answer to the toughest task was obviously our great Jagadaacharyan, Sri Ramanuja who did the task deftly.

Lord Sriman Naarayanan planned for their meet at Srirangam as a part of his leela. As usual, the rules of the debate were laid clearly before it began. Swami Ramanuja was certainly very confident about our Sri Vaishnava Sampradhayam, but is now going to undergo a stern test in the form of Yagya Murthy. The debate started and both these great philosphers started to argue in their stand. Attacks, counter attacks and defenses ensued from both parties. At one point it looked that the battle would never end. Yagya muthy challenged Swami Ramanuja on a key point for which Swami could not retaliate immediately. The day's battle was regarded as "Over" and was set to continue the following morning. Swami was very worried about how to win and establish Vishitadvaita. He closed his eyes and prayed to his "Aaradhana Perumal –Varadarajan" (AruLaLa perumal at Thirukachi also known as Kaanchipuram). He pleaded to him, "If the great Vishitadvaita sampradhayam which was nurtured and propelled by the likes of Swami Nammazhwar, Naadhamunigal and Sri Aalavandhar would have to come to an end because of an ignorant person like him (Swami Raamanuja) then what a disgrace he had caused to Vishitadvaita philosophy". He felt very bad for himself and believed that his "perAruLaLan would always come to his rescue. And sure HE did. The same night, AruLaLa perumal came in Swami Ramanujar's dream and pointed out some of the arguments he could use for winning over Yagya murthy.Specifically, HE suggested to take excerpts from "Maayavaandha Kandanam" chapter from Swami Alavandar's Sidhithrayam.

Next day Swami Ramanujar looked gleeful right from the beginning. As usual, he finished his bath and had 12 urdhva pundrams. He was resplendent with "Tejas"and proceeded to the debate with so much confidence that upon just seeing him, Yagya murthy realized that Ramanujar has got some solid arguments prepared to win. To everyone's delight, Ramanujar won the debate and was happy that Vishitadvaita sampradhayam will flourish no matter what the size and nature of obstacles that come in its way. Yagya Murthy accepted defeat and became an ardent disciple of Ramanujar from then on.
When Peyazhwar conquered Thirumazhisai azhwar who wandered across various philosophies, the latter puts it, "Sakhiyam katrom samanam katrom sangaranaar aaki vaitha aagama nool aaraaindhom paakiyathaaal sengat kariyaanai cherndhom". Translated loosely it means that Thirumazhisai azhwar was into various religions and philosophies like Jainism, shaivisim, etc but all those did not answer the one basic question. The basic question is "What is the One Thing that if we catch hold of will get the answers to everything?. Is there a one Supreme being that is the causeless cause by Itself and IT is the cause for all other things? Thirumazhisai azhwar was given the answer in Sriman Naarayanan by Peyazhwar.

Yagya muthy felt exactly like how Thirumazhisai azhwar felt when he was corrected. Since Swami Ramanujar had won this debate with the help of Arulala Perumal, he gave Yagya murthy the name 'Arulala Perumal Emberumanar', (by combining Perumal's and his own name). From that day on, Yagya murthy was known by 'AruLaLa Perumal Emberumanar'.

Ramanujar also established a separate mutt for AruLaLa Perumal Emberumanar.

Once there were some strangers in Srirangam who wanted to visit Swami Ramanujar's madam. Since they were new to the place, they asked one of the locals "Where is Emberunaar's mutt?". Immediately, the local person replied them, "which Emberumaanar mutt are you guys talking about? Is it the one of Swami Ramanujar who is also known as Emberumanar/Ethirajar/Udayavar/Godhagrajan OR Swami "AruLaLa Perumal Emberumanar's mutt"? While this conversation was going along, Swami AruLaLa Perumal Emberumanar accidentally happened to listen to it. He wept terribly hearing that his mutt had caused confusion in the minds of people to an extent that they may believe there is another Swami. In Srivaishanvic parlance, when we say "Swami", it can refer to only one person. He is none other than Swami Ramaujar himself. Just like when we say "kovil" it refers to Srirangam, when we say "Swami", it is our Ramanujar only. But Swami AruLaLa Perumal Emberumanar now was very upset that he went ahead and tore down his mutt and came to live in Swami Ramanujar's mutt itself from then. Such was his devotion.

Swami Emberumaanar gave various kainkaryams to his disciples. Swami Mudaliaandan and Swami Koorathaawan's main duties were to take care ofthe literary works like SriBashyam by disseminating its substance to the masses. Another task was for them to go and take care of "vaadham" with scholars from other philosophies. Likewise, Kidambi Achan was given the task of "thaligai kainkaryam". A small story why he was given this task.

