Ananthazhvar and Nanjeeyar

Sri Nanjeeyar after being taken into the Srivaishnava fold by Sri Parasara Bhattar continued on his gruhasthasrama life with his two wives. After an episode when his wives did not feed some hungry bhAgavatAs, Sri Nanjeeyar split his wealth into three parts, gave two parts to his two wives and took the third part to give to Sri Bhattar and live at his feet at Srirangam. He also took up sanyAsam before leaving for Srirangam.

On the way to Srirangam, he met Sri Anandazhvar. Sri Anandazhvar knowing of his wealth and life in the past, said to him: "Had you taken a cool bath when warm and ate when hungry and lived while surrendered at Sri Bhattar's feet, would you have been rejected from Sri Vaikuntam? What was the need to take up sanyasa dharma? In any case, now that you have done it, may you be born in Tirumantram, grow in Dvayam and recite the Dvayam always and earn kainkrya sri from it".

The message that Sri Anandazhvar is giving us all is that it is possible to live a normal life in this world, but without developing attachments to it, surrender at an acharya's lotus feet and thence reach Him. One does not have to go through severe austerities or follow other means to achieve this goal.

Later Sri Manavala Mamunigal would express the same in his Upadesarattinamalai:

gyAnam anuttAnam ivai nanRAgavE udai
yanAna guruvai adainthakkAl - man^ilaththeer!
thEnAr kamalath thirumAmagaL kozhunan
thAnE vaikuntham tharum

Meaning: O people of this world! If you reach (surrender) to an acharya who has the true knowledge and follows the prescribed rituals, He who is the Lord of Sri who stands on a lotus, will give you Vaikunta without you having to do anything further.

So, what does it mean that one has to do nothing further. Does it mean one does nothing at all after surrendering to an acharya? Not so. Sri Anandazhvar's life itself continues to be a lesson for us. He did not give up his duties to his acharya or to the Lord, even though he had great sambandham with his acharya Sri Ramanujar. Our pUrvAcharyAs have also indicated to us that it is the soul's journey that we surrender to our acharya. The body's journey in this world is to be surrendered to Him, by way of performing one's duties, thereby cleansing the karmas gathered by us.