Posted in Thiruvarangathu Amudhanar

Amudhanar & Ramanusa Nootrandhaadhi

Thiruvarangathu Amudanar was an ardent disciple of Koorathazhwan (Srivatsanka Misra) whose unexcelled devotion to his acharya (Sri Ramanuja, Yatiraja, Emberumanar, Elayalvan) prompted him to give up willingly his very eyes to save his guru. His acharya-bhakti was catching. Amudanar developed an over-mastering devotion for his pracharya (acharya’s acharya) and composed ‘Ramanusa Nootrandhadhi’, an exquisite hymn in praise of Yatiraja.

Like Madhurakavi Azhvar’s Kanninun Siruththambu which adorns the first book of Nalayira dhivya Prabandam, Tiruvarangathu Amudanar’s Ramanusa Nootrandhadhi lends signal distinction to the fourth part of Divya Prabandam. To Amudanar, Ramanuja was everything, even as for Madhurakavi Azhvar, Nammalvar was father, mother, friend, well- wisher and all. Both alike attained the bIessed life through one-pointed acharya bhakti. Even if Kannan, the darling of all, supremely beautiful and most easily accessible to all, were to be shown to me, says Amudanar, so as to be seen easily as in the palm of one’s hand, my mind would still long to perceive the supernal personality of Bhagavad Ramanuja. It is subhasraya, at once most pure and purifying.

No matter whether I am deeply implicated in the mire of samsara or taken to the celestial radiance of Paramapada, the Highlands of the Blest, I would stiII care only to behold the sublime beauty of Ramanuja (St. 103).

Ramanusa Nootrandhadhi was a song-offering unto the bIessed feet of Bhagavad Ramanuja at one of his discourses and won the spontaneous approval of yatiraja and the assembled scholars. In his Prabanda-sara, Vedanta Desika, deviating from his usual practice of entreating the respective azhvars to deign to reveal to us the inner core of their prabandhas, here addresses Sri Ramanuja to disclose to us the treasures imbedded in Amudanar’s work. Such is the profundity of this psalm. In the short compass of a hundred and eight stanzas, Amudanar has epitomised in a remarkable fashion the gist of the teachings of all the azhwars and also the heart of the message of Bhagavad Ramanuja.

Devoting but one stanza for each of the azhvars – three for Thirumangai Azhvar and some for Nammazhvar, Amudanar focusses attention on the the importance of their teachings and demonstrates that Sri Ramanuja was steeped in prabandic lore and that the Azhvars were among the potent shaping forces of his thought. Amudanar effectively refuted the ill-informed opinion that Sri Ramanuja who has not written about the azhvars nor quoted from any of their compositions expounded Vedantic thought and religion in complete exclusion from Divya Prabandhas. ‘Ramanusa Nootrandhaadhi’ establishes in an incontrovertible manner that Sri Ramanuja was master at once of the Sanskrit Vedas culminating in the Upanishads and the Tamil Vedas and that his masterly exposition of’ Vedanta and of the Vedanta-Sutras was influenced in no so small measure by his thorough mastery of Nalayira Divya Prabandham.

In addition, Amudanar also pays homage to the great Visishtadvaita Acharya, Nathamuni, for his invaluable services in recovering the Nalayira Divya Prabandam from the oblivion into which it had fallen and gave a fillip to their study and to Yamuna whose absorption into the Prabandams flowed over into the mellifluous poem, the Stotra Ratnam.

(Reproduced from an article by Kidambi R. Ramanujachari, Faculty of Philosophy & Religion, Annamalai University)

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