Thirukotiyoor Nambi, was one of the acharyas of Swami Ramanujar He lived in Thirukoshtiyur divyadesam and he was the one who gave Swami Ramanujar the Thirumanthraartham. Once, a group of people had decided to kill Swami Ramanujar, by poisoning his food. Hearing this, Thirukotiyoor Nambi immediately rushed to Srirangam to protect Swami Ramanujar. Swami Ramanujar along with his sishyas, met his acharayan Thirukotiyoor Nambi on the banks of River Cauvery, on a hot afternoon. On seeing his Acharyan, Swami Ramanujar immediately prostrated before him right on the burning hot banks of the river. Thirukotiyoor Nambi wanted to test something there. He did not ask Swami Ramanujar to get up. He was keeping mum and this continued for sometime. Due to heat,Swami Ramanujar's body turned red in color. Swami Ramanuja being an emodiment of Acharya anushtaanam, did not get up and lay there till Thirukotiyoor Nambi asked him to get up. But Thirukotiyoor Nambi continued staying silent. Along with Swami Ramanuja, there were a few sishyas. One sishya by name "Swami Kidaambi Achaan" was mad at Thirukotiyoor Nambi and went lifted up Swamy Ramanuja and question Tirukkotiyoor Nambi saying “What is it you are doing? Don’t you see that our acharyan's thirumeni has turned red!!? What do you gain from making my guru like this? Thirukotiyoor Nambi was all smiles now and he said "I am happy now. I was searching for a person like you who could take care of Swami Ramanujar. Since you were the sishya who could not tolerate any wrong happening to your acharyan's body, I want you to take care of Swami Ramanujar's "thaligai". So from that day on, Swami Kidambi achan was given the kainkaryam of doing "thaligai" to Swami. Anandhaazwan was given the kainkaryam of making Thiruvengadam a nice place to worship by cleansing the area near temple. We all know about "Pillai Urangaa Villi Daasar" story. Swami Ramanuja made Lord Ranganathar to show "Pillai Urangaa Villi Daasar" HIS divine eyes. Earlier, Pillai Urangaa Villi Daasar" was very much fond of his wife's eyes. But from that point when he saw Lord Rangantha through

Emberumaanar, he denounced everything and became a ramanuja dasan. For

him, the kainkaryam that was given was to take care of the procession

whenever Namperumal goes for Veedi purappadu.

Likewise, there was a task assigned to each of his sishya. For Arulala

Perumal Emberumanar the kainkaryam given was special. We saw that he

had a debate with Swami Ramanujar and at the end of it Swami was

victorious. Arulala Perumal Emberumanar became a Srivaishnava.

Initially, he was living in his mutt, but later he destroyed and

joined Swami Ramanujar's. Swami Ramanujar gave him a very special

kainkaryam of doing 'Thiruvaaraadhana" to his pEraRuLaalan. Arulala

Perumal was very delighted and followed his Acharyan’s orders to his utmost satisfactionT.

When Anandhaazwhan and some other persons caught the lotus feet of

SriRamanujar for the first time, the latter asked him to go to Swami

Arulala Perumal Emberumanar and seek refuge under him. Swami Arulala

Perumal Emberumanar could not say no since it was his acharyan's order

again. But he told them that "I am doing this because my Swami had

asked to do so. Even though you surrender to me, there will be only

one acharyan to you, to me and to the whole world. He is Swami

Ramanujar. So, He will take care of you just like he takes care of


AruLaLa Perumal Emberumanar has written two wonderful Tamil granthams called "Gnyana Saaram" and "Prameya Saaram".Sri Manavala MamunigaL has written vyakhyanam for these granthams.

From his granthams it is clear that he was a strong believer that perumal thayar are fond of us like how a cow would be towards its calf; that Perumal Thayar would love us even with our many apachaarams like how a cow would clean its new-born calf with its tongue without anything else in mind. These granthams are so great, that great acharyas like Nampillai and Periyavachan Pillai also followed these principles.

The great AruLaLa Perumal Emberumanar's thirunakshathiram is Karthigai Bharani, that is on Dec 10 2008, tomorrow.

This is the thaniyan about AruLaLa PerumaL Emperumanar which we could recite on Wednesday:

"Kaarthige Barani Jaatham Yathindraashramaashraye
Gyana Premeya Saaraapihi Vakthaaram Varadham Munim"

Swami Arulala Perumal Emberumaanar's descendants:

Swami AruLaLa Perumal Emberumanar was one among the 74 Simhaasanaadhipadhis. established by Sri Ramanujar. He had a son by name "Alankaara Venkatavar" who also caught hold of the lotus feet of Sri Ramanujar who appointed him as one of 74 Simhaasanaadhipadhis. Alankaara Venkatavar's son was "Swami Thaathacharya" who was born in the month of chithra, under the star of "Thiruvonam" – the very same star of Thiruvenkatamudayaan. Swami Thaathacharya's maternal grandfather was "Periya Thirumalai Nambigal" who was one of the acharyas of Swami Ramanujar himself.

