Friday, April 22, 2016

Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam – Nathamunigal Shrine

Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam – Nathamunigal Shrine
Nathamuni was a Vaishnava theologian who collected and compiled the Nalayira Divya Prabandham. Considered the first of Sri Vaishnava Acharyas, Nathamuni is also the author of Yogarahasya, and Nyayatattva.
He is considered to have lived during the lifetime of Madhura Kavi Alwar's Parampara. That Nathamuni was in contact with Nammalvar is attested by Guru Parampara, Divyasuri Charita & Prapannamrita. The Prapannamrita also attests that Nathamuni was born in the village Viranarayana. Viranarayana is today generally identified as Kattumannarkoil.
Nathamuni is said to have died at Gangaikonda Cholapuram. His father's name was Ishvara Bhattar and his son's name was Isvaramuni. His grandson was Yamunacharya.
He came to know about Nalayira Divya Prabandam, but he heard only 10 hymns. He wanted the rest. He recited 12000 times, Kanninun Siruthambu, a poem in praise of Nammazhwar. Nammazhwar appeared and gave the 4000 hymns (Nalayira Divya Prabandam). He was the one who brought back the 4000 hymns. In addition to teaching the hymns to his two nephews at Srirangam, he introduced them into the Srirangam Temple Service at the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam where he was the Temple Administrator.
He is thought to be the originator of the Araiyar Sevai. The modern days 'Thathachariars' a sect of Tamilnadu Iyengars are the descendants of this Acharya, housing a lot of great people in Sri Vaishnavism ranging from Alavandar (Yamunacharya), Thirumalai Nambikal, Emberumanar, Kurugesar, Panchamatha bandhana Thatha Desikan, Kotikannikadhana Lakshmi Kumara Thathachariar. The disciples of this Acharya known as 'Melayagaththalwan' and 'Keelayagaththalwan' families propagated this Aarayar Sampradhayam.
Kambar, the Tamil poet, released his composition, Rama Kathai in the precincts of Srirangam Temple in the presence of Nathamuni. A shrine is dedicated to Nathamunigal in Ranganathaswamy Temple for his services to Vaishnavism.