Today chitirai rohini swami engal azhwaan varusha thirunakshtram.
There are only few in the Acharya (Guru) Paramapara, who were titled by Sri Ramanuja himself and were also deemed as close associates of Sri Ramanuja. One among is Engalazhvaan.
Swami Engalazhwan was born in the family of a Poorvashika-srivaishnava in Thiruvellarai. His thirunakshathram is Chithirai Rohini. His parents had named him ‘Vishnuchithan’ after Swami Periyazhwar. He is a celebrated as the amsai of a Nitya sUri named Sri Vijayar. He was about 80 years younger than Swami Ramanuja.
Swami Ramanuja asked Swami Kooratthazhwan to write down the Sribhashya, a commentary on the Brahmasutras of Sage VedaVyasa as he dictated. Unfortunately for him, Swami Koortthazhwan became blind because of Krimikantachozhan. He could not continue writing Sribhashya. He searched for a scholar who could help him finish the text. He learnt about Vishnuchithar and decided he would be the apt person. Thus vishnuchithar joined with Sri Ramanuja. He began dictating the remaining part. He was very pleased with Vishnuchithar’s knowledge. He compared him with Swami Kooratthazhwan and embraced him calling him ‘Engal Azhwano!’ (Your knowledge equals that of our Azhwan(Kooratthazhwan)). Vishnuchithar is henceforth known as Engalazhwan. Swami Ramanuja made Swami Engalazhwan a disciple of Thirukkurukaippiran Pillan.
He was a scholar of and his literary works are notable which are:
• Sri Vishnu Chithiyam
• Piramaeya Sangraham
• Kathya Vyaganam
• Sthartha Sathutayam
Among the above Sri Vishnu Chithiyam is a Wisdom Blower for Sri Vishnu Puranam, which is a Purana Ratna.
NadAthur Ammallkku ‘Naan’ Uraithathu:
NadAthur Ammal of Kanchi was sent to Tiruvellarai by his Grand Father NadAthur Azhvaan to learn Sri Bhashya Rahasyaarthams as taught by Sri Ramanuja from Engalazhvaan. When Ammal knocked Aazhvaan’s door, Aazhvaan asked from inside, “Who is there?”. Ammal replied, it is “I “. Aazhvaan replied from inside the house that “Naan Ponnapin Varum !” (ie, “Come after the death of “I”). A confused Ammal returned to Kanchi and told his grandfather on the incidence.
NadAthur Azhvaan explained that Engalazhvaan was a genius that he asked you to get rid of your Ego and come. Engalazahvan, perhaps, offered the first and most important lesson, namely that one must shed one’s ego, and realise that the Jivatma belongs to the Lord. He advised NadAthur Ammal to go back to Thiruvellarai and introduce himself as “Adiyen”. NadAthur Ammal then did as advised and gained the Acharya Abhimanam.
To befit this incidence, Engalazhvaan was also as called Ammal Acharyar and even today the descendants of this great Acharya are known as Ammal Acharyas.
Nadathur ammal’s masterpiece is ‘Tatvasara’, a work comprising about hundred elegant slokas that explain important concepts in sribhashya. The first sloka of Tatvasara is Swami Engalazhwan’s taniyan.
Sri vishnuchitta padapankaja sangamaaya sEtho mama spruhayathe kimatha: parENa|
nou cEnmamaapi yathisEkara bhaaratInaam bhaava: katham bhavitumahati vaagvidhEya: ||
The meaning of the sloka runs as follows: “My mind craves for the union of the lotus feet of Swami Engalazhwan and I don’t regard anything as superior to it. I don’t need anything other than the lotus feet, but for which, I, a dull person, could not have understood and be able to tell others, the inner meaning of Swami Ramanuja’s words, which have deep meanings. ”
Once Nanjeeyar’s household deity, who was called as “Aayar Devu” appeared in Engalazhvaan’s dream and asked him for Butter and Naval Fruit. Next day Nanjeeyar was surprised about this incidence and praised Azghvaan that “Aaayar Devu ugandavar Neerae!” (ie. You are the one who is close to the Lord in my house).
This incidence thrills us that Lord Himself thought Engalazhvaan as HIS closet.
In his old age, Swami Engalazhwan taught sribhashya in Kollangondan, a place near Madurai. (His kalakshepams were disturbed by the Aasoucha caused by the death of relatives.) He spent his last days in the same place. His thiruvarasu is in Kollangondan to this day. His period of life was 100 years from 1069-1169 A.D.
He is one among the 74 Simhasanapathis. Even today this Acharya Parmparai exist . Varthamana Acharyan Sri U.Ve. Ammal Soumya Narayanaachariyaar Swami is a great scholar and doing many kaikaryams to spread srivaishnavam sampradayam.