Swami Periya Thirumalai Nambi lived in Thiruvenkatam doing kainkaryam to Thiruvenkatamudayan. He used to finish his daily kainkarya duties for Thiruvenkatamudayaan and rush downhill near Thiruchaanoor where Swami Ramaujar stayed and conducted discourses on Sri Ramayanam. We may wonder why would an acharyan would ever do this to a sishyan? The reasons is that Swami Alavadhar, before he left this materialistic world had ordered his sishya "Swami Periya Thirumalai Nambi" to be one of acharyas for Swami Ramanujar and impart the deep meanings impregnated in Sri Ramayanam. Inorder to fulfill his acharyan's order and to get the sambandham of Swami Ramanujar and with the magnanimous thought that all the people in this world should be liberated by Swami Ramanujar's grace, he happily imparted all the knowledge that he had accrued about Ramayanam to Swami Ramanujar. That is the greatness of Swami Ramanujar. Even, his achayan had yearned for his sambandham. Periya Thirumalai Nambi would boast of his connection with Swami Ramanujar. All that we should want is his sambandham (connection) and there is no thought about if it is his acharya or sishya. As a side point, all the great acharyas before the time of Swami Ramanuja are regarded as his "Thirumudi" sambandham and all others after him are his "thiruvadi" sambandham.

As years passed by, ""Periya Thirumalai Nambi" grew old but he did not stop his service to his Thiruvenkatamudayan for a single day. Swami Thaathachaaryar (paternal grandson of Aruulala Perumal Emberumaanar) learnt all shastras from his father "Swami Alankaara Venkatavar" and also from his maternal grandfather "Periya Thirumalai Nambi". One fine day, when Periya Thirumalai Nambi was doing kainkaryam, he had filled his vessel with water to offer the same for Perumal. While he was doing pooja, Thiruvenkatamudayan disguised himself in the form of a small boy. He looked at the vessel from Thirumalai Nambi's behind and drank it fully without any trace. Periya Thirumalai Nambi was astonished to see the vessel empty. When he turned himself, he saw that little boy was running rounds by calling "thaatha, thaatha" and finally went inside the sanctum sanctorum and merged with Perumal. Periya Thirumalai Nambi realized then that his grandson is none other than an avathaaram of Thiruvenkatamudayaan Himself. Since He had called "thaatha, thaatha" (thatha means grandfather in thamizh), he gave the name of "Thaathaacharyan" as the thirunamaam to his grandson and thus the latter was quite famous in the later days . All the descendants came to be known as "Arulaala Perumal Emberumaanar Vamsam: or "Thirumalai Vinjimoor Vamsam" or "Swami Thaathacharyaar paramparai". Here is a vaazhi thirunaamam for Swami AruLaLa Perumal Emberumanar. Vaazi Vaazhi Vaazhi!!!!

AruLaLa Perumal EmberumAnAr has sannidhis in Srivilliputtir and Pandavadoodhan shrine(near Kanchipuram). For more information on the sannidhi at Srivilliputtur, you can visit the site:

AdiyEn feels very honored to be a part of this glorious paramparai, by having him as our AchAryan.

Vaazhi Thirunaamam of Swami Arulaal Perumaal Emberumaanar

Arulaala Maamunivan Adiyinaigal Vaazhi
Arai amar sendhuvarudayiodu ani yundhi vaazhi
Arulaarum Angai odu mukkOlum vaazhi
Ani vadangal Purinoolodu aagamadhu vaazhi
Therulaazhi sangamodu thiruthoLgaL vaazhi
Thirukananinnai Naamamadhu Serudhalum vaazhi
Porulaaru narkalaigal pugal naavum vaazhi
Pongezhil Thoomaalaipunai Porkunji vaazhi

Thiruvaazhun thennarangam Sirakavandhom vaazhiye
Thenarulaalar anbaal thirunthinAn vaazhiye
Tharuvaazhum Edhiraasan Thaazh adaindhon vaazhiye
Thamizh Gyana Premaya Saaram Thamarkuraipon vaazhiye
Therulaaru Madhurakavi Nilai Thelindhon Vaazhiye
Thesu poli madandhannai Sidhai thitaan vaazhiye
Arulaaala maamuniyaam aariyan thaazh vaazhiye
Arul Kaarthigai BaraniyOn Anaithoozhi vaazhiye


SMT.Mayuravalli Santhanam, US