NALLAAYIRAM NAMAKALITHA NATHAMUNI
Nathamuni is the foremost in the Acharya Parampara (Band). As centuries passed, the Thiruvazimozhi festival incarnated by Thriumangai Azhwar in Srirangam and the sacred Hymns of Azhwars sung in many Divya Desams began to fade and was windswept. To set back, Namperumal made acharyas born and Nathamuni was the Head of all to begin.
Nathamuni was born in Kaliyuga 3925 in the Tamil year Sobakiruthu (823 AD) in the 7th day of Aani, in the star of Anusham, under Sadamarshana Gothra, for the Eswara Battar couple at Kattumannar Koil (Veeranarayanapuram) which has the famous big Veeranarayana (called as Veeranam)Lake.
Early Days and Scholars Says:
Nathamuni was so attached to the presiding deity Mannanar of Veeranarayana puram. Scholars say that, “Bakthi is described as, - on seeing which ever object you tend to forget the Lord, one should able to see HIM on those”. Nathamuni lived as the horizon for such bakthi.
“Pattum, Painthamizhum Pazhuthattru Vilangiya Nathamuni.* Vainavam Vanagum GuruParamparaiyin Kudumi – Pinnar Varum Paramparikku Gyanathai Vaithupona Dharumi.*
Once Nathamuni set out for a Pilgrimage along with his father Eswara Battar and son Eswara Muni. He visited Brindavan and sunk in Bakthi with the LORD YamunaiThuraivan, there. He intoned to his son that they will be blessed with a grandson who will be named as Yamanai Thuraivan. (He was none other than our ‘Alavandar’)
He then set out for Kumbakonam. There he happened to hear the local people of the city chanting the hymns from 5th and 8th sections (Pathu) of Thiruvaimozhi. At the end they chanted the Phrase, “Kurugoor Sadagopan Kuzhalin Maliya Sonna Orayirathul Ippathum Mazhalai theera Vallar”.
(Meaning:- Will be blessed with sibilings if one chants these 10 songs from the 1000 songs recited melancholic by Kurugoor Sadagopan…)
Nadamuni enquired about the chanting, as it was new and melodious to hear. He enquired with them, whether they know the all the 1000 lines as told in the phrase? They replied that they were being taught only with those 10 songs from Thiruvaimozhi which were on Kumbakonam LORD Aaravamudhan. And also added, that their forefathers had told them as that all the hymns sung by all the Azhwars would be enabled and complied by a Yogi (Sage) named Nadamuni.
Nadamuni without revealing his identity progressed towards Thirukurugoor (Azhwar Thirunagari), which is the birth place of Namazhwar.
Namazhwar & Nathamuni
At Azhwar Thirunagari, Nathamuni met Sri Parangusadasar, a disciple from the clan of Madurakavi who is the grand disciple of NamAzhwar.
He explained the Kumbakonam incident and enquired on the Thiruvaimozhi hymns. Sri Parangusa stated that he also knew that there were 1000 such hymns by NamAzhwar. But expressed his agony that as he didn’t learnt those, he would only be able to tell the 11 hymns named ‘Kanninunsiruthambu’, made by Madurakavi on praise of Namazhwar.
Sri Parangusadasar also voiced that if Nadamuni continue to meditate chanting those 11 hymns for 12000 times, Namazhwar would appear before him.
Nadamuni with full faith and determination chanted Kanninumsiruthambu for 1200 times and heard NamAzhwar speaking through the idol form itself.
NamAzhwar blessed Nadamuni with Thiruvaimozhi as he wished. Also preached him Ashtanga Yoga, Dvaya Mantra, ThiruMantra, Charamasolka and Vyasasutras. He also helped him to get all the 4000 hymns of 10 Azhwars.
Nadamuni was galvanized and imprinted the same for helping future generations.
While hymning the Thiruvaimozhi (5-2-1) “ Poliga ! Poliga ! Poliga.” (Triumph! Triumph! Triumph! ), NamAzhwar said “Kaliyum Kedum KanduKonmin’ and gifted Nadamuni the idol of Sri Ramanuja.
Naalayiram Natukku Alithathu (Instituting Naalayiram)
Nadamuni by hearted all the 4000 hymns of Azhwars. He compiled those and collated them with music and chanted them in front of LORD Mannanar.
He taught those hymns to his nephews Sri MelayagathuAzhwan (Varadhacharyar) and Sri Kezhayagathu Azhwan (Krishnamacharyar). By then he structured Aryar Sevai.
He traveled to Srirangam and got the oracle from Namperumal to re-establish the Thiru Adiyayna Festival. He structured the festival for a span of 20 days comprising 10 days as Pagal Pathu or Thirumozhi Thirunal by allocating those days for chanting the Thirumozhis (2000 in nos) by rest of the Azhwars in the form of Arayar Sevai and next 10 days as Rapathu or Thiruvaimozhi Thirunal by allocating those days for chanting Thiruvaimozhi (1000 in nos) by Namazhwar in the form of Arayar Sevai. On the 21st day, he made the ‘Eeyarpa Sathumurai’ wherein the rest final (1000 in nos) hymns were chanted as Chorus in front of Namperumal
(Nadamuni followed the same customs by bringing NamAzhwar idol from Azhwar Thirunagai. But during the days of Sri Ramanuja as there were some obstacles in bringing NamAzhwar idol from Azhwar Thirunagari, Ramanuja incarnated a new idol and sannathi for Namzahwar inside Srirangam Temple itself. The customs are then continued as instructed by Ramanjua, till now)
Nadamuni then went to kumbakonam and incarnated the idol of NamAzhwar there and celebrated the Thiruvaimozhi festival there too. Becoz of the profound bakthi and gratitude he had with the LORD Aravamudan of Kumbakonam, he called him as ‘Aravamuthazhwan’.
Disciples and Descending Days:
Nathamuni had two great main disciples namely UyyaKondar* and Kuragai Kavalappan. *(To know more on Uyyakondar – please refer Archives in this site)
Apart from the above two, he had 11 more disciples including his son Eswara Muni, nephews and the Chola King of his time.
Nadamuni and the famous Tamil poet Kavi Chakravarthy Kambar were of same times.
He handed over the idol of Ramanuja to Uyyakondar and told him to handover the same to Yamunai Thuraivar, his grandson, who would be then born for taking charge of his preachings and establish Vaishanavism.
When he was 94 by age, he was told that a Man with bow and arrow along with a lady, another man of same sort and with a monkey came to meet him when he was out of his home.
Nadamuni heard the same and recognized that they were none other than the Lord Rama, Sita, Lakshmana with Anjaneya. He went in search of them and fainted and ended his life at a place called sampodai near Gangaikonda Cholapuram at the year 917 AD in the Tamil month of Maasi, on an Ekadesi day.
His Literary Works:
Nadamuni wrote books named ‘Nyaya Thatvam’ and ‘Yogaragasyam’. To our unfortunate, these were not traceable today. He made Thaniyans / Prologue slokas for Thiruvaimozhi, Kanninumsiruthambu and Periyazhwar Thirumozhi.