Sri Ranganatha and Sri Manavala Mamunigal

Translation of an article by Sri PB Annangaracharyar Swami

Sri Ranganatha of Srirangam took Sri Manavala Mamunigal as His acharya and delighted in the act of becoming his disciple. Having obtained an interest in listening to the inner meanings of Thiruvaymozhi as explained by "eedu 36000padi", He commanded Sri Manavala Mamunigal to present it in His presence in the temple. Sri Manavala Mamunigal accepting the Lord's order started the upanyasam the next day and continued it for a year. At the end of the year, Sri Ranganatha Himself in the form of a young son of an archaka presented the famous taniyan:

SrisailEsa dayApAtram dhIbhaktyAdi guNArNavam
yatIndra pravaNam vandE ramyajAmAtaram munim

(History records that the young boy who presented the taniyan immediately disappeared and simultaneously the taniyan was presented in a number of other temples starting with Thirumalai.)

It is possible that some people, even those who have surrendered at the lotus feet of Sri Manavala Mamunigal, would doubt that this event occured. However it is clear upon analysis of the arrangement of the words in the taniyan that none but Sriman Narayana could have authored it.

It is well known that Sri Ranganatha is none but Sri Rama and Sri Krishna. Several azhvars have established this fact through several pasurams so that there need be no doubt on this matter.

As Sri Rama and Sri Krishna, Sriman Narayana had surrendered to a few people and yet each time He was not happy with those people. He found drawbacks in each of them and was dissatisfied. As such, He took Sri Manavala Mamunigal as His acharya and became happy that He finally had surrendered to one who has all the qualities to be an acharya. This is clearly shown by Him in each of the terms of the taniyan.

1. SriSailEsa dayApAtram: In Sri Rama avatar, He took refuge with a sailEsa dayApAtran. Now, He salutes SrisailEsa dayApAtran. SailEsa dayApAtran is Sugriva. The sailam here is Ricyamukha mountain. The Lord of that sailam is Mathanka Muni, and Sugriva lived under this rishi's dayA. At one time, Vali had fought an asura named Dundubi and killed him. Vali then had tossed the body of the asura a long distance and at that time some blood drops from his body had fallen on Mathanka Muni's ashramam. Mathanka Muni was angered by that and had cursed that whosoever had done that and his associates would die if they stepped on that mountain. Sugriva after earning the enemity of Vali had taken refuge in this mountain to escape his brother. Hence he is the sailEsa dayApAtra.

Sri Rama had taken refuge with Sugriva initially, but later was disappointed by him. Even after the rainy season was over, after the killing of Vali, Sugriva did not make any efforts in helping Sri Rama locate Sri Sita. As such, Sri Rama told Sri Lakshmana to meet Sugriva and tell him that "one who forgets the help of a friend is a lowly person; the way Vali was sent is also open to Sugriva; Sri Rama is ready to send Sugriva, his friends and relatives to the domain of Yama". Thus Sri Rama had become dissatisfied with the sailEsa dayApAtran with whom He had taken refuge. In order that this be rectified, He now takes refuge with Srisailesa Dayapatrar who is Sri Manavala Mamunigal.

He salutes Sri Manavala Mamunigal who is the receipient of the dayA of ThiruvAymozhippiLLai (Thirumalai AzhvAr also known as Srisailesar).

2. dhIbhaktyAdi guNArNavam: In Rama avatar, He had bowed to the lord of the salty ocean ("lavaNArNavam"). Based on Vibeeshana's words, Sri Rama performed saranagati to the ocean. However, the lord of the ocean chose to ignore Sri Rama and at that time Sri Rama decided to send a fierce astram and empty the ocean and make it into dry land. Thus, He ended up with disappointment with one to whom He had made saranagati. In order to make up the disappointment of surrendering to the ocean of salt, He now surrenders to the ocean of great guNas who is Sri Manavala Mamunigal.

3. yatIndra pravaNam: That Lord Sri Ranaganatha is the same as Lord Srinivasa is known from pasurams such as "manthipAy vadavEnkada mAmalai vAnavarkaL santhi seyya ninRAn arangaththaravinaNaiyAn". And as Lord Srinivasa, He received the Conch and Discus from Sri Ramanuja and therefore took him as His acharya. While there was no disappointment for the Lord with Sri Ramanuja, after listening to the Ramanuja Noorranthathi verse "thannaiyuRRat seyyum thanmaiyinOr", where it is said that rather than being attached to Sri Ramanuja it is better to be attached to those who are attached to Sri Ramanuja, He decided on becoming the sishya of Yatindra Paravanar rather than being the sishya of Yatindrar.

Yatindra Pravanar is a special name given to Sri Manavala Mamunigal.

4. vandE ramyajAmAtaram munim: During avatars, He became a disciple of muni's: as Sri Rama with Sage Vishvamitra and as Sri Krishna with Sage Santhipini. However, He became disappointed with them both. In Mithilai, He heard about the details of Sage Vishvamitra's past and became disappointed that He had taken such a person who was subject to rajas and tamas, as His acharya. In Sri Krishna avatar, even after knowing that Sri Krishna was none but Sriman Narayana, Sage Santhipini requested a lower purushartha which was his son's life rather than the higher purushartha which is moksha. As such, He became disappointed with this muni as well. Thus, He decided to take on the muni who is the ocean of satva guNas as His acharya, who is Ramya Jamatru Muni.

Thus, this taniyan which has so many special and hidden meanings could not have been authored by anyone but Sriman Narayana.