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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Swami Embar (Madhuramangalam) Vaibhavam - 2017

For Srivaishnavaites – divyadesams assume great significance as these are the places where our Great Azhwars visited and sung about the Lord…. Equally important are the places associated with Azhwagal and Acharyargal…..  Sri Ramanujar has the pride of place in the list of our Acharyars; he is hailed as Udayavar, Emperumanar, Bashyakarar, Ilayazhwaar, Yathirajar, Thiruppavai Jeeyar, Num Kovil annan,  amongst other names.   Our darsana Sthapakar, Sri Ramanujar rightly reverred as ‘Yathi Rajar’ ~ the king among yathis [hermits and sages, the greatest reformer he was, Ramanuja gave us many vedantic treatises - toured the entire Country, making the Srivaishnavatie tradition flourish in all his path.  Of those who remained closest to Sri Ramanuja – Sri  Mudaliandan, Sri Koorathazhwan, Sri Embar,  Sri Ananthazhwan, Arulalaperumal Emperumanar, Kidambi Achaan, Thirukurugai Piraan Pillan, Thiruvarangathu Amuthanar and more.

Today (8th Feb 2017) is punarpoosam in the month of Thai – Embar Sarrumurai.

Around 56 kilo meters from Chennai lies this place – which perhaps you would have passed by hundreds of times………… As we travel on the Chennai Bangalore highway, Sriperumpudur, the birthplace of Sri Ramanujar is around 48 kms ~ Thirukachi is around 78 kms… after Sriperumpudur comes Sunkuvar Chathiram  - here you need to branch off right and travel a few more kilo meters to reach  Madhuramangalam… The moolavar here is Sri Vaikunda Perumal and Thayar is Kamalavalli thayar. There is a separate  sannathi for Swami Embar  right infront of the Perumal sannathi.  This temple not being located on the mainstream has lesser number of people visiting.  All the Uthsavams are being conducted well….  At every of these divyadesams and Srivaishnavaite temples, there are a couple of people, who live selflessly, surrendered to the Holy feet of SthalapPerumal and doing great kainkaryam continuously without any break.  It is exceptional – it requires great sense of commitment, morality, will-power and exceptional dedication to be one .. .. is it not our duty to take care of them !!

Madhuramangalam is the birth place of Swami Embar ~ a cousin of Sri Ramanujar, Embar was born as Sri Govindar  here  (then known as Mazhalai mangalam) in Krothana Samvatsaram (1026 AD). Embaar was  born to Periya Piraati and Kamala Nayana Bhattar. Swami Ramanujar is known as the incarnation of ThiruAnanthazhvan and Swami Embaar as the incarnation of Periya Thiruvadi.  Arising out of his connection to Periyathiruvadi, the Theertham of this temple is known as Garuda Pushkarini and it is believed that at this place any snake or poisonous insects will not harm anyone. The Avathara Mandapam of Swami Embaar is located around ½ km from the temple. 
Govinda studied under Yadava prakasar and rescued Ramanujar from the plot- the Guru Yadavaprakasa hatched. Legend has it that while taking bath in a river, a shivalinga landed in his palm and he became an orthodox Saivatie for a while. He stayed in Sri Kaalahasthi praying and offering pooja to the lingam. During this period he was known as ‘ullangai konarntha nayanar’.   A great Acharya and uncle of Ramanuja - Thirumalai Nambi along with his disciples went to Kaalahasthi and started delivering upanyasams (discourses) next to where Govindha was offering floral prayers to the linga.

While he was rendering discourse on Maran Sadagopan’s tamizh vedam – Thiruvaimozhi ~ in the decad titled “Thinnan veedu” – there is a pasuram - dhevum epporulum padaikkap poovil naanmukhanaip padiaatha - devan Emperumaanukkallal Poovum poosanaiyum thagume ? which would mean “ Maha Vishnu is the One who created everything – including all demi gods and all beings, sentient, non-sentient- is Chathurmukha Brahma (he is the one who created Siva); and it is the Lord Sriya Pathi Sriman Narayanan – the Primordial Chief who enabled Brahma to do so… Essentially it is MAHA VISHNU who  makes everything happen.

 Chathur mukhan the creator was created on the lotus flower from the navel of Emperuman and Azhwar asks whether any flower could be meant for some one else but HIM – the only one unparalleled !! Govindar jumped down crying ‘thagathu ! thagathu ! (cannot cannot). He fell down at the feet of Thirumalai Nambhi… with tears rolling down his cheeks and cried for saving him and to change him to a Vaishnavaite again.  Embaar’s attachment to Ramanuja can be understood by the excellent description of the divinely beautiful thirumeni azhagu  in his verse.

Swami Embar  attended Ramanuja’s  lectures, discourse, debates expositions and dispositions and served his master as a shadow. With great resolve and commitment, he secured sanyasa from Udayavar and obtained robe of an ascetic. Udayavar named him Emperumanar but he could not accept this and pleaded that he did not deserve this honour, upon which Udayavar called him “Embar”. Swami Embar’s  work ‘Vijnaasthuthi”  is forever  remembered by posterity.

Embar's enjoyment of seeing Sri Ramanujacharya's lotus feet , tender fingers reminding one of the creepers, sacred saffron robe, most auspicious poonool, thridandam , His enchanting smile laden with Daya , large dark eyes reminiscent of wish yielding karpaka maram (tree), the kudumi (sikha) formed by abundant tresses is simply beautiful . Embar declares that there is no one equal to him; since Yathirajan's Divine Beauty lingers in his heart.

A great contribution to Vaishnavism is Embar being the acharya to the greatest Sri Parasara Bhattar (son of Koorathazhwan). Legend has it that when Udayavar asked Embar to bring baby Parasarar for naming, Embar by way of protection muttered Dvaya mantram in the infant’s ears and that placed on the baby unusual brilliance. Upon instruction of Udayavar, Embar became the Acharya of the baby and thus vaishnavaites are endowed with a great Acharyar – Sri Parasara Battar. 

In the year 1137 the greatest of Acharyas Ramanujar left for heavenly abode resting on the lap of Embar. His moving away left Embar sans any interest in life and four years later, he followed the Jagadhacharyar. His work ‘Vijnaasthuthi” will ever be remembered by posterity.

Sri Bhagavath Ramanujar Thiruvadigale Saranam
Adiyen Srinivasa dhasan.

Many a years, Embar sarrumurai would coincide with Thaipoosam.  Today there was no purappadu on Sarrumurai day and above is photo of Embar at Thiruvallikkeni taken a couple of years ago.  Here is a grand painting depicting Sri Ramanujacharya, Mudaliandan, Koorathazhwan and Embar taken in 2010 at Jeer Mutt at Maduramangalam

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