Alavandar’s Stotra Ratnam – A Synopsis

Stotra Ratnam is a hymnal composition of Svami Alavandar.  It is a book of praises on the Lord – Narayana, the Supreme Brahman, in the school of the author.  The traditional accounts consider the work to be an exposition of the core tenets of the Divya Prabandham of Azhvars, regarded as Dramidopanishad in Srivaishnava tradition.

At the outset, the author praises his spiritual master Svami Nathamuni in three hymns.  Svami Nathamuni is identified as the eternal refuge both in this world and the next.  The succeeding hymn praises Sage Parasara Muni, who is the author of the Vishnu Purana, for his contribution to the understanding of metaphysical realities.  Svami Nammazhvar is praised next, and identified as the foremost master of his tradition.  In Srivaishnava tradition, Svami Nathamuni and Svami Nammazhvar occupy positions before Svami Alavandar on the lineage of preceptors.

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Upadesa Ratnamalai

Upadesa Ratnamalai or ‘Jewel-studded Garland of Instructions’ is a work authored by Manavala Mamunigal in a classical Tamil form of poetry called venpa. A venpa is a metric prosody that ranges anywhere from two to twelve lines. This work appears to be an attempt by the author to educate the Srivaishnava community about: (i) The Glory of Alvars and Purvacharyas representing the tradition of Srivaishnavism; (ii) The commentaries authored by his earlier preceptors on the Divya Prabandham, (iii) The Greatness of the Tiruvaimoli and its commentaries, (iv) The tradition of Eedu Commentary of the Tiruvaimoli from Vadakku Tiruveedhi Pillai to Mamunigal himself, (v) The glory of Pillai Lokacharya’s  srivachanabhushanam, (vi) Some instructions to Srivaishnavites on how to conduct themselves as worthy seekers of salvation and finally (vii) The revelation of ultimate means, Charamopayam.

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