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Outstanding works of Manavala Mamunigal

CHENNAI, NOV. 4. No one can deny the innumerable auspicious qualities of the Supreme Lord, but what surprises a humble devotee living in this world is the compassion He extends even to an ordinary person like him and take him to His domain.

This is the essence of the outpourings of the Vaishnavite saints who revelled themselves in extolling the manner in which the Lord comes to their rescue. These divine personalities prayed that the entire humanity should be happy and that a person should abjure hatred and jealousy.

In the hierarchy of the illustrious leaders who propagated the Emperumanar (Ramanuja) philosophy was Manavala Mamunigal (about 600 years ago) who is the manifestation of Ramanuja. The unique privilege that he enjoyed was the command by the Lord to render the exposition of the commentary to Nammazhwar's greatest contribution in the Srirangam temple and He Himself, listening to it for one year and later presenting Himself as a boy in the gathering and conferring on him His grace by leaving a special verse.

On the occasion of his birthday, in a discourse, Sri Kumaravadi S. Ramanujachariar referred to one of Manavala Mamunigal's brilliant works in the form of ``Andadi'' of 100 verses condensing the entire Thiruvoimozhi. Other outstanding works by the spiritual leader were the commentaries for three of the 18 contributions of Pillailokacharya.

In one of them, explaining the basic features of Visishtadwaita he points out the three ``reals'' (sentient, non-sentient and the Supreme) and the relationship between the Lord and the devotee. As a mark of his deep reverence to Ramanuja, Mamunigal has left the brilliant ``Yathiraja Vimsathi'' in Sanskrit asking men to hold to his feet to secure liberation.

In his pilgrimage, the Acharya spent his days at Sriperumbudur, Kanchipuram and Maduranthakam (the places connected with Ramanuja's life). Sri Devaraja Mangalam is his tribute to Lord Varadaraja. For the sake of offering service to the Supreme, he took to asceticism. While contradicting some of the fallacies in the opponent's views, he was never offensive but convinced them through gentle and persuasive words.

Mamunigal in his task of spreading Ramanuja's ideals, appointed eight distinguished disciples, three of them being Jeeyars. His period witnessed a glorious chapter in Visishtadwaitha. While 4000 verses of Periavachan Pillai's commentary on Periyazhwar's Thirumozhi were destroyed by white ants, Mamunigal filled them with that of his.

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